Sunday, January 23, 2011

Spicy Kabuli Chana/Chickpeas with Veggies

Kabuli Chana/Chickpeas/Garbanzo beans needs no introduction, it's one popular bean through out the world. Specially in Mediterranean & Indian(to be more specific north Indian) Cuisine it has a lot of importance, 99% of Indian restaurants have Punjabi Chole/Chana Masala on their menu. Kabuli Chanas are white in color & the name Kabuli comes from the city name Kabul(capital of Afghanistan). For very long time Afghanistan was the gateway to Indian sub-continent and it is suppose to be the place from where Kabuli Chana/Chickpeas were introduced in Indian subcontinent. Now, India is the largest producer of Chickpeas in world.

From Indian Cuisine the most popular Chana/Chickpeas dish is Chana Masala or very popularly known as Chole in north Indian households, which goes with the combination of Puri/Bhatura/Kulcha (flat Indian breads). I have already posted Chana Masala/Punjabi Chole recipe here. Today I'm sharing a very healthy but less time consuming recipe and taste wise also it's a hit.

What U need :
  • 1 cup of dried uncooked chanas/chickpeas, soaked overnight.
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped garlic
  • 1 med. size onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoon of tomato paste
  • 3-4 green chillies, chopped finely
  • 1 & 1/2 cup of veggies, chopped into small bite size pieces( I used carrot, zucchini & eggplant/baingan)
  • salt
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. dhania/coriander powder
  • 1 tsp. jeera/cumin powder
  • 1 tsp. garam masala
  • handful of chopped cilantro for garnish
  • l & 1/2 tablespoon oil

What U do :
  1. Boil the chickpeas with 1 tsp. of salt & 2 bay leaves.
  2. Once the chickpeas are cooked, heat oil in a heavy bottom pan. Saute garlic for few seconds, add onions, cook till translucent.
  3. Add chopped veggies, sprinkle some salt, saute them. Once they are around half done add all the dry spices.
  4. Next add tomato paste & little liquid from boiled chickpeas and green chillies. Also add drained chickpeas(see notes) to it and cook it covered till the veggies are done.
  5. Garnish with fresh cilantro & serve with roti/naan or with your fav. bread.
If U don't count the time for boiling the chickpeas, this dish hardly takes 20 minutes or so and it's ready for one wholesome meal.

Notes :
  1. If U prefer canned chickpeas, drain the liquid & rinse them with fresh water, no need to boil.
  2. In case if U r boiling your own chickpeas try to boil them with just enough water as the final dish is dry kind. But if U have extra liquid use it in other dishes or for roti (Indian flat bread)dough.
  3. I usually boil some extra chickpeas & keep them handy in the fridge to throw them in different dishes & if nothing else, works good in lentil salad.
  4. I use whatever veggies I have on hand , so far I've used celery, parsnip/mooli, cauliflower, Indian bottle gourd/ghiya, spinach, beetroot(careful with this as it'll turn the whole dish into dark pinkish red color, so only if U like it that way).
  5. I usually add all the veggies together (except leafy ones if using), that way the veggies which cook quickly like zucchini will get mushed up & U get kind of thick masala(not too much). For leafy veggies I add them once rest of the veggies are half done.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Eggless Baking : Chocolate Banana Bread & Mini Bundt Cakes

Again some bananas waiting for their turn to be used up and thinking, if nobody is eating may be we'll get a good shake with milk......but wait it's snowing outside chances are very less to mingle with the milk......slowly turned black from outside, perfect for baking, may be now somebody will see us.......and finally lady of the house decided their faith.....Chocolate banana bread & mini bundt cakes with blueberries.

Base recipe used here is of my other banana bread but this one was baked to mainly clear few things from the cooler-box and pantry. And it's very forgiving kind of recipe one can easily substitute with what they have in hand or how healthy they want to make it, butter can be totally left out from this recipe as banana works well as fat substitute. Addition of chocolate make it more acceptable by kids even when it has lots of good stuff in it. Please do check the notes at the end, as list of ingredients might make u think it's a very long recipe, which is not, only the list of ingredients is lengthy otherwise it's just mix & bake kind of recipe.

