Yellow Pumpkin Soup

Pumpkin soup 2

Pumpkin nutrition facts

Pumpkin fruit is one of the widely grown vegetables that is incredibly rich in vital antioxidants, and vitamins. While this humble backyard vegetable is less in calories but contains vitamin A, and flavonoid poly-phenolic antioxidants such as leutin, xanthin, and carotenes in abundance.The plant is a fast-growing vine that creeps along the ground surface in a similar fashion like that of other Cucurbitaceae family vegetables and fruits such as cucumber, squash, cantaloupes…etc. It is one of the most popular field crops cultivated around the world, including the USA at the commercial scale for its fruit, and seeds.

Pumpkin soup simply exotic.

Preparation Time : 10 minutes

Cooking time : 10 minutes

Servings : 4

Cuisine : Indian

Course: Soup

Level Of Cooking: Easy

Ingredients:

  • 250 gms Yellow pumpkin , cut into small cubes
  • 5 tbsp Butter
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 12 Black peppercorns
  • 1 medium size Onion/ 1 cup, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp Maida/ all purpose flour
  • 1 level tsp Salt or / salt to taste
  • 3 cups milk

Method :

Step 1

In a pressure cooker heat 2 tbsp butter, add bay leaf and black peppercorns. Add onions and sauté for 3-4 minutes. Add cubed pumpkin, sauté for two minutes.

Step 2

Add one cup water and close the lid. Pressure cook until pressure is formed, switch off the stove. Let the cooker cool down to room temperature, open the lid strain excess stock and reserve. Remove the bay leaf and put it in the pumpkin stock. Puree  only the pumpkin onion mix.

Step 3

Add the reserved stock to the puree, keep aside.

Step 4.

Heat in a non-stick pan three tbsp butter, add all purpose flour, stir fry on medium flame. When it gets the sandy texture remove from the heat and cool.

Step 5.

Take boiling milk and pour the boiling milk into the fried cold all purpose flour and butter mix/roux, stirring continuously to avoid lumps. Simmer gently for two minutes. Stir this white sauce, and then add pureed pumpkin mix.Cook the mixture on medium flame for about 2 minutes while stirring it continuously. Add salt, mix and switch off the heat.

Step 6.

Pour the soup in bowls and serve hot.

Possible Health benefits of Pumpkin:

It is one of the very low calorie vegetables. 100 g fruit provides just 26 calories and contains no saturated fats or cholesterol

it is rich in dietary fiber, anti-oxidants, minerals, vitamins. The vegetable is one of the food items recommended by dieticians in cholesterol controlling and weight reduction programs.

Pumpkin is a storehouse of many anti-oxidant vitamins such as vitamin-A, vitamin-C and vitamin-E.With 7384 mg per 100 g, it is one of the vegetables in the Cucurbitaceae family featuring highest levels of vitamin-A, providing about 246% of RDA. Vitamin A is a powerful natural anti-oxidant and is required by the body for maintaining the integrity of skin and mucus membranes.

It is also an essential vitamin for good visual sight. Research studies suggest that natural foods rich in vitamin A help a body protects against lung and oral cavity cancers.

It is also an excellent source of many natural poly-phenolic flavonoid compounds such as α, ß carotenes, cryptoxanthin, lutein and zea-xanthin. Carotenes convert into vitamin A inside the body.Zea-xanthin is a natural anti-oxidant which has UV (ultra-violet) rays filtering actions in the macula lutea in retina of the eyes. Thus, it helps protect from “age-related macular disease” (ARMD) in the elderly.

The fruit is a good source of B-complex group of vitamins like folates, niacin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), thiamin and pantothenic acid.It is also rich source of minerals like copper, calcium, potassium and phosphorus.

Ref. http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/pumpkin.html

Nick’s kitchen medical Disclaimer:

  • Nick’s kitchen is for Vegetarians. It sometimes provides education and support to individuals who want to become vegetarian, or move toward a more vegetarian diet.
  • Nick’s kitchen provides some information on vegetarian and vegan diets to the best of their knowledge and abilities.
  • Nick’s kitchen does not claim to be health care professional, nutritionist, nor does it claims to treat any illness through vegan or vegetarian diet.
  • If you have a medical condition,Nick’s kitchen recommend that you consult your health care professionals before changing your diet.
  • Any changes that you make to your diet, and the results of those changes, are your decision and your responsibility.

