Cream of Celery in Broccoli Stalks

Cream of Celery in Broccoli Stalks

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Think of a family which loves its daily soup and think of me who loves to grow greens in my garden. There will be some creative combinations indeed. We would not like to throw away stuff in the composter (which we have recently placed in our backyard) as long as there is any chance of using its flavor and richness in our food. You remember how I use the beetroot stalks in Cranberry Pickle and Sweet Beet Stalks Pickle and also Fries . It’s almost winters here and the large elephant eared broccolis will be coming up if all goes well. Look in the pictures how they are a gardener’s delight with beautiful green flower heads. Also, around the same time the celery will also start getting tall and harvest ready.

With the same spirit of using all possible and stirring out kitchen creatives, I bring this cream soup to enjoy. 

…need to know (food details)

  • Number of people served : 1 a bowl, let that be the rule
  • Preparation time : 25 minutes max.

….and we need (ingredients)

  • Celery chopped, handfull, about 5 to 6 stalks would be good : I grow celery for around 5 months in a year and they grow well in tubs, bags and small planters. They have one of the healthiest foliage & excellent antioxidant. It gives good bitter pungency to the stock. 
  • Table Butter, 1 tablespoon : The cheesy butter absorbs the basil’s herb flavor very well. Regular table butter is a good source of fats soluble vitamins and saturated fats. They are better in taste and health than margarine. 
  • Onions, diced, 1 : As in Red Onions for us Indians, strong, acidic and bitter. That’s what a good red onion is supposed to be. They are also good sources of Vitamin C and Iron and are good for hair, skin and help in weight-loss.
  • Garlic minced, 3 to 4 cloves : The King Pungent. Pungency is the reason why we use this allicin rich clove which combats sickness and common cold.
  • Broccoli stems, 500 grams : Broccoli’s health benefits and earthy flavors are amazing, esp. for kids. I use a rather peculier portion of the plant. The stems. I use the insides of the soft broccoli stems by peeling off the hard outer skin. It tastes like cucumber. you may also use it in salads and many other preparations. 
  • Oregano, 1/2 teaspoon : Bitter and pungent oregano is a great antioxidant and hence should be added to fried food. It also has anti fungal and antibacterial qualities.
  • Bay leaf, 1 : Bay leaf is great for joints and skin and are packed with Vitamin A & C and many other minerals like iron, potassium and manganese. They are pungent and bitter in taste. I grow bay leaves in my garden so I can tell you that the fresh ones and dried ones are quite different. Use the dried ones only please. Bay leaves can grow into small trees giving lifetime supply 🙂
  • Milk / Cream, 1 cup : A cream bowl would be better since the texture of the soup would be more to your liking and would require less thickenning while cooking.
  • Salt, to taste : Regular table salt would do good.
  • Black Pepper Powder, 1/4th teaspoon : Good proportion of salt and pepper are great anti oxidants too.

….time to cook ‘n roll (preparing instructions)

  • Take a pressure cooker and heat it on a medium flame with pen lid. Put the butter in it and melt well.
  • Add onions to it and brown them well. To this add chopped celery and garlic minced and stir cook for 3 minutes.
  • Add chopped broccoli stems and stir further for 2 miutes. Now add oregano, bay leaves and stir for a minute.
  • Now add 3 cups water and shut the pressure cooker and cook on low flame for 10 to 12 minutes. Switch the gas off after this.
  • Now open the lid after the steam has relaxed and switch the gas on to medium heat. To this add milk or cream and cook for 10 minutes further. This should reduce the broth to a nice creamy fluid about 40% of how you started earlier.
  • All the while stirring it, add the salt and black pepper to it.
  • Serve steaming now. Do not garnish.

Storage : Nopes, this is a cook and consume recipe. Holding it might sour the cream or thicken the butter.

Missing Something ? : This is an Orginal G-Man, MCMH recipe. This is my creativity, you may try yours 🙂

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Quick Kimchi Salad

Quick Kimchi Salad

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My earliest memories about Korea comes from my junior middle times when Daewoo Motors would be all over Indian roads with their Cielo Sedan and a popular dinky car called Matiz. The entire Indian car driving population fell under either of the two. Then the company went bust and sold off. The next storm of Korean products to inhabit Indian consumer markets were from LG and Samsung home device products. These were much cheaper than the superior Japanese products and pretty flashy too.

