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Monday, December 23, 2013

Sweet Potato Stuffed Paratha

I had some sweet potatoes at home and I wanted to make something savory and spicy out of them, so I decided to make parathas stuffed with the sweet potatoes.

Makes: 7-8 Parathas ( I made 7 parathas)
Ingredients:
Ghee to cook the Paratha

For the Dough
1.5 Cups Whole Wheat Flour, Plus 1/4 Cup for Dusting and Dredging
2 Teaspoon Oil,
Water as required,
Salt to Taste

For the Stuffing
1 Medium (6-7 Inches long) Sweet Potato
2 Teaspoons Amchur Powder
1 Teaspoon Garam Masala
1/4 Teaspoon Asafoetida,
Salt to Taste

To be Toasted and Ground
5 Dried Red Chilies
2 Teaspoons Coriander Seeds
2 Teaspoons Cumin Seeds
1 Teaspoon Chana Daal
1 Teaspoon Tur Daal
1 Teaspoon Mung Daal

Method:
Pressure cook the sweet potatoes for three whistles. Let it cool. In the meantime knead the dough and make the stuffing masala.

For the Dough:
In a mixing pan, add the flour, salt and oil. Knead soft dough by adding required amount of water. Apply 2-3 drops of oil to your palms. Knead the dough one last time. Cover and set aside for 10-15 minutes.

For the Masala: Dry roast the ingredients listed under the to be ground section. When cool, grind to a fine powder. Keep aside.

For the Stuffing: When the sweet potatoes cool down, peel of the skin, and mash the potatoes. Add the ground masala, garam masala, salt, asafoetida, turmeric powder and the amchur powder. Mix well. Divide into 7 equal sized balls.

For the Paratha:
Heat a griddle on medium heat.
Divide the dough into 7 equal sized balls. Take one of the balls, flatten between your palms, dredge in the flour and roll into a 3 inches diameter disc. Place one of the the stuffing balls in the center of the dough disc.
Wrap and cover the stuffing ball with the help of the dough. Gently press to flatten the dough/stuffing ball. Dredge in the flour again and roll into a 6 inches diameter disc.

Transfer the disc onto the griddle. Cook for 30 seconds or until the underside turns golden brown. Flip, and apply 1/2 teaspoon of ghee on the flipped side. Cook for another 30 seconds or until the other side turns golden brown. Flip again, and apply 1/2 teaspoon ghee on the dry side. Cook for 10 more seconds. Flip once last time. Cook for few more seconds and take off the stove. Repeat these steps for the remaining dough and stuffing balls.

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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Spicy Carrot Tomato Soup (Thick Rasam)


I bought a huge bunch of carrots from Costco few days back thinking that I will use one or two everyday for juicing. Its been 5 days now, and I still haven't juiced them. So, last night, I thought of making soup from some of the carrot.

I wanted to add some spices to the soup to complement the natural natural sweetness of the carrots. That is when I thought of adding rasam masala to the soup. To add a bit tanginess, I added tomatoes and lemon juice. The end result was a mouthwatering sweet, spicy and tangy soup. The following recipe will make about 4 cups of soup.

Ingredients:

For the Rasam Powder:
1 Tablespoon Coriander Seeds,
1 Teaspoon Cumin Seeds,
1/2 Tablespoon Toor Daal (Split Pigeon Peas)
1/2 Tablespoon Chana Daal, (Split Bengal Gram)
4-5 Pepper Corns,
4 Long Dried Red Chilies (use less if you want to make it less spicy)


For the Soup:
2 Big Carrots, Thinly Sliced in Rounds (or Shredded)
1/4 Cup Onion, Chopped,
1-1/2 Tomatoes, Chopped (About 1 Cup)
Salt to Taste,
2 Teaspoon Vegetable Oil
1/4 Teaspoon Asafoetida
2.5 to 3 Cups Water

Method:

For the Rasam Powder
Dry Roast all the ingredients at very low flame for 5 minutes or until the lentils just start to change the color. Make sure not to burn the lentils. We just want them to turn light golden brown. Take off the stove. Let it cool completely. Grind to a fine powder. Keep aside.

For the Soup
Heat oil in a pan. When hot, add the asafoetida. Then immediately add the onions, carrots and salt. Cook uncovered for 2-3 minutes, stirring once. Now add the tomatoes, rasam powder and 2.5 cups of water. Cover and cook for 12-15 minutes or until the carrots are tender. Turn off the stove. With a hand blender, blend the ingredients to a thick soup. Add the remaining 1/2 cup water if you want the soup to be a bit more watery. Cook for 2-3 more minutes. Take off the stove and serve.

Notes: If you are not using the hand blender, then let the soup cool completely before transferring to the mixer/grinder. Grind to a thick puree. As mentioned above, add the remaining water if needed. Return to the stove and cook for 2-3 minutes.


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Thursday, November 7, 2013

Baked Chakri


I love chakris. Traditionally, chakris are deep fried in hot oil. Once I eat one, I have to have more:).  That is the biggest reason I don't make chakris often.
This year, I made baked chakris so that I can eat as much as I want without worrying much.

In the past when I tried to make baked chakris I have found that they came out very hard and chewy. This time, I added baking powder (which I didn't in past). This made a huge difference in the outcome. My chakris were crispy, but not tough and chewy.  Here is the recipe.

Note: If you plan to make fried chakris, omit the baking powder from the recipe given below. The addition of baking powder will make your chakris very deep brown in color even before they are completely cooked.

Ingredients:
2 Cups Rice Flour,
3/4 Cup Yogurt, ( I used fat free),
3/4 Cup Warm Water (10-15 Seconds in Microwave)
Salt to Taste,
1/2 Teaspoon Chili-Ginger Paste, or to taste,
1 Tablespoon Sesame Seeds,
1 Tablespoon Cumin Seeds,
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/8 Cup Oil
1 Tablespoon Oil for Brushing

Method:
Add everything but the water in a bowl. Now, add a little water at a time to make firm dough. You might need a little more or less than 3/4 cup of water depending on the flour you have. Once the dough has formed, apply two drops of oil to your palms and knead gently once last time.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a baking sheet aligned with parchment paper or silicone mat (I used the mat), make chakris with the help of the chakri making device/machine.

Brush each chakri with a few drops of oil and transfer to the oven. Bake for 15 minutes or until they just start tuning golden brown. Take out of the oven. Flip each chakri. Apply the oil to the flipped side and put it back in the oven for 15-20 additional minutes. The chakri is done when the color has changed to brown. Do not over bake, otherwise it will turn dark brown and you will taste brunt flavor in the chakri.

Take out of the oven and let it cool completely. Make sure that none of the chakris are soft.
Chakris can be stored in an airtight container.

For Frying the chakris, fill a deep bottom pan 3/4th way up with oil. Heat the oil until hot. You can test it by dropping a very small amount of dough in the oil. If it sizzles and comes back up right away, the oil is ready. Turn the heat down to medium. Transfer the chakris (4-5 at a time, depending on the size of your frying pan) in the pan, and cook on medium-low heat for about 2 minutes, or until it has turned golden brown, and has become crispy.
Transfer onto a paper towel to absorb the additional oil. Let it cool completely and enjoy.


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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Plum Thoku (chutney, pickle, spread...whatever you want to call it)

I had a lot of plums sitting in my fridge. I have been getting them in my weekly organic produce box from Tiny's organic. I love plums, but eating ATLEAST two a day for more then 3 weeks gets boring, so I had to find out some ways to use them up:). I have one more organic produce box due tomorrow, and I am sure I am getting more plums:)
I looked up online for spicy/savory eggless and vegetarian recipes using plum, but couldn't find anything that I liked. So, I thought of using them up by making plum thoku, just like I made the tomato thoku to use up the whole lot of tomatoes I got from my veggie garden.

While I was getting the plums out of my fridge, I saw that I also had a small bag full of tomatillos. I had planned to make tomatillo salsa out of them, but then I thought that the sourness of the tomatillos will go well with the sweet plum, and I might get a very good tasting pickle (thoku) with this combination. I wasn't wrong!!. My husband and I were licking our spoons when I emptied with pickle from the cooking pan to a jar:). Here is the recipe for the Plum-Tomatillo thoku I made.

