Four ingredients & a few minutes for a yum dessert
My first evening in Bhubaneswar and I chanced upon this very interesting sweet outside a temple. The shop had a range of sweets and a very enthusiastic seller. He started naming all the sweets with such energy that I didn’t get any of it. So I did the only thing that any sensible person would do: point at what looks interesting and say “give me that one”. So “that one” turned out to be Chhena Poda and I have had it on all of my subsequent visits to the city.
A very regional dessert that can be made with just four ingredients. Fresh cottage cheese or paneer as the base. Jaggery or sugar being the sweetner and cardamom powder for that flavor. It is incredibly amazing how such a tasty treat can be preped with such ease.
MIX : POUR : BAKE
Jaggery Chhena Poda Recipe
Fresh Paneer / Cottage Cheese: 250 grams
Jaggery Powder: 1/2 cup
Semolina: 1 tsp
Cardamom Powder: 1/4 tsp
Pre heat the oven at 180’C
Break the paneer into crumbs and start kneading it into a dough
Add the jaggery, semolina and cardamom powder and continue mixing
Once the mixture reaches a light cake batter consistency, pour it into a tin and bake it at 180’C for about 20 mins
The top layer will get a rich brown color. Use a pick to check if it is cooked in the inside
Let it cool before removing the Chhena Poda from the tin
If the paneer is a bit dry and a hard dough is formed, then add a little bit of milk to get the consistency
This is straight from the festive Janmashtami list-of-snacks-to-make. This is the first time I made Murukku from scratch and was quite surprised at the simplicity of the process. Mixing the ingredients and making a dough is of course easy. The frying part is the same. “Keep the heat at medium” – “Don’t burn what your frying” – “Turn to cook evenly” etc etc. Same as any deep fried recipe. We were a bit ambitious this time and took a quantitative approach. So the only pinch I felt was standing for a long time and frying one batch after the other. All in all, making murukku is really simple. It has a shelf life of one week, if stored in an air tight container. The one cooking equipment that is necessary is the Murukku / Chakli press. That is it.
Another traditional deep fried snack that is really easy to make is Sev (recipe link) which is made out of chickpea flour / Besan. Do check it out.
A colorful & fresh salad with a nice citrus punch that can be assembled super fast
For some reason, the word salad always reminds me of green leaves on a plate or a plate full of cucumber pieces. It is hard for me to not corrupt a fresh bowl of salad with loads of dressing. So much so that it is actually dressing that I am having with a few bits of the veggies somewhere in there. This week, a cob of corn came along with my other veggies and I was on a mission to use it. This salad seemed quite simple. It is really simple. No much fuss. Easy to assemble and turned out to be quite interesting. The lime juice made a world of difference. The freshness it brought, yum.
I cooked a corn cob slightly in hot water and took out the kernels. If you have pre-processed frozen corn kernels then it gets even easier. The frozen corn can be put in some water or can be quickly zapped in a microwave before using. There is no oil in this one. The flavor is from the fresh coriander leaves. A hit of pepper and of course the lime juice. If you are packing this salad so that you can have it later, then don’t add the salt. It pulls out the water from the corn and other ingredients and makes the salad soggy. Best would be to add the salt, pepper and lime juice just before having.
Sweet Corn Salad Recipe
Sweet Corn Cob: 1
Green Peppers: 1 small
Red Onion: 1
Lime juice: 1 tsp
Fresh Coriander leaves: 1 tsp
The corn needs to be cooked until it becomes a little soft. So use a steamer or cooker or just place it in hot water until it is tender
Once it cools down, run a knife and scrape off the kernels
Finely chop the onion and coriander leaves. Cut the tomato into fine pieces
Mix the corn kernels, chopped onion, tomato pieces and chopped coriander leaves in a large bowl
Sprinkle the lime juice and add the salt & pepper. Done !!!
An easy to make vegan cutlet/fritter that is made with spiced mashed potato & flattened rice
Flattened rice is amazing for making a light quick-fix snack. It cooks fast and there are a lot of savory and sweet snacks that can be made in a short amount of time. A worthy addition to the next grocery list.
