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Friday, 31 July 2015

Methi /Fenugreek Paratha / Healthy Breakfast / Kids Lunch Box Recipe

Methi in any form is loved in my family, specially the methi leaves / Fenugreek greens are all time favourite. I use Fenugreek seeds (methi dana) in daal , kadhi, pickles , curries and masalas and use the methi leaves in parathas, tikkis, roti , stir fries and pooris. The dried Fenugreek leaves known as Kasuri methi is used for flavouring many curry dishes specially the paneer based rich creamy gravies. I got a little worried after moving to Penang, as we do not get Methi greens here. So I decided to grow Methi at home. I love gardening and have a small kitchen garden in my balcony and thankfully it provides me with fresh stock of my greens. 

Methi is not used only for its taste, it has many health benefits too. It contains a wide variety of nutrients including iron, magnesium, manganese, and copper, as well as vitamin B6, protein and dietary fiber. Fenugreek is beneficial during pregnancy, lactation and helps in improving digestion , it is shown to reduce Cholesterol levels and protect heart health, while simultaneously boosting the immune system and protecting against flu and various infections.

Methi Paratha is a quick and flavorful Indian breakfast. It is a flaky flat bread made by whole wheat flour and Fenugreek greens or Methi leaves and is a healthy alternative to the plain parathas. It can be served with curd and any pickle of your choice. This Methi parathas also serve as best snacks during travelling as they stay good for 1-2 days. I have also posted recipe of Mint and Paneer Stuffed paratha.

  • Whole Wheat flour - 1 cup
  • Fresh Methi leaves/ Fenugreek greens - 1/2 cup 
  • Red Chili powder - 1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
  • Roasted Cumin - Coriander powder -1/2 tsp
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil -1 tsp + for shallow frying the paratha
  1. Wash the Methi leaves and drain the water. Chop it finely.

      2.   In a large bowl take the whole wheat flour, add Turmeric powder, Red Chili powder, Cumin - Coriander powder , Salt , and 1 tsp oil. Mix well and to this add the finely chopped Methi leaves.

        3.   Add water little at a time and knead into a soft dough. Cover it and set aside for 10-15 minutes before making the parathas.

    4.   After 10 -15 minutes knead the dough again for few seconds and make equal sized balls out of it.  Now there are 2 techniques to roll out this ball into paratha. First method is to just roll it into a round shaped chapati with rolling pin by dusting little flour. I follow the second technique in which the dough ball is rolled out to a small round on which little oil is applied and then folded to get a half circle , to which again few drops of oil are applied and again folded to get a triangle shape. Now this triangle is rolled out further into a round shaped chapati. This technique is called (chaar pudachi poli in Marathi- which means a chapati made out of 4 fold). The chapati or paratha made by following the second technique becomes more fluffy and remains soft for a longer time as compared to the first technique. 

     5.  Heat a tawa on medium heat and place the rolled out dough on it and cook it for a minute, now drizzle few drops of oil and flip it over to the other side. Let the paratha cook evenly from both the sides. We can see small brown color spots on the paratha.  Remove the Paratha from tawa and keep on a plate.

   6. Repeat the same method for rest of the parathas. Serve the hot parathas with Raita or plain curd or any Pickle or chutney of your choice. I have served the Parathas with Garlic Chutney.

  • If you do not have fresh Methi greens, you can use Kasuri methi (dried Fenugreek leaves) to make this Paratha. Just crush 2 tbsp Kasuri Methi and mix in the dough with above mentioned spices and follow the remainig procedure for this paratha. 
  • You can also make Methi Puri from this paratha dough. Just roll out small rounds and deep fry in oil. 
If you are looking for side dishes to be served with any Paratha , check out Bottle gourd Raita,   Green Chili PickleGarlic Chutney

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Instant Sooji/ Semolina Uttapam/Uttapa / Healthy Breakfast / Kids Lunch Box Recipe

Sooji Uttapa serves as one of the quick and delicious breakfast options. It is a thick pancake made from Rava or Sooji batter with tasty topping . It is slightly crispy on the outside and edges and soft and fluffy inside. Uttapa is generally made from Rice and Urad dal which needs soaking , grinding and fermentation. Sooji Uttapa on the other hand is instant as it does not require any grinding . It can be served as a healthy and filling breakfast or can be taken as tea time snacks. My son enjoys it in his lunch box.