Note: As mentioned above, I added Tomatillos as an after thought. My initial plan was to make the thoku using the plums. If you do not have tomatillos, you can add about 1.5 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice to give some tartness to the thoku/chutney/pickle.

Ingredients:
5 Medium Plums, Finley Chopped (about 1.5 cups Chopped)
5 Medium Tomatillos, Finley Chopped (about 1.5 Cups Chopped)
Salt to Taste,
2 Tablespoon Jaggery (Gud), Grated (adjust the amount based on the sweetness of the plum)
1/4 Teaspoon Turmeric Powder,
2 Tablespoon Sāmbhar Masala,

To Roast and Grind:
1/2 Teaspoon Oil,
5 Dried Red Chills
1.5 Teaspoon Fenugreek Seeds (Methi Seeds)

To Temper:
1/2 Teaspoon Oil
1 Teaspoon Mustard Seeds,
1/4 Teaspoon Asafoetida,

Method:
Heat 1/2 teaspoon oil in a pan. Once it is hot, turn the heat to medium-low and add the dried chilis and fenugreek seeds. Cook on medium-low flame for about 3-4 minutes, or until the fenugreek seeds start changing color. Do not let the seeds turn dark brown. This will give a very bitter after taste. Just roast the seeds until golden brown. Take off the stove, and transfer to a mixer grinder and set aside. Grind to a coarse powder. ( I used mortar and pastel).

Heat the remaining 1/2 teaspoon in the same pan. Once hot, add the mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds stop spluttering, add the Asafoetida and tomatillos and cover immediately. Turn the heat to medium and cook covered for 30 seconds. Take off the lid, then add the turmeric powder and salt. No need to add any water as far as the heat is set to low, and the tomatillos are getting soft and releasing water. Cover and cook stirring often.
When the tomatillos are half cooked, add the plums. Cover and cook for 1-2 minutes. Take off the heat, and roughly mash the fruits in the pan with the help of a potato masher. Add little water if the mixture is getting too dry and if the fruits are not completely cooked yet. (I didn't have to add any water).
Once the plums are almost done, add the ground methi-chili powder, Sāmbhar powder and jaggery. Stir well. Cover with a splatter screen. Cook until the mixture gets thick (like chutney/spread consistency). Turn off the stove and let the mixture cool down completely.

Serve as a side with puri, paratha, roti or spread it on toast. Tastes good on its own too.

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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Delicata Squash Soup (Panera Bread Style Autumn Squash Soup)

Yesterday my husband and I went to Panera bread for lunch. We usually order our "regular stuff" (Tomato soup or Garden Veggie soup and Mediterranean veggie sandwich) here because they have limited options for vegetarians.

Yesterday, I saw the Autumn Squash Soup on their menu under the vegetarian section. I have to confess, I am not a big squash soup fan. I have tried squash soup many times before, but it has always tasted pretty bland to me with over powering squash flavor.
Since Panera Bread is one my favorite places for soups, I wanted to see if I would like the soup here. I asked the cashier if I can taste the soup before ordering. He was happy to provide me with a small portion for tasting.

Both me and my husband loved it, and instead of going for the two different personal size soups mentioned above, we ended up getting a big bowl of the autumn squash soup. The soup wasn't bland at all, but it didn't have any spicy flavor to it either. It was sweet with mild spicy flavor. Since I loved the soup (and luckily I had received a squash in my organic basked last week), I had to try it at home.

Panera Bread's website mentions Butternut squash, pumpkin, apples, honey, and curry powder in the list of ingredients for the soup. I tried to look up for a recipe online. I saw many versions of "copycat" recipes for this soup, but none of them listed pumpkin in them. So, I made up my own recipe.

Since I had delicate squash at home, that is what I used. You can substitute with Butternut Squash if you like.

Okay, enough of the history:). Here is the recipe.

Ingredients:
1 Medium Delicata Squash, Peeled, Seeded and Chopped into 1inch Cubes (Yields about 3 Cups of Chopped Squash)
1 Cup Pumpkin, Peeled, Seeded and Chopped into 1 inch Cubes,
1 Medium Honey Crisp or Gala Apple, Seeded and Chopped into 1 inch cubes, No Need to Peel (You can try a bit sour varieties like Granny Smith too to impart some tartness to the soup),
Salt to taste
5 No. All Spice, Crushed (1 Teaspoon Powder), Optional
1 Leek, (about 1/3 Cup Chopped) Green Portion Removed, White Portion Chopped Finley (You can substitute this with Onion).
3 Tablespoon Honey,
1 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Crushed Pepper,
2 Teaspoon Garam Masala (or Curry Powder)
1 Tablespoon Oil
1/2 Cup Water
1/2 Cup Milk

Method:
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the chopped squash, pumpkin and apple in a deep baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes, or until the squash and pumpkin get soft. Take out of the oven, take off the foil and let it cool.

In the meantime, heat oil in a pan. Once it is hot, add the leek (or onion) and cook on medium heat until translucent.

While the leek is getting cooked, mash the squash, pumpkin and apples with the help of a potato masher. Add the milk and mix well. Add the mixture to the cooked leek. Add salt, honey, garam masala(curry powder), all spice (optional) and the crushed black pepper and mix well. Add water as needed (I used 1/2 cup).

Let this mixture cook for about a minute and then turn off the stove. Let it cool a bit.

In a mixer grinder or a food processor, puree the mixture in small batches. Return the puree to the cooking pan and simmer covered for 5 minutes.

Serve hot garnished with toasted squash or pumpkin seeds.

Note: See this post for the toasted seeds recipe.
Tip: I put the seeds in the oven when I put the squash and pumpkin. The seeds were done in about 15 minutes.


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Homemade Oven Toasted Pumpkin Seeds (and Delicata Squash Seeds)

I made Delicata squash and pumpkin soup two days back. When I scooped out the seeds, and was about to toss them in the compost can, I just remembered how much I love toasted seeds, so I thought of giving it a try at home.

Toasting the seeds at home is very easy, and doesn't take a long time either.

Method: Cut open your favorite squash. With the help of a spoon, scoop out all the seeds. Clean up as much  fiber/pulp you can as possible.

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Transfer the seeds to a baking tray (cookie sheet). For about 1/2 cup of seeds. Sprinkle some salt and mix well. Toast in the oven for 15 minutes or until crunchy.

Take out and let them cool down.

Enjoy.

Here is a picture of my new super crunchy office snack:) My homemade oven roasted pumpkin seeds.


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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Sabudana Ladoo


During navaratri, we make some sweet everyday. Yesterday, I made sabudana ladoo. My daughter loved them. The following recipe will make about 8-9 small ladoos.

Ingredients:
3/4 Cup Sabudna  (Sago/Tapioca Pearls),
1/4 Cup Powdered Sugar,
5 Tablespoon Melted Ghee,
1/4 Teaspoon Cardamom Seeds,
1/4 Teaspoon Ginger Powder,
1 Tablespoon Desiccated Coconut, (Optional)
1 Tablespoon Poppy Seeds (Optional)

Method:
In a heavy bottom pan, dry roast the sabudana on low-medium flame for 20-25 minutes, or until it just starts changing color to very light brown. At this point, add the cardamom seeds. Roast for another minute. Turn off the stove, and spread the sabudana on a plate to cool down.

Once cool enough to handle (warm), transfer to a mixer grinder and grind to a fine powder. Transfer to a mixing bowl, and add the sugar, ghee, and ginger powder. Stir and mix well. While still warm, shape into small ladoos. Spread the coconut and poppy seeds in a plate. Roll each ladoo in the coconut and then in poppy seeds (or in just one of them). Serve.


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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup (Fresh Tomatoes)

Last week I received huge heirloom tomatoes and a big bag full of fresh basil in my weekly organic produce box from Tiny's Organic. Everyone in my house loves tomato soup. So as soon as I saw those big juicy tomatoes and the bountiful of basil, I knew what I was going to make. I make many different versions of creamy tomato basil soup.

One of the recipes I had posted earlier uses carrots, garlic and Ricotta cheese and garlic. I didn't have any carrots or Ricotta cheese at home this week, so I made another version with of the soup this time.
This time, I used onions, and fresh cream in my soup.