This recipe has a lot of ingredients of the traditional poha. It is almost like a different take on Poha with the potatoes as a base holding everything together. The spices used in this recipe are very Indian. There is the red chili powder along with coriander, both leaves and powder and cumin seeds. The spices can always be substituted with regional ones to have a more local flavor. These cutlets are really simple. It is just mixing all the ingredients and shaping the fritters. The one thing that needs a little attention is the flattened rice. It is quite thin and looses its texture when kept in water for a long time. A quick dip in water is all that is needed. The flattened rice, with the texture intact, give a slight crunch and the make the outer layer a little more crispy.
The detailed recipe is mentioned below. A snack that is very similar to this one is my Sabudana Vada or Tapioca Pearl Fritter (click here for the recipe)
Poha Cutlet Recipe
Poha / Flattened Rice: 1 cup
Potato: 1 large
Crushed Cumin seeds: 1/2 tsp
Red Chili Powder: 1/2 tsp
Turmeric Powder: 1/4 tsp
Chopped Coriander Leaves: 1 tbsp
Coriander Powder: 1/4 tsp
Lime juice: 1 tsp
Oil: 4 tbsp
Wash the flattened rice in water and drain the excess water
Boil, peel and mash the potatoes
Chop the onion into fine pieces
Take the mashed potato into a bowl and add the chopped onion and all the spices
Add the moist poha and mix well
Add salt & lime juice and mix well
Take small portions of the mash and shape them into cutlets / fritters
Heat a pan and pour a tablespoon of cooking oil and grease the pan
Reduce the heat and shallow fry the cutlets on medium heat
Add some oil on top of the cutlets and flip them so that they are cooked evenly
Once done, remove the cutlets from the pan and place them on an absorbent paper to remove the excess oil
Start the next batch after adding some oil on the pan
If the flattened rice is very thin then it can be just washed and quickly drained. If it is of a thicker variety than soak it in water for 2-4 mins before draining the water
Different spices can be used based on the availability. Pepper or chopped green chilies can be used instead of red chili powder. Dry mango or garam masala powder or garlic powder can also be used
Spiced and steamed Toor dal / Lentil paste mixed with cooked french beans and tempered with Indian spices.
The journey that a recipe or a food item takes is fascinating. Travelling across the country opens up new cuisines and this is how some of the recipes have walked into my kitchen. This paruppu usili came from my mom’s travels and her time living in Madras(now Chennai). For me, it is not only the recipe and how something is made. It is also about how it is eaten in the place of its origin. So it was actually fun to eat usili with rice, while I had always been eating with chapatti and, some might scoff at this, even bread. Rice or chapatti or bread, parupu usili is a very interesting one.
Its vegan and gluten-free and with a little planning, really easy to make. Toor dal or lentils that have been soaked in water overnight are ground to a paste and steamed while french beans are cut into small pieces and cooked in hot water. To speed up the cooking time, work on the beans and the lentils in parallel. The lentils comes out the best when soaked overnight. Here are the highlights, the detailed recipe is mentioned below:
Lentils soaked overnight and ground to a fine paste with turmeric, salt & chili powder|| Steam the lentil paste || Clean, cut & cook the beans in hot water || Ready the temper, add the beans and steamed lentils ||
Soaked lentils with turmeric, red chili powder & salt
Bite sized goodies of chocolate coated corn flakes that can be made in a jiffy
Radio is so much fun. For me, it is not because of my weekly shows but also because of the people and shows I listen too. Good programs are filled with a lot of info and ideas. I heard of Chocolate Corn Flakes minibites while listening to one of my favorite stations. The DJs were having fun talking about crazy world records that people hold and they went on a challenge of eating the most number of these minibites in under a minute. Having never heard of these minibites, I started searching about them. It is so easy to make. Even kids can make this one. It is almost criminal that something so delicious can be prepared in such a short time.
Melt chocolate pieces, dark or milk chocolate, in butter. Add the corn flakes and mix so that there is a chocolate coating on the corn flakes. That is all. Done !
