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.

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

Corn Curry

In the summer when corn is plentiful I always think about this flavorful corn dish. My cousin shared this recipe with me years ago – I have made it many times with both Indian and western meals (adjusting the amount of green chilies according to taste).

Curry leaves do add to the flavor of the dish but they are optional – they are the only ingredient you may need to buy from an Indian grocery store (if you don’t already have a curry leaf plant in your garden!).

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Ingredients

1 large green chili

1 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds (separated)

2 teaspoons grated ginger

13 curry leaves, approximately (separated)

1/2 cup cilantro leaves + more for garnish

2 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons oil

3/4 cup milk

3/4 cup half and half

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

3 whole dry red chillies

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

4 curry leaves

1 tablespoon flour

4 cups  fresh cut corn or frozen

1 -1/2 teaspoons salt

Method

Blend the green chili, 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds, 2 teaspoons ginger, 8 curry leaves, 1/2 cup cilantro, water and oil into a paste.

Heat oil, add remaining 1 teaspoon cumin seeds and mustard seeds, and as the mustard seeds start to crackle add the dry red chillies and 5 remaining curry leaves . Stir and add the green paste, cook for about 1 minute. Add the flour and and stir till well blended. Add the milk & half and half very slowly to make a thick paste. Bring to a boil.

Add the corn and salt and cook for about 4 minutes .

Garnish with cilantro leaves.

 

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.

Kulfi (Indian Ice-cream)

 

Kulfi is traditionally made from just milk, simmered down for hours and poured into this typical conical mold pictured here, and frozen.

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My favorite quick and easy recipe uses evaporated and condensed milk to make it rich and creamy. Any shape of popsicle mold or even a ice cube tray will work.

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Ingredients

1  14-ounce can condensed milk

2  12-ounce cans evaporated milk

8 ounces whipping cream

1/2 cup finely chopped pistachio nuts or almonds

1 teaspoon crushed saffron  (optional)

1/2 – 1 teaspoon cardamom powder  (optional)

Preparation

Add all the ingredients together in a large bowl, and beat with a hand mixer till the liquid is well blended.

Pour into the molds.  Freeze overnight.

Dip into water water to remove from the molds just before serving.

Slice and serve with additional nuts if desired.

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Note: I personally do not like my Kulfi very sweet but if you prefer it sweeter, reduce the evaporated milk to only 1 can.

Pasta and Veggie Dhokla

Dhokla is a traditional Gujarati dish, a savory steamed bread with a light and spongy texture. It is typically made with channa dal (split peas) but I’ve had various types, made with rava (semolina or cream of wheat) and besan (chickpea flour).

A friend recently introduced me to her version, incorporating vegetables.  You can use any veggies in the recipe – I always seem to have carrots, bell peppers and frozen peas on hand so I used those.

You might be wondering about the pasta… the angel hair pasta and potatoes simply help bind the ingredients together!

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Ingredients

3/4 cup uncooked, broken angel hair pasta

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1/4 cup frozen green peas

1/4 cup finely cut carrots

1 small raw potato, finely diced

1/4 cup green bell pepper, diced

1 cup plain yogurt

1 teaspoon each, ginger and garlic paste

1/2- 1 teaspoon, finely cut green chillies

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup cream of wheat (coarse variety, if buying from an Indian store)

2 tablespoon oil

1 teaspoon Eno or baking soda

1/2 tablespoon oil

2 teaspoons sesame seeds

1 teaspoon black mustard seeds

Chopped cilantro for garnish

  Preparation

To steam the Dhokla, boil 2 cups of water in a large 4 or 6 quart cooking pot and keep it simmering. Place a small cooking rack or an overturned small metal container or bowl at the bottom. Grease an 8″ cake pan.

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Add pasta to a mixing bowl and mix in the vegetables.

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Next add the yogurt and spices, cream of wheat, and oil and mix well.

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 Lastly add the Eno or baking soda.

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Pour into prepared cake pan, cover with a lid and steam for 15 minutes.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil, add the sesame seeds and mustard seeds and when the seeds start to pop, remove and pour and spread over the steamed dhokla. Remove pan and cool for 5 minutes and cut into diamond shapes.

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Remove to a serving plate and garnish with chopped cilantro.

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.

Swiss Chard or Spinach Focaccia

One of my weaknesses is bread! I enjoy looking for different types of bread recipes. Somewhere along the way I came across the idea of adding swiss chard to focaccia. I just don’t feel as guilty consuming so much bread when I am having something healthy along with it!

This focaccia recipe is great as an appetizer and also perfect for lunch with a bowl of soup. It freezes well – it’s a handy side to have on hand since it is so versatile with meals.

Best of all, the “No Knead Focaccia” recipe from the King Arthur Flour website is the simplest recipe I’ve come across since it doesn’t require kneading! I’ve adapted the recipe slightly below.

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Ingredients

Dough:

1 1/2 cup warm water

3 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour

2 cups of all purpose flour

1 tablespoon instant yeast.

Topping:

2 bunches swiss chard , ( remove the thick stem) and  coarsely chopped ( 6-8 cups)  OR

6-8 cups coarsely chopped spinach

1-2 teaspoon minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt ( preferably)

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1-2 green chillies ( hot ) finely minced or ground (optional)

1/3 cup olive oil

Preparation

Lightly grease a large cookie sheet with about 2 tablespoon oil.

Combine all the ingredients for the dough in a large mixing bowl and beat at high speed with an electric mixer or 1 minute.

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The dough will be sticky. Scoop the dough onto the prepared cookie sheet and spread with a spatula or greased hands.

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Let rise for about 45 – 60 minutes till the dough doubles.

In the meantime, combine all the ingredients for the topping .

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When the dough is risen, add the swiss chard to the dough and spread to cover the dough.

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Bake at 375  for about 20 – 25 minutes. Cool. Cut in squares.

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.

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