Baby Spinach, Apple and Nuts Salad

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The season of festivity is over and its time to get back to the grind – eating clean, eating fresh and enjoying the best winter produce in your town. And thats why I say The New Year Salad Magic is here! I remember a few years back I always made resolutions of quitting sugar, eating healthy, eating more salads with the start of the new year. Obviously these resolutions worked for a few weeks and then I went back to the old way of living – cheating, cheating and more cheating! However having made no resolutions of quitting anything in the recent times, I feel I have started eating healthier and tastier food. This Baby Spinach, Apple and Nuts Salad is just a testimony to that.

Lush green and absolutely delicious, this salad makes you fall in love with it. The beautiful blend of flavors – earthy, fresh, nutty, zingy and sweet is what makes this salad complete. The lovely earthy essence of the baby spinach leaves, the tart granny smith apples, the spiced nuts and seeds, the sweet cranberries and the creamy goats cheese, all blend in wonderfully to boast of this cozy and comforting salad. Whisk together a basic homemade dressing and you are done.

So get back to the kitchen, toss up some deliciousness for your family because this salad definitely screams winter yumness to me!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (for 2 – 3 people)

  • 2 cups of baby spinach
  • 1/2 medium sized granny smith apple, sliced
  • 1 small red onion, finely sliced
  • 12 – 15 walnuts, broken into 2 pieces each
  • 2 tbsp goat cheese or feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2  tbsp melon seeds
  • 1 tbsp dried cranberries, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 3 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice (you can use 1/2 tbsp lemon juice if you like less tangy)
  • 5 – 6 fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
  • pinch of dried garlic powder (you can used 1 – 2 cloves of crushed garlic)
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste

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METHOD:

  • In a bowl whisk 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil and lemon until well incorporated. Add chopped basil leaves, garlic powder, salt and black pepper and whisk it and keep aside (preferably in the fridge until ready to use).
  • Put a saucepan on low – medium heat. Add 1/2 tbsp olive oil. Add paprika and saute for 5 – 6 seconds. Add walnuts and melon seeds and saute for 30 – 40 seconds until the nuts and seeds is coated with paprika.
  • Once done remove it from the heat and keep aside.
  • In a bowl mix baby spinach, apple slices, onion slices, paprika coated nuts and seeds, dried cranberries and the salad dressing kept it in the fridge.
  • Toss it gently together using a salad spoon. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper.
  • Garnish with crumbled goats cheese and serve immediately!

Voila!

Mayo – Hung Curd Sandwich

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Hello folks! Everything around me looks so festive and merry. The beautifully adorned Christmas tree in every nook and corner of the street, the colorful lights hanging everywhere, the cafes beaming with lots of freshly baked goodies and not to forget the conversations going on everywhere as to how one is celebrating Christmas. Amidst the endless baking going on in my kitchen, I feel I need a small break to make something comforting and simple. Hence we have a Quick Homestyle Sandwich Alert!

Sometimes all I need is a simple sandwich to feel good. Chop some basic ingredients, slather it on yoru favourite bread, toast it and you’re done. I made these Mayo and Hung Curd Veggie Sandwich for breakfast a few days back and it was yummy! Chopped few veggies, mixed it with hung curd and mayo, seasoned it, toasted my bread and my breakfast was done. I felt like a superstar. Save this recipe now because you can use all your teeny weeny leftovers to get this delish homestyle sandwich. No frills, no fancies – only goodness!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (Makes 4 sandwiches)

  • 8 slices of multigrain bread (you can also use white sandwich bread)
  • 4 tbsp of store bought mayoniesse
  • 1 cup hung curd (you can also plain Greek Yogurt)
  • 1 large onion, finely choppeed
  • 1/2 cup bell peppers, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup grated carrot
  • 1/3 cup corn kernels, boiled and cooled to room temparture
  • 1/2 tsp chili flakes
  • 2 tsp freshly parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp coriander leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste

METHOD:

  • Take mayo and hung curd in a bowl and whisk it until combined. Now add onion, bell peppers, grated carrot, corn kernels, chili flakes, parsley, coriander leaves, salt and black pepper and mix it well.
  • Put a gridle pan on medium flame. Meanwhile take one slice of bread and generously fill it with the mixture you have made in the first step. Make sure to leave some space towards to the edges will putting the mixture.
  • Take another slice of bread and place it on top of it.
  • Take a little butter and put it on the pan. Place the sandwich on the griddle pan and let it cook for 1 minute – 90 seconds. Meanwhile lightly butter the bread on the top.
  • Carefully turn the bread over and let the sandwich cook on the other side for 60 – 90 seconds.
  • Once cooked and golden brown on both sides, take it off from the griddle pan and place it on the kitchen top. Diagonally cut it making sure the mixture doesnt ooze out of the slices of bread.
  • Serve immediately with ketchup or as is.

