Thursday, June 28, 2012

Instant Khaman Dhokla - Gram flour cake - Microwave version

Khaman Dhokla (Gram flour cake) is a popular Gujarati snack & one of my mouth-watering, 'go to' dishes when I want to prepare something in a jiffy. I don't have the patience to wait for 20 mins (which is the time taken by steaming process) so I go for the microwave version which gives me my Khaman in 2 mins -yaaayyy!! 

Recently I learnt that Khaman & Dhokla are actually two different food items. Khaman i.e. the recipe I am showing you today is prepared from chana dal/Gram flour & is usually yellow (due to addition of turmeric). Whereas Dhokla is prepared from rice flour (as main ingredient) & is generally white or pale yellow in color. But the name 'Khaman Dhokla' is so popular that I decided to label it that way. 

Ingredients: 
For Khaman :
1 cup gram flour (besan)
1 & 1/2 tbsp of semolina (rava)
1 tsp of green chili & ginger paste
1/2 tsp of citric acid (nimbu ke phool) or juice of 1 lemon
3 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 & 1/2 tbsp ENO or fruit salt
1 cup of water
salt to taste

For Tempering:
1/2 tsp mustard seeds (rai)
1/2 tsp sesame seeds 
1-2 green chillies finely chopped
1 tbsp of oil
Pinch of hing (asafoetida)
few curry leaves 
1-2 tbsp of water

additionally 1 tbsp of sugar dissolved in 1/2 cup of water (optional)

Method: 
For Khaman:

  • Sift all the dry ingredients (except ENO & ginger chili paste) to get rid of any lump. 
  • Now add the ginger paste, green chili paste, water & make a lump free batter. 
  • Add ENO & on top of it add 1 tbsp of water. As as soon as you add water ENO will start to bubble.
  • Once the bubbling stops, go ahead & mix the batter well. The Batter will instantly rise & become fluffy. Many think that the Khaman will rise while cooking, that's not the case, this is the only step when Khaman will rise.
 
  • Grease a microwave safe dish & pour the batter in it. Spread evenly. 
  • Cook in microwave for 2 mins on High. Allow to stand for 1 min.Poke a tooth pick at the center to check if its done. If the toothpick comes out clean with no batter stuck to it that means our Khaman is ready. 
  • Keep it aside.
For Tempering: 

  • Heat oil in a small vessel & once hot add the mustard seeds. Once they crackle, add the remaining ingredients like sesame seeds, green chilies, hing, curry leaves & stir for a min. Switch off the gas & add 1-2 tbsp of water to the tempering. (Be careful as it may splatter). 
  • Pour the tempering over the Khaman spreading it evenly. 
  • Cut the dhokla evenly & garnish with coriander. I like to sprinkle some sugar water on the khaman after cutting it, on the sides, in between the lines & some on top. This helps to retain the moisture & sponginess & also enhances the taste. 
  • The khaman prepared this way turns out equally nice & porous like you would get with the steaming process.  Try it!!
  • That's it wait no longer serve this Instant Khaman with Green Chutney!! 
Happy Cooking!!
Shweta

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Linguine with Pesto & Roasted Tomatoes

Linguine with Pesto & Roasted Tomatoes is yet another pasta dish, from my Italian hat, with the green sauce called Basil Pesto. I used Linguine pasta for this dish but you can make this with any pasta of your choice. I prefer to add my Oven Roasted Tomatoes as they not only compliment color wise but also taste wise. Best part is that both the key ingredients "Roasted tomatoes" & "pesto sauce" can be prepared well in advance & stored in refrigerator to use as required.  Thus making it possible to fix a quick and fancy meal for your family in a jiffy. 



Sunday, June 24, 2012

Kala Chana Chaat a.k.a Chana Jor Garam - Black Chickpea Salad

Kala Chana Chaat (Black Chickpea Salad) is popularly known as Chana Jor Garam in India. Its a famous street food & one of the few delicious spicy snack-cum-energizers. Its all healthy!! Perfect for anytime munch punch. I absolutely love this chaat. 

