Roasted Euryale Fox Nuts or Makhanas

It takes wisdom to give life one’s best shot and then accept gracefully whatever fate or providence has in store, with total positive surrender.

– Fakir, by Ruzbeh N Bharucha.

The mantle of motherhood is phenomenal. Perennial worry, constant urge to give your child the best that you can give in education, living, character or simply food can be overwhelming. The kind that I am, I always doubt myself and my efforts. It’s never enough. It’s never good.

Roasted Fox nuts with salt, pepper and chili flakes

Roasted Fox nuts with salt, pepper and chili flakes

Before my child was born, I tried to learn everything from parenting books, classes and the mistakes of other mothers. And I thought I knew it all.
Yea, guessed it right. I fell flat on my face. Had them laughing at me for days to come.

Even before she could breathe in open air, her diet was decided. Loads of fresh fruits and vegetables, assorted nuts, whole grain, clarified butter, no chocolates, no sweets…. and in all this listing and scheming, forgot, the good Lord will bless the unborn with her very own palette and a mind of her own. I got a taste of my own doing once she was out

In a very short while, she spat out the ragi, flung the banana, nuts were strewn all over, spinach was given surly looks and I had myself at my wits end.

Store in an air tight jar

Store in an air tight jar

Boy! Does this great heavy cloak break your back. Or are they wings which uplift your soul and show you the grander picture? I’m still searching.
I unlearnt everything that I so smartly gathered from all the possible sources. Started from scratch. And still have such a long road ahead.

My daughter teaches me something new everyday.

One of the most prominent things she inculcated in me is patience and respect. Respect for her as an individual. Respect for her likes and dislikes. Respect for her own individuality. Respect for the fact that she is not me. Sigh!

So, she does not like carrots, I try not to fight her. The ‘mother’ that I am, I cheat:)
She hates nuts. I dry roast the walnuts and almonds and sprinkle salt-pepper and her highly savory palette laps it up. And when my mum eulogised the benefits of Euryale Fox Nuts or Daal-Makhane, I did not want to miss the chance of adding the calcium dense starchy white seed to my child’s diet. But of course, on her conditions.

Calcium rich.

Calcium rich.

I keep my highly twitchy fingers crossed and very lovingly offer her a couple of these dry roasted very healthy Euryale Fox nuts or Makhane. Although hesitatingly, she tosses one into her mouth, smiles and says “POP CORN”!
And this is how I win my battles.

Indian answer to the very famous Popcorn: Roasted Daal Makahne

Ingredients

  • 2 cups makhane,
  • 1 tsp ghee, or according to your taste
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp pepper powder

Method

In a large wok, heat the clarified butter/ghee. Add turmeric and red chili powder, along with the makhane/fox nuts. On sim flame, roast the nuts for at least 10 minutes, mixing them once in a while.

Add salt and pepper. After 3-4 minutes, switch the flame off. Allow to cool. Transfer to an air tight jar.

The end result: Crunchy, crisp, salty savory snack/munchies.

A jar full of health

A jar full of health

My expectations from the child just because I was striving hard to give her the best of all that I could find was overbearing my little one. Just didn’t work.

I recoil. Give her some space. Give her individuality a chance. And slowly the cobwebs clear away.
Life is not a competition for me, or for her or for anyone. It is not about how intelligent or how smart or how rich or how famous you are.
It is about giving your best and leaving it to God.

Indian PopCorn

Indian PopCorn

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Guacamole and a very colorful Mexican Sandwich

Guacamole and a very healthy - yummy sandwich!

Guacamole and a very healthy – yummy sandwich!

20 years back in India, we had never even heard of a fruit called Avocado, let alone benefit from its abundant natural nutrients. But the last 10 years have changed this scenario, pretty much. Cognizance of exotic fruits and veggies is now more evident and more adaptable. Avocados are now easily available in Indian markets and are here to stay.

The first thing that comes to mind with the mere mention of Avocado is the very famous super creamy dip/sauce ‘Guacamole’. The dish will stun you with its flavors and texture. Inanely simple to make, the hardest part that I found was to wait for an Avocado to ripen. It takes like forever for a fresh hard green Avocado to turn nice n fleshy from the inside and brown outside.

