Christmas is around the corner and I am looking like a Santa Claus today, for I am wrapping energy bars for my cyclist husband. Since he started cycling on the mountain trails he has been obsessed with it. I am jealous that he spends more time with his cycle now than me 😛 But I am also glad that he has found his true calling and enjoys this activity to the hilt. I have been making energy bars for him which are healthier and much more delicious than what you get packed from the stores.


When his last batch finished I made him a fresh one and thought to share this on my blog for all of you. What can be a better way to rejoice the holiday season by making healthy choices. These no bake granola bars are loaded with puffed amaranth, dry fruits, black currant, chia seeds, hemp seeds and peanut butter. I have used Organic Puffed Amaranth or Ramdana or Rajgira from SOS Organics. Amaranth is a good source of calcium, protein and amino acids and is rich in iron, magnesium and Vitamin A, B and C too. You can always buy it from our – The Gourmet Shop. If you have your own un puffed amaranth you can puff it yourself. Take a cast iron skillet or wok. Heat it so that it gets hot enough. Take 1 tsp of amaranth seeds and place it in the wok and let it sit for 5 seconds. Then cover it with a lid and toss it around. You should be able to get puffed amaranth. Don’t keep it for too long for they can burn very easily. It requires a bit of practice. Once you get a hang of it you can increase it to 1 tbsp at a time.


Most the recipes of energy bar go haywire because of the proportions. If you choose to substitute any one ingredient with another, for example you dont have hemp seeds, you can substitute it with pumpkin seeds or melon seeds but the quantity has to be the same. This is a foolproof recipe, just follow it to the ‘T’ and you will never ever indulge in store bought bars.  These are so delicious that my kiddo wants to eat them whole day long and I have no reasons to say no. 


1.  In a bowl add puffed amaranth , dessicated unsweetened coconut and hemp seeds.




2. Also add sesame seeds and chia seeds.



3. In the same bowl add fresh zest of a lemon. Yes yes trust me! Its the most magical ingredient in this recipe.


4. Roughly chop Almonds, Pistachios, Cashews and Jother nuts you would like to add to the bar.  Also chop dark chocolate bar into chunks. Ignore if you are using chocolate nibbles. Set aside.



5. Grease a 8×8 inch baking tray with good quality parchment paper . Leave handles on the side to make it easy to remove from the pan. You can buy it here if you like.

6. In a saucepan add some honey and peanut butter. Just heat it up to make it loose and runny.



7. Once the honey and butter is melted turn the flame off and add vanilla essence to it and combine.

8. Add the melted honey and butter to the amaranth seed mix and combine using a spatula.

9. Add chopped nuts and black currants. Combine.



10. Lastly, add chopped chocolate and mix. You will get a tough mixture to work with but that’s how it should be.

11. Transfer the entire mixture the baking tray lines with parchment paper and even it out by pressing down with the help of a spatula. Let it sit in the refrigerator for a couple of hours to set.



12. Cut into desired shapes using a long knife.

13. Wrap them into individual packing using a food wrapping paper and store it in a cool place. This stays good for couple of weeks.

Other easy desserts you can try here are: Blueberry Jam BarsMediterranean Eggless Semolina CakeCoconut MacaroonsKhajoor Til Ke Laddoo




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The magic of winters can be felt in its chill.. in the way the trees gracefully shed their leaves.. tinier days spent mostly in soaking the sun.. those longer nights where just about a hot cup of Chocolate makes everything warm and cozy.. sitting by the fireplace and eating Roasted Chestnuts. That just sums up my day in the hills  

There are days when I sulk that many vegetables are not available in the hills and then there are days I find myself blessed to find things which many people cannot dream of getting. So this constant tussle keeps me busy 😛 

When I saw Chestnuts in the market I knew Christmas is just around the corner. The locals call it Pangar. This name denotes all kinds of chestnuts, some are edible and some are not. But of course the one I have used are edible and oh so delicious! The skin of the chestnut is very hard and in order to roast them you must also score them with a sharp knife, carefully hunh! If you dont score them they will pop and explode and can be a little dangerous. So wise people say score them and roast them and your festivity will be joyous without any accidents 🙂 

The festive season brings out the kid in me for I love to do cookies with warm spices, pies in all its forms and having hot roasted chestnuts takes it to a new level. I roasted them and when they popped open I tossed some Coffee Butter on them. That was the best thing I have done all season  What are your plans for the holiday season? Write to me under the post I would love to hear from you. 