Ingredients: 
1 cup of boiled kale chane (black chickpeas)
1/2 tomato finely chopped
1/4 onion finely chopped
2 tbsp finely chopped coriander
Some raw mango finely chopped (optional)
1 tsp red chilli pwder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp chaat masala
1/2 tsp dry mango powder
1-2 tbsp of lemon juice (or to taste)
Salt to taste

Method: 

  • Soak the kale chane (black chickpeas) overnight (or for 8 hours) then boil these till cooked. (Boil till you can easily mash the chana between your fingers)
  • Mix all the ingredients together. (make sure the kale chane are warm when you mix the ingredients, it helps to aborb the masalas better)
That's it - Delicious Kala Chana Chaat a.k.a Chana Jor Garam is ready!! 

Happy Snacking!!
Shweta

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Beetroot Carrot Aloo Paratha

Beetroot Carrot Aloo Paratha - have  you heard of it? I'm confident that you've not because it is one of my experimental successes. 

Are you wondering about thought process that went behind this never-heard-before union of beetroot, carrot and paratha? Here's the story (fairy tale style) - "Once upon a time, I opened my fridge to get the boiled aloo (I boil potato a night before & store in fridge to make my mornings easier) with the intention of making aloo (potato) paratha for breakfast. But then I saw some red, shiny beetroot & carrots (adding some drama) staring at me from the corners of my fridge. I got them home thinking I'll use them for salad. We all know the benefits of Carrot & Beetroot (they are great antioxidants). But then I thought why not give the regular aloo paratha a twist by adding these. And then beetroot, carrot and aloo paratha lived together happily ever after..."   

This recipe is must try for those mom's who want to feed their kids (who are fond of parathas) with beet/carrots. Give this a try & tell me how you liked it. 

Ingredients: 
Some chapati (wheat flour) dough
Some butter/ghee
For Stuffing/filling:
1 Beetroot boiled & grated
1-2 carrots boiled & grated
1 small potato boiled & mashed
2 tbsp of finely chopped onions
2 tbsp of finely chopped coriander
1 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp green chili paste
1 tsp of red chilli powder (or to taste)
1 tsp of coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1/4 tsp garam masala (optional)
1 tsp dry mango powder (Amchur)
1/2 tsp carom seeds (ajwain)
1/2 tsp chaat masala
salt & pepper to taste
1 tbsp cornflour (if required)

Method: 
To prepare the filling for this paratha, mix all the ingredients under Stuffing together. Beetroot has a dominating color, so once you mix all the ingredients you will get a rich red color to your stuffing. 



  • Take a small portion of the chapati dough (slightly bigger portion than you would take for your chapati)
  • Roll it using a rolling pin in to a small circle big enough to hold the filling.
  • Place 1-2 tbsp of the filling in the center.
  • Join all ends together, remove any excess dough (if any) after joining the ends. 


  • Using some dry flour, roll the dough stuffed with filling using a rolling pin to get uniform & slightly thick paratha. 
  • Heat the pan to medium heat & once hot add the paratha on the pan. Roast it for about a min & then flip. while the other side is cooking, apply some butter/ghee to the top part of paratha. Flip again & let the side with butter cook. Repeat the same step with the other side too. 
  • Once both sides are well cooked, remove from pan. Beetroot Carrot Aloo Paratha is ready. 
  • Repeat the above steps to make the remaining paratha's (you should be able to make around 6 -8 of these depending on the quantity of filling you use)
Serve them hot topped with Butter or with Green chutney/Ketchup.
Happy Cooking!!
Shweta


Sending this recipe to events:
Kids Special




Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Indo Chinese Vegetable Noodles

Whenever we visit India our first restaurant meal has always been a Chinese cuisine, and  Indo Chinese Vegetable noodles is the first thing we go for. I prefer calling it 'Indo Chinese' vegetable noodles due to the customization done to the original version of Chinese dishes, primarily to suit Indian food palates - turns it spicy and full of flavor. 



Monday, June 18, 2012

Tandoori Paneer Tikka - Barbecue Cottage cheese

Tandoori Paneer Tikka is an all time favorite vegetarian starter. Back in India, whenever we went to a restaurant, Paneer Tikka had to be one of the starters by default.  

