Spicy Sprouts Vegetarian Fajitas

He doesn’t get the difference between a burrito and a fajita.
‘Why have different names, when they have essentially the same stuff in it’….. I don’t have any witty piquant rhetoric for it. So I try to elucidate the serving styles which are remarkably different. Also the analogy that we have million names for chappathis which are made in slightly varied way doesn’t convince him either.

Spicy Mexican Fajitas - Vegetarian!

Spicy Mexican Fajitas – Vegetarian!

I go back to assembling my warm fajitas. I know before making them they would be appreciated because … I know the kind he likes 🙂

He absolutely loves Guacamole, then top with some sour cream and a bit of more lime and I know for sure, the lunch is good. But its the stuffing that I am weary about. To substitute the meat, I sauté mixed sprouts with some julienne veggies. Ah.. this was going experimental. I add another succulent sweet sour salsa to top – the mango salsa. What am I doing??….I am combining disparate flavours and hoping for it to be devoured like never before. Sigh! Wishful thinking this.

Guacamole and Mango Salsa by the side

Guacamole and Mango Salsa by the side

SPICY SPROUTS VEGETABLE MIX

Ideally beans/rajma is used in the vegetarian version of Tex Mex cuisine. But I had a bowl of sprouts to finish before they went bad. Bored of its presence in salads and currys, the family ostracized these protein rich germinated grains. But when you throw them in a wok full of thinly sliced veggies, and season with herbs they are so delicious, you forget that you hated them a while back.

My meat substitute!

My meat substitute!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup julienne vegetables, peppers, mushrooms, carrots, broccoli, corn etc
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 green chillies, minced – optional
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped coriander leaves
  • 1 tsp olive oil

Method

Heat oil in a wok, stir fry garlic, green chilies and onions till they turn translucent. Throw in the other veggies, along with salt and pepper. Cover and cook till almost done. At this stage, add the parboiled sprouts along with oregano and chopped cilantro leaves. Mix well. Keep aside.

SOUR CREAM

Another surprise that day was the sour cream. I made a faux one with yoghurt – its fat free and healthier! Tis so easy peasy, that I find myself making it every other day now.

Sour Cream substitute, made with yoghurt

Sour Cream substitute, made with yoghurt

In a cup of hung curd, add juice of half a lime, crushed garlic, bit of pepper powder and salt. Mix in a tbsp of cream. Churn or mix well for a creamy consistency – Thats it!!

ASSEMBLING THE FAJITA

To assemble 4 fajitas:

Ingredients

  • 4 flour tortillas, I used whole wheat. You can use flour or corn, anything you like.
  • 8 tbsp sprout veggie mix
  • 4 tbsp guacamole
  • 4 tbsp mango-salsa
  • 4 tbsp sour cream
  • sprinkle of taco seasoning on each fajita
Assembling the Fajita

Assembling the Fajita

Method

Warm each tortilla, place 2 table spoons of the sprouts veggie mix, top with guacamole, salsa and sour cream. Sprinkle taco seasoning. Serve immediately.

Warm tortillas

Warm tortillas

Note: Go experimental by replacing mango salsa with tomato or peach salsa.

Note: Replace the sprouts with beans or cheese or meat

Sweet, spicy and the tartness intact - all at the same time

Sweet, spicy, sour, tart – all at the same time

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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.

Shahi Paneer and Whole Wheat Stuffed Kulchas

A complete meal.

A complete meal.

Sunday Lunches are usually special in our house. I don’t know why. Maybe because I lighten the breakfast and skip cooking dinner. Whatever the reason, these meals bring much happiness, smiles and cheer. So, one such beautiful sunny day our lunch was a full blown punjabi meal.

heavy lunch, this.

heavy lunch, this.

Delicacies using paneer or cottage cheese is very integral to the vegetarian Punjabi. If you are going to refuse tandoori chicken and lamb kebabs, then paneer is the The Protein for you. The cuisine comprises of lip smacking dishes with chickpeas, paneer, whole black lentils and copious amounts of cream and ghee. Punjabi food was the hottest cuisine to tuck into back in the late 70s and 80s.

That Sunday I made a creamy paneer side along with vegetable stuffed oven baked unleavened bread and some rich whole lentil dal. The dishes are heavy and little bit of it stuffs you up. But we like to make it just the way it should be. No fat free version, no zero oil. This kind of lunch makes us forego dinner and just snack on salads and soup.

