Before I could go on with the post for today, I thought I will let you all know that it is really a great pleasure writing the 100th post on this wonderful blog that we created! Almost a year back, when Sia first wrote to me about this dream of hers to create a blog that would demystify the Indian Cuisine, I was all for it. Infact something similar was running on my mind. So I was only too happy to join the band to create a blog that saw statistics that normally takes many months of hard work to reach.

For that I must thank my BC members for their wonderful contribution. I know our aim is to be known as the one stop place for referring to Indian Cuisines. But it is no way an easy job, still we have hopes that it will happen one day.

And finally thanks to all our wonderful readers, without who's support we won't have reached this milestone. Thank you once again for your continued patronage!

As a way of celebrating this milestone, I am sharing with you all one of my most favorite western dish that I have adapted to Indian Style. I am sure you will enjoy it!

Vegetarian Burgers Indian Style

Recipe: Vegetarian Burgers Indian Style
Preparation Time : 30 mins
Serves : 4
Recipe Level: Easy/ Beginner
Recipe/Post by: Srivalli


Vegetarian Burgers Indian Style

Ingredients:

Burger buns - 4 nos
Onions Rings - 8 slices
Tomato Rings - 5 -6
Shredded Cabbage as per taste
White Sauce - 1 cup
Cheese Slices - 4
Potato Peas Patties - 4 nos
Tomato Sauce - 3 tbsp
Red Chili flakes - 1 tsp (opt)
Method to prepare:

To make the White Sauce: Whisk 1 cup of All purpose flour along with 3 cups of milk and cook in 1 tbsp of butter till you get a smooth sauce.


To make the patties: Boil Potatoes, carrot and peas, mash it finely. Then sauté onions, ginger garlic paste along with green chili paste, cumin powder. Then add the boiled potatoes and peas. Once it is cooled, make equal balls, dip in flour that is mixed with water, then on bread crumbs. Shallow fry in on a non stick pan until crisp.

To assemble to burger.

Slice the burger bun through the middle,

Spread the inner sides with white sauce liberally.


On the lower slice, place a cheese slice, sprinkle some tomato sauce if you like.


Press one Patty firmly on it.


Then place the onion slices, Actually you can separate the rings and use less. But I like to munch on the entire slice as such!

Next goes the tomato slices, then the shredded cabbage, Sprinkle the tomato sauce again!


Finally place the top bun slice back on this and press down firmly so that they stick together!


Optionally you can sprinkle Red Chili flakes for extra kick!


I had promised to make this for my daughter for her breakfast. She was very upset as I couldn't finish on time. So she lived on burgers through the day, for lunch, evening snacks and for dinner. I only tasted a quarter piece of the tempting one so I know it was way to good!



Special Notes/Tips:

  • White Sauce can be prepared ahead of time and stored.
  • Same goes for Patties too. And you can make any vegetable into a patti. Make in batches and refrigerate it for 2 -3 days. Make it on demand for the kids.
Have a great weekend ahead and hope you will join us in celebrating our 100th post by making this at your home and enjoying it!


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Vegan Chickpea pasta,Indian food,Beyond Curries,Sunshinemom
Chickpea - pasta subzi or soup

It is evident by the number of fast-food pasta joints mushrooming in major Metros of India that Italian dishes are fast replacing Chinese food in popularity. Apart from availability, increase in purchasing power, and readiness to experiment global cuisine, I feel it has a lot to do with the fact that Italian cuisine makes use of fresh herbs as much as Indian cuisine does.

Of all Italian dishes the one that has gained maximum fans is the pasta especially macaroni. While pasta by itself is not as unhealthy as is generally touted, a lot depends on the variety used and how it is cooked. If one uses pasta made of refined flour or even durum wheat the nutritional value is naturally lowest in the former case and comparatively better in the latter. Cooking the pasta swathed in layers of cheese and served with preserved sauce obviously is as high in fat as it is in taste and ends up being junk. There are healthier options of whole wheat pasta or multi-grain pasta available in most shops these days. I buy Ogran's buckwheat pasta and find that the end product is better in flavour as well as taste as compared to durum wheat pasta but then I resorted to the substitution quite early, so I could be biased here! Today's dish however is made of lasagne sheets from barilla (made of durum wheat and semolina) as I have still not been able to find multi-grain lasagne sheets in my area.

