Tag Archives: vegetarian

Churros

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I love Mexican food, in fact the whole family loves it very much. Sometimes I wonder if I was Mexican in my previous birth, because just as much Indian food, Mexican food is a constant feature in my kitchen.

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It’s Cinco de Mayo and I love to celebrate it. I never need an excuse to make something tasty, but when it’s fiesta time, it’s so much more fun! Such celebrations remind us that we live in the land of the free where many cultures have blended so well.

Anytime I visit a new place, the first thing I do is visit the local markets. I feel like I can learn so much more about the culture and the people of that country. Sometimes, people outside a country get a very limited view of that country’s cuisine. There were so many things in this Mazatlán market that I had never seen in the US! I ate these amazing churros in that market. They were perfectly crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, and the cinnamon sugar that they were dipped in was at the perfect level of sweetness to make you crave for just one more! Ever since I had those churros, I have been meaning to try them in my own kitchen.

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Most of the recipes for churro call for eggs, but the street vendor didn’t use eggs in his dough. So I am taking that vendor as inspiration and bringing you an eggless churro recipe. Seriously, this comes together in an hour from start to finish (including the cooldown time).

Today I am planning to pair these churros with something yummy. When you think of summer, the first thing that comes to mind is ice-cream, right? Today I am making an ice-cream to go with our churros. The contrast of crunchy churros with creamy ice-cream is just yummy.

I make a weekly trip to my local Mexican store and that’s where I picked up a can of ‘dulce de leche’ (which translates to sweetened milk). Dulce de leche is a smooth, gooey goodness that I can eat with a spoon directly from a can. It goes great on your ice-cream sundaes, you can make flan with it and so much more.

Today’s ice-cream is a Dulce de Leche Ice-cream. It is a super simple recipe. Also, just like the churro, this is also an egg-free recipe.

Back to our churros. Typically, churros are a straight stick but today, since I’m planning to use them to make my ice-cream sandwich, I am going to pipe them in a spiral. I have decided to use a gadget which is very common in a Indian household, a chakli/murukku maker. It is used to make many savory snacks as well as fresh rice noodles. I love it because it’s very easy to use and clean. It comes with many discs which help you make different shapes.  I have a video on youtube which show I made it.

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup water
  • 2  tablespoons white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup  unbleached all-purpose flour

Oil for frying

For

  • 1/2 cup white sugar, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ancho chili powder

Directions

  1. In a small pot, heat  water, 2 tbsp sugar, salt and oil on a medium flame. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Stir in flour until mixture forms a ball.
  2. Let the dough cool down till it’s ok to handle.
  3. While you are piping the churros, heat the oil on low heat. I have used regular vegetable oil for frying.
  4. Now it’s time to pipe out the churros. Since I am planning to make the cookies, I will be making churros with a smaller diameter. However, you can use a pastry bag with a large star tip if you are making big sized churros.
  5. Pipe out 3″ spirals onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. (I like my ice-cream sandwiches to be bite-sized, so I won’t make them huge.)
  6. If the weather is hot, you can stick these piped spirals in the freezer for a few minutes. This helps the spirals stay together, or you might end up with a long churro in your pan.
  7. Fry the churros until golden brown. Make sure you don’t fry them on high heat, otherwise they will stay doughy inside and burnt outside.
  8. Combine 1/2 cup sugar, ancho chili powder and cinnamon. Roll drained churros in the mixture.

Notes:

  • I made the churros two ways:
    • The ones I fried right after I piped them were soft
    • The one I froze before I fried stayed much crispier
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Nepalese Fiddlehead Ferns

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I love going to the farmers market no matter where I go. So when I walked to the ferry building in San Francisco yesterday, I decided to swing by the market and pick up something for dinner. I picked up some kumquats and Lisbon lemons. I went inside the building. That building is one of my favorite places to visit, yummy baked goods, flavorful olive oils, natural soap, ice-cream, so many fun things to try. 

