Aloo Methi

Simple rustic Aloo methi served with rice and salad

Simple rustic Aloo methi served with rice and salad

There are some memories which never fade and some which just evanesce into oblivion. But smell can be a powerful memory trigger. Smell so rustic and comforting that deep buried images stand bare and bigger, usually leaving you distraught. You will be tormented and distressed till you put all those cognizant images back to where they belong.

Now before you speculate extraneous theories, let me clarify. The smell that invoked such strong visuals of my past, was nothing more than potatoes and fenugreek being sautéed on a particularly hot humid day. It wafted from somewhere above. Where, who, when and how … I did bother, but soon all that dissipated when flashbacks of the mother’s kitchen loomed up at me. Someone was making food just like my mothers – this thought was eerily comforting.
I mean, how weird, I tell myself. Whats there to get excited to smell food like what your mother cooked for you. But I was.

Fenugreek has medicinal properties.

Fenugreek has medicinal properties.

Aloo methi. Something so traditional and homey and simple….now why am I making a post for this? I am making this for all those young people out there who suddenly-mindlessly crave for food that they have grown up with. That cozy feeling – that you get out of familiarity.
And for documentation purposes too ;)
15 years down the line, I doubt if the daughter will ever call and ask for a recipe. She most probably will scan her favourite sites and lastly come to her mums where she will read this and nod and say yes, I miss my mother’s cooking too. And now I’m just being too hopeful! Am I not??! Never mind.

What all you need -

What all you need -

Just potatoes and fresh fenugreek leaves sautéed in some powerful mustard oil, with a bit of all Indian spices, and look how I am dancing with my words! Well, the above picture shows you all that you need to make this wonderful side to your everyday bread or rice.

That essential piece of lime!

That essential piece of lime!

There are plenty of variations for this vegetable side or sabzi as we call it. Mother used mustard oil, and no onions or garlic or any other paraphernalia for this dish. She kept it simple and it worked fabulously. A drizzle of lime and some fresh salad is all that you need to make your day.

Made my day :)

Made my day :)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups par boiled potatoes, diced into medium sized chunks
  • 2 cups of fenugreek leaves, picked, washed and roughly chopped
  • 2-3 green chilies, minced – optional
  • 1 big whole red chilli
  • 2 tbsp mustard oil or any other oil would also do.
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1-2 tsp red chill powder or as desired
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds and mustard seeds mixed
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida powder – I don’t skip this!
  • salt to taste.
  • Lime wedges to serve with

Method

In a large skillet or pan, drop a tsp of oil. Gently roast the potatoes till it gets a golden coating all over it. Regular tossing and turning help. Once done, remove from the pan and keep aside.

In the same skillet, heat rest of the oil. Crackle cumin and mustard seeds. Add asafoetida and whole dried red chili. Fry chopped fenugreek leaves and green chilies till they wilt. Now add potatoes, along with all the masalas and salt. Saute for another minute or so.

Serve with chappathis or rice or any bread.

No onion, no garlic. So easy peasy!

No onion, no garlic. So easy peasy!

Note: if desired, 2 tsp chopped garlic can be added before adding the fenugreek leaves.

you will not regret making this :)

you will not regret making this :)

Like someone rightly said We live on the leash of our senses. Taking this wonderful aromatic side to pair with Angie’s gorgeous phulkas, for her 41st Friday Fiesta. come take a look, she make these chappathis and every single one puffs up! P
Happy Cooking dear foodies!

Dabeli

Dabeli

Dabeli

This has been the longest that I have gone without a post. And it makes me uncomfortable.
More so because I wasn’t sick or busy. Perfectly hale, hearty and enjoying all the interesting posts and doing things that I usually do. And yet, I couldn’t write.

Every now and then I need some motivation. He calls it kick, but I know he means literally :) Well, with no inspiration, I tend to do what I did. Procastinate. Hope dully, that maybe tomorrow I would be stimulated enough to publish. Ah! But things take their own time to happen. Even a post.
This bug is quite common with bloggers I hear. Every now and then I have blogger friends who disappear and then magically re-emerge. It’s a consolation. I am not the only one – I hear myself say. So, I put my feet up and bask in this self-imposed sabbatical. Waiting for things to happen on their own.

peanuts and the masala make this dish what it is!

peanuts and the masala make this dish what it is!

Dabeli. Spicy sweet crisp fun snack sold on the streets of Mumbai and Gujarat, this little guy has more fans than I could ever imagine. When you borrow the paav from the vada pav and steal some bhaaji from paav bhaji, decorate it with pomegranates, spicy peanuts and chutneys of various kinds, and finally sprinkle the highly aromatic dabeli masala, what you get is this crisp yet soft mushy paav meal which would satisfy those tiny hunger cravings.

Magic Masala

Magic Masala

Making the masala at home is a breeze, but still if you don’t have the time or resources to do so, it is easily available in any Indian store.
Now, like with any chaat/Indian street side junk, prepping this dish is elaborate, but assembling is fun and gets done in minutes.

A scroll view of all that you need to make one fresh crunchy Dabeli -

Take one dinner roll or paav, slice it into two neat halves -

dinner rolls or paav

dinner rolls or paav

Smear some prepared potato mixture -

Mashed Potato masala

Mashed Potato masala

Top with assorted paraphernalia according to taste -

The paraphernalia

The paraphernalia

This is how it looks from the insides -

thats what you see when you open one

that’s what you see when you open one

Slide the cap on -

Slide on the cap

Slide on the cap

Roast on a flat griddle till crisp and crunchy -

There, its complete now :)

There, its complete now :)

Enjoy with a glass of chilled lemonade -

Cool it off!

