Kale and Spinach Masala Vada(i)

What’s your indulgence on a cold miserable day? NC brought out in full spate some miserable and grumpy days to the boot. Nagging cold weather accompanied by some rain and a weather that could not decide between holding onto winter and hopping aboard the spring train. Yikes !

Now imagine a day where the sun refused to peek out and the bare branches of the trees formed a sticky silhouette to temper the gray dull skies. The weather even managed to incite my boisterous and slightly neurotic lab to snooze . And quite a vent hugger she was. The warm draft of air from the heater vent provided the perfect huggable carpet spot for her and I could hear her stretching and yawning.

Kale and Spinach Masala (Vadai)

I would have loved to take out that raggedy brown blanket, stretch out on the recliner with a hot cuppa and indulge in a book. Any book. But since kids would arrive from school and look forward to something that could perk them up.

Kale and Spinach Masala (Vadai)

 

So a hot steaming cup of chai it is and a plate piled with piping hot and steaming baby kale and baby spinach masala vada(i). Chockful of these and the lentils provide much of the protein and flavors of fennel and ginger and garlic. Seriously folks, you would be missing out if you do not make these.

Kale and Spinach Masala ( Vadai)

A   plate piled high with piping hot, crispy, golden brown masala vada(i).. packed with kale and spinach and spiced with those flavors that make it extra special – protein packed indulgence and hot steaming cuppa to  make it even more better. It’s ok to indulge once in a while and it sure calls for it today !

Now what’s your excuse and what’s your indulgence?

Soaking time : 3 hrs   Prep time : 15 min   Cooking time : 25-30 min  Pieces : about 30 

Serves a hungry lot !

Ingredients:

Pulses and Cereals: Soaked for about 3 hrs or so.

  • Dry split Channa dal : 3/4 cup
  • Dry Toor Dal : 1/4 cup
  • Flax seeds : 2 Tbsp
  • Rice : brown/ white : 2 Tbsp.

Vegetables/Herbs

  • Baby Spinach : 1 cup : chopped
  • Baby Kale : 1 cup chopped
  • Onion : 1 medium size : chopped fine
  • Garlic cloves: 3 : chopped fine
  • Cilantro : 1/4 cup, chopped fine
  • Mint leaves : 8-10, chopped fine
  • Green chilies : 8-10. chopped fine ( adjusted to spice level)
  • Ginger : peeled, 1 inch , chopped fine

Dry Spices: ( preference can dictate the kind of spices added)

  • Fennel seeds / Saunf : 1 Tbsp
  • Salt : 1.5 tsp , adjusted to taste.

Frying:

  • Deep frying in peanut/ canola/vegetable /saffola oil of your choice.

Method:

  • Grind to a thick and coarse consistency the soaked ingredients listed under pulses/ cereals
  • The batter should not be extra fine or smooth but be ground enough to show occasional whole soaked dals with coarse consistency and done so just the little amount of water required. Do not make it too watery or mush, then the vada(i)s will soak up extra oil.
  • Add in all the ingredients listed in spices and mix well.
  • Add in the ingredients listed in vegetables and herbs and mix well.
  • Let the batter rest for about 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile heat the oil on medium high heat.
  • Test the temperature of oil by putting in a tiny dropful of batter. If it floats immediately to the top and is sizzling, you can begin the process of making vada(i)s.

Shaping, Frying the Vada(i)s

  • You can use the flat side of a ziploc bag, dab it with oil and drop 2 Tbsp. of coarse batter, flatten to get a round disc and gently slide it the  oil.
  • Or the method I prefer, is to use my fingers and palms to shape the flattened discs and slide them gently in oil.
  • Fry in medium high heat about 6-8  in batch or so.  The discs are about 2-3 inches in diameter.
  • Fry these in medium high heat to a nice even brown. Do not fry in very high heat. If you do so, the outer layer will get cooked faster than the inner one and it is not something you will relish!
  • Enjoy with a hot cup of tea and the mush awaited book of your choice!

Baked Cauliflower Tandoori Bites

Baked Cauliflower Tandoori Bites

New year and new beginnings?  Nah , more like everyday is a clean slate to make something out of yourself. It’s what I keep telling myself . There is joy in small things. It’s the small things that build it up for the grand finale – life . Calvin and Hobbes sum it up the best in a beautiful snippet on watching the stars and losing yourself in it its infinity.. Sometimes it’s good to be lost.