What U need :
Dry ingredients :
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour(I used whole wheat pastry flour, atta works fine)
  • 1/2 cup oat flour(grind regular/old fashioned oats in coffee grinder)
  • 1 cup all purpose flour + 1/2 tablespoon (used maida from Indian store)
  • 3 tablespoon flaxmeal (dry roast flaxseeds when cool grind then using coffee grinder)
  • 1 cup almond meal (grind almonds fine or coarse, as per your taste)
  • 4 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1&1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
Wet Ingredients :
  • 2 tablespoon butter at room temp.
  • 3 medium over ripe bananas
  • 2 tablespoon ricotta cheese
  • 5-6 tablespoon sweet condensed milk
  • 1 cup buttermilk(or homemade dahi/yogurt can be used, dilute it with little water in case if it's thick)
  • 1/2 cup water(might need little less or more depending upon what proportion of diff. flours u r using)
Other Ingredients(totally optional) :
  • handful of blueberries(needed to finish these too)
  • handful of mini chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoon of sweet coconut flakes(rest of the packet is waiting to be turned into coconut cake....ahhh!!)
What U do :
  1. In a large bowl using a whisk, mix all the dry ingredients making sure that there are no lumps. Keep it aside.
  2. Make sure all the wet ingredients are at room temperature. In another bowl using a whisk mix butter, banana, ricotta and condensed milk till they are smooth. Slowly add buttermilk & 1/2 cup of water & again whisk them.
  3. Add dry ingredients to the wet mixture little at a time & keep mixing them till all the dry ingredients are mixed together with wet. It's kind of a thick batter but not too tight. So if needed use little extra water.
  4. Roll blueberries in 1/2 tablespoon flour. Fold berries & choco. chips to the batter. I added coconut flakes to only one loaf. So after filling the bundt pan & one loaf pan I folded coconut flakes to the batter.
  5. Pour it into greased pans & bake it in the 350 degree F oven, for timing check below and for filling bundt pan check notes.
Baking Pans and Time :
I made two small loaves & 12 mini bundt cakes out of this batter. Mini bundt cakes or if U plan for cupcakes usually take around 16-18 minutes. For mini loaves, it took 30 minutes.

Notes :
  1. I have used 3 different flours basic idea was to have around 2 cups of flour, recipe works well with only whole wheat flour also. So U can change the quantity of diff. flours, as long they measure 2 cups in total should work fine.
  2. In wet ingredients also I'm using quite a few things as I had to finish those & bread came out very good with addition of all those. U can check other version of banana bread here which is not using condensed milk & ricotta cheese and play with the recipe as per your taste.
  3. If using mini bundt pan filling the batter into small cavities can be little tricky & messy at the same time. So, here's the easy solution just fill a large Ziploc with the batter, cut 1 cm. from one corner & squeeze the batter out into cavities(fill only around 3/4) or if U happen to have large pastry bag use that. And don't throw the bag wash it, let it dry & use it next time when U again bake mini bundt cakes.  
This chocolate banana bread & mini bundt cakes are off to Champa for her weekly bake-off.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Tilapia with Indian Style Fried Rice

In my house we all love fish. During the summer season I prefer to make wild caught salmon because that's the time when U get it fresh but other times I try to make different kinds. One popular one among my family is Machi Tawa fry. It's basically very simple recipe and can be used with any kind of fish. So I'm not writing the recipe here again as it's same as this one except in that recipe I made rainbow trout but here I have made tilapia. Cooking time is almost same for both the fish, they don't take more than 7-9 minutes on pan depending upon how thick the fillet is. Cut each fillet into two or keep it full. One more difference is I've stopped using my non-stick pan from long time & I use my cast iron pan(lodge) to tawa-fry(pan-fry) the fish.

I served the fish with Indian style fried rice. I had some left over rice so basically made some tarka with veggies to make fried rice. Here's the recipe for very flavorful rice :

What U need :
  • 1 cup cooked rice (preferably left over, if cooking fresh let them cool completely before adding them to tarka)
  • around 3/4 cup of  veggies like carrots, green/red bell pepper, shelled peas, corn
  • one medium size onion thinly sliced
  • 2-3 green chillies chopped
  • salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin powder
  • 1 tsp. mustard seeds
  • few curry leaves(curry patta)
  • 3-4 pieces laung(cloves)
  • 3 tablespoon liquid : water/ chicken stock/ veg. stock
  • 3-4 tsp. cooking oil
What U do :
  • If peas are hard par-boil them or microwave them for 2-3 minutes. Chop carrots & bell pepper into small cubes.
  • Heat oil in karahi(wok), add sliced onions & cook them till translucent.
  • Using a slotted spoon move them to a side of the karahi. Now add mustard seeds & Laung/clove & curry leaves. Once they start to splutter add all the veggies. Sprinkle some salt & saute the veggies for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add rest of the spices & chopped green chillies. If tarka/veggie mixture looks dry add  2-3 spoons liquid(water/veg. stock/ chicken stock), once it's hot add rice to this & mix them nicely so each & every grain get the coating of spices & flavors. Turn the gas off & cover the rice & let them sit for 5 minutes or so.
  • Serve them with yogurt/dahi or any kind of meat/fish U like.
Notes : 1) don't add too much of liquid otherwise rice will become mushy.
2) make sure rice have no lumps before adding it to the tarka, break the lumps using your hands. Once rice is added to the tarka be gentle, otherwise rice grain will break into pieces.
3) I'm not using lot of oil which means rice can stick to the pan so be careful. I use my Iron karahi(wok), it works as non-stick, so if U want U can use non-stick pan or may be increase little bit of oil to avoid sticking problem.