The idea for the dish sprouted from the very popular Gujarati dish called 'daal-dhokli' and from another tasty Sindhi dish called macaroni-aloo ki subzi. Dhoklis are similar to pasta but made of whole wheat flour. A dough kneaded out of whole wheat flour and water is rolled into rotis which are then cut into inch long squares and boiled in a gravy to make dhoklis. These are healthier and taste very much like pasta.

I use pieces of lasagne sheets instead of dhoklis. Since we all know that pasta tastes great in tomato sauce I simply boil these 'lasagne dhoklis' in the simplest Indian gravy - onions, tomatoes and whole spices. Though I make these as a side dish for rotis, I find that the dish can be had as a filling soup by itself and is an easy dish to cook for one person also.



Recipe: Pasta-chhole ki subzi (Lasagne - pasta with chickpeas in gravy)
Soaking: overnight or 4-5hours
Cooking time: 25 minutes
Serves: 5
Shelf Life: Have fresh
Recipe Level: Easy

Recipe by: Sunshinemom

Ingredients:
  • Chickpeas - 1 cup, set to soak overnight/4-5hrs. with enough water and pressure cooked till done
  • Lasagne sheets each broken into eight pieces of roughly equal sizes - 4 nos.
  • Onion, finely chopped - 1 big (I used 1/2 cup of shallots sliced thin)
  • Tomatoes, finely chopped- 2
  • Crushed/minced garlic - 2 pods (I used 6 snow mountain garlics)
  • Ginger - 1", julienne
  • Cumin seeds - 1tsp.
  • Ground coriander seeds - 1.5tsp.
  • Red chilli powder and salt as per taste
  • Oil - 1tbsp.
  • 2 cloves, 1 bay leaf and 6-7 black peppers
  • Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp.
  • Dry fenugreek leaves (Kasoori methi) - 2tbsp.
  • Coriander leaves/basil for garnishing


Pasta chickpea subzi or soup
Chickpea - pasta subzi or soup

Procedure:

  1. Heat oil in a wide wok and season with cumin seeds, garlic and ginger and whole spices.
  2. Add chopped/sliced onions and saute with a pinch of salt till brown.
  3. Add chopped tomatoes, a pinch of salt, turmeric powder and chilli powder and saute till the tomatoes turn squishy and the juices ooze. Squash them lightly with the ladle and add the cooked chickpeas.
  4. Add water if needed as we need some liquid to boil the pasta. Cover and cook stirring well till the chickpeas absorb the masala. This should approximately take about 7-8 minutes.
  5. Remove lid and add the pasta, adjust the salt and spices and stir well to separate the pieces. Let cook for about 15minutes till the pasta is done. Please stir in between or the layers tend to stick together.
  6. Add coriander powder and fenugreek leaves (optional) and cook for another two minutes to let the flavours blend.
  7. Remove and serve hot with rotis or as soup, garnished with coriander leaves.
  8. The flavours are purely of one's choice - oregano or garam masala will work as well as coriander powder.


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Macroni often kindles memories of childhood Sunday Breakfasts at parents home. Amma pretty much had a list that went around through the weeks. And one Sunday was dedicated to macronis. That tangy Indian style Macroni in Tomato Sauce is not something that I can forget fast.

We used to make two types, one Vegetarian and the other mostly with Eggs for Dad and Bro. While we vegetarian would feast with either garlic flavoured or topped with cheese. Either ways, it used to be one enjoyable feast. As somebody said, tastes change with changing times, or rather new things replace old, this was somehow forgotten for a while.


When my daughter started going to school, I again remembered how well a macroni dish leads itself. And I devised a simple quick dish with tomato sauce for her. She used to love that. Though that is not the dish I am going to talk about. This Macroni in Tomato Sauce is made in Indian Style. With the spice level increased, one would never guess that it was supposed to be bland.

