SPINACH- PEAS CURRY


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Just bought fresh baby spinach from Costco over the weekend. I decided to make another spinach curry most popular in India. This curry is easy to cook, it’s totally vegan. This is another great recipe of people avoiding dairy products temporarily. Couple of tweaks using this same spinach curry- you may add potato/sweet potato/ corn/ paneer/tofu instead of peas. This curry can also be eaten without any toppings. The key ingredient for this recipe is spinach and peas. It is the easiest curry which can be prepared within 30 mins (15 min prep and 15 min cooking time).

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup frozen peas or boiled fresh peas
  • 2 cup baby spinach, boiled, drained and cooled
  • 2 tbsp. cooking oil
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 inch piece of ginger
  • 1-2 cloves on garlic – optional
  • 1-2 green chillies
  • 1 medium sized tomato
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed chillies or chilli powder
  • 1 tsp. coriander powder
  • 1 tsp. salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. garam masala
  • 1 cup of water, approximately

Method:

  • Boil spinach leaves for 10 minutes in small amount of water.
  • Drain it and allow it to cool for some time.
  • If using fresh peas you will want to slightly boil it (5 -7 minutes in boiling water).
  • While the spinach is getting boiled, finely chop ½ onion and keep aside.
  • Roughly chop tomatoes green chilies, ginger and garlic.
  • Grind the cooled spinach along with the green chilies, tomato, onion, ginger and garlic to a fine paste and keep aside.
  • Heat oil in a pan.
  • Add the cumin seeds, wait for it to crackle
  • Add the finely chopped onions. Fry for 2-3 minutes, until lightly brown on medium flame
  • Add the spinach paste to the above. Keep it on low flame- to avoid spluttering of spinach all around.
  • Add turmeric powder and salt to taste.
  • Simmer it for 10 minutes.
  • Add frozen peas or boiled fresh peas.
  • Finally add garam masala & chili powder
  • Add 1 cup of water (adjust as needed)
  • Cook for 5-7mins. Turn off the flame.

Cooking Tips:

  • Do not cover the spinach curry if you want a vibrant green color. (Since I covered it while cooking the color changed to olive green)
  • To reduce the bitterness of the spinach you may add a spoonful of plain yogurt. Tomato also helps, but in turn changes the vibrant green color.
  • A trick my mom shared with me and I am sharing with you folks- to avoid spinach to splutter all around, cook it over low medium flame, leave the ladle in the pan. This will ensure no to minimal spluttering.

Serve it with hot hulks/chapatti/rice. try this dish folks and leave me your comments.

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VEGAN KEEMA SEEKH KEBABS


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Seekh Kebabs are a signature North Indian recipe which is all time crowd pleaser on special occasions. When people hear “Seekh kebabs” they are reminded of delicious, juicy kebabs made of minced meat of either lamb/chicken. They not only serve as a terrific appetizer but can also be served as a side dish to the main meal. Another, all time favorite starter is “Hare Bhara kebabs”. These are usually small circular patties made with spinach and potato. Hara Bhara kebabs are another mouth-watering appetizer spotted on restaurant menus in northern India.

Today, I have transfused the ” Kebabs” with “Hara Bhara kebabs” giving it a new twist. The recipe is adapted from FoodPunch. This is an easy, vegan, healthy recipe which can be tried with few key ingredients. This vegan appetizer has been made with goodness of peas, spinach, soya chunks and potato.

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Some of the folks might not be familiar with soya chunks; to clarify soya chunks are nuggets  made out of soy flour batter dried out in the sun. these can be used in dishes later. They are odourless and tasteless by themselves, presenting to every cook a blank canvas to paint on. The very fact that the boiled nuggets turn spongy, all ready to absorb any flavours you dunk them in, make them a delight to cook with. To soak the soya chunks, place the soya chunks in a deep bowl, add enough hot water so that the soya chunks are fully soaked in water. Cover and keep aside for 10-15 minutes or till they turn soft.

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Health Benefits of Soya Nugget
• Soya nuggets are rich in vitamins, minerals, isoflavones and lecithin, nutrients proven to help lower cholesterol, prevent cancer and loss of bone mass.
• Soya is strongly recommended for diabetics, expectant mothers, growing children, cardiac patients, weight-watchers and the aged.
• A 100 per cent vegetarian high quality protein source that does wonders for young and old.
• Especially great for growing children, as it provides critical vitamins, minerals, fibre and protein.
• Eating more high-fiber foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains and soya nuggets helps to lose weight.
• Soya nuggets are one of the best non-fish sources of essential omega-3 fatty acids, which may help reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.
• Soy protein may provide positive results for people with high blood pressure.
• Soy protein is beneficial to women in post-menopausal years.
• Soya is low in fat and sodium, and may help reduce the risk of heart disease.

