Monday, 31 August 2015

Green Apple Thokku !


I have never used Green apples in cooking until I came to know about this recipe from my friend. She gave me this thokku prepared by her Granny and I couldn't believe it was Green apple as it tasted more or less like mango thokku or tomato thokku. Then when I tried at home with just one apple it turned out well and tasted awesome with paratas.
So this time I made a big batch with almost 1 kg apples and now I enjoy this almost with everything. This thokku paired with curd rice is an incredible combo and no words to explain.
Mostly green apples comes in 3 varieties, Granny Smith, Bramley and Golden delicious.
Bramley variety is the best for this thokku as it is more sour when compared to others and it is generally used in cooking. They are a little flat and have a slightly different shape compared to normal apples. A picture taken from internet for your reference




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INGREDIENTS
  • 4 Big Green Apples (Bramley variety) approx 1 kg
  • 3/4 th cup oil
  • 1 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 2 tbsp urad dal
  • 1 tbsp Cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp Asafoedita
  • 1/4 cup Kashmiri Red chilli powder (heaped)
  • salt as needed
  • 1 tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp Fenugreek Powder (Roasted in few drops of oil and ground to a powder)

STEPS
  • Wash, peel the apples and chop them into small pieces.
  • In a heavy bottomed (preferably non stick) vessel or pan heat oil and once hot add mustard seeds and urad dal.
  • WHen mustard crackles and urad dal turns slightly brown add cumin seeds and asafoedita.


  • Now add the chopped green apple and saute them well in oil for 4 - 5 minutes.


  • Add salt and turmeric powder and keep cooking.
  • The apple leaves its juices and as it turns softer, mash them with the back of the ladle.


  • Add the chilli powder and mix well. Keep cooking in medium flame for another 8 - 10 minutes till the apple pieces are completely mashed and raw smell of chilli powder is gone.


  • Now add the fenugreek powder and give a mix, Cook for another 3 - 4 minutes and it becomes to a nice thokku consistency.

NOTES

  • Use Bramley variety for best results as it is generally meant for cooking. I have not tried with Granny smith or any other variety of Green apple yet. 
  • I generally have fenugreek powder handy, if you dont have it then just roast a tsp of fenugreek seeds and crush it in mortar n pestle and add it to the thokku.
  • Be a little generous with oil so that it stays good for weeks. If you are preparing in lesser quantity and do not want to store it for long then oil can be reduced considerably.
  • Store it in a clean glass jar and refrigerate  it and use a clean spoon everytime you use it.It stays good for 2 - 3 weeks too.
  • Can be served with Rice, curd rice, idlis, dosas, paratas and many more.




With Love,

Curried Chickpea & Potato Salad !


Who said salads are boring and insipid? This curried chickpea salad is not one among those bland salads as it is spicy, tangy and will not stop you from just a single serving.
It is packed with proteins and the traditional Indian spices and flavors permeate this wonderful salad gives you a feeling of devouring a proper meal.
I love chickpeas in any form, say salads, curries or hummus.. I keep trying different dishes with chickpeas and the exploring never ends.
Other chickpea recipes in the blog are


INGREDIENTS
  • 1 1/2 cups boiled chickpeas
  • 2 medium potatoes (boiled and cubed)
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 tsp Red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp Coriander Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Garam Masala
  • 1/2 tsp Roasted Cumin Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Chaat Masala
  • a pinch of black pepper
  • salt as needed
  • 1 onion (chopped finely)
  • 1 tomato (chopped finely)
  • 1/2 cucumber (chopped finely)
  • 2 tbsp coriander leaves(chopped finely)
  • 1 carrot(grated)
  • 1/2 capsicum (chopped finely)
  • 1 tbsp yogurt / curd
  • Juice of 1/2 lime (small)

STEPS
  • Heat oil in a pan and add the minced garlic and let it sweat.
  • Lower the flame and add all the spice powders (except pepper and chaat masala) and fry in oil for a minute.


  • Add the boiled potatoes and chickpeas and toss well that the masala is well coated.
  • Remove from heat and transfer to a big bowl.
  • Let it cool down, and then add all teh chopped veggies and give a mix


  • sprinkle pepper and chaat masala and add yogurt and mix well.
  • Squeeze lime juice before serving.

NOTES

  • Best salad for any parties as chickpeas and potatoes can be boiled and kept beforehand.
  • If u boil chickpeas and potatoes with salt then adjust salt accordingly in the salad.
  • you can even use this salad to sandwich in bread , add few lettuce leaves and the sandwich tastes awesome.
  • Even better recipe is , just fill this in a pita bread, top with some onions , lettuce and hummus and enjoy!
  • Other salad recipes you may find useful are 
  • Fruit Veg Pasta Salad
  • Greek couscous Salad
  • Hummus Egg Salad



With Love,

Spinach Soup !


