Monday, November 25, 2013

Chickpeas with Swiss Chard

Swiss chard is one of my favorite greens apart from spinach. Add chard to chickpeas with a few spices and this ends up being a flavorful gravy that you can serve with rice or roti. The original recipe uses broccoli rabe. You can use any greens you like. Think outside the box and chickpeas can be switched with black eyed peas or cannelini beans. I have also used the organic green trio from Sam's club - baby swiss chard, baby kale and baby spinach. Tastes awesome. Click here for a link to the original recipe.
Boiled chickpeas - 1 cup (or use one can of chickpeas)
Swiss chard - 1 big bunch chopped (I used red swiss chard)
Onion - 1 finely chopped
Green chillies - 1 or 2 depending on taste - chop finely
Ginger garlic paste - 1/2 tsp
Crushed tomato - 1 cup (I used canned)
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Red chilli powder - to taste
Dhania jeera powder - 1-2 tsp
Salt to taste
Heavy cream - 1-2 tbsp
Oil for seasoning

1. Pour oil in a pan and add cumin seeds. Once they crackle add onions and green chillies and saute until tender.
2. Add the ginger garlic paste and stir till the raw smell is gone.
3. Next add the crushed tomato along with the turmeric powder, red chilli powder and dhania jeera powder. Saute until the oil leaves the sides of the pan.
4. Add the chopped swiss chard and chickpeas with a 1/4 cup of water.
5. Cover and cook until the swiss chard wilts down.
6. Add salt and stir.
7. Stir in the heavy cream and mix until incorporated and bring it to a boil. 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Adai with oats

I have to admit, I am not a great fan of incorporating oats in idlis, dosas and other tiffins. When I came across this recipe in the 365 days of pure vegetarian's blog I had to give it a try. I am glad I did because I just loved the way the adai turned out. This recipe is a keeper and I will surely make it more often. I made some changes to the recipe and here it is. Click here for the original recipe.

Channa dal - 1 cup
Masoor dal - 1 cup
Moong dal - 1 cup
Brown rice - 1 cup
Rolled oats - 1 cup
Ginger - a small piece chopped
Red chillies to taste
Salt to taste
Optional veggies - chopped onions, grated carrots, spinach, etc.
Oil for making adai

1. Soak the channa dal, masoor dal, moong dal and brown rice along with the red chillies for about 3 to 4 hours.
2. Soak the oats in water just 30 minutes before grinding the dals.
3. When you are ready to make the batter - add the dals, oats, soaked red chillies and ginger a little at a time to the blender and make a coarse paste. Do not add too much water while making the batter. The coarse batter improves the taste and texture of the adai.
4. Once the batter is ready add salt to taste. 
5. At this stage you can add finely chopped curry leaves, cilantro and chopped veggies.
6. To make the adai - heat the griddle and pour a ladle of the batter and spread evenly. Add 1/2 tsp of oil and cook on medium heat until browned. 
7. Flip the adai, drizzle some oil and cook until crisp.
8. Serve with chutney, pickle or idli podi.

1. There is no need to ferment the batter. You can use it immediately.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Slow cooker carrot apple soup

Apples, apples, apples everywhere. So what do you do when life throws apples at you. You share, cook and eat them. As simple as that. My refrigerator is filled with bags of apples thanks to our recent apple picking trip. Here is a recipe for a hearty and simple apple carrot soup. The best part of this recipe is that you put everything in a slow cooker and in the next few hours have a warm and delicious soup on your table.

Apples - 6 to 8 (refrain from using the likes of Granny Smith)
Carrots - 3 or 4 medium sized
Onion - 1 chopped
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Vegetable stock/water - 4 to 5 cups
A few cloves of garlic as per taste
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Sauté the onions, garlic and cumin seeds for 1-2 minutes in about a tbsp of olive oil.(See notes).
2. Peel the apples and cube them. Alternatively, you can leave the skin on and use an apple slicer to cut the apples (get rid of the core).
3. Similarly peel and chop the carrots.
4. Add the chopped apples and carrots to the pan with the onions and sauté for another 1 or 2 minutes. You do not have to cook the apples and carrots as the slow cooker will do the work for you.
4. Transfer everything to the slow cooker.
5. Add the vegetable broth, salt and pepper and give it a quick stir.
6. Set your slow cooker on low and cook for 3 hours. (See notes)
7. Give the mix a stir after 3 hours and cook for another 1 hour on high or until the carrot and apples are soft.
8. Blend the soup with a hand blender to a smooth consistency. If you prefer the soup to be chunky then don't blend it all the way.
9. Adjust the salt and pepper and garnish with a dash of heavy cream before serving.
10. I added a few home made croutons to the soup and it tasted delicious.

