Saturday, February 27, 2016

Aate ki Pinniyan/Panjeeri (Punjabi dry fruit pinniyan)

Aate ki pinniyan.. OMG! I have a nostalgic memory of pinniyan right from my childhood. This was one thing that was religiously made in our home every winter season. And we used to go crazy and always just tried to eat the panjeeri as soon as it was prepared and me and my brother have burnt our hands and mouths may times while trying to eat it hot-hot, just removed from the stove top, in a hot kadhai. And of course mom and Nani used to get so angry.. After the balls were made, we kept eyeing where Nani is keeping the big box so one of us can sneak in (while the other remains on guard to see if mom/Nani is coming) and steal some of the pinnis.

Mom thought these would be good for my health as I was really thin in my childhood, but one day I was caught eating about 12 of these when I was just 6 years old! I became really sick and then the rule of "one pinni per day" came into being in our home for both me and my brother. That explains our need of stealing :D

Of course now there is no rule of eating these so I enjoyed fresh pinnis made by my Nani ji on my recent trip to India. She had prepared a lot for me and wanted me to carry back here as I do every year. But my husband is lactose intolerant and every time he's not able to taste them as it's difficult to find lactose free products in India. So I did not bring them this time instead I decided to make them myself from Home made lactose free ghee so that he can also enjoy them.

These are really easy to make and does not use a lot of ingredients. These are very rich and healthy because of the use of dry fruits in them. I took the recipe from Nani ji and tried these for the first time. Trust me, they came out really awesome and yummy, my first batch is already over as I'm typing this. You can eat this as it is (as panjeeri) or roll into balls and eat as pinniyan.

Now the detailed recipe:


Whole wheat flour: 2 big cups
Ghee: 2 big cups (I used home made ghee)
Powdered sugar: 1 big cup
(Use the same cup for measurement for all three).
Cashew nuts: 50 gm
Almonds: 50 gm
Walnuts: 25 gm
Desiccated coconut: 50 gm
Raisins: 50 gm
Poppy seeds: 25 gm
Isabgol: 25 gm
Pumpkin seeds (dried and roasted): 25 gm (optional)
Edible gum (gond): 50 gm
Green cardamom: 3

  1. Heat a heavy bottomed pan on low flame and add the ghee and the flour. Begin by roasting the flour in the ghee slowly. 
  2. Add little more ghee if it feels very dry. 
  3. Keep roasting until it begins to change color to a darker shade and gives out a wonderful aroma. You can check if the flour is done and not raw by taking out a little roasted flour and letting it cool a bit and tasting it. Otherwise roast a bit more until done. 
  4. By the time, in another pan, add 1 tsp. ghee and roast the edible gum. It will swell up and change color. Turn off the flame and let cool. Grind finely and keep aside. 
  5. When the flour is done and not tasting raw, add the edible gum to the mix and mix well. Roasting the flour is the most important and time-consuming part and after that it's really easy.
  6. Add the poppy seeds and 2 tsp. sugar. Mix everything well and stir for a minute. 
  7. Roughly pound all the dry fruits and pumpkin seeds and add to the mix. You can also grind them in the mixer and can adjust the quantity of dry fruits and skip some as well. Add the dry fruits to the mix. 
  8. Mix everything well and stir for about 2 minutes. 
  9. Now add the desiccated coconut and isabgol. Add the remaining sugar and mix everything really well. Stir for another minute. 
  10. Add the raisins and cardamom seeds and turn off the flame. Mix everything well to incorporate in the mix and your yummy panjeeri is ready!! 
  11. Let cool a little portion and taste the sugar. You can add more powdered sugar to the whole mix while it's still hot. 
  12. Check if you can roll into balls after it has cooled down: press and level a part of the panjeeri with a spatula and lift a little portion, if it has small cracks, then it needs more ghee. It can't be rolled in balls.
  13. Heat again on low flame and add more ghee. 
  14. Test by the same method, press and lift with the help of spatula. Now you can see there are no cracks that means the ghee is perfect and ready to roll in balls.  
  15. After it has cooled down a bit, roll it in small balls (pinniyan). If you still can't roll into balls, that means the ghee is less. Heat up the whole mix again on medium flame and add more ghee. Turn off the flame and roll in pinniyan when it's cooled down a bit. 
  16. Store in air-tight container at room temperature.

