Corn Salad

For Week 3 Day 2 of BM #35, here is a simple salad which is sure to win hearts.

It is apt in a party set up or an informal gathering just as it is an everyday snack for the kids! Thanks to Pooja, my friend, this is sure to become a regular snack at home.

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Posted by Harini R on Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Baby Corn Masala

For Week 3 of BM #35, I have chosen to blog about some dishes with Corn.

Today, I have this lip smacking baby corn masala which has become a new favorite at home.

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Posted by Harini R on Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Drumstick Sambar From Chettinad

For this edition (Dec week 2) of CCChallenge, I asked my older one to pick up one recipe from this called 'India Cookbook' by Pushpesh Pant. She did the homework for me by bookmarking a bunch of them. Needless to say, most of them were Potato based recipes.

There were some non-potato recipes as well out of which I picked this drumstick sambar from Chettinad. So as a compromise I made some baked potato wedges to with the sambar and all is well!!

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Posted by Harini R on Saturday, December 14, 2013

Fruit Pizza

For the final day of pizzas for BM #35, here is a dessert pizza which is sure to win hearts at any party. A very apt dessert for the holiday season!!

The idea of a fruit pizza sounded awesome to me when I was looking out for the pizza varieties. The fact that this pizza encouraged my kids to try out all the fruits at home made it a raring success in my mind!

My family and friends just went gaga over it making me feel at the top of the world!

Recipe source for the Sugar Cookie Crust
Ingredients - 
For the Sugar Cookie Crust - 
Butter 1/2 cup (at room temperature)
Sugar 1/2 cup
Milk 3 Tbsp
All Purpose Flour / Maida 1 1/2 cups
Salt 1/4 tsp
Baking Powder 2 tsp
For the Toppings - 
Whipped Cream 1/4 cup (or more if preferred) (I used the low fat one)
Fruits of assorted colors as needed ( I used pomegranate, apple, orange, kiwi and banana)

Fruit Pizza

Method Of Preparation -
Making the Sugar Cookie Crust - 
Cream the butter and sugar until it is light and fluffy. Add milk and beat it well.

In another bowl, whisk the flour, salt and baking powder.

Slowly add the flour mixture to the fluffy sugary butter and knead into a soft dough.

It is a good idea to refrigerate the dough at this point if you are not ready to proceed further.

If using frozen whipped cream, now is a good time to thaw it. I just transferred it into the refrigerator.

Preheat the oven to 350 °F.

I went ahead and rolled out the dough (1 cm thick, approx 8-9 inch in diameter) onto a pizza pan lined with parchment paper. [I don't boast of a perfect circular shape :)]

Bake it on the center rack for about 18-20 min until the underside looks slightly golden brown.

Remove and let it cool on a wire rack for about 45 min. Be careful while transferring as the cookie is very fragile and likely to show up cracks.

Assembling the Dessert -  Apply the whipped cream as generously as you prefer and arrange the sliced fruit as per your imagination.

Chill and slice before serving.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 35

Preparation Time 35 min + 20 min baking time
Makes a 10 inch cookie or 14-16 generous portions

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Stir Fry Vegetable Pizza with Oat Bran Crust

I saw the combination for the pizza crust in a book from the library a long time back and roughly jotted down the ingredients. This is for Day 2 of BM #35.

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Veggie Pizza Muffin

"Amma, look at this picture. Can I have this for a snack tomorrow?" - This is the kind of conversations I am having with my older one at bedtime. She looks into her instagram account and challenges me with these pictures. One way my creative juices get a huge boost and the result are these muffins.

I felt that cutting out the small circles and baking them in muffin cups is rather a tedious way of making it. I would rather bake the pizza on the whole flatbread and then slice it out for the kids (which I do many a time :) ).

The advantage of baking them into individual muffin sized pizzas is that there are more veggies per square inch :). The teeny weeny size appeals to the kids and helps in portion control for the adults !! You know I am talking about the pizza loving adult in my house, right?

So stay tuned for some interesting varieties of Pizzas as part of BM #35.

