“Cheerios” Chuduva

A few years ago when my (adult) daughter started eating Cheerios regularly, I came up with the idea of making Chuduva (a spicy savory snack mix) with them.  At that time, Multi Grain Cheerios contained 100% of the RDA of iron per serving*… and since my daughter had an iron deficiency during her pregnancy it was the perfect snack for her. She was also told that having Cheerios with milk slows down the absorption of iron so she had been looking for creative ways to eat them.

I still make Cheerios Chuduva regularly (except with regular Cheerios which has less sugar than Multi Grain) as my retired husband likes to munch on something during the day – its still one of his favorites!

*Now the recipe has changed and it only has 45% of the RDA of iron per serving, similar to regular Cheerios.                                                          IMG_2224

Ingredients

8 cups Cheerios

2 tablespoon oil

2 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 sprig curry leaves (optional)

3 whole red chillies

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper ( red chili powder)

2 cups potato sticks

1 cup dry roasted unsalted peanuts (any type of nut will work)

1/2- 1 cup raisins (optional)

 Preparation

Heat oil in a large wok, add the cumin seeds, red chilis and curry leaves. Stir till the cumin seeds start to brown. Add the turmeric, salt, and cayenne pepper. Stir and add the raisins. Stir for 30 seconds and add the cheerios, potato sticks and peanuts.

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Continue to stir on low heat until the mixture is well mixed for about 3 minutes. Let cool and store in an airtight container.

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Spinach Chapathis

I’ve just recently gotten back into a routine of cooking again, since we were traveling for more than a month over the holidays… India and  also a few countries in Southeast Asia. We had a huge family reunion in Bali which was a lot of fun especially for the children. My daughter and grandson also came with us to Hyderabad for a couple of weeks, and I was so surprised that my grandson actually ate well there! He is a very picky eater and also a vegetarian… but he enjoyed eating dosas (lentil and rice crepes), and spinach, and also cauliflower chapathis (flat bread, also called rotis in north India). They seemed much easier and quicker to make than spinach or potato filled parathas which are quite common, so I learnt to make them while I was there. This seemed like a great way to incorporate vegetables into a child’s diet (or any picky eater!).

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Spinach Chapathis

1 tablespoon oil

1/2 teaspoon cumin seed

1/2 medium onion, chopped fine

1/4 teaspoon ginger, grated (or paste)

1/4 teaspoon garlic, chopped

1/4 teaspoon green chillies, chopped fine (or paste)

2 cups of fresh spinach, chopped fine

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon coriander powder

1 tablespoon cilantro leaves, chopped fine

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon oil

2 tablespoon plain or greek yogurt

Preparation

Heat the oil in a saucepan add the cumin seeds. Stir until they start to brown. Add the onions and cook for a few minutes till they become soft and light brown in color. Add the ginger, garlic and green chillies and stir for 30 seconds. Add the spinach and cook on low till the water evaporates and the mixture is dry. Add the salt, coriander and cilantro. Cool the mixture. IMG_2138 In a bowl, mix together the whole wheat flour, salt, oil and yogurt.  Add the spinach mixture and stir well. IMG_2140 Slowly add about 1/2 cup water to make a soft dough. (If it becomes too sticky add approximately a tablespoon of flour). Knead well by hand or use a food processor or stand mixer. Place in a covered bowl and set aside for 1/2 hour or more. IMG_2141 Make small balls about the size of a large lime.  Using a rolling pin, roll out each ball into a thin round shape, coating each side with flour while making it as thin as possible. IMG_2128 Heat a griddle over medium heat. Add the chapati and after a minute turn and cook again until you see tiny brown spots.  Again turn and lightly press down with a paper towel or soft towel till you see the chapathi puff up in places. Turn once more and repeat till it is brown.  Place in a plate or box, cover and repeat with the remaining balls of dough.

Kids/Optional: Brush butter or ghee on chapathi when done.