Baked Cauliflower Tandoori Bites

So all the while, NC gets about a few inches of snow and ice and we get snowed in at home – School is far far away in another land. Tee hee.. The joy of skipping school – even my high schooler fell prey to its charm and exhibited an uncharacteristic elation.

So while mom and kids lazed around and spent quality time and lost themselves in snowmen and hot cocoa, DH was stranded trying to make his way back amongst the sea of travelers and some 8500 canceled flights.  Over night layover and a really bizarre circumnavigation apart, a welcome face pops in after nearly couple of days of journey. Home sweet home !

 Welcome home –  with a hot cup of tea and wonderful tandoori bites…

Baked Cauliflower Tandoori Bites

When fresh veggies were not exactly ruling the roost in this part of the country, I usually have a stock of fresh frozen (if I can manage the non GMO kind, then definitely ) of vegetables in my freezer. Cauliflower florets – a favorite here. I used this to make the tandoori bites. It was a full head of fairly medium  – big sized cauliflower that I had cut in florets and frozen. I would say about a pound of it.

Baked Cauliflower Tandoori Bites

Baked Cauliflower Tandoori Bites:

Prep time : 5-10 min   Marination time : 5 hours to over night

Baking time : 15 -20 min

Vegetable:

  • Cauliflower florets – A head of cauliflower cut into bite sized florets or frozen 16 oz. bag

For the Marinade:

  • Thick plain yogurt : 1/4 cup
  • Plain chili powder / Kashmiri powder : 1 tbsp. ( use your judgment for the heat)
  • Chaat masala : 1 Tbsp..
  • Salt : 1 tsp.
  • Tandoori Masala : 1 Tbsp.
  • Garam Masala : 1 Tbsp.
  • Mint -Coriander Green chutney : 2 Tbsp.

Optional :

  • Ginger- garlic paste : 1 tsp.

Method:

  • Defrost the cauliflower florets or if using fresh ones, either nuke it in the microwave for a couple of minutes or quick blanch it.  Let it come to room temperature.
  • Whisk all the ingredients listed under marinade. Taste test if desired so.
  • Pour the marinade on the cauliflower pieces and mix it to ensure all of it is coated thoroughly.  Keep it covered in the refrigerator for minimum of 4-5 hours , but can be left overnight for best results as well.

Baking :

  • Pre heat oven to 400 F.
  • Layer a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Spray oil if desired so on them so the pieces do not stick.
  • Spread the cauliflower florets so they are in single layer on the sheet.
  • Bake for 15-20 min or so. Keep an eye after about 12 minutes of baking. A lot depends on the tenderness of the cauliflower and your oven. 

HUGE TIPIn the 8- 10 min interval, flip the cauliflower florets and rotate the pans to ensure even baking. If not you run the risk of burning the smaller sized ones.

  • You should get crisp but tender cauliflower florets bursting with flavor.
  • Serve with a wedge of lime and some mint – coriander green chutney as dip. You can also use a cool yogurt dip.

Bite sized, perfectly spiced and zero oil… Isn’t this just awesome?

 

 

 

 

Baked Mixed Vegetable Samosa

An absolutely  packed schedule just before the winter break sets in. There are days and then there is today 

So while the going gets crazy , the crazy get going ??

The breakfast was bit of a dud ..Cold winter morning , not freezing but still cold enough for you to want to pull in the blankets closer. You might want to reach out for the warm toasted bread and dab of butter. Or a warm cinnamon roll. But not a single loaf of bread was baked and we were all out bread, cinnamon rolls, hot and tasty dosa or anything nice – according to the kids.

Baked Mixed Vegetable Samosa

It was the second last day of school before winter break sets them free. And the kiddos are to be out for a long time and were fed fig bars(tsk tsk ) for break fast – all natural very good ,stone ground wheat and natural fig in it .But it was not exactly a cold morning choice ! Sigh ! Even the apple oat smoothie did not soften the wounded eyes of A2 ( A1 was more preoccupied with his gazillion tests in school today ) . And mom decided to make an after school treat.( Sucker for those wounded eyes , me thinks! )

A1 and A2 are a huge fan of samosas ! I mean honestly what’s not like about it – there’s all sorts of spiced laden veggies in a pastry dough which is usually fried.  And mom kind of relented( guilty of momism) and made a quick batch of – samosas . With whole wheat partially ( I cheated ) and BAKED it ! Corn and potatoes and carrots and so much more bring the burst of flavors and fresh mint/ coriander chutney – I need chai now !

Not very labor intensive. It was done pretty fast.

