Monday, February 19, 2018

Homemade Fruit Enzyme Cleaner-How to make Eco Friendly-Natural-Chemical Free Citrus Cleaner

Fruit enzymes (citrus peel bio enzymes) also called garbage enzymes are produced from fruits peels or waste. It is a natural multi purpose, chemical free, eco friendly cleaner. It is biodegradable and eco-friendly alternative to harsh chemicals. Many products that we use in our everyday life like drain cleaners, floor cleaners, dish washing detergents, phenyl, bleach etc contains toxic chemicals which are hazardous to our health and to the environment. It exposes us to many harmful chemicals that have been linked to various health problems and allergies. It is not possible to keep chemicals totally out of our house but we can to some extent, if we take some efforts. I love living close to nature as much as possible and always try to use natural products as much as I can in my daily life. I came to know about this citrus enzyme cleaner through a foreign magazine. I found it appealing and did more research about it and made my own non toxic fruit enzyme cleaner. It is not only easy to make but all the ingredients are easily available in our kitchen and it costs absolutely nothing. These enzyme cleaners are natural, toxic free, chemical free, hence very gentle on the hands. Today let us learn how to make this wonderful, non toxic, eco-friendly, homemade Natural Cleaner/Citrus cleanser.


Eco Friendly Citrus Cleaner

Eco friendly Citrus Cleaner

 Prep Time : 10 mins
 Recipe CategoryHow to-Useful Tips
 Author

   Ingredients needed

   Lemon or orange peel - 300 grams
   Jaggery or Brown sugar -100 grams (powdered)
   Water - 1 liter
   Yeast - 1 tsp (optional)
   2 liter plastic bottle with a tight lid


Method

Cut lemon or orange peels (you can use pineapple peels also) into medium sized pieces.

Grate jaggery or you can use powdered jaggery or brown sugar. (do not use white sugar).

Take a plastic bottle with a tight lid. (do not use glass bottles as gas build-up from the fermentation process might cause explosion).

Natural multipurpose cleaner recipe

Add jaggery and 1 liter of water.

Toxic free citrus cleaner

Add the citrus peels and yeast. Make sure there is a little space on the top. Fill the container only up to 80%. Close it  tightly and shake it well.

Label the container indicating the date on which it was kept for fermenting.

Leave it to ferment for 3 months. If you add yeast, it will take only 2 months for the fruit enzymes to be ready.

You have to open the lid everyday for the first week to prevent gas build up and close it again, otherwise the gas will build up to explode in the container.

From the 2nd week, you can open it on alternate days and close it back tightly.

After second week, open the lid once in a week to let the gas out.

Store it away from sunlight in a warm dry place. It will take 2 months (if yeast is added) or 3 month (if yeast is not added) for the citrus enzyme cleaner to be ready for use.

homemade citrur cleaner

After 3 months, strain it using a cloth or a sieve. The liquid collected is the fruit enzyme and can be used as a non toxic 
multipurpose cleaner.

citrus cleaner recipe

Note

To make bio enzymes quicker, you can add a tsp of yeast. In that case the enzymes will be ready within two months time. (I have added yeast, so mine was ready in 2 months time).

The measure is 1 part Jaggery/brown sugar + 3 parts fruit peels + 10 parts water. Even when making a large batch, maintain the same ratio.

Though you can use any fruit peels, I personally prefer to use only orange, lemons and pineapple peels/waste. You can either use them together or separately. Using citrus fruit peels alone gives a nice citrus smell to the enzyme cleanser.

Do not use glass bottles. 

Avoid adding rotten fruits or dried peels. Use fresh peels for making fruit enzymes. (You can collect and store the peels in the refrigerator, till you get the required quantity. Bring it to room temperature before adding).

Fruit Enzyme/Citrus enzymes has no expiry date. You can use it lifelong.

How to use the fruit enzyme cleaner

Multipurpose Cleaner - You can use the fruits enzymes as a multipurpose cleaner. Dilute it in the ratio 1 : 10 (one part citrus enzyme cleaner with 10 parts water) and use it to clean anything like tiles, bathroom, gas stoves, toilets, kitchen sink, mirrors etc.

Use it undiluted for stubborn strains, grease etc.

Washing vegetables and fruits - You can dilute it in the ratio 1:20 and use it to wash fruits and vegetables.

For mopping floor - I use 1/4 cup of fruit enzyme for a bucket of water and use it for mopping floors. When used regularly it helps to keep ants at bay as the cleaners are natural insect repellents. I stopped buying phenol and other floor cleaners, after I started making this fruit enzyme.

