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Friday, May 26, 2017

Apple Chutney (South Indian Style)

Granny Smith apples, especially the sour ones work well in some of the south Indian style dishes and this chutney is one of those. Along with the instant pickle variety, this is a regularly made and well liked chutney in my home.
2 small green apples / 1 cup peeled and grated apple
2 tsp. oil
1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
2 tsp. skinned black gram / urad dal 
2 dried red chillies, broken into bits
1 pinch of asafoetida powder
Salt to taste

* Heat oil in a small pan and add mustard seeds and black gram. When black gram starts to turn golden brown, add red chillies and asafoetida. Stir once, turn off the stove and let it cool.
* Peel and grate the apple just before grinding. Add the above tempering, grated apple and salt to a food processor or blender and grind coarsely. In case if the apples are not sour, add lime / lemon juice to taste, if preferred.
* Serve immediately and refrigerate the left over chutney.


Thursday, May 25, 2017

Pumpkin Pie Overnight Oats

Remember the pumpkin pie pancakes I made from pumpkin pie? This pumpkin pie overnight oats is one more dish that I tried to finish off that left over pumpkin pie. And so, this one is not a pumpkin pie flavored oatmeal but literally uses the pumpkin pie. Alternatively, canned pumpkin pie filling or canned pumpkin puree + flavoring + sweetener can be used. 

This is a quick breakfast option as this is overnight oats recipe and flavor filled one for pumpkin pie lovers. For those wondering what I did with the remaining pie, I used the leftover filling to make some cupcakes and I broke the crust into pieces and baked them until crispy and used as a topping for some Indian chaat.

1/3 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup to scant 1 cup milk
1/4 cup pumpkin pie filling from the pie
Roughly chopped pecans / walnuts to garnish 

* Mix the oats and milk in a bowl, cover and leave it in the refrigerator overnight.
* Stir in the pumpkin pie filling and the walnuts before serving. 
This post goes to Blogging marathon #76 and check out the page to read what ot marathoners are cooking.


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Mango Avocado Salsa

A colorful salsa recipe representing the fresh summer bounty, though late winter and spring seasons are still colliding in our neck of the woods. As any salsa recipe, this one too is a quick one and all one need to do is dice the ingredients and mix.
The mangoes I had were somewhere in between sour and sweet tasting and were perfect in this dish. I skipped the tomatoes so that the mango flavor would be more prominent in the dish though tomatoes add an a extra flavor layer. Mash the avocado for a mango based guacamole.
1 avocado, diced
1 small mango, diced
1/4 cup finely diced red onion
1 finely diced small tomato (Optional. I didn't use any.)
1 green chillie, seeded and finely chopped
Roughly chopped cilantro (as much as needed)
1 lime / lemon
Salt to taste

* Add everything except lime juice and cilantro to a mixing bowl and stir to combine.
* Add lime juice according to taste and finally stir in cilantro.
* Serve immediately.
This post goes to Blogging marathon #76 and check out the page to read what ot marathoners are cooking.


Friday, May 19, 2017

Golden Nugget Carrot Muffins

I had bookmarked these muffins from here sometime ago to try. These muffins are simple to prepare and are loaded with a generous sprinkling of nuts, raisins and of course carrot. These tasted good, accentuated with cinnamon flavor and would be a great addition to any breakfast / brunch or picnic table.

I ended up baking two batches as I forgot to turn off the oven accidentally during the first time and they ended up baked for double the recommended time. Those are the ones in green muffin liners which had tops turned crispy and to my surprise, they tasted still good with a crunchy top when eaten warm. And of course they softened by the next day. I baked a second batch which are in the blue muffin liners, remembering to sprinkle some extra nuts and raisins over the tops.

I halved the recipe and got around 7 to 8 muffins. I omitted the ground ginger from the recipe and used an egg substitute in place of the egg. The muffin batter was dry and I had to increase the quantity of liquid than the original recipe. And also I replaced half the quantity of water with fat free yogurt. Skip yogurt for a vegan version. 

