Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Baked Pita Chips

After making Falafel sandwich, I had three leftover pitas. I wasn't going to use them any time in near future. Their "best by" date was fast approaching. So I decided make baked pita chips.

Baked Pita Chips
3 pita breads, cut into triangles or rectangles
Cooking spray
salt to taste

1. Preheat oven 350F
2. Cut pita breads into desired bite sized shapes.
3. Spray baking tray with cooking spray.
4. Arrange pita chips in a single layer.
5. Spray more oil spray over the chips.
6. Bake for about 15 minutes.
7. Stir and try to flip as many as possible.
8. Bake for another 15 minutes.
9. Check for doneness. If not crispy, bake for 5 - 10 minutes, keeping a close watch.
10. Sprinkle salt on top.

1. I use kitchen shears to cup the pita.
2. Do not over crowd the pita chips on the baking tray. Make sure that they are in a single layer.

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Sunday, September 21, 2014

Kheema Macaroni

 My friend, Jackie used to bring this dish in her lunchbox. It didn't include cheese. But since my daughter enjoys cheese, I decided to add little cheese on top.

Kheema Macaroni - (Serves 2)
1 cup elbow macaroni
1 cup leftover kheema Matar

1/2 cup shredded cheese

1. Cook elbow macaroni according to the package instructions.
2. Drain. Return to the pan.
3. Remove any whole spices/bay leaves from kheema.
4. Add Kheema to the cooked macaroni. Stir well.
5. When it's nicely heated through, Pour onto a baking dish.
6. Spread some grated cheese generously on top.
7. Bake in the preheated oven or microwave till cheese melts.

Note -
1. Cheese wasn't the part of my friend's recipe but I added it since my daughter loves it.
2. Use more cheese if you like it.

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Friday, September 19, 2014

Karelewali Daal - Daily Daal with bittergourd

Pairing vegetables with daal boosts the nutritional content of the daily meal.  I have already blogged daal-karela combo Maharashtrian and Gujarati ways. So today, I am sharing my friend, Shobha's Punjabi Daal - Karela combo.

Surprisingly, Shobha's kids are very fond of bitter gourds. They chomp on this formidable vegetable imagining it as alligators. As a result, Shobha has many bitter gourd recipes - one even pairing this vegetable with meat.

Karelewali Daal
Daal with Bitter gourd
3/4 cup toor daal, pressure cooked, mashed

1 medium bitter gourd, scraped, deseeded, cut into semi circles
1 tsp. coriander cumin powder
1/2 tsp. paprika or mild chili powder
salt to taste
1/2 tsp. amchoor powder/raw mango powder

A generous pinch of Punjabi Garam Masala

1/2 tbsp. oil
1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
1/4 tsp. asafetida
2 tbsp.. minced onion
1/2 tbsp. ginger-garlic paste
1 small tomato

1. Pressure cook toor daal adding adequate amount of water. Mash and set it aside.
2. Heat oil in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Add the spices. As they sizzle, add onion. Sauté for 2 minutes. Stir in ginger-garlic paste. Sauté for 2 minutes.
3. Add tomatoes. Keep on sautéing till it's mushy.
4. Add bitter gourd pieces. Sauté for 2 minutes. Add 1/4 cup water. Cover and let it cook till bitter gourd is soft.
5. Now add mashed, cooked daal, coriander-cumin powder, paprika, salt and amchoor powder. Add 3/4 cup water.
6. Bring to boil. Switch the gas to low. Sprinkle garam masala.
7. Simmer for 10-15 minutes.

Note -
1. This daal needs to be on the thicker side.

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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Stuffed Poblano

I spotted some good-looking poblano peppers at the Farmers Market. I decided to stuff them with quinoa and black beans.

Stuffed Poblano
4 Poblano peppers

Quinoa Stuffing
1 cup cooked Rainbow Quinoa
1 tbsp. chopped cilantro
1 tbsp. chopped spring onion

Black beans
1 Cup cooked black beans
1/4 cup salsa
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp chili powder
salt to taste

Guacamole Sauce
1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and roughly chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup buttermilk ranch dressing
salt and black pepper

1 cup shredded Mexican cheese

1/2 lime
2 tbsp. chopped cilantro
2 tbsp. chopped onion
2 tbsp. chopped firm tomato or red bell pepper
2 tbsp. chopped spring onion, greens

1. Rinse and pat dry poblano peppers. Place on a heated cast iron pan.
Keep turning till they are uniformly blistered from all the sides.