Car wash -You can dilute it in the ratio 1:20 and use it to wash cars.

For cleaning vessels - I mix citrus enzyme cleaner with with soap nut (reetha in Hindi or boondikottai in Tamil)  water and use it to clean vessels. 

The residue can be used as a fertilizer. Dry it well and mix it with soil. You can put it in your composting bin or you can use a little of it as an accelerator for making the next batch or you can grind it with a little baking soda and use it to clean kitchen sink or discard it.

Homemade Fruit Enzyme Cleaner
Left - Fruit Enzymes ready for use. Right - Fruit enzymes mixed with soapnut water .
This is yet another simple step to reduce the use of toxic chemicals in our homes which is not only good for us but also for the environment.

You can check my post on

My Organic Kitchen Garden 

How to clean kitchen sink without using toxic chemicals

How to compost kitchen waste using khamba/pot

How to compost kitchen waste without khamba 

How to grow mint at home 

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Sunday, February 11, 2018

Beetroot Couscous Pilaf Recipe-Indian Style Easy Couscous Recipes

Beetroot couscous is super easy to make and takes just 15-20 minutes of your time. It makes a filling and nutritious lunch. It is also great for picnics and for packed lunch. I love couscous as it is versatile and cooks really fast. Today we will learn how to make this easy, colorful and flavorful beetroot couscous pilaf following this easy recipe with pictures.

Beetroot Couscous-Indian Style Easy Couscous Recipe

Beetroot Couscous-Indian Style

Beetroot Couscous-Indian Style

 Prep Time : 10 mins
 Cook Time : 15 mins 
 Serves: 1
 Recipe Category:Couscous-Lunch
 Recipe CuisineIndian
 Author:

   Ingredients needed

   Instant Couscous - 1/2 cup
   Water - 1 cup
   Salt - 1/4 tsp

   Onion - 1 thinly sliced
   Ginger-garlic paste - 1/2 tsp
   Grated beetroot - 1 cup

   Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
   Chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
   Mint leaves - fistful
   Salt to taste

   For the Seasoning

   Oil - 2 tbsp
   Cumin Seeds - 1 tsp
   Cinnamon - 1 inch piece
   Clove - 1
   Bay leaf - 1

   For Garnishing

   Coriander Leaves - 2 tbsp finely chopped


Preparations

I have used quick cooking instant couscous. Take 1/2 cup of couscous in a bowl. Add 1/4 tsp salt and 1 cup of boiling water. Mix well and keep it covered for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, the couscous would have absorbed all the water. Fluff it with a fork and keep it aside. Our cooked couscous is ready. For a detailed recipe on how to cook couscous and for a vegetarian sauce to pair with it, click the link "how to cook couscous".

Method

Heat oil in a pan, add cumin seeds, when it splutters, add cinnamon, bay leaf and cloves.

how to make beetroot couscous

Then add thinly sliced onions. Saute until onions turn transparent.

Add ginger garlic paste and saute for a few more minutes.

beetroot couscous recipe

Add grated beetroot (use the bigger/thicker hole for grating beetroot), mint leaves, salt needed, turmeric powder and chilli powder. (remember we have added a little salt when cooking couscous).

Indian style couscous recipe

Mix well and cook covered. Keep stirring from time to time for even cooking.

Beetroot Couscous Recipe

Then add the cooked couscous and mix everything well. Cook covered for another 2-3 seconds. Check for salt.

Beetroot Couscous Pilaf Recipe

Garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves and serve with any raita/pachadi or a simple salad.

Check out more of my Easy Vegetarian Couscous Recipes 

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Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Vallarai Keerai Kootu-Vallarai Paruppu Kootu Recipe

Centella asiatica, Centella, Asiatic pennywort is a herb, known as Gotu kola in Sri Lankan cuisine, as brahmi booti in Hindi, vallarai keerai in Tamil, kudangal in Malayalam and ondelaga in Kannada. I prepare vallarai dishes often as it is very good for health and also it grows abundantly in my kitchen garden. It is easy to grow vallarai at home. Vallarai keerai is very nutritious and has medicinal properties. It helps to improve memory power and concentration. It is said to promote hair growth and is good for the skin also. It can be helpful in treating skin disorders like eczema and psoriasis. Today we will learn how to make vallarai kootu following our easy recipe with step wise pictures.

