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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

One Pot Rice And Pulses Dish/ Khichdi

It's time to ease off our tummy from all the picante, piquant and saccharine nosh. Once in a while it is so important to unbutton our gut by cheating oils, spices and junk fast food. But how is that possible? The only thing that springs to mind is snacking on fresh fruit diet or detox water diet infused with fresh veggies and fruits so that our stomach feels hydrated and happy from within. But do you know there are other options too! Lentils too can help our body to stay fit and untroubled throughout the day.

Khichdi is a one pot veg dish with a lot of soothing qualities where the pulses and rice are soaked to make their nutrients absorbed without affecting the digestive system. It is recommended by elders in our house to always stick to this healthy meal whenever we are suffering from flu, sore throat and even upset stomach. Khichdi with greek yogurt always helps to improve our internal state of the body. Fortunately, my stomach was sturdier and rarely suffered setbacks, yet I have always been loving this soft, gentle and warm nursery meal even when well. I prefer to eat this delicious khichdi twice in a week to overcome all the bad health habit issues. I love to eat it with the addition of lots of clarified butter or ghee.

Khichdi is a simple recipe where the minimum volume of spices is being used, it is cooked until everything blends into one bowl of thick dish. Mamma dislikes tempering khichdi as dad prefers to eat it in a very desi or traditional style. Mama makes it by just adding moon sliced onions and soak dals or lentils together with rice. She pressure cooks everything and adds a lot of clarified butter in a later stage. Wherein I prefer a little color in my rice dishes, I just cannot manducate white rice that way, hence I have twisted this recipe by tempering it with pulpy tomatoes, turmeric for a little zest of color, whole spices for wonderful flavors and ghee to enhance its taste! I complete this one pot hot meal with lemon pickle and buttermilk.

One Pot Rice Pulses Dish/ Khichdi

One Pot Rice and Pulses Dish Khichdi Recipe

Preparation Time: 40 minutes
Cooking Time: maximum 2 hours
Serves: 3-4 persons

Ingredients:
1 cup basmati rice, washed and soaked overnight
½ cup split mung beans or moong dal
3 finely chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon cooking oil
2 bay leaves
½ teaspoon chopped ginger, fresh
½ teaspoon chopped garlic, fresh
5-8 curry leaves
2-3 slit green chilies
½ teaspoon red chili flakes
1 teaspoon turmeric powder or haldi
1 teaspoon cumin seeds or zeera
4-5 cloves
8-10 black peppercorns
½ cup ghee
Salt to taste

Method:
  • Rinse the rice until the water runs clear and soak it in lukewarm water. Follow the same step for pulses. Soak them overnight so that they could plump easily through absorption.
  • In a pot, add the soaked and drained rice and beans with 2-3 cups of water. Add 1 teaspoon of turmeric or haldi, 2-3 slit green chilies, ½ teaspoon chopped ginger, ½ teaspoon chopped garlic and salt to taste.
  • Bring the content of the pot to a boiling point, then cover the pot with a lid and allow it to cook on a low flame until the rice and lentils are evenly cooked and turns soft and tender. Keep checking occasionally.
  • Once the khichdi cooks evenly, stir well and let it simmer uncovered on a low flame. Meanwhile, peel and slice the onions into thin half moons and chop tomatoes into small piece. In a frying pan, heat cooking oil and add 2-3 bay leaf, 4-5 cloves, 8-10 black peppercorns and 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds. Fry the aromatics for a few minutes until fragrant.
  • Add onions and fry them until transparent, add curry leaves, chopped tomatoes and salt to taste. Let it cook for a few minutes until they turn soft and pulpy.
  • Transfer the tempering into the Khichdi and keeping stirring until the Khichdi forms a smooth and thick consistency. Add half cup of clarified butter or ghee and mix it thoroughly.
  • Adjust the salt, you can add less spices if you’re doing it for your kids. 
  • Remove to a plate and enjoy eating this light and fresh meal.
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Thursday, August 25, 2016

Cabbage Salad/ Sambharo

I love to try different types of salad and salad dressing for an impressive dinner meal. In our house, we love to eat different types of salads made by combining vinegar or yogurt or variety of other salad dressing ideas with carrots, tomatoes, lettuce, cucumber, grapes, green chilies, baby corns, sprouts and even pasta. Among all cabbage is the delicious and crunchy form of salad I can totally rely on. It goes really well with any type of vegetable curry or subzi.