Dal Makhani

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Dal is staple to almost every Indian household. With a myraid of options to choose from, every one in the house has their all time favorite Dal. My favourite being my mum’s Dal Makhani. Yes mum’s extra dose of love in anything she cooks is incomparable but when you eat her Dal Makhani you are bound to fall in love with it. Lentils cooked to perfection, the aroma of the Indian spices and that creaminess – you can’t resist it.

This recipe is a variation of her recipe but super simple to make and definitely delicious. With the nip in the air, a bowl of this famous Punjabi style Dal Makhani along with chopped onions and rice is along you need. So snuggle yourself in a cozy warm blanket with this bowl of deliciousness and savor the amazing desi flavors.

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For 3 -4  people)

  • 1 cup whole black lentils/ whole urad dal
  • 1/2 cup red kidney beans
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 4 large tomatoes, pureed
  • 3 1/2 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup cream + extra for garnishing (I usel Amul cream)
  • 1 green chili, split lengthwise
  • 1 tsp ginger garlic paste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 – 3 pieces of clove
  • 1 black cardamom
  • 2 green (small) cardamom
  • 1 small stick of cinnamon
  • 1 tsp shahi jeera or regular cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp red chili powder (you can adjust in case you like it more spicy)
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp dried kasuri methi leaves
  • salt, to taste
  • coriander leaves, to garnish

METHOD:

  • Soak whole black lentils and rajma overnight in water and in separate containers.
  • Next day, wash the lentils and rajma with fresh water a couple of times and put it in the separate pressure cookers.
  • Put 4 cups of water in the pressure cooker with black lentils with a bit of turmeric powder and salt and put the lid on. Allow it to cook on low-medium flame for around 12 whistles or until tender and cooked.
  • Put 2 cups of water in the pressure cooker with rajma along with salt and a pinch of turmeric powder and allow it to cook for 3 whistles on low-medium flame. Make sure the rajma is cooked but not completely masked inside the pressure cooker.
  • Let the steam escape on its own from both the pressure cookers.
  • Meanwhile take a saucepan and put it on low flame. Take cinnamon stick, black cardamom, small cardamom, cloves and bay leaf and dry roast it from 1 minute. Remove it and keep these condiments aside in a plate.
  • Take butter in the same saucepan and put it on medium flame. Once its melted add cumin seeds and green chili and saute for 10 seconds.
  • Now add the dry roasted condiments and saute for another 30 seconds. To this add tomato puree and let it cook for 2 minutes.
  • Add salt, turmeric powder and let the mixture cook for a couple of minutes. Now add red chili powder and ginger garlic paste and let the mixture cook for 4 – 5 minutes or until the mixture starts to leave oil from the side.
  • Now add garam masala and saute for 1 minute.
  • To this mixture add the cooked rajma and black lentils and saute for 1 minute. Add 1.5 – 2 cups of water and let the whole mixture simmer on medium flame for 4 – 5 minutes.
  • Once the mixture has cooked add dried kasuri methi and low fat cream and mix it.
  • Take it off the flame, garnish with coriander leaves and some cream and serve!

Enjoy!

Tomato and Feta Galette

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Looking for an easy and delicious baking project (aka fun) for this weekend – get ready to be smitten over by this Tomato and Feta Galette. Fruit Galettes are too mainstream, a warm savory pie is what you need for these beautiful chilly evenings. Rustic and comfort is what this galette is all about.

I personally love pies, whether it is sweet or savory. However I am kinda lazy in making pies at home. It stresses me out. There are way too many do’s and don’t. I guess I should take up a challenge soon to make pies at home. Nevertheless galettes are the closest and  the easiest free form pies where all the goodness is tucked in together and put into the oven. And now I guess you know why I love galettes. The look absolutely gorgeous. Throw in ingredients you love you are done!