Cool it off!

The recipe -

Serves 4-5 people:

Ingredients

  • 6 dinner rolls or paav or buns
  • 12 heaped tablespoons of potato masala(recipe below)
  • 6 teaspoon of dabeli masala(recipe below)
  • 1/2 cup roasted spicy peanuts
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate
  • 1/2 cup sev
  • garlic chutney(recipe below) as per taste – optional
  • tamarind chutney as per taste
  • coriander leaves to garnish
  • Bit of butter to roast the rolls

For the potato Mixture: 4 boiled potatoes-peeled and mashed, 1 onion-minced, 2 tsp dabeli masala, 1 tsp of oil, a pinch of hing or asafoetida, 1/2 tsp cumin/jeera, 2 tsp tamarind dates chutney, 2 tbsp coconut-grated, 2 tsp pomegranate. Water as required.

For the Dabeli masala: 3-4 whole dry red chilies, 2 cloves, 1/2 inch stick of cinnamon, 1 tsp cumin seeds, 10-12 peppercorns, 1 tsp coriander seeds

For the garlic chutney:  2 dry red whole chilies, 7-8 pods of garlic, salt to taste and juice of 1/2 a lemon

Method

For the dabeli masala: Dry roast all the ingredients on a flat griddle or a pan for 3-5 minutes or until aromatic. Cool the spices. Grind to a fine powder. Store in an air-tight glass bottle and use as required.
Note: I live in a very humid hot place so I usually refrigerate all my freshly ground masalas. So do as you deem fit.

For the garlic chutney: soak red chilies in water for about 15 minutes or so. Grind the soaked red chiles along with garlic pods, salt and lime to a smooth paste. Use as less water as possible for grinding.

For the potato mixture: Mash the boiled peeled potatoes roughly. Heat oil in a skillet. Splutter the cumin, fry onions till they turn pink. Sprinkle hing. Now mix dabeli masala powder that you made in the tamarind chutney. keep aside. Throw in the mashed potatoes, Now add the tamarind dabeli masala mix. Season with salt. Get all the pan ingredients together. Mix it well. Spread this mixture in a shallow bowl of plate. Decorate with grated coconut, pomegranate and coriander leaves. Use when you are ready to assemble the dabeli.

Assembling:

Spread all your prepared ingredients on the counter top. Put a flat griddle on fire. Slice each pav into two equal halves.
Apply garlic chutney on one side of the half, and tamarind chutney on the other side.
Spread 1-2 tbsp of potato mixture on one side.
Top with chopped onion, coriander leaves, roasted peanuts, sev and pomegranate.
I even added some more grated coconut!
Close the entire assembly with the other bun. Roast lightly on a flat griddle using a bit of butter.
Serve crisp!

Note: Its chaat! So you can tweak change substitute what you like and what you don’t accordingly! There is no hard and fast rule. Those who don’t like garlic, you can replace it with mint coriander chutney. It works just as fine.

peanuts, pomegranate, lime and something to sip on

peanuts, pomegranate, lime and something to sip on

Contributing to Angie’s Fabulous Fiestas is always a pleasure! Am taking this Indian yummiliocus chaat to her 41st!! Come, take a peek. You are gonna love all that you see!

Methi Muthiya / Steamed Fenugreek Bottle Gourd Dumplings

Steamed fenugreek bottle gourd dumplings

Steamed fenugreek bottle gourd dumplings

I was a disaster. A recidivous disaster in their kitchen. Not that I have redeemed myself or anything but of course I am not that clueless anymore. 10 years back, newly married, coming from a disparate environment and having no clue what they eat or how they eat has its effects – For my part I did well in my own pond. My parents gratified with me exorbitant cheer and praises, in effect rendering me totally naive to any critique or opinions. But the women of the house I married into, did what they had to do. They taught me. Well. I can never equal their expertise or their flair, but here I am, attempting to recreate the mother in law’s signature dish with a bit of both, confidence and apprehension.

finger food

finger food

Muthiya literally means a fist. When grated minced vegetables are mixed with smashed rice and flour, you fist them, make little logs to be steamed and then tempered. That’s muthiya. They are delicious, healthy and a wonderful party appetiser. In his house, they make it for dinner with spiced buttermilk curry or kadhi as they call it.

Truthfully, I sucked at making this. I just didn’t get it! you make a dough, steam and then cool and then temper.. for what? A little snack. Nah! too much work. And I am lazy – remember. So when we lived on our own, I dodged this snack as much as possible. And the few times that I did pursue, I failed so miserably that I vowed never to make them again.

Methi leaves

Methi leaves

Well, bottle gourd and fenugreek leaves are not exactly my child’s favourite. So when I get to incorporate these two in one and make something appealing out of it, I decided to attempt this formidable dish, one more time. Thankfully I saved it. Relieved that I would make it yet again with a not so surly outlook and a dour mind.

What I love about this snack is the tempering or seasoning! Vaghaar or tadka or chonk as it is called in India, the finale dish is brought about by heating oil, spluttering mustard, a bit of sesame and fenugreek seeds, along with the very aromatic curry leaf and some asafoetida! Slices of the steamed dumplings are then thrown into the hot oil-mustrad-sesame mix. It is so nutty and fresh and earthy. You need to have a slice or two to know what I mean. :)

Yea, so the ingredients for this one might not be in your spice box or pantry if you are not an Indian. But things like asafoetida and sesame and fenugreek make this dish what it is. So please go ahead and get it, make sure you have it when you try this one out.

