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Chai Tea with Fresh Ginger

A great start to the new year or a new day lies in having your tea/coffee made in the right manner. This ginger based Chai (Tea) has made our house famous and a go to destination for a “tea break” by friends on their way towards a long journey. Often guests coming from far feel quickly energized after being  presented with this ginger spiced tea. Usage of ginger on a regular basis has been proven to be helpful for digestion as well as keeping you warm in colder climates. 

Sharing this reminds me of  certain friends, who give us the responsibility of making the Chai tea in their house, as they just find that more appetizing!  This Chai tea is what I got addicted to after getting married and is one thing I find it most difficult to live without, when I have to avoid root vegetables on certain days. At such times I alternate it with freshly grounded cardamom. I have observed over the years that the tea flavor changes even if the proportion remains the same, when I do not use the same brand of milk or tea leaves. So, keeping the ingredients consistent will result in recreating the same flavor at all times.

Taking time to enjoy each sip of tea slows you down and  provides a calm start to an otherwise hectic day. This is how I prefer to enjoy tea! So for all the friends, neighbors, and readers, I hope this tea is something that brings conversation, liveliness, and friendship into your home. Here is our way of making fresh ginger tea!

 

Recipe :  2 cups ( 3/4 filled)

Cooking time : 10 min

Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cup 1 percent milk 
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 2  tsp Brooke Bond Red label Tea Leaves
  • 2 1/2 tbsp sugar 
  •  If using American ginger – 1 1/2  cubic inch ginger finely crushed. If using Organic Ginger or Indian Ginger 3/4  cubic inch ginger finely crushed. Try not to use a grater for ginger as it will not release the same flavor.  Best way is to  mash it in a small mortar pestle.
Method:
  • In a deep a saucepan heat milk ,water, sugar together on a medium flame.
  • Wait for the milk/water/sugar to boil.
  • Add the crushed ginger.
  • Add tea leaves
  • Boil on a medium flame for about 9-10 minutes till the color of the tea is equivalent to a a caramel color.
  • Remove from flame, and using a tea strainer, strain the tea and serve hot.

 

Tips

When buying ginger, look for a ginger that is not wet, as wet ginger spoils the taste. 

If you like a more stronger tea, add 1/2 tsp more of tea leaves.

If you put the ginger before the milk/water boils,  there are chances that milk will curdle.

Jain Variation : Combination of cardamom and saunth powder (dried ginger powder) creates another interesting flavour of tea. I prefer using,  1 tsp of freshly grounded cardamom and 1/4 tsp saunth powder, in place of freshly ground ginger.

Instinct factor

Color of  tea – to your liking.

Feel factor

Ready to face the demands of the day, as you have had a great kickstart to the day from ginger spice!! 

 

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Vegetarian Dolma

When I was first introduced to this dish, I was 7-8  years old, and I remember getting attracted to the green, white, and red colors on  a highly non-Indian looking entree in front of me. My mother had made Dolma, (a Greek dish modified for a vegetarian. Traditionally, Dolmas are served in grape leaves and the filling could be meat or rice.)  Some of the Greek Restaurants serve  grape leaves with rice and they have a tangy sour taste to it, which I was not able to relish, after being introduced to this vegetarian version. This version consists of green cabbage, which had the closest resemblance to the leaves, and lettuce was not heard of in India at that point of time.  The white sauce on the top flavored with butter, cheese and milk provides a smooth texture atop the soft  leaves and rice. When properly cooked, it fills your home with steamed aroma of cabbage and buttery flavor of the sauce that makes you feel hungry, earlier than usual!!

This recipe is a celebratory recipe, as it was awarded the first prize in a cooking contest, won by my mother, and judged by the famous late Mrs. Tarla Dalal. I  shall certainly miss Mrs. Dalal’s cooking creativity and guidance to youngsters and deeply regret her passing away this year.

I share this recipe with great delight and as a perfect ending to 2013 with a salute to the two cooking role models for me: my mother and Mrs. Tarla Dalal.

Here’s wishing you all, a delicious, nutritious, healthy, and colorful 2014!

