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

 

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Vazhaipazham Sakkarai Pongal| Banana Sweet Pongal

Vazhaipazham Sakkarai Pongal is a lovely twist to the regular sweet pongal that is commonly prepared in South India on auspicious occasions. Adding bananas elevates the taste of the sweet pongal up by several notches, and is a great way to get the goodness of the fruits in. This little touch makes the regular sakkarai pongal more exotic, makes it just perfect to serve guests on parties and other festive occasions.

This is a simple pressure-cooker recipe that can be put together in a matter of minutes. I’m sure it will be much loved by people of all age groups, including fussy kids. My daughter absolutely adores this!

Let’s now check out the recipe for this Vazhaipazham Sakkarai Pongal aka Banana Sweet Pongal, shall we?

Ingredients (serves 5-6):

  1. 1 cup rice
  2. 1/2 cup moong daal
  3. 3 cups jaggery powder
  4. 2 cups milk
  5. 2 pinches of cardamom (elaichi) powder
  6. 2 big Robusta bananas
  7. 10-12 cashewnuts
  8. 2 tablespoons raisins
  9. 2 tablespoons + 2 tablespoons of ghee

Method:

1. Take the rice and moong daal together in a wide vessel. Wash a couple of times under running water. Discard the excess water.

2. Add 2 cups of milk and 2-1/2 cups water to the washed and drained rice. Mix well. Pressure cook for 4 whistles on high flame, or till the rice and moong daal are well cooked. Let the pressure release naturally.

3. Meanwhile, prepare the jaggery syrup for the pongal. Heat 2 cups of water in a pan, and add the jaggery powder to it. On high heat, allow the jaggery to get completely dissolved in the water. Cook till the syrup comes to a rolling boil.

4. When the jaggery syrup comes to a boil, add the cooked rice and moong daal to it. Cook on medium flame till everything is well integrated together, 3-4 minutes. Stir intermittently, to prevent sticking to the bottom of the pan.

5. Add the cardamom powder as well as 2 tablespoons of ghee to the pongal. Chop the bananas into slices and add to the pongal too. Mix well, and cook on medium flame for a minute. Switch off gas.

6. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of ghee in another pan. Turn the flame to low, and add in the cashewnuts and raisins. Keep them in till the cashewnuts turn brown and the raisins plump up – take care to ensure that they do not burn.

7. Add the fried cashewnuts and raisins to the pongal. Mix well. The Banana Sweet Pongal is ready – serve hot or at room temperature.

Notes:

1. I have used Sona Masoori rice to make this pongal. You may use any other variety of rice you prefer, instead. You may even reduce the quantity of moong daal you use or skip it altogether, too.

2. Edible camphor (pacchai karpooram) can be added to the Banana Sweet Pongal. I haven’t.

3. I have used 4 tablespoons of ghee in the pongal, in total. You may use more, if you so prefer.

4. Use full-fat milk to make this pongal. I have used Nandini full-cream milk here.

5. Use boiled and cooled milk to make this Vazhaipazham Sakkarai Pongal.

6. You may skip the milk in the Banana Sweet Pongal too. In that case, cook the rice and moong daal in 4-1/2 cups water.

7. 4 whistles on high heat was just right to cook the rice and moong daal in my case. This might differ, depending on the make of the pressure cooker and the quality of ingredients used. Adjust cooking time accordingly.

8. If you feel there are impurities in the jaggery, you might want to filter the syrup before use. I did not find the need to do so.

9. The amount of jaggery you will really need depends on the type you use. Adjust quantity accordingly. In my case, 3 cups worked just fine. Typically, double the amount of jaggery to the amount of rice + moong daal works perfectly.

10. I have used Robusta bananas here. If you want to use any other variety of bananas, you might want to increase or decrease the quantity accordingly.

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Foodie Monday Blog Hop

This recipe is for the Foodie Monday Blog Hop. The theme for the week, as suggested by fellow food blogger Preethi of Preethi’s Cuisine, is #PotluckRecipes. The participants need to share recipes of their specialty dishes, which they would feel confident carrying to a potluck party. I chose to make this Vazhaipazham Sakkarai Pongal or Banana Sweet Pongal for the theme.

I’m also sending this recipe to Fiesta Friday #253. The co-hosts this week are Liz @ Spades, Spatulas, and Spoons and Mila @ Milkandbun.

Coconut & Mango Pulav

Coconut and mango is a classic combination, one that is much loved. The two flavours marry beautifully, which is why they are found together in many dishes like Sticky Rice With Mango, Mango & Coconut Smoothie, Mango & Coconut Bliss Balls, and the like. The dish I present to you today – Coconut & Mango Pulav – uses this classic ingredient combination again, in a very Indian way.

This Coconut & Mango Pulav tastes lovely. The coconut flavour comes from fresh coconut milk, and I have used some of the dried, sugared mangoes that I picked up while holidaying in Thailand recently. I tried out this pulav recently at home on a whim, and it was an instant hit with everyone.

