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Friday, June 26, 2015

Peanut - Oats - Beaten Rice Flakes Laddu

Though it looks like I am on a peanut spree going by my posts this week, I am not. I did not realize that the recipes I picked from Priya's blog to post this week were all peanut based until I sat down to draft them. I had originally planned a breakfast dish for today and already had it ready in my drafts. However I changed my mind as I wanted to end the week on a sweet note with these laddus. As Priya pointed out these power packed laddus are vegan, gluten free and they taste yummy. They don't need any ghee / milk to shape the laddus as the peanuts and jaggery act as the binding agents.

Ingredients: (Yield 8 laddus)
1/2 cup toasted and skinned peanuts
1/4 cup almonds (or replace with peanuts)
1/2 cup poha / beaten rice flakes
1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup powdered jaggery (Adjust the quantity as needed.)
1/8 tsp. ground cardamom

* Toast oats and poha individually until they are crisp. Let them cool. 
* Grind poha, oats, almonds and peanuts individually in a food processor or a blender until they are powdered fine. (Make sure to grind poha finely. Biting into laddus with coarsely ground poha is not fun.)
* Now combine all the powders, jaggery and cardamom in the food processor and pulse them a few times to combine. 
* Transfer the mixture onto a wide plate. Fist a handful of the mixture and shape it into a ball. Repeat the step with the remaining mixture to shape lime sized balls.
* Store them in airtight container and enjoy.

This is my entry to Blogging marathon #53. Check the link to see what other marathoners have come up with today.


Thursday, June 25, 2015

Peanut Sundal

I had no idea that sundal or guggilu as we call in Telugu could be made using peanuts up until I started to notice the dish by several  food bloggers, mainly Tamilians. And I had tucked the idea back in my mind to try it later. Chickpeas (both white and black variety), dried peas or green whole moong are the ones that come to my mind when I think about gugillu / usli and my mother often prepared it to serve as a nutritious and filling evening snack. However in many homes gugillu/sundal is served as neivedyam on festival days and a chickpea based one is a common prasadam served in many temples across south India. The idea of trying peanut sundal crossed my mind again when I noticed it on Priya's blog. The addition of spice powder to the sundal makes it more interesting and definitely ups the flavor quotient. This sundal is one more delicious way to enjoy the humble peanuts.

1 cup peanuts
Salt to taste
1 tbsp. oil
1 tsp. chana dal / split chickpeas
1 tsp. mustard seeds
1/8 tsp. turmeric powder
A pinch of asafoetida powder

Ingredients to toast:
1/2 tsp. chana dal / split chick peas
1/2 tbsp. coriander seeds
1/4 tsp. sesame seeds
2 dried red chillies
10 - 12 curry leaves

* Soak peanuts in water for about 10 minutes and drain. Add peanuts and enough water (needed to immerse the peanuts) to a pressure cooker. Cook for about 2 -3 whistles and turn off the stove. When the valve pressure is gone, transfer the peanuts to a colander and keep aside until needed.
* Add the ingredients mentioned under 'to toast' to a small pan and roast until split chickpeas starts to turn reddish. Let cool and grind them fine.
* Heat oil in a pan and add split chickpeas and mustard seeds. When split chickpeas start to turn reddish, add turmeric, asafoetida, cooked peanuts, salt and 1 tbsp. ground mixture from the above step. 
* Stir the mixture thoroughly to combine and cook for about 4 -5 minutes on low flame, to allow the flavors to mingle.

This is my entry to Blogging marathon #53. Check the link to see what other marathoners have come up with today.


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Peanut Rice

I was paired with talented blogger buddy, Priya Srinivasan for the week and had to pick recipes from her blog and cook as part of this marathon. I thought it was a breeze considering that I had interesting recipes already bookmarked from her site, that she had posted in other marathons. However the plans went haywire and I ended up trying simple yet delicious recipes from her blog. The first one in the series is this delicious peanut rice that definitely comes handy during time crunches. I had tried it for the first time a few months ago and really has come to like this dish for it's simplicity. The dish can be made in a jiffy if the roasted peanut powder is made in advance and left over rice is used.

