Khaman Dhokla ~ A Savory Steamed Cake

What I love most about India is the diversity in culture, customs and food of course. One can never say admit having tried out every dish , from every corner of the country because delightfully each state, every small town and even a suburb has at least one modest street side chef with the innate quality of making their own signature style or modifying a dish in his/her own unique way.

It is those evening snack craving of an Indian (like me 🙂 )  that makes me nostalgic of my land and insists that I look up a cook book and whip up something different from time to time.

“Khaman Dhokla” is one such savory steamed cake made from gram-flour and is a popular snack that belongs to the western state of  Gujarat, in India. It is light, easy to prepare and like it looks,it is savory and a bit of a crowd pleaser too. 🙂

Ingredients needed to prepare:

For the batter:

  • 1 1/2 cups of sifted gramflour
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1 tsp of sugar
  • 1 tbsp of semolina
  • a pinch of asafoetida (hing)
  • 1 Tbsp of ginger and green chili paste
  • A pinch of turmeric to enhance the yellow color
  • 1  or  another  1/2 cup of luke warm water to make a smooth thick batter.
  • 3/4 tsp of baking soda
  • 1 tsp of lime juice of apple cider vinegar

For the Tempering:

  • Oil
  • Curry leaves ( I did not have that stocked in my pantry, so opted it out) 🙂
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp white sesame seeds (optional)
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 green chilies split
  •  1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup of water

For Garnish

  • Grated coconut & chopped cilantro

To Make:

  • In a mixing bowl, mix all the above batter ingredients except the baking soda and lime juice to be added later, and make a smooth mixture.
  • Cover and keep the batter aside.
  • In a deep vessel or a pressure cooker added 2 cups of water and set it on high heat.
  • Prepare a flat round tray by greasing it with some oil. I used an Idli tray as that is what I had handy. 🙂

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  • Once the water almost comes to boil, add the baking soda and lemon juice/apple cider vinegar to the batter and stir it, not over mixing it. You will find tiny bubbles that hit the surface and that is what we want.
  • Scoop a tbsp of the batter and pour it in the compartments or directly pour it in a round/square pan that fits in well in the water bath.
  • Place the batter tray in the water container to let it cook on steam and covering it with a lid. If you are using a pressure cooker, remember to take off the whistle and let it look for 15-17 mins.
  • Once the cooking time lapses, insert a tooth pick and check if it comes out clean and your savory cakes will be ready to be served. If prepared in a pan, flip it over and the cake shall slip out. You may then cut them into squares and serve.

For the tempering and the garnish:

  • Heat oil in a pan and add the curry leaves, green chilies, mustard and sesame seeds.Cook for 5 seconds and then add the water, sugar and the lemon juice.
  • Allow it to cook for another 10-15 seconds and pour this over the dhoklas/steamed cakes so that the flavors seep into them.
  • Garnish with grated coconut and coriander leaves. It can be served hot or cold and can be stored for a day, in the refrigerator.

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Kale Cutlets ~the Queen of the Greens

When, “where do you get your nutrition from?” is the most popular questions for vegetarians and vegans alike these days, nature seems to have thrown the answer to us, just in time and that too in abundance ~ KALE.SONY DSCKale is topping the charts in terms of whole food nutrition and pretty much flooding the green grocery section as the show stopper. Well, if we were to discuss the benefits of this leafy produce that belongs to the cabbage family, to enlist that here, would be a mere dishonest job on my side.

5279419_origHowever , I just cannot emphasize less to modestly mention it’s power when it comes to it’s carotenoid nutrient, that supports eye health and even can improve glaucoma and promising doses of Vit K,calcium, magnesium, potassium, omega 3, folates, protein, iron, phosphorus, the B family of vitamins & fiber. Phew! I am sure , I still may have missed some here.

While Kale can be consumed in the form of a salad, even these steamed Kale cutlets here are not a bad variation at all for a change in taste, for treating guests with a healthy starter option, or just to prepare them in advance and store them in the freezer and toss out a patty once in while. Quite a few options here 🙂

Ingredients:

  • A bunch of kale
  • 2-3 boiled potatoes
  • 1 tsp of ginger garlic paste
  • 6 Tbs of dry roasted chickpea flour/gram flour
  • 1/2 tsp of coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp of cumin powder
  • 1/4 tsp of turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp of carom/ajwain seeds
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Bread crumbs to coat and shallow fry.