Spinach (palak) being a very healthy vegetable often makes presence at our house in many forms from soups, dals, curries and gravies. The vibrant green color of the soup is not only very inviting but also very healthy with loads of iron. At restaurants it is mostly available as Cream of Spinach soup, but I skipped the cream to make it more healthy and less calorific.
Other Spinach recipes you might be interested are
Spinach Veg Cutlet
Squash Spinach StirFry
Palak Paneer
Spinach Ricotta Ravioli
Aloo Palak Gravy
Aloo Palak Dry

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups spinach (tightly packed)
  • 1 onion
  • 2 - 3 Garlic cloves
  • 1 medium potato
  • 1 celery stick
  • 1 litre vegetable stock / or hot water
  • 1 tbsp butter / olive oil
  • crushed black pepper (as needed)
  • 1/2 tsp dried herbs (optional)
  • 1 - 2 tbsp cream (optional) (I didnt use)
STEPS
  • Wash and roughly chop the spinach leaves.
  • Chop the onions, potato and celery too.
  • Heat oil in a pot, and add garlic followed by onions. When the onions are sauted almost, add the celery and potato.


  • Saute the veggies for sometime , and close and cook for 4 - 5 minutes.
  • Then add the spinach leaves and give a stir and pour in the hot vegetable stock.


  • Season with salt and pepper, add the dried herbs, close and cook for 10 minutes or until the veggies are soft.
  • Cool the mixture before you grind it.


  • Grind into a smooth puree and strain in a metal strainer.
  • Warm the soup again and add some cream if you wish too. 

NOTES

  • Mostly corn starch is mixed with some water and added to the soup to act as an thickening agent. But I have used potato to do the job.
  • If you dont want to add potato, then mix 2 tsp of corn flour with 1/4 cup water and add to the soup and bring to a boil.
  • Adjust water as per the consistency you want the soup to be.
  • Adding cream definitely enhances the taste, so feel free to add a tbsp or more.
  • Vegetable stocks made from stock cubes already have salt. So adjust salt accordingly.
  • Add some garam masala and roasted cumin powder to get that Indian touch :)



With Love,

Italian Sweetcorn !



Sweetcorn is prepared in many different flavors and available as a streetfood nowadays. Those corn vendors make yummy sweetcorn in minutes and my favourite are the Italian and the Indian masala one.  They are perfect for a rainy day !
 I just added some extra veggies to it and this recipe  makes a nice snack with your evening tea or just enjoy as a salad. Fresh corn works best instead of frozen.
Other sweetcorn recipes in the blog that you might be interested are
Cheese corn bals
Cheese Veg Balls (No Deep Fry)
Corn Couscous


INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup sweetcorn kernels
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil / Butter
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 garlic (crushed)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped peppers
  • salt as needed
  • 1/2 tsp crushed black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning (Dried herbs)
  • a pinch oregano
  • 1 -  2 tbsp Grated Parmesan (Optional)
STEPS
  • Heat butter / olive oil in a pan and add the minced garlic followed by finely chopped onion.
  • Saute the onion for a minute and then add the peppers and sweetcorn.


  • Season the corn with salt n pepper and cook for 4 - 5 minutes until the corn is done.
  • Sprinkle the Italian seasoning and oregano and turn off stove.
  • Drizzle some olive oil before serving.

NOTES

  • Skip the onions and veggies if you dont like and just make only with corn.
  • Grate some parmesan cheese on top before serving.


With Love,

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Puliodharai / Tamarind Rice !


Tamarind Rice / Puliodharai (Tamil) / Chinthapandu Pulihora (Telugu) is a classic rice dish that is best known for 2 things.. One is for travel and other served in temples :)
I often make this for lunch box and after trying out this recipe many times adjusting the amount of spice, tamarind etc, finaly i am making this a keeper. 
This recipe can also be made from left over rice or freshly cooked rice. It involves preparing two things the Tamarind Paste (Pulikaichal) and the Puliogare Powder. The best thing is both of these can be made and stored in more quantities and just rice can be mixed and Puliogare and can be enjoyed anytime.


INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/4 cup uncooked rice (basmati or long grain or any rice) (1 cup = 240 ml std cup size)
  • 1 tbsp ghee

For Pulikaichal (Tamarind Paste)

  • Tamarind (Big Lemon size)
  • 2 tbsp Oil
  • 1 tsp Mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tbsp Urad Dal
  • 1/2 tbsp Channa Dal
  • few curry leaves
  • 2 Dry Red Chillis
  • 2 tbsp Groundnuts
  • salt as needed
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 1/2 tbsp crushed jaggery

For the Powder

  • 1 tbsp Urad Dal
  • 1 tbsp Channa Dal
  • 7 to 8 Dry Red Chillis
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Coriander Seeds
  • 1/2 tbsp Pepper corns
  • 1/2 tbsp Sesame seeds
  • 1/2 tsp Fenugreek Seeds
  • 1/2 tsp Asafoedita

STEPS
  • Heat a pan and roast the dals till slight golden brown.
  • Then add red chillis, coriander seeds, pepper , fenugreek seeds and roast well.
  • Finally add sesame seeds and hing , roast for a minute and turn off stove.
  • Cool the roasted mixture and grind to a coarse powder.
  • Soak  tamarind in half cup of  water for 5 - 10 minutes and then microwave it for 30 seconds to extract tamarind juice easily.
  • Do not add so much water when extractting else you will have to cook for a long time to get the paste.
  •  Now heat oil in a pan, add mustard seeds, urad dal and channa dal. Once the dals turn golden brown, add currry leaves, peanuts,. broken red chillis and fry for few secconds.
  • Then add the tamarind extract, stir and let it cook.
  •  Add salt, turmeric powder , jaggery and allow the mixture (pulikaichal) to cook and reduce in quantity and forms a nice paste. Add a spoon of ghee to it.
  • Cook rice perfectly that each and every grain is separate. Cool the rice before you start mixing it with the tamarind paste.

  • Add the tamarind paste (Pulikaichal) to the rice and mix gently that every rice grain is coated well.
  • Now add the ground powder and mix well again. 

NOTES
  • You can make this with leftover rice too.
  • Adjust the spice levels (red chillis, coriander and pepper) as per your taste.
  • You can make the pulikaichal in more quantity and store it in fridge for upto 2 weeks or more.
  • The powder too can be made and stored in an airtight container and when you have both of these, just cook rice and mix and puliogare is ready.
  • Dont skip the jaggery as it balances the flavors and gives a nice taste.


With Love,

Monday, 24 August 2015

Oats Porridge !


When it comes to a healthy and quick breakfast then this is the recipe for sure. I make this for breakfast atleast twice in a week and serve with loads of fruits. It is definitley a filling and healthy breakfast. Though I do not prefer to eat this as I have an aversion to milk, I mostly make Oats porridge with buttermilk / yogurt. I will post that version of Oats porridge too soon.
Other Oats and healthy recipe can be found HERE


INGREDIENTS
  • 1 cup Oats (Quick cook or rolled oats)
  • 1 cup Water
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 2 tbsp Honey
  • Handful chopped nuts and fruits (Dates. almonds, walnuts and Raisins)


STEPS
  • In a vessel, combine water and milk and bring to boil, then add the oats and stir in.
  • In 3 - 4 minutes the porridge thickens as the oats is getting cooked.
  • keep stirring in medium flame so that it is not burnt from bottom.
  • Meanwhile chop some dry fruits and nuts (almonds , walnuts, dates etc).


  • When the oats is fully cooked, turn off stove and transfer the contents to a serving bowl.
  • The porridge will further thicken with time , so adjust your water and milk quantities accordingly as per your preference.
  • Drizzle honey on top and sprinkle all the chopped nuts and dry fruits and serve. 

NOTES
  • Use any type of oats but make sure it is cooked well.
  • Feel free to add or skip the nuts.
  • We like the porridge in a spoonable consistency, if you like it more liquidy, then add another 1/2 cup milk or water.
  • Vegans and lactose intolerant people can replace cow's milk with almond milk, hazelnut milk, soy milk or coconut milk.
  • Serve with fruits and enjoy your breakfast !


With Love,

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Green Chutney for Chaats !


Green Chutney (Mint Coriander Chutney) is one of the popular and favorite accompaniments that is mostly used in chaats and as a dip with many other snacks like samosas, pakodas etc.
Though this green chutney is prepared in a different way where we include urad dal, coconut etc and also saute the mint and coriander. It tastes different when compared to this green chutney. This is very refreshing as all the leaves are ground raw and fresh.
You can find the other version of Mint and Coriander chutney HERE that goes well idlis , dosas and rice.

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 cup Mint (Pudina) (tightly packed)
  • 1 cup Coriander (tightly packed)
  • 2 Green Chillis
  • 3 Garlic Cloves
  • 1 big piece of Ginger
  • salt as needed
  • 1/2 tsp Sugar
  • 1 tsp Chaat Masala
  • 1 1/2 tsp Roasted Cumin Powder
  • Juice of half Lime

STEPS
  • Just take all the ingredients in a mixie jar, add little water ad grind to a smooth paste. :)

NOTES

  • Keep in a clean jar and refrigerate it and it will stay for a week.
  • Use a clean spoon everytime.
  • Use it as a spread for sandwiches, with paratas, dhoklas, snacks like Pakodas and Bajjis and of course in all your favourite chaats.
  • Chaat masala can be replaced by Black salt too.
  • Can include an onion when grinding.

With Love,