July 10, 2018

Spicy Besan +Fenugreek Crackers for #Breadbakers

This month on #Breadbakers, we have Stacy hosting a wonderful theme close to my heart - Gluten Free Baking. At home, we have been making subtle but significant changes to our everyday diet and try alternatives to usual flatbreads / baking we do with Whole-wheat and / or dairy products.

One of the (successful) bakes were these spicy and flavourful Besan cookies (gram flour / garbanzo flour crackers), and as we are a savoury-bake-loving family, these vanished in a jiffy. Bookmarked from Suma's recipe, I made a couple of changes for the kids and we are sure to make and savour these often. Besan is not only protein-rich, but is a great alternative as a GF flour for baking (yes, it takes a little getting used to) or even to make pancakes (a.k.a Cheelas)

Other GF dishes (and mostly vegan too) that you like on this blog:

Baked Idli Fry | Gluten Free and Vegan Snacks
Vegan shammi Kebabs (GF too!)

and many, many more - just hit the GF button here

This recipe is not only GF, but also vegan - so, its a win-win for all those who are looking for healthy non-dairy and not so butter-heavy cookies. Thank you, Stacy for a wonderful theme, and we are sure to try these again with a different mix of spices.

The only changes I made were to bake them as thin cookies, rather than the thicker "cookie" type that the original recipe had.


Prep time - 15 mins, Resting time - 10-15 mins, Baking time : 12~15 mins / batch

Ingredients:

  • Besan / Chickpea flour / Garbanzo flour - sifted - 1 cup (here 1 cup = 200 ml)
  • Peanut / Canola  / sunflower oil - 3 TBSP (warm)
  • Salt - 1/2 T
  • Crushed Fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi) - 1 T
  • Red chilli powder / spicy cayenne powder - 1/2 T (adjust to taste)
  • Baking Powder - 1/2 tsp + 1/8 tsp
  • Sugar - 1 tsp (optional)
  • Turmeric  - 1/2 tsp
  • Roasted Sesame seeds - 1 T
  • Warm water - to knead


Method:

  1. Mix all the dry ingredients except oil and water. Add warm oil 1 TBSP at a time and fold into the flour as breadcrumbs (if using butter here, use cold butter and cut into the flour).
  2. Add 1 tsp warm water at a time, and knead into a soft slightly crumbly dough.
  3. Cling wrap and refreigerate for 15-20 mins (optiional but recommended step)
  4. Towards the end of 15~20 mins, preheat oven to 160 C / 350F. Line a baking sheet.
  5. With slightly greased hands, knead dough for a min.
  6. Roll the dough between two parchment / thick plastic sheets to desired thickness.
  7. Place gently on the lined baking sheet. Bake until a golden edge appears around the edges
  8. The cookies might be slightly soft when taken out. They harden a bit after left around for 10-15 mins on a cooling tray.
  9. Store the crackers in an air tight container and enjoy along with your afternoon cuppa.


#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. Let's check out the #GF bakes this month.


BreadBakers

June 26, 2018

Chinese Smashed Cucumber Salad | Raw, Vegan and GF

This has been on my mind ever since Pavani posted her version. I didn't get the pictures as well as hers, but the taste was spot on. Thank you Pavani, for a wonderful recipe. I realised I should have smashed them a little further to get the flavours seeping in, but this chilled salad on a hot summery afternoon was bliss and I had this as a snack all by myself :)

As with the other salads this week, this too is a zero cook. So, it comes together pretty quickly. Hope you enjoyed the salads past two days with Summer Fruit Mix Salad and Watermelon Feta Salad.


