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These colorful puris are excellent take-alongs.  Make the dough the previous day and refrigerate it.  Pull it out about 15 minutes before you plan to make the puris.  They are quick, easy to make and great tasting.  Pack them for a school lunch or carry on a journey.

You might even find yourself rolling out a much larger quantity for the whole family.

Puris

Ingredients

(Makes 10 – 12 puris)

1 cup Grandma’s Gluten Free Flour Mix ( just click here, or see recipe in Basics or Cakes Cookies and Desserts section)

1/2 cup carrots finely shredded, or very finely chopped in food processor

2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves

Finely chopped green chillies to taste

1 teaspoon whole jeera

1 teaspoon oil

Pinch of salt, or to taste

1/3 cup water

1 Tablespoon or a little more rice flour for dusting

Oil for deep frying

Method

Mix all ingredients, except for water, in a bowl

Add water slowly as you knead, making sure that the dough is not too soft.  You may need to adjust the quantity of water.

Knead the dough well.  Smear a little oil on your hands to smoothen the dough as you knead.

Good kneading will ensure smooth puris with no jagged edges.

Divide dough into 10 balls or more if you want smaller puris.

Place rice flour on a plate nearby.

Take one ball, flatten slightly with your palms, then dust it lightly with rice flour

Place it on rolling surface, and using a rolling pin, roll into a small circle, a little thicker than chapati.

Roll out each ball separately and place rolled out puris on a plate/ baking sheet/ parchment paper

It is not necessary to use plastic wrap for rolling out puris, the way I recommend for chapatis / rotis.

Before beginning to roll out puris, place wok containing oil for frying on medium-high heat.

Oil will heat as you roll out the puris.

Test oil for readiness by dropping a small portion of dough into it.  The dough should sizzle and rise to the surface.

Remove fried dough.

Pick up a puri and gently slide it into the hot oil

Move the slotted frying spoon along the edges, to cover puri with oil, and press puri slightly.

Puri will slowly balloon a little

Flip puri onto the reverse side.

Fry for a few seconds till both sides are cooked and are golden brown in color.

Remove from wok, holding it with slotted spoon along the edge of the wok to drain oil.

Place on paper towel for excess oil to get absorbed.

After all puris are done, place on serving platter.

Note

These puris will not balloon as much as plain puris,, because of the heaviness of the dough.

Plain puris made with Grandma’s Gluten Free flour balloon as beautifully as wheat puris—try!

Savory Puris do not necessarily need a vegetable accompaniment.  You could try these with a favorite chutney or raita.  They are great just by themselves too!

Books, websites, articles from reputed magazines and newspapers are great sources of information.  Here are some that have given me useful and invaluable information about allergy and nutrition.

Andrew Weil         “Eating Well For Optimum Health”

                          “Natural Health, Natural Medicine”

Marion Nestle       “What to Eat”

Jonathan Brostoff, Linda Gamlin    “ The Complete Guide to Food

                                                   Allergy and Intolerance”

Paul Saltman, Joel Gurin, Ira Mothner    “The University of California

                                                         San Diego, Nutrition Book

Danna Korn         “ Living Gluten Free For Dummies”

William E. Walsh  “ Food Allergies,  Complete Guide”

Michael F. Roizen, Mehmet C. Oz      “You on a Diet”

 

Complete Idiot’s Guide   Total Nutrition

American Dietetics Association   Complete Food and Nutrition Guide

 

Articles by well known nutritionists from different parts of the world also help to increase knowledge and understanding.

Websites are too many to enumerate.  There are several Allergy related websites, and guidelines put out by USDA, NIH, and ADA which have good and reliable information.

The Popular Potato

Imagine meals with meats and no potatoes—no mashed or baked potatoes on the side, and no French fries at all! What on earth did people do before the potato was discovered?

According to some sources, the potato was introduced to England in the latter half of the 1500s, even though the known history of potato cultivation probably began nearly 2000 years ago in South America.

