ROASTED POHA CHEVDO – Spicy, Crunchy flattened rice cereal

I remember my class teacher – a Convent Nun – always talking about how Gujarati people cannot travel even a small distance without “NASTO” (snacks). Well that is only because Gujaratis are well prepared at all times!!! But this is not about Gujaratis – it is only about the food that we all love. An all time family favorite — from kids to adults — this poha chevdo is a must to be stocked in my home snack list!!  It is easy to prepare and healthy too. Recently I have seen brown rice poha in Indian grocery stores which if used will make this snack even more healthier!! I will be trying that soon.

Roasted Poha chevdo is one of the very common snacks in every Gujarati household. I add a few more spices like clove, cinnamon and aamchur to give more exotic flavors without ruining the authenticity of the recipe. SO here it goes..

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Ingredients:

  1. Poha(beaten rice) –  thin variety – 3 cups – Available in Indian Grocery store

(if using thick variety then let it be under hot Sun for about 8 hrs to let most of the moisture gone and make it crispier OR turn on the Oven light and put it uncovered in a bowl overnight)

  1. dalia(split chana dal) –  3 tablespoon
  2. whole peanuts, cashews and raisins mixture (soaked for 10 minutes and drained) – 1/4 cup – the mixture can be altered as desired such as using only peanuts or only cashews or only raisins –adjust the quantity as desired.
  3. curry leaves – 5 – 6
  4. oil – 2 tablespoon
  5. Black mustard seeds – ¼ teaspoon
  6. pinch of asaefotida – hing
  7. sesame seeds – ½ teaspoon
  8. Dried red chillies – 1 – cut into 4-5 pieces
  9. turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
  10. clove powder – ¼ teaspoon
  11. cinnamon powder – ¼ teaspoon
  12. sugar – 2 teaspoon
  13. aamchur powder – ¼ teaspoon
  14. salt – 2 teaspoon or adjust to taste

Method:

  1. Soak the curry leaves, dalia and nut mixture in enough water to cover them and leave aside.
  2. Heat a wok on medium heat for about 3 minutes. Add poha and roast for 5-7 minutes until you see the poha crumbling slightly from sides and turning to very slightly golden brown in color.
  3. Remove and keep in another big mixing bowl off from the stove.
  4. Heat the oil in the same wok in which poha were roasted. When hot enough add mustard seeds and when they splutter add asaefotida. Add sesame seeds and dry chillies and cook for 30 seconds. Meanwhile drain the dalia mixture and then add to this oil. Stir well and cook for another 30 seconds.
  5. Now add turmeric powder, clove powder and cinnamon powder to the oil and remove immediately from the stove so that the spices don’t burn with the heat and add the oil mixture to the poha set aside in the mixing bowl. Mix everything quickly – you will notice poha color changing to light yellowish-green. Mix until no poha is left white in color.
  6. Now add sugar, aamchur powder and salt and mix well again.  Put the poha mixture back on stove on low heat and cook undisturbed for 5 minutes. Then stir well once and cook undisturbed for another 5 minutes. Crispy, crunchy, spicy poha chevda is now ready!!!
  7. This snack can be stored in air tight container once cooled to room temperature and consumed for about 1 ½ months.

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yeast free low-fat low-carb light sandwich bread

I was on a mission of coming up with a yeast-free sandwich bread recipe since last couple of months. I tried about 6 recipes searched on the Internet but none could give me the texture and lightness I like in a sandwich bread – very close to the yeast-raised store-bought light wheat bread. Finally today some mix and match of various cake, muffin and bread recipes helped me come up with my own version of yeast-free bread. I used Organic Spelt and Kamut flour for higher protein and low carbs. Also, as this recipe does not use too much oil/butter it is a very low-fat bread as well. No more store-bought breads in my home.

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Ingredients:

2 cups warm fatfree milk
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon flaxseeds
3 tablespoon water
1  1/2 cup organic spelt flour
1  1/2 cup organic kamut flour
1 teaspoon baking powder 
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon sugar/Stevia
1  1/2 tablespoons butter, softened

