Aloo gobi roti

Aloo Gobi roti

It’s December already and I am seeing lots of 2018 lists all around– the best celebrity weddings of 2018, the worst fashion trends, best movies of 2018, the most trending hashtags on twitter and so on. I am tempted to make my own lists. I am amazed at all the things that seem just the same this year as they were last year and the year before and before that. Here is a list of things that haven’t changed this year. HDFC bank guys called me every day in 2018 just like they called me every single day in 2017 asking if I wanted a personal loan or credit card. I am basically a kind person so I don’t snap at them. I tell them I am not interested when I hear “HDFC”. But not yelling makes me super furious. I’ve therefore come to not pick up calls from unknown numbers. I’ve then had to explain myself to many an Amazon delivery guy for not picking up the phone. I still wake up 1 hour before the school van arrives. I go 15 minutes late to the 1 hour yoga class. Everybody at the gym is the same size I saw them last year. Strangely I’ve never met the weight-loss achievers on the pin-up board. All the books I intended to read this year are still unread. I am somewhere in the middle in each of them and I’ve forgotten what I’ve read so far. I make a list of the outstanding books to read and promptly misplace the list. I can’t resist the books I come across. I strategize that if I buy an interesting enough book and read it fully, that will give me the momentum to finish the rest of the books. I fall asleep on the 5th page. I’ve not acted as Vijay’s akka. I’ve not lost 10kilos yet. I am still paying EMIs. Overall I’d say it’s been a good year. I hope you had a great 2018 too. What was just the same for you this year? I’d love to hear. Please feel free to share in the comments. The recipe I am going to share with you today is a simple Aloo gobi roti, a kind of all-in-one dish. This Aloo Gobi roti is not a stuffed roti. In a stuffed roti, there is the possibility that your stuffing is not evenly distributed...
Veg godhumai sevai

Veg wheat sevai

Here is a movie script synopsis. The Dosai maavu companies, ‘ready-to-eat’ and breakfast mix companies are unable to get a stronghold into the South-Indian household. They expect their packs to fly off the shelves but that’s not happening. They’re unable to crack the code. They sense they’re up against a powerful competitor. They do some research and realize that they’re up against the ‘Upma’. They can’t compete with a 5-minute dish that requires nothing more than salt, water and a handful of pantry staples. They set out to undermine the image of Upma. They hatch a conspiracy against Upma. They fund meme and troll campaigns to make fun of upma, to put it down. They successfully create a bad rap for Upma. Then they introduce an Upma-mix to rub it in. The hero’s favourite dish is Upma. He has to somehow save the Upma from extinction. How he saves the upma and the world from the evil forces makes the rest of the story. Why not? The Americans can set two sets of robot cum cars against each other for a metal dabba (Transformer). I never did understand the Upma-mix though. What was that? They packed the rava and salt into a pack?   I am a great fan of all kinds of Upma, both eating and making. Upma encompasses all kinds of rava & vermicelli. The one I am sharing today is made with wheat sevai – Godhumai sevai (fine wheat vermicelli). I made a simple veggie godhumai sevai with it. The godhumai sevai is store bought. It’s super easy to prepare. Sevai is usually much finer than vermicelli and should not be cooked in boiling water. Sevai has to be soaked for a short while and then tossed with the desired spices and veggies. Alternately you can make a sweet version of this sevai by steaming it and then mixing in grated coconut, ghee and sugar. Enjoy!   Print Recipe Veg wheat sevai Lightening quick, delicious veggie wheat sevai for any time of the day! Prep Time 10 minutes Cook Time 12 minutes Servings 3 people Ingredients 200 gm Godhumai sevai1 Onion, finely chopped2 green chillies, slit1 cup finely chopped vegetables (carrots & green beans)10 Cashews, broken1/2 tsp mustard seedsSalt to taste2 cups Water (to soak the sevai)2 tbsp Oil1 tsp Ghee Prep Time 10 minutes Cook Time 12 minutes Servings 3 people Ingredients 200 gm Godhumai sevai1...
Channa dal curry