Sesame and fenugreek seeds

Sesame and fenugreek seeds

As I proof read my write up, I realise the incessant rambling about how long and tedious it is to make this, might have dismayed you to ever attempt it. But I was digressing from the truth. The whole truth being that it is a super cool snack and all that you need is a bit of planning to complete any task. I make this for her lunch box at 6 in the morning – yea of course, with a bit of an outline.

all ready to be sliced and tempered

all ready to be sliced and tempered

The Recipe -

Ingredients

For the dumplings -

  • 1 cup over boiled rice, mash it coarsely.
  • 1 cup fenugreek leaves, washed and minced
  • 1 cup grated bottle gourd
  • 2 tbsp coriander leaves, washed and minced
  • 1 cup or more whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp ajwain seeds or bishops seeds
  • 1 tsp green chili, minced
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 3-4 tsp red chill powder, or as you require
  • 2 tbsp curd or as required
  • 2 tsp oil and salt to taste
  • For the Seasoning: 2 tsp oil, 1 tsp asafoetida or hing, 1/2 tsp mustard seeds, 1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds, 1 tsp sesame seeds, 5-6 curry leaves, 1 whole red chili, 1 tbsp coriander leaves to garnish.

    Method

    Make a dough of all the ingredients listed for dumplings using curd instead of water to bring it all together. If you add too much flour the result will be hard difficult to swallow kinda muthiyas. And if the flour is too less, you will have great difficulty in bringing it all together. So add the flour little by little, to make sure the muthiyas turn out soft yet firm to hold a shape.
    Once done. Keep a wide wok on fire, fill it partially with water, place a ring or some holder in it.
    On a greased plate, grab fistfuls of the dough and shape them into small sized logs. Place them carefully on the plate. Do that with all of the dough. Once the plate is full, keep the plate inside the wok. Cover and steam for at least 30 minutes. Keep checking at regular intervals for water at the bottom.

    Right after steaming

    Right after steaming

    After 30 minutes, remove the plate full of dumplings. Cool the plate. Once cooled, slice the logs into bite size rounds. Taste one to see if the spices and salt are in check.

    Get ready with your seasoning. In a wide wok, heat oil. Splutter fenugreek seeds and sesame seeds till just right about crisp. Take care not to burn them. Throw in mustard seeds, asafoetida, curry leaves, whole red chilli and sauté for a minute or two. If the dumplings lack in salt or chilies, then sprinkle the necessary spice over the steamed dumplings before adding them to the tempering.

    Now add the sliced dumplings. Toss and serve with coriander leaves garnish.

    Sesame seeds, whole red chill and mustard tempering

    Sesame seeds, whole red chill and mustard tempering

    Note: you can prepare them ahead of time and take it along with you for a party or a get together. They require no re heating. They taste good even when cold.

    Note: Green chutney or ketchup or kadhi/spiced buttermilk can be served along with it.

    Note: For a detailed step by step recipe, click here.

    A great way to eat vegetables

    A great way to eat vegetables

    Taking this to lovely Angie’s Fiesta Friday #33. Once there, drool over these incredible rainbow pizzas that she dished up to satiate her little girl’s whim :) They look SO gorgeous! And a whole list of beautiful food awaits. You just have to look.

    Channa Almond Pomegranate Mason Jar Salad

    Mason Jar Salads - replete with a protein and some fresh veggies

    Mason Jar Salads – replete with a protein and some fresh veggies

    Being on a salad spree is no fun really. Chomping on plain old carrots, chewing romaine and mindlessly mincing the veggie can be exciting for first few nights, but it sure gets exhausting when you intend to continue the salad sojourn for days to come. I know of this, coz it happened to me. But I want to diligently stick to the fad, so I fish for new ingredients, newer proteins and yet newer ways to eat my greens.

    He was heading out. Not one to carry a tiffin, grabbing a sandwich or some street side junk are his usual options. Well, that was not be that day. I was determined to pack his supper.
    Wide mouthed glass jars preserving fruit and vegetables seems like an incredible idea. They are air tight. No spill, no soil, no frills. So easy to carry around. And looks pretty cool too. Somewhat amused, somewhat intrigued, somewhat preempted, he took his tiffin :)

    Toasted almonds - for that extra bite!

    Toasted almonds – for that extra bite!

    To add a protein to your vegetable bowl is a must. That extra mile on the treadmill is of no use if you don’t support it with a repairing agent. Lean muscles, shiny hair and strong nails give obeisance to exactly this necklace of amino acid. Yea, so all in all, it’s that important.

    So I add channa one day, paneer another, Mung sprouts, soya nuggets, boiled peanuts, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, tofu and assorted nuts to give you an idea.

    Kale channe or black bengal grams is what I used for this wonder salad. Its nutty. Its wholesome. It adds enough bite to fill your bowl as well as your tummy.

    Lime - can't do without it!

    Lime – can’t do without it!

    Making the vinaigrette is therapeutic – for me. I love whisking lime juice and extra virgin olive oil. Pounding pepper, sprinkling rock salt, crushing garlic – oh yea! Me loves it. I try to stay away from creamy sugary dressings as it annihilates the entire purpose of me chomping on greens.