I have recipes for the paneer and the flatbread. Saving the dal for another post.

SHAHI PANEER

Shahi is royal in hindi. Royalty comes with a whole lot of ghee/butter and cream. So please don’t attempt this curry with fat free oils 🙂
Shahi paneer is a wonderful aromatic curry made using cream, tomatoes and spices. This is my second favourite recipe of the cheese after Makhani Paneer.

Shahi paneer

Shahi paneer

Ingredients

  • 200 gms paneer/cottage cheese, cut into cubes
  • 2 medium sized onions, minced
  • 5/6 cloves of minced garlic
  • a tiny piece of ginger
  • 2/3 green chilies, minced
  • 3 red ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tbsp ghee or butter
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 green cardamom
  • a small stick cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp red chili powder or as per taste
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp tandoori masala or garam masala
  • 1 tsp dried crushed kasoori methi
  • salt as per taste
  • 1 cup cream or malai
  • optional: 1/2 cup mushrooms or bell peppers.
  • To garnish: coriander leaves or mint leaves.

Method

In a wok, heat ghee/butter. Drop the bay leaf, cardamom, cloves and cinnamon. Saute for just about a minute. Crackle the cumin. Add the minced garlic, ginger, green chilies and onions. Sprinkle little salt. Cook till the onions turn translucent. Remove the whole spices if you’re afraid kids will bite into it. Add kasuri methi and fry for another 30 seconds. Now add the tomatoes, along with red chili powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder and salt. Cover and cook till the fat leaves the sides. Takes approx 10-12 minutes.

Once that is done, stir in the cream. Mix well. Give it a boil. Stir in the tandoori masala. Add chopped cubes of paneer. Switch the flame off, garnish with coriander leaves or mint.

Serve hot with any flatbread or rice.

Note: If you want to add other vegetables, sauté the chopped veggies in a different wok using very little fat or oil. Stir the sautéed veggies when you add paneer to the onion tomato cream mix.

Note: Mincing the veggies really fine is the key here. Makes the gravy come into one harmonious mix.

Easy to make

Easy to make

UNLEAVENED STUFFED KULCHAS

Kulchas are small round Indian bread made from flour, milk, and butter, typically stuffed with meat or vegetables. Some use leavening agents like yeast or baking powder. I have skipped the leaveners and used whole wheat instead of refined flour. Dotted with nigella seeds and sesame seeds these little breads are extremely nutritious and very easy to make.

Whole wheat stuffed roasted flatbread

Whole wheat stuffed roasted flatbread

The stuffing I used was made with crushed boiled potatoes, minced onions and coriander leaves. You can be innovative and use any grated vegetable you like. Carrots, cheese, cauliflower, peas make great fillings too.

Stuffing

Stuffing

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • a bit of salt
  • 1/2 tsp carrom seeds or ajwain
  • 1 cup milk
  • Optional: 2 tbsp cream or ghee
  • 1 tsp white sesame seeds and 1 tsp nigella seeds, mixed and set aside.
  • To serve: ghee or white butter.

Method

To the flour, add salt, carom seeds. Using luke warm milk bind the dough. Use more milk if required. The dough should be soft and pliable. If you like, you can add a bit of cream or ghee to the flour before binding. Once done, keep covered for 30 minutes or more.

For the stuffing: Use boiled potatoes, minced onion, green chilies and coriander leaves. Mix well, add salt and cumin powder.

To make the kulcha:

Heat a flat griddle or tawa.
Grab a handful of the dough, make a well in the centre, put a tablespoon of the stuffing, close it like a basket. and using more flour roll it out into a small circle. Before placing the rolled out circle onto the griddle, sprinkle some mixed sesame and nigella seeds. Press the seeds into the dough using the rolling pin. Carefully pick the rolled out circle and slap it onto a semi hot griddle. Once it browns a bit, flip the kulcha and roast a bit from the other side.

The making

The making

Now, you can roll the rest of the dough in similar fashion and keep the slightly roasted ones aside. There are two ways to go ahead from this step:

1. You can use a tong and directly roast the kulcha on an open flame till it browns beautifully. Serve hot with ghee or butter on top.

2. Pre heat the oven to 200 degree C. Place the kulchas on a tray and bake till they brown. Takes approximately 6-8 minutes. Serve with ghee or butter.

Kulchas taste great with paneer, kali dal, amritsari channe and many more!

