Monday, April 27, 2009


Some of my friends came over to my house for a potluck party last weekend. I didn't want to serve chips and salsa (the regular appetizer at any party) this time.

I had been thinking of trying to make hummus at home for a very long time and finally I made it last weekend. It turned out very good and my friends enjoyed it.

I also made pita chips at home. Nothing fancy...just brought ready made pita breads, cut them into pieces and baked them.

Here is the recipe for Hummus

1 Cup Dried Chikpeas, Soaked in 4 Cups of Water Overnight
1/2 Cups Water, (to Cook the Chickpeas)
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
3/4 Cup Homemade Tahini
Salt to taste
3 Teaspoon Lemon Juice
4 Cloves Garlic
1/3 Cup Ice Chilled Water
A Pinch Paprika for garnishing
Olive oil, to Serve


Drain the chickpeas. Pressure cook with 1/2 cups water and 1 teaspoon baking soda for 3 whistles. The chickpeas should be soft and should break easily when pinched, but should not be mushy. Drain and set aside to cool.

Add the chickpeas into a food processor bowl. Grind into fine paste. Now add the Tahini, garlic cloves, salt and lemon juice. Slowly drizzle the ice water while grinding the mixture into a thick and smooth paste. Adjust the quantity of water per your preference. Cover with a plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes minimum.

Take out of the refrigerator around 15-20 minutes before serving. To serve, spread the hummus in a plate, pour a spoonful of olive oil and sprinkle paprika powder. Serve with pita chips.

For Pita Chips:Buy ready made pita breads from any store. Cut them into small pieces and bake them at 300 degrees F for 4-5 minutes or until crispy.

The next Mediterranean dish I want to try to make is tabbouleh (also Tabbouleh, or Tabouli); A salad made with Bulgar wheat, parsley, mint, tomatoes, onion, lemon etc etc. If you have tried to make it at home, please provide your recipe.

Thank you for visiting Food Garden and Fun. I would love to hear from you. I appreciate your time to leave feedback and help me improve this blog.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Kadai Paneer

I had some leftover paneer and colorful bell peppers after making grilled vegetables. So I decided to make kadai paneer out of it. Usually green bell pepper is used for making kadai paneer, but since I also had the other colorful peppers, I used all of them. The end result?? The curry looked great, and ofcouse tasted great too.

1 Cup Paneer Cubes
2 Cups Mixed Bell Peppers, cut into thin, long stripes.
1 Small Onion, cut into thin, long stripes.
2 Medium Tomatoes, cut into small pieces
Salt to taste
2 Teaspoon Red Chili Powder
1 Teaspoon (Jeera)Cumin Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Garam Masala
1/2 Cumin Seeds (Jeera)
1/4 Teaspoon Turmeric Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Kasoori Methi (Dried Fenugreek Leaves)
1/4 Teaspoon Aamchur Powder (Dried Mango Powder), Optional
2 Teaspoon Oil
a Pinch Asafoetida

In a bowl, mix the red chili powder, jeera powder, garam masala, turmeric powder and amchur powder if using. Add a little water and make thick paste.
In a pan, heat oil. When hot, add cumin seeds and asafoetida. Cook for a minute, then add the cut onion and salt. Let it cook for 2 minutes. Now add the paste and the tomato pieces. Cook until the onion has turned transparent and the tomatoes have cooked properly. Now add the bell peppers and kasoori methi. Cover and cook until almost done. At the end add the paneer cubes and cook for 5-7 minutes.

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Grilled Vegetables

A few days ago, the weather was really nice here, so I decided to grill vegetables in the nice and hot weather.
You can use any vegetable of your choice but here are the ones that I used.
Red Bell Pepper, cut into small pieces
Green Bell Pepper, cut into small pieces
Orange Bell Pepper, cut into small pieces
Yellow Bell Pepper, cut into small pieces
Cucumber, cut into small cubes
Onion, Separate each layer and cut into small pieces

Other Ingredients
Paneer, cut into small cubes
Tandoor Masala ( I used M.D.H Tandoori powder)
Lemon Juice or Curd
Chili Powder (optional)

I had about 4 Cups of cut vegetables, and I used 2 teaspoon tandoori masala and 1 teaspoon lemon juice. The tanoori masala is alreaady spicy, so adding chili powder is optional.