However, the Korean cuisine has not been able to make much in roads surprisingly though since most of their vegetables and other ingredients grow easily in India. I guess that shows that they only mean business 🙂 . Anyways, I love to grow lots of pak choi in winters and draw out some interesting Garlic Sauce recipe which I shared earlier. Another more popular one, which is one of my favorite evening munch is the Kimchi Salad. As with all other Korean recipes, it has Sesame written all over it. Do go through this one and enjoy preparing a quick and snappy salad with sesame essence !

…need to know (food details)

  • Number of people served : Ideally 2 but I don’t give any one a chance 🙂
  • Preparation time : 15 minutes max.

….and we need (ingredients)

  • Pak Choi / Bok Choy, freshly picked (or packed), 1/2 Kg  : True to it’s green leafy genre, pak choy has good amount of fibre, calcium, iron, protein and carbohydrates. In taste it is quite like cabbage and in looks it rules the sight of your kitchen garden with it’s lovely spouting leaves from the base.
  • Chili Flakes, 1 tablespoon : Dried red chillies have a sharper, earthier essence then the fresh green ones. They are a good source of Vitamin C, A and E hence beneficial for skin and hair.
  • Garlic, chopped finely, 1 teaspoon : The king pungent as I call it, garlic provides the base flavor of this dish. Garlic is highly nutritious. It combats sickness, heals sore throat and regulates blood pressure as well.
  • Radish, 1/3rd cup : Hot Pungent and peppery, the common radish that grows in my buckets in the backyard are great for heart, skin respiration and immunity. They also fight jaundice and cancer, but tooooo much gives me a massive bolt of acidity 😀
  • Carrot, 1/3rd cup, grated : Carrots are high source of iron and anti oxidants and have sweet and earthy flavor. Though I much rather use pickle carrots as in the Gajar Shalgam Gobhi Achaar (Carrot Turnips Cauliflower pickle) but fresh as in salads is also welcome.
  • Ginger, finely chopped, 1/3rd teaspoon : This south asian spice king is a great compliment to garlic. It helps us in getting rid of morning sickness, nausea and muscle pain as well. It’s tea is a widely used generic organic medicine.
  • Onion slices, thin and separated, 2 teaspoon : As in Red Onions for us Indians, strong, acidic and bitter. That’s what a good red onion is supposed to be. They are also good sources of Vitamin C and Iron and are good for hair, skin and help in weight-loss.
  • Soy Sauce, 1 teaspoon : It’s a low cal high antioxidant sauce with several good cholesterols. It has a fine salty taste and is widely prevalent in dishes across south east asia and China.
  • Leek, thinly sliced, 1/3rd cup, 2 inches in length : I grow leek in my garden. It grows super easily in any garden and requires minimum taking care. They are milder and more flavored than an onion. It is also very healthy for blood vessels, bones, heart, digestion, vision etc. I am always inclined to use leek for the sweetness instead of red onions and also the leaves of these leeks. 
  • Oyster Sauce, 1 teaspoon : This has high sodium content and is sweet, salty and has a deep savory flavor. Keep it low if children are to be served your salad too.
  • Sugar, 1 tablespoon : Gets necessary sweetness to the dish adding fibre and aiding digestion too.
  • Sesame seeds, roasted, 1 teaspoon : Sesame improves blood pressure, burns fats and is a good source of iron. It enhances the nutty flavor in the dip.
  • Water, 3/4th cup : Regular tap water to create mild brine.
  • Rock Salt, to taste : Rock salt gave me more authentic grounded essence than the regular table salt.