Veggie Pizza Muffin

Ingredients - 

Flatout Flat bread (Tortillas or Home made chapatis would also work) 2 nos
Pizza sauce 3-4 Tbsp
Onions, Tomatoes, Olives finely chopped 1/2 cup each
Cheese, shredded 1 cup (or less as preferred)
Chilli flakes for topping (if needed)

Veggie Pizza Muffin

Method Of Preparation -

Cut out the flat breads into small circles according to the size of the muffin cups.

Preheat the oven to 400 °F.

Arrange the cut out flat bread circles in each of the muffin cups.

Apply pizza sauce on each of the cut out circles.

Sprinkle the veggies in each of them as well.

Finally top each of them with shredded cheese.

Bake for 13-15 min or until the cheese browns slightly.

Remove form oven and let it cool for a couple of minutes.

Carefully un-mould the muffin cups and serve it hot with a topping of crushed red pepper if needed.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 35.

Preparation Time 25 min
Makes 12

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Wheat Bran Roti

As a continuation to the previous posts in which a dietitian friend of mine has stressed on the need for protein and fiber in our diet, I am posting these Wheat Bran Rotis.

This recipe has been suggested by my friend, Pooja for people on a wheat based diet. Also this is diabetes friendly. Please note that the quantities mentioned in the recipe are for one person per meal. 

I totally agree that to be able to eat the wheat bran needs some persistence and will power. But I am sure the health conscious folks out there would be willing to give it a try!! Personally I didn't find it so hard to eat these. I can't say that about the rest of my family!

This forms part of CCChallenge for the month of December, Week 1.

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Posted by Harini R on Saturday, December 7, 2013

To conclude this Weight Loss Series, I would like to thank Srivalli for incorporating this theme for this month and also my friend, Pooja who has contributed the valuable articles, tips, tricks, recipes and strategies which will aid in weight loss goals.

So check out some Weight Loss Strategies and tips as part of Day 3 of BM #35.


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Moong Dal - Pumpkin Soup

For Day 2 of BM #35, here is the rest of the article by Pooja, the dietitian, continued from yesterday..

How does protein pack a punch?
Our bodies need three vital Macro-nutrients to survive. These are carbohydrates, proteins and fats. We also need micro-nutrients like vitamins and minerals, but these are required in lesser amounts. 

Think of the micro-nutrients like make-up that you apply. They're what you need to look beautiful, but it's the macro-nutrients that are going to determine your health and that are absolutely vital. 

Ideally, for optimal health, your intake of carbohydrates, proteins and fats should be balanced. However, in reality, this seldom happens. In fact, 90% of what the average Indian eats consists solely of carbohydrates and fats! We're obviously getting less protein and this can lead to greater medical problems. More than half of the patients we treat today (for obesity and metabolic syndrome) have followed a diet that's severely lacking in protein.

Why is this so crucial that it can determine our well-being? 

  • Proteins are the building blocks of muscles, bones, hormones, skin cells and tissues.
  • It is responsible for the regeneration of our body cells. That's why it's so important for growing children and lactating women. 
  • In adults, it helps heal wounds and recover more rapidly from injury, prevents hair loss and weakness.

If you have been exercising regularly, but not been losing weight, a lack of protein may be to blame. After you exercise, your muscles are worn out; protein helps re-build the muscle tissue. More muscle in the body helps burn more calories and this also gives you the strength and energy to work out more vigorously in your next session as well. This is why weight loss is so much faster when there is adequate protein in the diet. 

High protein diets are also considered better for better diabetic control and dyslipidemia (abnormal amount of lipids (e.g. cholesterol and/or fat) in the blood). But it should be used with caution in people with renal problems(kidney prob). 

Protein for weight loss
Instead of counting calories in our foods as so many diets compel us to do, experts now believe that we should be using our mathematical skills to find out if we're getting enough protein instead! 

A normal person requires 1 gm of protein for every kilo of body weight. So if you're sixty kilos, you need 60 gms of protein every day. However, if want to lose weight, then you need to eat even more. This is because the body tends to burn carbohydrates first, then proteins and finally fats.