Baked Mixed Vegetable Samosa

 

Time for prep : 30 min      Resting time for dough : 30 min  Shaping and filling : 15 – 20 min

Baking 25-30 min        Yields : 12 -14 pieces

 Ingredients :

For the stuffing:

  • Large potatoes : 3 nos.( boiled and mashed roughly )
  • Onion : 1 , diced fine
  • Sweet corn : boiled : 1/4 cup
  • Mix of peas and carrots : 1/4 cup
  • Oil : 1 tbsp.
  • Red chili powder : 1/2 tsp.
  • Garam masala : 1 tsp.
  • Chaat masala : 1/2 tsp.
  • Cilantro : chopped : 1/4 cup
  • Salt : 1 tsp + as required
  • Cumin seeds : 1 tsp.

For the dough:

  • White whole wheat flour  : 1 cup
  • All  purpose flour : 1 cup
  • Ajwain/ Carrom seeds : 1 Tbsp.
  • Oil : 3 Tbsp.
  • Water : as required
  • Baking powder : 1/4 tsp.
  • Salt : 1/2 tsp.

Method :

For the dough :

  • In a wide bowl. Mix all the dry ingredients first and whisk well to ensure even distribution of salt and baking powder.
  • Add the oil and mix thoroughly so the dough now resembles fine crumbs.
  • Now sprinkle water ( DO NOT ADD EXCESS WATER. SPRINKLE LITTLE BY LITTLE ) and bring the dough together to form a very tight dough. It has to be tight dough. Do not knead it excessively. We do not  want to form gluten in the dough and then you will have stretchy outer covering instead of a flaky one.
  • As soon as the dough comes together to form a ball, keep it covered for about 30 min. It is important to rest the dough.

For the filling:

  • In a wide skillet or fry pan, add the oil and add the cumin / jeera seeds and let it sputter. Add the onions and fry well. Subsequently add the  boiled and mashed potatoes, boiled corn and peas and carrots . I microwaved the frozen peas and carrots and then corn for a couple of min each to aid the cooking process.
  • Add the salt and then spice powders  listed and mix well. Do not mash it too much
  • Add the fresh chopped cilantro, stir once and take it out to cool.
  • After cooling divide it into 12 – 14 portions depending on the number of dough pieces.
  • If you have excess left , then it makes a great sandwich filler.

Making the samosa:

  • Pre heat the oven to 350 deg F
  • Fill a small cup with water and keep aside.
  • After the dough has rested for 30 min, knead it once to get a smoother one. Divide it into about 6-7 portions.
  • Roll out each portion into a big circle. Try to keep it on the thinner side.
  • Slice it in the middle to form 2 semi circles.
  • Now using the tips of your finger wet the  edges of the semi-circle.
  • Bring the edges together so it overlaps to form an open cone and seal the edges .
  • Fill the cone with your stuffing and seal the third side as well by wetting the line edge of the dough.
  • Repeat for the rest.

Baking the samosa:

  • Arrange the triangular pastries on a single layer on  parchment lined baking sheet.
  • Brush with a dab of cooking oil on the surface.
  • Bake for about 15 minutes in the pre heated oven.
  • The increase the heat to 375 F and bake another 10-12 minutes.
  • You will have flaky and crisp shell with spiced filling inside.
  • Serve hot with chai and green chutney.

 

Baked Mixed Vegetable Samosa

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roasted Garlic, Jalapeño & Herb Focaccia Bread (Wheat)

Roasted Garlic, Jalapeño & Herb Focaccia Bread ( Wheat)

This post has sat in drafts for a very long time. I have no clue why it took that long but all is well… Been  a bit scatter brained , but that’s not unusual either. The usual activities of soccer and gymnastics and the seasonal prep of FRC begins. Maya, on the other hand has been the most unburdened of the lot as she explores the backyard like a new-found babe – after days of rain and blah weather , the sun gods decide to shine on us . You could see this gorgeous streak of black, shiny fur dashing about as she chases squirrels that have peeped our after a couple of weeks. And she makes the most of it. Streaking about or snoozing in the sun. She does make me en her sometimes ! Abundant energy and abundant love .. always .

Gorgeous day and I realize, I have about a dozen drafts – nope, honest not kidding, atleast a dozen drafts sitting in the folder waiting for their turn in the sun. And I shall oblige to the best of my ability.

