Saturday, March 28, 2009

Eggless Eggplant Parmesan

Eggplant Parmesan is an Italian dish. Traditionally it is made by dipping eggplant slices in beaten eggs and bread crumbs. The slices are then deep fried and served topped with Italian sauce.
I dip eggplant slices in milk and bread crumbs. Instead of deep frying the slices, I shallow fry them until brown on both sides.

2 Eggplants, peeled and sliced in 1/4 inch thick slices
1-1/2 Cups Parmesan Cheese
1 Cup Mozzarella Cheese, Shredded
About 2 Tablespoons milk
breadcrumbs as needed

For Sauce:
6-7 Tomatoes, Cut into small pieces
2-3 Large Cloves of Garlic, finely chopped
1 Medium Onion, cut into small pieces
2 Tablespoon Olive Oil
Salt to taste
1/4 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper
Crushed Red Pepper, Per your taste
1/2 Teaspoon Italian Herb Seasoning

Arrange a layer of the eggplant slices in a flat plate. Sprinkle salt over the slices. Arrange a second layer of slices, sprinkle salt again. Repeat with remaining slices. Put some weight over the slices (e.g. a pan filled with water) and let keep aside for atleast 30 minutes.

While the eggplant slices are draining, heat the oil in a pan. When hot, add the onion, garlic and crushed red pepper. Stir and cook for until the onion starts turning pink. Now add the tomatoes and salt and cook until the tomatoes are done. Remove from the heat and blend into fine puree with the help of a mixer grinder or a food processor. Transfer to the sauce pan again and add the seasoning. Cook for a few more minutes.

After atleast 30 minutes of draining, remove the weight from the eggplant slices.
Dip each slice in the milk and then in the bread crumbs.

In a shallow pan, heat some olive oil, and shallow fry the eggplant slices on both sides until golden brown.
Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. In a deep baking plate, spread a thin layer of the sauce. Now arrange a layer of the cooked eggplant slices. Top with a layer of the sauce. Add a thin layer of Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle some crushed red pepper and Italian seasoning. Repeat the process by adding a layer of the sauce, ending with the eggplant slices on the top most layer. Coat with a layer of mozzarella cheese and again sprinkle some crushed red pepper and Italian seasoning. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly. Uncover and broil at low for 1-2 minutes. Serve hot.

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Bhindi Masala

I love Bhindi (Okra). Who doesn't???? I know of very few people who don't like okra.
I make Bhindi Masala with a little twist. I add amchur powder along with all the other masalas spices). This really adds a twist and makes the dish tastier. Here is a recipe for Bhindi Masala.
1 Lb Bhindi(Okra)
Salt to taste
2 Teaspoon Chili Powder
2 Teaspoon Coriander-Cumin Powder
1 Teaspoon Amchur Powder
1 Teaspoon Garam Masala
2 Teaspoon Oil
A pinch asafoetida

Add all the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix well.

If the okras are small in size (about 2-3 inches), make a length-wise slit leaving the end portion intact. If the bhindis are longer in size than divide into two and then add lenthwise slits.

Lightly stuff the masala(spice) mixture into the slits made in the bhindis. Heat oil in a pan(thick bottom or non stick preferable), when hot add the asafoetida. Then add the bhindis and stirr. If any spice mixture is remaining add it at this time. Cook in on medium flame stirring occasionally until the bhindis are done (about 20-25 mintues). Serve hot with paratha, naan or roti and with yogurt on side.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Daal Baati

Daal (lentil soup) Baati (unleavened bread) is a very popular Rajasthani dish. I have never had daal baati at any restaurant in India, so I don't know what the original version is supposed to taste like, but I do make it often and do like the taste of it.

When I made daal baati for the very first time, I had looked up online for its recipe. Since then I have tried many different recipes, and now I combine all of them and make what I think tastes the best.

Daal:The spicy daal made to dip the baatis in is called Panchmel daal. Panchmel daal is made using five different types of lentils.

Baatis: Baatis are crusty from outside and soft inside, made using whole wheat flour, ghee and semolina.