This is a pressure-cooker dish, a one-pot meal that can be put together in mere minutes. It makes for a different-from-the-usual lunch or dinner, perfect for busy weekdays or lazy weekends. Kids will love this Coconut & Mango Pulav – mine did!

Let’s now see how to make this Coconut & Mango Pulav, shall we?

Ingredients (serves 3):

  1. 1 cup rice
  2. 1 cup thick coconut milk
  3. 4-5 beans
  4. 1 medium-sized onion
  5. 1 small carrot
  6. 2 tablespoons shelled green peas
  7. 4 green chillies
  8. Salt to taste
  9. 1 tablespoon oil
  10. 2 small bay leaves (tej patta)
  11. 4 cloves (laung)
  12. 4 cardamom pods (elaichi)
  13. A 1-inch piece of cinnamon (dalchini)
  14. 4 large pieces of dried mango (with sugar)
  15. 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh coriander

Method:

  1. We will first prepare all the vegetables we need to use in the pulav. Peel the carrot and chop finely. Chop the onion finely. Remove the strings from the green beans, and chop them finely. Slit the green chillies length-wise. Keep the prepared vegetables aside.
  2. Wash the rice thoroughly under running water, a couple of times. Drain out all the excess water.
  3. Now, heat the oil in a pressure cooker bottom. Add the bay leaves, cinnamon (broken into two), cardamom and cloves. Let them stay in for a couple of seconds.
  4. Add the chopped onions to the pan, along with the chopped carrot and beans, and the shelled green peas. Saute for a minute.
  5. Add the washed and drained rice to the pressure cooker. Saute for a minute.
  6. Add the 1 cup of coconut milk and 1.5 cups of water. Add in salt to taste and the slit green chillies. Mix well.
  7. Put the pressure cooker lid on. Pressure cook on high flame for 4 whistles. Let the pressure release naturally.
  8. Meanwhile, chop the dried mango into small pieces.
  9. Mix in the finely chopped coriander and the mango bits. Serve immediately.

Notes:

  1. I have used Sona Masoori rice here. You may use any other variety of rice you prefer.
  2. The heat in this pulav comes only from the green chillies. Adjust the quantity of green chillies you use, depending upon how spicy you want the dish to be.
  3. Use only a minimal amount of vegetables in this pulav. Only mango and coconut are supposed to be the dominating flavours here.
  4. I have used dried mango from Thailand here, which had some sugar in it. It was quite soft, so I just had to chop it into pieces and add it to the pulav. There was no need to soak the mango.
  5. Increase or decrease the quantity of dried mango you use, depending upon personal taste preferences.
  6. I have used 1 cup of thick home-made coconut milk here. Alternatively you may use 200 ml of store-bought coconut milk, which roughly comes up to 1 cup.
  7. I have used a 5-litre pressure cooker to make this Coconut & Mango Pulav.
  8. I have used refined oil in this pulav. You may use any oil of your preference or ghee, instead.

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

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I’m sending this recipe to Fiesta Friday #253. The co-hosts this week are Liz @ Spades, Spatulas, and Spoons and Mila @ Milkandbun.

Cocktail Idli Flowers| Beetroot, Carrot & Spinach Mini Idlis

The days are long, but the years are short.”

~ Gretchen Rubin

I think the above quote sums up parenthood (motherhood, in my case) just about perfectly. The countless sleepless nights, never-ending tantrums, spilled food, the tears that seem to come suddenly out of the blue, the endless reasoning and chastising – all of it did seem overwhelming and interminable when I went through it with the bub as a toddler. However, there were also innumerable sloppy kisses, toothless grins, tight hugs, endless cuddling up, reading, visits to the park, baby talk, playing peek-a-boo, dressing up, pretend cooking and what not. These were the good parts, which kind of balanced out the overwhelming bits.

Looking back, I wonder at just how quickly time has passed – the bub is 4 already! I remember a lot of the moments, the memories, we created together, a few of the not-so-good times too. But, really, I wonder, should I have just hugged her, cuddled her, coddled her, a little more, focused a little less on the imperfections? How long will it be before the bub is no longer a small girl, and will no longer want to be held or hugged? 😦

Toddlerhood – the time when a child is between 1 and 3 years of age – is a precious phase. This is the time when kids are at their most notorious, driving their parents up the wall every so often – yet, this is when they are at their most vulnerable and adorable best. This is also when the time when they are exploring the world around them, food included. They are slowly learning to navigate the world, understand what they like and what they don’t and, as parents, it is our duty to help them do just that. In terms of food, toddlers should be exposed to a variety of finger foods – stuff they can easily hold in their little hands and eat on their own. This has a number of benefits, from improvement in gross and fine motor co-ordination and sensory integration to improved bonding with the parents and a deeper sense of ‘home’.

This week, the theme at Foodie Monday Blog Hop is just that – #ToddlerFingerFoods, as suggested by Poonam from Annapurna. For this theme, which is super close to my heart, I decided to prepare pretty Cocktail Idli Flowers, naturally coloured mini idlis arranged into flowers. I have added pureed beetroot, carrot and spinach to home-made batter, to create three different colours of idlis. This has always been a favourite with the bub and when I made it again for her last week, she happily gorged on them all over again.