Ingredients:
4 Big and Juice Tomatoes, Chopped (Or about 5-1/2 cups chopped tomatoes)
1.5 Cups Fresh Basil Leaves, Chopped
1/2 Cup Onion, Chopped
1/4 Cup Cream, (Optional, Omit the cream if you want Fat-Free Soup)
2 Tablespoon Olive Oil,
1 Tablespoon Sugar,
Salt to Taste,
3 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper,
2 Cups Water,
3 Tablespoon Tomato Paste
1/4 Cup Cilantro, Chopped (You can use parsley too).

Method:
Heat oil in a pan. When hot, add the onions, and turn the heat to medium low. Cook for about 5 minutes or until the onions turn translucent. Now add the tomato paste and 1/4 cup water. Cook again for 5 more minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes, salt, sugar and the remaining water. Cook covered on medium heat until the tomatoes start to soften. Add the basil, ground black pepper and cream. Cover and cook again for 5 more minutes. Turn off the heat.

If you have a hand blender, you can use it directly in the pan to blend and puree the tomatoes. Otherwise, wait until it has cooled down completely. Transfer to a mixer grinder and make puree. Transfer it back to the pan. In either cases simmer for 10 minutes or until bubbly. Switch off the stove, and serve hot.

Sorry, forgot to take a picture.

 
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Monday, September 23, 2013

Tomato Pickle (South Indian Style)


This year, the summer in Seattle has been comparatively warmer and longer, which means bounty of tomatoes in my backyard.

Yesterday, I made Pesarratu (Moong daal dosas) for brunch. I didn't have shredded coconut at home, so I decided to make tomato pickle using the tomatoes from my backyard. Now, I am glad that I didn't have coconut at home:). This pickle was a big hit. I will be making more of this in big batches now.

Ingredients:
4-5 Medium Tomatoes, Finley Chopped
Salt to Taste,
2 Teaspoon Sāmbhar Powder,
3-4 Dried Red Chilies,
1 Teaspoon Fenugreek Seeds,
1/4 Teaspoon Turmeric Powder,
1 Tablespoon Jaggery(Gud), Grated
1/2 teaspoon Oil

To Temper
1/2 Teaspoon Oil,
1/2 Teaspoon Mustard Seeds,
4-5 Curry Leaves,
1/4 Teaspoon Asafoetida (Hing)

Method:
Put 1/2 Teaspoon oil in a pan. When hot, turn the flame to medium-low and add the dried red chilies and fenugreek seeds. Roast for 3-4 minutes or until the fenugreek seeds turn golden brown. Take out of the pan, and grind to powder and keep aside. (I used mortar and pastel because it wasn't enough in quantity to use a mixer grinder. It didn't take me more then 2-3 minutes to grind it.)




Heat another 1/2 teaspoon oil in a pan. Add the mustard seeds. Once they stop spluttering, add the curry leaves and Asafoetida. Fry for 10 seconds, then add the tomatoes, turmeric powder, Sāmbhar Powder and salt.
Cook on medium-low speed for 10-12 minutes or until the tomatoes are soft. Now, using a potato masher, mash the tomatoes once very gently (We don't want smooth puree). Add the fenugreek/red chilly powder. Mix well. Cook until most of the water has evaporated, and the mixture turns thicker. Switch off the stove.

Let it cool completely, then transfer to an air tight jar. This mixture can be kept in the fridge for about a week. You can enjoy this many different ways. Spread on roti or bread. Have it as a side with rice or khichadi. Use as a dip with fresh veggies or with chips etc.


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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Soft and Fluffy Ricotta Cheese Pancakes (Eggless)

Ingredients:
1/3 Cup All Purpose Flour (Maida),
1/4 Cup Ricotta Cheese
1/4 Cup + 2 Tablespoon Milk,
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1 Tablespoon Sugar
3 Teaspoon Butter

Method:
Add the cheese, flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a bowl. Mix well. Now add 1/4 Cup milk and mix. The batter should be thick but pourable. If the batter is too thick, add 1-2 Tablespoon milk as required. Mix again.

Heat a cast iron or non stick skillet. Drop a teaspoon of butter in the center. Now pour a ladle full of the batter in the center. The batter will automatically spread out. Cook on medium low heat or for a minute or until the underside is golden brown. Flip, and cook again.

Serve hot with butter and your choice of pancake syrup. I personally like agave syrup better.


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Friday, August 23, 2013

Quinoa Stuffed Pattty Pan Squash

This week I received leeks and  a medium size patty pan squash in my weekly organic produce box from Tiny's organic along with the rest of the fruits and yummy veggies.. We don't cook with squash very often at home, so I didn't know what to do with it. Then I just remembered that last summer, when I received the squash, I had made quinoa stuffed squash and everyone enjoyed it.
So again, this year, I made the quinoa stuffed squash. It tasted very good. Even my 2.5 years old daughter loved it.
The squash has a mild sweet flavor, which blends very well with the herbs and spices added in quinoa.

A note before I get into the recipe: A lot of the recipes online call for boiling the squash in hot water for 20 minutes. I forgot to boil the squash. I stuffed it with the quinoa mixture and directly cooked it in the oven. It came out perfect. May be because my squash was very tender, or may be I was lucky:).

My TIP: If your squash is tender, i.e. you can cut the top of the squash very easily without applying a lot of pressure, then I think you can avoid the boiling step. Otherwise, pierce the squash at 1-2 places, and immerge in salted boiling water. Boil for 10-15 minutes until just tender. It should still hold its step pretty well. We are going to back it in the oven.

Here is the recipe.
Ingredients:
1 Medium Patty Pan Squash (7-8 inch diameter)
2 Teaspoon Oil,
1/2 Cup Quinoa,
1/2 Cup Water
1/2 Cup Leek, Chopped, (Tough Greens Removed), You can use onions instead of Leek,
1/8 Cup Corn,
1/2 Bell Pepper, Chopped,
1/8 Cup Peas,
1/8 Cup Carrots, Sliced,
Salt to Taste,
2 Teaspoon Mexican Oregano, Crushed by Pinching Between the Thumb and the Index Finger,
2 Teaspoon Cumin Powder,
2 Teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper, or to Taste,
3 Tablespoon Mexican Blend Cheese, + 1 Teaspoon for Garnishing, Shredded
3 Tablespoon Coarsely Ground Almonds

Method:

Preparing the Squash
With a sharp knife, cut out the top portion of the squash. Discard the top or keep it aside for decoration. Keep the bottom/flat portion intact.

With the help of a spoon, scoop out the seeds and the flesh of the squash. Discard the seeds, and chop the scooped out squash in small pieces.


To Cook the Quinoa:
Wash quinoa under running water. In a boiling pan, add the quinoa and half a cup of water. Add salt to taste. Set it on the stove. Once the water starts boiling, immediately turn the heat to low, and cook covered for 20 minutes, or until all the water is soaked up by quinoa. Cover and Keep aside.

While the Quinoa is cooking, heat 2 teaspoon of oil in another pan. Once it is hot, add all the veggies, chopped squash and salt. Stir and cook on medium flame for 2 minutes. Now add the cumin powder, crushed red pepper, and crushed oregano. Cook covered on medium-low flame for another 3-4 minutes or until the veggies are just tender. Again, we don't want to cook them until they are mushy. They will get cooked in the oven too.

Cook the Veggies:
Pre-heat the oven at 350 degrees F. Take the veggie mixture off the stove. Add the hot quinoa too it. (If the quinoa has cooled down, then cook it in microwave for 30 seconds). While the mixture is still hot, add the cheese and almonds to it. Mix well until all the cheese is combined.

Baking:
Place the cored-out squash in a deep baking dish. Stuff it with the cheesy quinoa mixture. Top it with 1 teaspoon shredded cheese.Cover loosely with an aluminum foil, and bake for 30 minutes if you didn't pre-boil it or 20 minutes if you boiled it earlier. Pierce with a knife to check doneness. You should be able to pierce the knife without applying much force.

Take out of the oven and serve hot.


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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Dry Potato Subzi


Today is Shitala Satam, which means no cooking or heating food on stove today. We eat cold food today. All the food to be consumed today is prepared on the previous day. This day is called Randhan chhath.