Chocolate Corn Flake Bites Recipe
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 5 mins
Butter: 50 gm
Chocolate pieces (milk / dark): 100 gm
Corn flakes: 100 gm
Honey / Syrup: 3 tbsp (optional)
Melt the butter and the chocolate pieces (microwave / over the stove)
Allow it to cool a little and then add in the honey and cornflakes and mix well
Once the cornflakes are coated with the chocolate, shape them.
A cardamom flavored steamed dessert made with Ragi flour & fresh grated coconut.
I have had some of the best puttu during my time in Kerala. There is plain puttu served with a black chickpea curry. Then there is vegetable puttu, biryani puttu, chicken puttu and Prawn Puttu. Its is almost like you can layer puttu with anything because the rice flour mix goes well with any spicy flavor. There is no fixed time to have puttu. I have had it for breakfast, snack and dinner. So you can sit and think, “hmm, what is a good time to have puttu?”. It is always puttu time. The Ragi Puttu recipe here is made of finger millet or ragi flour. So it is healthier and gluten-free. To check out some of my other millet recipes: click here
Now, a proper puttu is layered in a funnel and steamed. Hence the cylindrical shape, which looks amazing. But I kinda followed Mom and went the no frills way. If you are using a puttu funnel, then layer the grated coconut at the center for a more visual appeal.
Easy to make. Here are the highlights, the detailed recipe is of course mentioned below.
Sprinkle some water to make a crumbly flour. Just enough water so that the flour holds together when pressed with your hand and then crumbles || Steam || Mix in the grated coconut, ghee, sugar and cardamom
Ragi Puttu Recipe
Finger Millet / Ragi Flour: 1 cup
Sugar: 1/2 cup
Grated Fresh Coconut or Tiny Coconut Pieces: 1/4 cup
Cardamom Pods: 4 (with their seeds crushed)
Clarified Butter / Ghee: 2 tbsp
Sieve the ragi flour and dry roast the flour for about 5 mins of low heat in a thick vessel
Once the flour cools down, sprinkle some water and rub it in. The flour should reach a crumbly consistency.
Steam the flour for 10 mins and let it cool down a little
While the flour is still warm, add the ghee, cardamom(pods and crushed seeds), sugar and coconut. Mix well
Use a some grated coconut for garnishing
Steaming also adds moisture so sprinkle very little water
Jaggery is a healthier sweet substitute for refined sugar
There is something really special about coconut milk stew served in an earthen pot along with appam. It is rich, aromatic and full of flavor. The authentic Kerala stew is heavenly and the one that I had in Kochi was delicious. This vegan stew has a host of veggies. Not any traditional regional vegetables, but the very universal ones like carrots, potatoes, french beans and green peas. The rich regional influence comes in with the addition of coconut milk and spices such as bay leaves, cinnamon and cardamom. The first stew that I ever had was prepared by mom. She always prepares coconut milk at home and the freshness adds a new dimension to the stew.
If you have store bought coconut milk, then there isn’t much prep apart from cutting the vegetables. But I prefer to prepare the coconut milk just before starting the stew. The freshness gives a nice feel to the stew. Preparing coconut milk requires a little amount of work in grating the coconut. Then it is just soaking it in hot water.
This stew comes out best when it is slow-cooked. But over-all making the vegetable stew is quite easy. It is just frying the spices with onion, adding the veggies and coconut milk and cooking. It is just prep and cook.