Note: Best served hot, but they freeze well. Simply reheat on a hot griddle till warm.

Mango Condensed Milk Souffle

With the holiday season around the corner, this soufflé is the perfect dessert for parties since it’s easy, delicious, and you can prepare it ahead of time.

In addition to Indian and Mexican grocery stores, you can find canned mango pulp in regular supermarkets as well.

 

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Mango Condensed Milk Souffle

14-ounce can mango pulp

3/4  can condensed milk

1  cup whipping cream, whipped to stiff peaks.

1 package unflavored gelatin, soaked in 2 tablespoon cold water for 5 minutes

1/2 cup half and half, or whole milk

1/2 cup toasted almonds or walnuts, chopped  (optional)

CRUST:

1 cup graham cracker crumbs

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon butter, melted

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter.

Press into a 8″ x 8″ baking dish. Bake for 8- 10 minutes. Cool.

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Heat the gelatin mixture in the microwave oven for 5-10 seconds till the gelatin has dissolved and the liquid is clear. Cool.

Mix together the mango pulp, condensed milk, milk and the dissolved gelatin. Stir the mixture till it is well blended.

Fold in the whipped cream.

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Pour into crust and refrigerate to set.

Garnish with chopped nuts just before serving.

Serves 10.

 No crust option: Pour the soufflé mixture directly into the dish and refrigerate.

 

Chilli Cheese Toast

Growing up in India, Chilli Cheese Toast was served often at “tea time”, when we would have a snack along with a cup of hot tea at about 4 o’clock in the afternoon.  Cheese toasts originally were deep-fried – needless to say they were delicious!  No one thought about calories back then or about all that fat we were consuming!

As time went by, a healthier version was created – lighter but as flavorful and quick to prepare. The toasts are perfect for lunch on a cold day along with a salad or soup, or served as an appetizer.

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 Ingredients

4 slices of firm whole wheat bread

2 cups finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese

2 tablespoons butter, room temperature

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons finely cut onions

2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro

1-2 finely chopped green chillies

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon dry mustard powder (or a mustard spread)

 

Preparation

Place the bread in the oven, on broil, to brown one side of the bread.

Mix the remaining ingredients to a smooth paste.

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Apply the cheese spread to the side of the bread which was not toasted.

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Place under the broiler until light brown.

Cut into quarters or in half.

Serve immediately.

6-Minute Peda (Milk sweet)

IMG_1892This year Diwali or Deepavali (as it is called in the southern part of India) is celebrated on October 23. The “Festival of Light” changes every year according to the Lunar calendar, and is typically the darkest, new moon night. The festival signifies the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance, and hope over despair. Diyas (traditional earthenware oil lamps) or candles are lit around the home and a puja or prayer to Lakshmi – the goddess of wealth and prosperity- is offered.

 In India, desserts, sweets, or “Mitai” traditionally were made just for special occasions or festivals such as Diwali.  Peda, with a similar consistency of fudge, is one of the more popular desserts and one of my favorites.

I never made Peda before I found this recipe, because it was such a tedious process. The traditional way can be quite time consuming as the milk has to be boiled down to make a thick paste called “khoya” so it can take hours.

In this recipe, the “khoya” is replaced with milk powder and condensed milk to make this dessert easily at home. It also freezes well.

Ingredients

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

1 can condensed milk

2 cups Carnation milk powder

1/2 cup chopped almonds or pistachio

Few strands saffron steeped in 2 tablespoon hot milk (optional)

1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder (optional)

Preparation

Add the first 3  ingredients to a large microwave casserole.  DO NOT MIX.

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Microwave for 3 minutes on HIGH for 3 minutes.*

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Stir till all the ingredients are throughly mixed.

If using, add the saffron mixture, cardamom power and stir again.

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Microwave on HIGH for 3 minutes.*

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Let cool until the mixture can be comfortably handled. Divide into small balls, flatten slightly and decorate with nuts.

