Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Chickpeas & soya tikkis

Made these easy & healthy tikkis as an afternoon snack a few days back. The recipe is from Tarla Dalal's cooking magazine.

1 cup chickpeas - I used the canned ones, drained, rinsed & microwaved for 1 min.

1 cup soya granules - soaked in hot, salted water for 15 mins.

2 tbsp mint leaves

2 tsp ginger paste

2 tsp red chilli pwd or green chilli paste (less or more per taste)
1 tsp cumin pwd.

1 tsp coriander pwd.

salt to taste

Oil to shallow fry

1. Blend the chickpeas, soya granules and mint to a smooth dough without using water.

2. Add the red chilli pwd/green chilli paste, cumin pwd., coriander pwd., ginger paste & salt and mix well.

3. Form into small round flat tikkis. You can add a little bread crumbs to the dough if the tikkis do not hold their shape well.

4. Shallow fry the tikkis on a non-stick pan with a little oil until brown on both sides.

These made 12 tikkis for me.

These tikkis are off to the JFI - Chickpeas event at Sometime Foodie.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Tofu & Veggies in Thai Peanut Ginger Sauce

My daughter & I both love peanuts, though my hubby is not too keen on it. This week since he is travelling, I decided to make Tofu & Veggies in Thai Peanut Ginger sauce. The basic recipe is from an old issue of Eating Well magazine.
Here's how I made it:
Step 1 - To make the peanut ginger sauce, whisk together -
2 tbsp smooth peanut butter
3 tbsp water
1 tbsp white vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp honey
1 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp garlic paste
1/2 tsp red chilli pwd. or to taste

Step 2 -Use 1 14 oz. packet of firm tofu. Drain the water, cut the tofu into long strips of about 1 cm. thickness. Saute them using this dry frying technique from Monsoon Spice. Lay the strips on a non-stick pan and heat on medium high, pressing gently with a spatula. In about 5 mins, it will brown on the lower side. Flip over and repeat on the other side.

Step 3 - When the tofu is browned on both sides, cut into bite-size pieces.

Step 4 -Other veggies
1/2 onion - sliced
1/2 green bell pepper -sliced
1 cup chopped spinach
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 tsp oil

Saute the onions in the same pan in which the tofu was dry-fried. When the onions start browning, add the bell peppers, saute 2 mins, add the mushrooms, when they brown, add the spinach.

Step 5 - Now add the peanut sauce & tofu to the veggies.

Step 6 - Top with crushed peanuts and serve hot with whole wheat toast.

This bowlful of Tofu & Veggies in Thai Peanut Ginger Sauce goes to Aquadaze for the Let's Go Nuts event.

Its also off to DK for her AWED - Thai cuisine event. Though this dish is unlike the typical Thai curries, infact its pretty dry, the combination of the sauce ingredients and the veggies used, spell Thai food to me...albeit in a unique way.


While browsing thru my friend's collection of Tarla Dalal's cooking magazines, a recipe for Italian sizzler caught my eye. It reminded me of this incident when I tried to eat a sizzler. A few years back, on my trip to Mumbai, I was craving for a sizzler. So when my school friends decided to meet up, I insisted we go to this well-known sizzler place at Sukh Sagar/Chowpatty. Some of my friends were bringing their kids along, so I decided to take my daughter too (she was a baby then). Once seated in the restaurant, we ordered and I eagerly waited for my sizzler. But the moment it came, my baby, for some reason, started howling away. No amount of TLC could calm her down. She just did not want to be inside the place. Finally, I had to doggie bag my "cold sizzler" & take it home!

Since then I haven't dared to eat another sizzler. But when I saw this recipe, I could not resist the tempation to try it at home. Only problem was, hubby is not too much into Italian, but I have seen Indianized version with rice, so decided to make a combo Indo - Italian sizzler.

Here's how I made it:

Pasta with Mushroom sauce -

1 cup cooked pasta - I used small star-shaped ones
1/4 cup onions - chopped
2 garlic cloves - chopped
1 cup mushrooms - sliced
1 tbsp plain flour
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp oil
Salt & Pepper to taste

Heat the oil. Saute the onions in it for 2-3 mins, add the garlic, saute another min., add the mushrooms and saute till browned. Add the flour and saute on low for 4-5 mins till the flour is light brown. Add the milk & bring to a gentle boil. Add the salt & pepper. Just before assembling, reheat this sauce and add the cooked pasta.