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There is a shop that is  my favorite shop, they carry different kinds of mushroom among other interesting things. I visit them every time I go there.  Today I saw some morels, ramps and fiddlehead ferns. I was so excited because I have never cooked ramps or fiddlehead before. I bought them and planned my dinner around it.
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Today I saw some morels, ramps and fiddlehead ferns. I was so excited because I have never cooked ramps or fiddlehead before. I bought them and planned my dinner around it.
When I started reading about it I found out that even though Fiddlehead ferns are not common across India, the northern states of India use it when in season. In Kashmir region, these are pickled as well. You cook it with some dry spices with potatoes.
In Nepal it is used as well.  I remembered that when I visited Nepal in Feb 2015, I had eaten ‘ Neuro ko Tarkari’ and I had loved it . So today I decided to make a Nepalese recipe with these fiddleheads.
Like all other Nepalese recipe, it is very easy to make and quite simple.
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Ingredients

  •  3-4 cups Fiddlehead ferns
  • 2-3 tbsp Clarified butter/ Ghee
  • 1/4 tsp Fenugreek Seeds
  • 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/8 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 green chili chopped
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic chopped
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin powder ( optional)
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder (optional)

Method

  • With a soft brush remove the brown fuzzy part from the ferns
  • Cut off the fat, tough stems ( just like asparagus)
  • Boil a pot of salted water and blanch the ferns
  • Chop roughly or leave it whole. I left mine whole since they were baby size
  • Heat ghee, when hot add fenugreek seeds, cumin seeds chili and turmeric
  • Add chopped garlic and saute lightly. Dont let the garlic burn
  • Add the blanched ferns
  • Saute for a couple of mins, add the ground spices
  • Serve as a side dish

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Pakatali Poori- Saffron- Lemon flavored bread

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I not only love to cook and learn new foods, but also love to learn about the ‘Old foods’. I feel in this era of instant and quick foods, we are missing out on some incredible dishes. We dont know how to use certain ingredients and soon those will become extinct. A lot of the dishes our gradmoms made, have never been a part of the food at our table.

I am thankful to books like Ruchira, we have access to at least a few of the Maharashtrian recipes. Its a book that is given as a wedding gift to every new bride in Maharashtra. I have used it extensively as when I got married, I did not know how to cook. I would call my mom but 1 minute call to India costed $1.90 and there was no internet. So getting cookbooks, going to the library and watching cooking shows was how I learnt my cooking.

Going back to the ‘lost recipe’, this recipe is almost on the verge of it. Today is Vasant Panchami, a day that marks the arrival of the ‘Vansant ( spring)’ season and you also worship Goddess Saraswati on this day.

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 This is a very special recipe because of Baba’s aunt used to make it, and she made it really well. I thought, why not make something I have never made before,after all Saraswati is a goddess of Knowledge, and what better tribute than a new( old) recipe. 

I have made  a couple of small modifications o the original recipe, I mixed half Rava and half all purpose flour, also rolled the poori like you roll the Chirota or Khaja ( another Maharashtrian delicacy)

It is a very easy recipe and you will find most of the needed ingredients at home. 

Pakatali Poori

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Ingredients 

Poori

  • 1/2 cup fine rave
  • 1/2 cup All purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp Ghee ( clarified butter) melted and slightly warm
  • 3 tbsp sour full fat yogurt 
  • Pinch of salt

Syrup

  • 1 cup fine sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/8 tsp cardamom powder
  • Saffron strands
  • Juice of 1 Meyer Lemon

Method

Poori

  • Mix the rave and APF together with salt
  • Add warm ghee and rub it well in the dry mixture
  • Add dahi to make a stiff dough. If the yogurt/dahi is not sour, you can leave it on the counter so it turns sour. It is crucial since that it what gives these pooris or breads a nice taste
  • Let the dough rest for at least an hour. If you have used only Rava, you would need to let it rest for 2 hours
  • After 2 hours, pound the dough, this is necessary to make it pliable. If you have a stand up mixer, you can use the dough attachment to do the work 

Syrup

  • Mix sugar and water and cook till its ‘2 string stage’ *
  • Heat a pan on very low flame, add the saffron strands and slightly roast them. You are just warming them and not quite roasting. Warming them makes them crumbly and hence they mix well in the syrup
  • Add cardamom powder, saffron and the juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Keep the syrup on a low flame, but keep it warm. This ensures that the syrup soaks in the Pooris. If the syrup is not warm enough, it will only create a coat on the outside

Making the Pooris

  • Heat oil in a deep pan
  • You can roll the Pooris like a regular flat bread, or
  • Roll out a big poori. Make a roll and cut into 4-5 pieces
  • Flatten those pieces again to make a poori
  • Fry the poori till golden brown
  • Drain and immediately add them to the warm syrup. 
  • Ater 10-15 mins, take them out and arrange on a plate
  • If you like, you can user slivered almonds or pistachios as well

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Leek, Potato & Goat cheese Galette with Pistachio Crust

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Last few days have been very challenging, I consider myself a very strong person but it is amazing how vulnerable one gets when they are emotionally invested. I know it will be alright eventually but right now it hurts.  I really needed to do something that takes my attention away. So I have started lifting weights and  decided to try at least one new  recipe every week.