Cocktail Idli Flowers or Beetroot, Carrot & Spinach Mini Idlis

Let’s now see how to go about making these coloured mini idlis, shall we?

Ingredients (makes about 70 mini idlis of each colour):

  1. 3 cups idli batter, separated
  2. Salt, to taste
  3. 10-12 large spinach (palak) leaves
  4. 1 medium-sized carrot
  5. 2 pinches of turmeric powder
  6. 1/4 of a medium-sized beetroot
  7. Fresh coriander, as needed
  8. Capsicum, cut into sticks, as needed
  9. Oil or ghee, as needed to grease idli plates

Method:

1. Take 1 cup of idli batter in three separate mixing bowls. Keep it tick, without adding any water to it.

2. Wash the spinach leaves thoroughly under running water. Ensure no mud or dirt remains on them.

3. Bring about 1 cup of water to a boil, and add in the spinach leaves. Blanch the spinach – let the leaves stay in the boiling water, on high flame, for 1 minute. Switch off gas, and transfer to a colander. Let all the water from the spinach drain away. Allow to cool completely.

4. Meanwhile, peel the carrot and beetroot. Cut them into large-ish pieces, separately.

5. Pressure cook the carrot and beetroot separately, with a little water, for 3 whistles. Use very little water. Allow the pressure to release naturally.

6. When the blanched spinach has completely cooled down, chop it finely. Grind it in a small mixer, with a little water. Add the spinach puree to the idli batter in one of the mixing bowls. Add salt to taste. Mix well. Keep aside.

7. Drain out the water from the cooked beetroot. Chop finely. Grind to a puree in a mixer, using very little water. Mix the beetroot puree to the idli batter in the second ball, along with salt to taste. Mix well. Keep aside.

8. Similarly, drain out the water from the cooked carrot. Chop it finely, and grind to a puree using a little water. Add the carrot puree to the idli batter in the third mixing bowl. Add salt to taste and turmeric powder. Mix well. Keep aside.

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When idli batter looks so pretty!

9. Grease mini idli plates with oil or ghee and keep ready.

10. Spoon a little idli batter into each cavity of the greased plate, one colour at a time. Steam for 12 minutes. Allow to cool down a bit and then remove the cooked idlis.

11. Arrange the idlis in the shape of flowers on a serving plate, warm or at room temperature. Decorate them with sticks of capsicum and fresh coriander. Serve immediately.

Notes:

1. Don’t add any water to the idli batter. Keep it thick, since you will be adding pureed vegetables to it later.

2. You may add a little ginger and green chilly paste to the batter too. I haven’t.

3. While chopping the cooked veggies and pureeing them, make sure the colours don’t mix. Do the chopping and grinding one vegetable at a time, washing the knife and mixer thoroughly in between uses.

4. Since we are grinding very small quantities of veggies here, use the smallest jar of the mixer.

5. Add very little water while grinding the cooked veggies, otherwise the batter will become runny and the idlis will not turn out well.

6. You can serve these mini idlis with sambar, chutney or podi of your choice, but they don’t really need any accompaniment.

7. I have used a gas-based mini idli cooker to steam these colourful idlis. It is a time-consuming and laborious affair, indeed, to make them, but the end result is totally worth it. You may use ordinary idli plates with big cavities to steam the idlis instead, too.

8. Don’t steam the idlis for any more than 12 minutes. First, let the water in the idli cooker base come to a boil, then place the plates with the idlis on, and cook for exactly 12 minutes. More than this, and the idlis stand a chance of becoming hard.

9. You may add a couple of pinches of baking soda or Eno Fruit Salt (plain) to the batter, just before steaming. I haven’t.

10. Allow the steamed idlis to cool down slightly before removing them. Otherwise, they’ll be too sticky and might lose their shape.

11. 70 idlis of each colour might seem like a very large number, but I’m talking about very small, ‘baby’ idlis here. An adult can easily have 20 of these at a go, at the very least.

12. Any leftover mini idlis can be made into a stir-fry or upma the next day.

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This recipe is for the Foodie Monday Blog Hop. The theme for the week is #ToddlerFingerFoods.

I’m also sending this recipe to Fiesta Friday #253. The co-hosts this week are Liz @ Spades, Spatulas, and Spoons and Mila @ Milkandbun.

Mumbai Vada Pav Recipe| How To Make Vada Pav

Vada Pav is one of the lifelines of the Maharashtrian city of Mumbai, ranking right up there with the city’s bus transport and suburban railway systems. It is common man’s food, very pocket-friendly, easily available on the streets at any time of the day (or night). The Mumbaikars are known to grab a vada pav off a street-side stall, and eat it on the go, on the way to work or while travelling for personal errands. Today, I present to you the Mumbai vada pav recipe, which I prepared for the Sshhh Cooking Secretly Challenge.

