Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Diwali 2016

House decoration

Ganesha kandil by me

Rava Besan ladoo

Dates and nuts ladoo
 These are per my earlier post


Palak Shev
 After ages, I used my mom's old wooden shev press to make this palak shev.

Recipe - 3/4 cup gram flour, 1/4 cup rice flour, seasonings - salt, red chilli pwd, generous pinch of hing and pinch of ajwain seeds, 1/2 cup spinach puree with handful of cilantro thown in (I used frozen spinach and did not add any additional water to puree), 2-3 tbsp. oil plus additional for deep frying.

Mix the flours and seasonings in a wide bowl. Rub with 2-3 tbsp. oil till crumbly texture. Then slowly add the spinach puree and knead into soft dough.

Using a shev press with thin shev disc, insert the dough into the press and drop the sev into medium hot oil in circular motion. Fry in batches, couple minutes each side. Drain on paper towel. When shev cools, crumble with hands and store in air tight container.

Mawa burfi

Fruit Pie Rangoli
I used a base of graham crackers. Topped it with a mixture of cream cheese (8 oz pack thawed), lemon curd (about 3-4 tbsp.), 1 tub of cool whip gently folded in and few drops of vanilla essence. Spread this as evenly as possible on the base. Then top with fruits of choice.

Simple dry fruit rangoli

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Spinach kofta curry (without onion-garlic)

Spinach Kofta Curry
This recipe is adapted from Sanjeev Kapoor's website. Not only is it made without onion and garlic, but best part is this is a great way to sneak in dudhi (lauki) and lal bhopla (red pumpkin) which may not always be appreciated otherwise.

Here's how I make this Spinach Kofta curry:

For the koftas - Mix together boiled, peeled mashed potatoes, grated paneer and chopped spinach in equal proportion. If using frozen spinach, be sure to thaw it and drain out the water. You can also add some finely chopped veggies if desired like green beans and carrots. Add seasonings to taste - salt, red chilli pwd, dhana-jira pwd, ginger paste, little sugar and chat masala. Mix well and add little corn flour to bind it together so you can form kofta balls. Deep fry, drain and set aside.

For the curry - Heat 3 tsp oil in a kadai. Add 1 inch cinnamon stick, 4 green cardamoms, few black peppercorns and cumin seeds. Fry 2-3 mins on low heat till fragrant. Add 1 cup red pumpkin cubes, 1 cup dudhi cubes and 1 cup chopped tomatoes. Fry well. Add spices to taste - red chilli pwd, cumin pwd, coriander pwd, garam masala pwd and kitchen king masala. Add salt to taste, little sugar and turmeric. Add 1 cup of water, cover and cook on medium heat till veggies get soft. Cool a bit and grind to fine puree along with handful of soaked cashews.

Before serving, heat the curry. You can add 2 tbsp. yogurt and mix well into it. Arrange koftas in the serving bowl and pour the hot curry over it. Serve immediately with roti, paratha or rice.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Pineapple Sheera

Pineapple sheera
Sheera is one of the easiest Indian desserts. And when you add pineapple flavor to it, it becomes even more lip-smacking.

Here's how I make Pineapple Sheera:

1 cup fine rava (sooji)
4 tbsp. ghee
1/4 tsp saffron strands
1 cup pineapple puree (from canned pineapple)
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp cardamom pwd
Handful of cashews and raisins

Heat the ghee in a thick bottom kadai. Add rava and saffron. Roast on low heat for 15-20 mins, stirring frequently, till fragrant. Add the pineapple puree, mix well, cover and cook on low for 5 mins. Then add sugar, mix well again and cover and cook another 5 mins. In the meanwhile heat little ghee in small pan, fry the cashews till golden, fry the raisins till they plump up. Add these to the sheera along with the cardamom pwd. Mix well and serve.

I like to have sheera warm.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Baklava cups

Baklava cups
This is a very quick, easy and yummy sweet.

Take 1/2 cup mixed nuts chopped roughly. I have used almonds, pistachios, walnuts and pecans. Add 1/4 tsp cinnamon pwd, pinch of salt and about 2 tbsp. honey. Mix well.

Fill ready made phyllo cup shells with above mix. Bake at the lowest oven setting - mine is 180F - for 5 to 10 mins. Drizzle little more honey and serve immediately.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Ritz cracker shev puri

Ritz cracker shev puri

Here the traditional puri is replaced with ritz crackers, it tastes awesome.

Boil 1 potato, peel and mash. Add finely chopped onions, colored bell peppers, handful of corn and cilantro. Add little salt, chaat masala, green chutney, dates-tamarind chutney. Mix well.

Heap the potato mix onto the crackers. Top with shev generously.

Serve immediately.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Instant Bread Medu Vada with Tomato Coconut Chutney

Instant Bread Medu Vada w/Tomato Coconut Chutney
Instant Bread Medu Vada is a great quick snack option and a good way to use up bread. Any kind of bread works well, I've made it with white, multigrain, bread rolls etc. Its a winner always.

Here's how I make Instant Bread Medu Vada:

Crumble bread slices in the food processor (my preferred way) or by hand. For 4 cups of bread crumbs add 1/2 cup rice flour and 1/4 cup fine rava (sooji), 1/2 cup finely chopped onions, handful of finely chopped cilantro, 1 tsp ginger paste, 1/4 tsp cumin seeds, 1 tsp salt or to taste and 1 tsp pepper pwd (or few chopped green chillies). Add 1/2 cup yogurt and mix well. The batter should be pliable but able to stick together. If needed add little more yogurt. If you end up with a loose batter add little more rice flour or rava and adjust seasonings. Then take a small lemon sized ball of the batter and shape into medu vada (donut shape) on your palm. Deep dry in hot oil till brown on both sides.