Zucchini patties -

1 zucchini - grated
1 carrot - grated
1/2 cup grated paneer
1 tsp cumin pwd.
1 tsp coriander pwd
1 tsp ginger paste
Salt to taste

Mix these together and shape into small patties. Shallow fry on a non-stick pan with few drops of oil until each patty is browned on both sides.

Rice with veggies -

1/2 cup basmati rice - washed & soaked for 1/2 hr
1/2 cup frozen mixed veggies
1/2 cup onions - sliced
1/2 cup tomatoes - chopped
1 tsp coriander pwd
1 tsp cumin pwd
1/2 tsp garam malasa
1/2 tsp lemon juice
Salt to taste
2 tsp oil

I made this like a basic veggie pulav. Heat the oil, saute the onions till transluscent. Add the rice & fry it a bit. Then add 1 cup of water, the frozen veggies, salt, coriander and cumin pwds. Cover and cook on medium low for about 15 mins till rice is cooked. Stir in the garam masala & lemon juice. Cover and keep warm.

French fries -

I used the frozen fries here.

Assembly -

Heat a cast iron pan on high until very hot. Place it carefully on a wooden tray/board (I used my wooden chopping board). Place the pasta in one half & the rice on the other half of the pan. Top with patties and fries. Mix 1 tbsp oil with 1 tbsp water and pour on the sides of the cast iron pan for a sizzling effect. Serve immediately.

Masala Toast

From the time I saw this recipe on Coffee's Spice Cafe, I fell in love with it. Its so simple and easy to whip up for breakfast, but feels like you made something special instead of the usual cereals or bagels etc. Her site has step-by-step instructions & pictures, so I'm not repeating them. The only change I made was to add a pinch of turmeric pwd. to give it a golden color and also I skip the chilli paste for my daughter's sake. Instead I serve it with a spicy ketchup or chutney for us and plain ketchup for her.

This event was started by Coffee.

I am updating this post to include how I make it, since I've been informed that the Spice Cafe link above no longer works. So here's how I make it:

4 - 5 slices of bread
1/2 cup rava/sooji
1/2 cup buttermilk or 1/4 cup yogurt + 1/4 cup water
pinch of turmeric pwd
salt to taste
chopped green chillies or red chilli pwd to taste
1/2 tsp ginger paste
handful of finely chopped onions
chopped cilantro

Mix all the ingredients from rava to cilantro. You can add upto 1/4 cup water to this mix depending on how much water your rava is absorbing.
Cut the bread slices into desired shapes and dip into the mix. Fry on a non-stick pan with few drops of oil until golden brown spots develop on both sides.

Serve hot with ketchup.

Potato omelet with veggies

I saw a recipe for Potato omelet is one of the recipe books published by ISKCON and decided to make it using frozen hash browns and adding lots of veggies. Here's how I made it. BTW, I'm so impressed by the step-by-step pictures on some of the blogs like Culinary Bazaar, I decided to try it here...needs a lot of patience guys.

1. Chop up the veggies - I used onions, green bell peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes & spinach.

2. Saute them in a non-stick pan with 1-2 drops of oil. I dropped in the onions first, then the peppers, then mushrooms, sauteing each for 2-3 mins. Lastly went in the tomatoes and spinach. I switched off the heat immediately. Add salt & pepper to taste.
3. Cook the hash browns on a skillet in a round omelette shape using few drops of oil until browned on both sides. While the first side cooks, sprinkle salt, pepper and a pinch of turmeric pwd. evenly over the omelette. It is fairly easy to flip over once one side is well browned, a little breakage is okay.

4. Place the cooked veggies on the omelette. Fold over and serve warm with ketchup.

Vegetable & dal soup with roasted peppers sandwich

This made for a warm and hearty meal on a recent weekend.

Vegetable & Dal Soup -

1/2 cup moong dal - washed & soaked for 1 hr.
1 onion - chopped
2 tomatoes - chopped
1 carrot - chopped
1 tsp cumin pwd.
1 tsp coriander pwd
Salt & Pepper to taste
1/2 cup milk

I prepared this in my pressure pan. First heat the oil, saute the onions, then add the tomatoes & carrots. Saute another few mins. Add the dal, cumin & coriander pwd. Add about 2 cups of water, close the lid & cook for 2 whistles. After the pressure cools down, open the lid. Blend with a hand blender or in a mixer when slightly cool. After this you can sieve it for a smoother soup, but I did not as the soup was pretty smooth for my taste and I love a little bit of fiber in it. Return the soup to the pressure pan, add salt, pepper and the milk. Bring to a gentle boil. Serve hot.