Holy Moly Guacamole

Holy Moly Guacamole

It’s a common misconception that Avocados are high in fat and calories. They are high in fat compared to many other fruits, but most of it is monosaturated fat and as such serves as an important staple in the diet of various groups where access to other fatty foods (high-fat meats and fish, dairy products, etc.) is limited. Meaning: EXCELLENT for vegetarians and vegans. Do you guys hear me?

Here are 5 surprising health benefits of this wonder fleshy fruit:

  • Avocados are packed with carotenoids: Avocados are a great source of lutein, a carotenoid that works as an antioxidant and helps protect against eye disease. They also contain the related carotenoids zeaxanthin, alpha-carotene and beta-carotene, as well as tocopherol (vitamin E).
  • Avocados help lower the cholestrol.
  • Avocados help stabilize blood sugar – they slow digestion and help the blood sugar from spiking after a meal
  • Avocados protect your heart and are great source of folate, hence excellent for pregnant mothers.
  • Avocados can help you lose weight!! – Yes.
Rich, Creamy and Nutrient Dense

Rich, Creamy and Nutrient Dense

Recipe:

To make 1 cup guacamole:

Ingredients

  • 1 ripe fleshy big avocado
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 small tomato, deseeded and chopped
  • Juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 2-3 green chilies, minced or 1 jalapeno pepper, minced
  • salt to taste, 2 tbsp coriander leaves, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp red chili powder or cayenne pepper – optional: For the extra kick!

Method

Slice an avocado, remove the seed, spoon out the flesh into a bowl. Gently mash with the back of the spoon or a fork. I like it chunky, so I don’t overmash. But if you like yours smooth, then you could pound it well. Add lime juice, salt, green chili, garlic, onion and tomatoes. Mix well. If using cayenne or red chili powder, add it now. Mix well. Serve cold.

Lime Juice: is integral to the guacamole, if you want to retain the color. Mashed avocado tends to brown and age. But with lime juice, the color stays fresh and intact.

Serving Suggestions: When I make this heavenly rich sauce, the uses are myriad.

  • As a dip with tortilla chips or any chip or khakhras
  • Spread it on bread to make yummy sandwiches
  • Guacamole makes great quesadillas and wraps
  • as a sauce to coat your pasta, instead of a pesto or a marinara – makes one mean creamy rich yummy pasta!

So with the guacamole ready, we made these amazing Mexican sandwiches, replete with grilled veggies, paprika and cheese:

Whole wheat, Healthy and Tasty

Whole wheat, Healthy and Tasty

To make this divine sandwich:

Ingredients

  • 6 slices whole wheat bread
  • 4-5 tbsp guacamole
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 cup of mixed veggies, sliced lengthwise. I used broccoli, bell peppers, mushrooms, carrot and baby corn
  • 1/2 tsp olive oil
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 tsp chili flakes
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • salt to taste
  • 3 lettuce leaves
  • 3 tbsp grated cheese, I used slices.
  • Optional: 2-3 tbsp of mayonnaise, chili flakes and sliced green olives

Method

To make the veggie stir fry: In a wok, heat olive oil, saute garlic, onions. Once the onions are translucent, then add the thinly sliced veggies along with salt. The salt helps them cook faster. Stir fry on high, till almost done. Add oregano, pepper powder and chili flakes. Mix well. Keep aside.

The stir fried veggies

The stir fried veggies

Now for the assembly:

Take a slice of bread, place a lettuce leaf, dab generous amount of guacamole. Place the stir fried veggies on it. Sprinkle more chili flakes if desired. If using olives, add it now. cover with grated cheese or slice cheese. Take another slice of bread, either coat it with mayonnaise or guacamole. Place it facing down, by covering and completing the entire ensemble. Best would be to grill your sandwich using very little butter. I don’t have a griller, so I had mine as it is. Husband roasted it on a flat griddle, that tasted nice too. But grilling would be the most apt thing to do.

Thats it. Serve with tomato ketchup and any hot sauce.

Colorful Supper

Colorful Supper

Signing off on this note, here’s wishing dear friends and fellow Indians a very Happy Independence Day.

Sev Puri

A Biteful of joy

A Biteful of joy

This post is going to be a short one. Hopefully.

When I sit to write, the river of words just gushes forth as if waiting for the dam to be opened. I try so hard to write small. But its all in vain. So today since I am already short on time, I have promised myself to keep it short, sweet and simple.