Ingredients: (Yield 6 - 8 muffins)
1 cup + 2 tbsp. all purpose flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
6 tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 cup raisins & chopped walnuts + Extra for sprinkling
2 tbsp. + 2 tsp. oil
1/2 cup water (I replaced half quantity with yogurt.)
1 egg substitute (I used Ener- G egg replacer.)
1/2 cup grated carrot

* Preheat the oven to 400 deg F / 22 deg C. Grease the muffin tray or line them with paper liners.
* Combine all the dry ingredients including raisins and nuts in a mixing bowl.
* Mix water, yogurt if using, oil and egg substitute in another bowl.
* Stir in the wet ingredients into dry ingredients. (If the batter appears too dry, add extra water in small increments.) 
* Fold in the carrot, gently stirring to combine.
* Spoon the mixture into muffin cups until almost full. Sprinkle some raisins and nuts over the tops, if preferred.
* Place the muffin tray into the preheated oven and bake until a tooth pick inserted at the center comes out clean, about 20 to 22 minutes.
* Remove the pan from the oven and cool.
This goes to Blogging marathon #76, under the theme 'Picnic Recipes'. Check out the page to read what other marathoners are cooking.


Thursday, May 18, 2017

Cornmeal Cookies (Ivory Coast)

Initially I had planned to participate in the 'baking' themed April mega marathon and I had diligently prepared the list. I even baked some when it dawned on me that I was the one who was going to end up eating all those goodies if I made it through the list. The kid who supposedly was to devour them and share the calories with me was away from the home and the kid who was at home wouldn't look at the sweet stuff unless it is laden with chocolate. And so, I finally gave up the idea of baking marathon though I ended up baking a few dishes for the first time. 

These simple, sweet cornmeal cookies from Ivory Coast was one of them and they would be a great pick for a picnic menu. I actually tried these cookie two times, halving the recipe both times. The first time, I tried to shape the cookies by patting the dough into perfect circles and they spread like crazy while baking though they held the shape. The second time, I dropped dough by spoonful and they were chubby (as shown in the pictures) while the first batch ones were thinner and bigger. These crispy, crunchy cookies fall under the easier to prepare variety cookies.
Source: Here

Ingredients: (Yield 50)
1 & 1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
5 to 6 tbsp. butter
1/2 cup + 2tbsp. sugar
1 flax egg or 1 egg substitute
1 tsp. vanilla extract

* Mix 1 tbsp. flax meal and 3 tbsp. warm water in a small bowl and keep aside for five minutes.
* Preheat the oven to 350 degree F. Grease a cookie sheet or line with parchment paper / aluminum foil and keep aside.
* Combine flour, cornmeal, salt and baking powder in a bowl.
* Beat butter and sugar together in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add the egg substitute and vanilla and beat again. Slowly add the dry ingredients from the above step and mix well.
* Drop dough in spoonful onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes or until they are done.
This goes to Blogging marathon #76, under the theme 'Picnic Recipes'. Check out the page to read what other marathoners are cooking.


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Raw Mango Rice / Maavinikaayi Chitranna

A rice dish would be a commonly prepared main dish when thinking in terms of a south Indian picnic. Until a few decades ago (or even now in many households), the spicy tamarind rice and the soothing yogurt rice combo would be blindly packed for lunches during any outdoor activities. The dishes would be prepared and relished without any second thought. The spicy tamarind based paste used for the tamarind rice can be prepared ahead and all that needs to be done on the picnic day is to mix it with cooked rice. It doesn't spoil at least for a couple of days even during the high summer temperatures, even when not refrigerated. While the yogurt rice is cooling and soothing, during the hot, sultry days.
And coming from that kind of background, I could not stop myself today from posting a rice dish as a part of this week's BM theme of 'picnic dishes'.  Besides, I thought of celebrating the sudden summer temperatures we are encountering this week after the 40s (around 4 deg C) we were freezing in last week. And what is a better way to celebrate the warm weather than a 'mango' that is almost synonymous to Indian summers? And the combo of rice and raw mango lead to this dish which is simpler than a pulihora preparation but nonetheless delicious in it's own way. This is prepared along the lines of 'kaayi saasive anna' from Karnataka and uses the extra step of grinding some ingredients and sauteing the paste.

