Friday, December 6, 2013

Yumm Sauce

This recipe had appeared in my local newspaper several months back. I was quite intrigued by one of the ingredients - Nutritional Yeast - and had clipped it to try it out. It took me a while to find Nutritional Yeast (found it at PCC Market) and finally make this sauce.

Here's how I made Yumm Sauce:

1/2 cup store-bought salsa of your choice
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup almond meal
1/4 cup chickpeas (I used canned, drained and rinsed)
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2 tbsp. lemon juice
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp salt
1 tsp red chilli pwd
2 tsp cumin pwd
handful of cilantro leaves

Just blend all the ingredients together until smooth. Adjust seasonings if needed.

This will make about 1.5 cups of sauce. This sauce can be refrigerated for few days.

I used this sauce in quesadillas and tacos that night.

The next day I made myself a tortilla bowl salad for lunch and used this sauce between layers of rice, black beans, onions & tomatoes and a dollop of top.

Super Yumm!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Sindhi Kadhi

I learnt this recipe from my husband's aunt who visited us over the summer. It was totally new and unusual to me. My idea of kadhi was always buttermilk based, but this one has no buttermilk, but a tangy tomato-gram flour based gravy. Also love the addition of all kinds of veggies. This time I used okra, guvar beans and cauliflower (as done by maami); next time I will be adding more (like carrots, potatoes etc.). The one change I made was to sauté the veggies instead of deep frying them.

Here's how I made Sindhi Kadhi:

Prep the veggies by cutting the okra into 1 inch long trin strips, the guvar beans also into 1 inch long pieces and the cauliflower into flowerets.

Shallow fry each separately in abt 2 tsp oil till lightly browned and almost done.

Take 2 tbsp. oil in a non-stick pan. Fry 1/4 cup gram flour in it on medium low heat stirring occasionally until lightly browned and very fragrant, about 15-20 mins.

Slowly add up to 1 cup water. Keep stirring constantly to break up lumps as they form.

Add puree of 1 tomato (abt 1/2 cup). Continue stirring.

Add the seasonings - salt, red chilli pwd, coriander pwd all per taste. Add 1 tsp tamarind paste and 2 tsp jaggery (gul). Add more water if needed to get desired consistency. Bring to a boil, stirring all the time.
Just before serving, add the prepped veggies and let boil once more.
Serve hot with roti or rice.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Karela Bhaji

I was never a big fan of Karela (Bitter Gourd) until I ate it this way. Now I crave this bhaji every week. I think this bhaji is a great combination of flavors - bitter from the karela of course, sweet (gul/jaggery), sour (tamarind), salty, spicy and crunchy (peanuts).

Here's how I make Karelyachi Patal Bhaji (Bitter Ground Gravy Vegetable):

1. Wash the karelas and slit length wise. Deseed and remove remove any pulp in the center. Chop the karelas fairly fine. Sprinkle abt 1 tsp salt and leave for 1/2 hour.

2. After 1/2 hour, squeeze out as much water as possible from the karelas. I like to wrap the karela pieces in a thin cloth or handkerchief to help squeeze out the juice. For about 1 cup of chopped karelas, I got little over 1/4 cup juice. I usually throw this juice away, but I know people use it for medicinal purposes too.

 3. In a pressure pan, make the tempering by heating 2 tsp oil, dropping 1 tsp mustard seeds and after they stop crackling, adding 1/2 tsp cumin seeds and 1/4 tsp hing. Then add few curry leaves and the karela. Saute for abt 3 mins. Add 1 cup water, 1/4 cup shredded coconut, 2 tbsp. roughly chopped peanuts, salt to taste (remember the karela will already be slightly salty), 1/2 tbsp. tamarind paste, 2 tbsp. gul/jaggery, 1 tsp goda masala, 1 tsp coriander-cumin pwd, 1 tsp red chilli pwd. Give it a good stir, close the pressure pan and cook for 1 whistle.

4. When the pressure comes down, open the pan. You may need to adjust water and seasonings, if needed at this time. I have not done so, but if you add more water/seasonings, give it one boil. Serve hot/warm with polya.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Spicy Pumpkin Soup

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, I made Pumpkin bread and was left with over 1/2 can of pumpkin puree. After searching online, settled on making Pumpkin Soup. This is a very quick and easy recipe, ideal for chilly nights.

Here's how I made Spicy Pumpkin Soup:

Heat 2 tsp olive oil and sauté 1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped onions in it for 5 mins. Add 1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper and continue sautéing another 5 mins. Add 1 or 2 cloves of garlic (chopped). Cook another 5 mins. Then add about 1 to 1.5 cups of the pumpkin puree. Add about 1 cup vegetable broth and the following seasonings to taste - salt, pepper, red chili flakes and Kirkland brand no salt seasoning mix. Add 1 wedge of Laughing Cow cheese of choice (I used Creamy Swiss). Stir well, breaking down the cheese wedge as you stir. Once it starts simmering, take off heat. Let cool, then blend to smooth puree.

Before serving, heat thoroughly and adjust consistency by adding more broth if needed.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Vegetarian Stuffed Turkey Shaped Rolls

Made these Vegetarian Stuffed Turkey Shaped Rolls for Thanksgiving yesterday. Wanted to make something in keeping with the spirit of the holiday, but vegetarian of course, to take to a friend's place. Found inspiration here, and decided to do stuffed rolls rather than plain dinner rolls. These were appetizers, so fairly small in shape. The stuffing was pav bhaji style potato.