Oh wait. Cant be sweet. It’s a savoury, tangy spicy and sweet post. 🙂

Pick me up

Pick me up

We jiffed up this chaat when I made the tamarind dip. But completely forgot about posting the assorted dishes made on that day using the amazing, very versatile tamarind dip. Oh Well! Better late than never.

Crunchy Bites

Crunchy Bites

As you know, “chaat” is a big hit in my house. the father daughter duo can thrive on it for dinner everyday. Of course, I don’t give in to their demands. Chaat is Indian Junk street food. So we indulge, but once in a while.

Here, I have the very famous Mumbai special, Sev puri recipe. With all the ingredients in hand, it takes hardly a couple of minutes to assemble and less than that to devour 😉

An evening snack for most indians

An evening snack for most indians

The recipe:

To make 1 plate of 10 sev puris:

Ingredients

10 flat savoury crackers/puris
1 boiled potato, mashed
1 onion, chopped
2 tbsp any bundi namkeen – very hard to describe in English :(.. so sorry.
1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
juice of 1/2 a lime
10 small dots(almost like 1/4 tsp each) of green chutney
10 small dots of tamarind chutney
chaat masala to sprinkle
Extra thin chaat sev to sprinkle and garnish
Optional: chopped tomato and 1 tbsp of garlic red chutney

Method

Arrange the puris on a flat serving plate or tray.
Mix the boiled potato, onion, little coriander leaves, the bundi namkeen and if you are using tomatoes, then add them too. Sprinkle little chaat masala. Mix well. Keep aside.

Now to each puri, drop a bit of the above mixture, just enough to cover each puri. Dab the chutneys, one by one. Sprinkle chaat masala and lime juice. Garnish with sev and coriander leaves.

Serve immediately, else the toppings soften the puris up.

Beckoning Enough?!

Beckoning Enough?!

In Mumbai, garlic chutney is added to most chaat dishes. A wee bit brightens the plate. Husband is a big sucker for garlic chutney. But since I did not have it on that day, we made the chaat sans garlic. If you have it in your pantry, do dab a bit and tantalize your taste buds.

Is it short enough?! 🙂 Yay! Thank me for not boring you today. Just for today.

This post is my entry to Vardhini’s(of CooksJoy) Chaat and Chutneys Event.

Monsoon Mania with Boiled Peanuts and a mini trek to Kanheri Caves.

Kanheri Caves

Kanheri Caves

A spontaneous decision to visit the very famous Kanheri caves made me sulk. Impromptu adventures are not my cup of tea. I am a planner. I like order-organization – an uncomplicated and straight forward way of living life, in my opinion. But husband is made from a different material. He is quick, extemporaneous and highly adventurous.

walk to the caves

walk to the caves

A surprise late night call from a cousin of ours – Lets take the kids there… the monsoons have created mini waterfalls, freshly ruptured meandering streams and lots of goofy monkeys!’. My guy was all in.

Water down mossy slopes

Water down mossy slopes

Sound asleep, without a clue, I am awoken with full force in the wee hours of a day which is supposed to be a holiday! Crib. Crib. More crib. Warm bed, snug blanket and foodie dreams(mostly 😉 ) made me just yell back at my aggravator.

Scenic View

Scenic View

But he is my husband for a reason. He has all the neat tricks up his sleeve. He knows how to get me out without him turning servile. Milee is cajoled, woken and allured with high spirit exciting adventures that the mother would die thinking of. The deceiver knows I would literally melt sitting at home alone, thinking what all could go wrong on a moss-covered slippery wet basalt. And of course I would be a big party pooper, the ‘bad’ one if I were to object to the kid’s thrill. Oh! how I hate his cunning ways.

another one

another one

By now, you know where this is leading to. Yea..I go out all scowling but return transformed. I am stunned to silence with the picturesque view that the place had to offer. The myriad vistas left me wanting for more…. and an early morning little trek up a wet slippery rock was all that my sluggish physical self required.

Brief about Kanheri Caves:
The Kanheri Caves constitute a group of rock-cut monuments that are located on the western outskirts of Mumbai, India. The Kanheri Caves demonstrate the Buddhist influence on the art and culture of India. Kanheri comes from the Sanskrit Krishnagiri, which means black mountain. The caves were chiseled out of a massive basaltic rock outcropping.

meandering monsoon stream

meandering monsoon stream

We actually did not go to see the caves. We went to play in seasonal small waterfalls and natural showers and springs. No, there was no water scarcity back at our place 🙂 We were just lookin for some simple fun.