Prep time - 10 mins, Marination : 10 min (optional); Serves : 1
Chinese Smashed Cucumber Salad - Vegan, Raw Gluten Free

You need:

  • English / Persian Cucumbers - 1 medium (chilled)
  • Sesame oil - 1 TBSP (I warmed it slightly but you can use room temperature)
  • Red chilli flakes - 1/2 TBSP
  • sugar - 1/2 tsp (I used brown sugar)
  • Salt and pepper - to taste
  • Garlic - 1 pod (finely minced) - I didn't add


Method:

  1. Trim the ends of the cucumbers and rub the cut ends against the cucumber to remove any bitterness (in Bangalore cucumber variety which I used, there is a lot of bitterness, so be sure to remove this). smash this lightly (or rather a bit strongly), and cut into one thirds or longish batons. You may also make these bite sized, but slightly chunky. 
  2. Whisk together the rest of the ingredients, add to the cucumbers. Let the flavours sit for a while in the fridge
  3. Serve chilled.



Sending this to Sandhya who's hosting Kids' Delight - Summer Salads & BM #89



June 25, 2018

Summer Special Fruit Mix | Easy Salads | Vegan & GF

This was a simple, fruit mix that my elder girl put together for a weekend brunch this April. It was scorching hot and we wanted something that went well as a lunch with some cold cucumber gazpacho and some leftover garlic focaccia

The kiddo is like her dad i guess when it comes to cooking - given the ingredients on hand, she dishes up pretty different but yummy fare. 

The dish may not have a name but she has an eye on the salt- spice balance, and am happy that she's shaping up in the kitchen as an essential survival skill needed irrespective of where the kids settle down. 

So, a dish without a name got christened as Summer Special Fruit mix. In fact, once the dish was on the table, it reminded me of the Bangalore special Fruit Chaat mix that's served on street carts in a leaf lined bowl. 



So, here's one more salad to add to your Summer meal rotation. The kiddo pretty much used up most of the fruits at home, but you can use whatever pleases your fancy. The dressing was also basic, but u can add your own vinaigrette or creamy dressing to jazz it up a bit. 

Prep time - 15 mins, Zero cook , serves - 2 ~3

Mixed fruits - 2 cups
dressing - Lemon juice, crushed garlic salt, honey (opt.), Crushed black pepper.

In a chilled bowl, mix all the ingredients. Add the dressing, toss well till mixed. 
Chill further for 15-30 mins and serve topped with a dash of Chaat masala.



Sending to Sandhya who's hosting Kid's Delight - Salads and BM # 89

June 24, 2018

Watermelon Feta Salad

This week we present 3 summery salads. Its not really summer here as I type this , but given the ingredients, I would love to have this anytime...

This was one of the most sought-after Salads at home, with both me and the husband having tasted it at many brunches and parties. Watermelon is airy, light and so flavour-packed it lends itself to slushes, salads and smoothies very easily. 

I have two more salads with watermelon already on this blog - Melonball salad and Watermelom-Quinoa salad and we love them all.

Today's hero is the watermelon featuring feta as well. As feta is very salty, do not add any additional salt in the salad. Keep the dressing light, and this something you can carry to parties or potlucks with a touch of style. 

Let's get to make this zero cook, filling, GF  and hearty salad. Comes together in 5 mins, but tastes best chilled. 

Other dishes with watermelon:

Watermelon Lemonade
Watermelon Quinoa Salad with Lime & Chilli Vinaigrette
Watermelon and Ginger Punch 
Melon ball Salad
Cabbage and Watermelon salad with Cucumbers


Prep time - 5 mins, zero cook, serves - 2

What you need:
Cubed and deseeded watermelon - 2 cups
Feta cheese- 20 grams (sub with vegan feta for vegan version)
Lemon juice - 1 TBSP
Torn mint leaves - few
Crushed black pepper - to taste

How to:
Marinate the watermelon in the lemon juice & mint.  Toss well to combine. Leave for 5 mins. 
Just before serving, add in the feta and crushed black pepper. 
Chill for 20-30 mins under a clinwrap and serve. 



Goes to Day 1, Week 4 of Summer Salads of BM 89 - Kids Delight hosted bySandhya, and the event from Srivalli.