Usually, dry curries and thepla/roti are made on Randhan chhath. Anything cooked that is water in it goes rancid easily, hence dry curries are preferred. I made Thepla, Dry potato subzi and Kabuli chana subzi. Thepla with dry potato subzi is my favorite combo:). Usually, I make Gujarati stype dry potato subzi, but this time I tried to add a little Marathi touch to it by adding dry coconut to the subzi. It tasted wonderful.

The following recipe will serve about 4 people.

Ingredients:
3 Big Potatoes, Peeled and Cut into 1/2 inch Cubes
2 Tablespoon Oil,
2 Tablespoon Urad Daal,
1 Teaspoon Mustard Seeds,
1 Teaspoon Cumin Seeds,
1 Tablespoon Sesame Seeds,
1/2 Teaspoon Asafoetida,
Salt, to taste
1/2 Teaspoon Turmeric Powder,
2 Tablespoon Cilantro, Chopped
Water as required

To be ground
2 Tablespoon Coriander Seeds,
2 Tablespoon Dried Coconut
4 Dried Red Chilies (take 2-3 if you don't want very spicy curry)

Method:
Take all the ingredients listed in the to be ground section and grind to a coarse mixture without adding any water. Set aside.

Heat oil in a deep pan. When it is hot, add the mustard seeds. Once the seeds start crackling, turn the stove to medium-low, and let the seeds finish crackling. Now add the urad daal. Stir constantly to make sure that the daal doesn't turn brown. Cook for 30-40 seconds, or until the daal just starts changing color. Now add the cumin seeds and sesame seeds. Turn the heat to medium. Cook for another 20-30 seconds. Add asafetida. Immediately add potatoes and cover the pan. Let it cook for 15 seconds, then take off the lid and stir. Now add the ground masala, salt and turmeric powder. Add just enough water to cook the potatoes (just to cover the potatoes). Stir to mix everything. Make sure that the heat is set to medium. Cover and cook until the potatoes are done, i.e about 12-15 minutes. Make sure to check for water while the potatoes are cooking. Add more water (a little at a time) if needed. Once the potatoes are cooked, take off the lid, Add cilantro and stir. If any water is remaining, let it evaporate. Turn off the stove. Serve with Thepla or Puri.


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Friday, July 19, 2013

Squash Potato Celery Soup

Last week I received summer squash in my weekly organic produce box. I had some celery at home which needed to be used up, so I just made soup using the squash and celery. It tasted pretty good. This recipe will make a big batch our soup (approximately 6-7 bowls), so cut the recipe in half if you want less soup.

Ingredients: 
3 Summer Squash, Chopped,
2 Celery Stalks, Thinly Sliced,
2 Medium Potatoes (Yukon Gold), Cubed
1 Medium Onion, Chopped
3 Cloves Garlic, Chopped
1 Green Chili, Chopped
Salt to Taste,
2 Tablespoon Cilantro, Chopped
1 Teaspoon Dried Oregano,
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
4 Cups Vegetable Stock
2 Tablespoon Tahini or 2 Tablespoon Sesame Seeds
1 Teaspoon Turmeric Powder
1 Tablespoon Almond Powder

Method:
Heat oil in a pan. When hot, add the onion. Cook covered stirring occasionally until the onion turns translucent. Now add garlic and chili and cook for 2 more minutes.
Add the rest of the ingredients except Tahini. Cover and cook until the potatoes are well cooked (about 25-30 minutes).  Let it cool a little bit. Add tahini and puree in batches. If you don't have tahini, then you can grind sesame seeds in powder and add to the soup. Transfer the puree back to pan and simmer for 5-7 minutes. Take off the stove and serve.

PS: Be careful while processing the soup in blender. Usually, I puree hot soups in food processor. I only fill the food processor bowl halfway through. This way, there is enough area for steam to escape. I also cover the chute with a cloth instead of the chute cover.

Sorry, I forgot to take a picture after making the soup.

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Kale and Garbanzo Beans Soup


It's that time of the year again, when I get my weekly box of organic produce from a local farming facility here in WA.

This week I received some kale, mustard greens, basil, nectarines, plums and peaches. I made soup with kale leaves last night. Someone at my previous work used to bring many dishes with kale in it. e.g soups, pasta, Quinoa etc. That is how I got the idea of making soup with kale. I added some garbanzo beans to the soup for protein and added some other vegetables for more color. The soup tasted very good.

Ingredients:
1 Small Onion, Chopped
3-4 Cloves Garlic, Chopped
1 Bunch Chard (8-10 Big Leaves), Roughly Chopped
1 Tablespoon Tomato Paste (or 1 Tomato Chopped),
2 Carrots, Diced,
1 Small Potato, Cubed,
1 Red Bell Pepper, Cut Into Small Pieces (You can use any other colored sweet pepper),
1 Can Garbanzo Beans
2.5 Cups Vegetable Broth,
Salt to Taste
1/2 Tablespoon Dried Italian Seasoning,
2 Teaspoon Dried Basil, or 8-10 Basil Leaves, Finley Chopped,
4 Teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper (or to taste)
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

Method:
Heat oil in a pan. When it is hot, add the onion. Cook covered on medium flame for about 2-3 minutes stirring occasionally. Now add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add crushed red pepper, carrots and potato and 1 cup vegetable broth. Cook until the potatoes are partly cooked. Now add the rest of the ingredients. Cook for another 10 minutes or until the carrots and potatoes are thoroughly cooked. Take off the stove and serve.

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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Asparagus Curry (Indian Style)


As mentioned in the previous post, I had made asparagus subzi last week. Here is the recipe for it.

Ingredients:
To Soak:
1.5 Tablespoon Tuvar Daal,
1.5 Tablespoon Chana Daal

To Grind
3 Dried Red Chilies,
1 Teaspoon Hing (Asafoetida),
1 Teaspoon Turmeric Powder
4-5 Curry Leaves,

Curry
1/2 bunch (about 10-12 Spears) Asparagus, Cut into Small Pieces, [see my post here to see how to remove woody ends of asparagus]
2 Tablespoon Oil,
2 Teaspoon Mustard Seeds
1 Tablespoon Urad Daal,
1 Tablespoon Chana Daal,
Salt As Required
Water as Required

Method: 
Soak 1.5 Tbsp of tuvar daal, and 1.5 Tbsp chana daal in 1/2 cup water for 1 hour. In the meantime wash and cut the asparagus.
After an hour, drain the water (save it) and transfer the daals into a grinder jar. Add Asafoetida, curry leaves, turmeric powder and red chilies and grind into a thick paste. Add just a little water at a time if needed. The paste should be quiet thick here.

Heat oil in a thick bottom pan. When it is hot, add the mustard seeds. Once the mustard seeds stop spluttering, add the chana daal and cook on medium low flame until the daal starts turning light brown. At this time, add the urad daal. Cook again for 2-3 more minutes or until both daals have turned light brown. Now add the ground daal paste. Make sure that the stove is set at medium or medium low. Sprinkle some water over the daals and cook covered for 7-10 minutes stirring frequently and sprinkling water as needed. If the temperature is too high,  and/or the the mixture gets dry, it will stick to the bottom. So make sure that you sprinkle some water every time you stir and make sure that the stove is not set to high.

Add the asparagus, and salt and mix well. Cover and cook for 5-7 more minutes or until the asparagus is tender. You don't want to over cook the asparagus. It should still have a bite to it.Switch off the stove and serve hot. I served it with rice and daal. The crunch of asparagus and cooked daal in the subzi was a good addition to the daal and rice combo.


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Friday, June 14, 2013

Oven Roasted Asparagus


The weather has started to warm up here. Summer is approaching. Which means less trips to grocery stores and more trips to local farmer’s markets. You get to know where your food comes from, who grows them and how it was grown. (Organic, non-organic, no pesticides etc).

Every year when I go to the local farmer’s markets, I talk to the farmers in order to know more about the produce I would be buying from them and learn something from them. 

