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Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Vegetarian Thukpa / Noodle Soup from Arunachal Pradesh


Arunachal Pradesh is one of the 29 states of India and is the Northern Eastern most state of the country. It is also the largest of the North-eastern states known as the Seven Sister States. When it comes to food,the dishes typical of Arunachal Pradesh vary within the region, including according to tribal influence. The staple food is rice along with fish, meat and many green vegetables. Boiled rice cakes wrapped in leaves is a famous snack. Momos are also popular. I have shared the recipe of Momos earlier in my blog. Click here for the recipe. Today i am sharing another traditional dish common among "Monpa" a tribe of Arunachal - Thukpa.

Thukpa is a hearty noodle soup that is made with noodles, veggies and a protein source (usually meat). The soup originated in the eastern part of Tibet and northern part of Nepal and became popular in various part of Nepal, Bhutan, and the states of Sikkim, Assam, and Arunachal Pradesh in the northeast India. It is also popular in the Ladakh region and the state of Himachal Pradesh. Source: Wikipedia. I have browsed many sites for this soup recipe and finally modified and settled to this vegetarian version of Thukpa. 


 Vegetarian Thukpa ( spelled as thuppa) is a simple , easy to make delicious noodle soup loaded with wholesome goodness of fresh vegetables. A healthy and filling dish that can be sipped as a soup or can be served as a hearty evening meal especially during winters. It is a complete meal on its own. This vegetarian Thukpa is my contribution towards Arunachal Pradesh cuisine in a Facebook group - Shhhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge. In this group all participating bloggers are assigned partners and they have to cook a dish with the two secret ingredients given by their partner. For the month of October the decided theme was Arunachal Pradesh Cuisine. I am thankful to Mayuri di a talented blogger who blogs at Mayuri's Jikoni   for introducing me to this amazing group of food bloggers. For last month's challenge my partner was Veena di who blogs at Veena's Veg Nation . She gave me carrot and soy sauce as 2 secret ingredients and i cooked this delicious soup using it.

  
Preparation time:10 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4-5

Ingredients: 
  • 150 grams (pack) noodles ( i used veg Hakka Noodle)
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 inch piece of ginger
  • 1/2 cup tomato puree ( i pulsed 2 tomatoes to get the puree)
  • 1 carrot cut into matchstick
  • 3-4 baby corn slit into half lengthwise
  • 4-5 french beans finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh green peas
  • 1 green bell pepper chopped (lengthwise)
  • 1/2 cup cabbage, finely sliced
  • 1/2 cup spinach , finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly crushed black pepper powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon roasted cumin powder
  • Salt to taste 
  • 3 cups of vegetable broth / dal water or plain water
  • 1 tablespoon oil

 Method:
  1. Cook the noodles in a sauce pan as per the instructions given on the packet.( i added noodles to 3 cup boiling water with salt, boiled the noodles for 3-4 minutes) The noodles should be boiled  al dente (soft but not fully cooked). Drain in a colander , reserve the stock. Pour cold water over the noodles to stop further cooking.



  2. Heat oil in a wok. Add minced garlic and ginger and stir fry until the raw smell goes. Add the sliced onions and saute until they soften.



  3. Add the tomato puree and stir fry the mix for 1-2 minute.


  4. Add the carrots , baby corn , green peas and french beans. Saute them for 2-3 minutes. Now add cabbage and green pepper. Saute for a while before adding the spice powders and salt.



  5. Add turmeric powder, red chili powder, garam masala , roasted cumin powder and salt to taste. Mix well. Stir fry for a minute. Now add the chopped spinach and allow it to wilt.



  6. Next add the cooked noodles and blend very well with the veggies.



  7. Add reserved stock ( the water in which noodles were cooked) , and plain water or vegetable broth or dal water ). The quantity of liquid added depends upon the desired consistency of the dish.



  8. Now add soy sauce , sugar and black pepper powder. Stir well. Cover cook the noodle soup for 4-5 minutes.




  9. Put off the flame. Squeeze juice of 1 lemon , stir and serve the delicious thukpa hot.


   Notes:
  • I have used many seasonal vegetables in this soup to make it wholesome and healthy. You may add the veggies of your choice.
  • Non vegetarians may add chicken stock to the soup.
  • I have added the stock (in which the noodles are cooked) in the dish. This is optional. You may add plain water or vegetable broth or dal water instead.


Sunday, 29 October 2017

Spanish Chickpea and Spinach Stew With An Indian Twist / Fusion Fiesta


Chickpea and Spinach Stew or garbanzos con espinacas is a popular Spanish dish . It makes a delicious nourishing and satisfying meal. This gluten-free and vegan dish is very easy and quick to cook and is perfect for lunch or dinner. Fusion cooking is using the old familiar recipes and changing the spices, even main ingredients and cooking methods to come up with a very similar dish which may taste similar or look similar to the original ethic dish. Here i have cooked a Spanish chickpea and spinach stew with an Indian twist. 