When our diet consists of an overdose of carbohydrates and fats, exercising is not as effective in weight loss, since we'll only be burning carbohydrates and won't be exercising long enough to burn fats. If we increase our intake of protein, our intake of carbohydrates will automatically decrease and we tend to burn proteins quickly and the fats more easily, resulting in weight loss.

When to have it
Ideally, protein should never be taken when you're starving or very hungry. This is because the body, in starvation mode, tends to convert protein into carbohydrates, thus defeating the purpose . 
The best way to increase your intake of protein would be to have small frequent meals throughout the day. As absorption of protein by the body takes 1.5 to 2 hours, it is best to complete your food two hours before bedtime. If you sleep while your body is busy absorbing protein, it will hinder absorption, converting it to carbohydrates again.

Vegetarian Vs Non-Vegetarian sources
Both vegetarians and non-vegetarians can get their protein requirements from food, but vegetarians may find it difficult to get enough, since the sources of protein in plant foods are limited. 

Usage of whey water (water left while making paneer) in shakes and soups is a good option. Traditional Indian meals include cereal-pulse combinations that are easily absorbed by the body, like dal-roti, idli sambhar, chole chawal. All this improves the overall quality of protein for vegetarian intake.

Calculate your protein needs based on your body weight. Ensure that you take in adequate amounts of protein everyday, both to fuel weight loss and promote growth.
Since anything in excess has a negative effect, so is protein also. If taken in excess, it puts extra load on kidneys leading to various troubles.

So Balance diet is what is required for a healthy lifestyle.  It can cure more than a medicine and another thing which I always say is your attitude towards life. You can drive your life as God has given the steering wheel to you even though he is the engine. Always trust your engine and drive with confidence in the direction you want. Destination is never far from you.

Some more tips for effective Weight Loss..
  • Know your threshold. Limit your portions and stop before you are full.
  • Drink plenty of fluids. For every 20kgs, you should be taking 1 liter of water.
  • Focus more on salads, fruits, green tea and other fluids like coconut water, buttermilk etc.
  • Use olive oil for cooking and in less quantity.
  • Add fiber to your meals by adding wheat bran to wheat flour and you can have Flax seeds (alsi) 1-2 tsp/day.
Another recipe from Pooja which is protein rich and makes up a healthy and wholesome meal in itself.

Moong Dal - Pumpkin Soup

Ingredients - 

Moong Dal 3/4 cup
Pumpkin Cubed 1 cup
Tomato chopped 1 cup
Turmeric 1/4 tsp
Salt as needed
Pepper as needed
Cumin Powder 1/4 tsp
Red Chilli Powder as needed

Lemon juice squeeze (Optional)

Method Of Preparation -

Pressure cook all the ingredients except pepper. 

After the pressure cooker cools down, puree the mixture adding as much water as is necessary to achieve the desired consistency. (I used an immersion blender to do this).

Boil the mixture again and let it simmer on low heat for a few minutes. Sprinkle powdered black pepper and adjust the taste as needed.

Serve hot with croutons for a filling appetizer/dinner.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 35.

Preparation Time 25 min
Serves 4

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Whey Watermelon Lemonade

For BM #35, I have chosen to do a series on Weight Loss. In that context I shall introduce a dear friend of mine, Pooja, who is a professional lifestyle counselor with over 10 years of experience. Her specialty is Obesity Management and has a Post Graduate degree in Public Health Nutrition and Dietetics (Gold Medalist).

She has kindly lent her expertise in composing an article with some tips, tricks and recipes to make losing weight an achievable goal.

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Posted by Harini R on Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Chayote Curry with Coriander Mint Chutney

Chayote Squash is my most favorite vegetable and so I try to make as many variations of this vegetable as I can think of. This latest combination with coriander-mint chutney was suggested to me by my cousin, Mallika. 

In fact she said it would taste heavenly with potatoes and added that she would love to taste the flavor with other vegetables as well. The flavor of the coriander-mint chutney fused very well in the curry and was a delight to have. I paired with wheat bran rotis for lunch.
This forms part of the last week of CCChallenge for Nov.

