Dosa-Waffles

I have been reading lately about the many non-waffle recipes you can make in your waffle iron. There’s even a blog (waffled tofu & frozen fries!) & cookbook called “Will it Waffle” – 53 “unexpected” recipes!

I decided to experiment with a dosa recipe (Indian lentil pancakes) using green moong dal. It is quicker & easier than making dosas on the stove, one by one! I did have to add a few extra ingredients (oats & baking powder) but they turned out great.

The dosa-waffles can be served with cilantro chutney or even with a spicy ketchup (make your own by mixing regular ketchup with a little of Siracha or hot sauce). These also reheat well and can be frozen.

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Ingredients

1 cup whole green moong dal, (soaked for about 4 hours)

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1/2 small onion

2 whole green chillies

1/4 cup oat flour (you can also grind oats in a blender)

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoon oil

1/2 cup water

Preparation

Put all of the ingredients in a blender and process till smooth.

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Add a little more water, slowly, to get a thick pouring batter (like waffle batter!).

Preheat the waffle iron, brush the grids with a little oil, add about 3/4 cup batter (depending on the shape and size of your waffle maker) and cook them.

Remove and place on a wire rack.

Serve hot with chutney or spicy ketchup.

Spicy Grilled Salmon

I learned recently Salmon is one of the healthiest fish to eat as it is packed with omega-3s and protein. (If you’re surprised to hear me talking about salmon… no, I do not eat seafood but my family loves it so I do cook fish occasionally!)

A friend recommended a favorite recipe so I decided to try it out for a party I was having with a few friends. Some of them only eat Halal or kosher meats but enjoy seafood so I thought it would be an easy entree.

Visiting the Baltimore Aquarium this summer, I also discovered that sustainability is a major issue with most fish consumption. When shopping, ask where the salmon is from. There are several good choices – find out more here on SeafoodWatch.org.

I used to ask the butcher at my supermarket to remove the skin of the salmon for me but I later learned that there are benefits of leaving the skin on. When salmon is grilled skin side is up,  the omega-3 “good” fats melt, and moisten the fish. After the salmon is turned with the skin side is down, the skin gets crispy and it is then easy to remove.

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Ingredients

3 pounds salmon , cut into 2″ pieces

1 cup plain yogurt

8-10 cloves, garlic

3″ piece of ginger, (skinned and chopped)

1 tablespoon tandoori paste or powder

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 tablespoon cumin powder

1 heaping teaspoon coriander powder

1 tablespoon mustard oil (safflower or vegetable oil)

2 tablespoon methi leaves crushed (optional)

Lemon wedges and finely cut onion rings for garnish

Preparation

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Grind the garlic and ginger with about 2 tablespoon water to make a smooth paste

Mix all the ingredients together and add to the salmon pieces. Marinate for a 2-4 hours.

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Heat grill to very hot, oil the grates and cook the salmon for about 5 minutes, turn and cook again for another 3-4 minutes (depending on the thickness) .

Garnish with lemon wedges and raw onion rings.

Murgh Makhani (Butter Chicken)

Tandoori dishes originated in the northwest part of India (near the region of Afghanistan and Pakistan).  A Tandoor (clay oven) was used to make flatbread for the community – dough in the form of “tandoori roti” or “naan” was patted into flat round or tear shaped disks, moistened and stuck to the clay oven which was set over hot coals.  It was also used to cook skewered meat or chicken, with the tip of the skewers placed in the coal so the meat could be could cooked by both radiant and convection heat.

My first introduction to tandoori chicken was in Old Delhi at a very well known restaurant called Moti Mahal.  There was not much to the atmosphere but the restaurant was always packed – the food was outstanding!

Tandoori food is pretty simple to make at home if you have a grill, and even using a standard oven. I used to make Murgh Makhani using tomato puree, but came up with an even easier and tastier short cut-  using tomato soup. I have been using Trader Joe’s Tomato, or Tomato & Roasted Red Pepper soup which comes in a carton. This can also be made as a vegetarian dish substituting paneer (indian cubed cottage cheese) or tofu.

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Ingredients

1 pound boneless chicken, cut into 1/2″ cubes

Marinade:

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon each, garlic and ginger paste

2 tablespoons Tandoori spice mix OR the next 4 ingredients

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon cumin powder

1 teaspoon coriander powder

1/2 teaspoon garam masala

1/2 cup yogurt (non fat or regular)*

1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon orange food color (don’t use red as it will turn the marinade pink!)

