Kitchen and food, Recipes

Super Soft Protein Packed Savory Pancakes (Cheela)

Being a vegetarian I’m always struggling to manage my family’s protein intake. Some recipes are not tasty enough, some not easy enough and some are not nutritious enough…. It’s an everyday stress to decide on a dinner menu that meets all criteria.

To include more proteins I replaced roti with besan cheela (chickpea flour savory pancakes) in my dinner. Sometimes the cheela would be too dry so I grated Zucchini and added finely chopped onions to the batter, but the results still varied. One day I had a eureka moment and added lots of crumpled tofu in the batter along with the veggies. The result was a soft, tasty and super healthy cheela. Even my fussy kids happily ate it and asked again the next day. 

Recipe is pretty simple.

You need:

1 cup Besan* (Chickpea flour)

1 cup grated Zucchini (or Bottle gourd/Lauki)

2 tbsp finely chopped onions 

1/2 cup crumpled Tofu

1/4 tsp Ajwain (carrom seeds)

1/4 tsp Amchoor (dry mango powder)

Salt to taste

What you need to to:

  • Mix all ingredients together and add water in small quantities to reach pouring consistency
  • Whisk well so there are no lumps
  • Let it sit for 10-15 minutes 
  • Heat an iron skillet (tawa). Once its hot, add a few drops of oil and spread with a brush. Be more generous with the oil for making the first cheela
  • Pour couple of spoonfuls of the batter on the hot skillet, spread evenly and cook well on both sides until done
  • Enjoy hot with green chutney

*Notes:

  • Depending on my mood and availability I sometimes add a couple tablespoons of Jowar flour, Oats flour, Sooji or Ragi flour while keeping besan as the base. You can get as creative with the type and quantity of flour you are using.
  • You can add veggies like carrots, beans, cauliflower, spinach etc. in addition or in place of Zucchini and Onion. 
  • I don’t usually add chilies because my kids don’t eat very spicy foods but if you’d like you can add finely chopped green chilies. They lend a great flavor to the cheelas.
  • Don’t make the batter too watery, else the cheelas will take ages to cook. You can add more besan to thicken the batter.

 

Happy cooking!

-A

Kitchen and food, Recipes

Tandoori Gobhi

Every party needs a plat du jour or the center piece, and if you are a vegetarian, the choices are few. Presenting the very fancy and delish Tandoori Gobhi, the perfect center piece for your vegetarian dinner table.
The best part of this dish is that it does look elaborate but is really easy to make. The ingredients are also readily available in most Indian kitchens. So, lets see how you can surprise your family with this deliciousness. 
What you need:
  • 1 head of Cauliflower – choose the whitest, and freshest one you can find in the market
  • 1 cup Hung curd (I didn’t have time to make hung curd so used greek yogurt, its thick so worked equally well. if you are making hung curd at home please note that you will need to hang about 2-3 cups of fresh curd to get 1 cup of hung curd)
  • 2 tbsp cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 tsp Ginger paste (I used store bought but you can use fresh)
  • 1 1/2 tsp Garlic paste (I used store bought but you can use fresh)
  • 1 tbsp Oil (whatever cooking oil you use)
  • 1 tsp Garam masala
  • 1 tbsp Kasuri methi (crush in palms and warm in microwave for 15 seconds)
  • 1 tsp Red chilly powder
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 2-21/2 spoons Tandoori masala
  • A pinch of Ajwain
  • Salt to taste (I used 1 1/2 tsp for a big head of cauliflower)
  • Lemon, Onion and Chat masala to serve
What you need to do:
  • Scrape all black bits from the Cauliflower and remove the stems. Cut the stem close to the base so that it sits nicely. Wash it well and  put it in a ziploc bag .
  • Microwave for 4 minutes. My Cauliflower was very big in size so I had to microwave for 6 minutes. For a medium size 4 minutes should be enough. Take it out of the ziploc bag and let it cool down.
  • In the mean time mix all ingredients to prepare the marinate. Get your hands dirty and apply the marinating mixture generously all over the cauliflower. Be careful to get the marinate inside all the nooks and crannies of the vegetable without breaking it.
  • Let it marinate for at least 30-40 minutes.
  • Pre-heat the oven at 180 degree Celsius or 350 degrees Fahrenheit and bake the Cauliflower for 20 minutes and then broil for  5-7 more minutes. 


Your Tandoori Gobhi is ready! Sprinkle with lemon juice and chat masala and serve on a bed of Onion rings.

