Monday, September 27, 2010

Pohe- savory flattened rice snack

Potato Pohe with green peas.
I love pohe. This simple snack is associated with so many delightful childhood memories. I remember waking up to the smell of freshly made pohe. Pohe can be made as an evening snack, something that you enjoy with a cup of hot tea.
the thing to remember is that pohe needs a lot of onion, salt and oil.
1 bowl "thin" pohe.
1 large onion, diced
1 large potato cut into bite sized wedges
1/2 cup green peas
2 sprigs curry leaves
4 tsp oil + some reserve
4 green chillies, cut into pieces
2 tsp clarified butter
1/2 tsp tumeric powder
salt, sugar to taste
1/4 tsp asafoetida
1/2 tsp mustard deeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
chopped cilantro and or fresh coconut for garnishing
Heat a heavy bottom pan and warm up oil in it. Add hing and mustard seeds, when they start to sputter add cumin seeds, curry leaves and chillies. Then add onion and tumeric on it. Cover and let the onion cook till translucent. Then add potatoes and peas and some water. Cover till the potatoes are cooked and some water dries up. Then add salt and mix well the wet pohe in this. Cover and let it steam for some time. If the pohe flakes look dry, then add some of the reserve oil to it. Then mix well the sugar and clarified butter. Taste it and adjust salt-sugar accordingly. Garnish with cilantro, grated coconut and serve hot.
Pohe taste best when they are served hot.

Cherry tomatoes Rasam

Spicy rasam with a sweet undertone
I love rasam. And as I am typing this, I just remembered that there are tons of tomatoes beggiing to be turned into rasam for me. Till now, rasam for me meant something I got at our local restaurant or some failed attempt I tried to make by copying recipe from behind of a rasam powder packet. but this is definitely my go to and must have recipe. I have blended 2 different recipes together and come up with my own. And thanks to my friend R who has been sending my rasam by the bucketloads. I made my rasam with cherry tomatoes and it was a little sweet to taste. Use roma tomatoes instead of cherry tomatoes.
Rasam powder:
3/4 cup corriander seeds
1/4 cup black peppercorns
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 TBS chana da
1/2 TBS toor dal
1/8 tsp fenugreek seeds
3 dry chillies
2 sprigs curry leavs
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
dry roast all the ingredients seperately and grind them fine. Store in an airtight container in freezer for months. You will need around 2 tsp for 2-3 tomatoes.
10 cherry tomatoes, you can use 2 roma tomatoes
6 peppercorns
2 cloves garlic for grinding
1 tsp cumin seeds for grinding
2 cloves garlic for grinding
2 green chillies for grinding
1 tsp cumin seeds for tempering
1 tsp mustard seeds for tempering
oil for tempering
1 sprig curry leaves
1" tamarind pulp
salt and sugar for taste
2 tsp rasam powder, add more later if desired
Boil and mash the tomatoes coarsely. Blend in blender along tamarind pulp. Coarsely grind garlic, peppercorns, green chililes and add to tomatoes. I like my rasam pulpy so i never strain. But otherwise strain. Boil this liquid in a pot and add the rasam powder. Heat other kadai and add oil to it. The add mustard seeds, cumin, garlic and curry leaves for tempering. Add this to the boiling rasam. Add salt and sugar to taste. Garnish with cilantro leaves.
Serve hot with rice or have it as it is as a soup.

Layered mexican dip

Many layered dip.
I just forgot how many layers I had made. But this is something great to do with the leftover tostada fixings. I took a glass bowl just to see how pretty everything looks. I made mine from leftovers but this would be perfect for a potluck with fresh ingredients.
1 can mexican black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can salsa
1 can gaucamole
1 can sour cream
1 bag shredded mexican cheese blend
olives, green onions and cilantro for topping
jalapenos if needed
Take a glass bowl. Divide the above ingredients into 2 parts each. Layer with black beans at the bottom, then salsa, guacamole, sour cream, cheese, olives-cilantro-green onions and jalapenos. Repeat in layers till over. Refrigerate for atleast 1 hr. Serve chilled with tortilla chips.

Tostada- a total delight

This is such a great delight. A large crispy tortilla with all the stuffings on it and topped off with condiments like olives and jalapenos. My mom loves this.
4-6 tostadas, find them in any grocery store
2 cups shredded, boneless chicken any way you like it - my recipe follows
1 cup guacamole, homemade or store brought
1 cup salsa , homemade or store brought
small can olives chopped
cilantro chopped
smal container mexican sour cream or regular sour cream
green onions chopped
1 can mexican black beans, drain of the liquid and rinse the beans
jalapenos if you desire
kraft or any company mexican blend of cheese
My roast chicken recipe:
Clean and cut chicken breast. marinate with salt, pepper, cumin powder, garlic cloves and the brine from jalapeno jar along with few jalapenos and veggies like carrots, bell pepper, onions and tomatoes.
Bake in oven at 350F for 45 mins.
Pan roast with little oil to get crispy dry shredded chicken.
Tostada Layering:
Take a single toastada and add the chicken as the bottom most layer. then the beans. Then the gucamole and salsa, top it with cream cheese. Garnish with jalapenos, olives, shredded cheese and green onions. Serve immediately or the tostada will get soggy.
For a vegeterian meal, add grilled veggies like onions, bell peppers, tomatoes, zuccini, eggplant, mushrooms etc instead of chicken.

Guacamole-my messy creation

My messy guacamole..

