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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

"100 Kids Lunch Box Recipes" ~ A Free E-Cookbook

 Indus Ladies Ebook
'Indusladies', an online community catering to women of Indian origin recently partnered with Indian food bloggers to come up with an online cookbook. This cookbook focuses on kids' lunch box recipes and helps out parents who often face the 'lunch box' conundrum. The published e-book is called "100 Kids' Lunch Box Recipes" and is filled with simple to cook, healthy recipes and 30 printable lunch box love notes. Majority of the recipes involve Indian style of cooking and each recipe comes with detailed instructions and colorful pictures. I am happy to announce that my entries "Methi Rice" and "Tri-Colored, Multi Grain Flour Rotis" are a part of this e-book.
To check out all the recipes and download a free version of the e-book, check here.


Sunday, October 26, 2014

Vegetable Tikkis

Here are some guilt-free and filling tikkis made with mixed vegetables for BM #45 under the theme 'Healthy Tea Time Snacks". I made them spicy and they were a tasty treat to our evening beverage.

Ingredients: (For about 18 mini tikkis)
2 potatoes - peeled, cooked and mashed
1 cup finely chopped, mixed vegetables - cooked, drained and coarsely mashed (I used green beans, carrot and peas.)
Salt to taste
Dried red chili powder to taste
1/2 tsp amchur powder
3 - 4 tbsp. corn flour
Semolina to coat the patties (optional)
Oil to shallow fry (I used canola oil.)

* Add the mashed vegetables, salt, chili powder, amchur and corn flour to a mixing bowl. Combine all the ingredients to form a firm mixture (that can be shaped into patties.)

* Pinch about a small lime sized portion of the dough and slightly flatten it into a disc. Gently roll the disc in semolina so that is coated on all sides with semolina. This semolina coating step is optional but it adds a nice crunch to the patties. (I coated half of the patties with semolina. Both coated and plain versions tasted yummy.)
* Repeat the steps with the remaining mixture and keep them aside. 
* Heat a griddle or a non stick pan and spray it with oil. Place the patties on the griddle without over crowding and spray with oil one more time if necessary.
* Fry them on medium flame until they turn golden brown on both sides.
* Serve them immediately with ketchup or green chutney.
Check what other marathoners are cooking during BM #45.


Saturday, October 25, 2014

Roti Sandwich Bites

Thanks to Harini and her friend, these roti bites have become a favorite tea time snack at my household. I usually freeze the extra rotis I make and this recipe has come handy in the recent times to convert them into a quick, guilt-free and chatpata snack during evenings. This also works when you are not in a mood to cook a side dish for rotis.
I used some left over green pea rotis when I first tried these. I had added the green pea stuffing directly to wheat flour to make rotis. I only added salt and some chili powder to chickpea flour paste as these rotis were spicy on their own. 

4 rotis (Tortillas can be substituted.)
3/4 to 1 cup chickpea flour 
Salt to taste
Chili powder to taste
1 small carrot, grated

Other Optional ingredients that can be used:
Onion powder
Garlic powder
Chaat masala
Mint / Kasuri Methi
Carom Seeds / Cumin Seeds

* Combine chickpea flour, salt and the spices that are going to be used in a mixing bowl. Next add water and mix with a spatula to make a thick, spreadable paste. Finally add the grated carrots and mix.
* Heat a griddle / non stick shallow pan and spray it with about a  tsp of oil.
* Spread the chickpea flour paste thinly on one side of the roti and place the paste side down on the hot griddle. 
* Turn the stove to medium flame and let it cook and turn golden brown. In the mean time, apply the paste on the topside of the roti.
* When the bottom side of the roti is cooked, lift the roti with a flat spatula and spray again the griddle with a little amount of oil. Now flip the roti and cook until the other side is cooked as well.
* Repeat the steps with the remaining rotis. Cut into wedges and serve warm with ketchup / sauce. 

Check what other marathoners are cooking during BM #45


Friday, October 24, 2014

Poha Dhokla

Dhoklas are a quick, tasty and guilt free meal on their own and this poha variation is no different. These dhoklas need not much efforts or time to put together and can be a great tea time snack or can be served for breakfast. If serving young kids, green chili paste can be avoided. These are going to BM #45 under the theme "Healthy Tea time Snacks".

Recipe source: Here
1/2 cup coarsely crushed beaten rice flakes / poha
1/2 cup semolina / rava
1/2 cup yogurt (I used homemade fat-free yogurt.)
1/2 cup water
Salt to taste
1 tsp green chili paste
1 tsp Eno fruit salt (I used Lemon flavored fruit salt and it added a welcome tanginess to dhoklas.)
2 - 3 tsp oil
1 tbsp white sesame seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
A pinch of asafoetida powder
Minced cilantro to garnish
The original recipe mentions to add 1 cup yogurt + 1 cup water for the above quantity semolina and poha. The mixture ended up being so thin that I had to add 1/2 cup semolina and 1/2 cup crushed poha more. I have therefore reduced the quantity of the liquid in the above ingredients' list. If the mixture appears too thick then add water in tbsp. increments. The mixture should be thick with a dropping consistency similar to the idli batter.

