Urban Food

Healthy Navratri-Fast Recipes

A large part of North, West and Central India observes fast on all nine days. It is believed that fasting is a way to pay gratitude to the Goddess. Devotees worship the different avatars of Goddess Durga for nine days. It is celebrated twice a year, at the beginning of spring and during the onset of autumn. People observing fast eat only specific types of food like kuttu ata, singhara ata, vegetables, fruits, and makhana and instead of regular salt, salt rock or sendha namak is preferred. This festival gives a chance to get back to the roots and experience the spirituality. Those who do not wish to fast, they follow a Satvik diet.



Low Fat Makhana Kheer
A delicious desert made of milk simmered till thick with puffed lotus seed and dry nuts and cardamom. This kheer recipe is a special one, for those who are fasting in the Navratri season and are on a low-fat diet. Serving this desert to guest post a great dinner or make it as a prasad after Pooja.

Ingredients needed:
1 litre milk
¼ cup makhana (puffed lotus seeds)
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp pistachios, chopped
2 tsp almonds, chopped
1 tsp green cardamom powder (optional)

How to make makhana kheer
– Pour some milk in a deep vessel and break the makhanas into smaller pieces, add that to the milk and let it simmer for about 1 hour without covering. Make sure the milk boils down and seeds are soft.
– Add sugar and stir for a few minutes
– Add the dry fruits like pistachios, almonds and cardamom power and stir again and well.

Serving Tip: Best serve hot or cold

Arbi Kofta with Mint Yogurt Dip

Arbi Kofta is a perfect evening snack to try out during the navratras. It is prepared with kuttu ka aata and served with the mint-yogurt dip. These crispy bites will have everyone asking more.
Ingredients for Arbi Kofta and Mint Yogurt Dip
– 250 Grams of Arbi/ Colocasia roots
– 3-4 Tbsp water chestnut flour (kuttu ka aata)
– 1 green chilli
– ½ Inch ginger, finely chopped
– 1 tsp carom seeds
– Rock salt, as per taste

For the dip
– Few sprigs of mint
– 100-gram curd
– 50-gram cucumber finely chopped
– Pomegranate, for garnishing

How to make Arbi Kofta
– Boil the arbi in a pressure cooker till it becomes soft
– Mash well and mix everything uniformly
– Apply some oil on your palms and shape the kofta dough into cylinders.
– Bake the kofta at a temperature of 320 degree, for 20 minutes. Wait till they are golden brown and crunchy.

How to make Mint yogurt Dip
– Hang yogurt to drain excess water
– Mix chopped mint and cucumber to the yogurt
– Refrigerate it for 30 minutes
Serve arbi kofta hot with mint yogurt dip


Avocado- A simple way to get healthy fats

More than 75 per cent of the calories in an Avocado come from unsaturated fat, most of which is monosaturated that helps you in keeping your health in check. Avocado contains healthy fat and vitamins E and C, potassium, fibre as well as the anti-oxidant, lutein that helps in keeping your vision and skin healthy. Studies show that they also help in reducing the cholesterol levels, improve heart health and keeping the weight on track.

Fresh and Healthy Avocado Salad
Healthy, fresh and serves as an insanely addicting side dish is perfect for barbeques, potlucks and family get-togethers. This Avocado salad can be made in under 10 minutes and is low in carbohydrates, gluten-free and vegan. It is creamy and healthy because of the healthy fats from the avocados, crisp and crunch from the cucumbers and a tangy touch from the onions. Even though this salad is a simple chopped veggie packed with a ton of flavour, it tastes amazing when combined with a dressing of olive oil, white vinegar and lemon juice.

Step 1: Take a salad bowl and add diced avocados, onions, cherry tomatoes and mint leaves.

Step 2: Add one tablespoon of olive oil, white vinegar and ½ a spoon of lemon.

Step 3: Now with a salad spatula, toss all the ingredients and sprinkle some salt. Serve immediately.

This healthy and tasty salad is amazing and tastes even better when served with grilled vegetable rice, pasta, pita bread baked nachos.

• 3 avocados, peeled, pitted and diced
• 1-pint cherry tomatoes sliced in half
• 1 large cucumber sliced
• 1 medium red onion sliced
• 1/2 cup chopped mint leaves
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1 tablespoon white vinegar
• 1/2 lemon juiced (about 1 1/2 tablespoons)
• Salt to taste

1. Add the diced avocados, cucumbers, red onions, cherry tomatoes and mint in a large bowl.
2. Top with the olive oil, white wine vinegar and lemon juice.
3. Toss together gently, sprinkle with sea salt and serve immediately.

This salad is best served immediately after making.


