Buckwheat Pancakes

I had these first at a breakfast place called Suzette and quite liked the idea of these earthy tasting pancaked served with hummus and salad.
Now I keep trying them with various flour combinations and toppings.
The recipe is simplicity itself.
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You need
A fantastic quality non-stick pan
1/2 cup buckwheat flour ( or a mix of buckwheat, amaranth and rice flour, just amaranth, just play with flour combos!)
Salt to taste
Water to get a runny batter

On a hot pan, pour the batter with a ladle. Cover and cook. Flip after one side is done. Cook uncovered. Can brush with butter or oil if desired. If the pan is good, it won’t stick at all.
Serve with Hummus and some salad.

Buckwheat pancakes

Or serve with any sides of your choice!
Buckwheat Pancake

Dahi Idli

This is so good on the palate in the hot summer! A power packed way to begin the day
Dahi Idli
You need
A cupful fresh curd
2-3 idlis
1 tsp mustard seeds (Rai)
1/2 tsp oil
2-3 curry leaves
2 tsp chana daal

Make sure the curd is fresh and sweet, else strain and add some milk and a tsp of powdered sugar.
Dip the idlis in. Heat oil and add mustard seeds, curry leaves and chana daal, Spread on the curd soaked idlis and enjoy! 

Sprouts Filled Dosa

I was looking for ways to make sprouts more interesting, so coarse-ground a cupful of them and added to a cupful of dosa batter.
It translated into two beautifully textured and super yum dosas.
Sprouts Filled Dosa
A sprinkle of molgapodi and breakfast sorted
So basically that’s all to this recipe.
One cup idli batter
One cup coarse ground mixed sprouts ( I used moong, moth and chana)
Hint of salt

Mix well. Spread on non-stick pan, Make dosas. Sprinkle gun powder/ molgapodi and enjoy!
These will be thicker than regular dosas but so beautifully textured and yum that you just won’t notice 😀

Shakshuka- An Israeli breakfast recipe

Want to make a meal out of eggs? Try Shakshuka/Shakshouka(What fun saying it na!! Shaak-shookaa! 😛 ) This Israeli (Egyptian/Tunisian) dish of eggs poached over a hearty tomato sauce is excellent with some naan,roti or bread. This will appeal to the Indian palate because of its proximity to our cuisine. It uses coriander and cumin spices in the garlicky tomato base. I served it with a caramelized onion and spring onion flatbread.
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Recipe adapted from NY Times

You need
2 tbsp  vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped fine
1 large red chilli pepper, chopped fine
6 large tomatoes, blanched and chopped fine ( you could puree and strain them alternatively for a quick fix)
4-5 cloves of garlic, sliced
¾  tsp salt
½ tsp red chilli powder (adjust to taste)
1 cup of assorted chopped vegetables may be added  (mushrooms, broccoli,peas,capsicum)
¼ tsp coriander podwer
½ tsp cumin powder ( I always keep some roasted cumin powder at hand for raitas and used the same)
Some chilli flakes (optional)
4 eggs
Some cheese, if desired
A handful of coriander leaves, chopped fine
Some salt and pepper to season the eggs

Heat oil in a pan and add onions. Fry them till translucent and add the red pepper, assorted and garlic. Cook till the pepper is done and them add the tomatoes, assorted vegetables salt, coriander powder, cumin powder and chilli flakes. Cook covered till the tomatoes are done.
Preheat the oven to 200C for ten minutes while the sauce cooks.
Stir in the cheese chunks (if using)
Transfer the sauce to a skillet or baking dish and gently break the eggs on the sauce. Season the eggs with salt and black pepper.
Bake for 7-10 minutes till the eggs are set.
Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve hot with bread. I used my Caramelised onion and green onion bread recipe to bake flatbread and served alongside to swipe the sauce with!
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Enjoy a Shakshuka brunch this weekend.
Cheers!