Tomato and Feta Galette is a classic one. The buttery flaky crust, the creaminess of the feta and the tangy-ness from the cherry tomatoes makes you fall in love with it. Try this recipe over this weekend and I bet you’ll love it as much as I do!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (Makes 1 – 9 inch pie)

For the galette crust:

  • 175 multigrain flour + extra for dusting (you can use all purpose flour also)
  • 113 grams cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 3 – 4 grams salt
  • 4 – 5 tbsp ice cold water
  • 1 tbsp granulated white sugar
  • 1 tsp mixed herbs
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten (optional)

For the filling:

  • 1 larger onion, diced
  • 16 – 18 cherry tomatoes, halved or used as is
  • 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 8 – 10 fresh basil leaves
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly grounded black pepper to taste

METHOD:

  • In a bowl take multi grain flour, salt, sugar and mixed herbs and mix it well,
  • Using a pastry blender or two forks, cut the butter into the flour until it forms coarse crumbs. It is okay to see small chunks of the butter.
  • Now add the ice cold water a couple of tablespoons at a time and bring together the dough.
  • Dust the kitchen top with flour and transfer the dough on it. Add more water if needed and bring it together to make a ball. Cling wrap it and refrigerate it for an hour atleast.
  • Once its kept in the fridge for sometime, preheat your oven to 200C for atleast 15 – 20 minutes. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and keep aside.
  • Once the dough it chilled, take it out and roll it out to 15 inch circle. Transfer the pastry to the baking sheet.
  • Now place the chopped onion on the rolled out pastry dough keeping around 2 – 2.5 inch gap from the edges.
  • Take half of the feta crumble and sprinkle it over the onion layer. Sprinkle some salt and pepper too.
  • Now layer it with whole cherry tomatoes, halved cherry tomatoes or a mix of both. Sprinkle the remaining crumbled feta on top.
  • Fold the edges over the tomatoes gently or make pleats if necessary. Garnish it with a few leaves of basil.
  • Take the lightly beaten egg and using a pastry brush, brush on the folded edges which will give it a nice golden color.
  • Allow it to bake for 25 – 28 minutes at 200C or until golden crisp brown.
  • Once done, transfer it to a wire rack and allow it to cool. Make slices and serve!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quick Masala Paniyarams

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I love my mornings. Peaceful, clear thoughts to start the day, renewed vigour and enthusiasm and most importantly a delicious breakfast that helps me power through the day. With the weather being so cozy that you feel being nestled between the layers of blankets, making a lavish breakfast becomes a far fetched reality for most of the days. However breakfast being one of the most important meals of the day, I often resort to quick fix and healthy breakfast. When you start your day with a healthy and delicious note, you know that your day is bound to be awesome!

To break the monotony from the usual North Indian style breakfast dishes or the healthy granolas and parfaits, I tried making a Quick Masala Paniyaram a few days back. They were absolutely delicious. These little ball of wonders are fluffy, soft and packed with flavour. Crisp on the outside, soft inside – you can’t help but fall in love with it. These are so versatile that you can load it with different ingredients each day and make something phenomenal to adorn your breakfast table. Pair it with coconut chutney, green chutney and sambhar and your breakfast woes is sorted.

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (Makes 20 pieces)

  • 2 cups ready-made idli batter (I used iD idli batter)
  • 1 medium sized onion, finely chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and grated
  • 2 green chilis, finely chopped
  • 12 -15 curry leaves
  • 1/2 cup coriander leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • salt, to taste

METHOD:

  • Heat a frying pan and once heated add oil. Now add mustard seeds. Once it starts to crackle add curry leaves and green chilis and saute for 30 seconds.
  • Now add chopped onions and saute it on medium heat until it turns light golden brown. Add salt and saute for 10 – 15 seconds and remove from heat. Allow it to cool to room temperature.
  • Meanwhile put the paniyaram pan on medium heat. Allow the pan to get heated. Once it is heated grease it using oil.
  • While the pan is getting heated, add the cooled onions, grated carrot, chopped coriander leaves and little salt to the left over idli batter and mix it well and keep aside.
  • Using a spoon put the mixture into each cavity of the pan until it is just full. Cover the pan with the lid and allow he paniyarams to cook on one side for 2 – 3 minutes.
  • Using a skewer, turn the paniyarams to the other side and allow it to cook on medium-high heat for a couple of minutes.
  • Once done transfer it to a plate and serve along with coconut chutney, coriander chutney and sambhar.

Voila!

 

Cheese and Mushroom Empanadas

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Monsoon therapy with rustic Cheese and Mushroom Empanadas – pure joy! The rains lashing against the window panes, steaming cup of coffee and empanadas – perfect rainy afternoon. Dreamy yummy creations which is bursting with flavors. You have to be crazy to not enjoy these savory pockets!

