Pita Bread, Tzatziki and a Vegetarian Gyro Sandwich

Tzatziki in pita bread is divine

khaboos/khubz/khabooz – pita bread

Just when there’s a huge amount of work to be done, tons of cleaning and washing, two back to back classes for the child to attend, maids giving a miss.. it’s just in these times, that I usually cook something fancy. Its like, I already have so much work, a little more would not hurt.

Khabooz/ Pita Bread

Recipe Success

And then there are those times, when I can get so lazzy…. that I don’t clean or cook or run mad for classes and the maids also turn up. In those beautiful moments I *sigh*, I loiter, procrastinate, laze, enjoy a sleepy happy nap in the afternoon sun(Yea.. I love sunny naps.. when my eyes squint and thoughts dreamy and quixotic). I am like that.

Gyro Un wrapped!

Gyro Un wrapped!

So, on yet another busy harried day, I tried my hands at baking pita bread. And when you’re on a roll, you just can’t seem to stop. In effect, a greek yoghurt dip and a Gyro sandwich was churned up. You know how it is when one thing leads to another. Thats what happened to me too.

With pita read, some tzatziki, hummus, tandoori paneer and potatoes, we assembled a vegetarian version of the famous Gyro Sandwich! Yumm!

Pita Crispies served with Hummus

Pita Crispies served with Hummus

Also for dinner that night: Baked crisp pita bread served with oil loaded hummus. Cool eh?

Now getting down to some serious business.

PITA BREAD

Soft and Pillowy

Soft and Pillowy

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 tbsp oil
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 2 tsp active dry yeast
  • about 1 1/2 cups water
  • Optional: 1 tsp toasted flaxseed and sesame seed for topping

Method

Proof the yeast. Take both flours, salt, honey, oil and proofed yeast in a bowl. Using water, knead into a soft dough. Knead further until the dough is very soft and elastic, but is not sticky. Shape the dough into a ball and place in an oiled bowl, rolling the dough in the bowl so it is well coated with the oil. Cover and keep aside to rise till double, for about 1 1/2 hours.

Once doubled, punch the dough to release some of the air and divide it into 8-10 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a smooth ball. Lightly dust your work surface with flour and roll out the ball to about 1/4″ to 1/8” thick (not as thin as a chappathi). If your dough does not roll out well let it rest for about 20 minutes and the roll it out again.

Let the rolled out pitas rest for about 10 minutes, if you are using flaxseed and sesame seed, sprinkle on the bread before baking and then bake them on a baking sheet at 220C (430F) for about 5 to 6 minutes till well puffed up and cooked. If you want crisp pitas you can bake them a little longer, but for making Gyros you need the pitas to be soft.
Place them on a tack or a clean cotton towel to cool so they do not become soggy.

Note: I used exactly half the aforesaid quantity and it was good enough to feed 3 people.

Crisp pita dotted with flax seeds and sesame seeds, served with hummus.

Appetising!

Appetising!

TANDOORI PANEER AND POTATOES

Tandoori Paneer

Tandoori Paneer

Tandoori Potatoes and Paneer

Tandoori Potatoes and Paneer

Ingredients

  • 200 gms paneer, cut into cubes.
  • 2 large potatoes, parboiled and cut into long fingers
  • 1 cup thick curd
  • 2-3 tbsp chick pea flour or besan
  • spices in tsp – turmeric-1/2, coriander powder-1/2, red chili powder- 1, salt, tandoori masala-1, ginger garlic paste-1, amchur powder(dry mango)- 1/2)
  • oil – 1 tsp
  • chopped coriander leaves

Method

Mix together curd, chick pea flour, spices and coriander leaves. Marinate the paneer and potato in this spicy tandoori marinade. Leave for at least 30 minutes. I kept mine for 2 hours.
Once done, preheat an oven or a flat griddle, and bake these beauties on parchment lines paper till golden brown. Take care not to over bake or cook else the paneer will turn rubbery. Serve as required.

TZATZIKI

Greek Yoghurt made with cucumber

Greek Yoghurt made with cucumber

Ingredients

  • (1/2-3/4) cup chopped deseeded cucumbers
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 cup thick curd
  • 1 tsp of lime juice
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 2-3 tbsp chopped dill leaves-optional
  • 1 tbsp mint leaves, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method

Mix together all the ingredients except the cucumber till blended well. Sprinkle some salt on the finely chopped cucumber and keep aside for about 20 minutes. Squeeze out the water from the cucumber to dry it out as much as possible. Fold in the drained cucumber, garnish with more mint and refrigerate for about an hour before serving.

Note: Please don’t skip the honey, it adds much taste to this dip.

GYRO SANDWICH

Popular American Greek Street Food

Popular American Greek Street Food

A Gyro is a popular American-Greek street food, thought to have its origins in the Turkish Doner Kebab or Shawarmas.the name Gyro comes from the spiced meat for the sandwich, which is cooked on a revolving vertical spit from which thin strips are sliced off. Pronounced as “Yeer-Oh”, what I have here is a veggie version of it. You could even think of this as a paneer shawarma.