Vallarai Keerai Kootu-vallarai kootu

Vallarai Keerai Kootu

Vallarai Keerai Kootu

 Prep Time : 20 mins
 Cook Time : 15 mins 
 Serves: 2-3
 Recipe CategorySide Dish-Kootu-Greens
 Recipe CuisineSouth Indian
 Author:

   Ingredients needed

   Vallarai keerai - 2 cups tightly packed
   Moong dal - 1/4 cup
   Onion - 1
   Tomato - 1
   Salt to taste

   For Grinding (raw)

   Grated Coconut - 1/4 cup
   Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
   Fried gram - 1 tsp
   Red chilli - 1-2

   For Seasoning

   Oil - 2 tsp
   Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
   Urad dal -1 tsp
   Red chilli -1
   Hing - a pinch
   Pearl onions - 4-5 (optional)


Preparations

Wash vallarai leaves and keep it aside. You can use the tender stems for making kootu, as you see in the picture below.

Chop onion and tomatoes.

Soak moong dal (pasi paruppu) for 5-10 minutes in hot water. Soaking is optional but I prefer to do it, so that it gets cooked to a mush.

Vallarai Kootu recipe

Grind coconut, red chillies, fried gram (pottukadalai in Tamil/daliya in Hindi) and cumin seeds to fine paste and keep it aside.

how to make keerai kootu

Method

In a pressure pan or small cooker, add moong dal, vallarai leaves, onion, tomato and 1/2 cup of water.

Pressure cook for 2 whistles.

Vallarai Paruppu Kootu

Once the pressure subsides, open the cooker and mash the contents well. Add salt needed.

Add the ground coconut paste and simmer for 5 minutes. That's it.

vallarai kootu recipe

Now we will do the seasoning - Heat a tsp of oil, add mustard seeds, when it splutters, add urad dal, red chillies and hing. Add finely chopped pearl onions and saute until it turns transparent.

Add to the kootu. Enjoy nutritious vallarai kootu as an accompaniment with rice.

how to make vallarai kootu

Our Lunch that day was - Bittergourd pitlai, cauliflower curry, beetroot pachadi, vallarai kootu and homemade curd.

South Indian lunch spread   

Check out my delicious Vallarai Thuvaiyal (chutney) which can be had as side dish for dosa and  can also be mixed with rice topped with a tsp of gingerly oil.

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Monday, January 22, 2018

Chow Chow Poricha Kootu Recipe-Bangalore Kathirikkai Poricha Kootu

Chow Chow/chayote poricha kootu is yet another simple dish made with chow chow, which is commonly prepared in my home. It is simple to make and tastes very delicious with both rice and chapati. You can make poricha kootu with amaranth greens, tender green stems (keerai thandu), snake gourd, broad beans, mixed vegetables etc. Today we will learn how to make poricha kootu with chow chow (also known as Bangalore kathirikkai) following this easy recipe with step wise pictures.

Chow Chow Poricha Kootu
Chow Chow Poricha Kootu with Besanwali bhindi

Chow Chow Poricha Kootu

Chow Chow Poricha Kootu

 Prep Time : 15 mins
 Cook Time : 15 mins 
 Serves: 2
 Recipe CategoryChow Chow-Kootu
 Recipe CuisineTamil Brahmin
 Author:

   Ingredients needed

   Chow chow/chayote - 3 cups chopped or (2 medium size chow chow)
   Moong dal - 1/3 cup
   Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
   Salt as needed

   Fry and Grind

   Oil - 1/2 tsp
   Whole black pepper - 1 tsp
   Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
   Red Chillies - 2-3
   Grated coconut - 1/4 cup

   For the Seasoning

   Coconut Oil - 1 tsp
   Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
   Urad dal - 1 tsp
   Curry leaves - a sprig

   For Garnishing

   Coriander leaves - 2 tbsp finely chopped


Preparation

Peel the skin, discard the seed and chop chow chow into medium sized pieces.

Wash and soak moong dal (pasi paruppu) for 10 minutes. Soaking is optional.

how to make chow chow kootu

Heat 1/2 tsp of oil and saute whole black peppercorns, cumin seeds and red chillies. Then add grated coconut and switch off the heat. Fry the coconut in the heat of the pan.

Once it cools, grind it to a fine paste. Keep it aside.

how to make poricha kootu

Pressure cook chow chow with little water (around 1/2 cup), moong dal, salt and turmeric powder for 2 or 3 whistles.

Bangalore Kathirikkai kootu

Once the pressure subsides, open the cooker, add the ground paste and 1/2 cup of water.

Chow Chow Poricha Kootu Recipe

Simmer for 5-6 minutes stirring from time to time and remove from heat. That's it! Sounds easy isn't it? Now we will do the seasoning. 

Heat a tsp of coconut oil (coconut oil gives a nice flavor to the poricha kootu), add mustard seeds, when it splutters, add urad dal and curry leaves.