When I was carrying my baby, I used to hate this green weird concoction. To me at that time, it looked very slimy and messy and something with questionable texture. But post pregnancy, I have begun to fall in love with this good-for-you-fat guacamole. Mind you, I cannot eat avocados as it is, simply because it doesnot have any particular flavor but is quite nutty and fatty to taste.

Add this guacamole to any tacos, burrtitos or just as a dip with chips and you are in culinary heaven. My guacamole explodes in my mouth with spicy,sweet,nutty and sour flavor.
The trick is to make it 1 hr before serving to let the flavors blend in.
2 large ripe avaocados, peeled and mashed with fork
1 large tomato, chopped and deseeded
1 medium red or yellow onion, chopped
1 lime juice
salt to taste
2 chillies, minced and deseeded
handful chopped cilantro
2 cloves garlic, minced
Mix all the above ingredients together. Cover the bowl and keep it in the refrigerator for 1 hr to let the flavors blend. MAke sure that you donot make a mush out of avocados otherwise it turns really gooey. Enjoy chilled or at room temperature with chips/tacos.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Basic Salsa

Simple Tomato Salsa.

There are so many different kinds of salsas in Mexican cuisine, but still I love this very simple salsa. A few basic ingredients from your kitchen and you can fix this up in no time. Also, I find it very interesting that this salsa is very similar to Indian koshimbir(raita without yogurt). The difference being the addition of garlic and cumin powder, two greatly used ingredients in both Mexican and Indian cuisines.
2 tomatoes
1 onion, if you have red, great or yellow would do.
juice from 1 lime
1 tsp cumin powder
salt to taste
sugar to taste
2 serrano chillies or even thai would do., minced
1 large clove of garlic, minced
some chopped cilantro

Dice the tomatoes and the onion. Mix all the ingredients together. If possible, chill for 30 mins before serving to let the flavors blend. Serve with tortilla chips or on taco.

Mint (Pudina) Chutney

Green Mint Chutney

This is a very easy and versatile mint chutney. I add a little garlic to the chutney which gives it a little different flavor. I pair my chutney with chaats like bhel puri, ragda patties and pani puri. Make it a little thick and serve it with your favorite kababs. Make it super thick and use it as a spread for sandwiches or bagels.

1 bunch of fresh mint, plucked, washed and chopped
1 bunch cilantro, plucked, washed and chopped
2 garlic cloves
3-4 green chillies
1 tsp cumin seeds
salt to taste
jaggery to taste, or use sugar

Take all the ingredients and blend them to the required consistency. If serving with chaats, a little chaat masala added to it tastes great.
This chutney can be frozen for a long time in the freezer.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Healthy Vegetable Cutlets

Gorgeous red beet patties
A long time ago, when I was very young and studying, I had gone to a friend of mine to help her with her course work. And of course her mom gave us snacks to eat and they turned out to be these gorgeous red colored patties which tasted a lot like fish fry but turned out to be humble vegetable cutlets.
Fast forward 12-13 years later when I develop this sudden hankering for the same taste. I still remember that taste:) So off i went and tinkered about in my kitchen and came up with these vegetable cutlets which can be eaten as a snack or if you really fatten up the cutlets and put them between a bun, they are your main course veggie burgers.

2 small beets, grated
2 carrots, grated
1/4 of small cabbage, grated
1/4 of small cauliflower, grated
1 cup peas
1 cup green beans
2 medium potatoes
all the veggies should be more or less equal, if quantity varies, dont worry.
1 Tbs ginger garlic paste
salt to taste
1 tsp red chili powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp garam masala
handful breadcrumbs
rice flour for dredging
oil for frying

Dry roast all the grated veggies. Cover and let it steam. Add peas and mashed potatoes and all the other ingredients except for oil and rice flour. Mix well. Form patties. Dredge in rice flour and shallow fry. Makes around 40 small patties. Freezes well.
Serve hot with ketchup.
If you want a great veggies burger, make a big patty and shallow fry well. Put it between 2 buns with tomato, onion cucumbers and other condiments.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Amrakhanda, looking gorgeously delicious :)

I dont dabble much in desserts. They seem to be my weak point. they come in second to baking. But I actually enjoyed making this gorgeous dessert. Infusion of hung yogurt with s rich mango pulp and some cardmom powder, makes this dessert very velvety. Good when eaten on its own, tastes best when eaten with hot Puris. Though I have heard of people eating this with rice. But hey! who am I to judge. To each his own.
32 oz carton of yougurt (I get the low fat dannon variety)
1 small sour cream (8oz)
1 container mango pulp (you can use fresh mangoes, make sure they are ripe,3-4 of them)
5 cardmom powdered very fine
about sugar: i never add any sugar in amrakhanda because of the mango pulp and this type of dessert sweetens more the next day . The best thing is to make this dish a day in advance as the flavors blend and deepen the next day. If the pulp or the fresh fruit is not as sweet as you prefer, add sugar freely.
Tie up the yogurt overnight in a cheese cloth over your sink with a pot underneath it to catch the cloth if it slips from the faucet. This yogurt is called as hung yogurt where the water or the whey is removed from the regular yogurt. Take this in a mixing bowl, add sour cream, pulp and the powdered cardmom and mix well. I use a hand mixer for this. Chill in the fridge and serve it with hot puris.
If you are using regular yogurt, by that I mean yogurt with fat and if the amrakhanda is too thick for your liking, add some milk and thin it out.