June 12, 2018

Coriander Cumin Bread for #Breadbakers

After a long break, I am baking along with the #Breadbakers. This month is being hosted by Mireille - a dear friend and a versatile cook blogging at who can whip up stuff ranging from a traditional South Indian Pal Payasam (Milk Rice Pudding) to a Mexican Enchilada and pretty much everything in between.  For this month's theme, she has asked us to make naturally coloured breads. 

My first thought was a beetroot  bread that I had bookmarked but I couldn't get my hands on fresh and juicy beets. I did make the Coriander Cumin bread which was adapted from here, we loved the Indian twist to the savoury bread. Thanks Mir, for a lovely theme. We had this warm on the first day and the next day with slices that went well with a Vegan roasted bell pepper-sesame dip (recipe coming soon!)



Prep time - 20 mins | Rising time : 1 hour 30 mins + 45 mins | Makes : 2 medium loaves
Coriander Cumin Bread - Vegan 

Ingredients: (1 cup = 200 ml)

Bread flour - 1.5 cups
Wholewheat flour - 1/2 cup
Instant yeast - 7 grams (1 sachet)
Vital Wheat gluten - 2 tsp (optional but recommended)
Warm water - 3/4 cup + 2 tsp (or as needed)
Olive Oil - 2 TBSP + 1 tsp for greasing
Sugar - 1 tsp
Roasted cumin - 1 TBSP
finely Chopped coriander leaves / cilantro - 4 TBSP
Chilli flakes - 1 tsp
Salt - 1/3 tsp



Method:

  1. Proof the yeast in a mixture of warm water + sugar and stir till sugar dissolves. Let it stand for 15 mins undisturbed till yeast blooms.
  2. In a stand mixer, add the flours, gluten, proofed yeast, salt, spices, cumin, coriander leaves,  oil, chilli flakes, mix well.  Mix to a shaggy dough with a wooden / blunt spoon and let it sit covered for 10 mins (this helps gluten formation).
  3. Now knead till a smooth and non-sticky dough develop - about 10/12 minutes by hand or 8-10 mins in a stand mixer. Grease the bowl of a stand mixer and place the dough in it. 
  4. Cover with a damp kitchen towel  / cling wrap and let it rise till doubles (about an hour or 90 mins)
  5. Once risen , punch it down slightly and shape into loaves and place on greased baking tray. Cover again for rising slightly.
  6. Towards the end of the 2nd rise, preheat oven to 190 C. Make slightly deep slits with a sharp serrated knife on the risen loaves. 
  7. Bake for 22-24 mins or till they sound hollow. Let them cool. 
  8. slice and serve 


Let's check what the other #Breadbakers have dished out this month:

Naturally Colorful Breads List by #BreadBakers


#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all our of lovely bread by following our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated after each event on the #BreadBakers home page.
We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to foodlustpeoplelove@gmail.com.
BreadBakers

Dhokla Simla Mirch | GF snack

The last in the stuffed series this week is this very unique yet flavourful Dhokla Shimla Mirch where a Shimla Mirch (Bell pepper / Capsicum) is stuffed with Dhokla Mix and steamed. We are a huge fan of Steamed food, and so this was a perfect pick me up for the theme - Stuffed :)

Adapted from Tarla Dalal's recipe, this is surely going to be made very often for its unique look as well as its being GF and vegetable based. So, if you are a fan of steamed food too do check out this recipe!


More steamed dishes (Multi-cuisine) on this blog:


Prep time - 10 mins, Steaming time - 15 mins ; Serves - 2

You would need:
2 large (firm) Bell peppers (choose those with a sturdy base)
Dhokla mix - I used the khaman recipe from my blog

Tempering:
Oil - 1/2 tsp
White / black sesame seeds - 1/2 tsp
Mustard OR jeera (cumin seeds)  - 1/4 tsp


Method:
Trim the edges of the bell pepper. Make the batter of the Khaman and keep aside.
Bring a steamer to rolling boil with adequate batter. 
Halve the peppers and de-seed them. Add soda to the batter (as per recipe) and gently pour into the halved peppers (Batter should not be too thick or thin) only till 2/3 full.
Steam on high for 12-15 mins or till the dhokla is cooked through and a skewer comes clean. Prepare the tempering on the halved pieces directly. 
Cool for 3-4 mins. Then slice and serve. 

