Crispy Baked Beetroot Chips

Cultivated first by the Romans, with distinct flavors and unending list of health benefits, is the one root produce that is so hard to beat. Beetroots belong to the same family as of the spinach and while its leaves taste bitter, its root is naturally sweet can be eaten raw, cooked or even pickled.

With high levels of antioxidants, liver detoxing properties and the antidote for overall good health, maintenance of the digestive tract and a natural controller for high blood pressure and its distinct rich crimson color makes it a such a steal-deal from mother nature.

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While I have tried this wonder root raw, boiled,  roasted in salads and seasoned for falafels, I couldn’t resist the idea of baking them into crispy chips for a healthy snack and I am so glad to have tried it. 😀

And the bonus here is that its so simple that you would regret not having tried it at least once. 🙂

For these healthy chips you would need:

  1. 2-3 beetroots
  2. 1 tbsp of olive oil
  3. sea salt and pepper to season
  4. 1/2 tsp onion powder (optional)
  5. 1/2 tsp garlic powder (optional)
  6. 1/2 tsp Italian herb seasoning
  7. and fresh or dried rosemary leaves for some aroma

How to make:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F or 190 C
  2. Wash and peel the beetroots and using a mandoline or handheld slicer, slice the beets into dainty thin slices.
  3. Line a baking tray with foil or parchment paper and brush some oil on the surface.
  4. Place the beet slices, avoiding to overlap, on the parchment paper, drizzle some olive oil and sprinkle over the seasoning with the rosemary leaves, keeping the salt seasoning for the last.
  5. Pop the tray in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until crisp, rotating the tray halfway through the cooking time.
  6. Allow the chips to now completely cool off, sprinkle some sea salt sea salt and watch them being munched away in no time. ♥

 

Indian Peas and Tofu Curry~ Matar Tofu

As the name explains for itself, this Tofu recipe is a pure inspiration from the popular Indian Matar Paneer ( peas and Indian cottage cheese in a creamy tomato gravy). I have to admit that the more I explore with tofu now, the more I fall in love with the diverse ways it can be used.

I still remember the first time I had made Tofu and have no shame in admitting that it was so horrid that my taste buds literally went on strike. 😀 But now I feel so much more confident with a sense of knowing better how to play around with tofu. 🙂

This recipe is super easy with the least amount of ingredients and time, not to mention that it is pretty low on oil, has the richness of tomatoes and the double dose of protein coming from the peas and the tofu together. It goes great with Indian flat or stuffed breads as well as rice.

To make this is all that you will need :-

  • 1 packet tofu – well drained and dried
  • 3-4 chopped boiled potatoes (optional)
  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup of green peas
  • 1 1/2tsp of grated ginger
  • 2 green chilies (optional)
  • chopped cilantro
  • 1 1/4 tsp of corn starch
  • water for gravy
  • 2 tbsp of cooking oil

Spices:

  • 2 small cinnamon sticks
  • 2-3 cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • a pinch of asafeotida powder
  • 1 tsp whole cumin seeds (Jeera)
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp of tumeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp of garam masala powder
  • salt and sugar to taste
  1. Drain the tofu well in advance. I prefer to make it a little drier by leaving it in the refrigerator for 3 hours at least. This makes it more firm and prevents it from breaking.
  2. Cut the tofu lengthwise to make cylindrical pieces or as you desire. You can also lightly toss them in oil and keep them aside. I however like it as it is. 🙂
  3. In a blender, add chopped tomatoes, ginger and the green chilies and blend it into a puree. This is what will make the gravy.
  4. Heat some oil and add the tempering of the bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon sticks, asafoetida and cumin seeds.
  5. Once it starts to so splutter, add the puree mixture to it. Mix well and cover for a minute or two.
  6. Now add the other remaining spices- turmeric, coriander & cumin powder, salt and sugar to taste. Mix well and let it cook covered on medium to low heat for 5-7 minutes to infuse the spices well into the puree.
  7. Add some water and continue to stir the gravy for another 3 minutes and then add in the chopped potatoes (optional) and the peas and cook covered for another 5-7 minutes.
  8. Add the cornstarch mixture to the gravy to add thickness to the gravy and gently throw in the tofu pieces and mix well.
  9. Stir carefully not to break the tofu allowing to cook for another 2 minutes.
  10. Finally add in the garam masala powder and chopped cilantro to complete this recipe 🙂
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All ready to be served 😀 

P.S: I hope you enjoy this traditional Indian curry with a twist and would love to have your views and feedback. Until then happy cooking and healthy living. 🙂

Pic Source : Directly from my kitchen♥

 

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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Carrot Pudding ~ Gajar ka Halwa

“Gajar ka Halwal” or the carrot pudding is the one of those most popular Indian dessert infused with clarified butter, pistachios, cashews, raisins and cardamom soaked and cooked in milk that hardly any Indian I know of, would choose to deny a second helping.

