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!

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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!

    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.

    No Bake Cherry Nutella Chocolate Tart

    Cherry Nutella Chocolate Tart

    Cherry Nutella Chocolate Tart

    The web’s inundated with such recipes. Recipes of luscious no bake cakes and pies. But just a deluge of formulas is never enough to do certain things. I could have made this oh-so-simple sweet something long long back.. but I didn’t. What was I waiting for? Christmas you would say, but a decadent strawberry cake took its rightful place and again this particular recipe took a backseat.

    One for the season

    One for the season

    Inspiration. Yes, that’s what I needed. And Inspiration comes to us slowly and quietly… prime it with a little solitude
    Being all alone(and the fact that a box full of cherries is lying uneaten)has its impacts. Yes, you end up making a cheery cherry chocolate pie. And if the inspiration bit is kicking your butt, then you end up adding nutella to it 😉

    tart sweet and juicy

    tart sweet and juicy

    Those cherries had not takers. The precious little eyes which gleamed when a box full was spotted turned blind at the mere mention. The tongue was more than appeased with the little stone fruits. They had been gorging on them for over a month now. So, the scorned neglected but juicy red fruit sat all alone waiting to be acknowledged. I grabbed them before they withered and sulked.

    Serves One :)

    Serves One 🙂

    The Recipe: To make a small tart or 4 small one-serve cups

    Ingredients

    • 1 pack of digestive biscuits or any cream biscuits. I used Bourbon
    • 1 tbsp melted butter
    • 1 cup cherries, pitted and halved
    • 1/2 cup low fat cream, I used Amul’s
    • 50 gms dark cooking chocolate, cut into big pieces
    • 2 tbsp nutella
    • 2 tsp cornflour

    Method

    Crush the biscuits in a ziplock pouch using a rolling pin. Remove the crushed mix into a large bowl. Drop a tablespoon of melted butter. Using your fingers, mix and mash around till it resembles a fine crumb.
    Grease the container in which you want to set the dessert. Press the biscuit butter crumb as tightly and neatly as you can. Refrigerate for about an hour or so.
    Meanwhile, save a bit of cream and mix with cornflour. Keep aside. The remaining cream, nutella and chocolate goes into a pan. Heat till it melts, stir all the while.
    Pour the cream and cornflour mix into it. Keep stirring till the sauce thickens to a batter like texture. Cool for about 30 minutes or so.

    Now, remove the biscuit base, dot with pitted and halved cherries. Pour the cooled chocolate-nutella-cream mix. Chill for at least 3/4 hours or until set.

    Serve with more cherries or stewed cherries like I did.

    The biscuit base lends a delicious crunch!

    The biscuit base lends a delicious crunch!

    Recipe for Stewed Cherries:

    Boil 1 cup of pitted and halved cherries, along with 2 tbsp sugar, juice of 1/2 a lime and 1 cup water. Simmer till the cherries have wilted into a mushy consistency. Keep adding water all along if they stick to the base or incase they tend to burn. Cool and use as required.

    A peek inside

    A peek inside

    Note: The original recipe has a baked base, I opted for a no bake one. To follow the original, click here.

    Note: This recipe will go great with peaches, strawberries, blueberries or even mango.

    Note: You can use standard white chocolate instead of the dark one.

    Note: Serving options include whipped cream or even vanilla ice-cream. Yumm!

    Simple, easy delicious dessert

    Simple, easy delicious dessert

    I am taking dessert this time over at Angie’s Friday Fiesta #24. Do peek over to see some awesome collection of mouth-watering recipes and writing.

    Choco Chip Mini Muffins – EggFree

    School re-opens. A brand new year. New teacher. Fresh clean books. Sharpened pencils. And amongst all this – new classmates. Her class gets shuffled every year, and this grade none of her friends are with her. She returns home dejected and sullen.

    Mini Muffins

    Mini Muffins

    Slow at makin friends and adapting to new people, the little girl takes her own sweet time in settling down and getting companionable. Once she does though is another story altogether! But for now, she is bitter. Full of complaints on the first day – that girl pushed me, this boy pulled my hair, teacher was rude… the list is endless. It takes mammoth patience and understanding to explain that the whole world is not there to bite her. They have other work too. A task really. But her stubborn mind is not so yielding.