    Good to go :)

    Good to go :)

    The recipe -

    Ingredients

  • 1 cup black bengalgrams or kale channe, soaked for at least 7-8 hours
  • 1/2 cup shredded lettuce
  • 1 cucumber, diced
  • 1 big tomato, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup toasted almonds, slivered
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate
  • For the dressing – juice of 1 lime, 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil, 1 clove of crushed garlic, 1/2 tsp pepper powder and salt to taste.

    Method

    Boil the black bengal grams in a big pot of boiling mildly salted water till they are almost done. Drain and keep aside.

    For the dressing – whisk together all of the mentioned stuff.

    Toss all the salad ingredients except the almonds. Mix in the dressing. Toss well. Refrigerate if required for 30 minutes. While serving garnish with toasted almonds. I love the crunch from the nuts so I add loads!

    The good stuff

    The good stuff

    If setting into jars - pour the vinaigrette first. Then layer with boiled bengalgram, cucumber, pomegranate, tomato, onions, lettuce and lastly toasted almonds.
    the pictures show the channa and almonds finishing on the top as I wanted to photograph them that way ;)

    Make this your dinner

    Make this your dinner

    Angie’s Fiesta Fridays is something that I look forward to every Friday. She holds this virtual potluck party for all of us. Its one post where you get sweet savoury, mains, appetizers n gorgeous desserts all under one roof and not to mention a whole lot of wonderful enthusiastic bloggers too! So I’m taking a salad this time. What are you?

    Gulab Phirni / Rose Rice Pudding with fresh Fruits

    There are always flowers for those who want to see them.
    – Henri Matisse

    Gulab Phirni

    Gulab Phirni

    When the occasion is pious. The mood festive. The spirit convivial. The ambience contagious. And the mind, harmonious – it is then, we make something sweet.

    It’s exactly in these times, we don’t squirm to eat a cupful of our favourite dessert and amiably let our loved ones stuff our mouth with saccharine stuff. We relish every bite, enjoy every moment. It’s for these times that I reserve my quota of desserts or Indian mithais/sweets.

    Colour

    Colour

    On one such radiant day, I put milk to boil, stirred in some ground fragrant basmati rice and lovingly flavoured it with cardamom, rose essence and saffron. Sounds divine, doesn’t it!?

    The milk and rice simmered and nonchalantly thickened away, gloriously dancing with the aromatic spices. The result was this thick rice pudding, mildly sweet and abundantly gratified with chopped nuts and essence of roses.

    Layered into Jars!

    Layered into Jars!

    Phirni or Firni is a mughal inspired North Indian/Pakistani milk-rice dessert, typically set in small clay pots and garnished with saffron and rose petals! How exotic does it sound!

    A bit of pink

    A bit of pink

    So, I was calling for some flowers, marigold and jasmine to be exact, required to decorate my little temple. But then added a few roses at the last moment. Soon, my house emanated such dizzy whiffs of flowers, cardamom and boiled sweetened milk, that the effect made everyone say “whats cooking?” :)

    A thing of beauty if joy forever

    A thing of beauty if joy forever

    He never cared for roses, still doesn’t. But I have a special affinity towards them. Roses are the ultimate romantic meridian of my firm belief in hope and love. And when I set up my shoot area with props and phirni cups and jars, the flowers hold a special place.

    They brought such joy and beauty that John Keats ‘Endymion’ kept popping in my head. I played with the colours, the placements. I took innumerable shots(which were not so pleasurable when I sat down to edit ;) ) The little girl danced about offering me any assistance that I called for. I was in my own space.. a very happy space indeed. It seems weird how something so trivial and ephemeral can lift my spirits and make me dream incredible dreams if only for some fleeting spell.

    Garnish with rose petals

    Garnish with rose petals

    A couple of teaspoons of rose-water or essence and tiny petals from the roses take this dessert to really another realm. It’s not the taste of the petal though …it’s the perfume from the flower that lingers on your taste buds and make the entire ensemble so inviting.

    Add freshness with fruits

    Add freshness with fruits

    I served the rice pudding with chopped fresh fruits green apples, pomegranate and orange segments. I wish had some berries, I can only imagine the tartness and all that juice from the colourful berries complimenting the cardamom and saffron!

    Ideal party desserts

    Ideal party desserts

    The recipe:

    Ingredients

  • 1 litre whole milk
  • 1/4 cup basmati rice, soaked for 30 minutes
  • a few strands of saffron, soaked in 2 tsp of milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar or as desired
  • pods of 1 cardamom – ground/powdered
  • 1/2 cup of chopped nuts like pistachios, almonds, cashew nuts
  • 2-3 drops of rose essence or 1 tbsp of rose water
  • 2 tbsp rose petals, I used the Indian rose, which has small thin natural petals. If the petals are huge, then chop or gently tear to smaller bits.
  • A cup of chopped fresh fruits to serve with
  • Method

    Grind soaked rice to a rava like consistency. Use few drops of milk if required. Keep aside. Heat milk in a thick bottomed pan or kadai. When it starts boiling away, lower the flame and stir in the ground rice. On a low flame, cook the ground rice in milk till it starts to thicken.

    It is imperative to stir in intervals to prevent burning and from lumps being formed. Once the rice is cooked and the mixture has thickened considerably, stir in sugar, saffron strands and ground cardamom. Add chopped nuts. Simmer again for a while. Once done. Add rose-water or essence. Give it a good mix. Cool the pudding. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours.

    Serve with rose petals, chopped nuts and fresh fruits.

    Thick creamy delicious pudding

    Thick creamy delicious pudding

    Note: Fruits like apples, banana, pomegranate, oranges, berries, kiwi, custard apple go very well with phirni.

