Mambazha Sambar| Ripe Mango Sambar

Mambazha Sambar is a summer-time delicacy in many Tamilian households. It refers to sambar made using ripe mango, usually with a freshly ground spice paste. With its mildly sweetish, sour and spicy tastes, this sambar surely is a flavour bomb. The mango-ey smell that fills the air when this sambar is cooking is absolutely heavenly, too!

This Mambazha Sambar is a recipe from my husband’s side of the family – we make more of raw mango sambar in my mom and dad’s side. I learnt how to make this after I got married and, now, the extended family loves the way I make it. We usually make a big batch of this Mambazha Sambar for lunch, to go with hot rice, and have the leftover with idli or dosa for dinner – a lovely combination either way!

Let me share with you all, today, how we go about making this dish at home. Do make it while ripe mangoes are still in season!

Mambazha Sambar, quite the flavour bomb!

You might also want to check out my recipes for Thai Sticky Rice With Mango, Mambazha Pulissery and Mango Lassi. Also, do check out our family recipe for Pala Kottai Sambar, another traditional Tamilnadu summer delicacy i.e. sambar made with jackfruit seeds.

What is sambar?

Sambar‘ refers to a sort of stew from South India that is typically made using vegetables and lentils. It acts as an accompaniment for rice and tiffin dishes like idli, dosa and vada. There are variations to the sambar made in different states of South India – in fact, there are a few variations that exist within each state itself. Here’s a recipe for Udupi Sambar, which is commonly served in the darshinis of Bangalore.

Tamilnadu sambar can be broadly divided into two categories:

  1. One made with a freshly ground paste consisting of coconut, dry red chillies, chana dal and other ingredients. This type of sambar is called Arachuvitta Sambar, which literally translates into ‘sambar containing a ground paste’.
  2. One made with sambar podi, which is a dry powder made using various roasted and ground spices. This version is called ‘podi potta sambar‘.

While sambar is typically made with toor dal, there is a variety we make using moong dal too, called Pasi Paruppu Sambar. Here’s our family recipe.

What goes into Mambazha Sambar

Like I was saying earlier, Mambazha Sambar is made with ripe mangoes and a freshly ground spice paste. It, therefore, falls under the category of ‘arachuvitta sambar‘.

The spice paste gives the sambar body and flavour, and is made using ingredients like fresh coconut, coriander seeds, chana dal and dry red chillies. Cooked toor dal is also used to add texture to the sambar. Tamarind extract and a bit of jaggery are used to balance the sweet-sour taste of the mangoes.

The Mambazha Sambar is tempered with fenugreek seeds and dry red chillies apart from the usual mustard, asafoetida and curry leaves.

Shhh Cooking Secretly Challenge

I am sharing this recipe in association with the Shhh Cooking Secretly Challenge, a group that I am part of.

The Shhh Cooking Secretly Challenge is run by a group of enthusiastic food bloggers, who share recipes based on a pre-determined theme every month. The group members are divided into pairs. Each pair exchanges two ingredients secretly, unknown to the rest of the group. The pairs then use these secret ingredients to prepare a dish that fits into the theme of the month. The other group members try to guess the secret ingredients, after seeing a picture of the dish. It’s quite a fun challenge!

The theme for May 2022 was ‘mango-based dishes’, suggested by Mayuri ji, author of Mayuri’s Jikoni. She suggested we prepare any dish of our choice using either ripe or raw mangoes, and I chose to showcase this family favourite Mambazha Sambar. Mayuri ji prepared this delectable Fajeto or Gujarati Ripe Mango Kadhi for the challenge.

I was paired with Radha of Magical Ingredients for the month. She gave me two versatile ingredients to work with – salt and curry leaves – which fit right into this recipe. 😊 I suggested she make something using flour and butter, and she prepared this amazing Mango Melon Pan.

How to make Mambazha Sambar

This flavourful sambar is not very difficult to put together. The proceedure is outlined below in detail.

