December 23, 2012

Oats Upma

Oats upma is an interesting twist to the regular rava upma / rava kichadi, where sooji is replaced with heart-healthy oats. 

As far as I know, there are 2 categories of people - upma lovers & upma haters. Oats upma is worth a try for both the categories for its nutritional value (from oats & veggies) and flavor profile (from whole masala spices). Who knows?! There are chances that upma haters might start to develop a liking for upma, just as my hubby did! VJ blew me away with surprise when he specifically asked for this upma for breakfast today! Right away I knew that this recipe deserves a post in my blog! So, here's to a hearty & healthy breakfast!

Basic Info
Complexity - Simple
Prep time - 20 mins
Cook time - 20 mins
Serves - 4

Oats - 3 cups
Onion - 1 no (medium sized, thinly sliced)
Tomato - 1 no (medium sized, cubed)
Carrot - 1 no (medium sized, cubed)
Red bell pepper - 1/2 no (medium sized, cubed)
Beans - 8 nos (chopped into pieces)
Fresh/Frozen peas - handful
Green Chilies - 2 nos (slit)
Ginger - 1 inch (grated)
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Red chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
Hing - 1/4 tsp
Salt - to taste
Water - 3 cups
Ghee - 1 tsp
Oil - 2 tbsp
Coriander leaves - 1 tbsp (finely chopped)
Mint leaves - 1 tbsp (finely chopped)
Curry leaves - 1 sprig

Cloves - 2 nos
Cinnamon Stick - 1 inch
Star Anise - 1 no
Cardamom - 1 pod
Bay Leaf - 1 no
Cashew nuts - 6-8 nos

Dry roast oats for 5-7 minutes and let it cool. Take care to not over-roast oats. Set aside.

Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pan. Add whole spices (under tempering), cashew nuts, curry leaves and saute for a minute on low to medium flame.

Add onion, ginger, green chilies and saute until onion turns translucent. Add tomatoes, carrots, beans, bell pepper & peas and let the veggies cook in medium flame. Add turmeric powder, red chilli powder,  hing, salt and let the veggies cook until soft.

Add 3 cups of water and bring it to a boil. Reduce flame and add dry roasted oats. Mix well and cook until water is all absorbed and oats is completely cooked. Add mint & coriander leaves and mix well.

Serve warm with curd / pickle of your choice.

Feel free to experiment it with veggies of your choice!

December 22, 2012

Carrot Chow-Chow Kootu

From the time I remember, my mom has been making this yummy kootu and I should say Carrots & Chow-Chow (Chayote) along with little peas makes an awesome trio. This kootu serves as a perfect side for spicy sambar / vathal kuzhambu. Personally, I love the touch of natural sweetness that the kootu gets from carrots & peas. Try it and you would agree that this is definitely one of the best ways for your toddlers to get some veggies (don't forget to cut down on the green chillies though)!

Basic Info
Complexity - Simple
Prep time - 15-20 mins
Cook time - 20 mins
Serves - 2-3

Carrots - 3 nos (Medium size)
Chayote - 1 no (Medium size)
Fresh/Frozen peas - 1/2 cup
Salt to taste
Coconut oil -1 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Split urid dal - 1/2 tsp 
Curry leaves - Few

For the paste
Raw rice - 1 tsp
Channa dal - 1 tsp
Jeera (cumin) - 2 tsp
Grated coconut - 4-5 tbsp
Green chillies - 2-3 nos

Peel the outer layer of carrots & chayote. Discard the outer layer and chop the veggies into small bite size cubes. Set them aside. 

Soak raw rice & channa dal in little water for about 20-30 minutes. After 30 mins, drain the water and grind rice & channa dal along with green chillies, jeera & grated coconut into a smooth paste (sprinkle water as required) and set it aside.

Bring about 1-2 cups of water (just enough for the veggies to sink) to a boil and add all the veggies & salt to it. Let the veggies boil for about 10 mins until they are cooked yet firm. Now, add the ground paste to the veggies, mix well and bring it to slight boil and remove from heat.

Heat a tsp of coconut oil, splutter mustard seeds, fry split urid dal until brown, saute curry leaves and add it to the kootu.

Kootu is ready to be served!