    Make some, you won't regret

    Make some, you won’t regret

    This creamy dreamy dessert goes to Angie’s 31st Friday Fiesta - a weekly Visual Potluck.

    Tricolored Baked Rice Casserole

    Representing the Indian Flag

    Representing the Indian Flag

    “Are you ever going to post the tricolour rice or no?”, She seemed nettled.
    “Er.. but it’s so late, I could tell you now, on the phone” I sputtered.
    “No, no time! Put it up and I will catch it in between work’ And she bangs the phone.

    My sister – younger, smarter and definitely more headstrong than I have ever been, always gets her work done, somehow! No one says no to her, she makes sure of that. She thinks its her tenacious personality that gets it done when in real we do what she says because we love her. But we let her think otherwise ;).

    Indian Independence Day was on August 15th. And I am 12 days late. But like the sister exhorts – Tis better to be late than not post at all. So I put this up now. For one, because she badgered me for a detailed recipe. And for the fact that this one is worth posting!

    Creamy healthy and totally delicious

    Creamy healthy and totally delicious

    So like how it happens every morning of 15th August, we were getting ready for our National Flag hoisting. The child was excited. More so, because she was going to sing a very patriotic song. She had been rehearsing for the past 10 days and had held captive any audience she could find to practise her crooning.

    'Aao Bacho Tumhe Dikhaayen'

    ‘Aao Bacho Tumhe Dikhaayen’

    In between adjusting a tricolour sash, combing her hair, sticking various tricolored pictures on her skirt, she spoke persistently and tirelessly. Of matters mundane and routine. And then suddenly she squealed in delight, turned to me and said.. why don’t you make some lunch which is tricolour. I will call Saancha and Sanjana and you can take pictures too for your blog. Now, the picture bit was her act of luring me to make something fancy.

    Our lunch was patriotic indeed but in return I got her to get rid of all the gaudy stickers she piled on her skirt ;)

    Yumm

    Yumm

    Rice enveloped in creamy white sauce, dotted with carrot and beans, topped with an orange tomato marinara and a spicy spinach coriander puree, and finished with soft cheese – whats not to like in this! It is creamy soft pillowy flavourful and a delight in every bite. Worth a try, anytime!

    Enjoy it with some fresh baked bread

    Enjoy it with some fresh baked bread

    The recipe -

    Ingredients

  • 1 cup rice, boiled al dente. Brown Rice works beautifully, but I was going tricolour remember, so I chose to stick to white.
  • 1/2 cup minced carrot-beans and a few peas
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • green chill sauce – optional.
  • 4 tbsp grated cheddar or mozzarella cheese
  • For the Orange Marinara: 3 medium-sized tomatoes, blanched whole in hot water. 5/6 pods of garlic, 3 whole red chilies or kashmiri red chilies, salt and pepper to taste, 1 tsp oregano. 1 tsp olive oil.

    For the Spinach Puree: 1 big bunch of spinach leaves, washed-blanched. 3 green chilies, a tiny piece of ginger, a pinch of sugar and salt.

    Method

    For the Rice:
    Heat butter in a wok, stir fry the vegetables till almost done. Add flour. Saute it as it coats the veggies. Pour milk, mix till the milk thickens. Add boiled rice, salt, pepper, green chill sauce if using. The white sauce will envelope the rice.This taste good as it is!

    For the Spinach Puree:
    Grind blanched spinach, along with salt, sugar, green chilies and ginger till smooth. You can adjust the quantity of the green chilies according to your taste. Keep aside.

    For the Orange Marinara:
    In a wok, heat oil, sauté garlic and red chilli. Add coarsely smashed blanched tomatoes. Season with salt, pepper and oregano. Cook covered on low heat till oil leaves sides. cool the mixture and grind to a fine orange paste. This marinara can be stored in the refrigerator for 3/4 days and is used as pizza toppings or in pastas/noodles or rice.

    Assembling:

    In a butter greased baking dish or casserole, make alternate layers of marinara, rice and spinach puree. Finally garnish with grated cheese. Bake at 200 C for 15 minutes or till the cheese melts and golden dots appear.

    Note: I didn’t do the traditional layering coz I wanted the tricolour pattern, I lay the rice and then poured the sauces to replicate the Indian National Flag.

    flavors all

    flavors all

    Ludicrous interpretation of the colours made me go wide-eyed with shock though amidst peals of incessant laughter. The girls all had appalling insight on this subject! The sublimity of the beautiful colours on our flag was then preached and lectured while their plates were licked clean!

    Courage, Peace and Prosperity

    Courage, Peace and Prosperity

    I am taking this to Angie’s 31st Friday Fiesta! Do pop over to see some delicious recipes!

    Red Bean Paneer Ginger Pomegranate Salad

    Rajma, paneer, ginger pomegranate Salad

    Rajma, paneer, ginger pomegranate Salad

    Sometime back, dishing up a salad was just tossing cucumbers and tomatoes generously sprinkled with lime and chaat masala. Not anymore. Not when I strive to eat huge big bowls of raw eats and wrack my brain to include assorted new vegetables and some form of protein. Most of the times I am successful and there have been times when I have been horribly let down. But lets not talk about the dampeners. I am here to give you a wonderful protein rich salad recipe that I concocted on a whim!

    Protein rich!

    Protein rich!

    I used red kidney beans. Soaked them well for over 5/6 hours, and boiled in a pot full of salted water, they added body to the salad bowl. The nutty soft texture from the beans laced with crunchy raw veggies makes for a succulent combination.