The popularity of the potato has grown over the years. It is so nutrient dense that some call it a near perfect food. The USDA tells us that a diet of whole milk and potatoes would supply all the elements necessary for the maintenance of the human body. The potato is high in nutrition and low in calories, and with its high water content, makes a filling bulk food.

Nutritionists claim that

  1. The average baked potato provides the recommended daily requirement of Riboflavin and Niacin, both B group vitamins..
  2. It is rich in iron and Vitamin C.
  3. It contains more potassium than a banana.
  4. A medium sized baked potato has as many calories as an average sized apple.
  5. It has 2 ½ times fewer calories than a similar quantity of bread. (88 calories in a medium 4 oz. potato). By itself, the potato is not fattening. High fat toppings add to the calories.
  6. Most cereals contain more starch than potatoes
  7. Most important of all, it is one of the least allergenic of all foods and can substitute for grain / cereal accompaniments at the dinner table.

Potato ‘Points to Remember

  • When buying potatoes it is important to choose firm, dry potatoes with unbroken skins.
  • Potatoes should be free from sprouts and green patches. Uneven surfaces or eyes do not cause harm.
  • Always store potatoes unwashed in a cool, dry place. Potatoes should never be stored with onions which can speed their spoilage.
  • New potatoes do not keep as well, and should be bought in small quantities.
  • Potatoes should not be refrigerated. Only new potatoes can be kept in the fridge.

Cooking Tips

  • Cooking potatoes with skins helps to retain most nutrients. We discard nutrients when we discard skins. The water that potatoes are boiled in can be used in soups, casseroles, and in any other cooking
  • Pressure cooking is an excellent way of retaining nutrients. It requires the use of minimal water which can easily be used up.
  • Cooking in the microwave oven is yet another good method of maximizing on the nutrients. It is best to undercook, test for doneness, then cook further if necessary.

Easy Potato Rostis

This is great to serve as an after school snack, or after that game on a cold day.  Or the rostis could make a good side dish to balance the meat entrée in a meal.  Whichever way, they are delicious, satisfying and wholesome.

 

Potato Rosti

,Ingredients

4 cups (well packed) frozen, hash brown potatoes, thawed.

(Alternately, use 4 cups boiled, peeled and grated potatoes.  Boil the potatoes till they are just cooked and not too soft.  Allow to cool, then grate.)

1 cup frozen broccoli florets, or 1 cup freshly cut broccoli florets, preferably cut small.

1 medium red pepper, chopped

1/3 cup onion sliced fine, lengthwise

1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, divided into 4 portions

2 Tablespoons water

2 Tablespoons vegetable oil/ olive oil

1/4 teaspoon dried basil

Salt and pepper to taste.

Method

Combine shredded potatoes with salt and pepper.

Heat 1 Tablespoon oil in a pan, add onions and saute for a minute or till they are soft and golden.

Add broccoli and red pepper

Stir in 2 Tablespoons water, cover and cook on medium heat for 2-3 minutes, or till the veggies are tender crisp.

Add dried basil, and set aside.

Place a large skillet on medium heat.

Drizzle a few drops of oil on pan, or lightly oil with cooking spray.

While skillet heats up, make 8 portions of the shredded potato mixture.

Shape 4 portions lightly into balls and place each ball on skillet.

Using a spatula, flatten each ball to form pancakes about 4-5” in diameter.

Allow potato ‘pancakes’ to cook for about 4-5 minutes, or till edges start to look golden.

Flip the pancakes.

Divide cooked veggies into 4 portions. 

Place 2 portions on top of two of the pancakes, sprinkle vegetable topping with grated cheese, then flip the remaining two pancakes on top of each of the veggie topped potato pancakes.

You will now have 2 rostis on the skillet.

After a minute of so, gently flip each rosti, or stuffed pancake, so that both sides can be lightly browned.

Gently remove rostis onto serving platter.

Repeat this procedure with the remaining 4 portions of shredded potato, using the two portions of cooked veggies and grated cheese for stuffing in between.

Serve rostis while warm.  Or place all rostis on a baking tray to warm and serve later.