Recipe: Macroni in Tomato Sauce, Indian Style

Preparation Time : 20 mins
Serves :2
Recipe Level: Easy/ Beginner
Recipe/Post by: Srivalli




Macroni in Tomato Sauce, Indian Style

Ingredients

Macroni - 1 cup
Onion - 1 big
Tomato Sauce - 2 -3 tbsp / Tomatoes - 2 medium
Ginger Garlic paste - 1/2 tsp
Red Chili powder - 1/2 tsp
Black Pepper powder - 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Oil - 1 tsp
Cheese - 1 tsp
Coriander leaves for garnish


Procedure:

  1. Boil a large pan of water and add the macroni to it. When it starts boiling, add few drops of oil to prevent the macroni from sticking together. Cook on high, it takes about 7 - 10 mins to get soft macronis. Drain the water and keep aside. You can again add few drops of oil.
  2. Heat a pan with oil, add finely chopped onions, sauté till its done. If you are adding Tomato Sauce, add and allow it to cook till it kind of dries. Else with tomatoes chunks, ensure you mush them really.
  3. At this stage add the salt and chili powder. Cook well. Add the cooked pasta. Combine everything well. Add the pepper powder and mix.
  4. Finally garnish with grated cheese and coriander. The cheese normally melts due to the heat, else micro it for a minute.


Special Notes/Tips:

  • If you are using Tomatoes, add a pinch of sugar. That will give a sweetish taste.
  • Add pepper just before switching it off.
  • Since we are adding both chili powder and pepper powder, use as per taste.


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Sprouted Pulses Burger

Posted by Srivalli | Monday, February 15, 2010 | , , | 6 comments »

Sprouting is an interesting job in summer. You will be thrilled to see the stems peeping out of the seeds. Sprouting not only increases the nutrients but also reduces the toxins. An ideal food for the kids and elders as it is easily digestable.

In summer, you can sproute the seeds with little effort. Buy 100 grams of each - Green peas (Pattani), channa (Kondakadali),  Black eyed peas (Vellai karamani), Payaru (whole green moong dhal) and Cow peas (Karamani – this one was from India). They sprouted well and in 30 hours and you could see their stems growing like anything.

Sprouting Process:

Soak the above pulses over night. Wash many times before sprouting.

Tie in netted cloth. I never used to hang it. Instead I close it with a wodden basket (3/4) leaving room for air to circulate. After 10 hours it started sprouting.

Sprayed some water again. After 20 hours it sprouted well.

Transferred to fridge till I use it. Oh… it started sprouting in the fridge too. After 30 hours (the last 10 hours in the fridge) I am ready to make use of it!

Sprouts in process


Recipe: Sprouted pulses burger
Preparation time: 1 hour
Sprouting time: 30 hours
Cooking time: 12-15 minutes
Yields: 8 burgers (as shown the picture)
Shelf Life: Will be fresh for a month in the freezer
Recipe Level: Medium

Recipe by: Viji

Use 50% of it to make these delicious burger.
  1. Grind a cup of sprouted seeds with enough salt, green chili2, ginger one small wedge. Add a cup of grated veggie of your choice. I added shredded carrot.
  2. Add ½ cup of powder to bind – you can use either dalia/nuts/bread crumbs/oats  – I used ¼ cup of sunflower seeds and ¼ cup of fried channa powder
  3. Add 1 tsp of each – Garam Masala, Chili, Pepper, Kasturi Methi, dried parsley powders
  4. Add 1 tbsp of each – chopped coriander and mint leaves
  5. Bind everything and shape them into burgers.
  6. Coat them with breadcrumbs/oats powder
  7. Freeze them for 2-3 hours before use.
  8. Shallow fry them and enjoy with hamburger buns with veggies of your choice. I just love them with fresh lettuce, tomato, cucumber and onion slice. A tsp of tomato sauce will add taste to it. If you are not diet conscious spread one tsp of mayonnaise also. 

 
 

Used the rest to prepare this yummy sundal/salsa you call it.

I steam cooked the remaining sprouted pulses with enough salt.
Chopped – Cucumber, onion, capsicums, lettuce, raw mango, green chili, ginger
To temper – oil 1 tsp, mustard seeds and hing powder a pinch, curry leaves few, fresh grated coconut 1 tbsp

 

In a skillet temper as given. Add the capsicums, green chili and ginger and saute for a minute. Switch off the stove. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.Since raw mango is added, no need to sprinkle lemon juice. It’s up to you.
 


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This month Beyond Curries is trying to bring to you the fusion food or Indianised Food, adapted from various Cuisines, tweaked to please the Indian Taste buds, and mostly made in a Healthier way than traditional ones. The concept is to show you how we can adopt and adapt other wonderful cuisines to our style like Thai, Mexican, Chinese, American, you name it, we tweaked it to suit our palates and in the process enjoy the best of both worlds.