….time to cook ‘n roll (preparing instructions)

  • Was well and chop the Pak Choi in 1 inch to 1&1/2 inch pieces each.
  • Grate the carrots and radish. You may also grate the onions if you want them sleeker and not too prominent in your bite.
  • Leeks to be thinly chopped as advised in the ingredients section.
  • Take a round bowl about 10 inches in diameter and put your Pak Choi in it. Sprinkle the salt over it and add the 3/4th cup water reserved earlier. Mix all well and keep aside for 1 hour.
  • After the hour, drain off the water, wash off the salt water and pat the Pak Choi dry.
  • To this add the grated veggies and toss well to mix.
  • Now add chili flakes, garlic, ginger and sesame seeds and toss to mix again.
  • Now, in a separate bowl mix the soy and oyster sauce with sugar and mix well till the sauce is one (i.e. its a mixed solution with sugar completely dissolved).
  • Pour this over the Pak Choi bowl and again toss well.
  • I repeatedly mention that you should toss well and not use a spoon or a stirrer to mix so as not to break the leaves and spoil the texture. Tossing is fun too 🙂

Storage : You may use it for another snack or with another meal about 12 hours later, but do you really eat salads refrigerated 😦 .

Missing Something ? : I did not bother it much since the entire thing is so nice and crunchy this way. You may sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil to make the essence more authentic.

Beet Stalks Pickle With Ginger Garlic

Beet Stalks Pickle With Ginger Garlic / Chukandar Ka Achaar

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This one is another of my indigenous garden to kitchen experiments that created the “MCMH Original Recipe” . Read on and try to believe it. You know that I am an avid gardner too. The effort that takes to create vegetables and flowers out of dry seeds is only next to parenting a child. So when it’s the time for fruitation, you would want your produce to be used to it’s maximum and respect every element edible or otherwise usable. This is exactly what made me use beet stalks in many ways. remember the beet stalk fries

Do try this one and I promise you’ll stand out unique when you discuss about it in a group. Enjoy !

…need to know (food details)

  • Number of people served : Several happy lip smacking faces 🙂
  • Preparation time : 15 minutes max.

….and we need (ingredients)

  • Beet Stalks (stalks + leaves) chopped, 2 cups : Amazing earthly tasting veggie with high level of immunity boosting Vitamin C and with other benefits to bones, liver, kidneys etc. So what are the stalks that i use here. Pluck a beetroot plant off the ground. Most popularly used is the bulbous root, then there are the leaves which are a great alternative to spinach. Finally there are 1/4th to 1/2 inch thick stems which may vary from 4 to 7 inches in length which lie between the root and the leaves. I am using that here. I know we use to throw them away forever long back as we knew. But it is the healthiest and tastiest part of the plant as i have discovered. 
  • Garlic chopped, 1/2 cup : You will hardly find any of my recipes missing garlic. Pungency is the reason why we use this allicin rich clove which combats sickness and common cold.
  • Green Chilies, 3-4 large, slit & deseeded : Fresh green chilies from my garden add to the fresh heat and mild bitter component while adding benefits of eyes and skin.
  • Coarse Salt, 1 tablespoon : Use a rough pink salt, it is a good sodium and magnesium provider. Also aids in digestion and dissolution of food particles.
  • Peppercorns, 1/2 teaspoon : Hot and mildly pungent, black pepper is good for digestion, skin, respiration and is a good antioxidant too. On tables across the world salt n pepper are partners in relation.
  • Yellow Mustard Seeds, 1 teaspoon : Mustard tastes from sweet to sour, bitter to steaming hot. But it’s great for digestion and respiration and strengthens bones and teeth. I use it here for the bitter sour essence.
  • Cloves, 4 to 5 : Cloves is extremely beneficial for it being anti cancer, anti diabetic, pain killing and breath cleansing properties. It has a distinct pungent, bitter essence.
  • Bay Leaf, 2 : Bay leaf is great for joints and skin and are packed with Vitamin A & C and many other minerals like iron, potassium and manganese. They are pungent and bitter in taste. I grow bay leaves in my garden so I can tell you that the fresh ones and dried ones are quite different. Use the dried ones only please. Bay leaves can grow into small trees giving lifetime supply 🙂
  • Star Anise, 1 : It has a strong licorice essence and helps in digestion.
  • Red Chili Powder, 1/2 teaspoon : Dried red chilies have a sharper, earthier essence then the fresh green ones. They are a good source of Vitamin C, A and E hence beneficial for skin and hair.
  • Vinegar, White, 1/2 cup : Vinegar preserves the flavors in my dishes very well, so I don’t mind frequenting it. Prime reason for it’s preservative qualities are the amounts of acetic acid and anti bacterial present in it. And yes of course, the sour essence is brought out very well with vinegar. It is an amazing preservative.
  • Heeng, Asafoetida, 1 pinch : Heeng controls blood flow and sugar level and further adds pungency.
  • Jaggery, 100 grams : Jaggery is an amazing anti oxidant and helps the body fight against infections. It is like a buttery liquid sugar and is good to mix in food in powder or liquid forms.

