Thursday, July 28, 2016

Neer Dosa / Lacy Rice Crepes ~ Day 164

 Neer = Water
Dosa = Crepe
This South Indian delicacy is so easy to make with minimal ingredients.  These soft, lacy, melt in your mouth dosas make an excellent breakfast dish or evening snack.

Preparation time: 10 minutes + 6 hours soaking time
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Yields: About 12 to 15 dosas

  • Raw rice (sona masoori or long grain) - 2 cups
  • Freshly grated coconut - 1/4 cup
  • Salt - to taste
  • vegetable oil - for frying

  1. Soak the rice in enough water for 4 to 6 hours or overnight.  Drain the rice and place it in a blender along with coconut.  Add enough water and grind into a smooth paste.
  2. Transfer the ground rice into a mixing bowl.  Add salt and mix well.
  3. Add 2 to 3 cups of water to the batter and mix well.  The batter should be very thin like the consistency of milk.  Let the mixture rest for 15 minutes.
  4. Heat a non-stick or a cast iron griddle (season well). Once the griddle is hot enough, take a ladle full of batter and pour it in the center.  The batter should spread to the sides, if not lift the pan and swirl so that the batter coats the pan. Fill the gaps with more batter.  Spoon some oil around the edges of the dosa. Cover and cook for 30 seconds.  Remove the lid and cook for another 30 seconds.  
  5. Fold the dosa into a triangle and remove from the heat.  Repeat the process with rest of the batter.
  6. Serve hot with your choice of chutney or pickle.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Malai Matar Paneer ~ Day 163

Green peas and paneer (Indian cottage cheese) cooked in rich and creamy cashew and cream sauce.  Green chilies, white pepper, and ginger give heat to this dish, while dried fenugreek leaves add flavor and slight bitterness.  

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
Serves: 4

  • Frozen Green peas - 1 cup
  • Paneer - 2 cups, cubed
  • Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
  • Cinnamon stick - 1
  • Cloves - 3
  • Kasoori methi / dried fenugreek - 2 tsp
  • White pepper powder - 1 tsp
  • Salt - to taste
  • Heavy cream - 2 tbsp
  • Oil - 2 tbsp
  • Ghee / clarified butter - 1 tbsp
  • or
  • 2% milk (for low-fat version) - 1/2 cup
  • Fresh coriander leaves / cilantro - for garnishing

For the masala paste:
  • Onion - 1, large, roughly chopped
  • Garlic - 2 cloves
  • Cashews - 7 to 8
  • Green chillies - 5 or to taste
  • Ginger - 1-inch piece, chopped
  • Garam masala powder - 2 tsp

  1. Heat 2 tsp oil in a skillet.  Add the onion, garlic, cashews, green chilies, and ginger.  Fry until the onions turn soft and translucent.  Let it cool and grind to a smooth paste along with garam masala powder.
  2. Soften the paneer by placing them in hot water for 15 minutes.  
  3. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a deep skillet or kadai.  Add cumin seeds, cinnamon sticks, and cloves.  Fry for 10 seconds.
  4. Add the ground paste and white pepper powder.  Saute the paste for 7 to 8 minutes, over medium -low heat.
  5. Add the frozen green peas and kasoori methi.  Saute for 2 minutes.  Add 2 cups of water and Salt. Cook for 5 minutes and add the paneer cubes.  Mix gently and cook for 2 minutes.  Reduce the heat and stir in the heavy cream or milk and 1tbsp ghee.  Bring the mixture to a gentle boil and remove from the heat.  Garnish with fresh coriander leaves.
  6. Serve hot with chapati or naan.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Eggless Mango Gelato with Aquafaba Whipped Cream - Day 162

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time + Churn time:  20 minutes
Serves: 4

  • Fresh Mango pulp - 2 cups
  • Sugar - 1/4 cup or more, depending on how sweet the mangoes are
  • Water - 1/8 cup or more 
  • Lemon juice - 2 tbsp
  • Prepared Aquafaba whipped cream - 2 cups

  1. Place sugar and water in a saucepan.  Heat until the sugar melts and thickens slightly.  Cool completely and stir in the lemon juice.
  2. Combine mango pulp and sugar syrup.  Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  3. Gently fold the aquafaba whipped cream into the mango mixture.  
  4. Pour the mango mixture into an ice cream machine and follow the instruction according to the manual.
  5. My machine churned for  approximately 20 minutes to get to the soft consistency.
  6. Transfer gelato into a freezer safe container and freeze until firm and ready to be served.

