Manathakali Vattalkozhambu| Dried Nightshade Berries Cooked In Tamarind

Whenever we visit Madras, I make sure we pick up a packet of manathakali berries from the nearest vegetable shop. Back in Bangalore, we don’t get these little, shiny, green and black fruits that are bursting with flavour, fresh. These berries, the fruits of the Solanum Nigrum or the black nightshade plant, are not just supremely delicious, but also loaded with health benefits – they are high in antioxidants and Vitamin A, help relieve peptic and mouth ulcers, and better digestion and gut health, for instance. In fact, the leaves of the Solanum Nigrum, Manathakali Keerai in Tamil, also possess several health benefits. Check out the Manathakali Keerai Kootu I made a while ago!

So, I love using these fresh manthakali berries in vattalkozhambu, an extremely delicious, traditional Tamilian preparation that uses oodles of tamarind. Manathakali Vattalkozhambu is a big favourite of all of us at home, comfort food for everyone around.

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Fresh manathakali berries, some ripe, some unripe. Both the ripe and unripe ones can be cooked.

The fresh berries don’t last very long, though. They need to be used up immediately, as soon as we have got back to Bangalore and have barely unpacked our bags. They don’t have much of a shelf life. For later use, I always make sure I buy a packet of manathakali vatthal in Madras, black nightshade berries soaked in buttermilk and salt, then sun-dried and packed up to preserve them. These dried berries taste just as good in vattalkozhambu, if not better.

Manathakali Vattalkozhambu, with a few dried manathakali or black nightshade berries on the side

Give me some piping hot steamed rice, a bit of salt and ghee, some cooked toor daal and some well-made vattalkozhambu any day, and I’ll be a happy person. It is joy to eat this meal with your hands, off a steel plate – no fancy cutlery required there. A carefully erected ‘moat’ made with ghee-infused daal rice, with vattalkozhambu poured down in the centre – I grew up relishing this combination of food, and it still gives me great solace. I love eating up any leftover vattalkozhambu with dosas or as a side to rotisabzi too!

Today, I share with you our family recipe for Manathakali Vattalkozhambu, vattalkozhambu made using dried black nightshade berries. Do try it out, and let me know if it offers you the same level of comfort and bliss that it does to you! Will you?

Ingredients (serves 4-5):

  1. A big lemon-sized ball of tamarind
  2. 1-1/2 tablespoons dried nightshade berries aka mananthakali vatthal
  3. Salt to taste
  4. 2 tablespoons sambar powder or to taste
  5. 2 tablespoons jaggery powder or to taste
  6. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  7. Red chilli powder to taste
  8. About 1-1/2 tablespoons wheat flour or rice flour
  9. 2 tablespoons oil
  10. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  11. A pinch of fenugreek seeds
  12. 2 dry red chillies
  13. 2 pinches of asafoetida
  14. 1 sprig curry leaves

Method:

1. Soak the tamarind in a little hot water for at least 10 minutes. When it is cool enough to handle, extract all the juice out of it, adding fresh water little by little. You should get almost 1-1/2 cups of tamarind extract. Discard the seeds, fibres and impurities, if any. Keep the tamarind extract aside.

2. Mix the rice flour or wheat flour with a little water, making a slurry. Make sure there are no lumps. Keep aside.

3. In a pan, heat the oil. Add the mustard, and allow it to sputter. Now, add the asafoetida, curry leaves, fenugreek, and the dry red chillies. Let them stay in for a couple of seconds.

4. Add the dried nightshade berries to the pan. Saute on medium flame for a minute.

5. Add the tamarind extract to the pan, along with about 1 cup of water. Add salt to taste, red chilli powder, jaggery powder, and turmeric powder. Mix well and cook for a couple of minutes on medium flame.

6. Now, add in the sambar powder and the flour slurry we prepared earlier. Mix well.

7. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Add more water if required.

8. Cook on medium heat for 1-2 more minutes till the Mananthakali Vattalkozhambu thickens slightly and attains a silky consistency. Switch off the gas at this stage. Now, the vattalkozhambu is ready to be served – you can do so hot or at room temperature.

Notes:

1. Gingelly oil works best in the making of this Manathakali Vattalkozhambu. However, if you don’t have it, you can use any other oil of your preference.

2. For best results, use high-quality vatthal aka dried nightshade berries, tamarind and sambar powder.

3. Adjust the quantity of water you use, depending upon the consistency of the vattalkozhambu you desire. The end result should be a silken liquid that is quite runny, just slightly thickened by the flour slurry we added in.

4. Adjust the quantity of jaggery, red chilli powder and sambar powder as per personal taste preferences.

5. You may add in finely chopped fresh coriander after the Manathakali Vattalkozhambu is ready.

6. Instead of the dried nightshade berries, you can make the vattalkozhambu using a variety of other ingredients – like fresh nightshade berries, beetroot, onion, ladies’ finger, brinjal, drumstick and the likes. Just substitute any of these ingredients for the dried nightshade berries – the rest of the procedure remains the same.