  • You have to use right amount of water to get the right consistency of kootu. Remember that veggies always tend to shrink a bit after they are cooked. If you think you have added more water than required, just strain some of the excess water right after the veggies are cooked and just before adding the ground paste.
  • Do not overcook the vegetables. Chayote tends to get mushy if over-cooked.

December 21, 2012

Shahi Paneer

Have you ever wondered who 'd named all the food that we eat and reasoning behind those names?! Whoever they are, kudos to them for coming up with the name "Shahi-Paneer" for this royal & festive dish. Paneer pieces cooked in a thick, rich, creamy cashew & heavy-cream based gravy is R-O-Y-A-L in every sense (Shahi in Hindi means royal)! I am sure that no other name can fit this dish any better!

Couple of weeks ago, I made a lesser fat version of shahi paneer (only because I didn 't have heavy cream in stock). I decided to replace heavy cream with whole milk (went with my instincts). Interestingly, the taste was remarkably in par with the heavy-cream version.

Include this recipe in your next party menu and give your family/friends the royal treatment they deserve!

Basic Info
Complexity - Simple
Prep time - 20 mins
Cook time - 20 mins
Serves - 3-4

Paneer - 2 cups (cut into thin triangles)
Onion - 2 nos (medium sized, chopped)
Tomatoes - 2 nos (medium sized, chopped)
Fresh ginger - 1 inch
Garlic - 8 cloves
Cilantro - a handful (chopped)
Garam masala - 2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Red chilli powder - 1 tsp
Cashews - a handful (10-15 nos)
Salt - 1 tsp (or) to taste
Whole milk - 1/4 cup (substitute with heavy cream for rich & creamy gravy)
Oil - 1/4 cup

Heat oil in a deep pan and cook onion until slightly browned for about 2 mins. Set it aside. In the same pan, saute tomatoes until softened for about 2 mins. Set it aside. 

After onions and tomatoes are cooled, blend them in a mixer with ginger, garlic, garam masala, turmeric powder, red chilli powder and cashews. Add little water to help it blend into a smooth paste.

Transfer the ground mixture into the same pan and bring it to a small boil. Add milk and cook for 5 mins. Now, add paneer, salt and cover & cook for about 5 mins.

Finally, garnish with chopped cilantro and enjoy this rich (yet, low-fat version) of shahi-paneer with any kind of Indian bread.

December 17, 2012

Carrot & Peas Pasta

You wake-up on a fine day morning looking for the best the day has to offer. Make your kids his/her breakfast and get them ready for school. While dropping them off at school, you kiss their forehead and give them a good-bye hug, saying "I Love You", assuring them that you 'll be back, right there to pick them up. Then, get back to home/work thinking everything is perfectly fine until you get a call saying "Your child will not be home.. he/she was shot and killed". 

Did you think that that will be the last hug that you 'll ever give them? Did you even think that that will be the last kiss that you 'll ever give them? The one thing that you loved to death is gone and is never coming back. Can you even believe this? There are parents & families who are going through this right now. Let us join & pray for them. Let God give all the courage and strength for them to get past this horrific incident.

And, to all 20 beautiful, innocent kids and 6 adults who suffered & died in the Connecticut School shooting incident - 'Rest in Peace'. (As a mother of two kids, I am shaking & teary-eyed as I am writing this).

Carrot & Peas Pasta is a kid-friendly recipe that I remembered from one of Giada's shows on Food channel. Try it and I am sure your kid will love this recipe as much as my kid did!

Basic Info
Complexity - Simple
Prep time - 10-15 mins
Cook time - 20 - 30 mins
Serves - 2

Uncooked Pasta - 2 cups (Any smaller variety of pasta - I used Farfalle tricolor)
Carrot - 1 cup (peeled and diced into 1/2 inch pieces)
Peas - 1/2 cup (thawed if frozen)
Onion - 1 no (Small, finely chopped)
Vegetable broth - 1 cup
Mascarpone cheese - 2-3 tsp
Cream cheese - 2-3 tsp
Red chilli flakes - 1/4 - 1/2 tsp (optional)
Cumin powder - 1/4 tsp (optional)
Salt - to taste
Olive oil - 2-3 tbsp
Fresh basil leaves - 2-3 tbsp (chiffonades)

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain, reserving about 1 cup of the pasta water.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally until . Add the carrots and stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Add the peas to the pan and cook for 2 minutes until the peas are warmed through and the carrots are tender. Stir in the cooked pasta. Remove the pan from the heat and add the cheeses. Stir until the mixture is incorporated and forms a sauce. Season with salt, to taste. Transfer to a large serving bowl and garnish with basil chiffonades.