 Recipe: 18 pieces of Dolma

Cooking time :  40 min Preparation : 20 min

Ingredients by Volume

For Dolma

  • 1  large cabbage
  • 1 1/2 cups rice
  • 1/2 cup shelled green peas
  • 20 pieces of cloves
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • salt to taste 
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 litre of water
  • Tomato Ketchup for garnishing

For  Sauce

  • 3 cups milk
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 slices of mozarella cheese
  • 1 tsp salted butter
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2-3 drops of lemon juice
  • salt to taste 

Method For Dolma:

  • Slice the base of the cabbage.
  • Separate each whole leaf of cabbage very gently, starting from the base.
  • Scrape out gently the thick  s from the back of the cabbage leaf, keeping the leaf intact.
  • IMG_2140
  • Put 1 litre of water to boil in a wide pan, and add a pinch of salt to it.
  • When it boils, put 4/5 leaves in a pile to boil in the water.
  • Cover and cook for 4 min.
  • Wash the rice and soak it in 3 cups of water for about half and hour.
  • Flip the leaves with a tong and cook and cover for further 4 min.
  • Remove with tongs, and drain the excess water, by putting it over a wide strainer.
  • Complete the boiling of the rest of the cabbage leaves and cool.
  • Drain the water from the rice.
  • Add peas, salt, black pepper and lemon juice to the rice and mix well.
  • Take one cabbage leaf, pour 1 tbsp rice/peas mix in the center of the leaf.
  • Fold the cabbage leaf inwards from all sides, making a triangle or a round shape
  • IMG_2143
  • Insert the clove in the center, to prevent the cabbage leaf from opening.

IMG_2146

  • Grease the inside of a pressure cooker with 1 tsp melted ghee(butter)
  • Place each piece gently into the cooker.
  • At the corner, gently pour 1 cup of water.
  • Sprinkle some rice/pea mix on top.
  • IMG_2149Pressure cook to 4 whistles on medium high and remove from flame.
  • Open the cooker after 20 minutes.

Sauce

  • Add  cornstarch to 1/2 cup milk and mix it thoroughly.
  • Heat  2 1/2  cups of milk, cheese,salt and pepper in a saucepan.
  • When it boils, add the cornstarch mixed milk to it  and stir continuously.
  • Cook for 5-6 minutes on slow- medium flame till the sauce thickens.

Serving the Dolma Place individual dolmas on a plate and pour white sauce on top and garnish with tomato ketchup and serve hot.  

Tips:

Using fresh green small size cabbages work the best. When buying cabbage, prefer a cabbage with loosely packed leaves, which will make it easier to remove the leaves. If it is possible to place a lid on top of the dolmas in the cooker, that keeps the rice and aroma in place, while being cooked.

Instinct Factor

Steam the cabbage leaves and rice for about 20 minutes on medium flame, if you do not have a pressure cooker and let it sit for another 20 minutes,

Feel Factor

An aromatic entree that is healthy, colorful, edgy in looks and highly appetizing!!  

 

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Pomegranate Yogurt Dip

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My  new year’s resolution  is to have more  Pomegranates Yogurt Dip  Pomegranate is extremely high on vitamin C, and yogurt with black pepper is a  good immunity booster. Pomegranate with yogurt is an attractive dressing on  a salad and  can also  be a delicious  accompaniment to  rice dishes. A colorful yogurt dip that is fun to make and very appealing to taste.  Cutting a pomegranate looks difficult but is very easy when sliced from the top and a bottom and cut as wedges and peeled off. More reading on the benefits of pomegranate seeds –  www.washingtonian.com/blogs/wellbeing/nutrition/why-pomegranate-seeds-are-so-good-for-you.php#

Recipe : 1 medium sized bowl or 3-4 people

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Ingredients by Volume
  • 2 cups yogurt
  • 1 cup  pomegranate seeds
  • Salt to taste
  • Sugar to taste ( ususally double the amount of salt)
  • 1/4  tsp fresh ground black pepper

 

Method

  • Whisk yogurt salt and sugar for 2-3 minutes, till no lumps are left.
  • Add pomegranate seeds and black pepper and mix well.
  • Serve chilled in warmer temperatures.

Tips

Make sure that pomegranate seeds are not too sour.

Instinct Factor

Balancing of salt, sugar and black pepper to  taste.

