Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Gobi 65 - Spicy Cauliflower Fritters

Gobi or cauliflower is a relatively new vegetable for me. Though I knew very well about it, neither mom nor MIL brought it home and cooked with it. For some reason, it had hardly made into our kitchens. My first encounter with this vegetable had been in the form of Gobi Manchurian in some chat shop in Bangalore, almost when I was in college and started eating out with friends occasionally.

Prior to that, as a kid, I had seen the Gobi manchurian in some wedding menus loaded with artificial colors making it look bright red. And funnily enough, I had believed it was some non-vegetarian item and had always been scared to even try it! And if there were florets of cauliflower in other dishes like pulav or so, I’d promptly keep it aside and finish with the rest of the dish, not bothering to even taste it!

It was after wedding that D introduced me to this beautiful vegetable in restaurants, and also got it home once, but again, as there were many non-takers for it at home, it didn’t become a regular. It remains one if D’s favorite veggies and I’ve started buying it here and experimenting it in various dishes. One such was this Gobi 65 and he loved it, so did I :)

It is flavorful, crispy, spicy and makes a good starter or as a side dish to some Chinese based menu like Fried Rice or Noodles. Here’s the recipe…

Gobi 65 - Spicy Cauliflower Fritters

Preparation time        : 15 min plus marinating time
Cooking time               : 30 min
Serves              :  4
Adapted from : Monsoon Spice

Cauliflower - 1 medium, florets separated
Onion - 1 medium, finely chopped
Garlic cloves - 2-3 large, thinly sliced
Green chilies - 1-2, chopped fine; adjust as per taste
Capsicum/Bell Pepper - 1 or 2, cut into 1 inch squares
Coriander Leaves - 2 Tbsp, finely chopped
1 tbsp Oil
Soya Sauce - 1Tbsp
Oil for deep frying

For Batter:
Maida/All Purpose Flour - ½ cup
Corn Flour- 2 Tbsp
Red Chili Powder - 1 tsp, adjust acc to taste)
Garam masala powder - 1 tsp
Ginger-Garlic Paste - 1 tsp
Salt to taste

  • Semi cook the cauliflower
  • Boil some water in a large pot
  • Wash cauliflower florets under running water and transfer them to the boiling water.
  • Cook it for 5 minutes till they are half cooked
  • Drain all the water by passing through colander and run these cauliflower florets under cold water to stop cooking process. Keep it aside till needed. 
  • Take all purpose flour and corn flour in a mixing bowl and add all the ingredients for batter and mix well.
  • Now start adding little water at time and keep mixing with a whisk to get thick batter of pouring consistency.
  • Adjust the seasoning and spices according to your taste and add the cauliflower florets to it. Mix them well so that each floret is coated well.
  • Cover it and let it marinate for at least 3-4 hours to build up all the flavors. If you’re pressed for time, even half an hour should do. 
Deep fry:
  • Heat oil in a kadai or frying pan.
  • Drop the florets into oil, one at a time, and fry them till golden brown in color in batches of 4-5, depending on the size of your pan.
  • Place them on a paper towel to remove excess oil.
  • Repeat for the next batch and deep fry them till golden brown and crisp.  
  • Heat about a tbsp of oil in a pan and add thinly sliced garlic and chopped green chilies to it.
  • When it starts to turn light golden, mix in finely chopped onions and cook till they turn translucent.
  • Next add bell pepper pieces and toss them for a minute or two. Mix in soya sauce, if using, and toss them for a minute.
  • Add deep fried Gobi 65 and mix them well.
  • Turn off the stove and mix in finely chopped coriander leaves.
  • Serve this delicious Gobi 65 as a side dish along Veg Fried Rice or Noodles or as a starter

  • Mix in the fried gobi with the other stuff just before serving to retain the crunchiness; else it may get soggy

Friday, August 24, 2012

Eggless Orange Raspberry Muffins

I’m awed by all the berries I can find here in Sweden! And that too I’ve come in the right season here, end of spring and summer have been very pleasurable in terms of weather and the fresh vegetable and fruit produce. After having loads of strawberries, it was then time for some raspberries! When we had gone for a long nature walk, we came across many of these raspberry plants, filled with shiny bright little  raspberries ! After eating some, I picked some to take back home too. Here, berries can be picked by anyone anytime anywhere, unless it is owned by someone and fenced. Isn’t it a good thing?
So back home with the  raspberries  in the fridge, I wanted to bake something with it. I thought  raspberries and oranges made a good combination. As always Champa’s Versatile Kitchen has something to offer whatever you are searching for! This was an orange muffin there, and I added  raspberries too. I halved the recipe and got about 8 smaller than normal muffins. Since it was a cloudy and rainy day, please excuse my bad pics :)

