Wednesday, 19 February 2020

Recipe 104: Seekh Kabab Stir Fry

So you have some random vegetables and meat in fridge and cannot decide how to prepare a meal out of it?

Worry not! With just  few ingredients and an interesting twist even the most mundane vegetables can turn out surprisingly good and delicious.

Sharing my oft-repeated recipe that works excellently as a starter, side-dish to biryani and noodles, or even paratha rolls, Seekh Kabab Stir Fry is a must for all to try.

Great about this recipe is that it can be easily customizable. More or less or vegetables can be added. For instance, you can add French beans, mushrooms, boiled corn kernels, broccoli … basically anything you wish.

Ingredients for 4 Servings:

  1. 1 cup chopped carrots
  2. 1 cup chopped onions
  3. 1 cup capsicum
  4. 1 cup baby corn
  5. 3-4 uncooked seekh kabab (either chicken or mutton) cut into 1 inch thick roundels
  6. 3 tbsp. tomato ketchup
  7. 3 tbsp. soy sauce
  8. 2 tbsp. green chilly sauce
  9. 1 tbsp. black pepper powder
  10. salt to taste
  11. vegetable oil for cooking


In a skillet, heat some oil.
Add onions, carrots and baby corn.
On high heat, fry till onions become translucent.
Add the sliced seekh kababs.
Cook till the meat is well cooked and has developed some color.
Now add capsicum, salt, tomato ketchup, soy sauce, black pepper power and green chilly sauce.
Stir for 2 minutes.
Switch off the heat and serve as a side dish for noodles or fried rice; filling for roll and wrap; or just as it is.

Saturday, 11 January 2020

Recipe 103: Carrot-Beetroot Halwa

Delicious and easy this dessert is a must in the colder months.

Savour it warm or cold, either way the dish is a hit with all age groups.

Today I prepared an extremely mini portion of halwa for my daughter. Using just one small carrot and beetroot.
While the ingredients remains the same, for more servings you can increase the quantities.

Also, the recipe is open to many variations. You can replace beetroot with more carrots (Carrot Halwa) or make halwa with just beetroots (No, the halwa wont taste earthy. Infact, you will be surprised how tasty the dessert turns out). You can add raisins and nuts. You can replace milk powder with fresh cream, khoya, condensed milk. You can increase the quantity to milk and make a Carrot-Beetroot Kheer. With so many ideas do try cooking with beetroots.

Here is a recipe of one serving Carrot-Beetroot Halwa.


  1. 1 small carrot
  2. 1 small beetroot
  3. 3/4 cup milk
  4. 3-4 tbsp sugar
  5. 2 tbsp. milk powder
  6. 1 tbsp. ghee
  7. 2-3 cardamoms
  8. a pinch of salt


Peal and wash the carrot and beetroot.
Grind cardamom and make a fine powder of it.
Grate the vegetables.
This should amount to 1 cup loosely packed.
In a kadhai, heat ghee.
Add the grated vegetables.
Stir them on medium high heat.
Now add salt to draw out moisture from the vegetables.
Continue stirring till the mixture appears dry.
Add milk and let the mixture come to a boil.
Keep stirring and allow the milk to evaporate.
Cook till the mixture begins to form a lump and keep scraping the sides.
Add sugar and cardamom powder.
Mix well.
Now add milk powder.
Stir lightly.
Switch off heat.
Serve warm.

Wednesday, 1 January 2020

25 Worth Trying Anti-Ageing Tips

"Anti-ageing" a term we all love to google, is actually farce. Humans at the most can strive for slow ageing process but never reverse or anti-ageing.

Yet, I use the term for today's discussion because it is popular and makes more sense to men and women when it comes to looking and feeling younger.

I believe in maintaining a healthy lifestyle, beauty regime and food habits that contributes to younger looking skin. And in my quest, over the years I have gathered a lot of information on anti-ageing.

Below is a fun and informative list of practices/habits/beauty products that either destroys or contributes to anti-ageing. Some tips are widely popular in the internet and others I practice myself. You will find points that are often repeated and others might be an eye-opener.

All in all, it will be a good read and a checklist for all of you who care about self and looks. Just for information, the points are not in the order of importance.

Let's begin!

1. Start Skincare in Your 20s

(Source: Pixabay)
This makes most sense because giving an 80 year old an eye cream and saying this will give you anti ageing is like making a joke. So, anti ageing starts when you are young because that is the time when you want to prolong your youthful years.

2. Always Sleeping on Your Back

(Source: Pixabay)
Sleeping on your stomach means that your face is dunk into the pillow or lying face-down on the mattress. This also means that till the time you consciously or unconsciously flip over, the facial skin is crunched and compressed. As a result, the creases happening for hours during sleep leads to permanent wrinkles. This point does makes sense. Firstly, yes the face feels compressed and distorted when smashed against the pillow. Secondly, all the cream massaged gets transferred to the pillow/bed. Totally, bad.

