Nachos Veggie Supreme

It is funny how 4 years back I had rarely tasted Mexican delicacies, but an Indian version of it of course. When I moved to the US my hometown Vadodara was in the process of adapting different international cuisines. Coming to the US introduced me to so many world cuisines and I love everything about them Out of all of them Mexican Cuisine is my favourite. My husband and I even visited Mexico a couple years back and we sure did have a gala time trying out different varieties of Mexican food and drinks! That trip was more special also because it was our first international trip together!

What are Nachos?

Nachos are basically crispy tortilla chips topped with savory fillings and lot of cheese. They make a very famous dish for an appetizer that you can find in all Mexican and most American restaurants. There are so many toppings you can add on your tortilla chips and make it as build your own nachos. Vegetarians usually add toppings like black beans, pica de Gallo, jalapeno peppers, guacamole, sour cream, and cheese. For non- vegetarians the best toppings I have heard are bacon, beef, and chicken. They are a one-skillet dish and gets ready in 15 minutes. This dish makes a very good snack for game nights and events like the super bowl, or any movie night or movie time with family, and any get-together!

How to make Nachos Veggie Supreme?

Nachos veggie supreme is a very simple easy and quick dish to make with very few ingredients from your pantry.

You will need tortilla chips , black beans (canned or boiled ) , shallots, tomatoes, garlic powder, taco seasoning and mexican 4 cheese blend.

This recipe will take about 15-20 to get ready.. it is super quick and very easy to prepare.

Print

Nachos Veggie Supreme

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 22 minutes
Servings 2

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pack Tortilla Chips
  • 1 Cup Black Beans Boiled
  • 3 Shallot
  • 1 Tomato
  • 5 tbsp Grapeseed Oil
  • 2 tsp Taco Seasoning
  • 2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • Salt to Taste
  • 1/2 cup Mexican 4 Cheese Blend

Instructions

  • I used an iron cast skillet, but you can use a baking and roasting tray as well. Grease the pan with spray oil and fill the skillet with tortilla chips.  
  • Boiled and Sautéd Black Beans – For this, I always soak my black beans overnight and pressure cook them in the morning. I also a pinch of baking soda and salt while pressure cooking and cook until 5 whistles. Once done, In a flat pan, add 2 tbsp of grapeseed oil. Once the oil is heated add finely chopped shallot and sauté them until transparent. Now add the beans, season them with taco seasoning, garlic powder, and salt to taste. The beans taste delicious this way. Assemble the black beans on tortilla chips evenly.
  • For Caramelized Shallots- In the same flat pan add 3 tbsp of grape seed oil. Add 2 shallots julienned. Fry them until crisp and caramelized. Now add these caramelized shallots evenly on tortilla chips. You can also add mushrooms and red bell peppers with shallots. They will taste good too. But I caramelized only shallots for my nachos.
  • Preheat the oven 400* F 
  • Now add Mexican 4 cheese blend on the assembled skillet. Top them with fresh finely chopped tomatoes. Put it in the oven for 12 minutes. Garnish them with jalapeno peppers or scallions. Enjoy


Creamy Dal Makhani (Healthy Home Made Creamy Dal Makhani)

The soft aroma of the most beautiful combination of Indian Tadka splashes in my kadai after so long, the smell lures me deep into the feeling of diving into fond memories of taking a bite into Kali Dal from Mirch Masala or on the roadside restaurants in Punjab long back when I was on the road. It has been years since I last visited North India, but my memories are just as fresh as if it was just yesterday. The kitchen smells so aromatic with all the luscious whole spices fried in rich homemade ghee and a generous amount of butter. I just can’t get over the all the eating but also the process of making this lusciously creamy Dal Makhani. Every bite oozes a rich creamy texture in my mouth which fills me up with pure delight. Also, the best part is, we can eat this dal with rotis or rice, it just tastes scrumptious.

Dal Makhani with Whole Wheat Tandoori Rotis and Plain Rice












What is Dal Makhani?

Dal Makhani is an Indian Dal made with using Whole Black Urad Dal and Rajma. This dal is rich and creamy in texture with an extra tadka of ghee and butter on the top while served with some cream and cilantro or Kasuri methi. This dal is slow cooked for about 50-60 mins and results in scrumptiously creamy texture. This dal is served with Plain Rice, Jeera Rice, Phulka Rotis, Tandoori Rotis,Naan or Laccha Paratha.

Can We Make Healthy Dal Makhani?

The good news is we can make a healthy version of Dal Makhani. Cutting down the amount of ghee, butter and cream helps us eliminate all the saturated carbs and the extra load of fat. By cutting down these three ingredients, we make this dal more healthy, rich in fiber and protein.

My recipe is healthy version of Dal Makhani, and it is just as creamy and deliciously rich in texture as you get them in restaurants.

Can We Make Jain Dal Makhani (No Onion- No Garlic) Recipe?