So whats cooking today? Wrap...Eggetarian and Vegetarian!

Photobucket

A wrap is a variant of a taco or burrito which includes traditional sandwich fillings wrapped in a soft flour tortilla, pita, lavash or other soft flatbread. It is not served on a deli, hoagie, or submarine type roll. The most popular wraps contain chicken,[citation needed] but beef and shrimp are also served. Typical toppings include shredded lettuce, diced tomato or pico de gallo, guacamole, sauteed mushrooms, bacon, grilled onions, cheese such as Cheddar, and some condiment, such as ranch or honey mustard dressing.(source :Wiki)
In India Wraps were common since long, known as Kati (kathi) rolls, these were originally made with Kebab (mutton/beef) cooked in patty or kebab shape, and rolled in a Shallow fried paratha. Back home, as kids we were served the not-so-fond-of-dry-veggies, rolled in the usual Roti/phulka, with some tomato ketchup to dunk in. Memories of licking the ketchup and savoring those rolls, and then eating peacefully, forgetting that it actually held the dry curry which we were not fond of, still brings smile to my face. Do you have any such food memories of childhood?

Traditionally made with Tortilla or pita bread, in India usually the wraps are made using All purpose flour, a not so good option you see. But making use of wholewheat flour Roti or paratha comes with a hitch. The roti somehow lack the body to hold the filling well. So to overcome it, generally one side of roti is smothered with a layer of beaten egg, while cooking. But vegetarian people need not worry, just check the Notes at bottom of the post for vegetarian substitute.


Recipe: Wraps (Wholewheat Rotis, stuffed with veggies)
Prep Time:20 min.
Cooking Time:2 minutes for each Wrap
Makes:4
Serves:2 Adults
Shelf Life: Tastes best when consumed hot and fresh, but could be packed for tiffin(Lunchbox)
Recipe Level: Easy
Spice Level: Low or Medium
Recipe/Post by: Alka




Photobucket


Ingredients:

For Wraps:
Two cups (or 4 handful of) wholewheat flour (Atta)
Half cup of All purpose flour (seriously optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp oil


For Filling/stuffing :
5 Fresh Button mushrooms
1 capsicum
1 carrot
2-3 French beans
Shelled peas, just handful
60-70 gms of Paneer
1 Onion
Half cup of shredded Cabbage
Salt to taste
1 tsp oil
2 tsp of Curd/yogurt
1 tsp of ginger garlic paste
2 pinches of turmeric powder
1-2 green chillies, crushed or finely chopped
1/4 tsp(bit less ) of any of the following masala you have, garam masala, pavbhaji masala, chana masala, Kitchen king
1 Beaten Egg
Procedure:

  1. Sieve atta and all purpose flour (if using) along with salt and add pepper (red or black any one will do)
  2. Knead the dough using some water till soft and pliable.
  3. Add 1 tsp of oil and keep it covered for 10 minutes .
  4. Beat the yogurt/curd, add some salt, turmeric powder ginger garlic paste, green chillies, garam masala (or any other that you have), mix well till smooth, add paneer cubes and keep it aside for 5 minutes minimum.
  5. Meanwhile, clean and chop mushrooms, and boil these till brownish in colour. Drain and keep aside
  6. Blanch/boil in open vessel, sliced/chopped carrots, beans and peas till tender.
  7. In a pan, pour 1 tsp of oil, add sliced or chopped onions and saute till pink (Do not brown these)
  8. Add Mushrooms, saute for few seconds, add shredded cabbage, boiled veggies, and mix in the beaten curd along with paneer cubes. Add chopped capsicum, adjust seasoning and let the mixture cook till all the flavors combine. If you are not confident enough, just add curd first, and leave the paneer cubes aside to add in end of the procedure so as not to crush the tender paneer pieces.
  9. Cook till mixture is dry. You can add spoon or so of Besan (chickpea flour) to make the mixture dry and crispy.Garnish with coriander leaves (and lemon juice if it lacks the tang) and keep aside.
  10. To make the wraps, divide the dough into 4 balls. Roll each one to make a roti. Place it on hot griddle, lower the flame and gently spread about tsp or more of beaten egg to which a dash of salt and black pepper is added.
  11. Flip the roti and let the "egged" side cook on low flame, drizzle some oil to make the roti crisp.
  12. Cook on both sides till small brown spots appear.
  13. Now take it off the heat, carefully place some of the stuffing (do not over stuff) in center of roti and gently fold it to form a wrap. Read the instructions here to fold the wrap in a nice way.I just rolled my roti and enjoyed ;-)
  14. Repeat the same for remaining dough, wrap individually in a tissue paper or kitchen roll and enjoy a wholesome wrapped meal.