I'm sure you loved this easy and quick recipe. Didn't you? Please share your thoughts/comments/feedback in the comment section below. Also, don't forget to connect with me on Facebook and do send your feedback pictures so that I can publish them on the page.

Happy cooking! Happy eating! 

Friday, February 19, 2016

Vegetable Manchurian

Hubby has always been fond of Indo-Chinese food and I absolutely detest it! Yeah that's why they say: "opposites attract". I told him I was going to prepare Vegetable Manchurian for him for his birthday and he got really excited. Then I went to shop for groceries for the Manchurian and I saw his eyes lighten up when he saw the cabbage and bell pepper and carrots. But I procrastinated preparing for a whole week and he kept asking me whatever happened to the Manchurian I was preparing. Finally on the day before his birthday, he told me just prepare the damn Manchurian today!! I have been dreaming for it since so long and I have no idea if you are even going to prepare it! I couldn't procrastinate more as it was his birthday and finally prepared these delicacies.

This is a dry version of Manchurian to be had as a snacks and trust me, ME who HATES Indo-Chinese also liked this light, simplified and flavorful version of Manchurian. I made this recipe in my Appe Pan. Do try this recipe and I'm sure you will love it!

Recipe is inspired from and I made my own modifications.


For the Manchurian balls

Carrots (grated): 1
Red bell pepper (chopped finely): 1
Cabbage (chopped finely): 1/4
Spring onions (chopped finely): 1
Corn flour: 2 tsp.
All purpose flour: 2 tsp.
Salt to taste
Black pepper: 1 tsp.
Little oil to grease Appe pan

For the Manchurian Sauce:

Ginger (grated): 1 inch
Garlic (grated): 3 cloves
Green chilli (finely chopped): 1
Spring onion (finely chopped): 1
Soya sauce: 3 tbsp.
Tomato ketchup: 2 tbsp.
White vinegar: 2 tsp.
Corn flour: 1 tsp.
Salt to taste
Black pepper powder: 1/2 tsp.
Cooking oil: 2 tsp.

  1. First to prepare Manchurian balls. Take finely chopped vegetables. 
  2. Mix together in a big bowl with salt, pepper, corn flour and all purpose flour. Do not add water, the water in the vegetables will be enough to bind them. 
  3. Now make balls from all the mixture and keep aside. If you can't make balls then also don't worry as appe pan will help for in the balls.  
  4. Heat the appe pan on medium-low heat and after 5 minutes add a drop of oil in each cavity. 
  5. Add the prepared balls to the app pan. If you could not bind nicely to prepare balls, just add the mix to each cavity as it is. Cover for 10 minutes. Well that sure looks funny.. haha I could not make balls so just added the vegetable mix. 
  6. After 10 minutes, remove cover and carefully turn the balls to other side. If you could not make balls, then carefully check with a spatula if the bottom is cooked and ready to be turned. If it's cooked, the slowly turn all the balls to other side. Surprise! You now have perfect rounded Manchurian balls.. Appe pan magic! 
  7. Cover and let cook for another 10 minutes. Remove cover and the Manchurian balls will be ready. 
  8. Now we prepare the sauce. As it is dry Manchurian to be had as snacks, so little sauce is enough for the Manchurian balls to coat them with flavor. 
  9. Heat oil and add the onion and fry. Add the ginger and garlic and let cook for about a minute.
  10. Add the soya sauce and the tomato ketchup. Mix well and add the salt and black pepper powder. 
  11. Now add all the prepared Manchurian balls to this sauce.  
  12. Stir the sauce slowly so as to coat the Manchurian balls evenly.
  13. Turn off the flame and add the vinegar. Garnish with spring onions and serve hot! 