Channa dal in coconut milk

You know you’re a domestic diva when your weekend plan includes operation ‘lice extermination’ from your kids’ heads, you’re planning the menu in the head while walking the treadmill, you make idli maavu, buy veggies, prep them, stock your fridge and feel too tired after all of it and order pizza. You don’t know the latest Netflix shows, your favourite songs are all old and you’re sleeping with an amrutanjan balm by your pillow, it’s safe to say you’re well into aunty-dom. I think it gets better after this. You can finally be the eccentric aunty you always were – recipe gathering, news-avoiding, sports-illiterate, shopping-crazy fat woman with a thing for mookuthis. You don’t feel the need to fit in, to keep up, to stay in tune. You’re happy to be off key, on your own terms in your own world. You feel happy to stay in bed and fall asleep reading. You feel accomplished and light of mind after decluttering the shelves. Now you’re really, truly free. I am happy to say that we’re somewhere close to the halfway mark with the 100 days of healthy eating challenge. I hope you’re eating healthy too and you are finding this series useful. I’d love to hear your opinions, suggestions or feedback on the series. Chappathi has been a popular option in my healthy eating series so far because there are umpteen ways to jazz up a simple meal of chappathis and everybody at home enjoys chappathis. Here I serve it with a creamy, lip-smacking Channa dal that is slow-simmered in coconut milk. This dal is my Ammamma’s recipe and a firm family favourite. I was saving this Channa dal curry for a heirloom recipe book along with a grand old story about my Ammamma but I suddenly ran out of recipe ideas and I figured I’d include it in the book too anyways. This dal is made entirely in a pressure cooker and is simple enough to make on a weekday morning. Hot off the stove chappathis served with this warm, comforting channa dal makes for a wonderful, cozy dinner this time of the year. I threw in a cup of sprouts stirfry for an extra punch of protein. Enjoy!   Thanks for reading and thanks all your support and encouragement.  To stay updated on all the posts, like/share/subscribe to foodbetterbegood on facebook, Instagram, google+. Print Recipe Channa dal in...
Peas Poha upma

Peas poha upma

It’s that time of the year in Chennai when everyday is a potential school holiday. Give one holiday and we’re spoilt. We keep checking the news and whatsapp groups for a holiday announcement every day after that. For me, a school holiday means an extra hour of sleep, so that I start cooking late and I am late to office by the same amount of time that I am late on school days. I am consistent that way. I feel vulnerable when I am out of idli maavu (idli/dosa batter). It’s like you’re at a function and nobody seems to notice you and you don’t have your phone, so you can’t act busy. You could have scrolled through your empty whatsapp chat and looked at people’s profile pictures. Now you’re forced to look at people, half-smile because it’s not clear if they’re smiling at you. You end up making conversation with some aunty next to you and realize it’s not so bad after all. You realized you’re not as anti-social as you thought you were. Only when I am out of idli maavu do I explore other tiffen possibilities. I quite enjoy the different tiffens that I come up with and I am surprised I didn’t try these more often. One of those days, I made Peas poha with the leftover Aval (poha) from Krishna Jayanthi. I like my poha on the chewier side, so I don’t cook it too long. If you like it softer, you can sprinkle a little bit of water and cook a little longer. This Poha Upma is infinitely customizable. I skipped the usual boiled potatoes because I wanted to cut down the carbs. Instead I added peas. You could add sweet corn or paneer or anything else you fancy. You can add some grated ginger for extra zing. You can add fried cashews for extra interest. Make it your own. It’s infinitely easy and is full of fresh, yummy flavours. Enjoy! Print Recipe Peas poha upma Peas poha upma is infinitely easy and is full of fresh, yummy flavours. Enjoy! Prep Time 5 minutes Cook Time 5-8 minutes Servings 3-4 people Ingredients 4 cups Poha / Aval / Flattened rice1 cup fresh green peas1 Onion chopped fine2 Green chillies chopped fine1/2 tsp Mustard seeds1/2 tsp Turmeric powderSalt to taste1 lemon, juiced2 tbsp oil1/2 cup fresh coriander leaves, chopped Prep Time 5 minutes Cook Time...
Corn and Spinach sandwich