Prepared mostly during the winter months, when the long & slender carrots flood the vegetable markets in India, almost every second household has this dessert on their ‘to-prepare’ menu. Not only is it a great way to make use of the abundance produce of the long carrots this season, but the clarified butter and the rich nuts would also help keep the body warm.

I have so many fond memories of nibbling on this dessert that my school time best friend’s mother used to prepare and never forget to pack and send me an extra box of this finger licking dessert. I don’t remember one single winter holiday that spent without having it or fighting with my elder brother as to who gets to have more.

Well, years have flown but my fondness for this dessert hasn’t and now that I am so far away from India, I pledged to prepare it for myself. Undoubtedly this is in no comparison to the rich taste my friend’s mom easily churned the carrots into, but it is a worthy attempt with a vegan twist, not making me craving anymore till the time I reach home by the winters next year. Yay! 🙂

Ingredients for 2 of us:

  • 3-4 long slender carrots grated.
  • 2-3 tbsp of vegan butter
  • 1 cup soy or non-dairy milk
  • 1/2cup of Silk non dairy creamer (instead of condensed milk)
  • 5-6 tbsp of sugar & as per taste
  • some chopped cashews, pistachios & raisins
  • 1/2 tsp of green cardamom powder

To prepare:

  • Heat a deep vessel & add the butter.
  • Once it melts, to it add the grated carrots and mix them well and cover the lid and keep it on medium to low flame. This will help moisten the carrots and release its juices.
  • Now gradually keep adding the milk and the creamer and stir well. Cover for 5 mins and keep stirring intermittently for another 15-20 minutes till the carrots are properly cooked.
  • Add sugar and the cardamom powder and mix well. This pudding needs to be very soft and well cooked in the milk. The process of covering and stirring in between will help you ensure that neither is it overcooked or under-cooked.
  • This will take at least a total time of 35-40 minutes when on low to medium heat.
  • Check the sweetness, and add the chopped nuts and raisins. Mix well and allow to cook for 5 more minutes.
  • Turn the flame off and let it stay covered for a while till its piping hot.

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And the dessert is ready to be served warm or cold however you like it. 🙂

Savoury & Crunchy Peanut Sago ~ Quick Breakfast Fix

Sago or the Sabudana is a very popular food ingredient in India and there are so many interesting ways of preparing them, that I still have a long way to go as I have just begun exploring it.

They serve as an excellent source of food nutrition for kids, aged people or those who are on fast because they are so easy to digest and yet filling. Being extracted from the cassava root, these are shaped in lump forms, roasted and dried and are easily available in all Indian stores across everywhere. Sago

These need to be soaked for atleast 6-8 hours/ can be soaked overnight for ease of access during the morning rush hours and you are so good to go for a tummy filling, lip smacking breakfast experience.

To Make:

For a breakfast of two:-

  • 1/4 cup of dry roasted peanuts, crushed in a blender. You may crush the peanuts with their skin as this adds a very nice brown color to the sago.
  • 2 -3 small potatoes diced into small pieces
  • you may choose to add more veggies of your choice. 🙂
  • 2 green chilies chopped or as per your desired taste
  • 1 cup of sago/sabudana washed and soaked overnight ( remember they double in quantity when soaked. 🙂 )
  • 1/4 tsp of red chili powder to add some color not heat. 🙂
  • 1/2 tsp of salt or as per taste
  • 1/4 tsp of sugar
  • around 1/2 tsp of cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp of coriander powder
  • some lemon juice &
  • freshly chopped cilantro for refreshing garnish.
  • oil to cook (of course 😉 )

To Prepare:

  • Drain the soaked sago well and add the crushed peanuts to it, sprinkle some salt and red chili powder and mix well so that these spices coat the sago well.
  • In a non stick pan, heat about a tablespoon of oil.
  • To that add the cumin seeds and let them splutter and roast for a second or two.
  • Now add the chopped potatoes and the green chilies and fry them well.
  • Add some salt, some coriander powder, remaining of the red chili powder and the sugar and cover it and cook on medium flame allowing the potatoes to cook.
  • Once they are almost done, add the marinated sago and mix well along with the other ingredients and cover it for 2-3 minutes, stirring intermittently.
  • You will now notice , the sago turning soft and translucent in color and that is when you are sure your dish is almost ready to be served. YAY! 🙂
  • Squeeze some lemon juice and add the chopped cilantro.

Next ⇒ SERVE & ENJOY ♥

This quick simple sago recipe is such a must try if you want to cook up something hot and savoury for the chilly winter mornings as a breakfast or as an evening snack and get tempted to try it more often. 🙂

Simple Tofu Tikka Masala

This vegan side is an inspiration from the typical and popular Indian Paneer Tikka Masala recipe.  Paneer or the Indian Cottage Cheese is such a popular vegetarian ingredient that it’s probably the first protein providing item that strikes every possible mind when it comes to vegetarian eating. I am so glad that additional to plant based milks, Tofu has too gained a substantial ground in vegetarian/vegan eating, not to mention how much a healthier version it is by itself.

