Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tofu and Veggie Roll

Tofu also known as bean curd is relatively high in protein. Tofu comes in many varieties such as firm, silken, extra firm which is great for stir-fry recipes. Tofu is also a good alternative for vegetarian people. It is quite popular in Chinese and Thai cuisine.
Spring rolls come in both fried and non-fried variety. Today's recipe is non-fried rolls. These spring rolls tastes delicious and are also healthy. Wonderful filling of tofu and veggies wrapped in a spring roll wrapper and served with spring roll sauce. I saw Giada from food network making sweeter version of non-fried spring rolls with fruit filling, can't wait to make those too. But first let's get started with our Tofu and Veggie Spring Rolls.

1/2 Cup Cilantro(washed)
1 inch ginger
1 clove garlic
Salt as per taste
(Grind the above ingredients to a smooth paste)

12-15 Spring roll wrappers (Picture to give you the idea) These are transparent and  very thin rice papers.

1 tsp canola oil
1 small onion finely chopped
12.3 oz Packet Firm Tofu grated
2 Carrots grated
1 Cup Cabbage shredded
1 Cup Zucchini cut into thin matchsticks
1/2 Cup Red Bell Pepper cut into thin matchsticks
2 Sprigs Spring Onion cut 2 inch pieces
1 1/2 Cup cooked rice noodles(Boil noodles according to package instructions)
Sweet spring roll sauce as required(I buy Pantai brand sweet spring roll sauce)
Hot sauce of your choice as required(e.g Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce)

Heat oil in a non-stick pan. Add ground paste and saute for few minutes. Add grated tofu and stir fry until tofu is completely dry. This will take few minutes as water content is high in tofu. Keep aside once done. This is your tofu filling. Keep  all the other ingredients ready.
Let's start assembling them. Soak a rice paper in warm water for few seconds until soft. Lay this rice paper on a damp kitchen towel so that the rice paper won't stick(this is the coolest idea I saw on Giada's show). Spread spring roll sauce and hot sauce according your taste in the middle and then add tofu mixture followed by noodles and veggies to form a rectangle. Close the sides and roll it just like a burrito from down to up. 
Repeat the same procedure for the remaining wrappers to make spring rolls. 

You can serve them as a side dish or accompany it with some nice and light soup and you've got yourself a nice and healthy dinner.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Asparagus Soup

Asparagus is very succulent and tender, spear shaped vegetable typically eaten for appetizer or a side dish. The end part is very tough and stingy and is usually discarded. Although peak season for asparagus is spring but you can enjoy this delectable vegetable throughout the year. Green asparagus is pretty common but there is one more variety which comes in white which are more tender, so I heard. Haven't used the white asparagus but I love green asparagus. It tastes wonderful when grilled or roasted but you can also make this amazing soup.

20 spears of Asparagus (roughly around 8 oz)
1 small onion diced finely
1 tbs butter
1 tsp olive oil
2 tbs All Purpose Flour
2(14.5 oz can Vegetarian Vegetable Broth)
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tbs lime juice
Salt as per taste(Don't add too much salt as broth already has salt in it.)
Pepper as per taste

Cut hard ends of Asparagus(about an inch from below) and discard, slice remaining asparagus. Cut of few spears and reserve for  garnish if desired.
Melt butter and olive oil in a pan and saute onions until translucent. Add diced asparagus and saute again. Add all purpose flour and cook for couple of minutes. Next pour in vegetable broth, season with salt, pepper and lime juice and bring to boil. Once boiled simmer on medium heat half covered for about 12-15 minutes or until asparagus is very tender. Cool the mixture, reserve about 1/2 cup and blend the remaining mixture  in a blender or food processor until smooth. Press the pureed asparagus through a sieve into another clean pan. Add milk through sieve to extract maximum asparagus puree. 
 Combine the reserved 1/2 cup soup with sieved asparagus puree and heat it for 5-7 minutes on low heat. Meanwhile saute the reserved spears in little bit of oil. Adjust for seasoning and garnish with asparagus spears.

Quick Tips-: How to store Asparagus?
Place bunch of Asparagus into a container filled with water. Bottom 1-2 inches of asparagus should be submerged in water. Keep the container in refrigerator. Never keep asparagus covered in plastic bag.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Vegetable Cutlets

Vegetable Cutlet is nothing but mixture of potatoes and veggies combined together to form oval shaped flat balls and deep fried. We used to have these cutlets on-board train in India while travelling. These cutlets were served with buttered bread slices and ketchup, yum!!!  Those were the best cutlets I have ever had in my life. They used to have some nifty snacks on-board, taste for which still lingers on my tongue. These cutlets make a great snack/appetizer of even dinner if served with bread and some salad on side. I did try pan frying them couple of times but they were completely disapproved by my husband :-). Deep fried cutlets always tastes best.

