Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Colorful ribbon salad

This salad came as a surprise to me. I was not planning for a blog post nor was I thinking about making any salad. It just happened and I am so delighted with the results.  It is a busy time of the year for me. Due dates are lurching over my head but I still could not stop myself from making this. During one of my routine visits to the grocery I found these beautiful rainbow carrots. I had to buy those. I had no idea what I was going to do with them.


Then later that evening we were at a friend's place who had pooja in their house and she sent me home with this coconut as prasad. That sparked the idea and I decided to use them together. I kept adding ingredients I had and it become one delicious salad.

4-5 different colored carrots or regular ones
1 zucchini
fresh coconut thinly sliced
1 clementine or orange
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
handful of toasted and glazed pecan or walnuts
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
pinch of salt
1 lemon

Wash the carrots and zucchini. Pat dry. Use a vegetable peeler to make long ribbons with the carrots and zucchini. Peel a few slices from the coconut and keep aside. Mix all the vegetables and pomegranate in a bowl. Peel the clementine and add the slices, maple syrup, lemon juice and salt. Toss to mix well. Season with black pepper and paprika. Finally top with glazed pecans.


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Red lentils and pumpkin soup

I know I have been making a lot of soups lately. There are two reasons for it. One is that it is getting cold and I love having a hot bowl of soup after a hard days work and the other reason is that  I find it easy to put it together as compared to making a full fledged Indian meal. I was very happy with the way this soup turned out but I was more excited about the creamy coconut milk and sour cream dip that I made to go along with it.

Here is the recipe.
1 cup masoor dal (red lentils) washed and soaked in water for half and hour
1 can of pumpkin puree
1 heaped tbsp. grated ginger
1 can coconut milk
3-4 ground cloves (laung)
2 shallots
3-4 large cloves or garlic (finely chopped)
1 stick cinnamon
2 tsp curry powder
1tsp. turmeric
2 tsp roasted cumin powder
1 tsp chilli powder
salt to taste
olive oil for cooking

Heat olive oil in a pot and add the chopped shallot, garlic and ginger. Stir for a few minutes then add the cinnamon and ground cloves. Cook for about 5 minutes then add the turmeric and ground cloves. Drain all the water and add the lentil in the pot. Mix well till the lentils are well coated with onions and spice. Add the curry powder, chilli powder, roasted cumin powder, salt and mix everything well. Pour about 2 cups of water, cover the pot and bring it to a boil. Cook the lentils till they are completely cooked. Now add the pumpkin puree and after removing the cinnamon stick blend the soup using a hand blender. Finally add the coconut milk in it and adjust the seasoning.

I topped this soup with curry flavored sour cream. To make it I mixed 1/2 a cup of sour cream with 1/4 cup coconut milk, 1tsp chipotle seasoning, a dash of salt, curry powder and 1 tbsp haberno and pineapple dip (optional). I added the haberno dip as I had it at home but I would have added sweet mango pickle or any sweet chutney instead.

For serving pour the soup in a bowl and top with the sour cream.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Green tomato chutney


One of my all time favorite movies is fried green tomatoes. No and I don't think it is because the title sounds so delicious or because food/restaurant as a theme runs throughout the film. I love the story, the characters and the the setting and the message of endurance the film portrays (to me at least) I think it also had to to with the time in my life when I watched this film and I am sure we all are influenced or inspired by films or music or a novel sometimes if it relates to touches your life at that time.

It is true though that I tried to make fried green tomatoes for the first time only after seeing this film. I bought the store bought batter mix first and I think it was the whistle stop brand? Not sure now but whistle stop was the name of a station in the film. I loved eating fried green tomatoes! I started making my own mix as it was really simple and it came out very well.

Maybe I should make it and post a recipe. But this is another recipe using green tomatoes and it is delicious. I love having this with paratha or puri. It goes very well with crackers or chips.

2 large green tomatoes chopped
1tsp fennel seeds
1tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp. fenugreek seeds
2-4 cloves
1tsp onion seeds (kalonji)
½ tsp. cumin seeds
2-3 dry whole red chilies
1tsp turmeric powder
1tsp black salt
1tsp red chilli powder
4 tbsp. brown sugar or powdered jaggery
Pinch of asafoetida
2 tbsp. oil for cooking
Salt to taste


Heat oil in a pan. Add all the seeds and once they crackle, add the whole red chillies and asafoetida, red chilli powder and turmeric powder. Quickly add the chopped green tomatoes and stir well. Now add the salt and sugar, little water and cover the pan. Let it look for about 5-7 minutes until tomatoes become soft yet not mushy. Taste for seasoning and adjust salt or sugar.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Vada Pav

