Monday, November 21, 2011

Raj Kachori/ Puffed Fried Indian Flat bread filled with Spicy & Tangy Condiments

Raj Kachori is a very very popular street food in India  A spicy chaat bowl full of delicious condiments has very refreshing & satisfying flavors. I feel Raj Kachori does not need much of an introduction so I will just cut it short. In the beginning it might seem a little intimidating to make them but it's not all that difficult. I had made these for Diwali & the guests really had a great time filling them with condiments according to their taste palettes. Can be served as a snack or an appetizer , makes for an awesome presentation & is thoroughly enjoyed by everyone. As for me I can have it as a complete meal anytime for lunch or dinner. 

Ingredients:  ( will make about 20 kachoris)
For the Kachori Dough:
I cup all purpose flour / maida
1 cup semolina/ sooji
2 tablespoon gram flour/ besan
1 tablespoon oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp red chili powder
Oil for frying the kachori

Condiments: ( amount depends on the no. of kachori's you make)
Boiled & dices potatoes
Moong sprouts ( boiled)
Fine Sev
Tamarind chutney
Mint chutney
chopped cilantro for garnish
salt , red chilli powder & roasted cumin powder for garnish

To make the Kachori's :
Mix together all purpose flour, sooji , besan , oil,  salt & pepper & knead into a  firm dough . The dough should be firmer than the roti dough . Keep aside for 15-20 minutes. Knead the dough again & now it is ready to be rolled . Pinch the dough into plum size balls & roll each into a flat round circle 2-3 " in diametre.  Now comes the tricky part. Heat oil in a pan or wok & the oil should be really hot so the puris can puff up immediately. Start frying the pooris one by one, ( I did in batches of 3) as  soon as the poori puffs up , lower the heat to minimum & fry pooris on both sides until they turn golden in colour. Frying on low heat will take some time but the pooris will come out perfectly crispy.  Take out & place on kitchen paper to drain excess oil if any. The pooris are ready . 

Make a hole in the centre of each poori & fill with all the condiments , add lots of yogurt & chutney as everything needs to be oozing out of the kachori. Sprinkle with salt , pepper & cumin powder. Garnish with cilantro & fresh  pomegranate seeds or as desired.  

These Raj kachori's can be prepared 2 weeks in advance & stored in an air-tight container . 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Orange Cardamom Mini Bundt Cake ( Eggless)

"52 Muffins" As I walked down the isle at the store shopping for some props , crockery & cutlery for my pictures I saw this recipe book lying there with a very interesting title, intrigued as to what it had to offer since the title seemed very odd ( although it was an even number)  I picked it up with the intention of browsing through it & probably buying it as it was marked only $ 5. Flipping through the pages & the pictures & recipes I was pretty disappointed as the book had just some very basic muffin recipes , but  then there was this  one recipe  that seemed interesting : an orange cardamom muffin. I just took a quick glance at the recipe & keeping the book back walked hurriedly towards Hubby dear ( who was way ahead of me) before we loose track of each other in the store & then end up spending most of our time looking for each other as I often forget to carry my cell phone   & as you all know , the rest is History: lol

 It's already been a couple of months now & I had barely looked at the recipe  so I don't even remember the ingredients  but the "orange cardamom , orange cardamom" kept on rhyming  in my mind & I think I'm really at peace now after having tried my own version of an orange cardamom cake . So here goes  my recipe for all my wonderful friends & the cake tastes awesome as well.

Ingredients: ( will make 6 mini bundt cakes)

2 cups all purpose flour( Maida)
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cardamom powder
1 stick of unsalted butter ( 112 grams)
3/4 cup powdered  brown sugar
3/4 cup buttermilk ( I made my own buttermilk by adding 1 tablespoon of vinegar to 3/4th cup of milk / let it sit for 5 minutes & the milk will curdle)
3/4 cup fresh  orange juice
1  tablespoon orange zest
1/4 tsp pure  orange extract

Preparation :

Start by sifting together all the dry ingredients , all purpose flour, salt, baking powder, soda &cardamom powder. Keep aside
Whisk the butter & sugar together until light & fluffy , start adding the dry ingredients to the butter sugar mixture alternately with the buttermilk & orange juice till all the dry & wet ingredients are incorporated. Add the orange zest & orange extract & mix well. Transfer the dough to a well greased mini  bundt pan & bake at 325 degree  F  preheated oven for about 35-40 minutes or until a stick inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for about 10 minutes . Take them out & let cool completely. Decorate with a topping of your choice.

I topped them with some chocolate ganache & crushed butterfinger .


    4 Of my Blogger friends have shared the" Leibester award"  with me. Thanks you so much  to all my dear friends for honouring me with this wonderful award.

    Thanks To:
    Kimberly ( Badger Girl Learns to Cook)
    Ambreen ( Simply Sweet 'n Savory)
    Sobha ( Good Food)
    Nalini ( Nalini's Kitchen)

    The word 'Liebster' is a German word that essentially means 'dear' and is derived from the verb 'lieber' which means 'to love'. 

    Here are the rules for this award:

    1. Thank the giver who gave the award and link back to his / her blog.
    2. Choose 5 blogs whom you would like to give this award and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
    3. Copy and paste the award on your blog.
    4. Hope that your followers will spread the love to other bloggers as well.
    5. Thank all who read your blog and wish to follow you and of course - have fun!