Note: Adding fresh basil definitely elevates the taste of the dish.

Kala Channa Pulao

Here I am, with another variation of rice - Kala Channa Pulao - a simple, healthy, tasty & wholesome one-pot meal. Actually, when I soaked kala channa the previous night, I had different ideas. But hey, who knows?! Thanks to the last minute menu changes - kala channa pulao is an absolute keeper and this tasty pulao is my recent 'claim to fame' in my friend's circle!

Basic Info
Complexity - Medium
Prep time - 12 - 15 hrs (including soaking time)
Cook time - 30 - 45 mins
Serves - 3 - 4

Kala Channa - 1.5 cups (uncooked)
Rice - 1 cup (I used sona masoori, Basmati rice can also be used)
Onion - 1 no (Medium sized)
Tomatoes - 3 nos (Ripe, Medium sized)
Green chilli - 1 no
Ginger - 1 inch (grated)
Garlic - 2 pods (minced)
Cilantro - 1/4 cup packed
Mint leaves - 1/4 cup packed
Bay leaf - 1 no
Cloves - 3 nos
Cardamom - 1 pod (crushed)
Cinnamon stick - 1 inch
Kasuri Methi - 1 tbsp (optional)
Coriander powder - 3/4 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Red chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
Tandoori masala / Garam masala - 3/4 tsp
Oil - 1/5 cup
Salt - to taste
Juice from 1/2 lime (medium sized)

Soak kala channa overnight and pressure cook soaked channa for upto 5 whistles. Keep it aside.

Cook rice with 1.5 cups of water in a pressure cooker. Let it cool, fluff it up with a fork without breaking the grains and keep it aside.

Grind tomatoes, cilantro, mint into a fine paste in a mixer (add water little by little as required) and keep it aside.

Heat oil in a cooking pan. When hot, add onions, green chilli and saute until onion turns translucent. Add ginger, garlic and stir for a min. Add pureed tomato/cilantro/mint mixture and let it come to a boil. Now, add coriander powder, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, tandoori masala, salt and let it cook for about 5 mins (or) until the raw smell of the powders are gone. Add pressure cooked black channa, kasoori methi and cook until oil separates from the mixture.

Finally, add cooked rice and gently mix with the channa masala. Adjust salt if required. Let it get heated in low-medium for about 5 mins. Don 't over-mix and break the rice / mash up.

Remove from heat, add lemon juice and give it a gentle mix. A complete & nutritious meal is ready to be served and enjoyed!

  • In place of fresh ginger/garlic, you can also use about 1 tsp of ginger/garlic paste  
  • For 1 cup of raw rice,  I used 2 cups of cooked channa masala.

December 6, 2012

Paneer Matar Masala (Gravy with yogurt)

For this Thanksgiving, I got a good deal on a branded food processor that I have been eyeing on for quite sometime. More so, my only solace after VJ 's travel away from home ;) 

I always fancy how chefs (in food channel) use food processor for almost everything. Quite frankly that's what inspired me to get one for myself too! With this beautiful food processor sitting in front of me, all Giada's, Ina's, Paula's and Rachael's inside me were cheering to conquer & rule the food processor. With lots of expectations, I decided to use my food processor for kneading chapathi dough and shredding few veggies for the side. I felt like a queen in my kitchen watching the food processor do the job for me ... until ..  err... errrr ... I had to actually clean the food processor! Cleaning was quite a job - thanks to the sticky chapathi dough!! How I wish food channel had also shown "the tougher part" of using a food processor .. sighhhh!

Nevertheless - chapathi turned out to be really very soft and paneer matar masala was a home-run! AndI am still a happy & proud owner of my food processor! 