Garima

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Mathura ke Dubki waale Aloo and Bedmi Poori

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Bombay finally feels the whiff of winter and it is the ideal time to brunch on this cracker of a meal from the Brij region; Mathura ke Dubki Waale Aloo, Bedmi Poori and halwa. Potatoes are cooked in a spicy, aromatic curry and served with crisp, kacori-style poori, and just a smidgeon of halwa. I first had it in Agra many many years back and the memory is as fresh as the visit to the Taj, well almost 😛
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Mathura ke Dubki waale Aloo
5-6 medium potatoes, hard boiled
½ tsp heeng/asafoetida
½ tsp jeera/cumin seeds
¾  tsp salt (or to taste)
¼ tsp kala namak/black salt/rock salt
½ tsp red chilli powder
¼ tsp haldi/turmeric powder
¾ tsp dhaniya/coriander powder
1 green chilli chopped fine
1 tsp grated ginger
2 Tbsp oil
2 glasses of water
½ tsp aamchoor/mango powder
¼ tsp garam masala powder ( I use home-made)
A handful of fresh coriander, chopped fine

Whole spices
(can add whole or grind into a powder and add)
1 tejpat/ bay leaf
1 inch piece of dalcheeni/cinnamon
2 badi ilaichi/black cardamom
3 choti ilaichi/green cardamom
3-4 laung/cloves
5-6 sabut kali mirch/ peppercorns

Peel and cube the hard boiled potatoes.
Heat oil in a kadhai/heavy bottomed pan and add heeng and jeera. Once the jeera crackles, lower the heat and add the whole spices (add the powder, if using that)
Stir for a few seconds and then add chopped green chilli and grated ginger. Stir for 30 seconds and add red chilli powder, dhaniya powder and haldi powder stirring continuously.Keep the heat LOW all along!
Add the potatoes and stir so that that they are coated with the masala mixture. Cover and cook for 5-10 minutes, checking in between.
Add a glass full of water and increase the heat till the curry reaches a rolling boil.
Lower the heat and let the potatoes simmer in the gravy till they are cooked through. Keep adding water as required to get the consistency of your choice. Take off the heat and stir in the aamchoor powder and garam masala powder.
Garnish with fresh coriander and serve with Bedmi Poori or plain poori.


 Bedmi/Bedvi Poori
2 ½  cups of aata/whole wheat flour
1 cup of moong dal , soaked for an hour
1 tsp Salt
½ tsp red chilli powder ( or less as per taste)
½ tsp Heeng/asafetida
½ tsp Saunf/fennel , ground coarse
½ tsp Sabut Dhaniya/ coriander seeds, ground coarse
2 green chillies, chopped fine
2 tbsp oil
Oil- to fry the bedmi pooris

Coarsely, grind the dal in the mixer. Mix it along with all the listed ingredients and knead into a firm dough adding water only as required.
Cover and let rest for 30 minutes.
Make lemon size balls, roll out and fry in hot oil.


Serve with Dubki waale aloo and halwa!
Enjoy the meal over a winter weekend and a relaxed siesta thereafter.There is no other way really 😀

Love
Garima
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Dora Cake or Dorayaki or Fulffy Golden Pancake Sandwich from Japan

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Celebrating success with a childhood memory….
My elder turned 18 this January. He secured admission to the college of his dreams in the City of Dreams this week, and on the first merit list too!!
As the birdie gets ready to fly the nest, we relive some sweet childhood memories with this ‘Dora Cake’ or Dorayaki.
Dorayaki ((どら焼き) are silky, golden, fluffy pancake sandwiches from Japan. My boys, when they were little, loved watching a Japanese cartoon series called Doraemon. The protagonist, a super cat-robot (who is petrified of mice :P), is completely in love with this sweet treat and would do absolutely anything for them!
(Image Source – http://understandinganimation.blogspot.in/)
doraemon_dorayakisThe fluffy pancakes are sandwiched with red bean paste, which is difficult to come by where I live. So I replaced it with thick homemade strawberry preserve in some and good old Nutella in the others. My younger exclaimed ‘ Aha Mom! Now I know why Doraemon is crazy about these! ‘
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The recipe is from Namiko Chen’s blog Just One Cook Book. Her site has some lovely Japanese recipes.
Recipe
This yields 12 pancakes and 6 pancake sandwiches.