Sending to BM # 89 under stuffed dishes theme



June 11, 2018

Broccoli Pakoda | Easy kids snacks

Most moms have a predicament of how to feed their toddlers broccoli and other healthy stuff. I have a unique one - how to get my little one off the Broccoli bandwagon and eat everyday veggies like Bhindi (Okra), Potato. But she's stuck with her beans and broccoli for now. Well, I am not complaining except that off season , this veggie is really expensive in my part of the world. 
We had an off season crop this April when the prices dipped to what wouldn't burn my wallet, and then this dish got made. 

Vacations can be really demanding when the "I am bored" and "I am hungry" are repeated in a loop. Sometimes, I wonder what to feed them. I made just a handful of these pakoras, and before even serving it (the blog) with some sauce, these were gone ! I am sure to make them again with decent pics, but the taste was delicious. I really wish I had made some more of these.


If you are, like me and the little one, a broccoli lover, check out the following recipes while we head to the main dish today:


Vegetarian Steamed Dimsums

Roasted Bell Pepper-Broccoli Salad with Feta and Orange Vinaigrette
Bolivian Purple Cabbage Salad with Broccoli (Vegan,GF)
Broccoli and Apple Garden Salad
Broccoli Pepper Corn Pizza
Lemony Broccoli Stir Fry
Stuffed Broccoli-Palak Parathas
Healthy Broccoli Soup

and more Pakora (fritter) options here:
Pasta Pakora (yes!)
Baked Onion Pakora (GF,Vegan)
Cabbage Pakora
Onion pakora
Chawal Pakora | How to make Rice Pakora
Methi Pakora
Gatti Pakoda

Let's get to make today's simple yet yummy pakora. 


Prep time - 15 mins , Fry time - 10 mins ; serves - 2
Ingredients:

Broccoli - 100 grams (broken into small florets)
Oil - to deep fry (1 cup)

Batter:
Besan /Gramflour - 3 TBSP
Rice flour - 1 TBSP
Salt - 1/2 ~ 1/3 tsp
Crushed ajwain / carrom seeds - 1/8 tsp (crushed)
Turmeric / Haldi - 1/8 tsp
Hot Oil - 2 tsp
Crushed black pepper / red chilli powder - 1/2 tsp (skip if making for kids)


Method:
Wash and blanch the florets in mildly salted water for 2 mins. Drain under ice cold water and pat dry and keep aside.  
Meanwhile in a bowl, sieve the flours, add all other other ingredients and very little water to make a slightly thickish yet free flowing batter. Rest for 5 mins. 
Heat the oil in a deep bottomed pan till its moderately hot. 
Dip the blanched florets in the batter and drop them in the oil. Don't overcrowd the oil. 
Fry the pakoras in batches till golden brown (you may also bake them if you don't deep fry them, but it would take longer).
Drain on absorbent paper and serve hot as is or with a cup of tea / coffee. 

Sending this to BM # 89 under stuffed dishes. 



June 10, 2018

Sweet n Spicy Chapati | Stuffed dishes | Lunchbox Ideas

The posts on this blog seem to have taken a yawning break (again) and we come back this week with 3 stuffed dishes. This was a last minute sign up and I am typing this recipe while still on a vacation as I have this dish in my drafts :)

My earliest memory of amma (mom) making chapati was the one stuffed with ghee (what me and sis called triangle chapati) . Eaten hot off the tawa, this was one of the few delicacies that was welcome any time of the day. I have slightly tweaked it to suit my child’s palate and was surprised as I have not posted it at all.