Yes, we can. We simply edit the part where we sauté the onions and garlic after our whole spices are fried in ghee and butter. Instead of onions and garlic, we add the Canned Tomato Puree and ginger-green chili paste. I suggest using canned tomato puree to get a more concentrated flavor. For 1 cup Black Urad Dal and 1/4th Cup Rajma you will need about 4 Tbsp’s of tomato puree because you still want your dal to taste that rich creamy and buttery without the dominance of the concentrated tomato puree flavor.

Once the tomato puree + ginger-green chili paste is nicely cooked and butter+ghee starts to separate, whisk about 3 Tbsp of Plain Yogurt and add. Keep whisking to make sure that yogurt doesn’t separate and cook everything on a low flame.

Now add the spices, red chili powder, turmeric, garam masala, coriander powder and salt to taste. Add the boiled+ mashed dal to the paste in the the cooking pot, mix well. Add water and stir well. Let it slow cook for about 50-60 mins on a low flame and stir it at regular intervals.

Can we make Vegan Dal Makhani?

Yes, we can make Vegan Dal Makhani and it is very simple. Just follow the recipe. Substitute Butter+ Ghee with Oil. I would suggest you use the oil that is not strongly flavored and use any healthy oil. My suggestion is to use Grapeseed Oil, because one, this oil has a very neutral flavor, and second as we slow cook the dal our oil will tend to turn brown which increases bad cholesterol. Replace yogurt with cashew yogurt. I would suggest not to use Coconut yogurt because it will not taste good with the coconutty flavor. I hope these tips are helpful.

Dal Makhani (Step by Step with Photos)

Dal Makhani is made with using whole black urad dal and rajma. It is slow cooked and has a rich and creamy texture served with rotis and rice.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 10 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Author: Aayushi Patel

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Whole Black Urad Dal Rinse and Soak for 8-10 Hours
  • 1/4 Cup Rajma (Red Kidney Beans) Rinse and Soak with Whole Black Urad Dal for 8-10 Hours
  • 3 tbsp Ghee
  • 3 tbsp Butter
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick
  • 1 Dry Whole Red Chili
  • 1 Cup Onion Finely Chopped
  • 5 tbsp Canned Tomato Puree For more Concentrated Flavor
  • 2 tbsp Ginger-Garlic-Green Chili Paste
  • 3 tbsp Plain Yogurt
  • 1 tsp Red Chili Powder
  • 1 tsp Garam Masala
  • 2 tbsp Fresh Heavy Cream You can also use half and half
  • 2-3 tbsp Kasuri Methi

Instructions

  • Rinse and Soak Black Urad dal + Rajma (Red Kidney Beans) for 8-10 hours. preferably overnight.
  • After soaking overnight, rinse the dal and pressure cook it in 4 Cups of Water, Pinch of salt. for 6-7 whistles. After pressure cooked it should look like this.
  • Now separate the water from Pressure cooked Daal if extra and keep it aside. Mash the Pressure cooked Dal 
  • In a heavy bottom, pot add 1 Tbsp of Butter and 1 Tbsp Ghee on a medium flame. Add the whole spices, Bay Leaf, Cinnamon Stick and Whole Dry Red Chili. You Can add some cumin seeds if you like. 
  • Now add onions and Saute until nice and translucent. Now add Ginger-garlic green chili paste and saute well until cooked.
  • Add the whisked plain yogurt and stir continuously to make sure yogurt doesn’t separate itself. Now add the tomato puree and let it cook. Simultaneously add red chili powder and Garam Masala 
  • Once the butter+ Ghee starts separating add the mashed dal. Now mix well. Add the boiled dal water we kept aside and let it slow cook on low flame for 50-60 mins.
  • Add 1 Tbsp of ghee and butter each and kasuri methi. about 30 mins after the dal started to simmer. Let the butter+ Ghee incorporate in the dal for another 20 mins.
     
  • Serve hot with drizzle of heavy cream and kasuri methi or cilantro with phulka’s, Tandoori Roti, Naan, Laccha Paratha, Plain rice or Jeera Rice.

Dal Makhani (Step by Step with Photos)

Dal Makhani is made with using whole black urad dal and rajma. It is slow cooked and has a rich and creamy texture served with rotis and rice.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Author Aayushi Patel

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Whole Black Urad Dal Rinse and Soak for 8-10 Hours
  • 1/4 Cup Rajma (Red Kidney Beans) Rinse and Soak with Whole Black Urad Dal for 8-10 Hours
  • 3 tbsp Ghee
  • 3 tbsp Butter
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick
  • 1 Dry Whole Red Chili
  • 1 Cup Onion Finely Chopped
  • 5 tbsp Canned Tomato Puree For more Concentrated Flavor
  • 2 tbsp Ginger-Garlic-Green Chili Paste
  • 3 tbsp Plain Yogurt
  • 1 tsp Red Chili Powder
  • 1 tsp Garam Masala
  • 2 tbsp Fresh Heavy Cream You can also use half and half
  • 2-3 tbsp Kasuri Methi