7. I use home-made sambar powder to make this Manathakali Vattalkozhambu. Considering that the powder is not too spicy, I add red chilli powder to taste. However, if you are using store-bought sambar powder that is spicy, you might want to skip using the red chilli powder altogether.

8. In some families, there is a separate masala that is ground, stored and used in the making of vattalkozhambu, in place of the sambar powder. However, we always use sambar powder in vattalkozhambu.

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This recipe is for the Healthy Wellthy Cuisines Facebook group that I am part of. The members of this group cook for a particular theme every fortnight. This fortnight, the theme is #LegumeAffairAtHW, wherein all of us are cooking special dishes using different types of legumes. For the theme, I chose to share the recipe for my favourite Manathakali Vattalkozhambu, in which tamarind (a legume) is one of the major ingredients.

Do check out what the other participants have cooked up, for the theme!:

Restaurant-Style Dal Tadka by Seema| Boondi Kadhi by Rosy| Lehsuni Dal Palak by Swaty| Habisha Dalma by Sasmita| Home-Made Peanut Butter by Poonam| Moong Dal Khichdi by Kalyani| Dhaba-Style Kala Chana by Jayashree| Baingan Pakora by Geetanjali| Rajma Masala by Shalu

I’m also sharing this recipe with Fiesta Friday #263.

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Mixed Vegetable & Paneer Dosa

Here’s presenting to you Mixed Vegetable & Paneer Dosa, a pretty dosa that tastes just as slurpacious as it looks. What’s more, it is super healthy too! This Valentine’s Day, whip up these ‘red’ dosas for your loved ones!

You guys probably already know that we are a dosa-crazy family. Dosas find pride of place on our dining table every so often, any time of the day. We experiment like crazy when it comes to dosas, trying out different permutations and combinations to figure out what works best for us. 🙂 Mixed Vegetable & Paneer Dosa is the latest such experiment at our place, one that was a huge hit with everyone.

You have to try this out too!

Here’s the recipe for these Mixed Vegetable & Paneer Dosas.

Ingredients (makes about 15-18 dosas):

For the filling:

  1. 1 tablespoon oil
  2. 200 grams paneer aka cottage cheese
  3. 2 tablespoons shelled green peas
  4. 5-6 beans
  5. 1 medium-sized onion
  6. 1/2 of a medium-sized capsicum
  7. 1 small beetroot
  8. 1 small carrot
  9. 1/2 of a medium-sized zucchini
  10. 2-3 medium-sized florets of cauliflower
  11. A small piece of cabbage
  12. 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander
  13. Salt to taste
  14. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  15. Red chilli powder to taste
  16. 2 generous pinches of asafoetida
  17. 1 tablespoon garam masala or to taste
  18. 1 tablespoon amchoor powder or to taste
  19. 2 tablespoons jaggery powder or to taste

Other ingredients:

  1. 15-18 ladles of dosa batter
  2. Oil, as needed to cook the dosas

Method:

1. We will first prep all the veggies we need to prepare the filling. Remove strings from the beans and chop finely. Remove skin from the onion and chop finely. Chop the capsicum zucchini, cauliflower and cabbage finely. Peel the carrot and beetroot and chop finely. Keep the shelled green peas handy.

2. Crumble the paneer well, using your hands. Keep aside.

3. Now, we will prepare the filling. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add in the chopped beans, onion, capsicum, zucchini, cauliflower, cabbage, carrot and beetroot, as well as the green peas.

4. Turn the flame down to medium. Saute the veggies for about 2 minutes.

5. Add salt to taste, asafoetida, red chilli powder and turmeric powder. Mix well. Cook on medium heat till the veggies are almost done, 1-2 minutes.

6. Add in the crumbled paneer, garam masala, amchoor powder and jaggery powder. Mix well. Saute on medium heat for 1-2 minutes more, taking care to ensure that the vegetables do not burn.

7. Switch off the gas. Mix in the finely chopped fresh coriander into the filling. Allow the filling to cool down fully.

8. Now, we will make the dosas. Get a dosa pan nice and hot, placing it over high flame. When water droplets dance on it, turn the heat down to medium. Place a ladleful of dosa batter in the centre of the pan, and spread it around quickly with the back of the ladle. Spread a little oil all around the dosa. Let the dosa cook on medium heat till it browns on the bottom, ensuring it does not burn. Then, flip over and cook for about a minute on the other side too.

9. Transfer the dosa to a serving plate. Place a generous amount of the vegetable-paneer stuffing in the centre of the dosa. Serve immediately.

10. Prepare and serve all the dosas in a similar manner.

Notes:

1. I have used home-made dosa batter here. You can use either home-made or store-bought batter to make these dosas.

2. Prepare the filling on medium flame, ensuring that it does not burn.

3. Chana masala can be used in the filling, instead of garam masala.

4. The filling can made in advance and refrigerated, for up to a day. I prefer making it fresh, though, just before I need to make the dosas.

5. Any leftover filling can be used in making whole-wheat paratha wraps or sandwiches.

6. I prefer adding all the vegetables at the same time, while making the filling. Cook till the beetroot and carrot are tender, and the other veggies get slightly caramelised by this time, making the filling taste all the better.

