Monday, November 21, 2011

Chana Palak/ Chickpea Spinach

Spinach and chick pea is a very Healthy duo spinach being a very rich source of vitamin A & Chickpea is full of fibre & Iron .. so a way to eat healthy & tastilicious is to mix them both.

Spinach goes well with Paneer, Aloo, lentils and chick-peas or garbanzo beans as well.

Here is what we need -

1 bunch fresh spinach or frozen spinach
handful of garbanzo beans/chhole
1 Cinnamon stick
1/2 sp turmeric powder
3-4 black peppercorns
1 sp ginger garlic paste
2 green chilies
1 sp coriander powder
1/2 sp garam masala powder
salt per taste
1/2 sp sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream ( You can boil milk to half and use that instead)
1 tbs olive oil

To make this you have to soak handful or a little more chhole overnight. Pressure cook it till they become tender.

In a big pot boil some water and blanch spinach leaves in it to semi-cook. Let it cool a bit.

Puree spinach with green chilies.

In a pan add oil, once hot add Cinnamon stick, peppercorns and ginger garlic paste and turmeric powder. Turmeric helps to retain the green color of the spinach.

Add garbanzo beans. Give it a good mix. Add pureed spinach. Add coriander powder. Add some water if required. Let it cook on medium heat for 10 minutes. Add cream. Add garam masala powder and switch off the stove.

Serve it with roti or rice. Quite restaurantee style :- )

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Cucumber Sandwich

I love these sandwiches. I like to make these with white bread.

First make the green chutney. In the blender, blend 3 green chilies, cilantro, some mint leaves and 1 sp cumin seeds. Add dash of salt to it.

Peel and slice the cucumber in circles.

Spread spoonful of mayonnaise, some chutney on either sides of the slices. place some cucumber pieces in it. you can add tomatoes too. Add some ketch-up and eat it up.

Squash Dessert

Remember the Butternut Squash soup???  We had kept some roasted pumpkin pulp for some experimental dishes. There you go .. the dessert  :-)

Butternut squash itself is sweet in taste so it made a perfect dessert.

In a pan add some unsalted butter and cook roasted squash pulp for 5-6 minutes. Add little sugar and some milk. You need to adjust sugar as per your taste and sweetness of the squash. Add pinch of cardamom powder. Refrigerate it for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Garnish it with some chopped dry-fruits.

Shaam-Savera with rich gravy

I love to lay the table. The way to the stomach is through eyes! so my belief is, it should look good to the eyes before your belly gets to enjoy it. This was Diwali Night Dinner.

I tried sanjeev kapoor's shaam savera recipe for the first time. It was not difficult to make but just needed some hours' work.

Shaam implying back color where savera is white. ( This is not to vilify any community but just kitchen names )  :-)

These are paneer dumplings coated with spinach coating dipped into rich cashew-tomato gravy.

Lets make the dumplings first.

Make the paneer. (check my Home made paneer recipe) You don't have to form cubes of it as you need crumbly paneer to form lemon size balls.

Blanch 2 cups spinach in the water. drain the water and chop it. In a pan take 1 tbs oil, add 1 sp ginger garlic paste, pinch of turmeric and 3 chopped green chilies. In a minute add chopped spinach to it. add 1/2 sp coriander powder and some salt. Keep stirring to take off any water. You need dry spinach. Let it cool off.

To make the rich gravy take 3-4 tomatoes and 1 onion. Heat some water and add those tomatoes and onion in boiling water. Let it boil for 10 minutes. Tomatoes and onion become tender. Let it cool down.
Peel the tomatoes.

In a blender take onion, tomatoes and handful of cashews. Add 2 back peppercorns, 1 cardamom, 1 Cinnamon stick. By adding water blend it to a smooth paste.

In a pan take 2 sp butter, Add the above paste and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes. Add 1/2 cup fresh cream to it. Let it cook for 2-3 minutes. Add 1 spoon garam masala powder. Add some salt.

In another pan, slightly brown the dry kasuri methi. let it cool off a bit. crush the leaves using your palms and add it to the gravy. switch off the stove. Add 1 sp honey.

To make the dumplings take some paneer and make lemon size balls. Coat them using some spinach. This way make all the dumplings ready.

In a heavy bottom pan take a very little oil and fry the dumplings. Once they cool off refrigerate the dumplings for 1 hour. Cut it into half. and drop it in the gravy. make sure the dumplings float in the gravy so don't use deep pan. If needed divide the gravy in 2-3 pans and then add the dumplings that way you get to see shaam-savera. :-)

Let the gravy simmer on low-medium heat for 5 minutes. The gravy is ready to serve. This should make a perfect entry to your special occasion dinner.