Sooji Uttapam is a zatpat and easy recipe on which even bachelors and beginners in cooking can try hands on. In this Sooji or coarse semolina and little Besan is soaked in buttermilk and thick pancakes are made from this batter. Addition of Besan or chick pea flour helps in binding the pancakes. This uttapa does not have any raising agent like Soda in it. The pancakes are topped with finely chopped and spiced veggies. I add finely chopped Onions, Tomatoes, Green Chiles and fresh Coriander leaves. You can also add finely grated carrots or finely chopped bell peppers too if you wish to. Preferably use non stick pan to make the pan cakes as it requires less oil .

  • 1 cup - Sooji / Coarse Semolina /Rava
  • 3 tbsp - Besan / Chick pea flour 
  • 1/2 cup - plain Butter Milk 
  • 1 large Onion, finely chopped
  •  1 large Tomato ,finely diced 
  • 2 Green Chilies , finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh coriander leaves
  • Salt as per taste.
  • 1tsp Oil + for shallow frying
  1. Take Sooji and Besan in a large bowl. 
2.  Gradually add plain butter milk and mix well with a spoon to form a smooth pancake batter (consistency slightly thicker than dosa batter) . If you do not have buttermilk , can add 2-3 tbsp curd and some water to make the batter. There should be no lumps in the batter. Add salt and 1 tsp of oil and mix well and keep aside for 15-20 minutes. If you are in a hurry and cannot wait for soaking time, then make the batter using warm buttermilk, this will fasten the soaking of sooji.

   3.  Mean while finely chop the veggies and sprinkle salt on them. I like the Onion flavor more in the Uttapa so I use them a bit more than the other veggies.

4.  After 20 minutes check the batter for consistency and add little water (The batter becomes thick gradually, as the Sooji absorbs moisture from the batter). Over a medium flame, heat a non-stick tawa or griddle. Drizzle few drops of Oil over it. Now reduce the flame to low and pour a ladle full of batter and spread it into a circle with the help of ladle .

   5.  Now top the Uttapa with chopped Onions, Tomatoes, Chilies and Coriander. Spread the veggies evenly and gently press them with the ladle , so that they stick to the pan cake and do not fall when we flip it. There is a variation to this step. You can add the veggies to the batter first and then make the pan cake. I prefer to add the veggies afterwards for 2 reasons, one that it looks more appealing and secondly we get the option to top the Uttapa with veggies of our preference (specially for the fussy eaters).

 6.  Drizzle few drops of oil around the edge with help of spoon and cover the Uttapa with a lid. Cook on medium heat until color of top surface changes from white to off white and bottom side turns light brown. It will hardly take 2 minutes for this. Now flip it gently and cook the other side for 1 minute or so.

   7.   Tranfer the Uttapa to a plate . Prepare the remaining Uttapas following the above method. Serve hot with Tomato ketchup or any chutney of your choice.

Monday, 27 July 2015

Masala Papad

Masala Papad is a famous Indian starter snack in which a crisp papad is topped with flavorful and crunchy salad. A very tempting dish goes well with any Indian main course or with a Mocktail or Cocktail.

There is no specific recipe for making Masala papad . In this Urad dal papad is either deep fried or roasted and then topped with finely chopped and flavoured Onion , Tomato and Coriander . Chat masala, black pepper powder, salt, red chili powder and lime juice are used to flavor the salad. The Papad should be served immediately after assembling as it turns soggy.

I have made this Masala papad from home made Urad dal papad. You can use any plain or black pepper flavoured urad dal papads or Lijjat Papads easily available in Market. I have roasted the papads on open fire. You may either deep fry or roast the papads using Microwave.