Roasted Peppers Sandwich -

2 cups colored peppers - chopped. I used a mix of red, orange, yellow & green
4-6 slices of bread - I used whole wheat sourdough from Trader Joes
Salt & Pepper to taste
To slater over the bread you can use - butter, hummus, cream cheese or this zuke-a-mole like I did.

I roasted the peppers in a non-stick pan on the stove top with a drop or 2 or olive oil. Added salt & pepper. And heaped them on to slices of toasted bread slathered with the zuke-a-mole. This sandwich went very well with the soup.

Panchratna spinach dal & onion-pudina rotis

Recently, I am going thru a phase where I want to cook everything in my pressure pan...its not even new! But it does make a lot of good sense, as it cuts cooking time & effort down. Last weekend, I made this panchratna dal.

The panchratnas (five jewels) I used were - 1/3 cup each of moong, tur, udad, chana and masoor dals. I washed and soaked these together for about 2-3 hrs.

1 onion- sliced

1 tomato - chopped

2 cloves garlic - chopped

1 tsp grated ginger

2 cups chopped spinach

1 tsp cumin pwd

1 tsp coriander pwd

1/2 tsp red chilli pwd

1 tsp garam masala

Salt to taste

1 tsp lemon juice

1-2 tsp oil

Heat oil in the pressure pan. Saute the onions in it for 5 mins. Add the garlic & ginger, saute 2 mins. Add the tomatoes and spinach, saute another 2 mins. Add the cumin & coriander pwds & the red chilli pwd. Fry them till the mixture turn a rich brown. You can add 1-2 tsp water if the spices start burning. Then add the dals, cover and cook for 2 whistles. When cool, open the lid, add the salt, garam masala & lemon juice. Mix and serve hot with rice or rotis.

This event is the brain child of Susan of the Well-Seasoned Cook.

I served my panchratna spinach dal with these onion-pudina rotis.

Here's how I made them.
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 onion - chopped fine
1/2 cup pudina (mint) - finely chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ajwain seeds (ova)
1 tsp oil
Water to knead
Mix all the above (except oil) and knead to a soft dough. Oil your palm and knead 1-2 mins further. Do not keep this dough for too long as it will soften and become difficult to roll into rotis. After about 15 mins, you can roll out the rotis and cook them on a pan until brown spots appear on both sides. Spread some butter or ghee before serving.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Back from India trip

Hello friends. Hope you have all had a good start to the new year. Wish you a very happy 2009. I came back from Mumbai a couple of weeks back, but just could not get myself to post anything since...I'll blame it on jetlag. Our trip was very relaxed this time, though it was marred by the events of Nov. 26 - 28. We hung out with family mostly. A highlight of the trip was our visit to Dapoli in Konkan. We were about 20 - 25 people, including extended family members. We rented a huge bus and drove there. Its about 6 hrs from Mumbai. We stayed at the Aryawarta resort in Dapoli (a fantastic place, highly recommended) and visited the beaches and temples around. I was visiting Konkan after a very long gap and was once again struck by its natural beauty - pristine beaches, rolling hills, greenery.

On the last day of our trip, after visiting the Keshavraj temple in Asood village, we stopped by Mrs. Vaishali Phatak's home-style eatery. My MIL, on her friend's recommendation, had informed Mrs. Phatak the previous day of our lunch plans and requested her to prepare a meal with Ukadiche Modaks as the star dish. And what a wonderful meal it was! Delicious modaks, dalimbyanchi usal, vangi-batata rassa...yummy...just writing about it makes my mouth water again. We all sat in her huge yard for the meal. She had a slew of family members and staff helping her cook & serve. The whole ambience was so good, I think it doubled our appetites. For me, something about the beautiful village setting and the Konkan soil and water made this meal a memorable one.

With her permission, I took this picture after our meal and am posting it here.

Now that I have gotten back into my routine here, I will start cooking and posting again soon.
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