Ingredients (serves 4-6):

For the spice paste:

1. 4-5 Bydagi dry red chillies

2. 2-3 Salem Gundu dry red chillies

3. 2 tablespoons coriander seeds

4. 1 tablespoon chana dal

5. 1 teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)

6. A pinch of fenugreek seeds (methi)

7. About 1/4 cup of fresh coconut pieces

8. A few drops of oil

Other ingredients:

1. 1/2 cup toor dal

2. A small ball of tamarind

3. 3 small ripe mangoes

4. Salt to taste

5. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

6. Red chilli powder as needed (optional)

6. 1 tablespoon jaggery powder or as needed

Tempering and garnishing:

1. 1 tablespoon sesame oil

2. 3/4 teaspoon mustard seeds

3. 2 pinches of asafoetida

4. 2 sprigs of fresh curry leaves

5. 2 dry red chillies

6. 2 pinches of fenugreek seeds

7. 1 tablespoon finely chopped coriander

Method:

Top left and right: Steps 1 and 2, Below top right: Step 3, Bottom right and left: Steps 4 and 5

1. Wash the toor dal well and drain out all the water from it.

2. Take the washed and drained toor dal in a wide vessel. Add in enough fresh water to cover the dal completely. Place the vessel in a pressure cooker and cook on high flame for 7-8 whistles. The toor dal should be well cooked and soft. Let the pressure release naturally.

3. Soak the tamarind in boiling water, for it to soften. Let it cool down enough to handle.

4. Peel the mangoes. Chop the flesh into large pieces. Scrape off all the flesh from the seeds too. Collect any juice that flows out.

5. Measure out all the ingredients needed to make the spice paste.

Top left, centre and right: Step 6, Bottom left, centre and right: Steps 7, 8 and 9

6. Now, we will prepare the spice paste. Heat a few drops of oil in a heavy-bottomed pan and add in the Bydagi dry red chillies, Salem Gundu dry red chillies, coriander seeds, chana dal, cumin and fenugreek seeds. Turn the flame down to medium. Roast the ingredients on medium flame for 3-4 minutes or till the lentils turn brown – take care to ensure that they do not burn. At this stage, add in the coconut and roast for just 2 seconds. Transfer the roasted ingredients to a plate immediately and let them cool down completely.

7. When the pressure from the cooker has completely gone down, get the cooked toor dal out. Mash it thoroughly and keep aside.

8. Extract all the juice from the tamarind, once it has cooled down. Use water as needed to help with the extraction. Keep aside.

9. When the roasted ingredients have cooled down completely, grind everything together to a smooth paste in a small mixer jar, using a little water. Keep aside.

Top left: Step 10, Top centre and right: Step 11, Bottom left and centre: Step 12, Bottom right: Step 13

10. Now, we will start preparing the Mambazha Sambar. Take the tamarind in a heavy-bottomed pan and place on high flame. Allow to cook for 4-5 minutes or till the raw smell of the tamarind is gone.

11. Add in the mangoes and a bit of salt. Mix well.

12. Next, add the cooked and mashed toor dal and the spice paste we ground earlier. Add in about a cup of water. Mix well.

13. Cook on medium flame for 3-4 minutes or till the sambar starts thickening and coming together.

Top left and right: Step 14, Below top right: Step 15, Bottom right: Step 16, Bottom left: The Mambazha Sambar, ready to serve

14. Add jaggery powder and red chilli powder, if using. Adjust the salt. Mix well. Cook for about a minute, then switch off gas.

15. In a small tempering pan, heat the oil. Add in the mustard and allow it to sputter. Then, add in the asafoetida, curry leaves, fenugreek seeds and dry red chillies. Let these ingredients stay in for a few seconds, ensuring that they do not burn. Now, add this tempering to the prepared sambar.

16. Add in the finely chopped coriander. Mix well. Keep closed for about 10 minutes, after which your Mambazha Sambar is ready to serve.

Vegan and gluten-free

This Mambazha Sambar recipe is completely vegetarian and vegan, suited to those following a plant-based diet.

To make it gluten-free, skip the asafoetida used in the tempering. Most commercially available Indian brands of asafoetida do contain wheat flour, and are therefore best avoided when one is following a gluten-free diet. However, if you can find 100% gluten-free asafoetida, do go ahead and use it.

This is a no-onion, no-garlic recipe.