    Choco chips in butter vanilla

    Choco chips in butter vanilla

    When the hostile mind slowly dies down, out rises the receptiveness. Her desires for amity make way for innumerable possibilities. Topping the list was Food 🙂

    One smart girl I have. Food brings people closer, breaks barriers, warms the heart.
    Someone so rightly said “If you really want to make a friend, go to someone’s house, EAT with Him….. the people who give you their food, will give you their heart”

    So I bake for her camaraderie. And I bake for her zest and spirit.

    chocolate muffin

    chocolate muffin

    For the Vanilla Butter Cupcakes

    Ingredients

    • 1 cup maida/all purpose flour
    • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
    • Baking powder 1 tsp
    • Baking soda 1/4 tsp
    • Warm Milk 1/3 cup
    • Curd 1/2 cup, whisk it before using
    • melted butter, 1/4 cup
    • Vanilla essence 1/4 tsp
    • 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
    • 1/4 cup chocolate chips, white or dark or a bit of both

    Method

    Preheat oven to 150 C.
    In a big mixing bowl, combine all the dry ingredients except the chocolate chips. Mix well. Now, make a well in the center of the dry mixture. Add the curd, vanilla, vinegar and butter.
    Using a hand whisk, gently mix the ingredients until well combined. Make sure the wet ingredients are incorporated into the dry ingredients. Don’t over mix. Gently fold in the choco chips.

    Now line your cupcake tray with liners or grease them of required. Spoon the batter till the moulds are 3/4th full. If you like, you can top the cupcakes with more chocolate chips.
    Bake the little muffins at 150 C for about 8-10 minutes or until they are done. Remove. Cool.

    For the chocolate cupcakes, follow the above method and add 1/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa to the dry ingredients and add a bit of milk accordingly.

    Box full

    Box full

    Note: Chopped nuts or any dried fruit can also be added in place of chocolate chips.

    Note: Do not over bake the cupcake, around 8-10 minutes should be apt, else they turn hard and chewy.

    Little Treats

    Little Treats

    She wanted the entire box, which is SO not allowed in school. Gently coaxing her to take a few to share with her immediate neighbors was met with instant disapproval.
    Friendship takes time, I cajoled.
    Yes, but I need some for my old friends too…. left me with no more words.

    Whole Wheat Oats Banana Honey Bread – Eggless, Sugarless, Butterless

    Whole Wheat Oats Banana Honey Bread

    Whole Wheat Oats Banana Honey Bread

    Less is definitely more. Especially when it comes to this divine soft dense bread. Going sugar free and fat free along with skipping the eggs is no joke guys. Really. Skeptical from scratch, I still ventured ahead because the germ of the idea had firmly incorporated itself in my head.
    Banana bread. Sounds so enticing, and when you make it literally fat free and supremely healthy who would want to wait and why? 🙂

    So healthy

    So healthy

    If truth be told, I had never eaten banana bread before but had seen numerous recipes floating around. So when I came across this super healthy recipe with easily available ingredients I got all excited and eager. I sieved, mixed and baked. And then I waited. While the beauty rose, my house smelled warm and divine. I could hardly wait for it to cool down. To kill time, I put up teasers on my page on FB, chatted with friends, disturbed the husband and checked the clock repeatedly.

    Finally when my knife sank into the well risen bread, well.. so did my heart. It was dense and slightly sticky. My face fell. The excitement evaporated. What did I make? Is it supposed to be like this? This thing has all the stuff which never goes into making bread – whole grain, oats, no sugar, no butter, no eggs… yea, it has all rights to be what it is. I was crest fallen.

    When I took a teeny tiny piece for him to taste and give his highly valued verdict, all that he could gesture(he was on those never ending conf calls of his) was ‘ya nice, now go’. Sigh! With no bona fide feedback, I resigned to FB and friends. They did rescue me. Both FB food groups and my dear friends.

    So what I learnt was that Banana bread is naturally dense and more moist than other cakes. Depending on the quantity of bananas used, the result could vary in stickiness(I hope that’s a word).
    Oh Well. One pal of mine went a step ahead, smeared a slice with some tart marmalade and encouraged me to take a mouthful. I hesitated. But just one bite was enough to tell me, I didn’t have a recipe failure for sure 🙂 It tasted SO good with the fruit preserve, that I wondered why I was in any doubt in the first place.

    Yumm with some nutella

    Yumm with some nutella

    gorgeous Crust

    gorgeous Crust

    This recipe has been adapted from here.

    Ingredients

    • 1 cup whole wheat flour or atta
    • 1 cup mashed banana
    • 1/2 cup Oats
    • 1/3 cup Orange juice or sweet lime juice
    • 1/4 cup honey
    • 3 tbsp. oil
    • 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
    • 3 tbsp. chocolate chips
    • 1 tsp. baking powder
    • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
    • A pinch of salt

    Method

    Preheat oven to 180°C and grease a bread pan and keep aside.