    Boiled and ready

    Boiled and ready

    A handful of these red pearly shiny fruit elevates the acidic salty salad to another level. Always add a citrus fruit. Some fruit, any fruit – orange segments, berries, kiwis, apples, cherries etc. The list is huge. But for now, pomegranates it is.

    These pearls add the required sweet and tartness

    These pearls add the required sweet and tartness

    Beans are slow to digest and if not boiled or chewed well, they can cause a lot of heartburn, acidity and stomach ache. So I added julienne ginger pickled in salt and lime juice as a bit of garnishing. Ginger aids in digestion and helps in absorption and assimilation of essential nutrients. Ginger is highly pungent so a little bit is enough for your salad bowl. Feel free to skip it if you can’t tolerate the sharpness.

    pickled ginger

    pickled ginger

    Mint!! Who doesn’t love mint! Its refreshing. Its aromatic. Its healthy. So, I added loads :)

    lots of it!!

    lots of it!!

    The Recipe: For two people -

    Ingredients

    1 cup boiled red kidney beans or rajma

    1/2 cup diced cottage cheese or paneer

    1 cucumber, diced

    1 red onion, diced

    1 tomato, diced

    2 tsp ginger julienne – soaked in little lime and salt for 30 minutes.

    1/2 cup pomegranate

    3 tbsp mint leaves, chopped

    For the vinaigrette – mix 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil, juice of 1 lime, 1 tsp honey, salt and pepper to taste.

    Optional: 1 tsp more oil to sauté the cheese if you do not like it as is.

    Method

    Saute the paneer/cottage cheese if required. Mix all said ingredients except the vinaigrette. chill for 30 minutes. Pour the limey dressing over it. Toss. Chill for another 10 minutes.

    Serve.

    lemony dressing

    lemony dressing

    I like the paneer as it is, but I know many who don’t. A bit of sautéing or grilling does the trick to include it in your salads.

    She takes a bite

    She takes a bite

    When I sit with my bowl of raw veggies, I fish for my favourites and relish the juices from the marinated fruits and vegetables. Flavors like these make me go back every single night to these huge enticing bowls. So yumm!

    I am taking this to Angie Weekly Potluck party – Friday Fiesta #30!

    Baked Falafel Wraps

    Falafels in a wrap!

    Falafels in a wrap!

    The food fever has caught on. Baklava and hummus was always a rage, and as people are turning more global, the wonder delights of any new cuisine follows. Lebanese is my latest viral.
    After my tryst with baking pita, next on the list was Falafels. The baked version. I’ve made them before but a baked one was to be my experiment. I waited for a Sunday.

    Loaded with grilled veggies and hummus and tzatziki sauce

    Loaded with grilled veggies and hummus and tzatziki sauce

    A rainy dull gloomy beautiful sunday which wrecked the cable connection, home bound the inmates and re-ignited the love for board games. They removed a new one, in spite of me yelling not to. But the rapid commencement of outwitting each other at word formations, though mainly with my help, was contagious. Along with grinding chickpeas, rolling dough and chopping vegetables, my mind raced to form words! The joy of letters. Inexplicable.

    Falafels are small round deep fried bullets made from highly spiced chickpeas. But if you want to ditch the oil, we bake or roast them on a griddle and it works just fine. A wrap with these spicy bullets, a bit of hummus, some tzatziki and grilled veggies makes any meal complete. A bit of planning is required, the chickpea need to be soaked for 6-7 hours and you need hung curd to make tzatziki. So yes, please plan and initiate.

    FALAFEL WRAP

    Lotsa layering

    Lotsa layering

    To make 6 wraps:

    Ingredients

    • 18/20 Falafel bullets or discs or patties, recipe below.
    • 6 flour tortillas
    • 6 heaped big spoons of hummus – one spoon each for every wrap
    • 6 heaped big spoons of tzatziki – one spoon each for every wrap
    • torn lettuce leaves
    • 6 tbsp of grilled vegetables, I used mushrooms, zucchini, coloured peppers and onions.
    • A bit of vinegary onions for each wrap
    • Sprinkle of lime juice
    • Sprinkle of chaat masala – optional

    Method

    Take each tortilla, spread one heaped tbsp of hummus on it. Place torn lettuce leaves covering half the tortilla. Now place 3 or 4 falafel discs in a straight line in the middle of the tortilla. Drop spoonful of tzatziki on the cutlets. Place grilled vegetables and pickled onions. Sprinkle lime juice and chaat masala. Cover both sides. Grill on a flat griddle/tawa if desired or serve as it is with more hummus and tzatziki by the side!

    Ready to fold

    Ready to fold

    FALAFELS – BAKED

    Chickpea Cutlets

    Chickpea Cutlets

    Ingredients

    • 2 cup chickpeas, soaked overnight or for 6/7 hours
    • 1 red onion
    • 5 cloves of garlic
    • 3 green chillies
    • a tiny piece of ginger
    • 1 tsp ground roasted cumin powder
    • 1/2 tsp peppercorns
    • juice of 1/2 a lime
    • 4 tbsp washed coriander leaves
    • 2 tbsp mint leaves
    • 1 tsp sesame seeds
    • salt to taste
    • 4 tbsp flour or maida
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • Oil for greasing

    Method

    Put all ingredients in the mixer, except flour/maida, baking powder and sesame seeds. Coarsely grind everything till everything is mashed yet not very smooth. Do not add any water. This is very important because you don’t want your splitting cutlets.

