Dahi Vada

I have made and posted all fancy recipes ever since I started this blog. I wanted to make something simple and a traditional dish and I was craving for Dahi Vada/Bhalla anyways;).
These are delicious soft lentil dumplings soaked in seasoned yogurt/dahi.The best Vadas I have ever eaten were at my GrandMa’s in India. They are made with the black Urad Dal and the taste is unparalleled!
If you have mastered the art of making holes in the vada, then make the ‘true Vadas’. I haven’t yet so, this comes more like a shapeless vada.

¾ cup Urad Dal, soaked in water for 4-5 hours
¼ cup Moong Dal, soaked in water for 4-5 hours
2 green chillies chopped
¼ tsp of cumin seeds
Salt to Taste

For the Dahi/Yogurt:
1 cup Dahi (Make it smooth by adding water if necessary)
1 tbsp Cumin Coriander Powder
2 tsps Chaat Masala/Dahi Vada seasoning
Coriander to Garnish
1 tbsp of Tamarind Date Chutney
Pinch of Parika

Soak Dals separately for 4-5 hours.Grind/Blend them until it forms smooth batter, a bit thicker than Idli batter/thick pancake batter.Mix Cumin seeds and green chillies to the batter.Heat Oil in a Kadai for deep frying.To check if the oil is ready, put a small amount in the oil.If it rises to the top, the oil is ready. Take a spoonful of batter and deep fry.Place them on a paper napkin to remove the excess oil and put them in water for a few minutes.This makes the dumplings extra soft.

For Dahi:Add the Coriander and Chaat Masala to Dahi .Mix it well.Add Salt and Coriander.Now, add the water soaked dumplings.
Drizzle the Tamarind Chutney and sprinkle some paprika!

Try this and drift into some of those lovely childhood memories.
This is my entry to the MLLA -12th Helping hosted at Annarasa, created by Susan of The Well Seasoned Cook.

Have fun

CookBook Review

This is my first cookbook that I bought a few years back when I first started cooking. Yeah, Cooking!Finding a good vegetarian book can be a challenge in the US. At the time, I was searching for one that has different cuisines and some unique dishes and bumped into this book in a local book store.

Vegetarian the best ever recipe collection By Linda Fraser (Anness Publishing) has a wide range of recipes starting from Soups to appetizers to pastas and one pot meals. The difficulty level ranges from very easy to some what difficult. It also contains some Indian dishes like Chickpea curry, Vegetarian Pilaf, Eggplant Biryani. The recipes are enticing and the pictures beautiful .Most of the dishes are not complex and are not time consuming. The book is divided into 7 segments-Soups, Appetizers, Salads, Side Dishes, Light Lunches, Suppers and Special Occasions. In the beginning of the book, there is a good introduction of the veggies, dairy products, flours and grains and also about the canned products. The recipes are very well detailed. It has a combination of deep fried, baked and steamed dishes.
I have tried many of the recipes and I was happy with the results. For instance, I liked her take on Minestrone soup with the addition of Pesto which is a light soup but with a lot of rich flavor.This is a great book for any body who wants to get a mix of all cuisines!
Now,let me stir your appetite by naming some of the dishes from the book:

Soups: Split Pea and Zucchini Soup; Carrot and Cilantro Soup; Garlic, Chickpea, Spinach Soup..

Salads: Pear and Pecan Salad with Blue Cheese; Spanish Asparagus & Orange Salad; Tomato and Feta Cheese Salad; Fennel, Orange & Arugula Salad..

Appetizers: Eggplant Dip with Crisp Bread; Spring Rolls; Cheese stuffed Pears…

Side Dishes: Baby Vegetables; Spinach with Raisins and Pine Nuts; Thai Fragrant Rice; Spicy Potatoes &Cauliflower..

Lunches and Suppers:Potato Gnocchi; Vegetable Fajitas; Risotto w/Mushrooms; Eggplant Calzone; Ravioli w/Ricotta &Spinach; Pizza w/fresh Vegetables; Vegetable Korma…

Special Occasions: Greek Phyllo Twists; Spring Vegetable Boxes...