For the uninitiated, vada pav refers to a deep-fried potato patty (batata vada) sandwiched between two buttery slices of thick bread (pav). Typically served bundled up in a piece of newspaper, along with fried green chillies and a dry garlic chutney, vada pav is a yummylicious treat much loved by all and sundry. Because of its resemblance to a burger, vada pav is also referred to sometimes as Bombay (erstwhile Mumbai) Burger. There are quite a few stories about how exactly the vada pav came into existence, but there is no doubt about the fact that it originated in Mumbai. However, today, vada pav is now commonly available across the length and breadth of India.

Let us now check out the famous Mumbai Vada Pav recipe.

Recipe courtesy: My Ginger Garlic Kitchen, with slight variations

Ingredients (makes 8-10 pieces):

For the batata (potato) vada:

  1. 4 large potatoes
  2. Salt to taste
  3. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  4. 2 green chillies
  5. A 1-inch piece of ginger
  6. 3-4 cloves of garlic
  7. 1 tablespoon oil + more for deep frying
  8. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  9. 2 pinches of asafoetida
  10. 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander
  11. A dash of lemon juice
  12. 1-1/2 cups besan or gram flour
  13. 2 tablespoons rice flour

For the dry garlic chutney:

  1. 1/4 cup grated coconut
  2. 4 dry red chillies
  3. Salt to taste
  4. 8-10 cloves of garlic
  5. 4 tablespoons peanuts
  6. 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
  7. 2 teaspoons red chilli powder or to taste

Other ingredients:

  1. 8-10 ladi pav
  2. Salted butter, as needed
  3. Sweet-sour tamarind chutney, as needed
  4. Spicy green chutney, as needed
  5. Green chillies as needed, to serve alongside the vada pav (optional)

Method:

Let us first get the dry garlic chutney ready.

  1. Peel the garlic cloves needed for the chutney, and keep them ready.
  2. Get a pan nice and hot, then turn the flame down to medium.
  3. Now, add the peanuts, sesame seeds, broken dry red chillies, grated coconut and peeled garlic cloves to the pan. Dry roast on medium heat for 2-3 minutes, taking care not to burn any of the ingredients.
  4. Transfer the roasted ingredients to a plate, and allow them to cool down completely.
  5. Once fully cool, take the roasted ingredients in a small mixer jar. Add in red chilli powder and salt to taste. Pulse a couple of times, a second each time, stopping in between to scrape down the sides of the mixer jar. Stop when you get a coarse powder. Remember to pulse and not grind constantly – grinding will turn the ingredients into a paste, but what you need is a coarse powder.
  6. Keep the dry garlic chutney aside for use in the vada pav later.

We will then get the filling for the vadas ready.

  1. Wash the potatoes thoroughly under running water a couple of times. Ensure that no dirt remains on them.
  2. Cut the potatoes into quarters and place them in a wide vessel. Fill in just enough water to immerse the potatoes.
  3. Place the vessel in a pressure cooker. Pressure cook for 4 whistles. Let the pressure release naturally.
  4. Once the pressure has entirely gone down, remove the cooked potatoes and allow to cool. Peel and mash them roughly. Keep aside.
  5. Peel the ginger and garlic cloves. Chop the ginger and green chillies. Grind the ginger, garlic and green chillies to a paste in a small mixer, using a little water. Keep aside.
  6. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a pan. Add the mustard seeds and allow them to pop. Add the asafoetida, and let it stay in for a couple of seconds. Now, add the mashed potatoes, salt to taste, turmeric powder and the ginger-garlic-green chilly paste. Cook on medium flame for 2-3 minutes, stirring intermittently.
  7. Switch off gas. Mix in the lemon juice and finely chopped coriander. The vada filling is ready – allow it to cool down completely before using it.

We will now prepare the batter for the vadas.

  1. Take the gram flour, rice flour and salt to taste in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add water little by little to get a thick batter that is not too runny. Ensure that the batter is free of lumps.

Now, we will prepare the vadas.

  1. Take oil for deep frying in a pan. Set it on high flame and allow it to heat up well.
  2. Meanwhile, divide the potato filling we prepared earlier into 8-10 equal parts.
  3. When the oil is nice and hot, dip a couple of the potato filling balls in the batter. Coat them evenly in the batter, and then drop into the hot oil. Fry on medium flame till the vadas are brown on the outside and well-done from the inside. You can fry about 2 vadas at a time, typically, without overcrowding the pan. Transfer the fried vadas to a plate.
  4. Fry all the vadas in a similar manner. Keep ready.
  5. If you are using green chillies, fry them on medium flame, in the leftover oil, till their skin blisters. Transfer to a plate and drizzle some salt over the fried chillies. Keep aside.

Now, while the vadas are still hot, we will assemble the vada pav.

  1. Cut one ladi pav into half.
  2. Heat a thick dosa pan, and add some butter in the centre. Reduce the flame to low and lightly toast both sides of the ladi pav in the butter.
  3. Spread some sweet-sour tamarind chutney and spicy green chutney evenly on both sides of the pav.
  4. Spread some dry garlic chutney on the bottom of the pav.
  5. Slightly flatten one vada and place it on the bottom part of the pav. Add some more dry garlic chutney on top of the vada.
  6. Cover it with the top half of the pav, and press down slightly.
  7. Serve immediately, with fried green chillies on the side.
  8. Prepare all the vada pav in a similar fashion.

