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Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Vegan Potato Pancakes


Potato pancakes are savory fritters that are usually made with shredded potatoes, onions, egg, and refined flour. But these pancakes are vegan and gluten-free which means the recipe is egg-less and rice flour replaces the APF /refined flour. These savory pancakes use raw shredded potatoes that are flavored with onion, cilantro, and seasonings, and further shallow fried in oil until crisp and golden brown from both sides. Potato pancakes make a wonderful appetizer or snack and can be served with applesauce, sour cream or any dip of your choice. The recipe is very simple, most of the ingredients are pantry staples and the dish is ready under 30 minutes from scratch.


What are Pancakes?

A pancake is a flat, thin or thick flatbread, mostly round in shape, prepared from a starch-based batter that may contain eggs, milk, and butter and cooked on a hot surface such as frying pan in oil or butter. The shape and structure of a pancake vary worldwide. In England, pancakes are often unleavened and resemble a crepe. In North America, a leavening agent is used (typically baking powder) creating a thick fluffy pancake. When buttermilk is used instead of milk the pancakes develop a tart flavor and are called buttermilk pancakes. Pancakes may be served at any time of the day with a variety of toppings or fillings but in America, they are typically considered breakfast food.

Indian Pancakes

India has many styles of pancakes that differ in taste due to the main ingredient used. Almost all the Indian pancakes are made without the use of added raising agents. In North India, pancakes referred to as Cheela are popular. Cheela can be sweet or savory. Sweet ones use sugar or jaggery with wheat flour-based batter. Dosa, appam, neer dosa and uttapam are pancakes made in South Indian cooking style. Meetha pooda from Punjab are the sweet pancakes often eaten with pickles and chutney. Most of the pitha in Assam are types of pancakes served on occasions such as Bihu festivals. The Bengali semi-sweet pancake pati-Shapta is stuffed with grated coconut or thickened milk. In eastern India, Malpuas are famous festive desserts. In western India, the multi-grain Thalipeeth is popular while In Goa, a traditional crepe-like pancake known as alle belle that is usually filled with jaggery and coconut is eaten at tea-time.

What is the difference between Potato pancakes and Latkes?

Latkes are the potato pancakes of Jewish origin that are traditionally prepared to celebrate Hanukkah ( an eight-day Jewish festival of light). Both potato pancakes and latkes are savory fritters that use potatoes and eggs as the main ingredients. Latkes, however, also include baking powder, matzo meal, and even milk sometimes. Potato pancakes can also be made using cooked mashed potatoes.


What goes into my Potato Pancakes?

I have made vegan and gluten-free pancakes in which rice flour is added to shredded potatoes along with grated onions and the mix is seasoned with black pepper, green chilies, cilantro, and salt. I have not used baking powder in this recipe. Russet potatoes are perfect for this recipe because they are extra starchy that binds the other ingredients together. Use a thick cut grater for the best texture. I have immersed the shredded potatoes in water for about a minute to avoid them from discoloration and to get rid of the extra starch. Squeeze most of the moisture from the potatoes before making the batter. A small portion of the batter is added to a greased skillet, flattened a bit and shallow fried until golden brown and crisp from both sides. You can customize the dish and add veggies that are not too moist like, grated carrots, spring onions. Fresh herbs make the pancakes all the more flavorful.

Serving Suggestions:

These potato pancakes are crispier when served immediately. You can serve them with applesauce, sour cream or any dip of your choice. If you wish to make these potato pancakes for breakfast you can top them with scrambled tofu and stir-fried veggies.

Related Event

You all must be wondering, why my entire post is revolving around pancakes? Actually, the theme for this month on our Facebook group, Shhhhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge, started by Priya's versatile recipes and taken further to date by Mayuri di is Pancakes. Mayuri di's Sprouted moth and spinach pudla are worth giving a try. Archana di suggested this wonderful theme taking into account the variety of pancakes popular all around the globe. I am in love with her soft and fluffy Japanese souffle pancakes. She kept the theme broad and we had the liberty to choose pancakes from Indian or International Cuisine. In this group, each member takes turns to propose the theme for the month. All participating members are divided into pairs and both partners exchange a set of secret ingredients using which both have to prepare the theme dish. The other members of the group then take turns to guess the two secret ingredients just by looking at the pic of the dish. Doesn't all this sound interesting! If you are a food blogger and wish to join this group, do let us know in the comments section below. My partner for the theme was Anu Kollan and she gave me potatoes and green chilies as my two secret ingredients and I made these vegan and gluten-free potato pancakes. In return, I gave her ragi and cocoa powder and she made delicious pancakes using the two.