Instructions

  • Rinse and Soak Black Urad dal + Rajma (Red Kidney Beans) for 8-10 hours. preferably overnight.
  • After soaking overnight, rinse the dal and pressure cook it in 4 Cups of Water, Pinch of salt. for 6-7 whistles. After pressure cooked it should look like this.
  • Now separate the water from Pressure cooked Daal if extra and keep it aside. Mash the Pressure cooked Dal 
  • In a heavy bottom, pot add 1 Tbsp of Butter and 1 Tbsp Ghee on a medium flame. Add the whole spices, Bay Leaf, Cinnamon Stick and Whole Dry Red Chili. You Can add some cumin seeds if you like. 
  • Now add onions and Saute until nice and translucent. Now add Ginger-garlic green chili paste and saute well until cooked.
  • Add the whisked plain yogurt and stir continuously to make sure yogurt doesn’t separate itself. Now add the tomato puree and let it cook. Simultaneously add red chili powder and Garam Masala 
  • Once the butter+ Ghee starts separating add the mashed dal. Now mix well. Add the boiled dal water we kept aside and let it slow cook on low flame for 50-60 mins.
  • Add 1 Tbsp of ghee and butter each and kasuri methi. about 30 mins after the dal started to simmer. Let the butter+ Ghee incorporate in the dal for another 20 mins.
     
  • Serve hot with drizzle of heavy cream and kasuri methi or cilantro with phulka’s, Tandoori Roti, Naan, Laccha Paratha, Plain rice or Jeera Rice.


Desi Chana (Brown Chickpeas) Salad with Tahini

I have been eating rice almost every single day now. Trust me, I enjoyed my rice lunch every single day, but the only problem is it makes me so sleepy in the afternoon. Luna (my six-month-old golden puppy) and I often tend to enjoy a nap together. Hahaha! funny right? I am glad I get to do that. The only problem is, I have to keep on delaying my work, which I am not very about. I usually prepare salad, roti, and sabzi in the evenings since the husband has only one meal at home. I make sure his plate is balanced with carbs, fiber, protein, and good fat. And I can be lethargic about my lunch. I am absolutely the most careless eater when it comes to feeding only myself. But now, I have decided I will cook single meals for lunch which will be filling.

This salad is one of my favorites. My mom used to give me these desi chana tossed in spices, lemon, and jaggery for my lunch box. I used to absolutely love my mom’s lunch box ideas.

Our country is blessed with a different variety of pulses and spices. Chickpeas, legumes, and dry-peas are a rich source of plant based protein. My favorite and go to has always been chickpeas.

Let’s jump on to the recipe.

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Ingredients:

For Dry Roasted Desi Channa

  • 1 Cup +1/4 Cup Brown Chickpeas (Desi Channa) [Soaked for 8 hours and boiled]
  • Cumin Seeds
  • 5 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 Green Chili
  • 2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 2 Tbsp Jaggery
  • 3 Tsp Red Chili Powder
  • 1/2 Tsp Turmeric
  • 1 Tsp Coriander Powder
  • Salt to taste

Preparation:

  • Soak the channa for 8 hours (overnight). Boil the channa in a pressure cooker.
  • In a flat pan on medium-high flame, add 2 Tbsp Oil. Add cumin seeds for tempering.
  • Add chopped green chilies and garlic. Saute them well. Now add the boiled chana.
  • Add in the spices and jaggery. Give it a nice toss. Make sure the channa’s are coated well with spices. Now add salt and lemon juice. Mix well.

For Tahini

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Cup Sesame Seeds
  • 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
  • 1/3 Cup Sour Cream
  • Salt to taste

Preparation:

  • In a flat pan on medium-low flame, add half cup sesame seeds. Roast them until you smell a nice aroma.
  • In a food processor, add sesame seeds. ground them into powdered form. Now add Olive oil. Again give it a mix.
  • Now add salt and scrape the dressing from the side of the processor bowl and again give it a mix.
  • Add sour cream. Mix everything well until combined.
  • Add little water if the dressing is very thick.

Serve.

  • Add spice roasted chickpeas in a bowl. Add diced tomatoes, cilantro and dried fenugreek leaves (Kasuri methi). Add the tahini dressing and serve.

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Refined Sugar-Free Eggless Banana / Banana Chocolate Buckwheat Pancakes

I often get delighted with a twinkle in my eyes when I hear pancakes. Yes, it delights me. The husband orders me breakfast in bed before I wake up whenever we are traveling. He just knows how to make me happy. Pancakes are one of them. I like the standard good old fashioned pancakes topped with butter and drizzle of maple syrup the best. What is your favorite?

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But today it is not about what I love to cook and eat. It is about a lot of girls and women who suffer PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) and because of which they even have a miscarriage. We usually do not find out that we suffer from PCOS until we are at a fertile age. I found out I was suffering from a miscarriage, because of PCOS. A shocker. It is as shocking as Diabetes, Blood Pressure, Thyroid, etc. just at a very young age. I was having all these symptoms since my first period ever. I started gaining weight, my cycles awfully irregular, acne, mood swings and so hormonal. But never bothered. It was because of a lack of awareness and knowledge.