You need
4 eggs
140 g (2/3 cup) powdered sugar
2 tbsp honey
160 g (1⅓ cup) all-purpose flour/Maida (How to measure- Fluff  the flour and scoop into a cup to measure. Then level it with a knife)
1 tsp baking powder
2 Tbsp water
A few drops of oil or butter
A cup of red bean paste/strawberry preserve/Nutella chocolate spread

In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, powdered sugar and honey till well mixed and fluffy.
IMG_9158Sift flour over the egg mix, add baking powder and mix well till the mixture is smooth.
IMG_9159IMG_9161Add two tbsp water and mix well.
Heat a non stick pan on medium heat.
Drop 2-3 drops of oil and spread all over with a tissue.
With another tissue, wipe completely. The dry oil free surface of the pan ensures the characteristic evenly browned surface of the Dorayaki pancakes.
IMG_9163Pour ¼ cup of batter in the pan and cook on medium till bubbles form. It takes about a minute and a half. Flip and cook for thirty seconds.
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IMG_9167Keep the heat on medium and medium low throughout. They go from brown to black real quick!
Make all the pancakes like this.
IMG_9226To serve, liberally spread the filling of your choice on one pancake, keeping the bottom side up. Top with the other pancake and serve.
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This is my entry to the Japanese cuisine challenge by Shaheen of Spoon Fork and Food at Chefs Across Boundaries. Thanks Shaheen, this was fun!

I am also taking these yummy Dora Cakes to Angie’s Fiesta Friday, fun treats for a fun party!

Hassleback Potatoes

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Potatoes, we love in all forms, roasted, fried, boiled, mashed, as a filling in parathas  etc etc
And then there is the baked potato. With some beans and cheese. And crisp buttered toast. Need I say more!

A play on the baked potato is this Hassleback version, which gets its name from the Swedish Restaurant Hasselbacken, where it was first served sometime in the 1950s.  I wanted to make these since I first laid my eyes on them.  The other day my greengrocer delivered some king sized tubers and Hasslebacks just had to be made!
I served them with baby Focaccia and creamy coleslaw. And a tall glass of Minty Orange Spritzer. This is the stuff dream summery meals are made of.
IMG_9012Ridiculously simple to make too. Hardly a recipe, so to say. Butter them, cover them, stick them into the oven. Herb them, butter ttem, stick them in again. And done 😀
Tra la la! That simple, really 😀

So you need 4-5 (or as many as you like) large, oblong potatoes

And then for the brushing and filling you need
Some butter or olive oil. I used olive oil for the first drizzle and then butter and herbs for the halfway stuffing and brushing.
For 5 large potatoes, I used 3 Tbsp olive oil and about 4-5 tbsp butter. I added some fine chopped fresh parsley, basil and a tbsp of minced garlic to the butter and mixed well. If exotic fresh herbs are difficult to come by, fresh coriander works beautifully.
This part is as-you-like-it kinds. Flavour them with just salt, butter and pepper and a sprinkle of cheese towards the end of the baking period. Or fill them with fresh herbs.
And yeah that’s about it!

Start with washing and drying the potatoes.
Preheat the oven at 250 C with the rack in the middle and both the heating elements on.
Slice the potatoes stopping an inch before you reach the base, so that they are sliced thin but joined at the bottom. Slice them as thin as you can , say about a cm thick.(I need more practice and need to slice them thinner 😛 )
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Cover the baking tray with aluminium foil and brush the potatoes all over with olive oil.
IMG_9029The slices won’t show yet but they will when the potatoes are half done. Drizzle some olive oil, sprinkle salt and pepper over the potatoes and cover them with foil, leaving some gaps for letting the steam escape.
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Bake for 30-40 minutes, checking in between for them being a little more than half done. The baking time will vary depending on the size and type of potatoes.
Once half done, the layers will easily spread out. Remove the baking tray from the oven
IMG_9036Now melt the butter and add minced garlic , finely chopped herbs, salt and pepper to it. Spread the butter mix over the potatoes making sure some butter does make its way into all the potato slices. Brush the top with the butter mix and bake the potatoes for another 15-20 minutes till the tops are brown and crisp.
IMG_9038Serve immediately.
Garlicky and creamy on the inside and brown and crisp on the outside, this is a stunner of a potato! Use baby potatoes to serve as appetizers.
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Medu Vada and Rasam with Rasam Powder recipe

