Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Spring Rolls


Spring Roll is a traditional chinese snack made with a thin dough sheet with vegetable or meat filling inside. Generally eaten during the beginning day of spring in China ,  in a way welcoming spring by eating spring rolls &  the practice was also believed to ward off evil & disaster , hence the name. Spring rolls have a long history & at one point of time it was also known as the "five spice dish" because 5 hot & spicy ingredients like spring onion , garlic & hot peppers were added to it.
I fell in love with this snack when we moved from my small hometown to a metro. The small chinese joint  that was at a walking distance became our favourite haunt for delicious chinese food. The guy churned out big fat  fresh spring rolls that were out of this world & we stayed loyal to the small joint until one fine day it was shut down for reasons unknown. That is when I tried making them at home but getting the dough sheet right is kind of a tough job. My happiness knew no bounds when I discovered the beautifully rolled out thin spring roll sheets in the frozen food isle after coming to the US. Now it is just one of the easiest snacks to make with vegetables of your choice & can be prepared ahead of time , refrigerated & fried only when you have to ......easy, breezy & simple.........

So here goes the recipe:

Ingredients: 


10 spring roll sheets (  I used Sei-Chuan Brand)
I cup of finely shredded cabbage
1/4 th cup finely chopped  carrots
1/4 cup finely chopped Green peppers ( Capsicum)
1-2 spring onion finely chopped
8-10 cloves garlic very finely chopped
1/2 inch piece of ginger finely chopped
1 tsp soya sauce
1 tsp red chilli paste ( I used Sriracha)
1-2 tsp oil
salt & black pepper  to taste
Oil for deep frying

2 tablespoons of all purpose flour & water paste .


Method: 


Thaw the spring roll sheets according to package directions. Keep them in a moist kitchen towel while rolling so they don't dry out.

Heat oil in a pan , add garlic & saute till it turns a little brown. Now add the ginger, spring  onions & carrots & saute for another minute , add the cabbage & capsicum , the soya sauce & sriracha , salt & pepper to taste . Mix everything well & switch off the heat as we want the vegetables to be crunchy. Transfer the vegetable mixture to a plate & spread it out as we need to stop the cooking immediately & also sometimes the vegetables turn watery if left in the hot pan.
Let the vegetables cool completely.
For rolling the spring rolls, take one sheet at a time & place it on a work surface in a way that one end points towards you. Place 1-2 spoons of vege mix a little above the corner  & start rolling , when almost half way through, roll the two sides in, it will look like an envelope at this time. Apply a little all purpose flour & water paste to the edges & continue rolling till the end. The roll is now ready. Follow the same  process for all rolls.
Deep fry in hot oil until they turn golden  brown ( Make sure the oil is very hot , if not hot enough the rolls will absorb a lot of oil )

Serve immediately with dressing of your choice.
Enjoy.....................

Monday, September 26, 2011

Multigrain Crackers



In my endeavor to eat healthy & cook as much as I can at home , I came up with a recipe for these multigrain crackers that I fell in love with after coming to US. The various multigrain crackers that were available here became a permanent part of my pantry for a long time. But with  so much of baking nowadays  I had been thinking of baking them for a long time but just kept putting it off for something or the other. Finally I gave in to my craving to have them . I kind of devised my own recipe & added as much grains as I possibly could & they taste awesome & what to say about having them with some homemade Guacamole , I think I should stop baking for sometime now as I have been popping these little bites into my mouth all day.
Here goes the recipe.......

Ingredients: 


1/4 cup All purpose flour ( Maida)
1/4 cup whole wheat flour( Atta)
1/4  cup gram flour ( Besan)
1/4 cup cornmeal
2 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1 tablespoon Ground Flaxseed
1/4 cup oil ( I used olive oil)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp Baking soda
Water as required



Method:


Mix all ingredients together & knead with just enough water to form a dough. Knead for a minute or two
so that everything binds well together. Divide the dough into two , roll each ball into a circle with a rolling pin  as thick as we would do for Flatbread ( Roti, Chapati) . Cut  with small round  cookie cutter . Place them on a well greased baking sheet.
You can roll the leftover cuttings again into a ball, roll out again & cut more rounds . Will make about 30-35 small crackers. Bake at 300 degree F  preheated oven for about 8 minutes & reduce the temp. to 250 for another 5 minutes. Keep checking to see the cookies dont over brown as every oven is different.
Enjoy with cheese, guacamole, ketchup or as desired.







Enjoy............