Below is the recipe for making daal baati.

1 Cup whole Wheat Flour
1/2 Cup Semolina (rawa)
1 Teaspoon Ghee
salt to taste
1/2 Teaspoon Ajwain, Optional (Caraway Seeds)
Water as needed
about1/4th Cup(or a little less) Yogurt

Traditionally the dough for the baati is made using a lot of ghee, but since we are making a low fat version, we will substitute the ghee with yogurt.Yogurt will help making the baatis a soft inside.
In a mixing bowl, add the whole wheat flour, semolina, salt, ghee and ajwain seeds. Mix well. Now add a little yogurt at a time forming stiff dough. Add water if needed. Cover and set a side for 15 to 30 minutes, but no more than 30 minutes.

Before making baatis, kneed the dough again for 1-2 minutes. Make ping pong size balls. With the help of your thumb make indentation at the center of the ball as shown in the picture below.

In a boiling pan boil enough water to dip the baatis. Keep the flame to medium high. Once the water is boiling add the baatis to the boiling water. If the baatis start sticking to the bottom, stir with wooden spatula. When the baatis are done, it will start to float on the water. At this time remove from the water, and drain. Don't forget to remove water from the indentations.

Pre-heat the oven at 450 degrees. Brush the baatis with a little ghee or oil and place them on a backing sheet. Bake on both sides until golden brown. Broil on low for a minute to get that crusty brown color. The baatis are ready.

1/4 Cup Toovar(arhar) Daal
1/4 Cup Split Bengal Gram
1/2 Cup Split Mung Daal
1/2 Cup Urad Daal
1/2 Cup Split Mung Daal (Green)
2 Teaspoon Red Chili Powder
2 Teaspoon Coriander and Cumin Powder Mixture (Dhaniya Jeera Powder)
1 Teaspoon Amchur Powder
1/4 Teaspoon Turmeric
1/2 Teaspoon Garam Masala (I use Rajwadi Garam Masala)
1 Small Stick Cinnamon
1-2 Bay Leaves
Salt to Taste
1-2 Dried Red Chilies
1/2 Teaspoon Cumin Seeds (Jeera)
2 Teaspoon Oil
1 Pinch Asafoetida

Method for the baatis:

Method for the daal: Combine Chili powder, coriander cumin powder, turmeric, and garam masala in a bowl. Add just enough water to make thick paste. Set aside.
Now pressure cook the daals with four cups water(for about 4-5 whistles). When the daals are done, remove from the stove and set aside. Don't churn the daal.
Heat 2 teaspoon of oil in a pan (Kadai). Add cinnamon stick, bay leaves and dried red chilies. When the oil is smoking hot, add the cumin seeds and asafoetida. When the cumin seeds stop crackling add the masala paste. Cook for five minutes and then add the cooked daals, salt, turmeric powder and amchur powder. Stir occasionally. Add some water if needed, but keep in mind that the daal's consistency should be thick (similar to daal makhani). Switch off the flame after 1o to 15 minutes.

To Serve: Break the baatis in small pieces. Place 4-5 pieces in a serving bowl. Pour 1 teaspoon ghee over the baatis. Now pour the daal to cover the baatis. Serve hot.

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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Gujarati Kadhi

Kadhi is one of my favourite gujarati dishes. Kadhi can be served with any rice dish such as Khichdi, Pulao, Jeera rice, Plain rice etc.

Here is the recipe for Gujarati Kadhi

1/2 cup Dahi
1 cup Water
1 Tablespoon Besan (Gram flour)
2-3 Slit Green Chilies
salt to taste
1 Teaspoon Sugar (You can use Jaggery instead, but it gives a different flavour)
1/4 Teaspoon Fenugreek Seeds
1 Small Stick Cinnamon
2 Cloves
1/8 Cup Chopped Coriander (Cilantro)

For Tempering:
1 Teaspoon Ghee
1/2 Teaspoon Mustrad Seeds
1/2 Teaspoon Jeera (Cumin Seeds)
A pinch Asafoetida
1 Dried Red Chili (Optional)
Curry patta

Combine the yogurt and flour in a bowl and mix well ensuring that no lumps are formed. Heat it in a microwave for about 30-40 seconds, this will bring out sourness of the curd. Now transfer this mixture into a pan(Kadai) and add water. Again mix well ensuring that no lumps are formed. Add slit green chilis, salt, sugar*, some or the coriander leaves, cinnamon, cloves, and methi seeds. Let it boil uncovered for about 20 minute. Stir occasionally. Remove from the flame.