Here's how I made these Vegetarian Stuffed Turkey Shaped Rolls:

Potato Stuffing: 2 medium russet potatoes (boiled, peeled and grated); 1/2 cup finely chopped onion, 1/2 cup finely chopped green bell pepper, seasonings to taste (salt, sugar, Everest Pav Bhaji masala, red chilli pwd), 2-3 tsp oil.

Heat the oil, sauté onions till softened. Add bell pepper & sauté 5 mins. Add the potatoes and seasonings. Mix well and cook another 5 mins. Take off heat and let it come to room temperature before using.

3 cups Flour/Maida
1 packet rapid rise yeast (abt 2 1/4 tsp)
1 cup lukewarm water (110 F)
1.5 tbsp. sugar
1.5 tsp salt
4 tbsp. melted butter
1/4 cup milk pwd

Warm the water to 110F, add sugar and yeast. Stir gently. Cover and keep for 10 mins. A frothy layer will form on top by then.
Take the yeast/water mix, melted butter, salt and milk pwd in a big glass bowl. Mix gently. Add the flour abt 1/2 cup at a time, mixing well. You may need anywhere from 2.5 to 3 cups flour. The dough will be sticky. Knead it well for 10 mins to make it smooth.
Lightly oil the bowl and keep the kneaded dough in it. Cover and leave for 1 hour.

The dough will double or triple in size by then. Lightly punch the risen dough. Divide into balls and stuff with the potato mixture.

To make the turkey shape, I used a large ball for the body, half that size for the head and slightly smaller ones for the feathers. Used small pieces of the dough (without the filling) for the beak and wobble. Stuck 2 cloves for the eyes. I wanted a good amount of stuffing in each roll, used about 2 tbsp. in the feathers and head and double in the body.
Cover and leave for another hour. The stuffed rolls will again puff up by then.
Preheat oven to 350F. Brush the rolls with some milk. Bake them for 30 to 40 mins until golden brown. While still hot, brush the rolls with some butter. These rolls are slightly crisp on the outside (but soften as cooled) and fluffy inside.

Let cool slightly before serving. I lightly cut the rolls along the ridges so people could pull them out and help themselves.

These turkey shaped rolls were well appreciated by all .... for their creativity and taste.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Daal Roti

Here's a quick idea for using up left over daal/goda varan which makes a good lunch box item for kids.

Add some seasoning to the cooked daal like salt, coriander pwd, cumin pwd, turmeric pwd, red chilli pwd etc.

Add finely chopped veggies - in the picture below I've added spinach on the left, tomatoes on the right.

Add wheat flour, little by little, kneading to a smooth dough with a few drops of oil. Add water only if needed as the daal may already have some.

Keep covered for 1/2 hr. Then divide into balls and roll into circles dusting with flour as needed. Roast both sides with some oil.

Here I have rolled  my rotis laccha paratha style to make them flaky.
Roll up and pack in lunch box.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Khandvi/Surali Chi Vadi

After innumerable attempts over the years, I now feel comfortable making khandvi or surachi chi vadi. I like this stuffed version which I feel gives a better flavor than just garnishing with tempering, coconut, cilantro etc.

Here's how I make Khandvi/Surali Chi Vadi:

Stuffing - 1 cup frozen shredded coconut, handful of cilantro, 1 or 2 green chillies, ginger paste, salt, sugar and lemon juice. Coursely grind the ingredients together. Or finely chop and mix.

Other prep - Spread 3 or 4 sheets of aluminum foil on the counter top. For each keep 1 katori ready. Wet the bottom of the katori with little water.

Khandvi rolls - 1 cup gram flour, 2 cups thin buttermilk, pinch of hing/asafetida, salt and sugar to taste. The buttermilk should preferably be a little sour. Leave it out for a couple of hours before use. Sieve the gram flour, then mix all the ingredients together. Whisk together to get a smooth batter. Put this in a heavy bottom pan and place on the stove on medium heat. Keep whisking as it heats up. In 5 mins., the batter will start to thicken. Whisking will become harder, but its important to keep doing so, to break lumps and keep the batter smooth. In another 3 mins or so, batter will start leaving sides of pan and will acquire a little sheen. This is when it is ready to spread on the foils. You can test by putting a little drop at first. Wait a minute, then try to roll it to see if its ready.

Once the batter in ready to be spread, it is time to act fast. Take off heat, drop a ladleful of batter on one foil. Using the moistened katori bottom, spread it as evenly and thinly as possible on the sheet. Use gentle pressure when doing so. Keep ladling the batter on all the foils, spreading as you go, before moving to the next ladleful.

Once all the batter is spread, let it  rest for a few minutes.

The one step I am still working on is spreading the batter fast enough. I still end up wasting some batter which cools down before I can spread it.

As the spread batter cools, make tempering with oil and mustard seeds.

Spread the coconut stuffing and the tempering evenly on the spread batter. Then start cutting strips about 1.5 to 2 inch wide. Roll from one end to the other. Note that you will need to trim edges to get even shaped strips.

Serve at room temperature. These will be gone in minutes, so be sure to save a couple for yourself.
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