As soon as I found out about this, I was miserable. I had to pull myself together, study about my lifestyle changes and focus on how to keep myself healthy physically and mentally. I started reading more about PCOS and lifestyle changes required to keep it in check. and being on a specific diet was just wasn’t one. I have finally maintained a lifestyle where I have successfully balanced my hormones and I fought them with food. Refined Sugar and Dairy are poison for PCOS women. So I tried eliminating them. Now I can live without Refined Sugar. Dairy … um, I tried, but I couldn’t give up. I reduced the intake which has helped me so much.

I started developing recipes, PCOS friendly recipes for anything and everything I love to eat and this one is one of them. I fought it with regular exercise and the food I love. And it has been a beautiful healthy journey since then, I feel more healthy and more active. I have never felt this way before.

Let’s get to the recipe.

Prep Time: 10 Mins

Cook Time: 15 Mins

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Blueberries and Raspberries (frozen or fresh)
  • 2 Tbsp Coconut Palm Sugar
  • 1 Cup Buckwheat (Kuttu) Flour
  • 2 Tsp Baking Powder
  • 3 Tsp Olive Oil
  • I Cup Milk
  • 2 Tbsp Dark Chocolate Powder (unsweetened)
  • 1 Banana
  • 1 Tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 Tsp Salt
  • 5-6 Tbsp Organic Honey

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Preparation:

  • In a bowl add washed and dried berries. Add coconut palm sugar and give it a mix. Press a few berries to get that berry coconut burnt taste. Coconut sugar gives a nice subtle burnt taste and it works out awesome on the pancake. Keep it aside.
  • In another bowl, add the dry ingredients. Mix Flour, Dark Chocolate, cinnamon, and salt.
  • In one more bowl whisk the wet ingredients starting with mashed banana, olive oil, honey, and milk.
  • Now add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix. You don’t want to overwork your batter. So give it a gentle mix.
  • Now on a flat bottom pan, on medium-low flame, spray some oil for greasing (you can also use butter). With a ladle lay your pancake. It will make a round shape on its own. Once the pancake shows bubbles, you know it is ready to flip. Cook it for a few seconds. Do this repetitively for all the pancakes.
  • Serve them hot topped with the marinated berries, a drizzle of maple syrup and some whipped cream cheese.
  • Enjoy!!

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Methi Na Gota ( Fenugreek Leaves Fritters)

The sky is filled with big, heavy, dark clouds for several weeks now. Every day I wake up to a drizzling sky and it looks so beautiful. Everywhere around me, all I see is lush greens and oh so pretty grasslands and green hills, with rainbows. I spotted two rainbow’s yesterday! I guess it was one lucky day. Today morning, the sky wasn’t drizzling it was pouring! Looking at that beauty, all I could think about was making masala chai and fritters. Enjoying the beauty of nature we are blessed with, I decide not to resist my favorite fritters anymore. Soon I indulged myself preparing the ingredients for the beautiful methi na gota. They are very famous in Gujarat, India. You can find them on all the tea stalls commonly known as nukkad chaiwala.

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Going back to last year’s rains in India, I was lucky to relive the excitement of soaking in the rain and going to the street food stalls, eating these beautiful bhajji’s with the side of yogurt chutney and masala chai to keep us warm. I relived this with my mom and my two beautiful sister’s.

This morning, I felt like reliving that joy and sharing it with the husband. It was absolutely delightful. The fritters are easy to make and all the ingredients are easily available in an Indian Pantry. For Fenugreek Leaves I was lucky to have fresh available but I always keep frozen leaves handy too. The flavor of this herb is utterly scrumptious and I love it.

I have tried my hand on making them exactly how we get methi na gota on the tea stalls and I achieved it totally. So let’s jump on to preparing these beauties!!

Prep Time: 15 mins

Cook Time: 30 mins

Ingredients:

  • 75gms Fenugreek Leaves
  • 25gms Cilantro
  • 2 Cups of Chickpea Flour
  • 1 Tsp Coriander Seeds
  • 2 Tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 1 Tsp Peppercorns
  • 2 Chopped Green Chillies
  • 1 Tsp Sugar
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 Tsp Soda
  • Oil for Frying

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Preparation

  1. Wash methi and cilantro thoroughly. They might have a lot of dust so it is advisable to wash them thoroughly at least 3-4 times.
  2. One washed, chop the leaves and transfer them in a big bowl.
  3. Now add the chickpea flour.
  4. Add green chilies, peppercorns, hand crushed coriander seeds, sugar, turmeric, and salt.
  5. Now start adding water to make the batter. Make sure you add water as needed.
  6. Prepare the batter by squeezing the methi and cilantro leaves to release water and flavor from them into the batter.
  7. Once the batter is ready, add soda and give it a mix.
  8. Now rest the batter for 10-15 mins.
  9. In the meantime quickly make the yogurt chutney. For the chutney, you need yogurt, chickpea flour, dry red chili whole, green chilly, mustard seeds, turmeric, sugar, and curry leaves. In a stove-proof bowl beat yogurt and chickpea flour. Add turmeric, salt, and sugar. Add water and give it a mix. Now place it on the stove on a medium-low flame. Bring it to a boil and stir it continuously. Take it off the stove once the raw chickpea flour taste goes away. For tadka, add oil, mustard seeds, red chilies, green chili, curry leaves, a pinch of asafoetida (Hing). Add it on top of the chutney. Serve with hot bhajjis.
  10. Put oil for heating. Once the oil is ready, take a spoonful of hot oil and mix it in the batter. It helps in making the fritters crisp for outside and soft from inside.
  11. Use a spoon or your hands to place the fritters in the oil. Fry them until lightly golden and take them out.
  12. Serve them hot with masala chai, yogurt chutney and lightly spiced onions with red chili powder and salt. Enjoy!