Last year some farmers told me that they are not certified organic growers, but they are on their way to get the certification.  Which means that they should not use any types of synthetic pesticides for three consecutive years.  When they are in the midst of the process, they can’t  label their food as “organic”, but they also can't use pesticides. Since the produce is not “certified” organic, they sell it at a little cheaper price than other “certified” organic produce. Which is good. You get produce grown with no pesticides at a cheaper price. Anyways, enough of farmer’s market lectureJ

I bought a big bunch of young and tender asparagus from my local farmer’s market last week. In the past, I have made asparagus soup, and oven roasted asparagus. Both are equally delicious. This time, I wanted to try something new. Since I had a big bunch, I thought of oven roasting some of it, and making Indian curry out of the rest. Both of them turned out good. Here is the recipe for simple oven roasted asparagus. I will post the Indian curry recipe in the next post.

Ingredients:
10-12 Asparagus, Cut into two inch long pieces,
1 Clove of Garlic, Chopped Finley (If you like more garlicky taste, go ahead and use two big cloves)
Coarse salt to taste,
Black Pepper to taste, (I used 1/4th teaspoon),
1-2 Teaspoon Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
1 Tablespoon Parmesan Cheese,
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

Method:
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
To prepare asparagus, wash thoroughly. Hold the tip with one hand and the base with the other. Gently bend it until it snaps. Usually it snaps in the center. Discard the woody base portion and use the snapped tip portion for the recipe. Cut the snapped tip ends into two inch long pieces.
Transfer the cut pieces into a deep bowl. Add the olive oil, crushed garlic, salt, pepper and Parmesan cheese on top. Gently mix with all the ingredients such that the asparagus pieces are covered with oil and seasonings.
Line a baking tray with aluminum foil or silicone mats. Transfer the seasoned asparagus to the tray and lay them in one layer. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until just tender. It should still have a bite to it. Do not overcook it otherwise it becomes mushy.

Take out of the oven and add the lemon juice. Serve immediately.

Notes: 
Since I had thin spears of asparagus, I didn't have to discard half of each spears. In fact, I was able to use almost 3/4th of each spear. The base portion was too woody to even cut with a knife, so i discarded them. When buying asparagus for grilling or roasting, buy thin spears. This way, there is less waste.

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Monday, June 10, 2013

Carrot Chutney


I made this Chutney along with the tomato chutney two days back. We all liked both chutney but the carrot chutney was my and my husband's favorite. Try both of them and see which one you like better.

Ingredients:
1/2 Cup Onion, Chopped
2 Medium Carrots, Thinly Sliced,
1 Tablespoon Chana Daal,
A Pinch, Asafoetida
3 Dry Red Chilies,
1/2 Inch Piece Ginger, Grated
2 Tablespoon Coconut, Grated (I used Frozen),
2 Teaspoon Lemon Juice
Salt to Taste,
1 Tablespoon Oil
Water as required

Method:
Heat oil in a pan. When hot, add the chana daal, and turn the heat to medium-low. Roast for 5 minutes or until the daal turns golden brown. With the help of a slotted spoon, scoop out the daal from the pan. Turn the heat to medium now. In the same oil, add asafoetida, onions and red chilies. Cook until the onion turns light pink. Now add the ginger, carrots, coconut and salt. Cover and cook for 7-8 more minutes or until the carrots are cooked. Stir once or twice to mix all the ingredients while cooking the carrots. Take off the heat. Add the chana daal to the carrot mixture and mix well. Let the mixture cool completely. Transfer to a mixer/grinder jar and blend to make a smooth puree. Add water if needed. The consistency of this chutney is more like a thick paste, so be careful while adding water. Enjoy with idly or dosa.


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Tomato Chutney


My daughter loves ketchup. She prefers to eat ketchup with paratha, dosa, muthiya, dosa etc. I don't think its good for a two years old to eat packaged food such as ketchup everyday. So, I have been thinking about giving her some alternative "Ketchup" for a while. That is when I thought of making Tomato Chutney at home for her. Most of the south Indian restaurants here serve tomato chutney with dosa, and my daughter eats the chutney happily. So, I made this chutney past weekend. She hasn't tasted it yet because it turned out a little hot for her taste, but all the adults in the house liked it:).

Ingredients:
1/2 Cup Onion, Chopped
2 Medium Tomatoes, Chopped,
1 Tablespoon Chana Daal,
A Pinch, Asafoetida
2 Dry Red Chilies,
1/2 Inch Piece Ginger, Grated
2 Tablespoon Coconut, Grated (I used Frozen),
Salt to Taste,
1 Tablespoon Oil
Water as required

Method:
Heat oil in a pan. When hot, add the chana daal, and turn the heat to medium-low. Roast for 5 minutes or until the daal turns golden brown. With the help of a slotted spoon, scoop out the daal from the pan. Turn the heat to medium now. In the same oil, add asafoetida, onions and red chilies. Cook until the onion turns light pink. Now add the ginger, tomatoes, coconut and salt. Cover and cook for 5 more minutes or until the tomatoes are cooked. Stir once or twice to mix all the ingredients while cooking the tomatoes. Take off the heat. Add the chana daal to the tomato mixture and mix well. Let the mixture cool completely. Transfer to a mixer/grinder jar and blend to make a smooth puree. Add water if needed. The consistency of this chutney is more like a thick paste, so be careful while adding water. Enjoy with idly or dosa.

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Thursday, May 2, 2013

Watermelon Mint Salad


The weather has started to warm up a little here. I see hot season fruits slowly appearing in stores here.We bought a big watermelon about 3-4 days back and have been having it everyday since.
I was tired of eating just watermelon (lightly sprinkled with salt) everyday, so I made this salad today. I got the idea for this salad when my husband talked about lunch options at his cafeteria. He said they have a side salad option, which consists of pineapple cubes, chopped jalapeno, and cilantro. He says, even though it sounds very simple it tastes very good because of the combination of different flavors.

In this salad, I added some lemon juice to overcome very sweet of watermelon.

Ingredients:
2 Cups Watermelon, Cut into bite size pieces,
1/4 Jalapeno Pepper, Finely Chopped
2 Teaspoon Lemon Juice,
Salt to Taste,(A pinch is good enough)
4-5 Mint Leaves, Chopped Coarsely

Method:
Combine the watermelon, jalapeno and mint leaves in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Just before serving, add lemon juice and salt. Mix well. Serve Chilled.


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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Whole Wheat Pasta with Chard and Goat Cheese



I have a small vegetable garden. I mostly plant warm season crops such as tomatoes, cucumber, okra, pepper etc, but I also have some cool season crops such as lettuce, rainbow chard, garlic and beets. I love chard. It is a very nutritious and versatile green. I add it to curries, soups, daals parathas etc. The rainbow chard gets its name from the different colors of stocks it has. They look very beautiful in the garden, and ofcouse on the plate too.

I had planted chard in the garden last year, and harvest the leaves. I didn't dig out the root, which means it regrew this year. By the first week of the April, I already had 5-6 bunches of chard ready to be harvest. Fresh, organic and colorful chard, right from the garden. It can't get better then this.

I had some goat cheese in the fridge so, I thought of combining the two things (goat cheese and chard)I like and make a healthy and filling dish. That is when I thought of making whole wheat pasta. Even my toddler loved this dish. I will surely be making this again.

Ingredients:
2 Cups Whole Wheat Pasta Shells, (I used penne)
2 Stocks of Celery, Chopped,
1/2 Cup Frozen Peas,
1 bunch (6-7 big leaves) chard with stocks,
3 Nos. Multicolored Mini Sweet Peppers (Optional), Thinly Sliced
1/4 Cup Kidney Beans (or 1/2 Cups Canned) ,
1/4 cup Garbanzo Beans (or 1/2 Cups Canned)
3/4 to 1 Cup Goat Cheese, Divided into Small Chunks
1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese
2 tablespoon Olive Oil
1/4 Cup Onion, Chopped
a Pinch, Crushed Red Pepper
2 Cloves Garlic, Chopped,
Water as required,
Salt per taste
1 Teaspoon, Italian Seasoning

Method:
If you are using canned beans skip this paragraph and start with the next one. Soak the dried beans in 1 cup of water for minimum 6 hours or over night. Then ext day, pressure cook the beans in very little amont of water for 3 whistles. If you don't have a pressure cooker, then boil the beans in pleny of water until tender.