Although I don't have a "Tandoor" (cylindrical clay oven used for cooking & baking) at my place, the modern tandoor a.k.a oven  (convection oven) works just fine to get us an equally delicious tikka. 

Ingredients: 
500gms Paneer cut into cubes
1/2 red capsicum cut in cubes
1/2 green capsicum cut in cubes
1/2 red onion cut in cubes
2 tomatoes & cut in cubes (use only the sides not the pulp)

Marinate:
1 cup of curd
1 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp garlic paste
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 tsp red chili powder
1 tbsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp amchur
1/2-1 tsp of garam masala
1 tsp Tandoori masala (optional)
1/2 tsp kasoori methi
1 tbsp of lemon juice
salt & pepper to taste

Other needs:
Some butter/oil  to baste
5-6 Bamboo skewers 
Baking tray lined with Aluminium Foil & coated with Oil. 

Method: 
Take a cheese cloth & pour 1 cup of curd in this, tie it tight so that the water from the curd starts to drip. Hang this curd for around 2 hours or till the water has completed drained off
Tip:If we don't hang the curd, the water in the curd will make the marinate runny & watery. Hung curd results in thick marinate. 
  • In a bowl, take this hung curd & to it add all the ingredients listed under marinate to make a smooth paste. 
  • Divide this marinate into two bowls. One for paneer & other for the veggies. This helps  to avoid the paneer from crumbling when we mix. 
  • Mix well so that the veggies and paneer have a good coating of the marinate. Cover & let this marinate for about 2-3 hours. More the better. 

  • Dip the bamboo skewers in ice cold water for about 1 hour. This prevents them from burning. 
  • Preheat the oven to 375F. 

  • Take one skewer at a time & start arranging the veggies & paneer. Start with tomato followed by green capsicum then paneer, onion &  red capsicum (use any combination of your choice)
  • Repeat this till you reach the end of skewer. Continue this process for the remaining skews & line them on a baking tray.  
  • Place the baking tray in the oven & bake for about 15-20 mins. 
  • Baste the tikka with butter intermittently to prevent it from turning hard. 
  • You know your Paneer tikka is done when the sides of paneer have turned slightly brown. 
That's it!! Our Tasty Tandoori Paneer Tikka is ready!! Serve it hot with some lemon slices & Green Chutney
Enjoy,
Happy Baking!!
Shweta

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Aloo Gobi - Potato Cauliflower - Punjabi Aloo Gobi

Aloo Gobi (potato & cauliflower dish) is one of the most famous dishes of Indian cuisine & there must be barely anyone who has tasted this dish & not fallen for it. 


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Basic Vanilla Sponge Cake - Eggless

After a long list of savory dishes thought of making something sweet. Nothing better than a Basic Vanilla Sponge cake that is loved by all. Best part is its an hassle free cake which requires no rigorous beating to make the batter (am too lazy for that). Also I prefer to make eggless versions where possible so that even my Dad can enjoy it as he is allergic to eggs. 

There are many versions on how you can make this basic vanilla sponge cake but for this time I making it using condensed milk - my all time favorite :) This is my tried & tested recipe & has come out perfect every time. 

I call it basic cake as its so simple to make that its perfect for beginners to start their baking experience (I started my baking journey too with this one). Secondly this cake goes perfect as base for many sweet dish recipes allowing you to create dessert combinations of your choice. 

Wet ingredients:

1/2 cup of milk at room temperature
1/2 cup of condensed milk at room temperature
1/2 cup butter at room temperature
2-3 tbsp of sugar
1 tsp vinegar
1 tsp vanilla essence

Dry Ingredients:


1 to 1& 1/4 cup of all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda

Method: 

Preheat oven to 350F. Take a baking dish (about 8X8 inch) & spray some cooking oil or butter & line it with parchment paper. Spray some cooking oil again on top too. This helps the cake to come out clean & prevents the cake from sticking to the baking dish.



Now in a large bowl whisk together butter & condensed milk.  

Add sugar, vanilla extract & vinegar & whisk again 

Now add little milk at a time & whisk together to get a smooth paste.  


