Monthly Archives: November 2014

Savory Indian Appe or Aebleskiver?

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Savory  Indian Appe or Aebleskiver?

As you start making dishes from different cuisines, you start observing the similarities between the cuisines and your cuisine. After a couple of months of moving to California we went on a long drive along PCH 1. I was completely bowled over by the scenic route. We stopped along at various missions along the way and of course various food place. During this trip we also visited the danish town of Solvang. I fell in love with that little danish town. Horse pulled buggies, tiny shops selling embroidered  articles, beautiful house, small windmills and of course yummy food shops. This is where I first ate the ‘Danish Aebleskivers’. Tiny balls of goodness filled with fruits and dusted with powdered sugar..they are little tiny packets of yumminess.

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When I saw these little balls, I was quickly reminded of a similar looking dish from back home, India. In India we also make a dish that looks exactly like these Danish Aebleskivers. The batter is typically made from ground rice, sometimes fermented and sometimes not. The fermented version is usually the savory kind, where as the non- fermented is the one that is sweetened typically with jaggery.

Today’s recipe is a savory indian aebelskiever, ‘Appe’!

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I love making food that the kids can pick up and eat on the go, and these fit the bill. You can serve these for breakfast or  dress these up as party finger foods. These are healthy, tasty.  The batter can be made ahead and  so these can be put together in a short time once the batter is ready.

I got this recipe from my younger sister, who got it from her Mom in law. Since I am lazy, I am always looking for options where I can do the prep once but make a few different dishes from it. So I make my own variations like Thai, Chinese, Mexican appe using the same batter. 

Ingredients:

1 cup urad daal
1/2 cup chana daal
4 cups rice

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1 cup sooji

1/2 cup poha( it is basically cooked, flattened, dried rice grains)

Method:

Soak both daals and rice for at least 5-6 hours, I prefer to soak it overnight.  Next morning grind all of these separately. When you start grinding these soak the sooji and poha with just enough water to cover these.

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When you grind the rice, grind the poha and sooji with it.

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Add
Salt
1 tsp sugar

Let this batter ferment for at least 12 Hours. The batter gets light and airy. It practically doubles in volume.

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When you are ready to make the ‘appe’, make sure the batter is of ‘pancake batter’ consistency.

Add

You can pretty much add anything you like. If you want to add something like carrot, it is better to shred it so it cooks quickly. I like to add all the ingredients of chutney

  • Finely chopped onion
  • Finely chopped cilantro
  • Finely chopped Green chilies
  • chopped curry leaves
  • Fresh coconut
  • Cumin seeds

I love adding these, this way you can eat the ‘Appe’ even without any chutney with just a dollop of ghee. 🙂

cropped ghee & podi

Make Appe using the Appe pan, you can easily buy them in the indian store. You can also use the aebelskiver pan online, that also works very well.

Buy the pan online

Add a drop of oil and then add about 1-2 tbsp of batter to make Appe.

I have a little video here that shows how to make these.

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Note:
You can also make Appe using ‘Aebelskiever pan’.

Note:

You can make many variations with the same batter.

Mexican appe:  I saute various vegetables, add my homemixed taco/fajita seasoning, chopped cilantro and some chipotle and mix everything in the batter. I serve it with Avocado Cream sauce.
Chinese appe:  Saute shredded carrots, beans, green onion, thin sliced cabbage. Add soy/chili sauce, and then add it to the batter. You can serve it with store bought schechwan sauce.
Thai appe: I add lemongrass, thai basil along with some vegetables and then serve it with satay sauce.
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Panch Phoran

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This is a spice mix from Bengal, the eastern state of India. I just love the combination of flavors. As the name suggests it is a mixture of Five( panch) spices.  There are many variations of this recipe, but here is what I use:

Panch Phoran

Ingredients:

1 tbsp Fennel Seeds ( saunf)

1 tbsp fenugreek seeds ( methi seeds)

1 tbsp Mustard seeds ( Rai)

1 tbsp cumin seeds ( jeera)

1 tbsp nigella seeds ( kalonji)

Method:

Slightly rosat all the ingredients separately. Mix them in a bottle. You can use it in many recipe.

Lauki majedar

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I try to eat and cook only what is in season, so I only shop at the farmers market for my fruits and vegetables. You will always find some kind of squash in season. Most of the summer and almost through the fall season, you will get opo squash in the market. It is  easy to clean and very nutritious, so I try to include that in our diet as  I can, be it in the form of a salad, curry, Soup, Parantha( Indian flat bread) or even dessert. Although it is very good for you, it can be very bland testing and needs some dressing up.

