Monday, March 20, 2017

Achari Makai Tamatar Subji (Corn and Tomato Vegetable in pickling spices)


This Bhaji was a result of a random kitchen experiment that was very successful, so it made it to the blog :) That particular day, we had returned from a trip and had nothing on hand but frozen corn and some leftover tomatoes. I decided to add flavor to the bhaji by adding pickling spices and presto, this recipe was born. It tasted absolutely yummy and was certified blog worthy by my family [read guinea pigs :) - sorry family]. Well here is the recipe:

Ingredients:
Corn - frozen or fresh ( 1 cup), Tomatoes - 2 medium chopped, Onion - 1 medium chopped, Ginger/garlic - 1 tbsp crushed (1/4th inch ginger and 4-5 cloves of garlic), Oil - 4-5 tsp, Methi/fenugreek seeds - 1/4th tsp, Fennel seeds - 1 tsp, cumin seeds - 1 tsp, asofoetida - 1/4th tsp, turmeric powder - 1 tsp, red chilli powder - 1/2 tsp, apple cider vinegar - 1 tbsp, sugar - 1 tsp, salt - as per taste, garam masala - 1/2 tsp, cilantro chopped - to garnish.

Method: Boil the frozen corn for 5-8 mins till tender, (fresh corn will require less cooking time), take oil in a pan add methi seeds, fennel seeds, cumin seeds, and chopped onion. Fry till onion is golden brown. Add chopped tomatoes and saute till cooked, then add turmeric powder and red chilli powder, sugar and apple cider vinegar. Saute for 1 min and add boiled corm, Add garam masala and salt to taste. Cover and cook for 3-4 mins on medium heat. Add cilantro at the end. Yummy Achari Makai Tamatar Sabji is ready. Enjoy with Chapati or as a side dish with rice.

Till my next post, take care everyone!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Spinach Tortilla Pinwheels


Today I am sharing a recipe I had whipped up for our office St. Patrick's day potluck lunch. This recipes feeds a lot of people with little effort. To fit in with the green theme, spinach tortilla was the natural choice. I love the southwestern veggie mix that you get in the frozen section of local grocery store. Used that for the filling along with other flavors I love and was ready with a yummy dish for the potluck. Here is the recipe. 

Ingredients: Spinach Tortilla - 3-4 large size, Southwestern veggie blend - (Black beans and chopped - red pepper, green bell pepper, corn, Anaheim peppers) - you can use your own veggies in case you don't have this blend - 2 cups, green lettuce leaves chopped - 1/2 cup,  Cream cheese - 1 16 oz tub, Ranch dressing - 1/2 cup, Sriracha sauce - 1 tsp, Chives fresh or dried- 2-3 tsp, Garlic powder - 1 tsp, black pepper - 1/2 tsp, taco seasoning - 2 tsp, salt as needed. Plastic wrap - to wrap the tortillas.

Method: Cook the southwestern blend as per instructions on the packet. If using your own beans and veggies, cook till everything is soft but not mushy. Bring cream cheese to room temperature. Blend with ranch dressing with a whisk or hand mixer. The mixture should not be too runny. It should only be soft (pliable). Add Sriracha sauce, chives, black pepper, garlic powder, taco seasoning and salt (if needed) and whisk. Add the southwestern veggie blend and chopped lettuce to that mixture and blend everything together. Apply that mixture to the tortillas. Roll them up and wrap them in plastic wrap. Chill overnight (or for 3-4 hrs of short on time). In the morning, cut them up in desired size pieces and serve cold.

This recipe is really versatile and could be made with any other type of tortilla. It is great for picnics or other potlucks too.

Happy St. Patrick's Day to all my readers. May your lives be touched by a little Irish luck :)

Till my next post, take care everyone.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Dahi Vada (Dahi Wada) or Dahi Bhalla


Dahi Vada is my family favorite. We just can't get enough of the cool and refreshing vadas that simply melt into your mouth. The sweet and tangy tamarind and date chutney adds to the burst of flavors in the mouth. So today I am sharing the recipe for this amazing dish, that is especially popular around the colorful Holi festival in Northern India just as Puran poli is ever so popularly made for Holi in Maharashtra.