Tips & Tricks

1. Use mangoes that are juicy and ripe, but not overly so. They should be firm to the touch and a good mix of sweet and sour. I used 2 small Sindhoora mangoes and 1 small Banganapalli.

2. Adjust the quantity of jaggery powder and tamarind depending upon how sweet and sour the mangoes are.

3. For best results, the mango pieces should not be overly cooked. That is why they are added in after the tamarind extract has cooked well and lost its raw smell.

4. I have used a mix of the spicy Salem Gundu dry red chillies and the not-so-hot Bydagi dry red chillies here. You can use any variety you prefer. Adjust the quantity of dry red chillies as per personal taste preferences.

5. The red chilli powder is optional. Use it only when you feel the heat from the dry red chillies is not enough. Ideally, this Mambazha Sambar should be gently sweetish, with just the right amount of spiciness and sourness to balance it out.

6. Adjust the amount of water you use, depending upon the consistency of the sambar you require.

7. Sesame oil (‘nalla ennai‘ in Tamil) tastes best in this sambar. However, you may also use ghee or any other variety of oil for the tempering.

8. Here, I have done the tempering at the very end so the smell of the sesame oil remains intact. You could even do so before beginning to cook the dish.

9. The Mambazha Sambar thickens up even after you stop cooking. Keep it a little runny so that the consistency is perfect when you serve it.

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

Gojju Podi| Gojjina Pudi

Gojju‘ (aka ‘gotsu‘) is an integral part of South Indian cuisine, especially in Tamilnadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. I would describe it as a sort of relish, an intensely flavourful gravy that makes for a great side dish to rotis, dosa, pongal, idlis, upma and the likes. Do check out the recipes for a unique Strawberry Gojju and a rustic Sutta Kathrikkai Gojju made with fire-roasted eggplant.

The Tamilnadu gojju varieties (at least the ones that we make at home) are simple, often flavoured with sambar or rasam powder. In Karnataka, however, gojju is more full-bodied and elaborate, requiring the use of a special spice mix. This spice mix (called ‘gojju podi‘ or ‘gojjina pudi‘) is exactly what we are going to talk about in today’s post. I am going to share our family recipe for Karnataka-style Gojjina Pudi today, courtesy of my aunt. In another blog post, soon, I will tell you how to go about using this spice mix to make gojju.

Karnataka-style Gojjina Pudi

A closer look at Gojjina Pudi

Gojjina Pudi is made using ingredients like dry red chillies, dry coconut, black pepper, fenugreek seeds and coriander seeds. It is a handy thing to have around the kitchen – it can be used to make delicious gojju any time, any day. Vegetables like okra, capsicum, tomatoes, onions and bitter gourd can be used in a gojju, as can fruits like grapes, pineapple and mangoes.

The Gojjina Pudi adds a flavour punch to gojju, while also lending it body. The coarsely ground pudi adds texture to the gojju, too.

This pudi can also be used to make Gojju Avalakki, the recipe for which I had shared some time ago.

The Shhh Cooking Secretly Challenge

I am sharing this recipe in association with the Shhh Cooking Secretly Challenge.

The Shhh Cooking Secretly Challenge is run by a group of passionate food bloggers, who share recipes based on a pre-determined theme every month. The group members are divided into pairs, and each pair exchanges two ingredients secretly, unknown to the rest of the group. These two ingredients are then used by each pair to create a recipe that fits into the theme of the month. The rest of the group members try to guess the secret ingredients that have gone into each dish – it’s a super fun game! 🙂

For the month of April 2022, Jayashree of Evergreen Dishes suggested the theme ‘spice mixes’. She prepared this fragrant and flavourful Pav Bhaji Masala for the theme.

I was partnered with Preeti of Cakes And Curries for the month. She suggested I make a spice mix using the ingredients ‘sesame seeds’ and ‘asafoetida’, and I decided to share this Gojjina Pudi recipe. Preeti made this beautiful Puliodharai Podi using the two secret ingredients I suggested – ‘pepper’ and ‘turmeric’.

Gojju Podi| Gojjina Pudi recipe

Here’s how to make the pudi.