This week for our#116th #FoodieMondayBlogHop , it was Malliaka's turn to choose the theme. Mallaika Chaudhary is a talented blogger who blogs at A Foodie Housewife  . She chose a very interesting theme #FusionFiesta. The idea is to fuse Indian food with different international cuisines. Fusion Fiesta of Indian food with an uncommon international cuisines, for fun of it and to be creative we decided to leave out the Indo-Chinese, Indo-Italian and Indo-Mexican that are very common in our households. I chose to cook Spanish Chickpea and Spinach Stew with an Indian twist. The reason for choosing this dish was that i wanted to cook a vegetarian main dish with readily available ingredients in our kitchen pantries and something we could relate to our Indian cooking. I adapted the recipe from Lazycatkitchen.com . 


The original recipe called for use of smoked paprika which is characteristic ingredient of Spanish cuisine. I used Kashmiri red chili powder instead of it and used some of our whole spices in the recipe to give it an Indian touch. The stew has a simple onion tomato base. The recipe called for use of baby spinach. I have used entire small tender spinach leaves, you may chop the spinach if the leaves are big. The dish came out very well, and my little one who would otherwise not eat spinach in curries , finished his meal and that too with a spark in his eyes. I paired the stew with our all time favourite Jeera Rice. Though you can have it as a soup or pair it even with any of Indian flat bread. The stew is mildly spiced, sweet and tangy all in one go and i am sure this dish will make it presence in our lunch menu often :) If you have cooked chickpeas, the whole dish is ready under 20 minutes. 

Preparation Time: 8 hours
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 3-4

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup chickpea / kabuli chana
  • 1 cup Spinach leaves (preferably tender leaves)
  • 2 onions finely chopped
  • 2 tomatoes finely chopped
  • 3-4 garlic cloves minced or finely chopped
  • 1/2 inch ginger root
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon of carom seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (adjust as per taste)
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoon oil
  • 1 teaspoon freshly crushed black pepper powder
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice (optional)
Method:
  1. Rinse and soak the chickpeas is enough water for 6-8 hours. Drain and add the soaked chickpeas with 3 cups of water , carom seeds, 1 bay leaf and salt to taste in a pressure cooker. Pressure cook for 2-3 whistles or until done. The chickpeas should be soft but not mushy and should hold their shape.


  2. Once the pressure is released, drain the chickpeas and reserve the stock . We will be using the stock in the stew.


  3. In a wok or sauce pan, heat oil . Add cumin seeds and bay leaf. Once the seeds crackle, add the minced or finely chopped garlic and ginger and stir fry until the raw smell is gone.


  4. Add chopped onions and saute until it turns translucent. Now add the chopped tomatoes. Saute them until mushy.



  5. Next add the spice powders ( turmeric powder, Kashmiri red chili powder, cumin-coriander powder) salt and sugar. (be careful while adding salt , as we have already added salt while cooking the chickpeas). Stir fry for 1 minute before adding the cooked chickpeas. Stir fry the chickpeas in spices for 1-2 minute.



  6. Add the stock we reserved. Let it boil. Next add the washed spinach leaves and cover cook the stew on medium flame until the spinach leaves wilt. 




  7. Lastly add freshly crushed black pepper powder and lemon juice and put off the flame. Serve piping hot .




 Sending this recipe to #116th #FoodieMondayBlogHop where the theme for this week is #FusionFiesta .Check out my fellow bloggers post as well for some innovative fusion recipes.

  For more fusion recipes , do check my post on


Sunday, 22 October 2017

Vegetarian Shammi Kebab



Vegetarian Shammi Kebab is a popular awadhi dish made from coarsely grounded lentils and spices. The kebabs can be made using kale chane (black chickpea) or kabuli chana (yellow chickpea). Since the kebabs are made using chickpeas , the dish is also referred to as chane ke kebab. The kebabs are succulent and delicious. They make a wholesome starter dish and are melt in the mouth types. Usually they are served with salad and green chutney.  But they can also be paired with bread in a sandwich , or with bun in a burger. You can serve them with pita bread too.
Before we move towards the recipe lets know little about Awadhi cuisine. Awadhi cuisine is a cuisine native to the city of Lucknow, which is the capital of the state of Uttar Pradesh in Northern India. The cooking patterns of Lucknow are similar to those of Central Asia, the Middle East , and Northern India with the cuisine comprising both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. The Awadh region has been greatly influenced by Mughal cooking techniques, and the cuisine of Lucknow bears similarities to those of Central Asia, Kashmir, Punjab and Hyderabad.
                                                     