1/2 cup roasted and skinned peanuts
1/4 cup grated dry coconut
1 tsp. sesame seeds
4 to 6 dried red chilles
Salt to taste
1 cup rice (Sona masuri kind) or 2 cups cooked rice

Ingredients for tadka:
1 to 2 tbsp. oil
1 tbsp. peanuts
1 tsp. mustard seeds
1 tsp. chana dal / split chickpeas
1 tsp. urad dal / skinned black gram
A pinch of hing / asafoetida
1/8 tsp. turmeric powder
1 stalk of curry leaves

* Wash rice with two exchanges of water and drain. Add 2 cups of water to rice and cook in a pressure cooker / rice cooker.
* Add coconut and red chillies to a pan and toast on low flame until coconut starts to brown. Remove and let cool.
* Toast sesame seeds for  about 30 - 40 seconds or until they start to brown.
* Grind sesame seeds, chillies and coconut together finely. Add peanuts and grind coarsely.
* Heat oil in a medium sized pan or a kadai and add peanuts, mustard seeds, split chick peas and black gram. When peanuts and chickpeas start to turn reddish, add asafoetida, turmeric, and curry leaves. Saute for about 15 - 20 seconds.
* Next add powdered peanut - sesame seed mixture, salt and rice to the pan. Stir well to combine.

This is my entry to Blogging marathon #53. Check the link to see what other marathoners are cooking today.


Friday, June 19, 2015

Banana Crisp

Apple and peach crisp gets made frequently in my kitchen as my kids love them. I tried it with banana this time as I had plenty of bananas on hand and made a chocolaty version for my daughter.  My son and I preferred the nut version more than the chocolate one. Soft, gooey bananas with a crisp oat - brown sugar topping tastes delicious. If using nuts, cinnamon / vanilla flavors can be added as well. Below recipe yields one serving and can be made in a ramekin for individual serving. Increase the proportions to make more servings.
Ingredients: (one serving)

1 banana
1 tbsp. coarsely chopped walnuts / chocolate chips
2 tsp. sugar if banana is not sweet (optional)
Ingredients for topping:
2 tbsp. quick cooking oats
1 tbsp. wheat flour / all purpose flour
2 to 3 tbsp. brown sugar
1.5 tbsp melted butter

* Preheat the oven to 375 degree F.
* Thinly slice the bananas. Combine banana slices, sugar and chocolate chips / nuts if using in a bowl or directly in a ramekin / baking dish.
* Combine oats, flour, brown sugar and butter in another bowl. Spread the topping mixture over the banana slices evenly. Bake until the top is golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes.
* Serve warm, with ice cream if preferred.
This is my entry to
1. Blogging marathon #53.
2. Srivalli's 'Kids' Delight' event hosted by Harini this month with the theme 'Fruits'.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Peach - Orange Popsicle

Summer is here not yet officially but we got to see glimpses of  summer weather last week in our neck of the woods. We were craving for cooler things and I had prepared some fruit pops to beat the heat. I love the fact that preparing popsicles at home gives us control over what goes in them besides being healthier and cheaper. These pops were prepared using some sweet peaches and oranges. They were so yummy and creamy that we were left craving for some more.
Ingredients: (Yield 5 popsicles)
2 peaches (I had about 1 & 3/4 cups peeled and cubed peaches.)
Juice squeezed from 1 big sized orange (1/2 cup juice)
4 to 6 tbsp. sugar or any other sweetener (Adjust the quantity depending upon the sweetness of the fruits.)

* Blend the cubed peaches, orange juice and sugar into a fine puree.
* Pour the puree into popsicle molds and freeze them until set.
* Run warm water over the molds to remove the popsicles easily from the molds and serve immediately.
* In case if there are no popsicle molds then pour the mixture into small paper cups and cover them with aluminum foil. Make a slit in the center with a knife and place a popsicle stick in each slit. Freeze until set.
This is my entry to
1. Blogging marathon #53.
2. Srivalli's 'Kids' Delight' event hosted by Harini this month with the theme 'Fruits'.


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Cardamom Flavored Pear Muffins

You can ask the other adult at home to shut up and deal with it if you hear complaints about evening hunger pangs. However if it is the question of kids and that too a couple of teenagers with voracious appetites and plenty of free 'summer' time on their hands, you don't and cannot ask them to deal with it. You learn to deal with it by stacking their favorite bunch of snacks so that you can escape the nagging and live in peace.