The ‘Tikka Masala’ concept as I understand, involves an aromatic marination of the key ingredients, tossing or shallow frying them and using them in a thick and lip-smacking gravy and it also means that I could not have waited any longer. 😀

Ingredients:

  • 1 packet of extra firm tofu – pressed, drained and cut into medium/large sized cubes
  • 1 green bell pepper- diced
  • 2 medium onion- 1 diced and the other chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes – pureed
  • 2-3 green chilies split (optional)
  • 1 cup soy curd
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp red chili powder ( for color)
  • 1 tsp garam masal powder
  • 1/4 cup of cashew paste- (soak cashews in water for 30-45 mins and grind them in a blender to form a rich white paste)
  • water 2 cups
  • salt as per taste
  • cooking oil
  • chopped cilantro to garnish

To Make:

  • In a deep mixing bowl, add the curd, the red chili powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, 1 tsp of the turmeric powder, ginger -garlic paste and mix well to prepare a batter.
  • To this batter add the the diced capsicum, the onions and the tofu cubes and coat them well leaving it for at least 30 min to marinate.
  • In a shallow pan, add some oil and place the bell peppers, onions and the tofu cubes, frying them on both sides and then keep them aside.
  • In a frying wok, add a tbsp of oil. To that add the chopped onions, some salt and saute until soft.
  • Add the pureed tomatoes & the split green chilies to the saute onions and mix well.
  • Add the cashew paste, remaining red chili powder,turmeric powder, garam masala powder and 1/2 -1 cup of water. Mix all well and allow it to simmer on medium heat for 10-15 minutes.
  • After this add the kept aside fried tofu, bell pepper and onion cubes and the remaining batter if left to this gravy, some water and allow it to boil till the gravy begins to thicken. Check the seasoning to suit your taste of salt and you are done. 🙂

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Adding freshly chopped cilantro enhances the taste of this simple yet rich Indian- Vegan version of the Tikka Masala recipe and it goes extremely well with white rice, pulao, Indian flat breads and so much more. 🙂

Enjoy ♥

Yellow Peas Curry ~ light, healthy & vegan

In my homely food lingo, I call the yellow peas as the younger sibling of the marginally larger sized chickpeas. 🙂 These yellow peas are quite popular in Indian households and in many parts of India, one can find a very simple yet spicy preparation of it being sold as an on-the-go street food.

Like the chickpeas, these yellow peas (available easily at any Indian store) is an equal opportunity to give you the nutrition of dietary fiber, proteins and a moderate level of carbohydrate which of course is healthy. In addition to this, they also have a good dose of vitamin C, calcium and iron making it so great to be a part of your food regime and a break from the chickpeas as well. 🙂

This curry recipe is simple, light, easy to make and is great when taken with rice, plain flat or stuffed breads (parathas) or just grab a few servings of it whenever you have a hunger pang. 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups of the yellow peas, washed and soaked overnight or for 8-10 hours and then boiled ideally in a pressure cooker ( to save time) until they are soft but not mushy.
  • 2-3 medium potatoes diced
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 2 tomatoes chopped
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • 3-4 green chilies depending on your taste. 🙂
  • some freshly chopped cilantro for garnish.

From the Spice Rack:

  • 1/2 of a Cinnamon stick broken into bits
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp of garam masala
  • and 2 tbs of cooking oil
  • salt and sugar to taste
  • water

To make:

  • Heat oil in a deep cooking vessel and as the oil is hot enough, add the broken down bits of cinnamon.
  • Add the onions and some salt and saute until the onions are soft.
  • To this add the garlic and the ginger paste and mix well. Reduce the flame to medium and cover the lid for 2-3 mins allowing them to cook.
  • Now add the chopped tomatoes and the above listed spices, leaving the garam masala for the last, one by one and a tsp of sugar.
  • mix all of them well and close the lid for 5 more mins to let the spices release their flavors.
  • Now add the chopped potatoes, mix well to coat them with the onion and tomato mixture and add some water to aid  the potatoes to cook and the curry from getting burnt. 🙂
  • Once the potatoes are almost boiled, add the boiled peas that had been kept aside. I do retain a good part of that boiled peas water as I feel it adds well to the taste.
  • Mix well and cook for another 10 minutes, stir in the garam masala powder, mix in some chopped cilantro, check the seasoning and your done.
  • Sprinkle over the some fresh chopped cilantro just before serving and you are good to go. 🙂

 

Hope you enjoy this Indian, light & healthy preparation of yellow peas. Enjoy! 🙂 ♥