Here’s the recipe… 

Eggless Orange Raspberry Muffins

All purpose flour - 2 cups
Sugar - ½ cup
Salt - ½ tsp
Baking powder - 3 tsp
Corn starch - 2 Tbsp
Milk - 2 Tbsp
Vegetable or Canola oil - 1/3 cup
Orange Juice - ¾ cup
Apple cider vinegar - ¼ tsp
Orange zest - 1 tsp                                                         
Raspberries - a handful

  • Preheat the oven to 180 deg C or 375 F. Grease a 12 standard size muffin tin with vegetable oil spray or line with liners.
  • In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, corn starch, salt, sugar and zest).
  • In another bowl, combine orange juice, vegetable oil, milk, vinegar. Let it sit for 5 minutes.
  • Whisk it well and pour into the dry ingredients.
  • Mix them but do not over mix them. Batter will be lumpy and thick.
  • Throw in the  raspberries reserving a few for sticking on top of each muffin
  • Fill the cups 2/3 full and stick in one or two  raspberries at the top
  • Bake for 20 - 25 minutes or till a tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Mine were done at 20 minutes.
  • Cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then transfer on to the cooling rack to cool completely.
  • Champa makes a glaze on top, but I didn’t as I had  raspberries in and on them.

  • Do not over mix any muffin batter; it makes the muffins hard.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Purple/Red Cabbage Salad

Purple cabbage or Red cabbage as it is called is a wonderful vegetable, packed fully with a lot of nutrients like Potassium, Vitamins C, A, K and loaded with dietary fiber. It is a good anti oxidant and it contains almost no fat at all. It’s a great vegetable to add in salads. Along with the nutritional benefits it also looks great in salads with its bright color.

Seeing purple cabbages here in plenty makes me want to buy it every time! But a full cabbage will be too much for the two of us, and I don’t like to buy chopped pieces. So when I buy it, I end up making various bright-colored stuff out of it, including purple cabbage rice, stir fry, etc. And one of the best ones and the healthiest is a salad.

Here’s one of my versions…

Purple Cabbage Salad

Preparation time        : 10 min
Cooking time               : Nil
Serves              :  4

Purple / Red Cabbage - 250 g
Carrots - 2 medium or 1 large
Red Onion - 1 small
Red vine vinegar - 2 tsp
Olive Oil - 1 Tbsp
Italian dried herbs - 1 tsp; Can use any of your favorite. I use Basil/Thyme/Oregano
Salt                  - ¼ tsp or as per taste
Black pepper powder - ½ tsp or as per taste
Basil leaves - a few for garnishing
Cream/Sour cream/Crème Fraiche/Yogurt - 2 Tbsp

  • Chop the cabbage length wise into thin long strips
  • Peel and chop carrots also similarly
  • Do the same with onions - slice them vertically into thin long pieces
  • Mix the sliced veggies in a large bowl
  • Add vinegar, salt, pepper, herbs and olive oil
  • Give a good shake, to mix well
  • Finally add cream/yogurt and mix gently
  • Garnish with a few fresh basil leaves and serve
  • I mostly like to chop all the veggies used in a salad uniformly - like in this case, thin ling stripes. That makes the distribution even and looks good too.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Nucchinunde - Steamed Lentil Dumplings

Nucchinunde is a traditional Karnataka snack, dumplings of lentils and coconut and steamed and served with coconut chutney. These are quite healthy as they are steamed and filled with proteins from the lentils.

They can be made with toor dal, chana dal or a combination of these. Sometimes moong dal can also be mixed. A bit of coconut is added too, to enhance the taste. Greens like mint, coriander and curry leaves add a nice flavor. Spinach can also be added to add more nutrition.

These can be made in a steamer or in an Idli stand. If you don’t have one, you can even make a temporary fix by boiling water in a big vessel and keeping these in another small container/plate (raised in height by keeping another bowl or so below) and covering with a plate. This time, since I didn’t have proper equipment, I used my bundt pan to steam these dumplings!!

These taste awesome fresh out of the steamer, but can also be reheated and eaten. A dollop of ghee adds to the taste, along with a coconut chutney as accompaniment. They taste good cold too. Can be had as a snack or for breakfast too.

Nucchinunde - Steamed Lentil Dumplings

Preparation time        : 15 min + soaking time of 3-4 hrs
Cooking time               : 15 min
Serves              :  4

Chana dal - ½ cup
Toor dal - ½ cup
Split Moong dal - 1/2 cup
Green chilies   - 2-3
Coconut           - ½ cup, grated
Salt                  - ¼ tsp or as per taste
Curry leaves    - 2 sprigs
Coriander        - 2 Tbsp, finely chopped
Mint/Dill/Spinach - ½ cup, finely chopped; Optional; I used mint
Oil - just a few drops for greasing the pan

