Tag Archives: gluten-free

Dahi Sabudana- tapioca pearls with spiced yogurt

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Spring/summer  is here. The rain gods have been kind and hence all the mountains around where I live are still green.  Near my home there is a barn and they bring out their sheep for grazing at this time, with the rolling hills, and the sheep,  it feels like Swiss countryside.
In India, we celebrate Holi. During holi a effigy of a demoness is burnt in fire. This demoness symbolizes all the mean thoughts, all the resentments that one might be carrying, you burn it all in the fire of Holi.  This is the time when we celebrate New Year according to the lunar calendar. Interestingly around the same time Parsi’s and Iranis’s also celebrate Navrouz, which translates to ‘New Day’. In short its all about starting afresh, leaving all the baggages that you might be carrying and focus on the future.

In India we have Navratri ( which translates to ‘9 nights’) twice a year. Interestingly they both fall when the season changes from hot to cold and cold to hot. One is in spring time and one in fall. During this time you fast, you don’t eat meat, regular vegetables, no cereals. I think it is very much needed, it gets your body time to adjust and also get ready for the new season. Its like a cleanse, where you eat light foods, people also try not to eat garlic & onion.


Each region in India has its own rules of what to eat and what not to eat during these nine months, some eat spinach, some eat tomatoes, others don’t. A few things like tapioca, water chestnut, sweet potatoes, cucumber are eaten across the country.

I come from Maharashtra where Sabudana Khichadi is very popular. I recently did an Insta story on it. Whenever I ask my kids what they want special for breakfast, the answer is Sabudana Khichadi . My husband can eat bowls of it. I normally end up making enough so I have leftovers as he likes to eat it the next day again.

Everyone knows Sabudana Khicadi but might not know this recipe. My mom makes it so well, my sister can eat bowls of it for days and not get tired. I like it more than Khichadi because it feels kind of cooling and I love yogurt 🙂

Dahi Sabudana

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups tapioca pearls ( you can get them in any indian grocery store)
  • 3-4 green chilies ( I use the thai chilies that are super spicy)
  • 1 1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
  • 1/3 cup roasted peanut powder
  • 1 cup buttermilk (if you can not get buttermilk, you can churn 1/2 yogurt with 3/4 cup water)
  • 1 cup
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro

Method

  • Dry roast sabudana/tapioca
  • After it is cooled down, soak in some water for about 30 mins
  • Pound the cumin seeds and chilies to make a coarse paste. I prefer using mortar pestle but you can also use a chopper
  • After 30 mins, drain all the water and soak in buttermilk for at least 4-5 hours.
  • Now add yogurt ( preferably whole milk), roasted peanut powder, chili-cumin mixture and salt n sugar to taste.
  • Garnish with cilantro

Note:

  • You can also cook the sabudana in water until it is translucent ( instead of roasting and soaking in buttermilk).
  • Mix it with yogurt, roasted peanut powder, salt, sugar and the chili cumin mixture. You can also  add tadka of ghee jeera mirchi if desired
  • Garnish with cilantro
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Grilled Harissa shrimps

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I love spicy food. When I go the farmers market, I am always looking for the spiciest chili. So in summer when we get the fresh red thai chili in the market, I make at least a couple of batches of Harissa. It can perk up any dish pretty quickly.

I like to make these shrimps using Harissa, the dish comes together very quickly and can be served as a main dish or a salad.

Shrimps don’t need a lot of marination so this dish can be made in 20 minutes.


Although Harissa is Tunisian I feel that the Mediterranean flavors compliment it well. So I decide to bring those along.I also brought in some more Mediterranean flavors with a quick salad. I took some yellow and Red cherry tomatoes, chopped Persian cucumbers and mix them with fresh chopped mint and topped with feta cheese.

Here is the recipe.

