Aug 31, 2010

Katori chaat / Spicy tarts

Katori Chaat is one of the most delicious chaat I have ever eaten. These are similar to “Tarts” but filled with a spicy mixture of sprouts and chutneys. Generally the katoris are deep fried in oil, but I got the inspiration to bake it. The word “Katori” means a small vessel/bowl that holds the filling. The katori’s / tarts can be made in advance & stored in an air-tight container for about a week. Just rustle up the filling and serve these pretty tarts as a snack any time of the day.
Another option to make this katori chaat is to use the “Tositos” scoop chips, it looks similar to katori’s.

For the katoris
1/2 cup plain flour (maida)
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 tsp salt

Method of Katori:
Combine the flour, butter and salt and make a stiff dough using a little water. Knead very well & keep aside for 10 mins. Divide the dough into 2 equal portions. Roll out each dough into (¼") thickness. Cut round shapes of the dough using a large (2") diameter cookie cutter or use katoris to cut the dough. Prick all over with a fork (not to deep). Place these on the back side of a muffin shaped baking tray. Preheat oven at 350degrees & bake for 10 mins. Cool the tart/ katori’s.

For the main filling
1 cup moong sprouts (boiled with a pinch of salt)
a pinch asafetida (hing)
½ tsp chilli powder
2 tsp cumin(jeera) powder
1 tsp dry mango powder (amchur powder)
1 tsp chole masala powder
1tsp oil
½ tsp salt or to taste

Filling preparation:
Heat oil in a pan add the asafetida/ hing & add the sprouts, chilli powder, jeera powder, amchur powder, chole masala, salt & mix well. Cook on a slow flame for 2 to3 minutes. Keep it aside.

For serving:

¼ cup chopped onions
½ cup beaten yoghurt (dahi)
Imli ki Chutney as per taste
Green Chutney as per taste
Sev or nylon sev
chaat masala as per taste

How to Serve:
• Fill each tart with a portion of the moong filling & chopped onions.
• Top with beaten yoghurt, little imli ki chutney, little green chutney, pinch of chaat masala. Garnish with Sev & some chopped coriander leaves
• Serve immediately. Don’t make it before hand. It will get soggy.

Tips: Instead of moong you can even make it with Corn, Chana/ garbanzo beans. Try adding any kind of sprouts.

Aug 28, 2010

Spinach & cheese Quesadillas

I adapted this recipe from one of my cookbooks using ingredients to make it lighter & healthier. It’s my family's favorite especially when something quick is needed. Well, the main idea is to incorporate spinach in to the dish.hhehehehee.I am sure you will adore this dish as its quick & delicious. Enjoy!!!!!

1/2 cup spinach (chopped, steamed and squeezed to drain)
½ cup grated cheese(mozzarella, feta, etc any kind)
salt & pepper to taste
1 Sliced tomato
1tsp chopped jalapenoes (optional)
2 (8 inch) tortillas
• Mix the spinach, salt & pepper in a bowl.
• Melt a touch of butter in a pan.
• Place a tortilla into the pan, swirl it around in the butter and repeat with the second tortilla. Lightly toast it.
• Sprinkle some cheese on the one of the tortilla followed by the spinach filling and then slices of tomatoes, chopped jalapenoes & more cheese and finally cover with the other tortilla.
• Cook until the quesadilla is golden brown on both sides and the cheese is melted.
• Be careful while flipping, do it slowly.
• Serve with guacamole , sour cream & some salsa(optional)

Beetroot poriyal

Beetroot – 2 medium chopped into small cubes
Onion - 1 small (optional)
1 Green Chilli slit & halved
2tsp oil
½ tsp mustard seeds
1tsp Urad dhal
½ tsp Turmeric powder
Few Curry leaves
2tbsp Grated coconut (fresh or frozen)
Salt as per taste
• Peel the skin from beet root and cut into small cubed pieces.
• Chop the onion finely (optional).
• Put the oil in a pan and when it is hot add mustard, green chillies, curry leaves, urad dal.
• When it pops up add onions, cut beets & fry till the beets becomes tender & soft.
• Add the turmeric powder and salt and fry another 2mins.
• Let it cool down & then add the grated coconut, mix well & serve hot or cold.

Aug 27, 2010

Bean Poriyal

Yet another South Indian dish i've cooked it more than once. This is a quick one & very delicious eaten with sambhar or even just like a salad. A poriyal is a sauceless vegetable dish, also known as a dry curry.

1 lb green or string beans, finely chopped into cubes
2 tbsp grated coconut (frozen or fresh)
1tsp salt or to taste
2 tbsp water

For Tempering:
2 tbsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
11/2 tsp black gram dal (urad dal)
1 dry red chili halved
pinch of asafetida/ hing
¼ tsp turmeric powder
a few curry leaves.

• Trim the ends of the beans & chop them finely in small cubes & set aside.
• Tempering: Heat oil in a heavy saucepan. Add the mustard seeds, black gram dal or urad dal, halved dry red chili, asafetida/ hing powder, and fresh yummy curry leaves. Let them pop!
• When the mustard seeds start to sputter, add the chopped beans, salt, turmeric powder and 2 tbsp water. Cover the saucepan with a lid and simmer over a low heat until the beans are tender.
• Let it cool down. Add the grated coconut & mix thoroughly and serve!