This salad belongs to my roots Gujarat, we call it as sambharo! Sambharo or cabbage salad is basically half cooked salad with fewer spices and green chilies. Mama makes it every time for dinner whenever she prepares dal, rice or khaman dhokla and sometimes fafda. Khaman dhokla is a fluffy, spongy and  light Gujarati snack dished out after steaming the batter of chickpea flour, semolina, ginger-garlic paste and other seasonings. This salad also blends quickly with any vegetarian meal as it is fresh, half cooked, spicy and slightly sour in bites. It is a stir fry recipe where you can add cabbage, carrots, multi colored bell peppers, raw papaya but mama makes it simple. She puts cabbage, carrots and fresh cilantro and I love the addition of cilantro as I feel cilantro tastes heaven with crunchy salads.

Try this amazing side dish at home and thank me later. I am going to make this again and again with all my vegetarian meals. The amazing flavor of curry leaves and cilantro with a touch of lemon juice takes this recipe to another level.

Cabbage Salad/ Sambharo

Cabbage Carrot Salad Sambharo Recipe

Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 5 minutes
Serves: 2-3 persons

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon cooking oil
1 cup cabbage, sliced into thin strips
1 medium size peeled julienne carrot
1 small raw mango, sliced into thin strips
5-8 green chilies, with the help of a sharp knife slit the green chilies vertically without splitting it into two.
½ teaspoon mustard seeds or rai
½ teaspoon turmeric powder or haldi
1 teaspoon lemon juice, substitute for raw mango
1 stem of curry leaves
1 tablespoon roughly chopped cilantro or coriander leaves
A pinch of asafetida
Salt to taste

Method:
  • Wash cabbage, raw mango and peeled carrot and chop them into julienne or just run the cabbage and carrot across the grater.
  • In a skillet, heat cooking oil and add half teaspoon of mustard seeds and let them crackle for a few seconds. Directly add curry leaves, turmeric, a pinch of asafetida or hing, slit green chilies on a low flame.
  • Let it cook for a few minutes until the raw smell goes away, add julienne of cabbage, raw mango and carrots. Toss and unify everything and add salt to taste. Allow the veggies to cook for a few minutes and turn off the flame.
  • Garnish with chopped cilantro and squeeze lemon to it. You can skip adding lemon juice as we have added julienne of raw mango. 
  • Simple and yummy salad recipe is ready to serve.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Potato Balls/ Wada Pav

Tough to neglect, street food of Mumbai, one of the most desirous evening snack I have always died for. Potato balls may sound something dull and simple vegetarian snack to you, but the one which is sold on the busy and lively streets of Mumbai is the scrumptious version of potato balls you might have never tasted. Being a mumbaikar, we just love this snack and I can eat as many of them at a time. I have never seen such a weakness for fast food when compared to wraps, burgers, hot dogs or subway sandwiches.

Every busy vendor of this particular ready-to-eat snack has its different forte, some have a specialty in serving a rich quality of delicious sauce while others just focus on the piquancy of potato balls. Well, I like this snack just because of the spicy dry chutney or sauce, it is amazingly prepared in Maharashtrain families by roasting peanuts and sesame seeds to form a paste together with garlic, tamarind and a few spices like red chili powder and coriander powder. The craze and craving of potato balls have built up in every corner of India and notably in Mumbai, hence now this cheap and yummy street food is offered everywhere in stalls, cafe and restaurants in India. To meet those taste buds the vendors have come up with an idea of jumbo wada pav where the size of wada pav is same as the size of a hamburger. I find jumbo wada pav as the most hygienic and safe snack compared to the stall wada pav. But I always prefer the stall one's due to its yummy and tasty dried chutney!!