All the kids jumped with joy at the sight of mini falls and meandering streams. Sans breakfast or milk, they still were so energetic and playful… always amazes me. Wasting no time, they were the first ones to get their feet dirty and play rough in cold chilling waters.

trying to get to the mini fall

trying to get to the mini fall

The fervor caught on and soon the others joined in. I was one of the last few to cave in to the irresistible temptation of playing colorless holi. But before that I did manage to capture a few shots and return my precious camera to safety.

All wet

All wet

A surprise every few steps made our picnic eventful and adventurous. A little further, we found a natural shower thundering with such enormous intensity that it felt like a strong massage unbearable for more than 2-3 minutes.

a natural shower, beats all the man made ones in intensity!

a natural shower, beats all the man made ones in intensity!

Monkeys rule the roost there. Highly vigilant and bold, they snarl and leap at any food you carry. My sandwich was literally snatched from my hand, the camera almost fell.. its then that I swore never to open food in front of them ever, again. The scariest moment of my life.

Quenching the thirst

Quenching the thirst

It was funny to click the ape slurping away from a puddle when there was water literally everywhere! They did stay away from the falls and the streams, but were ready to drink from puddles, ditches and our very fine Bisleris. Ha!

Making a Statement

Making a Statement

Well. I see why he was so coercive. So supremely confident that I wouldn’t regret ditching my warm bed.

The trek gratifying. The cold water liberating. The early morning view breathtaking. The laughter of kids – exploding.
And then my heart with pleasure fills.

While returning from our short excursion, we bought loads of dirty freshly dug groundnuts. Husband plonked them on my wet lap and pronounced loud and clear.. how he wants them eaten – boiled and salted. Thats it. No antics with your over the top experiments.. not in salads, not as toppings, not in poha, not in milkshakes (now, why would I do that?!!) Sigh! And the man thinks I am nuts.

Boiled in salted water. Thats it.

Boiled in salted water. Thats it.

After rigorous washing of the supremely muddy nuts, I steamed them in a whole pot of boiling salted water for almost 20 minutes.

Boiled peanuts have 4 times the antioxidants as that of raw peanuts.

Boiled peanuts have 4 times the antioxidants as that of raw peanuts.

Boiled Peanuts are highly nutritious. They provide as an amazing substitute to your mindless munches and cravings. They are leaner than their raw or toasted counterparts. And whatever little bit fat they have, is ‘good’ ‘essential’ fat. Yay!

Benefits galore

Benefits galore

Life’s pleasures do not lie in complication or high-end expenditure, but in the very simple, the very basic and the very ordinary. A day well spent.

Poor man's almond

Poor man’s almond

Red Bean Corn Quesadilla

Have you ever wondered that there are more same gender families than the ones with both girls and boys. Like more people have all girls or all boys. Growing up with the commoness has some real intricate implications, which forms the basis of your entire life. Usually.

My house homed giggling, naive, shopping, merry, fighting, expressive girls, who never failed to assert our feelings for each other. Whereas the better half belongs to a serious boy gang of 4! Stoic, reserved, tight lipped, the boys went about their life, without interfering much in the other. I found it so weird.
Husband reminisces, one of the few things that they ever bonded over was …food.
Well, the way to these boys hearts was surely through their stomachs. But you know how it is when you have 4 teenage boys who play football and are forever hungry. Oh! I would never want to be in my mother in laws shoes – ever.

Now, that they are much older with work taking priority, the food bit seems to fade. But, I have this one particular brother in law who is a treat to feed. Being the eldest, he had big responsibility to shoulder. Giving up his dreams and passion to make a lucrative career took over and some where the love for food paled.
Ever since, big brother started visiting Mumbai for work, little brother re ignited the man’s love for taste. Goading me to try something new and serve him every time he came over. I did it hesitatingly first, but, to my surprise he turned out experimental, curious and extremely accommodating. Perfect for someone like me, who has her decent share of mishaps in the kitchen. I love to cook. He loves to EAT. Splendid. What more could I ask for.

And of course, Super touched by my man’s expression of affection towards his brother. Now, this I can relate to.

