Kala Chana Chaat/Salad (Kala Chana / Black ChickPea / Bengal Gram)

Kala chana are commonly used in Indian Cuisine to make curries, Chaat, Salad’s and are one of the most popular vegetarian foods in the Indian subcontinent. They are a nutrient-dense food, providing rich content (> 20% of the Daily Value, DV) of protein, dietary fiber, folate, and certain dietary minerals such as iron and phosphorus. (Source Wikipedia)

In our house we use to make Kala chana not as curry but as a dry dish. A compulsory dish during Ashtami (Eight day of Navratri – festival of India). It was generally made along with halwa and puri. One bite and you are in food heaven. 

Nowaday’s I eat this as a part of my diet food. 1 bowl of this is enough and will keep you full. I simply mix it with onion, green chillies, sonth (Imli Chutney), Lemon juice, salt and Corainder. For those who do not eat onion, one can add cucumber, tomatoes.

So here goes my version of Kala Chana Salad:




Ingredients

  • 1 Cup of Boiled Kala Chana (Black ChickPea / Bengal Gram)
  • 1-2 teaspoon of Lemon Juice (as per taste)
  • 1 tablespoon of Sonth (Imli Chutney) Optional, but I like the khata meetha taste, so I add it
  • 1 Green chilly finely chopped (as per your taste) 
  • Coriander finely chopped 
  • Onion finely chopped 
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon Chaat Masala or to taste (Sorry forgot earlier)

Preparation

  1. Soak the Chana for 6-8 hours. The longer the better.
  2. Pressure cook it for 3 whistles or as per your cooker settings.
  3. Let the chana cool.
  4. Mix the boiled kala chana, sonth, green chilly, onion, coriander, lemon juice, chaat masala and salt.
  5. Garnish with Coriander and serve. 

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Missi PuriMasala Puri

Missi Puri and I simply love it. Yummy yummy in my tummy :-). Many a times or rather most of the times I eat it hot as it is, atleast one. 

Puri’s are generally made in Indian household when there is some function or some social gathering. It goes with all. Pair it along with chole , kheer, Aloo Saag or whatever one likes. The beauty of this is that it is quick to make and one can make it ahead of time. (Although garama garam ka mazaa alag hi hain). Puri’s can be made sada (i.e. only wheat flour) ,of palak (spinach) ,of Beetroot or whatever one wish to. 

So here goes the recipe:




Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Whole Wheat Flour (Ata)
  • 2 Tablespoons of Gram Flour (Besan)
  • 1 tablespoon of Oil for kneading
  • 1 teaspoon of Cumin Seeds (Jeera)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of Turmeric Powder (Haldi)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Asafoetida (Hing)
  • Salt to taste
  • Water for kneading dough
  • Oil for frying

    Preparation

    1. Add the Ata, Besan, Jeera, Haldi, Asafoetida, Oil and salt in a bowl. Give it a quick mix so that the ingredients mix well together.
    2. Now knead the dough by slowly adding water. Do not add too much water at a time. We want a stiff dough and not a soft dough. If the dough is soft, it is difficult to roll the puri’s.
    3. Once kneaded let the dough rest for 20-30 minutes minimum. One can make immediately too, but it is always a good idea to let the dough rest.
    4. When the dough is ready, make small balls out of it around 1 inch in diameter. While making balls knead it between your hands, and form a ball by gently applying pressure. Then flatten the ball. (Make smaller size balls, if small puri’s are required.)
    5. In a kadai or deep bottom pan, add oil and let it start heating.
    6. In the mean time, roll the puri’s in around 3 inch diamter. Do use oil while rolling the puri’s. This helps in rolling. One can use dry flour (Ata) too, but I always use oil, the reason is , If we use flour, the oil gets dirty with the flour. This is the tip given by my mother.
    7. The puri’s should be rolled evenly to puff up. 
    8. Check if the oil is hot, by inserting a tiny bit of flour in the oil. It should come up immediately.
    9. Once the oil is hot start frying the puri’s. Dip the puri in hot oil. Let it come up and then with the back of your spatula, slowly tap it. This helps in puffing the puri’s.
    10. Once puffed reverse it and let it cook on the other side. Some Puri’s might not get puffed. So reverse it if the underside is cooked.
    11. Once cooked remove it on an absorbent paper. Hot and yummy puri’s are ready.
    12. Serve it with Chole, Potato Bhaji, Kheer, Aloo Saag, etc. The possibilities are endless. It even goes well with tea. 