    Take whole wheat flour, Oats, baking soda, baking powder, salt and chocolate chips in a large bowl and mix well. In another bowl add mashed banana, oil, honey, cider vinegar, mosambi juice and combine well.

    Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients in it. Mix until just combined.
    Pour the batter in the greased baking tin and bake for about 40 minutes or till done. Mine was done in 50 minutes. Once done. Cool well. Invert and slice thinly.

    Serve with butter or jam or nutella.

    Good with some butter

    Good with some butter

    Note: Sanjeeta of LiteBite.in encourages to use apple cider vinegar as it acts as a substitute to eggs and gives lightness to the bake. Apple cider variety has a lovely taste than the plain vinegar. If you want to skip it, then add yogurt instead.

    Jam and Nutella - perfect on some bread

    Jam and Nutella – perfect on some bread

    For the next two days, my breakfast comprised of a slice of this delicious bread, some marmalade, a glass of warm milk and 5-6 almonds. The natural sweeteners in the cake took care of my day’s sweet cravings and I for one felt like some harbinger of good health and nutrition.

    Sugarless, butterless and eggless

    Sugarless, butterless and eggless

    Roasted Tomato Soup

    Gorged on those cookies? Took more than a bite of that super moist Christmas cake? Could not say no to those scrumptious cheesy deep fried appetizers? Pigged out at parties? Drank more than what your self could handle? hmm…

    Well, its time to cleanse guys. Detox they call it. To stop the binging. To start the healing. To start another year, fresh and healthy. To make resolutions – which usually don’t last more than a week 😉 Oh! We’ll save that for another post.

    For now, it’s time to soupify your palette.

    Luscious Roasted Tomato Soup

    Luscious Roasted Tomato Soup

    What I have here is a simple delicious luscious tomato soup recipe. Light, flavorful and so simple, you will find yourself making it more often than required. Best enjoyed with some home-made croutons or bread sticks, this one is sure a keeper.

    I have a little soup lover at home. Along with the love comes the pricky palette which is SO not easy to please. Many of my tomato soup attempts tasted like ‘ketch-up’ to her and she hates ketch up. So, when I tried this particular method, you can imagine me heave such a sigh of relief when the bowl was polished off in no time. And she comes back for more.. yay! That’s my girl!

    Flavored croutons goes great with some hot soup

    Flavored croutons goes great with some hot soup

    The recipe:

    To make 2 bowls of soup:

    Ingredients

    • 4 red ripe tomatoes
    • 1 medium-sized onion
    • 1 tiny potato
    • 2-3 garlic cloves, I used the fresh green variety with stalks.
    • 1 tsp olive oil
    • 1/4 tsp of sugar
    • salt and pepper to taste

    Method

    Preheat the oven at 200 C. Cut all the veggies in circles and arrange on a greased baking tray. Throw in the garlic pods too. Brush all with olive oil. Sprinkle sugar evenly all over the vegetables.

    Ready to go into the oven

    Ready to go into the oven

    Roast all the veggies for 15-20 minutes until roasted and browned. Turn the tray in between for even baking.
    Once done, remove. cool. Blend into a smooth fine paste using little bit of water. Be careful not to add too much water, else the soup will be runny.
    Run through a sieve. Boil again, check consistency. If too thick, add water or milk accordingly. Season with salt and pepper.
    Serve hot topped with little cream or cheese.

    Best with: Croutons, bread sticks, crostinis or toasted bread.

    low cal and super healthy

    low cal and super healthy

    Note: For those who do not have an oven. Take a wok, heat olive oil in it, saute garlic, onions, potato and lastly tomato, sprinkled with a little bit of salt. Sprinkle some water. Cover and let it cook. Once done, proceed as mentioned in the recipe above.

    Note: The potato is added to give volume or thickness to the soup. The addition of potato eliminates the use of thickening agents like cornstarch or flour in milk.

    Note: The bits of sugar on the vegetables help in caramelizing the veggies.

    Note: To give extra kick to your soup, try adding one tiny green chili to the veggies on the baking tray. Spicy, salty, tangy and a little bit of sweet – all at the same time. Yummy!

    For those chilly cold evenings..

    For those chilly cold evenings..

    Chilly winters call for some of this luscious soup.
    So bake it. Make it. Lick it. Love it.

