Monday, August 10, 2015

Banana Bread

A quick snack is quintessential in the pantry for feeding kids. We are always in search for healthy and filling snacks. Kids come home hungry after school and it is a good idea to feed them good quality and healthy snack instead of feeding them empty calories. My very good friend makes this delicious banana bread that my kids crave. This banana bread is made with whole wheat flour(that's what makes this bread healthier). Hopefully you will enjoy this recipe as much as we do.

Ingredients
1 cup Brown Sugar 
1 stick (8 tbsp) Unsalted Butter 
Eggs 
Ripe Banana 
1 tbsp Milk 
1 tsp Ground Cinnamon 
1 tsp Baking Powder 
1 tsp Baking Soda 
1 tsp Salt 
1/3 cup Walnuts 
2 cups Wheat Flour 
¼ cup Chocolate Chips (optional)

Method
Preheat the oven to 325 F. Butter two bread pans and keep aside. Cream the sugar and butter in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. 
In a small bowl, mash the bananas with a fork. Mix in the milk and cinnamon.
In another bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda & salt. Add banana mixture to the creamed mixture and stir until well combined. It will curdle up a bit so don't worry(it has not gone bad), the bread will come out great nevertheless.
Add dry ingredients, mixing just until flour disappears. Pour batter equally into prepared pans.
Bake  1 hr to 1 hr. 10 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Baking time may vary depending on the oven. Rotate the pans half way through baking, changing from front to back. Set aside to cool on a rack for 15 minutes.
Remove bread from pan, invert onto rack and cool completely and cut into slices. 




Sunday, July 12, 2015

Mattha/Indian spiced buttermilk

Indian spiced butter milk traditionally known as "Mattha" is a tangy yogurt drink flavored with ginger-green chili paste and fresh cilantro. With very few ingredients this cold beverage is quite refreshing especially in summer. There might be variety of versions to make mattha but this is a very traditional Maharashtrian recipe, just like my mom makes it.

Ingredients
4 cups plain buttermilk
2 green chili's
1 inch ginger 
2-3 tbs fresh chopped cilantro
Salt as per taste
1 tsp sugar

Method
Method is quite simple. Mix yogurt and water together to make homemade buttermilk. It should be thin in consistency. To make mattha, add all the ingredients in a blender and blend it for few minutes until little bit frothy. 
Pour in a glass and enjoy a refreshing drink!!



Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Fattoush Salad

Salad is a great way to fulfill your daily requirement of veggies. And especially in summer eating nice cold salad is quite refreshing. On hot days simple salad is all but you need. Fattoush is a salad made with Pita bread and veggies and lots of fresh herbs and lemony dressing. It will be a perfect side salad for a barbecue party or a good to go salad for picnics, just pack the dressing and chips on side and combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Usually pita bread is toasted and crisped and then added to this salad but since I had pita chips on hand used those instead.

Ingredients(Will serve 2-3 people)
2 tomatoes
1 cucumber
1 small red onion
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley(I prefer flat leaf Italian parsley to curly one)
1/3 cup chopped fresh mint
1/2 cup roughly crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup pita chips

For Dressing
2 tbsp lemon juice
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Pepper as per taste
Salt as required(feta cheese is salty so salad will hardly need salt)

Method
In a separate bowl combine all the ingredients for dressing except for salt and keep aside.
Chop tomatoes, cucumber and onion into half and each half into lengthwise and quartered again to give chunks of veggies. Combine together all the ingredients in a bowl except for dressing. Just before serving add the dressing and mix it well and give it a taste. If needed, add salt. Serve!! Salad looks so colorful itself that no one can resist taking a bite!!



Thursday, April 23, 2015

Rava/Semolina Appe

Appe is yet another South Indian dish commonly prepared with pulses/lentils and rice. But it needs soaking of lentils and grinding and everything. On the other hand these rava/semolina appe are very convenient to make. It doesn't need the hassle of soaking and grinding. My sis-in-law made these appe while she was visiting and I really liked them. By using fruit salt it doesn't need to be fermented. Eno fruit salt is easily available in any Indian grocery store. It comes in three different flavors. Use regular or lime flavor either is fine. 