I love love brunches. You can try different things than your usual lunch and you are not rushed to have everything ready. Perfect for lazy mornings and occasions like Mother’s day. On the occasion of Mother’s day, I am sharing this recipe that can be a perfect addition to your brunch table. You can make the prep ahead of time and then comes together in less than 15 mins.

I love nuts, and especially pistachios. I am in love with combination of  green, pink colors you see in these raw nuts. I recently made a nice torte with pistachio crust and it was a major hit at my work.  Todays recipe uses the nuts in the crust, giving it a unique toasty flavor and crunch.


I had seen this recipe on Bon Appetit and have been wanting to make it. I have grown fond of goat cheese recently and loved the contrast of the tangy, creamy goat cheese against the caramelized leeks and sweetness of honey.

Goat Cheese & Leek Galette with pistachio crustPistachio Galette

 

Ingredients

For the dough

  • ½ cup shelled pistachios
  • 2½ cups unbleached flour
  •  1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces

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Toppings

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 large leek, halved lengthwise, white and pale-green parts only, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup  heavy cream
  • 4 ounces goat cheese
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  •  2/3 Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 4 tablespoons coarsely chopped dill, plus more for serving
  • 2 large Yukon Gold potatoes, thinly sliced
  •  1 large egg, beaten to blend Honey (for drizzling)
  • Crushed szechuan peppercorns
  • Flaky sea salt (optional; for serving)_MG_3039

Method

 Dough

  • Pulse pistachios in a food processor until coarsely ground. Add flour, kosher salt, and sugar and pulse until combined.
  • Add butter and pulse until a coarse meal forms.
  • With motor running, slowly add ½ cup ice water and process until dough comes together.
  • Transfer dough to a work surface, form into a ball, and flatten to a disc.
  • Wrap dough in parchment and chill 30 minutes.

Topping

  • Preheat oven to 400º. Heat oil in a small skillet over medium-low; cook leek, stirring occasionally and being careful not to brown, until just softened, about 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, mix cream, goat cheese, and garlic in a medium bowl until smooth. Season with kosher salt and pepper. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment.
  • Transfer dough to a work surface and divide into 4 pieces.
  • Working with one piece at a time, roll out to an 8″ round.

Layer it up

  • Using an offset spatula, spread one-quarter of the goat cheese mixture on dough, leaving a 1″ border.
  • Top with 1 Tbsp. dill and a thin layer of potato slices. Drizzle with oil and season with kosher salt.
  • Top with one-quarter of the leeks. Fold edges over, overlapping slightly.
  • Carefully transfer galette to prepared sheet. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.
  • Brush crusts with egg wash. Bake galettes until crusts are golden brown and potatoes are soft, 30–40 minutes. If you want to make a vegetarian version, you can skip the egg and instead use some water mixed milk to brush the edges.

Cut slice

Original Recipe:

Goat Cheese, Leek, and Potato Galettes with Pistachio Crust

Cilantro pesto-Dhaniya chutney

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Do you know anyone who  has the ability to just brighten up the room the minute they enter in. It is their smile, genuine nice attitude or even the way they crack jokes, they just makes the situation nicer.

I cherish such friends, very thankful to have them in my life.

If I had to relate this back to the food, I think condiments are like these special friends. Anytime if it seems like what you have cooked for dinner is just blah, a nice chutney, salsa, dip can come to the rescue and help revive the meal. 

I love condiments of all kinds. I love making yogurt based dips, spicy chutneys, fresh salsas of various kinds. My favorite of all are the spicy condiments.

When my kids were younger everything I cooked was very mild. I am lucky that my kids eat all the vegetables ever since they were babies so I wanted to make sure it stays that way. As a result I would also have to eat very mild food, that was really hard. So I started making chutneys and relishes, these were spicy and complimented the mild food well.