Ingredients: 

For Vadas: Urad dal - 2 cups, Moong dal - 1/2 cup, green chillies - 2-3 (optional), Cumin seeds - 1&1/2 tsp, asofoetida - 1/4th tsp. Salt to taste, Oil for frying.

For Dahi mixture: 5 to 6 cups, yogurt, 1 teaspoon, roasted cumin powder, salt to taste, sugar - adjust as per sourness of dahi or yogurt, Cilantro - for garnish, red chilli powder - to garnish (optional) and some boondi to garnish (optional), Chaat masala (optional) - few sprinkles to garnish and add chatpata taste.

Procedure: Soak Urad dal and moong dal in 8 to 10 cups of warm water for 6-10 hours - preferably overnight. Next morning, drain the dal and add green chilies, cumin seeds, asofoetida, little salt and and blend it until smooth.  The batter should not be too runny. You should be able to form vadas. Add water accordingly while blending. Whisk the batter and set it aside for 30-40 mins in a refrigerator.

Heat enough oil in a pan or a kadhai. Slide the batter balls into the hot oil as per desired size of vadas. Fry them on medium heat till golden brown on both sides to ensure that they are well cooked. Drain them on an absorbent towel and then soak them in water for 1-2 mins. Give them a gentle squeeze and remove the oil and them put them in yogurt mixture.

Procedure to make yogurt/dahi mixture: Take yogurt/dahi in a bowl , add water depending upon the thickness of the dahi you desire to make. Add sugar, cumin powder and salt to taste and whisk well.

Garnish with chopped cilantro, red chilli powder, boondi and chaat masala and serve.

Serve with Tamarind Date chutney

Procedure to make chutney: Soak 15-20 dates in warm water for 20 mins, grind with 1 tsp tamarind pulp, 2 tsp jaggery, 1 tsp cumin powder, 1/2 tsp red chilli powder, 1/4th tsp chaat masala and salt to taste.

Enjoy!! Happy Holi to all my friends.Till my next post, take care everyone. 

Monday, February 27, 2017

Rava Idli with Mint Chutney


Whenever my kids desire to eat idlis and there is not enough time to go through the whole fermentation process associated with making the traditional idlies, rava idli saves the day. My kids love to feast on the soft, spongy idlis that are ready in a jiffy. They are definitely more flavorful than the traditional idlis and are diabetic friendly too since we do not have to use rice to make them.

Rava Idli Recipe:

Ingredients: Coarse Rava - 2 cup, Yogurt - 3/4 cup, Water 1&1/2 cup (adjust as needed), Salt to taste Eno Fruit Salt - 1 tsp (or baking soda - 1/2 tsp),Cilantro chopped - 2 tbsp (optional), Oil for greasing idli maker.

For Tempering: Oil - 2 tsp, Mustard Seeds - 1 tsp, Urad dal - 1 tsp, Chana Dal - 1 tsp, Asofoetida- 1/4 tsp, Green Chillies - 1 or 2 finely chopped (completely optional), Broken cashews - 2-3 tsp (completely optional)

Method: Heat a pan and add 2 tsp Oil, then add mustard seeds when hot till they splutter. Add rest of the tempering ingredients. Then add the rava and roast everything till light golden brown. Let it cool. After it cools, add yogurt, salt, water, cilantro and mix everything. Now add in yogurt and water and mix well till it is of the right consistency. The batter should not be too thick or thin. At the end add the eno fruit salt or baking soda and mix. Fill in the greased idli moulds and steam it for 10 to 12 mins on medium high heat.

Remove the idli stand and let it cool for 5 mins. Now dip a thin spoon in water and gently unmould the rava idlies.

Serve with mint or any other chutney of your choice.

Mint Chutney recipe:

Ingredients: Mint leaves - handful , Cilantro - handful, shredded coconut - 3-4 tbsp, Dalia (orroasted chana dal) - 5-6 tbsp, green chillies - 3-4 (adjust as per desired level of spiciness), salt to taste, few drops of lemon juice.

