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Brown Rice Salad with Roasted Tomatoes and Asparagus

Brown Rice Salad with Roasted Tomatoes and Asparagus

Healthy Brown Rice Salad with Roasted Tomatoes and Asparagus. Delicious, Nutritious and Easy to make. Refreshing and just right for a meal whatever the weather

Roasted Pumpkin Labneh Buckwheat Salad with Pomegranate and Rocket

Roasted Pumpkin Labneh Buckwheat Salad with Pomegranate and Rocket

Summery delicious nutritious Roasted Pumpkin Labneh Buckwheat Salad with Pomegranate and Rocket. With Contrasting textures & flavours – Its Heaven on a Plate!

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Mango Rice – How to make Raw Mango Rice or Mangai Sadam

Mango Rice – How to make Raw Mango Rice or Mangai Sadam

Though the heat of the summer has been blistering, making it difficult to enter the kitchen, yet the season has its compensations. Bright green raw mangoes can be turned into so many tasty recipes, each being quick and easy to make. Raw Mango Rice or Mangai Sadam is a favourite with its sharp and tangy taste.

When making Raw Mango Rice or Mangai Sadam, the only effort needed is to grate the mangoes. As the zero pesticide mangoes that I had, (delivered by First Agro through their marketing arm, Sakura Fresh) were fresh and supple, I washed them well and retained the peel, giving the rice a greener look than if I had removed the peel. As there is nutrition in most vegetables and fruits, in the peel and just below it, I try to keep the peel whenever possible. I read an interesting article recently, on why the Mango skin is to be eaten and not discarded.

You could slice the mango into small cubes, when making Raw Mango Rice or Mangai Sadam, but the Tamilian version that I make is better when you grate the mango. And if you use a large box grater, then it takes only a few minutes to grate the mangoes.

Grated Mango for Raw Mango Rice
Grated Mango for Raw Mango Rice

Raw Mango Rice or Mangai Sadam Health Benefits:

As the grated mango is cooked just briefly in this recipe, it retains a lot of its nutrients. Some of the health and nutrition attributed to mangoes are:

The mango is rich in dietary fibre as well as in various vitamins and minerals. A good source of Vitamin A, vitamin-B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin-C and vitamin-E and in flavonoids like beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, and β-cryptoxanthin. It has more Vitamin C content than the ripe mango fruit. Vitamin C helps increase the elasticity of blood vessels and promotes the formation of new blood cells. It aids the absorption of iron and prevents bleeding tendencies besides increasing the body resistance against TB, anaemia, cholera and dysentery.

Mangoes also contain potassium, copper and magnesium as well as small amount of various other minerals. It is low in Saturated Fats, Cholesterol and Sodium.

The mango peel is rich in phytonutrients, such as the pigment antioxidants like carotenoids and polyphenols.

Green raw mangoes are a rich source of pectin and are sour in taste because of their oxalic, citric, malice and succinic acid content.

Cancer Fighting properties:

Mangoes contain poly-phenolic flavonoid antioxidant compounds, and recent research suggests that  mango fruit has been found to protect from colon, breast, leukemia and prostate cancers. Research also suggests that polyphenolic antioxidant compounds in mango are known to offer protection against breast and colon cancers.

The Raw mango has more antioxidants than ripe mangoes. These antioxidant properties protect the body against cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Raw Mango Rice or Mangai sadam
Raw Mango Rice or Mangai sadam

The link below is to a vendor to whom PepperOnPizza.com is affiliated. If you click and purchase through the link, I will earn a small commission. I only promote brands and products that I trust.


Panakam -Traditional Indian Summer Cooler of Jaggery and Dry Ginger

Panakam -Traditional Indian Summer Cooler of Jaggery and Dry Ginger

Panakam or Panagam: Traditional chilled drink of Jaggery water with dry ginger -specially made for Sri Rama Navami festival – easy, refreshing and healthy

Pathiya Peerkangai Thogayal with Pirandai Bone Setter for a New Mom

Pathiya Peerkangai Thogayal with Pirandai Bone Setter for a New Mom

Cooking for the New Mom – Peerkangai thogayal (thurai or ridge gourd chutney) with pirandai Bone setter stem gives the special nutritional benefits needed by the new mother