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup fresh/ frozen green peas
  • ½ cup baby spinach
  • ½ cup soaked soy granules
  • 2 small potato, boiled, peeled and mashed
  • 2 green chillies
  • Ginger
  • Handful of fresh coriander leaves
  • ½ tsp cumin powder
  • ½ tsp dry coriander powder
  • 1/4th tsp black pepper powder
  • A pinch of garam masala
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs (fine)
  • Salt to taste
  • Skewers

Method:

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  • Boil green peas with a little salt, drain and spread it on a towel to remove all excess water.
  • Boil Soya Chunks as described above. Squeeze the water out of soya chunks and shred them using your hand.
  • Boil the baby spinach leaves, squeeze out the water and churn it in a blender to make a thick paste.
  • Boil Potato, peel and mash it
  • Slit, de-seed and finely chop the green chillies
  • Finely chop a tbsp full of ginger and the coriander leaves.
  • In a mixing bowl add the mashed potato, shredded soya chunks, green peas and the spinach paste.
  • Add the chopped chillies, ginger and all the spices.
  • Then add the bread crumbs and mix it well.
  • Divide the mixture into 6-8 equal parts. Lightly grease your palm and press each part along the length of a skewer to make each kebab approx 5 inch in length.You may also give it any shape you would like.
  • Heat medium flat frying pan. Spray olive oil, place three kebabs and let it cook, rolling on all sides untill golden all around. Alternatively, you may choose to deep fry.Serve hot with our favorite green chutney and spicy tomato ketchup.

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Would love to hear back from you! Please tray and leave me your comments!!

CHATPATE BAINGAN (EGG PLANT)


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Very recently I posted a recipe on “Achaari” Paneer. The flavors are still lingering on my tongue. I love the spicy, astringent and tart flavor of the pickles.The Achaari flavor comes from basic pickling spices; mustard, cumin, fennel seeds, nigella seeds, fenugreek seeds and red chilli which are prominently used in North Indian pickles. The combination of these flavors with paneer was absolutely phenomenal. I had an eggplant in my refrigerator and I decided to combine them together for dinner tonight.

I dislike eating eggplant and have never attempted to cook it before.  Although I have watched my mom cook an eggplant several times before. Since my husband loves eggplant, I decided to cook him a meal with his favorite veggie. What more can a guy ask for when he returns home to a home cooked meal made of his favorite veggie?!

The recipe includes  basic pickling spices; mustard, cumin, fennel seeds, nigella seeds, fenugreek seeds and red chilli which are prominently used in North Indian pickles.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 medium size Eggplant
  • 1 small Potato
  • 1 small Onion
  • 1 tsp Ginger- Garlic paste
  • ¼ tsp Sugar (Optional)
  • 2 tbsp Oil
  • pinch of Hing/Asafoetida (I used rock/crystal)
  • 2 springs Curry Leaves
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp Rai/Mustard Seeds
  • 1 tsp Jeera/Cumin Seeds
  • ½ tsp Saunf/Fennel Seeds
  • ½ tsp Methi/Fenugreek Seeds
  • ¼ tsp Kalonji/Nigella Seeds
  • 1½ tsp Dhania/Coriander Powder
  • ½ tsp Haldi/Turmeric Powder
  • 1 tsp Red Chilli Powder/Paprika
  • 1 tsp Garam Masala
  • 1 tsp Amchur/Dry Mango Powder

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Method:

  • Chop the eggplant into semicircular pieces. Ensure the width of the each piece remains nearly same, this helps in cook it evenly. Soak them in a bowl of cold water to prevent them from discolouring.
  • Chop potato lengthwise (the way you would want it for french fries). Soak it in another bowl with water.
  • Chop onion in 1″ size and soak it in same bowl as the potato.
  • Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds, fennel seeds, cumin seeds and nigella seeds.
  • When the mustard seeds crackle add fenugreek seeds.
  • Once the fenugreek seeds turn light brown in colour, add hing and curry leaves and give it a quick stir.
  • Add ginger-garlic paste and fry it till raw smell disappears.
  • Mix in turmeric, coriander powder, cumin powder and chilli powder and fry the spices for half a minute on low-medium flame.
  • Drain the water from the potato & onion and add to the pan. Mix them well.
  • Cover it using a lid. I like to pour little water on the lid- the steam aids in cooking the potatoes faster. Additionally nothing sticks to the pan or gets burnt. Cook it for 5-7 mins
  • Drain all the water from eggplants and add it to the pan. Mix them well.
  • Cover the pan with lid again. Let it cook for 3-4 minutes on medium flame.
  • Open the lid and stir in salt to taste. Cover and let it cook for another 5-7 minutes on medium flame, stirring after every 2 minute.
  • Next add garam masala, sugar and amchur powder and mix them well. Let it cook uncovered for few more minutes till the eggplants and potatoes are cooked through. They should be soft but not mushy.
  • Serve it hot with Indian flat breads (phulka/chappati)

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Enjoy the Chatpate Baingan! Look forward for your comments 🙂

KHAMAN MINI DHOKLA


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Khaman dhokla (Gujarati: ઢોકળા) is a vegetarian food item that originates from the Indian state of Gujarat. It is a savory steamed cake made from fermented batter derived from rice and chickpea splits. Dhokla is soft and fluffy, mildly tangy-sweet and a great snack anytime of the day. It can be eaten for breakfast, as a main course or as a side dish.