Easy to make Avocado Chips
We all crave for evening snacks but hogging on a healthy one when you are surrounded by junk foods and sugary treats can be difficult. This recipe of baked Avocado chips is not only healthy but will also satisfy your taste buds.
Take a baking plate, spray some heating oil and flatten the avocado dough. This recipe is not only easy but tasty and mess free.

Servings: 4 People
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Total Preparation Time: Under 30 minutes


• 1 large ripe avocado
• ½ bowl freshly grated Parmesan cheese
• 1 tsp lemon juice
• ½ Oregano and regular Italian seasoning
• Salt (as per taste)
• Black Pepper

1) Peel off the ripe Avocado and mash it in the bowl with a fork until the texture becomes smooth and buttery. Add some Parmesan cheese, squeeze some lemon juice, add garlic powder, oregano and some Italian seasoning. Preheat oven to 325° and line a medium baking sheet with parchment paper.
2) Mix the Avocado smooth dough with add-ons, stir it well. Add some pepper and salt to taste.
3) Take a heap teaspoon-size scoops of mixing on a baking sheet of mixture on baking sheet, leaving about 3-apart between each scoop. Flatten each scoop with the back the back of a spoon and bake the dough until crisp and golden for 20 minutes and let it cool. Serve at room temperature.

Serve it with guacamole and hummus.

The Ketogenic Diet: A Simple Guide to the Keto Diet

Simply put, the ketogenic diet (or keto diet, for short) is a low-carb, high-fat diet that offers many health benefits. It involves drastically reducing carbohydrate intake and replacing it with fat. This reduction in carbs puts your body into a metabolic state called ketosis. When this happens, your body becomes incredibly efficient at burning fat for energy. It also turns fat into ketones in the liver, which can supply energy for the brain.
Ketogenic diets can cause massive reductions in blood sugar and insulin levels. This, along with the increased ketones, has numerous health benefits.

Breakfast Brownie Muffins

These breakfast muffins are rich, hearty and moist, while low in carbs and high in fibre thanks to their flaxseed base and wholesome ingredients.

1 cup golden flaxseed meal
¼ cup cocoa powder
1 tablespoon cinnamon
½ tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 large egg
2 tablespoons edible coconut oil
¼ cup sugar-free caramel syrup
½ cup pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
¼ cup slivered almonds

1. Preheat your oven to 350°F and combine all your dry ingredients in a deep mixing bowl and mix to combine.
2. In a separate bowl, combine all your wet ingredients.
3. Pour your wet ingredients into your dry ingredients and mix very well to combine.
4. Line a muffin tin with paper liners and spoon about ¼ cup of batter into each muffin liner. This recipe should yield 6 muffins. Then sprinkle slivered almonds over the top of each muffin and press gently so that they adhere.
5. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes. You should see the muffins rise and set on top. Enjoy warm or cool!
6. This makes a total of 6 Keto Brownie Breakfast Muffins. Each muffin comes out to be 193 Calories.


Fresh Bell Pepper Basil Pizza

Topped with red and yellow bell pepper that bring a fantastic crunch, sweetness, and fresh aspect to every single bite.

6 ounces mozzarella cheese
½ cup almond flour
2 tablespoons psyllium husk
2 tablespoons cream cheese
2 tablespoons fresh Parmesan cheese
1 large egg
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper

4 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
1 medium vine tomato
¼ cup Marinara or Pizza Sauce
2/3 medium bell pepper
2-3 tablespoons fresh chopped basil

1. Preheat your oven to 400F. Start by measuring out all of your dry spices and flours in a bowl. 1/2 cup Almond Flour, 2 tbsp. Psyllium Husk, 2 tbsp. Fresh Parmesan Cheese, 1 tsp. Italian Seasoning, 1/2 tsp. Salt, and 1/2 tsp. Pepper.
2. Measure out 6 oz. Mozzarella Cheese into a bowl.
3. Microwave the cheese for 40-50 seconds until it’s completely melted and pliable with your hands. Add 2 tbsp. Cream Cheese to the top.
4. Add 1 egg to the dry ingredients and mix together a little bit.
5. Add the melted mozzarella cheese and cream cheese to the egg and dry ingredients and mix everything together.
6. Break the dough into 2 equal (or almost equal) portions. Roll the dough out thin – a little under 1/4. Here, you can use the top of a pot or other large round object to cut out your pizza base.
7. Fold the edges of the dough inward and form a small crust on the dough.
8. Bake the dough for 10 minutes, just enough so they get slightly golden brown.
9. Remove the crust from the oven and let it cool for a moment.
10. Slice medium tomatoes and put half on each pizza along with 2 tbsp. of tomato sauce per pizza.
11. Top with cheese – about 2 oz. Shredded Cheddar per pizza.
12. Chop up the bell peppers. You can use bell peppers of different colors.
13. Arrange the peppers and bake in the oven for another 8-10 minutes.
14. Remove the pizzas from the oven and let cool. In the meantime, slice up some fresh basil and have it ready for serving.