Ingredients (yields about 1-1/4 cup):

1. 1/2 cup chana dal

2. 1/4 cup urad dal

3. 3/4 cup coriander seeds

4. 12-14 Bydagi dry red chillies

5. 12-14 Salem Gundu dry red chillies

6. 1 teaspoon black pepper

7. 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds

8. 1-1/2 tablespoons cumin seeds

9. 2 tablespoons sesame seeds

10. 1/2 cup dry grated coconut

11. 1 teaspoon turmeric powder

12. 1 teaspoon asafoetida powder

Method:

Top left and right: Steps 1 and 2, Below top right: Step 3, Bottom right and left: Step 4

1. Heat a heavy-bottomed pan on high flame. Add in the chana dal and reduce the flame down to medium. Dry roast the dal for a minute.

2. Add in the urad dal. Continue to dry roast on medium flame for 2 minutes.

3. Add in the Bydagi and Salem Gundu dry red chillies. Roast on medium flame for a minute more. By this time, the lentils would have started turning brown – take care to ensure that they do not burn.

4. Add in the coriander seeds, fenugreek seeds, black pepper and cumin seeds. Roast on medium flame for 3-4 minutes or till the lentils brown nicely and the dry chillies crisp up. Again, ensure that the ingredients do not burn.

Top left and right: Steps 5 and 6, Below top right and bottom right: Step 7, Bottom left: The Gojjina Pudi, ready to be bottled

5. At this stage, reduce the heat a bit more and add in the sesame seeds. Allow them to sputter.

6. Now, add in the dry grated coconut. Continue to keep the heat at low-medium. Roast for about a minute or till the coconut turns slightly brown. At this stage, transfer all the roasted ingredients to a plate and allow them to cool down completely.

7. When all the roasted ingredients have fully cooled down, transfer them to a mixer jar. Add in the asafoetida and turmeric powder. Grind together to a coarse powder. Your Gojju Podi is ready. Allow it to cool down fully, then transfer to a clean, dry, air-tight bottle. Store at room temperature and use as needed.

Tips & Tricks

1. I have used a mix of the less spicy Bydagi and the hotter Salem Gundu dry red chillies. You can use any variety that you prefer. Adjust the quantity as per personal taste preferences.

2. Use dry grated coconut that is fresh and free of odour. I use the one by Right Recipe, which is available at MK Retail.

3. Using dry coconut (as opposed to fresh grated coconut) increases the shelf life of the Gojjina Pudi.

4. Make sure the ingredients do not burn while dry-roasting them.

5. This Gojjina Pudi stays well for at least a month when stored in a dry, air-tight bottle at room temperature. Refrigeration further increases its shelf life.

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

Methi Bhakri| Gujarati Flatbread With Fenugreek

Methi Bhakri is a flatbread that hails from the state of Gujarat. Made with wheat flour and fresh fenugreek greens, this crispy flatbread makes for a wonderful tea-time companion. It is an absolutely delicious thing, perfect as a breakfast or light dinner option too. In today’s post, let me take you through the proceedure of making Methi Bhakri at home.

Crispy and delicious Methi Bhakri!

I often make the basic bhakri, to use in making the family’s favourite Bhakri Pizza. This Methi Bhakri is a more jazzed-up version of the same, more tasty due to the addition of fenugreek. Taste- and texture-wise, these bhakris are quite different from the Bajri Methi Na Thepla recipe that I had shared earlier.

Making Methi Bhakri is not a tough task per se, but there is a certain technique to it. The making of perfect, crunchy bhakris does take some practice. I have outlined this technique in detail below, for clearer understanding.

Ingredients used in Methi Bhakri

Wheat flour and fenugreek leaves are the major ingredients used in these bhakri. Apart from these, there are a few other spices that go in, including coarsely crushed cumin seeds, carom seeds, red chilli powder and asafoetida. Some jaggery is used for flavour, and some sesame seeds to add texture.

In Gujarat, slightly coarse wheat flour (called ‘bhakri no lot‘in Gujarati) is used to make bhakris. If the wheat flour you are using is very fine, adding some fine sooji/semolina/rava will rectify the situation. Use the fine variety of sooji (also called Bombay rava) only, and not the large type. However, you can skip the rava if you don’t want to use it – the bhakris will still taste good.