Vada pav is a quintessential Bombay snack. A spicy mix of potatoes dipped in batter and deep fried then served tucked in bread with spicy chutney. I was thinking of making something special as I realized that I have successfully managed to blog for one whole year. Celebrations usually call for sweets/ desserts but I do not have much of a sweet tooth, although I cannot say I do not like sweet things. When I have a craving, it is usually for something, hot and spicy…even deepfried!  Vada pav may not sound like a grand celebratory food item but it satisfied my craving. I am sure people who love chaats and samosas and pakoras would agree with me that something like this could be special too

Here is the recipe

For the vada
3 large potatoes boiled and mashed
2 tbsp. ginger garlic green chili and curry leaves paste (grind all the ingredient together)
1 tsp. mustard seeds
½ tsp. asafoetida
1 tsp. turmeric powder
Salt to taste
Chopped cilantro about ¼ cup


For the batter

2 cups of gram flour/besan
About ¾ cup of water, (Add more if needed to make a thick batter)
Salt, red chili powder, carom seed powder (ajwain powder), pinch of asafoetida/hing and turmeric (add all the spices according to your liking or taste).
Crush a little kasoori methi (dry fenugreek leaves) and add to the batter.
Mix everything very well to make a smooth paste.


For the garlic and peanut chutney
 ½ cup roasted peanuts
½ cup roasted sesame seeds
¼ cup roasted coconut
½-cup garlic cloves
5-6 dry red chili
1-2 tbsp. red chili powder
Salt according to taste
Dry roast the garlic and red chilies. Grind everything listed above to make a coarse paste

Heat oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds and asafoetida.  Once the seeds splutter, add the ground paste and stir well. Add the turmeric and the potatoes. Season with salt and mix well. Add the chopped cilantro mix it in. Now make small balls with the potato mixture and keep it aside.

For making the vadas
Dip the potato balls in the prepared batter and deep dry until they turn golden and crispy.  

To assemble take the hamburger bun and slit it. Apply some green chutney if desired (made with cilantro and green chilies) and the garlic chutney. Now place one or two potato vadas in the bun. Serve with a cup of masala chai.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Almonds and roasted apple soup

I would have never thought of making a soup with apples. However, it happened after I saw a friend who makes the most delicious cookies and cakes and so we often end up visiting to say hello and it helps that they live in the neighborhood. They have also shared a lot of gardening tips with me and gifted several plants that all Indian families love to have like curry patta, betel leaf plant, bamboo, jasmine etc. They often go out to pick their own vegetables and fruits from local farms. It was after one such trip that they shared about how they picked buckets of apples from a local farm and I was curious to know how they were going to use all those apples. They told me that they made a vegetable korma using apples! Maybe it is a common thing but I had never heard of it and it amused me and made me think of apples in a different way. 

As it happened, we too had visited the same farm and had our own little bucket of apples. I was thinking of eating one during lunch every day and then maybe make an apple cake or pie? I was thinking more about the traditional recipes with apples.

However, when I heard about that apple korma I began to think about using my bucket of apples for something a little different and that is when I decided to make a soup with it. I added blanched almonds for making it thick and creamy and some maple syrup for added sweetness. 

Two large apples
1-cup almonds
Two sticks of cinnamon
1 star anise
½ tsp. chopped ginger
2-3 bay leaf
4-5 cloves
1 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. smoked paprika
Some freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup pure maple syrup
2 tsp. sea salt (according to taste)
2 cups apple cider
Water as needed to thin the soup
Any soft cheese ¼ cup (flavored ginger mango stilton would be delicious but I did not have it at this time)

Peel and slice the apples. Apply olive oil and salt and roast them in the oven for 15 minutes or until the apples become soft and nicely browned from outside. The apples should not burn but look caramelized.  Soak the almonds for a few hours to blanch them. Peel the skin and keep the almonds aside.

Heat a tablespoon of butter with a little olive oil and add all the spices (cinnamon, cloves, ginger, star anise, and bay leaf). Add the apples, almonds, and mix everything well. Now pour the apple cider, salt and maple syrup. Adjust seasoning according to taste. Cover and let simmer for a few minutes. Now remove the whole spices with a slotted spoon. Blend the soup very well until it becomes smooth and creamy. Now add the cheese and mix. To serve, pour the soup in a bowl and top with a drizzle of maple syrup, marshmallows and a dash of paprika if desired. The soup is rich and filling therefore the serving size should be smaller I enjoyed it with a grilled cheese sandwich for dinner.