Monday, August 31, 2009


Yesterday, I made chhole chana based on Sanjeev Kapoor’s Recipe. It turned out pretty good. I did make some changes to suit my taste, but the majority ingredients/measurements are still the same.
To make thick gravy, the recipe calls out for grinding some onions and tomatoes along with some coriander leaves, and mashing a few chana. The recipe is very much recommended
Here is what you will need.
1 Cup Chole Chana (Garbanzo beans)
2 Medium onions (I used yellow, because that’s what had at home)
2 medium or 3 small Roma tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
½ Teaspoon Ginger Paste or grated
1-1/2 Tbsp Coriander leaves (Cilantro)
½ inch stick of cinnamon
1/8th teaspoon black pepper powder (or per taste)
1 Teaspoon Red Chili powder (or to taste)-
Salt to taste
1/2 Teaspoon Turmeric powder (optional)
Juice of a ½ lemon
1 Dipping tea bag or 1 Tbsp of loose tea leaves
2 Bay Leaves
1 tbsp Ghee/butter or Oil
½ Teaspoon Cumin Seeds
1 green chili, split
2 Cloves
1/4th teaspoon Garam Masala (I used Badshah Rajwadi garam masala)
1/4th teaspoon asafoetida

Wash chana (garbanzo beans) and add 3 cups of water. Soak overnight or atleast for 7 hours. Drain and remove most of the water keeping about half a cup of water with the chana. Save the drained water for making gravy. If you are using loose tea laves, tie them in a muslin cloth, and add to the chana, otherwise add a tea bag, and then add the bay leaves. Pressure cook until done (for 5-6 whistles), and let it cool completely.
While the chana is getting ready, cut an onion and a tomato in big pieces and put them in a mixer grinder. Add 1 Tbsp of coriander leaves, add some of the drained water if required and grind into a thick paste.. Keep aside.
Finely chop the remaining onion and tomatoes. Heat ½ tbsp ghee in a pan, when hot, add the cumin seeds. When the seed start to splutter, add the onion, add some salt to speed up the cooking process. Add half the cinnamon stick and a clove. Cook uncovered at low-medium flame until the onion starts turning transparent. Now add the tomatoes, ginger and garlic. Continue cooking at low-medium flame, stirring occasionally. Once cooked, mash them in the cooking pan. (this is optional…I did this to get a consistent texture). Add the drained water to get the consistency of the gravy you want. ( I didn’t add any)
Add the ground onion tomato paste to the pan. Discard the tea bag or muslin cloth, mash 1 tbsp of the cooked chana and add to the pan. Now add the chili powder, salt, garam masala, black pepper powder and turmeric powder to the pan. Cook uncovered at medium high heat. I used a splatter proof net to cover the pan, to avoid any mess. Cook until the gravy starts to thicken and the oil starts separating on sides. Stir occasionally for uniform cooking.
Now add the chana and cook for 5-7 minutes and take off the heat.
Just before serving, heat the remaining ghee in a small pan. Add the remaining cinnamon stick, clove and the split green chili. Cook for 1-2 minutes at high heat. Take off the heat and immediately add asafoetida and the remaining chopped coriander leaves. Add to the chana. Add the lemon juice and serve hot with naan, paratha or rice.

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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Jugalbandi: Allium

A Friend of mine (Roossy), takes very good pictures, and submits them for various competetions. One of them is Jugalbandi.
Although my pictures are no way close to her's, this time I decided to take part in Jugalbandi's click event.

For this month, the theme is Allium. Here is my entry for the August Click event.

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Tri Color Vegetarian Lasagna

I don't like to eat Italian food at any restaurant, because I find it very bland. But I do cook it at home, so that I can adjust the amount of spices and make it the way I like it:)

I try to make lasagna as healthy as I can by adding as much vegetables, and spinach without sacrificing the taste.

Here is the recipe for making lasagna.