Instant Akha Masoor

People who have experienced the joy of eating at the road side dhabas in India would need no introduction of this dish. But for the rest  - There is nothing like Akha Masoor on the rainy, gloomy, sunny, chilli ... ohh leave it;on any day :-) My absolute favorite .. Well I personally feel some vegetables in the kitchen don't gel with some of its counter parts and so is Masoor and Onion. So when I made it I decided to make variation to the traditional recipe by leaving onion out and using mere ingredients. Believe me I never looked back; I found my perfect yet instant recipe.

The secret ingredients - 1 spoon tomato puree ( I use Kroger's ), 3-4 curry leaves, 2-3 garlic pods.

Boil 1 cup whole masoor in the pressure cooker. The best part of masoor is you don't have to soak it unless you need to sprout it.

In a pan add 1 tbs Olive oil, once hot add mustard seeds. Once they start to sputter add chopped garlic. Let it turn golden brown. Add chopped curry leaves and tomato puree. Add boiled masoor. Put pinch of turmeric and 1 sp red chili powder. Add 1 cup water and let it boil for 8 to 10 minutes. The curry thickens as you boil it.

This goes very well with roti as well as rice. If you are wondering what is the foil doing in the pic. I just had wrapped chapatis in it to keep it hot till we eat it :-) .. hot chapatis just double the taste!!

Butternut Squash or Pumpkin Soup

The beauty - Butternut squash or pumpkin. This is a fruit that grows on a vine. The skin and seeds are edible but are usually discarded. This is best eaten roasted. I saw this beauty during fall season in Kroger and couldn't stop myself from buying. I knew in my mind that PJ is not gonna vouch for squash soup idea so I was not sure what I was gonna make outta it. But I kinda had my heart settled on soup ..

Well lets prepare it then. Cut the squash lenghtwise. The skin is slightly hard so be careful while cutting it. For baking convenience I cut it again making 4 pieces of it. lightly brush some olive oil on the pulp side.

Preheat the oven for 350 F. Place this and roast it for about 30 to 35 minutes. Let it cool off.

Take off the seeds & skin. I figured the whole squash was gonna make too much soup for just 2 of us (PJ being reluctant ) so I just used this 1 cut portion and it made me more than 2 servings of soup. I refrigerated remaining pulp for my some other kitchen experiments. sigh ..

In a blender take the pulp, add 1 cardamom, 1/4 cup canned vegetable stock and fresh cream. Grind it to a smooth paste. This soup is usually thick. Ohh I remember having it in Wolfgang punk .. hats off to the chef .. he proved that beauty is skin deep right to the pulp : -)

well my attempt was not bad either  ; - )

In a heavy bottom pan take some butter and pour the blended soup into it. Add some black pepper and salt.


P.S - PJ enjoyed the soup too .. slurp!!

Healthy Bread Roll

I used Pepperidge Farm whole wheat bread to make this. The bread is so flavorful itself. I saw this on Tarla Dalal website and could not wait to try it myself.

Well this would make a perfect dinner when you are not starving or a tea time snack. Chop off the brown sides of the bread and cover it under a damp paper towel.

You can make a filling of your choice. I had a boiled potato in the refrigerator so I decided to use it. Mash the potato. In a small pan take 1 tbs Olive oil and add chopped carrot and green pees. Let it cook for 5-8 minutes.

Mix it to the mashed potatoes. Add some red chili powder, salt, 1/2 sp garam masala powder, pinch of chaat masala powder. Mix well.

Preheat the oven to 300 F. Take a bread slice and flatten it using rolling pin. fill a spoonful of filling in the middle. Apply some water on all the sides and using a little pressure seal all the sides. Make all the breads ready this way. Brush a little olive oil on both the sides of the rolls. Place it the oven for 5-6 minutes. Turn it over to the other side. This should have a brown tinge.

This could make a lovely appetizer or a snack. It made me a perfect dinner; I poured some orange juice with it.

Healthy Cabbage Pakoda

In a bowl take 1 cup chopped cabbage, around half chopped Green bell pepper, 2 chopped green chilies. Add salt and let it rest for 5-10 minutes. It will start to leave water.

Add 2 tbs corn flour, 2 tbs rice flour and 5 tbs chickpea flour. Add 1/4 sp or as per your liking red chili powder. Add some water to form dough. Make small balls and flatten it as shown in the picture.

Heat griddle, once hot put some olive oil and place it on the griddle. In about 5 minutes flip it. Cover it with lid for 3-4 minutes. from sides put some oil to fry it well. It should take around 10 minutes to shallow fry it. The heat should be Medium high. High heat will burn it leaving the inner part uncooked.

