Naan with Mixed Vegetable

We’ve always enjoying eating Aloo Parathas (flat bread stuffed with potato) so I decided to try making naan stuffed with mixed vegetables. Baking Naan, I’ve found, is much easier than making parathas or rotis/chapatis, as you can make about 6 pieces at the same time. The results are even better if you have a pizza stone!

Frozen mixed vegetables as well as frozen pizza dough, saves a lot of time but feel free to use fresh veggies if you have them on hand.

Ingredients

1 tablespoon yeast

3/4 cup warm water

1 teaspoon sugar

1 tablespoon oil

1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

Filling

1 tablespoon oil

2 cups of mixed vegetables..( 1 packet frozen ), cooked

1 small onion, diced

1 medium potato, cooked and mashed

2 green chillies, cut fine

1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon ginger, grated

1/2 teaspoon garam masala

1/2 teaspoon red chili powder

1 teaspoon salt

Preparation Of Dough

Add yeast, sugar and oil to the warm water. Stir until mixed and set aside for 10 minutes.

Add both the flours and salt to a mixing bowl or food processor.

Pour in the yeast mixture to form a soft dough. Add a little all-purpose flour as needed, if the dough is sticky.

Knead for a few minutes until the dough is soft, or process the dough for a minute until it becomes a smooth ball.

Cover and set aside for about 45 minutes until the dough is doubled in size.

Make the Filling

Heat oil in a large frying pan. Add onions and sauté for about 3-4 minutes on medium heat until the onions are light brown.

Add the garlic, ginger, green chilies, chili powder, garam masala and salt. Stir until the spices are mixed .

Add the cooked mixed vegetables and mashed potato. Mix well, and add the chopped cilantro.

Set aside this mixture and allow to cool.

Making the Naan

Punch the dough down and divide into about 8 portions.

Roll each portion with a little flour if needed, into 4″-5″ rounds.

Place about 2 tablespoons of vegetable filling in the center of the dough and bring the sides up to form

a ball.

Flatten and re-roll the pieces on a lightly floured board to about 6″- 7″ rounds.

Rolled out bread dough with veggies

Preheat broiler; place rack 8″ from the top element.

Place 4-6 naan on a baking sheet and let them rise for about 20-30 minutes.

Place the naan under the broiler and turn when one side is brown, about 2-3 minutes.

The second side should take 1-2 minutes, to brown. Remove and keep in a covered bowl.

Brush with butter or ghee (optional).

Note: The naan freeze well – simply reheat in a toaster or toaster oven.

Lemon Rice (Chitrannam)

We have leftover rice in our house, quite often. Occasionally we freeze it to use another day, or turn it into another dish. Many of you may use it to make an Asian-style fried rice. In the south of India there are 2 popular rice dishes made using leftover rice – tamarind and lemon. Lemon rice is the simplest to make and can be eaten by itself or with a vegetable or chutney.

The great thing about using leftover rice – it is on the dry side and the rice can be mixed easily. If you don’t have precooked rice, simply make sure the rice is refrigerated – its best to use when it is cold and not mushy!

Nuts are optional but give the dish a nice added crunch!

Ingredients

2 tablespoons oil

1/4 cup peanuts or raw cashew nuts

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

1 teaspoon urad dal

1 dry red chili

1 teaspoon grated ginger (optional)

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

1 sprig curry leaves

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups cooked rice

2-3 tablespoons lemon juice

1/4 cup cilantro leaves, finely chopped

Preparation

Heat a tablespoon of oil and saute the nuts until lightly brown. Set aside.

Heat another tablespoon of oil, and add the mustard seeds. As soon as they start popping add the urad dal and the dry chili. As the urad dal turns light brown, add the ginger and curry leaves and stir over medium heat. Add the turmeric and salt.

Stir in the cooked rice and mix well. Add the lemon juice and cilantro leaves, and stir until combined.

Garnish with nuts. Best eaten at room temperature.