So, presenting sweet n spicy (ghee-stuffed) chapati that goes great for even (cold) lunchboxes on its own or with a spicy curry. I served it with Punjabi Chole. 

Prep time - 15 Mins; cook time -15 Mins ; makes - 6


You need:
  • Atta / stone ground wholewheat flour -1.5 cups
  • Salt -1/2 tsp
  • Oil - to fry the chapati - as required
  • Warm water / warm milk - to knead the dough (milk makes it stay softer for a longer time, so I use it when I need to pack these for lunch boxes)

Stuffing :
  • Solid / Room temperature homemadeghee - 2 tbsp (melted ghee doesn't work well here)
  • Sugar powder - 1 TBSP
  • Chilli powder / crushed black pepper/ chilli flakes - 1/2 tsp or to taste
  • Ajwain (carrom seeds) - crushed - 1/2 tsp (or to taste) - you may omit this for toddlers

Method
  1. Sieve the flour well, add salt , 1/2 tsp of oil and mix well.
  2. Add warm water or warm milk as required little by little and make a semi soft dough. Cover with a damp kitchen towel for 15 Mins.
  3. Heat a Tava / iron skillet (non stick works but i prefer the iron version)
  4. Pinch out small balls (large gooseberry sized) from the dough. Roll into a 4 inch disc using some
  5. Dry flour.
  6. Now apply a layer of the ghee, sprinkle sugar powder ,ajwain and chilli flakes / powder (as using) to taste.
  7. Fold into quarters and roll out again in an irregular triangular or circular shape.
  8. Cook on the Tava till both sides of the chapati give out brown spots. Apply a little or more oil as required and serve hot.
  9. It tastes yum as is (my little one wraps it like a roll and munches it) or with some curry on the side (if packing for lunchboxes, slightly cool and then pack in a foil / ziploc else the condensation would make it extremely soggy)



Sending this to BM # 89 


April 30, 2018

Zuppa Pomodoro di Toscano (Tuscan Tomato Soup) | Easy Soup recipes

For the last day of the 26-day Street Food Marathon , we are here at Alphabet Z. I was determined not to use any adjective or Zucchini for the Alphabet, so this idea of the soup (as a street food) came from the husband who had soups for over a week while travelling to Italy early this Spring (and mind you, he is NOT a soup person, at all). 

So, he told me that for vegetarians, street cafes serve the best soups, and they are not just filling but come in a variety of forms from light broths to thick stews.

Today's Soup is somewhere in between. I personally wanted to make Zuppa Verdere (which is a vegetable rich soup) or Zuppa Tuscano (a potato-kale based thick soup), but as the little one asked for a tomato based soup, I veered right into it and made just 1 portion (and mildly spiced).



She loved it and wanted me to make it for the elder one too.As I write this, the elder one is at a summer camp, and boy ! , do they grow up so quickly. In a few years, she would be off to college, and the house already looks empty :((


Without much ado, let's get to this semi-thick Zuppa Comodoro di Toscano.  We are major fans of soup at home, and if you are one too (or on the way to controlling diet with large bowls of soup), do check out the following. Who knows, from a non-soup lover, you could just be addicted !!


Also, most vegetarian soups are GF and Vegan (or can be converted into vegan), so it's a huge plus for those on special health requirements too.


Let's get to make today's soup. As with most homemade soups here, I have made use of the pressure cook. You may choose to make it in a crockpot, open pan or choose the IP (Instant Pot) version too.
Adapted from here.