Notes:

  1. I have used ordinary red chilli powder in the dry garlic chutney. You may use Kashmiri chilli powder instead, for a deeper red colour and less heat.
  2. Any leftover dry garlic chutney can be refrigerated and stored for up to a week. It can be used along with rotis and parathas, or mixed in oil and served with dosas.
  3. Torn curry leaves can be added to the potato filling, if you so desire. I don’t, because we don’t enjoy biting into them.
  4. Skip the lemon juice in the potato filling, if you don’t prefer it. I add it, because we like it.
  5. I normally use store-bought ladi pav to make this dish. You can make the pav at home from scratch too, if you want to.
  6. Click here to get my recipe for spicy green chutney.
  7. Click here to get my recipe for sweet-sour tamarind chutney.
  8. You can prepare the dry garlic chutney, the sweet-sour tamarind chutney, and the spicy green chutney in advance and refrigerate it. This way, you just need to make the vadas on the day you plan to serve the vada pav.
  9. Any leftover fried vadas can be served separately or used in other dishes, later.
  10. The recipe for batata (potato) vadas stated above is the Maharashtrian way of making them. Other states – like Tamilnadu for instance or, say, Gujarat – have slightly different ways of making potato vadas.

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shhh-secretly-challenge-image

This post is for the Ssshhh Cooking Secretly Challenge group that I am part of. Every month, the participants of the group cook dishes from a particular part of India, using two secret ingredients assigned to them. This month, all of us over are cooking dishes from the Indian state of Maharashtra. My partner for the month, Priya Satheesh from Priya’s Menu, gave me two secret ingredients – peanuts and coconut – and I decided to use them in this Mumbai Vada Pav recipe. My talented co-blogger prepared a delicious Vatana Usal using the two secret ingredients I gave her i.e. peas and potato.
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.
Did you like this Mumbai Vada Pav recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!

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

Choclo Al Comino| Peruvian Style Corn With Cumin & Lemon

Choclo Al Comino, the very simple recipe that I bring to you today comes all the way from Peru. Peru (officially, The Republic of Peru) is a country in South America that I have always been fascinated by, thanks to its history of many ancient civilisations like the Incas. It is, after all, home to Machu Picchu, that 15th-century Inca place that is one of the seven wonders of the world, and features on most travellers’ bucket list. The same can be said of the Amazonian rainforest that is the pride of Peru, too.

Peruvian cuisine includes dishes cooked by its indigenous people, as well as those brought in by immigrants to the country in later years, such as the Spanish, Italians, Asians, Germans and Africans. Tubers like potatoes and yams, a variety of beans and other legumes, chilli peppers, kiwicha, quinoa and corn are the staples of Peruvian cuisine. The cuisine includes a number of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes, as well as several desserts. (Information courtesy: Wikipedia)

Choclo Al Comino is a ‘piqueo‘ (a hors d’ouevre or appetiser) in Peru, typically made with Choclo or the giant corn that is native to the country. Unlike the sweet corn that is commonly available in India, choclo does not have a sweetness to it – it should be more like our desi corn, I am guessing. Boiled kernels of Peruvian corn are sauteed in butter, seasoned with salt and pepper, with a dash of cumin and lemon, to make Choclo Al Comino. It is quite a simple thing to prepare, but one that is extremely delightful when served hot.

The theme this week at Foodie Monday Blog Hop is #InternationalFeast, wherein members are exploring cuisines beyond the realm of India. I chose to make Choclo Al Comino from Peru for the challenge, with Indian sweet corn in the absence of the Peruvian choclo. Well, it turned out absolutely lovely, a pleasure to tuck into, just as I had expected it would be. Our family has a new favourite way to eat corn now!

Let’s now check out how I made the Choclo Al Comino or Peruvian Style Corn With Cumin And Lemon, shall we?

Recipe adapted from: Peru Delights

Ingredients (serves 3-4):

  1. 2 big cobs of corn
  2. Salt to taste
  3. About 4 tablespoons of salted butter
  4. 1 tablespoon sugar
  5. 1 teaspoon pepper powder or to taste
  6. 1 teaspoon roasted cumin powder
  7. 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander leaves
  8. A dash of lemon juice

Method:

1. Remove the husks and fibres from the corn cobs. Separate the kernels from the cobs.

2. Place the corn kernels in a pan, and add in just enough water to cover them. Add a little salt.

3. Place the pan on high flame and bring the water to a boil. Then, lower the flame to medium. Keep the pan on medium heat till the corn kernels are cooked. Don’t overly cook the corn kernels – they should be just done and retain their crunch. Switch off the gas at this stage. After the water boils, it should take just about 2 minutes for the corn to cook.

4. When done, transfer the corn kernels to a colander and place in the kitchen sink. Allow all the water to drain out.

5. Heat the butter in a pan. When it melts, turn the flame to medium. Add the cooked corn kernels, the sugar, and salt to taste. Saute on medium flame for a minute, stirring intermittently.