Note: If you add spices to the stuffing and use it for filling the kulcha, it will be good enough to eat with a bowl of yoghurt. No curry, sides or lentils required then.

Perfect combination

Perfect combination

Whole urad lentil and rajma is soaked overnight and pressure cooked. Cream, ghee and milk is again used copiously in this dal. It is so rich and whole I felt it deserves a space of its own. So another post will carry the recipe and mouth-watering pictures.

Not to forget the daal

Not to forget the daal

Alarmed at the quantity of fat and cream used in the recipes? Well, that’s why we make it sparingly and save it for special occasions. Like a sunday 🙂

Yumm.

Yumm.

Thai Green Curry

Thai Green Curry on a bed of white rice

Thai Green Curry on a bed of white rice

I was going away on a holiday. Produce in the refrigerator waited to be used or trashed. Buying all the good stuff a couple of days before I go away is plain stupid of me.
See, but this is what happens. I go grocery shopping thinking I will just pick up the most essential things, but then the colorful fresh vegetables gleam and glare and I end up losing myself and my money. I had very little time to use them all up. Phew!

Well, to cut a long story short. A box full of broccoli, bell peppers, zucchini, baby corn and carrots needed to used – asap. Grilled vegetable salad were a passe. I craved for a spicy broth with them. So what better than a spicy curry laced with coconut milk and lemon grass. Yes, to finish off the vegetables I had to go buy some coconut milk and lemon grass 🙂 Thai Curry was on the cards.

Fragrant Green curry

Fragrant Green curry

I made a green paste with easily available ingredients. Skipped galangal, used Indian green chilies, omitted the fish and shrimp sauces. And yes, it still tastes simply marvelous!
Now, lemon grass and lemon rind are essential ingredients. You cannot go thai without them.

Ingredients for the paste

Ingredients for the paste

Lemon grass is fragrant and is used as an addition to tea, and in preparations such as kadha, which is a traditional herbal ‘soup’ given in coughs, colds, etc. It has medicinal properties and is used extensively in Ayurvedic medicine. Helps in relieving cough and nasal congestion.

Thai Green Curry Paste:

Thai Green Curry Paste

Thai Green Curry Paste

Ingredients

  • 5-6 finely chopped lemon grass stem
  • 1 cup chopped coriander leaves
  • 1/4 cup chopped onions
  • 1 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 10 green chillies , roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp black peppercorns
  • a small piece of ginger
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp grated lemon rind

Method

Combine all the ingredients and blend in a mixer to a fine paste, using just enough water. Keep aside.

Thai Green Curry with Vegetables

Loaded with vegetables

Loaded with vegetables

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup green curry paste
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 10-12 paneer/cottage cheese cubes
  • 1 and 1/2 cups of diced assorted vegetables – broccoli, baby corn, mushrooms, bell peppers, carrots
  • 1 onion, diced
  • a pinch of sugar
  • 8/10 leaves of basil, torn or chopped
  • salt to taste

Method

Heat the oil in a pot, add onions and the green curry paste and sauté on a medium flame for 1 minute. Add all the vegetables except paneer, sprinkle salt. Cover and let it cook till 3/4th done. Add the coconut milk, mix well and cook on a medium flame for a couple of minutes. Sprinkle sugar and salt, mix well and cook on a medium flame a minute or two. Mix in the diced paneer cubes. Top with torn basil leaves.

Serve hot. You could serve the curry with rice or noodles or slurp it up like a spicy soup too.

Note: Basil imparts a lovely flavor and fragrance to the curry. I didn’t have nay that day but top it on your curry and see the difference! Magical is the word.

Spicy, yet mildly soothing

Spicy, yet mildly soothing

Serve on a bed of hot steaming white rice or some boiled noodles –

A bowl of happiness

A bowl of happiness

Photography Styling Challenge #12: Personal

Photography Styling Challenge

Photography Styling Challenge

I signed up for the challenge without batting an eyelid. I never usually do things like that. I am a very conscious girl to the point of being negative, that I review the decisions I have taken a million times before actually taking them. So when I signed up for this.. so simply, I knew I had myself in trouble! But impromptu choices like these are what make my life so interesting. Stumble and fall I did in the first few, then a few encouraging words from M, a bit of practice, a bit of reading and observing and I find myself actually loving it! I finally enjoyed the process and yeah, the results too. 🙂

So the finale is to be shot with anything or anyone you consider Personal. The theme is vast and so I was pretty clueless for some days. But here is my take on the concept.
I have been journalling snippets of my life. Though not as regular as I would like to be, I still write when something special happens to me. Happy moments and some sad. Few successes and some failures. The beauty of life and its ugly side…my journal has seen it all. Emulating the mother, my 7 year old daughter jots down precious moments too – of course in her diary.