To make without the ice cream machine:
  1. After folding the aquafaba whipped cream with the mango pulp, transfer the mixture into a freezer safe container and freeze.  
  2. Remove after 20 minutes and beat with hand mixture and put it back in the freezer.  Repeat the process one more time after 20 minutes.  Freeze until firm.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Aquafaba / How to make Aquafaba ~ Day 161

What is aquafaba?  It is a vegan whipping cream made from the brine/liquid that you throw away after opening a can of garbanzo beans/chickpeas.  The liquid has a consistency of an egg white and when whipped, it magically forms into this fluffy and airy whipping cream.  It is a great alternative and replacement for dishes that calls for an egg or egg white.  

For more info:

Preparation time: 2 minutes
Whipping time: 20 minutes
Yields: 2 cups


Chickpea brine / liquid - from one can, about 3/4 cup, drained and chilled
Confectioners sugar - 4 tbsp or to taste
Vanilla extract - 1/2 tsp


Place the chickpea water in a stand mixer bowl.  Using a whisk attachment, whisk on high speed for 15 to 20 minutes.
No stand mixer?  No problem.  A handheld mixer works well too.

From starting point to10-minutes mark.

Soft peak to stiff peak - 15 to 20 minutes.

Stiff peak - final stage

Fluffy and airy Aquafaba!!

Friday, July 22, 2016

Dosakai Pappu / Yellow Cucumber Dal ~ Day 160

Dosakai pappu / dal is a simple, comforting, and flavorful  dish, very popular in Andra cuisine.  The vegetable used in this dal preparation is Dosakai or yellow cucumber (though some sources say it is a type of a melon).  They are crunchy and slightly tart in taste.  This protein rich dal recipe is quite easy to make.  Another dish which is popular using this vegetable is Dosakai Avakkai, a spicy pickle.  I've posted a recipe for Dosakai Avakkai some time back.  Here is the link.  

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6

  • Dosakai  - 2 large
  • Toor dal - 1/2 cup
  • Moong dal - 1/2 cup
  • Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
  • Salt - to taste

For tempering:
  • Oil - 2 tbsp
  • Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
  • Urad dal - 2 tsp
  • Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
  • Green chilies - 4, slit
  • Ginger - 1-inch piece, finely chopped
  • Asafoetida - a generous pinch
  • Sun dried curd chilies / mor milagai - 3, broken (optional)
  • Curry leaves - few, torn
  • Fresh coriander leaves / cilantro - 2 tbsp,  finely chopped

  1. Wash and peel the dosakai.  Cut into half and scoop out the seeds from the center and cut into bite size pieces.
  2. Wash both the dals and place it in a pressure pan.  Add the cut dosakai and turmeric powder.  Fill with enough water to cover the vegetable.  Pressure cook for 4 to 5 whistles or until the dal is cooked soft.
  3. Heat oil in a small deep skillet.  Splutter mustard seeds and cumin seeds.  Add urad dal, and fry until golden brown.  Add green chilies, ginger, asafoetida, curry leaves, and broken sun-dried chilies (if using).  Sautee for 30 seconds.
  4. Add the tempering to the dal, along with salt.  Stir to combine.  Garnish with fresh coriander leaves.
  5. Serve hot with steamed rice.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Tawa Pulao ~ Day 159

Tawa pulao is a famous and popular street food of  Mumbai or Bombay.   This aromatic rice is unique in a way since it is made with pav bhaji masala.  Mixed vegetables are sauteed in various spices and tossed with cooked rice and a splash of lemon juice.

