Wrap up of 100 days healthy eating challenge!

I am happy to announce that I am finally done with the 100 days of healthy eating challenge. I’ve posted all 100 recipes on the blog as well as the facebook page so you can check and be assured that I am not cheating. If ever you’re stuck and want some ideas or inspiration for a healthy recipe, hop on over to the blog or the facebook album. You will find that my list of healthy recipes includes biryani and curd rice and noodles and everything in between. Honestly I do not believe healthy food needs to be un-interesting or skinny. In my world healthy food needs to make you happy all over. That means biryani has to figure in the list. One of the best things to come out of this challenge is that I naturally gravitate towards healthier alternatives these days. I feel hungry less often. I feel more in control of what I am eating. Combined with intermittent fasting, I’ve been able to lose about 3 kilos during this period. I exercised very irregularly during this period. So I wouldn’t really attribute any of my weight-loss to that. A more disciplined person would have probably lost more weight. My definition of healthy is very expansive. Except desserts and deep-fried foods, everything is fair game. So my healthy food list includes thali meals, biryani, schezwan noodles. tawa fried fish and chipotle rice bowls. The one constraint I placed for myself was to make sure every meal was homemade. So you’ll find smoothies, grilled chicken recipes, easy tiffen recipes, curries, roast vegetable recipes, rice varieties, traditional breakfasts… just about every kind of dish. To access the day wise recipes, head over to the 100 days of healthy eating challenge page. Here’s the list of things that you’ll need to keep in mind when you want to eat healthy. When you’re trying to eat healthy or go on a diet, the entire world will conspire to sabotage your attempts. Unknown relatives will get married during that time and will have their reception during your fasting period and your so-far-indifferent family and in-laws will on that particular day goad you to eat. Your friends will shamelessly stuff themselves with samosa and fries. You’ll get invited to birthday parties, booze parties and outings all involving lots of eating. Everyone will urge you to eat. “It’s just one day, one meal”, “This cutlet...
Masala omelette

Masala Omelette

I was wondering the other day what men would do if they had periods too, if they menstruated too. Don’t for a minute think I am talking about Sabarimala or any of that macro stuff. I was only thinking about what a big fuss they’d be making if they were to have periods. It’s a universally known fact that men suffer from vicious, body racking diseases like COLD, COUGH and HEADACHE which strangely don’t seem to affect women that much. It takes the loving care and constant attention of the entire family for adult grown men to recover from a cold – tablets, steam inhalation, Vicks vaporub, Kashayam and only hot water for drinking. Now imagine what these men would do if they were on their period. First of all, it won’t be a secret. Men will have pads in their back-pocket. Sanitary pads will be available in tea kadais and corner bunk shops. They’ll go with friends to change pads just like they go for a fag. Even better, they’ll call in sick. They’ll sit inside their leaf pandhal (enclosure) with their phones in hand all day while their mommies serve them refreshments from time to time. They’ll share jokes and memes on periods. Managers will enquire sagely about their painful period when they return to work and men will explain in great detail the pain they endured. During periods sometimes I have zero energy and don’t feel like cooking. Those days I just need to know there are eggs in the fridge. Last week was one such period. There was little else in the fridge other than eggs and a lone tomato. The signs were clear. I needed to make Masala omelette and take it easy. You can make this masala omelette as fancy as you want – add in chopped mushrooms, capsicum or grated cheese. This masala omelette will be delicious any which way you choose to make it. You need not be on your period to make it. Serve alongside toast, softened butter and ginger tea if you will. Now that’s one easy, yummy breakfast no one can pass up. Enjoy! Print Recipe Masala Omelette This masala omelette will be delicious any which way you choose to make it! Course main Cuisine Indian Prep Time 5 minutes Cook Time 10 minutes Servings 2 people Ingredients 3 Eggs 1 Small Onion, chopped fine 3 Green chillies, chopped...
Simple oven roasted veggies

Simple Oven roasted veggies

Oven roasted veggies are the yummiest way to eat your vegetables. This simple oven roasted veggies is as simple as it can get. It is super easy to put together and needs nothing more than chopping the veggies, tossing in the spice mix.
Murghir Jhol