Feel Factor

Chilled yogurt with the crispiness of pomegranate seeds is  delicious combination that can be had as dressing on the salad leaves or even as an accompaniment to rice or bread. Enjoy this colorful, cooling and nutritious Pomegranate Yogurt Dip in many more ways of your choice!

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French Beans Carrots Peas Pilaf

Quick rice based recipe for easy colorful meal with yogurt. The stir fried french beans , peas and carrots  in butter retains the attractive green and red color as well as the flavor of the vegetables. The rice is mildly flavored with the sweetness of big cardamom and the  garnish of ginger adds a crisp spicy flavor to the rice pulao. A recipe for a mild , light comforting meal. 

Recipe : 3 people

Cooking time :  45 min

Preparation time : 15 min

Ingredients

For Pulao

  • 2 cups rice
  • 1 carrot sliced in thin strips lengthwise
  • I cup french beans sliced lenghtwise
  • 1/2 cup shelled peas
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 big cardamoms
  • 1 1/2 tbsp ghee (clarified butter) for vegetables
  • 1/2 tbsp ghee for rice
  • pinch of asofoetida
  • salt to taste
  •  1 inch ginger very thinly sliced
Method
  • Wash the rice thrice , add 4 cups of water soak for 20 minutes.
  • Heat the ghee for rice  in a wide pan.
  • Add the big cardamoms to ghee, and wait for it to become big.
  • Add the bay leaves and saute till golden brown.
  • Pour this in the rice.
  • Add salt to taste and put the rice to cook in a rice cooker, or in a pressure cooker.
  • In the same pan, now heat 1 1/2 tbsp ghee for vegetables.
  • Add asofoetida.
  • Add french beans and carrots and stir fry on high flame for 5 minutes.
  • Add shelled peas,  and further saute for another 3 minutes.
  • Add salt to taste and remove from flame after a minute.
  • When the rice is cooked, spread the rice in a wide pan, add the french/beans carrots/peas /thinly sliced ginger and mix gently.
  • Serve with Pomegranate Yogurt dip [aio_button align=”none” animation=”none” color=”blue” size=”small” icon=”search” text=”Recipe” relationship=”dofollow” url=”http://cookingbyinstinct.com/pomegranate-yogurt-dip/”] 

 

Tips:

Frozen french beans thinly sliced also work well in this recipe.

Jain Variation: Carrots can be replaced with sweet red peppers and instead of ginger garnish, 5-6 cloves can be added to the seasoning of ghee for the pulao. Dice the red peppers into thin long slices and stir fry along with french beans.

Instinct Factor

Aroma of cooked rice when cooking on the rice on the stove top in an open pan.

Feel Factor

An easy evening meal that is colorful and appetizing and your daily share of veggies.

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Chocolate Chip Pistachio Cookies with Sea Salt

What caught my interest in this recipe was the sea salt on top of bitter sweet cookies! Reading these ingredients got my tastebuds and senses perked up. In fact, this was the western way of matching the Rajasthani/Gujarati cuisine  of eating sweets and salty snacks together. I was all set to adapt and modify this recipe and give it a shot. The shape did not turn out to be a perfect circle, but  the taste was just amazing! Cookies with chopped pistachio and bitter sweet chocolate sounds rich and the sea salt on top makes it eclectic as well as savory. This is a great Christmas treat for sure and it will bring warmth to your family!

Recipe 20 cookies

Cooking time: 15 min

Preparation time: 15 min

Freezing time: 1 hour

Ingredients by Volume

 

  • 1/2 cup chopped  shelled pistachios
  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose unbleached flour
  • 3/8 tsp salt
  • 2 oz. chopped bitter sweet chocolate
  • 1 1/4  stick unsalted butter
  • 3/4  cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract/essence
  • Coarse sea salt to sprinkle on top
  • Parchment paper
  • Baking tray

Method

  • Whisk the flour, baking powder, cocoa and salt together in a prep bowl.
  • Thaw the butter at room temperature on microwave for 15 seconds in microwave.
  • In a deep pan, beat the butter, sugar and vanilla extract for about 4 min till it is light and fluffy, using an electric blender.
  • Mix the all purpose flour to the mix. Fold in  with spatula  for 10-15 sec that the flour does not spread out.
  • Add oil to the mix.
  • Blend it with the beater for about a minute.
  • Fold in chopped chocolates and pistachios with a spatula and gently fold it into a kneaded dough look.