Been to Panera bread? It’s like this secret joint for all bread lovers to unite . Much before the active baking bug bit me ( quite honestly it has not been too long, but lets just say for timeframe sake barely 18 months or so)  their neatly arranges loaves of bread and near tumbling brown fresh-baked ones from the basket were so inviting and tempting for me. Almost irresistible that I would inevitably come home with a couple at least. Well they are now too, albeit now, I use my discretionary powers and bring a couple more of the new ones as well to try their flavors. LOL! One of their creations would be this Jalapeño cheese focaccia bread – a tiny piece of marvel with generous pepping of fresh jalapeño peppers. Yum –  O ! It’s like a sirens call for A1. He could never resist it and could polish a couple if not for mom’s “look”.Roasted Garlic, Jalapeño & Herb Focaccia Bread ( Wheat)

Been wanting to try something akin to that one for sometime , and also wanted to incorporate fresh garden grown herbs in it. While I believe this was originally baked way back in early 2014 when I was starting out to look at yeast and not turn the other way ( been in the drafts folder too long ), baked it a couple quite a few times after that with ever pleasing results !

Roasted Garlic, Jalapeño & Herb Focaccia Bread ( Wheat)

And here we go….

Prep time : 20 min 

Dough resting time : 60 – 75 min  + additional 25 min

Bake time : 25-30 min

Ingredients

Bread:

  • White whole wheat flour : 2 cups
  • All purpose flour : 1 and 1/4 cups
  • Brown sugar : 1 and 1/2 tsp.
  • Salt : 1 and 1/4 tsp.
  • Garlic salt : 1/4 tsp.  ( optional, but recommended)
  • Instant yeast : 2.25 teaspoon/ 1 sachet
  • Olive oil : 2 Tbsp.
  • Very warm water : 1 and 1/4 cup

Topping:

  • Fresh garlic cloves : 8-10
  • Fresh mint : About 1/4 cup of leaves
  • Fresh Cilantro : 1/4 cup of cilantro
  • Jalapeño Peppers, green fresh : 2 – 3 big
  • Red chili flakes : 1 and 1/4 tsp.
  • Olive oil : 3 Tbsp.

Directions:

Preparing the Dough:

  • If using a stand mixer, I initially like to attach the paddle attachment and mix everything and then switch to the dough hook for kneading.
  • Add both the flours, salt and sugar and whisk well. Add the dry instant yeast (Since we are using the dry instant kind, we do not need to activate it. However if you are unsure, then proof the yeast in the warm water with sugar.)
  • Add the  2 Tbsp. of olive oil, then the very warm water and mix it well.
  • Switch to the dough hook and now knead it very well till you get a smooth dough. The dough is very soft and smooth. Not overtly sticky. If required add a tbsp. or so of extra APF to bring it to the desired smooth consistency.
  • Oil/ Grease a container . Cover the dough and let it rest in a warm place until it doubles in size ( 60-75 min). I simply spray the container of my mixing bowl and let it rise in it.

(Tip : During winter times/ colder weather , turn on the oven initially for a few min. When it hits a temp of say 150 F, turn it off. Once you knead the dough, place it in the warm oven for about an hour. It will help in making the dough rise faster.)

Preparing the Herb, Jalapeno Pepper & Garlic Spread:

  • In a toaster oven, line a baking tray with aluminum foil . Arrange the  cloves of garlic and jalapeño and drizzle about a 1 Tbsp. of oil and roast it on high. Mine hit the maximum at 450 F, so I used that setting for about 8 min or so.
  • You want these roasted well and not blackened, so do keep an eye out and prep according to the toaster oven.
  • Let this cool for a bit. Add these along with the fresh herb mix  and remaining 2 Tbsp. of oil, pulverize in a food processor / blender to from a coarse paste.
  • Add the chili flakes, mix, scoop and set aside. This will form the top layering for the bread.

Prep and Baking:

  • In about 60 min or so, the dough would have doubled in size. Gently deflate it.
  • Prepare a heavy baking tray by lining it with baking sheet or parchment paper. Generously  mist/ spray/layer it with olive oil.
  • Dump the deflated dough onto it. Using your hands work it to form a nice rectangle / oval, about an inch or so in thickness.
  • Cover it so it is prepped for the second rise where it will rise a bit more for about 25 – 30 minutes to yield a slightly puffy look.
  • Meanwhile preheat the oven to 400 F.
  • Once the dough is ready, using 2 fingers gently poke all over the surface of the bread. You are forming indentations and not tearing the bread dough apart.
  • Using a pastry brush if desired, spread the herb, and spicy pepper mix on the surface.
  • Bake for about 25 – 30 minutes or until it is nice golden brown on the top. Do not over bake please.