….time to cook ‘n roll (preparing instructions)

  • In a hard bottomed pan or a skillet, heat the Jaggery Vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon Salt and cook for 3 minutes on medium till it gets dissolved into a solution. You may take a couple of more minutes if required. Now set this aside for cooling.
  • Now in another pan, heat some oil (2 tablespoon of any vegetable oil would do).
  • Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and mustard to it on medium. Stir till it sputters.
  • Add veggies to it one by one starting with chilies and cook for 2 progressive minute each.
  • Add all the dry and whole spices now and cook till the spices are well immersed.
  • Now set down and bottle once cold.
  • In this bottle, now pour the vinegar solution made earlier.
  • Secure the bottle cap well and shake hard to mix everything inside well.
  • Place this bottle in sun for 10 days to sun bake well, while remembering to shake it before every sunbath 🙂
  • You have your most unique pickle ready !

Storage : You can enjoy this for around 12 months for sure, if you do not gobble it all before so.

Missing Something ? : You may add some whole curry leaves to the pickle to give an amazing South Indian recall.

Tangra Jhol / Tangra Fish Curry

Tangra Jhol / Tangra Fish Curry

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Now that the monsoons are here in North India, the fish have started to come in rivers. Tengra or Tangra is actually Mystus Tengara. It is a very popular small-sized catfish found in Bengal and other eastern states of India. Tangra jhol is a common man’s curry in Bengal which you cannot miss if you stay in Kolkata or any other part of Bengal for over 7 days. The recipe too includes simple kitchen spices and tamarind to fork in the umami quotient. As always, you can find something unconventional here which speaks of my kitchen’s endeavors to do avoid prototypes and repeats. Do read and enjoy this fabulous treat, party on !!

….need to know (food details)

  • Number of people served : 2 for the party. 1 fish each with curry to your satisfaction.
  • Preparation time : 20 minutes
  • Serving size : 1 fish each and no less would satisfy

….and we need (ingredients)

  • Tengra Fish, 2, would be around 350 grams, cleaned well : Despite every time, I would still suggest that the fish be thoroughly cleaned  since there might be mud traces which you should not consume. Tengra or Tangra is mild in taste and aroma like most river fish. So it blends in the spices planned quite well.
  • Tamarind Paste, 1 tablespoon : Tamarind manages body heat well and helps in weight loss and heart regulation. It boosts digestion and immunity. Tamarind brings tanginess in the dish.
  • Nigela seeds, 1/2 teaspoon : It’s called kalonji in Indian kitchens and is packed with antibacterials, antioxidants, anti inflammatory. It has a slight bitter, onion like flavor.
  • Cumin seeds, 1/2 teaspoon : Cumin has the classical earthy and nutty essence. Cumin is also extremely popular due to it’s aid to digestion, immune system, respiratory system and being a source of iron.
  • Dry Mango Powder, Amchoor, 1/2 teaspoon : Amchoor is a sour, fruity spice which is a good antacid and antioxidant. I add it here since the kids would love anything with amchoor in it.
  • Table Salt, 1/2 teaspoon or to taste : Salt hydrates the dish and hence the body and table salt has a balance of sodium and potassium which in turn improves sleep and aids the nervous system.
  • Mustard Oil, 2 tablespoon : This extremely pungent oil is a great source of Omega 3 and Vitamin E hence great for your skin and hair. Besides in kitchen, mustard oil is the most popular oil across the globe for body and hair massages. 

….time to cook ‘n roll (preparing instructions)

  • Coat the fish in half the salt and tamarind and keep aside for 15 minutes.
  • Now heat a skillet with 2 tablespoon mustard oil. Fry the fish on high for 3 minutes and then lower the flame.
  • Now add 2 cups water to it and mix well. Cook on medium for 2 minutes more.
  • Sprinkle the amchoor powder and mix well. Now cook for 5 minutes more or till the curry thickens to your desired level. I wanted to eat it for a sunday morning so I thickened the gravy to a sauce.