3. Drinking Lots of Water

(Source: Pixabay)
If are not nourished and hydrated from within, no amount of water splashing on face and moisturizing will give you younger-looking skin. So, keep a bottle with you at all times. Sip throughout the day. And water means water not other kinds of liquid like tea, coffee and juice. These are calorie drinks. Plain water contains no calorie. If at all you despise the taste of water (many cannot consume hot water) spritz a few drops of lemon or tear a few leaves of tulsi/basil/mint, add to water and then drink it. Adding lemon or a dash of salt is also helpful in retaining water into the body. Many times people complain that they drink a lot of water but multiple visits to the bathroom makes them feel like water just gets drained. This happens because water gets mineralized and is able to absorb or stay for long. So, adding 1 tsp. lemon juice or a pinch of salt prevents water from escaping your body soon and makes your skin plumper.

4. Say No to Sugar

(Source: Pixabay)
Sugar is repeatedly said to be a detriment to good health and skin. Too much sugar in your diet makes collagen formation difficult and collagen is what makes your skin plump and youthful. Also, train yourself to drink unsweetened food and water. There are countless people/articles that advise water with honey as a way to replace sugar. But I say why also add honey? Why do you need plain water, lemon water, mint water etc. to be sweetened? Instead swap sugar cravings with berries and other fruits that are anti-oxidant rich.

5. Use Essential Oils

(Source: Pixabay)
I was not a fan of EOs until two years back when I researched about it and started to buy good quality EOs and use it daily. As of now I prepare day cream, night cream, baby cream, hair oil and face mist all from my array of EOs. Infact, other than sunscreen and facewash, both me and my husband have stopped using store-bought products and we rely on homemade goodies. It is only after experience, that I can vouch for the good effects of EOs. Just a few drops into raw and organic cocoa and shea butter can create a luxurious face cream. Frankincense and Myrrh are my favourite when it comes to anti-ageing. Take 2 tbsp. coconut/jojoba/almond oil and add 4 drops of Frankincense and 2 drops of Myrrh and you get a powerful skin revitalizer that can be used on face and body. Whether it is skin elasticity or pigmentation or fine lines, the combination of Frankincense and Myrrh creates magic. Another trusted EO is Grapeseed Oil and Rosehip Oil both of which fight stress and sun damage.

6. Do Not Keep Your Skin Dry

(Source: Pixabay)
Dry skin means the skin is lacking moisture and it is getting crinkled. Atleast twice daily apply some sort of moisturizer/gel/serum. Earth which is not well-watered/irrigated gets deep cracks, now imagine that happening to your skin when dry/bare.

7. Make Less Facial Movements 

(Source: Pixabay)
This tip came from a beauty/makeup blogger in YouTube Jeffery Star who claims that because he makes extremely less facial expressions/movements, he has been able to look much younger than his age. I quote, "At age 15 I trained myself to not move my face … I don't really move my forehead. I don't really move when I laugh." As a result, he is creating no lines around that area. He also happens to drink all his drinks with a straw. This means he is not only minimizing lip movement but also protecting his teeth from staining.

8. Do Facial Yoga

(Source: NDTV Food)
As opposed to Jeffery Star's technique to anti-ageing, there are some who give credit to facelift yoga expressions that improve skin elasticity.

9. Massage Your Face

(Source: Natural Beauty Collection)
Just applying the most expensive cream cannot give you anti-ageing. You have to invest time as well. Therefore, take 5 minutes to massage your cream so that some heat is generated and your skin has got an exercise.

10. Use Scrubs

(Source: Pixabay)
Whether you are a fan of physical scrubs or chemical exfoliants or prefer homemade over store-bought, scrubbing your skin once a week is a must. A clean and bump-free skin takes in the moisturizer much better.

11. Consume Omega Oils

(Source: Pixabay)
Not just from fish but flax seeds, spinach, nuts, etc. contain Omega 3 oil that helps in new cell generation, prevent acne and regulates natural oil glands of the skin.

12. Work Under Bright Lights

(Source: Pixabay)
The theory is that darkness or dull lighting at home and office makes one squint and this creates fine lines around the eyes. So, whether you are working in the kitchen or typing in a laptop, use bright lighting.

13. Use Sunglasses

(Source: Pixabay)
This also goes by the above mentioned theory that squinting eyes makes lines prominent and helps build up crow's feet. When choosing sunglasses, go for Polaroids because that will give you broad-spectrum protection UVA and UVB.

14. Go Meatless

This is an interesting tip on anti-ageing. The rationale is that non-vegetarian food includes meat and meat comes from killing an animal. So, the stress that animal underwent gets transfers to its meat which when consumed gets to our body. Basically you are eating a food that itself is stressed and traumatized. Some may laugh but there has been serious studies by Food And Agricultural Organization on muscle and hormone activity of the slaughtered animal that has made its meat tasteless and reduced its quality.

