May 15, 2012

Makai Tikki | Corn tikki | Kids Snacks


Nothing can beat this yummilicious Makai Tikki or Corn Tikki. This is different from the Makai Aloo Tikki I had made earlier. As a mom of a young girl, I feel Tikkis are the best way to sneak in veggies along with adding fibre (which this recipe abounds with). So evening snacks are generally cutlets or tikkis which are either baked or shallow fried. My favourites would have to be Oats Moong Tikki & Matar ki Tikki. As this is one way to beat the fat out of fast food, this is also linked to my event "Fast Food not Fat Food" that am guesthosting this month.

Corn is perhaps the most under rated ingredient for weight watchers. Its more popular avatar is of course the popcorn made from dried and popped corn Kernels, which is a favourite amongst kids and adults alike! Corn is part of the Maize family which is the highest grown crop in the US.
Wikipedia tells me "Maize and cornmeal (ground dried maize) constitute a staple food in many regions of the world. Introduced into Africa by the Portuguese in the 16th century, maize has become Africa's most important staple food crop Maize meal is made into a thick porridge in many cultures: from the polenta of Italy, the angu of Brazil, the mămăligă of Romania, to cornmeal mush in the U.S. (and hominy grits in the South) or the food called mealie pap in South Africa and sadzanshima and ugali in other parts of Africa. Maize meal is also used as a replacement for wheat flour, to make cornbread and other baked products. Masa (cornmeal treated with lime water) is the main ingredient for tortillasatole and many other dishes of Mexican food."

Now, lets get to the recipe :)


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Prep time – 10 mins + 10 mins standing time
Cook time – 10 mins
Serves – 3
Difficulty level – Easy
Serving Accompaniments – Tomato Ketchup / Green Coriander- mint chutney
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Ingredients:
  • Corn Cob – 2 nos (or use shelled / frozen corn – 1.5 cups)
  • Carrots – diced – ¼ cup (optional)
  • Bread crumbs – ½ cup (divided use)
  • Salt – to taste
  • Amchur / Dry mango powder – ½ tsp
  • Red chilli powder – ½ tsp
  • Green chillies - deseeded & chopped - 1/2 tsp
  • White Pepper powder – ½ tsp
  • Coriander powder – ½ TBSP
  • Cumin / Jeera powder – ½ TBSP
  • Turmeric – a dash
  • Lemon juice – 1 tsp
  • Coriander leaves – a handful (chopped 2 TBSP)
  • Oil – to shallow fry


Method:
1) Pressure cook whole corn (on the cob) for 2 whistles along with the carrots (in a separate container). If using frozen corn, thaw and boil in slightly salted water for 10 mins till they turn soft but not mushy. Either way, drain the water and cool to room temperature.
2) If using corn cobs, use a sharp knife to deseed them from the cob. You should be left with approximately 1.5 cups of corn.
3) In a spice grinder (or a smaller mixer jar), pulse the corn along with the cooked carrots (you can also grate them instead of cooking) slightly till the kernels are slightly mashed up.
4) In a large bowl, transfer the corn kernels, add 2/3 of the bread crumbs and rest of the ingredients one by one (except oil). Do not add any water unless absolutely necessary.
5) Shape into a nice thickish dough. Divide them into equal portions and flatten them slightly.
6) Cover and refrigerate for 10 – 15 mins
7) In a shallow frying pan, heat about 2 -3 TBSP of Olive oil
8) Coat the tikkis in some more bread crumbs (or roasted suji / yellow cornmeal) all around till the tikkis are coated.
9) Gently place the tikkis in the oil. Shallow fry them (in small batches) for 2 – 3 mins on both sides till they are golden brown in colour.
10) Drain on absorbent paper. Serve hot with Tomato Ketchup or Green chutney 

May 12, 2012

Potato Wafer cookies - a scrumptious treat : Guestpost by Jayanthi | Guestpost series # 9


"Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born."- Anais Nin

A few months ago, I met Jayanthi of Sizzling Veggies through Blogging Marathon and something about her writing style and the fusion stuff she blogged about (for the same event) caught my eye. Simple to the cut, and flowing from the heart, I asked her to do a guest post for me, and here she is with a mind blowing cookie with an ingredient you would have never thought of.. Let me not spoil the excitement here for you, but allow Jayanthi to write this in her own words.. Thanks Jayanthi for this wonderful gesture....
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Few days back, I received a mail from Kalyani asking me to write a guest post for her blog. I had to reread the mail few times to grasp the content and the message in the mail as I was totally exhilarated to get the mail. Getting to guest post in just 2-3 months of starting my blog is very encouraging and deep down I feel a slight sense of acheivement too. I've been wanting to start a blog for a very long time but needed a slight nudge to justify my thoughts.
Born in a typical Iyer family, I was primarily exposed to South Indian cuisine. The need to start learning the basics of cooking was part of my upbringing. But the curiosity to try different cuisines and experiment with food grew after I got married. My husband is a big foodie just like me and the curiosity and creativity to try new recipes with new ingredients are abundant in both of us (may be because we both are Geminis). We try many vegetarian dishes not just from the vast and diverse Indian cuisine but from other parts of the world too. The possibility of creating and experimenting different cuisines with Indian flavors and my personalization to suit my family’s taste palate makes me act like a child with a new toy. We have two adorable kids and they inspire and encourage me to try new recipes and provide a honest feedback which makes it easier to identify the areas where I need more focus and learning. The topic of starting a blog started when my brother started trying the recipes that I gave him over the phone. He jokingly nudged me to start a blog as the recipes I gave him were very detailed and easy to follow and many people like him may benefit was his reasoning.
The idea of blogging was there in my mind but had little apprehension to start one, you can call it the reservation one might have to enter unknown waters. But once I had another person saying its worth a shot, I started the groundworks of starting a blog immediately. Within a week my blog was up and running. I love virtually meeting many fellow bloggers, learn, share, and appreciate one another. I'm happy that I didn't give way to my apprehension rather overcame it. Now blogging is "My World". 
When that came from my brother, I acted like a child eagerly waiting to open a chocolate wrapper. For most part I'm a self-driven person, meaning if I really want something, I don't need any outside motivation to work on it and would automatically put my heart and soul in it. My blog "is" my heart and soul. The passion to cook and create new recipes just inspires me every time I step in to my kitchen and I need more than one lifetime to taste and create different vegetarian dishes from around the world.
This recipe just made me sit up as I was browsing the "Crazy about Cookies" book by Krystina Castella . I really liked the out-of-the box idea of making cookies with potato chips. I used the idea from the book but added my personal modifications by reducing the fat in half and adding almond milk and silken tofu to enrich the taste of the cookies more and added some fine sev to give a little Indian twist to the recipe. The cookies were salty and sweet at the same creating an electric taste that just makes you say "wow" for every bite and crunch.

Ingredients:
  • All purpose flour -- 2 cups
  • Sugar -- 1/2 cup
  • Vanilla Extract -- 1 teaspoon
  • Lightly Salted Potato chips (coarsely crushed) -- 1 cup (I used Lay's)
  • Fine sev -- 1 cup (I used Bombay Sev, store bought)
  • Almond milk --1/4 cup
  • Blended Silken Tofu -- 1/4 cup
  • Butter (softened to room temperature) --1/2 cup (1 stick)


Method:
1. In a bowl, mix potato chips and fine sev together and keep aside. In another bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add flour, vanilla extract, chips-sev mixture (1 cup) and combine well. Add almond milk and tofu little by little and combine to make a soft dough.


2. Divide the dough in to 20 pieces and make small balls from each piece. Roll the balls in the remaining cup of chips-sev mixture and place it on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Flatten a little and bake in a preheated 325F oven for 12-15 minutes. Let it cool completely before serving. Store remaining cookies in airtight container and Enjoy!!!

Note:
1. You can substitute almond milk to any other milk of your choice.
2. You can also skip using almond milk and silken tofu and make it a high fat cookie by adding another 1/2 cup of butter, if desired.
3. I added fine sev, but you can substitute sev with another cup of potato chips.
4. Any flavor of potato chips (spicy ones), tortilla chips, pretzels can be added in place of the lightly salted potato chips.

May 11, 2012

Cucumber Pickle - a lipsmacking experience :)


Come summer, and we are all looking for a zillion ways to beat the heat right ? Think smoothies / raithas / mocktails – just about anything that would take just very little time to make and then make a dash to the pool !!