Ingredients - 

Chayote Squash peeled, pitted and chopped 2 cups
Coriander-Mint Chutney 1 1/2 Tbsp
Tomato Puree (I used Pasta Sauce) 1/4 cup
Ginger Garlic paste  tsp (Optional)
Onion chopped 1/4 cup
Turmeric 1/4 tsp
Salt as needed
Seasoning (Oil 2 tsp, Mustard seeds 1/2 tsp, Jeera 1/2 tsp)

Chayote Curry with Coriander Mint Chutney

Method Of Preparation -

In a heated pan, add oil, mustard seeds and cumin. After the mustard seeds pop, saute the onions until they are golden brown. 

Also add in the ginger-garlic paste (if using) and saute. Add in the coriander-mint chutney, tomato puree (or pasta sauce) and let the mixture cook well for 3-5 minutes.

Sprinkle turmeric and the chopped chayote squash, sprinkle some water, cover and let it cook until tender.

Add salt to taste and remove from fire. (I didn't garnish with coriander leaves but feel free to add some)

Serve it warm with Roti/Rice.

Preparation Time 25 min
Serves 3-4

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Posted by Harini R on Sunday, December 1, 2013

Makhane Ka Kheer

Thanks to the blogosphere, I have been introduced to this wonder seed (if I may say so). Apparently it is very popular in the northern part of India. Upon googling, I came to know that it is a very healthy food to be included in our diet. 

Also it is very popular as part of Vrat Ka Khana. In certain communities, Makhana cooked with some specifications is acceptable during fasting days. This kheer is just the recipe suitable for consumption during the fasting days. At the same time it is a delectable kheer fit for festivals / parties thereby part of BM #34 for day 3 week 4.

We were excited to try this kheer for the first time. My older one did try it and said she liked it but needs to get used to the texture. She asked me to make it once more so she can better appreciate it! 

Sending this to Srivalli's 'Kid's Delight - Festival Sweets' hosted by Sowmya as well.

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Posted by Harini R on Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Instant Moong Dal Halwa

I have this recipe bookmarked a long time back from Priya's space and it took so long for me to actually get around to make it at home. 

The only difference between Priya's pictures and mine were that mine turned out a darker shade as it looks like the moong dal flour I used is the Whole moong variety while the one Priya used seems like the dehusked moong dal flour.

Aside from the color of the halwa, it was so good and my little one couldn't have enough. My older one didn't like it too much but then I knew she wouldn't like it :). So the rest of us got to finish it off and were left licking our spoons, so to say.

I prepared this to offer as naivedyam and it suited me perfectly. This also fits the bill for day 2 week 4 of BM #34 under festival sweets.
Sending this to Srivalli's 'Kid's Delight - Festival Sweets' hosted by Sowmya as well.

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Instant Kalakand

I was invited to a religious function and I had just a couple of effective hours of notice. I had in my mind that I should make some dessert which suits the occasion. Then I looked through some versions of kalakand which I have in my files and figured out this instant variety which could be made in under 30 min. Luckily I had some home made paneer which I could use.

It turned out that the sweet was a super hit with the little kids who were there at the venue. So I believe that this is a crowd pleaser as well as kid friendly.

So for Day 1 week 4 of BM #34, here is a kid approved sweet suitable for many occasions. Also sending this to Srivalli's 'Kid's Delight - Festival Sweets' hosted by Sowmya

Instant Kalakand

Ingredients - 

Homemade khoya 3/4 cup
Homemade Paneer from 1 ltr milk
Condensed Milk 1/4 cup
Cardamom Powder
Ghee to grease the pan
Pistachios for garnish

Instant Kalakand

Method Of Preparation -

Add all the ingredients in a heated non-stick pan and keep stirring.

After about 8-10 minutes, the mixture will come together as a single mass.

Remove onto a greased pan and let it set for a few minutes. Sprinkle some chopped pistachios.

Cut into desired shapes and refrigerate before serving!

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 34.