Vegetable Stew Recipe
Potato: 1 large
French Beans: 6
Onion: 1 large
Cinnamon bark: 2
Bay leaves: 2
Pepper cones: 1 tsp
Green chillis: 4
Curry leaves: 8
Oil: 2 tbsp
Coconut Milk Prep:
Break open a coconut and grate the flesh with a coconut scraper
Add the grated coconut flesh to two cups of hot water, mix well and set it aside for 10-15 minutes
Pass the coconut milk through a strainer or muslin cloth to remove the grated coconut. Squeeze out all the liquid from the coconut shreds
Peel the carrots and potatoes. Clean the beans. Cut the veggies into medium sized pieces
Chop the onion into long fine pieces
Cut off the heads & tails of the green chilies and slit them
Clean the garlic and cut them into halves
Heat oil in a thick wok
Reduce the heat to minimum and add the bay leaves, cinnamon bark and pepper cones
Add the onions and mix well. Let the onions cook for a minute then add the curry leaves and the green chillies
Add the veggies & mix all the contents. Place a lid on the wok and while keeping the heat low, let the veggies cook for about 8-10 minutes or until they are half cooked
Add the coconut milk and mix well
Add salt and allow the stew to cook
The veggies will be cooked in about ten minutes. Turn off the heat
Serve with rice or appams or chapatis or bread
Store bought coconut milk can be used. If the milk is creamy then dilute it. If it is slightly sweet then adjust the spices accordingly
Millets, veggies and pulses. I was pleasantly surprised when I first had a Bisi bele bath with millets in it. Lots of veggies and a good amount of ghee on it. There is a slight change when rice is removed but it was delicious. This bisi bele bath recipe takes out the rice to bring in some millets. Bisi bele bath is a classic from Kartnataka, millets are healthy and are one of the best gluten-free substitutes. So there is the spice punch, the aroma of curry leaves and the richness of ghee.
Cooking Foxtail millets is a little tricky. It needs a lot of water. The millets have to be soaked in water for a while before being pressure cooked with almost three times the quantity of water. Less water and the millets start getting burnt. The prep takes some time so doing a few things simultaneously helps speed the cooking. The millets-dal can be pressure cooked while the veggies are also quickly pressure cooked simultaneously.
Pressure cooked millets & dal mixed in spiced tamarind juice and cooked vegetables. Tempered with mustard seeds and curry leaves
For some reason the word modak reminds me of a very festive sweet. Of course a very popular version of modak is the festive sweet but there are so many other variations that just don’t top the charts in my head. The other sweet version of modaks are the fried modaks, dry fruit modaks, chocolate modaks(fancy) etc. There are plenty of savory ones as well. This one here is a very simple spicy modak with some basic tempering. Here is one more from mom’s cook list. There is strongly belief that modaks could be a very distant vegetarian cousin of momos. Something to think about.
The flavor & aroma of curry leaves and cumin seeds on soft rice flour modak balls. So these modaks might need some little effort when you are rolling out the rice flour balls. But this could be something that you can “outsource” to the people or person in your airspace. The detailed recipe is mentioned below but it is just Cook, Shape & Steam and Temper
Cook: Refined rice flour or Idiyappam flour is first mixed in hot water to form a soft dough. Add some salt to taste and some oil so that the four isn’t too sticky. The flour gets partially cooked in the hot water.
Shape & Steam: Shape the modaks balls and steam them
Temper: Mustard and cumin seeds in hot oil along with some curry leaves and green chili
Spicy Modak Recipe
Refined rice flour / Idiyappam flour: 1 cup
Oil: 1 tsp
Mustard seeds: 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds: 1/2 tsp
Slit Green chili: 2
Asafoetida: 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves: 6 – 8
Oil: 2 tbsp
Here we go…
Heat two cups of water in a pan and bring it to a boil
Add the oil and some salt to taste
Reduce the heat and keep adding the flour to the water while stirring
Turn off the heat and stir continuously so that no lumps are formed
Once the flour cools down a little, grease your palms with some oil, take small portions of the flour mix and roll into small balls
Steam the rice flour balls for about 5-7 mins. A sheen appears on the modak balls.
Heat oil in a wok/pan for tempering
Add the mustard seeds and let then crackle
Reduce the heat and add the cumin seeds, asafoetida, curry leaves and green chillis and a pinch of salt and give it a shake
Turn of the heat and add the steamed rice flour balls and mix well so that there is an even coating of the tempering
Peanut powder or crushed peanut or dry coconut powder or spicy coconut powder can be sprinkled on top for some more punch
Food has this amazing ability in taking us down the memory lane. There could be that city that you always associate a particular food item with. A drink that reminds you of a fun party you had years ago or a little snack that takes you back to your old neighborhood. Aloo bonda, for me, is a snack that instantly takes me back to this little neighborhood that has a strong influence on me, even though I lived there for only a few years.