    Check out different types of Paratha’s and Puri’s by clicking here



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    Rice Kheer

    Kheer, a very common dessert of Indian cuisine. The base of this is milk and most of the times it is made using rice. But there are many variations to it, like Makhana (Lotus seeds) kheer, made by my mother, I simply love it, yummy and healthy (minus the sweet part :P). Then there is kheer made using Sabudana (Tapioca), Sevai (vermicelli) and many more. It is flavoured with cardamom, saffron, almonds, pistachios, chirongi (charoli), etc. 

    So here goes the recipe:




    Ingredients

    • 2 Ltr. Milk
    • 1 Cup rice (Those who do not want thick can reduce rice quantity)
    • 1/2 teaspoon of Cardamom powder
    • 1/2 a cup of Almonds, pistachios (or nuts as required), (cut lenghtwise or chopped coarsely)
    • 1 Cup Sugar
    • Few Saffron Strands

    Note:

    • I like thick kheer, so I used 1 cup rice, for those who require a little on the thinner side can reduce the rice quantity.
    • Sugar quantity can be more. I do not like it to be too sweet. If more is required can add more.
    • I use long (akha) basmati rice, and I simply crush some of the rice when it gets cooked. One can use the smaller (tukda or ponia) basmati rice too.
    • My mother soaks the almond, removes the skin and then use it, as she does not like brown colour in kheer, But I like it so I use it whole without soaking 🙂

    Preparation

    1. Wash and soak the rice for 10-15 mins or until the milk has come to a boil.
    2. In the meanwhile, In a heavy bottom pan, bring the milk to boil stirring in between, so that it does not stick to the bottom. (Yes I use a cooker, as that is the heavy bottom pan I have. I nicely wash it before using)
    3. Once the milk has come to a boil, reduce the flame to min and let it boil for 5 mins, stirring in between. ( I use gas mark 3 on hot plate)
    4. Now add the rice and let it cook in the milk on slow flame. This will take time, around 20-30 minutes. Keep stirring in between.
    5. Once the rice is cooked, I crush the rice with the back of a spoon, as I use the long ones. (This step is optional.)
    6. You will notice that the milk has reduced and the kheer is of nice thick consistency.
    7. Add the sugar, Saffron, Cardamom powder. Let the sugar dissolve completely and then switch off the gas.
    8. Add the chopped nuts.
    9. Yummy kheer is ready. Serve it as it is or with Puri’s, hot or cold, garnished with nuts. 
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    Veg Puff’s

    I use to love this as a snack from our favorite local bakery. Whenever we use to bring pao at home, we use to bring each one piece to relish on this. I specially liked the flakiness and the crunchiness of the puff’s and the good thing is that one can actually fill anything inside, whatever one wish to. I have made this even with a filling of apple and pear. They were sweet and tangy. I have even tried the pastry sheets at home, but it is a very long process. I now simply buy it from the market and have at least 1 roll in my freezer. It’s a very good snack to be served to guest and also when you have a sudden guest or have least amount of time to prepare. The only thing is that the pastry sheet need to be defrosted. I would also say that it is half healthy, I mean excluding the pastry sheet, as I have the vegetables stuff in that, and it is baked and not fried. So here goes the recipe: 





    Ingredients

    • 1-1.5 cup’s vegetables grated or cut length wise (I use Carrot, Potato and green peas, or a combination available in my fridge) (Other options are sweet corn, zucchini etc..)
    • 1/4 cup onion chopped finely (optional)
    • 1 -2 garlic clove finely chopped (optional)
    • 1 Cup tomato puree (one can also use 1/2 cup pasta sauce)
    • Green chilies chipped to taste
    • Red Chili powder to taste
    • 1 teaspoon of oil
    • 1/2 teaspoon of Jeera (Cumin seeds)
    • 1 tablespoon of milk for brushing the pastry sheets
    • Salt to taste
    • Tomato Ketchup to serve