Roasted Garlic, Jalapeño & Herb Focaccia Bread ( Wheat)

To serve:

  • Serve warm bread with a drizzle of olive oil /herb oil. Best eaten warm.

Go ahead, the focaccia bread is warm , inviting and I bet it’s a siren’s call for you too.

Roasted Garlic, Jalapeño & Herb Focaccia Bread ( Wheat)

Lime Chili Peanuts – With a touch of honey and oven toasted!

Disclaimer : A super quick post. Still have not gotten around to using my cannon after the vacation. Inertia , I suppose.. So smartphone shots it is !

Well the Masala Peanuts lasted but a few precious hours in the house .. There was still some awesome raw peanuts left and I wanted something with enough spice and zing in it . And I did make it 🙂

Crunchy, and perfectly spiced  with tanginess of lemon with chili flavor in it and just a kiss of honey. Oh this would be totally addictive in the snacking department . Whip up a bowl in minutes and prepare to be amazed..

Lime Chili Peanuts - With a touch of honey and oven toasted!

INGREDIENTS

  • 2.5 cups of raw skinned peanuts
  • Fresh squeezed lime juice : 2-3 Tbsp.
  • Oil of your choice : 2 tsp ( can increase up to 1 Tbsp. if you prefer)
  • Honey :  1.5  Tbsp.
  • Salt : 1/2 tsp.
  • Red Chili Powder : 2 tsp.
  • Garam Masala : 1/2 tsp. ( optional)
  • Hing : A generous pinch
  • Optional : dried mint flakes

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F .
  2. In a large mixing  bowl, combine all the ingredients except the peanuts. Whisk it well. The honey especially needs to be homogeneously distributed in the spice mixture.
  3. Add the raw skinned peanuts and toss it well in this so it well coated. Let it sit for about 5 minutes so the flavors and spice have a chance to adhere to the  peanuts.
  4. Line a baking sheet  or tray with parchment paper or  non stick sheet.
  5. Scoop the peanuts allowing the  excess spice mix if any to drain off ( I did not have  to really drain  it or so) and spread them out on the baking sheet.
  6. Bake them for about 15-17 minutes ( oven times may vary so keep an eye)
  7. Let it cool before you dive in.

Options , Variables and Notes:

  • This is one of the most basic recipe. Feel free to add in some flavors and experiment. 
  • Add dried Oregano leaves  or some Italian seasoning mix, Red chili flakes and season for a different take on flavor.
  • Add dried mint leaves, garam masala and season and you would be pleasantly surprised by the Indian twist!
  • Add just honey, asafoetida and Oil along with a hint of ground black pepper and you will be amazed..
  • Always keep an eye out while toasting nuts in the oven. They go from perfectly crisp to burnt very fast.

Lime Chili Peanuts - With a touch of honey and oven toasted!

Quick and No Oil Masala Peanuts – Crunchy, spicy and Irresistible

A very short post. In all honestly did not even take pictures on my Cannon. Cause today was such a day that paid homage to the ” need a vacation after the vacation” kind of thing. After a long and exhausting road trip , and I mean really exhausting, laundry and stuff needed something to munch. But since we had loaded up with enough calories for a lifetime twice over and then some, was not willing to really rack my brain or stretch my time . And then of course a pack of raw unroasted peanuts caught my fancy. We love peanuts here and except for my oldest who treats it like his mortal enemy !! Our road trip introduced us to a particularly unappealing one  – too much vinegar and a crusty outer layer that had us gagging and reaching for the nearest bottle of water. Sigh ! A good masala peanut should have enough coating to give you the crunch but not overwhelm you so you have to dig for the nut !!

This is a spin off of my mom’s take on masala crunchy peanuts. No deep frying.. Just regular microwave option ! Simple and quick made in a jiffy. I would definitely advise to make in smaller batches cause unlike deep frying, microwave method  requires you to ensure the wet coated peanuts are spread out on a plate and cooked in 2 minute intervals.