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Painted Burger Buns


Ever since I acquired my first baking book " Baking With Julia " I had been wanting to bake bread. The book is really very very informative as it holds recipes for all kinds of breads & fortunately I have become more yeast friendly after reading through it. Earlier I used to be a little skeptical using yeast  I do not really know  why. I did bake bread a couple of times & it turned out well but I still wanted to keep away from yeast. But anyways long story short ,thanks to" Baking With Julia" that i dared to bake these burger buns. I must say that I'm proud of myself as for a first timer they came out really well. The idea of painted bread had been  encircling my mind for a long long time , I had seen it somewhere & I tried hard to recollect where exactly  I had seen it but all I remember is- it was during one of our travels & there was a basket full of burgers painted in abstract designs.Even I was amazed at seeing painted bread. I also tried googling for a long time to see if I could find information on the origin of painted bread but unfortunately there is no info except that I found a blog  known as "Chef Tess bakeresse" where the chef  seems to be an amazing artist with exquisitely painted breads. So next time I bake bread I will probably try to get some inspiration from the Chef.

Luckily the dough seemed to have worked well & that's when I decided that I should try painting . Having not even picked up the paint brush for a long time I was really wondering how to go about it. The last time I painted was in school & that was 2 decades ago. Anyway I called G to see if he could get me a thin paint brush on his way home & so he did but looking at the brush I was really disappointed . The thinnest brush in the pack was not as thin as I wanted it to be & had plastic bristles......hmmmmm.....what an ordeal!!!!!  But a push from G was all I needed as he said" just try what you wanted to try & I will eat it anyway "  So here is my first attempt at baking burger buns with my first   attempt at painting them . The buns came out very soft & the painting was not as bad either - Both of us really enjoyed them.


Ingredients:

For The Bread :

2 cups Bread flour  and 1/2 cup more for kneading
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
 1 tablespoon agave nectar ( I used agave in stead of sugar)
2 tsp active dry yeast
1 cup warm milk ( I used 2%)
1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons oil( I used olive oil)

For the Painting :


1 egg yolk
1 tsp cocoa powder
1 thin paint brush

Mix the egg & cocoa powder together & stir well to make a smooth paste.

Method:

Start by warming the milk just enough so can put your finger in it - add yeast & agave or sugar to it & let it sit for about 10 minutes until you see froth forming on it.
Add the oil & salt to this yeast mixture & start adding the flour . You can either mix with a spatula if kneading by hand or use the dough hook if using the stand mixer. ( I used the stand mixer)
Incorporate all of the 3 cups of flour / if while kneading the dough seems hard add some more water as the final dough  should be very soft & easy to knead. Once done, knead the dough for 8-10 minutes until it becomes very elastic. ( I used the dough hook in the stand mixer for 8-10 minutes at medium speed)
Once you are done kneading roll the dough into a ball & place in a greased bowl , cover with damp cloth  & let it rise for about 2 hrs in a warm place ( I put it in the oven )
The dough should have doubled , just punch it down to release the air, knead for another 2-3 minutes & divide it into 8-10 equal parts .
I always like to grease my hands with oil when handling the dough as it dosent stick to your hands.
Roll it into balls & place it on a greased baking sheet. Cover the tray with damp cloth & let it  sit for another rise , about an hour.
If you like the bun tops to be crisp brush gently  with some water before they go into the oven.
Bake at 400 degree preheated oven for 12-15 minutes.
 For the painting you will have to take out the buns after 10 minutes of baking or when you see a thin crust formed on the buns. Take them out , paint them & put them back in the oven for 5 minutes.
Brush some butter  on top while buns are still hot .


I think the painting adds a little personality to these otherwise plain buns & it was really fun to do them .

Enjoy..............


I have received 7 awards from my Dear Friend Kalyani  Of Kalyani's Platter.....Thankyou so much Kalyani - I have no words  at this time to describe my happiness. Emotions are just eating my words.

Thanks again.







Monday, September 19, 2011

Fruit & Nut Custard with Jelly


Today is my 25th post & with 7 awards in a row i really wanted to celebrate this occasion with a sweet & simple recipe. Fruit custard is one of my all time favorite desserts , very easy to make with few ingredients , healthy & delicious & the best part is that it can be done in 15 minutes if you are having guests at a very short notice. Not saying too much here goes the recipe for this easy, breezy super delicious dessert.