1. You can omit this step of sautéing the onions, carrots and apples and instead add them directly into the slow cooker. I did not want the raw taste of onions in my soup so ended up sautéing them. Once again you do not want to cook anything at this stage. Just want the veggies and apples to hit the heat.
2. Adjust cooking times depending on the size of your slow cooker. I used a 3 1/2 quart slow cooker for the soup.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Simple rava kesari

Rava kesari is the most simple dessert that can be put together in minutes. There are various versions to making this yummy halwa. Today's recipe is from my sister's MIL. She would make this very often during festivals. Here goes the recipe.
Rava/Sooji - 1 cup
Sugar - 1 cup
Milk - 1 cup
Water - 1 cup
1 to 2 tbsps of ghee
1/2 tsp elaichi powder
Chopped nuts and dry fruits for garnish
Saffron - a few strands
Orange color - optional (you can use orange color if you want to skip the saffron)

1. Saute the rava in 1 tbsp of ghee on medium heat. Take care not to burn it.
2. Lower the flame completely and add sugar to the same pan. 
3. Add the elaichi powder and saffron strands/orange color.
4. Next add one cup of milk and one cup of water slowly while stirring constantly. Use a whisk to stir to avoid lumps. (See notes)
5. Turn back the heat to medium and cover and cook until the rava is completely cooked. It is purely optional to add ghee at this stage.
6. Meanwhile in a small saute pan add 1 tbsp of ghee and add the chopped nuts and saute until roasted. Add back to the cooked kesari and stir well.

1. For one cup  of rava you need to add 2 cups of water. Adding milk to the kesari gives it a very good taste and texture. I prefer to use a combination of milk and water. You can skip the milk and and add all water too.
2. If you find the rava water mixture too lumpy simply use a hand blender to remove the lumps. 
3. I used a combination of almonds, cashews, pistachios, cranberries and raisins.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Green tomato channa dal curry

The slight tangy taste of green tomatoes in this recipe complement the channa dal. This is a semi dry curry which goes well with rice and dal/sambar or with rotis/phulkas.
4 to 5 green tomatoes
1 medium onion
2-3 pods of minced fresh garlic
1/2 cup channa dal (soaked for atleast 30 to 45 minutes)
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp jeera
A few curry leaves
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
3/4 tsp red chilli powder (adjust according to taste)
Salt to taste
Fresh cilantro for garnish

1. Wash the green tomatoes and chop them into cubes.
2. Chop the onion.
3. Cook the channa dal either on the stove top or a pressure cooker. Make sure that it does not get mashed up. The channa dal should still have a bite to it. (see notes)
4. Pour oil in a pan and season with mustard seeds. Once they crackle add the jeera and curry leaves.
5. Next add the onions and garlic and saute until soft.
6. Add the cooked channa dal and saute for 1-2 minutes.
7. Now add the chopped green tomatoes along with the turmeric powder, red chilli powder and salt.
8. Do not add water. Just cover and cook for a few minutes until tender. You can continue the cooking process with the lid off.
9. Garnish with fresh cilantro.

1. The channa dal can also be microwaved for a few minutes. If using a pressure cooker make sure you do not cook it for more than 1 whistle or else it will get mushy and will change the consistency of the curry.
2. To make the curry more tangy add a teaspoon of tomato paste while sauteeing the onions. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Baby zucchini subzi

I got these beautiful baby zucchini's from Trader Joes. When you cut them in circles they look just like tindora. So, made a tindora like subzi out of baby zucchini. I felt the baby zucchini's were a bit firmer than the regular ones. As a result they did not get mushy as quickly as the regular zucchini. Give it a try and I am sure you will love it too.
15 to 20 baby zucchinis
1 medium onion
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp jeera
3/4 tsp red chilli powder (adjust to taste)
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
2 pods of garlic finely minced
1 tbsp of dry coconut
A few curry leaves
Fresh cilantro for garnish
Salt to taste
1. Trim the ends of the baby zucchini and cut them into rounds (see pic).
2. Chop the onions.
3. Pour oil in a pan and season with mustard seeds and jeera. Add the curry leaves.
4. Next add the onions and garlic and saute until soft.
5. Add the chopped baby zucchini along with turmeric powder, red chilli powder and salt.
6. Cover and cook for 3-4 minutes and then continue the cooking process with the lid off. (see notes)
7. Once the zucchini is cooked sprinkle the dry coconut powder. Give it a good stir and garnish with fresh chopped cilantro.
1. Do not cover and cook for too long as the zucchini will get mushy. This happens with regular zucchini too.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Potato and green beans subzi

Potatoes with green beans is such an awesome combination. I came across the recipe from Monica Bhide's blog 'A Life of Spice'. This recipe has been on my must try file for the last few weeks. Simple yet tasty, this recipe is all about home cooking at its best. No complicated flavors or spices going on here. Also love the way the potatoes are sliced as it makes the subzi visually appealing too. 

I more or less followed Monica's recipe. You can check out her recipe here

My variation to the recipe:
I used frozen haricort vert (aka green beans) which I microwaved for 5 minutes before adding to the potatoes. I used ginger-garlic paste whereas the original recipe uses only ginger. I also added half an onion thinly sliced after I seasoned with jeera. 

Do not use store bought coriander/dhania powder. Instead dry roast the coriander seeds in a pan and throw them in a blender/food processor and make a powder. This stays fresh for a few weeks in your pantry and you can use it in a variety of recipes.

