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

 

 

 

Recipes

Zucchini/Pumpkin Flower Fritters

I hadn’t heard of people eating pumpkin or zucchini flowers until last year. We were planning for a date night for my husband’s birthday and while researching the restaurant I saw pictures of these flower fritters. I was blown away and couldn’t wait to try them. At the dinner I asked the waiter to bring it without looking at the menu and was so disappointed when I was told its a seasonal item and wasn’t available at the time.


This week at our local farmer’s market my eyes lit up when I saw a vendor selling bunches of these beauties. Without wasting another moment I grabbed 2 bunches and secured them in my bag. The whole way home I day dreamed of those fritters I checked out last year and looked up for recipes online. There are a couple of different ones available but I tried one with chickpea flour batter which seemed easy and closest to what I had in mind.

It took all of 10 minutes to clean and get the crispy delicacy on the table.


What you need:

Zucchini/Pumpkin Flowers*

Chickpea Flour

Salt, Pepper to taste

Oil for frying

What you need to do:

Clean the flowers gently in cold running water. Be careful of the small insects hiding inside the petals. Dry the flowers on paper towels. 

Make a loose batter of chickpea flour in water and add salt, pepper to taste. Heat oil in a shallow pan, the oil layer should be about 1/2 inch deep. 

Dip the whole flowers in the batter, gently shake off the excess batter and put in on hot oil. Keep the heat on high throughout and flip gently after a couple of minutes. The flowers will puff up a little and turn golden brown. 


When both sides are nicely golden take them out on a paper towel and serve hot with tomato chutney. You can sprinkle a little chat masala and lemon juice for extra zing. 

Things to note:

  • *If you are using flowers from your own plant, be careful of picking only the male flowers. Female flowers form Zucchini and you will miss out on the fruit if you use female flowers for the fritters.      
  • Cook only a couple at a time, as overcrowding will cool the oil resulting in oily soggy fritters. 
  • Avoid making a thick batter as it will not bring out the flavor and texture of the flowers nicely.
  • If you don’t want to use whole flowers, you can chop them after cleaning, mix in the batter and make flat patties to fry. They taste like Zucchini. 

Like I mentioned earlier this is a seasonal item and is available for a very small window. Because of the short shelf-life you’ll not find them in super markets. Try your local farmers market in August/September and if you are lucky you may be able to find them. 

Happy cooking!

-A

Healthy baby, Recipes

Cold Quinoa Salad for Hot Summer Days

Quinoa is one of the most popular health foods, some even call it a super food. I like it because its easy to cook, is very versatile as it has little taste of its own so blends well with all recipes, and it is among the few foods that have all the essential amino acids, making it one of the richest sources of protein.

Earlier considered a food of the west, Quinoa is now available in all major Indian cities as well. There is no Hindi name for it because it is not an Indian crop but you can easily find it at supermarkets such as Godrej Nature’s Basket, Food Hall, Hypercity, Big Basket, Needs or even at your local grocery store. 

Though there are several ways to enjoy Quinoa, one of my favorites is this cold salad.

It is very easy to make, very filling and absolutely delicious. You need cooked quinoa which should be at least room temperature if not cold. Add to it chopped veggies of your choice – onion, cucumber, tomatoes (discard seeds or use berry tomatoes), bell peppers, coriander leaves, mint leaves, lettuce, sweet corn, baby spinach. Add them all or add whatever you have in your kitchen. Add a little salt*, chat masala, sprinkle generously with lemon juice and toss it all together. You can add finely chopped green chillies to add some zing to it.

*Be careful while adding salt. I feel Quinoa is something that needs little salt so keep it on the lower side.

Enjoy!!

-A

Recipes

4 Ingredient No Cook Chocolate Mousse 

Everyone in our house loves avocados except for the little miss. No matter how much we coax or attempt to bribe VMJ wouldn’t touch it. Given the health benefits I have been thinking about some creative way to incorporate it in her diet but never found any recipe which is concealing enough….. until I found this one!

Yes! The secret ingredient of instant chocolate mousse is avocado and before you start making that disgusting face let me assure you that the end product is absolutely delish and tastes only of rich creamy chocolate. That it takes only 5 min to make the mousse (before cooling) is an added bonus.

You will need:

1 medium Avocado

1/4 cups unsweetened coco powder

2 tbsp Sugar (I used unrefined cane sugar, you can use any kind that you have, or use healthier substitutes like jaggery powder or dates)

Milk as needed (about 1/4 cup)

Whipped cream and roasted nuts (for decoration, optional)

What you need to do:

Cut the avocado, discard the seed & any dark spots and scoop out the pulp. Add all ingredients in a blender and blend well. Add milk little by little to achieve the right consistency.

Pour in serving bowls and cool before serving.

Notes: 

  • I added choco chips but realized later that I shouldn’t have. 1. They are not blended as smoothly as other ingredients. 2. They don’t really enhance the flavor as the mousse is already chocolatey enough. If you do want to add, add them after you have blended rest of the ingredients.
  • You can make this dessert lactose free also by adding soy or almond milk and skipping the whipped cream.

Enjoy the healthy deliciousness without getting into the hassle of cooking and setting!!