Thursday, February 11, 2016

My story: How to lose weight and get in shape without exercise

Weight has always been a major issue whole my life. Some say it's hereditary, some say you don't carry weight and body type in heredity. Either ways, all my life has been focused on this one thing: weight. When I was little, about 9-10 years, I had practically no body weight; so that was a cause of worry for my parents. A little older, in school, I had a lot of weight and was fatter than the usual girls, and was made fun of. In college I worked hard to lose weight but could not be really consistent, so it was not a big problem though, but I had some inferiority about my weight as I still looked bigger than a lot of girls in my college. When I was working, I did a certification and became a yoga trainer in my mother's fitness center. I used to teach yoga and aerobics and exercises for 2.5 hours everyday, and as a result I lost a lot and went to my right weight and even though I was really fit and slim; maintaining that weight was another problem for me. After marriage, again I gained a lot of weight because all my food, weather and environment was changed and I was really not sure what to do. Then last year, with my mother's guidance (she's a naturopathic doctor and medical professional having her own hospital and treatment center in India) I began eating healthy and walking a lot. I even did some basic form of yoga and exercise in the beginning, but I soon gave up and could not stay really regular and consistent, I could not lose much weight, but yes, I feel fitter than past, and I have reduced in appearance, although not much on the scales, and now I really want to lose more weight.

So, you see practically my life has been running around in circles with the word: weight. I secretly hope and wish someday I can get rid of this issue, but with time I have realized that there is no magic pill, no wand which can make me instantly slim and remain that way, unless I put in effort for the same, and keep doing so. I have known a lot of people who never have to worry about their weight, no matter what they eat, no matter how less or no exercise they do. Life is really unfair with people like me (and many, many others I know) whose lives are a constant battle between balancing, losing and maintaining their body weight, as if life was already not tough !!

The sooner we stop whining and accept this fact that our bodies are made the way they are, and we have only the option of eating right and some for of exercise is a must, the quicker we can start focusing on what should we do to move in the right direction. I stopped three years ago and accepted my body the way it is. And you?

Now, moving in the right direction needs guidance and inspiration. I am no doctor, I am no professional; but I have seen, done and experienced the results myself. Like it is said: Consistency is the key. When a particular plan to eat healthy or basic exercise form is adopted and followed religiously and regularly, no matter what, results can be seen. Also, bodies of men and women are totally different: how their bodies react against any food and work-outs are totally different. I am a woman and so I'm sharing this for fellow women.

Here's my story which I hope can help some other people who are sailing in the same boat as me. If you want to follow some of this, please do so with caution and with the approval of your doctor if you are suffering from some kind of physical illness or disorder.

When I moved to a new country after marriage, I gained a lot of weight and I became very fat. Almost all my dresses became a size (or two) too small and I began to look like a fat old woman, much more older than my age. Whole of the year 2013 I kept on going up and up, and finally realized the same when we clicked a lot of pictures during our India trip. At first I was really sad and disheartened and I thought I cannot go back to my previous shape ever. But then my husband inspired me to take it slow and easy and he motivated me to adopt to a regular diet plan.

What was wrong in my diet was that I used to go hungry for long periods of time, did not eat breakfast most of the mornings and did not feel like cooking just for myself at lunch hours as hubby used to go to job and I used to feel alone and depressed. I did not eat any fruits and as a result, I filled up myself during dinner time because most of the times I used to be hungry for whole day. That along with lack of any form of exercise helped me gain a lot of weight and I began looking like that in the 2013 December picture.

All of it surely took time and a lot, lot of patience and consistency. I did not feel any results showing up to first three months and then it needed more and more patience as I used to be tired and bored and did not feel like getting up at all the next day. It became increasingly difficult and then it felt like routine as I began to see little results and I kept on pushing myself, and I'm still on my way..