Sift all the dry ingredients together. Now add some flour at a time & whisk. Continue doing this till you have mixed all the flour & you have a lump free batter.




Pour the batter into previously greased baking dish, spread evenly & bake in the oven for about 25-30 mins. 
At 30 mins mark, insert a toothpick or knife at the center of the cake, if it comes out clean (i.e. no batter stuck to it) that means our cake is done. Remove it from the oven & let it cool for around 10-15 mins. 

Once its cool enough to handle, keep the plate on top of baking dish & just flip, your cake should come out easily. That's it, slice it & enjoy every bite of this soft spongy delicious cake.


I like serving this cake warm sprinkled with some confectionery sugar. 


Relish every bite!!

Happy Baking!!
Shweta


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Farfalle with Broccoli in creamy tomato sauce

After Penne Pasta, its time for yet another pasta dish Farfalle with Broccoli in creamy tomato sauce. As the name goes, this Italian dish is made from a type of pasta called Farfalle also popularly known as bow-tie pasta. Farfalla means butterfly in Italian and due to its butterfly shape it derived such a name. 

The sauce is creamy, simple, rich, thick & super delicious. I add broccoli with my bow-tie pasta as this combination not only tastes great but the rich broccoli green color compliments the orange sauce color, making it even more appetizing. 

Ingredients: 
2 cups of uncooked Farfalle pasta
3 cloves of garlic minced
1 cup onion finely chopped
2 cup broccoli florets 
1/2 cup cream cheese (I am using Philadelphia cream cheese - 1/3 less fat)
1 cup tomato paste
2 tbsp of tomato ketchup
1 tsp italian seasoning
1 tsp of dry parsley 
1/2 tbsp of red chili flakes (or to taste)
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp of oil
salt & pepper to taste

Method:
  • Boil water in a large pot & season it well with salt. Add the pasta & broccoli to this water. After 2 mins remove the broccoli outside & continue to cook pasta as per it's package instructions (approximately 11 mins). Like me if you like your pasta a little softer than Al dente cook it extra 5 mins. Strain the pasta & keep aside. Sprinkle some oil to avoid them sticking to each other. 
  • In a pan add oil, bay leaf & minced garlic. I add garlic even before the oil heats up as its allows the garlic flavor to get induced in the oil. Once the oil heats up add the chopped onions & cook till they turn transparent. 
  • Now add the tomato paste, tomato ketchup, parsley, Italian seasoning, red chili flakes, salt & pepper. Cook for 5 mins or till the sauce slightly thickens up.
  • Add the cream cheese to get a nice orangish colour & a rich creamy texture. Cook it for another 2 mins & then add your cooked pasta & brocoli to it. Mix well. 


Tip: Reserve 1/2 cup of water in which you boiled your pasta. Add this water as required to adjust the consistency of your sauce. 


Our delicious creamy Farfalle pasta with broccoli is ready , Serve hot with Garlic bread.


Happy Cooking!!
Shweta

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Strawberry Banana Smoothie

Strawberry Banana Smoothie brings freshness to your breakfast/snack in hot hot summers. Its healthy & fulfilling, can be substituted for a meal for people with light appetite. 

Mornings are usually busy for most of us so my preferred option is to load my carry glass/cup with a smoothie to work & keep sipping it at my desk. Nothing better than starting your day with a nutritious breakfast, isn't it? Its so delicious that I tend to sip it till the very last drop (sometimes leading to an embarrasing noise when no drink is left). Its a great snack for after school or work  too

Kids are usually fussy about eating fruits so this is a great way to feed them some. Am sure they will be the running behind you to have more than you running behind them for having some. 



Sunday, June 3, 2012

Mexican Biryani – Chipotle Style Veggie Bowl

Chipotle Veggie bowl is one of the first restaurants meals I tasted in the USA. For those who are new to this, Chipotle Mexican Grill is a chain of restaurants located in United States serving Mexican food like burritos, Tacos and bowl. This Veggie bowl is a healthy meal, consisting of rice, beans and salad, and this is what attracted me to this dish.