7. I have used store-bought paneer here. You can use home-made instead, too.

8. You can sprinkle a little water while cooking the filling, if you feel it is getting too dry. Don’t make the filling too mushy – keep it dry.

9. Cook the dosas on medium heat, for best results.

10. You can use whatever veggies you have on hand, to make the filling for these dosas. I have specifically used beetroot here, because I wanted to make the filling look reddish.

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Here are some other dosa varieties from my blog:

Broccoli Masala Dosa| Paneer Masala Dosa| Dosa Pizza| Open Butter Masala Dosa| Schezwan Dosa| Poha Dosa| Spring Dosa| Moong Dosa| Sooji Chilla| Multi-Grain Dosas| Masala Dosa| Barnyard Millet Dosa| Bread Uttappam| Bajra Pesarettu| Ragi Dosa| Semiya Rava Vegetable Dosa| Tomato Omelette

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This post is for the Healthy Wellthy Cuisines group that I am part of. The members of this group cook for a particular theme every fortnight. This fortnight, the theme is #VDaySpecialAtHW, wherein all of us are cooking special dishes for the upcoming Valentine’s Day.

Check out what the other members of the group have come up with, for Valentine’s Day!

Bread Gulab Jamuns in Jaggery Syrup by Vanitha| Beetroot Drink with a Fruity Touch by Sasmita| White Chocolate Pudding by Swaty| Strawberry Mojito Mocktail by Jayashree| Chocolate Walnut Brownies by Rosy| No-Bake Berry Custard Tart by Shalu| Spiced Pomegranate Spritzer Mocktail by Geetanjali

I’m also sharing this post with Fiesta Friday #262. The co-host is Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook.

Cheeselings Bhel| Cheeselings Chaat

We, as a family, don’t buy biscuits all that often. Occasionally, though, when we feel like indulging, we pick up a packet of biscuits while grocery shopping, to nibble through a couple at a time. Parle Monaco Cheeselings are one of our favourites – those tiny puffed-up biscuits with a cheesy flavour to them. While we are at it, Cheeselings Chaat or Cheeselings Bhel is one of our favourite things to make with these little biscuits.

Using Cheeselings in bhel gives it a unique twist, and makes it taste absolutely fabulous. Do try out this crispy, crunchy, delicious Cheeselings Bhel, and I’m sure you will fall in love with it, too.

Let us now check out the recipe for Cheeselings Chaat aka Cheeselings Bhel.

Ingredients (serves 4):

  1. 3 big fistfuls of Parle Monaco Cheeselings
  2. 2 big fistfuls of roasted puffed rice or murmura
  3. 1 big handful of fine sev aka omapudi
  4. 2 tablespoons roasted or masala peanuts
  5. 1 medium-sized onion, finely chopped
  6. 1 small carrot, peeled and finely grated
  7. 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander
  8. 2 pinches of roasted cumin (jeera) powder
  9. 2 pinches of black salt
  10. 2-3 tablespoons of spicy green chutney or as needed
  11. 3-4 tablespoons of sweet and sour tamarind chutney or as needed

Method:

1. Take all the above ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

2. Mix well.

3. Serve immediately.

Notes:

  1. You may use any other ingredients of your choice in the bhel too, such as pomegranate arils, boiled and cubed potatoes, papdi, finely chopped cucumber and the likes. I have kept Monaco Cheeselings as the star ingredient here, and have limited the number of other ingredients so that their flavour comes through beautifully.
  2. Click here to find the recipe I use to make the spicy green chutney.
  3. Click here to find the recipe I use to make the sweet and sour tamarind chutney.
  4. I have used puffed rice that has been roasted lightly, with a little salt and turmeric powder. You may use plain puffed rice instead, too.
  5. To make roasted cumin powder, dry roast some cumin in a pan till it emits a lovely fragrance. Ensure that the cumin does not burn. When it cools down fully, grind to a fine powder in a mixer, and store in a clean, dry, air-tight jar. Use this roasted cumin powder as required.
  6. Adjust the quantities of all the above ingredients as per personal taste preferences.
  7. I have used store-bought fine sev here (Garden Nylon Sev). You can make your own at home, too. Using fine sev gives the best results here, as opposed to thicker varieties.
  8. I always make bhel as per rough measurements, by the fistfuls. I don’t have exact cup measurements for certain ingredients here, but I think you will get the gist – use Cheeselings in the highest quantity, followed by roasted murmura, followed by sev.

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This post is for the Healthy Wellthy Cuisines group that I am part of. The members of this group cook for a particular theme every fortnight. This fortnight, all of us are cooking different types of dishes using biscuits.

Check out the interesting recipes using biscuits that the other group members have come up with:

No-Bake Swiss Roll by Jayashree| Oreo Energy Bites by Sasmita| Pizza Crackers by Swaty| Chocolate Nutella Tart by Vanitha| Chocolate Biscuit Cake by Poonam| No-Oven Biscuit Cake by Geetanjali| Marie Biscuit Cake by Rosy| Carrot Paneer Mousse by Veena| Biscuit Bhelpuri by Shalu| Easy Fruit Trifle by Mayuri

I’m sharing this recipe with Fiesta Friday #260. The co-hosts this week are Mollie @ Frugal Hausfrau and Diann @ Of Goats and Greens.