For Tempering: Oil - 2 tsp, Mustard Seeds - 1 tsp, Asofoetida- 1/4 tsp

Method: Grind all the above ingredients in a mixer and pour tempering over it.

Serve with Rava Idli.

Enjoy!!!

Till my next post, take care everyone.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Healthy Vegetarian Italian Salad - Valentine's Day special!


The day of love otherwise known as Valentine's Day is upon us. Instead of going to overcrowded, noisy restaurants, sometimes it is better to spend quality time with your significant other at home and enjoy a hearty and healthy salad along with chocolates and wine :)

Ingredients: Mixed baby greens - 2 handfuls,  Baby spinach - handful, Mixed peppers (orange, yellow and red) - cubed 15-20 pcs total, green bell pepper - 1 cubed, Cucumbers - 3-4 cubed, Grape tomatoes - 15-20 halved, Olives - 1 can, onion (optional) - 1/2 sliced, Italian cheese mix - 3-4 oz (about 3/4 the packet), Ranch dressing - 1 bottle - 16 oz - any brand of your choice (I used yogurt based ranch), balsamic vinegar - few drops, crushed red pepper - 1/4 tsp, black pepper to taste, Croutons - to garnish.

Procedure: Wash and chop all the vegetables according to instructions above. Mix Ranch dressing, balsamic vinegar, crushed red pepper and black pepper in a separate bowl. Take a big bowl and assemble everything together. Garnish with croutons. Healthy and delicious salad is ready. Chill and serve.

I made a tomato heart decor specially for Valentine's day :) 

Happy Valentine's Day everyone.

Till my next post, take care.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Simple and Healthy greens - Kale and Tofu Bhaji


This bhaji or vegetable is the simplest and healthiest one that you can ever make. It can be prepared in less than 20 mins start to finish and is totally delicious and good for you. Kale can be substituted with any other green like Swiss Chard, or purple kale, it tastes just as good. It has all the healthy nutrients and vitamins and plant based soy protein that you body needs.

Ingredients: Kale - 1 bunch, Garlic- 5-6 pods, Tofu - 12 oz extra firm, Oil - 3-4 tsp, black pepper - 1/2 tsp, salt to taste and few drops of lemon juice.

Method: Clean, wash and chop the Kale or any green that you are using. Crush the garlic pods. Heat oil in a pan and and add 1/2 tsp crushed pepper and crushed garlic. Immediately add the chopped greens and cover and cook for 3-4 mins on medium heat. Cube the tofu and add that to the greens. Cover and cook for 3-4 mins. Add salt to taste and lemon juice. Delicious bhaji is ready. Eat with Chapati or fill it in Pita pocket or roll it in Lavaash bread or eat as a side dish with rice. It is really versatile, simple and tasty.

Till my next post, take care everyone!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Healthy Whole Wheat Cracker Chaat Bites


I have yet to meet a person who does not love '#chaat'. It is an immensely popular street item India. Like most of you, Chaat is totally my weak point.  I can munch on it endlessly day after day :)

But the typical chaat items are loaded with empty unhealthy calories. So I created this simple and easy to throw together but totally healthy and tasty chaat item to satisfy everyone's chaat cravings in a jiffy. Best part is you do not even have to make any chutney for this - that easy breezy.

It makes for a great appetizer/snack for potluck and parties too. 

Superbowl is coming up soon, makes for great occasion to try it out :)

So here is the recipe:

Ingredients: Ritz or any other brand whole wheat crackers 8-10, chopped onion - 1/2, chopped cucumber - 1/2, chopped tomato - 1/2, cilantro chopped - 3-4 tbsp, chaat masala - 1/2 tsp, paprika/red chilli powder - 1/4 tsp, cheese - 1 cheese single cut into 8-10 parts, Siracha hot sauce - as needed, Sev (Indian sev) for garnish.