If that wasn’t enough to lure you to try these out, probably your childhood memories surely will. Remember those vegetable patties and pies you enjoyed at the neighborhood bakery store… oh so delicious! The crisp and flaky pastry and the absolutely gorgeous stuffing…I am already dreaming about it while writing this post. While I was in the US, I often missed those patties until I stumbled upon these hot pockets filled with sumptuous stuffing called empanadas from a famous food truck in San Francisco. It ticked all the boxes for the things I was missing. Homely and satisfying.

I was trying my hands to make empanadas at home and guess what, I  was bursting with ideas. It almost took 1 week for me to calm down and decide about the filling. You can fill the dough with all your favorite things and enjoy these wonders.

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (Makes around 14 – 15 pieces)

For the dough:

  • 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour + extra for dusting and rolling out the dough
  • 2 eggs
  • 115 grams butter, cold and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 120 ml ice water
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • pinch of salt

For the filling:

  • 1 medium sized onion, finely chopped
  • 200 grams button mushrooms, chopped
  • 200 grams cottage cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup spinach, blanched and chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp freshly chopped basil leaves
  • 2 tbsp chili flakes
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly grounded black pepper, to taste

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METHOD:

For the dough:

  • Take all purpose flour, whole wheat flour and salt in a bowl and whisk it.
  • Using a pastry blender/ 2 forks or using the tips of your fingers, blend the cold butter into the flour mixture until it forms a coarse crumb like mixture.
  • Beat 1 egg, ice cold water and white vinegar in a bowl and keep aside.
  • Add the egg mixture to the flour-butter mixture and using a fork combine the entire mixture. Do not over knead it.
  • Generously dust the kitchen top with flour and transfer the dough on to it.
  • Bring together the entire dough together by gently kneading it.
  • Divide the dough into 2 halves, cling wrap it tightly and refrigerate it for atleast 1.5 hours.

For the mixture:

  • While the dough is resting, take a saucepan on medium heat. Put oil in it.
  • Once its hot add 1 tsp chili flakes and saute for a few seconds.
  • Now add chopped onions and saute it for a minute until it turns translucent.
  • Add mushrooms to the mixture and let it cook for a minute.
  • Now add the remaining chili flakes, salt, black pepper and basil leaves and saute the mixture for couple of minutes,
  • Once done take it from the stove and allow it to cool completely.
  • Once cooled add grated cottage, spinach and mozzarella cheese and form a mixture using a spoon.

To Assemble:

  • Preheat your oven to 230 C for atleast 15 minutes. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and keep aside.
  • Take the dough out of the fridge. Take some dough and roll it out on a flat surface into round discs of similar sizes ( approximately 6 inch diameter)
  • Take the stuffing and place it on one side of the circle.
  • Take the other end of the dough and form a semi circle. Seal the edges as shown in the picture or by making knife impressions.
  • Once all the pies are formed, beat one egg and using a pastry brush, egg wash the top of the empanadas before they go into the oven to bake.
  • Place the pies atleast 1 inch apart and put it into the oven to bake at 200 C for 18 – 20 minutes, until the empanadas a golden brown and crisp.
  • Serve it hot with a yogurt dip and enjoy!

One Bowl Fresh Mango Salsa

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Mangoes and Mexican flavors – sounds lovely and oh so yum! Sometimes all you need is a wonderful assortment of fresh and seasonal produce to make something utterly delicious! Mango salsa has been our family’s summer fare when the market is full of ripe and raw mangoes. Whether it is weekend brunches or something fresh and simple for weeknights, this bowl of confetti like colors is a hit!

Yes, my entire family loves Mexican food especially salsa. Sometimes the usual salsa becomes commonplace and this is when fruit salsas come handy. Tangy, sweet and spicy, all loaded in a single bowl pairs well with nachos, tacos or as a relish! So before the mangoes are out of this season, make this amazing salsa for friends and family in just no time!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For 2 – 3 people)

  • 1/2 cup raw mangoes, diced
  • 3/4 cup ripe mangoes, diced (I used Alphonso mangoes)
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/3 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup onion, diced
  • 2 green chillis, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp honey (optional)
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly grounded black pepper, to taste

METHOD:

  • In a bowl add ripe mangoes, raw mangoes , red bell peppers, onion, cilantro and green chillis and mix it well.
  • Now add lemon juice, salt and black pepper (and honey if the mangoes are too sour for your palate) and mix it well.
  • Keep it in the fridge for 10 – 15 minutes before serving.
  • Take it out and serve immediately and enjoy!