Kebabs are the integral part of Awadhi. Lucknow is proud of its Kebabs. There are several varieties of popular kebabs in Awadhi cuisine viz. Kakori kebabs, Galawat ke Kebabs, Shami kebabs , Boti Kebabs, Patili-ke-Kebabs , Ghutwa kebabs and Seekh kebabs are among the known varieties. The kebabs of Awadhi cuisine are distinct from the kebabs of Punjab as Awadhi kebabs are grilled on a chula and sometimes in a skillet as opposed to grilled in a tandoor in Punjab. Awadhi kebabs are also called "chula" kebabs whereas the kebabs of Punjab are called "tandori" kebabs.
Source : Wikipedia 
 
This shammi kebabs are made using kale chane (black chickpeas). The boiled chickpeas are mashed and a sauted onion ginger preparation with spices is added to it. Coriander leaves are added and then the mixture is shaped to kebabs. We may add boiled potato , or paneer (Indian cottage cheese) in the mixture. I have partially adapted the recipe from vahrevah.com , where the kebabs are stuffed instead of keeping them plain. Stuffing can be of paneer or khoya. I have stuffed the kebabs with khoya (milk solids) and pomegranate spiced mixture. The recipe is very simple and easy to follow. The kebab dough can be prepared and the kebabs can be shaped ahead of time and just pan fried before serving them at parties. 
 
A look at the health benefits of eating black chickpeas in our diet. Black chickpea is loaded with nutrients like iron, protein, copper and vitamins, all of which are good for building your immune system. It acts as a major source of protein for vegetarians , is a good source of fibre, helps in regulating the blood sugar level. It also helps in reducing weight and helps avoid the formation of acids in the body. 

Kala chana prevents bloating and also keeps the digestive system strong.  In addition, it contains phytochemicals called saponins which are very good in preventing cancer. A good amount of choline is also present, which helps in developing the brain.
Source ”http://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/health/5-health-benefits-of-black-chickpeas-3092425/
 
Preparation time: 8 hours
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Servings : 4

Ingredients :
  • 1 cup brown chickpea / kala chana
  • 2 tablespoon split and skinned Bengal gram / chana dal
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 1/2 inch ginger piece
  • 2 green chilies
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh coriander leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 /2 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/4 teaspoon amchur powder ( raw mango powder)
  • Salt to taste
  • 2-3 tablespoon ghee or cooking oil for pan frying the kababs
For the stuffing :
  • 1/4 cup milk solids / khoya
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate arils 
  • 1 /2 teaspoon red chili powder.
  • 1 teaspoon chaat masala
Method: 
  1. Wash and soak the black chickpeas along with the skinned and split Bengal gram in enough water for 6-8 hours. Drain and add them to a pressure cooker with 3 cups of water and salt and pressure cook for 2-3 whistles on medium flame.

  2. The chickpeas should cook well and we should we able to mash it with fingers. Drain the chickpeas. Reserve the water. We may need little while binding the kebabs. Remaining water can be used in soups or dal.


  3. Crush the chickpeas in a food processor or using grinder .


  4. Take 1 teaspoon oil and heat in a pan. Add cumin seeds. Once the seeds crackle , add finely chopped onions and fry until they turn soft.



  5. Make a paste of ginger and green chilies and add it to the onions. Saute for 1-2 minutes on low flame. 


  6. Add turmeric powder, red chili powder, garam masala, amchur powder and salt. Mix well and stir fry for another 30 seconds.


  7. Add this spiced onion ginger mixture to the crushed chickpeas along with fresh coriander leaves. Mix well and make a dough. Use little reserved water from step 2 if required while doing so.


  8. For the stuffing take khoya, pomegranate arils in a plate. Add chaat masala and red chili powder and mix well.



  9. For making the kebabs, take a portion from the chickpea dough and flatten it on the palm. Add the stuffing on it and close it and shape into round shape kebabs. Repeat the same and make rest of the kebabs.



  10. Heat oil or ghee in a pan and place the kebabs over it. Pan fry the kebabs on low to medium heat until golden brown from both sides, be delicately while flipping the kebabs as they are very soft and may break while doing so.



  11. Serve the delicious vegetarian shammi kebab with salad and green chutney and enjoy with loved ones.


  Notes : 
  • Stuffing the kebab is entirely optional but it certainly takes the dish to another level .
  • The kebabs are very soft and tend to break if not handled with care , especially during flipping step.
  • The recipe can be made even with regular white chickpeas (kabuli chana).
  • The water used for cooking the chickpeas can be used in dals and soups and also while making this kebabs, if the dough becomes dry.

Sending this recipe to #115th #FoodieMondayBlogHop where the theme for this week is #AwadhiCuisine .  

                                 

       



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