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Ajwain leaves Paratha| Carom leaves flatbread Recipe

Creating a little kitchen garden in my house is no less than a dream for me. Living in a concrete jungle, we crave greenery and put in some effort to make a small kitchen garden. I love planting herbs like mint, coriander, carom leaves, and curry leaves in my kitchen garden, and I often use these herbs in my recipes. Ajwain, also known as carom seeds, is one of my favorites in my kitchen garden. I frequently make ajwain paratha for my kid’s lunch box and as a companion to my morning chai. This ajwain paratha is easy to make and healthy at the same time.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped ajwain leaves
  • 1 tablespoon ajwain seeds
  • 1 tablespoon oil or ghee (plus extra for cooking)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
  • Water (as needed)

Method:

Wash the ajwain leaves thoroughly and pat dry the leaves, now finely chop them and keep aside.

In a large mixing bowl, take wheat flour and add ajwain seeds, oil or ghee, salt, and the chopped ajwain leaves. Mix everything well to combine the ingredients.

Gradually add water to the mixture, little by little, and knead it into a smooth and firm dough. The amount of water required may vary, so add it gradually until the dough comes together. The dough should be soft but not sticky.

Once the dough is ready, cover it with a damp cloth and let it rest for about 10-15 minutes. After the resting period, divide the dough into small sized portions. Take one portion and dust the rolling surface with flour and roll out the portion into a circle using a rolling pin. Heat a tawa or a non-stick pan over medium heat. Place the rolled paratha on the hot tawa and cook it . Drizzle a little oil or ghee around the edges of the paratha and flip it over using a spatula. Press the paratha gently with the spatula to help it cook evenly and cook for another minute or until both sides are golden brown.

Remove the cooked paratha from the tawa and place it on a plate. Serve the ajwain leaves paratha hot with a side of yogurt, pickle, or any curry of your choice. It also makes a delicious addition to a lunchbox or can be enjoyed with a hot cup of tea.

Enjoy your homemade ajwain leaves paratha! I hope you enjoyed reading this recipe. Do give this recipe a shot. If you try this recipe, do give us a shout out. Just click a picture and tag us on @masala.monk or use the hashtag #MasalaMonkRecipe and share on Instagram and Facebook. We would love to hear from you.

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Skillet Mushroom and Zucchini Stir Fry- Fresh and Healthy

Sometimes, the best way to enjoy fresh veggies is a simple sauté. I love doing this with zucchini, especially because it cooks up quickly. Skillet sautéed mushroom and zucchini is fresh, healthy and absolutely delicious side dish. This is sautéed to crispy tenderness with garlic, scallions, butter, olive oil and mild spices. It is quick, easy and wholesome. Even kids will love it as a side.

Pair these veggies with scrambled eggs, omelette or roasted chicken. For vegetarians and vegans you can add Indian cottage cheese or tofu to it for protein. It could be your perfect light meal in summers. I paired it with omelette and a toast for breakfast. 

Tips for sautéing Zucchini to prevent it from getting Soggy

  1. Since zucchini contain a large amount of water content, it is best to sauté it at on a high flame. It allows the moisture to evaporate at a quicker rate, allowing the zucchini to brown. It also shortens the cooking time. 
  2. Be mindful when cutting the zucchini. Smaller and uneven pieces can burn more easily at high temperature. 
  3. Don’t overcrowd the zucchini in the pan. This will cause the zucchini to steam and not get browning effect.

Recipe: serves 3

Ingredients 

  • Zucchini: 2 cups, cut into roundels of roughly 1/2 cm thickness
  • Mushroom: 250 grams, chopped length wise
  • Garlic: 3-4 large cloves, cut thinly
  • Scallions: 2, chopped with greens
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Italian Seasoning: 1/2 tsp
  • Red Chilli flakes: 1/2 tsp or less
  • Butter: 20 grams
  • Olive Oil: 1 tbsp
  • Lemon juice: 1 tsp

Instructions 

  • Bring cast iron skillet to medium heat. Add half of butter and olive oil.
  • Increase the flame and add zucchini. Sauté at high flame for 3-4 minutes. Remove it from the skillet and set aside. 
  • Now add remaining half of the butter and oil and sauté garlic till it becomes lightish brown. 
  • Then add mushrooms and cook for a minute. 
  • Season mushrooms with some salt and pepper and then add scallions and scallions greens. Cook everything for 4-5 minutes or till mushrooms soften and become brown.
  • Return zucchini to the skillet. Add Italian seasoning and red chilli flakes if using. Mix well and cook for another minute on high flame. 
  • Taste for salt and other seasoning. Add more if required. 
  • Remove skillet from flame and finish it with lemon juice. 

Enjoy the goodness! 🙂

I hope you enjoyed reading this recipe. Do give this recipe a shot. I am sure this recipe will bring you a lot of joy. If you try this recipe, do give us a shout out. Just click a picture and tag us on @masala.monk or use the hashtag #MasalaMonkRecipe and share on Instagram and Facebook. We would love to hear from you. Happy Cooking!