6. Add roasted cumin powder and pepper powder to the pan. Mix well. Saute on medium flame for a minute more. Switch off gas.

7. Mix in lemon juice.

8. Serve immediately, garnished with finely chopped coriander.

Notes:

1. Peruvian giant corn, also called choclo, is typically used to make this dish. In the absence of that, I have used Indian sweet corn.

2. Use sweet corn that is fresh, but not too tender. Only then will it be easy to separate the corn kernels from the cobs. You may use Indian desi corn as well.

3. If the corn you have is sweet enough, you can skip adding the sugar. I used it because the corn I had wasn’t very sweet.

4. The original recipe doesn’t call for coriander, but I have used it here. I felt it added a nice touch to the dish.

5. I have used Amul salted butter in this dish. I think using garlic butter instead would have had a lovely result as well.

6. The original recipe calls for the use of 1/3 cup butter. I have used only about 4 tablespoons.

7. To make roasted cumin powder, heat a pan and add a handful of cumin seeds to it. Dry roast on medium heat till the cumin emits a lovely fragrance. Allow to cool, then make a fine powder in a mixer. Store in a clean, dry, air-tight bottle and use as needed.

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This post is for the Foodie Monday Blog Hop, for the #InternationalFeast challenge.

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

Green Chickpea Salad| Hara Chana Chaat

I bring to you today a healthy snack for those in-between-meal hunger pangs. This is also a perfect snack to whip up for when you want to eat something lovely, which will not make you feel guilty later. This Hara Chana Chaat, made using dried green chickpeas, is super easy to make, yet so delicious!

Here’s how to make this Hara Chana Chaat or Green Chickpea Salad.

Ingredients (serves 2-3):

  1. 1/2 cup dry green chickpeas aka hara chana
  2. A small piece of raw mango (optional)
  3. 1 small tomato
  4. A small piece of carrot
  5. 1 small onion
  6. 1 small cucumber
  7. 1 green chilly
  8. 1 tablespoon finely grated fresh coriander
  9. 1 teaspoon roasted cumin (jeera) powder
  10. A dash of chaat masala
  11. 1/2 teaspoon black salt (kala namak)
  12. Table salt, to taste
  13. Juice of 1 lemon or to taste

Method:

  1. Soak the dried green chickpeas for 8-10 hours or overnight, using just enough plain water to cover them.
  2. When the chickpeas are done soaking, discard the water they were soaked in. Add in just enough fresh water to cover them. Pressure cook for 4 whistles on high flame. Let the pressure release naturally.
  3. In the meanwhile, chop the onion, cucumber and tomato finely. Peel the carrot and grate finely. Peel the raw mango and chop finely (if using). Chop the green chilly very finely. Keep aside.
  4. When all the pressure has gone down, remove the cooked chickpeas from the cooker. Drain out all the water in which the chickpeas cooked and reserve it – see notes for what to do with this. Place the fully-drained chickpeas in a large mixing bowl.
  5. Add the chopped onion, cucumber, tomato, raw mango (if using), green chilly to the mixing bowl. Add the grated carrot and finely chopped coriander to the bowl.
  6. Add table salt to taste, chaat masala, black salt, roasted cumin powder and lemon juice to the mixing bowl. Mix well. Your Green Chickpea Salad or Hara Chana Chaat is ready – place it in serving bowls and serve immediately.

Notes:

  1. Use a no-seed variety of cucumber, for best results. There’s no need to peel the cucumber. Here, I have used mini cucumbers from Mapletree Farms.
  2. Using the raw mango is optional. If you are using it, though, you might want to reduce the quantity of lemon juice you use.
  3. Be careful while adding the table salt. You will be adding chaat masala and black salt to the salad as well, both of which have saltiness of their own.
  4. You may add any other veggies of your choice to the salad – bell peppers, boiled sweet corn, etc.
  5. I have used dry green chickpeas here. You can use fresh ones, instead, too. You may even use other varieties of chickpeas – like kabuli chana, brown chana, etc.
  6. I discard the water in which the chana has been soaked overnight, in the morning. I pressure cook the chana with fresh water. This water is drained out and used in a rasam or soup. Only fully-drained chana are used in the salad.
  7. I have used store-bought black salt and chaat masala to make this Green Chickpea Salad.
  8. To make roasted cumin powder, I dry roast a handful of cumin (jeera) in a pan on medium flame till fragrant, taking care not to burn it. When the roasted cumin has entirely cooled down, dry grind in a mixer to a fine powder. You can even grind it coarsely if you so desire. Store in a clean, dry, air-tight container, and use as needed.
  9. Do not let the Green Chickpea Salad sit around for too long after preparing it, as it tends to release a lot of water in that case. For best taste, serve it immediately after preparing.

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

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I’m sharing this post with My Legume Love Affair (MLLA) #122, a monthly event wherein participants from around the world share vegetarian legume-based recipes.

my legume love affair

This month, the event is being hosted by Renu of Cook With Renu. This event was started by Susan of The Well-Seasoned Cook and Lisa of Lisa’s Kitchen.