    Preparation

    1. Grate or cut the vegetables length wise. 
    2. If using green peas, just microwave it for 3-4 mins or boil them for 3-4 mins. One can skip this step but the stuffing will take a little more time to cook.
    3. Heat a pan/kadai.  Add oil. Once hot, add Jeera and green chili. 
    4. Once Jeera crackles add onion and garlic. Saute until translucent. If not using onion and garlic proceed directly to step 5.
    5. Add the vegetables and let it cook for 3-4 mins.
    6. Now add the tomato puree, red chili powder and salt. Let it cook until the vegetables are just done. Do not make it too soft.
    7. Let the mixture cool.
    8. Divide the pastry sheet in equal sizes. One can make diamond shape, rectangle shape or any shape one likes. I prefer rectangle shape as they are small size and are easier to handle while eating.
    9. Add the mixture in the sheets proportionally. Do not add too much or too less.
    10. Now simply press the edges with your hand. Alternatively one can use fork to press and also give it a nice design.
    11. Brush the top with milk.
    12. Now bake this in a preheated oven as  mentioned in the instructions of pastry sheet. Generally it will be around 20 mins at 220 deg celcius. It may vary. Check the instructions.
    13. The top will be golden brown when done.
    14. Serve it hot with tomato ketchup. 

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    Masala Dosa

    Dosa’s are my favorite and so is potato bhaji and when you combine both the result is awesome. I can eat this in breakfast, lunch and dinner 😛 😛 . This is just a combination of two of my recipe’s. So without wasting too much of time, I simply come to the recipe:





    Ingredients

    • Dosa
      • Dosa Batter (For Dosa the batter should be a little thin)
      • Oil for greasing
      • Dosa Pan/Tawa
      • Tissue paper/Cut Potato (in half)
    • Potato Masala Bhaji (Click on the link for how to prepare the bhaji)

    Preparation

    1. Heat a pan/Tawa.  It should be very hot.
    2. Add 2-3 drops of oil on the pan, and spread it evenly with the help of a Tissue paper or a cut potato.
    3. Just remove the pan from the gas. (Removing the pan from the gas helps in not sticking the batter on the pan and not creating lumps. One can avoid this method if required.)
    4. Now add a spoonful of batter (Depends on the thickness one requires). 
    5. Spread it in circles. Just go in one direction and spread it quickly as the pan is hot, the dosa will start cooking.
    6. Keep the dosa pan back to the gas and let it cook for a minute or two. 
    7. Drizzle some oil on the sides (Optional , but I like some oil)
    8. Turn and just cook for a couple of seconds. (Cooking on the other side is optional).
    9. Add some potato Masala filling in the center. 
    10. Masala Dosa’s are ready. Serve with Chutney or Sambar .
    Note: The pan needs to be really hot to get crispy Dosa’s.

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    Potato Bhaji (Dry Potato Vegetable)

    I make many variations of Potato bhaji (Vegetable) and yes all are my favorite. I call this one as yellow potato bhaji, simply because I add turmeric. One I make is of Kali mirch and the other one is potato slice. 

    To this one, I add onion (For without onion see below) and curry leaves, and it gives a nice khata mitha taste to the bhaji. This goes well with roti and I use the same for masala for dosa. Earlier I use to not able to make this bhaji properly. I always loved my sister’s version of this one. I still remember I have made a horrible bhaji with this after my marriage :-). I feel that was just because of the fear that I had that I cannot make this one, don’t know why. But I did over come it and one can see that in the picture below. So here goes the recipe: 




    Ingredients

    • 3-4 medium sized boiled potato
    • 7-8 Curry leaves (Kadi patta)
    • 1 onion cut lengthwise (optional)
    • 1 garlic clove finely chopped (optional)
    • 2 green chilies finely chopped (as per taste)
    • 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder (as per taste)
    • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala powder 
    • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds (Rai)
    • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder (Haldi)
    • Salt to taste
    • 1/4 cup finely chopped corainder
    • 1 teaspoon urad dal (optional – if one wants to add, it adds to the crunch)
    • 2 tablespoon oil

    Preparation

    1. Cut the potatoes into quarters (1/8th).
    2. In a kadai or a pan, add oil. Once hot add mustard seeds. Once the seeds crackle add curry leaves.
    3. If adding urad dal add now and let it turn light brown.
    4. Now add the onion, and garlic. Saute until translucent. Be careful, we do not want the onion to burn. (If no onion and garlic, simply skip this step)
    5. Now add the green chilies. Saute for 10-20 seconds.
    6. Add turmeric powder and then the potatoes.
    7. Mix it lightly. Now add red chili powder, garam masala powder and salt. Give it a nice mix.
    8. Now I like my potato to be soft and mushy so, I do mash them lightly, while cooking. It’s up to your preference.
    9. Let it cook for 10 minutes turning in between. 
    10. Garnish with corainder.
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    Leek & Potato Soup