One of brother in law’s all time favorite are crisp, veggie stuffed quesadillas. Apart from satiating his taste buds, the guy also has a festish for all things healthy. Its always a challenge to make something nutritious yet yumm.

Bean Corn Quesadillas with fresh salsa

Bean Corn Quesadillas with fresh salsa

Red kidney beans, corn and mozzarella layered between two thin tortillas, and roasted to golden brown. Oh so yumm! This crisp finger food needs no dipping sauce or sour cream. But I did have tomato salsa faithfully sitting by its side… which was never scooped up with a quesadilla but with corn chips.

Protein enriched rajma enveloped in tortillas

Protein enriched rajma enveloped in tortillas

These are essentially mexican appetizers, but they can make a decent meal in themselves when served with some soup or a light salad.

bean, corn, cheese - yummilicious

bean, corn, cheese – yummilicious

No more chatting, a delish gooey cheesy recipe awaits:

To serve 2 people –

Ingredients

4 flour tortillas or thin Indian flatbread/Chappathi

For the filling:

  • 1/2 cup red kidney beans or rajma, soaked and well boiled
  • 1/2 cup corn
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2-3 green chilies, minced – optional
  • 2 tbsp spring onion greens or chopped coriander leaves
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp olive oil + little more for roasting the quesadilla
  • salt to taste
  • 4 tbsp tomato salsa
  • 4 tbsp grated mozzarella – or as you like it. More the better for me 🙂

Method

In a pan, heat oil, saute the garlic, green chilies and onions. Once pinkish, add the corn and beans. Sprinkle salt, oregano and the chopped greens(spring onions or coriander). Mix well. Keep aside.

when ready to serve:
Take a tortilla, spread salsa on half of it. Place 2-4 tbsp of the filling on the applied salsa. Spread a tbsp of grated mozzarella. Fold the other side and make a semi circle. Press the corners tightly, so that when you roast, the stuffing doesn’t fall out. Now with the help of little olive oil, roast on a hot flat griddle, from both sides till crisp.

Once done, cut into neat triangles and serve with any sauce or sour cream by the side.

Roasted to golden brown perfection, with very little oil

Roasted to golden brown perfection, with very little oil

You could alternatively, spread the filling on an entire whole tortilla, then cover it with another tortilla and roast it from both sides. But in this case, you need to be super careful when you pick up the assembly to roast on the griddle. It tends to all fall apart. So its you’re call and experience basically.

Gooey Cheese oozes its way out

Gooey Cheese oozes its way out

You could use fresh kidney beans or rajma or from the can. The fresh one is healthier but canned version is faster.

Fresh tomato salsa served on the side..

Fresh tomato salsa served on the side..

Done with dinner, the brothers stand staring out in to the star studded sky. No talk, no discussion, no laughter, no fight… but plain pure peace. Silence can convey more affection than a thousand words of love. I get that now.

Baked Corn Chips

Baked Corn Scoops.

Baked Corn Scoops.

Choosing a healthy between-meal snack can be quite a daunting task. The popular options are usually deep-fried or sweet. I usually grab a few cream biscuits(me and my forever famished sweet tooth… sigh!) or end up making a “chaat” involving deep-fried savory crackers along with a hosts of sweet spicy chutneys.

So, when I initially tried the baked version of these crunchy appetizing chips, I was taken aback. The little scoops tasted sooo great and the flavors sooo full, and what’s more???… with varied options to dip them in… I didn’t get bored!

Crunchy Appetizer

Crunchy Appetizer

Creamy herb Cheese, Flavorful hummus, Tangy tomato salsa or the piquant simply ambrosial Mango salsa (My favorite!) are few of the innumerable options to dip your chip in.

With these little beauties in hand, an entire tex mex platter can be served in no time. It’s always a great crowd pleaser.

Options Galore!

Options Galore!

I used to make the fried version which is yumm… and would get over in like a day. So, when I embarked on the baked path, it was with much caution. The outcome was so awesome, I have made several batches since. And?? Yeah.. they get over soon too. 🙂

Baked Bites.

Baked Bites.

Fresh maize flour and all-purpose flour, seasoned with crushed oregano and chili flakes is all that you need to make these crunchy snacky bites.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup maize flour
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour/maida
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp chili flakes
  • salt to taste
  • 2 blobs of butter
  • luke warm water to knead

Method

Sieve the maize flour and all-purpose flour. Throw in the oregano, chili flakes, salt and butter. rub the butter till it is well incorporated into the flours. Now make a soft pliable dough with the help of some luke warm water. Keep aside for 30 minutes.