Ingredients(Serves 5-6)
3 cups fine rava/semolina
1/2 cup yogurt
3 cup water
1 small onion finely chopped
1 tomato chopped
3-4 green chilies
1 inch ginger grated
Couple of tbsp chopped cilantro
Oil to brush insides of appe mould
1 tbsp Eno fruit salt or as required

Method
Method is pretty simple, take a big mixing bowl and mix all the ingredients except eno together and let it sit covered for up to an hour or so.
You will need appe mould. I have a mould which has seven cavities. When making appe use another small bowl and add batter required for seven(or whatever number of cavities your mould has) to it and sprinkle a teaspoon of eno over it and mix it vigorously, by adding eno the mixture will puff up a little. Start adding the mixture in each cavity and cover it with a lid.
After few minutes turn over the appe and let them cook on other side. Top side should be nice golden brown.
Remove when cooked from both sides(usually one mould takes about 5-7 minutes). Remove all the cooked appes and continue making more in same way for the remaining batter. Serve it hot with spicy chutney powder mixed with oil(I use MTR brand chutney podi)/coconut chutney/rasam.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Rasam

Rasam is a traditional South Indian spicy soup prepared with tamarind and tomato base liquid with added spices and dal. It is similar to sambar but it's consistency is more soup like, unlike sambar which is usually thicker. It can be served as a soup for first course or can be used for main course with idli, dosa, vada etc or can be simply served with rice. It tastes especially good on cold or rainy days. All the spiciness just kicks in and warms you up inside out. I served it with my Zucchini dosas and tasted just perfect.

Ingredients(Serves 2-3 people as soup)
1/4 cup red lentils
1 small tomato chopped 
1 tbsp store bought rasam powder(I use MTR brand)
1/2 tsp tamarind paste
1 tbsp jaggery
3 cup water
Chopped cilantro for garnish

For Tempering
1 tsp ghee/clarified butter
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
Few curry leaves

Method
Cook lentil with water and pinch of turmeric and asafoedita in a pressure cooker. Give 3-4 whistles and shut off the gas. Mean while add chopped tomato, tamarind paste, rasam powder, jaggery, salt and 2 cup water in a pot. Boil it for 10 minutes to incorporate all the flavors. Mash the cooked dal through strainer and add it to the prepared soup base. 
Mix everything together and add remaining 1 cup water to make a very thin consistency soup. Boil this soup for 10 minutes or so and add salt. Give it a taste, it should taste spicy but should also have little bit of sweetness from the jaggery and also little bit sour. Adjust the taste accordingly, add more of rasam powder or tamarind pulp or jaggery if needed. Once boiled keep aside. Heat ghee in a small pan, add mustard and cumin seeds and lastly curry leaves. Now pour this tempering over the prepared rasam. Garnish with chopped cilantro. Serve it hot with dosas or just as soup. 


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Moong Dal Tadka

Dal is an important part of any Indian meal. No matter which part of India, dal is one staple food in any household. Dal is a good source of protein for Vegetarian people. Indian meal is not complete without dal. There are variety of dal/lentils available in market and each of them has its own taste. Dal's can be made in variety of ways but basic preparation starts with boiling dals with turmeric and asafoetida(also known as hing) and add tadka/tempering on cooked dal. Now, variation can be made by adding onions, tomato, ginger, garlic or any leafy green vegetables. 
Moong dal tadka is a very simple yet scrumptious recipe that will surely make your meal complete.

