Waffles from Dosa batter 

Craving waffles? I was the other day and didn’t want to have refined flour. Peeped into the fridge and found dosa batter!

Added some left over veggies and made these beauties in my sandwich maker! (It comes with removable waffle plates too!)

The next morning, added some condensed milk and made sweet waffles and served them with fresh fruit and a dollop of vanilla ice cream!

Such awesome fun!

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Lauki Corn Pulao

‘Lauki Corn Pulao! Well what’s that? Ye bhi koi banata hai Kya’ wailed my 14-year old (grumpy faced 😡) [who ever makes that!!!]
Well, it’s what you make when you are having a lazy Sunday, recovering from flu and throw everything that you have in the fridge into the Pressure Cooker. A lazy one pot meal.
The anti climax – the whole cooker is wiped clean in about 10 minutes!
Who’s having the last laugh now 😂

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It isn’t much of a recipe really.
A simple pulao. Soak  a cup of Basmati rice.
Heat 2 tbsp oil, throw in a tsp of cumin/jeera, some chopped garlic and onion. Brown them. Chop in a large tomato. Add salt, red chilli powder,  Turmeric/ Haldi coriander/dhaniya powder, cook, throw in veggies of choice, rice, a cup of water, one whistle
Done!

It’s tough to wipe the smirk off me now! 😄

A Rajasthani meal- Lehsun ki Chutney with Tikkads

Come weekend and it is the time for food farmaish aka requests from the husband. This morning he wanted spicy Lehsun ki Chutney with parathas. Well, it had to be done quickly and there was no time to soak the whole dry red chillies which I usually use to make the chutney. I used red chilli powder for the heat and some Kashmiri red chilli powder for the colour. So it was made within 15 minutes and served with Tikkads.

Lehsun Chutney and Tikkad

Tikkads are thick, khasta (crisp outside,soft inside) little rotis from Rajasthan and go really well with garlic chutney and pickle.

Lehsun ki Chutney 1

For the lehsun ki chutney, blitz together

15-20 fat cloves of garlic (I used two whole bulbs)
2 large tomatoes
1 tsp salt
1 tsp red chilli powder  (yeah, it is meant to be hot hot hot!)/ Ideally, one should soak 7-8 red dried chillies and add them to the chutney rather than the powder but I didn’t have any.
½ tsp Kashmiri red chilli powder
1 tsp jeera/cumin seeds

Heat 4 tbsp oil and cook the ground chutney for ten odd minutes till it is well done and releases oil.

Serve with parathas, as a side with rice and dal or even with cold left over rotis.

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Tikkad
Tikaad
To make authentic  tikkad one needs coarse ground wheat flour. In case you are unable to get it where you live add ¼ cup besan/chick pea flour and 3-4 tbsp semolina to the flour.
Add a tbsp of ghee  and half a tsp of salt to 2 cups of flour and knead it with some lukewarm milk. Let it rest for 10-15 minutes.
Roll out small thick rotis and roast them on the tawa. When they are almost done, drizzle some ghee and flip and cook on both sides.
Serve hot with lehsun ki chutney and Aloo Pyaaz ki Sabzi ( Will share the recipe soon)
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Kerala Style Vegetable Stew and How to extract Coconut Milk

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Kerala Style vegetable stew is a wonderful concoction of mixed vegetables gently simmered in aromatic whole spices and thin coconut milk.
I served the stew with appams and a bowl of chilled sweetened coconut milk. It made for an extremely satisfying meal!
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This meal needs copious amounts of coconut milk. You can use store bought, but it is really simple to make at home. And preservative free completely!
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All you need is some fresh coconut, cubed and some hot water.
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Grinds a cup of coconut, add hot water and strain. This is the first extract/thick milk.
Add another cup of hot water to the precipitate and grind again. Strain to get the second extract/ thin milk.

The stew gets its flavour from the whole spices completely and needs no ground spices apart from black pepper really. You can add a dash of cumin- coriander powder if you like. The stew gets heat from green chillies and pairs beautifully with the mild flavoured appams.