Storage : Avoid please.

Missing Something ? : You may add chopped green chilies if you so desire !!

Machhi Jaisamandi

Machli Jaisamandi / Fish Jaisamadi (Udaipur Style)

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Many know that my favorite escape destination in Udaipur. The palatial and amazing lake city. Amazing great big lakes, palaces and palaces within lakes as islands, it is a bliss to be there for a break. With wonderful people with a superb sense of hosting backed with undeniably the most picturesque locations across all of Asia and maybe the best in the world, I have been drawn to Udaipur for it’s wonderful sense of cuisine too. While most of the state of Rajasthan being desert would never think of it, but Udaipur certainly incorporates some wonderful fish in it’s cuisine. Machi Jaisamandi is on dish which I had with my son while we were having dinner at a lake touching window in the fabled Jagmandir, another fabled wonderful palace complex which stands as a complete island in the lake Pichola. This is just one of the many others like Fateh Sagar, Udai Sagar, Doodh Talai and my favorite, the raw and massive Lake Jaisamand, which s the second largest artificial lake of Asia. This recipe is said to have originated from the many islands that still hosts tribals called Bhils who served it to Raja Jai Singh somewhere back in history. Wow ! that’s quite a serving of the place, right. As I said, I love the place. So lets get on with this fabled delicacy ! Machi Jaisamandi

….need to know (food details)

  • Number of people served : 2 for the party
  • Preparation time : 45 minutes
  • Serving size : 1 bowl each

….and we need (ingredients)

  • Fish pieces, any carp would do, 250 grams : Carps are generally soft white meat fishes which are easily found in water bodies. They have average to less bones. However, they are not very nutritious but blend very well with the spices used in the dish.
  • Yogurt, 1 cup : Digestion, skin, hair, everything benefits from curd. In sizzling summers, it keeps the internals in control. Curd is our basic curry component here.
  • Mint Leaves, 1/2 cup : Mint is chopped well from our garden since they are extremely easy to grow. They are slightly bitter and sour with an umami essence. It is great for digestion and is a great anti oxidant.
  • Turmeric 1 teaspoon, to be used in 2 halves : Turmeric gives a great orange color and a mild bitter taste to the pickle here. It is a wonderful antioxidant and anti inflammatory. I grow them in tubs in my backyard. They test your patience coming up, but they are amazingly pretty as a plant.
  • Green Chili, 1 : Fresh green chilies from my garden add to the fresh heat and mild bitter component while adding benefits of eyes and skin.
  • Red Chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon : Ground red chilies are a must in Rajasthani cuisine as I have found out lately. It is quite typical of the desert. Unlike the freshness of the green chilies, red chilies provide heat in a very earthy essence. 
  • Gram flour or Besan, 3 tablespoon : It is ground out of roasted or raw chick peas and is a very popular marinade. Besan is great for skin, control of cholesterol and diabetes and improvement of heart health.
  • Lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon : Sour and acidic, with a good amount of citric acid, we add lemon here not just to enhance the sour essence but also to use it’s hydrating and digestive qualities.
  • Cumin 3/4th teaspoon, to be used in 2 halves : Cumin has an amazing earthy, musk flavor essence. It is said to be the second most popular spice on the planet. It improves digestion, sugar control, weight loss etc. Roasting it makes it easy to mix in the salads and curries. A non roasted seed would need irritable grinding by teeth while eating.
  • Salt : A regular low sodium table salt would work well here.
  • Oil, seed oil : A light sunflower seed or any other seed oil would do well.
  • Coriander leaves, to garnish : Coriander provides the garnish to the dish and takes off any unwanted smell. Coriander is also a great digestive and also aids in the digestive and blood system of our body. The sweet coriander is one of the most popular garnish across fat cooked dishes. I pluck the whole plant from my garden since roots give the best flavor in the coriander plant.