Once the dough is ready. Get a flat griddle ready. With the help of some flour, roll out thin rounds, I mean.. really nice and thin rounds… taking care not to tear it. Gently lift the rounds with the help of a spatula, and slightly roast both sides on a hot griddle. Make several tortillas like this. Once you have replenished the dough. Cut the tortillas into triangles/scoops.

Thin rounds ensure a crisp scoop.

Thin rounds ensure a crisp scoop.

Now, you could deep fry the cut wedges or get your oven nice and hot, and bake these little beauties at 150 degree celsius for just about 5-6 minutes. Try to spread the triangles in a neat manner so that they get baked uniformly. Remember they are nice and thin, so they hardly take time to turn dark and burn. So, keep an open eye people.

Once done, let them cool off a bit and then store them in an air tight container. It would stay good up to 3-4 days, I never get a chance to judge because I make very small batches and they get over in a day or two.

Just a few things to take note of:

  • Maize flour is not easy to roll out, the tortillas keep breaking, hence you might have to adjust the quantity of all-purpose flour to suit your skill.
  • You could skip the added flavors of oregano and chili flakes to make plain simple chips.
  • Butter is essential, as it makes the chips soft yet crunchy… you know what I mean.
  • If you get tired of rolling out the dough, make a few and refrigerate the rest of the dough to make another batch later.
Mexican Platter

Mexican Platter

Kids love it.

Kids love it.

Cheesy Hummus Pizza

Cheesy Hummus Pizza....

Cheesy Hummus Pizza….

All right. This has to be the yummiest, cheesiest, crispiest take on a pizza I have ever made!
This was oh so yum!! dear foodies, I beg/implore/coerce/push you to try it. Yea. I’m that insistent. Leftover hummus, an extra kulcha(thick mughlai bread) and loads of mozzarella can create such a master piece…. I seriously had no idea.

Gooey, cheesy  divine madness...

Gooey, cheesy divine madness…

Quick, simple and an incredibly easy way to get rid of leftovers and satiate those forever-craving taste buds! Since I had only one kulcha left and just about enough hummus to coat and cover it… Milee fought tooth and nail with dad to devour the last tasty bits and bites.

Healthy alternative to the traditional pizza.

Healthy alternative to the traditional pizza.

Here’s what you need to do:
The recipe:

To make 1 hummus pizza:

Ingredients

  • 1 thick whole wheat kulcha or any flat bread you want to use.
  • Enough olive oil to brush the bread
  • 3 tbsp hummus
  • 2-3 tbsp mozzarella, grated
  • 1 tsp parsley leaves, crushed
  • 1 tsp red chili flakes, or as per your taste
  • 5-6 sliced green/black olives
  • Optional: 1 tsp italian seasoning and little tobasco sauce

Method

This is so simple really.

Bake the plain kulcha at 175 degree for 3-4 minutes. Remove from the oven, brush the bread with olive oil. Spread hummus. Sprinkle red chili flakes and arrange the sliced olives. Sprinkle parsley.

Before the cheese and the baking bit.

Before the cheese and the baking bit.

Now top with loads of grated mozarella –

Comforting presence of Cheese.

Comforting presence of Cheese.

Bake at 175 degrees till the cheese melts and the bread turns crisp n crunchy. Remove from the oven. Cut up and serve.

Perfect Golden brown.

Perfect Golden brown.

The husband likes with an extraaa dash of seasoning and tabasco. But you could use it according to your likes.

Yumm! Yumm! Yumm!!

Yumm! Yumm! Yumm!!

Popular Indian Potato Pastry / Punjabi Samosa

Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain!

Punjabi Samosa

Punjabi Samosa

It rained here last night. Some say it was a storm, a hail storm. The rain so heavy and incessant, that it literally locked us in, exactly when we siblings craved to go out and get wet. Mother barred rain walks and rain dance, told us to zip it and sit snug at home. “I’ll make samosas!”, she enticed. Luring us with mouth watering delicacies is one of the many tactics Mother employs to get us listen to her.
Samosas, a hot cuppa tea and rain is “the” most perfect combo deal, no fast food place or restaurant can ever offer!