When dal turns golden brown, pour the seasoning over the kootu. Garnish with coriander leaves.

Serve with rice and any vegetable curry of your choice. I served with rice and besanwali bhindi. It also goes well as a side dish for chapati.

Check Mixed Vegetable Poricha Kulambu Recipe


Find below another simpler version of chow chow kootu which I had shared long time back. Click the picture below or the link below to take you to that recipe page.

Easy Chow Chow Kootu

Note - Poricha kootu can be done with ash gourd, bottle gourd, snake gourd, mixed vegetables, drumstick, broad beans (avarakkai), keerai thandu. Just replace chow chow with any of the above vegetables or use a mix of vegetables like carrot, potato, beans, chow chow, broad beans etc.

You can use moong dal or tur dal or a mix of both the dals. If using tur dal, you have to cook it to a mush separately.

You can adjust the consistency of the kootu by adding more or less water.

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Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Methi Khichdi Recipe-Fenugreek Leaves Khichdi

Methi Khichdi is a nutritious one pot meal prepared with fresh methi leaves (vendhya keerai in Tamil), rice, dal and spices. Khichdi is my comfort food and methi khichdi is no exception. It is very easy to make and tastes good. Today we will learn how to make Methi Khichdi following this easy recipe with step wise pictures.

Methi Khichdi

Methi Khichdi

Methi Khichdi

 Prep Time : 20 mins
 Cook Time : 20 mins 
 Serves: 2
 Recipe CategoryLunch-Methi
 Recipe CuisineNorth Indian
 Author:

   Ingredients needed

   Rice - 1/2 cup
   Moong Dal (pasi paruppu) - 1/3 cup
   Fenugreek leaves - 2 cups lightly packed
   Onion - 1
   Tomato - 1 big
   Ginger-garlic paste - 1 tsp
   Salt needed

   Spice Powder

   Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
   Chilli Powder - 1/2 tsp
   Coriander Powder - 1 tsp

   For the Seasoning

   Oil - 1 tbsp
   Ghee - 1 tbsp
   Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
   Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
   Urad Dal - 1/2 tsp
   Whole black peppercorns- 1/4 tsp
   Red chillies - 2
   Hing - a pinch

   Top Up Seasoning

   Ghee - 2 tsp
   Cumin seeds/jeera - 1 tsp
   Garlic - 4 cloves minced


Preparations

Pick and clean methi leaves. You can use the tender stems also. Wash and chop it roughly.

Finely chop onion and tomatoes.

Wash and soak rice and dal together for 1 hour. Add 3 cups of water, little salt and pressure cook for 3-4 whistles.

Once the pressure subsides, open the cooker and mash the rice and dal well while it is hot.

how to prepare khichdi

Method

Heat oil + ghee in a pan, add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, urad dal, whole black pepper, red chillies and hing.

When cumin seeds sizzles and dal turns golden brown, add finely chopped onions.

Saute until onions turn light brown.

sauteing onions

Add ginger garlic paste and saute for a few more minutes.

Add chopped tomatoes and all the spice powder mentioned under "spice powder".

how to prepare methi khichdi

Cook until tomatoes turn mushy and oozes out oil. Add the chopped fenugreek leaves.

how to make methi khichdi

Cook until the fenugreek leaves wilt.

Add the mashed rice + dal, a cup of water and mix well.

Fenugreek Leaves Khichdi

Cook on low heat for 5-6 minutes. Check for salt.

Heat ghee in a pan, add cumin seeds, when it sizzles, add finely chopped garlic and pour it over the khichdi.

Methi Khichdi Recipe

Your khichdi is done. Serve hot with any raita or papads or pickle.

Easy Methi khichdi recipe

Note - Khichdi thickens as it cools. In that case, add a little hot water and reheat the khichdi. Always enjoy khichdi piping hot.

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Saturday, December 23, 2017

Turnip Curry Recipe-Shalgam Ki Sabzi

Turnip Curry is a semi dry sabji made with turnips, spices and tomatoes. This is yet another simple sabji/curry which I make often with turnips. It is very easy to make and goes well with chapati, parathas and even rice. Today we will learn how to make shalgam/turnip sabzi following this easy recipe with step wise pictures.