Creamy Corn & Spinach Sandwich

You know how our minds are tuned to think of certain things certain ways but there is usually a simple, kinder explanation. If the woman in the house is sitting and scrolling on her phone, she must be whiling away time gossiping with friends, ignoring kids & household work. Or The woman may be relaxing after finishing her chores. If she dresses well, she probably doesn’t cook well or take care of the house. Or She likes to dress well. If she doesn’t dress well, she is a slouch. Or She is not really interested in dressing up. If she has had a successful singing career, she must have used the men around her. Or She may sing really well. If the guy doesn’t drink alcohol at the party, he is a loser, he must be scared of his parents/wife. Or He may not need alcohol to have fun. If the woman is drinking alcohol, she must be a rich, arrogant, bitch. Or The woman may need alcohol to get over her heartbreak, to get over Gemini Ganesan. If the woman watches movies all night, she is a no-good mother. Or That’s the only time she gets the remote. Vijay movies are a waste of time. Or This movie of Vijay is not great, but Vijay is a wonderful actor. Foodbetterbegood has only a few thousand followers. So it is no good. Or This little gem has not been discovered yet. If it is tasty, it can’t really be healthy. If it tastes bad, it must be good for me. Or Anything in moderation is fine. And if the body really needs the biryani, it probably knows best. Corn spinach sandwich may not at first sound like the healthiest option, not as healthy as Quinoa bowl or cabbage salad. However corn spinach sandwich actually has everything going for it. It is by far the tastiest way to eat spinach. Corn is everybody’s favourite and the creamy sauce is so light and easy to put together. Use whole wheat bread to up your fibre intake and a healthier option. There. You have yourself a healthy and tasty sandwich! Enjoy! Print Recipe Creamy Corn & Spinach Sandwich Light yet creamy, tasty yet healthy this corn & spinach sandwich is super quick to put together! Prep Time 5 minutes Cook Time 15 minutes Servings 4 sandwiches Ingredients 1 cup, packed Spinach, washed and...
Nasi Goreng with brown rice

Nasi Goreng with brown rice

I hope your Deepavali preparations are going great. Whether it is making 3 types of sweets and 4 types of murukkus, whether it is buying all of this in stores and putting your feet up at home, whether it is shopping till you’re knocked out and colour-blind and squeezed thin, whether it is sleeping in to shut out the chaos, whether it is buying all the “sara-vedi” (Red fort electric crackers) that you can afford, whether it is about making plans to visit all the relatives or staying in to avoid all of them or whether it is about focusing all your energy into getting your hands on Sarkar tickets; whatever you’re doing, however you’re doing..  I hope you’re having a good time. The honourable supreme court has so thoughtfully provided the 2 hour window for bursting crackers. As a mark of respect for this landmark ruling, some friends plan to burst atleast one bijli every hour. Salute these great people. Now there are only 2 kinds of people – the ones who have tickets to Sarkar and the ones who don’t. I don’t. I hope those who’re watching this week can keep their spoilers to themselves for some time. Until l watch. Deepavali is definitely the time for good food and indulgence. Just remember to eat small portions, single helpings and to eat slowly. You won’t feel guilty later on and you won’t slip from the 100 days of healthy eating challenge. I’ll be making Mutton korma and idli too this Deepavali. I am just going to make sure to eat a small portion of it. If you’re looking for a healthy, yummy fried rice recipe look no further than this Nasi Goreng made with brown basmati rice, loads of veggies, sprouts for some added crunch and protein and an absolutely irresistible hot-sweet flavour blend. Brown basmati rice is nuttier and slightly chewier. It is shorter and stouter than regular white basmati rice but is just as flavourful. Brown rice packs more fibre and is a good alternative to regular white rice. You can substitute chicken with Tofu or paneer for a veggie version of Nasi Goreng. Nasi Goreng is hot and sweet and everything in between. It’s a complete meal in itself. Nasi Goreng is one of my very favourite dishes. This Nasi Goreng with brown basmatic rice is healthier and just as yummy. Try it. I am...
Cucumber egg sandwich

Cucumber egg hung yogurt Sandwich

Waking up 40 minutes before the school van arrival is the status quo at home. I wake up with a start, shriek in panic which serves to wake up the kids and get them scurrying to the bathroom to escape from their crazy mother. I scrunch my hair on top of my head and go straight to the kitchen while frantically working out lunch ideas in my mind. I don’t always have a plan. Today was one such 40 minute frantic cooking session. I managed to make this egg-cucumber hung yogurt sandwich and a simple lunch and pack in time. I obviously did not have the forethought of leaving yogurt in the strainer overnight to make hung yogurt. I brute forced yogurt into hung yogurt in 20 minutes. I wouldn’t recommend that to you. This sandwich is so unbelievably easy and quick otherwise, it is great for rushed mornings, as a snack or as a last minute addition to a menu. This is an un-toasted sandwich, the kind you make with soft bread. I used soft whole wheat bread. I am calling this a healthy meal because there’s no butter and no toasting. I used hung yogurt instead of calorie laden mayonnaise and whole wheat bread instead of white bread. You’ll not miss the mayonnaise though. The hung yogurt is creamy and delicious. These sandwiches are best eaten as soon as they are made. Enjoy!   Print Recipe Cucumber egg hung yogurt sandwich Creamy, delicious cucumber egg sandwich with hung yogurt and none of the guilt! Prep Time 10 minutes Cook Time 20 minutes Servings 6 sandwiches Ingredients 12 slices Whole wheat bread, crusts removed1/2 cup Yogurt, strained overnight to thick hung curd1/2 Lemon, juicedSalt to taste3/4 tsp Black pepper powder1/2 tsp Sugar1 Organic cucumber, chopped4 Hard boiled eggs, chopped Prep Time 10 minutes Cook Time 20 minutes Servings 6 sandwiches Ingredients 12 slices Whole wheat bread, crusts removed1/2 cup Yogurt, strained overnight to thick hung curd1/2 Lemon, juicedSalt to taste3/4 tsp Black pepper powder1/2 tsp Sugar1 Organic cucumber, chopped4 Hard boiled eggs, chopped Instructions Line a strainer with a cheesecloth and place inside a container. Pour yogurt into the cheesecloth lined strainer and place inside the fridge. Leave the setup overnight. In the morning the liquid would have drained away and you should have thick hung curd in the strainer. Scoop the hung curd into a large bowl and...