Basic Info
Complexity - Medium
Prep time - 30 mins
Cook time - 30 mins
Serves - 3

Peas - 1 cup (Fresh/Frozen)
Paneer - 1/2 cup (Cut into small bite size cubes)
Onion - 1 no (shredded, used my food processor for this job)
Tomatoes - 2 nos (medium, pureed, used my food processor for this job)
Ginger - 1 inch (grated)
Garlic - 2 pods (minced)
Bay leaf - 1 no
Cinnamon stick - 1 inch
Cloves - 2 nos
Cardamom - 1 pod
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Red chilli powder - 1 tsp
Tandoori masala / Garam masala - 1 tsp
Kasoori Methi - 1-2 tsp (optional)
Cilantro - 1 handful
Yogurt - 1/4 cup
Salt - to taste
Oil - 1/4 cup

Microwave peas for upto 2 mins and keep it aside. Skip this step if you are using frozen peas. I used fresh peas and do I have to even say - 'fresh is better' ?!?! I felt fresh peas had a bite to it even after cooking, where as frozen peas had no body. 

Shallow fry paneer cubes in little oil until brown on both the sides and set aside. Paneer might splutter when frying in oil - so, take extra care.

Heat oil in a deep pan. To oil, add bay leaf, cinnamon stick, cloves, cardamom seeds and stir for about a minute or till fragrant. To this, add shredded onion and cook on low heat until onion turns brown, for about 8 - 10 mins.

To this, add turmeric powder, coriander powder, red chilli powder, tandoori/garam masala and stir for about a minute. Now, add pureed tomatoes and let it cook until the raw smell of the tomato/masala are gone. Add kasoori methi and stir for a min. Remove pan from heat, add yogurt and mix well. Moving the pan away from heat will prevent yogurt from curdling.

Return pan to the stove. Add peas and let it simmer for about 10 mins. Then, add fried paneer cubes and remove from heat. Finally, garnish it with finely chopped cilantro and enjoy with roti/rice.

December 5, 2012

Beetroot Pulao

Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving with great food, good company & gaining deals!

For me, Thanksgiving '12 was not really thankful but handsful! If you think I grabbed quite 'some' deals on black friday, you are wrong! VJ had to travel away from home for few weeks and that got me handful with two 'ever-active' kids! Believe it or not, it took me two full days to sink into reality that VJ will not be around to help with the kids!

On the brighter side, this is the only time when I get to try variety of recipes, anything & everything that is NOT elaborate (or) south-Indian ;) And, the very first day after VJ left, I tried this one-pot meal that I have been wanting to try for long! Here it is - a healthy, complete & colorful meal that can be easily put up in no time.

My 'fantasy-obsessed' daughter thought it was very fancy to eat a "purple" pulao and she absolutely loved it! The recipe is very mild when it comes to heat, but you can always bump up green chillies/red chilli powder if you are a heat lover!

Basic Info
Complexity - Medium
Prep time - 25 mins
Cook time - 40 mins
Serves - 4


Grated Beetroot - 1.5 cups, packed (from 2 medium-sized beets)
Raw basmati rice -  1.5 cups

Onion - 1 no (Medium sized, finely chopped)
Green chilli - 1 no (slit vertically)
Ginger - 1 inch (grated)
Garlic - 2 cloves (minced)
Shelled Edamame / Peas - 1/4 cup

Coconut milk - 1 cup

Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Sambar powder - 1 tsp, replace it with red chilli powder
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Cumin powder - 1 tsp
Salt - to taste

Mint leaves - 2 tbsp, finely chopped
Cilantro - 2 tbsp, finely chopped

Ghee - 1 tbsp
Oil - 2 tbsp

Wash rice and soak in 2 cups of water.

In a thick bottomed saucepan, heat 2 tbsp of oil. When hot, fry bay leaf, cinnamon, cardamom pods, cloves until fragrant. To this, add onion, green chilli, grated ginger/garlic and saute until onion turns soft and translucent. Add grated beetroot, turmeric powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, sambar powder and saute until the raw smell of beets are gone.

Drain rice from water, add to the pan and saute for a min or two until rice turns crisp. Take care not to burn the rice.