Thippili Rasam| Long Pepper Rasam

Winter has, really and truly, set into Bangalore now. It is quite chilly throughout the day, especially so in the nights. With the cold comes body aches, sore throats, cough and cold, and a general lethargy. 🙂 The recipe I am about to share with you today – Thippili Rasam or Long Pepper Rasam – is something that will help you combat all these ills of the winter season.

The roots of the Piper Longum plant are called Kandathippili (Tamil), Pippali Mool (Hindi) or Long Pepper Root (English). The fruits that the plant bears are called Arisi Thippili (Tamil), Rice Pepper or Long Pepper (English), or Pippali (Hindi). Both the root and the fruits are believed to have medicinal effects – they aid in improving digestion and appetite, alleviate cough and cold, tiredness and general aches and pains, trouble sleeping and feverishness. They even help combat depression and aid in the regulation of the menstrual cycle. Indian Long Pepper contains a substance called Piperine, which helps fight certain parasites, which is how this works. Our ancestors sure knew their stuff, eh?

Thippili Rasam or Long Pepper Rasam is what you could term ‘a lost recipe of India’. It was quite a commonly prepared recipe in Tamilian households once upon a time, especially in the months of winter. This rasam also used to be offered to breastfeeding ladies, to help the uterus return to its normal size after childbirth. Over time, though, these traditional recipes have, kind of, lost their value. Fewer and fewer households even make this rasam now, fewer people know the exact recipe.

I was able to dig up our family recipe for this Thippili Rasam, with Amma‘s help, and am about to share with you the way it has always been made in our family, over the generations. I have used both the root and the fruits of the Long Pepper plant in this rasam, along with some regular black peppercorns and other spices. It makes for a delicious, albeit slightly spicy, treat. I made it recently and, trust me, it helped a whole lot with the cough and cold I had been grappling with for quite some time!

Let’s now check out the recipe for Thippili Rasam aka Long Pepper Rasam, shall we?

Ingredients (serves 3-4):

  1. 1/4 cup toor daal
  2. 1 medium-sized tomato
  3. A small lemon-sized ball of tamarind
  4. Salt to taste
  5. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  6. 1/2 tablespoon jaggery powder or to taste
  7. 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander

For the spice mix:

  1. 1 teaspoon oil
  2. 4-5 small kandathippili sticks aka long pepper root or pippali mool (the stick-like thing in the picture above)
  3. 1 teaspoon milagu aka black peppercorns
  4. 1 teaspoon dhania aka coriander seeds
  5. 5-6 pieces of arisi thippili aka long pepper, rice pepper or pippali (the long, black things in the picture above)
  6. 1 teaspoon jeeragam aka cumin
  7. 3 dry red chillies
  8. 6-7 fresh karuvepalai aka curry leaves

For the tempering:

  1. 1/2 tablespoon ghee
  2. 1 teaspoon kadugu aka mustard seeds
  3. 2 pinches of perungayam aka asafoetida

Method:

  1. Wash the toor daal under running water, a couple of times. Drain out all the excess water. Add in just enough fresh water to cover the toor daal. Pressure cook on high flame for about 5 whistles, or till the daal is well cooked. Let the pressure release naturally.
  2. When the pressure has gone down completely, get the cooked toor daal out. Mash well, using a masher. Keep aside.
  3. Soak the tamarind in a little hot water for at least 10 minutes, to make it soft. Keep aside. When it is cool enough to handle, extract a thick paste out of it, adding a little more water if necessary. Keep aside.
  4. Chop the tomatoes finely. Keep aside.
  5. Now, we will prepare the spice mix for the Thippili Rasam. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a pan. Add in the long pepper, black peppercorns, dry red chillies, coriander seeds, long pepper root, cumin and curry leaves. Fry on medium flame for 1-2 minutes or till the ingredients begin to emit a lovely fragrance. Ensure that the ingredients do not burn. Transfer the fried ingredients to a plate, and let them cool down fully.
  6. When the fried ingredients for the spice mix have entirely cooled down, grind to a powder in a mixer. Keep aside.
  7. Now, we will begin to prepare the Thippili Rasam. Take the chopped tomatoes in a pan, along with a little water. Add in a little salt and turmeric. Cook for 1-2 minutes, or till the tomatoes turn mushy.
  8. At this stage, add the tamarind paste to the pan, along with the cooked toor daal and about 1-1/2 cups of water. Mix well. Cook on high flame for 1-2 minutes more, or till the raw smell of the tamarind goes away.
  9. Add the spice mix we prepared earlier to the pan, along with jaggery powder. Mix well. Taste and adjust salt if needed. Cook on medium flame for a minute and switch off gas.
  10. Now, prepare the tempering for the Thippili Rasam. Heat the ghee in another pan. Add the mustard seeds to it, and let them sputter. Add the asafoetida and let it stay in for a couple of seconds. Switch off the flame, and pour this tempering into the rasam.
  11. Mix in the finely chopped coriander. That’s it – your Long Pepper Rasam is ready! Serve it hot with piping hot rice and a bit of ghee.