You need
2 cups of mixed vegetables, cubed.
I used carrots, cauliflower, French Beans, potatoes, peas and onion
1 tsp ginger,grated
2-3 cloves of garlic,minced
2 large green chillies (or less if you want to reduce the heat)
¼  tsp black pepper powder
1 cup of thin coconut milk/water
1 cup of thick coconut milk
Salt, to taste
Whole spices-  2 bay leaves, a small stick of cinnamon, 4-5 cloves
1 tsp oil
5-6 curry leaves
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In a pan (can use the pressure cooker) heat oil and add curry leaves.
Add the whole spices and roast for a few seconds.( I sometimes make it oil free and just dry roast the spices like I did here)
IMG_4516Add the vegetables, green chillies and black pepper powder.
Season with salt.
Add the thin coconut water and cover and cook till vegetables are done but firm.
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(If making in pressure cooker, use water instead of coconut milk)
Take off the heat and add the thick coconut milk.
Stir well and serve hot.
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* In case whole spices are not available, use some Garam Masala powder
* I always take the stew off the heat and then stir in the coconut milk so that the milk does not split.
* A tsp of mustard seeds can be added right after the curry leaves if desired.

Kerala Appam or Palappam

As much as I love food from Dakshin Bharat aka South India, I realised there is very little I know to cook apart from idli and dosa (yum as they are!)
So May is a month to venture that way
A Southern sojourn, so to say.
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Up first are the feather-light and super yum ‘Lacy Hoppers’ from Kerala .Yeah! They have a cute English name!  Appams or Palappmas are soft pancakes which are made from rice and coconut milk.
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In case you have rice flour at hand, here is a wonderful recipe by my friend Rieby Jeetu Matthew which I have tried and tested numerous times. It is super simple and no fail! The batter is ready is all of two hours!
Rieby, our appam connection is now documented 😀 ❤

Appam recipe with Rice Flour or Appam Podi
This recipe gives 20 appams
You need
2 cups of rice flour
Half a cup of coconut milk/ desiccated coconut/ coconut milk powder
4-5 tbsp cooked rice
½ tsp Instant yeast or 1 tsp active dry yeast
4 tbsp sugar
¾ tsp salt
Grind all the ingredients apart from salt in the mixture adding water very slowly as required.
If using coconut milk, first grind only with the milk and then add water if needed.
We need a batter runnier / looser than the dosa batter.
Cover and let ferment. It took about two hours here in this hot weather. The batter is ready. Add salt, mix well and make appams.
(To make appams, follow the steps shown below)
If not using immediately, do not add salt and store the batter in the refrigerator for up to two days.

I had requested a dear blogger friend for a recipe with rice rather than rice flour and she, very sweetly, did an appam post for me. Thanks a ton Shannu. They came out perfect! Here is Shannu’s recipe at Food Passion and Love.

I make them both ways, with rice and with rice flour. Both come out equally good. Just that, if you want to skip the step of soaking and grinding the rice, the rice flour recipe is really handy and all the prep gets done is just about two hours.

Appam recipe with Rice
(Makes about 15-18 appams)
1 ½ cup  Rice
¾ cup grated coconut or ¾ cup thick coconut milk
A handful of cooked rice
¾  tsp salt
3 Tbsp sugar
½ to ¾ cup of water for grinding ( To be added gradually)
1 tsp Instant yeast
(or 2 tsp active dry yeast  and 2 Tbsp luke warm water and a tsp of sugar to soak the yeast)

Soak the raw rice in water for about 4 -5 hours.
If using active dry yeast– When you are ready to grind the rice, soak the yeast in warm water and sugar. In about 10-15 minutes the mixture gets frothy.
Instant Yeast can be added directly to the batter, without soaking/blooming.
Grind the coconut

IMG_4656Drain the water and grind the rice in the mixer adding water gradually. We need a fine paste.
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Add the cooked rice and  and  Instant yeast or the frothy yeast mixture ( if using active dry yeast)  and mix well.
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Transfer to a large steel or plastic container and keep covered for 3-4 hours till the mixture ferments well and doubles up.
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Add salt and sugar to the fermented batter and mix well. Add some water if the batter is too thick. We need a runny sort of batter. Runnier than a dosa batter.
Appams are made in a small shallow kadai called appa chatti. They can be made in a non stick pan but won’t get the intrinsic appam shape. Will be a treat nevertheless!