Fruit based muffins are one of the 'must have' snacks in my kitchen and at any given time, a jar of muffins could be found on my kitchen table. I opt for them since the prep work takes hardly any time and a couple of muffins with a glass of milk take care of 'one snack' time for the kids. It was the turn of these pear muffins for this week's stock. They were yummy besides being light and fluffy almost like cupcakes. I did not use any nuts upon my daughter's request but use chopped nuts of your choice if desired.

Ingredients: (Yield 8 muffins)
1 cup all purpose flour (Half the quantity can be replaced with wheat flour.)
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cardamom powder
1 big sized pear (About 1 cup peeled and cubed pear.)
4 - 6 tbsp. sugar
3 - 4 Tbsp. yogurt (Plus or minus 1 tbsp. depending upon the consistency of the batter.)
1 tbsp. oil / butter (I used canola oil.)
* Preheat the oven to 375 deg F. Grease a muffin tin or use paper liners.
* Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and ground cardamom into a mixing bowl.
* Grind finely pear cubes, sugar, oil and about 3 tbsp. yogurt in a blender / food processor.
* Combine dry ingredients and wet ingredients in a bowl, just until combined.
* Spoon the batter into muffin cups, filling up to 2/3rd in each cup. Place the muffin tray in the preheated oven.
* Bake until the muffin tops start to brown and a tooth pick inserted at the center comes out clean; about 20 to 25 minutes.
* Transfer them to a wire rack to cool before storing them. 

This is my entry to
1. Blogging marathon #53.
2. Srivalli's 'Kids' Delight' event hosted by Harini this month with the theme 'Fruits'.


Friday, June 12, 2015

Baked Vegetarian Taquitos

A taquito meaning a small roll or a rolled taco in Spanish refers to the Mexican dish of a rolled tortilla with a meat or cheese filling that is crisp fried. The dish is called as 'flauta' meaning flute in Spanish when they are larger in size than taquitos. Commonly corn tortillas are used to make taquitos and are typically topped with sour cream, guacamole, salsa and crumbled queso fresco, the Mexican cheese. I went with a bean-veggie filling and baked them for a guilt free version. These taquitos make a great, filling snack. 

2 tbsp. olive oil
1 big onion, finely minced
3/4 cup grated carrot
3/4 cup cooked black beans
2 cups chopped spinach
1 tbsp. taco seasoning
Salt to taste
1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese / Cheddar cheese
Tortillas (I used 8 inch whole wheat ones.)

* Heat oven to 450 deg F.
* Heat oil in a saute pan and add onion. Fry until it turns translucent. Add spinach and carrot and cook until done. Next add black beans, salt and taco seasoning and cook for a couple of minutes. Remove from heat and keep aside to cool a bit.
* Spoon a tbsp. of filling onto the center of each tortilla and top with cheese. (I actually wanted the taquitos to be filling and added more stuffing, ending up with chubby taquitos.)
* Roll the tortilla tightly around the filling.
* Place the tortillas, seam side down on the baking sheet.
* Spray or brush with oil and bake for about 10 minutes or until the bottom is golden brown. Flip and bake for another five minutes.
* Serve immediately when they are warm and crispy.
* Refrigerate the left overs and heat them again in the oven at 350 deg F before serving.
This is my entry under "Tortilla based dishes" for BM #53. Check the blogging marathon page to see what my fellow marathoners are cooking today.


Thursday, June 11, 2015

Black Bean Quesadillas

A quesadilla pronounced 'qay-sah-dee-yah' is a corn or wheat tortilla with a savory filling containing cheese and other ingredients. Quesadillas originated in Mexico and the dish has evolved over the years due to the experiments resulting in variations. The common filling used is Oaxaca cheese and other ingredients like cooked vegetables and cooked meat can be added as well. A quesadilla is folded in half to form a half  moon shape and cooked on a griddle. Another version popular in U.S. is where the filling / cheese is sandwiched between two flour tortillas and cooked on both sides until cheese melts. Then quesadillas is cut into wedges and served. Quesadillas are often served with salsa, guacamole and chopped onion. 
I used a black bean, corn, cheddar cheese based filling for my quesadillas. It takes about 10 minutes to prepare this quick and filling quesadillas if the beans are ready. For a quick fix version, canned beans and store bought salsa can be used. The filling can be prepare ahead and can be refrigerated to prepare a quick, impromptu meal.