Batata wada, wada pav, potato fritters or potato balls is a deep fried snack assembled by mashing boiled potatoes and spices available in your kitchen pantry, lastly mingled with spicy and tangy chutney or sauce. It is preferable served in a bread bun or pav by spreading sauce all over the buns. It's kind of an Indian version of vegetarian burger loved and welcomed by many and I hope that this yummy eatable becomes a part of your evening snack too!

The recipe is simple, easy and quick resulting in delicious, mouth watering and flavorful results.

Potato Balls/ Wada Pav Recipe

Potato Balls Wada Pav Food Recipe

Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 2-3 persons

Ingredients:
3-4 boiled, peeled and mashed potatoes
1 cup cooking oil, for frying
2 cup gram flour or besan
1 stem of curry leaves
1 teaspoon mustard seeds or rai
1/2 teaspoon white urad dal
1 teaspoon turmeric or haldi
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon green chili paste
1 teaspoon ginger paste
1 teaspoon garlic paste
2 tablespoons cilantro or coriander leaves
A pinch of baking soda
1 cup of water, for batter
Salt to taste

Method:
Potato Balls Wada Pav Food Recipe
  • Firstly, wash 3 potatoes and cut them into half. Boil them until they are evenly cooked, peel the skin off, transfer them into a big bowl and gently mash the boiled potatoes with the help of a potato masher or simply with a fork. Leave it aside.
  • In a pan, heat few drops of cooking oil and add half teaspoon of urad dal let it sputter until the dal turns little brown in color. Immediately add mustard seeds and let them pop for a few seconds.
  • Now add curry leaves, ginger paste, garlic paste and green chili paste. Let them saute for a min or two until fragrant. Add turmeric powder and keep stirring until the raw smell of the mixture flies away.
  • Now add mashed potatoes and mix everything properly. Allow the mixture to cool down.
  • Meanwhile, In another deep bowl, add gram flour or besan, 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric powder or haldi, a pinch of baking soda and salt to taste. Mix everything gently with the help of water. Keep adding water little by little to avoid lumps. The consistency of this batter should be medium, that is, not so thick and not so thin. If the batter turn thin, then do not panic. Simply add 1-2 tablespoon of gram flour or besan and mix well. Adjust the taste if needed.
  • Now, make medium size balls out of mashed potatoes mixture, you can even flatten these balls like the shape of cutlets if you're planning to shallow fry them.
  • In a frying pan, heat half cup of cooking oil on a medium flame, one by one coat the potato ball into the gram flour batter and release each of them into the frying pan.
  • Let the balls deep fry until they turn a little crispy and golden brown in color.
  • Remove them on a plate and serve hot with any spicy and tangy sauce. You an even slice the pav or buns and spread the green chutney on the half sliced buns, sprinkle dry garlic chutney and put the hot potato balls or batata wada in between the sliced buns.
  • Serve them immediately with fried green chilies if you too are a spice lover.
Enjoy this delicacy at home with a warm cup of tea!


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Monday, August 15, 2016

Creamy Spinach Soup/ Palak Soup

Yummy soup recipe for Veg hoggerz!

Mama used to make this soup every morning so that I stay fit and blooming throughout the hectic day. She used to blanch and grind spinach leaves every post-dawn before I was awake. The warm soup with a bunch of crusty croutons was always been made available instead of a cuppa coffee, it was truly an ew! feeling for me as spinach soup has always been a deadly combination of medicine and thick juice. 

