Green Tomato Chutney

Andhra cuisine is well known for its variety of chutneys and pickles. Raw tomato chutney is one such quick chutney made with a handful of ingredients and goes very well with rice, roti and dosa. It is quite surprising to know that green tomatoes are healthier and better than red ripe tomatoes. They are rich in anti-oxidants, vitamin-A, B,C and  iron. I think I am going to use them more often from now on 🙂 🙂

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Ingredients:

Green Tomato – 3 No’s  (chopped into big chunks)

Green chilli – 2 No’s

Red chilli – 2 No’s

Tamarind – 1 tsp

Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp

Jeera – 1/2 tsp

Urad Dal – 1/2 tsp

Chana Dal – 1/2 tsp

Sesame seeds – 1/2 tbsp

Methi seeds – 4-5 grains

Oil – 2 tbsp

Turmeric – 1/2 tsp

Salt – 1  1/2 tsp

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Seasoning:

Oil – 1 tbsp

Mustard Seeds – 1/4 tsp

Urad dal – 1/4 tsp

Chana dal – 1/4 tsp

Hing – pinch

Method:

1. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds, jeera, chana dal, urad dal, sesame seeds, red chilli, green chillies and fry for a minute.

2. Next add the tomatoes, tamarind, turmeric, salt and mix. Cover and cook for 10 mins till the tomatoes become soft.

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3. Remove the lid and cook for another 3-4 mins till all the moisture evaporates.

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4. Once it cools,  grind it into a  smooth paste and transfer the chutney into a bowl.

5. For the seasoning, add 1 tbsp oil in a pan and all the seasoning ingredients. Once the dals turn slightly brown, pour the seasoning on the chutney and mix well.

6. Serve with hot rice, roti or dosa.

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Corn Pakora

Preparation time – 15 mins

Cooking time – 20 mins

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Corn Pakora or Corn Vada is an ideal snack when you are in mood for some crispy and crunchy hot fritters. These yummy pakoras go well with your evening cup of chai. These pakoras can be made with regular corn or sweet corn….. I prefer sweet corn as it is tastier !!

Ingredients:

Sweet corn – 1 cup

Ginger – 1/2 inch

Green chilli – 1 or 2

Jeera powder – 1 tsp

Ajwain – 1/2 tsp

Rice flour – 1 tbsp

Corn flour – 1 tbsp

Onion – 1 (finely chopped)

Coriander leaves – 1 tbsp (finely chopped)

Salt – 1/2 tsp

Oil – for deep frying

Method:

1. Boil the sweet corn kernels till they are soft. If you are using frozen corn, defrost in a microwave.

2. Next grind the corn along with ginger, chillies and jeera powder into a coarse paste.

3. Transfer this paste into a mixing bowl. Add rest of ingredients and mix well to form a thick batter.

4. Make lemon size balls and flatten into patties between your palms.

5. Heat oil in a pan for deep frying. Slowly drop the patties and fry on medium flame till both sides turn golden brown.

6. Sprinkle some chaat masala and serve hot with tomato ketchup or green chutney.

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Veg Minestrone Soup

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Monsoons are here, and nothing is as good as a bowl of steaming hot soup on a rainy day. I love soups and can have them any time of the day. If you have the right vegetables and few spices in hand, you can never go wrong in making delicious soups. Minestrone soup has been my favorite from the time I first tasted it at a fancy Italian restaurant. Though it needs some prior preparation, no soup is as healthy, nutritious and filling as this. Serve with few slices of garlic bread on the side and it can be as filling as a wholesome meal!

Ingredients:

Boiled vegetables – 1 bowl (Potato, Carrot , Cauliflower, Sweet corn) vary veggies as per taste
Capsicum – 1/2
Boiled kidney beans – 1/2 cup
Macaroni pasta – 2 tbsp
Tomatoes – 2
Tomato ketchup – 2 tbsp
Olive oil – 1 tsp
Pepper powder – 1 tsp
Oregano – 1/2 tsp
Salt – 1 tsp
Chilli flakes – as per taste

Method:

1. Soak kidney beans overnight. Pressure cook for 2-3 whistles till they turn soft.  (Alternatively, use canned beans)
2. Chop all vegetables into small cubes. In a saucepan, boil potato, carrot, cauliflower and sweet corn in 4 -5 cups of water till they turn soft. Drain the water into a bowl which can be used as vegetable stock for making the soup.
3.  Cook the macaroni pasta till it turns soft and set aside.
4. Boil 2 whole tomatoes for 2 mins and puree them in a mixer. (Alternatively use store bought tomato puree)
5. In a pan, heat olive oil. Add basil leaves, finely chopped capsicum and fry for 1 minute. Next add the tomato puree and cook for 2 mins.
6. Now add the boiled vegetables, boiled beans and vegetable stock.
7. Next add tomato ketchup, salt, pepper and oregano and mix well. Add the cooked macaroni pasta and let the soup boil for 5 mins.
8. Sprinkle chilli flakes and serve hot!