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

Keerai Poriyal| Rainbow Chard Stir-Fry

Until very recently, Rainbow Chard was something I only ever read about on international food blogs. It wasn’t readily available in India – it still isn’t, in the mainstream market. If at all we find a vendor selling it, it costs a bomb. No wonder it isn’t a popular green in Indian households! A pity, considering how full of nutrition the greens are, and oh-so-pretty with those gorgeously coloured stalks!

Just a couple of weeks ago, I found Mapletree Farms from Hosur selling their organically grown produce at Ragi Kana, a very non-commercial market that happens every Sunday at Bannerghatta, an event that I have come to love. I was thrilled to find Swiss Chard and Rainbow Chard among the veggies on offer by Mapletree – all of which was very fresh, very much grown locally, without the use of pesticides, and priced quite nominally too. I simply had to pick up some of their produce, Swiss Chard included – I’d be a fool not to! I must say I am thrilled with the variety of greens, fruits and veggies that Mapletree offers; it has been an out-and-out delight using this great-quality produce in my kitchen. I can’t see myself not being a regular customer of theirs! (An honest, straight-out-of-the-heart review that I make without any commercials involved.)

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The Swiss Rainbow Chard that I picked up at Ragi Kana last week. When greens look as good as that, how do you not click them?!

I used the Rainbow Chard leaves in a very Tamilian stir-fry, a Keerai Poriyal. This is an easy preparation, one that takes bare minutes to put together, and is quite a delicious way to get all the nutrition from those greens in. All of us at home absolutely loved it! It made a wonderful pair with the sambar rice I served it with.

Keerai Poriyal or Tamilnadu-Style Rainbow Chard Stir-Fry

Let’s now check out the recipe I used for the Keerai Poriyal or Rainbow Chard Stir-Fry, shall we?

Ingredients (serves 2):

  1. 1 medium-sized bunch of Swiss chard, roughly 3 cups when finely chopped
  2. 1 tablespoon oil
  3. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds aka rai
  4. 2 pinches of asafoetida or hing
  5. 1 teaspoon cumin seeds or jeera
  6. 1 teaspoon split white urad dal
  7. 2-3 dry red chillies
  8. Salt to taste
  9. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  10. 1 tablespoon sugar, or to taste
  11. 1/4 cup fresh grated coconut

Method:

  1. Wash the greens well under running water. Place them in a colander for a few minutes, and let all the water drain away.
  2. Chop the greens finely. Keep aside.
  3. Heat oil in a pan. Add the mustard seeds, and let them pop. Add the dry red chillies, cumin, urad dal and asafoetida. Let them stay in for a couple of seconds, or till the urad dal begins to brown. Take care to ensure that the ingredients do not burn.
  4. Now, turn the flame down to medium. Add the finely chopped greens to the pan. Cook, stirring intermittently, till the greens wilt, about 2 minutes.
  5. Lightly salt the greens, and add the sugar and turmeric powder. Mix well. Cook on medium flame, stirring intermittently, till everything is well incorporated together. In another 2 minutes or so, any water draining out of the greens should have dried up, and the stir-fry should get dry.
  6. Add the coconut at this stage. Mix well. Cook on medium flame for a minute more. Switch off gas.
  7. Serve hot or at room temperature with hot rice, along with morkozhambu, rasam, sambar or vattalkozhambu.

Notes:

  1. Gingelly oil or coconut oil works best, in this Keerai Poriyal. If you don’t have either, though, any other variety of oil you prefer can be used.
  2. Some green peas, chopped carrot, boiled chickpeas or cowpeas, garlic cloves, pearl onions, chopped beans or red onion can be added to the Swiss Chard Stir-Fry too. We usually keep it really simple, though, and use only the greens.
  3. Any other greens (spinach or amaranth, for example) can be used to make a stir-fry in a similar manner, instead of Swiss Chard. You can even mix 2-3 varieties of greens.
  4. Be careful while adding the salt. The greens don’t withstand salt very well – the dish can become overly salty if you aren’t cautious.
  5. Adjust the quantity of coconut you use, depending upon personal taste preferences.
  6. Chop the greens finely, for a great consistency of the Keerai Poriyal.
  7. You may skip the sugar entirely, but I like adding it in. It balances out any slight bitterness that the greens might have.
  8. Finely chopped coriander or curry leaves can be added to the stir-fry too. We usually don’t.
  9. The heat in this Keerai Poriyal comes only from the dried red chillies. If you want more spiciness, you may add in a dash of red chilli powder, but that does not really belong in an authentic Keerai Poriyal.
  10. Do not add any water while cooking the stir-fry. The greens will release enough juices of their own, and the stir-fry will have enough liquid to cook in. Cook the stir-fry uncovered.

