Makar Sankranti | Khajoor Recipe | The Festival of Ghughuti | Love My Culture | Fest of Kumaon 

Makar Sankranti or Ghugutia is one of the famous Hindu festivals and is celebrated with a lot of zeal in Uttarakhand. According to the Hindu scriptures, on this day, the sun enters the zodiac sign of Capricorn from the zodiac sign of Cancer. This day marks the northward transit (Uttarayan) of the sun. The migratory birds also return to the hills, since a change in the season takes place.

Khajoor Recipe

On Makar Sankranti people give Khichdi in charity and take a dip in holy rivers in Kumaun Bageshwar (Saryu and Gomti Sangam) and Rani Bagh (Gaula). They also participate in the Uttarayani fairs to celebrate the festival of Ghughuti (also known as Kale Kauwa).

Table decor

During the festival, people make sweetmeats out of wheat flour that is deep-fried in ghee and shaped like drums, pomegranates, knives, swords, etc. They are strung into a necklace and are worn by children on the morning of Ghughuti. They also sing to attract crows and other birds. Portions of these edible necklaces are offered to welcome the migratory birds back after their winter sojourn in the plains.

Traditional Pichora

I already shared a Ghughuti recipe in my blog. Traditionally, ghughuti dough is made into different shapes and then deep-fried. The most common shape resembles the Hindi letter 4 while shapes of drums, knives are also common. This time I will make Khajoor. Khajoor locally called Rotana is a fried cookie made up of wheat flour, milk, suji, fennel seeds and jaggery. Rotana is served in cultural events and festivals. Khajoor is also prepared at the times of “Makar sankranti and Holi” festivals.

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Ingredients :

Whole Wheat Flour – 2 cups
Water – 1 cup
Grated jaggery – 1 &1/2 cups
Sesame seeds – 1/4 cup
Fennel seeds – 1/8 cup
Oil – 4 tbsp
A pinch of Himalayan pink salt

Oil for frying

Makar Sankranti

Method :

  1. Heat water in a pan and add grated jaggery or gur.
  2. Add a pinch of himalayan pink salt. Cook till jaggery melts.
  3. Then filter jaggery water an allow to cool down completely.
  4. I used food processor to knead a dough. Add 2 cups of Whole wheat flour into a food processor.
  5. Add sesame seeds and fennel seeds with oil. Mix it.
  6. Then add prepared jaggery water slowly and knead a dough.
  7. At last add little oil and mix it well.
  8. Now take a small portion of dough. Roll a dough into flat chapati (little thick ) and cut into diamond shape.
  9. Then fry on low heat till light golden brown. Serve with hot cup of chai.
Fest of Kumaon 

Lohri 2022 Special | These Popcorn Recipes Will Set The Mood For This Joyous Occasion | 3 Flavors Popcorn | Pressure Cooker Method

The festival of Lohri has a lot to offer – great food, a taste of tradition, dance and dhol. Lohri, the harvest festival celebrated in northern India, especially Punjab and Haryana is looked forward to because of several reasons. A time for a refreshing get-together, an excuse to hum traditional songs like Sunder Mundriye Ho and shake a leg to their tunes, and the joy of digging into the delectable traditional thali – Lohri signifies joy and new beginnings.

Lohri Decor

Popcorns are a staple when it comes to Lohri but instead of the basic ones why not give your popcorns a twist? These special Lohri recipes of popcorn are what you need to set the mood of your Lohri party in 2022 a year we all hope gets better. These three delicious and easy to make flavored popcorn recipes. From spicy to sweet, one of these flavors will be your next favorite.

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Ingredients:

Salted popcorn :
Corn kernels – 1/3 cup
Ghee – 2 tbsp
Himalayan pink salt to taste

Masala popcorn :
Corn kernels – 1/3 cup
Red chilli powder – 1/2 tsp
Turmeric – 1/4 tsp
Chaat masala – 1 tsp
Ghee – 2 tbsp
Himalayan pink salt to taste

Jaggery popcorn :
Salted popcorn – 2 cups
Grated jaggery – 1 cup
Fennel seeds – 1 tbsp
Ghee – 3 tbsp

Lohri Popcorn Thali

Method :

Salted Popcorn

  1. In a pressure cooker, heat ghee. Then add corn kernels and roast on low flame.
  2. Roast until the popcorn starts to puff a little.
  3. Immediately close the lid and keep the flame on low.
  4. Wait until all the popcorn starts to pop up and it’s done.

Masala popcorn :

  1. In a pressure cooker, heat ghee. Then add corn kernels and roast on low flame.
  2. Roast until the popcorn starts to puff a little. When corn about to pop add all masalas (mentioned above in masala popcorn ingredients). Mix it well.
  3. Immediately close the lid and keep the flame on low.
  4. Wait until all the popcorn starts to pop up and it’s done.