One such chutney is the ‘Cilantro chutney’. You can also call it Cilantro pesto.  My friend Uma taught me this one. What I love about this recipe is all the things needed are usually available easily at home. It takes only a few minutes to make and stays well in fridge for a week, although I must warn you, it is so yummy that it barely lasts a day, usually it is cleaned up quickly.

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Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup of washed , cleaned Cilantro
  • 1 tbsp roasted peanuts
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 8-10 spicy green chilies ( I use thai chilies since I like it spicy)
  • 1 tsp Cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp oil

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Method

  • Dry roast the peanuts
  • Heat oil in a pan. Add the cumin seeds and turmeric powder
  • Add chopped green chilies and chopped garlic
  • Saute for 30 seconds, don’t let the garlic or chili burn or brown.
  • Add cilantro and turn the heat off.  Add salt. Cover and leave it to warm through.
  • Grind the peanuts to a powder.
  • Add cooled cilantro mixture and grind to a paste. I like to keep it a little coarse and not grind it super fine.

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It can be used in many ways. I love serving it in the pretty yellow bowl. I bought it in Nepal, we visited Bhaktapur darbar. Amongst many other beautiful carvings and handicraft we also got to see beautiful pottery. It was amazing to see the potters turn the wheel and make these beautiful art pieces. 

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1. Mix it with some sour cream, yogurt or Greek yogurt to make a quick dip. I love it with pita chips.

2. Mix it with butter to make a great sandwich spread. I love to add some sliced avocado and make an open faced sandwich. I also like to add alfalfah sprouts to this, add a nice crunch to this already tasty sandwich.

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Stuffed Paneer with Khubani Chutney

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Apricot -Paneer Tikka

I love it when a recipe looks like a million bucks, tastes like a trillion bucks and yet it is so easy to put together. I also like the fact that you can prepare parts of the recipe and simply assemble it when you are ready to serve.

Today’s dish fits that description very well. I just love how nicely the delicate flavors of the apricot marries with rich home made paneer. Paneer is a form of a cheese, very similar to ricotta cheese but firmer. It is made by curdling the boiled milk with some acid like lemon juice, white vinegar. It is an integral part of the North Indian Cuisine. You see this a lot in the Nawabi or Moghlai cuisine. These cuisines represent the dishes made for the kings and queens of India.

I love cooking with dried apricots. I love dessert made with dried apricot, another Nawabi dish from the southern state of Hyderabad in India, Khubani ka meetha. I will share that recipe some time soon. I also love making stuffed apricots and Apricot Alomond cake.

Back to our recipe today, I got this recipe from a dear friend Harjeet, a very talented chef. I l love how he put together simple ingredients to make delectable food.

I have also been playing with food photography. I recently bought these pewter plates from a flea market, I have used them in the photo today, I love how they contrast the bright yellow tikka.

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Stuffed  paneer with khubani chutney

Ingredients:
1 lb Paneer
1 tbsp thick yogurt ( I make mine by hanging plain yogurt in a cheese cloth)
Salt to taste
1 tsp Turmeric

For the paste
2 tsp Mustard oil
1 tsp Yellow chili powder
1 tsp Deegi mirchi power
2 tsp Ginger garlic paste 

For the chutney
Khumani (Dry apricot)chopped 3 tbsp

1 tsp Cilantro chopped
1/2 tsp green chili chopped
1 tsp chopped mint
1 tbsp Sugar
1/2 tsp Black salt
1/2 tsp Roasted cumin seed 



Methods


Apricot chutney

Boil some water and add chopped apricot and cook them for a while till it becomes soft.
 
Now add sugar, roasted cumin seeds, chopped ginger, chopped green chillies, chopped mint,black salt, salt,Deggi Mirch.
Cook it on slow fire till chutney thickens and can be easily mashed with the back of a spoon. 

For paneer 
Make paneer cubes about 3/4 -1 inch thick. Make a slit in the center, make sure you don’t cut it two pieces.
Mix salt and turmeric and coat the paneer with that mixture.

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In a separate bowl mix mustard oil, turmeric, ginger garlic paste.

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Stuff the paneer pieces with the apricot chutney. Make sure that the chutney is pushed in all the way through so each bite will get a bit of chutney with it.