I have always dis relish each sip of it where my throat and smelling power had given up its senses after tasting it. I always hated the smell of spinach, but being a Popeye fan, he played a big part in my childhood days in welcoming and embracing spinach! Yes, you're right, I am talking about I Yam What I Yam Popeye who magically regains all the energy within seconds after gulping down a tin of spinach. 

Mama had always been a pillar in sustaining my good health, she used to even boil the spinach, beetroot and carrots to add more healthier points in morning soup. Though I hated the smell and taste of spinach, but its color has always captivated me. Green color makes me ponder on the subject of the green world of trees, the leaves dancing with the flow of air and the dews on the blades of the grass that tranquilize my eyes, mind and soul, but intake of this green spinach soup have always spoiled my thoughts, vision towards the green color. As it is said, the food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison. Hence, I always drank this one in a quick breath so that I couldn't feel anything about it. I tried a lot to religiously swig this soup without any complaints. But now I am happy with the taste, smell and feel of this soup, how's that possible? Well a simple addition of milk and little flavors changed the overall texture and gave it a different definition

If you too are a spinach, soup or stew hater then you should try this one!

What I like about this soup is that it is simple, doesn't include lots of condiments or spices and the minimal list of ingredients which makes it healthy and fruitful. This little good habit of sipping soup every day in the morning is always on my priority list. I hope you, your family and kids too enjoy it taste and feel better afterwards!

Creamy Spinach Soup/ Palak Soup

Spinach Soup Palak Soup Food Recipe
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Serves: 2 persons

Ingredients:
1 cup Spinach
1/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon butter
1 small, roughly chopped onion
1 small, roughly chopped tomato
1 teaspoon garlic paste
1/4 teaspoon roughly chopped ginger 
1 small green chill, roughly chopped
1/4 teaspoon pepper powder
1 cup water
Salt to taste    

Method:
  • Rinse and clean spinach leaves properly, chop its stem off and leave them aside. Cook spinach in a boiling water for a few minutes and drain out all the excessive water.
  • Boil water in a deep skillet, add roughly chopped onion, roughly chopped tomatoes and 1 small green chili. You can increase the spice as needed. If you're doing it for your kids than this measurement is perfect as per kids' taste buds.
  • Boil onion and tomatoes until they turn soft. Once they are cooked simply turn off the flame and remove the boiled ingredients onto a plate and allow it to cool for 5-10 minutes.
  • Add boiled spinach, boiled onion and tomato mixture into the blender and blend well to form a smooth and silky paste. Remove the puree into the big bowl and leave it aside.
  • In a pan, heat 1 tablespoon butter and add 1 teaspoon garlic paste, 1/4 teaspoon roughly chopped ginger or ginger paste. Saute until the raw smell of ginger-garlic paste goes away. Keep the flame low while sautéing ginger-garlic otherwise they may turn brown in color.
  • Now add the puree and let it bubble for 3-5 minutes. Add water to adjust the consistency if needed. Add salt and pepper for better taste.
  • Pour milk and let it simmer on a medium flame. Ladle hot soup into bowls and serve warm with crusty croutons. 
You can add boiled and mashed potatoes whenever the flavors has caught up the heat. Adding potatoes will minimize all the extra spice giving a thick and yummy taste to your soup. Hope this tasty soup in the morning will bring an amazing fresh start to your day!


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Friday, August 12, 2016

Savory Vegetable Cake/ Handvo Recipe

Well! This is a customary cake altogether filled with different types of lentils and vegetables skipping flour and cream as this cake is not the ordinary type of sweet and creamy gateau!. This is the healthiest and hearty version of savory cake and it is well-known as handvo in major parts of India. The outer crispy texture and softness from inside makes me eat them as a treat. It's a warm savory cake that is most often served in dinners at my house and we also prefer to eat the leftover cake on the very next day in the morning with a hot cuppa tea. Nothing goes to waste! This cake itself had a thin crust on the top with a touch of slightly roasted sesame seeds. It's the kind of the cake that makes you want to smile when all you want to do is be grumpy because you had to clean up so much after it. It's a kind of a savory cake that I'd want to make again and again, but without all the hassle it entailed in the first place, so here is what I'd do! Soak lentils and rice and blitz it into thick batter, add some grated veggies and little spice to balance its taste and baking in using a special handvo cooker or on a normal frying pan.