IMG_8324Tamil Nadu is the final destination of my Dakshin Rail. Shall we call it Chennai Express 😀
I often make Sambar but had never tried Rasam- the very thin, watery soup like wonder. I love Medu Vadas with it. In fact the vadas are favoured over Idlis in my house ( Umm …why is fried stuff more popular I wonder…)

My darling buddy Jaya Amit shared her Ma’s recipes and I got them both perfect in the first go. And no surprises there. Moms recipes always rock ❤
J also gave me the recipe to do fresh rasam masala at home. I made a small batch and  the aroma that filled my kitchen was moth watering. So here goes
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For the Rasam Masala Powder
 (Makes about ¼  cup)
2 Tbsb coriander/dhaniya seeds
2 tsp tur/arhar dal
2 tsp chana/Bengal gram dal
8 whole red chillies
1 tsp peppercorns/whole kali mirch
1 tsp cumin/jeera

Dry roast all the above on a hot griddle one by one. Cool completely and grind. Store in an airtight box.

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For the Rasam
(Serves 4)

A very small lemon-sized ball of tamarind
1 tsp desi ghee/clarified butter
1 small tomato chopped fine
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
½ tsp haldi/turmeric
1 Tbsp Rasam Masala
4-5  curry leaves
½ cup diluted tur dal (optional)
A handful of fresh coriander/cilantro, chopped fine

For the tadka/tempering
1 tsp desi ghee
½ tsp heeng/asafetida
1 tsp rai/mustard seeds
½ tsp jeera/turmeric
A pinch of pepper powder
4-5 curry leaves
IMG_8174Soak the tamarind in a cup of water for an hour. ( See the small ball. It is less than a tbsp )
Pulp and strain it. Add 2 ½ cups of water to the pulp.
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Heat a tsp of ghee and add garlic, curry leaves and  tomatoes. Cook stirring for 3-4 minutes till the tomatoes are mushy.
IMG_8228Add the tamarind water, salt and turmeric and bring to boil. The diluted tur dal can be added at this point (If using). Add more water if needed. The rasam has to be nice and watery.
IMG_8231Add the Rasam powder and just bring to a froth and take off the heat.
IMG_8236Tempering – Heat ghee and add heeng and rai. As soon as the rai starts to crackle, take off the heat. Add the curry leaves and pepper powder and spread over the rasam. Serve hot with medu vada!

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Recipe for  Medu Vada ( Complete with tips and tricks!)
 ( Makes 12-15 medium sized vadas)
1 Cup Whole urad or good quality urad dal
1 small onion, chopped fine
2 green chillies, chopped fine and seeds removed
6-7 curry leaves, torn roughly
2 tsp grated ginger
Salt to taste
½ tsp heeng/asafetida
Soak a cup of urad dal for two hours ( Do not over soak else the batter gets watery)
IMG_8224Drain and grind till thick and fluffy, adding very little water slowly. Do not add too much water else the batter will be runny and the vadas won’t form well. Grind just before you are going to fry them for better results
IMG_8225.(TIP- If the batter does get runny, add a little semolina and make simple round Pakoda like vadas as it might be difficult to get the doughnut like shape)

Add all the other listed ingredients to the batter and mix well.
IMG_8226IMG_8232Pour oil generously in a  kadai/wok. Don’t be skimpy with oil, else the vadas will stick to the bottom of the wok.
Take a clean plastic sheet. Moisten the sheet and your hands. Take 2 tsbp batter and make the vadas.
IMG_8233Drop gently into the oil and fry on medium heat till golden brown. Serve hot!
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Upma- Quick Light Healthy Breakfast

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Upma

This light and quick fix breakfast is healthy and versatile. You can make it just with the basic tempering of mustard seeds and curry leaves or as many seasonal vegetables as you want, to make a mixed vegetable Upma.
Although it may be made in oil, but the taste of the ghee-roasted upma is unsurpassable.
IMG_8036(This recipe serves 3-4)