Murgir Jhol – Bengali chicken curry

I am still on the movie subject. People go to a masala movie and complain that it’s just masala. People go to a movie with a solid script and fret that it is slow. They go to a movie like 2.0 and tut-tut that it’s too absurd (the very same ones who rave about the transformer series). They’re disappointed that gangster movie A does not have all the elements of gangster movie B, different story notwithstanding. All of them will claim that they thoroughly enjoyed “Inception”. I am surprised that people do not employ simple everyday logic in movie criticism. A movie is what it is. Take it as it is. Do not ask for Nasi Goreng in Saravana Bhavan. Don’t complain that the sushi place has very few vegetarian options. They are what they are. A masala movie cannot be an art movie, an animation movie and a “Hey Ram”. Comparing movies and expecting one to be the same as the other is dumb. If it’s the same, it’s a copy. Every gangster movie need not be like “Godfather”. Let me say it. I wasn’t as taken by “Godfather” as the rest of the world. Just my opinion. See I am not comparing “Godfather” to “Billa” or “Basha”. That Hollywood movies are by default the better, superior versions – I refuse to accept. Nitpicking little details in the movie and taking offence is absolutely ridiculous. I cannot imagine what people would do in a Karan Johar movie? I suppose they’d do the reverse of what they do in a regular movie – sit in for the songs and go out to smoke the rest of the movie. Enough about movies. Let’s move on to food. I am drawn to Bengali food the way I’ve been drawn to Kerala food. I’ve never eaten Bengali food before. I just know I’ll like it. I stocked up my pantry with Nigella seeds and mustard oil. I’ve been reading about Aloo Posto, Murgir Jhol, Chana bhapa.. I am smitten. I started with Murgir Jhol. It seemed like just the kind of thing to make for a Sunday lunch. I was weary of Sunday biryanis.  Also my last couple of experimental biryanis did not turn out too well. I was wincing from that memory and I wanted to take some time out from biryani until we could both reconcile. As much as a Sunday...
Lemon sevai

Lemon Sevai

I’ve fallen terribly behind schedule in posting my healthy recipes because I’ve been swept up in a movie watching frenzy and the resultant domino effect on everything else. If you have to watch the first day first show at 4 am and get back in time and drop kids off at school, come back home and leave to office then you’ve got to prep your ass off. If you have to watch the same movie the next evening with your office buddies and you’ve got a ton of work to get through, you’ve got to work your ass off. All for cinema. What will we do without cinema? It’s heartening that I am surrounded by bigger, crazier cinema fans. End of this week I would have watched Petta 3 times. How many times have you watched Petta? Today’s recipe is a simple lemon sevai recipe. Easy, quick and light. I made this sevai with a pack of readymade Millet sevai for an extra boost of health. You can choose rice sevai or any of your favourite sevai varieties. Having a couple of sevai packs in your pantry will always come in handy. Let me know if you like this lemon sevai recipe. Enjoy! Print Recipe Lemon Sevai Lemon Sevai - easy, quick and light tiffen for anytime of the day! Course main Cuisine Indian Prep Time 5 minutes Cook Time 10 minutes Servings 3 people Ingredients 200 gm Readymade Sevai 1 Onion, chopped fine 2 Green chilli, chopped fine 1/2 tsp Grated ginger 1 stem curry leaves 1 Lemon, juiced 3 tsp Cooking oil 1/2 tsp Mustard seeds 1/2 tsp Split urad dal 1 handful coriander leaves, chopped fine Course main Cuisine Indian Prep Time 5 minutes Cook Time 10 minutes Servings 3 people Ingredients 200 gm Readymade Sevai 1 Onion, chopped fine 2 Green chilli, chopped fine 1/2 tsp Grated ginger 1 stem curry leaves 1 Lemon, juiced 3 tsp Cooking oil 1/2 tsp Mustard seeds 1/2 tsp Split urad dal 1 handful coriander leaves, chopped fine Instructions Soak sevai in normal room temperature water for 2 minutes. Squeeze out the water from the sevai and place in a plate. To a kadai, add the oil and wait till it gets hot. Add the mustard seeds and wait till the mustad seeds splutter. Add the split urad dal and allow them to turn golden brown. Add the curry leaves,...
Mixed vegetable curry

