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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Millets the natural food from the arid areas of southern India found their way into my cuisine over a period of time. This particular one has been used and tried and tested many times. If you are looking for a great way to substitute the rice out of your routine , little millets or Samai or Vrat ka chawal is a great alternative. With a lower GI than rice, this is a welcome indulgence on breakfast mornings..
Soft fluffy Idlis served with piping hot mixed vegetable sambar ( recipe will be updated for this later ) , coconut mint chutney and Idli chili powder ( also known as Molagai podi or chutney powder). True weekend indulgence without alarming calories .
Samai arisi / little millet / Kutki : 2 Cups
Urad dal / whole or split without skin : 1/2 cup
Red poha : 1/4 cup
Methi seeds : 1 tsp
Toor dal : 1 tsp.
Salt : 1.5 tsp + as required
Water as required to grind
Soaking the millets and pre prep : Soak for 6 hrs – overnight:
Wash the millets very well and soak in copius amount of water. Enough for it to be absorbed.
Wash the urad dal as well and soak along with fenugreek or methi seeds and toor dal.
Soak the Poha about 20 minutes before you grind the batter. Infact you can soak it just as you start grinding the urad dal.
Grinding the batter & fermentation: 1 hr + fermentation time
Grind the urad dal and methi seeds and toordal in your mixer grinder or wet grinder until pale and fluffy. Add water in small quantities while you grind.
Scoop out the fluffy dal mix in a wide and deep mixing bowl.
Next add the soaked poha and samai millet and grind to a fine grain mix. There is no need to to grind it to a super fine paste. A little grainy structure would yield a preferable texture for the Idlis. So add water as and when required while grinding.
Mix this along with the urad dal batter and add salt . Ensure salt is homogeneously mixed.
The consistency of batter is neither too thick or watery.
Cover and keep in a warm place .
Fermented batter will swell in volume so make sure your mixing bowl can handle the volume.
Hot humid weather will speed up the fermentation process. So it might take anywhere from 7 hrs to overnight for your batter to reach the desired stage of fermentation.
Steaming the Idlis:
Grease Idli moulds and keep aside.
Using the steamer/ cooker of your choice add the water and heat it well.
Stir the batter well scoop ladlefuls on to the prepped idli moulds.
Steam for about 7-10 minutes.
Turn of the flame, rest it for a minute or two. You should be able to demould it now.
Serve hot accompanied with chutney, sambar and chutney/ Molagai podi.
This batter makes awesome dosas well. I tried it out and it was really good.
Makes about 32-40 Idlis depending on the size of the idli mould.
Fermentation of the batter is essential to maximize the nutritional value of the millet.
Totally easy peasy vegan smoothie bar into a popsicle.. No added sugar of any kind but so smooth without any ice crystals either .. Magic ?? Nah…
Scorcher of a day : check You need a popsicle : check Don’t want extra sugar in it : check
Don’t want to spend extra time on it : check
Smoothie in a popsicle:: How did you do that??
Would you like a techie geek’s popsicle or the simple plain kind?
Aaaah…. the glorious days of summer vacation has begun! Kids love it naturally. Where else can you just chill out in hot blazing sun. And also because they know they would be loaded with treats and so many of them. While we do occasionally enjoy and indulge in fancier preps, a fresh juicy fruit in a smoothie or popsicle is always welcome as this kind is the super healthy and super quick to make .Just 4 ingredients. No added sugar and just perfect for a hot summer day.
I had spied a neat set of Robot popsicle mold or casing in Home goods.. And had to have it. My youngest one is currently on that phase and would totally enjoys decimating robots. Go figure !
So while we chug along in the prep for Father’s day this weekend.. We made this quick and easy one, loaded with the fresh fruits of summer and gorgeous !
Without much ado here is the recipe. I sure hope you enjoy it as well..
Prep time : 5-8 minutes chopping + 15 minutes initial freezing + 5 minutes of blending time
Freezing time : 6 hrs. – overnight
No. of Popsicles : 6-12 depending on the size
Banana : 1 ( sliced)
Strawberries : 8-10 ( sliced)
Orange : 1 ( quartered)
Orange juice / Water : 1/4 cup
If using orange juice, please do consider the no added sugar kind
Honey : 1 Tbsp. ( optional)
Prep the fruits and freeze them for about 15 minutes. This will aid in smooth blending.
Blending, popsicle molds and freezing:
Add the prepped fruits and a 1/4 cup of water or sugar-free orange juice to help in the blending process.
Blend super smooth. In my Nutri Bullet it took about a couple of minutes or so.
Taste the mix before freezing please . If you end up with super tart strawberries or oranges, a Tbsp. of honey or so will definitely help to balance it out.
Pour out into the casings or molds of choice and freeze .
To unmold, run it under hot water and you should get it put fairly easy.
Day 4 dawns with a sunny and bright disposition.. Hitting 90’s weather and it is still officially spring in NC. Unofficially though it’s like we rolled out of winter with bare cursory knock into spring and right into summer! It’s time for chilled salads, popsicles and fruit treats!
A trip to the grocery yielded much of the bounty but I was so tempted to bring in these sweet white corn. Oh, they looked just perfect !
And todays lunch called for cold, crunchy nutritious salad.