Ingredients(Serves 2)
1/3 cup yellow moong dal
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
Pinch of asafoetida
Chopped cilantro for garnishing
For Takda
1 tbs ghee
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 dried red chili cut in half
1/4 tsp red chili powder
Salt as per taste
2-3 garlic cloves sliced

Method

Cook moong dal with turmeric and asafoetida in a pressure cooker using water. Give 3 whistles and shut off the gas. Moong dal cooks pretty quickly. Once the pressure drops take out the dal and mash slightly. Add salt and mix, add more water if very thick. Some people like thick consistency and some like thin dal so add water accordingly if needed. Heat the cooked dal and let it boil for couple of minutes, sprinkle chopped cilantro evenly over dal and shut off the gas. Get ingredients ready for tadka. Heat some ghee in a small pan and add cumin seeds. Once they splutter add sliced garlic and let them turn slightly brown. Next add dried red chili and chili powder as well, shut off the gas. Pour this tadka over the prepared dal and serve hot. 


Quick Tip-: For quick variation replace moong dal with toor dal or use combination of both dals. In that case use both dals in equal amount.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Minty Veggie Sandwich

My favorite type of meal is Sandwich. I love all kind of Vegetarian sandwiches. Though you don't get much veggie options in sandwich shops outside, I try and make variety of them at home and every time they come out nice. This sandwich was really made at the spur of the moment. I had leftover chutney and didn't want to make just plain old chutney sandwich. So added grilled veggies, well they are not actually grilled but sauteed in a a pan until slightly browned but crunchy. I have kept cheese optional but cheese makes this sandwich extraordinary.
Ingredients
10 bread slices white or wheat
1/2 cup diced green pepper
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup corn
1 small cucumber sliced
1 potato boiled, peeled and sliced
1 medium tomato sliced
5 tbs green chutney(cilantro+mint)
Butter as required
Chat Masala for sprinkling 
1/2 Cup shredded Mozzarella Cheese(optional)

Method
Melt butter in a pan and saute all the veggies. Veggies should still be crunchy, just saute it for few minutes. Keep aside to cool. 

Take 2 slices of bread. Apply chutney on one slice of bread and butter on other slice. Now take a tablespoon of sauteed veggies and spread evenly on chutney side. Arrange sliced cucumber, potatoes and tomatoes over veggies and sprinkle some chat masala. 

Top it with shredded mozzarella cheese and cover it with another slice of bread, buttered side down.

Preheat your griddle or panini maker. Meanwhile apply butter on both sides of prepared sandwich and grill it until nice and crisp on both sides. Enjoy it with your favorite chips and pickle!!




Thursday, March 12, 2015

Vegetarian Chili

A spicy stew made with variety of peppers, tomatoes, beans and meat(either beef or chicken) but since this is a vegetarian recipe I am omitting the meat. This is a typical dish made in cook-offs and tailgates. Steaming hot bowl of chili is sure to warm your body and soul as well. Cold weather especially calls for a flavorful bowl of spicy chili. It can either be paired up with corn bread or cheesy nachos  or whatever you think that can to go with it. Since I had all the ingredients for nachos today I went ahead and made that. 
In ingredients I have used 1/2 red and green peppers because mine were gigantically huge, if your peppers are normal size go ahead and use whole. 

Ingredients

1 medium onion chopped
1/2 green pepper chopped
1/2 red pepper chopped
1 Jalapeno chopped
4 garlic cloves crushed
2 tbsp olive oil or canola oil
1 tsp cumin powder
2 tsp chili powder
1 tbs hot sauce of your choice
1 14.5 oz can vegetarian vegetable broth
1 15 oz can tomatoes chili style or canned crushed tomatoes
Salt as per taste
1 14.5 oz can black beans
1 14.5 oz can kidney beans
1 14.5 oz can vegetarian refried beans(I got Rosarita brand vegetarian refried beans) 

Toppings
Sour cream
Tortilla chips
Diced avocado
Cheese
More hot sauce(for extra spicy lovers)

Method

Heat oil in a deep pot. Add chopped onions and crushed garlic, saute for few minutes until you get nice garlicky aroma. Throw in all three chopped peppers. Now saute for few more minutes until you see brown spots appearing at the bottom of the pot. Add broth and scrape all the good stuff and let it boil. Reduce the liquid to half and add crushed tomatoes. Add all the spices cumin powder, chili powder, hot sauce and little bit of salt, mix well. Now in goes black and kidney beans. This is trick that I saw Rachel Ray from food network doing it to thicken up the chili "Refried Beans". So add the refried beans to thicken up the chili and on medium heat let it simmer for 10-15 minutes. Once simmered shut off the gas and serve hot with all the topping.