2. Switch off the gas. Cover the cast iron pan completely so steam will help cook the poblanos.
3. When the peppers are at room temperature, remove the lid. Peel off the peppers and make a slit with a knife. Remove the seeds.
2. Cook quinoa according to the instructions of the packet. Fluff it with a fork. Stir in cilantro and spring onion. Set aside.
3. Pressure cook black beans. Add salsa, spice powders and simmer till the beans are dry. Set aside.
4. Process avocado, garlic, salt, pepper and buttermilk ranch dressing in a mini food processor till it's smooth and creamy. Set aside.
5. Mix quinoa, beans and avocado sauce, when you are ready to stuff poblanos.
6. Stuff each poblano with quinoa mixture.
7. Sprinkle grated cheese on top.
8. When you are ready to eat, microwave or broil for about a minute or till the cheese is melted.
9. Squeeze lemon juice on top. Garnish with cilantro, spring onion, onion and red bell pepper or tomato.
1. I used rainbow quinoa. Regular quinoa would work too.
2. I used 1 cup cooked quinoa and 1 cup cooked black beans. This is not 1 cup raw quinoa or 1 cup raw black beans. 1 cup raw quinoa or beans will make at least triple amount of cooked counterpart. You can freeze remaining cooked beans/grains.
3. Depending on the shape and size of the poblano peppers, the required amount of quinoa/beans mixture may vary.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Chora Methi Na Dhokla

As I have mentioned before, Chora Daal somewhat resembles Urad daal. I have seen it is used only in Gujarati cooking - of course that doesn't mean anything. Indian cuisine is vast and I won't be surprised if I learn that it's indeed used in some other cooking as well. My Gujarati family makes poodas (1 & 2), vadas and dhokla.

This chora na dhokla has an unusual twist. If you are familiar with Gujarati cooking, you would know that there are many unusual combos and burst of flavors in Gujarati vegetarian cooking. Chora  na dhokla also features fresh methi/fenugreek leaves.

It's rather surprising to note that this dhokla does not have any grains like rice. Still it comes out spongy and is this full of complete proteins.

Chora Methi Na Dhokla
Cowpeas Lentils - Fresh Fenugreek Dumplings
1 cup chora daal for 4 hours
1/2 tsp methi/fenugreek seeds

Drained daal
2 cloves garlic
1/2" ginger
2 green chilies - use more/less per desired preference
salt to taste

1/4 cup sour buttermilk
1 tsp oil
1/2 tsp baking soda

Add in
1 cup roughly chopped fresh fenugreek leaves

A sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper
A sprinkle of Gujarati Sambhar/Pickle Masala

Oil for greasing dhokla plates or cooker containers

1/2 tbsp. oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp asafetida
1 tsp white sesame seeds
2 red chilies

1. Soak chora daal with fenugreek seeds in adequate water for 4 hours.
2. Drain completely. Grind with ginger, garlic, chilies and salt to taste.
3. Pour the ground daal in a container. Add chopped fenugreek leaves.
4. In a separate bowl, whisk buttermilk, oil and baking soda. It will have whisked egg whites consistency.
5. Fold in the ground daal batter. Mix well.
6. Grease dhokla plates or pressure cooker containers.
7. Pour the batter and spread uniformly.
8. Sprinkle black pepper powder or pickle masala.
9. Steam in the pressure cooker without using any pressure/weight.
10. Steam on a high flame for 5 minutes and then on medium-low flame for 15-20 minutes.
11. Let it cool down completely before cutting into squares or diamonds.
12. Heat oil in a separate saucepan. Add spices for tempering. Drizzle tempered oil over dhokla.

Note -
1. Do not soak chora daal more than 4 hours else it will start to stink.
2. When in season, use fresh garlic along with garlic greens while grinding.
3. If you prefer spicier version, add chopped green chilies in the dhokla batter along with fenugreek leaves.

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Sunday, September 14, 2014

To Market, to Market - Kensigton Market that is!

Today, we are going to visit Kensington Market, Toronto.  Let's park our car on the road by paying the meter - (Tip : Practice parallel parking!)

What do we see here? Fresh juices. It's surely a refreshing way to start our neighborhood excursion. In spite of my extreme desire to be adventurous (tamarind juice, anyone?), I opted for my usual, safe yet most favorite watermelon juice.

Freshly squeezed juices
There was Octopus Balls Tokoyaki. Well, that would have been way too adventurous for me, but I couldn't help noticing how it was similar to our Appe!
Octopus Balls Tokoyaki
Next in line was a Mexican Bakery - Pancho's Bakery. Their specialty is fresh Churros. You know that it's really fresh when you actually see the raw churro dough coming out of it's special mold. (It reminded me of Indian Chakli mold). You can either opt for a generous dusting of powdered sugar or a drizzle of chocolate sauce on your Churro.

 Fresh Churros being made at Pancho's Bakery
Some Mexican Bakery Goodies

And Some more...

King's Café is famous for their vegetarian take on the Asian Food. We decided to just order appetizers "to go". Unfortunately they took too long but freshly made, hot dumplings were served. We have to excuse the waiting time, since that much time probably was needed for steaming.
We decided to sit outdoors under a tree. However, there was no condiments provided. As a result, this vegan delicacy was totally flat and was not memorable.
Vegan Dumplings at King's Café.
Next we saw Vegan/Gluten free Bunner's Bakery. We shared a brownie. This was just miraculously good. I mean, it was vegan and gluten free? Really? How is that possible?

Vegan and Gluten free, that is Bunner's Bakery

Enjoy your Saturday mornings here.



