Friday, July 26, 2013

Spinach chana dal Pulao

Lunch ideas

This is a very simple lunch idea but is a complete meal on its own.  Serve with plain yogurt for a refreshing and wholesome combo. 

Ingredients: (serves 2-3)
1 cup rice washed and drained
1/2 cup chana dal soaked for 2 hours, drained
1 bunch fresh spinach washed and roughly chopped
2-3 cloves garlic
1 inch ginger
1 tbsp oil
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp mixed whole spices coarsely pounded (cloves, cinnamon, green and black cardamom, black pepper corns)
salt and red chili powder to taste
1 tsp coriander powder
2 carrots grated
  • Put spinach in a microwave safe bowl and cook for 3-4 minutes to soften it.
  • Grind together cooked spinach, ginger and garlic with a little water to form a smooth paste.
  • In a large pan heat oil and add cumin seeds and mixed whole spices. Cook for 3-5 seconds. Add rice and chana dal and mix to incorporate the spices.
  • To the spinach paste add water to make 3 cups. Add this to the rice, add the rest of the spices and stir well. 
  • Bring to boil, cover and simmer for 7-10 minutes till rice is cooked through.
  • Serve topped with grated carrots.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Coconut chicken strips

One dish served two ways
Coconut chicken strips with Honey mustard dipping sauce
Coconut chicken salad with Honey mustard vinaigrette
 Coconut chicken salad with Honey mustard vinaigrette

Coconut chicken strips
Ingredients: (serves 4)

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut lengthwise into 4 strips
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
1 cups panko bread crumbs
1 cup shredded coconut
3 tbsp fresh ginger grated OR 1 tbsp ginger powder(I used fresh)
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F
  2. Season the chicken strips with salt and pepper.
  3. Make a breading station. In the first bowl put some flour. In the second bowl, whisk eggs. In a third bowl, mix together panko, coconut, and ginger.
  4. Dredge the chicken strips lightly first in the flour mixture and then into the eggs, and then the bread crumb mixture. Place on the prepared baking sheet. 
  5. Bake at 375 F for 10 to 12 minutes till cooked through.
  6. Alternately fry these strips till crisp and golden brown on the outside and fully cooked on the inside.
  7. Serve as is with a dipping sauce or on salad greens with a vinaigrette.
Honey mustard Vinaigrette

1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp dijon mustard (I used old fashioned grainy mustard)
For the salad
Serve the chicken strips over salad greens, sliced cucumber, tomato, radish and grated carrots drizzled with some vinaigrette.

Baked Coconut chicken strips with Honey mustard dipping sauce

Honey Mustard dipping sauce
Typically made with mayonnaise, this delish dipping sauce is a must with any chicken nuggets. Substitute mayonnaise with hung yogurt and you will not miss anything except the calories.

1/2 cup old fashioned grainy mustard
1/2 cup honey
2 tablespoons hung yogurt (see below)
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl and serve.

How to make hung yogurt
Place a sieve lined with cheese cloth over a bowl. Put 1 cup yogurt on the cheese cloth, cover and place in the refrigerator overnight. All the water from the yogurt will filter out into the bowl leaving a thick creamy hung yogurt perfect for marination. Use this for marination or as a substitute for cream in any recipe. A great healthy option.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Tandoori Gobhi

Tandoori cauliflower
Small bites of cauliflower marinated in tandoori spices and grilled till golden brown yet tender crisp. Combine with tandoori roti and dal makhani for a perfect combo.

1 whole head of cauliflower
3/4 cup hung yogurt (method below)
2 tbsp tandoori masala (recipe)
2 tsp ginger garlic paste
1/2 tsp kasoori methi palm crushed
1/2 tsp dry mint palm crushed 
1 T dry roasted besan (gram flower)
Salt to taste
Cayenne pepper to taste
1/2 tsp olive oil
  1. How to make hung yogurt : Place a sieve lined with cheese cloth over a bowl. Put 3/4 cup yogurt on the cheese cloth, cover and place in the refrigerator overnight. All the water from the yogurt will filter out into the bowl leaving a thick creamy hung yogurt perfect for marination. Using hung yogurt is very important for this recipe as less water will come out during grilling making it easier to keep the florets crisp. 
  2. Cut cauliflower into medium sized florets. 
  3. Add all spices to the hung yogurt and generously marinate the cauliflower florets for a minimum of 2 hours. Use your hands to get the marinade in all nooks and crannies. 
  4. Place them on a greased baking sheet. Grill on high for 20 minutes till small brown marks appear on the florets and they are tender crisp. Turn over midway to grill on all sides. 
  5. Serve sprinkled with lime juice and enjoy. 
  6. Works great as a side substitute for potato. 

Friday, July 5, 2013

Paatra (पत्रा, पतौड़े)

Paatra, patra, पत्रा, पतौड़े, colocasia leaf spirals

Paatra or colocasia leaf spirals are steamed and fried delicacies from Gujarati cuisine. Nutritious colocassia leaves are stuffed with sweet, tangy and spicy gram flour (besan) mixture. Depending on the size of the leaves you can get spirals or mini rolls. Traditionally these rolls are steamed and then fried with a tempering, giving a unique texture. When making these remember to always roll tightly and do not omit the tempering. Serve them as a starter or a dinner accompaniment.

I have made some changes to the traditional recipe of patra. The filling is full of garlic, lots of it and I usually don't steam these. I prefer the green color and the crisp texture of these tiny spirals that is acquired by tava frying.
Fresh Colacassia Leaves
20 large colocassia leaves
olive/vegetable/sesame oil for tava frying (I use olive oil)
For spicy stuffing
2 cups besan
1 tsp ginger and green chili paste
1 tbsp (yes tablespoon) garlic paste
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
chili powder and salt to taste
pinch asafoetida
For tempering
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
2 tsp sesame seeds

Stuffing and wrapping paatra

  1. Wash the leaves and pat them dry. 
  2. Place them with the vein side facing you on a dry cutting board and remove the middle thick vein using a sharp knife. This will help with tight smooth rolling. 
  3. Prepare the besan batter by mixing all the stuffing ingredients together and making it into a thick spreadable batter using water. 
  4. Place a leaf with its tip facing left on the cutting board, spread the besan mixture on it, place a second leaf on top with its tip facing the opposite direction right. This will create an even base for rolling. Now spread the besan mixture on the second leaf. 
  5. Repeat this with three more leaves. Fold it burrito style as shown in the picture above. 
  6. At this point you can decide to steam these rolls for 20 minutes and then proceed as follows. OR you can omit steaming and go to the next step. 
  7. Cut small spirals about an inch thick carefully. 
  8. Heat a non stick flat bottomed pan to medium heat. Spread some oil (1-2 tsp) and add mustard seeds and sesame seeds. Place the spirals on the tempering and cook at medium heat for 5-8 minutes till crisp. Spray some oil on top of the spirals, sprinkle some more sesame seeds and turn over. Cook on the second side for a further 5-8 minutes till crisp. 
  9. Serve them as a starter or a dinner accompaniment garnished with fresh chopped coriander and grated coconut.