In a deep pan, take enough water to boil the pasta and add salt to it. Let the water come to a boil and add the pasta. Cook for the time given on the package.

In the meantime, pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Roughly chop the chard leaves. Finley chop the stalks.Heat oil in a pan. Add the onions, celery and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes or until the onion turns translucent  Now add the chard and stocks, sweet peppers, peas, crushed red pepper and the beans. Add any other veggie you might be using at this time. Cook for 30-40 seconds, just until the chard starts wilting. The greens will have more chance to get cooked in the oven.

Drain the pasta and add to the vegetable mixture. Add the goat cheese and half of the Parmesan cheese to the mixture. Add the Italian seasoning and stir to mix well. Transfer to an oven safe dish. Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan cheese on top and bake for 10 minutes.

Take out of the oven and serve hot.



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Monday, March 18, 2013

Khichhu

Khicchu is a Gujarati dish made with rice flour.  It is usually had with chai (tea).  At my mom’s house, they make Khicchu almost every Sunday morning to have with chai. This becomes our brunch.

Here is the recipe for Khicchu. (makes about 8, 3 inch diameter discs)

Ingredients:
2 Cups Rice Flour,
4 Cups Water,
Salt to Taste,
4 Green Chills, Chopped Finely,
2 Teaspoon Ajwain (Caraway Seeds)
1 Tablespoon Cumin Seeds,
½ Teaspoon Baking Soda,

Method:
Add 4 cups water to a boiling pan. Add salt, cumin seeds and caraway seeds. Bring it to a boil. Once the water starts boiling, reduce the heat to minimum and add the chills and baking soda and cover promptly.  Be sure to reduce the heat down and cover the pan immediately after adding the chills otherwise your house will smell like chilies, and you will be sneezing for a long time J.
Change the heat to medium high again and add the rice flour a little at a time stirring constantly with a wooden spatula or a wooden rolling pin. Once all the flour is incorporated turn the heat to medium-low again. Cover and cook for 5-7 minutes stirring occasionally to make sure that the flour doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan.  After about 7 minutes all the water would be soaked up by the flour. At this point, switch off the stove and transfer the khicchu to a big shallow dish. Let it cool just enough so that you can handle it. Do not wait too long, otherwise the dough will start drying out and loose its elasticity.
Bring water to boil in a steamer. While the water comes to a boil, apply some oil to your palms. Take a tennis ball size portion of the dough in your hand. Roll between the palms to make a round ball. Gently press to make a disc. Now with the help of your thumb, make an indentation in the center. This will help to evenly cook the khicchu. Repeat the above steps and make discs from the rest of the dough. Apply some oil to your palms if the dough starts sticking to your hands. Transfer the discs to the steamer and steam on high heat for 10-12 minutes. Take off the stove.
Transfer the khicchu to a plate. Pour a teaspoon of oil to the center of the disc. Place some chili powder on the plate. Serve warm with chai.


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Bell Pepper and Potato Curry

Last weekend our friends had invited us and one more family to their house for dinner. My friend was going to make rice and daal, so I thought of making some subzi to go with it. I had a lot of bell peppers in the fridge, so I decided to make Bell Pepper Subzi. I didn't have Paneer or anything fancy to add in the curry, so I added sesame seeds, to make it look and taste a little better.

Ingredients:
2 Green Bell Peppers, Seeds Removed and Thinly Sliced
1 Red Bell Pepper, Seeds Removed and Thinly Sliced
1/2 Onion, Thinly Sliced,
1 Medium Potato, Peeled and Thinly Sliced,
1/4 Cup Sesame Seeds, (Toasted Preferred),
2 Tablespoon Tomato Paste,
2 Tablespoon Oil,
1/2 Teaspoon Asafoetida,
2 Teaspoon Cumin Seeds,
2 Tablespoon Coriander Seeds, Coarsely Ground,
1/2 Tablespoon Chili Powder, or to Taste
1 Teaspoon Turmeric Powder,
1/4 Cup Loosely Packed Cilantro, Chopped
Salt to Taste
Water, As Desired

Method:
Heat oil in a pan. When hot, add the asafoetida and the cumin seeds. Turn the stove to medium. Once the cumin seeds stop crackling, add the sesame seeds. Wait for 5 seconds and then add onion and salt. Stir well to mix. Cover and cook for 30-40 seconds stirring occasionally. Make sure that the onions are not sticking to the pan. If needed, add a little water. Cover and cook until the onions start turning pink (a little translucent . At this point, add the tomato paste, crushed coriander seeds, turmeric powder, and chili powder. Stir to mix everything. Turn the stove to medium low. Cover and cook for  15-20 seconds. Now add the potatoes. Mix to cover the potatoes with the rest of the spices. Add about 1/4 cup water if needed. Cover and cook for 2 minutes stirring occasionally. Check the potatoes. Once the potatoes start getting soft, add the bell peppers. stir well. Cover and cook again for 5 minutes or until the potatoes and bell peppers are done. The bell peppers shouldn't be too soft and mushy. They should still have a little bite to it.

Sorry, no pictures for this dish. I prepared the dish in a hurry.

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Brown Rice Dosa Batter

We have switched from using white Basmati rice to short grain brown rice for its obvious health reasons. Last week, I made batter with brown rice. The dosas came out perfect, and you can't even taste the difference. I don't have pictures of any plain dosas but you can see the pictures of spring dosa (here) made with the brown rice dosa batter.

A few notes for getting the batter to ferment. Living here in Pacific Northwest, I have had many problems with getting the batter to ferment. I have tried many ways, and  the method given below works the best for me.

1. Do NOT over wash the daal and rice, especially the daal. You just want to wash them twice maximum. Washing over and over gets rid of the beneficial bacteria which help in fermentation.

2. When grinding the daal and rice for batter , grind the separately. Grind them both to a very fine paste if you want to use the batter for dosas. For idly, grind the rice just a little coarse. You can still use the dosa batter for idly, but the coarse (but fine) batter gives the idly its unique texture and fluffiness.

3. If grinding with a regular mixer grinder (even an Indian grinder), always let the batter "rest". Grind for 10-15 seconds, then stop for a few seconds to let the batter cool down. Grinding constantly will create heat which will kill the bacteria.

4. Add baking soda to the batter during winter. This was a tip my mom's neighbor gave her. Baking soda aids in fermentation. Also, putting the batter in the oven and leaving the light on all night helps in fermentation during the cold winter time.

5. After grinding, mix both batters in a deep container. This allows for the batter to rise up for fermentation.

Ingredients: (will make about 20 dosas)
1 Cup Brown Rice,
1/3 Cup Urad daal,
1 Teaspoon Fenugreek Seeds,
1 Tablespoon Flattened Rice (Thick Poha)
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
Salt to taste

Method:
Wash and soak the rice and poha in enough water for for 6-8 hours. Just about 2 hours before grinding the batter, wash and soak the daal along with the fenugreek seeds.

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees F.  Once it reaches the temperature turn it off. Grind the rice and daal separately per the note mentioned above. Again always let the batter "rest" and cool down.

Mix both batters in a container. Now add the poha, salt and baking soda. Mix well with your hand. Do not stir or beat it. Just mix it gently. Cover the container with a lid and keep it in the warm oven. Turn on the light in the oven, which will provide constant heat for fermentation. Leave it  untouched for 12 hours (during summer) or 15-18 hours (during winter).

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Saturday, March 16, 2013

Bombay Spring Dosa



This Indo-Chinese version of dosas is sold on the streets of Mumbai. Instead of the authentic potato filling, this dosa has a filling of stir fried veggies and sometimes Hakka noodles. In addition to the stir fried veggies, this dosa also has red and spicy szechuan sauce. Below is the recipe for spring dosa (without the noodles).

