26 June 2014

Quick Chickpea Salad

Here's a simple and refreshing salad with a desi tadka (Tempering)!!!

                                                        QUICK CHICKPEA SALAD

Ingredients :

Dark Brown/White Chick Peas, or combination of the two - 1/2 cup (Soaked overnite)
Boiled Green Peas - 1/4 cup
Boiled and diced potatoes - 1/4 cup
Chopped Capsicum - 1/4 cup
Chopped coriander
Lemon Juice - 1/4 tsp
Tempering :
Oil - 1 tbsp
Mustard Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Hing (Asafoetida) powder - 1/4 tsp

Method :

1. In a salad bowl, toss together the chick peas, potatoes, peas and capsicum.

2. Prepare the tempering by heating the oil and adding mustard seeds, let crackle, then add the hing.

3. Add to the salad and mix well.

4. Just before serving, add lemon juice, mix well. Serve garnished with fresh chopped coriander.

Variations : One can also add chopped onion, chopped tomato, or even substitute the normal potatoes with sweet potatoes.

21 June 2014

Baked Beans Samosa

A can of baked beans in the larder is always a source of comfort and inspiration alike.
Had a spark today. ..how about a samosa :-)

Ingredients : (Makes 14 medium-sized samosas)

Filling :
Baked beans - 1 can
Potatoes - 3 (medium)
Jeera powder - 1 tsp
Chili flakes - 1 tbsp
Green peas - 1/4 cups
Roasted & crushed coriander seeds - 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Chopped coriander
Olive oil - 2 tbsps

Dough :
Maida (refined flour) - 2 1/2 cups
Ghee (clarified butter) - 4 tbsps
Ajwain (carom seeds) - 1 tsp
Salt to taste

Method :

1. Boil, peel and mash the potatoes.

2. Mix together maida, salt and ajwain. Add ghee and prepare a soft (but not stretchy) dough using a little water.  Cover with a wet muslin cloth and let rest for 15 minutes.

3. For the filling,  heat oil in a pan. Add the peas and cook for 2 minutes.

4. Strain the beans to separate the tomato sauce using a wide-eyed strainer. Add the beans alone to the pan.

5. Add salt to taste,  jeera powder, chili flakes and mix well. Add the mashed potatoes and mix again. Stir well to let the moisture evaporate.

6. Now add the crushed coriander seeds and chopped coriander leaves. Mix and let cook for 2 minutes. Remove from the flame and cool to room temperature.

7. Divide the dough into 7 equal rounds and the filling into 14 portions. Roll out one dough portion into a chapati and cut in half. Wet the edges with a little water. Fold into a cone and fill the stuffing. Make a small fold in the side facing the joint. This 'spinal bend' is very crucial for a healthy samosa !!!

8. Heat oil for frying. Deep fry the samosas in medium hot oil. Drain excess oil and serve hot.
Oh...and I didn't waste the strained tomato sauce :-). Added some salt, jeera powder, chili powder and a 1 tbsp tomato ketchup. Et alors ! A dip was ready......

20 June 2014

Gawar Phali Dal

A South Indian take on dal using Gawar Phali or Cluster beans.


Ingredients :

Tender Cluster Beans - 250 gms (Cut into 1/2 inch long pieces)
Arahar Dal (Split pigeon peas) - 1/4 cup
Chana Dal - 1/4 cup
Tamarind - pea-size (Juice extracted)
Salt to taste

To roast and grind :
Oil - 1/2 tsp
Dhaniya seeds - 2 tsps
Dry Red chilies - 2
Chana Dal - 1 tsp
Urad Dal - 3/4 tsp
Hing - a pinch
Grated coconut - 1 tbsp

Tempering :
Oil - 1/2 tsp
Mustard Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Urad dal - 1/2 tsp
Curry Leaves

Method : 

1. To prepare the masala, heat 1/2 tsp oil in a pan and add red chilies, followed by dhaniya seeds. Saute for a bit. Now add the rest of the ingredients and fry for about a minute. Cool and grind to a paste (using little water) in a mixer.

2. Pressure cook Arahar dal till soft. Pressure cook chana dal separately up to 1 whistle. The reason being, we want the chana dal to be only partially cooked.

3. Heat 1/2 cup water in a saucepan and add the cluster beans. Cook till tender. Preserve the water.

4. Add the tamarind extract and salt to the beans, cook till it comes to a boil.

5. Now add the ground masala paste and mix well. Cook for about 2-3 minutes.

6. Add the arahar dal and stir well so it becomes a homogeneous mixture. Finally add the chana dal and mix lightly. Let cook for 5 minutes and remove.

7. Prepare the tempering by heating 1/2 tsp oil, adding the mustard seeds, urad dal and curry leaves. Pour over the dal. Serve hot with rice or chapatis.

Mini Kozhukattais (Steamed Rice Balls)

Kozhukattais or steamed Rice dumplings are a festival favourite, especially in Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra. The mini kozhukattais here however, are not the stuffed variety, these are quick to make and disappear even faster!!!