Notes:

  1. In terms of dry red chillies, I used a mix of Salem Gundu chillies (the small, fat, round ones that are quite spicy) and Bydagi (the long, shrivelled ones that aren’t too spicy). You can use any variety of dried red chillies that you prefer.
  2. A few pods of garlic can also be fried along with the other ingredients for the spice mix, ground, and added to the rasam. Here, I have skipped the garlic.
  3. The jaggery powder can be avoided, if you so prefer. Our family recipe does not include it – I add it just because I like a little sweetness in my rasam. Also, I think it combats the spiciness from the peppers really nicely.
  4. Make sure the toor daal is well cooked. Mash it well before using in the Thippili Rasam.
  5. Adjust the quantity of dry red chillies, long pepper, long pepper root and black peppercorns you use, depending upon the spice level you prefer. The above quantities yield a medium-spicy rasam.
  6. The spice mix for this rasam can even be made with just long pepper + long pepper root + black peppercorns, skipping all the other ingredients. These are the three star ingredients, which must absolutely not be missed. Both versions taste equally good.
  7. Use country (nati) tomatoes, for best results.
  8. Oil can be used in the tempering, instead of ghee, too.
  9. Long pepper (arisi thippili or pippali) and long pepper root (kandathippili or pippali mool) can be a bit tough to find in metros. They are easily available in Tamilnadu, though, in most ‘naatu marundhu‘ (herbal remedies) stores. I usually pick up my stock of these ingredients when I am visiting Madras. These two ingredients are also available online, on Amazon.
  10. Long pepper, long pepper root and black pepper aid in combating winter ailments such as digestive issues, body aches, cold and cough. This Thippili Rasam also offers the same health benefits, as per our ancestors. However, while this rasam is a winter warmer, a lovely addition to your food in the months of winter, it can be considered as a ‘herbal remedy’ and not as a legit medicine per se. Please treat it accordingly. Do consult a doctor, if your symptoms continue to persist.
  11. The long pepper, long pepper root and black peppercorns used in this rasam are believed to generate heat in the body. Hence, it is advisable to consume this Thippili Rasam only occasionally and not regularly. It is also not advisable to consume this rasam during pregnancy, for the very same reason.
  12. Long pepper (arisi thippili) creates a tingling sensation on the tongue and in the throat while consuming. Do be prepared for this while making this rasam. Alternatively, you may skip using the long pepper entirely – the other ingredients for the spice mix remain the same. Many Tamilnadu families prepare this rasam sans the long pepper, too.
  13. Do not cook the rasam for a long time after adding the spice mix. Make sure the rasam is cooked only on medium flame, for a minute or so, after the addition of the spice powder. Otherwise, there are chances of the rasam turning slightly bitter.

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This post is for the Healthy Wellthy Cuisines Facebook group that I am part of. The members of this group cook for a particular theme every fortnight. This fortnight, all of us are cooking winter-special delicacies.

Check out what the other participants prepared for the theme:

Jaggery Rasgullas by Geetanjali| Raw Turmeric Curry by Ruchi| Palak Tambli by Jayashree| Methi Pokode Kadhi by Rosy| Moong & Celery Leaves Soup by Mayuri| Jaggery Flatbread by Shalu| Sukhdi by Vanitha| Leftover Pongal Vadai by Seema

I’m also sharing this recipe with Fiesta Friday #258. The co-host this week is Laurena @ Life Diet Health.

Monaco Mango Bites| Cheesy Sweet & Salty Nibbles

Are you looking for a quick nibble to perk up a boring day? Are you looking for an interesting, different-from-the-usual appetiser to serve at a party? Try out these Monaco Mango Bites!

These Monaco Mango Bites are a beautiful medley of flavours, which your guests will surely love. It was a big hit at home, when I tried it out recently. The classic Monaco biscuit lends its saltiness to the nibbles, the mango its sweetness, the red chilli powder a hint of spice, while the cheese and gherkins add an element of surprise to them. All of them together pack a flavour punch!

This is a super simple snack that you can whip up within minutes, if you have ingredients on hand, albeit not very healthy. You can use toppings of your choice to these nibbles too, and come up with a different-tasting snack every time you make these!

Let’s now check out the recipe for these Monaco Mango Bites, shall we?

Ingredients:

  1. Monaco biscuits, as needed
  2. Dried mango (with sugar), as needed
  3. Cheese cubes, as needed
  4. Pickled gherkins, as needed
  5. Red chilli powder, as needed

Method:

  1. Slice the gherkins thinly. Keep aside.
  2. Slice the cheese cubes thinly. Keep aside.
  3. Make small bite-sized pieces of the dried mango. Keep aside.
  4. Arrange Monaco biscuits on a serving platter, as per requirement. Place a piece of dried mango on top of each biscuit, along with a slice of cheese and a couple of slices of gherkins. Drizzle some red chilli powder on top of each biscuit. The Monaco Mango Bites are ready! Serve immediately.