Ingredients

  • 20 large shrimps
  • 1 large clove of garlic crushed
  • 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 1 tbsp Harissa
  • 1 tbsp oil

Method

Mix all the ingredients except to form a paste. Now add shrimps and mix well. Make sure all the shrimps are coated evenly with the paste.

Let them marinate for 20 mins or so.

Pomegranate molasses not only provides the sweetness to balance the heat from Harissa but also add a tangy flavor & color to the shrimps.


Grill on a grill plate or bbq. Brush the shrimps with some oil of needed to prevent them from sticking to the grill.

I like to thread some tomatoes or large zucchini pieces along with the shrimps, I feel it adds a Pop of color and texture.


You can serve the shrimps as a side with brown rice and some grilled fruit. Today I grilled some nectarines, the sweetness of the grilled fruit complimented the spice of harissa.

You can mix them with a lot of chopped herbs like basil and cilantro and serve as an appetizer.  I love making this version in summer when the herbs are in abundance in the market.

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I use Harissa in many dishes, like Pumpkin Shrimp curry, or Cheddar Muffins. Enjoy!

Grilled trout with herbs

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I love summers especially since we can enjoy barbeque outside. There is something special about this time of the year when you get abundant  vegetables and fresh herbs in the farmers market, all the produce is at its peak and taste great.

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I love summers also because we can grill out side. You can just have meats and veggies ready and when everyone gathers, just throw them on the grill and you got yourself a meal. There are two camps when it comes to grill, the coal one and the non-coal one, we for sure belong to the first one. In my opinion nothing beats the taste of fresh corn on the cob just grilled to perfection on the coals. The chicken tikka with the smoky flavor of the coal tastes amazing. So as you can see we love grilling with coals.

So today we had a few friends over for BBQ. I had marinated a lot of veggies, made some stuffed pepper , there was fresh corn on the cob, some couscous, masala chicken and my son decided to make some fish.

Veggies ready for the grill

When it comes to fish I am very picky, not because I want to be  but because of the fact that I can only eat fresh water fish. I am ok with catfish, bass etc but can not eat salmon.

So when my son decided to make trout and that too whole fish, I was a little skeptical but decided to go along. He went and bought the trout from Whole Foods, and made it with very simple ingredients..but man it tasted so yummy. It was delicate yet flavorful.

Ingredients

4 whole fresh water trouts

few sprigs of dill

few leaves of sage

few sprigs of parsley

few taregon leaves

2 lemons sliced

salt & pepper

Olive oil

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Method

With a sharp boning knife slice the fish horizontally.

Apply some olive oil both inside & outside.

Sprinkle with salt & pepper.

Layer the inside with some herbs and lemon slices.

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Let it sit for 10-15 mins covered.

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Brush the grill with olive oil. And place the fish gently on the grill.Cook for 3-4 mins on the first side and then a couple of minutes on the other side.

To serve

Take the main bone out, take the fins, head and tail off. Make into fillet and serve. My son did an amazing job of taking the main bone out and filleting the cooked fish.


Chicken porcupine  kabob

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  You hear all the time that kids are fussy eaters and you got to try all kinds of tricks to get them to eat good stuff. I must say I got lucky, both my kids never troubled me with eating, they eat anything & everything I make for them( may be barring ‘indian bitter melon). 

I also see and hear that the kids want to eat junk and throw tantrums if they don’t get any. I have seen kids eat chicken nuggets everyday. Again, I can not complain here, my kids don’t eat junk at all, in fact if you open my pantry, you will not find any chips, cookies with vegetable shortening. Instead of eating something that is processed and full of preservative, excess salt and sugar, my family eats dry fruits, dehydrated fruits & veggies, nuts…I am very thankful for that. 

 

As you can see, my pantry is loaded with nuts, dry fruits, healthy indian style popped lotus seeds etc. I have a designated place for everything so they find it easily. Most of  my containers are clear and labeled.   

 

So back to the making food for kids. I feel that if you make it fun, the kids enjoy and might try different things. 