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Special Notes/Tips:

  • In case you do not want to use egg, just make a paste (thick batter) of Besan (chickpea flour), add some salt, pepper and Ajwain (optional). Mix it well and apply on the roti while cooking, the same way as we used eggs.The besan layer serves the same purpose as Egg layer, that is giving Body to the wrap.
  • Add or subtract any veggies that you have with you. Tofu could be used instead of paneer, you can use other vegetables like cauliflower(blanched), potatoes (boiled)..or any thing edible that you fancy. Just make sure it doesn't leave the stuffing soggy or else wraps wont be able to handle it.


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Gluten Free Sweet Rice Flour Crepes
Gluten free, fatless, eggless, vegan, sweet rice crepes

Indian history is a highly engaging and dramatic subject replete with invasions from different empires at various points of time. Every invasion left behind a mark of its own culture and with time these became an inseparable part of Indian tradition.

Foreign flavours and methods of cooking blended with traditional Indian spices, producing delicacies that far surpassed the taste of the original dish and found their individual Indian identities. For instance the Greeks introduced us to the magic of fenugreek and fennel, the Mughals gave us the scent of saffron amongst other spices and opened up a world of dried fruits hitherto unknown to India, the Portuguese left behind the much loved vindaloo, and the British Raj introduced Indians into the charming world of 'high teas'. Unwittingly Indians cultivated a taste for the big evil of a largely Western diet - refining natural products viz., rice, sugar and flour. Before the advent of the British rice was unpolished (red/brown), sugar was raw (cane or jaggery) and flour was only wholewheat (mota atta). Thankfully three generations later we are trying to find our way back to our roots.

Post independence it is the enterprising migrant/immigrant population (largely responsible for the 80's 'brain drain' syndrome) that brought back cuisines and flavours from other parts of the world (Thai curries and Italian pastas). China not only invaded the local markets with cheap imitations of well known brands during the last decade - shoes, bags, torches and phones - but also successfully established itself as the Nation's most loved cuisine (amusingly it took an Indian Chinese, Nelson Wang to cook up the 'Manchurian' - as pointed out by Mr.Vir Sanghvi). Thanks to an open economy, aggressive trading and emergence of international food chains we are now ready to explore world cuisines right on our kitchen counters.

In such a scenario it is sad to see that most gourmet bread shops (Daily Breads, Hangout, Gaylords) still fool us by offering the same spineless, soft, spongy white breads in different shapes and equating them with focaccia, french loaves and ciabatta!! After much writing by numerous nutritionists it is only now that the "brown sugar bread" has made way for wholewheat bread/multigrain breads.

This being an interesting topic I really wish I could go on, examining and commenting on various aspects of "gastronomic influence" but the fact that this is supposed to be a platform where I must also share a recipe in relation to the theme I decided to stop myself! A deep breath and here goes.......

I told you I love the white flour a while ago but I am also aware of its abysmally low nutritional value and so try to switch it with wholewheat or gluten free flours in most recipes. Today I give you a very popular South Indian crepe that provides not only taste but also nutrition. I have never understood why it is not available in most Udipi restaurants (restaurants owned by people belonging to Udipi - a city in the State of Karnataka in India - which is famous for Manglorean cuisine and a place to which the average Indian hotelier belongs) considering that it is a staple Manglorean breakfast. Why did they have to contort the staple Tamilian sambar and come up with a 'Gujju sambar' instead of focusing on the tasty repertoire of dishes Mangalore is home to?

Thanks to Mahesh Lunch Home (Restaurant in Mumbai famous for its seafood esp. South Indian) having introduced these crepes in its menu, most Mumbaites are now aware of the rustic healthy charms of a 'neer dosa' (a savoury crepe made with rice). While the rest of my team will be 'Indianising' recipes from all over the world, I requested that may be permitted to 'Westernize' a rustic Indian dish and this is how a traditional 'neerdosa' transforms into a stuffed/plain gluten free sweet crepe in my kitchen. I hope you will try this and love it as much as we do.