IMG_1926

Making /Freezing the chocolate dough roll 

  • Divide the portion in to two equal parts.
  • Roll into a long roll shape about 8″ long.
  • Take a parchment paper paper about 8″ * 11″
  • Put the roll of chocolate base at the edge of the longer side.
  • Make a tight roll of the chocolate mix covered with parchment paper.
  • Repeat for the second part of chocolate mix.
  • Freeze the dough roll for an hour, till firm.

IMG_1930

Baking of Cookies

  • Remove the dough from the freezer, and unwrap the dough from the parchment.
  • Using a serrated knife make a 1/4″ thick round cuts.
  • Line the baking tray with parchment paper.
  • Pre heat the oven at 350 degrees F, preferably a convection oven.
  • Top the cookies with coarse sea salt.

IMG_1937

  • Bake the cookies for 14 min. shifting racks after 7 min, and switching at each level rack from front to back, every 3-4 min.
  • Remove from oven at 14 min. and let it cool for 5 min.
  • Store it an airtight container.

 

IMG_5429 

 

Tips:

Roll the chocolate dough tight enough to firm up the shape. When cutting into chocolate cookies using a serrated knife and applying even pressure, helps cookies from chipping while being cut.

Instinct Factor

Over baking the cookies will make it extra crisp so it is better to underbake than overbake.

Feel factor

The combination of pistachios and chocolate chips just melts into your mouth and warms your heart on a wintry cold evening!

Bon Appetit

Modified and Adapted recipe.

 

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Almond Cookies with Jam/Jelly

Easy, colorful , soft and crumbly- says it all for this holiday baking goodie. Whether its an office party or school celebration or you’re just feeling in the mood of baking, you cannot go wrong with these almond cookies, topped with colorful jellies of apricot, strawberry, blackberry or for the adventurous, some mint jelly too! And the bonus point is getting the kids to eat almonds, without any complaints.

Receipe : 20 cookies

Baking time: 15 min

Preparation time : 15 min

Cooling time: 30 min

Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cup almond flakes
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • I  1/2 cup all purpose flour
  •  5 oz unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup  oil
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • Apricot  Jams/Jelly for yellow color
  • Strawberry Jams/jelly for red color
  • Other jellies of your choice
  • Baking tray
  • Parchment Paper/Baking Liner

Method:

  • Crush the almond flakes to coarse powder form
  • Add flour to it and blend for a minute
  • Add baking powder and salt and blend for another minute.
  • Add sugar to the mix and pulse a few times.
  • Beat the butter in a deep pan, using a blender, till the butter is two shades lighter than the original color or approx. 4-6 min.
  • Add the flour mix to the flour and blend/beat  for further 2 min.
  • Gently mix the dough with a spatula into a soft kneaded dough look.
  • IMG_1866
  • Make 20 balls of equal size.
  • Pre heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Use convection oven if possible.
  • Line parchment paper on a baking tray
  • Roll each ball into a bowl filled with brown sugar.
  • Make a small dip in the center
  • IMG_1867
  • Bake in the oven for 15 min, switching racks after 7 minutes and switching front to back every 4 min.
  • Remove from oven after 15 min, depress the center
  • IMG_1868

 

  • Allow it to cool for at least 15 min.
  • Top it with the jelly filling of your choice.
  • Gently stone in an airtight container.

 

Tips

When you remove the cookies from oven, they will appear to be undercooked, but they are not.

If you are not going to consume all in a day/two, do not spoon the jelly, as the moisture will soften the cookies. Store the extra cookies in an airtight container for latter use.

Instinct Factor

Making round balls and depressing in the center is equivalent to making Baati in Rajasthani cuisine!

Feel Factor

The softest eggless crumb cookie, I have ever tasted, and the colorful jelly on the top is  so attractive,making it difficult to resist.

Bon Appetit!

An adapted recipe that has been modified

 

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Upma Violins with Cucumber Ranch

One would ponder what the connection is of a  Violin with Upma, a southern Indian traditional breakfast, mostly made from Semolina. Maybe nothing, maybe everything… I  did not grow up in southern India, but if I were to picture a southern household in my mind, it would be the early morning sounds of the carnatic vocals, sweet sound of violin music and the aroma of the roasting of upma rava, all blending together.

