Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Spaghetti Squash

1 Medium Spaghetti Squash
Salt to Taste
3 Tomatoes, pureed
3 Teaspoon Oil
1/4 Teaspoon Italian Seasoning
1/4 Teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper
2 Clover Garlic
1 Small Onion, or 1/4 Cup Onion, Chopped
1/4 Cup Mixed Vegetables
2 Tablespoon Parmesan Cheese

Pre-heat oven at 375 degrees F. Cut the squash in half length wise. Remove the seeds. Put it in a baking dish, cut side down. Cover the dish with water, just enough to cover the bottom of the dish. Bake for 30 minutes or until the knife can be inserted in the center with just a little force.
Remove from the oven and carefully flip it around so that the cut side is up. Let it cool completely.
In the mean time, heat oil in a pan. Add the onion and garlic. Cook until the onion turns translucent. Now add the vegetables, tomato puree, Italian seasoning and crushed red pepper. Cook for 10 more minutes. Set it aside.

Now with the help of a fork, scrap out the strands "spaghetti" from the core of the squash. Add the tomato sauce to the "spaghetti". Gently mix. Add the cheese. Mix again, and serve hot.

Sorry, I forgot to take a picture at the end, so can't post anything here.

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Monday, May 14, 2012

Falafel from scratch

Last weekend we tried to go to our favorite Mediterranean restaurant. When we reached there, we found out that it was closed forever:(. There are many good Mediterranean restaurants here, but his one was a little different than the others. They served Turkish food, the falafel was made with Fava beans, as opposed to Chickpeas(at other restaurants here). Even their tabbouleh was red in color, and not sour at all, so my husband loved it.

Luckily, I had bought some fresh fava beans from the store last week. I had thought of making curry with them. This was the first time I ever bought fresh fava beans, so I had no idea how to prepare them or what to prepare with them:).

Since our favorite restaurant is closed forever now, I tried to make favabeans falafel at home. Surprisingly, it is very easy to make, and it tasted great. Here is the recipe for homemade favabeans falafel.

Ingredients:Falafel2 Cups Shelled Fava Beans
1 Medium Onion Cut into 1 Inch Pieces,
3 Cloves of Garlic, Peeled,
1 Teaspoon Cumin Seed Powder,
Salt to Taste,
1/2 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper,
6-7 Mint leaves,
1/3 Cup Loosely packed Cilantro,
2 Teaspoon Chick Pea Flour,
Oil to Deep Fry

Yogurt Sauce1/2 Cup Yogurt,
1/4 Cup Tahini,
Salt to Taste,
1/2 Teaspoon Crushed Black Pepper,
1 Teaspoon Lemon Juice
1/8 Teaspoon Lemon Zest

Method:In a food processor, combine the onion, garlic, cumin powder, salt, cayenne pepper, mint leaves and cilantro. Pulse to make coarse paste. Now add the fava beans. Pulse again to coarsely grind the beans. Spoon out the mixture into a bowl. Add the flour and mix well. The flour will help bind the mixture together. Add a bit more flour if needed.
Heat oil in deep frying pan. With an ice cream scoop, scoop out the falafel mixture into your hands. Roll between your palms to make a ball. Gently press to flatten it a little bit. Drop into hot oil. Do the same with the rest of the mixture and fry 6-8 balls together at a time. Fry until golden brown. Take out and drain on absorbent paper.
To make the yogurt sauce, combine everything together and blend well to a smooth sauce.
To server: Arrange the falafel balls on a plate. Pour the yogurt sauce on the falafel to cover them. Sprinkle cayenne pepper on top. Garnish with cilantro.

Note: You can substitute the fava beans with equal amount of chickpeas to make chickpeas falafel. You can also use half fava beans, and half chickpeas if you like.

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Eggless Chocolate Cake

I have been making this cake for a while now. Everysingle time I make it, about half of it gets eaten on the same day (and its just two of us in the house:)).

Ingredients: 1-1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour (Maida)
 1 Cup Sugar
 1/4 Cup Unsweetend Cocoa Powder
 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
 A Pinch of Salt (about 1/4 teaspoon)
 1/3 Cup Vegetable Oil
 1 teaspoon Apple Sider Vinegar
 1 Cup Water

Method:Pre heat oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder and salt in a bowl. If you are using self raising flour, then skip adding baking soda. There is about 1 teaspoon baking soda in a cup of SF flour.

Once all the dry ingredients are combined well, add the water, oil and vinegar to them. Combine to mix well. Spray an 8X8 cake pan with cooking spray or butter. Transfer the mixture to the cake pan. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick.knife comes out clean when inserted in the center of the cake.

Let it cool completly before removing it from pan (generally about 2 hours). Remove from the pan, cut into pieces and serve topped with chocolate sauce.

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Tuesday, May 1, 2012


As promised in the previous post, here is the recipe for sambhar.

½ cup Tuvar Daal or Toor Daal (Split pigeon peas),
½ Medium Onion, Thinly Sliced,
1 Cup Total of the following Mixed Vegetables: Green Beans, Bottle Gourd, Potatoes, Drum Sticks (if you can find them in the stores in the US)
1 Medium Tomato, Cut into Small Pieces
2 Teaspoon Oil
½ Teaspoon Mustard Seeds,
½ Teaspoon Cumin Seeds,
¼ Teaspoon Fenugreek Seeds 
1/8 Teaspoon Asafoetida
2 Heaping Teaspoon Homemade Sambhar Masala
Juice from ½ lemon or ¼ teaspoon tamarind paste (we don’t use tamarind in our house, so I added lemon).
Wash the daal, and then add 2 cups of water to it. In another container add cut green beans, cubed potatoes, and cubed bottle gourd. Add very little water (1/8th cup). Pressure cook the daal and veggies for 5 whistles. Let the pressure cooker cool down completely before opening it.  Now churn the daal and keep it aside.

Heat the oil in a pan. Once hot, add the asafoetida and mustard seeds. Once the mustard seeds start to crackle, add the cumin seeds. Cook for 10-15 seconds, and then add sliced onion.  Cook on medium flame until the onion turns translucent. Now add the tomatoes and sambhar masala powder. Mix well and cook for about 2 minutes or until the tomatoes start to soften. Now add the daal, veggies, salt and ½ cup water.  Mix well and taste for salt and pepper. Add some red pepper powder (per your taste). Cook covered for 10-12 minutes.  Turn off the stove. Add lemon juice, mix well again and serve hot with idly or dosa.

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