Coconut Chutney

Coconut Chutney is a staple south Indian recipe. Every household has its own version and it is crucial to a breakfast of dosai, idli or uthappam. As a child I remember spreading this chutney on a slice of bread, toasting it on a tava and then eating it with sugar. That hit of spice and sweet is yummy! Or you can stick to its more traditional use 🙂

My version is fairly simple and straight-forward. You can very easily leave out the coriander leaves, tamarind and roasted gram dal and you will still be left with a delicious chutney. 

Ingredients:

To Grind

Coconut – 1/2
Green chillies – 3
Ginger – 1 tsp, chopped
Roasted Gram dal – 2 tsp
Coriander leaves – 1/3 cup, chopped
Tamarind – 1 cm piece
Salt to taste

To Temper

Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
Urad dal – 1 tsp
Dry red chillies – 2
Curry leaves – 4
Oil

Method:

  • Grind all the ingredients mentioned under ‘To Grind’
  • Add enough water till you get a thick chutney consistency or more if you prefer it to be watery
  • Transfer to a clean container 
  • In a kadai, heat oil and add mustard seeds
  • Once they crackle, add cumin seeds, ural dal, dry red chillies and curry leaves
  • Add to the chutney and mix
  • Serve with dosai or idly

Summer Corn Salad

A friend of mine brought this salad to a potluck lunch last year and it is one of the best things I have eaten. Simple but packed full of flavor! It’s also versatile enough to play around with the ingredients. Toss in some cooked rajma or pasta. You can add some chaat masala or coriander-chilli chutney for an Indian twist. You can even throw in some shredded chicken. My friend recommends the use of black salt in this salad. I didn’t have any, so I ended up using regular salt. It’s a good salad to prepare ahead and perfect on a hot summer day. Thank you, V, for bringing this to school 🙂

Ingredients

Corn – 4 cobs
Bell pepper – 1/2
Spring Onions – 1/2 cup, chopped
Tomato – 1/2
Potato – 1/2, boiled
Lime – 1/2
Salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
Yogurt – 3 tbsp
Garlic – 3 cloves
Tortilla Chips – 1 cup, crushed

Method

  • Place the corn in a pressure cooker with water. Cook for one whistle. Once pressure releases, remove the corn and slice length-wise such that you get the kernels.
  • Add chopped bell peppers, tomato and potato
  • Add spring onions (all of the white part and some of the green)
  • Refrigerate this mix

Assembling

  • Just before serving, add salt and black pepper to taste
  • Mince the garlic cloves and add to the yoghurt. Add this dressing to the salad
  • Squeeze the juice of half a lime
  • Toss in crushed chips 

Akki Roti with Methi / Rice Flour Roti with Fenugreek Leaves

Akki Roti is a breakfast staple in Karnataka, and being from Bangalore myself, this is one of my favorite breakfast/dinner items. This is an easy and quick to prepare dish and requires very simple and basic ingredients. I have used Methi leaves in this version to make it more nutritious. Grated carrots are also used commonly. Again, this is one of those recipes where keeping the base ingredients the same, you can play with different add-ons like different types of greens or nuts. Any type of chutney goes well with Akki Roti but some tangy and spicy tomato chutney sure tastes great with it!

Ingredients:

Rice flour – 1.5 cups plus extra for dusting
Methi/ Fenugreek leaves – 2 cups
Onion, finely chopped – 2/3 cup
Coriander leaves, finely chopped – 4 tbsp
Green chillies, finely chopped – 2
Grated coconut – 4 tbsp
Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
Salt – to taste
Oil – for pan frying

Method:

  • Wash the Methi leaves well and chop them finely
  • In a mixing bowl, take all the ingredients (except oil) and mix well

  • Add water gradually and knead into a soft dough

  • Divide the dough into equal sized portions
  • Take a sheet of parchment or wax paper and apply few drops of oil
  • Place the dough on the paper and press with your fingers. Do not use rolling pin
  • Use more oil or dust with extra flour if it gets sticky
  • Spread the dough into a nice circular roti

  • Heat a tawa/griddle and apply 1/4 tsp oil
  • Once the griddle is nice and hot, transfer the roti. For easy transfer, flip the parchment paper with the roti on the pan and slowly peel off the paper and re-use for next roti. If you are using wax paper, be quick in removing it as it is not as heat resistant as the parchment paper
  • Cook the roti well on both sides, about 2-3 minutes on each side until it starts browning slightly. Use extra oil if needed

  • Transfer to a plate and repeat with remaining rotis
  • Serve with your choice of chutney

Quinoa Chickpea Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing

I have learnt a few different ways of preparing quinoa and feel that it goes so well with chickpeas. In fact, sometimes when I make Chole Masala, I have it with plain cooked quinoa instead of rice, which also is a better choice if you want to avoid rice for dinner. This salad is healthy but at the same time filling. I have used carrots for some sweetness but you can add other vegetables and/or greens and make it more nutritious!