A couple of tablespoons of oil goes into the dough for the bhakris (called ‘moann‘ in Gujarati) – this helps add taste and texture to them. The bhakri dough is rolled out into flat discs that are slightly thicker than phulka rotis, which are then cooked on a heavy pan till crisp, with a little oil drizzled around them.

This is a completely vegetarian recipe, one that is vegan (plant-based) as well. It is not gluten-free due to the use of wheat flour and asafoetida (which often contains wheat flour).

Associated event: Shhh Cooking Secretly Challenge

I am part of this very passionate group of food bloggers called Shhh Cooking Secretly Challenge. We post recipes based on a particular theme, every month. I am sharing this recipe for Methi Bhakri in association with this group, the theme for March 2022 being ‘flatbreads’. So excited to see the different types of flatbread from around the world that the other group members will be sharing!

The group members are divided into pairs each month, and each pair exchanges two ingredients secretly, unknown to the rest. Each pair then uses these two ingredients to create a recipe that fits into the theme of the month.

I was paired with fellow blogger Jayashree of Evergreen Dishes for this particular theme, and she suggested I make a flatbread using the secret ingredients ‘wheat flour’ and ‘red chilli powder’. Fortunately, the ingredients fit right into this recipe, which happens to be a huge personal favourite. So here we go!

I suggested Jayashree use the everyday ingredients ‘salt’ and ‘oil’ to create a flatbread of her choice. You guys should check out the delectable Masoor Dal Dosa that she has come up with for the theme!

Anu, blogger at Ente Thattukada, suggested this lovely theme. She prepared this beauty of a flatbread for the same – do check out her recipe for Sindhi Koki!

Methi Bhakri recipe

Here’s how to go about making these bhakris.

Ingredients (makes 12-15 pieces):

1. 3/4 cup fenugreek (methi) leaves, tightly packed

2. 1 heaped cup wheat flour

3. Salt to taste

4. 3/4 teaspoon red chilli powder or to taste

5. 1/2 teaspoon carom seeds (ajwain)

6. 1 tablespoon fine semolina (Bombay rava), optional

7. 1 tablespoon sesame seeds (til)

8. 1 teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)

9. 2 pinches of asafoetida

10. 1 tablespoon jaggery powder or as per taste

11. 2 tablespoons oil + more as needed to cook the bhakri

Method:

Top left: Step 1, Top right and bottom left: Step 2, Below top right: Step 3, Bottom-most right: Step 4, Above bottom-most right: Step 5

1. Wash the fenugreek leaves thoroughly under running water, to remove all traces of dirt from them. Place them in a colander and let all the water drain out.

2. In the meantime, prepare the dough for the Methi Bhakri. Take the wheat flour in a large mixing bowl. Add in salt to taste, fine semolina, red chilli powder, asafoetida, carom seeds, jaggery powder and sesame seeds. Coarsely crush the cumin seeds using a mortar and pestle, and add them in too.

3. Chop the washed and drained fenugreek leaves finely. Add these to the mixing bowl too. Mix up all the ingredients well, using your hands.

4. Now, adding water little by little, bind the ingredients in the mixing bowl together into a firm dough. The dough should not be very sticky to the touch, but should not be extremely hard either.

5. At this stage, add 2 tablespoons of oil to the dough and knead well for a few minutes. Now, cover the dough and let it rest for 15-20 minutes.

Top left and right: Steps 6 and 7, Centre left and right: Steps 8 and 9, Bottom left: Step 9, Bottom right: A Methi Bhakri that is cooked and ready

6. Once the dough has rested, start making the Methi Bhakri. Place a heavy pan on high flame and allow it to get heated up. Meanwhile, take a small ball of the dough and place it on a dusted work surface. Roll it out into a circle that’s slightly thicker than a phulka roti.

7. Using a fork, prick holes randomly all over the circle of dough, on both sides. This is to ensure that the bhakri does not puff up and stays crisp.

8. When the pan is heated up, reduce the flame to low-medium. Place the circle of dough on the pan and drizzle some oil all around it. Cook on low-medium flame for 3-4 minutes or till brown spots start appearing on the bottom. Then, flip it over.