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Bay Leaf

Bay leaves

Bay leaves

nutrition facts : Pleasantly aromatic bay leaf or bay-laurel is one of the well-recognized culinary leaf-spices in use since the earliest times.  In the legends, bay laurel is deemed as the tree of the Sun god, under the celestial sign of Leo.

Botanically, bay tree belongs to the family of Lauraceae, in the genus; Laurus. It is thought to have originated in Asia Minor region, from where it distributed to all over the Mediterranean region and other parts of Asia.

Scientific name: Laurus nobilis.

The bay plant is a tall, conical, evergreen tree growing upto 30 feet in height. Yellow or greenish white, star-shaped flowers appear in clusters during early spring, which subsequently produce dark-green to purplish, single seeded berry. Its thick and leathery leaves feature elliptic, shiny, dark-green and measure about 3-4 inches in length.

Bay leaves give off a pleasing and sweet aroma when added to dish. Wilted and dried leaves indeed are strongly aromatic and can be stored for months. Its dried fruit (berries) can also be employed as a flavoring agent in the cuisines.

Health benefits of bay leaf:

  • Bay leaf was highly praised by the Greeks and the Romans, who deeply believed that the herb symbolizes wisdom, peace, and protection.
  • The spice contains many notable plants derived compounds, minerals and vitamins that are essential for optimum health.
  • This spice has many volatile active components such as α-pinene, β-pinene, myrcene, limonene, linalool, methyl chavicol, neral, α-terpineol, geranyl acetate, eugenol, and chavicol. These compounds are known to have been antiseptic, anti-oxidant, digestive, and thought to have anti-cancer properties.
  • Fresh leaves are very rich source of vitamin-C; provide 46.5 mg or 77.5% of RDA per 100 g. Vitamin-C (ascorbic acid) is one of the powerful natural anti-oxidant that help remove harmful free radicals from the body. Ascorbic acid also has immune booster, wound healing and anti-viral effects.
  • Furthermore, its fresh leaves and herb parts are very good in folic acid; contain about 180 mg or 45% of daily-recommended values per 100 g. Folates are important in DNA synthesis and when given during the peri-conception period, they can help prevent neural tube defects in the baby.
  • Bay leaves are an excellent source of vitamin A; contain 6185 IU or 206% of recommended daily levels per 100 g. Vitamin A is a natural antioxidant and is essential for healthy visual sight. It is also required for maintaining mucus membranes and skin health. Consumption of natural foods rich in vitamin A has been found to help to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
  • The spice is indeed a very good source of many vitamins such as niacin, pyridoxine, pantothenic acid and riboflavin. These B-complex groups of vitamins help in enzyme synthesis, nervous system function, and regulating body metabolism.
  • This noble spice is a good source of minerals like copper, potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, selenium, zinc and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps control heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese and copper are used by the body as co-factors for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Iron is essential for red blood cell production and as a co-factor for cytochrome-oxidase enzymes.

Medicinal uses of bay leaf:

  • Medicinally, the benefits of the bay leaf and its berries are plentiful. It has astringent, diuretic, and appetite stimulant properties.
  • Essential oil from the bay leaves contains mostly cineol (50%); furthermore, eugenol, chavicol, acetyl eugenol, methyl eugenol, α- and β-pinene, phellandrene, linalool, geraniol and terpineol are also found.
  • Infusions of herb parts are reputed to soothe the stomach and relieve flatulence and colic pain.
  • The lauric acid in the bay laurel leaves has insect repellent properties.
  • Bay laurel infusions are used to soothe the stomach ulcers and relieve flatulence.
  • The components in the essential oil can also be used in many traditional medicines in the treatment of arthritis, muscle pain, bronchitis and flu symptoms.

Selection and storage:

Traditionally, bay leaves are picked and dried slowly under the shade away from direct sunlight in order to retain volatile essential oils.

In the spice stores, one might come across different kinds of bay leaf preparations. Completely dried, dried and crushed, freeze-dried, and ground forms are displayed for sale in such stores. Buy from authentic sources and avoid those with off-smell, spots, or fungus infected leaves.

Once at home, store bay leaf in airtight jar or container and keep away from direct light. Its leaves should not be stored for longer than a year since they will then lose flavor.

Its dried fruits are also being used as a flavoring in dishes.

Culinary uses:

Glossy, dark-green bay leaves can be used fresh. However, they are at their best after being allowed to wilt under the shade for few days when their bitterness has gone but the leaves still retain their aroma.