Today’s dish will let you do that – a yummy pickle thats quick to make, great to taste and a keeper surely J Cucumber Pickle was new to me as well till I made it..And boy ! Did we love it or what ?? S packed a whole box to his office where it got promptly polished off, and I loved to mix this with plain steamed rice or even lap it up with Parathas J 

Its tantalizingly good, and although am not a great fan of pickles, this version surely will feature regularly on my dining table – summer months or not ! I usually make Pachadi or Raitha or even Dal with Cucumbers, but making this lipsmacking pickle was a new culinary high for me ! 

Do try it out and let me know how you liked it. For now, this will go to my own event – Pickles/ Preserves Fest & a Giveaway (no,I am not eligible for the giveaway, but you are!) Hurry, and do link your entries for a wonderful giveaway! Also to Jayanthi who is hosting WTML & Krithi/ Denny's Serve it - Preserved

Lets get to the recipe now...


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Prep time – 20 mins
No cooking required
Makes – Approx 150 - 200 gms of Pickle
Keeps for approximately a month or two (under refrigeration)
Difficulty level – medium
Serving SuggestionsParathas / Idli / Dosa / Plain steamed rice / Curd or yoghurt rice
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Ingredients:
(the quantities in the picture are only indicative but not actual measurements)
  • Cucumber (very tender variety) – 250 gms (or 2 medium sized ones)
  • Cooking Oil – ¼ cup (I used sunflower oil, but feel free to substitute with any flavourless oil)
  • Salt – to taste ( I used approx 3 TBSP)
  • Lemon juice  - ¼ cup

Pickle Masala powder:
  • Methi / Fenugreek seeds – 2 TBSP
  • Mustard seeds – 1 TBSP
  • Red Chilli powder – 3 TBSP
  • Asafoetida / Hing – ½ tsp
  • Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
Pickle Ingredients


Method:

1) Wash and pat dry the cucumbers. Deseed them and cube them. Lay the pieces on a plate lined with absorbent tissues.
2) Pat them dry with another paper towel.
3) For the pickle masala: Dry roast methi (fenugreek seeds) and mustard seeds separately. Powder them in a stone mortar (or briefly pulse them in a spice grinder). The former method of using a stone and pestle is preferred as heat from the mixer grinder doesn’t bear well with any pickle. Also dry roast the red chilli powder, turmeric and asafoetida separately and transfer to a plate.
4) Sterilise a glass jar (or a ceramic container). Dry thoroughly with a soft clean muslin cloth.
5) In a large clean glass bowl, add the cucumbers, the ingredients of the pickle masala (powdered mustard, powdered fenugreek, asafoetida , red chilli powder and turmeric powder) and give it a nice stir.

Pickle Consistency after two days
6) Now add the salt, lemon juice and oil and with a clean dry wooden spoon, mix the pickle well.
7) Keep lightly covered for 1 hour. The pickle will become oozy and irresistibly aromatic J
8) Stir once more and transfer to the sterilised container.
9) Refrigerate and use as required. I made a slightly large quantity, so it lasted for almost a month.



May 9, 2012

Mixed Vegetable Sambhar


Paired with Sona (of "Spill the Spices") for this Bloghop, I was pleasantly surprised to discover her space through BlogHop Wednesdays that enters its 17th edition today :) A newbie blogger, Sona's blog is very well designed and is almost clutter free. As she predominantly has blogged South indian stuff (curries etc), it wasnt difficult to select the Mullangi Sambhar (Radish Sambhar) from her index. As most of us love this dish at home, it paired very well with plain steamed rice and fried papads - thats a quick and perfect meal for the summers right?? I added mixed veggies like french beans, sweet potatoes and a few onions too. This dish goes well with cool Curd Rice. Without much ado, lets get to the recipe now...

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Prep time - 10 mins
Cook time - 10 mins
Serves - 2 
Difficulty level - Easy
Serving Suggestions - Curd rice / Plain rice + Papad

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Ingredients:

  • Diced Mixed vegetables - 2 cups ( I used Radish, Kohlrabi,French beans, carrots and sweet potato)
  • Onions - 1 medium (optional)
  • Green bell pepper - 1 medium sized
  • Toor Dal / Split Pigeon Pea - 1/4 cup
  • Tamarind Extract - 2 TBSP (or 1/4 cup tamarind pulp)
  • Salt - to taste
  • Oil - 2 tsp
  • Sambhar powder* - 2 TBSP (See Notes below)
  • Turmeric - a dash
  • Asafoetida - a pinch
  • Tempering : Mustard + curry leaves