9. Cook on the other side for 3-4 minutes, pressing with a wooden press. If you don’t have a wooden press, you can press using a cloth or spatula. Take care to ensure that the dough does not burn. When cooked well on both sides, the Methi Bhakri is done – transfer to a serving plate or box, to store it for later use.

10. Prepare Methi Bhakri from all the dough, in a similar manner. Serve on its own or with curd, pickle or tea. Here, I have served it with a spicy tomato-onion-garlic red chutney.

Tips & Tricks

1. For best results, use very fresh fenugreek leaves.

2. Adjust the quantity of red chilli powder and jaggery as per personal taste preferences.

3. You can add more or less methi leaves, depending upon your taste preferences.

4. Make sure that the dough is firm. Very soft dough will not yield crisp bhakris.

5. Do remember to prick holes on both sides of the circle of dough, before cooking it. This is a crucial step, which helps keep the bhakri crisp.

6. Cook the bhakri on low-medium flame only. Make sure it is well-cooked on both sides, but does not burn.

7. If you are preparing the Methi Bhakris for later use, store them in a clean, dry, air-tight box. Keep at room temperature and use as needed. This way, they stay well for 2-3 days. Make sure you close the box only after the bhakris have cooled down completely.

8. Groundnut oil is the oil of choice in Gujarati families, to make these Methi Bhakri. However, if you don’t have it, you could use any other oil of your preference. I have used cold-pressed groundnut oil here.

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

Garlic Bread On Pan| Garlic Bread Recipe

Garlic Bread is a favourite appetiser of mine and my daughter’s. Both of us do appreciate well-made garlic bread that’s crispy, the garlicky flavour not overpowering but just right, sprinkled generously with herbs, oozy cheese on top. I love how versatile it is – it is a beautiful appetiser all on its own, a hearty meal with some soup and salad on the side.

While Garlic Bread is something we love to order while eating out, I do make it at home often too. Let me show you all today how to make delicious restaurant-style Garlic Bread on pan at home – yes, no oven or other fancy apparatus required! It’s very easy to put together too.

Home-made Garlic Bread on pan

You might also want to check out these recipes for Garlic Rasam and Burnt Garlic Spaghetti – both much-loved dishes at home.

The ingredients you need to make Garlic Bread on pan

You can use any variety of bread you prefer, in this recipe. I use regular atta or whole wheat bread, usually.

Then, there’s garlic, of course. I use the regular Indian variety.

You will also need butter, salted or unsalted. I prefer using salted Amul butter.

Dried Italian herbs are used for flavour, as are chilli flakes. You can dry your own herbs at home or buy them ready-to-use from a departmental store. If you have sachets of dried herbs left over from pizza deliveries, you could go ahead and use them in this Garlic Bread recipe. I typically use the dried herbs from a brand called Keya, and the chilli flakes from pizza-delivery sachets.

I use cheese in my Garlic Bread, because that’s the way we like it. I use whatever variety is available at home, usually Amul processed cheese or the natural Cheddar from D’Lecta.

Fresh parsley elevates Garlic Bread wonderful but, considering it is not readily available always, coriander makes for a wonderful substitute.

Last but not the least, you need a good pan to make the Garlic Bread. I have used a grill pan from WonderChef, but you could use a regular thick dosa pan as well.

The Shhh Cooking Secretly Challenge

The Shhh Cooking Secretly Challenge is a group of passionate food bloggers who share recipes based on a particular theme, every month. The participants are divided into pairs and each pair exchanges two ingredients secretly, unknown to the rest of the group. These two ingredients are then used to prepare a dish that fits into the theme of the month.

The group theme for February was ‘restaurant-style dishes at home’, suggested by Aruna of Vasu’s Veg Kitchen. You guys should totally check out the beautiful Paneer Do Pyaza she prepared for the theme!

I was paired with Narmadha, author of Nams’ Corner, for the month. She suggested I use the ingredients ‘chilli flakes’ and ‘coriander’ to make my dish, and they fit right into this Garlic Bread recipe I had been wanting to share on the blog for quite some time. Narmadha prepared this lovely pizza using the ingredients I assigned her. Do check out her recipe!

Garlic Bread recipe

Here’s how you can make garlic bread at home, on a pan.