My personal connection is that my daughter is a violinist, and she does not like upma, but it happens to be one of my favorite breakfast meals. So in order to appease her, I thought if I make violin-shaped upmas, she might warm up to the idea of eating them, and I would bring the cultural element to the food too! Violins, as we see in the western world today, has evolved from traditional string instruments in India, per Kala Ramnath an accomplished violinist. Though the technique of playing an Indian violin and Western Violin is different and  a concert of the these two different styles of violins being played together would be amazing to hear!

I decided to experiment a bit and try cucumber ranch dressing with the upma, instead of the plain yogurt and liked the combination.  It might just become a new appetizer dish! The traditional shape is a round shape, which has also been shown in the pic and the traditional color is white. The red/brown color is from the roasting of rava and tomatoes to give it a violin look. When my daughter saw the upma violins and commented  “Oh Mom, thats so cute!!”,  it made me smile!

Recipe : 3 people or approx 16 violin shapes

Cooking time : 10 min

Preparation time: 7 min

Ingredients by Volume
  • 2 tbsp ghee (clarified butter)
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp urad dal(black lentil unskinned)
  • 1 cup rava( semolina)
  • 6-8 pieces of broken cashews
  • 4 curry leaves
  • 1 1/2 green chillies, finely chopped
  • 1tbsp yogurt
  • 2 small tomatoes
  • 2 cups water
  • salt to taste ( 3/4 tbsp salt approx.)
  • sugar 1 tbsp (optional)
  • 1/2 onion finely diced( optional)
  • violin cookie cutter
Method 
  • Heat the ghee in a broad pan on a medium flame.
  • Add mustard seeds, wait for them to crackle.
  • Add  green chillies.
  • Add crushed curry leaves.
  • Add  urad dal and saute till golden brown.
  • Add  semolina rava, mix it and stir till light pink in color.
  • Add salt and optional sugar and diced tomatoes and stir for couple of minutes.
  • Add 2 cups of water
  • Mix the water into rava, and let it cook, stirring in between.
  • When the mixtures starts to thicken and leaves the edges, it is done.
  • Making it in round shape – Use a small container, fill it with the cooked upma, set it for a minute, invert it and release it on a plate. If it sticks, grease the container with melted ghee.
  • Making a violin shape – Wait for it to cool for five minutes. Then spread it into a round flat shape like a pizza base, which is about a 1/3″ thick. Using Violin shaped cookie cutter, make violin  cutouts, gently releasing the upma from the violins. Repeat the process, till the mix is consumed.
  • Serve it with plain yogurt, coconut chutney or cucumber ranch.

IMG_1858

Tips

Using a thick bottom pan, would help roast rava better, without it burning. Releasing from the moulds needs some skill, but if it breaks, you can easily fix it too as it is soft enough to shape well.

If planning to serve as an appetizers, the violins shapes can be cut and made ready before hand, heated up in a microwave and topped with dressing at the time of serving.

Instinct Factor

Pink color of rava, to your liking. If it becomes dark brown, you are burning it, and watch closely as it can change color fast.

Feel Factor

When eating with a cucumber ranch, the rava upma combines well with the sour yogurt based dip and its mild ranch flavor, that can be easily be served as an appetizer/starter. The tomato skins gave it a nice wood grain look, that is found on the violins.

A yogurt accompaniment gives you the satisfaction of having a comfort meal in a tomato flavor. Roasted cashews, curry leaves and crunchiness of black lentils create an interesting contrast to the creamy texture of semolina.

 

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Instant Pan Handvo (Spicy Lentil Pancake)

Languages and cultures are so similar across the world, specially if we compare how mother and father is pronounced in various languages. In quite a few languages, the word mother mostly starts with syllablle “m” and father with syllablle “p”.  I would like to extend this further and say that even cuisines share a lot of common aspects too! And in this context I would like to present “Handvo” – in my view, the traditional Indian Spicy Cake from Gujarat. The first Sweet cake my mother baked at home, was in a Handvo cooker, originally used for making Handvo. The traditional look and feel of the Handvo is similar to a cake without the cream, and of course it is not sweet but spicy.