Sauce:

3 cups tomato soup (if using condensed soup dilute with 1/2 can of water)

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon coriander powder

1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

Preparation

Mix all of the “marinade” ingredients together, and then stir in the chicken. Keep in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.

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Skewer the chicken. Grill or broil on each side, about 4 minutes, until the chicken is cooked (about 8 minutes total). If using the broiler, place the rack one level from the top.

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Remove from skewers and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, heat the butter on low heat, till it is melted. Add the cayenne pepper, salt and coriander powder.

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Stir and add the tomato soup.

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Simmer for 5 minutes; then add the tandoori chicken pieces.

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When heated through add the whipping cream, simmer for 3-5 minutes.

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Serve with rice or Naan.

* I prefer Greek yogurt, as regular yogurt makes the marinade more watery, but I use whichever I have on hand.

Podi Gudu (Spicy Scrambled Eggs)

Podi gudu and puris were a typical breakfast of mine, growing up in Hyderabad.  For obvious health reasons, puris (fried puffy bread) aren’t the most popular breakfast item any more, and even I don’t feel like making them often because they are fairly time-consuming! I’ve found though, that this flavorful scrambled egg dish is a great lunch item  – as a wrap filling, using a chapati or tortilla- for us adults or kids. For those who do not eat eggs, using tofu is a great substitute.

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Ingredients

2 large eggs, beaten (OR 4 ounce tofu, drained and crumbled)

1 tablespoon oil

1-2 tablespoons onion, finely chopped

1-2 tablespoon bell pepper, finely chopped

1 tablespoon tomato, finely chopped

1-2 green chillies, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon, each salt and pepper

1 tablespoon coriander leaves (cilantro), finely chopped

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Preparation

Heat oil in a small skillet. Add the onion and sauté for a couple of minutes until light brown. Add the bell pepper and continue to sauté for another few minutes or till soft. Add the tomatoes, green chillies and seasonings.

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Stir for 30 seconds and pour in the beaten egg or crumbled tofu.

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Cook on low heat for one minute. Stir until the eggs are set; add the cilantro and serve.

Indian “Tortilla”

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Many years ago we were invited to our Venezuelan friend’s house for dinner. Much to our surprise, the main course was Calamari. Since we’re not the most adventurous eaters and I don’t eat seafood, it was a very awkward moment!

They were, however, most gracious – the quickest item our hostess could come up with was Tortilla Espanola, probably the most common dish served in Spain. Needless to say, the “Indianized” tortilla became one of our favorite one-dish meals. Sometimes I make a quick potato omelet with a salad for lunch or dinner.  Its also a great meal to use up left over vegetables, versatile so you can serve it as a hot meal, or as a room temperature “tapa” as they do in Spain.

Notes: I prefer to use cooked potatoes as it uses less oil than if you have to saute the raw potatoes prior to making the omelet.  Sometimes I boil a few potatoes with the skin on and store them this way in the refrigerator for a few days and use them in various dishes as needed.

Ingredients

2 – 2 1/2 cups potatoes. cooked and sliced

1 medium onion, chopped fine

1 cup diced bell pepper, red or green 

2 – 3 long green chillies, chopped fine

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon fresh garlic, minced

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped fine

6 -7 large eggs, beatenIMG_2205

Preparation

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a medium size cast iron skillet (or any other skillet). Add the onions and saute for about 3 minutes until soft.  Add the potatoes, bell peppers and spices and continue to stir for another 3-4 minutes.

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Add this mixture to the bowl of beaten eggs along with the cilantro.

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Wipe the skillet and add a tablespoon of oil, and pour the egg mixture back into the skillet. Cook on low till the eggs are nearly set.

Take a large plate, cover the skillet and turn the eggs on to the plate.

Add a tablespoon oil in the skillet and slide the egg back into the skillet. Continue to cook the omelet for about 3-4 minutes.

Cut into wedges and serve.

Serves 4- 6.

Black-Eyed Peas Stir Fry

Black-eyed peas are one of the most versatile legumes to make. They are very nutritious – high in iron, Vitamin B, C, zinc, soluble fiber and protein. Down here in the South (we live in South Carolina), black-eyed peas are traditionally eaten on New Years Day as they are considered to bring “good luck” for the coming year. I use canned or dried… depending on how much time I have to prepare the meal. If using the dried beans I soak them overnight with a pinch of baking soda, which reduces the cooking time. We (and most Indian families) have a pressure cooker, which makes it even quicker to cook dried beans and lentils – black-eyed peas cook in 5 to 7 minutes with a pressure cooker, versus 45 minutes to an hour on the stove top. This recipe is very flavorful and a good one for children as well. IMG_1963