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Is Ice-Cream Helping You Beat the Summer Heat?

Yes, summers are here, and the scorching heat is unbearable. Our natural instinct is to grab something cold and what better way to beat the heat than an ice-cream. It’s cool, creamy, delicious and triggers dopamine rush. It gives a cooling sensation on the tongue; the flavour and overall sweetness contributes to the positive experience of enjoying this treat. It is hard to pass that feeling of instant pleasure. But before you grab that ice-cream, know the science behind what an ice-cream does to your body heat, so that next time when you require something to cool yourself, you’ll make a better choice.

How our body heat works?

To understand what ice-cream does to our body, we first need to know a bit about how our body controls temperature in different environments. The process of maintaining optimal body temperature by our body is called thermoregulation. Humans are warm blooded which means we can control our body temperature. Our body can constantly produce heat as a byproduct of internal chemical processes which is done by our metabolism. Our metabolism is responsible for correct functioning of our body. From breaking down food to absorbing nutrients to transporting them to different cells and then converting it into energy, metabolism makes it all possible. The heat this process generates is useful when outside temperature is cold but in summers, we need to avoid overheating.

How will Ice-Cream work once it gets digested?

It may seem logical to have something cold like an ice-cream in summers to cool yourself, however, once the components of the ice cream start to break down, the cooling effect is diminished. Its initial cooling effect is rapidly replaced by heat which is generated when the digestion process of ice cream starts. When the body needs to digest calorie rich foods, it produces a lot of heat to digest it which leads to increase in body temperature. Milk, sugar and all the cream added in an ice-cream are rich in calories. This will generate more heat in the body when outside temperature is already high. So, instead of having a cooling effect, it will have the opposite effect. The same goes for high calorie soft drinks- aerated drinks, packed juices. All of this will provide only a momentary respite from the heat but will not cool your body in the truest sense.

What can you actually do to keep your body cool in summers?

While it’s is ok to enjoy an ice-cream once in a while but as the mercury rises opt for a more balanced approach to beat the heat. Some of the best summer coolers are: 

Apart from this, warm beverages surprisingly are a good way to keep yourself cool. Drinking hot beverages cause your body to sweat which allows your body to cool down. Sweating is the most effective natural way for our body to lose heat. 

Eating spicy foods such as ginger, cayenne pepper and red chili peppers can cause you to perspire. When you eat spicy food, you might initially feel hot, but it triggers sweat response causing you to perspire and when the perspiration evaporates, it cools your body temperature. 

Lastly and most importantly, keep yourself hydrated. Drinking enough water is essential to maintain overall well-being and is one of the best ways to keep yourself cool.

Ayurvedic Perspective: 

According to Ayurveda, ice-cream has dampening qualities. It is cold, heavy, too sweet and lacks fire element. Fire or Agni in Ayurveda is referred to as digestive fire- energy that we all need for smooth digestion. Now imagine, pouring something cold and heavy on a blazing fire. Yes, exactly! The fire will diminish. Having too much of cold, sweet and heavy foods creates an imbalance in our body triggering conditions like excess mucus, lethargy, weight gain, allergies, indigestion, bloating and constipation. 

But if you really have a strong urge to grab that ice-cream cup, Ayurveda has some ways in which you can make this food little friendly for your body.

  • Consume your ice-cream around noon time, from 12:00 to 2:00 pm. This is the time when digestive fire is at its strongest. You will have plenty of time throughout the day to digest it. 
  • Go for ice-cream that has a bit of spice like cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger or even cayenne pepper. This gives your body some digestive support. 
  • Cardamom flavoured icecream is considered to be one of best antidotes to icecream. When cardamom is added to dairy products, it aids digestion and helps to reduce excess mucus production caused by dairy. 

Bottomline

Cold treats can be satisfying when the temperature is soaring however, it does have an opposite effect on your body. Instead of cooling your body, it will generate more heat. You can enjoy cold summer treats but remember moderation and maintaining a balance is the key to good health. Fix on better and natural summer coolants and remember to stay hydrated.

I hope this post helped you and next time when you get the craving, do remember this post. It will help you make informed choices. Stay happy and stay healthy! 🙂

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Idli Podi | Milagai Podi Recipe

If you have never heard of podi before, podi is a flavourful South Indian coarse spice powder condiment made with lentils, seeds and spices and served with Idlis. But for most fans, you can say podi is an emotion. It is like a flavour imbibed in every bite. Podi is a general South Indian word that means “powder”. In the Tamil language, the word milagai means red chilies and podi means powder. Idli podi is always served with ghee or sesame oil. There is a popular dish in South India where idlis are smeared with podi and ghee or sesame oil. But Idli Podi is not just limited to idlis. You can serve podi with paniyarams, sprinkle it on dosas, uttapams or make podi rice. Its main purpose is to add flavour to a meal, sometimes when certain spices are involved, podis can aid digestion too.