Because I did not make any big changes in my diet like having smoothies for breakfast, eating a lot of salads and having soup for dinner etc. etc. which so many diet plans suggest, I did not lose much weight. But that was not my first priority also, as I had begun looking so fat and heavy, I was looking much more older than my age and that's why I wanted to reduce my appearance and look nice and slim first of all. Here's how I reached here and I'm still on my way..
  1. I was and have never been fond of eating at restaurants and outside home because there are no good Indian restaurants available where I live and I find most of the other foods inedible (because I'm a choosy person) and the others that I can manage to eat I find boring (like pizza, burgers or eating at McDonalds etc.). So the first thing is most of the times I cook and eat at home (it can be frozen or fresh, depending upon my schedule but it's home-cooked). We all know it's good and it's important to eat home made food, better so if it's fresh. But I have followed it for almost two years now and I have seen the results. 
  2. The two main reasons I realized for my weight gain was a sedentary lifestyle and irregular eating habits. I gave one of them up as a beginning. I adopted regular eating habits. Breakfast. Lunch. Dinner. Same time (almost) everyday. No exceptions. I used to make fresh at home as I used to stay at home for the most part of the day. How it helped: my body got trained to feel hungry at the same time everyday (till today) which helps me to eat meals at fixed times each day and not feel hungry in between meals. 
  3. Healthy snacking: I know it's difficult. Yes it was the most difficult part of the day for me as well. I used to have a little snacks between breakfast and lunch, and between lunch and dinner. I pushed myself to have healthy snacks each time when I was tempted to reach over to store bought unhealthy snacks.  I began to eat grapes, oranges or even bananas for the mid-day snacks. (Yes, they are any day better than the unhealthy snacks). Also I do keep a handful of nuts in my bag and eat them as snacks as they provide energy. 
  4. I did not starve myself, did not follow any diet plans, did not eat anything special, no use of so-called super foods, did not stop eating anything. I ate EVERYTHING. As long as it's made at home without any preservatives and added flavors, I did eat it. That's because I just can't starve myself. I need to eat; and sometimes I crave for some things and I've eaten them. 
  5. I followed a particular eating pattern. The whole of 2015 I have mostly spent my whole weekdays out of the home. Some days I had leaves, some days I had half-days and other days I used to carry lunch box. I have divided the whole scheme like this: Breakfast: The days I go out early morning (7- 7:30 am); I eat one paratha and a glass of milk. (does not matter what time I come back). The days I go out late (after lunch) and the days I stay at home I eat a fruit (mostly an apple) and a glass of milk. Lunch: The days I go out for whole day, I take a lunch box with me. I always try not to eat from outside; it's expensive and can't be healthy as home made. I carry any variety of flavored rice with me in lunch. The days I leave after lunch, I eat at home: a simple dal/subzi and two chappatis. Same applies to the days I come home at lunch time. Dinner: The days I'm out for the whole day and come in the evening, I eat dal/subzi with two chappatis. The days I come back by lunch, I eat boiled daliya/veg daliya/a glass of milk for dinner (depends on how hungry I'm feeling). Also, it's always VEGETARIAN food I eat in the weekdays. That's my scheme and anybody can create a similar theme for themselves: it varies from person to person but the key point is just one: more activity, more tiredness, more food. And vice versa. 