Preparation Time 20 min
Makes 25 small pieces

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Posted by Harini R on Sunday, November 24, 2013

Eggless Apple Cinnamon Cake

This cake has become our new family favorite, thanks to my friend, Shalaka. The version she shared with me was not an eggless one. So I changed it to suit our family. I have baked this cake twice now owing to popularity and each time the results were consistent.

I have changed the Wheat Flour, Maida ratios with no perceivable difference. So feel free to play around with the flours.

I just had a nightmare with the pictures. I accidentally deleted all the pictures from the memory card after uploading it to my system. The system just gave up on me and I lost all the pictures which I had downloaded just then. With lot of trials I finally was able to get back all the pictures using a recovery software. Uff..I tell you it is hard work :).

Check out the cake as part of the CCChallenge edition 2, Nov week 4. 

Eggless Apple Cinnamon Cake

Ingredients - 

Wheat Flour 3/4 cup
All Purpose Flour / Maida 3/4 cup
Baking Soda 1 tsp
Cinnamon powder 1 tsp
Salt 1/8 tsp
Raisins handful 
Apples, cored, finely chopped 2 cups (2 medium sized apples)
Sugar 3/4 cup (more if preferred)
Oil 1/2 cup
Yogurt 1 cup

Eggless Apple Cinnamon Cake

Method Of Preparation -

Preheat the oven to 375 °F. Prepare a muffin pan with liners in them or a 13 X 7 rectangular (brownie) tray. (I used a mufin pan, 1 loaf pan and a mini loaf pan)

Mix the flours, baking soda, cinnamon powder, raisins, and salt and chopped apples.

In a separate bowl, mix sugar, oil, and yogurt until sugar is dissolved.

Pour the yogurt mixture into the flour mixture and stir until combined.

Divide the batter into the muffin pan, loaf pan and the mini loaf pan.

Remove the muffin pan in about 20 min and the loaf pan in 30 min. But do the check by inserting a tester before taking it out of the oven.

Eggless Apple Cinnamon Cake

Let it cool and let the kids enjoy!

Also sending this cake to Srivalli's Cake Mela.
Preparation Time 15 min + Baking Time 30 min 
Makes 12 muffins, 1 loaf and 1 mini loaf or a 13 X 7 cake

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Oats - Oat Bran Cheela

For Day 3 week 3 of BM #34, here is one uthappam/cheela which is healthy and is suitable for diabetics, weight watchers and the regular folk just as well. The oat bran used in this will help in increasing the fiber content while reducing the net carbohydrate content in the whole mixture.

The idea of adding oat bran was given to me by my friend, Pooja. The resultant uthappam was a softer one and needed careful handling.

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Posted by Harini R on Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Quinoa Rava Dosa (Instant)

For Day 2, week 3 of BM #34, here is a very healthy dosa/crepe which can be made instantly. No soaking, no fermenting, no resting time. I saw these at and had bookmarked a while ago. They made perfect breakfast on a hurried weekday.

Recipe source - here
Ingredients - 

*Quinoa flour 1/2 cup
Rice Flour 1/2 cup
Semolina / Sooji 1/4 cup
Flax Seed Meal 1 Tbsp (or more)
Water 2 cups (approx)
Salt as needed
Seasoning (Oil 1 tsp, Mustard seeds 1/4 tsp, Cumin Seeds 1/2 tsp, Asafoetida 1/8 tsp, Chopped green chillies 1 tsp)

* In the event of non-availability of quinoa flour, dry roast quinoa until it turns a shade of brown and powder it upon cooling. (That is what I did). If quinoa is roasted it doesn't give out the typical smell and is easy to mask its flavor and derive the benefit of the healthy grain.

Method Of Preparation -

In a mixing bowl, add the quinoa flour, sooji, salt and rice flour. 

Add 1 1/2 cups of water and mix well so there are no lumps in the batter.

Meanwhile grind the flax seed and mix it in the flour mixture. Also prepare the seasoning by heating the oil and adding mustard, cumin seeds, hing and green chillies.

Add the seasoning to the batter.