    -Namrata

    Fun with Farfalle

    Life is too short, and I’m Italian. I’d much rather eat pasta and drink wine than be a size zero.
    – Sophia Bush

    Farfalle - Two ways

    Farfalle – Two ways

    We watch what we put in our mouth. Mostly. Usually. But there are times when we give into our cravings, and just run a little longer the next morning. With little Milee it’s one of her most favorite and convenient dinners. If by any chance you get to ask her what she would like to eat, pasta is her quickest reply.

    Sadly, ironically, the cravings are more frequent than desired. Now you see, every week – is frequent. And even with the so-called whole grain and multigrain kinds available today I’m still a little weary, because I am not really sure of how much ‘whole grain’ is actually used to make the pasta. I guess my fears will rest only when I make the noodle at home…and that I don’t think I ever will! 🙂

    Well, among the many different kinds available, each member of my mad family has his own particular favorite. Penne for the dad, spaghetti or angel hair for me, bow tie for Milee. No, I don’t spoil them by making their favorites each time. We take turns ;). So, this time, Farfalle or Bow tie it was!

    Assorted Veggies and Thyme Bow Tie Pasta

    Assorted Veggies and Thyme Bow Tie Pasta

    I made mine a wee bit healthier, by eliminating the sauce, and sauteing with loads of veggies. Dried herbs like thyme and oregano were generously sprinkled and the cheese skipped.

    Husband and Milee like the real deal, super creamy mixed sauce, along with a little bit of cheese! So yumm.

    Creamy Mix Sauce Veggie Bow Tie

    Creamy Mix Sauce Veggie Bow Tie

    Milee pitched in with her with little hands, choosing the veggies, sprinkling herbs and salt – all the while chattering away incessantly. The babble only reduced when she sneaked in huge amount of boiled plain pasta into her mouth and soon when the cheese came out, the pasta was conveniently forgotten. Kids!

    Recipes

    Thyme Veggie Farfalle – No Butter, No Cheese, No sauce

    Simple stir Fry

    Simple stir Fry

    Ingredients

    • 1 cup al dente boiled pasta, any kind.
    • 1 cup assorted veggies, sliced length wise. I used zucchini, colored peppers and mushrooms
    • 1 big onion, chopped roughly
    • 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
    • 1 green chili-optional
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • red chili flakes – according to taste
    • 1 tsp olive oil
    • 1 tsp thyme, I used dried.
    • 1 tsp oregano, dried
    • Garnish – torn basil leaves

    Method

    In a wok, heat oil. Saute onions, garlic and green chili. Once a little pink. Throw in the other veggies. Sprinkle salt and stir fry on high. After a couple of minutes, the veggies would be almost done, then add the pasta, along with thyme and oregano, pepper and red chili flakes. Toss.

    Serve garnished with torn basil leaves.

    Best enjoyed with a crusty crunchy slice of bread and some light soup.

    Look at all those colors!

    Look at all those colors!

    Mixed Sauce Creamy Veggie Farfalle

    Creamy Yummy

    Creamy Yummy

    Ingredients

    • 1 cup al dente boiled pasta, any kind
    • 1/2 cup veggies
    • 3-4 tbsp pomodoro sauce
    • 1/2 tbsp flour
    • 1 cup milk
    • salt pepper as per taste
    • red chili flakes as per taste
    • 2 tsp Italian seasoning or mixed dried herbs
    • 1 tbsp butter or oil, I used butter
    • Garnish – parmesan cheese or even cheddar would do
    • Garnish – torn basil leaves

    Method

    In a wok, heat butter/olive oil. Throw in the bowl of veggies. Saute till half cooked. Now add the flour. Let it coat all the veggies, if it seems less, throw in more. Now slowly mix in the milk and stir all the while, till it starts bubbling away. The sauce should start to thicken now. To this, add in some pomodoro sauce. Merge it well. Sprinkle all the herbs, salt, pepper and chili flakes. Now add in the pasta. Toss. Sprinkle cheese and torn basil leaves.

    Serve hot with toasted bread!

    Note: The idea of putting in the veggies first, then the flour and finally the milk – to make white sauce is fool proof. The sauce comes out creamy always. No knots. No frantic stirring or mixing required, that you would normally do while making white sauce.

    Note: Heavy milk or milk with some cream would naturally result in a creamier(read: yummier) sauce.

    Caters to all taste buds

    Caters to all taste buds

    It is really your call to garnish with the right amount of cheese. You will know best how much is too much, but then again, will you? 😉

    If someone ever tells you that you put too much parmesan cheese on your pasta, stop talking to them.
    You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life.