Assembly: Take a plate and arrange crackers and sliced cheese pieces on top of it. In another bowl, mix all the chopped veggies, chaat masala and paprika/red chilli powder. Do not add salt. The chaat masala, cheese and the cracker already have enough salt. Spoon the mixture on top of the crackers and cheese. Add a drop or two of #Siracha. Garnish with Sev.

Serve immediately. The chaat bite just bursts into a medley of sweet, savory, tangy, pungent, spicy flavors in your mouth and you are instantly transported to taste heaven. Enjoy!!!

Till my next post, take care everyone.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Pesarattu (Lentils dosa) with Tomato Onion Chutney


This dish brings back nostalgic memories of breakfast in Hyderabad when we used to visit our grandparents for summer vacation. It is a very filling and popular traditional Andhra dish.

I make it with a slightly different twist to the traditional recipe. I mix various dals (lentils) to pack a punch of protein and put a mix of brown and wild rice (1:1 ratio) to make it healthier and diabetes friendly.

Ingredients for Pesarattu Dosa:
Yellow Moong dal - 1 cup, Green Moong Dal - 1/4 cup, Chana dal - 1/4 th cup, Urad dal - 1/4 cup, Brown rice - 1/2 cup, Wild rice - 1/2 cup, Ginger - 1/2 tsp, Garlic - 5-6 pcs, Curry leaves - 8-10, Green chillies - 2-3 (depending on your taste), cilantro - 3-4 tbsp, cumin - 1 tsp, salt to taste, oil for making the pesarattu dosa. Onions - chopped, green chillies - chopped, cilantro chopped - for garnish.

Procedure to make Pesarattu dosa:
Soak all the lentils and rice (preferably overnight, or at least fpt 6 hrs), Finely grind the mixture along with the other ingredients like ginger, garlic, green chillies, cilantro, cumin and salt in a mixer. There is no need to ferment this mixture unlike traditional dosa. Heat a pan, add few drops of oil, put a big ladle of batter and spread it evenly. Cover and cook for 2 mins till it is brownish on the bottom, add a layer of onions and some chopped green chillies (optional) on top, flip and cook for a minute. Pesarattu is ready for stuffing (see stuffing recipe below).

Upma stuffing for Pesarattu dosa:

Ingredients for Upma: 
1 cup rava (preferably fine semolina, sooji, cream of wheat), Water -  2 cups, Urad dal - 1 tsp, Chana Dal - 1 tsp, Tempering - 1tsp spoon mustard seeds, Asofoetida - 1/2 tsp, green chillies (as per desired spice level), ginger - grated 1/2 tsp,  5-6 curry leaves, oil - 3 tsp. I do not add onions to the upma I use for stuffing. I like to keep it simple.

Procedure for making Upma stuffing:
Dry roast the upma rava for 5-6 minutes till light brown and keep it aside. Heat the oil in a pan. Add the mustard seeds and let them splutter. Now add asofoetida, urad dal, chana dal, green chillies and curry leaves. Saute for 1/2 minute and add 2 cups of water and bring it to boil. Then  add the upma rava slowly and stir continuously to avoid lumps.Cover and cook for 3-4 mins. It should be nice and soft Cook for 2-3 additional minutes and set aside. Use this to stuff the above pesarattu dosa.

Serve with Tomato Onion Chutney.



Tomato Onion Chutney:

Ingredients for Chutney:
Onion - 1 chopped, Tomato - 2 medium chopped, Urad dal - 1 tbsp, Chana Dal - 1 tbsp, Cilantro - 3-4 tbsp, Green chillies - 3-4, Ginger - 1 tsp, Garlic - 4-5 pods, Dry shredded coconut - 2 tsp (optional), oil - 2 tsp, salt to taste. Tempering - 1 tsp spoon mustard seeds, Asofoetida - 1/2 tsp, turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp, red ciilli powder - 1/2 tsp,  5-6 curry leaves, oil - 2 tsp.