½ cup semolina/sooji
1 tbsp ghee
1 tsp mustard seeds/rai
6-7 curry leaves
1 small onion, chopped fine ( can omit if making Jain style)
2 green chillies chopped fine
5-6 cashew nuts, chopped coarse
1 tsp lime juice
2 ½ cups of water
1 tsp of urad dal and chana dal each, soaked for 20 minutes
A handful of fresh coriander

Roast the semolina in 1 tsp of ghee till it begins to change colour and gives a toasty aroma.
In another pan, heat the remaining ghee and splutter the mustard. Keep the heat on medium.
IMG_7585Add the cashew nuts and roast them till they get light brown. Add curry leaves and the soaked dals and stir for a minute.
IMG_7587Add onions and fry them till they begin to brown. Add green chillies (and any vegetables if using) and stir for a minute.
IMG_7589Increase the heat to full. Add water and bring to a boil. Add the lime juice.
IMG_7593Slowly add the semolina, stirring continuously till the upma comes together and loose fudge like consistency is reached.
IMG_7598Sprinkle fresh coriander, mix well and serve immediately.
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Upma Pesarattu or MLA Pesarattu – Green Lentil Dosa from Andhra served with Upma and Tangy Ginger Chutney

Andhra Pradesh is destination next on my Dakshin Samyal aka my Southern sojourn. My friend Sushma, was kind enough to share some of her family recipes with me and I was able to get together this meal.
The MLA Pesarattu, called so because it is popular in the the MLA quarters at Hyderabad. The green lentils dosas are roasted in ghee and served with a tangy ginger tamarind chutney (Allam Pachadi) and ghee laden Upma. A rich platter!
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For the Pesarattu/ green lentil pancakes
Pesarattu (Andhra)
(This recipe makes 10-12 pesarattu)

1 cup whole moong dal with skin/ chhilke waali moong dal
2-3 green chillies
2 inch piece of ginger
Salt to taste
1 tbsp rice flour (optional)
1 onion, chopped fine
A few cashew nuts, chopped coarse
Some fresh coriander
Ghee/clarified butter to cook the pesarattu (may use oil)
1

Chop the ginger and green chilles into large chunks and soak them with the dal in enough water for 4-5 hours.
2
Rinse and blend into a thick paste. Do not throw the water used to soak. Add as required while grinding. Do not add too much. We need a thick batter. Some rice flour may be used if the batter is difficult to work with.
3
Add salt just before making the pesarattu.
Heat a heavy griddle. Sprikle water and wipe. Immediately, spread a ladle of the batter like a dosa. Drizzle some ghee around and in the centre.
Spread a little thick for sofe pesarattu and really thin for crisp ones.
4

Lower the flame and cook till done. If required, flip and cook the other side.
6On top of it sprinkle the onions, cashews and coriander.
7Spread two tablespoons of upma ( Find recipe here) inside the pancake  and serve hot with the tangy garlic chutney.
8

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For the Ginger Tamarind Chutney /Allam Pachadi
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(Makes ¼ cup chutney)

This tangy spicy chutney is a tease! You cannot stop licking it off the bowl. It is that yum!!  😀

2 Tbsp tamarind pulp ( take a lemon sized ball of tamrind, soaked in 1 cup of water and strain it)
1 2×2 inch block of jaggery/gud, crushed to small pieces
3 Tbsp grated ginger
Salt to taste
½ tsp red chilli powder ( or more if you want it hotter)
1 tsp oil
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Soak the jaggery in tamarind pulp for 2 hours.
After the mixture has been soaking for 2 hours, heat the oil and  sauté  the ginger in it. Add salt and chilli powder, stir for a few seconds and remove.
IMG_7904Cool and add the sautéed ginger to the tamrind jaggery mixture.
Soak for another 2 hours to imbibe all the juices and the flavours to come together.
IMG_7905Blitz the mixture and cook on the gas on low heat for about 40 minutes to an hour to get a sticky spicy delicious ginger tamarind chutney! Yum 😀 :DBe careful. If you don’t stop ‘tasting’, you might have none left to serve with the pesarattu. Works well with dosas too.