If you find leaves in the cooked food, just keep them aside before eating. The laurel leaves are leathery in texture and tough to chew and swallow, besides being quite strongly flavored.

Here are some serving tips:

  • Bay leaf is one of the ingredients in bouquet garni along with thyme, sage, savory, celery, basil, etc.
  • The spice is also used in the preparation of court bouillon. Court bullion is readymade preparation made of water, salt, white wine, vegetable aromatics (onion and celery), and flavored with bouquet garni and black pepper.
  • Its dried leaves are brewed into an herbal tea.
  • Bay laurel is also an essential ingredient in many classic sauces such as bread sauce, tomato sauce, and béchamel.
  • Bay leaves are added to flavor cuisines such as seafood, poultry, meat, rice (pulov), and vegetable dishes.
  • Bay leaf is used to flavor sweet dishes like sweet breads, custards, creams, etc.

Safety profile

Bay leaves should be removed from the food before serving as they may cause choking, may cut tongue and injure digestive tract. Pregnant women should avoid eating in excess as the chemical compounds in them may cause abortion.
(Medical disclaimer: The information and reference guides on this website are intended solely for the general information for the reader. It is not to be used to diagnose health problems or for treatment purposes. It is not a substitute for medical care provided by a licensed and qualified health professional. Please consult your health care provider for any advice on medications.)

Ref.http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/bay-leaf.html

Nick’s kitchen medical Disclaimer:

  • Nick’s kitchen is for Vegetarians. It sometimes provides education and support to individuals who want to become vegetarian, or move toward a more vegetarian diet.
  • Nick’s kitchen provides some information on vegetarian and vegan diets to the best of their knowledge and abilities.
  • Nick’s kitchen does not claim to be health care professional, nutritionist, nor does it claims to treat any illness through vegan or vegetarian diet.
  • If you have a medical condition,Nick’s kitchen recommend that you consult your health care professionals before changing your diet.
  • Any changes that you make to your diet, and the results of those changes, are your decision and your responsibility.

Exotic Shahi paneer

Exotic Shahi Paneer 2

Exotic Shahi paneer

Hi friends! Shahi paneer is a popular North Indian dish eaten with Indian breads like roti or naan. Shahi paneer is preparation of paneer/cottage cheese pieces in a thick, creamy and spicy gravy.

Cooking Time: 20-30 minutes

Preparation Time: 10-15 minutes

Level: Easy

Category: Vegetarian

Servings: 6

Ingredients:

  • 150 gms Paneer / cottage cheese
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 1 green chili, chopped
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 medium size onions cut into big pieces
  • 3 black peppercorns
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1 tbsp ginger grated
  • 12 cloves of garlic, mashed
  • 15 cashew nuts, powdered
  • 1/4 cup Dahi / yogurt
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • 1/4 tsp saffron
  • 1/2 tsp gram masala
  • 6 Green cardamoms, powdered
  • 2/3 tsp salt or / salt to taste

Method:

Step 1.

In a pressure cooker put half cup of water, add onion pieces. Cook on high flame, the moment pressure is formed, switch off the stove. Allow to cool to room temperature. Grind to a fine paste with green chilies.

Step 2.

Cut the paneer into small square cubes, keep aside.

Step 3.

In a heavy bottom pan/ kadai / wok heat the oil, add the bay leaf, cinnamon, cloves, peppercorns, and  sauté till fragrant.

Step 4.

To the step 3 seasoning add the green chillies and boiled onion paste and sauté for four to five minutes on low flame, it should not change colour. Add the grated ginger and mashed garlic and continue to sauté for a minute.

Step 5.

Add the cashew nut powder and the yogurt and sauté till the masala gets thicker. Stir in the cream, saffron and garam masala powder and salt.

Step 6.

Add the paneer / cottage cheese pieces and mix gently. Sprinkle green cardamom powder and serve hot with any Indian bread of your choice !

Note: Spinach Raita and Panchratan dal / lentil are good accompaniments.

Health benefits of Cottage cheese / paneer :

Cottage cheese provides many health benefits, including a high protein content, as well as significant calcium, phosphorus, and potassium contents, and it can be used for weight management.

Reduced Risk of Breast Cancer: The calcium and vitamin D found in dairy products, especially in cottage cheese, reduces the risk of breast cancer.