Method:
1) Soak Toor dal in warm water for 10 mins. Pressure cook with a pinch of turmeric for 2 whistles till soft and mushy. Pressure cook the veggies also along with the dal, but in a separate container (all veggies except onions)
2) In a kadai, heat 1 tsp oil. Saute chopped onions and diced bell pepper. Add asafoetida and pressure cooked vegetables, cooked dal, Sambhar powder, tamarind extract (or pulp) & salt. Mix well. Add 1 - 2 cups of water to this and simmer on medium-high covered for 8-10 mins. Season with mustard and curry leaves and serve hot with plain rice and papad or with yummy cool Curd rice.

*Notes-
If you have run out of Sambhar powder or want to make this sambhar richer, you can also roast and grind the following ingredients (for single use) and use it in place of the Sambhar powder:
  • Coriander seeds - 1 TBSP
  • Red Chillies - 2 nos
  • Jeera / Cumin - 1/2 tsp
  • Raw rice - 1/2 tsp
  • Grated coconut - 3 TBSP
Dry roast all the ingredients (except coconut) in a dry pan. Grind with a little water and coconut to a smooth paste. Use in place of the Sambhar Powder. Saute the paste thoroughly till the raw smell disappears and then add the veggies and cooked dal.

May 8, 2012

Round up of CWS Oats


It was wonderful to receive a deluge of healthy entries using Oats for my event CWS - Oats that was hosted at this space in April 2012. Thanks to Priya for this opportunity and thank you dear friends for sending over your delicious entries.


The round up is presented here... enjoy !! 

Would also look forward to your participation in both the events running currently at my blog:


Thanks and cheers
Kalyani

May 6, 2012

Low Fat Lauki Kofta | Bottlegourd dumplings in spicy gravy , and celebrating Aarthi's Virtual Bridal Shower


There is no more lovely, friendly and charming relationship, communion or company than a good marriage – Martin Luther.

Martin Luther definitely got the essence of any good marriage right in those words above. What better defines a wedding than a companionship, isn’t it ? A life long commitment, a whole heart for a whole life (as I read somewhere), two souls coming together in holy matrimony ! A wonderful feeling to last a lifetime J But, hey hold your horses. In case you think I have switched careers (or hobby if you prefer) from cooking food to cooking up stories on matrimony, its not so. We at Blogging Marathon celebrate a virtual wedding shower for our dear friend Aarthi who is to be wedded later this fortnight ! 

And what better way than to pick and choose a dish from her blog, and recreate it as a celebration J Aarthi, this is for you dear – and wishing you every happiness in the days ahead I was literally stumped when I had to choose from a wide array of dishes that Aarthi has managed to churn out – its like a huge menu card with its array of dishes from several cuisines. I finally managed to pick out Malai Kofta from her blog, and started to make the same. As luck would have it, the omnipresent ingredient in my freezer – Paneer – ran out. Perhaps, to make way for these delicious Low fat bottlegourd Koftas that turned out yummy ! And there was no telling how wonderful they tasted with hot Phulkas right out of the stove . 

I pretty much followed her recipe, making tweaks here and there for a low fat version ! Which also qualifies this dish to go straight to the event that I am hosting all May – Fast Food not Fat Food  and also to Ramya's ABC Series-Gourds.

So, lets get to the recipe:


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Prep time : 15 mins
Cook time : 30 mins
Serves – 4
Difficulty level : Medium
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Ingredients:
  • Bottlegourd – 1 fairly large
  • Besan / chickpea flour – 4 TBSP
  • Onions –1 medium
  • Salt – to taste
  • Turmeric – ½ tsp
  • Oil – 4 TBSP
  • Coriander  & Lemon juice (1 tsp) – for garnish
  • Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Dry masala powders (split use)
  • Red chilli powder – 1½ tsp
  • Coriander powder – 2 TBSP
  • Cumin powder – ½ TBSP
  • Garam Masala powder – 1 TBSP
  • Amchur / dry mango powder – ½ TBSP
  • Pepper powder – ½ tsp

For the spicy gravy:
  • Onions – 2 medium
  • Tomatoes – 2 large (ripe)
  • Garlic – 2 pods
  • Ginger – 1 inch piece
  • Cinnamon – ½ inch stick
  • Elaichi / Cardamom – ½ tsp
  • Oil – 2 TBSP