Kothavarangai Paruppu Usili – Cluster Beans Dhal Paste Curry

Kothavarangai Paruppu Usili – Cluster Beans Dhal Paste Curry

A childhood favourite, I loved the Paruppu Usili made by my Mom – she would make it with banana flower (vazhaipoo) or guar / cluster beans (kothavarangai). I had attempted to make the this curry once or twice but was not happy with the results. Now that my daughter Mridula wanted a recipe for an authentic paruppu usili, I decided to make it once more. This time I researched the various steps for making the curry. Meenakshi Ammal’s  Samaithu Par or Cook and See cookbook, Vol 1, has the recipe for the Plantain Flower Dhal Paste Curry, and for the Cluster Beans Dhal Paste Curry. I have modified the recipe quite a bit, following what I recollected of the process my mother used.

Cluster Beans Paruppu Usili_Paruppu Usili
Cluster Beans Paruppu Usili

The Paruppu Usili is a simple dry curry which goes well with a kuzhambu such as a vathal kuzhambu (which I prepared today for lunch) or with sambar, milagu kozhambu or mor kuzhambu. It tastes good with rasam too. In fact you can have this curry with just about any South Indian style gravy (kuzhambu or rasam) or with chappaties and dhal.

Slice the beans finely
Slice the beans finely

The Cook and See book suggests that the vegetable be cooked with water on the stove top. I prefer to steam the sliced vegetables. All you need is for the vegetables to be cooked well with a bite still remaining and not overcooked and soggy, and for the dhal paste to have the right consistency. Again, the cookbook does not suggest steaming the dhal paste, but I have seen my mother steaming it, and I preferred the dhal to be well cooked, so I have also steamed the dhal after grinding it to a paste.

Kitchen Tips for making Cluster beans Paruppu Usili:

  1. I saved time by steaming the cluster bean slices and the dhal paste in the steamer container in my pasta cooker. Both need about the same amount of time so this was convenient. You will need 10 minutes after the water begins to boil, for the vegetables to cook.
  2. An idli plate kept in the idli cooker/ pressure cooker, with adequate water for 10 minutes of steaming, and without the weight on the cooker lid, could be used. Alternatively, steam the paste and the vegetables on a plate fitted into a kadai or frying pan, again with sufficient water for steaming for about 10 minutes(from the time the water begins to boil).
  3. After steaming the dhal paste, allow it to cool and then crumble it with your hand, as it would have caked after steaming. Crumbling will help stir it nicely into the cooked vegetables and the tempering.
  4. This is a dry curry and moisture would impact the consistency and taste. Squeeze out any excess water from the cooked beans. Also,  grind the dhal -chilli paste without adding water to it.
  5. Select young tender cluster beans as more mature ones tend to be stringy, fibrous and bitter.

Health & Nutrition benefits of Cluster Beans:

  • The Cluster beans or Guar Beans are known to have various nutritional benefits: They contain potassium and folate and are said to be heart -healthy and improves cardio health; they are rich in water soluble dietary fibre which helps reduce blood cholesterol as well as improves digestion and reduces bowel complaints. They have a low glycemic index and hence are good to include in a diabetic diet.
  • Cluster Beans are rich in vitamins such a Vitamin K, minerals such as calcium and phosphorous and hence can help strengthen bone health and teeth, as well as a soluble form of iron which is easy for the body to absorb. They are said to help maintain blood pressure. Low in calorific content carbohydrates, the cluster beans are a good source of folic acid for pregnant women.
  • Cancer Fighting: Cluster beans have properties that attack and destroy free radicals in the body, and may be helpful in fighting Cancer.
  • The plantain flower paruppu usili is very tasty, but the process of removing the stamen from each little flower and then slicing the sticky blossoms is a little time consuming. Making paruppu usili with cluster beans, French beans, snake gourd, raw plantain (raw banana) cabbage or yam, is easier and faster.


Lunch today is something I  am looking forward to: kotavarangai paruppu usili, orange peel vathal kuzhambu (again my mother’s recipe) and  hot rice with potato chips!

The paruppu usili tastes real good. Im wondering whether I can make a quesadilla with some of it. With a yogurt dip as an accompaniment. Will let you know how that goes!
The link below is to a vendor to whom PepperOnPizza.com is affiliated. If you click and purchase through the link, I will earn a small commission. I only promote brands and products that I trust.