Method:
1. Pre-heat oven at 395 F. Grease a 9 inch loaf pan
2. Add flaxseeds powder to the water and warm the mixture for 1 minute in microwave. Remove and stir vigorously with a fork for a minute. Keep aside.
3. Warm milk in microwave for 1 minute. Add lemon juice and allow to curdle.
4. Mix well the flours with the rest of the dry ingredients with a rubber spatula.
5. Cut in the softened butter into the flour mix and mix well with the spatula to smooth out any crumbles formed.
6. Add the flaxseed mixture to the curdled milk – stir lightly and only once – do not over mix.
7. Make a well in the flour mix and add the liquid mixture slowly to blend well with the spatula making sure no dry lumps remain.
     It will form a thick batter like consistency and not a smooth dough – that’s okay.
8. Fill the loaf pan with the “battery dough” and place in the middle rack of the pre-heated oven in the center. Set the timer at 10 minutes.
9. Remove the loaf pan quickly and brush the top of the raised bread with paper towel dipped in milk. This will ensure that the crust will be brown, crusty yet not very dry.
10. Place the loaf back in the oven immediately and bake the bread for another 40 minutes. Prick a toothpick in the bread and if it comes out clean the bread is ready – if not
     then place the loaf back in the oven for 5 more minutes.
11. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes – cover the bread with aluminium foil and leave it untouched for atleast 1 more hour. 5-6 hours untouched after baking works
     even better.
12. To cut the bread slices – heat the sharp knife on gas/stove flame (with caution please!!) and slice the bread.
13. Stores in the refrigerator for 4-5 days and in the freezer for about 10 days.

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KHOYA – MAWA SWEET – FAT FREE- SUGAR FREE

I have used milk powder and sugar in several cake recipes. And when I had the Kalakand sweet at a friend’s place recently it struck me why not prepare similar – just khoya -mawa bites- using the milk powder for the grainy consistency. So finally after few experiments I got the exact measurements for the perfect sweetness and consistency. Here it is. This is from fatfree milk powder and using Stevia sugar which is Zero calorie sugar substitute. Enjoy without worrying about the calorie counting!!!

Makes about 20 pieces of 2 inch square

Ingredients:

1 cup water

¾ cup splenda or stevia powdered sugar (can be adjusted per desired sweetness)

4 cups Non fat Instant Milk powder

Method:

  1. Warm up water in non-stick sauce pan on medium heat then add the sugar. Stir well and let it dissolve on medium heat for 5-7 minutes.
  2. Add the dry milk powder 1 cup at a time – stirring well before adding the next cup.
  3. Stir well the entire mixture and cook for 2-3 minutes stirring continuously to avoid sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  4. Grease a deep-bottomed plate and spread the prepared Khoya evenly over it. Even out the top surface with the back of a spatula and cut into bite sized cubes. Optionally garnish with finely chopped almonds or shredded coconut. Enjoy hot or chill in refrigerator before serving.

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GRILLED EGGPLANT-SALSA WRAP

I have tried several grilling recipes – the Most hit was the Pineapple grilled with Honey sauce – which was actually my own accidental invention :):).  So I have used it for the grilled eggplant salsa filling in this wrap. The dressing is the sauce filtered out from the grill machine spread over the tortilla before putting the filling!!!! The wrap is filled with fresh romaine lettuce and pepper jack cheese!!! The wonderful thing of this recipe is the sweet-sour-hot-salty-garlicky taste I experienced!!!

Hope you will like it!!

This recipe has been submitted to Manjula Aunty’s August 2010 contest http://www.manjulaskitchen.com

Ingredients to serve 2:

A.      For the tortilla wrap

  1. ½ cup whole wheat flour
  2. 1 teaspoon olive oil
  3. Pinch of salt
  4. ¼ cup water
  5. 1 tbsp crushed whole green moong sprouts

 

B.      For the grilling sauce and dressing

  1. 2 tablespoon honey
  2. 1 ½ tablespoon fresh pineapple juice (you can substitute with lemon juice – I consume a lot of fresh pineapple juice almost everyday so I have it handy!!!)
  3. 2 teaspoon garlic paste
  4. 2 teaspoon ginger paste
  5. ¼ teaspoon red cayenne pepper (you can add adjust for hotness)
  6. ¼ teaspoon sea salt (adjust per taste)
  7. ¼ teaspoon ajwain seeds
  8. ½ teaspoon dried parsley leaves

C.      For the tortilla wrap filling

  1. ½ inch thick Round Eggplant slices – 3
  2. 2 medium tomatoes – cubed
  3. ¼ cup finely chopped green peppers
  4. ½ cup fresh romaine lettuce
  5. ¼ cup shredded cheese (I used Weight watchers Pepper Jack cheese)

 

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Method:

For Tortilla:

  1. Turn on the tortilla maker on medium-high setting – Optionally you can also cook these on the tawa/griddle like roti/parathas.
  2. Take the flour in a bowl big enough to knead the dough. Add salt and olive oil- mix well. Add sprouted moong and mix well. Add 1 tablespoon water at a time and bind into firm and smooth dough – firm enough to not use extra dry flour while rolling – this will avoid brushing more oil while making the tortilla.
  3. Divide the dough into two pieces.
  4. Roll the dough into 7 inch diameter circles and place on the tortilla maker – do not close the top. Once you see few areas bubbled up on the roti – after 1-2 minutes. Flip over the tortilla-roti and cook the other side similarly. Then turn back-over and press the top side of the tortilla maker to press it well – just 1-2 seconds. Flip bck over and do the same for 1-2 seconds. Take out the tortilla and place covered in paper napkin in a roti casserole bowl to avoid from being dry and firm.

For the dressing and grill marinate:

  1. Add well the ingredients as listed above in a wide bowl and keep aside.

For the filling:

  1. Turn on the grill (or just do the entire process on the tawa/griddle on stove)
  2. Roll the eggplant pieces in the prepared dressing and leave it in the bowl until the grill is ready
  3. Put the eggplant pieces on the grill and let stand for 30 seconds. Then cover and grill for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile add the chopped tomatoes and peppers into the remaining dressing/marinate mix and keep it aside
  5. Flip over the eggplant pieces and continue grilling for another 2 minutes. Then remove and keep aside
  6. Now add the tomato-pepper mixture on the grill and add all the remaining sauce over it.
  7. Grill similarly for 2-3 minutes on each side. While flipping over take some of the collected sauce out of the grill and pour it back on the grill.
  8. Save the collected-drained sauce while grilling to apply on the tortilla as dressing!

Serving Instructions:

  1. Take the tortilla roti and apply the drained dressing sauce all over. Then spread with shredded cheese and lettuce. Chop the eggplant pieces and place over the lettuce with the tomato-pepper mixture.  Wrap the tortilla and “pin-up” using the tooth-pick.
  2. Use the remaining tomato-pepper mixture and the drained sauce mixture combined as “salsa on the side”. ENJOY!!!!

VARIATIONS TO PREPARE THE SAUCE WITHOUT THE GRILL:

1.       Heat the ingredients of the dressing sauce in microwave or on medium heat on stove in double-sized bowl for 4 minutes – checking not to spill it over and stirring every minute.

2.       Grill the eggplant and tomato-pepper on the hot griddle/tawa once rolled in the dressing sauce or on gas grill pan.

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NANKHATAI – Indian recipe of sugar cookies

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This was a request from a couple of friends – I experimented from what little I knew about Nankhatai- not because I haven’t seen it before but just because I am not a big sweet-lover and cookies anyways are always the last resort! But I promised my friends and had to do this for them.. so tried it and to my utter surprise I liked them the first time in my life!!!! my husband liked them too:):) It was shared with many other friends on the INDIAN Independence day party so this recipe declares my Independence as a cook – cooking without help or guidance for the first time :):):):) So here it goes:

Nankhatai Recipe : Yields about 20 cookies

Ingredients:
3/4 cup + 1 tbsp ghee at room temperature (clarified butter which is the secret to the rich-taste of these cookies and any Indian sweets)
3/4 cup  + 1 tbsp powdered sugar
2 cups sifted All purpose flour (Maida)
1 tsp baking powder

Method:
1. Mix well the sugar and ghee with a spoon. Then add the maida 1/2 cup at a time and mix well – adding more flour after prior batch is well combined.
2. Then add the baking powder and mix well.
3. Lightly grease baking tray with ghee.
4. Shape the nankhatai dough into balls (half-lemon sized) and slightly flattened and position them on the tray slightly apart. You can leave this  tray in refrigerator for 1 hr covered with foil or plastic wrap or other baking tray OR bake them directly.
 5.  preheat oven to 350 F. Bake for about 25-30 minutes (I baked for 35 minutes but you can keep 30 min and then if required increase by 5 more min). Remove from oven when the top of the cookies turn light pinkish or you can feel the base of nankhatai being little crisp and slightly hard – not falling apart.
6. Let the cookies cool to room temperature. Enjoy!!!

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Eggless Fresh Juice Cake

Our parents are in India but we celebrate every family members birthday here in US. I prepare a sweet dish for sure and celebrate with cake cutting sometimes!!!  So this time for my Mom’s birthday it was Cake time – but then it had to be eaten all by my husband so did not want all the sugar and maida. Also had to prepare an eggless version. I remembered reading somewhere that mashed banana can replace eggs. Fortunately I had a very ripe banana which I may have otherwise just thrown away – saved myself a sin of wasting food and used it in this Eggless Fresh juice cake.