Baked Chickpeas

Did you know…. chickpeas, or garbanzo beans are one of the top 10 trending food products in 2021? Chickpeas have so many benefits– a low glycemic index (your body absorbs and digests them slowly), high dietary fiber (which can help lower cholesterol), calcium and magnesium.

India produces the most worldwide, though grown in more than 50 countries.

This Ottolenghi recipe my daughter sent me reminded me of the dish Chole- though the traditional recipe takes quite a bit of time to cook. This recipe’s only liquid is oil- cooking the chickpeas and other ingredients in the olive oil makes all of the flavors more concentrated and flavorful. All you need is a casserole dish or large pot with a lid, and in an hour and a half the dish is done.

The recipe calls for canned chickpeas, but if you choose- soak 1 1/2 cups dry chickpeas overnight or for at least 4 hours with a pinch of baking soda. Rinse and add more water, pressure cook them for 5 minutes and they’re done!

Ingredients

2 (14 ounce) cans chickpeas, rinsed

10 whole garlic cloves, chopped (if you prefer, thinly slice or leave whole)

1 tablespoon ginger, grated or thinly sliced

1 pint cherry tomatoes

1 tablespoon tomato paste

2 teaspoons each: cumin seeds and coriander seeds, crushed or blended in a spice grinder

1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes, optional

2 teaspoons paprika

2 fresh or dry red chilies, optional

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1/2-3/4 cup olive oil

Preparation

Heat oven to 325 degrees.

Put all the ingredients in a casserole dish (which has a lid). Stir to combine.

Cover with the dish, place in the oven and cook for about 75 minutes, stirring once halfway.

Serve with Pita bread, Naan using the bread to soak up the flavored oil, or rice.

Toor Dal (Split Pigeon Pea Soup)

Dal is a staple in all parts of India, served thick over rice or in a bowl as a soup. There are so many different varieties, all made with somewhat different ingredients. There are many types of lentils (also called dal) – whole lentils, split lentils, and lentils which have the husk or skin removed.

Lentils are a low-calorie source of plant-based protein (they have a protein concentration of approximately 25%). One-half cup serving of cooked lentils provides 9 grams of protein. They also are a good source of iron, fiber and a good source of Vitamin B.

This recipe uses split pigeon peas, or toor lentils – a basic, every day dal. Feel free to adjust the taste to suit your menu – eliminate the tomatoes, add more lemon juice – most of the ingredients are optional.

Soaking the lentils will help cut down the cooking time, though using a pressure cooker makes it even quicker.

Ingredients

1 cup toor dal, (split pigeon peas)

2 tablespoons oil

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 small onion, chopped

1-2 green chilies, slit or 1 dry red chiili

1- 2 garlic cloves, crushed

2 roma tomatoes, chopped

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon salt (to taste)

1- 2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon cilantro leaves for garnish

Preparation

Prepare the lentils: Rinse dal until the water is clear. If you have the time, soak the dal for about 1 hour.

Drain the soaked dal, add 3 cups water and cook the toor dal in a pressure cooker for about 10 minutes (unsoaked for 14 minutes). Or cook in a saucepan with approximately 3 cups water, until soft for about 30 minutes.

If you prefer a smoother consistency, blend with an immersion blender, whisk or potato masher.

Tempering: In a medium saucepan, heat the oil. Add the mustard and cumin seeds- as soon as they start popping, mix in the red or green chilies and onion. Cook for 3- 4 minutes until the onions are soft and translucent and then add in the garlic and tomatoes. Stir for a few minutes- next add in turmeric and salt.

Stir in the cooked dal and about 1-2 cups of water, depending on the consistency you prefer. Simmer for about 10 minutes until the tomato is soft and dal is well combined.

Mix in the lemon juice and garnish with cilantro.

Other variations:

  • Add 1-2 cups chopped fresh spinach (1/2-1 cup frozen spinach, thawed)
  • Add 1/2 teaspoon grated ginger with the garlic.
  • Add 1 teaspoon sambar powder, with the turmeric

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.

Crunchy Chickpea & Corn Cups

These savory appetizers are made with tortillas and are filled with either chickpeas or corn.