There was this elderly lady who used to make and sell aloo bondas along with fried snacks like masala vadas & mirchi bhaji. A common fried snack options in the city. She used to have a kerosene stove on which sat a massive black wok filled with hot oil. There was a huge vessel filled with batter and a big plate with lots of little spicy potato balls. She would dip the potato balls in the batter and the dunk them into the hot oil. Each batch would have about twenty bondas. Once done she pack the bondas in a piece of old newspaper after sprinkling a tangy powder and some chopped onions. Her place used to be crowded in the evenings and even more people would come during the weather was cooler. The mention of aloo bonda takes me right back to the old lady’s tiny dim lit shop, kerosene-smelling shop and the crispy bondas & vadas.
Aloo bondas are flavored mashed poatoes, shaped into small balls, dunked in batter and deep fried. It is quite popular as it is easy to make and of course crispy and yum. Deep fried & delicious. The detailed recipe is mentioned below. But this is really easy to make. Three steps:
Shape : Dunk : Deep Fry
Add some spices to the mashed potatoes and shape them into balls
Dunk the balls into the runny batter, made of chick pea flour with some salt & chili powder
Deep fry until evenly cooked
Have some chopped onions by the side while serving or a little ketchup.
The potato mix & the batter
Aloo Bonda Recipe
Potatoes: 2 large
Chick pea flour / Besan : 1/2 cup
Coriander leaves: 1 bunch
Red chili powder: 1 tsp
Turmeric powder: 1/2 tsp
Lime juice: 1 tsp
Oil for deep frying
Pressure cook, peel and mash the potatoes
Chop the coriander leaves & chop the onions
Make a runny batter by adding some water to the chickpea flour. Add some salt, 1/2 tsp red chili powder, 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
While the mashed potatoes are warm add the remaining turmeric powder & red chili powder. Add the chopped coriander leaves and salt and mix well
Sprinkle the lime juice over it and mix well. Shape the spiced mashed potatoes into small balls with your hands
Heat oil in a wok for deep frying
Once the oil is hot, reduce the heat. Dip the potato balls in the batter and dunk it into the hot oil
Turn the bondas so that they are evenly cooked
Once they turn golden brown, remove them. Drain the excess oil and serve
The mashed potatoes can be cooked again with some the spices like mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Add a tsp oil to a wok and temper the spices before adding the mashed potatos.
Ginger-garlic paste can be added to the potato mix & the batter, to get some more flavor
Love thy neighbor, especially if their cooking is amazing.
One of my former neighbors used to have quite a different eating schedule. Some of the family members, especially the stay-at-home ones used to have a good meal at noon, a little snack in the late afternoon and then dinner in the night. It was almost like the current trend of intermittent fasting. It was a little different from the usual eating timing but you don’t bother much about that when the snacks are amazing. I used to get a plate of food every now and them. Sabudana Vada was one on the their list of delicious snacks.
Deep fried and delicious, these fritters are quite easy to make. The only thing that needs to be done before hand is to soak the tapioca pearls in water for about six hours. The rest of the recipe is simple. Add a mashed potato some spices and seasoning. Shape the vadas and deep fry. That is it. Ten min prep & then fry.