For Tempering:
Heat ghee in a pan, once smoking add the mustrad seeds, curry patta and dried red chili. Once the mustard seeds stop crackeling, remove from the flame and immedietly add cumin seeds and asfoteda. Add to the kadhi and cover immedietly. Garnish with the remaining coriander leaves just before serving.

* Some people add jaggery instead of sugar; it tastes good too. So at the end it comes down to what you like better sugar or jaggery:)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Bombay Club Sandwich (Grilled Sandwich)

Bombay Club sandwich is basically a grilled sandwich, served with fresh veggies. There was a fast food place called Amar Fast Food, near my college. I used to go there with my friends. Most of my friends liked their Pav Bhaji, but I liked their club sandwich the most. I still remember their presentation. The grilled sandwich would be cut into pieces and decorated in a shape of a boat and placed on a bed of shredded cabbage. The sandwich would then be decorated with two paper umbrellas placed on each ends.

In Bombay, a special type of bread is used to make club sandwich. This bread is big in size and triangular in shape. Unlike traditional sandwiches with two bread slices, the club sandwich is made with three bread slices. Since we don't the special club sandwich bread here, I use normal sandwich breads. Here is the recipe for the Bombay Club Sandwich.

3 bread slices (I use whole wheat)
Green Chutney
Chaat Masala
1 Potato, Boiled and Sliced
Cucumber, Thinly Sliced
Tomatoes, Thinly Sliced
Onion, Thinly Sliced,
Beet Root, Boiled and Sliced
Apply butter and green chutney respectively on a side of a bread slice. Then place 3-4 potato slices on the bread. Sprinkle a little chaat masala. Now arrange tomato and beet root slices, again sprinkle a little chaat masala. Apply butter and green chutney on both sides of the second bread slice and place on top of the tomato and beet root slices,. Now again place some potatoes on the second slice, and then arrange the onion and cucumber slices on top. Sprinkle chaat masala. Apply butter and chutney on one side of the third bread slice and place it(the chutney side down)on top of the cucumber slices.
Transfer to an electric grill and grill until the outside breads slices are brown and crunchy. Remove from the grill, cut into pieces and serve hot.
This sandwich can be with Green Chutney, Tomato Ketchup or Tomato Chili Sauce.

Helpful Links:

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Homemade Shrikhand

Shrinkhand is an indian sweet made from hung yogurt. Here we make it from sourcream and hung yogurt. Many times my mom makes it during indian festivals, but since I don't like sweets, I never bothered to learn from her.

I had some leftover sour cream from last weekend, so I decided to make shrikhand out of it. It turned out just like you get at any Indian store here.

Here is the recipe for home made shrikhand.
2 cups sour cream (full fat version works the best)
1/2 cup full fat yogurt
1/4 cup sugar (adjust the quantity per your taste)
1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder
1/2 teaspoon cardamom seeds
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg powder
6-7 strands saffron (Kesar), (Optional for color)
2 teaspoon water
1/4 Cup Chopped almonds

Combine the sour cream, yogurt and sugar in bowl and mix well. Transfer into a muslin cloth, and hang for at least 5-6 hours so that all the water drains out. Once all the water drains out, transfer to a bowl and add the cardamom seeds, cardamom powder and nutmeg powder.

Heat water in a microwave safe bowl or on stove. Grind the saffron strands into fine powder. Dissolve in hot water. Let it stand for five minutes and add to the sour cream, yogurt mixture. Now add the chopped almonds, and save some for garnishing. Mix well. The shrinkhand is ready!!

Refrigerate for 5-6 hours. Garnish with chopped almonds and serve in individual bowls.