Monday, March 2, 2015

Bharli Vangi/Stuffed Small Eggplants

Bharli Vangi a very much traditional Indian curry which can be made in variety of ways. Different regions from India have their own versions of making this curry. Being a Maharashtrian myself we have our own versions :) Actually this recipe is different from that my mom makes. The recipe that I am sharing today is my husband's aunt's. It tastes oh so good(these were the words that came out of my mouth when I had it for first time :)) and I hope you will like this as much as I do. I served it traditionally, with bhakri(made with Jowar flour)

Ingredients

6 small eggplants(ideal for stuffing)
1 medium onion
2 garlic cloves
1/4 cup dry shredded coconut
1/4 cup crushed peanuts
1 tsp chili powder
2 tsp goda/kala masala(this is a staple masala in every maharashtrian household)
2 tbsp jaggery
Salt as per taste
Chopped cilantro for garnish

For tempering

2 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
Pinch of asafoetida
Pinch of turmeric

Method
Slit eggplants in middle without cutting them apart and then again across without cutting apart. Keep aside all the eggplants. Let start with masala. Roast onion on gas range burner until all blackened. Roast dry shredded coconut in a small pan until lightly brown. 
Cut roasted onion into quarters. In blender add roasted coconut, onion quarters, crushed peanuts, garlic, chili powder, goda/kala masala and salt, grind everything together using little water to make a paste. This is your stuffing for eggplants. Now take this masala paste and stuff into eggplants.
Put a pan on medium high and get all the ingredients for tempering. Heat some oil and add mustard seed, once they crackle add asafoetida and turmeric. Add eggplants and coat them into tempering. Cover and cook until lightly soft. Add masala paste if remaining, add 1/2 cup water and cook again covered. Once eggplants are soft add jaggery and cook again for few more minutes. Eggplants should be nice and soft once cooked, garnish with cilantro and serve. 








Saturday, February 28, 2015

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup

Spring is still few weeks away, until then let us treat ourselves with hot soups while we can. Tortilla soup is a perfect soul soothing soup for cold winter. It is hot and spicy, though you can adjust the spiciness according to your taste. This soup tastes even better with all the toppings. I made this soup for dinner yesterday and everyone liked it, I paired it with Mexican style pizza.


Ingredients
1/2 cup diced white onion
1/3 cup diced green pepper
1/3 cup red pepper
1 Jalapeno diced(deseeded if you don't want spicy)
2 garlic cloves minced
1/2 cup frozen corn kernels
3/4 cup canned black beans(1/2 mashed)
3/4 cup canned diced tomato chili style
1 tsp canola oil
1 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp oregano 
Few dashes hot sauce
3 14.5 oz can vegetarian vegetable broth
Salt as per taste

Toppings
Cilantro chopped
Diced Avocado
Corn/Multigrain Chips
Sour Cream(optional)

Method
Heat oil in a pot, add diced onion and garlic. Saute until translucent, add green and red peppers. 


Stir until peppers are lightly soft, then throw in corn kernels. Add cumin powder, chili powder, oregano and salt. Crush tomatoes in a blender and add it to the pot and mix. Now add vegetable broth and bring the soup to boil.


Once boiled add few dashes of hot sauce, beans both mashed and whole. Let it simmer for 5-7 minutes. Serve it hot with all the toppings. Crush chips in your palms and add it to your soup. 


Quick Tips-:
If you have taco seasoning on hand add it to the soup, it gives the soup more flavor.