The version I am presenting over here  is in a pancake form(my mother’s recommendation) and with the use of an instant mix , which is easy to make without the trouble of fermenting the dough. Dough fermentation is difficult in cold countries. Another advantage is that you can serve a warm, fresh handvo pancake, that is crispy to eat,  every time someone is ready for a meal!  Or you have the option of making something quick to eat on an evening that you are too tired to cook a lengthy meal.

Using a double sided pancake maker, as shown in the pics, makes flipping the handva pancake a breeze!

An accompaniment of plain buttermilk, or  tomato soup goes well with  this lentil and rice based spicy pancake.

Recipe :  2  Pancakes (Personal Pansize  or 6″ diameter)

Preparation time 10 min

Cooking time 15 min

Ingredients
  • 1/2 packet of  Gits Instant Handvo Mix ( packet size : 500gm)
  • 1/2 cup grated bottle gourd/dudhi/lauki without the skin)
  • 2 tbsp yogurt
  • 1 tbsp oil for handvo
  • 1 cup water

For tempering of one handvo pancake

  • 2 tsp oil per pancake
  • 1 inch  piece of cinnamon stick
  • 1/8 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/8 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/8 tsp  sesame seeds
  • pinch of asafoetida
  • pinch of turmeric
  • couple of curry leaves
  • pinch of salt
Method
  • In a bowl, mix water, oil and yogurt.
  • In a medium sized prep bowl, pour the instant handvo mix
  • Slowly add the water/oil/yogurt mix to the handvo.
  • Constantly stir at heavy speed, the handvo mix.
  • You should see the dough rising with foam.
  • Leave it to rest for 10 minutes once the dough rises.
  • Add grated bottle gourd /dudhi to the mix.
 

Tempering/Making of Handvo Pancake

  • Use a small 6″-7″ round pan.
  • Heat 1 tsp oil on a medium flame.
  • Once the oil heats, put mustard seeds to crackle.
  • Add cinnamon stick and wait for it to double its size.
  • Add cumin seeds- wait for it to become golden brown.
  • Add sesame seeds .
  • Add  crushed curry leaves.
  • Add turmeric, salt and asafoetida.
  • When sesame sees are light gold in color, Reduce the flame to lowest,
  • Gently layer 1 cup of bottlegourd/handva mix onto the temperimg.
  • Increase the flame to low medium.
  • Grease the top of the pancake, with a few drops of oil.
  • If you have the double sided pancake maker, close the top. If it is open, you can cover it with a lid.
  • Cook for 5 minutes.
  • Flip the pancake,with a flat cooking tool. To do this release the pancake from the edges first, then flip it. If you are using a double sided pancake maker, just flip and put the other side to cook.
  • Cook for further 4 min.
  • Close the flame and leave it covered for 2 minutes.
  • Serve the pancake as a whole, or cut pizza like slices, accompanied by tomato ketchup, soup or buttermilk.

IMG_1842Instant Pan Handvo

 
Tips
  • You can spice it even further by adding 1/2 tsp of ginger/chilly mix.
  • You can variate it by adding grated cabbage, instead of bottle gourd.
  • If you want it more crispier, increase the oil by 1tsp and do not cover it while cooking.
Instinct Factor

The art of flipping is instinct based, but when you get it right you feel like a pro!

Feel Factor

Crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, loaded with protein and vegetables and topped with yogurt. Cannot complain, for it is an easy dinner meal and has an added appeal to young kids, when presented in  the shape of pizza slices!

 

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Rainbow Sandwich

It is a rainbow of colors when you prepare and also when you eat! Its an artistic pleasure to see so many  different colors in one item. Experts say that having a meal that represents a rainbow is best for your skin and immunity. This sandwich is my daughter’s favorite and it lights up her eyes whenever this is her lunch companion. Her friends get attracted by the colors in the sandwich as well as the fragrance of olive oil  that greets you when you open the packed sandwich to eat!  Definitely a healthy and colorful way to lose weight and at the same time satisfying to tastebuds too!