Quick and No Oil Masala Peanuts - Crunchy, spicy and Irresistible

Preparation Time : 5-7 minutes

Cooking Time : 5-8 min

Ingredients:

  • Raw peanuts with skin: 1/2 cup
  • Chickpea flour / Besan : 1/4 cup
  • Hing : A generous pinch
  • Red Chili powder : 1/2 tsp.
  • Garam masala : 1/2 tsp.
  • Amchur: A pinch
  • Salt : 1/4 tsp.
  • Water : 2-3 Tbsp. 
  • Baking soda : a tiny pinch 1/8 tsp.
  • OPTIONAL : 1 tsp. of oil

Method:

  • Wash the raw, unskinned peanuts very well and drain in a colander and set aside.
  • In a wide mixing bowl, add the flour and 1/8 tsp. of baking soda and whisk well.
  • Add the rest of the spices and mix well again.
  • Add the drained peanuts and toss it well with the flour-spice mix.
  • Sprinkle the reserved 2-3 Tbsp. of water as required and  in stages so the peanuts get coated in spice mix very well and they sort of clump/ adhere together.
  • OPTIONAL : I did not use oil at all. But if you desire to and need an extra crunch, add in 1 tsp. of oil and mix it with the nut – spice mixture.
  • Spread this mix on a microwave safe plate. Spread it out in a single layer as much as possible.
  • CAUTION : Microwave for 5-6 minutes in full power in 2 minute intervals please ! You will burn the peanuts of you bake it at one stretch and you will need to stir it a bit in between intervals.

Verdict: Awesome and crunchy peanuts. I made mine without any oil and it was really crunchy. Optionally you can also add Chaat masala.

Notes and Variables :

  • Microwave cooking power would vary the time but you should generally anticipate it being done in this time frame .
  • Quality of the peanuts and the size – smaller ones tend to crunch up faster so keep an eye out
  • Stirring it in between would keep it from burning of course.
  • Mine was done in about 5 minutes.
  • Adding oil is definitely your choice. Mine was crunchy without any. 
  • Take care so the flour – spice mix coats it evenly. You do want it too lumpy or watery.

 

 

 

Beet, Oats and Flax Seed Tikki / Croquette/ Cutlets

 

  • Hot weather in Spring : Check
  • Crabby kids : Check
  • Crabby mom : Check ( Nah, I am an angel!)
  • Weekly produce cleaning and org: Check
  • A bunch of beets : Check

It was hot sultry calm before the storm in NC. Very hot and humid weather and temperature in higher eighties.. We know what happens next here – thunderstorms and heavy rains. Predicted in the next 24 hrs.  That still did not stop us from cribbing and hoping we could have a bit of the cooler breeze. But nonetheless, as part of the fridge cleaning process, I came across a bunch of beets.. And that’s what became of these..

This was such a delight to have.. Made a cool Minty Cucumber Greek Yoghurt Dip and it was absolute heaven on hot sultry night.. Kids loved it! The only indulgence was the addition of bread crumbs made easier on self cause I used the wheat kind. The shredded raw beets and crunch of sesame on the top and great blended flavors from the spices boosted this to just another level !

Beet, Oats and Flax Seed Tikki / Croquette/ Cutlets

Prep time : 30 min  Cook time : 30 min Yield : 36 cutlets

Ingredients

For the base:

  • Fine Shredded Raw Beets : 1 and another 1/4 Cups
  • Fine Shredded Raw Carrots : 3/4 cup
  • Fine shredded Onion : 1/4 cup
  • Boiled Potatoes : 2, peeled and mashed
  • Bread Crumbs : 1/4 cup
  • Roasted and powdered Oats : 1/4 cup
  • Roasted and Powdered flax seeds : 1/4 cup
  • Fresh Cilantro Chopped  :1/4 cup
  • Fresh Mint Chopped : 1/4 cup
  • Fresh Jalapeno : 2 chopped fine ( optional)
  • Red chili powder : 1 tsp. ( optional and adjusted to spice level)
  • Garam Masala : 1.5 tsp.
  • Chat Masala : 1 tsp.
  • Salt : 1.5 tsp.

For the outer covering to create the crunchy crust:

  • Bread Crumbs : 1/2 cup
  • Sesame seeds : 1-2 Tbsp.

 To cook :

  • Oil as desired

Method:

  1. Pulse everything listed under the base in your food processor or if not in wide bowl by hand. The idea is to bring it all together to form a wet mass. This is achieved when the wet sticky potato mass combines with the fresh ingredients. You typically will not need any water at all to bring it together.
  2. Make 2 inches flat patties in diameter and about 3/4 of an inch thick out of these and set aside.
  3. Mix everything listed for the crust and set aside. If you do not wish to add bread crumbs but just the sesame seeds, it will bring out the richness and color of beets but you will still miss the crunchiness of it.
  4. Coat these patties  well in the bread crumbs –  sesame seeds mixture. Nope, I did not initially dip it in milk, corn flour paste, flour paste or any such thing. The wetness of the patty was enough to coat the bread crumbs mix..
  5. Note: The patty was wet but definitely not sticky.
  6. In a wide skillet, add a Tbsp. or so of oil  and gently swivel it so it coats the entire surface of the skillet and then heat it . ( A nonstick would be pretty useful here).
  7. Gently place the patties on the heated oil surface and cook for about 5 – 9 minutes. Flip it once in the 4-5 minute interval and gently press down to ensure they are cooked thoroughly but not smushed.
  8. Do cook it in medium high heat. In very high heat just the outer layer would be cooked and you will have soft raw middle.
  9. Serve it with cool yoghurt dip.