* Combine semolina, poha, salt. green chillie paste, yogurt and water in a bowl and mix ell. Cover and allow it to rest for about 10 - 15 minutes. If the mixture has become too thick / dry, a little water can be added. 
* Grease about a 6 to 7 inch diameter thali / stainless steel plate with high edges.
Add fruit salt to the batter just before steaming and mix gently when you notice the effervescence.
Pour the batter into the greased thali and steam it until it is cooked.
* Heat oil in a small pan and add sesame seeds, mustard seeds and asafoetida. When mustard seeds start to pop, turn off the stove.
* Pour this tempering over the steamed dhoklas.
* Let cool the dhoklas and cut them into diamond shaped pieces and garnish with coriander.
* Serve with green chutney and sweet chutney. 

Bloggers who picked this theme were supposed to capture the dish along with their tea. And that is a piece of dhokla along with some hot chocolate as I don't consume tea / coffee. :)


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Vada Pav

I could pick a recipe of my own choice for today, the Day 3 under "Taming the Yeast" theme, given that I featured one of the buns I posted in the last two days. I chose to go with the eggless burger buns I posted this week to prepare the famous street food from the Mumbai region, the vada pav. Vada pav often dubbed as the Indian burger is a combo of a vada, the potato fritter and the pav, a bun. Lime sized spicy potato curry balls are coated with chickpea flour batter and then deep fried. A spicy garlic chutney is smeared on the lower side of the bun and the fritter is sandwiched between the bun slices. The vada pav is said to be originally started as a cheap meal for the low income group but soon the tasty snack went on to become one of the popular street foods of Mumbai.
What you need for vada pav:
Burger buns / Pav buns
Batata vada / Aloo bonda
Garlic chutney (Recipe below)

* You can use traditional pav buns or the store-bought hamburger buns. I used the eggless burger buns.
* I used this aloo bonda recipe. Just add sauteed minced ginger, onion and garlic before adding the mashed, boiled potatoes.
* For garlic chutney, powder 3 cloves of garlic, 1 tsp red chili powder / 4 - 5 red chillies, 1/4 cup grated dry coconut and salt. (I had to add a little water to facilitate grinding.)
* Now to assemble the vada pav, cut the bun cross-wise into two and spread some garlic chutney thinly on the bottom portion. Place the aloo vada between the two slices and enjoy.
Check what other marathoners are cooking during BM #45.


Saturday, October 11, 2014

Eggless, Butterless Wheat - FlaxSeed Meal Rolls

These wheat - flax meal rolls are a part of "Taming the Yeast" theme for this month's BM. They are made with wheat flour and flax meal and this healthy option came from  Priya Suresh. Adding flax meal to our diet is beneficial as flaxseeds are rich in heart healthy Omega-3 essential fatty acids and dietary fiber. Our bodies can digest flaxseeds better in ground form. Adding flax meal to baking goods is one way to sneak it in into our diets besides adding a nutritional punch. You can either grind flax seeds home or use the store bought flax meal. I halved the original recipe and got six buns.
Ingredients: (yield six buns)
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup wheat flour (Indian style roti atta can be used.)
1/4 cup flax seed meal / ground flax seeds
1/2 tsp salt
1 & 1/2 tsp sugar
1 & 1/4 tsp. rapid rise yeast (I used dry active yeast)
3/4 cup warm milk
1 - 2 tbsp oil
2 tbsp milk for brushing
* Combine all the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Next add luke warm milk and oil to the bowl.
* Knead together to form a soft and smooth dough. (Priya's dough was firmer compared to what I got, going by her pictorial post. My dough was all wet and sticky and so, I added extra 3 - 4 tbsp. of wheat flour to reach her dough consistency. I guess it is ok even if 
the dough is sticky.)
* Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover and place it in a warm place to rise for about 2 hours or until it doubles in volume. (It took about 90 minutes for my dough to rise.)

* Deflate the dough and knead for a minute. Divide the dough into six portions.
* Shape each portion into a ball. Place a ball on the work surface. Cup it with your palm and roll it into a smooth ball. (Try not lifting the ball at any point of time during rolling and this will hep you to shape). Repeat the steps with the remaining balls.
* Place the balls on a parchment paper lined / greased baking sheet, with space in between. 
* Cover the balls with a towel and keep it in a warm place for the second rise, for about 45 minutes or until the balls puff up nicely. (My second rise took 30 minutes.)