Healthy food from the Rice Bowl of India

Nishka Rathi samples the low calorie, finger licking delicious food from the streets of Chhattisgarh

In central India lies the heavily forested state of Chattisgarh. Chattisgrhiya food is known for its predilection to rice. After all, when you are in the rice bowl of India where else would you look for nourishment? In fact, rice is used in powdered or coarse form – even the water used to boil rice is used in some of the dishes. Wheat, jowar and maize also constitute part of the Chhattisgarhi cuisine.

Chattisgarh also has a sizable tribal population and its recipes reflect a mix of tribal and non-tribal menus. The tribals believe in eating local, seasonal food and truly live earthy with food like tender bamboo shoots and the famous red-ant chutney. But for now, we will look at the more urban eats of Chattisgarh.

Chawal ka Pitha

If you are fond of Momos then add Chawal ka Namkeen Pitha to your list of yums. Pitha is made in Jharkhand, Bengal and Orissa. This is a tasty dish, which is steamed and requires very less oil. Chawal ka Namkeen Pitha is a versatile dish and can be a tasty snack or a full meal – as you choose to eat it.

Ingredients for Chawal ka Pitha
Rice flour – 1 cup
Potato – 1 (cut into small pieces)
Carrot – 1 (cut into small pieces)
Green peas – ½ cup
Oil – 2 to 3 tbsp
Jeera (cumin seeds) – 1/4 tsp
Ginger (grated)
Green chilly (finely chopped)
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp Coriander powder – ½ tsp Red chilly powder- to taste . Salt – to taste
Amchur (mango powder) – 1/4 tsp Garam Masala – 1/4 tsp Green Coriander – 1 tbsp (finely chopped)

First, we will prepare a dough of the rice flour.
Heat 1 1/4 cup water in any utensil.
Lower the flame, add salt and 2 tsp oil in 1 cup boiling water.
Now add the rice flour and mix.
Take out the flour in a bowl and knead till it becomes soft. Cover the soft dough for 15-20 minutes allowing it to ferment.

Prepare the vegetables required to fill the Pitha
 Heat a pan, pour oil in it. Add Jeera. Once it starts spluttering, add turmeric powder, green chilly and ginger.
 Put in coriander powder and mix.
 Now add potatoes, carrots, peas, salt and red chilly powder.
 Cover the pan as you cook it on a low flame.
 Mix Garam masala, Amchur powder and green coriander.


 Take out vegetables in a bowl to cool.
 By now, the rice dough has fermented.
 Apply some oil to hand and knead the dough some more. Now, divide dough into equal portions.

 Take one piece and expand it with both hands similar to a bowl. Place 1 spoon of filling and enfold it in the rice dough. You can pinch the 4 sides to create a design!
 Steam and cook for 12-14 minutes.
 Take out Pitha on a plate, serve with coriander chutney or tomato chutney. Spicier the better


Think of pakoras as calorie packers? Think again with this tasty variation from Chattisgarh. Daal Bafauri uses absolutely zero oil and is, hence, perfect for our weight conscious times. Plus, its delicious taste makes it a perfect tea-time snack. What’s more, it is a very simple to put together.

Ingredients (makes 9 pieces):

1 cup chana daal
1 medium-sized onion
1/4 cup fresh coriander leaves
1 green chilly
A 1-inch piece of ginger
Salt, to taste
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
Red chilli powder, to taste (optional)
1 teaspoon ajwain
2 teaspoons oil, or as needed to grease steaming vessel

 Soak chana daal for 3-4 hours, in just enough water to cover it. Then, place in a colander and drain out all the excess water.
 Chop the green chillies, coriander and onion finely. Peel the ginger and chop finely.

 Take the soaked and drained chana daal in a mixer jar. Add salt to taste, green chillies, ginger, turmeric powder, and red chilli powder.
 Pulse a couple of times, stopping to scrape down the mixture on the sides of the mixer till you get a coarse mixture. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
 Now, add carom seeds, asafoetida, as well as chopped onion and coriander to the mixture in the bowl. Mix well. Taste and adjust seasonings as required. Make medium-sized balls or oval shapes out of this mixture and keep aside.
 Grease a wide vessel with the oil, for steaming, and keep them ready. Arrange the balls/ovals that you shaped in the vessel in a single layer, leaving a little space between each two.
 Put about 1 cup water in a pressure cooker and place the cooker on high flame.
 Now, place a stand within the pressure cooker, and place the vessel containing the balls/ovals on top. Close pressure cooker and steam (without putting the whistle on) for 12-15 minutes or until the balls/ovals are well cooked. Serve hot with spicy green chutney.