  • 2 Large Urad dal papads
  • 1 large finely chopped Onion
  • 1 large finely chopped Tomato
  • 2-3 tbsp finely chopped fresh Coriander leaves
  • 2-3 tbsp nylon Sev (optional)
  • 1 tsp - red Chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp - Chat Masala Powder
  • 1/2 tsp - black Pepper powder
  • 1/2 tsp roasted Cumin powder
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • Salt to taste
Method :
  1. Take a bowl or plate and add Chopped Onions, Tomatoes with the spices and salt. 
  2. Add the lemon juice and mix well. Taste this topping for salt and if required add salt ,lemon juice or  spice powder as per your taste. Make this topping just before roasting the Papads.

    3  Roast the Papad on medium flame and keep aside. If you want to fry the papad, select small to medium sized papad to fit your frying wok, or you can break the papad into 2 or 4 pieces and then deep fry them if the size is big.

     4.   Keep the roasted papad on the serving plate and spoon the masala filling on the papad and spread evenly.

  5.  Now sprinkle the chopped coriander leaves and in the last the nylon Sev over the papad.

  6. Repeat the steps 3 to 5 for the other papad also. Serve immediately as it may turn soggy.

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Schezwan Sauce Recipe / Indo - Chinese Cuisine

Schezwan Sauce is the magical ingredient used in many of the dishes of Indo - Chinese Cuisine. Magical because this one ingredient can give a spicy and flavorful kick to any dish. This sauce is added to Schezwan fried rice, Schezwan noodles , Manchurian and many other lip smacking dishes. The sauce serves best with hot piping Momos and Spring rolls. This flavorful and fiery hot sauce is indeed a treat to the spice lovers. 

Originating from the Sichuan province of China, Schezuan cuisine is characterized by bold flavors, brought about by liberal use of pungent ingredients like garlic and chilies. The original recipe uses special Sichuan peppers that have a lemony taste.
Source: Wikepedia

Schezwan sauce is easily available in malls but we can make this sauce at home too and the recipe is very easy to follow with minimal ingredients. The best part of making the Schezwan sauce at home is that it is devoid of any chemicals added for preservation, colour and flavour enhancement .

In India, this hot and spicy sauce recipe uses dried red chilies and garlic as the main ingredient. The sauce is a blend of many flavours. The dried red chilies and black pepper make the sauce fiery hot whereas the Soy sauce and Vinegar give the desired sourness. Little sugar is added to balance the spicy flavors. I have used Kashmiri red chilies which give the desired colour to the sauce. I follow the recipe of Schezwan sauce from Sanjeev Kapoor's Khana Khazana. 

  • Dried Red Chilies- 10 to 12
  • Finely chopped Garlic- 2 tbsp
  • Finely chopped Ginger - 1 tsp
  • Vinegar- 1 tsp
  • Soy sauce - 1 tsp
  • Black pepper powder - 1 tsp
  • Salt to taste
  • Sugar - 1/2 tsp
  • Oil - 2 tbsp
  1. Soak the dried Kashmiri red chilies in warm water for about 1/2 hour. Now remove the seeds and grind the chilies to a paste using very little water.

     2. In a non stick pan, heat the oil on a medium heat. Add the chopped Garlic and Ginger. Stir well and now add the Chili paste and saute until oil start oozing out from the mixture . This step is important to remove the rawness of Chili and Garlic. 

   3.  Add Sugar, Salt and Black peeper powder to the paste. Be careful while adding salt, as we are going to add Soy sauce also which has salt , so add accordingly.Mix well.

   4.   Now add Soy sauce and Vinegar to the sauce.

     5. Now at last add some water to the mixture so that it attains a consistency of a sauce. Check for seasoning at this stage. 

    6. Put off the flame . Transfer the sauce to an air tight container on cooling and refrigerate. Use as per requirement. 

     You can check out for some of my recipes from Indo Chinese Cuisene like Soya Chunk Manchurian , Paneer Lolipop