Typically you will find Lauki made with some sort of lentil, or in a form of a kofta. This recipe is none of that, it is very simple and easy to make.  I also like the fact that it does not have onion or garlic and hence can be a nice addition to a dinner plate with  other curries with onion, garlic.

For last night’s dinner I made egg curry which had onion and garlic, so I made the lauki majedar to compliment it.

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Ingredients

1 lauki ( squash)

1 tbsp Panch Phoran

1/2 tsp turmeric

1/2 inch ginger

1 green chili

1 roma tomato

Cilantro for garnish

Oil

1/2 tsp ghee ( optional)

 

Method

Peel and chop the squash in fine dice. Chop tomatoes in small pieces. Chop ginger in fine pieces. Chop green chilies in fine pieces as well.

Heat oil. Add panch phoran, turmeric saute for 10 secs. Make sure that the panch phoran does not burn otherwise the methi might start tasting bitter.

Add ginger and green chilies, saute for 10 secs.

Add the chopped tomatoes and saute for 20 secs.

Add chopped squash and mix well. Add salt to taste and cover. Cook on low flame until cooked.

Add the ghee if using.

Garnish with chopped cilantro.

Indian Egg curry- poached eggs in coconut curry

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Yesterday was one of those days when I had very few things in the fridge and yet I was hoping to make something yummy for dinner, then I thought about Egg curry. Egg curry is a very common Indian dish. Most of the ingredients are available at home and egg curry can be very handy on one of those days when you don’t know what to make. It can be eaten with rice or wheat roti( Indian bread). Sometimes I like to eat egg curry with a crusty bread for breakfast as well, with a cup of tea it is perfect nutritious way to start the day.

Typically egg curry is made with boiled eggs in a tomato-onion gravy. Although I like the taste of that curry, I find that the eggs and curry don’t blend well.   I prefer to make it almost like poached eggs. The eggs get cooked in a nice coconutty curry to perfection. This recipe does not have tomatoes and gets its tartness from tamarind. This egg curry reminds me of the the Tunisian recipe ‘Shakshuka’,  Eggs cooked in tomato based sauce, so try this Indian Shakshuka, it is very easy to make.

Last night’s dinner was a simple egg curry, Opp squash with panch Phoran & whole wheat rotis.

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Ingredients

For the Masala paste


1/2 cup Fresh grated coconut
4 dry red chilies
1 big clove of garlic
1 1/2 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tbsp jeera
1/4 cup cilantro
1 tsp tamarind paste
1/2 tsp turmeric

Oil
1 small onion chopped fine
3/4 cup coconut milk( optional)
4-5 eggs

 

Method

Grind all the ingredients for the paste fine using water.
Heat oil and sauté onion till nice and brown.

Add masala paste and sauté it for a min

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Add water to make a thin curry It should be thinner than what you would like the final product to be.
Add salt and mix well.

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Make small wells in the curry and crack eggs gently in the curry.
Cover and cook on low flame. After a couple of min open the lid and spoon some curry over the eggs without disturbing them.

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Add coconut milk if you want richer curry.
Keep cooking until the yolk is set. 
Garnish with chopped cilantro & serve with Roti or Rice

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Vada Pav -the indian veggie burger

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Vada Pav -the indian veggie burger

If you have visited India and especially Mumbai, you must have seen many road- side stalls for Vada Pav. Vada is a name for anything that is round in shape and fried..and Pav is the bread or dinner roll in hindi.

Indian Vegetarian Burger

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Usually I visit India in July-August time frame, at that time it is Monsoon  in India. When we drive from Mumbai to Pune, you go through the Western Ghats, the mountain are covered in lush green carpet, you see beautiful streams bouncing down the mountain side. The air is clean and crisp, and as you are enjoying this all, you smell Hot Vada Pav being made somewhere.

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Vada Pav is a popular street food of India, especially Maharashtra.  Vada is a name for anything that is round in shape and fried..and Pav is the bread or dinner roll in hindi. There are some foods which I can eat anytime of the day, many times in the week and still enjoy and love the same. Vada Pav is definitely one of them. In fact, whenever I visit India Vada Pav is the first food I eat.

When you travel by train any station the train stops at, you will find the vendors selling vada pav. On a piece of paper with some spicy hot green chilies.

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It is a very easy recipe and typically most of the ingredients are available at home so anytime you crave it, you can make it quickly.

Ingredients:

Filling

3 potatoes boiled and diced ( I have used russet potatoes)

1/2 onion finely chopped ( optional)

6-8 garlic cloves

1/2 tsp grated ginger

4-5 green chilies

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp turmeric powder

a few curry leaves

1 tbsp chopped cilantro

Sugar to taste

Salt to taste

1 tsp lime juice

Batter:

1 cup of besan ( bengal gram flour)

1/2 tsp turmeric

Salt to taste

1 tsp oil

Couple of pinches of baking soda

Oil to fry

 

Method

Filling

Peel the potatoes and dice them in small pieces. Make sure the potatoes are cooled before you dice them, else they can get sticky. Slightly mash them with the back of a fork.