Ingredients:

Quinoa – 1 cup
Vegetable broth – 3 cups
Chickpeas, cooked – 1.5 cups (see note below)
Carrot, grated – 1 cup
Cilantro – 7 to 8 stalks
Garlic – 2 cloves
Ginger, grated – 1/4 tsp (optional)
Green chili pepper – 1/2
Olive oil – 2 to 3 tbsp
Salt – to taste
Juice of half a lime/lemon

Yield: 2 servings

Method:

  • Wash the quinoa well
  • In a pan, add the quinoa and vegetable broth. Cook covered, on medium heat for 15 -20 mins
  • Reduce the heat to low when most of the liquid is absorbed. Once cooked, you can fluff it with the help of a fork and allow it to cool a bit
  • To prepare the cilantro dressing, in a mixer or food processor, take cilantro, garlic, ginger, green chili pepper, salt and lemon juice and pulse a few times until coarsely ground
  • Now, with the mixer on, keep adding olive oil until the mixture emulsifies. You can also add the oil and beat with a whisk instead of using the mixer. Note that the quantity used here serves 2. You can also prepare more and refrigerate it for about a week

  • In a big mixing bowl, add the quinoa, chickpeas, grated carrot and the dressing and toss well
  • Serve warm or chilled

Note: Soak chickpeas in water for 8 hours or overnight and pressure cooker on medium heat for 2-3 whistles. You can substitute the vegetable broth with chicken broth or just water. Using the broth will give some added flavor.

Onion Bhaji/Fritters

Deep-fried Pakoras and Bhajis have always been my favorite and love having them as a side with rice/Sambar/Rasam. My mom regularly made these and regardless of what type she made (potato, raw plantain, etc), there always had to be onion bhajis as well made specially for my sister who always insisted on these! It worked out well for me as I got to enjoy more than one variety! This recipe is one step above the basic bhaji and uses aromatics such as garlic, cumin and curry leaves for an enhanced flavor. Enjoy these as a side for lunch/dinner when you are out of veggies or as a snack on a cold rainy day with some piping hot chai!

Ingredients:

Onion, sliced lengthwise – 1 cup
Besan/ Chickpea flour – 3 tbsp
Rice flour – 3 tbsp
Red chilli powder – 1/4 tsp
Cumin seeds – 1/4 tsp
Garlic, crushed and finely chopped – 1 to 2
Curry leaves, finely chopped – 6 to 8
Baking soda – a pinch
Salt – to taste
Oil – for deep frying

Yield: 2 servings

Method:

  • In a bowl, mix all the dry ingredients except the onions

  • Gradually add water to make a thick paste. Start off with 2-3 tbsp of water and add more if needed. The consistency must be like a paste, slightly thicker than you would use for potato or plantain bhajis

  • Add the sliced onions and mix well. The batter should only lightly coat the onion

  • Heat oil in a kadai/wok
  • When the oil is ready (a small piece of the batter dropped should immediately rise to the top), add the onions. Use your fingers to separate them out as you are dropping them in the oil so as to not form big lumps. Also, do not overcrowd them or they will become soggy
  • Fry until golden brown. Remove from oil and drain on a paper towel
  • Serve as a side with any meal or as an evening snack

Whole Wheat Pizza with Vegetables

I love love love pizza! It’s one of those decadent dishes that instantly improves my mood. As a kid, I remember buying those white pizza bases from the neighborhood grocery store and cooking them on the tava with our favorite toppings. But I’ve been meaning to try making the base at home using whole wheat flour and finally got around to it. The idea of making your own pizza dough can be quite intimidating but it’s really not that different from making chapathi dough. The only difference is the addition of yeast and waiting a few hours for it to rise. While the entire process is a tad time-consuming, the effort is well worth it. Topped with my homemade tomato sauce, vegetables of your choice and lots of cheese, this pizza makes me very happy! And hope it does the same to you!