What I like: The instructions with the pictures are very clear and the dishes are relatively easy to make.
Did not like: I wish it had some fruity desserts
Something for you folks to try: I have tried this dish. Infact this is my first dish that I baked. It came out quite well, I thought!
2 Baking potatoes
2 tbsps olive oil
2 garlic cloves,crushed
1 tsp ground all spice/garam masala (I substituted garam masala for all spice
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tbsp paprika
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the dip
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
7 ounce can chopped tomatoes
1 fresh red chile, seeded and finely chopped
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp chopped cilantro, plus extra to garnish

Preheat the oven to 400F.Wash the potatoes. Cut them in half and then into 8 wedges. Place the potato wedges in a saucepan of cold water. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer gently for 10 min, or until potatoes have softened slightly. Drain well and pat dry on paper towels. Mix the oil, garlic, all spice, coriander and paprika in a roasting pan. Season with salt and pepper. Add the potatoes and shake to coat thoroughly. Roast for 20 mts, turning occasionally. Meanwhile, make the chile dip. Heat the oil in a saucepan, add the onion and garlic and cook for 5-10 min, until soft and golden. Add the tomatoes with their juice and stir in the chile and vinegar.Cook gently for 10 min, until the mixture has reduced and thickened. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the cilantro and serve hot, with the potato wedges. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and garnish with cilantro.
If I were to rate this book on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the best, I would give it a 7. Its worth the price!
This is my entry to the WYF:Cookbook Reviews hosted by EC.

Have fun!

Eggplant Rolls

This is my entry to Lowfat eggless Baking Event, hosted by Madhuram of Egglesscooking.
I loved the concept of Lowfat eggless Baking Event,although at first it seemed challenging;)
I think you cannot get a healthier theme than this.
I was there scratching my head as to what I can make for this event. I have baked for a few years now but mostly with eggs or cookies without eggs but with plenty of butter (High Fat ;)). The low fat and eggless theme eliminated most of the recipes that I know on top of my head. But with some of my hair lost, here I am with Eggplant Rolls!! There are various versions of eggplant rollups out there and here is my version- A quick, light and a nutritious dish!

1 Medium Eggplant, sliced lengthwise
1 store bought Hummus-you could use plain hummus or a flavored one. I used Roasted red pepper hummus to bring some extra flavors.
1 Medium Onion, chopped
1 Medium Tomato, chopped
Cilantro. To garnish
Lime/Lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 425F. Line a baking sheet with Aluminum Foil. Grease with Olive oil or low fat spray like PAM, which is what I used. Slice the eggplants lengthwise and about ¼ inch think slices.
On an average, you may end up getting about 6 slices. Place them on the baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil on the slices. Season the slices with salt and pepper. Bake them in the preheated oven until they are tender. Spread the hummus on each of the slice. Top them with some chopped onions, tomatoes and cilantro.

Drizzle some lemon juice. Roll the slices gently and secure them with tooth picks.

There you go....

For now,


Shortbread Cookies

So, this is what my husband wanted for Father’s Day! He had store bought shortbread cookies sometime back and was craving for them, looks like And what better place to hunt for a cookie recipe than Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook. This is almost a Bible to me. I have baked a lot of cookies from her book and every time they turn out to be perfect, ‘melt in the mouth’ cookies.

I just made half the recipe which yielded 11 cookies. The original recipe yields 22 cookies.

1 ¼ cup all purpose flour
1 ½ sticks butter softened
4 oz Confectioner’s sugar
Pinch of salt
Granulated Sugar

Preheat the oven to 325F. Grease and line a 9x9 baking pan with a parchment paper. Sift the flour and salt. Beat the butter and confectioners’ sugar until fluffy. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture. Beat the mixture until it forms the consistency of cookie dough. Spread the mixture evenly and refrigerate it for about 15 mts.

Poke holes in the dough with a fork and bake it in the oven until it is golden brown. Immediately sprinkle granulated sugar and cut them into fingers. Let them cool in the pan.

These cookies taste best when eaten on the same day. You can store them in an airtight container for a week.

Note: I used a 9x9 baking pan but you can use whatever pan you have but make sure the dough when spread is atleast ½ inch thick.

This is my entry to CLICK Stacks photo event hosted by Jai and Bee of Jugalbandi.

Almond Fruit Tart

What is the best part of a meal? Of course,it has to be the dessert! On any given day, I can trade my entire meal for a decadent dessert.Filled with delicious fresh fruit, this tart is a light dessert that is appeasing to both the eye and the palate.
This recipe is an adaptation of Giada’s (Everyday Italian) Raspberry Almond Tart.

1 sheet of Pepperidge farm puff pastry (Thaw according to the package directions)
1 cup of whipped cream (You will find this in the frozen section near ice cream. Not the rediwhip spray)
1 egg lightly beaten
¼ cup powdered sugar
½ cup sliced/slivered almonds, toasted
1 cup fresh raspberries
1 cup blueberries
1 nectarine/peach sliced
1 tbsp of Almond syrup
Chocolate syrup and cocoa powder

Roll out the thawed pastry sheet and flour the sheet lightly. Cut ¾ inch wide strip from all the sides of the pastry sheet. Keep them aside.
Preheat the oven to 400F.Brush the sides with egg. Attach the strips on top of the edges such that it forms a shallow box/square.Brush the border with the egg. Poke holes on the sheet with a fork and bake it until golden brown. Mix the whipped cream, almond syrup and sugar well. Dont overdo it. Fold the almonds gently into the mixture. Spoon the mixture on the baked tart. Decorate with fruits. Drizzle with chocolate syrup and sift cocoa powder.Serve immediately.