*NOTE: Microwave cooking time can vary – older microwaves may need an extra minute or so.

Sprouted Mung Bean Salad

The Mung (Moong) bean is small green bean commonly found in Indian and other Asian cuisines. It is one of the easiest beans to sprout- it takes about 3 days.  Mung bean sprouts can be used in sandwiches, added to leafy green salads or stir fried with vegetables and meats. My favorite way of eating these sprouts is to use them in this salad recipe below.

Mung bean sprouts are easy to digest and and high in protein, Vitamin B and fiber.

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Ingredients

1/2 cup dry green mung bean

1 large tomato, chopped,

1 medium cucumber, chopped

2 green onions, chopped

1 small green chili, finely chopped (remove the seeds)

2-3 tbsp chopped cilantro

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper (optional)

1 lime, squeezed

Preparation

Soak the mung beans overnight. The next morning, drain and rinse the beans, place in a sieve or strainer, cover with a lid or foil and place in a dark place such as inside a kitchen cabinet.

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In the evening, rinse the beans and put them back in the cabinet. You will see sprouts appear in a day or so – repeat this every morning until the sprouts are about 1/2″ long or more as desired. Refrigerate in an airtight box if not using it at once.

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Add the sprouts to a large bowl. Mix in the remaining salad ingredients, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

NOTE: Some people prefer sprouts to have a softer texture. If so, add the sprouts to a large bowl, pour boiling water to cover the sprouts. After about 5 minutes, drain and cool the sprouts before adding the other ingredients.

Baklava Rolls

A friend recently asked me to help her make Baklava for her son’s wedding as I had made it many times in the past. It might look difficult to make but it’s pretty simple, and also freezes well… so it is the perfect pastry for a big event!  Since I know another friend who makes them quite often, I called her to compare our recipes and in addition, got a few extra tips from her.

I typically prefer to use the Athens brand of filo(or phyllo) dough which has 2 sealed packets of rolls so if I don’t need a large quantity I can halve the recipe. (There are other brands which come in long rolls with only one sealed packet.) IMG_1749Its easier to roll up the pastry, versus making the traditionally shaped baklava.  I froze the baklava in the cookie tray that I baked them in, covered with heavy duty aluminum foil.  When ready to use them, simply thaw out and arrange the pieces on your serving platter.

Ingredients

1 package of filo dough, thawed
3 cups shelled walnuts, pulsed in a food processor (not too fine or coarse)

IMG_17363/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon, optional
4 ounces (1 stick of butter) melted till the solids separate out (or ghee)

Syrup:

1 1/4 sugar
1 cup water
2 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon lime juice

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the walnuts, sugar and cinnamon in a bowl and set aside. Use a cookie sheet with sides, and brush the entire pan with butter.

Remove 2 sheets of filo pastry, (keep the remaining pastry sheets covered by a damp cloth) brush very lightly with butter.IMG_1739

Fold the pastry in half, and then take about 2 tablespoons of the nut mixture and place it along one side.

IMG_1741Roll the pastry up tightly. Brush again with butter and stack along the width of the cookie sheet. Continue with the remaining pastry sheets.IMG_1742

Trim the ends and score into 5 to 6 pieces along the entire length (not cut cutting all the way through). As you can tell, I completely forgot to trim the ends before baking to make it look neater!IMG_1737

Bake for 25 minutes until the rolls are medium brown. While baking, make the syrup.

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Syrup:

Place the sugar, water, honey and lime juice in a saucepan and cook over low heat until the sugar has melted. Continue to simmer for about 10 – 15 minutes.

Pour the hot syrup over the rolls as soon as they come out of the oven. When cool remove to serving platter. (If freezing, cover with heavy duty aluminum foil) Garnish with extra chopped walnuts.

Makes about 144 rolls. IMG_1747

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.