1. Choose chestnuts which are not bruised or open from anywhere. If their shell is punctured its likely they will be bad and rotten from inside.


2. Boil some water in a sauce pan. and when it comes to a boil add the chestnuts and let them soak in for 5 minutes. 




3. Drain them in a colander and pat them dry with a kitchen towel.

4. Now using a small pairing knife make an X on the face of each chestnut. I know its a huge talk and by the end of it my fingers were paining. But someone has to do the dirty job 🙂



5. Once this stage is done its all easy peasy. Place the scored chestnuts in a baking tray with Scored part facing up. Preheat the oven to 200 degree Celsius for ten minutes and pop the tray inside the oven and bake for about 30-40 minutes. You will hear the popping and that will bring happiness to your soul. The skin of the chestnuts will curl up that’s an indication that they are doing just fine.



6. In the meanwhile we can work on the cocoa coffee butter. In a saucepan add butter and Maple syrup. Once it is bubbly remove it from the flame.



7. Also add instant coffee and vanilla essence. Keep stirring till the coffee has dissolved. 



8. Place the roasted chestnuts in a serving platter with X side up. Drizzle this Cocoa Coffee butter on top and let it sink inside from the cracks. 

9. Cover the chestnuts for a while for nuts to absorb the flavour. When they are easy to touch season them with Flaky Crystal Salt and serve.

You can even try Roasted Broccoli with Garlic and Lemon Roasted Bell Pepper & Black Eyed Peas SaladRoasted Red Bell Pepper & Pine Nuts Fettuccine PastaRoasted Rosemary Garlic Potatoes.


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We all need something to munch and snack on in between our meals. And when you are fasting for Navratri, those hunger pangs can really lower your energy. So instead of buying Namkeens or other snacks from market you can make them at home. They are easy to put together , fresh and hygienic. These can also be enjoyed by those who are not fasting. A word of caution, this Namkeen can be very addictive. Once you start eating this you cannot stop eating it. I loaded this one with dried fruits as I am expecting some guests in the days to come. You can please your guests with such home made snacks and even make it in advance and store for the upcoming festival season.


I always have loved its khatta meetha flavour with a hint of Kaddi Patta. I have used Nylon Sabudana for this recipe which are bigger in size than the normal tapioca pearls. They puff up on frying and have an incredible crunch. But you can always use the normal sized sabudana for this.


1. In a wok heat some vegetable oil. Drop one pearl of sabudana in hot oil to test if its heated optimally. If it rises instantly on the surface you know your oil is ready for frying. Add Sabudana to oil and let them fry and puff up for a couple of minutes without changing colour. Remove them on a plate lined with paper towel to absorb extra oil.




2. In the similar way fry the peanuts. Be careful not to over fry them for they will taste bitter.



3. Also remove them on the plate lined with paper towel along with sabudana.


4. Now in a shallow pan add very little oil and shallow fry Cashews till golden brown. Add them to the peanut sabudana plate.



5. Then add raisins to the same pan and toss it in oil till they puff up. Remove them and them saute, washed and dried Kaddi Patta and chopped green chillies.




6. Transfer everything to a bowl add powdered sugar and salt and ground black pepper. 




7. Toss everything together and transfer to an airtight container on coming to room temperature. Enjoy whenever hunger kicks in. It tastes incredible as a evening snack with your favourite cup of chai or coffee.

