Balance your Calories

Many of my friends requested me to add the calorie content in my recipes, so I will be doing that henceforth. The calorie content mentioned in the dishes will be an approximation based on the ingredients I use, and could differ slightly on case to case basis.

The importance of counting your calories on a regular basis is advised by many nutritionists and health instructors. The reason counting calories is important, is because in the modern day world we eat a lot of processed food. When we are having our favorite takeaway for dinner, or munching on that oh so delicious salad at the salad bar near our office, we often forget that the ingredients they use might not be fresh, and are highly likely to be using some form of processed ingredients.  It is always wiser to have an approximate gauge of the calories we are consuming on a daily basis. It need not be an exact measure, just a high level of estimation is sufficient.

Countries like the US are fighting obesity problems constantly and it is a matter of time before it becomes an epidemic in Asia as well. Here is a fabulous website that gives a bright insight on nutrition and healthy food :

On a separate note, sweets have always been my weakness, and I have always noticed that on days that I do not exercise, or have taken a break from exercises for a week, my sweet cravings increase. Here is a very nice article on why we crave for certain food, and the signals that our body may be sending to us indirectly.

Puffed Rice Salad

Jhal Muri(Puffed Rice salad)

Total Calories : 138 kcal
Calories from oil : 40
A common street food in eastern India, this is a super healthy snack. It is quite filling, and can have variations to suit your palette, involves no cooking, and takes less than a minute to prepare.

What you need
1 bowl  Puffed Rice*
1 small onion finely chopped
1 small tomato finely chopped
1 small potato boiled and finely chopped(optional)
1 small green chili deseeded and finely chopped(optional)
1 tablespoon Murukku mixture (or 1 tablespoon roasted peanuts)
1 teaspoon mustard oil/extra virgin olive oil

Mix all the above ingredients in a bowl, and serve!

*For those who do not know what puffed rice is :

Easy Scones

What you need:
Egg                                  1 medium
Flour                                2 cups
Vanilla essence                1 tablespoon
Baking powder                1 and 1/2 teaspoon
Salt                                  1 large pinch
Sugar                               1 cup
Butter                              2 tablespoon
Milk                                2 tablespoon for brushing

How to cook:
1. Beat Egg until fluffy. Add vanilla essence.
2. In a separate bowl mix flour , baking powder, salt
3. Add butter to flour and mix with your fingers
4. Add the flour to the egg, and mix.
5. Knead to a soft dough.
6. Roll out the dough, and cut into medium biscuit size pieces
7. Brush scones with milk
8. Bake in a preheated oven at 180C for 20 minutes
Serve hot or cold with Coffee or tea!

Moist Chocolate Cake

Moist Chocolate Cake

What you need
Good quality cocoa powder                    ½ cup
Milk heated                                                ½ cup
Melted unsalted butter                            1 cup
Vegetable Oil                                              2 teaspoon
Eggs                                                              2
Vanilla essence                                           2 tablespoons
Salt                                                               1pinch
Baking Soda                                                1 pinch
Baking Powder                                           1 Tablespoon
Flour                                                             1 ½ cups
Semolina                                                      ½ cup
Sugar                                                            1 ½ cup
For the decoration:
Dark Chocolate bar                                    1 medium
Icing Sugar                                                   1 tablespoon
Melted Unsalted butter                            3 tablespoon
Strawberries or nuts halved or sugar flowers (any decorations of your choice- I usually use whatever is available at home)

How to cook
Mix Chocolate powder with hot milk. Keep aside.
Mix eggs and vanilla essence till it becomes slightly fluffy.
Mix dry ingredients salt, baking soda, baking powder, flour and semolina.
Pour the mixed dry ingredients into the egg mixture.
Add melted butter (1 cup) + oil + sugar to the egg mixture.
Mix well.
Add the chocolate powder mix to the mixture.
Pour into a cake tin and bake in a preheated oven at 175 C for 35 to 40 minutes.

Melt Chocolate bar in a bowl, and add unsalted butter. Mix thoroughly so there are no lumps.
Pour the mixture over the baked cake. Decorate with halved strawberries and dried nuts.
Put in the refrigerator to allow the chocolate icing to set for about an hour. Serve!

Green Chilli Pickle(Lankar Aachaar)

Muchas Gracias to my lovely friend Debjani for sharing this recipe with me. It is an absolutely lip-smacking side addition to the dinner plate on those special dinner or lunch occasions when you had the time and energy to make parathas at home. Goes well with rice as well!

What you need
2 cups large green chilies deseeded & diced into medium chunks
1/4 cup mustard seeds
1/4 cup  fennel seeds 
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp chilli powder
4 tbsp lemon juice
6 tablespoon Mustard Oil (optionally Olive Oil)
1 teaspoon salt.

How to cook
Roast the fennel seeds. Pound them to a coarse powder.
Combine all the ingredients with the diced chilies and toss well
Put oil in wok, and fry seasoned chilies till the water from the chilies has dried up.
Let it cool. Store it in a clean dry bottle in a cool place. I store it in the refrigerator, considering Singapore's evergreen hot and humid weather.
Serve with rotis or parathas and enjoy!!!

Chicken Tikka

What you need

1 Whole Chicken with bone, cut into medium sized pieces
Ginger-Garlic paste                 1 Tablespoon
Greek Yoghurt                          2 Tablespoons
Turmeric                                    ½ teaspoon
Red Chili powder                      ½ teaspoon
Coriander powder                     ½ teaspoon
Black pepper powder coarse   ½ teaspoon
Five spice powder                      1 teaspoon
Salt                                                ½ teaspoon
Coriander leaves                        some for marinate and some for garnishing
Vegetable Oil                              1 Tablespoon

How to Cook
Mix chicken with ginger-garlic paste, spices, salt and coriander leaves. Let it sit in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 hours
Heat oven to 180 C.  Mix marinated chicken with oil (optional), if you want a healthier version you could skip the oil
Place the chicken pieces on a tray, and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes.
Serve warm with chopped coriander leaves !