Here are a few typical scenes from the table:

My Study

My Study

My glasses hold a very special place at the writing table!

Can't do much without them

Can’t do much without them

So, she barges in when I am trying to do a shoot, insists on laying her diary and paraphernalia too.

She writes too :)

She writes too 🙂

Now that is my favorite pen, a fine micro tip gel.

Personal

Personal

I hope you enjoyed the pictures. To check out the other participants, click here:

Redesigned By M
At the corner of Happy and Harried
Inge Kathleen Photography
City Girl Searching
The Delicious World Of Chefette Spicy
A Tree Grows In The Bayou
I Live Under A Rock Called Table Mountain
Hooked on homes
Samta Photography
Miss Wang Photography
SimplyVegetarian777
Coconut Craze

So what started off unpremeditated and turned out painful and despairing in the beginning, ultimately proved to be fruitful, gratifying and a wonderful experience for me. I am just so glad I could be a part of this. This is the last post of the challenge. I hope M comes up with another series of such challenges, and again I would be a part of it, without batting an eyelid 🙂

Appams and Vegetable Stew

My eyes widened with surprise. ‘They have an english name?! Really? Oh wow’.
Hoppers, he said.
‘Hoppers? So funny’, I was skeptical. He didn’t bother to elaborate and I googled an hour later 🙂

Lacy Hoppers is the anglicized name given to these lacy soft delicious pancakes made with rice and coconut milk. A speciality of a state tucked away in the south west corner of India. Kerala.

Vegetable Stew and Appams, a Kerala Speciality

Vegetable Stew and Appams, a Kerala Speciality

Kerala, commonly referred to as ‘God’s own Country’ is dotted with majestic hills, serene backwaters and palm fringed beaches. Along with its incredible beauty, highest literacy in a state, the place boasts of many gastronomical surprises. Kerala cuisine has a multitude of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes prepared using fish, poultry and red meat. Since coconuts grow in abundance, the keralites use them in and on everything. Literally.

Creamy coconut gravy

Creamy coconut gravy

A thin vegetable stew simmered in coconut milk, flavored with whole spices like cinnamon and bay leaf and garnished with a tempering of curry leaves. Sounds good? Yes, even better with soft lacy pancakes. I used to make them so often earlier. And then in between I just stopped. I don’t know why. Maybe we got bored and then I simply forgot about them. Well, the husband reminded me and out came the aching desire to eat these hoppers with a runny stew.

Appams are bowl-shaped thin pancakes made from fermented rice flour. They take their shape from the small Appachatti in which they are cooked. They are fairly neutral in taste and mostly served with some spicy condiment or curry. These hoppers are made from a batter using rice, yeast, salt and a little sugar. After the mixture has stood for a couple of hours, it can be fried in the appachatti with a little oil. It is mostly served with Kadala (Chickpea) curry, mutton or vegetable stew or egg roast.

PLAIN HOPPERS/AAPPAMS

In an appam chatti

In an appa chatti

Ingredients

  • 1 cup uncooked rice, soaked. I used normal kolam rice.
  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • 1/4 cup fresh coconut pieces
  • coconut water to grind, optional.
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • little oil to make the appams.

Method

Soak the rice for at least 3/4 hours. Grind the soaked rice, cooked rice and coconut using coconut water to a smooth paste. Add salt and sugar. Let it stand for at least 6 hours.

Before using the batter, add baking soda. Mix well. Now heat an appa chatti or a you can use any non stick small wok. Add just nne drop of oil to ensure that the batter doesn’t stick. Now drop a ladlefull of batter. Pick up the appa chatti in your hands, twirl it, so that the batter forms a lace around the middle portion. Place back on flame, cover and cook for 3 to 4 minutes or till the sides start to leave the pan.

Serve with any curry, or stew or any non vegetarian curry of your choice.

Note: The batter though fermented is not one bit sour. Maybe because of the natural mild sweetness from the coconuts and the addition of 1/4 tsp of sugar.