Heat the appa chatti and  put a drop of desi ghee or butter. Wipe clean with a tissue paper. The chatti should not be too hot else the batter won’t stick.
Pour a ladle full of batter ( about ¼ cup) in the centre of the chatti.
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Holding the pan from the handles, take it off the heat and swirl the batter all the way around to form a circle. Try not to swirl after the first layer. There will be more batter in the centre and the edges will be thin. Don’t worry. That’s the way it is meant to be!
Increase the heat and cover  and cook for a minutes.
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Lower the heat and cook another minute if you like white appams. Make sure the centre is cooked.
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I like them soft in the centre and crispy and lacy around the edges so I wait another couple of minutes till the sides become nice and brown.
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With a wooden spatula lift the appams from one side. In fact I just life it with my hands. It leaves the pan easily.
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Serve with stew and coconut milk.
The leftover batter can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two days.
I served the appams with chilled, sweetened coconut milk and Vegetable Stew.
Find the recipe for the Stew here.

For the Sweet coconut milk- Chill some thick coconut milk and add some sugar or condensed milk to make it as sweet as you like it.  I added a couple of tsp condensed milk to a cup of coconut milk. Done!

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Watermelon, Feta Cheese and Mint Salad

Edited2With  temperatures touching the high 30s, salads are like manna from heaven! This quick and very refreshing Mediterranean salad comes together in a jiffy and is a treat to eat. Watermelon, Feta cheese and fresh mint – yeah that’s all! Not even salt or lemon 😀
Also enjoyed making little watermelon and muskmelon balls with my new toy- the melon baller 😛
IMG_5769I recently got introduced to feta and its salty rich flavour. The sweetness of the watermelon balances the salt beautifully and the mint adds a fresh ,well minty, tang. It’s a glorious burst of flavours and the palate rejoices!

There is not much of a recipe apart from getting the three elements together.

I look a medium sized sweet watermelon and scooped some balls out from the seedless areas of the melon.
To get nice and round balls, press the melon baller deep into the melon flesh.
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Rotate clockwise all the way up
IMG_5767And scoop the ball out…ta da 😀
IMG_5768If you can get the seedless variety, nothing like it.Else scoop out from the seedless part. Edited3Tear 10-12 fresh mint leaves and mix gently with the watermelon balls.
IMG_5771Cube about 50 grams of feta and top the salad with it. Serve immediately!
Heaven in a bowl 🙂
Edited1Recipe sourced from The Persian Kitchen.

Tangy Sambar Andhra Style

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Tangy Sambar Andhra style

I love Sambar! A bowl of piping hot sambar is such a treat.
There is this delicious no- oil ‘Tiffin Sambar’ that I often make with idlis. I wanted to try out a different variety and requested my friend Sushma for her recipe. She very sweetly shared it along with a smart tip that the quantity of vegetables needs to be almost as much as the dal/lentils. We are looking for a soupy consistency. So here is Tangy Spicy Sambar- Andhra Style! I made my own Sambar Masala powder. If using store bought, try and look for the MTR brand of masala. Thanks for the wonderful recipe Sush ❤
So here goes (Serves 4)

½ cup tuwar/arhar dal/pigeon peas split legumes
¾ cup of chopped mixed vegetables, carrots, drumsticks, bottle gourd, shallots and tomatoes
Salt to taste
¼ tsp sugar (or a little more if you like)
¼ tsp turmeric/haldi
A small ball of tamarind, soaked and strained to get about a tbsp puree
1 heaped tbsp sambar masala powder ( I make my own. Find the recipe here)
1 Tbsp oil
¼ tsp asafoetida
½ tbsp mustard seeds/rai
10-12 curry leaves
2 whole red chillies
1 tbsp freshly grated coconut (may use desiccated coconut if fresh not available)

Pressure cook the dal with the mixed vegetables, salt and turmeric.
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Open the cooker and mash the dal with the back of a ladle. Avoid mashing the vegetables.
Add the tamarind puree to the sambar.
Mix sambar masala in 4-5 tbsp of water and add to the sambar.
Boil together till the masala aroma is released ( 5-6 minutes).
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For the tadka- heat oil and add asafoetida. Crackle the rai and add the curry leaves.
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Take off the heat and add the whole red chillies and grated coconut.
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Add the tadka to the sambar and serve hot.