  6. Weekends food: I eat whatever I like. Yes, whatever I want. But again, home-made. And rice, oh my dear rice; I meet my lifeline, my dearest rice only on weekends. Then also, I mostly do not eat rice more than a bowl at once as well. Potion-control. That's really important. Sometimes we do go out and eat outside in the restaurants but I prefer to eat at home i.e leaving home after lunch and coming back at dinner time. It works out most of the times, but not every time. All the NON-VEGETARIAN food I cook in the weekends: chicken, fish, even egg curries.
  7. Caffeine: I don't have a huge intake of caffeine because I leave early around 7:30 am so it's basically a blessing I hardly get time to eat breakfast, let alone tea/coffee. I have a lone cup of tea in the evening and never more than one coffee at work per day. In the evening I try and prepare some quick and easy snacks: poha, instant dhokla, upma etc. with tea so it keeps me filled and I don't feel hungry at night. 
  8. Water: drinking plenty of water if often suggested as an effective way to stay fit and we all know this, right? We all know how important it is to stay hydrated and drink a lot of water but I'll be totally honest and say I've been trying to drink more water but I need to increase. It really helps in the fitness process. 
  9.  Exercise: It's really important to get moving. But since I was having such a sedentary lifestyle in 2013, it was really difficult for me to suddenly start doing gym and difficult exercises. So I just took it easy, began walking twice a week, 20 minutes for the first quarter of 2014. Then I began to increase the days and time. By the end of 2014, I was walking about 4-5 days a week, up to 40 minutes. That's all I could manage, my feet hurt because of all the increased weight which was putting pressure, specially on my heels. I also felt more active. I increased my activeness level: i.e. not sitting in front of computer/T.V., doing household chores, using stairs instead of lifts/escalators etc. Also I began to increase the walking and by the end of 2015, I was walking every single day, about 80-90 minutes with very much increased speed, and without getting tired. I could also climb stairs without getting breathless. 
So, that's all I did. Yes, to sum up, just the home made food, less caffeine, totally making BREAKFAST the most important meal of the day, a fixed eating schedule (can't stress that enough), healthy snacking, leaving the sedentary lifestyle behind, not eating much at night (okay on weekdays), and walking, walking and only walking has given me these results. It took two full years, no less; and I'm still on my way as I have to lose the pounds on the scale. But yes, I must say I have achieved whatever I worked for. I did not get vigorous results for I did not do any vigorous activity, and I have accepted it. For my height, I know I look a little plump but it's okay and I know I will lose it. I am on my way and I will totally share my story when I do lose that weight too. This is my story and I might totally have skipped a lot of things because for me they have become a lifestyle, but there could be little things that could matter to someone who is in my shoes and looking for some inspiration. So, please feel free to ask me questions and I will answer with all my honesty. This is what I have achieved from October 2014 to October 2015 as well, and yes, that's the same dress. 