Ingredients:
Dosa:
2 Cups Dosa Batter,
2 Tablespoon Melted Butter or Oil, Per Your Preference,

Stuffing
1 Tablespoon Oil,
Salt To Taste
1/2 Cup Cabbage, Thinly Sliced,
1 Bell Pepper, Thinly Sliced,
1 Sweet Bell Pepper (Any Color),
1 Carrot, Thinly Sliced or Grated using the Largest Setting of the Grater,
1 Small Onion, Thinly Sliced,
2 Tablespoon Soy Sauce,
1 Tablespoon Vinegar,
1 Teaspoon Freshly Crushed Black Pepper,

1/2 Cup Szechuan Sauce, or as desired
1/4 Cup Beet(Raw), Thinly Sliced

Method:
Stuffing:
Heat oil in a pan. When hot, add the onion, Bell Pepper and Carrots. Cook on high flame for 2 minutes stirring constantly. Now add the cabbage. Cook for one more minute stiffing constantly. Add the soy sauce, vinegar and black pepper. Stir again and cook until the veggies just start to turn soft. The vegetables shouldn't be soft and mushy. They should be able to withhold their shape. Remove from the pan to stop additional cooking and add to a mixing bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of the Szechuan sauce to the mix and stir well. (addition of the sauce to the veggies is optional.)

Dosa:
Heat a cast iron griddle on the stove. When hot, sprinkle some water on the skillet and wipe right away with a clean cloth. (Note: The water should sizzle immedietly when sprinkled on the skillet.) Take a ladle-full of the batter. Drop it in the center of the hot skillet and immedietly spread it outwards in circular motion. Do not go over the same area twice. The repeat motion will fill out the natural "tiny holes" you get on the dosa.

Spread a teaspoon of butter on the outside edge of the dosa. This will make your dosa crispy. Spread some butter on top of the dosa too. Turn the heat to medium.

Spread about 1 teaspoon the Szechuan sauce on the dosa. Now is the time for the stuffing. I am not giving the exact amount to be added to the dosa, because everyone's preferences might be different. Spread the grated beet on one half of the dosa (amount per your liking). Now spread the vegetable stuffing on the same half. Cook for 30 seconds, or until the underside of the dosa turns golden brown, or until the side area of the dosa stars peeling off of the pan. With a flat spatula, gently peel off the the non-stuffing side of the dosa from the griddle. Fold it over the stuffing. Now gently slide the spatula under the stuffing potion of the dosa and take it off of the griddle.

To make another dosa, sprinkle some water on the griddle again. (Again, it should sizzle). Wipe it off with a clean cloth in circular motion, and follow the above steps for making dosa.

Note: If you want to add noodles to the stuffing, break 1/2 cups of Hakka noddles in 1 inch pieces. Cook per the package instructions. Add to the vegetables about 1 minute before taking it off of the stove. Mix well and follow the above introductions to make dosas.

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Friday, March 1, 2013

Avocado Roti Or Paratha



We almost always have Avocado at my house. All of us love them. My husband and daughter like the guacamole I make at home. I serve it as a side to my daughter to encourage her to eat more roti/paratha. She just dips her roti in the guacamole. I know it sounds a little weird  but my two years old will eat roti/paratha if I give her guacamole on side.

Last week, I saw that I had a bowl full of guacamole in the fridge, and there were 3 more ripe avocados on my kitchen counter. I needed to use them soon. So, I came up with the idea of adding the avocados in the dough while making roti for my daughter. I knew it would make the roti green (one more perk for my toddler to eat her roti:)), but I was amazed at how fluffy and soft the roti was. Also, it didn't have a strong avocado taste. It tasted like the regular roti.
I also didn't have to add any oil to flour while kneading the dough. The fat from the avocado was good enough to make the rotis soft and fluffy. Even my husband really liked them. Here is the recipe

Ingredients: (makes about 5-6 Rotis)
1 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
1 Medium Avocado, Pitted and Mashed,
A pinch of Salt, (Optional if making roti)
Water as needed
2-3 drops oil
Ghee as needed (optional)

Method:
Dough: Combine the flour, avocado and salt (if using) in a deep bowl. Mix well. Add a little water at a time to form soft dough. Knead to make the dough smooth. Apply the oil to your palms and knead one last time. Cover with a plastic wrap or with an inverted bowl and let it sit for 10 minutes.

Roti:
Heat a griddle on the stove. While it is heating up, divide the dough into 5-6 equal parts and roll each portion between your palms to make balls. Lightly press the ball between your palms to flatten it. Using a rolling pin, roll into a  thin 6 inch circle.

Place the roti on the tava and turn the flame to low. Cook for 10-15 seconds, or until the underside starts to turn golden brown. Flip the roti, change the flame to high. Cook again for 10-15 minutes or until the underside turns golden brown. Take off the tava from the heat and place the roti  (top side down) directly over the flame. It will fluff up into a ball. Take off the stove and apply ghee (optional) and repeat the same process for the rest of the rotis. Serve hot with any subzi, or pickles.

Paratha: If you are making parathas, make the dough a little firm. It doesn't need to be as soft as roti. Follow the same steps for making dough and rolling into 6 inch circles. The parathas are generally a little thicker than rotis, so roll into a thick disc.

Heat a griddle on the stove. Place the paratha. Turn the flame to medium high. Cook for 10-15 seconds, then flip. Apply some ghee on the cooked side and lightly press with spatula. Let the other side cook for 10-15 seconds and flip again. Apply some ghee and cook for 10 more seconds  Flip one more time. Cook for 10 seconds and take off the heat. Serve hot with raita or pickle.


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Thursday, February 7, 2013

Panzanella Salad


I had some bread crust left over from making sandwiches last weekend. I didn't want to throw them away, so I used them in quiet a few dishes, one of them was Panzanella salad.

This is an Italian salad, which is traditionally made with a day old (stale) bread. The bread is cut into small pieces and to salad veggies. The salad dressing is based on balsamic vinegar and Dijon mustard.

Ingredients:
Salad
1 Cup Small pieces torn from stale bread (in my case I used 1/2 Cup bread crust cut into small pieces)
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1/2 Cup Cherry Tomato, Cut into halves,
1/2 Cup Onion, Chopped,
1 Medium Cucumber, Chopped,
1 Teaspoon Capers, Drained and Finley Chopped
1/4 Cups Pitted Olives, Chopped,

Dressing:
2 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
2 Tablespoon Olive Oil,
1 Clove Garlic, Minced
Salt to Taste,
Pepper to Taste,
1/2 Teaspoon Dried Italian Herbs Blend (Italian Seasoning),
2 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard,

Method:
Dressing: 
Combine all the salad dressing ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Set aside.

Bread: (only if you are not using stale/chewy bread)
Heat oil in a pan. When hot, add the bread and immedietly start stirring to make sure that all bread pieces are coated with oil. Turn the stove to low and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the sides just start to get a little golden brown. Take off the heat and transfer to a bowl.

Salad:
Mix all the veggies for salad in a salad bowl. Add the dressing and mix well. Add the bread pieces and gently  mix one more time to coat all veggies and bread pieces with the dressing. Let it stand for 1 hour, so that the bread can soak up some of the juices from veggies and dressing. Serve with your favorite soup or pasta.







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Croutons from Bread Crusts

A small and simple post today. My daughter turned two years old on February 4th. We had arranged a party for her last weekend. I had made tricolor sandwiches for little kids. Since I made the sandwiches specifically for kids, I removed the crust (side edges) from the bread. We had invited a lot of kids, and hence I ended up with a big bowl full of bread crust. I didn't feel like throwing it away, so I made few different things with the left over crust. One of them was croutons. I don't have exact measurement for oil and seasonings, so add them per your preference.

Ingredients:
Crust from 5-6 bread slices, cut into 1 inch pieces
Salt to taste
1-2 Teaspoon oil, or just enough to lightly coat the crust pieces
1-2 Teaspoon of your choice of Italian seasons, or black pepper, or any other type of seasoning

Method:
Pre-heat the oven at 350 degrees F. Lay the bread pieces on a baking tray. Drizzle the oil and sprinkle the salt and spices. Mix well. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown and crunchy.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Vegetable Idli

As my daughter grows older, she gets picky about her food. She will be two years old next month, but we feel that the terrible twos have started a long back for us. She only wants to eat roti, paratha, thepla, dosa, pasta etc-no rice, no daal, no subzi (vegetables). She wants to eat her roti and paratha with ketchup. I have been trying hard to get her to eat something new, and I sure do try to "hide" vegetables in whatever food I make.
Today I made idly by adding chopped carrots and spinach in the batter. She didn't want to eat it at first, because she wanted a paratha, but I somehow managed to put one bite in her mouth:) while she was playing, and then she asked for more!!

