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

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.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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