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If adding bhindi/okra to the sambar put all the veggies in the tadka, cook them and add to the boiled dal. In this case boil the dal only with salt and turmeric.
Later in 2 Tbsp of hot oil, add asafoetida, mustard seeds, curry leaves and then cook the shallots (use onions if shallots not available) and all the vegetables apart from tomatoes. Once vegetables are done, ass the tomatoes and cook for a few minutes and add to the dal. Delicious sambar ready!

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No Fry Falafels with Unleavened instant Pitas aka Chapati Pitas!

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Simple chapatis don’t cut much ice with my boys, so I play the sneak and ‘Lebanise’ them sometimes 😉
Rolled small and thick and nicely puffed up, chapatis make crisp unleavened Pita pockets. Off late I have started making no fry falafels thanks to my dear friend Sonal Kalra’s wonderful recipe. I now cook the chick peas before I  grind them rather than grinding them raw. Also, I pan fry them in very little oil rather than deep frying them. As they get made very often in my kitchen, this healthy variation is a blessing. And honestly, we don’t miss then fried ones.
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You need
A cup of cooked chick peas/kabuli chane/chhole
1  medium sized onions, chopped into cubes
6 Tbsp fresh cilantro/hara dhaniya, chopped coarse
3 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped coarse
5 cloves garlic, chopped coarse
1 tsp salt
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp roasted cumin powder
1 Tsp lemon juice
1 tsp toasted sesame seeds
Oil to brush the falafels
2-4 Tbsp bread crumbs (Add slowly only as much needed to bind the falafels)

Drain the chickpeas well and grind them coarse. Do NOT add any water.
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Grind the remaining ingredients (barring bread crumbs)
Mix the two.
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Now slowly add breadcrumbs, a tsp at a time, so that the falafel mixture comes together to form patties.
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Make all the patties as per desired size.
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Pan fry the patties on a non stick pan brushing slightly with oil till they are browned on both sides.
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We had them with some green pepper hummus, stuffed into our chapati-Pitas 😀

Whole Wheat Pitas

You can always got the traditional way and make the dough with yeast. I have gone completely whole wheat off late.
Knead the pita dough with 4 cups of aata/whole wheat flour  with a tsp of salt, 1 tsp of instant yeast (bloomed in half a cup of warm water and 1 tsp of sugar) and rest it for a couple of hours. Here it is all doubled up and proved.
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Roll out small flatbreads
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Bake at full heat in the oven till they puff up and brown.
Alternatively make them on the stove top on a heavy griddle.
These will be browner than the Maida/All purpose flour pitas, but as good in taste!
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Fattoush : Lebanese salad with pita bread croutons

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As mercury rises, one craves light and fresh meals. And it’s just the right time to explore the myriad colours, textures, flavours and hues of the Lebanese cuisine!
Characterised by fresh vegetables – raw or pickled, tangy flavourous dips and light meals, baked or sautéed in olive oil and salads, this cuisine is a true summer delight!
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I make pita, hummus and falafels very often, and decided to team the meal with a vibrant and tangy salad this time. Fattoush was a perfect choice! Even my teenagers devoured it with as much love as they demolish a pizza. Happy happy mommy!

I bought fresh ingredients the same day and that really added to the freshness and crunch of the salad. Fattoush uses pita bread croutons. I baked fresh whole wheat pitas. Here they are nicely toasted to go into the salad.
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These soak up the dressing and give the salad a  nice body and texture.

To make the salad you need (serves 4)
2-3 pitas, toasted/fried and broken into pieces
2-3 scallions/spring onions, sliced thin
A small cucumber, cubed
3 medium tomatoes, cubed/ can used 10-12 cherry tomatoes, halved
A small head of lettuce/1 cup of lettuce, sliced thin
1 radish,cubed
10-12 fresh mint leaves,torn roughly
½ cup flat leaf parsley , torn roughly (I could get only the curled parsley so I chopped it very fine)
A small green pepper,cubed
A small red pepper,cubed