Thin soft delicious

Soft Lacy Delicious

VEGETABLE STEW

Simple flavorful curry

Simple flavorful curry

Ingredients

  • 1 cup assorted vegetables, I used carrots, beans, cauliflower, potatoes, peas and capsicum – chopped.
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp ginger garlic, minced
  • 3/4 green chilies, minced – optional
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 big bay leaf
  • 2 cardamoms
  • 4-5 pods of black pepper
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 cups coconut milk, I used store brought.
  • Tempering: 1 tsp oil, 1/2 tsp mustard seeds and few sprigs of curry leaves.

Method

In a pot, heat coconut oil. Saute the whole spices till fragrant. Now add the ginger garlic, green chilies and onions. Saute till they just turn pink. Add all the chopped vegetables, along with salt. Pour half the coconut milk along with 1/4 cup water. Mix, cover and let it simmer till the vegetables are almost done.

Now stir in the rest of the coconut milk and let it boil for a minute or two. Make a tempering of oil, mustard seeds and curry leaves. Pour over the stew.

Serve hot with appams or plain rice or dosas.

Note: Since coconut milk is used generously, the stew needs to be spiced in order to be enjoyed with lacy appams. So I would suggest up the heat from the green chilies and peppers according to your taste.

Add any vegetable of your choice

Add any vegetable of your choice

Amritsari Channe

Amritsari Channe

Amritsari Channe

I am fretting and fussin over a name. An apt name for this wonderfully aromatic royal north Indian beans usually eaten with puffed deep fried pooris or bhaturas. They are made in a host of different ways hence we have names for every kind.

What I have here is a dark semi thick gravied version, usually made in Punjab, a northern state in India. Lot of spices are used, some whole, some ground. The end result is spicy, earthy and extremely flavorful. Love for these beans is eternal in my house. They sit happily waiting for their meal to arrive! Bliss, when you have happy faces to feed.

Over the years I’ve had little problem with Chickpeas. They usually turn out well. Having changed recipes several times, and now finally zeroed in on a cross between a couple of formulas, my tryst with these beans is here to stay.

With bread and salad

With bread and salad

My grouse lately is what to accompany this curry with. Traditional pooris and other deep fried stuff is out of our menu. Husband is happy with plain old chappathis. But I find it almost belittling to serve this curry with phulkas… just doesn’t seem right. Bread or ready made whole wheat kulchas are a better option. They somehow justify this royal dish 🙂

With rice, papad and salad

With rice, papad and salad

For me, I almost always make some rice. Chole chawal is a regular in many north Indian homes. Roast a papad, cut up some salad, drizzle salt and lime juice – and you have a very tempting plate in your hands!

Works like magic

Works like magic

Chickpeas are usually white to light brown in color, and post boiling they turn a pale yellow. So, to deepen/darken the gravy, we have a very rustic old way to do so. A spoon full of tea leaves bundled in muslin cloth is dropped into the pot of boiling chickpeas. This darkens the beans and imparts an earthy flavor to the gravy. Mother also added whole spices into the bundle sometimes. Made it easier for her to remove the spices after their work was done, she says.

Ideal for anytime

Ideal for anytime

The Recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1 and half cups kabuli channa or dried big chickpeas, soaked overnight.
  • 2-3 tbsp channa dal, soaked along with the chickpeas
  • 2 tsp ghee or oil
  • 2 whole cardamoms,
  • 1 bay leaf, 2/3 cloves, a small stick cinnamon
  • 3 garlic pods
  • a tiny piece of ginger
  • 1 big onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup leaves of mint and coriander leaves
  • 2 medium sized tomatoes, ground
  • 1 tsp anardana or dried pomegranate seeds
  • 3 tsp chole masala, store brought or home made
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tsp tea leaves tied in a muslin cloth
  • Garnish: Julienned ginger, onions, tomatoes, french fries and coriander leaves – optional.

Method

Boil chickpeas and channa dal along with the bag of tea leaves, crushed garlic and salt. Keep aside.
Grind chopped onions, ginger and leaves of mint and coriander to a fine smooth paste.

In a big wok, heat ghee or oil. Throw the whole spices – bay leaf, cloves, cardamom and cinnamon. Saute for a minute. Add and fry the onion-coriander mint paste till the oil leaves sides. To this add ground tomatoes along with anardana, chole masala, coriander powder and red chili powder. Mix well and fry the paste very well till the fat separates. Now mix in the boiled chickpeas. Give it a final mix and boil. Garnish.