….time to cook ‘n roll (preparing instructions)

  • Wash the fish pieces well and rub it with salt and keep aside.
  • In a bowl, mix some gram flour, half turmeric powder, half ground cumin and a little water to make a paste.
  • In a separate bowl, mix the yogurt, half turmeric and red chili powder and whip to mix well.
  • Now make a fine paste of mint, green chili, lemon juice and salt to your taste. So that’s 4 separate bowls you have now, just to recollect :).
  • Marinate the fish in the green paste and keep aside for 30 minutes so it seeps in well.
  • Now coat this fish with the marinate well into it with the batter earlier prepare with gram flour. 3 bowls used till now.
  • Shallow fry this batter coated fish for around 4 to 5 minutes till the color of the batter turns woody.
  • Now, in a skillet, heat oil. Add the remaining cumin on medium heat and make it crackle.
  • To this add the yogurt mix, i.e. the final bowl and let it cook on medium for 5 minutes.
  • Add fish to it and cook for 2 minutes more.
  • Take off, serve with chopped coriander garnish and enjoy.

Storage : No way, it won’t last long on your platter, I promise 🙂

Missing Something ? : Not much, I just followed the authentic steps, so I suggest for you to do the same too.

Ajwain Ke Pakode / Carrom Leaves Fritters

Ajwain Ke Pakode / Carom Leaves Fritters

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Now this one is certainly my most talked about serving among my guests. I’ve had repeated demands to serve these and also for sharing some offshoots of carom plants which I have so gladly fulfilled. These pakoras are so unique, for 1, you can’t get them in the market, next, you won’t know how they are made and most of all, something like this even exists till they turn up at your serving.

So read on, enjoy, am sure you’ll be tempted with this !

…need to know (food details)

  • Number of people served : 1 plateful only good for 2, seriously 🙂
  • Preparation time : 10 minutes max.

….and we need (ingredients)

  • Carom leaves, freshly taken, about 20 in numbers : Carom seeds are a common spice in Indian kitchens. Here we use the carom plant’s leaves for this chutney. Easy to grow and has a tremendous oregano like flavor. Carom is an excellent digestive, pain reliever, antiseptic and cure of common cold. Practically every part of the carom plant is edible. I even use the soft stems for making Ajwain ki Chutney which is my ever popular condiment.
  • Salt, normal table salt, 1/2 teaspoon : You may use normal table salt here, reason being, that we are looking the flavor of carom leaves to pout and nothing else to interfere.
  • Turmeric Powder, 1/3rd teaspoon : Turmeric gives a great orange color and a mild bitter taste to the pickle here. It is a wonderful antioxidant and anti inflammatory.
  • Gram flour/ Besan, 1/2 cup : This is a very popular marinade. Ground from raw or roasted chick peas, besan has a very nutty and rustic flavor besides being good for heart, controlling diabetes and lowering cholesterol.
  • Oil, vegetable or seed oil, for deep frying : Try to use a light vegetable oil.
  • Butter, melted, 1 tablespoon : The cheesy butter absorbs the basil’s herb flavor very well. Regular table butter is a good source of fats soluble vitamins and saturated fats. They are better in taste and health than margarine. 

….time to cook ‘n roll (preparing instructions)

  • Pluck the carom leaves off it’s stems. You will note that the stems are soft and crunchy enough to fry them. You may as well do so or may use them in the Ajwain leaves Chutney which I often do.
  • Wash all well in a strainer and then keep aside to dry  well.
  • Take the gram flour and mix well with salt, turmeric and melted butter.
  • Now add water to it gradually while flicking the batter so as not to form dry puffs within.
  • When your paste is made, dip your carom leaves in it.
  • Meanwhile, heat oil in a skillet and bring to vapors.
  • Now take the batter covered carom leaves and deep fry them within the skillet. Do not over-brown and do not allow them to stick together. There is a trick to doing this properly. Always take 3 to 4 batter coated leaves and make a soft sandwich of sorts before frying them. This will enhance the original flavor of carom and it will not tend to get lost in deep frying.
  • Now pull them out and wipe them off extra oil with a tissues and place them on a plate to serve hot. You will note, the butter in the batter will make the pakoras puff out very beautifully and the original heart shaped leaves will make an almost compulsive pick among all your snacks 🙂

Storage : You can refrigerate for a couple of days easy. May also fill in your kids tiffins.

Missing Something ? : You may add some ground Kashmiri chilies also known as degi mirch to spice up the flavor and brighten in color, I didn’t use it since I have younger guests on board 😀