 

Vegetable Pizza

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We have totally stopped ordering pizza’s from the day I made my first pizza. Until then I didn’t know pizza making was so simple and so much fun. The best part about making your own pizza is you get to experiment with a variety of toppings and crusts… I love my pizza with very light cheese, wheat crust and lots of toppings. So bid goodbye to expensive pizza chains and try out this recipe for a perfect medium crust pizza…

Yield: 2 medium size pizzas

INGREDIENTS:

Pizza base:

All purpose flour (Maida) – 1 ½ cup

Wheat Flour – 1 ½   (alternatively, you can use 3 cups of maida)

Salt – 1 tsp

Sugar – 1 tbsp

Olive oil – 2-3 Tbsp

Dry Yeast – 1 ½

Water   (as required for making the dough)

Pizza toppings

Pizza sauce – 2 tbsp  (I used Maggi Pizza sauce)

Vegetable Toppings : (Chop all the vegetables into thin long slices)

Onion – ½

Green Capsicum – ½

Yellow/Red Capsicum – ½

Tomato – ½

Green chilli – 1 (cut into thin rings)

Mozzarella Cheese or Pizza cheese – as required (grated)

Herbs – Oregano, Parsley, Chilli flakes (as per taste)

 Method for making the base:

1. Add sugar to 1 cup of warm water and mix. Add the dry yeast granules to this and stir till the granules dissolve. Let it sit for 5-10 mins till bubbles show on the top.

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2. Take the flour in a mixing bowl. Add salt, 2 tbsp of olive oil and mix well.

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3. Next add the yeast water and start mixing with hand or a spoon till the dough becomes sticky and tight.

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4. Knead well  with your palm to form a smooth dough. Add more water or flour as required while kneading and shape the dough into a ball .

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5. Coat with a layer of olive oil and keep it closed for 2 – 2 ½ hours.

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6. After 2 hours, the dough would have nicely risen up. Punch  it down with your fist to get rid of all the air.

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7. If you are planning to make the pizza the next day, at this stage you can wrap it tightly with a plastic wrap and store in the fridge. Defrost to room temperature for about 30-40 minutes before making the pizza.IMG_6143

 

8. Knead the dough with your hands for 5 mins. The dough will be nice and elastic now. On a clean slab or plate, sprinkle some flour and place the dough in the centre.

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9. Spread the dough with your hands in the desired shape to make the pizza base. Make sure the base is about not very thick as it becomes double after baking.  You can use a rolling pin if needed. 

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10. Turn on the oven. Preheat to 200 degrees C with both the grills on.

Method of baking the pizza: 

1. Grease an oven tray with olive oil. Sprinkle a thin layer of flour.

2. Transfer the pizza base onto the tray.

3. Prick few holes with a fork on the base so that the base cooks evenly. Brush a thin layer of olive oil on the top.

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4. Then, spread a layer of pizza sauce.

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5. Next add all the toppings in this sequence – onions, capsicum, tomato and green chilli .

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6. Grate the cheese and spread on the top. Sprinkle herbs like basil or parsley if available.

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7. The oven must be ready for baking by now. Place the tray in the oven. Bake at 200 degrees C for 10- 18 mins  based on your oven capacity.

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8. Once the cheese and base turn slightly brown, take out the tray from the oven.

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9. Transfer the pizza on to a clean plate and cut into slices. Sprinkle oregano and chili-flakes on top and serve it hot!!IMG_6199

 

Cooking Tips:

  • Slice all vegetables thin and long so that it’s easier to bake. Remove  the liquid portion from tomato as it causes the base to become soggy.
  • You can even saute` the vegetables slightly  in olive oil before adding to the pizza.
  • Whole wheat dough takes more time to rise than regular flour (maida).
  • If you want the dough to rise quickly, keep the container in a plate filled with hot water  for 1 hour.

 

Sabudana Vada/ Sago Pakora

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Sabudana Vada or Sago Pakora is a crispy crunchy tea-time snack which is also made during fasting days. I remember the first time I tasted it, it was in a relative’s house-warming function. It was so addictive, that I ended up stuffing myself with about a dozen of them. If made right, it is so light and crispy that it will just melt in your mouth !!