This is my entry to the Sugar High Fridays, guest hosted by Mansi of funnfood, a brainchild of Jennifer of Domestic Goddess.

Have fun:)

Pudina-Methi Pulao

This is my entry to the Monthly Mingle #33- "Ravishing Rice" guest hosted by Nags of Edible Garden, a brainchild of lovely Meeta of What's for lunch honey :)

I am a new blogger and this is my first entry into an event!I hope all you guys will like it.

I have always made this dish for a potluck or just for some comfort food on a weekend.Mint as an ingredient, either be it in a savory dish or in chocolate,always fascinated me.It brings out a fresh and a crisp flavor into any dish!In addition to Pudina(Mint), I add Methi leaves and Kasoori Methi to this tasty and a hearty rice dish.

2 cups Basmati Rice, soaked for half hour
2 Medium Potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 Medium Onion , thinly sliced
1/2 cup Methi leaves , washed and chopped
1/2 cup Pudina/Mint leaves, washed and chopped
2 tsp Jeera and Dhania Powder
1 tsp Turmeric
2 bay leaves
1 tsp Ground Cloves
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 green cillies, chopped thin
Lime wedges and Coriander to garnish
Salt to taste

Heat oil in a pan.Add Jeera,chilli.Sautee Onions till they turn soft and brown.Add Potates and fry for a couple of minutes.Now, add Cumin powder, turmeric, cloves, cinnamon, salt and Kasoori Methi.Let 'em cook for a while, for about 5 mts or so.Then, add the Methi and pudina leaves and cook till soft.Mix this curry like mixture with the soaked rice. Use 1:1.75 ratio water,since the potatoes have to get soft.Cook the contents on low-medium heat for 5-7 mts or until cooked.Garnish with Coriander and a Lime wedge....Yumm...Yumm or what?

Serve hot with Raita or any curry.
Enjoy and have fun

Save the Rainforests..

I have never been a "Green Person", but having a kid can make you an environmentally responsible person, I guess! You get a great sense of comfort and satisfaction by knowing that you contributed for a good cause, however, small it may be!Both me and my daughter are big fans of Tropicana Orange Juice.One day, I was going through the nutrition facts and the carton mentioned about saving rain forests by entering a 11 digit code.
Rainforests are named so because the areas have a high rainfall.There are two types of rainforests-Tropical and Temperate.Tropical Rainforests are mainly found in South America which we call-The Amazon,some parts of Africa and Southeast Asia.Temperate forests are found in places in N America,Europe and some parts of Australia.They can help control the weather worldwide.The forests are being destroyed because of climatic conditions and deforestation (Humans cutting away trees without realising the value). You can save about 100 sq ft for every can of Orange Juice that you drink.You can do it individually or form into teams with your friends!!

Again, to know more about it, go to http://www.tropicanarainforest.com/

Vegetable Fritters

‘Fritters’ generally is any food coated and deep fried. In India, they are often referred to as Pakoras or Bhajias. Among all the fritters Onion, Spinach and Potato ones are quite popular. I have used different kinds of vegetables and eggs in this recipe.It is a nice way to get a good serving of vegetables for children. You can deep fry in Olive Oil, instead of regular oil for a healthier version.

Veggies needed: You can use any or all or your choice of veggies.

3 potatoes
2 carrots
2 Yams/sweet potatoes
1 yellow or green squash
½ Bell Pepper
Salt to Taste
3 Tbsps all purpose flour
3 eggs lightly beaten
½ tsp cumin powder (optional)
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp paprika (optional)

Finely grate all the veggies. Place it in a sieve and sprinkle some salt. Put it aside for 15 mts. Squeeze out all the water, as much as possible. Combine the flour, eggs and the veggies.

Heat oil in a wok. To test the oil, drop a small amount of mixture and if it rises to the top, the oil is ready! Take a measuring tablespoon or using your hand, drop small piles of the mixture. The fritters should be golden brown on both sides. Fry a couple at a time (depending on the size of your pan), until all the mixture is completed. Drain the fritters on a paper towel. Drain out the excess oil. Serve Warm. It is best served with Chutney/Relish.

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