June 17, 2016

Sun Dried Tomato Hummus

If not for the notification on Facebook, I would have easily forgotten that it was is my Blog's Birthday on the 10th:) Until a few years I would keep track of the Blog's anniversary then the baby happened & I got so busy with the hustle bustle that I conveniently put Vegetable Platter on the back burner. But Blogging has always been a passion & after so  many years I still love clicking food pictures & writing about food.

I have been terribly guilty of neglecting my Blog Baby but I want to get back real soon.

Hummus

I have a very simple recipe for Hummus today. We've all eaten the regular hummus but my current favourite is the one flavoured with sun dried Tomatoes.

Sun dried tomatoes add great flavour & a lovely hue to the dip.

They are incredibly easy to make so go ahead & make some on your own instead of buying a jar 

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You Will Need:
  • 1  cup chickpeas - cooked or canned
  • 3-4 cloves of Garlic
  • 2 tbsp Tahini Paste ( I used store bought )
  • 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil + another tbsp more to be poured on top
  • 8 sun dried tomatoes (soaked in olive oil)
  • Fresh basil 
  • 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 1/2 tsp or more salt
How To:

If not using canned chickpeas, soak about Half a cup of dried chickpeas in water for 6 hours or overnight. Pressure cook with a teaspoon of salt. Drain & reserve the liquid & set aside

In a blender, add all the ingredients except basil & pulse for a minute. scrape down the sides. Add a little bit of reserved liquid & pulse for another couple of minutes. 

Add Basil & pulse until just minced. Add a bit of the reserved water if you want to thin down the hummus a bit.

Scoop into a serving bowl. Garnish with some more chilli flakes, olive oil & fresh basil.

Serve with Pita chips, fresh vegetables or slather them on crisp toasted bread. 

NOTE:

Its not easy to find Tahini paste in India, but they are so easy to make. You can make fresh Tahini paste by toasting about 2 tbsp of white sesame seeds on low flame & then upon cooling, pulse them in a blender with about 3 tbsp of olive oil & it's done 


April 14, 2016

Mango Lassi

Mango Lassi

Bangalore right now is at its worst weather ever. A couple of days ago it touched 40C. Until a decade ago, Bangalore was famous for its cool climate & it would never touch beyond 35 C even during summers. I guess those days should be long forgotten now.

The little one does not want to drink warm milk anymore & is always wanting some Juice. As soon as he is back from his Summer Camp, he wants demands a big glass of juice. 

So, I've been making a lot of fresh juices this season. It's so hot that it has replaced my evening cup of Masala chai. Now that Mangoes are in season, a lot of Mango milkshakes & Mango Lassis have been happening too 

Almost a decade ago, I went to US for the first time and it was when I had Mango Lassi for the first time. Its quite strange that Mango Lassi is not very popular here in India But every other Indian eat out in the US will have Mango Lassi on the menu

Nevertheless, it is a very delicious drink & I got quite hooked to its taste. I make it quite regularly during the Mango season. A big glass of Mango Lassi is quite filling & can make for a great breakfast 


MANGO LASSI

You Will Need:
  • 2 medium sized Ripe Mangoes 
  • 1 cup Yogurt
  • 1/2 cup Milk
  • 2 tsp Sugar - optional
  • A big pinch of cardamom powder
  • 5 Ice cubes - optional
How To:

Peel & roughly chop the mangoes. In a blender, add all the ingredients one by one & whizz a couple of times until well blended

Pour into individual  glasses & serve

NOTE:

You could use any variety of Mangoes, I used Alphonso

If making just for myself I do not add sugar or any other sweetener. 
But you could try adding powdered Jaggery for a slightly different taste

April 6, 2016

Watermelon Orange Cooler


Watermelon Orange Juice

When the sun is at its peak, all you need is gallons of something refreshing to drink.

I have banned canned fruit juices & other soft drinks from making an entry into our home for obvious reasons. But, the little one loves juices & he often demands for a helping. I am all for freshly made juices & come to think of it, it actually doesn't take much time to make fresh fruit juice & smoothies.