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Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups Unbleached White Flour
1/2 cup Cocoa powder
1 cup Sugar
1 tsp salt
2 ½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup fresh date-jaggery pulp juice -will be sweet and orange juice consistency
2 tbsp melted butter
1 big very ripe Banana very well mashed
1 cup fresh blueberries or cherries – coarsely chopped
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Method:
1. Preheat Oven to 350 F
2. Mix the mashed banana with 1 tsp baking powder. Stir well and keep covered for 15 min. Then stir in the date juice and mix well. Add 1 tbsp melted butter and stir well.
3. Mix well the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, 1 1/2 tsp baking powder, baking soda, salt. Stir in the juice mixture and mix well – stirring slowly.
4. Mix the fresh fruits and nuts, choc chips with the cake batter and add the batter to the greased cake pan.
5. Bake for 50 minutes. Check every 5 minutes after 45 minutes of baking by inserting a toothpick. If it comes out clean then turn off the oven. Cool the cake and serve!!!

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Vegetable Cutlets with sooji – Shallow fried

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I was planning to prepare Upma and vegetable cutlets since several days. But I did not have enough Sooji or vegetables handy when one-fine day I actually wanted to do so. I am very moody but then have to do my-say whenever I feel like — although my hasty decisions are only for me making sure it has nothing to do with others – after all everyone has a right to be moody and follow their own instincts but without hurting anyone else!!!!! I started anyways – knowing that my experimental attitude will help me get a filling meal even out of lesser ingredients… SO I steam cooked which ever little veggies I had for cutlet and started roasting sooji for Upma.

Ingredients:

1 medium potato – steam cooked
1 medium plaintain – steam cooked
1/4 cup cooked and drained chickpeas
1/2 cup vegetable mix – steam cooked and drained – beans, carrots, corn and peas
1 tbsp clarified butter
pinch of asaefotida
1/2 teaspoon crushed cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon crushed ajwain seeds
1/2 teaspoon crushed fennel seeds
2 tsp ginger paste
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon clove powder
2 teaspoon red chilli powder
1/2 cup sooji – semolina
1/4 cup hot milk + 1/2 cup hot water
2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoon salt or adjust to taste
1 1/2 cup bread crumbs
2 tablespoon oil

Method:
1. Mash all the vegetables and chickpeas – making sure they are all drained well – then add 1 teaspoon salt and mix well -keep aside.
2. Melt the ghee in a frying pan. Add cumin, ajwain and fennel seeds and let splutter, then add asaefotida, add ginger paste and cook for less than a minute.Add the remaining  dry spices and mix well. Then add sooji and mix well with the spices – stir continously on medium heat for 5-8 minutes until golden brown and then pour the hot liquid mixture slowly stirring continuosly to avoid any lump formation. let the sooji absorb all the liquid and become slightly moist than the Upma consistency. add salt, sugar and lemon juice and mix well. ( I add finely chopped onions and tomatoes with cilantro as soon as the Sooji is cooked because I like these veggies crunchy and raw flavored with Upma- so they were not added with the other spices and ginger earlier – and finally I skipped them altogether as reaching at this step I decided to make only cutlets adding sooji to the steam-cooked veggies!!!!!)
3. Mix well the cooked sooji with the mashed vegetable mixture. Form in cutlet shapes – round, oval, square or any desired shape with cookie cutter can be done.
4. Roll the cutlets in bread crumbs and coat well.
    Unlike other cutlet recipes this does not require dipping in all purpose flour!
5. Heat a pan and turn to medium flame. Add 2-3 teaspoon oil on the pan and then add the 3-4 cutlets or more at a time according to the size    of  the pan vs cutlets. cook until golden brown and flip over. Spread 1-2 teaspoon oil evenly over all the cutlets if required for cooking on the other side as well. It should take about 4 minutes for each sides.
6. Remove and place over paper towel to soak out any excess oil. Serve hot with Chutney.

Variations:
1. Cut the cutlets to bite sized cubes and garnish with spiced yogurt, chopped onions, pomegranate fruit seeds and sev for chaat!
2. Spread cilantro-mint chutney and/or spicy garlic-redChilli chutney on cut-open sides of Pav bread and add sliced tomatoes and cucumber. Place the cutlet and cheese slice in between and serve as an Indian style burger!!! This was our dinner ultimately when I prepared this recipe:):):):):)

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