The trick to making the creamiest, just tangy enough Curd rice

Now as soon as I say that the recipe I am going to share today is Curd rice, I can imagine Maamiyaars and Gayathris in families (gossip-specialists & critics in families) turning up their noses. They’d compare me with their daughter, themselves, their maid or that horrible character in the TV serial (Indian TV serials have only 2 types of characters – saccharine good & perfect or deviously bad & empty) and profile me as the lazy woman who makes a big deal of a simple curd rice. I believe every dish, however simple can be exquisite or bleh. A fried egg is simple. It can also be the most beautiful thing – lacy slightly browned edges, soft set whites holding a jiggly yolk with a smattering of freshly ground pepper. Or it could be something else. I also do not believe the single recipe dish. There are always numerous ways to make a dish. I am always on the lookout to make a dish better, to put a different twist on it, to make it easier or quicker. My complaint with curd rice was always that it was either too runny or too thick and lumpy. It did not stay the way it was packed. By lunch time, it would have transformed into something else. Sometimes the curd rice turned too sour. If I tried to control the tang by adding too little curd, it tasted too flat. The rice had to be soft too – not pureed in a mixie, baby food kind of mash but pongal kind of creamy soft. The one trick I am going to share today will solve all your curd rice problems, I promise. Cook rice in a pot of water till it is cooked through and the rice grains are full length. Then add milk and cook the rice in milk until creamy and soft and pongal like. This step makes all the difference. Cooking the rice in milk ensures that the rice remains creamy, luscious and soft. The milk also offsets the tang in the curd brilliantly to make it just as tangy enough as you want it. Towards the end when you’re tasting and adjusting the seasoning, feel free to add in a spoon of curd or milk to achieve your right amount of tang. There is no right or wrong here. Since the rice has already absorbed a lot...
Methi biryani

Methi Biryani

Every restaurant, juice shop, or roadside frankie stall I go to, there’s already a couple of Swiggy and Zomato guys ahead of me. I see them at every traffic light. On the road, there’s always one of them behind me who is trying to overtake me from the wrong side. When I step out on the balcony I see one of them zip past my house. What are the odds? But the one I am waiting for always goes to my neighbour’s house instead. I then provide all my id proof details to persuade him that I am the rightful owner of that biryani. We’re not cooking as a people, I conclude. What’s happening?! I find that disturbing. This is one of those small, innocuous little changes that just happen and seem perfectly reasonable but are actually harbingers of a much bigger shift. It can’t seem right that we’re cooking less and less at home. We may well forget how to cook. There’s nothing more tragic. Cooking is a life skill. Jagan believes checking the car’s coolant, changing a punctured tyre and cleaning the AC filter are important life skills too. We agree to disagree. Cooking is zen. Cooking is power. Cooking is freedom.   I know I can make biryani if I was tempted by all the Bhai biryani but I had no muslim friends to give me Biryani. I know I can make Thai green curry if I really wanted it. I need not eat Pongal if everyone else in the family loves it but I hate it. I can make myself a sandwich instead. Note that this is not applicable if you’re in a joint family. You’re screwed. I am eating healthier. I am eating fresher. I am also avoiding all that plastic packaging that comes with home-delivered food. Cooking is work. It has taught me patience and compassion. I am more understanding now when my mother’s vadai is not as fluffy one day, when the hotel’s tiffen sambar is less stunning today than last time, when my own biryani is ear-shattering hot this time. There’s nothing more fulfilling, more soul-satisfying than a sitting down to a favourite home-cooked meal. Yes, it’s a little work but so worth it. I know what you’re thinking in your minds. “Then why do you order on Swiggy and Zomato?” I try my best not to. Sometimes I need to. And...