Vegetable cake or hando is one of my favorite recipe's, its a gujarati equivalent of comfort and nourishment. Handvo or vegetable cake can be plain, but its popular renditions include flavoring from different vegetables and spices. It's often eaten with green coconut chutney or sauce, pickle and tea. I prefer eating them in all ways as they just taste marvelous!

Savory Vegetable Cake/ Handvo Recipe

Vegetable Cake Handvo Food Recipe

Preparation Time: 12 hours
Cooking Time: 30-35 minutes
Total Time: 12 hours, 35 minutes
Serves: 2 persons

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 cup rice
1/2 cup chana dal
1/4 cup urad dal
1/2 cup, whisk yogurt
1/2 cup, bottle gourd or lauki
1 carrot, grated
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
4-5 curry leaves
2 green chilies, finely chopped or 1/2 teaspoon green chili paste
1 teaspoon garlic paste
1 teaspoon ginger paste
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder or haldi
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
A pinch of Asafoetida or hing, optional
Salt to taste

Method: 
Let's start with the rice and lentils soaking process!
  • In a bowl, wash and soak 1 cup of rice, 1/2 cup of chana dal and 1/4 cup of urad dal. Soak it overnight or you can also soak them for 4-6 hours.
  • Remove all the extra water from rice and lentils and transfer them into the jar of a blender. Add 1/2 yogurt and salt to taste. Blend it into a smooth and thick consistency, you can add 1-2 tablespoons of water while grinding. I prefer to avoid using more water otherwise the batter may turn thin in texture.
  • Now remove the batter into a container and cover it with a lid and allow it to ferment for about 8-10 hours. Due to a fermentation process, I always make them for dinners by soaking the rice and lentils overnight and letting it ferment the whole day. You can also try soaking them in the morning and grinding into a thick batter after 4-6 hours. Froth the mixture overnight and make vegetable cakes in breakfast or pack them in your lunch boxes. They certainly taste great!
  • Now once you see bubbles after a fermentation process, you can add ginger-garlic paste, chopped green chilies  or green chili paste, 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder, 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes, a few drops of cooking oil and salt to taste. Mix everything properly.
  • Now add grated bottle gourd or lauki by squeezing all its water, grated carrots and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda. You can also add chopped fenu-greek leaves or methi, green peas and grated beet-root too. Since, I only had a bottle gourd and carrots handy in my pantry so I have added only two of them!
  • Mix well, the batter should always have a thick consistency for a perfect vegetable cake or handvo.
Let's start with baking!


Savory Veg Cake Food Recipe


  • In a frying pan, add 1 tablespoon of cooking oil, add mustard seeds and let them pop for a few seconds. Now add a few curry leaves, a pinch of Asafoetida or hing and 1 teaspoon of sesame seeds.
  • Now gently pour two big spoons of batter into the frying pan and spread it evenly with the help of a spatula. Handvo or vegetable cake should be 1 inch thick and round in shape.
  • Cover the pan and lower down the flame and allow it to cook until the top layer seems cooked and the base turns crisp and golden brown in color. The more the thickness of the handvo or cake the more time it will demand in cooking.
  • Flip it to the other side once you have achieved the golden brown and crisp base. Let the other side cook covered for about 5-8 minutes.
Follow the same step for the remaining batter. Transfer the yummy savory vegetable cake into the plate, slice the cake like you cut a pizza pie and serve warm with tea, ketchup or any tangy and spicy sauce as a breakfast, evening snack or dinner! This can also be a great treat on parties or large get together.


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