Pound the garlic and green chilies with a little bit of salt into a coarse paste.

Heat oil, add mustard seeds. As soon as they splutter, add curry leaves and turmeric. Add onions if using and saute them till they are light brown in color. Dont let them burn at all.

Add the chili-garlic paste and saute for 15-20 secs. Turn the heat off

Add the potatoes mixture, salt, sugar and lime juice. Mix well, and taste to adjust the seasoning.

Batter

Mix all the ingredients for the batter except the baking soda well, make sure there are no lumps. When you are ready to fry the vada, add the baking soda and set aside for 5 mins.

Make lemon size balls of the potato mixture.

Dip the balls in the batter and fry on medium heat till golden brown.

Serve with dry garlic chutney. You can also use tamarind chutney or Mint chutney as a spread on the bread before making a sandwich with the Vada.

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Cheddar Pimiento Harissa muffins

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I am always looking for savory options for breakfast. So when I made Harissa, I decided to make these muffins and use Harissa for flavoring. I had seen a similar recipe in a Food magazine, added my twist to it.

I also make savory breakfast waffles  which are also a great savory breakfast option.

I like this recipe since you can have all the wet ingredients mixed and in a container in the fridge and dry ingredients mixed as well. In the morning you just mix them together and you have yummy muffins for breakfast in 20 mins. You can also serve them as appetizers with some spread.

I also make these with some bacon bits and those taste yummy as well.

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Ingredients:

Dry ingredients

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2 1/2 cup flour

1 1/2 tbsp smoked paprika

1 tbsp salt

1 tbsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp fresh ground black pepper

Wet ingredients

1 1/2 cup buttermilk

2 eggs

4 tbsp melted butter

1 tsp chopped jalapeno

1 tsp Harissa Paste

1/4 cup chopped chives

1/2 cup finely chopped onion

3 tbsp chopped cilantro

3 oz chopped pimiento

1 tbsp worcestershire sauce

1 1/2 shredded cheddar cheese

 

Method:

Heat the oven to 375F

Line your muffin pan with liners.

Mix all the dry ingredients well and keep aside. You can adjust the spices in it as per your taste.

Beat the two eggs, add buttermilk, butter and mix again. Now add the harissa and mix.

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Add chopped vegetables and herbs. Add the shredded cheese and mix well.

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Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture 1 tbsp at a time. Immediately add to lined muffin pans

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It is important that you don’t wait after the wet and dry ingredients are combined. The baking soda and buttermilk get to work right away and if you dont make it right away, the muffins may not rise.

Bake for 18-20 mins in a 375 F oven.

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I also make savory breakfast waffles  which are also a great savory breakfast option.

 

 

 

Pumpkin shrimp curry with a touch of Harissa

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Pumpkin shrimp curry with a touch of Harissa

It all started when I made Harissa,  fresh red chilies from the market called for it. Along with using the Harissa as a condiment, I was looking for different ways to use Harissa in the cooking. So when I saw nice pumpkin in the market, I decide to make a dish that uses both the pumpkin and the Harissa. So here I present Pumpkin shrimp curry with a touch of Harissa.

I had seen a recipe for a pumpkin curry and my recipe is inspired by that. The squash/pumpkin makes the dish very creamy without adding a lot of fat. The spice from Harissa, sweetness from squash/pumpkin, tang from the lime juice…it is a perfect balance of all flavors.

Sorry I did not take a lot of pictures when I made it for dinner, but I will try to write all the steps in detail so it will be easy to follow.

Pumpkin Shrimp curry with a touch of Harissa

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Ingredients

1lb shrimps cleaned

1/2 onion chopped fine

1 roma tomato chopped fine

2 cloves of garlic chopped fine

1/2 inch ginger chopped fine

1 squash/pumpkin

1/2 tsp curry powder ( I make my own at home)

1/2 tsp Harissa Paste

2 cups of chicken broth( you can also use veg broth or plain water)

1/2 can of coconut milk

Chopped cilantro

lime zest

1 tsp lime juice

Fried onions ( I usually make a large batch and keep in the fridge since I use it in many dishes)

Method

Clean the butternut squash. Chop 1/2 of the squash/pumpkin in small cubes. Arrange them on a baking sheet, drizzle some oil and salt and bake in a 350F oven for 10 mins.