15. Look for Retinoids 

(Source: Healthline)
It is a concentrated form of Vitamin A that is claimed to promote new cell generation. Retinoids is proven to boost collagen production that people artificially get through fillers. So, use skincare products that have retinoids way in your 20's. But caution is important before using retinoids because it a strong ingredient and only well-informed makers can come up with perfect formulas.

16. Use Sunscreen

(Source: Pixabay)
Sun is a major threat to youthful glow and skin texture. So, wear sunscreen to avoid photo-ageing. SPF protects one from pigmentation and dryness. One crucial thing to note when choosing SPF in sunscreen is that it can only go till 50. If a product claim SPF 120, its fake.

17. Use Cream Based Makeup

(Source: Pixabay)
Since I am talking about moisture and plump skin, powder base makeup products dry out the skin. Use cream base eyeshadow, lip and cheek tint, liquid foundation and highlighters.

18. Eat More Proteins

(Source: Pixabay)

Proteins build muscle. With age proteins are breaking down. So, it makes sense to eat proteins more to build collagen.

19. Eat Anti-Oxidant Rich Foods

(Source: Pixabay)
Tomatoes, fruits/berries have actually been said to remove sunspots and free radicals from body. Antioxidant and anti ageing goes hand in hand. So, go ahead and eat dark chocolate, kale leaves, nuts and so on.

20. Look for Vitamin C

(Source: Pixabay)
Whether it is something to eat or apply directly onto your skin, Vitamin C is touted to be great for fighting fine lines and wrinkles. Vitamin C serums have, therefore, become a fad.

21. Cut Back on Alcohol and Caffeine

(Source: Pngfly)

Both are known as dehydrators. The more dry your skin the more aged you will look. Moreover, you need to avoid alcohol in skincare products like toners and face washes. Also, not to forget avoid perfumes and deodorants that have alcohol. If at all you need to use them then avoid spraying on skin.

22. Turn Blue Light Off on Mobile Phones

(Source: Harvard Health Publishing)

The blue light is the default light setting on all mobiles and it acts like UVA. So, seek mobile phones that have a setting to protect you from blue light.

23. No Makeup Wipes

Makeup wipes contain strong chemicals that may give you instant cleansing results but in the long run dries your skin. Secondly, wipes makes you tug your skin for cleaning leading to wrinkles and sagging. So opt for micellar water, face wash and cleansing oils.

24. Use Beauty Tools

(Source: Marie Claire)
We are living at a time when the market is flooded with beauty tools that help penetrate skincare products. There are different kinds of massaging tools like the Jade Spade and vibrating massagers. Other beauty tools are for deep cleansing such as a vibrating silicon brush. All of these tools are therapeutic and have anti ageing effects. However, for proper results you need to abreast yourself with the how-to-use information.

25. Look Up While Texting

This might be strange but its true. While texting if one looks up, the eye muscles are not squinting or creating creases underneath and is rather stretched. In the long run, you will see fewer signs of fine lines and under eye circles.

These were the 25 tips and tricks to slow the signs of ageing. Some of them has been hilarious while others make sense. You do what floats your boat!

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Thursday, 26 December 2019

Recipe 102: Chocolate-Beetroot Cake

This Christmas my daughter celebrated in her pre-school. So, needless to say the tiffin for that day had to be a cake.

If you know the rules of the game and ensure the measurements are correct, baking can actually be super easy.

Also, baking is a fun activity for kids. Involve them in simple tasks and see them love their creations.
Always searching healthy alternatives and ways to sneak in health in junk food, I came out with the idea to bake a chocolate-beetroot cake for her.

The result?

Daisy loved it.
With no traces or flavour of beetroot, this cake is super soft and has a deep chocolatey taste.

The texture is that of a carrot cake - moist and crumbly.
So, why don't you too try to add veggies to your baked goodies and see you and your kids devour it guiltfree.

I have never pre-cooked beetroot for this recipe and have felt that it is absolutely unnecessary. The amount of time and high heat in which a cake bakes, the finely grated beetroot also get cooked. Boiling, mashing and then adding beetroot to the cake batter not only increases the steps in baking this cake but also the nutrition of the vegetable gets lost.


  1. 1 cup all-purpose flour
  2. 1 cup freshly grated beetroot
  3. 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (click to buy Hershey's Cocoa Powder)
  4. 1/2 cup sugar
  5. 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  6. 1/2 cup milk
  7. 1 tbsp. baking powder
  8. 1 tsp. vanilla essence (click to buy Madagascar Vanilla Essence)
  9. 1/4 tsp. salt
  10. 1 egg


Preheat oven at 180 degrees Celsius for 5 minutes.
Sieve together flour, baking powder and salt.
Set aside.
Grease and flour a cake tin.
Keep aside.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together egg, oil, beetroot and sugar.
Beat till sugar melts and oil emulsifies.
Add cocoa powder.
Mix well.
Now pour the wet mixture into the sieve flour along with the milk.
Gently whisk the batter.
Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin.
Bake for 30-45 minutes or till a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Allow the cake to cool before slicing.
Store in air-tight container in fridge.

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