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Easy Vegetable Koottu -Veggies & Lentil Stew for the New Mom

Easy Vegetable Koottu -Veggies & Lentil Stew for the New Mom

Easy, Quick to make Vegetable Koottu for the new Mom, Vegetables cooked with moong dal lentils and turmeric, tempered with curry leaves, mustard, fenugreek and cumin

Thin crust Tomato Mozzarella Pizza

Thin crust Tomato Mozzarella Pizza

Simple to make and an amazingly tasty classic pizza, topped with Tomato, Bell Peppers and Mozarella cheese. The basil leaves and freshly ground pepper take it to a another dimension. Try a variant with different toppings, taking you to Pizza Heaven! The recipe for the pizza dough is from The Greens

Easy Basic Pizza Dough – Anyone can make Pizza

Easy Basic Pizza Dough – Anyone can make Pizza

Move over, Dominos, Pizza Hut, et al! Home made Pizza has arrived! Having finally got the hang of making pizza dough at home, weekends have become Pizza dinner days. With my easy tomato basil sauce stocked up in the fridge, along with pizza dough made every 2 weeks or so and frozen till the weekend, it takes 5 minutes to prepare the toppings and spread them on the pizza base. Into the oven and out again in 12 minutes or less.

The recipe below for Pizza dough is adapted from the River Cottage Veg Everyday Cook book’s Magic Bread Dough Recipe. I had earlier followed recipes from Jamie Oliver as well as from the Greens cookbook, but have finally settled down with this recipe for Pizza dough, which I have tweaked for my own use. Jamie’s pizza dough is similar in method to the one below, however as it makes a large quantity of dough, I don’t often use it. The Greens cookbook has a recipe for making pizza dough out of rye flour and wheat flour, and that is something I will be going back to, soon, as I want to shift from all purpose / maida flour to whole wheat flour.

The ingredients listed below may be doubled to make more dough. I wouldn’t advise reducing it to make smaller quantities though, as the proportions for yeast, water and oil may not hold. Some amount of kneading is required, but as this is a soft dough, it is not difficult to knead. And it is good exercise!

The recipe for pizza dough below follows the process of proofing the yeast before adding it to the flour, as this is a practice I invariably follow. The original recipe does not require this to be done as quick blend yeast is suggested, whereas I use active dry yeast.

Dough rising times can vary between 1 hour to 2 or more, depending on the climate as well as the potency of the yeast. Usually when I make the pizza dough at home at Bangalore, the dough doubles in size in under 2 hours.

Pizza dough_pizza dough after it rises
Pizza dough_pizza dough after it rises

Similarly, the baking time varies from oven to oven. I usually set my oven temperature at 250 deg C and a thin crust pizza bakes in 10 minutes. Recently when I used another OTG oven where I set the temperature at 240, it took 15- 20 minutes for each Pizza to bake.

Homemade Thin Crust Pizza_PepperOnPizza.com
Homemade Thin Crust Pizza

For recipes for different pizza toppings, check the links below on this blog:

  1. Tomato Mozzarella Pizza 
  2. Kale And Onion Pizza

For the recipe for a Tomato Basil Pizza Sauce on this blog: Easy Tomato Basil Sauce
Till recently, good quality yeast was not easily available in India. Now there are some premium qualities available in Stores that supply ingredients and equipment for Baking, such as Arife, in various cities, and online on Amazon.

My affiliate link for one such Baker’s yeast on Amazon is given below. If you buy through that link, I would earn a small commission on the sale. I only recommend products which I trust.


Fresh Ripe Strawberries – Delicious Bites of Nutrition

Fresh Ripe Strawberries – Delicious Bites of Nutrition

Strawberries are plentifully available this month, and I am making the most of the short season. Every time I step into the little supermarket near the apartment at Hyderabad, I see these small plastic boxes tightly filled with ripe red strawberries. Natasha looooves strawberries and is […]


Spolight on Strawberries

Fresh Ripe Strawberries – Delicious Bites of Nutrition

Fresh Ripe Strawberries – Delicious Bites of Nutrition

Strawberries are plentifully available this month, and I am making the most of the short season. Every time I step into the little supermarket near the apartment at Hyderabad, I see these small plastic boxes tightly filled with ripe red strawberries. Natasha looooves strawberries and is ready to make a meal of them, if she is allowed to do so.

