Friday, April 13, 2012

Happy Pana Sankranti with chatua

Also celebrated as the Odiya New Year! Happy Odiya Nua Barsa!
We celebrate all our festivals with food - of course. Usually it is very hot in Odisha by this time and we offer panna (a special drink) as offering to God. I had made fruity pana a few years back and I have also posted  mango pana. The pana that is most popular in Odisha for panna sankranti is bela pana. All these drinks help in cooling the body!

My mother in law offers chatua as offering to god on Pana Sankranti along with the Watermelon Pana. Chatua is a very healthy mixture of whole grains, pulses and nuts. The whole grains are dry roasted in low fire and so are the pulses and nuts. Then the mixture is sent over to the local neighborhood mill for grinding. It is mixed with milk and banana and gur (jaggery)  and served to god. Then you can add additional fruits and enjoy. The left over mixture of chatua powder can be stored in an air tight container and eaten for breakfast.

1 cup whole wheat grains
1/2 cup channa dal or bengal grams
1/2 cup Barley or Jowar seeds (I didn't have it, so I didn't use it)
handful of peanuts
1/2 handful of cashews (use any nuts of your choice)
1/4 cup of gur (Jaggery)
1  banana
2-3 cups of milk (add more if you want a thinner consistency)
fruits of your choice (I used apple, orange and cucumber)
fresh coconut flakes (optional)

How To

Dry roast the wheat grains, bengal gram one by one. Do the same for the nuts. Easier to dry roast them separately so that you don't burn anything.
Once the nuts and pulses and grains cool, grind them in your grinder of your choice. I used my coffee/spice grinder and did them in small batches.The chatua powder is ready.
Mix the chatua powder with milk and mashed bananas and jaggery.
Add fruits and coconut flakes as per taste and enjoy.

Additionally I saw  in the news that chatua powder is being offered as a cheap and healthy supplement for pregnant and lactating mothers in Odisha.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Quick fix for lunch - paneer, chole pulao

I love Odiya food, which means a lot of rice and fish. I love my rice and in all forms whether it is pakhala or fried rice or ghee anna or chuda bhaja. I also realized that I do have few other rice dishes here too, well I guess I cook rice variations often. But these days with my attempts at eating healthy, I am trying to take a more wholesome meal to work for lunch. This is still rice, so still loads of carbohydrates, but I have added some nuts, chole, paneer and raita to balance the meal out a bit. This is all made from left over chole, paneer from the previous day, so if you dont have have paneer or chole, feel free to play with the protein/nut of your choice. Add some boiled veggies or frozen veggies and it will be even more nutritious! Here is to healthy good food!

1 cup cooked rice
1/2 cup chole
some paneer chunks
3-4 cashew, broken into bits
1 tea spoon of Shaan Biryani Masala
1 green chili
Mint leaves - handful
Salt to taste
1 tea spoon of Olive Oil

How To

Heat a spoon of oil on medium heat in large pan. When it is hot, add the cashew bits.
Then add the green chillies and paneer, and keep stirring until paneer turns slightly golden in color.
Now add the cooked chole and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
Now add the rice, salt and Shaan biryani masala and mint leaves and mix well and remove from the fire.
Pack lunch and enjoy at work with some minty cucumber raita!