The flavour of podi is quite unique and tasty. There is a slight crunch in it that comes from roasted lentils. The nutty taste comes from sesame seeds with some smokiness and pungency from red chilies and other ingredients.

You can try serving podi with Ragi Idli. They pair beautifully with podi and other sautéed vegetables and makes a healthy, gluten free breakfast.

The recipe is pretty simple. You just have to roast the ingredients and grind everything together. There is some spiciness and heat in a typical milagai podi but you can control the heat as per your preference. There are variations to idli podi where some like to add dry coconut, curry leaves or peanuts.

There is another variation of idli podi called as gunpowder which is spicy and includes more red chilies as well as garlic.

The podi recipe that I am sharing with you is a recipe that I have been making for years now. There is always a jar of podi at my house. I like to add this powder in Masala Idli, sprinkle it on dosa, serve it with paniyarams or make podi rice with ghee. 

Tips for making Idli Podi

  1. Always use fresh spices and lentils to make podi. 
  2. It is always better to soak lentils for an hour in warm water and dry them with cotton kitchen towel before roasting. 
  3. I always add sesame seeds to make podi. It gives a great flavour and also is super nutritious. You can skip it if you like. You can use either black or white sesame seeds. 
  4. Rinse curry leaves with fresh water and then pat dry them with a kitchen towel. 
  5. Do not roast sesame seeds for long or it will taste bitter. 

Let’s see how you can make this flavour bomb.

Recipe: makes approx 200 grams

Ingredients: 

  • Urad dal: 1/2 cup
  • Channa dal: 1/4th cup
  • Curry leaves: 1/2 cup
  • Sesame seeds: 1/4th cup
  • Dried Red Chillies: 12-15 (add more if you like)
  • Mustard seeds: 2 tsps
  • Hing/Asafetida: 1/4th tsp
  • Oil: 2 tbsps
  • Salt as per taste

Method: 

  • Wash and soak both the lentils separately for an hour in warm water. This step is optional. You can just wash the lentils, pat dry and roast them but soaking helps to soften the lentils and makes them easy to digest.
  • Bring a wide heavy bottom pan to medium heat. Add sesame seeds and roast them till they become slightly brown and start crackling and popping. Set aside in a large plate.
  • Roast curry leaves till the leaves become crisp and shrink in size. Set aside.
  • Now add washed, soaked and towel dried urad dal. Roast till golden brown and fragrant. Set aside. 
  • Add channa dal and roast. Chana dal takes longer to roast. It should get browned or golden. For uniform cooking and color, keep on stirring them often.
  • Now add a tbsp of oil and roast dry red chilies on a low flame. Roast till you get a pungent smoky aroma from chilies. Set aside
  • Next add mustard seeds and roast them till they start crackling and popping in the pan. Set aside.
  • Lastly, add a tbsp of oil and cook asafoetida or hing in it for 10-15 seconds. Mix it with the other roasted ingredients.
  • Once everything is well roasted, put it all in a blender. Add salt to taste and grind well. Grind in intervals of some seconds to a coarse powder. Do not grind in one go for long as the sesame seeds will release oil.
  • Store Podi in an airtight glass jar. The powder will last you almost a year.

Happy Cooking!! 🙂

Do give this recipe a shot. If you try this recipe, do give us a shout out. Just click a picture and tag us on @masala.monk or use the hashtag #MasalaMonkRecipe and share on Instagram and Facebook. We would love to hear from you. 🙂

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A perfect and foolproof Jowar Bajra Roti Recipe

When winter rolls around, or when I’m on a diet, there’s one recipe I always turn to: Jowar Bajra Paratha. This wholesome and nutritious paratha is incredibly satisfying and pairs beautifully with jaggery or any curry sabji. Not only is it a staple during colder months, but it’s also a fantastic option for those looking to incorporate more healthful grains into their diet. So lets see how to make perfect jowar bajra paratha.

Ingredients:

1 cup Jowar Flour

1 Cup Bjara Flour

Water as needed

Ghee for Cooking

Instruction:

In a mixing bowl, combine the jowar flour and bajra flour. Gradually add hot water to the flour mixture. Keep adding water until the mixture comes together to form a soft and pliable dough. Knead the dough for a few minutes until it becomes smooth. The hot water helps in binding the flours.

Divide the dough into equal-sized portions to make roti. Take a portion of the dough and dust some flour to prevent sticking. Roll out the ball into a round roti. Heat a tawa on medium-high heat. Place the rolled paratha on the hot tawa. Cook for a minute  Flip the paratha and cook the other side. Apply ghee on both sides for added flavor and to keep the roti moist.

Once both sides are cooked and crispy, remove the roti from the tawa. Serve hot with jaggery or a curry of your choice.

Enjoy your nutritious and wholesome Jowar Bajra Roti! 🌾🍽

Do try out this simple recipe. I am sure you guys will love it. Let me know what other kind of millet roti you make at home in the comments section. It will be great to know.