Take it out in the serving plate and serve with some ketchup or any chutney.

Traditional Flat Bread or Bhakri

Roasted rice flat bread or in regional way Bhakri is type of Roti. This is simple yet amazingly tasty and healthy. The traditional way of making this is on the earthen stove which brings a unique flavor to the dish. This is enjoyed with various curries; my favourite is "Pithal". Pithal is maharashtrian chickpea flour curry.

To make this we need -

1 cup rice flour
1/2 cup hot water
salt per taste

In a mixing bowl take rice flour. add salt. Add spoon by spoon water to make crumbly dough. Kneed the dough to a very smooth ball using hand. This should take 4-5 minutes.Cover this dough under wet paper towel or cloth.

Generally traditional cast iron griddles are used to make this however I used my old non-stick chapati griddle which is no more Non-stick :-)

On one stove heat griddle and on the other stove heat chapati grill.

before starting to roll the bhakaris keep 2 things ready :

a small pot with some water in it (We are going to use it while roasting the bhakris on the griddle)
some rice flour to dust on while we are rolling the bhakris

How to flatten the bhakri without rolling pin - Take a big size ( bigger than tennis ball) dough. Dab some rice flour on the kitchen counter (It will prevent dough from sticking to the counter) and place the dough on it. put some flour to your hand & palm; slowly try to spread/flatten the dough into around 6 inch circular bhakari. Make sure the bhakri is evenly flattened. Lift slowly with both hands and place it on the hot griddle with top surface up.

Immediately sprinkle some water on top. In about a minute the water starts to evaporate. Flip the bhakri. In 30 seconds or so remove the bhakri using turner and place it on the hot chapati grill (make sure the watered surface goes on the flame). The bhakri will slowly puff up.

Turn and roast the other side as well. It should have nice brown/black spots.

Put a dollop of ghee on the bhakri. Serve it with pithal.

In the picture you have Spinach pithal .. It goes very well with Bhakri.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Daal Methi

Methi or Fenugreek leaves is not very popular amongst kids(?) due to its bitterness. However this leafy vegetable is delicious and a rich source of protein. so instead of avoiding making this sabji in the kitchen we could probably let go some of its nutritions and still get some.

First seperate leaves from stem and wash all the leaves and fine chop them. put the chopped leaves in the water for 15-20 minutes and kinda squeeze out the water. Another way is to add a little salt to the chopped methi and squeeze out the water it leaves. That way you are trying to eliminate the bitterness.
I prefer making it directly in the small cooker. This doesn't need a whole lot of ingredients -
  • 1 cup toor daal
  • Fresh Methi or fenugreek leaves
  • mustard seeds
  • pinch of turmeric
  • 1 tbs red chili powder
  • 2 garlic pods
  • 2 sp oil
  • 2 cups water
  • salt per taste
Heat 1 sp oil in the cooker, once hot add mustard seeds, turmeric and methi leaves. Let it cook for 5 minutes. put salt. Wash toor daal and add it. Add 2 cups water in it and pressure cook for 3 whistles.
Open the lid when it is cooled off. Give it a good mix. If its too thick add some more water and simmer it on low for 5-7 minutes.
In a kadai heat remaining 1 sp oil and once hot add chopped garlic and chili powder(make sure you add this and immediately switch off the stove as it tends to burn very fast)
This can be enjoyed with roti or rice.
Take out the daal in the serving bowl and garnish with this tadka.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Tasty Appetizer

This is "Khamang" appetizer .. well khamang is a pretty desi (They + See) word .. still I ought to tell the meaning - flavorful & crispy.

This will need 1 cup chopped cilantro, 1 cup chickpea flour, 1 sp red chili powder, salt per taste, 1 sp ajwain, 1 sp cumin + coriander powder ( take spoonful of cumin+coriander seeds,dry roast till brown and powder - It brings the whole flavor to this), pinch of turmeric.

Take this in a mixing bowl. Using little water form a dough. Make a long cylindrical shaped dough so you can cut it in bite sized circles.

We have to steam this. I kept a plate in a big pot and placed this dough on to it and steamed it covered for 10 minutes.

Let it cool off. Then cut it into circles and shallow fry using little olive oil. This is so flavorful yet easy to make.

Valor beans or Lima beans

FYI .. I added only 2 tbs of olive oil but that's the beauty right, its look .. yummmm

Ok. to get going please gather -

  • small pressure cooker
  • Take out beans from your iced storage
  • 1 sp red chili powder
  • pinch of turmeric powder
  • 1/2 small fine chopped onion
  • 2 tbs dry coconut powder
  • salt per taste
  • 2 tbs oil (I prefer cooking in extra light olive oil)

Is that it? Absolutely .. It ain't No fancy Madammee : -) yet tastily ...

