Sweet Corn Pancakes – Healthy & Delicious

pancakes

Guest blogger: Neena Vilas Talpade

My sister Neena is an amazing cook. Every time I visit her, I insist that she make these most scrumptious pancakes with sweet corn. They will have you licking your fingers. Yum yum…

Preparation time: 15 mins

Ingredients:

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1 cup corn kernels (short-cut: hold the corn-cob with the left hand, the tip pointing downwards., and run a sharp knife down its sides if you don’t mind just a wee bit being left behind in the cob. Steam for 3-4 mins.

  1. Two tablespoons each of all purpose flour or whole wheat flour, semolina and rice flour. (Don’t worry if any one of these is missing from your pantry-just increase the quantity of the others!
  2. One egg, well-beaten. ( or instead- two well-beaten egg-whites)
  3. 1/2 teaspoon baking powder.
  4. 1 teaspoon sugar.
  5. Salt to taste.
  6. A cup of milk
  7. Butter or refined oil to coat the frying pan. If salted butter is to be used, use a little less salt.
  8. Grated cheese for topping-as desired!

Method:

pancake batter

Combine ingredients 1-7 well. Use milk as required, adding a little at a time. The mixture should be light.

  1. Put griddle on a medium fire.(preferably non-stick)
  2. Put 1/2 teaspoon oil or butter on the pan. Spread the oil all over.
  3. Use a large spoon or a ladle to drop the mixture on the pan. Spread a  not too thick and not too thin pancake.
  4. Cover and cook for a minute or so.
  5. Turn and cook the other side for half a minute. Turn.
  6. Pour some grated cheese.
  7. Garnish with a sprig of parsley.

Makes 6-8 pancakes

Note 1: You may sprinkle any of your favourite herbs like basil, oregano, etc.

Note 2: You may omit the herbs and top with maple syrup or honey!

ENJOY right off the griddle. You will agree that it’s a truly yummy yet extremely easy-to -make breakfast fare!

 

CATERING SERVICE – FROM LUCRATIVE HOBBY TO FULL TIME CATERER

 

 

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Since you are reading this post, obviously you are a foodie and love cooking. This is second post in the series of lucrative hobbies. We have already seen how amateur photography, can become a profitable side business. If you consider cooking to be fun, then a home based catering service is the perfect way to earn a little extra on the side. But here we go one step ahead…we shall see how a hobby can turn into a full time business.

HOW TO START A CATERING SERVICE

 

Let me tell you what Radhika, my friend did. She was working as a software engineer in a mid-cap IT company, earning a reasonably good income. She saw how most of her colleagues craved for homemade food. Living in PG accommodation and eating in restaurants day and night can really make one homesick. So she decided to start a catering service stage by stage.

Stage 1:

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Radhika spread the word among her colleagues, relations, friends and neighbours that she would take party orders at weekends for a small group of 6-12 people. Meanwhile, she also planned some menus. Since she always cooked her own meals she was able to calculate an approximate cost per person. Adding a little extra for home delivery, she arrived at a quote that was really affordable. She began experimenting with different types of cuisine and offered variety.

 

Meanwhile, she enrolled for culinary arts class for two hours a week. Here she learnt salad decorations and presentation of different dishes. She realised that people evaluate a dish with their eyes before they are willing to taste it. So presentation is king in the catering business.

Stage 2:

As her orders increased she needed help. Sometimes she would have multiple orders over the weekend. Some clients asked for customised dishes. Add this to her regular job; and she was obviously finding it difficult to cope with the pressure.

Easy solution – she roped in a couple of college students living nearby to help her with tedious tasks like chopping, grating, grinding, etc for a reasonable fee. They were happy to earn some pocket money and she was happy to have help. Besides, they brought in more business.

Stage 3:

catering 7

Now Radhika decided that she had a sufficiently large client-base to sustain her catering service over a long time. So she chucked her regular job and decided to go full time into catering. But party orders were still limited to weekends. So she started providing tiffins or lunch boxes on weekdays too.

IMPORTANT REQUIREMENTS OF A FULL TIME CATERING SERVICE

Radhika was operating her catering business from home but she had a full time staff of two helpers in the kitchen and a delivery boy to carry the tiffins over to numerous clients each day. Earlier, it was just a small lucrative hobby. Now it was time for legal compliance.

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She looked up on Google and read the local **Health Department’s regulations pertaining to licenses for small businesses. One of the requirements of the Department was inspection of the place where the food is stored and cooked, and also how it was packed and delivered.

catering 1

Once she had complied with the legal requirements, it was time to focus on business expansion. Networking is another aspect that is very important when you are running your own business. So Radhika never missed a party. In fact, she did this right from the start. She attended and monitored the service at every party. In that process she met more potential clients.

The proof of her success is in the fact that she now needs a full time accountant as well! Radhika’s part time hobby of providing catering service had turned into a full-fledged small scale business. I won’t be surprised if she branches out into corporate catering. If she can do it, so can you…

**Before you decide to go full time, please remember to comply with the local government regulation pertaining to a small scale catering service.

Sausage & Sweet Corn Salad For A Flat Belly

 

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Sausage and Sweet Corn is a summer favourite at our home. This salad is wholesome and just perfect for weight watchers. And the best part is that it takes just about 15 minutes to prepare. You want a flat belly, they try out this recipe – you’ll love it.

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Eating time: 5-6 minutes.