Or else, microwave individual servings on microwavable tableware. and enjoy!

The touch of lemon adds a flavorful tanginess to these cookies, while toning down the sweetness of delicious frosting.

Santa and all his friends will love these!

 

X Mas cookies final

Ingredients

Makes about 16

1 cup Grandma’s Gluten free flour ( click here, or see under “Basics” or at the beginning of the “Cakes, Cookies and Desserts” section)

1/2 cup oat flour

3/4 cup confectioner’s sugar plus 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar

6 Tablespoons butter / margarine, cut into small chunks

1 Tablespoon lemon juice

2 teaspoons shredded lemon peel

1 teaspoon vanilla

Method

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F / 180 C

In a large bowl, combine both the sugars, butter lemon juice, shredded peel and vanilla

Combine both the flours, then knead then into the other ingredients, to form a smooth dough.

Refrigerate dough for about an hour or until firm

Place half the dough between two sheets of plastic wrap, press to form a flat round, then roll to a 1/4” thickness, between the two sheets.

(It becomes easy and efficient to use plastic wrap while rolling out gluten free dough)

Using special Christmas cookie cutters, press to cut out about 8 cookies.  Ball up dough and reroll if necessary, to accommodate different shapes.

Repeat this process with the remaining dough.

Place on parchment paper lined baking sheets / trays and bake for 14-15 minutes.

For the Frosting

To 1 teaspoon butter / margarine, add 6 fairly heaped teaspoons confectioner’s sugar.  Mix in 1 teaspoon of lemon juice.

Divide into two and add a different food color to each portion of frosting.

Make additional frosting if you wish and make one or two more portions with more different colors

Get creative and have fun decorating when the cookies are completely cooled.

To make frosting without any butter or margarine–

Knead about 6 heaped teaspoons of confectioner’s sugar with 2 teaspoons of lemon juice, to form a moderately stiff ball of icing.  Add a few extra drops of lemon juice or a little bit more sugar if required.

The ball of frosting should be soft enough to manipulate, but not so soft that is spreads and does not form shapes on top of the cookies.

Alternately, make softer icing using a few more drops of lemon juice, place into icing bags and pipe your designs onto each cookie. 

Divide icing into required portions, color each portion with the food color of your choice, make more frosting if needed, and enjoy creating great designs!

Kids with or without allergies will love these yummy creations.

Did You Know?

*That acid and fat in food lowers the glycemic index of sugars and flours?

*That lemon juice added to frosting will lower the glycemic index of sugar in our recipe?

*That the butter / margarine / oil in cakes, cookies and other foods also serves to lower glycemic index of sugar and flours?  (We just don’t want to add too much fat for other health reasons!)

*That according to Dr. Andrew Weil, reputed physician and nutrition expert, an oatmeal cookie has a lower glycemic index than a bowlful of prepared breakfast oatmeal?

To  read more food facts, go to “Basics”.

Shepherd’s Pie

Served hot on a cold day, this is the ideal comfort food for the whole family.  Great tasting and easy to make, this is a wonderful way of getting the family to enjoy vegetables! Omit the chicken if you want this to be a purely vegetarian dish, and add a few extra veggies of your choice.

Shepherd's Pie

Ingredients

Potato Topping:

  • 2 cups boiled and mashed potato
  • 1/2 cup warm milk
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped green onions
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

Method

Mix all ingredients and set aside

Vegetable and Poultry base

  1. 2 cups cauliflower florets, cut into small pieces
  2. 1/2 cup diced carrots
  3. 2 Tablespoons finely chopped onions
  4. 1 1/2 cups cooked chicken or turkey breast, diced into small cubes
  5. 1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons milk
  6. 1/4 cup cream
  7. 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  8. 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  9. 1/2 teaspoon minced, fresh garlic
  10. 1/4 teaspoon finely cut green jalapeno pepper (green chilli)

Method

  1. Heat oil, add garlic and green jalapeno pepper
  2. Add chopped onions
  3. Saute till soft, then add the other veggies
  4. Drizzle a little water if needed, cover and cook for 3-5 minutes
  5. Add milk and cream, simmer for a minute or two
  6. Mix cornstarch into the extra milk (2 Tablespoons), and pour into simmering mixture.
  7. Stir till sauce thickens and remove from heat
  8. Place into a 9” baking dish
  9. After mixture has cooled and set a little, spread mashed potato mixture on top, as evenly as possible
  10. Sprinkle grated cheese.
  11. Place in pre heated oven and bake for about 40 minutes or till sides of the potato topping turn golden brown.