12 Lasagna Strips
1 lb Spinach
2 teaspoon Red chili flakes (or to taste)
3 teaspoon Italian seasoning mix
Salt to taste
1-1/2 cups ricotta cheese
1 Bottle Ragu's Garden Vegetable Sauce
2 -1/2 cups Parmesan cheese
1 cup shreded mozzarella cheese
10-15 Fresh Basil leaves
3 Cloves Garlic.
4 tablespoon Olive oil
1 Cup mixed vegetables(frozen)

In a wide bottom pan boil enough water to immerse the lasagna noodles, add salt to it. Once the water starts boiling add the lasagna noodles and cook for 7-8 minutes. While the noodles are boiling, boil the spinach in a separate pan and bring it to boil. Also, heat Ragu's sauce in another pan. Add a little salt to it. Add 1/4 teaspoon crushed pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning to it. Bring it to boil.

Once the noodles are done, drain them, and run cold water through it.

Keep aside. Add 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese to the sauce. stir well and keep aside.

Drain the spinach, add to a grinder. add 3/4 cup ricotta cheese, salt, 3 cloves of garlic, 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon Crushed red pepper and olive oil. Grind to a thick paste.

Microwave the vegetables in enough water for 3-4 minutes. Drain and add 3/4 cup ricotta cheese, salt, 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning and grind into a coarse thick paste.

Pre-heat the oven at 350 degrees F.In a deep oven safe pan, spread half cup tomato sauce. Then place a single layer of the noodles on them. Cover the noodles with the tomato sauce (keep some aside). Spread a layer Parmesan cheese, sprinkle some Italian seasoning, and also a little crushed pepper if you like. Now cover this with another layer of lasagna noodles. Now spread a thick layer the spinach paste. Now put the basil leaves at 2-3 inches distance. Again make a layer of the Parmesan cheese. Spread the seasoning and red crushed pepper (this step is optional). Arrange a third layer of the noodles, then spread the vegetable mixture and Parmesan cheese. Again sprinkle some Italian seasoning and red pepper (optional). Now arrange a last layer of the noodles, and cover them with the remaining tomato sauce. Sprinkle cover with mozzarella cheese.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Broil on low for 1-2 minutes to get a brown haze on the top cheese layer. Serve hot and enjoy.

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Monday, August 10, 2009

Eggless Molten Center Chocolate Cup Cake

The first time I had a molten center chocolate cake was at Denny's. The cake was warm and was topped with ice cream and chocolate sauce. It was yummmmmmmmmmmmmy. Since then I was looking for the recipe of this cake and tried to bake it in many different ways. Finally, few days ago I was able to replicate their cake.

Here is the recipe for Molten Center Chocolate Cake.

For the Cake:
1/2 Cup All Purpose Flour (Maida)
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/4 Cup Melted Butter
1 Cup Warm Milk (you might not require all of it)
1/4 Cup + 2 Tablespoon Sugar
A Pinch Salt
1 Teaspoon Vinegar
1/4 Cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder (I used Hershey's)

For the "Lava" (Molten Center)
2 Tablespoon Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
4-5 Tablespoon Sugar

Cake: Pre-heat oven at 350 degrees.
Combine all ingredients except the milk and vinegar mix well. Now add a little milk at a time (as required) to form thick but pourable batter. Then add the vinegar.
Pour the batter into small cup cakes/muffin molds. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

When done, take out of the oven and let it cool completely. This is very important, let it cool completely before taking it out of the molds.
Now comes the fun part. We will core-out the cakes so that we can pour our chocolate paste in it.
Carefully make circular cut on the top of the cake (as shown in the picture below). The knife should only reach until the center of the cake. Do not cut through the bottom of the cake. Now with the help of a spoon, core out the cut area.

Lava (Molten Center):
Combine the cocoa powder and sugar together. Add water to form thin paste (catchup consistency).

Pour the chocolate paste in each cake and put the top back on. (As shown in the pictures below).

Let it freeze in the freezer for atleast 4 hours. You can make these cakes in advance and freeze them for the upcoming parties too:)

Before serving, microwave the cake for 10-15 seconds. (this will melt the center of the cakes) Top it up with a big dollop of vanilla ice cream (or any other flavour you would like). Pour some chocolate sauce and serve warm.


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