Today’s recipe is one such fun recipe. It is tasty, healthy and easy to make. 

Chicken porcupine kabob 

  

It is a very simple recipe and if you have all the ingredients, you can make it in under 30 mins. 

Ingredients

3/4 lb ground chicken ( I use a combination of breast & thighs)

1/2 onion chopped really fine

1-2 cloves of garlic crushed

1/2 inch Ginger, chopped or grated

1 green chill finely chopped 

1/2 tsp garam masala

1/2 tsp cumin powder

3/4 tsp coriander powder

1 tbsp chopped cilantro

1 tbsp chopped mint

1 tsp chaat masala

Others

1/2 cup  basmati rice plus 1tsp salt, soaked for 1 hour

1 tbsp oil

Method

Drain the soaked rice. Take it on a plate. 

Start boiling the water to steam out Kabob. 

Mix all the ingredient for kabob very well. 

Take the oil in a bowl. 

Make small balls from the chicken mixture. Dip it briefly in the oil, and roll in the rice grains. 

Arrange them on the steamer dish. 

  

Steam for 5-7 mins depending on the size of the chicken ball. 

Take out one and check if the chicken is cooked through. 

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As  you can see the rice is steamed and pluffs up nicely. 

You can serve these with spicy mint chutney or a sweet and sour tamarind chutney or tomato ketch up.  

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Tricky little temperamental Treat

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French Macarons

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I had never seen a Stand Mixer until a few years ago. Always wanted to buy one since I saw it but could not justify the investment …until today, I bought my first KitchenAid..

Growing up in India I did not know much about baking. For one, we did not have any oven or any stand mixer  at home.  Mom made cakes on the stove top in this contraption and creamed the butter & sugar patiently with just her hands. I always love the cakes she makes but now I appreciate even more knowing how much effort went into it. When I came to the US I tasted so many yummy baked good and I started baking as well. The first time I tasted Macaroons, I did not care much more it. I personally don’t like coconut & chocolate together. Every time my daughter asked me to make Macroons, I kind of made excuses since I thought she was referring to Coconut Macaroon.

 

Then last year, Whole Foods opened near where we live and I got to see and taste French Macron for the first time, and let me tell you I fell in love with it.  Every time we go grocery shopping to Whole Foods, we coem back with a pack of macrons. They are yummy but expensive and I never felt like I ate to my hearts content.

 

So I decide to try and make Macrons at home. Usually I am good at following instructions and recipes, so I figured I can make macarons as long as I have the recipe and ingredients. Boy was I wrong, I failed miserably…not one, two, more like 6 times.  I had almost given up…but then I remembered that I had a set a birthday goal for my self. Yeah, like people set New Years resolutions, I make Birthday resolutions. On every birthday I set a few goals and try to complete them before the next birthday. So going back to Macrons, making them is one such goal I made last year and just could not give up.

I tried the seventh time… and very proud to say it worked. And that is how that KitchenAid came into my life..

French Macarons- a delicate temperamental cookie..but worth every min spent on it.

Macrons have very simple ingredients and looks very deceivingly easy looking, but the trick is in following all the steps and tips. I watched many you tube videos, read many recipes and then finally settled on this one..

 

Ingredients:

Cookie:

7 oz Confectioner ( powder) sugar
4 oz  Almond flour/meal
4 oz  Egg whites at room temp
3.5 oz granulated sugar
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 tsp gel color of your choice

Filing

1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
4 cups Confectioner ( powder) sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp lemon zest
1 tbsp milk

Method

A. For cookies:

Part 1- Dry mixture
  1. Sift the almond flour and the confectioner sugar at least 4-5 times. This makes the batter light and also ensures that there are no lumps in the batter.
Part 2- Meringue
  1. Making meringue- Take the egg whites and start beating them on a low-medium speed until it foams
  2. Add granulated sugar slowly. Once all the sugar is added, add the cream of tartar.
  3. Kepp checking in between and make sure you stir in between so make ensure that there is no liquid egg white remaining at the bottom of the bowl.