 

Mushroom Rolls

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Many years ago a friend of mine had invited my mother-in-law and I to her house for tea and served us some delicious mushroom rolls. For those who may not know this, in India (& England) we have “tea time” at 4pm where we typically drink tea as well as nibbling on a snack. And yes, hot tea…many of my friends here have asked me why we drink tea in India when the weather is so hot! I just knew that this is what we did and never gave it another thought until I read an article which then made sense to me about this aspect…when we drink hot tea, we sweat and that in turns cool us off!

So back to the mushroom rolls, it was something we had never eaten before… needless to say I asked for the recipe and have made it ever since, modifying the recipe a bit. I use this recipe for parties as an appetizer or as a side dish along with a meal. It can made ahead and even frozen and reheated before serving. Our favorite dipping sauce is Maggi’s Hot & Sweet tomato chili sauce but they are also great with ketchup.

This recipe was a good cooking lesson for my now 12 year old grand daughter who enjoyed cutting the crusts, rolling the bread and filling them up… and though she likes most vegetables, she says she won’t eat them as she doesn’t like mushrooms!

Note: I did not forget the salt… the other seasonings have enough salt in them so no additional salt is needed.

Ingredients

16-ounce package of sliced mushrooms

2 tablespoons oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon season-all

1 teaspoon McCormick Montreal seasoning

3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon hot sauce (optional)

1 loaf of soft white or wheat bread (regular supermarket brand)

2-3 tablespoons butter

Preparation

Heat oil in a large frying pan, add the onions and cook till the onions are light brown, about 3 minutes.

Add the mushrooms to the pan along with the seasonings, worcestershire and hot sauce.

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 Cook on medium heat till the mushrooms are dry. Cool.

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Cut the crusts of the slices of bread, and roll each slice flat with a rolling pin.

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Add a teaspoon of the mushroom filling on one edge and roll them up.  Spread a little butter on one edge of the bread so when you roll the mushrooms in the bread to the end, the bread sticks. Cut into 3 pieces.

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Arrange all the rolls on a baking sheet and bake them at 350 degrees for 20 minutes till they are brown.

Note: The crusts of the bread can be toasted in a warm oven about 250 degrees for 10 – 15 minutes. When they are dry, grind them into breadcrumbs in a food processor or in a plastic bag with a rolling pin.

Spicy Broccoli Slaw

IMG_1386 The only way my husband will eat broccoli is when I use broccoli slaw, which is widely available in supermarkets in the salad section. It is a super easy way to eat broccoli and get all the healthy benefits of broccoli! I simply add a dressing like the Makoto Ginger Dressing (found in the refrigerator section near the salads) for a nice summer salad. We also recently discovered, Asian Style Spicy Peanut Vinaigrette at Trader Joe’s, our new favorite…its spicy, flavorful and we haven’t found anything else like it! So a few months ago, a friend of mine brought over a stir-fry broccoli slaw dish which was light and tasty, a nice variation to having it only as a salad.  To my surprise, my husband ate it and liked it a lot! Though I should clarify… my husband also eats Broccoli Bread (previously posted on my blog ). I later tried the same recipe using shaved brussels sprouts which turned out great too.**

 

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Ingredients

1 package broccoli slaw

2 tablespoon oil

1 teaspoon black mustard seeds

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

1-2 green chillies, slit

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons chickpea flour (optional)

2-3 tablespoons peanuts or almonds, chopped

Preparation

Heat oil in a wok or large frying pan. Add mustard seeds and cumin seeds  (cover with a splatter guard as they start to pop). As they start to pop, (try keeping the pan mostly covered so you don’t get splattered on!) add the green chilies and garlic. Stir for 30 seconds. Add the broccoli slaw and salt, continue to stir fry over medium heat till the slaw softens but still crispy, about 5-8 minutes. IMG_1276 Add the chickpea flour and stir constantly over medium high heat for about 2 minutes.  Add the nuts and stir for another minute.  

*Variation: Shaved brussels sprouts can be made using the recipe above.

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