* Preheat the oven to 350 deg F / 180 deg C.
* Brush the tops of balls with milk and bake them for 30 - 40 minutes or until they turn golden brown. 
* Transfer them to a wire rack to cool. 
* They can be used to make sandwiches or just spread some jam / butter / cream cheese and enjoy. I sliced the buns and stuffed with spicy potato curry.


Friday, October 10, 2014

Eggless Burger Buns

I love recipes on the Kingarthurflour website as most of my experiments from there so far have been successful. Besides there is an opportunity to learn beforehand whether the recipe genuinely delivers what it promises, by going through user reviews. The  suggestions / tips provided by the reviewers to improve the original recipes turn out useful as well. These burger buns seem to be one of their popular entries and for BM #45, 'Taming the Yeast' theme,  Gayathri suggested her eggless version of these beautiful buns. These soft, subtly sweet buns work great for burgers and sandwiches. I halved the original recipe and made six buns instead of four. I accidentally added milk instead of water and probably that' why the color of the buns turned a shade darker but the taste and texture were very good.
1 & 3/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp. sugar
A pinch of baking soda
1.5 tsp instant yeast (I used dry active yeast.)
1 tbsp. melted butter
1/4 cup yogurt
1/4 to 1/2 cup water (I added 1/4 cup warm milk + 1 tbsp water.)
1 tbsp. melted butter to brush 
1 tbsp sesame seeds
* Combine all ingredients except water in a mixing bowl. Don't add all the water at once. Start by adding about 1/4 cup of water and knead the mixture into a soft, smooth dough. Add extra water if needed, in tbsp. increments. (I needed about 5 tbsp. water.)
* Knead for about five minutes, cover and let the dough rise in a warm place until it doubles. 
* Deflate the dough and divide into 5 - 6 portions. Roughly shape them into balls. Place one ball on the work surface. Cupping the ball with your palm and not lifting the dough from the work surface, roll the ball until it is smooth with a flat bottom. Repeat the steps with the remaining balls.
* Place them on a parchment paper lined or a lightly greased baking sheet and flatten to about 3 inches across.
* Cover them and again allow to rise in a warm place for about an hour or until puffy.
* Preheat the oven to 375 deg F / 190 deg C.
* Brush the tops of buns with melted butter and sprinkle sesame seeds.
* Place them in the preheated oven and bake for 15 - 18 minutes, until golden. Mine turned to a light brownish hue by 11 minutes. However I baked them for up to 15 minutes to make sure that buns are baked well and they turned a few shades darker.
 * The original recipe mentioned to brush them again with melted butter to get a satiny crust but when I did my sesame seeds topping were no where to be seen. :)
* Cool the buns on a rack.


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

A Recap of 'Around the World in 30 Days'

Here is quick pictorial recap of "Around the World in 30 days", an alphabetical based blogging marathon I participated in, last month.  I chose to try some yummy treats from around the world during this culinary tour and most of them were kid friendly dishes as they were cooked during my kids' summer vacation. I tried small portions of the dishes and several ended up being our new favorites, like the Argentenian 'Tortas Fritas',  'Butter Flaps' from the Guyana, Hungarian 'Kifli' and the Egyptian 'Ghorayebah'. Brazilian 'brigaderios' and Uruguayan 'garrapiñadas' have become my daughter's new favorite treats while my husband absolutely loved the Dominican fudge. I loved the 'Al Rangina' from Qatari and 'Malikia' from Yemen, the quick and yummy treats from the Arab world. Hope you may too find some of them interesting enough to try.
Click on the recipe names to go to respective posts.

A for Argentina (South America) - Tortas Fritas

B for Brazil (South America) - Brigaderio

C for Colombia (South America) ~ Cassava Fries

D for Dominican Republic (North America) ~ Dulce De Leche En Tabla

E for Egypt (Asia & Africa) ~ Ghorayebah

F for France (Europe)~ Mendiants

G for Guyana (South America) ~ Butter-Flaps

H for Hungary ~ Vaníliás Kifli

I for Iraq ~ Kurat al-Mishmish

K for Kenya ~ Kashata
L for Lithuania ~ Tinginys

M for Malaysia ~ Cekodok Pisang

N for Nigeria ~ Akara

O for Oman ~ Khabeesa

P for Panama ~ Patacones / Tostones

Q for Qatar ~ Al Rangina 

R for Russia ~ Oladi

S for Sierra Leone ~ Kanya(h)


U for Uruguay ~ Garrapiñadas

V for Venezuela ~ Cachapas

W for Wales ~ Tiessennau Mel

X for Xīn Xīlán ~ Hokey Pokey Ice Cream

Y for Yemen ~ Malikia / Masoob