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  1. Scrape down the sides, add the food color
  2. Beat on high till you get a soft peak.
  3. It is not done if you get a beak, when you left the whisk out of the egg mixture.
Part 3- Mix the ingredients
  1. Mix 1/3 of the almond flour mixture in the egg mixture.
  2. Using the folding action mix the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients.
  3. When the dry flour is sort of mixed, add the next 1/3 and continue
  4. THIS IS IMPORTANT- DO NOT UNDER MIX OR OVER MIX. THIS PICTURE SHOWS YOU EXAMPLES.
  5. When you can see a ribbon falling from your spoon, your batter is ready
Part 4- Piping and baking the cookies
  1. Draw circle on the paper. These will act as a template for piping your cookies.
  2. Out that template on the baking sheet.
  3. Line your baking tray with parchment paper, on top of the template
  4. Fill the mixture in a pastry bag and using a #2 round tip, pipe the cookies on the parchment paper

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  1. Make sure you keep the tip almost buried in the mixture so you don’t get a point on the cookie- if you get a point it will look funny and the point will burn during baking
Part 5- Drying of the cookies
  1. Heat the oven to 325 F.
  2. Take the tray with the piped cookies and tap really firmly on the counter. This will ensure that the air trapped is released

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  1. Let the tray sit on the counter until the cookies have a skin on top and are dry to touch. Depending on the weather it could take from 20-30 mins
  2. I write the time on it so I know when I can check.
  3. Now your cookies are ready to go in.
Part 6: Baking
  1. Make sure that the oven temperature is right.
  2. Bake th cookies  for 10-15 min
  3. Turn half way to ensure even baking
  4. Check if the cookies are done- when you gently try to move the top and it kind of wiggles and slides, the cookies are not done.

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  1. Watch carefully  though since they go from not done to done very quickly
Part 7: Cooling
  1. I know it is tempting to eat them right away
  2. Wait for 3-4 minutes to take the cookies off the baking tray
  3. Let them cool completely before you fill them up.
B. For Filling
  1. Beat the butter until creamy
  2. Add the powdered sugar a little at a time.
  3. Add the color, lemon juice and zest and beat the mixture until light and fluffy.
There are 7 key points to remember, I have listed them here and have mentioned again along the way.
  1. Measure your ingredient- I recommend weighing them instead of measuring in a cup
  2. Sieve the almond meal & Suagr
  3. Beat your egg white just till soft peak stage
  4. Don’t over or under mix the Egg & Almond mixture
  5. Make sure the air is tapped out before you bake the macrons
  6. Make sure they dry out before you bake
  7. Make sure the oven temp is right

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Sabudana Khichadi- a typical Indian Breakfast

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Sabudana ( Tapioca) looks  like tiny white pearls, made from roots of the cassava plant, it is very common in Indian cooking. It is a younger cousin of the Boba tea/Tapioca tea. Typically it is eaten during fasting, but also eaten as a common breakfast food. It is can be made as a savory or a sweet dish. It can be eaten like a tapioca pudding but my favorite recipe is a savory one.

My husband and kids are big fans of this and happily eat it any time. In fact whenever my son comes home, the first thing he wants to eat is this ‘Sabudana Khichadi’

They even love to take it in the lunch box.

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The recipe is very simple but I feel the trick is in soaking the Sabudana right. So today I will share my step by step recipe.

Ingredients:

3 cups of sabudana ( sago/Tapioca)

1/2 cup roasted peanuts

4-5 green chilies

2 tbsp Cumin seeds ( divided use)

1-2 Potatoes, peeled and sliced

1/4 cup milk at room temp

Oil

2 tbsp ghee

Sugar

Salt

For garnish:

Chopped cilantro

Fresh grated coconut

Method:

Take the sabudana in a large pot. Wash it with cold water. When you start washing it will looks cloudy

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Wash until the water runs clear. This helps get rid of excess starch which makes the khichadi clumpy when cooked.