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Serves: 6

  • Basmati rice - 2 cups
  • Water - 8 cups
  • Oil - 3 tbsp
  • Ghee - 2 tbsp
  • Cumin seeds - 2 tsp
  • Onion - 1, sliced
  • Ginger-garlic paste - 2 tsp
  • Tomato paste - 1 tbsp
  • Fresh coriander and mint leaves - 2 tbsp, each
  • Frozen mixed vegetables - 2 cups
  • Green pepper/capsicum - 1, cut into small chunks
  • Cauliflower florets - 1 cup
  • Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Red chili powder - 1 tsp
  • Pav bhaji masala- 2 tbsp
  • Salt - to taste
  • Lemon juice - 2 tbsp

  1. Wash and soak the rice for 20 minutes.   Bring water to boil in a large saucepan.  Add the rice and cook until soft and fluffy, but not mushy.   Drain the rice and transfer it to a bowl.   Add 1 tbsp oil to the rice and mix gently.   Set aside.
  2. Heat the remaining oil in a large skillet.  Add cumin seeds and let it sizzle.  Add the onion and saute for a minute.
  3. Add ginger-garlic paste and fry for 2 minutes.  Add the tomato paste, coriander leaves and mint leaves.   Saute for a minute.
  4. Add the green pepper and cauliflower.  Saute for a minute.  Add the mixed vegetables, turmeric powder, red chili powder, pav bhaji masala and salt.  Mix well.  Sprinkle about 1/4 cups of water. Cover and cook over low heat, until the vegetables, are firm.  Add the cooked rice and 2 tbsp ghee and stir gently to coat the masala.  Check for salt and adjust accordingly.  Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice.
  5. Serve hot with your choice of raita.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Ash Gourd / Winter Melon Salted Lassi (Spiced buttermilk) ~ Day 158

Here is a healthy summer drink made with nutrient rich ash gourd/winter melon/posanikkai.  

Preparation time: 5 minutes
Serves: 2

  • Ash gourd / Winter melon / Posanikkai - 2 cups,  peeled and cubed
  • Water - 1 cup
  • Plain yogurt - 1 cup
  • Lime juice - 1 tbsp
  • Black salt / kala namak / himalayan salt - 1/4 tsp
  • or
  • Regular salt - to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper - 1/4 tsp
  • Mint leaves - few

  1. Place the ash gourd /winter melon in a blender along with 1 cup of water.  Blend until smooth.
  2. Add the yogurt, lime juice, black salt or salt, black pepper, and mint leaves.  Blend until smooth.
  3. Check for seasoning and adjust accordingly.  Serve immediately.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Grape Tomatoes Naan Crostini Drizzled with Balsamic Glaze ~ Day 157

Our local farmer's market is filled with all kinds of colorful tomatoes this time of the year.  Among them are these tiny, sweet and juicy  grape tomatoes, one my favorite kind, which cost less than a dollar a pound.  Apart from snacking,  I used the tomatoes to make these refreshing and flavorful crostini.  

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 2 minutes
Serves: 4

  • Naan (Plain or Garlic) - 4
  • Pesto sauce - 4 tbsp
  • Grape tomatoes - 2 cups, halved
  • Fresh basil - 4 tbsp, thinly chopped
  • Salt and pepper - to taste
  • Extra virgin olive oil - 2 tbsp
  • Shredded parmesan cheese - 1/2 cup
  • Balsamic glaze (store bought) - for drizzling 

  1. Brush the naans with olive oil and place them on a cookie sheet and broil until lightly golden and crispy on both sides, about 2 minutes.
  2. Combine the grape tomatoes, basil, olive oil, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl.  Set aside.
  3. Once the naans are out of the oven, spread pesto sauce all over the nanns.
  4. Spoon some grape tomato mixture on the naans.  Sprinkle parmesan cheese.  Finally, drizzle some balsamic glaze on top.
  5. Cut into slices and serve.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Chow Chow (Chayote Squash) Thogayal ~ Day 156

Here is a simple and delicious thogayl (a thick, coarse chutney) recipe made with one of my favorite vegetable chow chow,  also known as chayote squash.  This thogayal is typically served with hot steamy rice, but it also goes well with idli, dosai, or even chapati.  

Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4

  • Chow chow / Chayote squash - 3
  • Whole white Urad dal - 1/4 cup
  • Chana dal - 2 tbsp
  • Dried red chillies - 6 or to taste
  • Asafoetida - a generous pinch
  • Tamarind - a small marble sized 
  • or Tamarind paste - 1 tsp
  • Freshly grated coconut - 2 tbsp
  • Salt - to taste
  • Oil - 3 tbsp

  1. Wash and cut open the chow chow / chayote squash.  Remove the soft pit in the center and roughly chop into cubes, with the skin.
  2. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a deep skillet.  Add the urad dal, chana dal, red chilies, and tamarind.  Fry until the dals turn golden brown.  Add asafoetida and stir.  Transfer the mixture to a bowl.  Set aside.
  3. Heat the remaining oil in the same skillet.  Add the squash and saute until soft, over medium heat, stirring often.  Let cool completely.
  4. Place the dal mixture and coconut in a blender along with salt.  Grind into a coarse paste without adding any water.  Add the squash and pulse until well incorporated with the dal mixture.
  5. Serve with rice topped with a dollop of ghee/clarified butter or sesame oil (nallenai).

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Homemade Spicy Potato Chips ~ Day 155

Fresh and crispy home-made chips are always better than the store bought ones and you can taste the real potato flavor in them.  These easy to make chips can be seasoned with just salt and pepper as well.   But nothing can beat the chili pepper seasoned potato chips.

Preparation time: 5 minutes
 Cooking time: 20 minutes
Yields: 2 cups

  • Potatoes (Red or White) - 4
  • Oil - for frying
  • Salt - to taste
  • Red chili powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Dried thyme - 1/2 tsp
  • or any herb of your choice

  1. Wash and dry the potatoes.  Combine the salt, chili powder, and dried thyme in a small bowl, set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a deep skillet.  Hold a hand-held slicer above the oil and slice the potato directly into the oil.   Alternatively, you can slice one potato at a time, into a plate using a mandoline or slicer.  Then drop the slices carefully into the oil.
  3. Deep fry the potatoes over medium-high heat, until golden brown.  Keep moving the potatoes while frying to prevent them from sticking to each another.  Drain on paper towel.  Immediately sprinkle some salt mixture.  Repeat the process with rest of the potatoes.  Season each batch of chips after frying.
  4. Let cool completely and store in an airtight container.  

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Sorakkai / Bottle Gourd Paneer Halwa ~ Day 154

Sorakkai / Bottle Gourd cooked with milk and sugar and garnished with a liberal dose of cashews and raisins.   Typically, Khoya is used to make this halwa.  All I had in hand was the good old paneer.  I didn't have to think much and added the Panner to the dish.  And end product was nothing but delicious and drool worthy.

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 25 to 30 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6

  • Sorakkai / Lauki / Bottle Gourd - 1 large, peeled and shredded, about 3 cups
  • Boiled and cooled Milk - 2 cups
  • Paneer - 1 cup, shredded
  • Sugar - 1/2 cup 
  • Cashews - 10, broken
  • Raisins - 2 tbsp
  • Cardamom powder - 1/4 tsp
  • Ghee / clarified butter - 4 tbsp