    Beet-Walnut Pesto, Pink Penne Pesto Pasta and a Sandwich

    Roasted Beet Garlic Pesto - no cheese

    Roasted Beet Garlic Pesto – no cheese

    I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I’ve been told to make my posts shorter and put one recipes at a time. But I still end up combining 2-3 dishes and presenting it to you. Ah! Pains of a stubborn unlearning mind.

    Pink Penne in Pesto Sauce

    Pink Penne in Pesto Sauce

    I do have a reason for my repetitive obdurate intentional attempts of long posts – One recipe and its versatility. Like, the guacamole post showed that apart from the dip you could make a sandwich too or the garlic roasted potatoes make for a very good and filling wrap. Hence my loooong posts.

    Fair enough? I know, NO. 😉 Well, I hope this post is one of the last few of the combined recipes posts!

    Roasted Beets and Garlic

    Roasted Beets and Garlic

    Roasted Beets along with garlic, just rubbed with a little salt and olive oil makes a very very yummy eat!
    I popped one in my mouth, and the flavor was fresh, juicy and succulent. I think, this, on its own is one great way to eat the root.
    But – I saved the roasted way for another day, as now I craved for some gorgeous pasta.

    Simple Flavourful

    Simple Flavourful

    This bookmarked recipe of mine was waiting to be tried and tested. With my little daughter in school, husband traveling and my sudden pasta yearnings, the day seemed perfect to experiment.
    I slightly tweaked the recipe according to the ingredients available at hand and of course my mood.

    Multipurpose Dip

    Multipurpose Dip

    Beet Walnut Pesto

    To make a cup of pesto –

    Ingredients

    • 2 medium sized beets, washed, peeled and sliced
    • 4-5 cloves of garlic
    • 2 tbsp olive oil
    • 8-10 walnut pieces, less than a handful
    • Juice of 1/2 a lime – varies according to taste
    • salt to taste
    • 2 tbsp parmesan cheese – optional (I did not use any as I did not have at hand, still the pesto was yumm)

    Method

    Rub a little olive oil and salt on the sliced beets along with the garlic. Spread on a baking tray and bake at 175 C for 15 minutes or so, till all the juices are released and beets are soft. Alternatively, you could saute them in a frying pan with little olive oil.

    Once cool, put the roasted veggies in a mixer, add parmesan, walnuts, lime juice and salt. Grind to a semi smooth paste. Use water if required. Add olive oil. Mix well. Use as required.

    The verdict:

    The color stuns you, the nutty taste lingers for long and the health quotient gives you enough reason to digg in for more. So with the pink pesto, some corn and fresh basil, I made magic with my Penne.

    Basil and Corn  add to the magic

    Basil and Corn add to the magic

    Pink Penne Pasta

    Ingredients

    • 1 cup penne pasta or nay type of pasta – boiled al dente
    • 1/4 cup corn kernels
    • a little butter or olive oil
    • 2 tsp plain flour
    • 1 cup milk
    • 2-3 tbsp beet pesto
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • red chili flakes and oregano as per your taste
    • 2 tbsp fresh basil leaves, chopped

    Method

    In a pan, heat oil or butter, saute corn. Once done, add flour to it. Let it coat the kernels. Mix in milk and keep stirring till the milk thickens. Now add salt, pepper, oregano, red chili flakes and pesto. Mix well. Stir in the penne. Then garnish with chopped basil leaves. Enjoy it hot!

    How easy was that?

    Note: Feel Free to add any veggies of your choice – broccoli, carrots, mushrooms, onions and pepper… list is endless.

    Pesto n Grilled Veggie Sandwich

    Pesto n Grilled Veggie Sandwich

    Pesto Grilled Veggie Sandwich

    I sautéed some thinly sliced veggies like onions, peppers, carrots and mushrooms, along with salt and pepper powder. Generously applied beet pesto to 2 slices of bread, placed the sautéed veggies and a slice of cheese on one pesto smeared bread. Covered it with the other bread. Grill with little olive oil or butter. Done!
    Best Enjoyed with ketch up and hot sauce.

    Nutty texture

    Nutty texture

    Ideas to add beet pesto to your food –

    1. Pasta
    2. Sandwiches
    3. Wraps with cheese and veggies
    4. As a dip with crudities or toasted bread or corn chips
    5. on crostinis and on canapes.

    If you can think of any other way, do drop a line.