Every time my husband and I would bring the ready to eat dhokla’s available in Indian stores, I would say, I should try making it at home sometime. I was talking to my mom when I  mentioned it to her about buying the dhokla maker next time I’m in India.  Guess what!!! In my next parcel – I received the idly- dhokla maker. I adored this combo. Love the size of the cooker. I must say it is perfect size for two people and can easily serve unto 6 people. Mom’s are the simply the best!!

The first time I made dhokla using a ready made mix, it did’t turn out good. Next time I decided to try making it from scratch and it came out real good!

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As you read below, I have cooked it using steaming technique in the dhokla maker. Since my dhokla maker had both idly & dhokla plates, I tried making dhokla in idly plates/pan.

INGREDIENTS (measuring cup used, 1 cup = 250 ml)

Dhokla batter

  • 5 cups besan/gram flour
  • 1 tbsp rava or semolina (optional)
  • 3 tsp ginger-green chilies paste, 1 inch ginger + 3 or 4 green chilies crushed in a mortar-pestle
  • 2 to 3 pinches of turmeric powder
  • a generous pinch of asafoetida
  • 5-2 tsp eno or fruit salt or ½ to ¾ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt or as required
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • 1 cup water or add as required- the amount of water required depends on the quality of gram flour, so add as required to make a thick yet flowing batter.

Tempering:

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • ⅓ cup water
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 sprig curry leaves, about 8 to 10 curry leaves
  • 2-3 green chili (optional)
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • 2 tsp sugar

Garnish:

  • 2 tbsp chopped coriander
  • 2 tbsp grated coconut

Step to Khaman mini dhokla recipe:

  1. You may grease a steamer pan with ¼ tsp oil or use olive/vegetable oil spray. I like to spray a little oil and spread using your finger.
  2. Take 1.5 cups besan/gram flour in a mixing bowl.
  3. Add 2 to 3 pinches of turmeric powder, a pinch of asafetida, 1 tsp lime juice and 3 tsp ginger-green chilies paste (I like to add three-four green chillies and 1inch ginger to the mixer and make a paste) and salt as per taste. Tip: avoid adding too much of turmeric powder as then the fruit salt or baking soda reacts with the turmeric powder and makes it red in color, thereby giving reddish specks or tones in the dhokla.
  4. Add 1 cup water or as required to make thick yet flowing mixture.
  5. Add 1 tbsp rava or sooji. This is entirely optional.
  6. Mix them together to a smooth thick batter without any lumps.Tip: The batter should be thick yet flowing. If the batter become thin, add 1 to 2 tbsp sooji/rava or besan.
  7. Take 2 to 3 cups of water in a steamer pan or electric cooker or pressure cooker and bring it to boil. The amount of water to be added depends on the size of the steamer or pressure cooker.
  8. To leaven he dhokla mix commonly used fruit salt ENO is used, which is comprised of 60% baking soda and 40% citric acid. Add 1.5 tsp eno or fruit salt. Some people prefer the alkaline taste and can add upto 2tsp of fruit salt. You may use baking soda too, however baking soda gives the soapy aroma if used in excess. If yoy are adding baking soda, then add from ½ tsp to ¾ tsp. Tip: Both Eno and baking soda react with turmeric powder and gives a reddish tinge or spots in dhokla. So just add little turmeric powder or skip it completely.
  9. Begin to stir the eno with the batter briskly and quickly. The fruit salt should be mixed evenly with the batter or else you get uneven texture in the dhokla.
  10. The batter would become frothy and bubbly, so you have to be quick.
  11. Pour the batter in the greased pan. Gently shake so that the batter evens out in the pan.

Steaming khaman:

  1. Place the pan in a steamer or electric rice cooker or pressure cooker. The water should already be boiling or hot when you place the pan with the dhokla batter. When using pressure cooker, remove the vent weight/whistle from the lid and cover the cooker tightly with its lid.
  2. Steam for 12 to 15 minutes on a medium to high flame.
  3. To check, insert a toothpick/greased knife and if it comes out clean, the dhokla is done. Tip: If the toothpick has the batter on it, then you need to steam for some more time.
  4. Remove the dhokla in a plate. If the pan is greased well, the khaman can be removed easily on the plate.
  5. If you have used a dhokla pan, slice the khaman and keep aside. If you have prepared it using idly pan, no need for slicing.

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Tempering the khaman mini dhokla:

  1. Take a small pan, heat 2 tbsp oil.
  2. Add 1 tsp mustard seeds and allow them to crackle.
  3. When the mustard seeds are crackling, add 8 to 10 curry leaves and to 1 -3 green chiliies (optional).
  4. Then add ⅓ cup water. Be careful while adding water as the mixture sizzles.
  5. Add 2 tsp sugar.
  6. Stir and allow the tempering mixture to come to a boil.
  7. Pour this tempering mixture evenly on the khaman dhokla.
  8. Garnish using 2 tbsp chopped coriander seeds and 2 tbsp grated coconut.
  9. You can serve with coriander chutney/ tamarind chutney/ enjoy as it is.

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Hope you like my recipe. Please try and share your comments.