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Monday, March 16, 2009

Vegetable Pakora

I learned to make vegetable pakoras from a friend of mine in NJ. She used to bring this to work quiet often. No need to mention that every time she brought it, she never got to taste even one:) Everyone at my work loved her pakoras, and was always waiting for her to bring it. Below is her recipe for veggie pakoras.

1/4 cup shredded cabbage
1/4 cup onion thinly sliced
1/4 cup potato slices, (about 1/2 inch wide)
5-6 green chillies, finely chopped (change the quantity per your taste)
1/4 teaspoon chaat masala
salt to taste
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon whole coriander seeds (Dhaniya)
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
about 1 cup Gram flour (Besan)
1/2 teaspoon ENO powder

Combine all the above ingredients except water. Add a little water at a time and make a thick batter. If the veggies are not properly coated with the flour, then add some more. Heat oil in a frying pan. When hot, gradually add spoonful of pakora mixture into the oil. Deep fry on both sides until golden brown. Remove from the pan and let drain on an absorbent paper. Sprinkle with chaat masala, and serve with hot tea.

Note: You can add any vegetable of your choice into the batter. Sometimes I add methi (fenugreek) leaves and coriander too.

Helpful Links:

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Kobi No Sambharo (Stir Fried Cabbage)

Kobi no sambharo is a gujarati dish. Cabbage (Kobi) is sauted in very little oil, with, green chillies, salt and turmeric. Unlike in any other curry (subzi), cabbage in this dish should be crunchy. It is usually served as an accomplishment to the main meal.
Try sambharo with subzi, warm roti, and cold yougurt on side. It is a healthy and tasty dish, which cab be made in no time.

Here is the recipe for Kobi No Sambharo

2 Cup Cabbage (Shredded Thick)
2-3 Slit Green Chillies (Change the Quantity Per Your Taste)
1 Tablespoon Oil
1/8th Tablespoon Turmeric (Haldi)
A Pinch Asafotida (Hing)
Salt Per Taste
1/4 Teaspoon Musterd Seeds

Heat oil in a pan. When hot, add the mustard seeds. When the seeds start crackeling, lower the flame and add the asafotida and slit green chilies and cover. Increase the flame to medium, and let it cook for 30 seconds. Remove the lid. Stir and cook for a few minutes. Now add the turmeric powder and cook for 30 more seconds. Add the cabbage and salt, stir and cook for 5 minutes or until the cabbage is coated with the turmeric powder. Take off of the flame and serve with warm roti, subzi and cold yogurt.


Sunday, March 8, 2009

Vegetarian Burrito Bowl

When I lived in NJ, it was hard to find Chipotle near where I lived, so I came up with my own version of Chipotle style burrito bowl. Though making this burrito bowl is a time consuming process, but when you really like something and don't get it the place around you, then you can't do much but make it at home:)

Burrito Bowl Ingredients:
2 Cans Black beans
1/4 Cup Sour Cream
Home Made Guacamole
Home Made Corn Salsa
Home Made Tomato Salsa
1 Cup Cooked Rice
1/4 Cup Mexican Blend Cheese, Shredded

The above pictures shows (Clock Wise From Left): Drained Black Beans, Guacamole, Rice, Corn Salsa, Tomato Salsa, Fajita and in Sour Cream in center.

Black Beans:
Remove the beans from cans and drain. Wash with cold water and draing again.

1 Cup Basmati Rice
2 Cups Hot Water
1/4 Cup Chopped Cilantro (Coriander)
1/4 Teaspoon Butter
Salt to taste
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
1-2 Bay Leaves

Method: Wash the rice 4-5 times until the water is almost clear. Drain and keep aside for atleast 30 minutes. Heat butter in pan and add the bay leaves. Once the butter starts melting, add the rice and cook for 2-3 minutes. Then add the salt, coriander, and hot water. Reduce the flame to low and let it cook uncovered. Don't stir the rice after adding water as it will start breaking. The rice will be done in 10-15 minutes. If, the rice starts sticking, then add a little water and cook until done.