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Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

I have always been in love with winters. The cold breeze, the deep blue sky and sometimes the violet sky to admire comes along too if I am lucky. I am missing my Californian Winters this year. I look outside my window and I see bright sunlight or rains pouring. I am kind of a winter person, I think. I love winter food, winter clothes, winter birthdays, winter sky, winter festivals, and my list goes on and on. Also, I love citrus. Citrussy cakes are sometimes all I want. Today is the day to put a lot of citrus in my oven, and so I popped my oven with this beautiful lemon citrus cake with the side of turmeric latte. Isn’t this just awesome? Warm hugs from cake and a cuppa turmeric latte.

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Having a sweet tooth and trying to lose weight together just doesn’t seem to go hand in hand. But, I allow myself to relish a small piece of sugary delight sometimes. I try to bake at least once a week. It gives my soul a different kind of peace. For me, baking is more like meditation. If I bake, I have felt I have danced so hard to sweat it out, I have talked to myself just to clearly know what I want to do, it somehow gives me clarity and its beautiful. And so is the soothing smell of fresh bake from my oven. Today my kitchen is smelling great. It smells like citrus, dried rose and fresh bakes. I can’t tell how beautiful this feeling is.

But, let’s get back to the recipe. This is a very easy bake with simple ingredients, but it tastes great. So let’s dig in the recipe.

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Ingredients:

For Lemon Poppy Seed Tea Cake:

  • 1 1/2 Cup Plain Flour
  • 1 Tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/4 Tsp Salt
  • 1/2 Stick Unsalted Butter at Room Temperature
  • 1 Cup Cane Sugar
  • 2 Large Eggs at Room Temperature
  • 2 Tsp Lemon Zest
  • 3 Tbsp Lemon juice
  • 1/2 Milk
  • 4 Tbsp Poppy Seeds
  • 1 Tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 Tsp Lemon Extract (optional)

For White Icing : 

  • 1 Cup Icing Sugar
  • 1/4 Stick Butter
  • 3 Tbsp Milk

Preparation:

  1. Preheat the oven at 325° F. Butter a loaf pan.
  2. In a bowl, sift and add flour, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a big bowl add butter and sugar. Start whisking them either with a hand mixer or stand mixer until fluffy.
  4. Now add eggs one after the another while whisking.
  5. Once you get a nice smooth batter. Now add lemon and vanilla extract
  6. It is time to add flour and milk alternately. Gather the batter from the sides and give it one good whisk.
  7. Now add lemon juice and lemon zest while whisking.
  8. Once the batter is ready, add poppy seeds and fold the batter evenly.
  9. Pour the batter in the loaf/cake pan and bake it in 325°F for 60 minutes.
  10. While the tea cake is baking, prepare the icing.
  11. In a bowl, place butter and icing sugar together. whisk until soft. Now add milk and whisk again.
  12. Once the cake is cooled down,  pour the icing on top. You can decorate the cake with slices of lemon and sprinkles of poppy seeds.

 

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Spiced Spiral Wheels| Chakali |Chakri

It is almost end of January, and like every year we expected to experience beautiful cold withering winds, the dry air, layers of clothes, beautiful scarves and warm hugs from our tea cups and bowl of soups.  Surprisingly, in the Bay Area, we have been experiencing a lot of rains, technically so good for NorCal, but so unexpected. I enjoy cooking and munching when it rains. I also love little hugs from my teacups to keep me warm with some crisp and soft munchies. Growing up, my favorite munching snacks were mathiya and chakri. We always used to have these in the kitchen, and I absolutely loved them every single day. So today, I felt like enjoying chakris with my tea and so started making them.

I made these delicious spiral wheels for the first time today. As a kid, I remember rolling them on the table, playing and eating them. It was quite fantasizing back then. The amazing thing about Chakri’s is that though India being so diverse, this snack might have different names, but we all love it. It is typically made using different types of flours like rice, wheat, chickpea etc. flavored with beautiful spices our country is gifted with. This snack is easy to make and can be made from the ingredients we have in our kitchen each day every day. Today I made the regular chakri and the cilantro-mint-dried fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi) chakri.

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The delectable chakris are made in the traditional way with using rice flour, butter, yogurt and spices like red paprika, turmeric powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, and salt. The other one is prepared using wheat flour, butter, yogurt and beautifully spiced with cilantro, green chilies, ginger, mint, kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves), red paprika powder, coriander and cumin powder, a pinch of garam masala and salt to taste. I used butter to keep the chakris soft from inside but yet crisp on the outside.