For the custard:

1 cup milk
2 tablespoons custard powder( I have used vanilla flavour)
2 tablespoon sugar
2 cardamom pods
1 tablespoon raisins( kishmis)
1 teaspoon coarsely chopped pistachios

For the Jelly:

3 tablespoons  of Jelly Crystals ( I have used cherry flavoured Vegetarian jelly)
1/2 cup water
Some fruit of your choice ( I have added raspberries)


Method:

Bring milk to a boil in a pan, when the milk starts boiling add sugar, cardamom , raisins & nuts  & keep stirring so the milk dosent stick to the pan.
Dissolve the custard powder in 1/4 cup of water & add to boiling milk slowly & keep stirring to avoid any lumps . Just stir for 3-4 minutes & turn off the heat. Let the custard cool completely before assembling.

For the jelly , boil half cup of water in a pan ( I generally do it in the microwave)
Add jelly crystals to the boiled water & stir well until the crystals dissolve completely.
Let the jelly mixture cool before adding any fruit. Refrigerate for 25-30 minutes.
I have added some raspberries here to the jelly.
Jelly can be served as you would like .....just as is or on top of the custard . I have just assembled the dessert in individual portions. You can add any fruit of your choice to the custard.

A big thank you to all my dear friends who have supported me all through with all their beautiful compliments. It is your comments & compliments that I feel are a reward for all my efforts to share some of my tried & tested recipes with you . Happy Cooking & keep blogging.


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Beetroot Raita / Beetroot Yougurt / Beetogurt with Beetroot Masala Paneer



This colourful post is a celebration of my 2 & 1/2 months of  Smart-Snacks journey, receiving 3 awards   &  a  compliment to all my  41- sorry 42  wonderful fellow friends & each one of you who has visited my space ( one more friend has joined me while I'm writing this post)
This recipe is inspired from Anushruti of" Divine Taste." Being a beet lover when I came across this recipe I knew I had to do it . I have also tried using beetroot in one of my earlier cake recipes & the cake turned out very moist & delicious. ( See Chocolate Beetroot Cake ) . While boiling the beets on one stove I was also making paneer on the adjacent gas stove . So the bright idea struck me.....why not make masala paneer that could be had as a salad and here I go throwing the boiling beet into the curdling milk with a tsp of salt , 1 tsp of cumin powder & 1/2 tsp black pepper powder.  The result is amazing. The most delicious paneer I've ever had. Ofcourse I had to dice & boil another beet for the Yogurt.




So here goes the Raita  recipe :

2 cups of yogurt
1 beet  / finely chopped & boiled in 1/2 cup of water
1 tsp salt
1 tablespoon coconut powder ( u can use fresh coconut also)
1-2 finely chopped green chilli

For Frying :


1/2 tsp oil
2 red whole chilli
1 tsp of mustard seeds
7-8 curry leaves
a Pinch of asafoetida



Whisk  the yogurt to a smooth paste,  add boiled beets , salt, coconut powder & green chili - mix well.

For frying:

 Heat 1/2 tsp oil in a small wok, add mustard seeds & let them splutter, add red chili, curry leaves & asafoetida & add it to the yogurt mix. Refrigerate for 2-3 hrs before serving.,resting the yogurt will also bring a very nice  colour to the yogurt.




For the Masala paneer :( Beetroot Cheese)

1 & 1/2 L of milk ( I used whole milk)
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
Cheese cloth for draining the paneer

Method:

Bring the milk to a boil , add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar & stir .  Let the milk curdle & the cheese will seperate from the water. Drain some of the water & add the spices. Drain the mixture into a cheese cloth & press out as much water as possible. Wrap cheese in the cheese cloth & place it in a flattened bowl or plate & refrigerate for 2-3 hours. Cut into slices & serve.


Eat Healthy & Stay Healthy........















Jay From "Tasty Appetite" has shared these 4 awards with me. I am totally floored by the graciousness & warmth of my Fellow friends in every respect. Thankyou Jay & Thankyou all for all your beautiful comments & compliments . 

23rd post & 3 Awards


Hello Fellow Friends,

When I started this blog 2.5 months ago I knew nothing about the blogging world. Although I had been nagging my husband for quiet some time to design a website for me where I could just file all my recipes for my friends & family & for myself - it just never happened. One fine day as I was googling  the internet for some recipe there was this link on the right corner of my screen saying " create your own blog". I hesitantly clicked on it to see what it was.....yes I say I was hesitant coz my computer had crashed a couple of times earlier due to some spam. But anyways I went thru the whole thing & then it seemed to be the longest day of my life as I kept waiting for G to get home & show him my discovery .
G gave me a big nod saying "yes you can do it here & document whatever you like" I spent all of the next day setting up my blog & both of us were pretty amused by the fact that with my limited knowledge of computers I had set up the whole page myself- the credit really goes to Google for giving us the space & the tools to design our kitchens . Thanks Google.