Prep time - 10 mins, Cook time : 10 mins, serves : 1

Ingredients:

  • Large, ripe , Red Tomatoes - 2 nos
  • Onion - 1/2 (minced)
  • Garlic - 1 clove (opt.)
  • Olive oil - 1 TBSP
  • Pesto - 1/2 tbsp (I used the Basil Almond vegan pesto)
  • Unsalted Homemade Veg stock  - 1 cup (200 ml) {{you may use veg soup bouillions too, but watch the salt then}}
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • Cauliflower , carrot and potato - diced (2 TBSP - totally optional)
Method:

  1. In a small pressure cooker / pan, add the olive oil. Saute the onions, veggies and garlic till onions turn translucent. Add the tomatoes, salt, veg stock and pressure cook for 2 whistles. Let the pressure come down on its own.
  2. Now add the pesto, pepper and slightly pulverise the tomatoes and cooked veggies. Let it simmer for 2 mins.
  3. Serve hot !


BMLogo Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 87    
   

April 29, 2018

Yellow Thai Mango Curry with Rice | Vegan and GF

Today’s post is somewhat of a nostalgic post from our trip to a Bangkok a few years ago. We have been quite fond of Thai cuisine and the husband prefers Asian cuisine next to Indian with continental / cheesy dishes coming a distant last.

I don’t share his penchant for Asian but have developed a liking for Thai cuisine in particular probably coz the veggies dishes feature ginger, chillies , pineapple and certain other tropical ingredients.

Like mango for instance.

This dish takes us back to our short trip where , starved for vegetarian food, we had this little little cafe (almost a hand cart) selling this fragrant mango - coconut curry with sticky rice.
Even the rice smelt a tad strange and when I told the vendor so, she said she had used the local sticky rice. 

But having no other go, we downed this rice - curry combo feeling happy to have discovered a bowl of vegetables that finally made sense without any fish / oyster sauce :) I also remember my husband teaching me how to eat with chopsticks & his grin while I struggled to get a hang of that. I had posted some pics from our Bangkok trip here on Thai Mengluck (Thai Basil Seeds drink)

I was browsing through my trip photos album and suddenly this memory from Bangkok popped and I landed on this vegan and GF recipe from Minimalist baker and was one of the first few dishes bookmarked and finalised. I was only waiting for the mango season to begin to make it this week. 


Making some subtle changes, I made a portion just enough for two and my neighbour who I shared this with rather loved the curry - rice combo.

Next time perhaps (& before the mango season melts away), I am sure to make jasmine rice or sticky rice with this. The short grained rice that I served this with fit the bill but I have a feeling it might go well with sticky rice better.

You can play around with most Asian veggies but I used what I had. Having conquered the Thai Green Curry and now this Yellow Thai curry, the next destination is the Red curry which is the husband’s favourite .

 Till then keep watching this space and check out today's recipe :)

Prep time - 20 Mins ; cook time - 15 Mins ( serves 2~3)

For the curry , you would need-

  • Veggies - 2 cups (I used a mix of cabbage, zucchini, baby corn, broccoli, bell peppers, shallots, carrots) - all equally cut
  • Thin coconut milk - 1 cup (btw would prefer 1/2 cup thick milk next time)
  • Ripe , sweet mango cubes- 2/3 cup
  • Peanut oil - 2 tbsp
  • Turmeric - 1/2 tsp
  • Coconut sugar / palm sugar - 1 tbsp
  • Thai green chillies - 1 no
  • Lemon juice - 2 Tbsp
  • Salt - to taste
  • Red chilli Thai paste - 1 tsp
  • Roasted , salted cashews - 8 to 10 nos.
  • Minced ginger and garlic - 1/2 tsp each


Method-
  1. In a wok, heat oil. Sauté shallots, ginger garlic till onions slightly turn translucent.
  2. Add all the veggies, turmeric , salt and sauté till they are cooked 2/3 of the way yet have a bite
  3. Now to this add 1/4 cup of water, kepis manas, red Thai paste, palm sugar , chillies and slightly simmer till veggies are almost cooked.
  4. Now lower the flame , add the mangoes, coconut milk and simmer for 2-3 Mins.
  5. Finish with roasted cashews and lemon juice 
  6. Serve hot with any sticky rice or steamed white / brown rice.

BMLogo
 Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 87
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