Ingredients

2 cans black eyed peas, drained and rinsed OR .. 1 cup dried black-eyed peas, soaked overnight and cooked in water for about 45 minutes till peas are tender  (just reserve about 1/2 cup of the liquid)  Cooks to about 2 cups of cooked peas. 1 tablespoon oil 1 teaspoon cumin seeds 1 small onion, chopped 1-2 whole green chilies, slit 1 teaspoon salt lemon juice 1 tablespoon cilantro leaves, chopped (optional)

Preparation

Heat the oil in a saucepan and add the cumin seeds. When they start to sizzle, add the onions and sauté for 3 minutes until light brown. Add the green chilies and stir for 30 seconds. IMG_1956 Stir in the cooked black-eyed peas and salt, stir for a minute and add about 1/2 cup water and simmer for about 3 minutes. IMG_1955 Stir in lemon juice and garnish with cilantro.

Chicken 65 (or Tofu/Cauliflower 65)

The most frequent question I receive about this South Indian recipe is… why is it called Chicken 65??  There are lots of theories, such as the fact that it was created in 1965, or it has 65 ingredients (which it does not have!)  All I can say is that this dish has a wonderful distinct flavor that comes from using a generous amount of curry leaves.

Restaurants typically serve Chicken 65 as an appetizer, but personally I like to serve it as a main course since we enjoy it so much. Also, in the traditional recipe, the chicken is deep fried – but as a healthier option, I simply stir fry it and find that it is just as tasty!

You can also make Gobi 65 (Cauliflower) or Tofu 65 – no need to marinade, just start by stir frying the tofu or cauliflower. Continue with the preparation below – simply leave out leave out the last step (don’t add the extra garlic, ginger and yogurt).

 

 

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Ingredients

1 pound boneless chicken, cut into 1/2″ pieces

Marinade:

1 tsp each, garlic and ginger paste

1 tsp red chili powder (to taste)

1 tsp salt

1/2 cup curry leaves, chopped fine (it is quicker to do it in a spice grinder)

1/4 tsp Tandoori food color or a few drops of red or orange food color

Coating:  2 tbsp white flour and 2 tablespoons cornstarch

2-3 green chillies, slit

3 sprigs of curry leaves

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp each, garlic and  ginger paste

1 tsp coriander powder

1/4 cup yogurt

2 tbsp cilantro, finely chopped

1 lime

Preparation

Mix the marinade ingredients together and toss with the chicken. Marinade for several hours.

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Coat the chicken pieces with the flour mixture .

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Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a wok. Add about 1/2 of the chicken pieces and sauté for about 4-5 minutes till cooked (no longer pink inside). Remove and set aside. Repeat with the remaining chicken pieces adding oil as needed.

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Heat 1 tablespoon oil in the wok, add the green chillies,and curry leaves and stir till the curry leaves are crisp. Remove and set aside.

In the same pan add the garlic ginger, salt, coriander powder and stir for 30 seconds. Add the yogurt and stir for a minute on low heat.

Add in the chicken pieces into the yogurt mixture and  stir for about 2 minutes.

Squeeze lime over the chicken.  Garnish with cilantro and fried green chillies and curry leaves before serving.

Tomato Kheema

Kheema, the Indian version of “chili”, is one of the most common non-vegetarian dishes cooked in India. It can be eaten with rice, bread (chapati) and as a treat, puri (deep fried bread).

There is also variation of kheema without the tomato – it more of a dry dish and uses similar ingredients. Depending on your menu or preference either one can be made, see note below.

I prefer to use lean ground beef, but in India, goat meat is used in all meat preparations. It is leaner than chicken but is a good choice for kheema because it can be a little on the tough side depending on the cut of meat.

You can also use Veggie Crumbles as a substitute for meat.

 

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Ingredients

1 pound lean ground beef (93%)

1-2 tablespoon oil

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

3 cloves, 2″ cinnamon stick, 2 cardamom (1/8 tsp of each in powdered form)

1 teaspoon garlic paste

1 teaspoon ginger paste

1 teaspoon cayenne or to taste

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

3 tablespoon tomato paste

1/4 cup yogurt

1 teaspoon coriander powder

1/2 teaspoon garam masala

3/4 cup frozen peas

2 tablespoon chopped cilantro

lemon to taste

Preparation

Heat oil in a medium saucepan, add onions and stir fry till the onions are medium brown about 3-4 minutes.