Lastly, add shelled edamame, coconut milk, 2.25 cups of water, chopped mint & cilantro, ghee, required amount of salt and give it a good mix. When the water starts to boil and as the rice starts to expand, close the saucepan with a lid and let it simmer on low heat. After 10-15 mins, switch off the stove. Leave the saucepan undisturbed for another 20 mins. Do not open the lid in-between.

Fluff up the rice with a fork and garnish with roasted cashews. Hot & tasty pulao is ready to be served! Cool cucumber raitha with chips makes a perfect side for the pulao!

November 16, 2012

Multi-grain Adai

Packed with lot of flavors & loads of protein, multi-grain adai is my take on Navadhanya adai. Navadhanya adai is a healthy variety of dosa made from nine lentils/grains including rice. Though traditional navadhanya adai could possibly use different set of grains, I gave it a shot with the grains available in my pantry. Nevertheless, adai came out perfectly delicious and tasted heaven with aviyal on the side.

Basic Info
Complexity - Simple
Prep time - 3-4 hrs
Cook time - 30 mins - 1 hr
Serves - 25 - 30 nos (approximately)

You can store the unused batter in refrigerator for upto 2 days.

Toor dal - 1/4 cup
Channa dal - 1/4 cup
Moong dal - 1/4 cup
Masoor dal - 1/4 cup
Black Channa - 1/4 cup
Rajma (Kidney beans) - 1/4 cup
Red Choli (karamani) - 1/4 cup
Whole green moong - 1/4 cup
Rice - 1/2 cup
Curry leaves - 2 sprigs
Salt - to taste
Red chillies - 5-6 nos
Green chillies - 2-3 nos
Hing - 1 tsp

Soak all the dals together in water for about 2-3 hrs. Soak rice separately in water for the same amount of time.

Grind all of the soaked dals, rice and other ingredients together into a coarse and slightly thicker batter.

Heat a flat griddle on medium-high. When hot, spoon a couple of ladles of the batter on to the griddle and spread it in a circular motion. Add 1/2 tsp of sesame oil around the adai.

Once cooked, flip it to the other side and drizzle 1/2 tsp of oil around the adai. After both the sides are cooked, remove from heat and serve it hot with favorite side of yours!

November 13, 2012

Chipotle-style Burrito

Here is the recipe to make your own Chipotle-style veggie burrito at home! Do I need to say more? I think the name Chipotle speaks volume for itself!!

Moving on to the recipe...

Basic Info
Complexity - Lengthy but Simple
Prep time - 30 - 45 mins
Cook/Assemble time - 20 - 30 mins
Serves - 3

Red Onion - 1/2 no (medium sized, very finely chopped)
Ripe roma tomatoes - 3 nos (chopped into small pieces)
Black beans - 1 cup
Red Onion - 1/2 no (medium sized, sliced into thin vertical pieces)
Green Bell pepper - 1/2 no (medium sized, sliced into thin vertical pieces)
Jalapeno pepper - 1/2 no (small sized, finely minced)
Cilantro - 1 bunch (medium sized, finely chopped)
Avocados - 2 nos (medium sized, pitted & scooped)
Corn on the cob - 1 no
Cooked rice - 1.5 - 2 cups (cooked & fluffed up into separate grains, I used sona-masoori)
Lemon juice - from 3 ripe limes
Salt - to taste
Cumin powder - 1/4 tsp
Paprika - 1/4 tsp
Olive oil - 2-3 tsp
Cheese - Jack & mild cheddar cheese blend.
Sour cream

Believe me, the taste was very close to the burrito you get in Chipotle, except for the beans that I mushed up a little. Try it and you are sure in for a surprise!

Cilantro-Lime rice
Mix rice with required amount of salt, lime juice from 1 lime, a tsp of jalapeno, a little more than a handful of chopped cilantro. Do not break the rice grains while mixing. Keep it aside.

Fajita vegetables
Saute sliced red onion & green bell peppers with salt in a touch of olive oil until bright and slightly crisp.

Drain and rinse the can of beans. Add beans, salt, cumin powder, and little water to a sauce pan. Simmer & slow cook for about 15 mins until beans are tender but slightly al-dente (Actuallymine got a li 'l mushy, you could also use raw black-beans). Stir occasionally.