So, this summer, we have been having a lot of Tender Coconut, Nimbu paani & other easy to make mocktails. So much better than those tetra pack ones & guilt free too because you can control the amount of sugar that goes in 

While we mostly eat watermelon as is with Chaat Masala sprinkled on top, this Watermelon & Orange Cooler is a refreshing change. I love Oranges & thankfully the green coloured oranges from Coorg are very much available. They are sweet with a hint of tartness just the way Oranges should be. 

So, this Watermelon & Orange Cooler was born out of Summer Boredom & Heat 

Watermelon Limeade

You can add a sprig of Mint Leaves while blending.

You can strain watermelon pulp before serving. It will result in a slightly thinner concoction. I preferred to have that little bit of fibre left so I didn't strain the juice 

Make sure you remove all the seeds from the watermelon before blending


March 31, 2016

Carrot & Raw Mango Rice

Summer has started way too early here & it definitely is not my favourite season. It is hotter than the previous year & we are gulping down tons of tender coconuts & watermelon already

One this about summer that I like are the Raw Mangoes. They have already hit the market & I am already in the process of making this year's first batch of Mango pickle .. Yaay !! 

I had about 30 minutes to make something for lunch this afternoon, I wasn't in the greatest of moods to cook something elaborate in this heat. So, I made this really quick Carrot & Raw Mango Rice 


CARROT & RAW MANGO RICE

I made this totally on a whim & I am very happy with the way it turned out. The sweet carrots paired up quite well with the sour raw mangoes & the addition of mint did add a bit of freshness.


This is a very mildly flavoured rice dish. Quite apt for summer. Makes a great lunch box option too. When Raw Mangoes are not in session, you can use Lime Juice or even grated Gooseberrys or Amla when in season 

You can pep it up with a hit of Garam Masala & Coriander powder. I wanted to keep it low on spice & trust me, it tasted very good. Quite different from the regular Raw Mango Rice we make

Carrot & Raw Mango Rice


You Will Need:

  • 2 cups cooked Rice
  • 1 large carrot - grated
  • Half of a large Raw Mango - Grated
  • 1/4th cup of fresh Green Peas
  • A handful of fresh mint - chopped
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp Urad Dal
  • 5 Green chilies - chopped
  • Salt as per taste
  • 2 tbsp Cooking Oil
How To:

Cook Rice in a Pressure cooker & once cool, spread it onto a wide bowl & allow it to cool. I used Sona Masoori Rice. You can use Basmati too

Boil Fresh Green peas in salted water for 5 minutes. Drain & set aside. Peel Raw Mango & grate them

In a heavy bottomed pan, heat oil & splutter mustard & cumin seeds. Add Urad Dal & sauté for 30 seconds. Add the green chilies & sauté for 20 seconds. Add grated carrots & sauté for 2-3 minutes. Next, add grated raw mango & sauté for 2-3 minutes.

Add cooked rice, Boiled Green Peas & Salt. Give it a good mix & let it stand on low heat for about 3 minutes. Turn off the heat & allow it to cool & little. Add chopped mint & mix gently & serve

NOTE:

Add chopped mint after the rice cools down slightly as adding it when the Rice is still hot makes them turn almost blackish & I wanted to retain the fresh green colour

Instead of Raw Mangoes, You can also use lime juice or Indian Gooseberry/Amla when in season

March 21, 2016

Baked Cabbage Muthia

Baked Cabbage Muthiya

These are not the traditional steamed Muthias that you will find in every Gujarati household. But if you love something crunchy & savoury to snack on, you will love this baked version of Muthia

They are a perfect tea time snack & makes for a great starter too. 

You Will Need:
  • 1 cup Chickpea Flour/Besan
  • 1 cup Whole Wheat Atta
  • 1 Cup finely shredded cabbage
  • 2 tsp Ginger-Green Chilli Paste
  • 1 tsp crushed cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp Garam Masala
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • Salt as per taste
  • Additional oil to grease the baking tray
  • 1 tsp toasted white sesame seeds

How To:

Preheat the oven at 200C

Shred the cabbage & set aside. I use a V Slicer to shred them.

In a bowl, mix together all the ingredients & knead into a smooth dough using very little water.

Pinch lemon sized balls & flatten them into fairly thick circles. Place them on a greased baking tray & bake for 10 minutes until the top starts turning slightly brown. Flip the Muthias & bake them for another 8 minutes or so

Arrange them on a serving plate & sprinkle toasted white sesame seeds

Serve Hot with mint chutney.


