Protein Rich Dishes – a mega marathon

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September is here. When I think about what I did in the past 8 months this year, the answer seems to be only ‘planning’. I did not execute all of them but to my credit, I have made few hundred plans. One of them is this Mega Marathon in which my blogging family and I blog every day except Sundays for this entire month for a particular theme. I have previously participated in two such mega marathons –

September Cooking Carnival 2016 in which I blogged about 26 different soups

and

A to Z Baking around the world in April 2017 when I blogged about 26 different kinds of Bread

The theme this time is ‘Protein Rich Dishes’ which is a nice way for me and my family to eat more of proteins. As a vegetarian, one question I face the most is ‘What is your source of protein?’ In my quest for the answer, I decided to showcase the many sources of protein for vegetarians. So I will be blogging about a different protein each day from lentils to seeds to vegetables to flours and nuts and diary. I was happy to discover that so many dishes I regularly have are protein rich and I was not too aware of that fact. This mega marathon has already been a learning experience with my improvement in understanding how many vegetarian protein rich dishes are out there.

So join my friends and me in this adventure and discover some exciting new dishes to try.

I think it also appropriate to make a disclaimer at this point – All dishes I present in this mega marathon are made with ingredients considered ‘protein rich’. The information with regard to protein content in the ingredients are obtained mostly from the internet. These dishes will be protein rich but that does not preclude them from being calorie rich.

Let’s begin the ride then!

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Labneh

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The third and final dish of the Lebanese cuisine theme is Labneh which stands testimony to the fact that not all awesome dishes need to have a tough recipe. Labneh is seen as Lebanese cream cheese and is just as thick and creamy. And all you need to make yourself a batch of labneh is patience – lots of it. This is a no cook recipe and so it is very easy. But if you need a batch of labneh today, you need to have started making it two days ago. Yes, it takes that long but we know it is quite worth the wait.

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Makes one bowl of labneh

Recipe adapted from here

WHAT WE NEED

Greek yogurt / thick curds                500gms

Fresh lemon juice                               1/4 tsp

Salt                                                          a pinch

Zaatar powder                                      1 tbsp

Olive oil                                                  2-3 tbsp
WHAT TO DO

  • Take a cheesecloth and line it over a bowl
  • In another bowl, mix the yogurt, lemon juice and salt
  • Transfer the yogurt mixture onto the cheesecloth
  • Tie up the cheesecloth over a ladle or large spoon such that the cheesecloth does not touch the bottom of the bowl similar to how it is done to obtain hung curd
  • This ensures that the whey drained from the yogurt will not find its way back into the cheesecloth
  • Keep the yogurt with the bowl in the refrigerator for around 24 hours
  • After 12 hours, check the bowl and pour the whey out of the bowl 
  • After 24 hours, transfer the hung curd mixture to a bowl
  • Add the olive oil and zaatar powder
  • Serve cold with vegetable slices or warm pita bread
  • Enjoy!

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This is my post for the Blogging Marathon under the theme, ‘Lebanese cuisine’.
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Pita Bread

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This is the second recipe in the Lebanese cuisine theme. It is the classic and most popular dish – the pita. The Pita is a leavened bread made with all purpose flour. It can either be cooked on the stove top or baked in the oven. Having tried both methods, I definitely recommend baking it. The pita puffs up beautifully in the oven and the layers are well formed. It easily gives way to making a pita pocket to put the stuffing in. The pita cooked on the stove top looks well done while the baked one would leave you in doubt as to its doneness. But do not worry, if it puffs up well, it is done well.

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When you make it on a stove top you have to ensure that the skillet is very hot to cook the pita but at the same time not too hot to spoil it. You have to be very careful and vigilant to turn it over at the right time and yet it is not a guarantee that the pita would puff largely instead of small little pockets like a regular roti. But when you bake it, all you need to do is set the temperature and watch while the magic is performed. I also loved the taste of the baked version as against the stovetop version.

You can use the pita with the classic falafel or for a vegetable sandwich. If you have any leftover pitas, simply toast them with butter and garlic and be amazed.