Let us dig in to prepare the beauties.

Chakli Recipe

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Prep Time: 10 Minutes              Cook Time: 45 mins

Ingredients:

  • 2 Cups Rice Flour
  • 60 gms Unsalted Butter (room temperature)
  • 1/4th Cup Yogurt
  • 3 TBSP Red Paprika Powder (colored and spicy mix)
  • 1 TBSP Coriander Powder
  • 3 TSP Cumin Powder
  • 1 Cup of Water
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil for frying

Recipe:

  • Sieve 2 Cups of Rice Flour in a big bowl. Now add butter, yogurt, red paprika, coriander powder, cumin powder, and salt.
  • Mix everything thoroughly
  • Now add water little by little to knead a soft dough.
  • Divide the dough into four equal parts.
  • Grease the Kitchen Press with butter or oil.
  • Place a frying pot with oil for heating on a medium flame
  • Place one part of dough in the kitchen press and start forming the spiral wheels
  • Once you are done pressing the chakris, you will be ready to fry them. Fry them until golden.
  • Let them cool and transfer them to a storage container.

 Cilantro- Mint- Methi Chakli Recipe

Prep Time: 15 Minutes              Cook Time: 45 mins

Ingredients:

  • 2 Cups Wheat Flour
  • 60 gms Unsalted Butter (room temperature)
  • 1/4th Cup Yogurt
  • 1/2 Cilantro- Mint – Ginger- Green Chillies Paste
  • 2 TBSP Kasuri Methi
  • 1 TBSP Red Paprika Powder (colored and spicy mix)
  • 1 TSP Turmeric Powder
  • 1 TBSP Coriander Powder
  • 3 TSP Cumin Powder
  • 1/2 TSP Garam Masala
  • 1 Cup of Water
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil for frying

Recipe:

  • Sieve 2 Cups of Wheat Flour in a big bowl. Now add butter, yogurt, Green Paste, red paprika, turmeric powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, garam masala, and salt.
  • Mix everything thoroughly
  • Now add water little by little to knead a soft dough.
  • Divide the dough into four equal parts.
  • Grease the Kitchen Press with butter or oil.
  • Place a frying pot with oil for heating on a medium flame
  • Place one part of dough in the kitchen press and start forming the spiral wheels
  • Once you are done pressing the chakris, you will be ready to fry them. Fry them until golden.
  • Let them cool and transfer them to a storage container.
  • Enjoy them with a hot cup of tea

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Tips:

  • Be careful while adding water. Add water as required. Knead the dough soft. This will help you to form the spirals easily.
  • I am using butter to keep them soft from inside while they are deliciously crisp from the outside.
  • While using the kitchen press, place it a little higher to see if you are rolling your spirals the right way.

Chutney Podi (Spiced Lentil Powder)

I was born and brought up in Gujarat. Growing up eating Gujarati homemade delicacies, my family was also a big fan of restaurants. We used to visit many vegetarian restaurants and our family favourite was always a South-Indian restaurant. We all will go gaga and drool over those Mysore masala dosas, idlis and vadas. After drooling over this yumminess, after 21 years I met Ajay (the husband). Before I met him south Indian food for me meant idli, dosa, sambhar and coconut chutney. Nothing above or beyond it. The fun fact of my life is I learnt all the Tamilian cooking just for the husband. I was a disaster to make dosas at first, but still, my husband will happily support me and eat those unshaped dosas.

Fast forward a little and I start working in Chicago after I finished my Master’s. I started living in a single-family home each floor shared by a Tamilian family. I was on the 2nd floor. Living alone, I didn’t cook much, just some things that I like mostly because I used to keep myself busy with my new job. On one fine Saturday evening, a lady drops by and introduces herself. She says “my name is Janani, I live downstairs”, tells my friend. I was not at home I guess when she came. After some time, when I come back, my friend informs me that my neighbour came to see me. So, I decided to go and say hi to her. And I ended up spending an hour at her place, isn’t that amazing?? I got connected with her right away. Day after day we started meeting and we became best friends. I used to tell her, how I want to learn south Indian food and she tells me that is simple. She very simply taught me all the basic things about running south Indian kitchen and I kept exploring and here I  am. I wanted best for my husband. And I thank Janani for teaching me everything.

Chutney podi is one of the things that surprised my husband that I made it at home. He was so happy. I felt the happiest to see him so happy and proud of me. And this is how I ended up introducing myself to the Tamil kitchen. And it is awesome.

The spiced lentil powder or the chutney podi as we call it is a simple spiced powder that enlightens the idlis and dosas. Don’t have time to make chutney or sambhar, just keep this spiced lentil powder at your home and you will be ready to indulge in idli’s and dosa’s anytime you want. Let’s learn how to make this simple spice that will add life to your plate.

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The recipe for this beautiful spiced lentil powder or chutney podi is very simple, easy and very quick to make. Let’s start preparing this crumbling scrumptious chutney powder.

Ingredients:

  • Oil (any oil you use) – 1 Tbsp
  • Chana dal – 1/4th cup
  • Urad dal- 1/4th cup
  • Dry Shredded Coconut – 1/2 cup
  • Dried Red Chillies – 6
  • Asafoetida- a pinch
  • Salt to taste

Let’s begin!!