Here is the recipe. Since I was trying this for the first time for her, I made batter for only 10-12 idlis.

Ingredients:
1/2 Cup Rice,
1/4 Cup Urad Daal,
1/8 Cup Semolina (Suji, Rava)
1 Teaspoon Methi (Fenugreek Seeds),
1/2 Teaspoon Chili-Ginger Paste
Salt to Taste,
1 Carrot, Chopped into Small Pieces,
6-7 Spinach Leaves, Washed and Finley Chopped

Tempering:
1 Tablespoon Oil,
1 Teaspoon Mustard Seeds
1 Teaspoon Cumin Seeds,
A Pinch Asafoetida,

Method:
Wash and soak rice and daal separately. Add fenugreek seeds to the daal. Soak rice and daal separately overnight or 6 hours minimum. The next morning drain the daal and rice and save the water. First, grind the daal with little water to a very smooth paste. Now add the rice and grind again. Add a little water at a time if needed. The resulting batter should be smooth and it should have the consistency of pancake batter. Now add the rava to the batter. Cover and set aside for 8-10 hours for fermentation.

After fermenting, add the chili ginger paste, salt, carrots and spinach to the batter. Mix and stir well. Heat a little oil in a pan for tempering. Once hot, add the mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds stop spluttering, add the cumin seeds and cook for 10-15 seconds. Add the asafoetida and switch off the stove. Add the tempering to the batter.

Heat water in an idli cooker. Grease the idli molds, and pour the batter in them. Cover and cook on high flame for 15-20 minutes, or until the center portion of the idly doesn't stick to a knife.

Switch off the stove. Take out the idli stand/molds and let them cool. Gently remove the idlis from the molds using a knife. Serve with your choice of chutney.

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Monday, January 14, 2013

Baked Multigrain Puris


My toddler loves crackers  She wants crackers all day. So, I decided to make multigrain crackers (multigrain puri) at home. I baked the puris so that we can enjoy them without any guilt. I used whole wheat flour (ata), Teff flour (an ancient Ethiopian grain), Ragi flour and Jawar flour for my mix. You can try to mix different flour per your preference.

Ingredients:
1/2 Cup Whole Wheat Flour,
1/4 Cup Teff Flour,
1/4 Cup Ragi Flour,
1/4 Cup Jawar Flour, (Sorghum Flour)
2 Tablespoon Oats,
2 Tablespoon Flax Seeds Powder,
1 Tablespoon Sesame Seeds,
1.5 Teaspoon Baking Soda,
Salt to Taste,
4 Tablespoon Cold Butter, Cut into Small Pieces
1/4 Cup Cold Water,

Method:
Combine all the dry ingredients in a pan. Mix well. Then add the butter. Mix by breaking up the butter pieces and combining it with flour. The mixture should resemble crumbs. Now add the water, a little at a time to make dough. Cover.
Heat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Take some portion of the dough, and roll it into a thin disc. You want to roll it as thin as you can. Cut into different shapes with cookie cutters (for kids), or round shape and arrange them on a prepared baking sheet in a single layer. They can be placed close together, as they won't expand much. Bake for 7 minutes or until the upper starts to turn golden brown. Flip the puris and bake for another 7-10 minutes. Take out of the oven. Let them cool completely before storing in an airtight container. Enjoy with Garam Chai.

FYI: I made some tiny "crackers" for my daughter by cutting them into different shapes such as flowers, diamond, star etc, etc. She loves to snack on the crackers as is, and sometimes she likes to add them to her soups:).


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Baked Multigrain Puris


My toddler loves crackers  She wants crackers all day. So, I decided to make multigrain crackers (multigrain puri) at home. I baked the puris so that we can enjoy them without any guilt. I used whole wheat flour (ata), Teff flour (an ancient Ethiopian grain), Ragi flour and Jawar flour for my mix. You can try to mix different flour per your preference.

Ingredients:
1/2 Cup Whole Wheat Flour,
1/4 Cup Teff Flour,
1/4 Cup Ragi Flour,
1/4 Cup Jawar Flour, (Sorghum Flour)
2 Tablespoon Oats,
2 Tablespoon Flax Seeds Powder,
1 Tablespoon Sesame Seeds,
1.5 Teaspoon Baking Soda,
Salt to Taste,
4 Tablespoon Cold Butter, Cut into Small Pieces
1/4 Cup Cold Water,

Method:
Combine all the dry ingredients in a pan. Mix well. Then add the butter. Mix by breaking up the butter pieces and combining it with flour. The mixture should resemble crumbs. Now add the water, a little at a time to make dough. Cover.
Heat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Take some portion of the dough, and roll it into a thin disc. You want to roll it as thin as you can. Cut into different shapes with cookie cutters (for kids), or round shape and arrange them on a prepared baking sheet in a single layer. They can be placed close together, as they won't expand much. Bake for 7 minutes or until the upper starts to turn golden brown. Flip the puris and bake for another 7-10 minutes. Take out of the oven. Let them cool completely before storing in an airtight container. Enjoy with Garam Chai.

FYI: I made some tiny "crackers" for my daughter by cutting them into different shapes such as flowers, diamond, star etc, etc. She loves to snack on the crackers as is, and sometimes she likes to add them to her soups:).


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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Jain Paneer Mutter Masala


One of my friend's parents are visiting for India, and I had invited them to our house on Saturday. I hat thought of either making Palak paneer and/or kadai paneer for them. On Friday evening, I just casually asked my friend if the parents had any dietary restrictions, and she told me that they don't eat onion and garlic.

Palak paneer in general doesn't need too many spices. Its basic taste comes from garlic, ginger and garam masala. If you omit garlic from it, then it might not taste as good.

Kadai Paneer is a dry dish. I cut onion, bell peppers and paneer in thin long strips and cook it in a combination of spices. So again, if I have to omit the onions, then the dish might not taste as good.

So, I decided to change my  mind and make Paneer Mutter Masala. I make a gravy from cashews, poppy seeds and tomatoes. Since cashew and poppy seeds give this dish rich taste, you don't miss onion or garlic in this dish. (Though regularly, I do add onions to this dish).

Here is the recipe for making Paneer Mutter Masala without using onion or garlic.

Ingredients:
2 Tablespoon Oil,
1/2 Teaspoon Asafoetida,
1 Tablespoon Cumin Seeds,
2 Teaspoons Grated Ginger,
1/2 Cup Cashews, Soaked in 1 cup water for 20 minutes minimum,
1/4 Cups Poppy Seeds (Khas-Khas),
3 Tomatoes,
2 Teaspoon Tomato Paste,
1 Cup Water,
2 Cups Paneer, Cut in 1 inch Cubes,
2 Cups Frozen Green Peas,
2 Tablespoon Cilantro, Chopped
1 Teaspoon Cumin Seeds Powder,
1/2 Teaspoon Garam Masala,
Salt to Taste,
2 Teaspoons Chili Powder,
1 Teaspoon Sugar (Optional),

Method:
Drain the cashews and save the water. With the help of a grinder, grind the cashew along with the poppy seeds. Add the saved water a little at a time to make thick and smooth paste. Transfer to a bowl.

In the same grinder jar/cup, puree the tomatoes. Set aside.

Heat oil in a thick bottom pan.When hot, add the chopped paneer in stir fry the paneer for 2-3 minutes, or until the outside gets golden brown. With a slotted spoon, take out the paneer and place on a paper towel to drain.

In the same oil, add the cumin seeds. When the seeds start to crackle, add the asafoetida. Stir and cook for 30 seconds. Now add the tomato paste, ginger paste and the cashew puree. Stir and mix well. Add some water if needed. Cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently. Turn the stove to low if the mixture starts sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Now add the tomato puree, water, and the dry spices including sugar(if using). Stir to mix well. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.

Now add the peas, paneer cubes and half of the chopped cilantro. Stir to mix well. Add more water if needed. Cook covered on medium flame for about 10 more minutes  Taste test it and adjust the spices/seasonings per your preference, and cook for another 2 minutes if you add spices.

Garnish with the remaining cilantro, and serve hot with paratha.


Sorry. No pictures this time. I forgot to take pictures.


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