Notes:

  1. I used the basic old-fashioned salt biscuits from Monaco to make this dish.
  2. Here, I have used some of the dried mango that I bought in Thailand, which has some sugar in it. It was soft and easily chewable, so I did not need to soak it.
  3. I have used cubes of Amul processed cheese, which I have thinly sliced.
  4. I have used store-bought pickled gherkins, also called ‘Sandwich Fillers’. They are, usually, thinly sliced and used in sandwiches to add flavour. Check out this Subway-Style Veggie Delight sandwich in which I have done just that.
  5. Use very little red chilli powder, just a drizzle, over the Monaco Mango Bites. It should not make the nibbles spicy, but just add an element of interest and surprise to them.
  6. You can use toppings of your choice to make these nibbles – dried lemons or oranges, cheese, jalapenos, chaat masala, anything goes in the right permutations and combinations. Let your imagination run wild!

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This post is for the Healthy Wellthy Cuisines group that I am part of. The members of this group cook for a particular theme every fortnight. This fortnight, all of us are cooking dishes using dried fruit and/or nuts, and I chose to prepare these Monaco Mango Bites for the theme.

Check out what the other members of the group made for the theme!:

Badam Puri by Ruchi| Date Truffles With Oats by Sasmita|Nutty Fruity Cookies by Rosy| Salted Cashewnuts by Jayashree| Zarda Pulao by Vanitha| Shahi Mewa Korma by Shalu| 5-Minute Pavlova Parfait by Seema| Fruit & Nut Granola by Mayuri| Fruit & Nut Raita by Geetanjali

I’m sending this recipe for Fiesta Friday #254. The co-hosts this week are Antonia @ Zoale.com and Kat @ Kat’s 9 Lives.

 

Cheese & Curried Babycorn Sandwich| Babycorn Masala Sandwich With Cheese

Love sandwiches? We do, at our place!

Sandwiches make for the perfect lunch or snack on a busy work day. They are great for dinner too, if you don’t want to whip up an elaborate meal. And there are so many varieties of sandwiches possible – you just can’t get bored of them!

Here’s presenting a Cheese & Curried Babycorn Sandwich or Babycorn Masala Sandwich With Cheese, something I tried out recently and all of us loved. I have used tender babycorn to make the filling here, curried Indian-style. Paired with some cheese and tomato ketchup, the babycorn filling tastes just amazing!

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Let’s now see how to make a Cheese & Curried Babycorn Sandwich.

Ingredients (makes 6 sandwiches):

For the filling:

  1. 6 big pieces of babycorn
  2. 1 medium-sized onion
  3. 1 medium-sized capsicum
  4. 1 tablespoon oil
  5. Salt to taste
  6. 1 tablespoon garam masala or to taste
  7. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  8. 2 pinches of asafoetida
  9. 1 tablespoon sugar
  10. A dash of lemon juice
  11. 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander leaves

Other ingredients:

  1. 12 slices of whole wheat bread
  2. Grated cheese, as needed
  3. Tomato ketchup, as needed

Method:

We will first get the vegetables ready to make the stuffing.

  1. Remove the husks and fibres from the babycorn.
  2. Chop the babycorn finely.
  3. Peel and chop the onion finely.
  4. Remove the cores and stem from the capsicum. Chop it finely.
  5. Keep the chopped veggies ready.

Now, we will prepare the filling for the sandwiches.

  1. Heat the oil in a pan.
  2. Add the chopped babycorn, onion and capsicum to the pan. Saute on medium flame for a minute.
  3. Keeping the flame low, add the salt to taste, turmeric powder, sugar, red chilli powder and garam masala. Mix well.
  4. Continue cooking uncovered, on medium flame, till the vegetables are cooked but still retain a bit of a crunch. This should take 1-2 minutes.
  5. Switch off gas, and add the finely chopped coriander and lemon juice. Mix well. The stuffing is ready – keep aside.

Now, we will prepare the Babycorn Masala Sandwiches With Cheese.

  1. Spread out a generous amount of the prepared babycorn stuffing evenly on one slice of bread. Over it, add some grated cheese and drizzle some tomato ketchup.
  2. Close the sandwich with another slice of bread.
  3. Prepare all the sandwiches using all the bread, in a similar manner. Grill them in a sandwich maker till brown on the outside and a bit crisp, taking care not to burn them. Serve immediately.

Notes:

  1. You can use chana masala instead of garam masala in the filling. Adjust the quantity you use, as per personal taste preferences.
  2. I have used garam masala by Ciba Taaza Spices in the filling.
  3. I have used Amul processed cheese to make these Cheese & Curried Babycorn Sandwiches. You may use any other type or brand of cheese you prefer, instead.
  4. I have used Heinz tomato ketchup to make these sandwiches.
  5. I have used whole wheat bread in these Cheese & Curried Babycorn Sandwiches, but you can use any other type of bread instead too.
  6. Do not overcook the filling. The babycorn should still retain a bit of a crunch.
  7. I used an electric sandwich maker by Morphy Richards to make these Babycorn Masala Sandwiches with cheese. You could even toast them on a dosa pan.
  8. I have used tender babycorn from Mapletree Farms, Hosur, to make these sandwiches. They came with the husk, which I had to remove, along with the fibres. If you are buying peeled, cleaned and packaged babycorn, you can use it straight away.

Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!

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This post is for the Healthy Wellthy Cuisines group that I am part of. The members of this group cook for a particular theme every fortnight. This fortnight, all of us are cooking different types of sandwiches.

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Here are the other creative and delicious sandwiches prepared by the other participants for the challenge:

I’m also sharing this post with Fiesta Friday #252. The co-hosts this week are Alex @ Turks Who Eat and Zeba @ Food For The Soul.

Check out the other sandwich recipes on my blog too:

A plethora of them, here| Subway-Style Veggie Delight Sandwich| Bun Sandwiches, 4 ways| Iyengar Bakery-Style Bread Toast| Hung Curd Open Sandwich| Caprese-Style Sandwich| Farmhouse Grilled Sandwich| Dabeli Sandwich| Farmhouse Grilled Sandwich With Masala Bread| Chilli & Mango Grilled Cheese Sandwich| Hot & Sweet Sandwich

Hot & Sour Vegetable Soup With Burnt Garlic

It is soup weather now, at least here in Bangalore!

Winter is setting in deeper in the city, bit by little bit, giving me the perfect foil to make a variety of soups. 🙂 We are quite the soup-loving family, and a bowl of hot soup makes the perfect evening snack for us most evenings.

Today, I present to you the recipe for Hot & Sour Vegetable Soup, a simple soup that you can whip up within a matter of minutes. You can use whatever vegetables you have on hand, and it will taste absolutely wonderful! Especially, the burnt garlic that I temper it with adds a whole lot of oomph to the soup. Do try this recipe out, and let me know how you liked it!

Let’s now check out the recipe for the Hot & Sour Vegetable Soup With Burnt Garlic.

Ingredients (serves 4):

  1. 4-5 beans
  2. A small piece of cabbage
  3. 2 pieces of babycorn
  4. 1 small onion
  5. 1 medium-sized floret of cauliflower
  6. 1 tablespoon + 1 tablespoon of salted butter
  7. Salt to taste
  8. 1 tablespoon sugar
  9. Juice of 1/2 lemon or to taste
  10. 2 tablespoons hot Sriracha sauce
  11. 2 tablespoons wheat flour
  12. 2 tablespoons soya sauce
  13. Black pepper powder to taste
  14. 5-6 cloves of garlic
  15. 1 tablespoon finely chopped coriander

Method:

1. First, we will prep the vegetables we need to make the soup. Remove strings from the beans and chop finely. Chop the cabbage, onion, cauliflower, babycorn and garlic finely. Keep aside.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a thick-bottomed pan. Add in the finely chopped beans, cabbage, onion, cauliflower and babycorn. Add salt to taste. Saute on high heat till the vegetables are cooked, but still retain a bit of a crunch.

3. Mix 2-3 tablespoons of water into the wheat flour, and make a paste without any lumps. Keep aside.

4. Add 4 cups of water to the pan. Add in the wheat flour paste. Mix well. Cook on medium flame till the soup thickens and begins to boil.

5. Now, add in the soya sauce, Sriracha sauce, sugar and black pepper powder. Mix well. Check and adjust salt if needed. Cook on medium flame for 1-2 minutes.

6. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon butter in another pan. Add in the finely chopped garlic. Saute on medium flame till the garlic browns, allowing it to burn slightly, but not overly so. Add the burnt garlic to the soup in the other pan.

7. When the soup has simmered for 1-2 minutes, switch off gas. Mix in finely chopped coriander and lemon juice to taste. Serve hot.

Notes:

  1. Vinegar can be used to sour the soup, instead of lemon juice. You can even use a mix of lemon juice and vinegar.
  2. I have used salted butter from Amul, Sriracha sauce from Thai Heritage and naturally fermented soya sauce from a Thai brand called Shoyu.
  3. You may skip the sugar if you want to, but I personally wouldn’t suggest that. The sugar doesn’t make the soup overly sweet, but helps in rounding up the other flavours beautifully.
  4. Be careful while adding in salt to the soup. Remember that the butter and soya sauce that we are using in the soup contain salt as well.
  5. Here, I have used whatever vegetables I had handy at the moment. You may use any other veggies of your choice to make this Hot & Sour Soup.
  6. Paneer or tofu can be added to the soup as well. Here, I haven’t.
  7. You may lightly roast the wheat flour before adding it to the Hot & Sour Soup. I haven’t. I have used raw wheat flour here.
  8. I haven’t used any ginger in this soup. You may, if you want to.
  9. Corn flour can be used to thicken the Hot & Sour Soup, instead of wheat flour.
  10. You can use herbed butter in the soup, instead of ordinary salted butter.

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c360_2016-08-02-11-48-05-319

This post is for the Healthy WELLthy Cuisines Facebook group that I am part of. The members of this group cook for a particular theme every fortnight. This fortnight, all of us are cooking different types of soups.