Add the cumin seeds, cloves, cinnamon and cardamon. Stir for 30 seconds. Add the ginger, garlic,cayenne, salt, turmeric to the pan and stir till the spices are blended.

Add 2 tablespoon water to the pan, and when the water evaporates, add the tomato paste with about 1/2 cup more water. Stir until the sauce is smooth and bring to a simmer.

When you see the oil rise to the top, add the yogurt and continue to cook for another minute. Add the ground beef and stir constantly making sure that there are no big clumps. Cover and continue to cook for 10 minutes on low heat stirring occasionally.

Uncover the pan, add the coriander powder, garam masala and the frozen peas. Simmer for another 5 minutes. Add the cilantro and a squeeze of lime.

 

Variation: Sookha (dry) Kheema

Follow the above directions omitting the tomato paste and water.

When cooking the ground beef, sauté on low heat (uncovered) until the meat is dark brown in color (you may need to cook for an additional 5 minutes). Stir in the coriander powder, garam masala and peas. Add cilantro and lime, if desired.

 

Masala Chicken

IMG_1216This recipe for Masala Chicken is one of the quickest recipes I’ve found for this traditional Indian dish.  Its great especially on days when I am busy and want to get dinner on the table as soon as possible. I usually have the ingredients at home and the chicken cooks fast, especially if you are using boneless chicken breasts.

People always ask me… “how do you get the chicken so moist & tender?” It should take only about 5-6 minutes to cook boneless chicken – so make sure you don’t over cook it!

I use masala chicken as a filling in sandwiches or wraps, or as a main meal with rice, vegetable and a dal.

Ingredients

1 pound boneless chicken breasts, cut into small pieces

2 tablespoons oil

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 large onion, finely chopped

1/8 teaspoon each, cinnamon powder, clove powder and cardamom powder (all optional)

1 teaspoon red chili powder

1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon coriander powder

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 tablespoon cilantro, chopped , for garnish

Preparation

Heat oil in a large frying pan or wok. Add the cumin seeds and stir until they start to brown.

Add the onions and cook for about 4 minutes until the onions turn brown.

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Add  the cinnamon, clove, cardamom powders, red chili powder, turmeric, salt and coriander powder. Stir for 1 minute, add 1/4 cup water and mix until the water evaporates and the oil starts to separate out.

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Add the chicken and stir until the chicken is cooked, about 5 minutes.

Add the lemon juice and garnish with cilantro leaves.

 

Spicy Chicken Croquettes

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My younger daughter had a problem eating chicken. She would chew and chew and chew! And  then drink glasses of water to help her swallow it throughout her meal and the result was she was so full of water she wouldn’t want to eat after that!  Fortunately I came across a recipe for Chicken Croquettes in a “Better Homes & Garden”cookbook… I had found my answer! She had no problem eating chicken this way as it is finely minced up, the white sauce was flavorful and the outside crust was crispy. This became a favorite with her and almost every other child I have fed over the years!

I then “Indianized” it and have been making this recipe ever since. The great thing about this recipe is that it can be made ahead especially if you have company coming for dinner or to stay for a weekend. You can fry them before serving, as needed. They also can be frozen before or after frying.

Ingredients

2 cups of minced chicken (2 large boneless chicken breasts, cooked and minced in a food processor*)

3 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup flour

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup chicken broth

2 tablespoon cilantro, finely chopped

1 small onion, grated

2 small green chillies, finely minced or ground

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

2 cups dry breadcrumbs

2 large eggs, beaten

oil for frying

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Preparation

Melt butter in a 2 quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and cook for 1 minute.

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Slowly add the milk and stock stirring constantly till the sauce is smooth.

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Add the onions, green chillies, lemon juice, cilantro, and all of the spices and cook for 3 minutes until the sauce is very thick.

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Add the minced chicken and mix well with the sauce.

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Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or over night.

The mixture will be very thick. Take about 1/4 heaping cup of the mixture and make into oblong rolls about 3 ” long .


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Roll into dry breadcrumbs, dip in beaten egg and roll again into the breadcrumbs. (This method will give you a crispy crust after frying)

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Heat oil, about 1″ – 2′ deep, on medium high in a wok or frying pan. When oil is hot ( test with small piece of bread, the bread should quickly rise to the top ) add about 3 -4 croquettes and fry for 3 minutes turning them around till they are golden brown on all sides.

Drain on paper towels and serve hot.

*Note: To cook the chicken: cover chicken with water in a saucepan, and bring to boil. Turn the heat off, cover with a lid. Set aside for about 15 minutes. Chicken should be cooked. Drain and finely chop by hand or in a food processor.

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