Ingredients (makes 12 slices):

1. 12 slices of bread

2. About 60 grams of salted butter, softened

3. 3/4 tablespoon dried Italian herbs

4. 1 teaspoon chilli flakes or as needed

5. 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander

6. 1 whole head of garlic, 12-15 cloves

7. Cheese, as required

Method:

Top left and right: Steps 1 and 2, Below top right: Step 3, Bottom right: Step 4, Bottom left: Step 5

1. Take the softened butter in a mixing bowl. Add in the dried Italian herbs and chilli flakes.

2. Add the finely chopped coriander to the mixing bowl too.

3. Peel the garlic cloves. Use a mortar and pestle to roughly crush them.

4. Add the crushed garlic cloves to the mixing bowl as well.

5. Mix all the ingredients in the mixing bowl well. This is your garlic butter.

Top left and right: Steps 6 and 7, Bottom left and right: Step 8

6. Grate the cheese and keep it ready.

7. Now, we will start preparing the Garlic Bread. Spread the garlic butter we prepared earlier evenly on all the slices of bread. Then, brush a grill pan with a little butter, place on medium flame and let it get heated up. Place 4 slices of bread on the pan and turn the flame down to the lowest temperature.

8. Spread grated cheese over the bread slices, as required. Cover the grill pan. Cook covered at minimum heat for 7-8 minutes or till the bread turns crisp, the cheese melts and the garlic is cooked through. When done, transfer the cooked Garlic Bread slices to a serving plate. Serve immediately.

9. Prepare and serve all the slices of bread in the same way.

Tips & Tricks

1. For best results, use bread that is slightly old and not too squishy.

2. I have kept the bread slices whole here, but you may cut them into smaller pieces if you want to.

3. Make sure the bread slices do not burn while cooking them. Garlic cooks and burns really easily too. So, it is important that they be cooked on a low temperature so that the garlic doesn’t stay raw and the bread slices also get crispy.

4. Increase or decrease the quantity of garlic you use as per personal taste preferences. I have used about 15 cloves of regular-sized garlic. If the cloves are too fat, reduce the quantity accordingly.

5. 1 cube of cheese, grated, is good for 4 slices of bread. You may skip the cheese completely, if you don’t want to use it – the Garlic Bread will still taste fabulous.

6. Use as much or as little of the chilli flakes as you prefer.

7. The garlic butter, once prepared, can be stored in the refrigerator in an air-tight box for about a week. I prefer making it fresh, just before preparing the Garlic Bread.

8. The bread, butter, Italian herbs and cheese all contain salt. This is why I have not added any more salt while making the garlic butter. You may add some if you want to.

9. The butter should be softened, for you to be able to mix in the garlic and other ingredients well. Leave it at room temperature for at least a couple of hours before you start making the garlic butter.

11. You can also make unsalted butter. In that case, you would need to add some salt while making the garlic butter.

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

Healthy Lettuce Salad| Lettuce Vegetable Salad

The Lettuce Vegetable Salad I am going to share with you today is not just delicious but super easy to prepare as well. It’s quite healthy too.

I rarely use lettuce at home, buying it only occasionally to put in a sandwich or burger. However, some time ago, when Riya of My Beauty Dreamz told me of the Healthy Lettuce Salad she often prepares, I loved the sound of it and knew I had to try it out too. As if they had read my mind, Spudnik Farms sent me a bunch of gorgeously fresh iceberg lettuce in my veggie subscription box recently. It was just the perfect foil for me to try out Riya’s salad. I did, with some variations of my own to her recipe, and it turned out beautifully. I added in a whole lot of things to make it more filling, and it was just right for a light lunch. It became an instant hit with everyone at home, and I have made it several times over already. 🙂

Let me share with you all the way I made this delightful, loaded Lettuce Vegetable Salad.

Delicious Lettuce Vegetable Salad

What goes into my Lettuce Vegetable Salad

Apart from the lettuce, the main ingredient of this salad, I also added in other veggies like sweet corn kernels, onion, capsicum and cucumber. I also put in some almonds for extra nutrition and for the crunch factor, and some coriander for freshness.