Minty Cool Yoghurt dip:

  •  2 cups of Greek / very thick yoghurt or sour cream
  • 1 cup of very finely shredded cucumber
  • 1/4 cup of very finely chopped mint
  • 1 tbsp. of chaat masala
  • 1/2 tsp of salt

 Mix all together and serve!

Option 1 : Yes you can deep fry this.  Yes it will taste absolutely delicious, but man why would you want to do it on a hot spring night and also kill the beets?

 Option 2 :  Baking . I did try baking it on 375 – 400 for about 15 minutes. The pan version yielded better taste though.

 

 

 

 

Herbal Ayurvedic Tea – Concocting Detoxifying Decoctions!

Have you watched the “Sound of Music”? No silly!  Not the live theater version, but the gold standard one..The movie!  I sure don’t claim to live in an Abbey , but today’s grey skies and grumpy weather had me reaching for something. Anything. I never know why it is called ‘Out of the blue” , I mean why not out of the red, yellow , purple or pink. I am pretty sure there is a perfectly sane reason for it to be called that. And I am also sure somewhere, somehow a trivia master is reading this and going Tsk.. Tsk.. 

On such a day, I am more apt to singing ( Have you ever heard me sing? NO ? Well, thank goodness for small mercies ! I just mean to sing in my head and what I sing in my head can match a diva’s rendition but what come out of my larynx usually rival’s a frog’s melody 🙁 )

When the wind bites
When the cold stings
When I’m feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don’t feel so bad

( Due apologies the creator of this tune)

So off I go trotting off to look at the beautiful tea set  I received – Oh! It is simply precious. Made of Cast iron, it reminds me of some of the antiques at my mom’s place and I had been lusting after this kind for quite some time ( time = years). I think DH finally could not take it anymore , more like could not tolerate my mooning over it anymore and made short work of it. Yippee,Yippee,Yay,Yay!  

After a particularly blah morning, this tea was made to improve the blues, the weather ( just kidding ) more so to improve the general immune system within the body and also to act as an digestive aid. This tea is served usually warm and unsweetened . If you would like to  add a dash of sweetness, do so with honey. This is perfect to sip though out the day and is even more perfect when you don’t want to pack on the caffeine in your system.  Makes use of the pantry items and no fancy shmancy herbs or spices !

Here we go :

Prep time : 15 min  Serves : 4

Ingredients:

  • Fresh ginger( skinned ) – 2 inches
  • Cinnamon stick : 1-1.5 inches
  • Fennel seeds or Saunf : 1 tsp
  • Cumin seeds or Jeera : 1 tsp
  • Coriander seeds or Dhania : 1 tsp
  • Water : 4 -5 cups

Procedure :

  • Warm the spices with the exception of ginger, on a skillet for a minute or so. You do not warm to toast them or brown them the idea is to bring the flavor and remove any excess moisture from storage if any. Alternatively warm the contents in a microwave for few seconds.
  • In sauce pan bring to a rolling boil the water.
  • Add in the crushed, grated or diced ginger  and all the spices.
  • Cover it with a lid and lower the heat to medium and let it boil for another 5 minutes or so.
  • Turn off the flame and let the spices and  ginger steep in this.
  • After a few minutes, strain and serve.
  • Stays good for the whole day!
Perfect Sip!
Perfect Sip!

 

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Cheese and Herbs stuffed Crescent Rolls- Quick fix from your pantry for the hungry child!

Cheese and Herbs stuffed Crescent Rolls – Quick fix from your pantry for the hungry child!

NC has been blessed with rain and more rain. SO much that the sun played it safe and decided to have a day off…Wanting to cheer up the kids bit for the after school munchies as much to indulge them just for today….10 min to prepare and 12 to bake, 5 to clean up and satisfaction – priceless! Ala .. Mastercard!