Yield: makes around 15 vadas

Ingredients:

Sabudana/ Sago pearls – 1 cup

Potato – 2 No’s (medium sized)

Peanuts – 2 tbsp

Green chilli – 3 No’s (finely chopped)

Ginger – 1/2 inch (grated)

Coriander – 2 sprigs (finely chopped)

Jeera seeds- 1/2 tsp

Chilli powder – 1/2 tsp

Dry Mango powder ( Amchur powder) – 1 tsp  (can be substituted with 1 tsp lemon juice)

Turmeric – pinch

Salt – 1  tsp (vary as per taste)

Oil – for deep frying

Method:

1. Wash and soak sago pearls in water for minimum 4-5 hours or over night. They would puff up and become soft.  Drain and squeeze out excess water from the soaked sago.

(Tip: soaking time may differ based on the type of sago used)

2. Boil, peel and mash the potatoes. Make sure the potatoes are not too watery, else they might make the vadas  soggy.

3. In a pan, roast the peanuts till they slightly turn brown. Coarsely crush them using a mortar and pestle . Keep the texture coarse and not too powdery as they add a great crunch to the vadas.

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4. Now mix all the ingredients together. There is no need of adding any extra water as the moisture  in sago and potatoes helps in binding the ingredients together.

5. Make equal lemon-sized balls and shape them into flat round patties. If required, use oil or rice flour  to prevent the mix from sticking on the hands.

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6. Heat oil in a wide pan for deep frying. Make sure the heat is on medium high. Drop 2-3 patties at a time and fry till both sides turn golden brown. Transfer onto a paper towel for absorbing excess oil.

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8. Serve hot with tomato ketchup or green chutney!

Cooking Tip: The temperature of the oil is the key to making crispy vadas. Make sure the heat is medium high. If the heat is low, the vadas absorb a lot of oil and they become soggy.

Carrot Paratha/ Carrot Roti

Preparation time: 20 mins

Cooking time: 15 mins

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Made out of whole grains and packed with essential carbs and fibre, roti or paratha is a staple in all Indian households. I love trying out different types of rotis every now and then. The best way to add a zing to the humble roti is by adding in some veggies and spices.  Carrot is one such vegetable which can be eaten raw, cooked of juiced !I love carrots…crunchy in texture, sweet in taste and loaded with health benefits. It is known for its excellent vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium and antioxidant properties.

Carrot roti can be served with any curry of your choice or with just curd or pickle. It makes a good lunch box dish for kids.

Ingredients:

Wheat flour (Atta) – 4 cups

Carrot – 3 No’s  (peeled and grated)

Cumin powder – 1/2 tsp

Chilli powder – 1/2 tsp

Ajwain/Carom seeds  – 1/2 tbsp

Salt – 1/2 tsp

Warm water – for mixing the dough

Ghee/ Oil – for smearing on the paratha

Method:

1. In a mixing bowl add all the ingredients other than water and dry mix.

2. Next, slowly add the warm water and knead into a smooth dough. Brush a thin layer of oil, cover and set aside for 20 mins. 

3. Now, divide the dough into 4-5 equal balls. On a roti base, dust some dry flour. Using a rolling pin, roll them out into thin parathas.

4. Heat a tava/flat griddle. Place the paratha on the tava and cook for a minute till brown spots appear. Flip it over and similarly cook the other side. Apply oil/ghee/butter on each side and cook for another minute till both the sides turn slightly brown.

(Tip: You can even skip the oil/ghee and cook directly over the fire like phulkas)

5. Serve with any curry, pickle or curd.

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Aratikaya Masala Chips / Raw Banana Masala Chips

Preparation time: 5 mins

Cooking time: 20 mins

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Being a South Indian, I love papads, vadiyams, or any kind of chips with my week-end lunch. There’s nothing like munching on some crispy chips along with dal, sambar and rasam. When in the mood for some deep fried chips, why not go with banana chips instead of the dangerous potato chips 😉 !!

Ingredients:

Raw Banana – 1

Salt – 1/2 tsp

Turmeric – pinch

Chilli powder – as per taste

Oil – for deep frying

Method:

1. Peel the raw banana and slice into thin rings. I prefer using a slicer for this to get thin uniform slices.

2. Heat oil in a pan. Make sure the oil is at least 1 1/2 inch deep in the pan.

3. Once the oil is hot, slowly drop the banana slices (in batches). Using a slotted ladle keep turning them around and fry on both sides till they turn golden brown.  Remove and place the fried chips on a paper towel to absorb excess oil.

4. Once all the chips are fried, sprinkle salt, turmeric, chilli powder and gently toss for uniform mixing.

5. Serve on the side with sambar, dal or just mix with plain rice and enjoy!

6. You can store these chips for 2-3 days in an air-tight container.