Red Lentil and Zucchini Pakodas

I saw this recipe in Bon Appetit a few months ago and it caught my attention for several reasons. I had never seen a pakoda (fritter) recipe made with not only Masoor dal (red lentils) but also a nutritious green vegetable.

Lentils are an excellent source of vegetable protein, rich in iron and folate and the addition of Zucchini adds antioxidants and fiber to the dish .

I experimented, adding a few more spices and cilantro to the original recipe and cooked it in my air fryer (healthy alternative to pan frying).

Serve the pakodas with cilantro chutney, ketchup or hot sauce.

Ingredients

1 cup Masoor dal (red lentils)

1 medium zucchini, coarsely grated

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup onion, finely chopped

1 teaspoon garlic paste

1 teaspoon ginger grated

1/2 – 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup cilantro leaves, chopped

Ghee or oil for sautéing

Preparation

Rinse the lentil and soak with water overnight.

Add the grated zucchini to a colander and add the salt and onion. Mix well and set the colander over a medium bowl and let this mixture sit for a couple of hours.

Squeeze the liquid from the mixture and pat with paper towels to remove any excess moisture.

Drain the lentils and place in a food processor.

Add the spices and 1/2 teaspoon salt and pulse the mixture till it forms a puree.

Transfer the lentil mixture to a bowl, add the zucchini mixture, chopped cilantro and stir to combine .

Heat oil or ghee in a large skillet over medium heat and drop about 1/4 cup batter , flattening the top with a spatula. Drop about 6 “pakodas” in the skillet and frying them for 3-4 minutes on each side.

Transfer them to a plate lined with a paper towel. Repeat with the remains mixture.

Makes about 12 pakodas, depending on size.

Air Fryer Method

While your air fryer is preheating (for approximately 5 minutes) at 380 degrees, shape your pakodas and brush with oil

Cook for about 6 minutes; turn them over, brush oil on the other side and continue to cook for about 5 more minutes, until brown.

Serve with cilantro chutney, ketchup or hot sauce.

Carrot-Halwa Bars

I stumbled upon this recipe on the website Food 52.com. This method of baking “Gajjar Halwa” made it even quicker than the previous recipe I posted last year. These bars turned out delicious and also tasted a bit less sweet.

The bars can also be made and frozen which is convenient since this recipe makes quite a large portion!

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 cups shredded carrots

1/2 cup whole milk

5 tablespoons sugar

1/2 cup raisins (optional)

0ne 14-ounce can Condensed milk

8 tablespoons butter, melted

1/8 teaspoon cardamom powder (5 pods)

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg grated (optional)

1/2 cup slivered almonds

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13″x 10″ baking pan.

Sift the flour and baking powder and place in a large bowl, making a well.

Combine the carrots, milk, sugar and raisins in a large bowl and microwave for about 5 minutes until the carrots are soft.

Add the melted butter, cardamom powder and nutmeg to the carrot mixture.

Pour the carrot mixture into the middle of the flour and gently fold the mixture from outside to the middle.

Do not over mix as you can cause the gluten to develop resulting in a tough leathery mixture.

Spread evenly on the greased cookie sheet. Top with slivered almonds.

Bake for 20 minutes until the top is golden brown.

Cool and cut into squares. Can be frozen for a month.

Savory Quinoa Mini Muffins

Quinoa is one of the healthiest grains – high in protein, a moderate amount of fibre and various minerals and vitamins. These mini muffins made with quinoa are a great addition to lunch or dinner with soup or as an appetizer.

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups cooked Quinoa

1/2 cup finely chopped onion

1/4 -1/2 cup corn

1/2 cup black beans

1/2 cup edamame or lima beans

1/4 cup salsa

1-2 tbsp hot sauce (Sriracha or buffalo wing hot sauce)

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp garlic powder

2-3 tbsp cilantro leaves, finely chopped

2 eggs, beaten

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Brush a 24 cup mini muffin pan (or 2- 12 cup mini muffin pans) with oil.

Mix all of the above ingredients together and fill the muffin cups.

Bake for 20 minutes. Cool in pan for 5 minutes and remove to a wire rack.