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Cover this stuffed paneer with the yogurt mixture.

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Now heat a little fat in a pan and pan seared this stuffed paneer till it gets a nice golden brown color.

Close up Apricot Paneer Tikka

Close up Apricot Paneer Tikka

 

Two cheese Gnocchi with Brown butter-sage sauce

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I love making things from scratch. Although in this day and age where everything is instant and easy, I feel that there is very special when it is made at home from scratch. Agreed that it involves time and effort, but I feel that if I can not spend time and effort on my happiness then what is the point. My grandma used to say in Marathi ( my mother tongue) ,” कशासाठी  पोटासाठी ” which roughly translates to ” everything is for your stomach”. It is so true. You work hard to earn money so you can eat well and be healthy. So I think this extra effort is worth it when it means the health and happiness of you and the loved one.

Also, I think there is something immensely satisfying about working the dough with your hands, so I decided to make the Gnocchi at home. When you think of Gnocchi, you think of these tiny little dumpling that are made with some kind of potato and flour. However the potato was introduced to Europe only in the 16th century but history of Gnocchi goes back much further than that. Gnocchi was made with flour of some kind, egg and some kind of cheese. So when I wanted to do a series of posts on Ricotta, I decided to make the gnocchi with Ricotta.  I found this recipe on Wisconsin cheese site, and looked very tempting. When I read that it was by Michael Symon, I was sure that it would turn out good.

I am plan to post a series on Ricotta cheese.

So here is ‘Two cheese Gnocchi with brown butter sage sauce’- my first dish from the series on Ricotta cheese.

Brown Butter sauce-sage Gnochhi

Brown Butter sauce-sage Gnochhi

INGREDIENTS:

For the gnocchi:
3/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus additional for dusting
1/4 cup (3 ounces) Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
Zest of 1 lemon, grated
1 cup (8 ounces) Part-skim ricotta cheese, drained
1 egg

For the sauce:
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 shallot, thinly sliced
12 sage leaves
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons water
1/3 cup (about 2 1/2 ounces) Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
12 fresh parsley leaves

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Ingredients for the sauce

Method:

Make the gnocchi:

Combine flour, parmesan and lemon zest in bowl. Add ricotta and egg. Mix well with wooden spoon or your fingers until dough just comes together. Do not overwork or dough can toughen.

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Dough

Scrape dough onto a well-floured surface and form into a roll. Cut dough into fourths, using bench scraper or knife. Gently roll each piece into foot-long ropes, about an inch in diameter, flouring as needed to prevent dough from sticking to surface.

Place dough ropes on lightly floured platter or sheet pan; refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to two hours, uncovered, to rest. As you may know, anything that uses flour should be allowed to rest a while. This allows the flour to bloom.

Place ropes on floured surface; cut into 1/2-inch pieces with scraper or knife.

Typically gnocchis are curled on a board or with the fork. Since we are using the ricotta cheese, the dough is very delicate so instead of using the curling method, we will just cut the dough.

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Finish the dish

Heat butter over medium-high heat in sauté pan large enough to accommodate all gnocchi without crowding.

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When butter foams, add gnocchi—do not crowd—and cook, turning as necessary, until brown and crisped on all sides, 5-6 minutes.

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When gnocchi are almost cooked, lower heat to medium and add shallot and sage leaves.

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Cook briefly to release flavors; then add garlic, lemon juice and water.

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Cook briefly, allowing sauce to emulsify and thicken a bit. Add 1/3 cup parmesan and parsley leaves. Toss to coat gnocchi. Spoon gnocchi and sauce into shallow bowls.

Serve immediately else you will end up eating all of it.

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Gnocchi

Gnochhi

Gnocchi

Today I served it with grilled marinated portabella mushrooms.

Mushrooms and vinegar

Mushrooms and vinegar

Roasted Cauliflower salad with lentils & dates

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Many times we just keep getting different magazines and don’t even bother reading it. I get a couple of food magazines, I scanned through, plan to make a couple of recipes but very rarely get to it. It was different this time. When I got​ this issue of Food and Wine, I was in love with this recipe. I had to make it. So a friend of mine was coming over for lunch and I decided to try this recipe on her. She is not a hard-core vegan but prefers not having dairy products. This recipe was perfect. Cauliflower Salad 1 I made a few changes and the result was great. I  like making this since it  does not need me to stand over the stove and cook forever. Especially when my friends are visiting I like to make meals that are easy to make so I can spend more time with my friends.