Serve with pooris/bhature/bread/kulchas/rice.

For the calorie conscious!

For the calorie conscious!

Note: You can add the whole spices while boiling the chickpeas.

Note: Oil or any butter can be used, but I prefer ghee. It adds to the aroma and richness of the dish.

I love my rice!

I love my rice!

Comin back to the name. Ah a name! Since the method leans more towards the ambarsariya kinds, mother advised me to call it Amritsari Channe. And so I do as I am told. Its mothers day after all. 🙂

Punjabi tadka

Punjabi tadka

Mixed Sprouts Curry

Mixed Sprouts Sabzi/Vegetable

Mixed Sprouts Sabzi/Vegetable

We joined the race. Long back though. But in order to revive the spirit of the so-called rat race I plunged again into a foray of ‘healthy food’. So I make greens one day, sprouts the next. Give porridge for dinner to sulky faces and sell squash soup as ‘the tastiest’ thing on earth. Yes, God gave them all a good mind of their own. Who am I trying to fool? sigh! I think I am just convincing myself that if I cook healthy, my family would be far from disease, pain and suffering. Ah, well.

So in those times when I go manic with my cooking, the family sorts out the yummy from the yucky. Some of the healthier stuff actually does taste good (please ask Elaine of foodbod.. she eats healthy ALL the time! I envy you Elaine 🙂 ), like this sprouts curry I made the other day.

Sprouted and ready

Sprouted and ready

I mostly always mix all my beans/lentils to sprout. Its never only mung beans or only dew beans. A handful of mung, some dew beans(mat/moth), throw in some small black chick pea, a bit of dried white peas or anything you like! Soak overnight. Drain the water. Tie them all in a muslin cloth, sprinkle water over the tied cloth basket. Keep it for a day or two and let them germinate!

Mixed Sprouts

Mixed Sprouts

You can have them raw or cooked. I go the mid way usually. Cooking them a little bit till the raw smell and taste disappears but retaining the crunch. If you want to know more about sprouts, read here.

With Chappathis, pickle and salad

With Chappathis, pickle and salad

The Recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1 cup mixed sprouts
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • a piece of ginger, minced
  • 1/2 tsp chopped green chilies – optional
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder or as desired
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • juice of 1/2 a lime, salt to taste
  • coriander leaves to garnish

Method

In a wok/kadai, heat oil. Splutter cumin seeds. Throw in the garlic, onions, ginger and green chilies. Saute till the onions turn translucent. Now add the tomatoes along with all the said spices. cover and cook till the oil starts to leave the sides of the wok. This may take about 10 minutes or so. Now add the sprouted lentils. sprinkle 2-3 tsp of water. Cover and cook till the sprouts are half done. I like mine not very mushy, so I add the sprouts in the end, but you could add it earlier in case you like them fully cooked.

Switch the flame off. Sprinkle lime juice and garnish with coriander leaves.
Serve as a salad or with chappathis or with any pulao or simple plain hot steaming rice.

Simple Nutritious lunch

Simple Nutritious lunch

Now for a note of caution:
Germinated raw food does not usually suit everyone. People suffering from gastric problems can get very uncomfortable after a small bowl of sprouts. Cooking the beans is easier to digest.

I suffer from migraine, and whenever I eat sprouts for dinner or raw, I end up with a splitting headache. Whereas, cooking the grains, having them during the day and combining them with garlic and ginger helps me get the best of everything that they have to offer 🙂

Try a bite

Try a bite

This curry passed the acid test with my family’s taste buds. You try it too and if they don’t like it… well, I have some other recipes up my sleeve to include these wonder beans in your daily diet. 😉

Radish leaves Stir Fry, South Indian Style

Radish leaves stir fry with coconut

Radish leaves stir fry with coconut

Bargaining at the local produce market is a classic case of being penny wise pound foolish, according to the ever critical husband. But I do what I do. It’s a matter of self-satisfaction. The okra doesn’t just taste as good if not bought a rupee less. He calls me Cheapo. I take a bow.

Well, it was in this very situation, when I was haggling for a few drumsticks to be sold a penny cheaper, that a very chic lookin lady caught my eye. She came haughtily to the stall I was sweetly squabbling at.