Almond Halwa

Happy Diwali! Diwali (or Deepavali) is India’s biggest holiday of the year. Also called the festival of lights – it gets its name from the row (avali) of clay lamps (deepa) that Indians light outside their homes to symbolize the inner light that protects from spiritual darkness.

I enjoy making a variety of Mitai (Indian sweets) during this time – and this recipe is a quick and easy one!

Preparation

2 teaspoon butter or ghee

1 cup almond or cashew flour

1/2 cup milk

4 tablespoon sugar (or more to taste)

Pinch of saffron strands (optional)

1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder (optional)

Chopped nuts, for garnish

Whipping cream (optional)

Method

Heat the butter or ghee in a saucepan.

Add the almond flour, milk, sugar and saffron strands, if using.

Cook over medium heat for 3-4 minutes, until mixture is thick

Add Cardamom powder (if using).

Pour into a serving dish, and garnish with nuts

Serve warm, with whipping cream if desired

Matri (Savory Crackers)

One of my grandson’s favorite snacks is Matri, a savory Indian snack. The traditional way of making it is to fry the dough to make it quite crispy. As I am always looking for healthy snack recipes, I decided to adapt a savory cracker recipe and switched out the spices to the ones below, typically used for this recipe, and made a baked version of Matri. We have found that it is such an addictive treat!

Ingredients

1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon red chili powder

1/8 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon sesame seeds

3/4 -1 teaspoon ajwain (Substitute: dry thyme or oregano)

1/3 cup oil

1/2 cup water

Preparation

Preheat oven to 375.

Mix all of the dry ingredients, including seasonings, in a large bowl.

Add the oil, and mix well.

Add the water slowly to make a fairly stiff dough.

Rest the dough for about 30 minutes.

Roll out to 1/4″ thickness. Prick the dough.

Cut into squares and bake for about 20 minutes.

Remove from oven and cool Matri on a wire rack.

Curried Peas and Tomato

Fresh English peas are low in calories, high in fiber and have one of the highest amounts of plant-based protein. The addition of tomato makes this dish even healthier as tomatoes contain Lycopene and Lutein which are great for your eyes! Pan-fried or scrambled paneer and tofu can be added to the dish to make it more filling.

Ingredients

2 cups fresh English Peas (Trader Joe’s generally have them in stock in the salad/veggie section)

2 tablespoon oil

1 teaspoon black mustard seeds

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 medium onion, chopped fine or grated

1 teaspoon each, garlic paste and ginger paste

1/2 – 1 teaspoon red chili powder

1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 medium tomato chopped

1 tablespoon tomato paste

juice of 1/2 a lemon

2 tablespoon chopped cilantro for garnish

Method

Steam the peas for about 4- 5 minutes till just soft (do not cook completely)

Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds- as the mustard seeds start popping, add the onion . Sauté for about 3 minutes till the onion start to brown.

Add the garlic and ginger paste and stir for 30 seconds. Add the remaining spices and continue to stir for a minute. Next add 2 tablespoons water and cook until the spices are well combined.

Stir in the chopped tomato and tomato paste and continue to stir till the tomato is soft and mushy. Add 1/2 cup water and continue to cook for another few minutes.

Add the peas and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the lemon juice .

Garnish with chopped cilantro.

Variation: Add pan-fried Paneer (or even scrambled tofu) for a more filling dish.

Quick Stir Fried Chicken

I came across a recipe for Cauliflower Manchurian and the base was using ketchup… I thought I could adapt it for chicken as well! This is such a basic condiment thats in every house!

Ingredients

1 pound boneless chicken breasts, 1 1/2 “cubed

about 1/2 cup flour

2 tablespoon oil ( divided )

4-5 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 ” piece of ginger, grated

1/2 teaspoon cumin powder

1 teaspoon coriander powder

1/2 teaspoon garam masala

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper ( more if needed)

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup tomato ketchup ( preferably low sodium and less sugar)

Method

Coat the chicken cubes with flour.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a wok or frying pan. Add the chicken cubes and stir fry till the chicken is nearly cooked. about 4-5 minutes.