Variations

Use varied vegetables—broccoli and red and yellow peppers, mushrooms (if they are safe to use), peas and corn, and make your own great tasting combinations. A little fresh basil or a sprinkling of Italian herbs will make it really flavorful.

Kalakand

Almost all Indian sweets contain a variety of nuts.  Even ostensibly nut free mithai such as milk cakes or pedhas are made in parallel with other, nut rich preparations.  The risk of cross contamination must be factored in.

It is so much safer to make special occasion mithai at home.  You need just about 15 minutes to make this yummy kalakand for all the family—and it is all the more delicious as it is so much more fresh than anything that has been on store shelves.

 

DSC02887[1]

 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup grated or crumbled paneer
  • 3/4 cup condensed milk
  • 1/4 cup dry milk powder
  • 1 teaspoon ghee
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder
  • A few strands of saffron (optional)
  • A few pumpkin seeds (kernels), sliced thin
  • A drop of green food color.

Method

  1. If you are using saffron, crush strands in a small bowl and add a teaspoon of hot water, to strengthen color. Set aside.
  2. Combine paneer, condensed milk, ghee and dry milk powder in a non stick saucepan or wok
  3. Place on low heat.
  4. Cook till mixture thickens into a lump.
  5. Add cardamom powder and saffron.
  6. Remove pan /wok from heat and spoon the cooked mixture into a plate, about 6” in diameter.  Flatten mixture with a spatula or with the back of a large spoon.
  7. Thinly slice pumpkin seeds and color them with the drop of green food color.
  8. Press colored pumpkin seeds randomly onto the flattened kalakand
  9. Allow the kalakand to cool, then make square pieces.  Gently lift pieces onto your serving platter, or place in a container and refrigerate for later use.

Suggestion

Use colored pumpkin seeds when not using saffron, or just make it colorful if you like.

Diwali is here! This traditional favorite is quick and easy to make, and  can be enjoyed by all.  These delicious gulabjamuns are gluten free, and when they taste just as good, why even make the conventional wheat containing ones?

(approx. 18 jamuns)

DSC02689

Ingredients

1 cup instant non fat dry milk powder

2 Tablespoons cornstarch (‘corn flour’ for Indian readers)

2 Tablespoons thick yogurt, plus 1 Tablespoon in reserve if needed

2 teaspoons ghee

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Oil for deep frying.

Syrup

1 cup sugar

2 cups water

1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom seed (elaichi)

 

Method

Combine all dry ingredients in a medium bowl

Add one and a half teaspoon ghee, leaving half teaspoon for later use.

Mix half of the yogurt and add the remaining as needed, to make a medium-soft dough.  You may require the extra amount, depending on the texture of the milk powder.

Knead well so that the dough is very smooth..  Smear a little ghee on your hands as you knead, to prevent the dough from sticking to your hands.

Rub just a little extra ghee as you form small balls (about 18), with the dough.

Cover balls with a clean damp cloth or moistened paper towel.

Heat oil in a medium size wok, and allow oil to heat well, keeping flame on low..

Drop a small bit of dough into the oil to test readiness.  The dough should rise to the surface and fluff up a little.

Fry jamuns on low heat, a few at a time, till they are a rich, golden color.

Remove from oil, holding the balls with a slotted spoon against the side of the wok, so that most of the oil will drain.

Place on a dish lined with paper towels.

To prepare the syrup, combine sugar and water and place on medium high heat.

Allow the syrup mixture to come to a rolling boil and continue to let it boil for 4-5 minutes

Remove from heat and add elaichi powder.