Method:
1) Wash and peel bottlegourd. Grate finely. Leave for few mins. Taking handfuls of the vegetable, squeeze out the water tightly. Again leave for 3-4 mins. Squeeze again. Repeat for the third time. The grated vegetable should be almost dry to the touch.
2) In a large bowl, mix the grated bottle gourd. Add chickpea flour (besan), salt, half of the dry masala powders (red chilly / pepper/ garam masala / coriander powder / cumin powder, turmeric, amchur), coriander leaves and mix into thickish dough. Do not add any water (unless you use ½ tsp or less for binding – the salt will provide enough moisture). 
3) Make equal portions of this dough and keep covered for 2 -3 mins.
4) Heat a paniyaram pan (you can also deep fry the balls, but I didn’t). Line the pan with a film of oil. Place the bottle gourd balls and fry them on medium-high flame for 4 – 6 mins till they turn golden brown on all sides. Drizzle a little more oil to help them cook faster.
5) Drain all the koftas made this way on a paper towel.

To make the gravy:
1) In a pan, heat 2 TBSP of oil. Saute chopped garlic, ginger, chopped onions and tomatoes for 3 – 5 mins. Cool and dry them with the rest of the masala spice paste (indicated above).
2) In the same pan, heat the rest of the oil. Splutter cumin. When done, add the rest of the chopped onions and sauté lightly. Now add the ground masala and cook for 3 -4 mins. Add the rest of the dry masala powders, salt, turmeric and fry again for 7 -8 mins till the oil separates.
3) You may add a cup or two of water to get a fairly large amount of thickish gravy. While the gravy simmers, gently add in the koftas and Cook covered for 3 mins till the koftas absorb some of the flavours of the gravy. To make this a richer dish, finish with cream just before you take it off the fire.

To serve:
Transfer to serving dish. Finish with lemon juice and coriander leaves. Serve hot with Rotis / Naan / Phulkas. You may also place two koftas per serving and pour the gravy onto them just before serving.

May 5, 2012

Magic Mingle # 5

Really glad to note we have completed four successful editions of the monthly challenge - Magic Mingle. Thank you members for your support. We enter May 2012 with the challenge ingredients here ! So, are you ready for the challenge ? If you are keen to see what our members have dished in the previous 4 editions, check the following links.

April 2012 -  Raisins & Carrots
March 2012 - Wholewheat & Corn
Feb 2012 - Ginger & Almonds

Lets get to the challenge for this month's edition. We have a 20-member strong team and every month new members are joining us.  If you as a reader want to join us, drop me a line at momchef77@gmail.com. For all members who are awaiting the Challenge this month, the magic ingredients are ---- Pudina & Paneer (Mint & Cottage Cheese)


Important points to note before linking your entries:
1) All dishes to be vegetarian & eggless only (non-veg/ alcohol etc not accepted).

2) Only new entries are accepted and any number of new entries per member are accepted.

3) This dish could be across cuisine(Lebanese/Asian/Mediterranean/Continental/Indian/ Chinese etc) and course (Breakfast/Lunch/snack/appetiser/dessert/Dinner)

4) The 2 magic ingredients should feature as major ingredients in the dish and NOT as garnish. Both the ingredients are to be used in the same dish

5) All the dishes are to have the logo indicated above mandatorily and the entries need to be linked to the linky tool only. This link is up from 5th May 2012 - 15th May 2012 (end of day in your respective time zones)

6) Once you post & link your entry (using the linky tool at the end of this post) between 5th & 15th of the month,mail the entry URL to the google groups email ID - magicmingle@googlegroups.com with the subject line "MM-May 2012". 
7) Please note only member entries are accepted here. Others who are eager to join this group from June 2012 are welcome to write to me at the above email ID or at momchef77@gmail.com

Note for Ingredients for MM - May 2012 : 
·         Mint can be used in fresh / dried forms
·         Paneer (Cottage Cheese) can be low fat or full fat. Store bought or home made versions can be used. However, Tofu is not allowed.
·         Please remember these two ingredients must feature as one of the main ingredients  for the SAME DISH and not as garnish. 
Hope you are excited and would link your entries soon.
For all Non-members who would like to be part of this group please do check this link for registration.


Let the Magic begin....


Cheers,
Kalyani 

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