      I would really like to share this award with all my fellow bloggers who have been encouraging me all the time by their comments & compliments but since I have to choose just 5 I would like to share it with :

      Sangee Vijay Of Spicy Treats
      Uma  Of My KItchen Experiments
      Aarthi of Yummy Tummy
       Sensible Vegetarian
      Priya Of Mharo Rajasthan

      Enjoy your award ....................

      Tuesday, November 8, 2011

      Home Style Moong Dal/ Split Green Gram / Celebrating An Award

      Yes Guys it is celebration time at Smart -Snacks. I really feel honored & on top of the world to have received an  award for my participation in Smitha"s ( Smitha's Spicy Flavours)  & Siri 's ( Cooking with Siri) " Berries " event .  Thanku so much Smitha & Siri for hosting this event & for all your time & effort that goes into bringing these events to us. Last week I received my award in the form of this most beautiful book  ever " Sukham Ayu " which has some awesome  & simple but Ayurvedic recipes. To my surprise most of the meals that I cook everyday are similar to the recipes in the book except that I do not use mustard seeds or curry leaves as tempering too often coz these are not a vital part of North Indian cuisine.
      Initially I had started this blog to document some of my cooking  & baking recipes  for myself so no matter where I was I could always go back & see as to what I baked & if it really worked. Gradually as I moved forward it dawned on me that Blogosphere  has evolved into a beautiful  community & I have come across some amazing & super talented people who always have nice & encouraging words for fellow bloggers . So now I document much for those beautiful friends( & Yes I have more than a 100 friends now) as much as for myself.

      Celebrating the award & a 101 friends I bring to you a very simple Moong dal recipe from the book which is exactly what I cook almost twice a week, along with a side veggie & fresh roti & it is just 100% pure happiness on the plate. I never really thought of documenting these simple everyday recipes but after going through this " Award Winning book"  I would really like to introduce all my friends  to  some simple everyday North Indian meals that are so comforting & satisfying & entirely different from the creamy & pasty -orange colored curries that we find at every North Indian Restaurant.I have no idea where from the restaurants evolved that kind of a cuisine as it  is far from authentic  & for the same reason I have not been to any North Indian restaurant here in the US for the last 4-5 years.


      1/2 cup Moong Dal
      1& 1/2 cups of water
      1/4 th tsp turmeric powder
      salt to taste

      For tempering the dal:

      1 tsp cumin seeds
      1/4 tsp  asafoetida powder
      3-4 chopped green chillies
      1 & 1/2 tsp Desi ghee / clarified butter
      1-2 red Chillies
      pinch of red chili powder


      Wash Dal thoroughly & pressure cook in 1 & 1/2 cups of water to 1 pressure , also add turmeric powder & salt . Let it sit for 5 minutes & then release the steam & open the pressure cooker as we do not want the dal to become mushy ( I generally put the pressure cooker under running water to release the steam )
      Heat 1 tsp of Ghee in a pan, add cumin seeds & let them splutter , now add asafetida & green chillies . Add it to the boiled dal & mix well. Now heat the remaining 1/2 tsp ghee & add a pinch of red chili powder & the whole chillies . Top  dal with this chili ghee. Enjoy with a side of veggie , raita & fresh roti/ Indian flatbread. I have aloo gobhi / Cauliflower & potatoes , Boondi raita / yoghurt and sprout salad as an accompaniment.


      This post has been linked to Kavi's Edible Entertainment  "Healthy Cooking Challenge 

      Friday, November 4, 2011

      Besan Cookies / Nankhatai/ Gram Flour Cookies

      Hi Friends,

      Hope you all had a very very nice Diwali & a Happy Halloween. Sorry for asking this late but it was really a busy & fun filled festival season -so much so that I wasn't even able to take pictures for all that I cooked for Diwali. Hopefully I will remake all that I did & post the recipes one by one. For now I have these delicious  Besan Cookies ( Gram flour cookies ) that I baked as soon as the festivities were over coz I was really missing the baking. I have tried baking Besan Cookies or Nan Khatai ever since I came to the US, tried several variations but I think I have almost perfected it now with the recipe that follows.


      1/2 cup Gram Flour / Besan
      1/3 rd cup All purpose flour/ Maida
      1/3 rd cup Semolina /Sooji
      1/4 tsp baking soda
      1/2 tsp cardamom powder
      pinch of salt
      1 stick unsalted butter/ 113 grams ( at room temp)
      1/2 cup  powdered sugar
       1 tablespoon chopped almonds for garnish


      Start by mixing all the dry ingredients together , gram flour, all purpose flour , semolina, baking soda, salt & cardamom powder. Sift together a couple of times to make sure everything is mixed well & there are no lumps. Keep aside.
      Whip butter & sugar together i a stand mixer or using a hand mixer until it is very light & fluffy. Now add the dry mix 2 tablespoons at a time & mix just enough to make a soft dough till all the dry ingredients are incorporated in the butter sugar mix. Roll it into a ball , it will be just like a soft dough.
      Divide the dough into 25 equal parts,  roll into small balls & press them into the palms of your hands  very gently  just to flatten them very little. Now make a tic tac toe or a cross on each ball of dough with a knife & press a pinch of the chopped almonds in the centre of each ball. Place on greased baking tray & bake at 375 degree F ( pre-heated oven )  for 10-12 minutes. Keep checking to see when the cookies look perfectly golden as they can burn very fast.