Click on the recipe names below if interested to access the recipes of the rice dishes mentioned in the post.
Green Mango - Coconut rice
Tamarind rice / Pulihora
Yogurt rice / Daddhojanam
Kaayi Saasive Anna / Coconut - Mustard Rice
Green Mango Rice / Maamidikaaya Pulihora
Ingredients to grind:
1 cup firmly packed, peeled and grated raw mango
1/4 cup grated fresh coconut
3 red chillies + 1 green chillie
1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
1/2 tsp. to 1 tsp. jaggery powder

Other Ingredients:
3 tbsp. oil
2 tbsp. peanuts
1 tsp. split chickpeas / chana dal
1 tsp. black gram / urad dal
1 tsp. mustard seeds
Few curry leaves
1/8 tsp. turmeric powder
2 pinches of asafoetida powder
4 cups cooked rice
Salt to taste

* Spread the rice on a wide plate and allow it cool. Once cool, break any rice lumps if present.
* Keep a handful of grated mango aside and grind everything under 'ingredients to grind' to a slightly coarse paste, adding a little water.
* Heat oil in a saute pan and add peanuts, split chickpeas, black gram and mustard seeds. When the peanuts turn golden brown, add curry leaves, turmeric powder and asafoetida powder. Saute for about 10 seconds and add the ground paste. Saute the paste on medium flame, constantly stirring until the raw smell leaves, about 4 to 5 minutes. Next add the remaining mango gratings and salt and cook for a minute.
* Now the rice from the first step can be added to the pan and mixed or the cooked raw mango stuff from the above step can be added to the rice plate. Mix well so that the rice grains are coated well with the paste. Taste and adjust the seasonings if needed.
* Serve warm with lentil wafers or potato chips.

1. Use south Indian style rice for this preparation, where the cooked rice grains could be seen individually. I used sona masuri rice and pressure cooked it with a rice and water ratio of 1:2. 
2. Let the rice cool before adding it to the pan since the hot rice will turn mushy when stirred.
3. If the raw mango is not sour enough to your taste, lime or lemon juice can be added to the dish at the final stage as needed. Or a tiny ball of tamarind can be added while grinding the paste.
This goes to Blogging marathon #76, under the theme 'Picnic Recipes'. Check out the page to read what other marathoners are cooking.


Thursday, May 11, 2017

Sfakianopita - A Cheese Stuffed Bread from Greece

I ended up trying a few Greek recipes recently owing to my 'Greek recipes' themed marathon this week and among them were a few bread recipes from the region. A stuffed bread named sfakianopita was one of those. These bread are stuffed with the local variety cheeses and in lieu of those, feta cheese would be a great substitution here. These sfakianopita proved to be a quick and easy deal as I am adept at making the Indian stuffed breads aka parathas. The toasted, cheese stuffed breads are served with chopped nuts, a dusting of cinnamon and a drizzle of honey, which makes it a treat.

Recipe source: Here
1 & 1/3 cup flour + extra for dusting (I used wheat flour.)
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tbsp. olive oil + extra for toasting
 1/2 cup water
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup chopped nuts
Ground cinnamon

* Combine flour, salt, lemon juice and olive oil in a bowl and mix. Next add water in increments and knead it into a soft, pliable dough. If the dough is sticky, add some extra flour and knead. If it appears too dry, add extra water.  
* Knead the dough for about five minutes and divide the dough into 6 or 8 portions. Roll the portions into balls. Work with one portion at a time and keep the rest of them covered.
* Roll the ball into a round shape of about 1/4 inch thickness and 6 inches wide. Place a tbsp. or more of cheese at the center and then fold side over. Knead the cheese and the dough together until the cheese is well mixed in. Again roll it back to the round shape as earlier.
* Toast the rolled out sfakianopita on a heated pan pouring a tsp of olive oil around the edges and spreading it over. Cook it until both sides turn golden brown, flipping in between.
* Repeat the steps and cook the remaining sfakianopita
* Sprinkle chopped nuts and cinnamon as needed over sfakianopitas before serving and drizzle with honey.
This goes to Blogging marathon #76, under the theme 'Greek Recipes'. Check out the page to read what other marathoners are cooking. 


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Koulouri - Greek Bread Rings

I came across this fabulous source of Greek recipes when I went looking for the same and ended up bookmarking many to try later. These koulouri are one of those precious finds which happen to be the delicious Greek bread rings studded with sesame seeds. Though the sesame seeds' version is the traditional one, there seem to be also versions of stuffed ones with cheese or nutella. They are supposedly a staple treat sold by bakeries and street vendors in Greece, especially in the mornings and would go great with a cup of coffee. They are crunchy outside and softer inside, fresh from the oven. But they turn harder after sitting for a while though I liked them either way. They were simple to make and were so irresistible that I ended up eating them all by myself.