The trick worked. We stayed. We helped. We relished.

savoury potato snack served with green mint and tamarind chutneys

savoury potato snack served with green mint and tamarind chutneys

A samosa, is an Indian entree, where a thin pastry is filled with a spiced vegetable(usually potatoes) and deep fried in oil. This savoury dish is a great crowd pleaser and has attained immense popularity in many countries, including United kingdom, Canada, US and South Africa.

Most Popular Indian Appetizer

Most Popular Indian Appetizer

The Filling inside a samosa usually is made of potatoes and peas along with a host of masalas/spices. The flavors are a melange of salt, spice and tang, mildly infused with asafetida, ginger and fennel seeds. Oh! so yumm! so rustic!

The tamarind chutney renders the tang and slight sweetness, which compliments the savoury samosa perfectly.

The tamarind chutney renders the tang and slight sweetness, which compliments the savoury samosa perfectly.

Now for the recipe:

Ingredients

For the Pastry:

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 3 spoons of oil
  • salt to taste

For the filling:

  • 2 cups mashed or small cubed boiled potatoes
  • 1/2 cup boiled peas
  • 1/2 tsp julienned ginger
  • 1-2 green chilies, minced
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp asafetida powder
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1-2 tsp red chili powder
  • 1 tsp dry mango powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • salt to taste
  • 1-2 tsp chopped coriander leaves

Method

To make the pastry:
Rub the oil and maida/flour and salt without adding water. Then slowly add luke warm water to make a semi soft dough. Keep aside for 30 minutes.

Till then prepare the stuffing:
In a pan, heat oil. crackle the cumin seeds. Add asafetida. Now, throw in the peas, ginger and green chilies. Saute for a few minutes. Now add the potatoes along with the spices, dry mango powder, coriander powder, red chilli powder, garam masala, fennel seeds, salt and coriander leaves. Mix everything well.

Note: Play with the spices according to the level of heat you can take.

For the actual part:
Grabbing small pieces from the dough, roll out thin rounds. Cut each round into 2 equal semi circles. Now each semi circle will make one samosa. So you do the math for the number of samosas your cup of flour is going to give.

Pick up the semi circle gently, fold into a cone like shape. Stick the corners with water. Fill each samosa with the potato stuffing and then seal it close with the help of little water. You could even turn the corners inwards to tighten the folds.

For your help:

The making.

The making.

Novice cooks might find the process of folding and filling a little tedious and difficult. But patience and passion is all that you need… yea yea, cringe… what to do, I do get kinda preachy.

Once your done with the filling, deep fry them in slightly hot oil on low flame till they turn a perfect golden brown. This takes some time, so guys, keep cool. The sim flame ensures crispness and flakiness to the outer pastry.

The spicy potato pea stuffing.

The spicy potato pea stuffing.

To be enjoyed with a hot cup of Indian Chai.

To be enjoyed with a hot cup of Indian Chai.

Alternatively, you could even bake the filled pastries in an Oven at 180 degree centigrade till they cook and turn light brown.

So, the rain bought hot crisp samosas with it and the world turned mud-luscious and puddle-wonderful!!

Enjoying cold rainy weather!

Enjoying cold rainy weather!

Savoury Steamed Gram Flour Cake / Khaman Dhokla

After a big FAT Indian wedding and a family get together in the beautiful coffee estates of Chikmagalur in karnataka, India, I have finally arrived bag baggage and all to my parents place, in Bangalore. Just a week or so here, then we’ll be back in Mumbai to home sweet home. Apart from the usual routine of relaxing, catching up with relatives, shopping and eating out, I have come with another agenda – to blog about mother’s awesome recipes!

A fabulous cook, she loves to feed people and with all her girls around her, she is anyway going to go bonkers with food.. so why not capilatize this opportunity.

Steamed Savoury Gram Flour Cake

Steamed Savoury Gram Flour Cake

One of the first thing I asked her to make is Khaman Dhokla, a savoury steamed gram flour cake, spiced with grated coconut, green chilies and asofetida. Its light, spongy and so melt in the mouth, that you don’t stop at one. Old friends who have eaten mother’s dhoklas, have repeatedly implored me for this recipe.

So, today, when the house was buzzing with grandparents, aunts, sisters, kids and friends, mom made this soft gujrati snack.