Heat the griddle/tawa and take a ladle full of batter and pour it in the center and the batter will spread by itself. Spray oil on the sides (Optional) and let it cook on both sides.

Remove and continue for the rest of the batter.

The batter stays good for the next day as well if stored in the refrigerator.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 34.

Preparation Time 30 min
Makes 8-10

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Rava Uthappam (Instant)

I came to know about this instant uthappam from my friends here. It is supposedly very popular in their homes and so I tried it out. I had a hunch that we would all like it as it is mostly a thicker version of our favorite Rava Dosa.

I used yogurt in the uthappam, but in the absence of yogurt, water can be used as well.

This would form part of BM #34 week 3 day 1.

Rava Uthappam (Instant)

Ingredients - 

Sooji / Bombay Rava / Semolina 1 cup
Yogurt 1 cup
Onion finely chopped 1/2 cup
Tomato finely chopped 1/2 cup
Salt as needed
Green Chillies as needed 
Ginger 1 inch grated
Coriander leaves finely chopped

Rava Uthappam (Instant)

Method Of Preparation -

Mix salt and sooji with yogurt and set aside.

Meanwhile chop the onions, tomatoes, green chillies, coriander leaves and grate the ginger.

Mix all of them in the sooji-yogurt mixture.

Heat the griddle and pour ladle full of batter and gently spread it in a circular shape.

Spray a few drops of oil and let it cook. After the underside is cooked, flip onto the other side and let it cook.

Remove and continue for the rest of the batter.

Serve them hot with any chutney or gravy curry.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 34.

Preparation Time 25 min
Makes 7-8

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Beetroot  Pulao

Today's post is the result of my husband's homework. You read it right. I asked my husband to look into 8-10 cookbooks and mark the ones he would love to try. It was a funny scene at home with my husband asking me about the vegetables on hand, time at my disposal etc and my older one joining him in adding to the list of to-dos.

Finally I picked up from the list and made this almost one pot meal which was very filling and colorful at the same time. This goes to the CCChallenge for the month of Nov week 3.

Ingredients - 

Basmati Rice 2 cups
Beetroot, grated 1 cup
Potatoes, sliced 1 1/2 cups
Onions, chopped 1 cup
Fresh/Frozen Coconut, grated 1/2 cup
Green Chillies, finely chopped 3-4 (or as needed)
Salt as needed
Turmeric 1/4 tsp
Lemon/Lime Juice as needed
Seasoning (Oil / Ghee 3 Tbsp, Cumin Seeds 1/2 tsp,)

Method Of Preparation -

Cook the basmati rice so that each grain is separate. While the rice is cooking lets prepare the masala for the pulao.

In a heated kadai/wok, add oil/ghee and the rest of the seasoning ingredients. After the mustard seeds pop, saute the onions until translucent.

Add grated beetroot to the onions and saute. Meanwhile parboil the potatoes and drain them.

Add those parboiled potatoes to the kadai. Sprinkle the coconut, turmeric and saute until the potatoes are cooked through and turn a little crispy.

Sprinkle salt and the cooked rice as well. Mix well and adjust the salt. Squeeze in the lime. arnish with coriander leaves and fried cashews. Serve hot/warm with Raitha.

Preparation Time 30 min
Serves 4-5

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Chatti Pathiri

After a long absence from Indian Cooking Challenge, I decided to do this month's challenge as it sounded very tempting!

As I understand Chatti Pathiri is a layered pastry with a variety of fillings. Typically they are filled with meat. However, Srivalli zeroed in on a sweet nutty filling which made this one a very special treat at home.

This recipe is adapted from the Malabar Cuisine of Kerala and apparently poppy seeds is the most important ingredient in their cuisine. It definitely adds a very exotic touch to the sweetmeat.

I found that the Chatti Mathiri is very filling because of the obvious ingredients and so make sure that each serving is a small one so as not to load up on calories :). The only thing I would do different is substituting All Purpose Flour with Whole Wheat Flour. I imagine, it would be just as tasty.

Chatti Pathiri

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