Tomato salsa - mild
Mix tomatoes with 1-2 tbsp of red onions, 1 tsp of jalapeño peppers, 1-2 tbsp of cilantro, 1 tsp of lime juice, salt for a mildly tangy and refreshing taste. Set it aside atleast for 1/2 hour for tomatoes to get soft & release all its juices.

Roasted Chili-Corn Salsa
Roast jalapeno peppers (poblano chillies are recommended) on stove-top/grill and let them cool. Remove corn off the cob and boil them in water until soft & cooked. Dice roasted jalapenos into small pieces. Mix corn, roasted & diced jalapenos/poblanos, salt, cilantro.

In a large bowl, mash avocado pulp with a ladle/fingers. To this, add a tbsp of cilantro, 1-2 tbsp of red onions, 1 tsp of jalapeno peppers, lime juice from 1 lime, salt and mix well until silky & delicious. Store it in refrigerator until use.

I got 2 very small blocks of jack & mild cheddar cheese and grated them using a grater. Alternatively, you can buy the grated cheese blend too.

Now, get a bowl and layer the bottom with cilantro-lime rice. Add a second layer on top with fajita veggies/beans/salsa(tomatoes & chili-corn). Top it with guacamole, sour cream, and sprinkle some cheese. Voila, burrito bowl is ready!

Warm up a tortilla in a pan and layer the burrito with all of your favorite toppings! Roll it up and enjoy! Easy as a snap!

Though making a burrito seem to be long and involves lot of components, it is actually very simple & fairly quick to make. Here are some tips to make it even more easier:
  • Juice the limes, chop tomatoes, jalapenos, cilantro and keep them ready.
  • The salsas and guacamole can be made several hours before and stored in the fridge.
Once you are ready with all the components, let your family layer their own bowls and what else, just dig in!

November 9, 2012

Pepper Aval Upma

Are you in a fix to put up a hearty & healthy breakfast in a very less time?! Well, you are at the right post! 

Pepper Aval Upma is one of the easiest breakfast that you can cook in no time. The flavor & aroma from cumin & pepper is truly droolworthy. I love the touch of heat from pepper especially during cold mornings.

Basic Info
Complexity - Easy
Prep time - 15 - 20 mins
Cook time - 15 - 20 mins
Serves - 2

Aval (or) Poha - 2 cups
Cumin seeds - 1.5 tsp
Pepper corns - 1.5 tsp
Salt to taste
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
Red chillies - 1 no
Urad dal & Channa dal - 1/2 tsp each
Curry leaves - few
Ghee - 1-2 tsp
Oil - 1-2 tsp

In about 3 cups of water, soak aval/poha for about 15-20 mins.

Coarsely powder cumin & pepper together in a mixer.

Heat oil in a large skillet, and splutter mustard seeds. Next, fry urad dal & channal dal until red & crispy. Add red chillies & curry leaves and saute for a min. Add cumin+pepper powder and give it a stir for less than a min. Add completely drained poha/aval, salt and give it a good mix for cumin/pepper powder to evenly coat each & every poha. Finally, add a touch of ghee and remove from heat. Serve hot.

If you do not soak poha for enough, it will turn rubbery/chewy when cold.

Channa Masala

Spicy Channa Masala is the second best-known Indian-fame to a foreigner, next to Taj Mahal! Every restaurant has a signature channa masala recipe of their own, and so does every house-hold! In short, channa masala is a popular spicy-tangy-aromatic masala curry cooked in a tomato based gravy that can be easily paired up with roti/rice. Of all, my personal favorite is Channa Batura, an unbeatable pair.

Last week, I made this as a side for my Tofu stuffed parathas!

Basic Info
Complexity - Easy
Prep time - 8 - 12 hrs (including the soaking time)
Cook time - 30 mins
Serves - 3-4

Garbanzo beans / Chickpeas - 1 cup
Onion - 1 no (Large sized, finely chopped)
Tomatoes - 4 nos (Medium sized, finely chopped)
Green chillies - 2 nos (vertically slit)
Ginger - 1 inch (grated)
Garlic - 2 pods (minced)
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Corainder powder - 1/2 tsp
Red chilli powder - 1 tsp
Channa masala - 1 tsp (used MTR brand)
Salt - to taste
Vegetable oil - 2 tbsp
Lime juice from 1/2 lime.
Cilantro - a handful, chopped

Soak garbanzo beans in cold water overnight or for atleast 6-8 hrs. 