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For the dressing
¼ cup olive oil
1 Tbsp lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
2-3 garlic cloves minced fine
A tbsp pomegranate molasses ( I reduced a cup of pomegranate juice with a tsp of sugar to a quarter of a cup. Cooled and added as required)/ ½ tsp of honey may be used if molasses not available
A pinch of salt
¼  tsp dried mint powder
a tsp of Sumac (not readily available in India. Can make skipping it)
Mix all the above ingredients in a small bottle or bowl and mix well.
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To assemble
Drizzle some oil over the toasted pita croutons Mix well to coat the croutons with oil.
(If using toasted ones as I did. If using fried, proceed to the next step)
Mix all the other ingredients of the salad in a wide bowl.
Just before serving, add the dressing and toss well.
Serve immediately.
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We enjoyed it by itself and also stuffed into warm pita to make excellent salad sandwiches.
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*Make sure the vegetable are washed and dried before chopping, else the salad will get soggy. Specially in case of the mint and parsley.
*Add the dressing just before serving,
*In case pita is not available, regular white/brown bread may be toasted/fried and used.

I am taking this crunchy salad to the Lebanese challenge at Chefs Across Boundaries. I am hosting the event this month!!
CAB BAdge 3 transy
Go Lebanese!!
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Recipe adapted from Mama’s Lebanese Kitchen and Epicurious

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Dal Dhokli

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Summer seems to have arrived before time this year. It is unseasonably warm. One feels like simple, low oil meals. Discs of spicy dough cooked in lentil soup, Dal Dhokli makes for a wholesome bowl of joy. It is quick and simple to make too!
Thinking about it made me wonder how this came to be first made. I have a feeling that in the good old no-refrigerator days, a housewife may have been left with some excess chapatti dough and dal. And she came up with this brilliant idea of rolling and cutting small diamonds or discs of dough and boiling them with the dal. Voila! It is made with a mixture of dhuli and chhilke waali moong dal in Rajasthan and with toor dal in Gujrat and Maharashtra. It is made with a dash of the black Goda Masala in Maharashtra and called Varan Phala. Thanks to my friend Kirti Tabib’s delicious looking Varan Phala post, I was tempted to make this the very same day!  I made it using Kirti’s recipe with quite a few inputs from my friends Ruchita and Pragya.Thanks girls.
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For the dal

½ cup of toor daal (pigeon pea lentils) or a mixture of husked and dehusked moong lentils (dhuli aur chhilke waali moong dal)
2 cups of water
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp turmeric/haldi powder

Pressure cook all of the above. Let cool and mash well.
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While the dal cooks, prepare the dough for dhokli.
2  cup whole wheat dough/aata
2 tbsp gram flour/besan
2 tbsp rice flour
¾  tsp salt
¼ tsp turmeric/haldi powder
½ tsp coriander/dhaniya powder
½ tsp red chilli powder/lal mirch powder
2 tbsp oil
2 tsp ghee
A pinch of sugar
A handful of fresh coriander, chopped fine
1 large green chilli, chopped fine
½ tsp ginger, minced
1 tsp carom seeds/ajwain

Mix all the listed ingredients and knead into a dough. Keep covered till the dal is done.
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For making Dal Dhokli
1 Tbsp Oil
¼ tsp asafoetida/heeng
½ tsp cumin/jeera
A pinch of mustard seeds/rai
5-6 cloves/laung
1 inch piece of cinnamon/dalchini
½ tsp salt
½ tsp red chilli powder
½ tsp coriander powder
¼ tsp cumin powder
¼ tsp Maharashtrian Goda masala (optional)
1 medium tomato,chopped fine
1 large green chilli, a small piece of ginger and 3 cloves of garlic, ground coarse
1 tbsp tamarind pulp (skip if making with moong dal. Use lemon juice instead)
A small piece of jaggery/gud (or as per the desired sweetness)
8-10 curry leaves (skip if making with moong dal)
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In a large kadai or heavy bottomed pan, heat oil and add cinnamon,cloves, asafoetida, cumin and mustard seeds.
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Add curry leaves, the coarsely ground green chilli, ginger and garlic mixture and the dry spices (salt,red chilli powder, turmeric powder,coriander powder and goda masala)
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Add tomatoes and cook till the tomatoes are pulpy.
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Add the boiled dal and 4 cups of water.
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Take a lemon sized ball from the dhokli dough, roll out as thick as a chapatti and cut dhokli into desired shapes- diamonds or discs.
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Drop the dhokli into boiling dal and cook stirring in between for fifteen minutes.
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The dhokli floats to the top when done. Taste for doneness. It should not taste doughy.
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Once done, squeeze some lemon juice, top with fresh green coriander and serve hot.
Enjoy 😀

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