-A

Kitchen and food, Recipes

Grilled Paneer

Who doesn’t love Paneer! The creamy crumbly texture of cottage cheese goes well with a variety of flavors and is a treat for the taste buds. Here is a very delicious recipe which is surprisingly easy yet high on taste.

Ingredients :

250 gms Paneer (Cottage cheese)

2 tbsp chopped green cilantro

2 tablespoon Srirancha sauce (a kind of Chinese hot sauce. If you don’t have it use a mixture of chilly flakes and vinegar)

1 tablespoon white Vinegar

1 tablespoon Soy sauce 

2 tablespoon finely chopped spring onion (or regular onion if spring onion is not available)

Salt to taste 

Few drops of oil to brush the pan with 

Method:

1. Cut cottage cheese in medium sized pieces of about 1/2 inch thickness 

2. Add all other ingredients and mix well 

3. Marinate the Paneer pieces in the marinating mixture for about 15 minutes 

4. Heat a shallow pan (I used indian cast iron tawa) and brush it with a little oil

5. Once the pan is hot put the Paneer pieces on it and cook until it’s nicely cooked and crispy from one side

6. Flip the pieces and cook the other side too. On a hot pan it’ll take about 8-10 minutes to cook both sides. 

Your yummy starter/side dish is ready. Serve it with green cilantro dip (Green Chutney) and onion rings. 

Enjoy!!

-A

Kitchen and food, Recipes

Red Chori (Adzuki Bean) Salad

On my last visit to Indian store I picked up a packet of small red beans called Red Chori. I had never seen or heard of them before so did a quick google search to find that they are a nutritional powerhouse.


These are also called Adzuki beans and are quite popular in Japanese and Chinese cultures. Like other beans Adzuki is high in nutritional value – rich in protein, fiber and folic acid. 100 grams of cooked beans contains about 28 grams of carbs, 8 grams of fiber, 8 grams of protein and less than 1 gram of fat. Carrying about 1.3 calories per gram, Adzuki beans make a low-energy-dense food, meaning they are a dieters delight!  

In addition they pack good amounts of Potassium, Iron, Phosphorus, Copper, Folate and Manganese and are very low in Saturated Fat, Cholesterol and Sodium. While having a high protein content, Adzuki beans do not contain all of the essential amino acids, making them an incomplete source of protein. It is therefore required to supplement your diet with other protein rich foods. 

Having no previous knowledge of how to cook Adzuki bean, I looked for an easy recipe and came across a Japanese bean salad which I modified to suit my Indian palate. Here is the salad recipe I tried:

Ingredients :

1/2 cup dried red chori beans

1/4 cup finely chopped spinach 

1 teaspoon olive oil 

1/4 cup finely chopped coriander leaves

1 tablespoon vinegar

1 pinch crushed red chilly flakes

1 tablespoon lime juice

2 carrots, thinly grated

Salt to taste

* 1/2 cup chopped green onion (Optional)

* 1/2 teaspoon grated ginger (Optional)

*1/2 teaspoon grated garlic (Optional) 

Method:

Soak beans in water for about 8 hours. Drain them and pressure cook with fresh water and a teaspoon of salt. Turn the gas off after 1 whistle. Drain and set aside to let cool completely. 

Combine all other ingredients and gently toss with cool beans to make a salad. 

Enjoy!

– A

 

 

 

Kitchen and food

Drying Curry Leaves for Later Use

While most of us enjoy cooking with curry leaves, not all of us are fortunate enough to have fresh leaves every time a recipe asks for it. Curry leaves are sturdy and survive a few days in fridge but if you need to use them beyond a few days then you can choose to dehydrate them to retain their rich color and flavor.

Before I learnt how to do it I used to think its a very cumbersome activity but trust me its very easy and quick.

You need: fresh curry leaves, kitchen paper and microwave.

Wash the leaves thoroughly and dry them on a paper towel.

Now cover the leaves with another paper towel. Keep the ensemble on a microwave safe plate/tray and microwave for 1 minute.

After 1 min of heating in microwave the leaves are disheveled but are still soft. The paper towel underneath is a little wet so I flipped it with the paper towel I was using to cover the leaves. Microwave it for one more minute.

After another minute the leaves are crispy and snap when crumbled. This means they are done.

Each Microwave functions differently and the leaves vary in their water content too so it may take a little less or a little more time for your leaves to get crispy. I would suggest doing it for 1 minute then 30 seconds and then in intervals of 10 seconds until done for the first couple of times. 

You can preserve any herb in this way but be careful with softer herbs. Softer herbs will need less time in the microwave and shorter intervals. 

Happy cooking!

-A