This dish in its original form is known in Mangalore by different names according to the regional variations. In proper Mangalore it is known as 'neer dosa' and as you travel towards the Konkan coast it changes to 'pan polo' or 'soyi polo' with minor alterations. A traditional neerdosa does not contain coconut milk which is added to a traditional pan polo. Mine is a take on all these versions. While the above are all savoury with a hint of sweetness in the Konkan version, mine is an 'only sweet' version. I have added organic jaggery and sometimes use raw sugar to make it sweet and a tinge of salt to balance. Coconut milk, I find helps in the texture.

These are soft and taste great but the pictures will always be limp as rice crepes do not hold their shape.

I have added a 'crepe 101' at the end of this post that I hope will help out beginners who haven't got the texture of a crepe right (here I speak as one who has learnt through mistakes and experience rather than an expert on the topic - as you know experience is a better teacher!). If your doubts have not been addressed please leave a comment and I will try to answer to the best of my abilities.



Recipe: Sweet crepes - Gluten free, eggless, vegan / Neerdosa variety / pan polo / soyi polo
Cooking: 2 minutes per crepe (actually!)
Yields: never enough but 12-15 approx.
Recipe Level: Intermediary
Recipe by: Sunshinemom


Ingredients

Rice (polished/white rice) - 1 level cup
Coconut milk (Thick extract or canned) - 1 cup
Sugar or jaggery (I used jaggery) - As per taste, about 4 tbsps. of jaggery
Salt - 1/8tsp

Gluten Free Sweet Rice Flour Crepes
Gluten free, fatless, eggless, vegan, sweet rice crepes


Procedure:

  1. Wash and soak rice in clean water overnight or for 4-5hours
  2. Drain and rinse once more. Grind with about a cup of water to a very smooth paste. I use an electric stone grinder which takes about 15-20 minutes. It can be easily done in a mixer as well.
  3. Mix the other ingredients into the batter.
  4. The consistency should be soup-ish. Thinner than pancake batter but thicker than coconut water. I guess that would be closest to the consistency of thick whole milk.
  5. Heat a skillet or pan (with slightly raised rims) to moderate hot. If you sprinkle a little water they should split into droplets that dance off the pan - that indicates the right temperature.
  6. Pour a few drops of oil (2 or 3 in case of a non-stick pan or 1/4 tsp. on a cast iron skillet) and brush it all over with a half cut potato, onion or tissue paper to remove excess oil.
  7. With a ladle pour about 1/4 cup of batter in the pan and tilt it quickly so that a thin layer spreads all over. You will find that the rims will form a lacy pattern and the insides will be just a millimeter thicker than the rims.
  8. Close with a lid and let cook on moderate heat for about a minute.
  9. Take off the lid. Try lifting the corner of the crepe with a spoon and gently fold into half. Do the same again to form a quarter and invert the pan to collect the crepe in a plate.
  10. If you would like a stuffed crepe, you could chop pears, apples or bananas and lay them in the center of the crepe lengthwise and fold the crepe over the stuffing while in the pan itself.
  11. Crepes are delicate to handle but if you try it twice you will get comfortable handling it. (Please go through crepe 101 below)
  12. I used organic ingredients and this is a really healthy replacement for regular crepes consisting of eggs, refined flour, butter and milk.
  13. I kept the filling basic as I like it healthy and my family loves it as it is. Do feel free to caramalize the fruits before filling or adding cream.
  14. I served with date syrup on the side as I am vegan but any other syrup or melted marmalade should work as well.
  15. You could have this for a filling breakfast or with some imagination convert it into a dessert.
  16. Serve a minute after cooling as the steam trapped inside will retain stickiness for a while.


Special Notes/Tips if your crepe did not turn out well:

  • My crepes are sticky and so thin that I cannot lift them with a spoon - Check consistency of batter - is it runny? If so let the batter rest for five minutes and drain some of the clear water that rises to the top. Mix well and try again.
  • Crepes are clumping on the pan though batter is fine - The batter is too thick and if it is fine and still clumping occurs it means the pan is too hot. Reduce heat and try again.
  • There are no holes in my crepe though batter is fine - Pan is too cold. Increase heat.
  • The edges are not lacy - You have not tilted the pan in a circular motion. OR The batter is too thick and does not flow easily.
  • They are caramalised - You added too much sugar.
  • Crepes are hard - Did you use 'off the shelf' rice flour? That will not work.
  • An ideal crepe should have lacy corners, thin even surface dotted with little holes and not stick to the roof of your mouth or get into your teeth!
  • You may grind the coconut milk with the rice optionally.