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Add water just to cover the sabudana and a little over.

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Now let it soak for at least 7-8 hours. I end up soaking it overnight since I make this mostly for breakfast.

About an hour before you plan to make the khichadi, take the milk and sprinkle it over the soaked sabudana. Using fork separate the grains and leave aside.

Make powder with roasted peanuts

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Make paste with the green chilies & 1 tbsp of cumins seeds in a mortal & pestle, you can also use a blender.

Add peanut powder, chili mixture, salt & Sugar to the soaked sabudana and mix well.

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In a pan heat oil, add cumin seeds. Add some green chili pieces and saute till the cumin seeds are brown.

Add sliced potatoes, add salt to the potatoes and cover.

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Cook until the potatoes are done.

Add the sabudana mixture and cook. Cover for only a couple of mins and stir constantly, this will prevent clumps from forming. The easiest way to know when it is done is to check if the pearls are translucent.

Add the ghee and mix well. Traditionally it is cooked in ghee, but if you are trying to avoid it then adding just a couple of tbsp at the end is a good solution. This gives the flavor of ghee but you dont have to cook solely with it.

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Garnish with chopped cilantro, fresh grated coconut and yogurt or a lime wedge.

Jowar Bhakri- Sorghum flat bread

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Jowar Bhakri (ज्वारीची भाकरी)

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Whenever I talk to any non-indians about Indian breads, most of them only know naan. Although I like Naan, there are so many different breads that are part of the Indian cuisine  that the rest of the world  is unaware of. I hope to do a series of posts on various Indian Breads.

My most favorite Indian bread is actually a flat bread.

What is Jowar(Sorghum)?

Jowar is a grain cultivated through out India. It is considered a cheap alternative to wheat. It is a very healthy grain with a lot of fibre and rich nutrients that are supposedly beneficial to fight against diseases like cancer, diabetes. The list of health benefits is pretty long.

 

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Jowar fields

Jowar bhakri is very common in many parts of Maharashtra and Karnataka, especially  it is an integral part of the Farmers’ diet.In the villages Bhakri is made typically on a wooden stove. The smoky flavor you get with that is unmatchable.

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I love to eat bhakri right off the stove, with a pinch of salt, onion and green chili, I feel that it is the best food on the planet. In fact, if I am asked on my death bed what I would like to eat, it would be bhakri.

I typically make Bhakri with spicy chicken and some greens.

Today’s post is dedicated to ‘Jowar Bhakri’

Ingredients are very simple, Jowar flour & water. How much simpler can it get. The trick is in making these beauties.  Although I did not cook at all before I got married, this is one thing I made sure I learnt how to make.  I thought it will be easier to explain it through videos rather than just the pictures or words.

So here is my attempt to capture Jowar Bhakri Recipe.

 

Ingredients

2 cups of Jowar flour

about 1 cup of water

Method:

Step 2:

Make a dough with the flour. Make sure you knead it a bit to ensure that it is smooth. It will be almost the consistency of mashed potatoes.

Step 3:

Make a flat bread patting with you hands. Use flour to ensure that the bread does not stick to the board or your hands

Step 4:

Heat the pan on med-high heat and ensure it is hot before you start to roast the bread on it.

Step 5:

Put the flattened bread on the pan. Make sure you put the flour side up. Spread some water on it. This helps remove the excess flour.

Step 6:

As soon as the water sort of dries up and the first side sort of turns opaque, flip over to roast the second side.

Step 7:

Roast the second side till you see nice brown spots on it.

Step Final:

Once the second side is roasted well, take the pan of the stove and roast the first side directly on the flame.

Step 8:

Enjoy with your favorite curry ‘Chicken Savji’. I made this typical Maharashtrian dinner tonight.

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