Check out what the other members have prepared for the theme!:

Vegetable Manchow Soup by Jayshree| Vegan Wonton Soup by Geetanjali| Creamy Cauliflower Soup by Rosy| Bottlegourd Soup by Seema| Thukpa by Sasmita

I’m also sharing this post with Fiesta Friday #251. The co-hosts this week are Mollie @ Frugal Hausfrau and Monika @ Everyday Healthy Recipes.

Paneer Masala Dosa| Dosa With Cottage Cheese Stuffing

Bored of eating the same ol’ dosa with chutney/sambar, or masala dosa? Paneer Masala Dosa is another version of dosa that you could try out.

With a protein-rich, delicious cottage cheese stuffing, Paneer Masala Dosa makes for a great snack or even a lunch/dinner option. This is quite a filling dosa that doesn’t require any accompaniment to it. If you have dosa batter on hand, making these is a breeze, too!

I tried out Paneer Masala Dosa for the first-ever time at Murugan Idli Shop in Madras, a few years ago, and fell in love with it. A few attempts at making my own version at home later, I was rewarded with success – a beautiful, delectable dosa that was much loved by everyone in the family. Do try it out too, and let me know how you liked it!

Here is how to make Paneer Masala Dosa.

Ingredients (makes 8-10 dosas):

For the filling:

  1. 100 grams paneer aka cottage cheese
  2. 4-5 cloves of garlic
  3. A 1-inch piece of ginger
  4. 1 small tomato
  5. 1 medium-sized onion
  6. 1/2 tablespoon oil
  7. 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  8. 2 pinches of asafoetida
  9. Salt to taste
  10. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  11. Red chilli powder to taste
  12. 1 tablespoon garam masala
  13. 1 tablespoon amchoor powder
  14. 1 tablespoon sugar
  15. 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander

For the dosas:

  1. 8-10 ladles of dosa batter
  2. 8-10 teaspoons of oil, to make the dosas

Method:

We will first prepare the filling for the Paneer Masala Dosa.

  1. Crumble the paneer, using your hands. Keep aside.
  2. Peel the ginger and chop finely. Chop the garlic finely. Grind the ginger and garlic to a paste in a small mixer jar, using a little water. Keep aside.
  3. Chop the onion finely. Keep aside.
  4. Chop the tomato finely. Keep aside.
  5. Heat 1/2 tablespoon oil in a pan. Add in the cumin seeds and asafoetida. Allow them to stay in for a couple of seconds.
  6. Add the chopped onion to the pan. Saute on medium heat till the onions begin to brown.
  7. Now, add the chopped tomato to the pan, along with a little water and salt, and ginger-garlic paste. Cook on medium flame till the tomatoes turn mushy.
  8. When the tomatoes are cooked, add in the crumbled paneer, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, sugar, amchoor powder and garam masala. Mix well. Cook on medium heat for a minute. You may add a little water at this stage, if you feel the mixture is too dry. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed. Switch off gas when the filling is done cooking. Do not overcook the filling, as this might cause the paneer to get hard and rubbery.
  9. Mix in the finely chopped coriander into the paneer filling. Set the filling aside.

Now, we will make the Paneer Masala Dosas.

  1. Heat a thick dosa pan on high heat. When the pan is nice and hot, turn down the flame to medium.
  2. Place a ladle of the dosa batter in the centre of the pan. Spread it out to form a medium-sized dosa.
  3. Spread a teaspoon of oil around the dosa. Let the dosa cook till it gets brown on the bottom.
  4. Flip over the dosa, and let it cook on the other side for about a minute.
  5. Transfer the dosa to a serving plate, and place inside it a little of the paneer filling we prepared earlier. Close the dosa. Serve immediately.
  6. Prepare all the Paneer Masala Dosa in a similar manner.

Notes:

1. I have used home-made dosa batter here. You can use store-bought batter as well.

2. I have used paneer from ID to make these Paneer Masala Dosa. You may use home-made paneer instead, too.

3. Adjust the quantity of salt, red chilli powder, sugar, garam masala and amchoor powder that you use in the filling, depending upon personal taste preferences.

4. Be careful while adding salt to the filling, as the paneer will have some amount of salt in it too.

5. I have used store-bought amchoor powder (from Everest) and garam masala (from Ciba Taaza) to make the paneer filling.

6. You can use chana masala instead of garam masala in the filling, too. It adds a lovely, different touch to the filling.

7. You may skip the sugar in the filling, if you so prefer, but I would not recommend that. The sugar does not make the filling sweet, but rather rounds off the other flavours brilliantly and brings out their taste more effectively.

Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!

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c360_2016-08-02-11-48-05-319

This post is for the Healthy WELLthy Cuisines Facebook group that I am part of. The members of this group cook for a particular theme every fortnight. This fortnight, all of us are cooking different types of dosas.

Check out what the other members have prepared for the theme!:

Pavbhaji Dosa by Sasmita| Ragi Dosa by Shalu| Healthy Brown Rice & Quinoa Dosa by Vanitha| Sweet Cucumber Dosa by Seema| Jowar Dosa by Jayashree| Spicy Tomato Dosa by Rosy

I’m also sharing this post with Fiesta Friday #249. The co-hosts this week are Diann @ Of Goats and Greens and Jenny @ Apply To Face Blog.