Ingredients: (Yield about 20 koulouri)
1 cup flour
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp. warm water
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. yeast (I used active dry yeast)
2 tsp. olive oil
1/4 cup white sesame seeds 

* Add sugar, active dry yeast and warm water to a mixing bowl. Stir and leave the mixture aside until it turns frothy. Then add flour, salt and oil to the yeast mixture and mix to combine. 
(If using instant yeast, there is no need for yeast proofing. Add all the ingredients except the sesame seeds to the mixing bowl and work the dough.)
* Knead the dough for about 10 minutes and place it in a greased bowl.  Cover and let the dough rest until it doubles in size.
* Preheat the oven to 425 deg F / 220 deg C.
* Flour the working surface if needed and roll out the dough ball into a rectangle of about 1/2 to 3/4 inch thickness.
* Then cut the rectangle lengthwise in about 1/2 to 3/4 inch strips. Cut those strips into 3/4 inch pieces.
* Roll each piece into a string. Brush it with water and connect both ends to form a ring. Roll the wet ring in sesame seeds. Place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Repeat the steps with the remaining dough pieces.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Avocado Toast

Here is one more easy recipe as part of the 'bread toast' series I have been posting this week. This one is based on avocado and pick a ripe or almost ripe avocado so it would be easy to mash and spread over the toasted bread. Season avocado well since basically avocado is bland on it's own.

4 bread slices (I used whole wheat bread.)
1 avocado
Salt to taste
Crushed pepper corns and/or red chili flakes
1 small lemon / lime
Flax seeds and/or toasted white sesame seeds
* Toast the bread slices.
* Mash the avocado and sprinkle salt, pepper and/or chili flakes. Add lemon juice to taste and stir to combine.
* Spread the avocado paste on the bread slices and sprinkle flax seeds and/or sesame seeds over
This goes to Blogging marathon #76, under the theme 'Toasts'. Check out the page to read what other marathoners are cooking.


Thursday, May 4, 2017

Chocolate Peanut Butter - Apple Toast

This is one of those simple toast recipes that does not even need a recipe but here it is anyway since it happens to be one of my favorites. Nut butter and fruit paired for a sandwich or a toast is one of those quickest and easiest breakfast options one has but I don't relegate this toast only to the morning meal. I happen to carry them as part of a picnic lunch or as a quick meal during long drives. The tastes of the slightly tart, crisp Granny Smith apples and chocolaty peanut butter balance each other perfectly here.

Bread slices (I used whole wheat bread.)
Chocolate Peanut butter 
Granny Smith apple slices 
* Toast the bread slices.  
* Spread the peanut butter uniformly and arrange the apple slices as preferred.
This goes to Blogging marathon #76, under the theme 'Toasts'. Check out the page to read what other marathoners are cooking.


Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Spicy Paneer - Methi Toast

This paneer - methi is a favorite of mine to use for toasts and as a filling for sandwiches. The addition of methi leaves / fenugreek greens add a great flavor to this paneer based dish though it can be left out if you don't have them. Paneer, the Indian cheese gives a delicious base to the dish besides adding the protein factor. I usually go with freshly made paneer at home so that I can go with a softer version than the hard and crumbled paneer. This way, the paneer gets assimilated into the curry and can be spread easily.
Ingredients: (Yield 2 servings)
4 bread slices (I used whole wheat bread.)
2 tsp. oil
1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
2 pinches of turmeric powder
1 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped tomato
1/4 cup roughly chopped methi / fenugreek greens
1/4 cup soft paneer / Indian variety cheese
Salt to taste
Red chili powder to taste 
* Heat oil in a pan and add cumin seeds. When they start to turn brown, add onions and saute them until they turn translucent.  Next add tomatoes, methi leaves, turmeric and salt. Cook until the tomatoes turn mushy. Next add paneer and chili powder to the pan. Mix well and cook for about 30 seconds and turn off the stove.
* Meanwhile, toast the bread slices. Spread the paneer - methi curry on the toasted slices and enjoy. 

This goes to Blogging marathon #76, under the theme 'Toasts'. Check out the page to read what other marathoners are cooking.