Remove and set aside.

Add another tablespoon oil in the wok, stir in the garlic and ginger. Stir for 30 seconds and add the remaining spices. Sauté till blended.

Add the ketchup. Cook for a few minutes till the mixture is thick and bubbly.

Add the chicken cubes into the sauce and cook for 2-3 minutes.

Gajjar Halwa (Carrot)

Carrot Halwa is a popular dish to make in India in the winter months -especially during Diwali. The carrots are plentiful and it is an easy dish to make. Enjoying a warm dessert after a delicious meal when its cold out, makes this even more appetizing! It is also another way to get some additional Vitamin A !

And if you have a major sweet tooth, simply add more condensed milk.

Ingredients

2 cups grated carrots

1 tablespoon ghee or butter

1/2 cup milk

2 tablespoon milk powder ( optional)

1/4 cup condensed milk

1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder (optional)

chopped almonds or pistachio for garnish

Method:

Heat the ghee in a frying pan or wok.

Add the carrots and sauté for 3 – 4 minutes till carrots are soft.

Add the milk and milk powder, continue to cook till the milk is evaporated.

Add the condensed milk and continue to stir for about 3 minutes till the mixture is thick .

Add the cardamom powder if using – stir until well mixed.

Add nuts and serve.

Serve at room temperature. Serve with whipping cream (optional).

Waffled Falafel with Tzakiki

falfal waffelI discovered this recipe on the Food Network website – it’s now my favorite way to make falafel.  Its an easy kid friendly vegetarian meal… chickpeas are such a great source of protein and fiber.

It can be eaten by itself if you are carb conscious, or with pita bread and salad. You can serve the falafel waffles with a variety of different sauces such as homemade tzaziki.

They also freeze well and are easily reheated in a toaster oven.

Falafel Ingredients

16 ounces cooked chicken peas (1 can drained)

1/3 cup oil (or less if desired)

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

2 tablespoons all purpose or whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin powder

1 teaspoon coarse salt

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander powder

1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder

1 small green chile chopped (optional)

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 large egg whites (or 1 egg)

Tzakiki Ingredients

1 medium cucumber, seeded and diced (or shredded)

1 cup of yogurt

1 clove of garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon salt

lemon juice to taste

1-2 teaspoon fresh dill, chopped (optional)

 

Preparation

Make the Tzakiki first:

Put the cucumber in a colander, sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Let this sit for 30 minutes, (water is drawn out of the cucumber so the sauce is not so watery) and press gently to remove  the liquid from the cucumber.

Add the cucumber to the remaining ingredients . Season with salt as needed. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

Prepare the Falafel:

Preheat a waffle iron (on maximum settings if your waffle maker has settings).

Add the above ingredients to a food processor and blend until smooth.

Brush both sides of the grid with oil, and pour about 1/2 cup batter in the middle of the waffle iron.

Falafal waffel

Check the waffle when the light goes out, as you may need to leave the waffle in a few minutes longer until it is crisp about 6- 10 minutes.

Serve with  Tzatziki sauce and harissa sauce,  cilantro chutney or a tomato cucumber relish.

 

Zucchini Bites

IMG_4864

I had been looking for a new, tasty vegetable dish and came across this recipe.

These little bites bake up crisp, are easy to prepare and even appeal to our not always so veggie friendly family!

They can also be frozen and reheat well.

 

Ingredients

1 medium zucchini, grated

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 small carrot, grated

1 large egg beaten

1/2 teaspoon red chili powder,

1/4 teaspoon cumin powder.

1/4 teaspoon coriander powder

1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped

1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced

1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs

 

 

Preparation

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Oil a baking sheet and set aside.

Put the grated zucchini in a sieve, sprinkle with salt and set aside for 5 minutes. Press as much liquid from the zucchini and place in a towel and squeeze as much water as possible.

Place in a bowl and add the remaining ingredients and mix well.

Form small 2 ” flat patties and place on the baking sheet.

 

IMG_4863

 

Bake for 10 minutes, turn them over and bake again for an additional 6 minutes or so until they are brown and crisp.

 

 

 

 

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