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

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

Mor Keerai| Keerai Mor Kootu

The first of the winter greens have started appearing in the markets, here in Bangalore. It is a soothing sight to see those lush, fresh greens piled up at the vegetable vendor’s. I love playing with leafy greens any day, and winter provides me just the perfect opportunity to cook with a variety of them. Spinach or palak is one of the most commonly used greens in India, and I present to you today a beautiful way to use them. Say hello to a traditional Tamilnadu recipe – Mor Keerai or Keerai Mor Kootu, using spinach.

Here, spinach is cooked and mixed with a freshly ground spice paste (that includes coconut and a few other ingredients), to which whisked curd is added later. The addition of curd is what gives this dish the name of Mor Keerai or Keerai Mor Kootu (‘Mor‘ is Tamil for ‘buttermilk’, while ‘keerai‘ refers to any sort of leafy greens. ‘Kootu‘ refers to the South Indian style of preparing a curry, usually of the runny sort that can be mixed with rice and eaten.)

Mor Keerai or Keerai Mor Kootu can be made using any variety of greens, but I love making it with spinach the most. I adore the combination of spinach and curd, along with the ground coconut and other spices that goes into the making of this kootu. This Mor Keerai is traditionally used as an accompaniment with plain, steamed rice, but I love having it with rotis as well.

Different Tamilian families have their own minor variations to the Mor Keerai, while the basic proceedure to prepare it remains, more or less, the same. The recipe below is the way we prepare it, the way we have always done in our family. Do try out this kootu – a delight to make, considering that it can be put together in minutes, and a pleasure to savour!

Ingredients (serves 4):

  1. 3 cups finely chopped spinach, tightly packed
  2. Salt to taste
  3. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  4. 1 teaspoon oil
  5. 1 tablespoon rice flour

For the tempering:

  1. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  2. 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  3. 2 dry red chillies
  4. 3/4 cup curd or to taste
  5. 2 pinches of asafoetida

To grind:

  1. 3 tablespoons fresh grated coconut
  2. 2 tablespoons chana daal
  3. 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  4. 4 dry red chillies
  5. 1 teaspoon oil

Method:

We will first cook the spinach and keep it ready.

  1. Take the finely chopped spinach in a large vessel, along with a little salt, the turmeric powder, and 1/2 cup water.
  2. Pressure cook for 4 whistles. Let the pressure release naturally. Keep the cooked spinach aside.

Now, we will prepare the spice paste.

  1. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a pan.
  2. Add in all the ingredients to be ground to a paste, except the coconut – dry red chillies, chana daal and cumin seeds. Fry on medium flame till they begin to turn brown, taking care to ensure that the ingredients do not burn.
  3. Now, add in the coconut, and fry on medium flame for a few seconds, again ensuring that the ingredients do not burn. Switch off gas.
  4. Transfer all the fried ingredients to a plate, and allow to cool down completely.
  5. When the fried ingredients have completely cooled down, grind them to a fine paste with a little water. Keep aside.

Now, we will temper the cooked spinach and add in the ground spice paste.

  1. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a pan. Add in the mustard seeds, and allow them to pop.
  2. Add the dry red chillies, cumin seeds and the asafoetida (for the tempering).
  3. Allow them to stay in for a couple of seconds.
  4. Add the cooked spinach to the pan, along with the spice paste we ground earlier and the rice flour. Mix well, ensuring that no lumps remain.
  5. Cook on medium flame for about 2 minutes, or till the mixture thickens.
  6. You may add in a bit of water, if you think the mixture is too thick. Taste and adjust salt if needed too. Switch off gas.

Lastly, we will mix in the curd.

  1. Whisk the curd till smooth, and add it to the pan, after the gas has been turned off.
  2. Mix well.

Notes:

  1. You can use a tablespoon of fried gram (pottukadalai) or raw rice while grinding the spice paste, which will later help in thickening the Keerai Mor Kootu. If you are using any of these two ingredients, skip adding the rice flour to the kootu.
  2. Finely chopped garlic can be added to the tempering, if you so prefer, as can curry leaves. We usually don’t add either of these.
  3. Use curd that is fresh and not overly sour, for best results. I used home-made curd that was thick but runny. Adjust the quantity of curd you use, depending upon your personal taste preferences.
  4. Coconut oil or gingelly oil works best in the making of this Mor Kootu.
  5. Adjust the quantity of grated coconut as per personal taste preferences.
  6. Chop the spinach (palak) finely, for beautiful consistency of the Mor Kootu.
  7. You can use any other greens of your choice in a similar manner, to make Mor Kootu, instead of spinach.
  8. Adjust the quantity of dry red chillies you use in the spice paste, depending upon how spicy you want the kootu to be. I have used Salem Gundu chillies here, which are quite spicy.
  9. Add the curd at the very end, after the greens are cooked and the gas has been turned off. It is okay if the kootu is still hot while you add the curd.
  10. Don’t cook the kootu after the curd has been added to it. If you plan to serve it later, you may lightly heat up the Mor Kootu while serving, but don’t overdo it.

Do you like the recipe? Do let me know, in your comments!

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Foodie Monday Blog HopThis recipe is for the Foodie Monday Blog Hop. The theme for the week is ‘#SaagSaga‘, wherein members need to prepare a curry using any of the leafy greens of winter.

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