Method

Take one pita bread, on one half of it, the drama enfolds: Spread a tablespoon of hummus, some fresh Julienne veggies like cabbage, capsicum, onions and tomatoes. Place your tandoori paneer and potatoes. Top with Tzatziki – add as much as please. Fold the other half bread over it.

Serve!

I know the post is long, bear with me. I have been terribly busy lately. So, to publish 3-4 different posts seemed much harder than making a single one. I have a whole line of recipes coming soon(cooking a lot lately), so clubbing two-three smaller ones seems like the correct thing to do. Do drop a line if you think otherwise.

So easy to make

So easy to make

Take a bite

Take a bite

This recipe is my entry to Vardhini’s Bake Fest #25.

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Creamy Spinach Corn Spread/Dip, a Sandwich and some very cute Canapes

Its creamy. Its colorful. Its versatile. It has spinach! so yes. Its healthy too. Is it dip? Or a spread? or a side… call it whatever you wish, doesn’t matter. Its yummy and your family and friends will digg deeper into the bowl for more, is what matters. 🙂

Spinach Corn Creamy Spread

Spinach Corn Creamy Spread

So, I cooked a good deal one morning. Made this creamy spread, fixed sandwiches and canapes, roasted healthy parathas, potato saute, baked a simple eggless chocolate cake with a divine ganache(the cake was too soft so it fell apart, but that didn’t deter us from grabbing mouthfuls!). I am not making a post of the cake. Fabulous to taste but a dud to look at, so would you call that a recipe failure or what?

Not posting this one

Not posting this one

My girl absolutely abhors peas and corn in her food. Corn on the cob is ok, but none of the sweet corn kernels in her parathas or rice or pasta.

I had to make her like it. Somehow. Simply because it was turning to be a pain, to cook separately for Miss finicky or sometimes remove the bits that sneaked in. Pain.

Wonder Veggies

Wonder Veggies

So here my new little helpers, cookie cutters helped me draw Milee’s attention to corn and wonder veggie spinach.

Using the cutters, scooped different shapes of bread, dabbed little bit of the spread, sprinkled cheese and baked to golden perfection!
No bribing, No threatening, No screaming. It all worked like a charm. Gone in minutes, she comes back for more. Yay!

Kids love it

Kids love it

The dip also turned into a wonderful spread when combined with green mint chutney(my favorite! I put it on everything) and some ketchup on the side.

Creamy Sandwich

Creamy Sandwich

A steaming cup of hot masala tea/chai is all that I needed to complete my breakfast. Tea with milk and sugar, enhanced by crushed pounded ginger, guest appearance of cardamom and cinnamon is our very own Indian masala chai. Although I try not to start my day with a cup of tea, but with breakfast it’s mandatory.

Perfect Breakfast

Perfect Breakfast

For the Spinach Corn Dip/Spread:

Ingredients

  • 1 cup corn kernels, coarsely cut. Just place them on the board and using a knife, roughly chop them.
  • 1/2 cup spinach, washed, blanched and chopped
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp butter or olive oil.
  • 1 tsp oregano or any mixed italian seasoning
  • 1 tbsp flour, any – plain or whole wheat
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tsp red chili flakes – or as much as you need
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander leaves
  • Optional: 2-3 tbsp cheddar cheese or fresh cream

Method

In a wok, heat butter/oil. Saute garlic and onions. Add corn kernels along with the salt. After 2-3 minutes, throw in the flour. Let it coat all the veggies. Now add milk, keep stirring, till the milk thickens. Mix in the spinach. Season with oregano and red chili flakes. If using cheese or cream. Mix in now. The sauce should be creamy and thick. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

Use as required.

Note: If you wish to use the sauce as a dip for your croutons or cucumbers, then add more milk to get the consistency a little runny. If using as a spread on bread or parathas, then you might want it to be a little thick, so in that case, reduce the quantity of milk.

Note: Garlic and onions can be avoided. I just used them as flavor enhancers.

Note: Spinach is best blanched in wilting the leaves in hot water for 3-4 minutes, then immediately running them in cold water. This retains the fabulous color.

Note: To not wash away the essential nutrients of spinach. I suggest: wash the leaves well, chop them roughly, then blanch the leaves in very little hot water. Do not throw away the water, use them in boiling lentils/pulses or in your daily dough.

Tasty Finger Food

Tasty Finger Food

For the Canapes:
Using cookie cutters of different shapes, scoop out bread slices, dab with sauce, top with cheese and bake till brown. So simple. Serve with tomato ketch up. Simple 🙂

For the Sandwiches:
I applied a layer of green chutney on both slices of bread, spread the sauce, cover with the other slice and roast or grill or toast.

Spread/Dip/Side.. whatever you wish to call

Spread/Dip/Side.. whatever you wish to call

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.