Beautiful sight - Rain drenched foliage in our backyard
Beautiful sight – Rain drenched foliage in our backyard

This is a quick and easy post and is an easy way out . No, I am not claiming it to be the scratch from the bake kind. I have done it in the past, but with our weather today, I think it is a safer bet to rely on the back up’s I normally have – Pillsbury Crescent Rolls to the rescue . And hence here we go an easy post for those one-off days where you remove those supermom cape …Atleast for me:-)

Cheese and Herbs stuffed Crescent Rolls – Quick fix from your pantry for the hungry child!

Prep time : 10 min   Bake time 12-15 min /350degF            Makes : 8         Serves : 2-3

Ingredients

Dough Covering:

Pillsbury Crescent rolls : 1 tube

Crescent rolls to the rescue
Crescent rolls to the rescue

Stuffing Mix:

Shredded Cheese mix of your choice : 1/2 -3/4 cup

Dried Italian herbs : 1.5 Tsp.

Dried Parsley Flakes : 1.5 Tsp.

Red chili flakes : 1/2 – 1 Tsp.

Cheese and dried herbs mix
Cheese and dried herbs mix

Seasoning:

Oil/softened butter/ Oil spray : 1 Tsp.

Dried Parsley flakes : 1 Tsp.

Preparation, Stuffing and Baking:

  • In a small bowl mix all that is listed in the stuffing mix gently.
  • Unwrap the dough from the tube and separate the perforated triangles properly.
  • Place a tsp or more of the stuffing in the center of the wide section of the triangle and roll it to form a crescent. Too much stuffing will ooze out from the sides , so use your best judgement.
  • Repeat this step until you have all 8 prepped out and lay in on a flat sheet for baking. Now since there were only 8, I used the small baking tray for the toaster oven.
  • Lay them out gently with enough space to expand during baking.
  • Brush them with the melted butter, oil or spray mist with your oil of choice.
  • Toss in some parsley flakes on the surface , so you have a rich texture and visual appeal to the baking.
  • Bake as per the instructions on the tube. I did mine for 350degF for about 12 minutes or so.
  • Note : the second batch I made, I added some dried garlic flakes to the seasoning and added some dried black pepper as well to the parsley flakes for top seasoning.
  • Note 2 : Have some sautéed vegetables ? Mix it with the cheese for a healthier option for stuffing?
  • Note 3 : Let your creative juices run as this is a veritable black canvas to unleash your wild side!

 

Lemon Cupcakes- Light, lemony and so delectable!

“I believe that if life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade… And try to find somebody whose life has given them vodka, and have a party”  Ron White

When life gives you lemons.. well I would head straight to the vodka on a Friday evening. But it not being a Friday , more like it’s already a Wednesday evening and I -was -not- in-a great- mood – to -experiment, was tempted to make this light and lemony cupcakes… Make no mistakes these are full on, yummy version. After all these were certified simply yummiest by my youngest tyke..( In all fairness he is like that for any of the cupcakes :-)…

Adapted from the Primrose bakery cupcakes book.

 Ingredients: At RT please 🙂

  • Unsalted butter : 1stick =8 Tbsp.
  • Sugar : 1 cup
  • All purpose flour : self rising – 1 cup
  • All purpose flour : 3/4 cup + 1 Tbsp.
  • Eggs : 2
  • 2% Milk : 1/3 cup
  • Fresh squeezed lemon juice : 2 Tbsp.
  • Lemon Extract : 1 Tbsp.
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon : 1 tsp
  • Sour cream : 1 Tbsp.

Method :

  • Sift the two flours and keep aside in a separate bowl.
  • In a large mixing bowl cream butter and sugar and whip it well till its creamy, pale and real smooth. Should take about 5-7 minutes max.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time and whip it in.
  • Add in the lemon juice, extract, milk and sour cream and whip it in for a min or two.
  • Add in the sifted flour and beat well.
  • You will notice a nice, smooth, shiny, cupcake batter.
  • Spoon it into a 12 cupcake prepared pan ( prepare with liners ) about near full or as in my case prepare 15 cupcake liner pans (12+ 3 in another pan).
  • Fill it a tad less than 3/4 full to make smaller bite cupcakes.
  • Bake it at 350 for about 22-25 min. Do the toothpick test to make sure.
  • Remove from the oven and cool it before frosting.
  • I did not do the frosting in this case as I wanted a lighter version. But hey, you can go all out and frost with lemon butter cream.

Tip : bake this in a mini muffin pan to make it truly bite sized !

 

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