Recipes

Oven Baked Kurkuri Bhindi

I have always loved Bhindi. My mom makes this dry crispy bhindi that I took to school in my lunch almost everyday until the season lasted. Till date lot of my friends remember my tiffin’s Bhindi Parantha. 

I’m so embarrassed to admit that till date I haven’t been able to master my mom’s bhindi recipe. She’s given me all tricks and tips but it just doesn’t come out the way hers does. And after years of trying I have given up.

When I discovered kurkuri bhindi it was love at first bite. I learned to make it but didn’t cook often enough because it’s deep fried, until one day I found a baked recipe. I have made it successfully many times since. It’s super easy to make, no mess of frying. It’s healthy because it uses very little oil. And it’s 100% as crunchy and tasty as the fried version.

Cook time: 45 min (10 min to cut, 15 min to sit and 20 min to bake)

Serves:

Ingredients: 

250 gms Bhindi 

1/2 tsp Turmeric 

1/2 tsp Dry coriander powder 

A pinch of Chat Masala

A pinch of salt

A pinch of red chilli powder (optional)

1 tsp Oil (Any oil is fine. I used Olive oil)

Method:
Wash Bhindi and dry it on a kitchen towel. Once it’s dry cut in 4s lengthwise. Add salt, red chillies, turmeric, dhania powder, chat masala and oil. Mix well so that the masala sticks to the Bhindi uniformly. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees while you let the Bhindi with masala sit for a while. Cover the baking tray with aluminium foil and brush it lightly with oil. Spread the bhindi on the tray evenly and bake for about 20 min. Enjoy the crispy deliciousness!!

Note: Each oven is different so the time to get it perfectly crisp may vary.


Sorry for the bad pictures. Everytime I make they are gone within minutes, leaving me no chance to take a nice picture. 

A

Crafty baby, Festivals, Recipes

Star Shaped Meethi Mathhris (Sweet Whole Wheat Fritters)

Today was Ahoi Ashtami – the day I fast for my 2 munchkins and pray for their good health and well being. As a tradition we make meethi matthris and suji halwa on Ahoi for the evening pooja.

As I was making mathris, VMJ came in the kitchen curious to know and see what’s going on. Seeing how she wouldn’t let me alone I decided to involve her in mathri making too. My dough was ready, so I rolled it and asked VMJ to cut it in shapes using a cookie cutter. She was more than happy and chose star shape. She cut and I fried and we both had a good time.

The matthris did come out very nice and crispy. Because VMJ was involved in the making and because she loves stars she happily snacked away on the star fritters. And they are healthy too as I used whole wheat flour, ghee, sesame seeds and very little sugar. 

  

I used the following recipe from Nisha Madhulika:

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups Whole wheat flour 

1/4 cups Suji (semolina)

1/4 cups Ghee (clarified butter)

1/4 cups Sugar 

2 tbsp Sesame seeds 

1/4 cups Water 

Ghee/ oil for frying (I used vegetable oil)

Method:

First dissolve sugar in water if you are using granulated sugar. 

Mix all ingredients except for water and mix well. Then slowly add sweetened water and make a firm dough. Now cover and leave it for about 15 min.

After 15 min heat the oil on medium. Make small balls from the dough and roll into matthris. If you want you can also cut them in various shapes using cookie cutters. Fry on medium until golden brown. Take them out on a tissue paper to absorb the excess oil. Let them cool and enjoy!!

These mathris should be stored in an air tight container and stay good for about 2 months. 

You can find the video here.

Happy Ahoi Ashtami everyone. May God bless good health and happiness to all the children.

-A

Healthy baby, Recipes

Sabka favorite Stir Fry

If you are like me you would have at some point wondered how to get your child to eat more veggies. This easy peasy Chinese dish comes to my rescue.

You need :

  • Asparagus
  • Mushrooms 
  • Broccoli ( Use the peeled stalks too)
  • Baby corn
  • Sweet pepper 
  • Zucchini (I don’t peel it)
  • Carrots
  • Beans  
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • A pinch of salt 
  • Oregano for seasoning (Optional)
  • A tbsp roasted sesame seeds (optional)
  • 1 tsp soy sauce (optional)

* Use whichever of the above vegetables you have, the more the better.

Wash all veggies and cut them in 1-2 inch pieces. Take a big shallow pan and add olive oil once it’s hot. Add all veggies and stir fry on high for 5 min. Don’t cover. Test veggies… They should be crunchy but not raw. Turn off heat, sprinkle salt and sesame seeds. Mix well, serve hot.   
 

I don’t use soy sauce most times because the dish is flavorful as it is but if you want you can add it right after you put vegetables in the pan. 

My 3.5 year old loves it, and I like how this dish uses veggies that are not commonly used in Indian cooking. That it needs just a little bit salt is another plus. If you have a baby at home you can cut the vegetables smaller and cook them softer without any seasoning. 

Try it, it’s quick ( the only time you spend is in washing and chopping the vegetables) and delish ( I end up eating almost half of it while tasting only :P).

Perfect for evening snack or as a side dish with Dal rice. 

Happy cooking.

-A