Bisi Bele Bath

Bisi Bele Bath Recipe (Bisi Bele Huli Anna) – a traditional classic dish from Karnataka cuisine. If we translate this bisi bele bath, bisi means hot, bele means lentils and bath means the dish made with rice.


• ¾ cup Sona masoori rice (or any short grain rice) if not available you can use basmati rice too
• Salt to taste
• 2 tablespoons Peanuts
• 1 ½ cup water for cooking rice
• ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons Arhar dal (toor dal or split pigeon peas)
• ½ teaspoon Turmeric powder
• ½ teaspoon Oil
• 1 cup Water for cooking dal

• 1 tablespoons Tamarind
• ½ cup Water (Hot) to dissolve tamarind
• 1 tablespoon Oil
• ½ cup Onion chopped (or 4-5 shallots)
• ½ cup Tomato chopped
• ½ cup Carrot chopped
• ½ cup Green peas
• ¼ cup Potatoes peeled and chopped
• ¼ cup Green beans (French beans) chopped
• ** Total 2 cups of vegetablesApprox.
• Salt to taste
• 1 cup + 1 cup Water
• 2 teaspoons Jaggery (Gur)
• 2 ½ tablespoons bisi bele bath powder

• 1 tablespoons Ghee (Clarified butter)
• 1 teaspoon Mustard seeds
• 6-7 Cashew nuts
• 2 Dried red chilies
• 10-12 Curry leaves
• ⅛ teaspoon Hing (Asafoetida)

1. Rinse the dal and rice separately. Then soak for 20 minutes.
2. Soak the tamarind in hot water for 20-30 minutes then squeeze the tamarind to get the pulp out of it. Strain the water and keep it ready.
3. Take rice, peanuts and 1 ½ cups of water in the small container that fits into pressure cooker.
4. Take dal, turmeric powder, oil and 1 cup of water in another container.


5. Add glassful of water in the cooker, place rack/stand first, followed by dal container and rice container. Cover the rice container and put the weight on and turn the heat on medium. Pressure cook it for 3-4 whistles and let the pressure go down by itself.
6. Remove the containers and whisk the dal till it gets smooth. Mix the rice, peanuts. Keep it aside.

1. Heat the oil in pan on medium heat. Once hot add onion and cook till they become soft and translucent.
2. Then add rest of the veggies and salt. Mix and saute for 3-4 minutes.
3. Now add water, cover and cook till veggies are soft and tender.
4. Mix in jaggery, bisi bele bath powder and tamarind water, simmer for 2-3 minutes.
5. Now add boiled dal and rice, mix. Adjust the consistency by adding water. Let it cook for 4-5 minutes.

1. Heat the ghee in a small tadka pan on medium heat. Once hot add mustard seeds and let them pop.
2. Add cashew nuts and dried red chilies, saute till cashews are light brown in color.
3. Then add curry leaves and hing.
4. Immediately add this tempering to the dal-rice mixture, stir and serve.


Summer Recipes Black Channa and Coconut Stew

A light stew which brings together delicate vegetables like zucchini, eggplant, bottle gourd (lauki) and black channa, is one you should be having. Especially if you’re looking for a healthy quick fix.

1/2 medium sized chopped onion
1/2 inch ginger, minced
2-3 cloves of garlic
1/2 a stalk of lemon grass
A few lime leaves
2 green chilies, slit into 2 lengthwise
2 eggplant, diced
60 gm zucchini, diced
60 gm bottle gourd, diced
90 gm black channa, cooked
60 ml cooking liquor of the beans
100 ml coconut milk
2 Tbsp harissa paste
A few basil leaves
A small bunch of coriander
A small bunch of parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
Red or yellow chilies for the garnish

1. Wash and soak the beans. Drain, refresh the water and cook with a little salt until cooked but not mushy. Alternatively you can even pressure cook them for 12 minutes. Reserve most of the cooking liquor for later.
2. Wash, pat dry and dice the zucchini, bottle gourd and eggplant into a bowl of chilled salted water.
3. Pound the green chillies, ginger, garlic, lime leaves, lemon grass and a pinch of salt to a paste in a mortar and pestle or a food processor.
4. In a casserole or heavy bottomed dish, heat up some oil and fry the onions. Drain the diced veggies and sweat them along with the onions.
5. Add the cooked black channa, the pounded paste and saute for 5 minutes.
6. Throw in 2 tablespoon of the harissa paste and cook for 5 minutes.
7. Add the liquor of the beans.
8. Add some salt and pepper and ladle in the coconut milk.
9. Cook the veggies are cooked, just done.
10. Garnish with the sprig of fresh coriander leaves and maybe sliced fresh red or yellow chillies if available.