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Spaghetti is a form of pasta made of semolina or sooji what we call. There are different types of pastas and these thread ones are similar to our noodles. You get white ones and wheat ones. Wheat ones are brown in colour. This dish is filling and takes longer time to digest. So an apt diet before travelling. Normally it is being served with tomato sauce, vegetables or meat blended together. I like to prepare it in my own way to treat myself. Here is a healthy version of it.

 



Recipe: Green Spaghetti with Acorn Squash
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking: 15 minutes
Yields: 1 bowl which can serve two adults
Recipe Level: Easy
Recipe by: Viji


Ingredients

A fistful of spaghetti
2 cups of grated acorn squash
1 bunch of coriander leaves
A fistful of mint leaves (optional)
1 small onion
2 green chills
1” wedge of ginger
Few cashews or almonds
1 tsp garam masala
Salt to taste
2 tsp oil

Procedure:

  1. Take a big vessel with a lid. Boil 1 litre water. Add the spaghetti, 1 tsp oil and little salt. Let it boil for 8-10 minutes. Reduce the heat and boil for few minutes more and check. If it easily breakable and doubled in size it is done. Drain the water and rinse the noodles in cold water. Leave it the colander.
  2. Peel and grate the acorn squash and keep aside.
  3. Rinse and chop the coriander. Grind coriander, chilli, onion, ginger, cashews including masala powder and salt to a paste.
  4. Add a tsp of oil in a skillet and sauté this paste on a medium heat till the raw smell goes. Add the grated squash and cook for few more minutes with a lid. Make sure you don’t burn the bottom. Now add the cooked spaghetti and sauté till they blend well.
It is delicious with natural ingredients and less fat. 

If you still prefer rice add the cooked rice instead of cooked pasta and enjoy. Add grated carrot to make it colourful. The ideas are endless. Experiment with other veggies too. Serve hot. It doesn’t need any companion.


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Another month, another exciting theme. This month we decided to do a different theme. Yes, we are going to showcase how each of us indianize the many dishes that we adapt from other cuisines. It can be a simple pasta and how we spice it up by adding garam masala or pizza which gets doused with Red Chili flakes and chili powder. Or atleast that is the way I mostly make my pizzas.

We are going to begin this month with some beautiful pizzas from Alka!
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Pizza, the name fascinates many, isn't it?

My first brush with Pizza was only after my marriage, a bite of melted cheese topping, some black oval shaped things (Yeah I didn't knew till then, how olives looked like), some baby corn, some assorted veggies and rubbery textured bread base, it was not a pleasant bite for sure. Later when I came to know that it costs something in 3 digits, I went mad. Are people nuts to go gaga over these exorbitantly priced cheesy, rubbery, bland pieces, was what my mind yelled.

Years later, when slowly my taste buds developed for these Italian Specialties, I still feel the pinch due to the price tag that comes along with Branded Pizza. But having a foodie Kid surely keeps me wondering about the way outs, to have my cake (pizza) and eat it too.
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Making pizza at home may or may not be a rocket science. Since many feel afraid of working with Yeast, and those who do not own an Oven, have another reason for not making Pizza at home.

But then thanks to Pizza base available in markets now, it is no longer a thing of "Eating out exclusively". A bit of compromise with thickness of Branded pizzas, but not with quality, the taste, the choice of toppings, the control on amount of cheese added and of course easy on pocket.What else do you seek?


Recipe: Veg.Pizza
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 3-5 minutes for each Pizza
Makes: 3
Serves: 2-3
Shelf Life: Serve Immediately
Recipe Level: Beginner
Spice Level: Low or Medium
Recipe/Post by: Alka


Ingredients:

For Pizza Sauce (Sufficient for 3 pizza base)

4-5 Ripe Tomatoes
1 very small onion, peeled and chopped very finely
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
1 tsp of Tomato Ketchup
1/4 tsp of sugar (just add a pinch, taste and adjust)
Salt
1/4 tsp Oregano
Some amount of Basil (Depends if you are using dried herb or Fresh leaves of Holy Basil, also known as Tulsi )
1 tsp of Olive oil
A generous pinch of Red chilly flakes or red chilly pepper powder (whatever available)