Gently drop the fried balls into the hot syrup and set aside.

In about an hour or so, they will partly absorb the syrup and fluff into larger, spongy balls.

Warm the gulab jamuns a little before serving, or enjoy them at room temperature—either way they taste great! 

Yogurt is the best probiotic that we can include in our daily diet.  When derived from active cultures, yogurt maintains and improves the balance of different kinds of bacteria in the intestines.  Apart from improving overall digestion, these friendly bacteria help to synthesize  some of the B group vitamins and Vitamin K.

Antibiotics and painkillers can destroy friendly bacteria, and it is especially important to repopulate the gut flora with these, by ingesting plenty of yogurt.  Lactobacillus is the most important component of friendly bacteria.

Yogurt converts lactose (milk sugar) into lactic acid, thus making digestion easier.  Lactose intolerant people can usually have yogurt without any problem.  Well known nutritionist Marion Nestle recommends trying hard cheese and yogurt, as “the friendly bacteria used to making these foods have already digested most of the lactose they contain.  However, caution is the key word here.

Studies tell us that not only are the proteins in yogurt more easily digestible, but also its micro components such as calcium and phosphorus are more widely and immediately available to our bodies.  Research shows that our bodies absorb twice the amount of calcium from yogurt than from milk.

Studies also show that–

-yogurt helps to stop dysentery caused by bacteria and unbalanced diets,

-plays a role in the suppression of cancer cells,

-regenerates intestinal flora upset by medication,

-helps in healing skin infection and eczema

-soothes chronic constipation,

-boosts the immune system.

The “Complete Food and Nutrition Guide” brought out by the American Dietetics Association (ADA), states that yogurt is one food that is a must for children, the elderly and for people recovering from illnesses. and that it can even prevent allergy symptoms.

Some yogurt facts written in the ADA Guide–

Regular yogurt supplies considerably more calcium than frozen yogurt.

No federal standards exist for frozen yogurt.

Very low temperatures in frozen yogurt slow down the action of any live cultures.

It is best to have yogurt as a snack rather than at the end of a meal.

Never leave fresh fruit in yogurt  for longer than half an hour.  Add cooked fruit to yogurt if you wish to make fruit yogurt.

 

Did You Know

That Ancient Egyptians preserved milk in containers made from animal skins, while in Mesopotamia milk containers were made out of dried gourds.  In India, the earthen pot is considered as the best to use for yogurt.

That yogurt is made everyday at home in many cultures.  In India people make yogurt by adding a small quantity of the previous day’s yogurt to warm milk, and keeping it in a warmer corner of the kitchen for about 4 hours, till it is set and ready to eat.  Yogurt culture can now be bought in stores, but where and how the first few spoons of yogurt were obtained centuries ago is a story that is lost in the mists of history.

That when bought from stores, we need to ensure that yogurt is made from live cultures certified by the National Yogurt Association.

I have had many requests for Indian recipes.  While many Indian foods are gluten and allergy free, there are many others which have to be excluded from the gluten free diet. For anyone allergic to gluten, the chapati / paratha / puri is by far the most missed item in an Indian meal.

The chapati is also great substitute for the Mexican tortilla especially if corn is an allergy issue. Just substitute tapioca or potato starch for corn starch in my Gluten Free flour Mix recipe, which is right below the Start Here, at the beginning of my blog.  You will also find it in the Basics, or Cakes. Cookies and Desserts section.

Try the gluten free chapati / tortilla and see how soft and pliable chapatis remain long after they are made.  Serve them hot off the tava (skillet), or store them in an insulated container for later use, or even freeze them, then microwave and serve.  They are perfect to take along on a journey, rolled up with a favorite filling– anything from small pieces of chicken or paneer tikkas, aloo subzi, to sweet fillings like ghee and jaggery paste or strawberry jam can go in the chapati roll.  They are simply great for  school lunch as well.

Call them tortillas and make quesadillas with Mexican fillings, or prepare enchiladas with them. Fold them like wraps with salad/ cold meats, leftover cooked meats.  Or make quick and easy roll ups for hungry kids in a hurry.