This 2& 1/2 month journey from my kitchen to yours has been so beautiful, I now have 41 friends who take out the time to compliment each of my creations. I am really touched by the overwhelming response. It is your support , your comments & compliments  that keep me going. Every morning as soon as G leaves for work I hop onto my computer to get in touch with each of our kitchens. Thankyou guys for sharing so much & for giving so much.
Also I would like to Thank my husband Gautam ( although thankyou is a very small word for what all he does for me) for sporting me all through , designing, taking pictures & making changes whenever required.
I would like to extend my regards & thanks to Sobha Of" Good Food " who has shared 3 beautiful awards with me. My 23rd post & 3 awards already.......I still cannot believe it.  But moving forward I will be sharing  a very colourful dish with you all today  which is really an expression of my feelings & a big compliment for all the wonderful friends I've made during this journey.
Lots & Lots of Hugs  to you all........
Cheers








Monday, September 12, 2011

Nutella thumbprint Chocolate Cookies



Do we need any occasion to bake cookies ? Absolutely not!!!!!! .......I feel we can bake cookies anytime & have them  anytime - just dunk em in tea or milk - anytime. I get so excited whenever I  see  pictures of any cookie especially one  that looks fresh out of a bakery I know i have to bake them. My love for fresh baked cookies dates back to my childhood ( as I mentioned in one of my earlier posts as well) & now that I have the luxury of having a big oven I want to bake something everyday. These cookies are kind of a replica of the Chocolate Bourbon cookies that we so used to love as kids. My father would bring that tin of Britannia  chocolate bourbons & it would be gone in no time. I saw the pictures for these cookies on the net ,topped with Dulce De Leche ( honestly all I know about Dulce De Leche is that it is some kind of a topping) , so avoiding a trip to the grocery store I topped them with "Nutella" Instead & they taste exactly like The chocolate bourbons.....soft & crunchy  at the same time & the little dab of nutella  makes  them.......make em.......I dunno what to say ( lol)



Ingredients:

I cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened  cocoa powder ( I used Hershey's)
1/8 tsp salt
1 stick unsalted butter at room temp ( 112 grams / 1/2 cup )
1/3 cup heaped confectioner's sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tablespoons crushed pistachios.
1-2 tablespoons nutella

Preparation:

Mix the dry ingredients together, flour, cocoa, salt - keep aside
Beat the butter & sugar together in a stand mixer or with a hand mixer until light & fluffy.
Add vanilla extract , mix well.
Start adding the dry mix 2 tablespoons at a time until completely incorporated . Mix well. Do not overmix the cookie dough.
The dough will be soft , divide it into 20-24 equal portions( I scooped it out with 1/2 tablespoon measuring spoon)  roll into small balls & just flatten each ball slightly into the palms .
Now press one side of each ball into crushed pistachios & place them onto well greased baking sheet.
For the thumbprint you can either make an impression in the centre of the cookie with your thumb or a 1/2 measuring tsp ( I used 1/2 measuring tsp)
Bake at 325 degree F for 12-15 mins. You might have to adjust the bake time as every oven is different.
The cookies might puff up from the centre while baking , in that case just press them with a spoon again while they are hot & soft.
Let cool completely . Top each cookie with a little dollop of Nutella .




Note: Top them with nutella just before serving as they tend to become a little  soggy  from the moisturous Nutella.

Happy Baking..........Enjoy.









My 23rd post & 3 awards form Sobha of Good Foods . Thank you so much Sobha. I am really touched .
Congratulations on your 5th anniversary & May God bless you. Lots of Luv.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Peanut Pesto Potato Salad



I Love salad..........lol .......amazing haan , Yes my family laughs at me as well . But I must confess that after coming to the US I have gradually developed a taste for different cuisines, salad being a part of it.
In my initial years I would not even try anything called Ghaas- phoos  but sometimes while traveling I would have no option but to have a salad. As I started working  being a vegetarian  gave me very limited options for lunch & if I wasn't carrying my lunch I had to do with a salad. Sooo one fine day I really started relishing the variety of salads available at the cafeteria & now I churn out my versions of this beautiful ghaas phoos.
I am also doing this  post  as a guest blogger for Amanda from "The Sweet Details" ( Thanks Amanda - I feel honoured) & when she invited me I started thinking of something that would have a universal appeal. So finally I decided to do this salad with a twist.  The salad has been inspired from 'Ellie Krieger'   of Food Network & I have been making it for the last 3-4 years ( ofcourse I  wasn't blogging at the time) Generally Pesto has pine nuts & parmesan cheese  as one of the main ingredients but I used peanuts instead , no cheese  & some candied ginger  for  a little crunch .