Other Fast recipes you can try are: Kuttu Singhara Sama Ke Atta Ki ThalipeethVrat Wale Dahi-Paneer KebabsSabudana KheerSabudada KhichdiSabudana TikkiTapioca Coconut Milk Pudding with Strawberry PreserveKaddu Ka HalwaPaneer Ki KheerRasgullaSwang Ke Chawal Ka HalwaSwang Ke Chawal Ki PhirniSwang ke Chawal ki Khichdi .

sabudananamkeen_featured3[whohit]Sabudana Namkeen[/whohit]

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Last week I  was invited to the Uttrakhand Food Festival in Nanital. I was asked to put up a stall featuring food and produce from Kumaun and Garhwal region. I decided to bake my Ragi Whole Wheat Cookies, Ragi Brownies and these savoury twisters also made from Ragi or Mandua which is grown in this region and predominantly part of the kumaoni palette. The most amazing part of these twisters is that they are baked and have very little oil in them. This is an idle guilt free snacking option, specially for weight watcher’s like me. 20 twisters contain 100 calories.. isn’t that amazing!

All twisters and Ragi Brownies were sold off on the very first day of the event. It was a huge success. I was overjoyed when I bagged the second prize for Innovation in Baking. Truly I felt my hard work paid off 🙂


1. Preheat the oven to 180 degree Celcius (Learn more about Oven temperatures and Conversions.). Line a baking tray with parchment paper. I am using a silicon mat. Set aside. Take Ragi and Whole Wheat Flour in a bowl.



2. Add plain yogurt or curd to the bowl. Also add Ginger Garlic and chili paste.



3. Add Cumin Seeds, little sugar and salt and combine.




4. Add turmeric powder and freshly chopped Coriander.



5. Add oil and water just enough to form a paliable dough. Therefore, add little water spoon by spoon.



6. Knead a soft paliable dough. It should not be very stiff nor very sticky.

7. Divide the dough into two and roll each of them by dusting the surface with dry flour. The dough should be rolled in a large circle of 200 mm. (8”) in diameter.




8. Now cut it into strips  about 25 mm. x 12 mm. (1″ x ½ “) using a sharp knife or a pizza cutter.

9. Twist each strip vertically with your hands and place them on a lined baking sheet and bake in a preheated oven for 20 minutes or until they become crisp and light brown in colour. Flip sides gently after half time. Let the come to room temperature before indulging as they will crisp up even more. Store them in an airtight container, stays good for a very long time.

Other Baked Snacks you can try are: Baked Paneer Corn Kebabs

Other Ragi or Red Millet recipes on The Secret Ingredient: Instant Ragi Dosa, Ragi Whole Wheat Cookies.



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This post is specially for diet conscious people or people who are watching their weight. These dates ball are quick and easy to do with minimal ingredients. When you want to snack on to something guilt free or quench your mid night cravings this is a perfect treat. Store them in air tight jar and these go a long way. They look small but they are very filling, so ensure you make small sized balls.

When I made them last time I never got an opportunity to store them for they were gone by the evening. Yes me and my husband had 6 each ;). A little dieting never hurts anyone 😛


1. Remove the seeds from the dates.

2. Dry roast the almonds and walnuts or pecans in a pan in batches. You can use any nut of your choice. Ensure you keep tossing them for you don’t want to burn them. Coarsely grind them in a grinder leaving a few chunky pieces to give texture to the balls.





3. In the same pan add the sesame seeds and toss them to get a slight colour and crunch on them. Roast them on a low medium flame.




4.  Add the pitted dates in a coffee grinder or normal grinder and make a sticky paste.




5. In a pan add little butter or ghee or if you are vegan add coconut oil or any neutral oil.


6. Add the dates and cook them in ghee for about 2-3 minutes. The dates will absorb all the butter.


7. Now add the ground chunky nuts and mix them to combine evenly using a spatula. Soon everything will be well combines in one thick paste.



8. Let the mixture cool down a bit. Take a spoon full of it in your palm and make a smooth ball with it.




9. Place all the balls in a plate and one by one roll them in roasted sesame seeds.




 10. Store them in an air tight jar and enjoy them whenever you feel like snacking!




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