                             

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 5

Ingredients:
  • 2 large potatoes
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 green chilies
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper powder
  • 2-3 tablespoon rice flour
  • 2 tablespoon fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • 2-3 tablespoon oil
Method:
  1. Rinse the potatoes well under running water, pat dry, peel and grate them either using a thick cut grater or in a food processor. Immerse the grated potatoes in a bowl of water to avoid discoloration and to get rid of extra starch.

2. Meanwhile, finely chop the coriander and green chilies. Also, grate the onions and keep aside until use. Drain the grated potatoes and squeeze well to remove all the moisture. Now transfer it to a large bowl. Add rice flour, grated onions, finely chopped green chilies, coriander, black pepper, and salt to it. Mix well to form a batter. Add little water only if required. I did not add any.



3. Next, heat a skillet and grease it with little oil. Add a ladle full of batter and flatten it slightly with the back of the ladle. Drizzle little oil around the pancake and cover it with a lid. Cook the pancake on medium flame until it turns golden brown and crisp from both sides.




 4. Make all the pancakes similarly. Serve the delicious potato pancakes immediately with applesauce, sour cream or any dip of your choice. 


Recipe Notes:
  • Russet potatoes are perfect for this recipe because they are extra starchy that binds the other ingredients together. 
  • Use a thick cut grater for the best texture. I have immersed the shredded potatoes in water for about a minute to avoid them from discoloration and to get rid of the extra starch. 
  • Squeeze most of the moisture from the potatoes before making the batter. 
  • You can customize the dish and add veggies that are not too moist like, grated carrots, spring onions. Fresh herbs make the pancakes all the more flavorful.
  • These potato pancakes are crispier when served immediately. 
  • You can serve them with applesauce, sour cream or any dip of your choice. If you wish to make these potato pancakes for breakfast you can top them with scrambled tofu and stir-fried veggies.

I hope a few of you would love to try out this recipe. If you do so, feel free to share your feedback with us in the form of likes and comments in the comment section below this post. All your suggestions are also more than welcome. If you like my work and feel it is worth following, do hit the follow button at the top right corner of this blog. Your appreciation means a lot to me. For more recipes and new updates follow us on social media.
Related Post:
                                     
                               
                             
                            
                         
                         
                         


Sunday, 29 March 2020

Chana Pulao / Spicy Chickpea and Rice Recipe


Chana Pulao is a healthy dish made with spice flavored chickpeas and rice. Adding vegetables like carrots to this pulao makes it all the more wholesome and filling. This vegan and gluten-free one-pot meal can be served for lunch or dinner with salad, curd or any raita of your choice. Chana Pulao makes up for a delicious lunch-box menu as well. If you have boiled chickpeas ready at hand this chana pulao can be made under 20 minutes. The best part about this chana pulao is that it comes to rescue when you run short of fresh veggies.


Meals without Perishable Vegetables 

While India implements a complete, nation-wide 21-day curfew-like lockdown owing to the Corona pandemic, it is our prime duty to stay at home for the safety and betterment of ourselves, our families, our loved ones and for the nation as a whole. During such times, procuring fresh vegetables and fruits every day is practically not possible. As a result, we need to think of meal ideas without perishable vegetables. Luckily, Indian cuisine has many food dishes that actually do not need fresh vegetables. Dahi Papdi Chaat , Aloo Chana ChaatKale Chane ki ChaatCorn BhelJhal Muri are some of the snacks that can be made even if you have just onions and tomatoes in your kitchen pantry. Breakfast dishes like Adai dosaPesarattuInstant Khaman DhoklaInstant Suji UttapamKuzhi PaniyaramOats and Dalia IdliMinestrone Soup with Kidney beansOvernight Oats can be made with just lentils and grains and are yet very nutritious. In main course, we have many dishes that literally do not require any fresh vegetables like, Gatte Ki SabjiDal BattiKachi Haldi Ki SabjiPanchamel DalBajra KhichdiRajma MasalaDal makhaniPunjabi Kadhi PakoraPindi Chole, Kashmiri Dum Aloo, aloo posto, Achari Aloo.