Jaggery popcorn :

  1. Heat ghee in pan and add jaggery. Cook till jaggery melts.
  2. Switch off the flame. Add salted popcorn and mix it well.
  3. Take out jaggery coated popcorn in a separate plate or a bowl.
  4. Allow them to cool down completely and then separate them.
Popcorns

Lohri Special | Quinoa Gajak or Chikki | No Sugar Recipe

Lohri is just around the corner, so I thought to make these homemade sweet treats to elevate the festivities. Gur and gajaks are some of the main things that are served during this Punjabi festival. There are many varieties of chikkis available like dry fruit chikki, sesame seeds chikki, etc. Today, I made gajak or chikki but with a little twist. In this recipe, I replaced sesame seeds and peanuts with Quinoa puffs.

Lohri Special

Quinoa is one of few plant foods that provides a complete protein source with all nine essential amino acids. This makes puffed quinoa an excellent post-workout snack when served alongside fruit or as a topping for Greek yogurt. Quinoa puffs are also a good source of fiber, providing three grams per serving. The fiber found in quinoa is beneficial for digestive health. Quinoa puffs contain nearly twice as much fiber as nearly all other grains.

Quinoa Gajak or Chikki

Whereas jaggery is packed with calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium and phosphorus and even has trace amounts of zinc, copper, thiamin, riboflavin and niacin. Studies suggest that jaggery has B vitamins, some amounts of plant proteins and loads of phytochemicals and antioxidants. No wonder then that eating jaggery, especially during the winter season, has many potential benefits. 

Jaggery

Quinoa chikki are very tasty, sugar-free and gluten-free, and great for a healthy life. In the festive season make and serve some healthy sweets to your guest.

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Ingredients :

Grated jaggery – 2 cups
Quinoa puffs – 1 & 1/2 cups
Ghee – 4 tbsp

Method :

  1. Grease butter paper with oil or ghee.
  2. Cook jaggery (heavy bottom non stick pan) till a thick syrup is formed. To test that the syrup is ready put a drop in cold water. If it forms a firm ball the syrup is ready.
  3. Now add quinoa puffs and mix it well (Flame off).
  4. Immediately spread prepared chikki mixturer on the greased plate.
  5. Now level up mixture with rolling pin and gently spread mixture.
  6. Let it cool slightly before cutting into desired shapes.
No Sugar Treat


Lohri Special | Peanut Sesame Seeds Laddu with Jaggery

When it comes to Snack boxes, packing is always difficult as we want a quick fix and a healthy one every day. Always fruits make a good choice for morning snacks and some healthy crunchy snacks would be great for midmorning office snacks or kids’ evening hunger.

Peanut Sesame Seeds Laddu with Jaggery

Peanut Sesame Seeds Laddu with Jaggery is nutritious, healthy, and easy to prepare. You need three main ingredients for making this laddu. I love snacking on these guilt-free laddus. As these laddus contain peanuts, jaggery, and sesame seeds, they are rich in protein and iron. These guilt-free laddus can be had as a snack can be given to children as after-school snacks or can be packed in their snack boxes.

Healthy Snack

I often make and stock these kinds of healthy ladoos at home to snack in between meals. What I loved is the addition of fennel seeds. Dried fennel seeds are a storehouse of various nutrients, with low calories and high in different micro and macronutrients.

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Ingredients :

Sesame seeds – 1 cup

Salted & roasted peanuts – 1 cup ( Readymade)

Grated jaggery – 1 & 1/2 cups

Fennel seeds – 1 tbsp

Homemade ghee – 3 tbsp

Protein Rich Laddu

Method :

  1. Heat a pan and add sesame seeds. Roast till crispy on low heat. Transfer them into separate bowl and allow it to cool down completely.
  2. Then in a grinder add roasted sesame seeds with salted, roasted peanuts and fennel seeds into coarse mixture.
  3. Add ghee in a same pan and add jaggery. Allow jaggery to melt completely.
  4. Then add prepared coarse mixture and mix it well.
  5. Transfer mixture in a separate thali or in bowl. Allow it cool down a bit.
  6. Grease your hands with little ghee. Make small/medium laddus.
  7. Store them in an airtight container. Serve as needed.
Jaggery Or Gur

Quinoa Puff Coated with Jaggery | Healthy Snack | Gur Wale Quinoa

Quinoa Puff coated with jaggery is a quick and healthy snack that can answer your cravings for something sweet. Easy to make and it tastes delicious. Quinoa jaggery puffs are free of refined sugar, gluten-free, packed with protein and a healthier treat.