                                            MINI KOZHUKATTAIS (Steamed Rice Balls)

Ingredients : 

Rice Flour (Processed preferred) - 1 cup
Water - 1cup
Salt - 1/4 tsp
Oil - 2 tbsps
Mustard Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Urad dal (Split Black gram) - 1 tsp
Curry leaves - a few
Chopped Green chilies - 2
Grated coconut - 2 tbsps

Method :

1. Heat water in a wide pan or kadhai and add 1 tbsp oil and salt into it.

2. When it reaches boiling point, carefully and slowly add the rice flour while stirring simultaneously.

3. Keep stirring till all the water has been absorbed and a thick mixture is formed and starts leaving the sides.

4. Remove and transfer to a bowl or plate and cover with a wet muslin cloth. Keep aside for 10 minutes.

5. Once slightly cooled, but still warm, apply oil to hands and take a portion of the dough. (Note: If it cools down too much the dough will become lumpy)
Roll it on an oiled surface into a thin long cylinder. Cut small pieces and roll them into pea-sized balls. Repeat with the rest of the dough. Steam cook for about 10 minutes.

6. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds. When they begin to crackle, add urad dal, green chilies and curry leaves. Once the dal becomes golden brown, add the rice balls and saute for a minute.

7. Finally add the grated coconut and mix lightly. Remove and serve warm.

19 June 2014

Easy Green Chili Pickle

This Green chili pickle is very easy to make and requires a minimum storage time of only 3-4 days.                  
                                                    EASY GREEN CHILI PICKLE

Ingredients :

Green Chilies - 1/4 kg
Lemon Juice - 1 cup
Salt - 3/4 cup
Mustard Powder - 1/4 cup

Method :

1. Wash and pat dry the green chilies.

2. Cut them into 1/2 inch long pieces and add to a bowl.

3. Add the lemon juice, salt and mustard powder and mix with a wooden ladle.

4. Transfer to a dry bottle and leave outside for a day. Shake well and refrigerate from the next day.
Shake the contents every other day and start consuming from the 3rd or 4th day itself, depending on how crunchy you prefer the chilies :) The idea is for them to absorb the spices well enough.

Turai (Ridge Gourd) Chutney

Turai or Ridge gourd chutney is an excellent combination for almost any dish...especially Dosas, Idlis and Rotis.
Here's how to make it....

Ingredients :
Turai or Ridge Gourd - 1 medium
Dry Red Chilies - 2
Urad Dal (split black gram) - 1 tbsp
Tamarind - 1 small piece, about pea-sized
Salt to taste
Hing (Asafoetida powder) - 1/4 tsp
Oil - 2 tsps

Method : 
1. Peel the thorny skin of the ridge gourd but do not remove the peel completely. Wash and chop into small pieces, keep aside.

2. Heat 1 tsp oil in a pan. Add red chilies and fry for a minute. Now add the split black gram or urad dal and fry till it turns golden brown. Remove the dal and chilies from the oil and keep aside.

3. Add 1 tsp oil more to the pan and cook the chopped Turai or ridge gourd till they become tender. Remove and cool to room temperature.

4. Blend together the black gram, red chilies, cooked Turai and the tamarind in a mixer till it is a fine paste.
Add salt to taste and mix well.
Serve as desired.

3 June 2014

Okra (Bhindi) Raita

If you've some unused Okra or ladies fingers in the fridge..or a few from the batch went soggy, no problem. Use them in this refreshing and very simple raita recipe.

                                                           LADIES FINGER RAITA

Ingredients :

Ladies Fingers - 5 to 6
Salt to taste
Beaten curds - 1 cup
Oil for frying
For Tempering :
Oil - 1 tbsp
Mustard Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Dry Red Chili - 1 small

Chopped coriander for garnish

Method : 

1. Wash and dry the ladies fingers till max moisture is taken out. Cut them into thin slices.

2. Heat oil for frying and reduce to medium heat.

3. Deep fry the ladies fingers slices till crispy, but not over-fried. Drain the excess oil.

4. In a serving bowl, add the beaten curds and salt to taste. Add the fried bhindi to it and mix gently.

5. Prepare tempering by heating the 1 tbsp oil, add mustard seeds and let crackle. Now add the red chili and fry for a minute. Pour over the raita and mix again.
Garnish with chopped coriander.

Serve with any dish.

2 June 2014

Eggless Sponge Cake

The good ol' Eggless sponge cake based on condensed milk that I tried yesterday with minor variations. The original recipe that I jotted down ages ago called for the use of water, I twisted it with a dash of cream...result, a very soft and aromatic cake....

                                                     EGGLESS SPONGE CAKE

Sponge Cake

Ingredients :

Self raising flour - 125 gms
Note : If using refined flour or maida, use baking soda - 1/2 tsp
Baking powder - 1 1/2 tsps
Vanilla essence - 1 tsp
Condensed Milk - 3/4th cup
Sugar - 1/4 cup
Cream - 25 ml
Water - 30 ml
Melted butter - 75 gms

Optional - if you want a chocolate cake
Cocoa powder - 1 tsp
OR Melted Dark chocolate - 1/4 cup (In this case, reduce the quantity of water to 20 ml , the idea is to maintain the batter consistency)

Method : 

1. Grease a baking tin and preheat oven @ 180 deg C.

2. Blend together melted butter, sugar, condensed milk and vanilla essence till soft peaks form and sugar dissolves completely.

3. Gradually add cream and half the quantity of water and blend again.

4. Sift together the flour and baking powder. Gently fold this into the blended mix, taking care to leave no lumps. Add remaining water if batter is too thick.
(A famous chef once pointed out that it's always recommended to add dry flours to a liquid mixture than the other way round. This minimises chances of lumps formation)

5. Once a smooth batter is formed, pour into the baking mould and bake for 10-12 minutes.
(As I was using a microwave oven, the technique I tried this time was to not leave the cake for the full prescribed 15 minutes, but take it out 5 minutes earlier even if it was a bit moist, but as long as the knife came out clean)

6. Remove and cool on a wire rack. Best served immediately after it's cooled down to room temperature.