 

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup raw almonds
  • 1 cup beluga or green lentils, rinsed
  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into 1- to 1 1/2-inch florets
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 10 dates, pitted and chopped
  • 1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cups loosely packed spinach
  • 2 cups loosely packed arugula

METHOD

Preheat the oven to 350°. Spread the almonds in a pie plate and toast for 3 to 4 minutes, until golden. Let cool, then coarsely chop. Increase the oven temperature to 425°.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan, combine the lentils with 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat until tender, 20 minutes. Drain well and let cool. These lentils are called Beluga lentils since they resemble the ‘beluga caviar’. 🙂 On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss the cauliflower with the 1/4 cup of olive oil and the cumin, cinnamon, ginger and cayenne; season with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes, turning, until the cauliflower is tender and golden brown. I must warn you this cauliflower is addictive. I always make one extra since I finish half of the roasted cauliflower before it makes it to the salad. 🙂

In a large bowl, whisk the tahini with the lemon juice, honey, the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of water until smooth.  If you want to make it vegan, you can use Agave in place of the honey.

Very often found in the Lebanese cuisine, tahini is a power food. It is a fine paste made from sesame seeds which are rich in protein, calcium and minerals. Sesame seeds are used very commonly in the southern and western regions of India. It has a beautiful nutty flavor. You can now mix in the lentil and cauliflower to the dressing if you want or you can leave the dressing on the side. Add the lentils and season with salt and pepper; toss to coat. Scrape the roasted cauliflower into the bowl and add the toasted almonds, dates, onion and spinach. Toss the salad, transfer to a platter and serve.

Cauliflower salad 2

Cauliflower salad 2

Veggies on the barbecue

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Veggies ready for the grill

Stuffed peppers

I love making this pepper, they are so colorful and appetizing. They are almost sweet in taste and pair well with spicy fillings. They are perfect bite size, you can just pick it up with the stem and pop it in your mouth. I try to make a couple of varieties, one with the vegetarian filling and the other with some meat.

Take 1: Vegetarian

Ingredients

 

2 potatoes boiled and mashed

1/4 red onion finely chopped

1/2 tbsp chopped mint

1 tbsp chopped cilantro

1 serrano pepper finely chopped

1/2 tsp Saunf, roasted

1/2 tsp Cumin seeds

1/4 tsp Coriander seeds

1/2 tsp Black salt

1/2 cup grated paneer

1 pinch of Kasoori Methi

Method

Take all the dry spices, roast lightly & pound it in a mortar & pestle. I feel grinding fresh spices make a huge difference in the taste of the dish.

Mix everything together.

Make slits in the pepper and fill it with the stuffing.

You can pan fry them but I think I like them the most when they are grilled. I have this pan that you can use on the grill, I love it. You get the flavors of the charcoal grill and can easily cook the peppers & flip them easily. I also use it to grill the fish, make Paneer Tikka.

http://www.worldmarket.com/product/nonstick+metal+grill+grid.do?&from=fn

Brush the peppers with some oil, and cook till you see some nice black spots.

 

Spiced Cauliflower

tri color cauliflower

I am one of those people who love, love cauliflower. I make Cauliflower soup which is a perfect beginning for a winter meal. I can eat a whole head of cauliflower for a snack, roasted, steamed all of it. So I decided to try the cauliflower on the grill..my favorite way of cooking.

This is so simple to make but turned out really great.

Ingredients

 

1 head of Cauliflower broken into bite size pieces

Oil to cover all the pieces

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp turmeric

1 tsp Chili powder

1/2 tsp dry ginger powder

salt to taste

2 tbsp Chickpea flour ( Besan)

Method

Make sure all the pieces are of similar size, that way when you cook them, they will get cooked at the same time.

Mix the cauliflower pieces with oil, and toss it very well. You dont want to be stingy when it comes to oil, it is needed to make these pieces crispy. And most of it will burn off on the grill.

Mix in all the dry spices including salt.

Now add besan and mix well.

Cook it in a basket. I love this idea since it is easy to keep tossing as it is cooking.

 

Cook until crispy. Make sure you keep the heat medium, if it is too hot, the pieces will be burnt but not cooked through.