    Once done, remove. Mix in the flour, baking powder and sesame seeds. Shape small balls of the mixture, flatten them slightly to form discs. Place them in a box or on a tray. Refrigerate for 2/3 hours. This step is crucial if you want firm well shaped falafels. Especially if you are deep frying them.

    Once well chilled. Pre heat your oven to 175C for 10 minutes. Grease a baking tray well with oil. Take each falafel discs, slightly coat them with oil and place evenly on the tray. Bake for 8-10 minutes then flip and bake the other side for another 5-7 minutes.

    If you do not want to bake or deep fry, then you can roast them on a non stick pan with a bit of oil till the sides turn golden and crisp. This works beautifully but uses a bit of more oil than baking.

    Remove and use as required.

    Lots of flavours!

    Lots of flavours!

    Note: Deep frying produces the best results. They are crunchy out and soft inside. But baking works well too, so please don’t forget the baking powder. It helps the cutlets with soft insides.

    Note: Original recipe did not add any green chillies or mint. I used them generously because we love the flavour of mint and heat from the chilies. You can avoid them if you like.

    Healthy snack option

    Healthy snack option

    I am not so neat with shapes and sizes… all my cutlets varied in diameter :D Mother would have been horrified ;)

    Not so perfect in size :)

    Not so perfect in size :)

    GRILLED VEGETABLES, FLOUR TORTILLAS AND VINEGAR ONIONS

    The add-ons don't stop!

    The add-ons don’t stop!

    For the Veggies - Julienne all the vegetables. I used zucchini, mushrooms, coloured peppers and onions. In a tsp of olive oil, sauté them till 3/4th done. Season with salt, pepper and red chill flakes.

    For the Pickled Onions – soak sliced onions in 1/2 cup of vinegar, juice of 1/2 a lime and some salt. Keep aside for an hour. The colour of the onions and solution changes to pink.

    For the Flour Tortillas – Take half and half wheat and all-purpose/maida four. Season with a bit of salt. Knead using half n half milk and luke warm water. Knead well. Keep aside covered for at least 30 minutes. Then grab portions of dough, roll into thin flat rounds, roast both sides on a hot griddle. You can make them before hand and use as required.

    Grilled veggies and pickled onions

    Grilled veggies and pickled onions

    As you must have noticed, I put more pictures here than in any of my posts. Well. Thats because I took so many!! And then, spent almost half a day editing them. So they had to be used. don’t they?
    A few more won’t hurt, I presume. :)

    Protein rich Chickpea makes one delicious cutlet

    Protein rich Chickpea makes one delicious cutlet

    She is one big sucker for dips and spreads. Every bite was relished with more hummus and more tzatziki. It also rendered the scrabble board quite messy and her clothes.. oh! they are best not discussed. So, beware.. this humongous wrap is not so easy to hold and a lot more messy and delicious to eat :)

    One satisfying meal, this.

    One satisfying meal, this.

    My entry to Angie’s Friday Fiesta #27. A must see for many more gorgeous mouth watering entries!

    Ragda Pattice

    Ragda Pattice

    Ragda Pattice

    Yet another Mumbai chaat. Fast food. Street Food. Junk Food. His Food. Everybody loves kinda food :)
    Since I am not a fan of chaat especially this one, I hardly ever make it. You know how it is, when we cook things that usually we like and somehow forget to make that we don’t? Does it happen to you?

    Unconsciously I was doing that. I cook what I crave to eat. And chaat, a medley of deep fried crackers and vegetables and lots of Indian fried junk, all infused with sweet, spice and sour – is not on my list. Yea, I know I’m insane. Almost everyone I know love it! I don’t know how I missed the bus.
    I once had a 60 year old friend visiting us from San Fran and he asked for pani puris. I was like.. will you be able to take the heat?!! He enjoyed every morsel while I skeptically held a bottle of bisleri ready for him.

    Potato Pattice roasted nice and golden

    Potato Pattice roasted nice and golden

    This so called snack requires so many little things that most people I know eat it for a meal rather than a refreshment. It takes hardly any effort to put it together.. that is, once you have all the stuff with you. A bit of planning, a bit of prepping and you can make this in no time! Yet, I thought of this yummy tangy sweet plate of chaat after ages… I simply forgot about it.

    Well, this one is his favourite, he really likes any chaat. Especially Mumbai street food. So he was in for a surprise when the answer to his mundane whats-for-dinner was Ragda Pattice. The name’s intriguing.
    Essentially, deep fried potato cutlets(-the pattice bit) are dunked in a yellow dried peas gravy(the ragda), topped with tamarind chutney, green mint chutney, chopped vegetables and garnished with lots of thin fine sev and coriander leaves.
    Instead of deep frying the cutlets, I chose to add a bit of cornflour and sauté them with a tsp of oil on a non stick pan. It works just fine.

    She had it for the first time. Yes, no kidding!

    She had it for the first time. Yes, no kidding!

    The Recipe-

    Ingredient

    Potato Patties or Cutlets

    • 1 kg boiled potatoes
    • 4 tsp cornflour
    • 1/2 tsp red chill powder
    • salt to taste
    • 2 tbsp coriander leaves, chopped
    • a bit of oil to roast them in a non stick pan.