MIX : SHAPE : FRY
All the ingredients together
Add some chopped curry leaves and mix thoroughly
Shape the vada for deep frying
Sabudana Vada Recipe
Prep time: 10 mins (when the pearls have been soaked & ready )
Sabudana / Tapioca pearls: 1 cup
Roasted Peanut powder: 2 tbsp (optional)
Cumin Seeds: 1 tsp
Curry Leaves: 8 – 10
Turmeric Powder: 1/4 tsp
Red chili Powder: 1/2 tsp
Oil for deep frying
Soak the tapioca pearls in water for about 6 hrs
Boil/pressure cook, peel and mash the potato
Take a large bowl add all the ingredients and mix well to form a mash
Shape the vadas / tikkis
Heat oil in a wok / kadai. Once the oil is hot reduce the flame to medium
Dunk the vadas in the hot oil and cook until it turns brown. Flip the vadas so that they are cooked evenly on both sides
Once done, place them on absorbent paper to remove the excess oil
Crushed roasted peanuts can also be incorporated to give a little crunch
Shallow frying or flat-pan frying are also good option
There is spice, great aroma and amazing flavor. All the things that hit me when I first had masala biscuit. It is a bit surprising that very few bakers bake masala biscuits. I was fortunate to grab some freshly baked ones. I felt that the only way to amp up all aroma is to bake them at home and let the place smell spicy biscuit-y. Masala biscuits are insanely delicious. For me, masala biscuits are probably one of the most desi baked biscuits or rather one of best fusion snacks out there. A lot of bakers use refined flour or all purpose flour or maida to make biscuits. I used a lot of refined flour. But, this time, I wanted to go a little healthy. Make good use of the millet flour and see if I could get some flavor into it. I took Ragi or Finger Millet flour. Added some whole wheat flour to get a good base to hold the biscuits. So here we go:
Mix: All the ingredients to form a dough
Roll & cut: Flatten small portions of the dough with a rolling pin and cut the biscuits with a cookie cutter
I almost went to buy sev again, which I always do, then comes the thought: ” why not make it at home, instead of buying”. Did just that and I was surprised how easy it is to make and how well they turned out. Sev is like a staple snack. A topping on lots of other Indian snacks and toasts and it is just great for munching. The best part about making Sev at home is that the flavor and spices can be completely customized.
Gram flour fried vermicelli is made of basic Indian ingredients. There are lots of variations in terms of color and flavor, based on the ingredients used. Gram flour or chickpea flour is a great source of protein, fiber and iron and the best part is that it is gluten free. The recipe mentioned below is a base recipe. The other alternatives are also mentioned at the end. Here are the basics:
Mix: All the ingredients with gram flour as the base. Pour 2tbsp of hot oil over it. Add water to make a stiff dough.
Load & Fry: Take a portion of the dough and load the press. Once the oil is hot, operate the press to release the dough noodles. Flip & remove from hot oil.
Another traditional deep fried snack it the Murukku (recipe link). Do check it out.
She was in her sixties with all the usual age and lifestyle related health issues. Her movements were getting slow and being on the heavier side didn’t help. But when it came to cooking or anything related to food, you could see a spark in her, actually it was more of a fire. I have met a lot of foodies but none like her, she ranks extremely high on the list. She always loved having people over and having great food. She was a generous lady by the way, so it was always a large feast with loads of food, even at the cost of her pension. I learnt some cooking from her and I very vividly remember her “inspiring” some of the younger ones to make Lukhmi. Not much, just about, well, a HUNDRED. It had to be made the way it was supposed to be made, with a spicy minced meat stuffing. Even though I shaped the Lukhmi the way she used to, unlike the store ones, I am sure she would have laughed on my face if she saw me use potato stuffing instead of meat.
Lukhmi is a very Hyderabadi deep fried snack which is also had for breakfast. It is quite similar to plenty of other snacks made in India and even in cuisines across the globe. There is the stuffing which usually is minced meat or spicy mashed potatoes. A hand made dough layer or pastry to hold the stuffing. Making the dough requires some physical work. The kneading and layering takes some time and effort, but it is completely worth it . Of course if you have ready-made puff pastry, that would work too. The stuffing is easy to make. Mashed potatoes with some Indian spices.
At the heat of it, a Lukhmi is a stuffed pastry that is deep fried. So the pastry can prepared with a range of ingredients. The stuffing again is something that you can play around with, as per you choice and taste. One way is to have them shaped and ready. Place in the fridge and then deep fry when needed. The detailed recipe is mentioned below along with some alternate ingredient options.
Take a circle of dough and place the stuffing at the center
These laddus are so delicious that it is really hard to believe that they are actually healthy.
The words tasty and delicious don’t often go together, but these finger millet or ragi laddus are an exception. There is a good rough texture from the finger millet flour. Sweetness from the jaggery and flavor from the cardamom. Ragi, a millet is very healthy and has no gluten in it. The use of ragi is really on the rise, right from some very traditional sweets and savoury to some very interesting cakes. Do check out my Ragi Chocolate Cake and Bajra Wheat Cake.