Take the rest of the squash/pumpkin and cook it in the pressure cooker till soft. Once cooled make puree in the blender.

Take shrimps and marinate with a bit of salt, lime juice and harissa paste, keep aside for 10-15 mins.

In a wok, heat oil.

Add onions and ginger and saute on a low-medium heat. You dont want them to burn.

Add tomato and garlic and saute a little longer. Once the tomatoes are soft, add the pumpkin puree and saute for 10 mins till the pumpkin is brown.

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Add curry powder and saute for 30 secs. Now add the stock, coconut milk and simmer on low for 15-20 mins.

Add the roasted squash/pumpkin, shrimps and continue heating till the roasted squash/pumpkin is heated through.

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Add lime juice. Taste for salt and add if needed.

Garnish with lime zest, cilantro and fried onions and serve with cooked brown rice.

Note:

I think this can be easily made without shrimps. You can substitute tofu or add more squash/pumpkin to make a vegetarian version of this dish.

An amazing condiment- Harissa

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An amazing condiment- Harissa

As I started exploring new foods and new cuisines, i started noticing the similarities between these cuisines and the Indian Cuisine I grew up with. For example the cuisine of North African countries, be in Morocco or Tunisia, there were many dishes that looked identical to what I have seen in some parts of India like Rajasthan . In such areas where the water is scarce, there is abundant use of dry spices and dry vegetables. That cuisines also uses a lot of lentils. So when I stumbled upon Harissa, it reminded of the garlic chutney we typically get in Rajasthan, the desert state of India.

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So anytime I see fresh red chilies in the market, my first thought is, let’s make harissa.

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As with many dishes, there are many variations of Harissa. My version is based on what I ate and then added some more heat since I love spicy food. I have made it with just fresh chilies and a mixture of fresh and dried chilies. I like the version with the dried chilies better. If you make it with just the fresh chilies the color is a vibrant bright red, whereas if you add the dried chilies, you get more of a brick red color.  I also add roasted bell pepper sometimes if I want a mellower harissa.

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Ingredients:

2 Dried guajillo chilies

1 Dried Chipotle chili

1 dried ancho chili

1 dried Negro chili

2 cup of boiling hot water

7-8 fresh red chilies

2 cloves of garlic

1 tsp caraway seeds

1tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp coriander seeds

Olive oil

salt to taste

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Method:

In a large bowl place all the dried chilies and pour the hot water over these. Let them sit and get soft for about 20 min. I love using the dried smoky chipotle and guajillo, these lend not only the heat but a nice smoky flavor to the dish. I also use these chilies in the enchilada sauce I make

Chop the fresh red chiles, try and shake off as many seeds as you can. If you don’t like much spicy food, you can remove all the seeds.

Dry roast the caraway seeds, coriander seeds and cumin seeds. Using mortar and pestle make powder.

Take out the stem and seeds from the dried-rehydrated chilies. In a food processor blend the dry chilies,fresh red chilies, garlic with salt. Add as much oil as needed.  Add the roasted and ground spices.

Your Harissa is ready.

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I will be making a couple of things with it-

Chicken kabob with yogurt and Harissa

Shrimp-pumpkin curry with harissa

Harissa Cheese Muffins

Variations:

A. With Red bell pepper- You can add a roasted red bellpepper to make a milder version of Harissa

1 Red bell pepper

Roast the red bell pepper on an open fame till it has black spots, turning occasionally to get a good roast all around. Cover them in a bowl, this makes removing the skin easy. Add with the rest of the chilies in the food processor.

B. Mint:

I love mint, sometimes I add 1/2 tsp of dried mint to my Harissa. You can add it at the end with the rest of the ground spices.

Garlic chutney

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Whenever you eat Vada Pav, this chutney is absolutely essential. It is very simple recipe made with a few ingredients but adds a necessary kick to the Vada Pav. It is almost like a dry rub in the texture and needs to be consumed pretty quickly since it has raw uncooked garlic.

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Ingredients:

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1/2 cup dry coconut, slightly roasted
1/2 cup roasted peanuts
2-3 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp kashmiri red chili powder

1 tbsp deghi mirch powder

1 tsp Kanda lasoon masala( I sometimes use Kolhapuri masala)

Method:

Chop the garlic in the food processor. Add all the rest of the ingredients together while pulsing the food processor. A lot of people do not add peanuts and make it just with coconut, I feel like the taste of peanuts. Also, Kanda lasoon masala is a very typical Maharashtrian spice mix, the Kolhapuri masala I make come close so sometimes I use that.

Also, it is the Kashmiri red chili powder that gives it that tempting red color, so I mix Deghi for spice and Kashmiri for color.

 

Enjoy with Vada Pav!