2 cups cooked / canned black beans
1/2 cup frozen corn kernels
1/2 cup salsa + extra for serving
2 tsp. taco seasoning
1/4 cup minced cilantro
3/4 cup melting cheese of your choice (I used cheddar cheese.)
Salt to taste
Six 8" whole wheat tortillas
Oil to toast

* Rinse if using canned beans. Mash coarsely the beans if desired. Combine beans, corn, salsa, cilantro and taco seasoning in a bowl. Add salt if needed.
* Spread about 1/2 cup bean mixture on half of each tortilla. Sprinkle about 2 tbsp. cheese over the bean mixture. Fold the tortillas in half and gently press to flatten them.
* Heat 1/4 tsp. oil on a non stick skillet over medium heat. Add quesadilla and cook until it turns golden brown, flipping once. Repeat the steps with the remaining quesadillas.
* Serve the quesadillas warm with salsa.

This is my entry under "Tortilla based dishes" for BM #53. Check the blogging marathon page to see what my fellow marathoners are cooking today.


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Arizona Cheese Crisps

Arizona cheese crisps or simply cheese crisps is a tortilla based dish and is said to be have been made famous by a cafe in Tuscon, Arizona. These open faced flour tortillas are buttered and toasted in an oven until crisp. They are then sprinkled with cheese and again toasted until the cheese melts. Cheese is not piled up high like in a pizza in the case of cheese crisps and they can be optionally topped with onions, scallions, cilantro, peppers or chorizo in case of a non-vegetarian version. As the name suggests these were crispy, cheesy and utterly delicious.

2 tortillas (I used 8 inch whole wheat ones.)
2 tsp. butter
1/2 to 2/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese / Mexican blend cheese
(I used Cheddar cheese on one and a blend of Monterey Jack, Cheddar, Asadero and Queso Quesadilla cheese on the second tortilla.)
1 tsp. oil
1 mild green pepper like poblano / anaheim (optional)

* Preheat the oven to 350 deg F.
* If using the green pepper, slice into thin strips. Heat oil on medium heat and saute the pepper slices until the skin starts to blister.  Remove from heat and keep it aside.
* Place the tortillas on a baking sheet and spread 1 tsp. butter over each of the tortilla and place it in the oven. 
* Toast for about 8 - 10 minutes or until the edges start to turn golden brown / crispier.
* Remove the tortillas from the oven and sprinkle cheese over the tortillas, leaving about 1/4 inch around the edges. Arrange the toasted green pepper strips if using (or it can be sprinkled before serving.) 
* Return the tortillas to the oven and toast until the cheese melts, about 2 -3 minutes.
* Remove and serve immediately.

This is my entry under "Tortilla based dishes" for BM #53. Check the blogging marathon page to see what my fellow marathoners are cooking today.


Friday, June 5, 2015

Microwave Bitter Gourd Crisps

I am not a fan of bitter gourd from any angle for the obvious reason. I just used to manage eating kakarakaya podi that my mother prepared because of the delicious and crisp besan coating it had. And my husband who seems to be an opposite, loves the vegetable to the core and keeps buying it for himself. Right now, I have a dozen gourds sitting in my refrigerator as I am writing this. However these bitter gourd crisps have managed to change my opinion about the vegetable and have turned me into a fan to some extent. I enjoy these immensely (not needing any push at all from my husband to try) since the bitterness of the gourd is hardly noticeable in this case and I don't mind chewing away these healthy and guilt-free crisps. They are that good. Serve them as a side dish for sambhar / rasam dishes or just serve them as an evening snack.

1 to 2 bitter gourds, depending on the size (I had about 35 slices.)
2 tbsp. chickpea flour / besan
2 Tbsp. Oil
Chili powder to taste
Salt to taste

* Wash and pat dry the bitter gourd. Slice the bitter gourd into thin discs. Discard any mature seeds. I used a large gourd and had about 35 slices.
* Combine besan, chili powder and salt in a wide bowl or a large plate. Add oil and the bitter gourd slices to the bowl and mix well so that each disc is coated with the besan mixture.
* Grease a microwave safe glass plate and arrange the discs in a singer layer on it.
* Microwave for about 5 minutes, checking once intermittently to make sure that discs have not stuck to the plate.
* Flip them and continue to microwave, checking once every two minutes. Remove once they turn crisp.
* Depending upon the microwave power, these crisps should take about 10 - 12 minutes from start to finish.