Zucchini Dosa

Zucchini Dosa is a great dish to serve for breakfast or a light lunch. This recipe is quick to prepare and can be served many different ways.

1 cup besan (gram flour) 1/4 cup rice flour (optional for crisp)
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup water
1/2 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
1 tsp chopped green chilies (optional, don’t have green chilies, you may replace with red chilly powder or chilli flakes.)
1 cup shredded zucchini (Italian squash)
1 tbsp chopped cilantro
6 tbsp of oil to cook

• Shred the zucchini with/without the skin and keep aside.
• Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl, besan (gram flour), rice flour, salt, and cumin seeds. Add the shredded zucchini, cilantro, green chillies to this & mix well.
• Add the water slowly to make a smooth batter (should be the consistency of pancake batter or Dosa batter).
• Use a non-stick skillet & place on medium-high heat.
• To check if the skillet is ready, put a few drops of water on it. If the water sizzles right away, the skillet is ready.
• Next pour a laddle of about 1/2 cup of the batter on the skillet & spread evenly with a back of the laddle. Starting from the center, spread in circular motion outwards until it is evenly spread like a circle. Spread the batter quick, otherwise batter will start drying and will not spread.
• When batter starts drying put 1/2 tsp of oil and spread over gently, using a flat spatula. Lift the dosa from one side using a flat spatula. Flip the dosa when it turns golden-brown.
• Cook on the other side as well until its golden brown color.
• Serve the dosa with yogurt, mint /cilantro chutney, spicy pickles, or ketchup.

Palak Dal

Spinach finely chopped 15-20 leaves
1/2 cup Split green gram or moong dal
1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
a pinch Asafoetida/hing
2tbsp Oil
1tsp cumin seeds/jeera
5 cloves of Garlic chopped
1" Ginger piece chopped
1 Green chilli sliced
1 medium Onion chopped
1 dried red chilli (optional)
11/2 tsp Salt or to taste
1tsp Lemon juice

Cook moong dal with a pinch of turmeric powder on gas stove till its soft. Heat oil (or ghee) in a separate pan & add cumin seeds, garlic, ginger, dry red chili, green chillies and sauté for one min. Add onion and continue to sauté till onion gets lightly browned. Add chopped spinach and sauté for half a min. Add the remaining turmeric powder, hing and stir. Add dal and mix well. Add one cup water, salt and stir. Add lemon juice just before serving.

Tomato Rasam

Rasam is a South Indian soup prepared with tamarind water and spices. This aromatic and healthy soup is native to South India & very light. Rasam making wasn’t very impressive during the first few times. After many trials & numerous tries to replicate the flavor that my mom made, I am yet to master the perfect ‘rasam’ but I think I am almost there. I always look forward to drinking rasam than eating with rice. Each home has its own version of rasam. Today’s recipe is the very basic rasam using Tomatoes & garlic. It is served with rice & papadams.

1/4 cup toor dal/yellow split dal (pressure cook well)
11/2 large tomatoes chopped
¼ tsp Turmeric powder
2tsp Rasam powder
1tsp tamarind extract (dilute in half a cup of water)
11/2 tsp salt or to taste
¼ tsp black pepper powder
3 cups water
For tadka/seasoning
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
pinch of asafoetida/hing
1 dry red chilli broken
2 to 4 cloves of garlic (crushed)
4 to 5 fresh curry leaves
1tsp ghee/oil (tastes better in ghee)
• Pressure cook the toor dal, mash the dal & keep it aside.
• Boil 3 cups of water and add chopped tomatoes & let it boil for 5 mins. Later add the tamarind extract, salt, turmeric powder and rasam powder, black pepper powder and bring to a boil. Continue to boil for 2-3 mts. Add the mashed dal to this mixture.
• Heat ghee/oil in a separate pan, add mustards seeds, asafoetida/hing & as they splutter, add dry red chillis, curry leaves & crushed garlic and stir fry for a few seconds until the garlic becomes soft and a nice aroma comes.
• Add this tadka/seasoning to the Rasam & boil for 2 mins. Don’t over boil it.
• Turn off heat and close with a lid.
• Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with white rice and papadams.

Aug 22, 2010

Pasta Salad

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3 tbsp water
11/2 tsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 large clove garlic, minced ½ cup sliced onions
1/2 cup sliced zucchini
1/2 cup sliced bell pepper
3 cups cooked farfalle (bow tie pasta), cooked with salt
2 tbsp thinly sliced fresh basil ½ tbsp oregano
1/4 cup grated Mozzarella cheese or Parmesan cheese

• Boil the pasta with a little salt.
• Fry the onions, zucchini, bell pepper & add salt, garlic, pepper.
• Combine balsamic vinegar, water & mix well. Set aside.
• Combine the fried vegetables & the pasta, basil and cheese in a large bowl.
• Later add the vinegar mixture, and toss gently. Cover and chill.
• Garnish with extra cheese if needed. Can be served cold.