Drain and pressure cook the beans (with little salt) for upto 2 whistles (or) until cooked but not mashed.

Heat oil in a large skillet. When hot, add cumin seeds and let it sizzle. Then, add onion, green chillies, garlic, ginger and sauté for about 5 mins over medium heat until onion turns translucent. Turn heat down to medium-low and add coriander powder, turmeric powder, red chilli powder and channa masala powder to it. Saute for a minute or two, and then add chopped tomatoes and simmer for upto 10 mins until onion & tomatoes are completely cooked with spices and oil starts to ooze out on the sides. Now, add chickpeas & water (as required). Adjust salt and let it simmer on low heat for 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat & add cilantro, lemon juice.

Serve hot with roti/rice.

I used two 15 oz cans of garbanzo beans and black beans each, as I forgot to soak garbanzo beans the previous night. So, you could also use canned garbanzo beans instead of raw ones. Use two 15 oz cans for a cup of raw garbanzo. Having said that, fresh is always the best without a doubt. So, I strongly encourage the use of raw beans unless & until you are really in a hurry and you don't have time. 

November 8, 2012

Eggless Pancakes

Have you ever had a chance to watch Alton Brown's "Good Eats" on food network?! I am a great of his shows and love him not only for his quirkiness & sense of humor, but also for his ability to teach & inspire. "Good Eats" is not the usual "look-into-the-camera-talk-and-cook" stereotyped shows. It takes you on an amusing, witty & entertaining journey of history, culture, and science associated with the ingredients, latest cooking gadgets & equipments, do's & dont's and a lot of other great insights about the food in a very easy, interesting & understandable manner.

Couple of days ago, I watched his episode on how to make the "most softest, fluffiest, yummiest pancakes". Topped with some fruits & nuts, it is definitely THE best way to start your day! This particular episode had the potential to drive anybody, almost instantly, into the kitchen to make some pancakes. Oh btw, ignore me! it took a couple of days for this-lazy-bum to actually try this amazing recipe! 

So.... what are you waiting for?!!!!

For those who do not mind eggs, add 1 egg in place of a tbsp of flaxseed powder. Although Mr. Brown clearly hates replacements, flaxseed powder is my take on eggless version. Nevertheless, it tasted soooo goody good!!!!

Basic Info
Complexity - Easy
Prep time - 15 - 20 mins
Cook time - 20 - 30 mins
Serves - 6-8 pancakes

All purpose flour - 1 cup
Baking soda - 1/4 tsp
Baking powder - 1/2 tsp
Salt - 1/2 tsp
Sugar - 1 tsp
Cinnamon powder - 1/2 tsp (optional)

Melted butter - 2 tbsp
Buttermilk - 1 cup (+ 2 tbsp, only if required)
Ground flaxseed powder - 1 tbsp

Ripe Banana - 1 no (thinly sliced)
Almonds & Walnuts - about 2-3 tbsp (finely chopped)
Pure Maple syrup - as needed

Add 3 tbsp of water to 1 tbsp of flaxseed powder. Mix well and set aside for 10 mins.

Mix all the dry ingredients together and set aside.

Take a flat wide bottomed pan and heat it upto 350 deg F. To check if the pan is hot enough, just sprinkle few drops of water and you should see the water droplets skitter, move and bunch up into small ball upon contact with the pan. This is the right time to start making your pancake mix.

First, mix all the wet ingredients together. Make a small well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour over the wet ingredients. Using a whisk, mix the dry & wet ingredients together. Do not overmix. To be really precise, use the whisk to gently fold in the mixture for just 10 times (Yeah, keep a count). It is perfectly fine if the mixture is of thicker consistency and has lumps here and there.

Take a ladleful (about 1/4 cup) of the pancake mixture and pour it gently over the hot pan. Do not attempt to spread the mixture with your ladle. Just leave the batter alone and see how beautifully the pancake rises. 

When it starts to bubble up, flip it to the other side. Once both the sides are browned, remove from heat.

Serve it hot with your favorite fruits, nuts & maple syrup.