Urban Food

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.



Summer is here and the temperatures are already soaring northwards. Vegetarian food is good option for meals in these months to keep our body cool and healthy. Below are few recipes that are surely a treat for your taste buds. By Chef Nirmal Kumar

Allahabad Ki Tehri (Vegetable Pulao)
Also known as vegetable pulao, this one pot rice meal is unique to the rich state of Uttar Pradesh. It’s made with a lot of bright vegetables, fiery masalas and topped with desi ghee.


100 ml mustard oil
2 sticks of cinnamon
2 bay leaves
4 brown cardamoms
8 green cardamoms
8-10 black peppercorns
8 cloves
2 onions, chopped
50 gm garlic, chopped
50 gm ginger, chopped
3-4 green chillies, chopped
2 Tbsp cumin seeds, ground
2 Tbsp coriander seeds, ground
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp red chili powder
1/2 tsp asafoetida dissolved in water (heeng)
5 boiled potatoes, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
100 gm green beans, chopped
100 gm cauliflower, chopped
Salt to taste
200 gm curd
2 1/2 cups basmati rice
6 cups vegetable stock
50 ml ghee
Bunch of fresh coriander
1 lime

1. In a heavy bottomed pan, heat mustard oil and add in the cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, brown cardamom, green cardamom, peppercorn, cloves, onions, garlic, ginger and green chilly. Stir for 2-3 minutes.
2. Add in the ground cumin and coriander seeds, turmeric powder, red chili powder, asafoetida water and cook the spices out for 5-6 minutes.
3. Into the masala base, add boiled potatoes, chopped carrots, chopped green beans and cauliflower.
4. Add salt as per taste. Cover and let it simmer for 15 minutes till the vegetables are about 75 percent cooked.
5. Add in the curd and stir well to mix.
6. Next, add in the pre-washed basmati rice and stir till the rice is evenly coated with the base.
7. Add in the vegetable stock, cover and let simmer over a slow flame till the rice is cooked.
8. Garnish with a drizzle of ghee, a sprinkle of fresh coriander and some lime juice.

Homemade ravioli fresh Pomodori Basil Sauces


1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons for boiling water
6 ounces button mushrooms, sliced
1 cup fresh spinach boiled & chopped
1/4 cup ricotta cheese
1/3 cup grated Parmesan, plus extra for garnishing
6 egg roll wrappers (6 1/2 by 6 1/2-inch squares)
2 large eggs, beaten with 1 teaspoon water
1/2 cup mushroom (shiitake, button), finely chopped
2 cups tomato sauce, recipe follows
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Simple Tomato Sauce:
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 (32-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
2 dried bay leaves
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, optional

In a large saute pan heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil. When almost smoking, add the mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Add spinach and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and place mixture into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until you get a coarse texture. Place in bowl and stir in ricotta cheese and Parmesan cheese.
Line up 3 wrappers on a cutting board. Brush with the egg andwater mixture. Using a tablespoon, arrange 4 dollops of the filling on each wrapper 2 on the first row and 2 on the second 1-inch apart. Place another wrapper directly on top, pressing around the filling and sealing the edges. Using a fluted ravioli cutter, cut out squares of ravioli. Place ravioli onto a floured baking sheet and keep covered with a linen towel.

In a large pot, bring to a boil 4 quarts of salted and oiled water. Carefully add small batches of ravioli, about 3 to 4 at a time. This will prevent them from crowding in the pot and sticking together. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Using a spider strainer, carefully remove the ravioli and place on the plate.
In a sauté pan, heat remaining 1/4 cup olive oil. When almost smoking, add chopped mushrooms and sauté until soft and most of the liquid has evaporated, about 8 minutes. Carefully pour in tomato sauce and simmer for 5 minutes.Top with mushroom tomato sauce and sprinkle with Parmesan.

sureshSimple Tomato Sauce:
In a large casserole pot, heat oil over medium high heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until soft and translucent, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add celery and carrots and season with salt and pepper. Sauté for about 5 to 10 minutes. Add tomatoes and bay leaves and simmer uncovered on low heat for 1 hour until thick. Remove bay leaves and check for seasoning.
Add 1/2 the tomato sauce into the bowl of a food processor. Process untilsmooth. Continue with remaining tomato sauce.