The other classic combo is the sweetness of jaggery and the aroma of cardamom. These are used in a lot of Indian sweets and jaggery is also quite healthy. So three chief ingredients mixed together and rolled out into laddus. Now a little prep is required. The flour has to be roasted. The sesame seeds have to be roasted and ground to a coarse powder. After that it is just mix & shape. Ghee is used to add some richness and to also add some moisture. The quality of the sesame seeds is important. If the oil content is more then that would be sufficient to help shape the laddus. If it is dry variety then some milk would be needed to moisten and shape the laddus. No big equipment is needed. Just a humble thick bottom pan and a food processor to grind the sesame seeds. Of course, the shaping of the laddus can always be “given” to a friend or a family member.
If the only processed ingredient you have is the ragi flour, then no problem. Crush the cardamom pods and the jaggery pieces.
Roast the ragi flour on low heat, in a thick pan, till it is slightly brown
Roast the sesame seeds. Allow it to cool a little and then grind the roasted sesame seeds to a coarse powder.
In a large bowl, mix the roasted flour along with the sesame seed powder, cardamom powder and jaggery powder
Add the ghee and mix well
There would be some oil from the sesame seed powder and along with the ghee it would help shape the laddus. If the mix is still dry then keep adding little quantities of milk so that there is some moisture that help shape the laddus
The color of the mix will turn to a darker and richer shade of brown. Now shape the laddus. Rub some oil on your palms, take small quantities of the mix and roll out the laddus
I am always looking for stuff that I can use as content for my show and my phone is my best note taking device. Any thing interesting, take a pic or make a note in it. Any idea, type it in the phone. It is the same with food. When I see or read something new, I make a note of it so I can try it out in the kitchen. Falafel is one of the best deep fried snack that I have come across. I wanted to make these during the mother’s day week and they were came out really amazing. Deep fried and delicious.
For me, Chickpeas meant chole, either a curry or the drier version which is served with roti, poori and rice. The next thought would probably be pani-puri where chickpeas are used as a stuffing. I honestly could not think beyond that. It is a great source of protein, vital for non-meat eaters and all that but I could not think of a different menu with chickpeas in it. Enter Falafels.
Falafel come out best when dry chickpeas are used. A little planning and prep is required like soaking them in water overnight and keeping them aside after a an hour after making a paste. Once the prep is done, the shaping and frying happens really fast. A course paste is needed to make the falafel. A tiny amount of chickpea flour is also added to help with the binding. Using the chickpea flour makes the falafels gluten free. Keep the paste aside for an hour or two with all the spices. This induces the flavor into the mix. I served with some garlic yogurt that is easy to make and tastes amazing.
This humble cheese is taking over the plates. There is a lot of cottage cheese flying around and the usage is quite high. Grilled and barbecued cottage cheese cubes are amazing. Make a curry out of it or use it in a salad. Right from stuffing for sandwiches to making biryanis, panner or cottage cheese is every where. There are cottage cheese desserts too. Panner jalebi is one, deep fried cottage cheese dunked in sugar syrup. Heavy breathing.
Paneer pancakes is on the other end of the spectrum. This one is on the healthier side and it is really easy to make. Throw all the ingredients in a blender, make a batter and start pouring the pancakes on a pan. It is that simple. No fuss, just good healthy food. We have oats, banana and cottage cheese. I prefer adding a ripe banana, gives a nice aroma. When there is banana then adding vanilla & cinnamon takes it to a whole new level. Play around with the ingredient, have a healthy breakfast. If it looks too healthy, then be generous with the syrup, include some choco chips and chocolate sauce. Not a lot of equipment is required. Just a blender & a skillet
Typing this post will take more time than actually preparing the Zunka, that is how fast and easy it is to make this one. So what we have here is capsicum that is fried and coated with roasted and spiced gram flour. There is some prep required in roasting the gram flour and of course de-seeding and cutting the capsicum. So if we have both the things going on simultaneously then we have something very tasty that goes great with both rice and with chapattis.