Soft, light, Spongy!

Soft, light, Spongy!

I set the plate up, switch on the lights and lo! have forgotten my camera. So, rush back to my room, dig in for the latest precious possession. Come back, and half the pieces are gone. I fret and fume. They have grabbed a bite. I yell. But suddenly along with the food, I have like 15 more people surrounding me, all curious, amused and eager to get into the frame! Sigh!

After the monumental task of explaining to the much amused elders what a blog is, the men leave me in peace but the women buzz around like bees, each rattling off their signature recipes. Assuring each aunt that her prized recipe would make it to my latest venture, they stop the incessant chatter and stand in attention still curious(or skeptical?!) about my photography skills.
(Whew! and I had come with a whole list of things to be made n written about…blogging is not going to be easy here. 🙂 )

Instant Gujrati snack

Instant Gujrati snack

Off to the recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1 cup gram flour /besan
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 1/4 tsp citric acid
  • 1/4 tsp soda
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • a packet of fruit salt, we used Eno

For the tempering:

  • 1 tsp of oil
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp asofetida
  • 2-3 green chilies, slit
  • 5-6 curry leaves
  • 2 tbsp grated fresh coconut
  • 2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
  • 2 tbsp sugar mixed in 1/2 cup water

Method

First prep your steamer. In a kadai/dhokla maker, heat water. Its important to keep your batter in a pre heated steamer.
Now, make a batter of gram flour, salt, citric acid, sugar and soda, along with water. The consistency should be pourable. Keep the batter for 10 minutes. When ready, add the fruit salt and mix well. Immediately pour on a greased plate and steam it for 30 minutes on medium flame.

Once done, the gram flour cake would have well risen. Now to this, you just have to cut into neat squares and pour a tempering BUT, please wait for it to cool completely(this takes approximately 15 minutes), before pouring the tempering. [Like how we wait for a cake to cool completely before frosting it]

For the tempering: heat oil, fry mustard seeds, asofetida, curry leaves, green chilies. Once done, add the sugar water mix. Now, pour this tempering evenly over the gram flour cakes. Sprinkle grated coconut and chopped coriander.

Serve with mint green chutney.

Delectable yellow sponge.

Delectable yellow sponge.

Corn Broccoli Bread Pockets

Stuffed mini buns with corn, broccoli and cheese

Stuffed mini buns with corn, broccoli and cheese

Little bread cored out and stuffed with a creamy mix of corn broccoli and cheese. So yumm!
The other day, I got a packet of mini bread buns. Dainty little burgers were on mind, but at the last minute decided to dish out something different. So, I carved out pockets and filled them with a cheesy mix of corn and broccoli, baked to golden brown.
The awesome breakfast gave a dizzy, soulful start to a beautiful day.

So tempting!

So tempting!

I love the combination of sweet corn kernels and broccoli. And you throw them in a creamy cheesy white sauce, it literally yells out to you!! If weight was not a concern, I could lick an entire bowl of this dip clean.

Like how Milee sighs and exclaims “all yummy things are junk”. For me, it is “All yummy things are FAT!!”

Ingredients

  • 4-6 small mini bread buns
  • 1/2 cup sweet corn kernels
  • 3/4 cup broccoli florets, chopped
  • 2 tsp all purpose flour or whole wheat flour
  • 1 glass milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • red chili flakes – according to taste
  • 1 tsp olive oil/butter
  • 1 tbsp basil leaves, chopped
  • 4-6 tsp mozzarella cheese, grated

Method

For the Filling:
Heat oil/butter in a pan, saute the corn and broccoli. Add flour. Slowly add milk and keep stirring. A semi thick creamy white sauce should be the end. Season it with salt, pepper, oregano and chili flakes. Mix in the chopped basil leaves. Let the entire mix simmer for a minute or two. Keep aside to cool.

To make the Pockets:
Now, take each bread, core out the middle gently using a sharp knife. Fill with corn broccoli cream and top each with a spoon of grated mozzarella.

The Making.

The Making.

Then, bake at 175 degree celsius till the cheese melts and the bread turns crisp.

Awesome Appetizer.

Awesome Appetizer.

Serve immediately with tomato ketchup and some hot sauce.

Stuffed Pockets - Sooo good!

Stuffed Pockets – Sooo good!