To Prepare:

  • Blanch the kale leaves in hot salt water until soft and blend it in a blender.
  • In a hot pan with a tsp of oil, temper with carom seeds and ginger garlic paste and add the kale puree to it and mix well.Add the spices and stir until the excess water dries out and keep aside.
  • Dry roast 6 tbsp of gram-flour in a vessel and keep stirring gently to avoid it from burning or over roasting.
  • In a mixing bowl, add the seasoned kale, mashed boiled potatoes, the roasted gram flour and knead it in a consistency that helps you make small cakes out of it. The gramflour and the potatoes both help in keeping the kale together.
  • Cool this mixture completely at room temperature or in the refrigerator.
  • Your mix is now ready to be used right away or for a cold ‘stored away’ to be served later. 🙂
  • Scoop a a large tbsp of the mixture and make small patties pressing against your palms. Roll them into the breadcrumbs and shallow fry them, flipping gently on both sides.

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Serve hot with a dip of your choice or simply with some classic ketchup.♥

Stuffed Spinach & Corn Mushrooms

I have an extreme fondness for mushrooms especially the brown Baby Bella mushrooms. Not that I am particularly choosy, I also do love the white button mushrooms as well. 🙂 While, I seldom feel that mushrooms have been taken over casually just to be considered as an optional or customary pizza topping, Mushrooms can in general may be more than just what meets the eye.

Apart from the chunky texture and its own natural, partially neutral flavors, these cute smurfs also contains dietary mineral phosphorus, riboflavin, niacin and the B vitamins along with traces of Vit D.

Not only as an added ingredients, Mushrooms stuffed with Spinach or any stuffing of your choice can make them a showstopper by themselves. These mushrooms are an ‘easy to make’ appetizers or snacks with a healthy touch. I personally like the traditional spinach stuffing and thus tried this one out. 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 to 1 packet of mushrooms
  • 3-4 minced garlic
  • grated vegan Mozzarella or Parmesan cheese of your choice
  • some spinach leaves washed and chopped
  • 1/4 cup of sweet corn
  • salt, pepper & some mixed herb seasoning to taste.
  • 1/3 cup of bread crumbs

To Make:

  • Remove the stems from the mushrooms. Chop them into small pieces & keep aside.
  • Scoop a part of the mushrooms out so as to make room for the filling.img_5173
  • Mince the garlic cloves.
  • In a pan,heat some oil and throw in the minces garlic and the mushroom stems.
  • Add salt, pepper and seasoning and cook until the stems become soft.
  • Now add the chopped spinach leaves & the corn kernels to it and cook on low flame, till all comes together as a nice moist but not a juicy filling.
  • Preheat the oven to 180 C or 350 F.
  • Now, line a baking tray with a foil paper and sprinkle it with some cooking oil or spray.
  • Place the mushrooms upside down on the tray and fill them with a portion of the filling.

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  • Top the bottom filled side with cheese of your choice and sprinkle some breadcrumbs on top.
  • Put the tray into the oven and allow it to bake for 15-20 mins and your done. 😀

Allow it to cool for 2-3 minute and they are just ready to be served and eaten away at once.♥

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Poppy seed Fritters ~ with onions and grated coconut

“Poppy Seeds” or popularly known in Bengali Cuisine culture as” Posto”, is a very fascinating ingredient  rather spice, that makes itself as a ‘must-be’ in most of the special Bengali culinary events.

Well of course here, they are not used as sedative purpose but its mild flavors and nutty texture is what almost most of the people melt for. In spite of Poppy seeds being dense in calcium,magnesium, iron, phosphorous, potassium and other essential minerals, I am pretty certain, that when added to enrich any cuisine, they are devoured without even giving a second thought to it’s hidden qualities. 🙂

These poppy seed fritters are an excellent and quick item to be served as a starter or even as an accompaniment. The crisp crunch on the outside and the moist onions inside gives your palate an exciting experience of a whole new taste and trust me, you won’t stop munching them. 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 2 -3 tbsp of poppy seeds – available at any Indian store. I use a measurement of 1 tbsp/2 people. Soak them just about enough for 10-15 mins prior to grinding them into a coarse paste.
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1-2 chopped green chilies
  • 1 tbsp of desiccated coconut or freshly grated coconut, whichever is more handy to you.
  • salt as per taste
  • 2 1/2 tbsp of gram-flour (for binding purpose)
  • oil to shallow fry

To Make:

  • In a mixing bowl, add the coarsely grind poppy seeds, the chopped onions and green chilies and the gram flour to make smooth & thick consistency.
  • Add salt for seasoning and as per your taste.
  • Heat enough oil in a non stick pan for shallow frying.
  • Once hot, take a portion as much as a tablespoon can hold and gently shaping it, release it into the heated oil. Ensure to fry these fritter on low to medium flame so that they cook through.
  • Flip sides when golden brown and they are ready to be drained of any excess oil and good to be served hot. ♥

These fritters can be a good change for a starter menu or just enjoyed over some hot chai. and lots of chit-chat. 🙂