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NOTE:

You can entirely replace Cabbage with fresh or dried Methi/Fenugreek leaves

You can add a teaspoon of kasuri Methi/Dried Fenugreek for an additional flavour 

You can also steam these dumplings instead of baking them. Baking makes them crispier

Keep a close watch on them after 8 minutes or so. Baking time differs from one brand of oven to another


March 8, 2016

Akki Shavige -- South Indian Rice Noodles

I love Shavige/Semiya/Indian Noodles, especially Rice Shavige with loads of coconut & a generous dose of coconut chutney on the side. Totally my kind of breakfast. 

Lemon Shavige 

Traditionally Rice Noodles are made fresh from scratch. It is a very time consuming process & is almost impossible to make it in a regular basis & that too when you need to pack that tiffin box by 7AM.  That is when these instant dried Shavige come handy. 

I always stock a packet or two of these instant Shavige/Semiya & this gets rustled up within 20 minutes. 

There are various brands of instant rice shavige available in the market. Some of the good ones are Dragon, Anil, Concorde, MTR. I like using Dragon & MTR since they are slightly thicker & I love the texture

YOU WILL NEED:


Lemon Shavige 2

HOW TO:

In a large pot, bring about 5 cups of water to boil. Add a teaspoon of salt & a teaspoon of oil. When the water comes to a rolling boil, turn off the heat. Add Rice Noodles & cover. After about 2 minutes, drain using a colander. Rinse under cold water, add a tsp of oil over the Shavige so that they don't stick to each otherr once cool & set aside for the remaining water to drain

Heat oil in a small pan. Slit the green chilies lengthwise. Add the chilies in the pan & fry for minute until the chilies are blistered. Carefully remove them & grind with the other ingredients along with some salt 

Grind all the ingredients mentioned in the 'To Grind' List, into a smooth paste without adding any water.

In a large pan, heat 2 tsp oil. Crackle mustard seeds & add all the other ingredients mentioned in the 'To Temper' list. Add the ground paste & fry for about 2 minutes. Turn off the flame. Add cooked shave/noodles & mix gently with a fork. 

Add lime/lemon juice & check for salt. Mix well. I use my hands to mix them evenly. Garnish with fresh chopped coriander. Add fresh grated coconut too if you are a coconut lover like my husband 

This is usually served at room temprature. There is no need to reheat 

NOTE:

You can grind the coconut, chilies, mustard & turmeric into a paste a freeze. It should stay well for a month. 

Do not skip adding mustard seeds. They add a great flavour 

March 1, 2016

Sharjah Shake - Kerala's Favourite Milkshake

It's Summer .. Well almost. Bangalore has been quite hot since a week & my evening Chai has been replaced by chilled Milkshakes or Smoothies. I have been trying different recipes of Milkshakes & I came across this very  Milkshake recipe famous all over Kerala. Sharjah Shake it is :)


SHARJAH SHAKE 

So, what is Sharjah Shake? Doesn't the name sound interesting? I was intrigued too when I heard it for the first time, It is a creamy  Milkshake made with frozen milk, Banana, nuts & a dash of Chocolate flavoured malt. It is Kerala's way of making Banana Milkshake

I read somewhere that Sharjah Shake was created by Kalanthan Koya, who ran a small juice bar in Calicut & it was first served to a few customers who were watching the then famous 'Sharjah Cup' cricket series on TV, hence the name Sharjah Shake :) And, I was initially of the opinion that this drink originated from Sharjah :)

You Will Need:
  • 1 large Banana
  • 1.5  - 2 cups Milk
  • 1 tsp Bournvita/Boost or another Hot Chocolate Malt
  • 4-5 Raw Cashewnuts or Almonds (I used Almonds)
  • 1 tsp Sugar - Optional

HOW TO:

Pour Milk in an ice tray & freeze into cubes. If you buy milk packets, you can dump the entire packet in the freezer.

In a Blender, Add chopped Banana, Almonds/Cashewnuts, Bournvita, Sugar & Milk cubes  & blend until frothy

Pour into a tall glass & Slurrp !!

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NOTE:

I don't add any sugar as there is enough sweetness from the Banana & Hot chocolate Malt

You can even use frozen Bananas

Using Frozen Milk is very important to get a nice creamy texture