Mixed vegetable curry

I realized recently that I am quite possibly irrevocably infatuated about food forever. The minute I decide I am going to go on a juice fast, the smell of the parotta kadai korma beckons me, I notice a lot of just-what-I’ve-been-looking-for recipes on Instagram/in my inbox, I am beset by a sudden desire to cook everything and my mother arrives with a dabba of vazhaipoo vadai. How does she know? I saw someone on facebook who had lost a lot of weight. Lots of eager fat friends asked him how he’d done it in the comments. Many other fat but shy friends didn’t ask but went through the comments to find out the secret. He had been on a diet of just fruits and fruit juices for 2 months. Wow. I thought I could do that. 2 months would be brutal. Maybe 10 days or a week. I could see how much I lost and then do it again after a break. Now go back and read the 1st paragraph. It’s like the whole world is conspiring to keep me fat. If you’re still eating healthy, do give this mixed vegetable curry a shot. It’s light and creamy and beautiful with phulkas or crusty bread even. You can use any combination of vegetables. Everything goes. It’s a king of clean- your-fridge kind of recipe.   Print Recipe Mixed vegetable curry Creamy, veggie-packed curry to sop up with your favourite bread! Course main Cuisine Indian Prep Time 10 minutes Cook Time 25 minutes Servings 4-5 people Ingredients 200 gm Baby potatoes, halved or quartered 200 gm Baby corn, sliced diagonally into 1 inch pieces 1 capsicum, sliced into large pieces 1 Onion, sliced into large pieces 1/2 cup peas 1 large tomato pureed 2 cups cups Coconut milk Salt to taste 1/4 tsp Turmeric powder 1-1/2 tsp Kashmiri red chilli powder 1 tsp Cumin powder 1/2 tsp Sugar 1 tsp Kasoori methi 3 tsp Coconut oil (or preferred cooking oil) Course main Cuisine Indian Prep Time 10 minutes Cook Time 25 minutes Servings 4-5 people Ingredients 200 gm Baby potatoes, halved or quartered 200 gm Baby corn, sliced diagonally into 1 inch pieces 1 capsicum, sliced into large pieces 1 Onion, sliced into large pieces 1/2 cup peas 1 large tomato pureed 2 cups cups Coconut milk Salt to taste 1/4 tsp Turmeric powder 1-1/2 tsp Kashmiri red chilli powder 1...
Paavakkai crisps

Paavakkai crisps | Bittergourd chips

I am getting all tangled up trying to put down what exactly I want to do in the new year. My first line is about cleaning the combs and hair-brushes regularly, my second one is about writing a book and the third one is cooking a new vegetable every week. My canvas encompasses my home, the beings in it, the dust on the windows, writing a book, losing weight, worrying about all the plastic… I am mixing up things on so many levels, it makes my head spin. So I decided to take each area of interest and write down a list of resolutions for each. So I’ll start with my favourite place – the kitchen. These are my kitchen resolutions I will cook one new/rarely cooked vegetable a week. I plan to fast once a week or go on an all-fruit diet one day a week depending on my mood that week. I have seen enough whatsapp forwards to believe that fasting is good for the body and lemons can cure cancer. I will use up my exotic ingredients before I buy more exotic ingredients. I have some un-identified millets, a pack of phool makhana, a big jar of shrimp paste among many other things. I’ll plan the weekly menu every Sunday so that I am prepared through the week and we’re not forced to order in. I don’t want to deal with all those plastic containers and plastic covers. I will be more patient while frying onions and waiting for the oil to separate from the masala. It makes a lot of difference. I’ll try to cut down the sugar in my coffee and Horlicks, but I don’t promise anything. I will try a little harder to seek out the plumpest seetapazham (sitaphal / custard apple), the sweetest sapota (chikku), the best long-grained basmati rice. Many times, the big chain stores don’t have the best produce. The paati at the market has the freshest greens. I am going to try buying produce anywhere I see them like my maamiyaar. She will stop on a highway, on a jammed road and walk into unknown farms to get her hands on fresh fruits and vegetables. I’ve never bought Paavakkai before because I could not process that much of bitterness. I hadn’t devised a way to make it better. Until now. On a recent shopping trip, I thought I needed to...
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