I have been chasing sesame seeds/ til since the time I read they are a great source of iron for vegetarians. I found them being sold in the healthy seeds section in Bulk Barn, along with chia seeds and flax seeds. I picked them up promptly and took myself back to the time when my mom used to make it every year – in January – for Makar Sankranti. They were my favorite and though i have gotten pretty good results here, the magic of my mom’s creations is yet to be re-created. This is a simple three to four ingredient deal – we just need something to bind the seeds together – mom uses khoya/mawa, i have used almond meal once and peanut butter the other time – both with success. Jotting down the recipe here for future reference.
Til/ Sesame seeds – 2 cups
Sugar – 1.5 cups
Almond meal – 1 cup or peanut butter – 1 cup ( I use Kraft 100% natural)
Water – half cup
Cardamom powder – half tsp (optional)
Almond pieces – of 10 almonds (optional)
1. Dry roast Til on a medium flame, till they give out a nutty aroma, turn slightly brown. Should take seven minutes of constant stirring.
2. Let these cool. Once cool, pulse them in a blender/ magic bullet to grind them to a coarse powder.
3. Put sugar and water in a pan and start heating on a medium flame. The sugar will start to dissolve. Keep stirring till the deal comes to a boil. Check for a single string consistency of sugar syrup. It took me three years to get this correct.
4. Add the til powder + almond meal or peanut butter, Stir to avoid lumps. Add in the cardamom powder too.
5. Keep stirring till this looks like a single mass. Switch off the gas and put the whole deal on a slightly greased plate. Using the back of a flat bowl, flatten it to get a uniform surface.
6. Sprinkle the almond pieces and wait for this to cool down a bit. It will dry up and harden.
7. Take a knife and cut into squares. Store.
8. If after adding the til powder etc you realize your stuff is runny and lose, dont panic. Add more almond meal or dry desiccated coconut (if handy) by spoonfuls till the desired consistency is reached.
Til Barfi with Peanut Butter
Til Barfi with almond meal
Since the time the doctor suggested Aditi needs more iron, I spent two days on the net reading up all I could about sources of iron. Though it was convincing to know that most of the plant sources do contain iron – the sad part is that it is all ‘non heme’ iron, which means that the body does not absorb it easily. One good way of having iron absorbed better is to combine your food with vitamin C sources like lemon, orange juice.
Now, we have always been green lovers, but this call for iron brought into my fridge bags of spinach, methi, mint, kale and collard. The leaves have started to appear in everywhere – daal, paratha, sabji, cheela and most recently – the humble chole. I had been making palak chole often, but addition of kale was Nilesh’s idea and the result was different and interesting. While pakal loses all its form (and water) when cooked, kale gave body and bite to the dish. I wish kale was available in India too – till that time, try adding any greens you can find to chole and you will be delighted with the result.
Chole/ chickpeas/ chane – 1.5 cups (source of iron)
Spinach and/or Kale leaves – 2 to 3 cups, cleaned chopped roughly (source of iron)
Tomatoes – 2, chopped small or pureed (source of iron)
Onions – 2 small or 1 large – chopped small
Ginger – half inch piece, grated
Garlic – 2 cloves (optional), grated
Kasoori methi – 1.5 tsp
Salt – as per taste
Turmeric- 1 tsp
Red chili powder – 1 tsp
Chana masala/ garam masala – 2 tsp
Jeera – half tsp, Rai – half tsp
Oil – 3 tsp
1. Soak the chole overnight or 6 to 8 hours with lots of water. Wash them and boil in a cooker with a pinch of salt. I dont like them too mushy, so 3 to 4 whistles on a medium flame are good.
2. Heat oil in a non stick kadhai.
3. When oil is hot, add jeera and rai. When they pop and sizzle, add ginger and garlic and let them leave their raw small.
4. Add the onion pieces and keep stirring. The onions should get pale and soft and start browning.
5. Add the tomatoes, chana masala, turmeric, red chili powder, salt and let the tomatoes cook till they get all mushed up and the masala starts to give a good aroma.
4. Now add the kasoori methi, and chopped greens. Cook them for just a minute and add the boiled chole. We want the chole to cook in the juices of kale and spinach – this brings out the flavor and blends everything well.
5. Cook covered for 5 minutes. No need to add water as greens release lots.Taste and adjust the salt etc.
6. Eat with roti/ paratha.
Baby A started going to formal school in April and I continued my pursuit for nutritious food that I could put in her tiffin box – which keeps her full till she reaches her daycare. One advantage on my side is that A loves methi and everything green for her is methi – even if it is spinach/ paalak or dhania/ coriander. So while methi paratha remained her favorite in winters – spinach came to my rescue as soon as summers arrived and methi disappeared from the market. This one is a spinach paratha, to which I add in ‘ever-available-in-delhi’ paneer. This healthy paratha serves as our breakfast too. Just that we have it with dahi rather than butter – what is baby A’s favorite accompaniments to these or any other parathas.
Paratha and Butter in tiffin
Paalak/ Spinach – 1 cup (cleaned, washed , chopped fine).
Paneer – 1 cup (grated) – I used Mother Dairy brand.
Whole wheat flour – 2 cups
Salt – to taste
Haldi – a pinch
Ajwain – a pinch
Oil – to cook the parathas.
Water – to knead the dough
1. Take the wheat flour in a wide bowl.
2. Add the salt, haldi and ajwain . Mix well.
3. Add the spinach, grated paneer and mix.
4. Add water little by little and knead the dough. Remember that both paneer and spinach add moisture and you may need very less water to get a soft, pliable dough.
5. Let it rest for 5 mins. Meanwhile, heat a griddle/ tawa.
6. Pinch out a ball of dough and roll out round parathas . The thickness must be a bit more than rotis/ phulkas.
7. Put the paratha on the heated tawa. Once brown spots appear n one side – apply oil and turn the paratha. Cook the other side similarly.
8. Serve with dahi or butter. These are very soft due to the paneer and can be packed for lunch too.
Heap of paratha rolls – easy to eat between office meetings!
Since this is a kid food, comprising of 3 main ingredients – wheat flour, Spinach and Paneer – I am sending this to the Kid’s delight event hosted by Pavani on her blog here. Also linking it to Valli’s announcement page.