There’s a mild spiciness to the salad, from freshly cracked black pepper and ginger. The dressing is simple – just lemon juice and honey.

All of the above combine to create a wonderfully crisp, flavourful and refreshing salad.


Lettuce Vegetable Salad Recipe

Here is how I went about it.

Ingredients (serves 1-2):

1. A big handful of lettuce

2. 1/4 cup sweet corn kernels

3. About 10 almonds

4. 1/2 of a medium-sized cucumber

5. 1/2 of a medium-sized capsicum

6. 1/2 of a medium-sized onion

7. A 1-inch piece of ginger

8. Salt to taste

9. Freshly crushed black pepper to taste

10. 3/4 tablespoon honey or to taste

11. 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander

12. Juice of 1/2 lemon or to taste

Method:

Top left and right: Steps 1 and 2, Below top left: Step 3, Bottom left and right: Step 4

1. Dry roast the almonds in a heavy-bottomed pan on medium flame for 3-4 minutes or till they get crisp. Take care to ensure that they do not burn. When done, transfer the roasted almonds to a plate and allow them to cool down completely.

2. Steam the sweet corn kernels till cooked through. Let them cool down completely too.

3. Chop the lettuce finely. Place in a large mixing bowl.

4. Chop the capsicum, onion and cucumber finely. Add these to the mixing bowl.

Top left and right: Steps 5 and 6, Below top right: Step 7, Bottom right and left: Steps 8 and 9

5. Peel the ginger and chop very finely. Add to the mixing bowl, along with salt and crushed black pepper to taste.

6. Add the steamed and cooled sweet corn kernels to the mixing bowl too.

7. Add in the lemon juice and honey.

8. Chop the almonds into slivers. Add to the mixing bowl.

9. Add in finely chopped coriander too.

10. Mix up everything together, well. Your Lettuce Salad is ready. Serve immediately.

The Shhh Cooking Secretly Challenge

I’m sharing this recipe in association with the Shhh Cooking Secretly Challenge.

The Shhh Cooking Secretly Challenge is run by a group of passionate food bloggers who share recipes based on a pre-determined theme, every month. The group members are divided into pairs, and each pair exchanges two ingredients secretly, unknown to the rest of the group. These ingredients are then used by each pair to create a dish that fits into the group’s theme of the month. The other members then try to guess the two secret ingredients each pair has used.

This month, the theme over at Shhh Cooking Secretly Challenge is ‘Healthy Recipes’. I was paired with Poonam of Annapurna for this month’s challenge, and she gave me the ingredients ‘lemon juice’ and ‘lettuce’. They fit right into this Healthy Lettuce Salad that I wanted to make!

Likewise, I gave Poonam the ingredients ‘ragi‘ and ‘black pepper’, and she used them to make this delectable Ragi Vegetable Soup. Check it out!

Tips & Tricks

1. You can use any variety of lettuce you prefer. Just make sure that it is very fresh and not wilted.

2. Freshly crushed black pepper does wonders for this salad. However, if you don’t have it, you can use black pepper powder instead. You may also add in some finely chopped green chillies for extra heat – I prefer the salad without green chillies, though.

3. Adjust the amount of salt, honey, black pepper and lemon juice as per personal taste preferences.

4. Make sure you roast the almonds well and that they crisp nicely. However, they should not get burnt.

5. Use very fresh ginger, without too much fibre, for best results.

6. I have used frozen sweet corn here, and have steamed the kernels in a vegetable steamer. You can cook them in boiling water or in a pressure cooker too.

7. For best results, all cooked ingredients should come to room temperature before you begin assembling the salad.

8. This Lettuce Salad is best served immediately after assembling. Leaving it to sit for some time will make it watery, soggy and tasteless.

9. I have used commonly available green capsicum here. You may use coloured capsicum instead (like red, orange or yellow) for a pop of colour. Remove the seeds and core before chopping the capsicum finely.

10. The ‘seedless’ variety of cucumber (also called ‘English cucumber’ or ‘European cucumber’) goes best in this salad.

11. This is a completely vegetarian and gluten-free recipe, but not vegan because of the use of honey. If you wish to make it vegan (plant-used), you could use a vegan sweetener like maple syrup in place of the honey or skip it altogether.

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