Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Ripe Mango Raita

Summers are here with their blistering cruelty and endless lethargic days. Yawning in the heat, food is really the last thing on anyone's mind. Unless it is a long sip of icy coldness. Sharbats, curds and salads rule the day. And of course, the king of fruits, the sweet sweet mango! Summers are practically synonymous with mangoes. The popularity of this royal fruit transcends all boundaries, and paens have been written in its praise! 
I remember summers in my uncle's orchards where the ripe mangoes had been tossed into the well to cool. Anytime we needed a mango fix all we had to do was lower the bucket and draw up some juicy goodness. Most households in India had a designated bucket in the corner of their kitchen. Filled with cool water and luscious golden mangoes. A friend of mine narrated an interesting custom at grandparents' place in Himachal. Once the mango season started, the kids would go visit, but would only be allowed once they had finished their allotted mini buckets of mango! 
Each household has mango based recipes they guard with the preciousness of jewels. Pickles, salads, jams, chutneys... all find a place in their repertoire. Now the best part of army life is that not only do we traverse diverse regions, but also form close bonds that last a lifetime. Over the years mum has amassed a treasure trove of traditional recipes via her fauji family.
One of mum's closest friends is Bhavani Aunty. She is one of the sweetest, most wonderful human being we've had the joy of calling our own. Not only is aunty a fabulous cook, but also an immensely creative one. She has the talent of spinning the most mundane into something exotic and drool worthy! And when mum tasted the Ripe Mango Raita at her place, she knew it was a recipe she would recreate time and again.
The traditional raita is made either with salad veggies like tomatoes and cucumber or with crispy fried gram flour boondi. But aunty's mango version was unusual and delicious! And really, what could be more summery than chilled curds swirled with chunks of sensational mangoes!


Curds                      500 ml
Water                      150 ml
Mangoes                 2, medium
Onion                      1, small
Green chillies          3

tempering: Mustard seeds       1 teaspoon
                   Curry leaves          3 sprigs
                  Red chilli powder   1/2 teaspoon
                  Oil                           1 teaspoon

Whisk together the curds and water till smooth. Add salt to taste. Finely chop the onion and green chillies. Mix into the whisked curds. Cube the mangoes and gently toss into the mix. Prepare the tempering by heating the oil and letting the mustard seeds splutter. Throw in the curry leaves and let them crisp. Turn off the gas and add the red chilli powder, Swirl the tempering over the prepared raita and chill in the refrigerator for a while. Serve as a side with pulao or biryani. And to be honest, it tastes fabulous on its own!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Keto Bread

A low carb, gluten free bread? It never did sound appetizing to me. But then Hubby darling went Keto, and our entire carb approach was tossed into the can. Adapting existing recipes to fit Keto was not as tricky as most fear. Infact as Keto became norm, exciting new twists were born of old classics. 
And though he loved his rice and parathas, hubby didn't quite miss them as much as he had expected. It really was a win win for him.
There was one thing he did miss. While never a fan of regular sliced bread, he had started to crave toast. Who wouldn't when your breakfast is bacon and eggs sunny side up. After all, you need something to mop up all that gooey goodness! Thus was born the need to experiment with a keto friendly bread.
Now the most popular keto breads are almond flour based. Though delicious, almonds aren't quite budget friendly. Every keto forum had people moaning about increased dents in the pocket. So I figured let's do a keto bread that won't break the bank.
I scoured the net for dozens of recipes and finally found my inspiration here. I tweaked it a little so i wouldn't have to make a store run. A few easy steps and surprisingly I got gorgeous golden bread!

Eggs                                             6
Dessicated Coconut Powder        3/4 cup
Flax Seed (Powdered)                   3/4 cup
Salt                                               1 tsp
Baking Powder                             1 tsp
Psyllium Husk                              4 tablespoons
Baking Soda                                  1/2 tsp
Warm Water                                   1/2 cup
Apple Cider Vinegar                      1 tablespoon
Oregano (optional)                         1 tsp

Whisk together all the dry ingredients, except oregano. Add the wet ingredients and mix well. Put it in the fridge while you preheat the oven to 180 C. Grease a rectangular baking pan. I used a 13x6. Bring out the batter. Give it a good mix and pour into the dish. Top with crushed oregano. Bake for 40 minutes on a low rack. Cool and slice into 14 squares. It stays happily refrigerated for upto two weeks. Bring out a slice or two. Grill them, toast them, pan fry  them or simply slather cold with some cream cheese and fix that bread craving!