Whole Wheat Pizza with Vegetables

Ingredients:

For the pizza dough:

Warm Water – 1 cup
Sugar – 1 tbsp
Oil – 1 tbsp
Active Dry Yeast – 1 envelope (2.25 tsp)
Whole Wheat Flour/Atta – 2.75 cups
Parmesan Cheese – 1/4 cup (optional)
Salt to taste

Toppings:

Tomato Sauce – 2.5 to 3 cups (you can find recipe here)
Mozzarella Cheese – 2 cups
Bell Peppers – 2
Onion – 1
Chilli Flakes – 2 tsp (optional)

Method:

Making pizza dough:

  • In warm water, add sugar, oil and yeast; set this aside

Whole Wheat Pizza

  • In a wide bowl, combine the flour, salt and cheese

Whole Wheat Pizza

  • To this, slowly add the water mixture and form a dough; the dough must not be too soft or hard but firm

Whole Wheat Pizza

  • Wrap the bowl with cling film and set aside in a cool place for at least 2 to 3 hours till it increases in size

Whole Wheat Pizza

Assembling the pizza:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 420 degrees Fahrenheit or 215 degrees Celsius
  • Line a baking tray with aluminum foil and spray with oil 
  • Divide the risen dough into 4 portions (you can either make 4 small pizzas or 2 large ones)
  • Take the first portion and roll out as thinly as possible (I don’t pay much heed to shape and focus on making it thin instead)

Whole Wheat Pizza

  • Transfer to the prepared baking tray
  • Using a fork, prick the rolled out dough (This is to prevent the dough from puffing up)

Whole Wheat Pizza

  • Spread the tomato sauce all over the dough (use a little more than half cup for each of the 4 small pizzas)

Marinara Sauce/Tomato Sauce on Pizza

  • Add sliced onions and bell peppers (about 1/4 cup each for every pizza)
  • Sprinkle mozzarella cheese (about 1/2 cup for each of the 4 pizzas)
  • Sprinkle a teaspoon of chilli flakes if using

Whole Wheat Pizza

  • Bake for 20 minutes till the edges begin to brown and the cheese melts
  • Serve hot!

Whole Wheat Pizza

Note:
– I have adapted the pizza dough recipe from here
– I used active dry yeast. You can even use instant yeast in which case you can make the pizza immediately
– I used a red and green bell pepper and had some leftovers. You could use just one if you like
– I have refrigerated leftover dough for about 3 days and it has been usable. You could try for longer if you like
– While spreading tomato sauce on the base, I like to cover the edges as well as I don’t like them getting crusty
– Other toppings you can use include baby corn, mushrooms, chicken, paneer, fresh basil or even just cheese
– I used home-made tomato sauce. You can use the store-bought kind as well

Butter Chicken

Ok, so this isn’t a dish you should be making often. This is my first attempt at making Butter Chicken and it turned out pretty decent! While this isn’t something I order at a restaurant (because I prefer spicy food), I enjoyed trying my hand at it. This recipe is from my sister who in turn got it from her friend back when they were in college together. I’ve made slight variations to the original recipe like the use of unsalted butter instead of salted. It’s great for a special occasion or when you have guests and goes well with steaming hot ghee rice.

Butter Chicken

Ingredients:

For the marinade:
Chicken – 500 gms
Yoghurt – 1 cup
Salt 
Chilli powder – 1 tsp
Black pepper powder – 1 tsp
Ginger-garlic paste – 2 tsp
Garam Masala – 2 tsp

For the gravy:
Tomatoes – 6
Unsalted butter – 50 gms
Ginger-garlic paste – 2 tbsp
Cashewnuts – 1/3 cup
Chilli powder – 1/4 tsp
Milk – 1.25 cups
Cream – 3/4 cup + 2 tbsp
Garam Masala – 1/2 tsp
Tandoori Masala – 1 tsp
Green chillies – 1
Sugar – 1/4 tsp
Bay leaf – 1
Salt to taste

Method:

Marinating the chicken:

  • Mix all the marinade ingredients together with the chicken and allow to rest for at least 2 hours in the fridge

Making the gravy:

  • Grind the tomatoes to a fairly fine paste
  • Soak the cashewnuts in hot water and allow to sit for about 15 minutes before grinding to a smooth paste 
  • Heat a wok and melt the butter
  • Add the bay leaf and stir
  • Add ginger-garlic paste and fry till the liquid evaporates
  • Add the ground tomatoes  and cool till it turns very dry and the fat separates
  • Add the cashewnut paste
  • Add chilli powder and fry till the fat separates
  • Switch off the stove and then add the milk and a cup of water to get a gravy
  • Turn on the heat again and bring to a boil
  • Cover the wok and simmer for about 7 minutes
  • Once again, remove from heat and stir in the 3/4 cup of cream
  • Add garam masala, tandoori masala, sugar and salt
  • Add the chicken and cook on a low flame till it becomes tender
  • Garnish with 2 tbsp of cream and green chillies

Note:
– I didn’t use store-bought tandoori masala but instead made my own following this recipe; I left out ground ginger, ground garlic, nutmeg and paprika since I did not have these ingredients
– Adjust the amount of milk and cream in this recipe depending on how rich you want it to be and how much gravy you would like
– You can also add tandoori color to the marinade which I left out since I didn’t have any

Open Faced Breakfast Tacos

This is another dish that I came up with, with what was available in my pantry that day. The mashed potatoes is very healthy with no butter or cheese plus, it has avocados that makes it tastier. This is also a good way to make use of any leftover chapatis/tortillas from the previous night’s dinner.