There are any number of recipes you can turn out from this tart and sweet bite of deliciousness, but did you know that they are healthy and nutritious too?

Strawberries are an excellent source of vitamins C and K as well as being rich in fibre, folic acid, manganese and potassium as well as having lesser quantities of other vitamins. Strawberries are known to have been used throughout history as a medicine for digestive ailments, teeth whitening and skin irritations. Their fibre and fructose content may help regulate blood sugar levels by slowing digestion and the fibre is thought to have a satiating effect. Leaves can be eaten raw, cooked or used to make tea. Certain studies have suggested that strawberry consumption may have beneficial effects in humans such as lowering blood LDL cholesterol levels, total cholesterol, reducing the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, and decreasing the spike in blood sugar after high sugar meals and the spike in blood cholesterol seen after high-fat meals.

Strawberries ready to be picked_PepperOnPizza.com

Strawberries contain significant amounts of phytonutrients and flavanoids which gives them their bright red colour. The vibrant red is due to large amounts of anthocyanidin, which also means they contain powerful antioxidants and are thought to protect against inflammation, cancer and heart disease.

It was in June 2014 that I first experienced Strawberry Picking, at a farm  in Connecticut.

Strawberry Picking
Strawberry Picking

On a hot bright morning, it was great fun to pick the berries from the neatly laid out rows of plants, and then to go back home and plan a host of recipes with the fresh fruit.

Strawberry fields in CT_PepperOnPizza.com
Strawberry fields in CT

I am yet to make strawberry jam, though I do plan to try this out this year, 2017 when I will be visiting Connecticut again.

Strawberry fields in CT_PepperOnPizza.com

Some Easy Recipes on this blog, using Strawberries:

Strawberry Poppyseed Dressing for Salads: http://www.pepperonpizza.com/strawberry-poppyseed-dressing-chia-seeds

Strawberry Poppyseed Dressing
Strawberry Poppyseed Dressing

Strawberry Pancakes: http://www.pepperonpizza.com/easy-strawberry-buttermilk-pancakes-recipe

Strawberry Pancakes_PepperOnPizza.com
Strawberry Pancakes

Dandelion Greens Couscous Salad with Strawberry Dressing http://www.pepperonpizza.com/salad-dandelion-greens-mango-couscous-recipe

Dandelion Greens with Strawberry Dressing_PepperOnPizza.com
Dandelion Greens with Strawberry Dressing

Watermelon Arugula Strawberry Salad: http://www.pepperonpizza.com/watermelon-arugula-feta-salad-with-strawberries-cranberries-recipe


Traditional Indian Recipes

Mango Rice – How to make Raw Mango Rice or Mangai Sadam

Mango Rice – How to make Raw Mango Rice or Mangai Sadam

Easy, tangy and tasty seasonal raw mango rice or mangai sadam, Tamil style. Grate the mango with the peel and add peanuts for greater flavour and nutrition.

Panakam -Traditional Indian Summer Cooler of Jaggery and Dry Ginger

Panakam -Traditional Indian Summer Cooler of Jaggery and Dry Ginger

Panakam or Panagam: Traditional chilled drink of Jaggery water with dry ginger -specially made for Sri Rama Navami festival – easy, refreshing and healthy

Pathiya Peerkangai Thogayal with Pirandai Bone Setter for a New Mom

Pathiya Peerkangai Thogayal with Pirandai Bone Setter for a New Mom

Cooking for the New Mom – Peerkangai thogayal (thurai or ridge gourd chutney) with pirandai Bone setter stem gives the special nutritional benefits needed by the new mother

Kothavarangai Paruppu Usili – Cluster Beans Dhal Paste Curry

Kothavarangai Paruppu Usili – Cluster Beans Dhal Paste Curry

Kothavarangai Paruppu Usili from a traditional Tamil Iyer Style Recipe. Cluster beans sautéed with tuar dal-chilli paste, tempered with mustard seeds & hing.

Easy Vegetable Koottu -Veggies & Lentil Stew for the New Mom

Easy Vegetable Koottu -Veggies & Lentil Stew for the New Mom

Easy, Quick to make Vegetable Koottu for the new Mom, Vegetables cooked with moong dal lentils and turmeric, tempered with curry leaves, mustard, fenugreek and cumin