What goes into this Chana Pulao?

Chana Pulao as the name suggest has two key ingredients, rice and chana or the chickpeas. any long grain rice can be used to make this pulao. I have used Basmati rice. Chickpeas are soaked overnight and then pressure cooked for 2 whistles. On cooking, the chickpeas should be soft to touch but yet retain their shape as we will be cooking them again along with rice. Whole spices like cinnamon, cloves, black pepper, caraway seeds, cumin seeds, bay leaf make the chana pulao very aromatic and flavorful. Apart from this i have used chole masala powder, red chili powder, and garam masala which give a spicy kick to the pulao. You may however adjust the spice levels as per your spice tolerance and liking. I have added homemade tomato puree as my son does not like the cooked tomato chunks in this pulao, you may substitute it with finely chopped tomatoes if you wish. sliced onions, garlic, ginger and green chili paste are other ingredients required to make this chana pulao. I have also used diced carrots here, you may simply skip it or use other veggies of your choice like, french beans, green peas, potatoes, etc. Fresh coriander leaves impart a refreshing taste to the pulao. if you have fresh herbs ready at hand, you may use it or skip altogether. 

Related Event

Cooking with rice is the 240th theme on our Facebook Gourmet group, Foodie Monday Blog Hop. The theme was thoughtfully suggested by a co-blogger Narmadha taking into account the limited resources we all have owing to the lockdown. Narmadha wanted us to cook a dish that had rice as the key ingredient. She has many interesting rice dishes like Verkadalai Sadam (Peanut Rice), Karuveppilai Sadam ( Curry leaves rice) and Coconut Milk Rice which do not require fresh vegetables at all. This humble yet nutritious and delicious Chana Pulao is my contribution towards the theme.

                                    
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 5

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup rice (preferable long-grain rice like Basmati)
  • 3/4 cup chickpeas (soaked and boiled)
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1/2 cup tomato puree
  • 1/4 cup carrot, diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2-3 cloves
  • 2-3 black peppercorn
  • 1/4 teaspoon caraway seeds (shah jeera)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1-inch cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 inch ginger
  • 3-4 garlic cloves
  • 2 green chilies
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon chole masala
  • 1/4 teaspoon garam masala
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoon oil
  • 2 tablespoon fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped.
Method:
  1. Rinse the rice in water for 2-3 times and soak in clean water for 10 minutes. Grind the ginger, garlic and green chili in a grinder jar and keep aside until use. Chop all the veggies and keep the boiled and drained chickpeas and spice powders ready at hand. In a pressure cooker, heat oil on medium flame. Add cumin seeds, caraway seeds, bay leaf, cloves, and black peppercorn. let the spices sizzle for a few seconds before adding sliced onions. Stir-fry the onions for about a minute. Next, add garlic, ginger and green chili paste to it.


2. Stir well and saute the ginger garlic paste for 30 seconds to one minute before adding the diced carrots. Stir-fry the veggies for another 1-2 minutes. Now, add tomato puree and saute it until you see oil oozing out from sides.


3. At this stage, lower the flame and add spice powders, turmeric powder, red chili powder, chole masala. Stir fry the spices with the veggies for 30 seconds or so.


4. Add boiled chickpeas and soaked, drained rice to it and stir fry for about a minute. Add around 2 1/2 cups hot water to it. Season with salt and add finely chopped fresh coriander leaves to it. Give a good stir and cover the pressure cooker with a lid. Pressure cook the chana pulao for 2 whistles and then put off the flame.



5. Open the pressure cooker lid, once all the pressure has been released naturally. Fluff the pulao with a fork and serve the delicious chana pulao with salad and raita of your choice. I have served the chana pulao with Maharashtrian style Kakadichi Koshimbir (Cucumber Raita).