A tasty corn alternative for those who have a Trader Joe’s near by, is the Mexican Style Roasted Corn with Cotija cheese.

Make ahead: the cups can be baked up to 2 weeks in advance and stored at room temperature.

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Ingredients

Flour tortillas, to make the cups

Mini muffin pans

Chickpea filling:

1 cup chickpeas (approx 1 can)

3 tablespoons mint chutney

1-2 tablespoons oil

1/2 small onion, finely chopped

1/2 small tomato, chopped

1/4- 1/2  teaspoon red chili powder

1/2 teaspoon chaat masala (optional)

1/2 teaspoon coriander powder

3 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon green chillies, finely chopped

1 teaspoon salt

Corn filling:

1 cup of boiled corn (or canned)

3 tablespoons cream cheese

3 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon green chillies, chopped,

 

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 350. Spray mini muffin pans with cooking spray.

Cut out large circles from the flour tortillas (even easier with a cookie cutter if you have one) and press into the mini muffin pans.  Bake for about 5 minutes until light brown.  Remove from pan and cool on a wire rack.

Note: These can be made ahead and stored at room temperature in an air tight container for 2 weeks.

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Chickpea filling:

Heat the oil, add onions and saute till light brown. Add the tomato and cook for a minute.

Add the remaining ingredients and stir until mixed well. Cool until room temperature.

Fill into tortilla cups and serve.

Corn filling:

Heat the corn in a pan, add the cream cheese and cook on low till the cheese is softened over the corn.

Add the remaining ingredients. Cool until room temperature, fill cups and serve .

OR

1 packet frozen Trader JoesMexican style roasted corn with Cotija cheese.”

Prepare according to directions, cool until room temperature and fill.

 

 

 

 

 

Creamy Corn Pasta with Basil (or Cilantro!)

My tweaked version of the New York Times recipe was a big hit with my family and friends this summer when corn was in season.  The sauce was easy to prepare ahead of time and could be added to the pasta just before serving.

Ingredients

12 ounces of farfalle pasta

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 bunch green onions, chopped, keeping the green and white part of the onion separate

2 cups of corn, cut from fresh corn or frozen corn (reserve 1/4 cup)

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/3 cup fresh basil or cilantro, more for garnish

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 green or red chili, cut fine

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

fresh lemon juice , as needed

Preparation

Cook the pasta according to the directions on the packet, reserve 1/2 cup pasta water.

Heat a saucepan with 1 tablespoon of oil. Saute the white part of the scallions and cook until the onions are soft and then add the corn. Add 1/4 cup water, stir for a few minutes until the corn is tender about 3-5 minutes. Transfer the corn mixture to a blender and blend till a pouring consistency, adding a little water if needed.

Heat the same saucepan with butter, add the reserved 1/4 cup corn and cook till tender about 2 minutes. Add the salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, green chili, and corn puree. Cook till the puree is heated through.

Add the pasta to the corn puree, adding some of the reserved pasta water to thin the puree if necessary. Heat through and add  Parmesan cheese, green scallions and basil (or cilantro), a squeeze of lemon before serving.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cauliflower with Red Pepper Sauce

I came across this delicious cauliflower recipe on FoodNetwork.com as I was looking for a new dish to try for a luncheon with a vegetarian friend. I added a slight twist and used ready made roasted peppers to make it even quicker.

You can use any spice seasoning that you have – on my most recent trip to Baltimore, I discovered McCormick’s new Jalapeño,  Sriracha and also Chipotle seasonings which would work well.

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Ingredients

2-4 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium head cauliflower, cut into florets (3-4 cups)

1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grindings of black pepper

4-5 cloves of garlic

1 red pepper, roasted, seeded and chopped or (Jar of roasted red peppers, drained )

1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes   OR

1/2 – 1 teaspoon Mc Cormick Siracha seasoning  or cayenne pepper

2 tablespoons greek yogurt ( or plain yogurt strained in a cheese cloth or paper coffee filter)

2 tablespoons dry breadcrumbs

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

3  tablespoons chopped cilantro

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 400.