1 Medium Onion, Thin Strips, Cut Lengthwise
1 Green Bell Pepper, Thin Strips, Cut Lengthwise
1/2 Packet Fajita Seasoning Mix
1 Tablespoon Oil

Method: Heat oil in a kadai (pan). Once hot, add the veggies and let them cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the Fajita seasoning mix and stir. Stir fry for a few more minutes and remove from the flame. The veggies should be crunchy and coated with the seasoning powder.

2 Ripe Avacados, Peeled and Mashed
1 Small Onion, Cut into Small Pieces
1 Clove Garlic
1 Small Chili Pepper, Cut into pieces
Salt to taste
1/4 Cup Cilantro (Coriander)
Water (Only if needed)
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice

Method: Grind the onion, garlic, pepper and the coriander into a fine paste by adding very little water. Now add the mashed avacados, salt and lemon juice and blend well. Add a little water if needed to help stir the mixture. Taste and adjust the amount of salt or lemon if needed.

Guacamole will start to turn brown if you leave it out for a long time. Store this in the fridge if you are not going to consume it rightaway.

Corn Salsa:
1 Cup Frozen Corn Kernels, Thawed at Room Temperature
1/4 the Cup Cilantro (Coriander), Finely Chopped
1/4 Cup Onion, Finely Chopped
1/8 Cup Tomatoes, Finely Chopped
2 Chilli Peppers, Finely Chopped
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
Salt to taste

Method: Mix all the above ingredients in a bowl and set aside for about an hour so that the flavours get combined.

Tomato Salsa:
4 Ripe Tomatoes, Finely Chopped
1 Small Onion, Finely Chopped
1/2 Cup Cilantro (Coriander), Finely Chopped
2 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
2 Serreno Peppers, Finely Chopped (Reduce the Quantity if You Like it Mild)
Salt to taste
1/4 Cup Green Bell Pepper, Finely Chopped (Optional)

Method: Mix all the above ingredients in a bowl and set aside for about an hour so that the flavours get combined.

Assembling the Bowl:
Just before serving, heat the beans in a microwave for about a minute. Add 2 tablespoons of beans in a bowl, then add about two tablespoons of rice. Then add about 1 teaspoon of fajitas. Now per your taste, add the corn salsa, fresh salsa, guacamole, and sour cream in the given order. Top it up with shredded cheese and serve.

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Eggless Banana Walnut Bread

This was my first attempt at making Banana Walnut bread, so I didn't have very high expectations from the end result.
But when I tasted the bread, it tasted awsome, ofcourse it didn't turn out as moist as it would have with eggs, but it was very soft and tasty:) Since I am a vegetarian, I am happy with this recipe and will be making this bread often.
Here is a recipe for Eggless Banana Walnut Bread. Use as ripe bananas as you can for this recipe, as the bananas will make your bread moist and soft.

3 Large Ripe Bananas
1-1/2 Cup Flour (Maida, or you can use 50-50 Wheat flour and Maida mixture)
1/2 Cup Sugar
1/4 Cup Pear or Peach, cut into pieces (You can use apple sauce instead)
1/4 Cup Warm Milk
1/2 Cup Walnut, Broken into Small Pieces
4 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter, at Room Temperature or Melted
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/4th Teaspoon Nutmeg Powder (Optional)
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Add the flour, sugar, salt and baking soda in a mixing bowl and mix well. In a separate bowl add the pear/peach pieces and microwave for a minute or untill soft and mushy. Mash into a thick pulp. Now add the bananas, milk and butter to this bowl and mash well. Mix the banana and peach/pear mixture with the flour mixture. Mix gently with hands to form a thick batter. Do not over mix. If the batter feels dry, add some more mashed bananas or warm milk. Once all the ingrdients are combined well, add the walnut pieces.
Butter a pan with non stick cooking spray and dust it with all purpose flour. Transfer the mixture into the pan, and bake for 40-45 minutes or until the bread is golden brown and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Once cooked, let it cool completely. Remove from the pan, cut into slices and serve warm or cold.