I hope a few of you would love to try out this recipe. If you do so, feel free to share your feedback with us in the form of likes and comments in the comment section below this post. All your suggestions are also more than welcome. If you like my work and feel it is worth following, do hit the follow button at the top right corner of this blog. Your appreciation means a lot to me. For more recipes and new updates follow us on social media.
For more rice dishes, do check out the following recipe links from this blog
                              
                               
                                
                                
                                
                                
                                
                               
                              


Saturday, 14 March 2020

Kadai Mushroom


Kadai Mushroom is a flavorful mushroom curry cooked in an Indian style. Here, stir-fried white button mushroom and bell peppers are cooked in a rich onion-tomato based gravy that is seasoned with aromatic Kadai masala (a freshly roasted and ground spice blend). The whole process of making this Mushroom curry is carried out in an Indian wok, called Kadai, hence the name of the dish. Kadai Mushroom tastes great with naan or paratha but can also be paired with jeera rice. The recipe is vegan and gluten-free.


Before we move ahead with recipe, i would like to thank all my readers from the bottom of my heart for the support and love you all shower on my baby. Yes, Annapurna has crossed a huge number of 10 lakh hits (page views) and i am on cloud nine. A very big thank you to all of you and i wish to get the same love, support, and motivation from you all in my further blogging journey.

This Kadai Mushroom gravy cooked in restaurant style is one of the best mushroom dishes i have ever had. The preparation is similar to Kadai Paneer, (an Indian cottage cheese curry prepared in Punjabi style) Kadai Mushroom is a creamy rich, mildly spicy, aromatic and full of flavors mushroom dish that is relished with any Indian flatbread like kulcha, naan or paratha. My family loves this mushroom gravy with hot phulka, masala papad, and some salad. I always make the Kadai masala fresh, though you can prepare the spice blend ahead of time and store it in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.


Kadai Masala is an aromatic and flavorful spice blend made by coarsely ground dry roasted whole spices. Kadai masala is used in many Indian gravy dishes like this Kadai mushroom, Kadai Paneer, Kadai Chicken, etc. Kadai Masala not only lends a spicy flavorful taste but also gives great aroma and color to the dishes. Whole spices like dry red chilies, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, black peppercorns, cloves, green cardamom, cinnamon and bay leaf are dry roasted in a wok on low flame until they become aromatic. The roasted spices are then removed on a plate and allowed to cool down completely before grinding to a coarse powder. The prepared Kadai masala can be easily stored for around a month in the refrigerator in an air-tight container. I, however, prefer making this Kadai masala fresh in small batches as the freshly roasted and ground spice blend lends a lovely aroma and flavor to the curry.


What goes into my Kadhai Mushroom?

Kadai Mushroom is a flavorful aromatic curry. As the name suggests, the obvious ingredient of this curry are mushrooms. Use fresh white button mushrooms for this curry. Freshly roasted and ground Kadai masala is what gives this mushroom curry a delectable taste and aroma. We have seen the whole spices used to prepare the Kadai Masala above. The next ingredients are onions and tomatoes which form the base of the curry. Tomato puree made from around 4 large tomatoes is used here. As mentioned above this Kadai Mushroom curry is vegan and gluten-free. I have not added any dairy products like cream, milk or butter in this recipe and the curry gets its creamy texture from the cashews used. Kasuri methi is used which gives a distinct aromatic flavor to the curry. I have used sunflower oil in this curry, you may use any edible oil to make the curry. Ginger-garlic paste, cumin seeds, turmeric powder, and red chili powder are the other basic ingredients going in the curry. 