If you are using wooden skewers, then before using them on fire soak them in water for 30 minutes.

Mix the tanoori masala, lemon juice and add some water to make a thick paste. Coat all the vegetables and paneer with this paste.

One by one pierce each vegetable piece and paneer piece in the skewers. Place the skewers on the grill,and roast the vegetables until all sides start turning brown(about 5-7 minutes). Serve hot.

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Thursday, April 9, 2009

Ricotta Cappuccino

How about a rich and romantic Italian dessert? Ricotta Cappuccino comes to my mind when I think of an Italian dessert. May be because I like the taste of coffee and the texture of ricotta cheese blended to a thick, fine and smooth paste.

Here is a recipe for for Ricotta Cappuccino:

A 2 LB can of Part Skim Ricotta Cheese
2 Teaspoon Instant Coffee Powder (I used NesCafe)
4 Tablespoon Sugar
1/8th Teaspoon Vanilla Essence (Optional)
Milk as needed
1 Biscotti or a few chopped unsalted Pistachios
1 Teaspoon Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

Combine the cheese, vanilla essence (If using), sugar and coffee powder. Blend into a thick fine paste, using very little milk (only if needed). Don't over blend. The paste should be a little grainy.

Transfer to a coffee mug. Sprinkle a little sugar and cocoa powder on top. Cover with a plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour and up to a day.

Before serving, garnish with the chopped pistachios, or small pieces of biscotti (I used Indian Toast Instead:))

Serve Cold. It is so rich and creamy, you will need a spoon to enjoy it:)

Helpful Links:

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Green Peas Kachori

I make many types of kachoris such as Green Peas Kachoris, Lilva Kachori, Mung daal kachori etc. I am providing a recipe for Green Peas Kachoris.

For Stuffing:
3 Cups Green Peas Fresh or Frozen (I used Frozen)
Salt to Taste
3 Teaspoons Chili Ginger Paste
2 Teaspoons Fennel Seeds
1/2 Teaspoon Cumin Seeds
1 Cup Chopped Coriander Leaves
1/2 Cup Scrapped Coconut
1/2 Teaspoon Garam Masala
2 Teaspoon Oil
1/4 Teaspoon Asafoetida
Oil for Frying

For Dough:
2 Cups Whole Wheat Flour
Salt to taste
2 Teaspoon Oil
Warm Water as Needed

If you are using fresh peas, then boil them in water for a few minutes,(or until half done). If you are using fresh peas, then skip the previous step and coarsely crush them. Heat oil in a pan, when hot add asafoetida and cumin seeds. Cook for about a minute, then add the coarsely crushed peas, chili ginger paste, salt and fennel seeds, coriander leaves, garam masala and scrapped coconut . Cover and cook for 5 minutes (add some water if needed).

Add oil and salt to the flour and mix well. Add a little water at a time and form stiff dough. Knead well. Cover and keep aside for atleast 30 minutes.

For making Kachoris:
Roll 3 inch diameter rotis out of the dough. Now place a spoonful of filling in the center of the roti.

Fold the roti and seal the edges in half moon shape as shown in the picture below. Press firmly so that the edges are sealed properly.
Now comes a little difficult part. To decorate the edge, pinch a corner and fold it with the help of your thumb. See the pictures below. Once a portion is folded, pinch some dough adjacent next to the folded section and press it down.

Do the same for the rest of the edge. Make kachoris out of the rest of the dough and stuffing. Cover with a damp cloth.

Heat sufficient oil in frying pan. Deep fry the kachoris in the oil until golden brown on both sides.

Serve hot with chutneys.