Recipe : 1 Sandwich

Preparation Time:  7 min Cooking Time : 5 min

Ingredients
  • 2 leaves of Romaine Lettuce
  • 2 small tomatoes sliced
  • 1 sweet red pepper thinly sliced
  • 1 sweet yellow pepper thinly sliced
  • 7-8 slices of cucumber
  • 6 black olives thinly sliced
  • 2 slices of cheese of your choice
  • Olive oil
  • Sea Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Bread slices of your choice- My favorites in Artisan Breads are Tuscan, Kalamata Olives , Pain Au Levain and Sourdough breads

IMG_1818

Method

  • Put a thick bottom griddle or pan to heat  on  high flame.
  • Drizzle olive oil on it and put the bread slices on the pan.
  • Cook  on high flame, till  the bread is golden brown on both sides
  • Remove from flame
  • Layer one side of the bread with whole lettuce leaves.
  • Add  a layer of sliced tomatoes on top.
  • Add a layer of  sliced yellow peppers.
  • Add a layer of  sliced red peppers
  • Add a layer of sliced olives.
  • Sprinkle sea salt over the open sandwich.
  • Sprinkle fresh black pepper over the open sandwich.
  • Lay the cheese on top.
  • Lay the second slice of bread on the top

IMG_1820

Tips

You can vary this with Avocado slices in it, which also tastes very nice.

Instinct factor

Browning of the bread to your desire.

Feel factor

A wholesome meal that is colorful, light, and you will not be tired of it, even if you have it often.

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Sabudana (mildly spiced Tapioca Pearls)

Sabudana or better known as Tapioca Pearls,  is an integral part of meals on holy fasting days in India, as it is  considered to be one of the purest form of starch. In the western world, we often see this as  a part of pudding, or bubble tea, but in Maharashtra, India, this is a staple breakfast item. Often it has potatoes added to the item, but I decided to exclude them, as it is already loaded with starch, and also follow my Jainism belief of avoiding root vegetables. Not having potatoes, also makes it faster to prepare!

Often people admire this dish, but are wary of cooking it, as it has a reputation of becoming sticky. The trick of getting it right and feeling every individual pearl as you savor this dish, lies in the soaking and not cooking! The flavor of green chillies and crushed peanuts, keeps it light and it is a  fulfilling breakfast dish and a favorite in my family. It is so easy to cook, you probably would not mind cooking it, even if you have an  early morning flight to catch!

Recipe : 3 people

Cooking time:  15 min

Preparation time: 7 min

Soaking time : Overnight or 8/10 hours

 

Ingredients
  • I cup Tapioca Pearls or Sabudana
  • 3/4 cup of crushed roated peanut powder
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 2 small green chillies, finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
  • Pinch of Asofoetida
  • 4-5 curry leaves
  • Few drops of lemon
  • Coriander leaves to garnish
Method
Washing/Soaking
  • Take the broadest pan you have
  • Put the Tapioca pearls in to wash.
  • Fill the pan with water and very gently rinse the seeds.
  • Remove the dirty water. Repeat this process thrice.
  • The fourth time , fill so that the water level appears to be a thinly coated layer atop the Sabudana.
  • Cover it with a lid and let it soak for 8/10 hours.

Cooking

  • Add the roasted crushed peanuts to the soaked sabudana and mix it thoroughly with gentle hands.
  • Heat the oil in a broad pan over a medium high flame.
  • Crush the cumin seeds in your palm and add to oil
  • Wait for it to become golden brown.
  • Add finely chopped green chillies and stir
  • Add curry leaves (gently crushed) to the oil.
  • Add a pinch of asofoetida
  • Add the sabudana/peanut mix to the oil and gently stir for a minute.
  • Add salt to taste and stir for another minute.
  • Sprinkle few drop of water on the top.
  • Cover with a lid and put on slow medium flame to cook for 1o minutes, gently stirring after 5-7 minutes.
  • Squeeze a few lemon drops, stir , cover and cook for 2- 3 minutes.
  • Switch off the flame, and let it rest for 5-7 minutes.
  • Garnish it coriander and serve with yogurt or savor it alone.

 

Tips

Using a thick bottom vessel for cooking Tapioca will not let it stick at the base.

Instinct factor

Gauging the water level  for soaking of  Sabudana.

Feel factor

There is always a feeling of accomplishment,when you have each and every Tapioca Pearl  well cooked, soft, and remaining as an individual pearl. The crushed peanut flavor with spices is simply yum and  I prefer to eat this with plain yogurt. This dish feels like a fusion of Indian/Thai Cuisine.

 

 

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