                               

Related Event: I am submitting this delicious Kadai Mushroom recipe to the A to Z recipe challenge group, a gourmet group on Facebook where I post every alternate month. Members of this group post different food recipes with a key ingredient having a particular alphabet. As per the alphabetical order, this month we had to cook a dish starting with the alphabet M. I chose Mushrooms as my key ingredient and made this North Indian Kadai Mushroom. This post is my 12th contribution to this group. The other recipes i have shared here, so far are
                                      

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4-5

Ingredients:
  • 250 grams white button mushrooms, halved
  • 1 large onion cubed
  • 1 green bell pepper, deseeded and cubed
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 cup tomato puree*(refer recipe notes)
  • 8-10 cashew nuts
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1 teaspoon Kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic ginger paste
  • Salt to taste
Ingredients for Kadai masala:
  • 3 dried whole red chilies3-4 cloves
  • 1-inch cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 green cardamom
  • 3-4 cloves
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorn
Method:
  1. To begin with, making Kadai mushroom, soak the cashews in hot water. Next, to prepare the Kadai masala, dry roast all the whole spices under the list of Kadai masala in a wok (Kadai) on low to medium heat. Keep stirring to ensure the spices get roasted evenly and do not burn. Once roasted, allow the spices to cool down completely before grinding it to a coarse powder. Transfer the ground spice blend (Kadai masala) to an airtight container and use it as per need. You may store the remaining Kadai masala in the refrigerator for about a month. I, however, prefer to make fresh Kadai masala in small batches as it makes the curry more aromatic and flavorful.
                            


2.  Heat 2 tablespoon oil in a large wok (Kadai) and fry the cubed onions, bell peppers, and mushrooms on medium to high flame for 5-7 minutes or until the veggies cook well. Remove the veggies on a plate and keep aside.

                           


3. To the same wok, add the rest of the 2 tablespoon oil and heat on medium flame. Add cumin seeds and allow the seeds to crackle. Next, add ginger garlic paste and stir-fry for a few seconds before adding in the finely chopped onions.


4. Saute the onions well for about 2-3 minutes or until they turn translucent. At this stage, add the tomato puree and saute until you see oil oozing from the onion-tomato mix. This stage may take another 2-3  minutes.


5. At this stage, add the turmeric powder, red chili powder, salt and around 2 teaspoons of the Kadai masala. Stir fry the spices with the onion-tomato mix for around a minute on low flame.


6. Grind the blanched cashews to a smooth paste and add it to the spiced onion-tomato masala and give a good stir. Add the stir-fried veggies (mushrooms, onions, and bell peppers) to the masala and saute for 1-2 minutes.



7. Next, add around 1 cup water to the curry, give a good stir and cover cook the mushroom curry for 5-7 minutes on low to medium flame.



8. Lastly, add crushed Kasuri methi and give a good stir. Put off the flame and serve the delicious aromatic Kadai mushroom with any naan, kulcha, chapati or jeera rice and enjoy with your loved ones!



Recipe Notes:
  • The prepared Kadai masala can be easily stored for around a month in the refrigerator in an air-tight container. I, however, prefer making this Kadai masala fresh in small batches as the freshly roasted and ground spice blend lends a lovely aroma and flavor to the curry.
  • To prepare the tomato puree, rinse 4 large tomatoes and make a plus mark at the top of each of them with a sharp knife. Place the tomatoes in a saucepan with boiling water and cover cook for 4-5 minutes. Put off the flame, de-skin the tomatoes and pulse them in a blender to a smooth puree.
  • Use fresh white button mushrooms for this curry. Wash them thoroughly under running water, pat dry. Chop the end portion of the stalk and then slice the mushrooms into half or quarter depending upon the size you prefer.
  • This curry is vegan and gets a creamy texture from the cashew paste. If you do not have any dietary restrictions you may use cream also to make the curry rich.
  • Blanched almonds may replace the blanched cashews in this curry. Just make sure you make a smooth paste of it.
  • You may adjust the amount of spice powders used here as per your spice tolerance.
  • The final consistency of the curry can be adjusted by reducing or increasing the amount of water added to the curry. The curry thickens further on cooling, so adjust the cooking time accordingly.
  • The left-over mushroom masala can be refrigerated in an air-tight container and used for 1-2 days.

I hope a few of you would love to try out this recipe. If you do so, feel free to share your feedback with us in the form of likes and comments in the comment section below this post. All your suggestions are also more than welcome. If you like my work and feel it is worth following, do hit the follow button at the top right corner of this blog. Your appreciation means a lot to me. For more recipes and new updates follow us on social media.
If you are looking for more Indian recipes using Mushrooms, check out the following recipe links from this blog
                               
                               
                               
                                
                                
                                


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