    Vegetable Dimsums / Momos / Steamed Dumplings

    Vegetable Dimsums

    Vegetable Dimsums

    All of 4 years, a bundle of energy, irresistibly cute and disarmingly charming, this little girl can make any man weak in the knees. Really. No exaggeration. The husband transformed into an instant hopeless fan the moment he set his eyes on her.

    Little Princess

    Little Princess

    Dear readers, this post is dedicated to my little niece, Kaeya. A self confessed ‘MOMO’ freak. These little steamed delights are her all time absolute favorites. She invaded my mind all the while I dished up this Tibetan delicacy.

    Steamed Tibetan Delight

    Steamed Tibetian Delight

    Miles between us, but how I wished I could send a box full of soft melt in the mouth dimsums to her. I can almost hear her shrieking with glee. I see her savoring each bite with such mindfulness that you would be satiated just looking at her 🙂
    Yes, she is that magnetic.

    No, it’s not her birthday or her first day of school or any special day for me to remember her.

    It’s one of those days, when you just do. When you just remember someone, simply because you miss them. Don’t need a birthday or a friendship day or a valentine day to acknowledge another’s presence in our life. It’s one of those days when you simply wish they were here with you.

    Garlic Red Chili Chutney/Dip

    Garlic Red Chili Chutney/Dip – perfect with steaming hot momos!

    I made an ingratiating red garlic chili tomato dip to serve these hot dumplings. Pounded garlic and kashmiri red chilies in a bed of tomatoes, infused with a lot of sesame oil sure adds a very winning accompaniment to the momo mania. Usually kids relish the dimsums as it is, without a dip. But Milee, my 6 year old licks this sauce more than her peers. What can I say?! She has one different palette!

    Dunk it right in!

    Dunk it right in!

    The Recipe:

    For MOMO making step by step pictures, refer here.

    Ingredients

    For the wrapper:

    • 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup plain flour/maida
    • salt to taste
    • 2 tsp oil
    • luke warm water to knead.

    For the stuffing:

    • 1 tbsp oil
    • 5-6 cloves minced garlic
    • 1 big onion minced
    • 1 cup grated cabbage
    • 1/2 cup grated carrots
    • 10-12 french beans, minced
    • 1 small bell pepper, minced – I used red bell pepper
    • 3-4 tbsp spring onion/scallion leaves
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • 2-3 green chilies, minced – optional
    • 1 tsp soy sauce

    Method

    Mix flour, salt, oil and little warm water to make a soft pliable dough. Knead for at least 2 minutes. Keep aside.

    Now to make the filling:

    Heat oil. Saute garlic, green chili(if using) and onions. Once almost pinkish, then add the rest of the grated minced veggies and stir fry till 3/4th done. Sprinkle soy sauce, salt and pepper. Top with scallions leaves. Mix well. Cool the mixture. Keep aside.

    Stuffed with grated veggies

    A peek into the stuffing

    Now to make the Dimsums:

    I grabbed huge handfuls of the dough. With help of more plain flour, I rolled out real thin big huge rounds. The husband likes the wrapper thin, he doesn’t like the doughy taste of the cover. So, it’s a task to thin as possible without tearing. Then I used a round cookie cutter or a steel bowl/katori, and cut out small several rounds.

    On each round, place a few spoon fulls of filling, and gently close the circle encompassing the stuffing into a little pointed bag.

    The making

    The making

    Once you have 6-7 momos ready, steam them for 5-7 minutes, ideally in a bamboo steamer(How, I wish I owned one!), but since most of us don’t have one, we improvise.
    An idli maker or your khaman dhokla maker works absolutely fine in such a situation.

    Steamed hot dumplings

    Steamed hot dumplings

    Now for the Red Chili Tomato Sauce:

    Soak 10-12 kashmiri red chilies for 10 minutes. In a blender, chop up two red ripe tomatoes, add 12-15 cloves of garlic, soaked red chili and a tiny piece of ginger. With out adding any water, grind into a paste. Heat 3 tbsp of sesame oil in a wok, saute one chopped onion. Add the tomato-garlic-red chili paste. Boil well till the oil leaves the sides. Season with salt. Keeps good for at least a month, in the refrigerator.

    Appetising.

    Appetising.

    A long chat with the very talkative, tale spinner. The phone passing many hands, the conversation abruptly ending many times, the loud chitter chatter, the mother( READ: sometimes mine, sometimes my daughter’s, sometimes my niece’s) complaining. Sisters sharing small stories and laughter – A very fitting end to a very dreamy long reminiscing day.