  • Soak the lentils for 3-4 hours or overnight
  • Drain completely and wash it a couple of times thoroughly. Soaked dals have a strong smell and washing is very important
  • Grind the dals with all other ingredients into a very coarse mixture, in pulse mode. Do not add any water; And do not make it into a fine paste
  • Mix in chopped greens if using
  • The mixture will be wet enough to hold shape when made into dumplings
  • Take TT-ball sized portions of the dough and press it a bit and make into dumplings; usually they are made in cylindrical shapes
  • Arrange the dumplings in the greased container of a steamer and steam it for 10-15 minutes till it is just about dry and cooked.
  • Serve piping hot or warm with a spoonful of ghee and some coconut chutney… Bliss!! 
  • Can use only one kind of dal or a combination of any of the three in any proportion; each has a slightly different taste and texture
  • I again stress on not grinding to a fine paste; it makes the dumplings hard
Sending these to Akila's event here.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Olive, Cheese and Garlic No-knead Focaccia

Among the breads that I bake, I love focaccia. It is an Italian flat bread, with olive oil and optionally with some toppings. The Italian herbs and garlic as toppings add a nice flavor and taste to the bread, and the olive oil makes it soft. Add cheese and top it with olives and some chives, it becomes a heavenly bread. The no-knead version of this bread, is so easy to put together, without the need for straining your arms by kneading and kneading! Just mix the batter, beat it a few times with a strong spatula and dump it in the baking tin. When risen, top it with your favorite toppings and bake. That’s it!

Well, coming to tins, when I made it, I didn’t have any bread tins or cake tins other than the bundt pan and a few huge cookie sheets. That shouldn’t stop my spirit for baking right? I baked it on the cookie sheet, making an almost circle of about 9” with the dough! And it worked fine. The bread baked up fine and the ‘almost’ circular shape didn’t matter once it was cut.

Here’s how to make it… if you’re scared of baking breads, you must try this first, or my other no-knead focaccia here, to drive off the fear :)

Olives and Cheese Focaccia

Preparation time        : 10-15 min + rising time of about 1 hr
Baking time                 : 35-40 min
Makes             :  one 9” round bread of abt 1 ½ -2” height
Recipe Source : Here, originally from KAF site

For the batter
All Purpose flour - 1 ½ cups plus 2 Tbsp / 210 grams
Warm water - ¾ cup
Dried thyme (or your favorite dried herb) - generous heaped ½ tsp
Chilli flakes - 1 tsp or to taste
Salt - ¾ tsp
Instant yeast or Active dried yeast - 1 ½ tsp ( I use instant)
Sugar - ¾ tsp
Olive oil - 1 ½ Tbsp plus more for greasing the pan

To mix in
Roasted garlic pods - 1, medium sized (not more, as yeast doesn't love too much garlic, says the KAF site), mashed or chopped fine. I was scared that 3 would be too much, so added just one to the batter and added more later in topping
Cheese - 100 grams or more, cut into ½” cubes (Recipe suggests cheddar, Monterey Jack or flavored cheddar) I used flavored cheddar

For the topping
Olive Oil - 1 ½ tsp
More dried herbs for topping
Basil leaves - a few, I didn’t use this
Chives - 2-3 Tbsp, chopped
Olives - 10-12, pitted and chopped
Garlic - 2 pods, chopped fine
  • Grease and line the bottom and sides of a 9'' round tin. Grease again.
  • Sift the flour, salt, chili flakes and dried thyme to mix well. Keep aside.
  • In a large bowl, take the sugar and the yeast.
  • Add the warm water ( If using active dried yeast, you would need to proof it first using the warm water, yeast and sugar, let it stand for about 5-10 minutes till frothy and then proceed with the next step).
  • Add water and the oil.  Mix. Tip in the flour mixture.
  • Stir with a wooden spoon till all the flour is incorporated. Then beat 20 times with the spoon. The batter will be sticky.
  • Mix in the chopped garlic and the cheese cubes.
  • Transfer the batter to the greased tin. Push gently with greased hands to cover the entire pan.
  • Spread some oil lightly over the surface. Dimple the dough with your fingers.
  • Cover with a greased aluminum foil and let rise in a warm place for an hour. The dough will be puffy (not necessarily double the volume) at the end of one hour.
  • Towards the end of the rise period, pre-heat oven to 190 degrees C / 375 degrees F.
  • Drizzle oil on top. Remove the foil, sprinkle the topping. Distribute the olives evenly over the entire bread
  • Bake for 35 -40 minutes or till light golden brown on top.
  • The bread will not brown a lot as there is very little sugar in the batter.
  • The bottom should sound hollow when tapped. (It should read between 200-210F on an instant read thermometer - I don’t have one…yet)
  • Cool on the wire rack in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove from the pan, place on the rack and cool further.
  • Cut when warm - the cheesy bits taste awesome when warm
  • For a pizza like flavor, as Suma has done, ¼ cup of water can be replaced with pizza sauce, but I preferred not to
  • The bread was very soft and nice for about a day. The next day it turned out to be a little dry. After warming it a bit, it was again soft
  • Tastes best when warm and just about cool… with the cheese bits here and there, and the tang of olives adding to the taste.