 

DSC02684

Ingredients                                                            Makes 10-12

  • 2 cups Grandma’s Gluten Free Flour Mix 
  • 1/2 cup boiled and mashed potato
  • 1 Tablespoon plus one teaspoon oil (divided use)
  • 1 cup warm water (approximately)
  • 1 heaped tablespoon rice flour, mixed with a Tablespoon of corn starch for dusting
  • 1 Tablespoons or a little more, of oil or ghee for smearing on the pan or on the chapati./ tortilla.

Method – To Prepare the Dough

  1. Place flour mix in a large bowl, with mashed potato and 1 Tablespoon oil.
  2. Rub the potato and oil into the flour to incorporate well.
  3. Add half the water and start to knead the dough.
  4. Slowly add the remaining water (as needed), kneading all the time.
  5. Note:  Gluten free flours usually require more kneading than wheat flour to acquire a soft, smooth texture.
  6. Add a little more water if required.
  7. When you are able to form the dough into a ball, smear your hand with a little oil and continue to knead to make a smooth dough.
  8. Place prepared dough in a bowl, cover and allow it to rest for about 15 minutes.

Method – To Prepare the Chapatis / Tortillas

  1. Place the rice flour and corn starch mixture onto a plate and keep it at hand.
  2. Tear off two large sheets of plastic wrap, about 10” long  Place one sheet on rolling surface and the other on any clean, dry surface nearby.  Take care to ensure that plastic sheets are not close to stove top.
  3. Heat a tawa / skillet on medium- high heat, till well heated.
  4. Divide dough into 10- 12 equal sized balls.
  5. Roll each ball smoothly with your hands, press and flatten to form a disc.
  6. Take one flattened ball and dust it lightly with the flour mix kept on plate.
  7. Place on top of plastic sheet kept on rolling surface.
  8. Place the second plastic sheet on top of the ball, in parallel with the bottom sheet.
  9. DSC02685
  10. Roll out gently, rolling evenly on all sides, to form a fairly thin circle of dough about 7” in diameter. DSC02686
  11. Once rolled out, remove upper plastic sheet and set aside away from stove top.
  12. Flip the chapati / tortilla along with the lower plastic sheet onto the palm of your hand.
  13. DSC02687 
  14. With the other hand, peel off the plastic sheet, and place chapati / tortilla on tawa / skillet  
  15. Allow some bubbles to appear, then, using a spatula, flip roti onto the other side and allow it to cook while pressing it gently and moving it around the tawa / skillet a little.
  16. Flip once again and let the first side cook a little more.
  17. Remove from skillet, smear with ghee and serve hot, or keep in insulated container till all chapatis are are made, and then serve. 

DSC02688

Chef’s Tips 

Make Gluten Free Flour parathas just as you would make wheat parathas.  Make a hollow in the ball of dough,place your filling, then lift up all sides and close them so that filling is firmly enclosed within.

Gently press the filled ball, dust with dry flour mix, place on plastic wrap and roll out without pressing too hard with the rolling pin.

Puris can be made without adding the boiled and mashed potato.  Since puris don’t have to be large or thin, you may be able to make them without using the plastic wrap.

Enjoy!

Variation

My friend, Manisha, came up with a great idea–

Instead of mashed potato, use 3 Tablespoons of soft cooked dal for one cup of Gluten Free flour  I use moong dal, but you could try any other dal of your choice.  Dal should be of cake batter consistency.  You may need an extra Tablespoon if the consistency is too thin.

Add dal to flour, mix it in, then add water as required.  The amount of water you need depends on the consistency of dal, so add water a little at at a time.

Chef’s Tip

Cook 1/2 cup dal with a 1//4 teaspoon of turmeric and salt to taste.  Hing (asafoetida) is optional.  Fill it into ice cube trays, and freeze.  Remove frozen dal cubes from trays, put into in freezer bags, and place in freezer.  This way, you will have cooked dal handy before preparing the chapati / tortilla dough. 

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