Marinated Vegetables

BBQ Basket

You can not go wrong with this recipe. The vegetables are so flavorful and the grill adds an additional layer of flavor. I use whatever I have on hand, though it always has some sort of peppers and mushroom. This time I used, red bell pepper and shishito peppers and some zucchini. I love adding large pieces of onions, they taste amazing when they are nicely caramelized on the grill.

Basically you make a vinaigrette  and toss whatever you have on hand in it.

Ingredients

6 cups Mushrooms whole

2 cups Shishito peppers

1 red onion quartered and then separated into single layers

1 zucchini cut into bite size pieces

1 red bell pepper cut into large square

2 cloves of garlic crushed

1/3 cup olive oil

2-3 tbsp  Balsamic Vinegar

Fresh crushed black pepper

salt

4 tbsp chopped fresh herbs like Parsley, mint, basil

Method

Mix all the ingredients except the vegetables in a large bowl, whisk it well. Toss in all the vegetables and keep aside for at least 2 hour.

Grill it in the basket, tossing to make sure it is grilled from all the side.

 

Grilled cherries

When I first read about it, I thought it was completely crazy but decided to give it a try. It is a painful process to pit the cherries but I think this recipe makes it worth it.

Ingredients

4 cups of pitted Cherries

1 tbsp Agave nectar

2 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar

1 tbsp butter

Method

Layer the cherries on an aluminum foil on the grill tray on the grill. This will ensure that all the juices stay inside. Cook for 7-8 mins. While it is cooking mix the rest of ingredients.Pour over the cherries and cover the cherries to make a packet.

Cook for another 10-12 mins. Take the whole packet on a plate, open carefully. What you will see inside is a ooey gooey yummy fruity topping. 🙂

You can serve with vanilla ice cream..but I think it tastes the yummiest with ‘sweetened ricotta cheese’.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lychee Phirni with a touch of orange blossom

Standard

I am born and brought up in India so me liking dairy based dessert is very natural. Most of the indian dessert have dairy in them in some or the other form. The famous rosogulla has paneer, which is like fresh cottage cheese. Gulab jamun have ‘khoya’, which is milk boiled till it is a semi solid clay like texture. The famous mango lassi has yogurt. So you see my love for dairy based desserts is but natural. 

When the weather starts warming up, I like to make dessert that are cool. So today’s dessert is perfect in the summer months. 

It is an indian equivalent of ‘arroz con leche’. The recipe is simple and the ingredient list is small. 🙂

I love playing with flavors, so decided to put a twist of this traditional Phirni. I love the intoxicating perfume of ‘ orange blossom water’. It is typically used in Mediterranean dessert. I love adding it even to my bath water. I buy it from a local middle eastern store and use it very regularly. Also, I love adding surprises to my dishes. When you think of Phirni, you don’t anticipate anything crunchy. I feel that this addition goes really well with the rest of the components and adds a clear element of surprise and variety of texture. I add chopped Litchi to my Phirni. 

  

It does take time and patience but it is not complicated at all. It uses the ingredients that are typically available in homes. 

Ingredients

1/2 gallon of whole milk 

1/2 cup of rice, soaked for 30 mins( I have used basmati)

1/2-3/4 cups of sugar

1 tsp orange blossom water

1 can of lychee chopped

Method

Take milk in a heavy bottomed pot and heat on a medium flame until the milk comes to a boil. Make sure you’re stirring constantly so that you do not get a skin formed on the top surface and the milk does not stick to the bottom of the pan. 

This is where your patience comes into picture, you must store patiently on low flame unto the milk is reduced to pretty much half of its original volume. 

While the milk is boiling, grind this soaked rice with very little water. Make sure you do not make a paste. You do want a mixture that is granular.

Now add the rice mixture to the milk in a steady stream. Make sure you’re starting the milk as you add the rice make sure so that no clumps are formed. Cook for about 5 to 7 minutes, take the mixture on a spoon and check if the rice is cooked.

Now add sugar and keep starting and cooking until you get the desired consistency. Remember the mixture will thicken as it cools down so make sure you do not cook it too much. If you end up with a very thick mixture  after it is cool down,   You can add a little bit of milk to thin it  down.

Once the mixture has come to the room temperature, add the chopped the lychee pieces and the Orange Blossom water.

Serve chilled.