Whoa! Is it a pot or car? Yes, this car serves as a whacky plant holder...

Vibrant Road & Happy People

Can you bike?

Fun marketplace

Wanda's Pie in the sky is famous, but we were full.
 This antique and unique bubble machine was actually blowing bubbles

Those colors, patterns, texture and lanterns bring a smile on my face

 A visit to Indo-East Trading is a must to experience home

Look who's here!

Good Advice!

Now, that's what I call "Sushegat" :-)

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Saturday, September 13, 2014

Banana Dosa


In spite of being born and raised in Mumbai, I must tell you that I still am not very familiar with all the parts of, in and around Mumbai. All of my relatives live on the Western Railway track. As a result, I have hardly travelled using Central and Harbor trains.

When I worked as a trainee, immediately after the graduation, I was sent for a weekly training course in Thane. We were a bunch of "freshers" and enjoyed every bit of our training and newfound freedom. We attended the classes, ate out in the restaurants (for which we were to get reimbursed - it seemed a thrillingly novel concept that time!!) and when a teacher showed up late, we played dumb charades. Life was good!

During one such outing at the near by restaurant - for the life of me, I can't remember the name - my friend, Satya, who was from South India, ordered "Banana Dosa". We - the rest of the Mumbaikars - had to re-read the menu card to make sure that there was  indeed such entry for Banana Dosa. We all were used to only sada dosa, masala dosa, rawa dosa, paper dosa, mysore masala dosa and such. Satya's Banana Dosa order was my only introduction to banana dosa.

But being a self-proclaimed foodie and with just way too much enthusiasm in cooking in general, - even after so many years - this was always on my "to-cook" wish list. With a leftover dosa batter in the fridge and two over-ripe bananas in the fruit basket, my wish came true!

Here's my version.

Banana Dosa
Banana Pancake
1 recipe Dosa Batter
1 or 2 over ripe bananas

Oil for cooking

1. Prepare dosa batter per instructions here.
2. Mash over ripe banana and add to the batter.
3. Heat a nonstick pan.
4. Pour a ladleful of batter to make a thick pancake.
5. Drizzle some oil around.
6. Cover and cook on a medium flame.
7. Flip and cook on the other side.
8. Serve with the chutney of your choice.

Note -
1. You can either mash banana completely so there are no lumps or mash it lightly.

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Friday, September 12, 2014

Halwa (Black Pomfret) Fry

In Mumbai, black pomfret is also called "Halwa". This pomfret - even if it's very fresh -  has an indigenous fishy flavor and hence one needs to apply a good amount of ginger-garlic paste with either lemon juice or tamarind paste or kokum pulp(AgoL).

Halwa Fry
Fried Black Pomfret
2 steaks of black pomfret

1/2 tbsp. ginger-garlic-green chili paste
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp asafetida
1 tsp chili powder (for heat)
1/2 tsp Kashmiri chili powder(for color)
salt to taste
1/2 tbsp. lemon juice, freshly squeezed

1 tbsp. rice flour
1 tbsp. rawa/fine semolina

Oil for frying

1. Rinse the black pomfret steaks.
2. Apply all the spices, salt and lemon juice uniformly.
3. Set aside for 10 minutes.
4. Heat tawa for frying. Add oil as needed.
5. Dredge marinated steaks in rice flour + rawa mixture. Shake off excess flour.
6. Place carefully on the tawa.
7. Shallow fry, flipping at needed, so it's crispy from both sides. Drizzle oil as needed from time to time.

Note -
1. You can also deep fry.
2. Serve with your non-vegetarian thali.

Halwa fry, Bangda Udidmethi with chapati
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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Aloo Baingan

I bought some small, long baby eggplants from our local farmers market. I decided to toss them with potatoes and bell peppers, sprinkling some Punjabi spices to make my version of Aloo Baingan.

Aloo Baingan
Baby Eggplants with Potatoes
9-10 baby eggplants (long, violet variety), Sliced, stems removed
2 medium Yukon gold potatoes, peeled & sliced
1 firm tomato, sliced
1 green bell pepper, cored and sliced

Salt to taste

1/2 tsp. Punjabi Garam Masala

1 tbsp. oil
1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
2 cloves
1/4 tsp. asafetida
1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
1 tsp. Kashmiri chili powder
1 tsp. coriander-cumin seed powder
1 tbsp. Ginger-garlic paste

2 tbsp. minced cilantro

1. Sliced eggplants and potatoes and soak them in water till ready to use.
2. Heat oil in a nonstick kadhai.
3. Add spices. As they sizzle, add ginger-garlic paste and spice powders. Sauté for 1 minute.
4. Add potatoes. Sauté for 5 minutes.
5. Add bell peppers, tomatoes and eggplants.
6. Keep on stirring without closing it with the lid.
7. When cooked, add salt and Garam masala to taste.
8. Garnish with cilantro.

Note -
1. Drain eggplants and potatoes before adding to the kadhai.
2. I add spice powders in tempering, as they get nicely absorbed by the eggplants. But make sure not to burn them in the tempering.

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