4 medium potatoes(washed, boiled, peeled and mashed)
12 green beans finely chopped
1 small onion finely chopped
1 carrot grated
1/4 cup corn
3  green chilies finely chopped
2 inch ginger grated
1 tsp Canola oil
Salt as per taste
1 tsp Chat Masala
1 tsp Garam Masala
1/2 tsp Dry mango powder(Amchur)
Oil for deep frying
For Coating
Approximately 1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/3 cup All Purpose Flour(Maida) approximately
1/4 cup Milk

Heat oil in a pan add onions and saute for couple of minutes. Add ginger, green beans, carrot, green chilies and corn. Saute until all the veggies are slightly tender. Add mashed potatoes and all the spices(i.e salt, chat masala, garam masala, amchur). Mix together nicely. Adjust for seasonings. Make equal size balls and shape them into oval  flat cutlets and keep aside. Now take flour, milk and bread crumbs in 3 different plates. Dip cutlets one by one in flour then milk and finally into bread crumbs coating evenly. Deep fry all the cutlets to a nice golden brown color. Serve it as an appetizer, snack or with buttered bread slices any way to like it.
Quick Tips-: Try using Panko(Japanese style bread crumbs) instead of regular bread crumbs for crispier cutlets. 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Tom Yum Soup

Tom Yum is hot and sour soup from Thai Cuisine. Thai Food is quite spicy and that's why perfect for any Indian Palate. Tom yum soup is hot and sour which is a perfect combination for cold winter nights . Nothing beats a steaming hot bowl of soup in winter. This is the second soup recipe that I am sharing with you and more will come throughout winter :). My kids love soups, though this one can be little bit spicy for them but they are soup lovers and their favorite soup is Minestrone(from olive garden restaurant). Okay then let's get started with Tom Yum Soup.

3 15 oz cans of Vegetarian Vegetable Broth
2 inch ginger, sliced
2 stalks lemon grass sliced on a bias into approximately 2 inch pieces
2 red chili's
Lime zest of 1 lime
Juice from 1 lime
1 carrot, sliced
1 cup cubed Tofu(Firm)
Fresh chopped cilantro

Boil stock in a sauce pan on a medium heat. Add lemon grass, ginger, lime zest and chilies. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes so that all the wonderful flavors are infused in broth. Uncover the broth and add tofu, carrot and salt. Boil again for 7-8 minutes until carrot is cooked. Turn off the gas, add lime juice and chopped cilantro. Give it a taste, the soup should have perfect balance of spicy, salty and sour. Adjust the seasonings accordingly. Remove lemongrass and ginger before serving.
Steaming hot Tom Yum Soup is ready!!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Boondi Raita

Boondi is deep fried small balls made with gram flour(बेसन), good for snacking or making this wonderful raita. Boondi is made using a ladle with holes which gives them that small rounded shape. There is also a sweet preparation for boondi called 'Boondi Laddu'. Though in North India it is usually used to make raita. I love this raita, it can be eaten with pulav/biryani(rice made with veggies/meat and spices) or any meal. I usually get Haldiram brand Boondi. They come in 2 flavors i.e Masala Boondi and Plain Boondi. Masala Boondi has spices and chili powder in it so I prefer using plain boondi for making raita so that I can control all the spices that goes in it.

1 Cup plain boondi
1 Cup beaten yogurt
1/4 tsp cumin powder
1/4 tsp chili powder
1 tsp Sugar
Salt as per taste
2 Green Chilies finely chopped
Chopped fresh cilantro for garnishing
For tempering
1/2 tsp canola oil
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
Pinch of Asafoetida
Pinch of Turmeric powder

In a bowl mix beaten yogurt along with sugar, salt, cumin powder, chili powder, green chilies and boondi. Make a tempering by heating canola oil in a small pan and add mustard seed, asafoetida and turmeric powder. Add this tempering to the above mixture and mix. Garnish with freshly chopped cilantro. And serve Boondi Raita with your favorite meal.
Quick Tips-: If you think your raita is too thick add little bit of water. Also if you don't want your boondi to be all soft try adding boondi few minutes before serving.