Procedure for Chutney:
Dry roast urad dal, chana dal and shredded coconut (each separately) till light browna and put aside. Put 2 tsp oil in a pan and roast onions till brown. Add ginger, garlic, cilantro, green chillies and saute for 3-4 mins, then add tomatoes and saute for 5-6 mins till everything is cooked. Add the previously roasted dals and coconut. Cool and grind in a mixer. Add the tempering (For tempering: Heat the pan and add oil. Add the mustard seeds and let them splutter. Now add asofoetida, turmeric powder, red chilli powder and curry leaves.) Mix and serve with Pesarattu.

Here is another version without Upma filling........... we ate this with coconut/peanut chutney.


Enjoy this protein packed delicacy for breakfast, lunch or dinner :), Till my next post, take care everyone!

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Beetroot curry (beet chi bhaji)


For busy families, dinner is the only time where everyone can catch up on the days events. I love spending quality time with my loved ones and my goal is to cook healthy dishes for my family for dinner. Beetroot is one of my go to vegetables since I can cook it in the morning or previous day and make the vegetable after getting back from work. I have a microwave safe cooker so I just pierce the beets with a knife, add some water to cover them and microwave for 12 mins - that easy. It is totally healthy and full of vitamins and nutrients. This is my take on the traditional South Indian beetroot palya or beetroot curry.

Ingredients: 3-4 beetroots cut in cubes, 1 small onion  chopped, 2 green chillies, freshly grated coconut and cilantro for garnish, tempering: 4-5 tsp Oil,  1 tsp mustard seeds, 1/4th tsp asofoetida, few curry leaves, 1/2 tsp turmeric powder, 1/2 tsp red chilli powder, 1 tsp Sambar masala, Salt to taste

Method: Cook the beetroots is a pressure cooker or microwave. Peel the skin and cut into cubes. Heat oil in the pan and add  mustard seeds and let them crackle, then add asafoetida, curry leaves and green chillies, turmeric powder, chilli powder. Add chopped onion and cook for 2-3 mins till the onion is soft. Then add the cubed beetroots, and cover and cook for additional 2-3 mins. Add sambar masala and salt and a little water 4-5 tsp and cook it on medium heat for 5-6 minutes. Garnish with fresh grated coconut and cilantro. Enjoy with Roti or as a side dish with rice.

Till my next post, take care everyone!!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Water Chestnut Flour (Shingada), Almonds, Walnut and Date Cake (Sugar and Egg free)


Recently we celebrated my mom's birthday. She is a diabetic and can no longer enjoy sweet desserts. All through our growing years, she unfailingly and enthusiastically baked a variety of delicious cakes for us at home. So, I wanted to do something for her this time around. So I literally thought of all healthy things she could eat and baked them into a cake, and that is how this cake was created :) It is diabetic friendly: sugar free, gluten free, and egg free (vegetarian friendly) healthy cake.

Ingredients: Water Chestnut Flour (Shingada or Singoda): 1 cup, Almonds: 5-10, walnuts: 5-10, dates: about 20-25, yogurt: 1 tbsp, baking soda: 1/2 tsp, baking powder: 1 tsp, vanilla essence: 2 tsp, cardamoms: 5-6 pods crushed (optional).

Procedure: Soak Almonds, walnuts and dates in milk for about an hour. Grind to a fine paste (along with the milk they were soaked in - remove excess milk  while grinding - it should be about 3/4th cup while grinding). Grease a baking pan. Sift the Water Chestnut Flour (Shingada or Singoda), add baking powder and ground paste and yogurt. Mix thoroughly. Add vanilla essence and crushed cardamom pods (optional) and mix. Now add baking soda. Mix well and pour into greased pan (I used a loaf pan) and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 35-40 mins. Insert toothpick and check if the cake is done. If not bake for additional 5 mins on 300 degrees F. Let it cool. When the sides of the cake start leaving the pan, flip it over in a flat dish. Cake is ready to enjoy.

Tip: This cake can be made with sugar too if desired for non-diabetic people. It is really healthy. You can add 1/4th cup sugar or 1/2 cup condensed milk since it already has dates. Adjust sugar/condensed milk quantity as per desired level of sweetness. 

Till my next post, take care everyone.