Here's one close look.....

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Eggless Sugar Cookies for a Sweet New Year Start

Happy New Year everyone! Hope everybody had a sweet and cheerful start to the year 2011. Today I'm posting my our first bake of the year 2011. It was a joint project between me & DD and it seems with her touch cookies came out nice & perfect and almost one third were gone before the end of the day.

I don't bake cookies very often so other day when we decided to bake sugar cookies I could not find my recipe(I still have many recipes on piece of papers). So I googled for Egg less Sugar Cookies & I found Aparna's(My Diverse Kitchen) recipe who has further adapted from Slashfood and before I looked at the recipe, the picture of her cookies convinced me that I have to make these. She has decorated them so beautifully, that cookies look like a piece of art. I'm sure many of you must have seen those already at her blog but for those who haven't here's the link. I haven't decorated mine, didn't had that much of time, but they taste good as is and good thing is she substituted 2/3 rd of the all purpose flour with whole wheat flour in this recipe. Another best part is dough doesn't need to rest in the fridge for this recipe so it's Mix, Roll, Cut & Bake. Took us around 20 minutes in total(including baking time) we used half of the recipe & baked around 22 cookies pretty generous size. Out of 22 cookies 12 were baked in the cookie pan with x'mas shapes and these were little more thick than regular rolled ones.

Though I have not changed the recipe other than using whole wheat pastry flour instead of regular whole wheat flour but I'm still going to write down the recipe as I said I halved the recipe and to avoid doing calculations again next time I think it's better to write down.

What U need :
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 7 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 2 & 1/2 tablespoon milk(see notes)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour(I used whole wheat pastry flour)
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
What U do :
  1. Sift together all the dry ingredients : flours, baking powder & salt. Keep it aside.
  2. Cream butter & sugar till smooth. Add milk & vanilla combine everything together. You can use mixer for this step. I use to do this with regular whisk but this time I used stand mixer.
  3. Add dry ingredients to the wet in batches & mix with hands till everything comes together as a dough. If it's crumbly & not coming together add a tsp. of milk & knead it for few seconds only(see Notes).Make 2 balls out of it.
  4. Roll the dough ball into 1/4 inch thick sheet, cut out the shapes U want. Place the cookies on ungreased cookie sheet. Pick rest of the dough which is left after cut outs again make a ball of it & roll it, cut out the cookies, continue till U have no more dough left.
  5. Bake for 10-12 minutes in pre heated oven at 350 degree F.Mine were done in 11 minutes, next time may be I'll take cookie pan out of the oven 1 or 2 minutes early as the bottom side got little dark(no change in the taste--it was good) I guess because pan was dark color. But the cookies in the cookie sheet came out good in 11 minutes.
  6. Let the pan/sheet get little cool, invert the cookies on to the rack. Once completely cool store in the air tight container preferably in the lock if U r planning to decorate them later, as the chances are you won't find them when you need them, they are that good.....if U don't believe me check out at Aparna's blog she also baked it again for decorating. We still have some left as DD choose to take them in her lunch box as dessert, school is opening back tomorrow and I'm very much sure that's gonna be part of her "Share your story/experience from the holidays" discussion.
Notes :
Liquid for this recipe, that is milk, is suggested 1 & 1/2 to 2 & 1/2 tablespoon, I used 2 & 1/2 tablespoon and dough came out together perfectly. Every time quantity of milk used can vary, so it's better to start with minimum liquid suggested & add little bit at a time as needed.
These cookies are off to Champa for her weekly bake-off & also to Suma who's hosting a giveaway of  "The Cake Bible" by Rose Levy Beranbaum for her first blog anniversary celebration.