‘Mooli chaiye, jaldi do’ she seemed in a hurry. Give me radish. Quickly.

The intimidated vendor dashes a pair of handsome radish, fresh as dew drop with glistening green leaves. Oh! yumm.. I must buy some too .. were my immediate thoughts. What she did next was so startling that both the guy and me were dumbstruck for a few seconds.

The lady tears those beautiful leaves with such fervor and tosses them aside, dishes into her purse, flashes a 10 buck and literally throws them at the vegetable seller’s face. With only the radish neatly tucked under her arms, she vanishes as soon as she appeared.

Oh! I sigh, the vendor regains his composure and we both look at each other. The first thing I do is pick up those beautiful green leaves and announce that I am taking these – for FREE 🙂 He laughs. Hard. I bought some radishes too. I paid for them, don’t worry.
We cannot really change the world, but a few smiles here and there, just because of you seems like a life worth living.

Tossing the greens aside is like the most stupidest thing to do. Radish leaves have more of Iron, Calcium, Vitamin C, phosphorous than the radish itself. The leaves of radish are diuretic, antiscorbutic and have a laxative effect. But maybe the poor lady didn’t know, lets give her the benefit of doubt.

The ingredients

The ingredients

Mother makes the greens in a typical north Indian style. She calls it mooli ki bhurji. I did not really care for it then, but now as we turn more aware and conscious of what we put in our mouth, the leaves take their place back in on our plates.
But dinner that night was rice and simple drumstick dal made the south Indian way. So I decided to try the leaves in a different style.

Taste best with rice and ghee

Taste best with rice and ghee

The recipe:

Ingredients

  • 2 cups chopped radish leaves
  • 10-12 sambhar onions/shallots or 1 big onion chopped
  • 4 pods of minced garlic
  • a tiny piece of grated ginger
  • 2-3 green chilies, minced
  • 3-4 curry leaves
  • 2 tbsp grated fresh coconut
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp urad dal
  • 1/4 tsp mustard seeds
  • salt to taste

Method

In a pan, heat oil. When slightly hot, add the urad dal and fry till they turn orange. At this stage add mustard seeds, curry leaves, garlic, ginger, green chilies and chopped onions. Fry till the onions turn translucent. Now add the radish leaves along with salt. Stir fry on medium heat till the leaves wilt and combine with the rest of ingredients into a soggy type mass.

Switch the flame off. Sprinkle grated coconut. Enjoy over a bed of rice and some fresh home-made ghee… ah so yumm!

Just a hint of ginger garlic

Just a hint of ginger garlic

Note: Shallots taste best in south Indian curries, although other onions would work well. But I like my kootus/poriyals etc with the shallots.

Note: You can have the stir fry just as a salad on its own, incase you are avoiding rice or other carbs.

Healthy and yummy!

Healthy and yummy!

I was on a Go green mission with my daughter the entire march, and using these leaves for my best out of waste dinner seemed just perfect for me. What do you think?

Photography Styling Challenge #10: Light

Photography Styling Challenge

Photography Styling Challenge

 

God said Let there be Light and So there was Light.

But with Light, comes shadows. Shadows are imperative, they give body and meaning and definition to things around us. I am enamored by both Light and Shadows.

To quote DaVinci:
Shadow is the obstruction of light. Shadows appear to me to be of supreme importance in perspective, because, without them opaque and solid bodies will be ill defined; that which is contained within their outlines and their boundaries themselves will be ill-understood unless they are shown against a background of a different tone from themselves.

An early morning trip to the beach helped me capture the gentle waking rays of the sun and the slight shadows it cast. While my girl played with her toys and dug pits, I tried hide and seek with Mr Sun.

Early morning Sunlight

Early morning Sunlight

she plays with light

she plays with light

If there's light, there has to be shadows

If there’s light, there has to be shadows

I hope you enjoyed the pictures. To check out the other participants, click here:

Redesigned By M
At the corner of Happy and Harried
Inge Kathleen Photography
A Woven Life
City Girl Searching
The Delicious World Of Chefette Spicy
A Tree Grows In The Bayou
I Live Under A Rock Called Table Mountain
Hooked on homes
Mera Kitchen
Miss Wang Photography

and a very warm welcome to my friend Sonal:
SimplyVegetarian777

If you would like to join in the fun please click on the photography styling challenge button in the sidebar!

To see my previous challenge entries, click here

Hope you all have a beautiful day!

Namrata