Heat the oil in the pressure cooker. Once hot add onion, 1 cup beans or as per your appetite :-)

Put turmeric, salt, red chili powder and dry coconut.

Give everything a very good mix and put 1 cup water. I like this a little watery goes well with the bread.

Cook for 3 to 4 whistles and it is RReady!!

Cluster Beans/Gavar Sabji

Cluster beans is a type of green beans grown in India. It is a rich source of protein and fibre.

What do we need to make this delicius recipe -

  • cluster beans bought from Indian store
  • handful black chana
  • 1 sp red chili powder
  • turmeric powder
  • 2 tbs fresh grated or dry coconut (I use dry coconut)
  • 1 sp kala masala powder
  • salt per taste
  • 1 sp mustard seeds
  • 2 tbs oil
  • 1/2 lemon size jaggery

Soak black chana overnight.

Take a bunch of cluster beans and chop into pieces. Sometimes there are long green threads at the sides discard those. wash the chopped beans

I have a small 2 ltr pressure cooker. I prefer to cook this in the cooker itself.

Heat the cooker, once hot add oil, mustard seeds. Once they sputter add soaked black chana. Put turmeric, red chili, kala masala and dry coconut. Add beans. Put salt, jaggery. Add 1/2 cup water. Do not add too much water. Pressure cook it only for 2 and 1/2 whistles. Open the lid check on it. If it needs some more cooking. Just simmer it without lid.

Serve with roti or rice!

P.S. The black chana could be substituted with potatoes. However black chana reduces the bitter flavor of cluster beans.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

stuffed Okra

Isn't that delicious looking? .. It tastes equally delicious ! I guess Okra is almost everyone's favorite but it could turn its fans down because of the stickiness.

Well you have to wash Okra first and spread it on the paper towel to dry.

meanwhile prepare the stuffing. Chop onion fine.

In a pan add 2 tbs oil, Ginger garlic paste, onion and 1 cup gram flour/chickpea flour. Put Turmeric, 1 sp garam masala powder, 1 sp red chili powder, salt to taste, 1/2 sp amchur powder.

Take out the mixture in a bowl and add water to make a stiff dough.

Slit the okras lenghtwise and stuff this dough in it. Try to close the end with some dough.

In pan take another 2 tbs oil. Add 1 tbs tomato puree, and add stuffed okras one by one. Cover it and let it cook for 10 minutes.

It can be served as a starter too or could be enjoyed as a side dish.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Gulab Jamun

How to make the all time favourite Gulab Jamun

The dessert of all times - Weddings, parties, auspicious occasions, festivals or the Sweet Tooth  :- )

I made Gulab Jamuns for my Diwali dinner. If few things are taken care then this devil could hardly rub you the wrong way almost never!

These are milky dumplings soaked in sugar syrup ..

There are just so many instant gulab jamun making brands in the market but I prefer to make it with milk powder; it gives that traditional khoya texture to it .. ummmm

To make Gulab Jamun you need following -

This should make around 15 medium size Gulab Jamuns as shown in the picture.

  • 1 cup milk powder
  • 1 tbs all purpose flour
  • 1 spoon ( as required to kneed ) yogurt
  • pinch of baking soda
  • 2 tbs ghee
  • 1 & 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 & 1/2 cup water
  • cardamom powder
  • few strands of saffron

In a mixing bowl take milk powder, all purpose flour, baking soda. Mix everything well when its dry. Put ghee and give it a good mix.

Using yogurt is easier as it is better in binding than milk.

First put only 1 spoon of yogurt and kneed well to form a smooth dough. If required add few drops of milk.

Rest this dough for 30 minutes in an air tight container.

While this dough is sitting take sugar in a heavy bottom pan and add water. Keep it on medium heat until it comes to boil. This should take about 15 minutes. add cardamom powder and saffron. switch off the stove.

Take oil for deep frying. The temperature of the oil is a key to making good gulab jamuns. Make sure the heat is between low-medium & medium.

The oil should heat up to the right temperature in about 15-20 minutes.

Make lemon sized balls of the dough.

To check if the oil is hot enough drop very small piece of dough in the oil. If the temperature is right the dough should sit at the bottom for a second and then rise up. If it comes up immediately it indicates the oil is too hot. in that situation lower the heat and after 5 minutes check again.

Fry 5 to 6 jamus at a time. Usually gulab jamuns move in the circular motion on their own while frying if not then make sure to stir in constantly to get even color.

I kind of like dark brown color. If you prefer light brown color take it out in a minute.

Take out fried balls on a absorbing paper and then drop in the sugar syrup. It should be soaked well in an hour's time.