  1. Heat 1 tbsp ghee in a large deep skillet.   Add the shredded bottle gourd/sorakkai and saute for 3 minutes.  Add the milk and stir well.  Bring the mixture to a boil and simmer.  Cook the bottle gourd until the milk evaporates to 3/4 the original quantity, stirring often.
  2. Add the paneer and sugar.  Cook until the mixture becomes thick with no trace of milk.  The halva should be dry and sticky by now with little moisture.  
  3. Heat 3 tbsp ghee in a small skillet and fry the cashews and raisin until golden brown.  Add it to the halva along with cardamom powder.  Stir well and remove from the heat.
  4. Serve warm.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Kathrikai Gothsu / Brinjal (Eggplant) Gothsu ~ Day 153

Gothsu is a classic South Indian gravy,  in which the main ingredients used are smoked eggplant and tamarind paste.  This tangy, delicious gothsu is always best paired with Pongal, another very popular dish made with rice and split moong dal tempered with ginger,  crushed black pepper, cumin, and cashews.

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes + 30 minutes for roasting the eggplant
Serves: 4

  • Eggplant / Kathrikai - 1 large or 2 medium
  • Oil - 4 tbsp
  • Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
  • Chana dal - 1 tbsp
  • Urad dal - 2 tsp
  • Green chilies - 2, slit
  • Dried red chilies - 2
  • Ginger - 1 tbsp, finely chopped
  • Curry leaves - few, torn
  • Asafoetida - a pinch
  • Onion - 1, medium, finely chopped
  • Tomatoes - 2, large, chopped  (I used medium size cherry tomatoes)
  • Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
  • Curry powder (click for recipe) - 2 tbsp
  • Tamarind paste - 2 tsp
  • Salt - to taste
  • Fresh coriander leaves / Cilantro - for garnishing
  • Rice flour - 2 tsp (for thickening)

  1. Wash and pat dry the eggplants.  Place the eggplants on a baking tray lined with aluminum foil. Drizzle oil all over the eggplants and prick with a fork on all sides.  Broil the eggplants for 20 minutes, turning them often for even cooking until they are nicely charred on all sides.  Let it cool and peel the skin and collect the pulp.  Chop roughly and set aside.  Alternatively, you can also roast the eggplant over an open flame on the stove top.
  2. Heat oil in a deep skillet and splutter mustard seeds.  Add chana dal and urad dal.  Fry until golden brown.  Add the green chilies, red chilies, ginger, curry leaves, and asafoetida.  Saute for 20 seconds.
  3. Add the chopped onion and fry until soft.  Add the tomatoes and saute for one minute.
  4. Add the eggplant, turmeric powder, curry powder, tamarind paste, and salt.  Mix well.  Add about 2 cups of water and bring it to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.  Mix rice flour in 1/4 cup of cold water and add it to the eggplant mixture / kothsu.  Bring the kothsu to one boil and remove from the heat.  Stir in the coriander leaves.
  5. Serve hot with pongal, idli, or dosai.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Queso Blanco Dip ~ Day 152

A spicy, creamy, and smooth Queso Blanco is an ultimate Mexican cheese dip.  This delicious dip is very versatile and can be made with many variations.  I've added fresh jalapenos and if you think it will be too spicy for your palate,  add the canned diced jalapenos which are less spicy and mild in taste.

Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Yields: 1 cup

  • Whole milk or half and half - 3/4 cup 
  • White American Cheese - 1/2 lbs, cubed
  • Pepperjack cheese - 1/4 cup, shredded
  • Monterey jack cheese - 1/4 cup, shredded 
  • Fresh jalapenos - 2,  finely chopped
  • Fresno peppers - 2,  finely chopped
  • Ground black pepper - 1/4 tsp
  • Salt - 1/4 tsp
  • Cilantro - 1 tbsp, finely chopped

  1. Simmer milk in a saucepan over low heat, until heated through (just before boiling).  Add the cheese in intervals and keep stirring until the cheese melts.  
  2. Add the jalapeno pepper, fresno pepper, black pepper, and salt.  Stir well.  
  3. Finally, add the cilantro and mix well.  Remove from the heat.
  4. Store in an airtight glass jar and refrigerate.   Use within 3 to 4 days.  If the dip becomes too thick, add a splash of milk and heat for 20 seconds in the microwave.
  5. Serve with tortilla chips.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Fava Beans (Broad Beans) Khasta Kachori ~ Day 151

These flaky, delicious snacks are made with different  kinds of fillings.   The mattar or green peas filling is one of the popular filling.  The fresh, buttery fava beans / broad beans filling was a great substitute for peas and it turned out super delicious. 