Quinoa Puff Coated with Jaggery

Quinoa puff gives you all the benefits of quinoa in a crispy snack. Just add milk and enjoy; no cooking needed. Puffed quinoa also makes a crunchy addition to yogurt, oatmeal and granola bars. The best part? It’s packed with high-quality protein, fiber and iron so it not only tastes great but is also great for you. Quinoa is one of few plant foods that provides a complete protein source with all nine essential amino acids. This makes puffed quinoa an excellent post-workout snack when served alongside fruit or as a topping for Greek yogurt.

Healthy Snack

Jaggery is made from the juice of sugarcane, which is heated to produce thick crystals. It contains sugar in sucrose form and is used in many food products as a sweetening agent. It is considered healthier than refined sugar as certain plant phytochemicals and minerals are preserved in it. Many people avoid jaggery as its raw appearance is not very appealing. However, it may be time to start making this food a regular part of your diet as it provides many essential nutrients and is an effective remedy for many ailments. By adding jaggery to your diet, you gain a wide range of health benefits that you may not have thought that this food could provide.

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Ingredients :

Quinoa puff  – 1 cup
Grated jaggery – 1 cup
Himalayan pink salt to taste
Ghee – 1 tbsp

Method:

  1. Now add ghee in a pan and add grated jaggery.
  2. Now mix well and let the jaggery melt. Once completely melted, let it cook until the mixture attains a thick and syrupy consistency on low heat.
  3. Now add quinoa puff  and mix well.
  4. Mix well to ensure quinoa puff  is coated well in the jaggery mixture.
  5. Take gur quinoa on a butter paper and mix well.
  6. Let the gur quinoa puff cool down completely and then separate them.
  7. Store in an airtight jar or serve as a snack.
  8. Do try this recipe and share it.
Gur Wale Quinoa

Lohri Special | Quinoa Sesame Chocolate Cake | Baking with Whole Wheat Flour | Wok Baking

You might ask why quinoa is in a cake? Because it’s so moist, delicious chocolate cake ever. You won’t believe me until you try it. Quinoa is the “hero” for this delicious chocolate cake. And this ingredient is just magical. It’s packed with protein and gives the cake a rich, nutty texture that I love.

Lohri Special

First, we need cooked quinoa to start with. I am using my Instant pot to cook my quinoa. It should usually be rinsed before use to remove its bitter coating, so check packet instructions. Roast for 5 minutes and add 1 & 1/4 cups water to one cup of grain, cover, simmer and cook for approximately 15 minutes or until the germ separates from the seed. It is done.

Quinoa Sesame Chocolate Cake

Another secret ingredient in this cake recipe is Greek Yogurt. If you’re thinking “it’s all Greek to me,” then it’s time to explore how Greek yogurt adds a secret weapon of deliciousness and delight to your healthy baking repertoire. Greek yogurt is a style of yogurt that’s been thoroughly strained of its whey, resulting in a far thicker consistency than regular yogurt. This style has long been favored in parts of Europe and the Middle East; referring to it as “Greek” or “Greek-style” yogurt is simply a nod to this fact. Like unstrained yogurt, it comes in a variety of different flavors or can be purchased plain.

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Ingredients :

Whole Wheat Flour – 1 & 1/2 cups

Greek yogurt – 1 cup

Brown sugar – 1/2 or 3/4 cup

Cooked Quinoa – 3/4 cup

Cocoa powder – 1/4 cup

Toasted sesame seeds – 1/8 cup

Baking Soda – 1/2 tsp

Baking powder – 1 tsp

Refined Oil – 1/4 cup

A pinch of Himalayan pink salt

Toasted sesame seeds ( 2 tbsp ), quinoa puffs (4 tbsp) for topping

Method :

  1. Dry mixture: Shift whole wheat flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda with salt. Mix salt and keep it aside.
  2. Wet mixture: In a grinder add brown sugar, curd, oil and mix until smooth.
  3. Mix sesame seeds with cooked quinoa with dry ingredients. Then add wet mixture and mix it well.
  4. Put prepared batter into a greased pan. Tab the pan on a countertop to release any large air bubbles.
  5. Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds, quinoa puffs over prepared cake batter and with help of spatula press gently.
  6. Put the pan into the preheated wok and bake it for 1 hour 10 minutes.
  7. When cake is done, allow to cool for 10 minutes. Remove cake from the pan and set them on a rack set over a tray or sheet pan.
  8. Allow cake to cool completely before slicing.