  • Heat a pan on medium low flame with a thick bottom. Add oil. Now add Chana dal, Urad Dal and Coconut. Fry them until you smell that soft aroma of the dry roast.

 

  • Once roasted, keep the roasted dals and coconut in a plate on the side.
  • In the same pan, add oil again to the pan. Add asafoetida.
  • Now add the 6 dry red chillies. I added 6 but you can adjust the spice level as per your taste.
  • Keep the chillies aside too.
  • Let everything cool down.
  • In a grinder grind all of it into a fine powder. And your spiced lentil powder aka chutney podi is ready.

 

The other day I fried leftover idlis in this chutney podi and it tasted absolutely scrumptious and so amazing. Serve hot with some peanut chutney or tomato onion chutney.

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Red Berries Custard Tart

October has started and the blogs are flooded with all the possible pumpkin recipes. Pumpkin curry, Pumpkin tart, Bundt Pumpkin Cake, and the list goes on and on. But, I had berries in my refrigerator and no pumpkin puree or a pumpkin altogether. Sunk in the thoughts of making a tart, and no pumpkin in October, I ask the husband if it is okay to keep the all-around season of berries alive and not the season favourite pumpkin? I cry to myself that I want to make a chocolate pumpkin tart, but I have no time to run to the grocery store. The guests are coming. The Red Berries Custard Tart it is, I decide. I tell myself I can bring the pumpkin season on my blog in the coming weeks.

Tarts in our family were quite like a tradition growing up. Rewinding back to being a kid, strolling around with a book and scratching something no one understands, I was well fed with different bakes. I am sure nobody remembers that phase of life… even I didn’t. My mom told me what I used to be/do as a kid. But, there is a thing I do remember, they are my Baa’s (Granny) Bakes. She used to make us her mini beautiful jam tarts all the time. Over the time, she has baked a lot of things for us but the mini tarts were my favourite. She used to make a shortbread pastry crust and fill them with homemade mixed fruit jams. I remember her telling me that I can fill these up with any filling I would like spicy or sweet anything and that will make me go gaga about the tarts. Probably that’s why my eyes still twinkle when I hear TARTS.

Back to my tart, I have had many different varieties of tarts but never baked one. This makes me super nervous. My skin feels the shiver of nervousness. I just want to get the tart right, because I want my granny to be proud of me. She is an exemplary cook and a baker. And I start my prep for the tarts, and as time goes I kept rolling with the art of making tarts engrossed checking one box after the other. Baking works like a therapy for me. It illuminates me with positivity, it fills me up with excitement and sheer joy. For me rolling the tart, folding it and placing it in the tart mould was the most difficult part. But, the most beautiful part of the story is when you place your part to bake.

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Let’s start baking this beautiful Red Berries Custard Tart…

Ingredients:

Tart Base / French Short Bread Pastry Dough:

  • All-Purpose Flour- 1 1/4 cup
  • Almond Flour – 1/2 cup
  • Unsalted Butter- 1 stick (110gm) at Room Temperature
  • Eggs – 1
  • Confectioner/ Icing Sugar 1/4th cup
  • Salt- 1/4 Tsp
  • Milk- 1 Tbsp

Eazy Peezy Custard:

  • Cream Cheese- 4 oz (115 gms) at Room Temperature
  • Granulated Sugar- 1/2 cup
  • Eggs- 2 at Room Temperature
  • Half an Half/ Heavy Whipping Cream – 2/3 rd cup
  • Pure Vanilla Extract- 1/2 Tsp
  • Granulated lemon or orange zest  – 1 Tsp
  • Strawberries and Raspberries/ any fruit of your choice- 6 oz washed and patted dry

 

For the French Shortbread Pastry Crust:

  • Take a mixing a bowl
  • Add the unsalted butter stick, sugar and start whisking with a hand mixer until soft and fluffy
  • Add the egg and milk. Whisk again
  • In a separate mixing bowl, add the flour, almond flour and salt. Mix well.
  • Now add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients.
  • Fold the flour in the wet ingredients and make a crumbly dough
  • Take a clingfilm (plastic wrap) and put the dough in it and wrap it.
  • Chill the pastry dough for one hour.

(In the meantime, you can wash the berries or fruit of your choice and pat it dry)

  • After an hour lay a baking paper on the kitchen counter.
  • Remove the plastic wrap and place the dough on the baking paper.
  • Start rolling the pastry dough in the shape of your mould
  • Once done put the mould on top of the pastry to get an estimate if the rolled dough will be sufficient to fit the mould.
  • Once that is done, start by wrapping the dough lightly onto the rolling pin. Gently lift and place it in the mould
  • Now start pressing the dough lightly in the mould from the bottom of the sides in an upward position
  • Roll the rolling pin on top of the mould to remove the extra pastry dough

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The pastry before the bake should look like this. Now place the mould to chill for half an hour.

