Vegetarian Black Bean Soup

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Let me start off this post, by asking you all dear readers about Canned Food. How often do you buy canned food? Do you use it in your cooking often? What do you think about its nutrition value? 

Recently at work, some of our colleagues were discussing about canned food, fresh food, frozen food its benefits its ease of use of each of them etc. It was not a heated argument or anything like that, just casual conversation with exchanging information. Turns out many of them use it frequently and that too on a day to day basis in their cooking. 

I do not use canned food often even if it is organic; I prefer fresh food.  I agree 100% about the convenience, but what about the salt, sugar, and preservatives that goes into it? Also I cannot justify using the food that has been sitting on the shelves for more than 3 months, 6 months or even more than that. 

Now as far as frozen food is concerned, I have changed my outlook over a period of years. I do stock up on frozen stuff but mainly vegetables (not frozen cooked food though). This is in stark contrast to the time years ago when I did not use even frozen foods.  I remember years ago when we were looking for a new refrigerator, I recommended buying one that had the smallest freezer, as I felt that freezer space would be a waste of space.  Fast forward few years and we have the same refrigerator and lucky for me I am not running out of space in the freezer section.

Coming back to the recipe, I made this classic Black Bean soup using canned beans. Black beans are nutrition powerhouse, they are rich in protein and antioxidants, being high in fiber and they are cholesterol-lowering, heart-healthy food.  Since this is made using the canned black beans it is a breeze to put this together and the taste is just hearty and delicious.  Continue reading →

Lemon Barley Drink

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Hope you all had a good weekend. For us here in the US, Monday was the Memorial Day and hence we got the day off; so it was an extended weekend after a long time. Memorial Day also marks the unofficial start of summer and boy are the temperatures sticking to their schedules. It is just the beginning of summer and the temperatures here in Texas are already in the upper 90 F. 

Hot summer days calls for good refreshing drinks and so I made this Lemon Barley drink.  This is a very simple drink that can be made in no time. I have already posted a savory barley drink before which tastes good when it is hot. But this one has sweeter, lemony flavor which tastes good when it is cold. Good one’s for those hot summer days. 

Not only is this drink refreshing, but barley provides good amount of nutrition. Whole grain barley is rich in protein, vitamins, minerals and amino acids essential for our health. Barley is one of the richest sources of both soluble and insoluble fiber.  

Health benefits of barley? Read this website here, it is truly mind boggling.

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Jowar Bhakri/Sorghum Dosa

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Jowar is an Indian name for Sorghum. Sorghum is gluten-free diet and is good in treatment of celiac disease and wheat allergies. It keeps bones and teeth healthy giving energy to the body. It also maintains the health of heart, controls diabetes, arthritis and weight of the body. (Health Benefits of Sorghum).

The most famous Indian flatbread made out of Jowar is Jolada Rotti. This is an unleavened flatbread, delicious, nutritious but tricky to make. Unlike the regular wheat flour chapathis, Jowar is gluten free, hence difficult to retain shape while rolling of the dough. Of course, it requires good practice and experience. My mom makes very good jowar Rotti and she serves it along with garlic chutney and Jhunka, the combination is simply mouth watering.

I have tried making them many times, but it is difficult to roll them thin and yet maintain its shape. So instead I make these Jowar Thalipeeth which my MIL makes often. Thalipeeth is a Marathi word for Multi grain pancake which also consists of onions, chilleis, cilantro etc.

The process of making these Rottis are very similar to Akki Rotti, the rice flour pancake. One can pat the prepared jowar dough directly over the pan; this requires good practice and care needs to be taken to see that the pan is not hot.  I follow another method in which the Roti dough is patted on to a shape of circle on a plastic cover/aluminum foil. I then transfer the prepared circled dough onto the hot tava. I feel this method gives more flexibility as it is easy to control the shape and the thickness of the “Rotti”. Either way they are nutritious!

These are served along with chutney and a dollop of ghee or butter on the side.

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