For Toppings :

A large Green Bell pepper, sliced into strips or rounds (whatever fancies you)
2 Small onions
2-3 Tomatoes
6-8 Fresh button mushrooms (or used canned ones)
1 tsp Olive oil
A dash of salt
Red chilly flakes (adjust according to your taste, I added just 2 pinches)
1/4 tsp of Oregano
A pinch of Black pepper powder
Any other Dried herbs if you have, eg: oregano, basil, thyme, sage, marjoram, savory, any of these or tiny pinches of what all you have amongst these.Experiment !
Mozzarella Cheese or use any of those Amul cubes, romano, Parmigiano etc etc.
2-3 tsp of cheese spread (optional, but I like the flavor it imparts)
And finally 3 Pizza bread base, easily available at bakeries, I even tried it with Brown Pizza bread, it still tastes awesome.


Procedure:

To Make pizza Sauce:
  1. Blanch Tomatoes for few seconds in hot water(Just give a criss cross cut at base of tomato and dunk them into hot boiling water for few seconds).
  2. Drain and immediately dump in cold or normal water.This removes the skin of tomatoes.
  3. Peel and grind into a seed-y paste.Do not puree it completely.If needed you can sieve these to get rid of seeds, I didn't bothered for that.
  4. In a pan, add 1 tsp of olive oil, add crushed garlic, saute over medium heat.Do whatever but do not let it get brown.Within seconds, add chopped onion, saute again till translucent.
  5. Add Rest all other ingredients listed under Tomato Sauce. Mix well and cook for a while.Add about a glass of water and let it simmer for some time, till a thick consistency of sauce is obtained.Do not leave it watery, as it will make the pizza soggy.
  6. Adjust the seasoning and keep it aside.
For Toppings :
  1. In case you are using fresh button mushrooms, wipe them clean, chop into chunks, boil these with a little of salt until they change colour to brownish tinge.Drain and keep aside.
  2. In a non stick fry pan, drizzle some olive oil. Add Mushrooms, saute it for a while, till a shade darker, add chunks of onion(Just cut the onions into 4-6 quarters), saute again, add Capsicum chunks/rings/slices, saute for few seconds and then finally add huge chunks of tomato.In all this take care not to over cook your veggies.The bell pepper should retain its colour and crispness, the onion should be just translucent , the tomatoes should be still juicy , bit soft but not cooked.Sprinkle some salt, pepper, oregano, chilly flakes and give it a good mix.
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  1. Take a ready made Pizza base , roast it on a flat Griddle, with the side that you are going to use for adding toppings, facing the heat(This means first roast the top side of pizza, then add toppings and then roast it from other side.This way the top side of pizza too will get a crunchy texture).
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  1. Now spread some pizza sauce, cheese spread, toppings, and shredded Cheese.
  2. Drizzle some oil on griddle,be sure that the flame is on minimum level of heat, carefully place the pizza on griddle, cover it with a dome shaped vessel (any handi , kadai without handle or even a large steel bowl that fits. Just make sure that the inverted handi doesn't touch the top of pizza.
  3. Add some weight over it , in form of a vessel or anything heavy, but take care to avoid mishaps.
  4. Cook for a minute or so on lowest flame, check the base by carefully lifting the pizza with a flat spatula. Cook further in similar way if needed till the base is darker, crispy with some brown spots.The cheese should melt by now, if it was before cooking.



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  5. Remove from heat, cut it into 4-8 quarters and serve immediately after sprinkling some Dried oregano, red chilly flakes or black pepper.


Special Notes/Tips:

  • Roasting pizza base first on one side gives a nice crispy texture. Avoid it if you like it rubbery.
  • Cheese should be thawed very well before using, since a stiff cheese wont melt at the temperature that we are using to cook pizza here.Since the bread and veggies are already cooked, so its important that cheese is almost cheesy when you are using it as topping.
  • Using a mixture of different types of cheese gives the pizza a nice flavor.
  • Do not make the sauce watery, you obviously won't like your pizza soggy !
  • Toppings can vary as per your choice , so do not hesitate, go ahead with what all you wish to add.Just keep one in mind, precook those veggies that need time and saute vegetables in the sequence of their cooking time.Add those first that need more time and those which cooks fast should be added latter.Do not over cook them.


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