 I have developed healthy cooking basically for myself and that has totally benefited me in so many ways: I have tried new, healthy options for food, I have kept boredom at bay with my cooking so that I don't have to eat out, I have saved money because I hardly eat out (I would rather carry my own lunch box and fruits and nuts). I have made my husband happy with so many new varieties in food. I have become active because I want to try so many new recipes. I keep on trying new recipes and sharing them. I am not saying all of those recipes are very healthy. A lot of them are totally healthy with low calories but I personally feel anything home-made is healthier than what we purchase from outside. So, for me, my cooking is healthy but kindly exercise discretion if trying out my recipes. You can connect with me on my cooking page where I share all kinds of recipes on Facebook. Brijdeep's Kitchen: For the love of food

 Thank you for taking your time to read my story. If you liked my story or have any questions or comments, please leave your lovely comments/feedback in the comment section below.  

Saturday, February 6, 2016

How to prepare ghee

Ghee or clarified butter has been a staple in many Asian countries for centuries. The word 'ghee' comes from the Sanskrit word meaning 'sprinkled' and it basically means that milk fat is rendered from the butter to seperate the milk solids and the water. It is made by melting butter and skimming the fat off the top. Not only it's really easy to make, but it has a lot of health benefits.

  1. Ghee is rich in vitamins A, D, E and K and these vitamins are important for promoting bone and brain health, and for boosting the immune system. 
  2. Ghee doesn't need to be refrigerated and it doesn't spoil easily if kept on the counter top. Just make sure to use a dry spoon or spatula to take out the ghee. 
  3. Ghee keeps the digestive tract healthy and helps in increasing appetite as it converts fibers into butyric acid, which is beneficial to intestinal bacteria. 
  4. It has a higher smoking point so can be used for a lot of dishes which require the cooking medium (cooking oil) to be heated at a high temperature, for example Indian and Asian cuisines. 
Ghee can easily be prepared at home in a few easy steps from unsalted butter. It doesn't need to be refrigerated and can be stored for months together on room temperature. You will only require unsalted butter to prepare ghee. 

  1. Heat a pan on medium low flame and add the unsalted butter in the pan. As the pan will begin to heat up, the butter will begin to melt slowly. 
  2. Let the butter melt and slowly with the help of a DRY wooden spoon, begin stirring it slowly. 
  3. When the butter will melt completely, begin to stir the melted butter slowly at regular intervals. Do not leave stirring for long intervals. 
  4. You will see that white bubbles are beginning to form on the top as the butter comes to a boil. This is milk solids. Keep stirring. 
  5. After some time the milk bubbles will form the whole top layer as the milk solids begin to separate. 
  6. When you will keep stirring, after about 2-3 minutes you will see the white layer is beginning to settle at the bottom of the pan. 
  7. After the whole of the white milk solids layer disappears from the top and settles on the bottom, it will begin to turn darker, a shade of light brown. Turn off the flame at this point. 
  8. Seive in a clean and dry glass container with a metal sieve. Do not use a plastic sieve it will melt down as the ghee is very hot. 
  9. DO NOT CLOSE the lid and let it cool down completely as you don't want water droplets forming in the inside of the cover and spoiling the ghee as the ghee will be very hot. 
  10. When cooled down completely, cover with a lid and store on room temperature. Use in your food everyday. 

Monday, February 1, 2016

Instant savory appam

On my recent trip to India, I added a new item to my kitchen: an appam pan or aebleskiver pan. I'm loving it for it's so versatile and you can prepare so many items in the pan, which are healthy. That's because you can easily prepare food items which are generally fried in this pan, using just one drop of oil: so it's healthier on your body, healthier on your pocket (you save a lot of money on the oil too). Isn't that awesome?

So I couldn't wait to cook just about anything in my appam pan but at the same time also wanted it to be quick. So, over the weekend, I made these instant savory appams. I did not follow the traditional way but I just used the Gits instant mix for idli. You can also use the instant mix for dosa or uttpam for these, just add the spices according to taste. If using idli mix, you don't need to add spices but the dosa mix is bland so I did add salt, red chilli and garam masala. Explaining the step-by step process which will be helpful for the beginners.


Instant mix (I used instant idli mix, you can use uttpam or dosa mix too): 1 cup
Beaten yogurt to soak the mix
Onions (finely chopped): 1
Green chilli (finely chopped): 1
Spices to taste
Little oil to season the appe pan

  1. Soak the instant mix with yogurt and keep aside for 10-15 minutes. It will absorb the liquid and will become thick. 
  2. After 15 minutes, add a little water if required to make a batter-like consistency so it's neither very thick nor runny. Add the onions, green chili and spices to taste. Mix well.
  3. Heat the appe pan on medium-low heat: this is the most important part so I'm explaining in detail. I use a glass top electric cooking range. The temperature knob goes from 1-12, 12 being the highest temperature. I heat the pan at 4.5. 
  4. After 3-4 minutes, lower the temperature to 3. Add a drop of oil in each mold. 
  5. Drop spoonfuls of the batter into each mold. 
  6. Cover and let cook for 5-7 minutes. Remove cover and turn with the help of a wooden chopstick. 
  7. Cover and let cook for another 5-7 minutes till they become golden brown from both sides. Remove cover and check if done from inside by doing a toothpick test. If the toothpick comes out clean, it is done. Turn off the flame. 
  8. Serve hot savory appe with Restaurant style coconut chutney

Loved this recipe? Please do leave a comment/feedback below in the comments section. Don't forget to join me on Facebook for regular recipe updates. 


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