Serve hot with chutney of choice.

 In the above picture I've made tomato coconut chutney, here's how I made it:

Heat 2 tsp oil in a pan. Add 1 tsp chana dal, 1 tsp udad dal, 2 dry red chillies and 1/4 cup chopped red onion. You can also add few curry leaves. Fry 5 mins. then add 2 chopped tomatoes. Fry till softened. Add 1/2 cup grated coconut and fry 5 more minutes. Add 1 tsp jaggery, 1/4 tsp tamarind paste and salt to taste. Take off heat, cool a bit and grind. Take the chutney in a bowl. Make tempering by heating 2 tsp oil, add 1/4 tsp mustard seeds, when they stop popping add 1/8 tsp asafetida pwd (hing). Pour hot tempering over chutney.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Roasted Phool Makhana

Roasted Phool Makhana
This is a healthy snack alternative, similar to pop corn, made from puffed lotus seeds. Very easy to make and you can't stop at one. Phool Makhana is available in Indian grocery stores.

Dry roast the phool makhana in a wide pan over low heat for 8-10 minutes stirring occasionally. Towards the end add 2 tbsp. ghee, salt and black pepper pwd to taste. Stir to coat evenly. Take off heat and sprinkle some chaat masala. Stir well. Cool and store in airtight box.

Enjoy with tea/coffee.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Avocado dip/dressing

Avocado Dip/Dressing
An easy yummy dip for veggies, chips etc or dressing for salad. Here's how I make it:

Blend together pulp of 1 avocado, 1 tbsp. yogurt, 1 tbsp. salsa, salt & sugar to taste, 1/2 tsp cumin pwd, 1/2 tsp paprika pwd and 1 tsp lemon juice. Check taste and adjust seasonings as desired.

Use immediately.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Dahi Vada

Dahi Vada
This is an ideal snack/mini meal for the summer months. Here's how I make dahi vada:

Wash and soak 1/2 cup udad dal and 2 tbsp. mung dal in water for atleast 4 hours. Then drain and grind with very little water to make a smooth paste. Take the paste in a big mixing bowl and add salt, little ginger paste and black pepper pwd. Whisk well for 5 minutes.

At this point if you drop a blob of the paste in a bowl of water, it should immediately float up. This means the batter is light and airy and well whisked.

Heat oil to deep fry the vadas. And keep a big bowl of thin buttermilk ready. Add a little salt and red chilli pwd to the buttermilk. Drop spoonful of batter in the oil and fry on medium heat till golden brown. Drain and immediately put the vadas in the buttermilk. Fry all the vadas similarly in small batches.

To serve - whisk cold yogurt (I like to use Fage) with salt and sugar till smooth. Put the vadas in the serving bowl. Top generously with the yogurt. Sprinkle some red chilli pwd and cumin pwd. Add a dash of green mint chutney and dates-tamarind chutney. Finally garnish with chopped cilantro. You can also add little shev on top. Serve immediately.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Beetroot tikkis

Beetroot tikkis
This is a fairly easy and quick snack to put together, especially when you use canned beet and potato flakes like I do.

Start with a can of sliced beets (not the pickled variety). Drain and put in mixing bowl. To this add a cup of potato flakes, salt to taste, 1 tsp of ginger paste, 1 tsp red chilli pwd, 1 tsp cumin pwd, handful of chopped cilantro, and 1 tsp chaat masala pwd. Mix well. Shape as desired. Pop in the freezer for about an hour. You can make and keep in freezer for use when you have unexpected company.

To fry - in a bowl take 1 tbsp. plain flour mixed with water to make thin paste. In another plate take bread crumbs. Dip each tikki first in the flour mix, then in the bread crumbs and shallow fry on pan with a tsp of oil till golden brown on each side.

Serve warm with chutney of choice - mint chutney, dates chutney or ketchup.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Purple cabbage salad

Purple cabbage salad
This salad is a great way to highlight the beautiful color of purple cabbage. I took 1/2 head of a small purple cabbage and thinly shredded it. Then I steamed it for just 5 minutes in the pressure cooker with the whistle off. I am not a fan of raw cabbage, hence steam it. Then I added other veggies like cucumbers, tomatoes, onions/green onions, colored peppers. I tempered the salad with cumin seeds and hing in ghee. Topped it all off with crushed roasted peanuts, chopped cilantro, salt, pinch of sugar and black pepper powder.

Tastes great by itself.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Puff pastry rounds

Puff pastry sheets come in handy for quick snacks/appetizers and are so versatile. I recently found a cute way to use these. The sheet is thawed, cut into about 8-10 circles, filled and folded to resemble petals or feathers.
In the picture below, I used some leftover pasta sauce, added oregano, garlic salt, seasoning mix and shredded mozzarella cheese. Smeared this mix on the puff pastry rounds and arranged them to resemble bird's feathers. I topped each with an olive. With a little more fine-tuning, this would make a cute thanksgiving vegetarian turkey I think.
For the body of the bird, I used larger squares of puff pastry and stuffed them with jalapeno (ends cut, deseeded and deveined) filled with cream cheese (I used garden veggie and added garlic salt and seasoning mix). Make sure the cheese is room temperature.
Bake the puff pastry per package directions.
Puff pastry bird
Puff pastry vegetarian turkey

jalapeno peppers with cream cheese

For New Years eve party, I used similar pasta sauce as above and arranged the petals in flower shape.

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