Tips:

  1. Baking time may vary.
  2. If cake batter looks dry, add 2- 4 tbsp of water or milk.
  3. If baking in Oven: Bake in the preheated oven at 180 deg Celsius or around 360 Fahrenheit for about 1 hour 30 minutes. The baking time may vary. So keep checking the cake after 40 to 45 minutes.
Wok Baking
HOW TO BAKE THE CAKE IN KADAI (WOK)

In a heavy bottom, kadai add a cup of salt or sand. Place a steel stand in a wok. Cover and preheat the kadai on high heat for about 8 minutes. (Adding salt at the bottom ensures that the kadai doesn’t burn. Heavy bottom kadai acts as oven and ensures even cooking from all sides). I never used salt in my baking because I use a heavy bottom kadai (Prestige Brand) and I am baking for the past 2 years in the same kadai. It works perfectly fine. But, it depends on the brand, quality of the kadai.

After 8 minutes, lower the heat and put the baking tin in a kadai (wok). Cover a lid and bake bread for 60 minutes. After 60 minutes check the cake with a knife, if the mixture does not stick, it means the bread is done. If batter still sticks to the knife then again bread for another 10 minutes.

Lohri Special | Winter Energy Balls | Dry Fruits & Seeds Ladoo | No Sugar No Jaggery

Whether you call them healthy laddu, energy bites or protein bites these little balls are full of protein and a perfect treat to enjoy for your evening hunger pangs. This dry fruit, seeds, and nuts laddu are super versatile and you can add or substitute any ingredients available in your pantry. This is a no sugar or jaggery recipe. These dry fruit, seeds, and nuts ladoo are super healthy. They are so easy to make and are sweetened naturally with dates and raisins.

Lohri Special

When you need toasted nuts for a recipe generally do – Skillet toasting. Skillet toasting is great for producing small batches of toasted nuts, but the results are uneven and you can burn them if you get distracted. But you can toast nuts and seeds – Microwave Method. It’s so easy and only takes a few minutes. Just spread nuts and seeds on a microwave-safe plate and in an even layer. The trick also works for coconut powder, sesame seeds, or other seeds of your choice. Then cooks the nuts on full power for three minutes. Every minute pauses the process to mix up the nuts so that they toast evenly.

Winter Energy Balls

Packed with nutrients, good fats, and fiber, these energy balls are made with dates, raisins, and various nuts. There is no exact recipe to make dry fruits laddu or these energy balls. The proportions of the nuts and dry fruits can vary according to your choice. Just make sure the dates and raisins are a little extra. Since the dates, raisins have cohesive and sticky properties that help in binding the laddu. There is no need to add any sugar to the recipe. The sweetness of the dates and raisins makes make the laddu sweet – a little extra sweet.

No Sugar No Jaggery

Use pitted dates. If the dates have seeds, then remove the seeds and chop them. These ladoos can also be gift wrapped and sent to your family or friends during any festival or Lohri.

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Ingredients:
Dry Fruits
Almond slices – 1/2 cup
Walnuts – 1/4 cup
Pistachios – 1/4 cup
Cashews – 1/4 cup
Seeds
Sesame seeds – 1/2 cup
Pumpkin seeds – 1/4 cup
Melon seeds – 1/4 cup
Flax Seeds – 1/8 cup

Dessicated coconut – 1/2 cup
Rava – 1/2 cup
Roasted peanuts – 1/2 cup (store bought)
Chopped Dates – 15
Raisins – 1/2 cup
Dried apricot – 1/2 cup
Fennel seeds – 1/8 cup
Homemade ghee – 1 tbsp
Himalayan pink salt – 1/4 tsp

Method :

  1. Heat a pan and add dessicated coconut. Roast till crispy on low heat. Transfer them into separate bowl.
  2. Add 1 tsp of ghee in a same pan and roast all dry fruits (mentioned above) on low heat.
  3. Add 1 tsp of ghee in a same pan add flax seeds, pumpkin seeds and melon seeds. Roast them on low heat for 2-3 minutes. Keep it aside.
  4. Then roast sesame seeds for 3-5 minutes so low heat and keep it separate from other roasted nuts and seeds.
  5. Add chopped dates with raisins and cook for 3-4 minutes till they starts caramelised. Keep it aside.
  6. Now roast fennel seeds for few seconds and mix with roasted sesame seeds.
  7. At last roast rava till golden brown and mix with all roasted nuts and seeds. Now add dried apricot with little himalayan pink salt.
  8. Then transfer all roasted dates, raisins, nuts, seeds with roasted rava (excluded roasted sesame seeds & fennel seeds ) into a food processor. Grind them into a coarse mixture.
  9. Now mix roasted sesame seeds & fennel seeds into coarse mixture. Mix all ingredients well.
  10. Grease your hands with little ghee. Make small/medium laddus.
  11. Store them in an airtight container. Serve as needed.