Ingredients:

I pound red potatoes / boiled & cut with skin
1 cup of chopped red , yellow & green peppers.
4-5 slices of candied ginger/ chopped into small pieces.




For the Pesto:


I cup packed  fresh basil leaves
1 clove garlic
3 tablespoons of roasted peanuts ( unsalted, if using salted then reduce the amount of salt in the pesto)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons of olive oil
salt & black pepper acc. to taste.

Preparing Pesto:


Add roasted peanuts & garlic to the shredder attachment & give it a good pulse . Add basil leaves , lemon juice , olive oil , salt & pepper & pulse it again for a minute or two . The pesto should be a little chunky & not paste like.




Mix everything together in a bowl , potatoes, peppers, ginger  & pesto & just give it a good stir with a
spatula.



Enjoy..............


 Note: Mixing  it with a spoon will break the potatoes & the salad looks messy . Refrigerate the salad for 2-3 hrs before serving as this helps the potatoes to absorb all the flavors & the salad even  becomes more crunchy.


Monday, September 5, 2011

Quinoa Poha



A lot of us have been talking about Quinoa nowadays & I have  seen some posts also with quinoa dishes.
So I feel that most of us now are aware of the existence of this super grain & have been using it for its nutrition. G & myself both have been hooked to this super grain ever since we were introduced to it maybe like 2-3 years ago. It was just G's diagnoses of  diabetes that that I started searching for healthier substitutes to wheat & rice & stumbled upon Spelt, Millet, Quinoa & natural sweeteners like molasses & xylitol. We tried Quinoa as cereal -with milk & molasses- Yum,  as pulao- good, & then finally I tried poha- super yum.
And I have been making quinoa poha almost every other day now as  G likes to carry it for lunch too - healthy & nutritious & no spills in his bag - perfect.



Ingredients: 

I cup Quinoa
8-10 curry leaves
1 tsp Mustard seeds
1 tablespoon oil
3-4 green chili
2 tablespoon peanuts
I onion finely chopped
Red , green, yellow pepers  chopped1 cup
Broccoli  7-8 small florets
1 tsp lemon juice
 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
Salt to taste


Start by boiling the cup of quinoa in 2 cups of water. Let it boil on high for 4-5 minutes & turn off the heat. Cover the pan & let it sit for about 15 minutes.
 In a pan heat the oil & add in the mustard seeds . Let them splutter , add peanuts & fry ,  add green chili  curry leaves , onion & saute for 1-2 minutes till the onions are golden. Add the vegetables & saute for another 2-3 minutes.
Add turmeric powder  & salt -stir & finally stir in the  boiled quinoa. Add the lemon juice as desired.
Enjoy..............

Note: This post has been linked to "Now Serving" Quinoa event.

Cooking with Seeds Quinoa

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Strawberry Basil Ginger Coolaid



The versatility & variety of fruit never ceases to amaze me & there is so much that can be done with it.......U name it & u have it: salad, soup, desert, beverage & just on its own. A trip to the grocery store & I just end up buying every possible fruit in the store, so much so that I had to throw a couple of boxes each of strawberry , blueberry & cherry in the freezer so they don't turn bad & i could use them anytime I come up with a recipe.Especially my trips to Whole food drive me crazy coz they have so much organic fruit : I just cannot stop. So making good use of some strawberry that was piling up in the refigerator here comes an Indianised version of strawberry coolaid.The recipe is somewhat inspired from US masala  but I have given it my own twist.


Ingredients:

I cup fresh Strawberry, washed & cubed / 3-4 strawberry for garnish
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup fresh basil or 10-12 leaves
1 inch cube of fresh ginger
1/2 tsp black salt
juice of two lemons
Bottle of club soda
This recipe has been linked to "Anu's Healthy Kitchen " Berries- Strawberry" event &  "Cooking with Siri" 'Healing Foods- Beeries "event.



Preparation:

In the jar of mixer blender  , puree all ingredients together : strawberry, sugar, basil & ginger  & strain the mix through a soup strainer to get a smooth paste. Add salt & lemon juice.  Add 5 cups of club soda & some ice & the drink is ready. Garnish as desired.

Enjoy...............
Please Click on the EVENT LOGO to ENTER the RECIPE DETAILS....