All the flavor and aroma comes from the roasted gram flour and the spices added to it. I like to prepare an entire jar of this roasted spiced flour, have it ready over the weekend, and then use it to give a nice coating on a lot of veggie fries. Just sprinkle a few teaspoons on the vegetable fry, during the last minute of cooking and mix it thoroughly. A nice coating on Potatoes fry and Okra fry and Scarlet gourd are some of my favorites.
Here is the three step easy way to get the Zunka ready, the detailed recipe, of course, is mentioned at the end:
Prep: Clean, de-seed & cut the capcicums
Roast: The gram flour on low heat & add turmeric, chili powder, coriander powder and a little dry mango powder
Fry: Fry the capsicum pieces in some oil. Once done, add salt and sprinkle the roasted gram flour powder over it and mix well.
Capsicum Zunka Recipe
Capsicum: 6-7 medium sized
Gram flour/ Besan: 4 tbsp
Red Chili powder: 1 tsp
Coriander Powder: 1 tsp
Turmeric Powder: 1/4 tsp
Mustard seeds: 1/2 tsp
Dry Mango powder: 1/2 tsp (optional)
Oil: 2 tsp
De-seed the capsicum and cut them into one-fourths
Roast the gram flour on low heat for about five minutes. Keep stirring the flour. The roasted flour will release a pleasant aroma
Add the turmeric powder, chili powder, dry mango powder and coriander powder to the roasted flour and mix well.
Heat oil in a wok and add the mustard seeds
Reduce the flame to medium level, add the capsicum pieces and stir
Place a lid and cook the capsicum. It would take about eight minutes on medium heat.
Reduce the heat, add salt to the capsicum. Keep in mind that the salt is for the capsicum and the flour
Sprinkle the flour over the capsicum and mix well. The flour will absorb the oil and moisture and become darker in color.
Like me, if you grow up eating a lot of vegetarian food, then kidney beans end up on your plate in the protein rotation. I have had a lot of kidney beans in Rajma curry either with roti or rice or bread. So, for me rajma always meant a curry or maybe a slightly drier version of it. It is a great protein source but quite heavy and spicy in the curry. Now looking at salads, there are a plenty of similar ones with either corn or boiled peanuts. This one with the kidney beans as the hero is quite something.
I get dried kidney beans so it requires some processing. While making a curry, the soaked beans are cooked a little and then further cooked in the gravy. So it is better to cook based on how much crunch you want to have in the salad. I pressure cooked until a one whistle count on low heat after soaking the beans overnight.
Having tinned beans makes this salad a quick fix. I started with the dried kidney beans so a little more prep was required. The dried beans come out best when soaked over night and pressure cooked. After that it is mixing all the ingredients. Onions and tomatoes to have some variety. Cucumber and carrots are also good options. Coriander leaves or some parsley for some flavor. Seasoning and of course some olive oil. I added some crumble some cottage cheese on the top and sprinkled some lime juice for that freshness.
This is an easy one. Start playing around with the ingredients. The detailed recipe in mentioned below, here are the highlights:
Prep: Chop the onions, tomatoes, coriander/parsley
Mix: All the ingredients & season
Topping: Crumbled cottage cheese and sprinkle some lime juice
Kidney Bean Salad Recipe
Prep Time: 10 mins + cooking the beans (if you are using dried beans)
Kidney beans: 1 cup
Onion: 1 medium sized
Coriander leaves: 5-8
Tomato: 1 or cherry tomatoes: 2-3
Crumbled Cottage cheese: 2 tbsp
Chop the onion, coriander and tomato. If its cherry tomatoes, then cut them in half or into fourths.
If you are using dried kidney beans, then soak in water over-night and pressure cook the beans (One whistle count on the pressure cooker, with enough water to immerse the beans, should have the beans ready)
Drain the beans
In a large bowl, mix the onion and tomato pieces with the beans
Add salt, pepper and 2 tsp of olive oil
Garnish with some crumbled cottage cheese and coriander leaves and sprinkle lime juice on top of the salad
The salad is best made just before serving. If it is left standing after adding salt then a lot of the water is released
Little pieces of cucumber and carrot also work really well in this salad