Ingredients

1/4 kg grated cabbage

1 teacup sweet corn kernels

Bell Peppers (capsicum) red half, yellow half, green half

One spring onion  finely chopped

3-4 chicken sausages chopped into 1 mm. thin slices

1 tbsp Barbecue sauce

For the dressing:

1/2 tsp olive oil

1 tbsp red chilli flakes (optional)

1 tsp black pepper powder

2 tsp sugar or sugar substitute

1 tsp salt or to taste

1 tbsp white vinegar or juice of half lemon

1 piece of raw garlic grated

For garnishing:

6-7 cherry tomatoes

Method

Steam the sweet corn kernels for 5 minutes and leave to cool till it reaches room temperature.

In a nonstick pan add chopped sausages and BBQ sauce. Stir on high flame for 5 minutes. Keep aside till it reaches room temperature.

Mix the ingredients of the dressing and keep aside so that the flavours blend.

Chop bell peppers into small squares, keeping aside some long pieces for garnishing.

In a big bowl mix grated cabbage, sweet corn, sausages, chopped spring onion and chopped bell peppers.

Add the dressing and toss. Garnish with cherry tomatoes and remaining bell peppers.

Serve immediately.

Enjoy it as much as my family did!

Note: As a variation you can add steamed rice and make it a complete, quick meal.

Flaxseed and Fenugreek Steamed Cakes

Flaxseed n Fenugreek cake

Flaxseed & Fenugreek Savoury cakes (mushti)

I learnt this delicious, low fat recipe from my late mother-in-law Mrs. Meera Andar. In the year 1980, I was 23 years of age and just married. This was the first recipe she taught me and I cook it even after 35+ years of marriage. Called mushti in Konkani, this is a favourite dish with all the family members. I have added flax seeds in the recipe with equally tasty results. Please do try it out. Any suggestions or variations in the recipe are most welcome. I am a foodie and love to experiment.

Preparation time: 10 mins

Cooking time: 10 mins

Ingredients

One bunch fresh fenugreek (methi) – cleaned and chopped finely

4 medium sized onions finely chopped

Approximately ½ cup chickpea flour (besan)

1.1/2 to 2 tsp red chilli powder

½ tsp turmeric (haldi) powder

1 tsp garam masala

½ tsp asafoetida (hing)

1 tsp dry mango powder (amchur)

2 tsp flaxseeds (alsi, javas)

2 tsp salt or to taste

2 tsp sugar

½ cup coconut gratings

Ingredients for tempering

1 tsp oil

1 tsp mustard seeds (mohri)

Method

In a mixing bowl add fenugreek, flax seeds, onions, salt, sugar, chilli powder, hing, garam masala, amchur and haldi.

Mix this together for 2-3 minutes, till the mixture feels moist.

Now add the coconut gratings and mix well.

Add the besan or chickpea flour 1 tbsp at a time and mix well.

When you can make a sticky ball from the mixture you don’t need to add any more besan flour.

Grease two cooker pans. Divide the mixture into 2 equal portions and put in the pans. Level the surfaces.

In a pressure cooker or steamer, steam the mixture for 10 minutes.

Remove and cool for 5 minutes.

Cut into squares and keep aside.

Tempering:

On medium heat, in a non-stick frying pan (tava), add 1 tsp oil and 1 tsp mustard seeds.

When they start to splutter, place the squares and shallow fry for one minute.

Turn the pieces over and fry for another minute.

Serve hot with steamed rice and dal.

King Fish in Spicy Coconut Curry

 

Fish 1

I recently learnt the recipe for King Fish in Spicy Coconut Curry from my niece Niyati Bajekal. Since a child, Niyati has been a foodie and I have enjoyed cooking for her. Now that she had graduated, her passion has turned towards cooking her favourite dishes for us. We had a scrumptious meal of fish curry with steamed rice and I’d love to share the recipe with you…

Ingredients for marinade:

King Fish or Seer Fish 1 kg cut into pieces

2 tsp red chilli powder

1 tsp salt

1 tsp turmeric powder

Ingredients for the coconut paste:

Half coconut grated or 3 tbsp coconut powder

½ tsp coconut oil

1/2 tsp fenugreek (methi) seeds

1 tsp mustard (mohri) seeds

1 tbsp Tamarind powder or raw mango powder or lemon juice

6-8 whole red chillies

6-7 curry leaves

Ingredients for the curry

1 tsp mustard seeds

½ tsp fenugreek seeds

1 tbsp powder of roasted coriander (dhania) seeds

1 tbsp powder of roasted cumin (jeera) seeds

½ tsp turmeric powder

8-10 curry leaves

2 tsp ginger-garlic paste

1 tsp grated nutmeg (jaiphal)

1 bay leaf

1 large onion chopped finely

2 tbsp coconut oil (or any cooking oil)

1 tsp salt or as per taste

Method:

Wash and marinate the fish pieces and keep aside.

Take a heavy bottomed pan. In coconut oil, over low flame, sauté the mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, half the quantity of curry leaves and all the red chillies, till the chillies change colour slightly. Remove into a bowl and keep aside.

In the same pan roast the coconut gratings on low flame till the gratings change colour slightly and give off a mild aroma. Do not fry for more than 2-3 minutes and keep stirring throughout.

Combine the gratings, tamarind and chilli mixture and grind into a smooth paste with a little water. Keep aside.

In the pan add coconut oil. When heated, add mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, curry leaves, bay leaf, and finely chopped onion. Sauté till onions are golden brown in colour.

Add ginger-garlic paste and stir for 2 minutes.

Add coconut paste and stir for 2-3 minutes till it mixes well.

Add water about 1 glass, salt and fish pieces. Cook for 2-3 minutes.

Add nutmeg powder, coriander seed powder, cumin powder and stir gently. Boil for 2 minutes and serve hot with steamed rice and salad.

Note: Do not cook the fish for more than 4-5 minutes or the pieces will break easily.

Njoy…