    When I first encountered leek , I read it the menu of a hotel, as Leek and Potato soup, in the veg section. Never heard the name and it sounded to me as non-veg. I asked them is this veg, or rather completely no meat as I always ask, hehe. I was happy to know that yes it is a vegetable. Leek is a vegetable that belongs to the same family as onion and garlic. Yes It is somewhat similar to the raw onion or shallots, but bigger in size, and cylindrical in shape. The edible portions of the leek are the white base of the leaves (above the roots and stem base), the light green parts, and to a lesser extent the dark green parts of the leaves. One of the most popular uses is for adding flavor to stock. The dark green portion is usually discarded because it has a tough texture, but it can be sauteed or added to stock. I use the complete leek in the soup. Read more about Leek here. This soup is thick, creamy, filling and a complete meal in itself. So here goes the recipe:



    Ingredients

    • 1 Big potato (or 2 small)
    • 1 Leek stem
    • Water
    • salt to taste
    • 1 teaspoon of cumin (Jeera, I add this, its optional)
    • 1 teaspoon of olive oil or butter
    • One can add garlic and ginger too. I do not add it.

    Preparation

    1. Wash the leek thoroughly. Open each of the green leaves, as it contains mud particles. Wash them under running water.
    2. Cut the white portion into 1-2 inch lengthwise and around 1 cm in width.
    3. Cut the potato in 4 pieces.
    4. In a pressure cooker, add oil.
    5. Once hot cumin seeds, Once it crackles add the white part of leek. Let it saute for a minute.
    6. Now add the green part of leek (I use this, it’s upto you if you wish to discard it) and the potato and saute for a minute. 
    7. Add salt and just enough water to pressure cook it.  
    8. Pressure cook it to 3 whistles(depends on your cooker). If using a pan, let it boil until soft, or steam it.
    9. Let the mixture cool.
    10. Once cooled, blend the mixture to a smooth paste in a mixer.
    11. Sieve it. Add more water to desired consistency.
    12. Cook the mixture on medium heat. Let it boil for around 5 minutes. Do stirr in between as it contains potato and it does stick to the bottom.
    13. Garnish it with black pepper and serve it hot .

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    Idli Fry

    Sometimes I am left with Idli’s and I simply shallow fry or deep fry this. One of the favourite’s of my house, I know too much oil, but sometimes it is okay. So simple and crunchy and ready in a few minutes if you have the Idli’s.


    Ingredients

    • Idli 
    • Oil to deep fry
    • Tomato ketchup to serve

    Preparation

    1. Heat oil in a kadai or a pan.
    2. Cut the Idli’s in desired shape. I prefer to cut them into 4, as they look more cute 😛
    3. Once the oil is hot, deep fry them on medium.
    4. If you are doing shallow fry, simply add a tablespoon of oil in a pan or a kadai. Once the oil is hot add the idli’s and let them fry on a slow flame/stove. 
    5. It’s ready when they are golden brown on both sides.
    6. Remove them on a tissue paper, so that the excess oil is removed
    7. Serve them hot with tomato ketchup.

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    Avocado Hummus / Guacamole

    Avocado, green skin fleshy body. I was completely unaware of this fruit in the start. Did not knew what it is, how to cook it and use it. Neither knew it’s health benefits. But now It has replaced butter or jam in my daily food and its loved by my family. I simply make the hummus and consume it within 2-3 days, generally I use it in my morning breakfast, a spread on roti/chapati or bread. It is ideally to be eaten fresh. I have even made healthy muffins and our Indian Paratha out of it and it taste yummy. In muffins no one can guess, there is Avocado in it. The flesh of avocado turns brown when in contact with air. To prevent this lime juice can be added. Refer the link to read about the Avocado and the health benefits of it.

    Ingredients

    • Ripe Avocado 
    • 2-3 Garlic Cloves grated
    • 1 tablespoon of Fresh Lime Juice (It has to be a bit tangy, so one can add more as per taste)
    • Salt as per taste
    • Finely chopped Corainder or Parsley (if you like the taste of Parsley) around 1 tablespoon

    Preparation

    1. Cut a ripe Avocado into half. Gently remove the skin with hand. Do not remove the pit or the core in the start. Let it be there.
    2. With the help of a fork mash the avocado.
    3. Add the lime juice, grated garlic and finely chopped coriander.
    4. Discard the pit or the core now. 
    5. Use it as a spread in bread/chapati/roti or use it as a dip or use it as is. Completely healthy and yummy.

    Note:

    To check if an Avocado is ripe or not, refer the link How to tell if an Avocado is ripe




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