Mix the cauliflower with 2 tablespoon olive oil and salt and pepper, and spread on a baking sheet.  Roast in the oven for 15 – 20 minutes, stirring half way .

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Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a small saucepan, add the garlic cloves and saute for 1-2 minutes. Add the red pepper or (drained roasted red pepper )and the seasoning of your choice. Cool for a few minutes. Pour into a blender along with the yogurt and blend to smooth puree. Mix in 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro.

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Before serving, toss the red pepper sauce with the cauliflower and simmer for 2 minutes. Add the breadcrumbs and sesame seeds, and heat through.

Garnish with remaining chopped cilantro.

Poha

Poha, also called Pohe, is beaten or flattened rice – a popular dish from the state of Maharashtra. Though traditionally eaten for breakfast or a snack, it is a super quick option for any meal.

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Ingredients

1 cup Pohe (raw beaten rice) – the medium to thick variety

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1 tablespoon oil

1 teaspoon black mustard seeds

2-3 tablespoon onion, finely chopped

1-2 small green chillies, slit

a few curry leaves (optional)

1/8 teaspoon turmeric powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 small potato, boiled and cubed (optional)

1/2- 3/4 cup frozen peas, thawed (optional)

1/2 lime

2-3 tablespoon cilantro leaves chopped

Preparation

Place the raw poha in a sieve and rinse it with water for a minute or two. Set aside.

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Heat oil in a saucepan and add the mustard seeds. As the seeds start to pop, add the onion and saute for a few minutes till it becomes light brown. Add the green chillies and curry leaves, and stir for 30 seconds.

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Add the turmeric, salt and potatoes and the rinsed poha Stir until combined and add one or two tablespoons of water, if the mixture looks dry.

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Cover and cook over low heat for about 3 minutes.  If adding peas, add the peas and continue to cook for another minute. Squeeze the lime  and garnish with chopped cilantro leaves.

 

 

 

 

Upuma

In the southern part of India, Upuma, a simple breakfast, snack or lunch dish is made from cream of wheat mixed with a few spices.

The cream of wheat used in this dish is of a finer variety, bought in the Indian grocery stores. The cream of wheat found in the supermarket can be used, it is just a little coarser in texture.

When my daughter was working in Atlanta I came up with this home made “upuma mix” which she could use when needed for a quick dinner.  Adding boiling water & some frozen or left over veggies,  it is also nutritious as cream of wheat has iron and some protein.

 

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Ingredients

Upuma Mix:

  1 cup cream of wheat

  1 tablespoon oil

  1 teaspoon black mustard seeds

  1 small red dry chilly, broken

  1 teaspoon urad dal

  1 small onion, finely chopped

  1/2 teaspoon grated ginger

  1 teaspoon salt

1 small tomato, chopped (optional)

1/2 cup cooked vegetables  (green peas, beans, carrots etc)

Preparation

Homemade Upuma Mix:

NOTE: When I’m making the mix, I typically make 4 times this recipe, and store it in the fridge. 

Heat the cream of wheat in a skillet over medium heat until it turns light brown, stirring constantly. Remove from pan and set aside.

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Heat oil in a skillet; add the mustard seeds and when they start to pop add the red dry chilly. Stir for a few seconds and add the onion. Cook the onion till brown, add the ginger and stir for 1-2 more minutes.

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Add the urad dal and nuts, if using, and stir until the dal turns brown (for a few more minutes). Add the toasted cream of wheat and salt and stir well until the cream of wheat is thoroughly mixed in.

If using as a “mix” cool and store in a container in the refrigerator.

Heat 2 cups of water to boiling, and if using vegetables add them now (I added beans that I had in the refrigerator, and a small tomato). Turn down to simmer and add 1 cup of your homemade upuma mix, stir until slightly thickened.

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Cover and continue to simmer for about 3-5 minutes or until the mixture is thick.  Upuma is usually served hot, with a little bit of Indian hot mango or lime pickle.

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