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Bored with the same palak saag? Try This Delicious Palak Raita| Spinach Raita

Spinach is an excellent source iron, vitamin C and E, potassium, and magnesium. You can enjoy spinach in so many different ways cooked, raw or frozen. Either eat in chilled salad or sauté with your favorite veggies or make a smoothie but if you are bored using all these way spinach dry this Spinach/Palak raita. This is the best way to use those extra palak and when you are bored with the regular palak saag or palak roti or smoothie. This Spinach Raita is a refreshing and healthy side dish that pairs perfectly with dal rice, parathas, or can be enjoyed on its own. It’s simple to make and adds a delightful twist to your meal.

Ingredients:

  • Oil
  • 1 tsp Cumin seeds
  • 2 cups Palak (spinach), chopped
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 cup Curd (yogurt)
  • 1 tsp Roasted Cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp Black salt
  • 1/2 tsp Red chilli powder
  • Additional Salt, to taste

Method:

Heat oil in a pan over medium heat. Add cumin seeds and let them sizzle. Add the chopped palak (spinach) and sauté until the water evaporates and the spinach is cooked through. Add salt to taste while sautéing.

In a bowl, beat the curd until smooth. Add roasted cumin powder, black salt, red chilli powder, and a little more salt to the curd. Mix well to combine.

Once the spinach has cooled slightly, add it to the curd mixture. Mix well to ensure the spinach is evenly distributed.

Serve chilled as a side dish with dal rice, parathas, or enjoy it just like that. 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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Energize Your Mornings: Kale Chane Chila for a Protein Punch

Kale chane, or black chickpeas, are a powerhouse of nutrition, packed with protein, fiber, and essential vitamins. Incorporating them into your diet can significantly boost your energy levels and overall health. One delicious and wholesome way to enjoy kale chane is by making chila, a protein-packed breakfast that is both tasty and nourishing.

Ingredients:

For the Chila Batter:

1 cup soaked and boiled kale chane (black chickpeas)
1 cup rava (semolina)
1/2 cup curd (yogurt)
Handful of coriander leaves, chopped
2-3 green chilies, chopped (adjust to taste)
1/2 inch ginger, grated
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
Salt to taste

For the Stuffing:

1 cup grated carrot
1/2 cup grated cheese (use your favorite variety)
Handful of coriander leaves, chopped
Oil or butter for cooking
Water, as required

Instructions:

In a mixer grinder, combine the soaked and boiled kale chane, rava, chopped coriander leaves, chopped green chilies, grated ginger, cumin seeds, curd, and salt. Blend until you get a smooth batter. If the batter is too thick, you can add a little water to achieve the desired consistency, similar to regular dosa batter.

Transfer the chila batter to a bowl and set it aside.

For the stuffing, mix together the grated carrot, grated cheese, and chopped coriander leaves in a separate bowl. This will be the delicious filling for your chila.

Heat a dosa or a non-stick tawa over medium heat. Once the tawa is hot, drizzle a little oil or spread a small amount of butter on it. Pour a ladleful of the chila batter onto the center of the tawa. Using the back of the ladle, gently spread the batter in a circular motion to form a thin chila. Allow the chila to cook for a couple of minutes until the bottom side turns golden and crispy. Spoon a portion of the prepared stuffing mixture onto one half of the chila.

Carefully fold the other half of the chila over the stuffing to create a half-moon shape. Cook the stuffed chila for another 2-3 minutes, pressing gently with a spatula to ensure even cooking and to melt the cheese. Flip the chila over and cook the other side until it becomes crispy and golden brown. Once both sides are cooked to your liking, remove the stuffed chila from the tawa and place it on a serving plate.

Repeat the process with the remaining batter and stuffing to make more chilas.

Enjoy your nutritious and flavorful chila that’s packed with protein, cheesy goodness, and the health benefits of kale chane!

We hope you enjoy making and eating this nutritious and delicious Kale Chane Chila as much as we do! Give this protein-packed breakfast a try, and let us know how it turns out for you. If you have your own unique twist on Kale Chane Chila, we’d love to hear about it. Share your feedback and your versions in the comments below or tag us on social media. Happy cooking!

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Introducing MacroTracker by MasalaMonk

When you look at the app store or all other apps that enable you to efficiently track your macros, most of them rely on some type ‘database’ of built in food products, values, names, dishes, data from some authority – maybe USDA, or any such reliable body. My problem with those apps it that it makes them highly unreliable, The data is pre-fed into the system and you are just estimating your diet hoping for the accuracy of the data. And most of these apps would not allow you to customise those values. And then there is a problem of nationalities, locations and types of food that we actually like to eat,

The main difference in MacroTracker by MasalaMonk is  that there is no database fed into the system at all. It comes blank out of the box, allowing you to make your own entries and database. As someone who has struggled with weight and keeping a track of his food and eating habits, I realised as big a ‘foodie’ I thought I was, I ended up eating items from the same catalogue of 30-50 dishes or food items max – depending on where I am living, weather, kind of food available etc.

Finding Macro content of anything is not a big deal these days, just do a quick google search for anything and you will have the values – pick one from the source you find most reliable and create your own entry in the database for your account. You can always come back and edit the item or delete the same and make any modifications you want.