  • Preheat the oven at 400 F for 15 mins

For the Custard:

  • In a food processor, (you can also use your hand mixer or beater) add the cream cheese. I have used 8 oz cream cheese because I wanted to make fruit custard bowls too.
  • Start mixing it until the cream cheese is fluffy.
  • Now add the eggs one by one and mix them.
  • In goes the sugar and mix.
  • Add vanilla essence, lemon or orange zest and mix well
  • Once this is nice and fluffy add the cream.
  • I am using half an half, but you can use anything cream you want, It depends how rich and creamy you want your custard to be
  • Mix everything well.

 

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Now my fruits and custard are ready. The oven is preheated at 400 F. And the pastry is chilled for half an hour.

It’s time to put the pastry in for the bake. Bake the Pastry at 400 F for 10 to 15 mins until golden brown.

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The pastry should look like this.

  • Let the tart cool down.
  • Once it reaches room temperature, add the custard in the tart. I like to put my tart mould in a baking tray so it is easy to take the tart and place it in the oven without making a mess.
  • Now top the tart with the berries.

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In goes the Red Berries Custard Tart on 400 F for 25 mins. This will bake the pastry and set the custard.

After 25 mins lightly shake the tray to see if the custard shakes. If the custard doesn’t shake that means it is set and done right.

Let the tart cool down, serve as you prefer, warm, cool or chilled. All of them taste delicious.

Quickly, if you have more custard take the ramekins. and pour the custard in it. Let it set for 425 F for 25 mins.

The custard will set and top them with fruits of your choice and eat it as a custard bowl. or invert the ramekins and take the custard out. Top it with caramel and there you go… you can treat yourself with a beautiful custard flan.

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Surprise Tropical Fry (Sambharo/Poriyal)

I was at the grocery store last weekend,  and I start collecting the groceries for the week. Just like any other week, I am looking forward to making the greens and try out some new recipes if I could. The luscious smell of the fresh green herbs, the sweet smell of fruits and flowers… The beautiful berries of all kinds. It is just so amazing. Always happy to be at the grocery store.

Anyways, back to picking up groceries for the week, the husband gets paranoid when I start picking up beetroots. He calls out to me and says… “oh … not again Aayushi babes”. I turn and ask what is it? He continues,” I won’t eat beetroots, I don’t like them”. This happens every week. He instead points out to mangoes. Mangoes are everyone’s favourite and so is ours. Like every other week, he wanted a dish full of mango rice with tomato and onion pachdi (raita). Along with the side of the potato, turnip fry or broccoli-peas -tomato fry. Now the husband doesn’t know how I am thinking to take a roll on his taste buds, but that leaves me with a question of how?

On a Thursday afternoon, I was sitting on my couch watching TV, sunk in the thoughts what can I possibly do to make the beetroots so tasty, that the husband cannot say no to beetroots ever. A salad is definitely not going to be an option for making the husband like beetroots. I know what’s going to happen if I make a salad! The husband is going to savour on all the mangoes and leave me with a bowl full of beetroots, kale and lettuce. I imagined so and laughed to myself. I make beetroot poriyal quite often. So I use the same recipe, and I add the king of fruits mangoes along with coconut.

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The recipe speaks for itself to be a surprise, so let us see how. The beetroots and mangoes are going to take you to sweet and savoury side. The flavours of mangoes, beetroots and fresh shredded coconut took me to a private island hanging out with the husband enjoying virgin margaritas, a plate of freshly cut tropical fruits and some pina coladas. As always amazed by the beauty of nature, at my dinner I enjoyed how nature created such great flavours. Trust me, I didn’t put any spices to flavour this wonderful treat.

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Let’s start cooking this tropical deliciousness!!!

Ingredients

  • Coconut oil – 1 Tbsp
  • Cumin seeds- 1 Tsp
  • Green Chilli – 2
  • Onion- 1 small (finely chopped or julienned)
  • Beetroots – 2 medium sized, 1 if big beetroot- Shredded
  • Mango- 1 big mango- Shredded
  • Coconut- Freshly shredded/frozen shredded – 1/2 cup
  • Salt- To Taste
  • Dry Coconut Shreddings- For topping

Now is the time to put the ingredients on flame!!!

  • Place a pan on a medium flame. Add a Tbsp of oil, I used coconut oil, but you can use any oil of your choice. Add the cumin seeds and let them splutter.
  • Add the two slit green chillies now and saute.
  • It’s time to throw in the finely chopped or julienned onions, in any way you like them.
  • Once the onions turn translucent, add the beetroots, salt to taste and cover the pan.
  • The beetroots will take maybe 5-7 mins to cook. Keep stirring them every 2 mins, to avoid the beetroots sticking to the pan.
  • Once the beetroots are soft… add the shredded mangoes. The mangoes cook in no time. and they get to take the colour of the beetroots and start turning to be a savoury surprise for our tropical fry.
  • Add the coconut and close the pan for a minute.
  • The Suprise Tropical Fry is ready. Take it out in a serving bowl and add some dry shredded coconut for the topping and serve.

Give this recipe a star, if you like it and give it a try… it is awesome!!! It was a definite hit for us!!