    Ragda or Yellow Peas Curry

    • 1 cup dried yellow peas, soaked overnight or for 7-8 hours.
    • 1/2 tsp chopped ginger garlic
    • salt to taste
    • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder

    To assemble: one plate of ragda pattice:

    • 2 potato cutlets
    • 4 tbsp ragda
    • 1 tsp green chutney
    • 1 tsp tamarind chutney
    • 1/2 tsp each of chopped onions, tomato and grated carrot
    • 1/2 tsp thinly sliced ginger and green chilies – optional
    • 1 tbsp of fine sev
    • sprinkle of chaat masala
    • a dash of lime
    • coriander leaves to garnish
    The whole deal

    The whole deal

    Method

    For the Pattice - mash the boiled potatoes, add salt, red chill powder, cornflour and coriander leaves. Mix and mash well. Then grab small handfuls of the mixture and make flat balls out of them. Preferable refrigerate for at least an hour. This makes the batter firm and the end result crisp.

    When ready to use, heat a pan, add a tsp of oil. Roast these cutlets till golden brown and crisp.

    Note: Cornflour is the magical ingredient! It binds and prevents from splitting the patty. the crunch in the cutlet is enhanced by refrigeration and the cornflour.

    Note: You can deep fry them if desired, in which case, to prevent splitting, add a slice or two of crushed bread and definitely refrigerate for a couple of hours.

    Note: You can bake them too!

    Love this Carb!

    Love this Carb!

    For the Ragda – Boil the yellow pea with 3 cups of water, salt, turmeric and crushed ginger garlic. I pressure cook the peas. Its faster. If you do not have a cooker, boil them in a covered pot till mushy. Since dried peas/beans are major defaulters in hindering digestion, I would suggest soak and then boil it well. Usually not-properly cooked beans or pulses cause a lot of gas and discomfort.

    Note: I use the boiled ragda as it is. But some people add a tempering of oil, mustard seeds and curry leaves.

    Note: Ragda can be eaten as it is, top with the chutneys and chopped onions, tomatoes and finish off with a bit of lime and chaat masala. Its like a thick tangy sweet spicy stew! In Mumbai some enjoy it with a piece of pav or dinner roll.

    The Ragda, whole yellow dried peas curry

    Ragda, whole yellow dried peas curry

    Now for the final Plating:

    Place 2 cutlets on a plate, pour 3/4 tbsp of ragda over it. Drop a tsp of green mint and tamarind chutney each. Dot with chopped onions, tomatoes and grated carrot. If using julienne ginger, add now. Sprinkle chaat masala and a squeeze of lime. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and sev.

    Serve immediately!

    Note: Potatoes and dried peas are highly gaseous and not so easy to digest. So I usually add a lot of raw julienne pickled ginger.

    Thats what a ragda lattice plate looks like

    Thats what a ragda pattice plate looks like

    I am taking this to Angie’s Fiesta Friday #26. Do take a peek to see other awesome entries all in one post.

    Thai Spiced Vegetable Brown Rice

    Thai Spiced Brown Rice with exotic vegetables

    Thai Spiced Brown Rice with exotic vegetables

    Its been quite sometime now since I started brown rice. And let me tell you the transfer has not been easy. Those who are used to eating soft white rice dotted with pure ghee will tell you why.

    Perfectly steamed gorgeously white rice is what it is because of what it is. Brown rice pales in front of it, literally. But I am girl on a mission. Mission to curb my growing waistline and lose some serious weight. So naturally I shun the shiny rice and ghee. Adopt the brown version and…my dal rice has never tasted the same again.

    I have to add paneer ;)

    I have to add paneer ;)

    I had to love what I embraced or I would be running back to my ex. So began my tryst with the healthier grain. Looking for ways to improvise it, I have tried innumerable options.
    Sautéing mushrooms and zucchini in some thai red curry paste and throwing in brown rice, seemed like a bit of an experiment. But what an attempt! That bowl was supposedly my lunch, but he and she took great big bites and kept asking for more. Now that’s a good way to rate my dishes, don’t you think?

    Something to drink with

    Something to drink with

    The recipe:

    Ingredients

    • 1 cup brown rice, cooked.
    • 1 medium sized onion, sliced thinly
    • 3 tbsp red curry paste
    • 1/2 tsp soy sauce
    • 1/2 tsp vinegar
    • 3/4 cloves of garlic
    • 1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced thinly
    • 1/4 cup zucchini, sliced thinly
    • 3 tbsp paneer small cubed
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • 2 tsp olive oil or any oil you wish
    • basil leaves and coriander leaves to garnish

    Method

    In a large skillet, heat oil. Saute garlic and onions till pink. Mix in the red curry paste. Fry till oil leaves the sides. Throw in the mushrooms and zucchini. Cover and cook till almost done. Mix in the brown rice along with soy and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. Mix well. Garnish with cubed paneer, basil and cilantro leaves.

    Best with something cold to sip on.

    Simple and delicious

    Simple and delicious

    Note: Use any vegetable you like, carrots, broccoli, beans ..

    Note: Instead of paneer, boiled soy Nutrela nuggets taste great.

    Note: Adjust the quantity of red curry paste according to the heat you can take.

    Note: Boiling brown rice has been a continuous trial and error process with me. One of the recent methods and almost close to getting perfectly cooked rice is to soak the rice well for at least 2 hours, and then cook in a large pot of salted boiling water. Once the rice is cooked, strain the excess water and use.

    High on heat

    High on heat

    If you have any more ideas to deal with brown rice, please holler. I am listening.

    This is my entry to Angie’s Friday Fiesta #25. Sneak in to see some gorgeous recipes here. You will thank me for sure.