Serve with rice and dal or rotis.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Brussel Sprouts Sambar

Got a big bag of brussel sprouts from Costco. Some of them sneaked into this sambar and the remaining into two other recipes which I will post soon. Here goes the recipe.
Brussel Sprouts sambar recipe

1-2 cups of halved brussel sprouts (adjust according to taste)
1 cup of cooked thuvar dal
1 medium onion chopped
1 small tomato chopped
1 tsp of tamarind pulp (see notes)
1-2 tsps of sambar powder
1 tsp of red chilli powder (see notes)
1/4 tsp of turmeric powder
Oil for seasoning
Salt to taste

1/4 tsp mustard seeds
A few methi seeds
Curry leaves
Dry red chillies

1. Halve the brussel sprouts and cook on the stovetop with a pinch of turmeric powder. (see notes)
2. In a big pot add the oil and season with mustard and methi seeds, curry leaves and red chillies.
3. Add the chopped onion and saute until soft.
4. Add the tomatoes and tamarind pulp along with 2 cups of water. 
5. Also add the turmeric powder, sambar powder and red chilli powder. Let it boil until the raw smell goes away about 7-8 minutes.
6. Then add the cooked brussel sprouts and boil for another 1-2 minutes.
7. Mash the cooked thuvar dal and add to the tamarind veggie mix.
8. Add salt and more water if you need the sambar a bit thinner.
9. Boil until well combined. Garnish with fresh coriander and serve with rice.

1. I use the tamarind pulp from the Indian store. If you are using fresh tamarind you will need a lime sized ball of tamarind. Soak in water and extract the juice.
2. Skip the red chilli powder if your sambar powder is spicy.
3. Do not pressure cook the brussel sprouts as they might get mushy. You can check the texture while cooking on the stovetop. 

Monday, January 07, 2013

Sponge cake flavored with cardamom

Came across this recipe at 'You Too Can Cook's' blog. The pressure cooker method did not work for me so I ended up baking the cake in the oven and it came out just as good. Tastes almost like the yellow cake we get in the local bakeries in India. The recipe uses very little butter and probably I will substitute with whole wheat pastry flour or spelt flour the next time. But for now enjoy this simple cake recipe. Click here for the original recipe from you too can cook.
Recipe for Sponge cake flavored with cardamom

1 cup All Purpose flour
1 cup powdered sugar (not icing sugar - see notes)
150 ml of milk (use any milk you have in the fridge)
2 tbsps of butter
2 eggs at room temperature
A pinch of salt
1/2 tsp of vanilla essence
1/2 tsp of cardamom powder (if skipping the vanilla use 1 tsp)
1 tsp baking powder

1. Add the butter to the milk and bring to a boil until the butter melts. Stir and set aside. Let is cool. (see notes)
2. Add the eggs to a bowl and beat until pale. Use an electric blender.
3. Next add the powdered sugar and beat until fluffy. 
4. Add the flour, baking powder, vanilla essence, cardamom powder and salt and blend well.
5. Add the milk/butter mix and on slow speed blend well.
6. Pour the cake batter into a buttered 9 inch round cake pan or an 8 inch square cake pan. 
7. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes until a tooth pick inserted comes out clean. You will know the cake is done when the top and the edges are brown.
8. Take out from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes before you cut.

1. Using powdered sugar is a must. This works well as powdered sugar blends better with the eggs. And blending to a fluffy consistency is an important step as this recipe uses very little butter. Also as mentioned in the original recipe do not use icing sugar.
2. The milk and butter mixture needs to cool because hot milk will curdle the eggs.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Butternut squash with panch phoron

Panch phoron an unique blend of five spices (call it Indian five spices) gives a delicate and well balanced flavor to any vegetable. Make a blend of fenugreek seeds, nigella seeds, cumin seeds, black mustard and fennel seeds in equal parts and store them in your pantry. Season a variety of veggies like potatoes, cauliflower and even dal with this spice. Check out this post at Bong Mom's cookbook for more info and recipes using Panch Phoron. 

Seasoning butternut squash with panch phoron takes it to the next level. Serve it with a bowl of hot rice and dal or eat it as a warm salad. You will love the flavors of the spices that go so well with the squash.
Butternut squash with panch phoron recipe

3 to 4 cups of cubed butternut squash
1 medium onion chopped
1 tsp panch phoron spice mix
A few curry leaves
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
2 green chillies (adjust to taste)
Salt to taste
Fresh chopped cilantro for garnish
1-2 tsps oil

1. Pour oil in a saute pan and add the panch phoron. 
2. Let it crackle and then add the curry leaves, green chillies and onion and saute until onions are soft.
3. Next add the butternut squash, turmeric powder and salt.
4. Cover and cook the squash. Do not add water as the squash will become mushy.
5. After 3 to 4 minutes remove the lid and cook until fork tender.
5. Garnish with fresh cilantro.

1. Look for cubed butternut squash in grocery stores. I got it from Costco. 
2. Use dry red chillies instead of green chillies.