Rich in Protein: One of the biggest benefits of cottage cheese is the high amount of casein protein found in it. It is believed that cow’s milk contains the highest amount of casein protein among various milks. The amount of protein contained in cottage cheese is ideal for vegetarians in supplying them with the required amount of daily protein. Cottage cheese does not require any amount of cooking and it can be consumed directly.

Best Foods for Pregnant Women: Cottage cheese is recommended for pregnant women along with athletes due to various essential nutrients found in it.

Rich Source of B-Complex Vitamins: B-complex vitamins found in cottage cheese are helpful in various metabolic activities in our bodies. Some of them include vitamin B12, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, thiamin, niacin, and folate.

-Vitamin B12 is needed for proper brain functioning and helps in absorbing iron.

-Riboflavin helps in converting carbohydrates into energy.

-Pantothenic Acid acts as a synthesizer that helps in forming proteins, fats, carbohydrates, and amino acids in our body.

-Thiamin helps in converting sugars into energy in the pyruvate dehydrogenase system.

-Niacin, on the other hand plays an important role in digestion, energy production, and cholesterol reduction.

-Folate helps in fetal development in pregnant women, helps in producing red blood cells and keeps the heart healthy.

Strengthens Bones: Calcium is one of the major elements associated with milk and their products. Some of the benefits of calcium-rich foods include bone strengthening and weight loss.

Heart-Friendly and Maintains Blood Sugar Levels: Cottage cheese is a good source of magnesium. In the human body, most of the magnesium is concentrated in our bones. Magnesium also acts as a catalyst, promotes biochemical reactions, activates various enzymes in the body, maintains muscle and nerve functioning, and supports the immune system. It helps in maintaining blood sugar levels and prevents heart attacks, constipation, psychiatric disorders, migraine, and collagen.

Prevents Strokes and Controls Anxiety: Apart from other nutrients, cottage cheese contains potassium. Potassium acts as a fluid-balancing element in the body and is an important component in neural activities of the muscle and brain. It also relieves muscle cramps. Intake of potassium on a regular basis prevents the risk of getting brain stroke, since it lowers blood pressure and the contraction of vessels. It is also helpful in decreasing stress levels and anxiety. Potassium, along with sodium, act as electrolytes, but potassium does not have the side effects of sodium such as increased blood pressure and cardiovascular stress.

Improves Biological Functions: Zinc found in cottage cheese is about 4% of the daily recommended value.  In the human body, it is found in the brain, muscles, bones, kidneys, liver, prostate, and eyes. It helps in the metabolism of DNA and RNA.  Zinc is one of the trace elements whose presence in our body helps in improving the immune system, digestion, diabetes control, fights stress and anxiety, cures night blindness, improves ocular health, prevents appetite loss, prevents prostate disorder, fights various infections and also acts as an antioxidant.

Improves Digestion: Cottage cheese contains phosphorous, which plays a major role in the formation of DNA and RNA. It is a major component in forming bones along with calcium. Phosphates also help in digestion, excretion, and in the production and extraction of energy in the cells.

Antioxidant Properties: Selenium is a trace element found in cottage cheese. It is required in very small quantities, not more than 50 mcg to 70 mcg in adults. Selenium is useful as an antioxidant that protects cells and DNA from damage. It is also believed that an optimum intake of selenium-rich foods reduces the risk of prostate cancer. New study suggests that a diet rich in dairy products may slightly extend lives of people diagnosed with colon cancer.

Quick Serving Tips

Salad– Add chopped/grated cottage cheese to salads such as green salads and tuna salads.

Omelet– Add chopped cottage cheese and vegetables to the egg mixture for making a delicious omelet.

Curries/Stew– Cottage cheese can be used for making stew/curries, along with meat and vegetables.

Ref.https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/animal-product/health-benefits-of-cottage-cheese.html

Nick’s kitchen medical Disclaimer:

  • Nick’s kitchen is for Vegetarians. It sometimes provides education and support to individuals who want to become vegetarian, or move toward a more vegetarian diet.
  • Nick’s kitchen provides some information on vegetarian and vegan diets to the best of their knowledge and abilities.
  • Nick’s kitchen does not claim to be health care professional, nutritionist, nor does it claims to treat any illness through vegan or vegetarian diet.
  • If you have a medical condition,Nick’s kitchen recommend that you consult your health care professionals before changing your diet.
  • Any changes that you make to your diet, and the results of those changes, are your decision and your responsibility.