What else? Though you enter 3 basic macros, Proteins, Carbs and Fats,  for the food item, the app gives you a sope to add 5% error, to account of things that might not be accounted for, a feature I believe can help people who are strictly trying to restrict their caloric intake for whatever reason.

Right now we have hosted the first cut of the application on MacroTracker.MasalaMonk.com or  http://macrotracker.masalamonk.com/ – its in early development stages, however I thought I will still put the word out there and start collecting some feedback.

If you are looking for a MacroTracker – do take this one for a spin and let me know the feedback on comments. Would love to improve and develop it further.

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How to make Almond Milk at Home

While I love the convenience of store-bought almond milk but once you get the taste of your homemade version, it’s hard to go back to store-bought milk. It’s creamier and nuttier than commercial almond milk and of course without thickeners, artificial flavors, stabilizers and no shelf life extending additives.

Almond milk is a nutritious, nut-based dairy alternative and has become popular over the years. It’s dairy and lactose free. Hence, making it a good option for those avoiding dairy or are lactose intolerant.

Including almond milk in an overall healthy and balanced diet certainly has its upsides. Almond is a fabulous source of vitamin E, a nutrient that has antioxidants properties. Since it is low in calories, it can also support your weight management goals. 1 cup of almond milk has only around 40 calories. It also contains heart-healthy poly- and monounsaturated fats and is also free from saturated fat, trans fats and dietary cholesterol.

While homemade almond milk is a great source of nutrients, it is not a good source of protein and calcium but don’t let it stop you. There are plenty of other plant base sources of calcium and protein which you can include in your diet.

Homemade almond milk allows you to control the amount of sweetness and infuse flavors as well as play around with the thickness. It’s amazingly simple- just soak, blend and strain and it is super versatile. You can use this milk for making coffee, add it to your cereals, blend it to smoothies, use it in your favorite baked goods. Once you have it in hands, there are million ways to use it.

How to make Almond Milk

Ingredients: makes 800 ml thick Almond milk

  • 1 cup raw Almond
  • 3 sticky Dates
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 3 cups of filtered Water

Instructions

  • Soak almonds overnight or for at least 7-8 hours. Now most recipes call for soaking almonds in hot water for an hour or 2. But soaking it for long increases bioavailability of the nutrients and makes milk easy to digest. Also, it makes almond easier to blend resulting in creamier milk.
  • Drain the water. The almonds should be nice and plump. Add soaked almonds in a blender. (Do not peel the skin. Skin contains several antioxidants and prebiotics)
  • Also add de-seeded sticky dates and vanilla extract.
  • Add filtered water and then blend till it is smooth & creamy. Do it for 1 or 2 minutes. The timing will depend on how powerful your blender is.
  • Take a clean muslin cloth and set it over a large bowl. Add almond milk. Use your hands to squeeze and press as much liquid out as possible. This is thick creamy milk.
  • If you want it thin, which I like, put the almond residue back in blender. Add 1.5 cups of water and strain again. This will be thin and less creamy.

Variations:

  1. You can choose sweetener of your choice as well. If you don’t want to use sticky dates, you can either go for maple syrup or honey to sweeten it.
  2. You can also simply go for unsweetened version of almond milk as well.
  3. Flavoring your almond milk is totally your choice. Either you can add vanilla extract like mentioned above or flavor it with cinnamon or raw cacao powder if you like chocolaty milk.
  4. You also try blending it with strawberries or blueberries if berry milk is your thing.

Notes:

  • You can use almond milk right away or refrigerate it in a clean airtight glass bottle for upto a week.
  • Do not throw away the almond residue. This can be added to cakes, cookies, smoothies, energy bites. You can also spread the almond residue on a baking tray and bake it in an oven at 180 C till moisture evaporates. Once cooled, grind it to a fine powder and you have your homemade almond meal ready.


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A protein packed summer special buttermilk sattu

Sattu is finally getting the long awaited attention! Sattu is considered a nutritious food. It is a rich source of protein, Sattu powder mixed with buttermilk is a natural and a potent protein shake. According to health experts, it is rich in protein, fibre, calcium, iron, and magnesium. It prevents dehydration and reduces body heat. Below is the step by step recipe of sattu buttermilk.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons sattu powder
1 cup buttermilk (chach)
1/2 teaspoon roasted cumin powder
1/4 teaspoon black salt
Finely chopped coriander leaves, onion, and green chilies for garnishing


Instructions:

In a jar or bowl, mix together the sattu powder and buttermilk until well combined.
Add the roasted cumin powder and black salt to the mixture and stir until everything is evenly distributed.


If you prefer a smoother consistency, you can blend the mixture in a blender for a few seconds. Taste the sattu buttermilk and adjust the seasoning if necessary, adding more black salt or roasted cumin powder according to your preference. Pour the sattu buttermilk into serving glasses. Garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves, onion, and green chilies.

Serve chilled and enjoy your refreshing sattu buttermilk!

You can make your own sattu at home or you can buy from numerous brands available online as well as offline. In case you are looking for a homemade, preservative free and authentic experience, without getting into hassle of grinding your own, you can always explore Masala Monk’s Sattu Mix, which ships all over India.

Do try the recipe and let me know in comments how it turns out. If you end up adding your own twist and experimenting, let me know as well – maybe I will try it that way and see how it feels.