Ingredients:

Tortilla/ Chapati, cooked – 6
Eggs – 3
Pepper powder – 1/2 tsp
Oil – 3 tsp
Salt – to taste

For the mashed potatoes:
Potato, medium – 2
Avocado – 1
Garlic clove – 1, optional
Milk – 2 tbsp
Green chillies, finely chopped – 2 to 3
Coriander leaves, finely chopped – 5 stalks
Lemon juice – 1 tsp

Method:

  • To prepare the mashed potatoes, cut the potatoes into half and boil them
  • Once the potatoes are cooked, peel the skin and mash them
  • Scoop out the flesh from the avocados and add to the potatoes. Add milk and mash them well
  • Follow by adding crushed garlic, green chillies, coriander leaves, lemon juice and salt. Mix well and set aside
  • Beat the eggs with salt and pepper
  • Heat a pan, add 1/2 tsp of oil and pour little bit of the egg mixture to make an omelette
  • After 2 minutes, flip it to cook the other side. Then, remove and repeat until you have 6 of these
  • To assemble, place a tortilla on a plate, then place an omelette over it. Top it with a big dollop (approx. 3 -4 tbsp) of the mashed potato mixture
  • Garnish with cilantro and few strings of onion. Server hot with a sauce of your choice 

    

Brownies

Brownies are a favorite at my place. These brownies are the firm-kind, not gooey. I incorporated the recipe from Hersheys. Tried and tested, it’s my go-to recipe when I am looking to whip up some brownies quickly. They are a great gift as well 🙂 Happy holidays!

Brownies

Makes: 15

Ingredients:

Unsalted butter – 1 cup
All-purpose flour – 1 cup
Unsweetened cocoa powder – 3/4 cup
Baking powder – 1/2 tsp
Vanilla extract – 2 tsp
Eggs – 4
Salt – 1/4 tsp
Chopped walnuts – 1/2 cup (optional)
Chocolate chunks – 1/2 cup (optional)
Brown Sugar – 3/4 cup

Method:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit or 175 degrees Celsius
  • Grease a baking pan or line it with parchment paper and set aside
  • Place the butter in a microwave safe bowl and melt by heating for about 2 minutes
  • Mix in the sugar and vanilla extract once the butter cools down slightly
  • Using an electric beater or whisk, add one egg at a time and combine till well-mixed
  • Add sifted cocoa powder and mix well
  • Stir in sifted flour, baking powder and salt
  • Combine the walnuts and chocolate chunks with a teaspoon of flour and stir into the above mixture
  • Transfer the batter to the prepared baking pan and bake for about 35 minutes
  • Keep the pan on a cooling rack and allow to cool completely

Brownies

Note:
1. You can use regular white sugar if you don’t have brown sugar. I use brown sugar as it makes the brownies more moist and rich.
2. If you don’t have walnuts, you can even use chopped almonds and cashew nuts. 

Hummus

Hummus

Ingredients:

Boiled chickpeas – 3 cups
Olive oil – 9 tbsp
Tahini – 4 tbsp (refer note below)
Juice of 1 lemon
Garlic – 1 clove
Black pepper powder – 3/4 tsp
Cumin powder – 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste

Method:

  • Place all the ingredients in a food processor or mixer
  • Blitz till you get a smooth consistency
  • You can add more lemon juice or olive oil to reach the desired consistency
  • Transfer to a dry container, drizzle a teaspoon of olive oil and sprinkle a little cumin powder to garnish
  • Serve with chips or vegetables like carrots and celery

Note:
1. Instead of using canned chickpeas from the store, you can boil your own. Soak dry chickpeas in water overnight or for about 6 hours. Then, place in a pressure cooker with water about an inch above the chickpeas. Pressure cook for about 5 whistles till cooked. Once pressure is released, drain the chickpeas and set aside to cool completely
2. Tahini is a paste made using roasted sesame seeds. To make this, dry roast white sesame seeds till they turn golden brown.

Tahini

Tahini

Set aside to cool. Then, place in a mixer and and grind for about 2 minutes till you get a crumbly powder. Add about 2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil and a tablespoon of sesame seed soil and blend again till you get a thick paste

Tahini
3. Traditionally, extra virgin olive oil is used to make hummus. Since I didn’t have this, I used regular olive oil
4. Before transferring the hummus into another container, check for seasoning. Add more lemon juice and cumin powder if desired and blend again
5. Hummus can even be used as a spread in sandwiches