Preparation time: 30 minutes 
Cooking time: 45 minutes
Yields: 8 Kachoris
  • Oil - for frying

For the dough:
  • All purpose flour - 1 cup
  • Oil + Ghee - 1 tbsp, each
  • Salt - to taste

For the filling:
  • Ghee - 1 tbsp
  • Fresh Fava beans - 1 cup, shelled
  • Green chilies - 4 or to taste, finely chopped
  • Ginger - 1 tbsp, finely chopped
  • Ground Fennel seeds - 2 tsp
  • Garam masala powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Mango / amchur powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Salt - to taste

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, oil, ghee, and salt.  Add water little at a time and make a soft and firm dough.  Cover and let it sit for 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, keep a bowl of ice-water bath ready (bowl of water with some ice cubes).  Blanch the fresh fava beans in boiling water for 5 minutes.  Remove  the beans with a slotted spoon and place them in ice water bath to stop the cooking process.  
  3. Peel the outer skin from the fava beans and separate the beans.  
  4. Heat 1 tbsp ghee in a skillet.  Sautee the green chilies and ginger for 20 seconds.  
  5. Add the fava beans, fennel powder, garam masala, amchur / mango powder, and salt.  Saute for 2 minutes.  
  6. Mash the beans with a back of a wooden spoon or with a potato masher.  Remove from the heat and let it cool.
  7. To make kachoris:
  8. Divide the dough into 8 equal balls.  Roll each ball into 3'' discs.  Place about a tablespoon of the stuffing in the center and gather the edges, pinch, and seal.  Flatten it gently into small 3'' discs by hand or with a rolling pin.  Roll out all the kachoris and place them on a parchment paper.  Cover with a kitchen towel.
  9. Heat the oil on a medium-low heat.  Slide the kachori carefully into the hot oil.  Gently press and rotate the kachori.  When it puffs up, flip and fry until golden brown on both sides.  Remove and drain on a paper towel.  Repeat the process with all the kachoris.
  10. Serve hot with sweet and spicy chutney.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Eggless Blueberry Yogurt Cake ~ Day 150

A moist and fluffy yogurt cake loaded with antioxidant rich fresh blueberries.  This utterly delicious cake is super easy to whip up and makes a perfect on-the-go breakfast or snack.

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 50 minutes to 1 hour
Yields: 1 loaf

  • All-purpose flour - 2 cups plus 1 tsp
  • Baking powder - 1 tbsp
  • Salt - a pinch
  • Sugar - 1 
  • Honey - 2 tbsp
  • Butter - 4 tbsp, room temperature
  • Vegetable Oil - 1/4 cup
  • Plain greek yogurt or low-fat plain yogurt - 1 cup
  • Milk - 3/4 cup
  • Vanilla extract - 1 tsp
  • Cardamom powder - 1 tsp
  • Fresh blueberries - 1 cup

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a 9x12 loaf pan with butter and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, cardamom powder, and salt.  Coat blueberries in 1 tsp of all-purpose flour and set aside.
  3. In an another bowl, whisk the sugar, honey, butter, and oil until fluffy.  Add the vanilla extract.  Gradually add the yogurt and milk and mix well.  Stir in the cardamom powder
  4. Gently fold in the flour mixture into the wet mixture.  Add the blueberries to the batter and mix well gently.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan.  Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake come out clean.  
  6. Let the cake cool in the pan for 5 minutes.  Remove the cake and let it cool completely on wire rack.
  7. Enjoy!!!
Recipe inspiration from here.