Turnip Curry-Shalgam Ki Sabzi

Turnip Curry Recipe-Shalgam Ki Sabzi

Turnip Curry Recipe-Shalgam Ki Sabzi

 Prep Time : 15 mins
 Cook Time : 20 mins 
 Serves: 2-3
 Recipe CategoryTurnip-Side Dish
 Recipe CuisineIndian
 Author:

   Ingredients needed

   Turnip - 2 cups cubed
   Onion - 1 cup chopped
   Tomato - 1 cup chopped
   Ginger-garlic paste - 1 tsp
   Salt needed

   Spice Powder

   Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
   Chilli Powder - 1 tsp or as needed
   Coriander powder - 2 tsp
   Garam masala powder - 1/2 tsp

   For the seasoning

   Oil - 2 1/2 tbsp
   Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
   Curry leaves - a sprig
   Hing - a pinch

   For Garnishing

   Coriander leaves - 2 tbsp finely chopped


Preparations 

Wash and peel the skin of turnip. Cut it into cubes.

Chop onions, tomatoes and keep it aside.

how to prepare turnip sabzi

Method 

Heat oil in a cooker or pressure pan, add cumin seeds, when it sizzles, add  hing, curry leaves and chopped onions.

How to make turnip curry

Saute until onions turn light brown. Add salt to speed up the process.

Add ginger-garlic paste and saute for a few more minutes.

shalgam ki sabzi recipe

Add chopped tomatoes and all the spice powders mentioned under "Spice Powder".

Cook until tomatoes become mushy and oozes out oil.

turnip curry recipe

Add turnip, salt needed and mix well.

turnip curry for chapati

Add a cup of water and pressure cook for 2-3 whistles.

Once the pressure subsides, open the cooker and slightly mash few turnip pieces.

Simmer for 2 minutes and remove from heat.

Shalgam Ki Sabzi recipe

Garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves and serve hot with rotis, parathas or pooris.

Check out more than 160 Side Dishes for Chapati 

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Saturday, December 16, 2017

Beetroot Kefir Cold Soup Recipe

Beetroot kefir cold soup is quick and easy to make. It is called cold borscht and is very popular in Lithuanian cuisine. This soup is served cold. I have made slight changes to suit my preferences. Cold borscht is served chilled with warm potatoes and hard boiled eggs. It makes a light and nutritious lunch. Today we will learn how to make Beetroot Kefir cold soup following this easy recipe with pictures.

Beetroot Kefir Cold Soup

Beetroot Kefir Cold Soup

Beetroot Kefir Cold Soup

 Prep Time : 10 mins
 Cook Time : 10 mins 
 Serves: 2
 Recipe CategorySoup-Beetroot
 Recipe CuisineInternational
 Author:

   Ingredients needed

   Beetroot - 1 cup grated
   Cucumber - 1 cup chopped
   Potato - 1 big boiled
   Spring Onion greens - 1/4 cup chopped
   Dill leaves or mint leaves - 1/4 cup chopped
   Milk Kefir - 1 cup
   Salt as needed
   Pepper powder as needed
   Hard Boiled eggs - 2 diced (optional)


Preparations

Pressure cook potatoes for 2-3 whistles. Once the pressure subsides, peel the skin and dice it. Let it cool completely.

Wash beetroot well, peel the skin, chop it into small sized pieces and steam it. Let it cool completely. You can also grate beetroot and steam it. (Note - Do not grate it finely)

In the meantime, wash, peel the skin and chop cucumber into small pieces. You can also grate coarsely.

Hard boil eggs. Shell it and cut it into quarters. Adding eggs is optional but cold borscht is served topped with eggs.

Chop spring onion greens finely.

In traditional cold borscht, dill leaves are used. As I could not get dill leaves, I have used finely chopped mint leaves.

how to prepare beetroot cold soup

Method 

In a bowl mix together potatoes, cucumber, grated beetroot, spring onion greens and mint leaves.

Easy Beetroot Kefir Cold Soup Recipe

Add salt and pepper powder to taste. Then add a cup of milk kefir. You can adjust the consistency by adding a little more or less kefir. You can also add a little water to adjust the consistency to your liking. 

How to make Beetroot Kefir Cold Soup

Mix well and garnish it with spring onion greens.

Beetroot Kefir Cold Soup Recipe

Refrigerate the soup for an hour.

Before serving, add eggs and garnish with more spring onion greens and fresh dill leaves.  Serve chilled.

Kefir contains high quantities of beneficial bacteria and yeasts. So this soup is very nutritious but kefir is not commonly available in India. The good news is, you can make kefir at home using kefir grains. It is very simple to make kefir at home.


Note - You can substitute kefir with thick buttermilk.

If you found this post useful, I would really love it, if you pin it or share it with your Facebook fans or Twitter followers or Google+ circles or Instagram today. All it takes is a simple click on the “pin it” “like,” “share,” “tweet,” or Google+ buttons below the post.  Thank you!

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