This is my post under '3 Ingredient Dishes' since oil and salt are not counted. Check the blogging marathon page to see what my fellow marathoners are cooking for BM#53.


Thursday, June 4, 2015

Mac & Cheese in a Mug

I came across this mac n cheese in a mug version while looking for mug cake ideas some time ago. I cook macaroni and cheese from scratch almost everyday for my daughter and this quicker microwave version instantly attracted me. I could somehow retain the recipe in my head for this long though I forgot where I saw it. This mug sized single serving portion takes just around 5 minutes to cook and makes a great impromptu meal for kids.

Ingredients: (Yield 1 serving)
1/3 cup macaroni
1/2 cup water (Add extra 2 to 3 tbsp. water if using a mug.)
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup whole milk

* Add macaroni and water to a mug and place it in the microwave.
* Place the mug on a large plate to catch drips. Cook for a couple of minutes and stir. Repeat the process until the pasta is done to the desired consistency and all the liquid is absorbed (about 3 to 4 minutes). Add extra water if needed in case if the macaroni is not done.
* Remove the mug / bowl from the microwave and add milk and cheese. Stir and cook for one more minute. 
* Stir once again before serving. 
1. My macaroni took about 4 minutes to get done. I added the extra 2 tbsp. of water since the water spilled over during the cooking. Using a large bowl would prevent the spilling.
2. You can cook macaroni directly in the milk instead of water if you want it to be more creamier. And if using milk, I would recommend using a big mug or a bowl and also keep an eye through out the cooking to avoid spilling.

This is my post under '3 Ingredient Dishes'. Check the blogging marathon page to see what my fellow marathoners are cooking for BM#53.


Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Oat - Banana Cookies (Using 3 Ingredients)

The other day I was mashing the over ripe banana to try these 3 ingredient cookies. My daughter who just stepped into the kitchen proceeded towards the sink and started to wash her hands. I had no clue what got into her and asked her the same. There was a sense of betrayal in her tone when she asked whether I was not going to let her to mash the banana and mix the ingredients needed for the baking. Then I got the point. It is kinda ritual in our home that whenever I bake something she gets to assist me. This time I started on my own without even bothering to call her. She had accidentally ended up in the kitchen and noticing me doing the prep work, she thought of helping me. I had to tell her that there were hardly any ingredients to combine and she began to wonder how is that REALLY possible if I am baking something.  I wondered the same when I saw these cookies on MSN recently. 
They cookies are  made with just three healthy ingredients and without all the regular junk fare - the flour, eggs, sugar or butter. These cookies must be the healthiest version I have ever baked. With some milk on the side, they make a complete and guilt-free breakfast, if you prefer a light meal in the morning. I made these cookies in two versions - one with raisins and the other with chocolate chips upon my daughter's suggestion. I think the raisin version more suits the adult palate as they were very subtly sweet but anyway my daughter liked them too. Where as the semi sweet chocolate chips version were sweet enough to please kids. I made the raisin version a bit chunkier than the chocolate chip ones. I did not follow the baking time mentioned in the original recipe and baked longer to get almost crispy cookies. The thicker cookies were soft and chewy whereas the thinner ones were crispy from outside and soft and chewy inside. And needless to say we preferred the thinner, crispy ones though we finished them in one sitting.

Ingredients: (yield 12 cookies)
1 cup oats
1/2 cup tightly packed, mashed banana
1/4 cup raisins / chocolate chips

* Preheat the oven to 350 deg F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil / parchment paper or grease it. (I lined the baking sheet with aluminum foil and greased it.)
* Combine all the ingredients just until combined.
* Divide the mixture into 12 portions and roughly pat them into discs of medium thickness. (Don't make them either too thin or too thick. Thick discs will result in softer cookies.) Place them on the prepared baking sheet.
* I think the original recipe recommended to bake for about 10 minutes or until the bottoms start to brown. I baked them for about 20 minutes, turned off the oven and left the cookies in the oven for another 15 minutes. The resulting cookies were crispy from outside and soft & chewy from inside. 
* They are better eaten on the same day they are made.  

This is my post under 'Recipes with 3 Ingredients'. Check the blogging marathon page to see what my fellow marathoners are cooking for BM#53.