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Recipe from here

Makes 8 pitas

WHAT WE NEED

All purpose flour                       2 1/2 – 3 cups 

Active dry / Instant yeast         2 tsp

Warm water                               1 cup

Salt                                               2 tsp

Olive oil (optional)                    2 tsp
WHAT TO DO

  • Mix the water and yeast in a large bowl and set aside for 2-3 minutes
  • Add 2 1/2 cups of flour, salt and oil to the water and yeast
  • Mix all the ingredients together to form the dough
  • Dust the counter top with some flour and transfer the dough to the counter top
  • Knead the dough well for 7-8 minutes and add some flour if needed to make a smooth and pliable dough
  • Grease the bowl with some olive oil and transfer the dough to it
  • Turn it around in the bowl so that all sides of the dough are well oiled
  • Cover the bowl with a damp kitchen towel or cling wrap and set aside till the dough doubles
  • It can take around 1-2 hours depending on the climate
  • If needed, the dough can be refrigerated at this point and used to make the pita at a later time
  • Once the dough is doubled, divide it into 8 parts and shape each of them into a ball

If cooking on the stovetop

  • Heat the skillet till it is very hot
  • Take each ball of dough and roll it into a 3″ thick circle
  • Transfer the rolled out dough to the skillet and cook for 30 seconds
  • Turn the pita over and cook for a minute or so till the pita puffs up well
  • Take it off the heat 
  • Repeat the same procedure till all 8 pitas are made
  • Enjoy with some falafel and salad!

If baking 

  • Preheat the oven to 230C
  • Roll out each dough ball to a 3″ thick circlular pita
  • Transfer the rolled out dough (as many as can be fitted comfortably) to the baking tray
  • Bake for 3-4 minutes till the pita puffs up
  • Take it out of the oven
  • Repeat the same procedure till all the pitas are baked
  • Enjoy it with some falafel and hummus

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 This is my post for the Blogging Marathon under the theme, Lebanese Cuisine’.

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Falafel

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My theme for this week is Lebanese cuisine. Of course, the first few dishes that come to mind are pita bread, hummus and falafel. I was wondering if it would be too cliche to make these dishes for this theme but then I figured it is unbelievable that I still don’t have these classic recipes on my blog. So I am posting recipes for three ingredients in a pita sandwich – falafel, pita bread and labneh. Get them together and it will be pure bliss. Even the husband, who does not experiment much with food, loved this. So you surely don’t need a bigger proof of the deliciousness of this awesome meal.

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Falafel is a nice balance between guilt and pleasure. It is a chickpea based dish and so good on the protein front but at the same time, it is deep fried and makes you a little guilty if you are trying to eat healthy / lose weight. You can bake them too but this is the first time I am making these and so I did not want to risk that with the family. I am researching on getting an equally delicious baked version and will update this post soon in that regard. My recipe, as usual, is more spicy and has curry powder instead of paprika and cayenne to make it more favorable to the husband and daughter. Now, on to the recipe –

Makes 20-25 falafels

Recipe adapted from here

WHAT WE NEED

Chickpeas                 1/2 cup

Onion, small            1

Garlic cloves            2

Coriander leaves    2-3 sprigs

Green chilly             1

Curry powder          1 tsp

Red chilly powder   1/2 tsp

Sesame seeds           2 tsp

Cumin seeds             1 tsp

Salt

Oil for deep frying

 

WHAT TO DO

  • Soak the chickpeas in a large bowl of water and set it aside for around 6 hours or overnight
  • Drain the water from the chickpeas
  • Take all the ingredients, except oil, in a food processor or blender and blend it to a thick paste
  • If you find it tough to blend then add few teaspoons of water but ensure that the thick paste is formed after blending
  • Heat the oil for deep frying
  • Transfer the paste to a bowl and pinch out some dough the size of a small lemon
  • Roll the piece of dough into a small ball and set it aside
  • Continue to form small balls with the rest of the dough
  • Once the oil is sufficiently heated, drop few balls of dough into it and reduce the flame to low
  • Fry till they turn golden brown
  • Repeat the same procedure to fry all the dough balls
  • Enjoy it with pita and hummus / labneh!

For a pita sandwich, divide a pita bread into two and open each half into a pocket. Apply some labneh or hummus inside the pita and fill it with falafel, tomato and cucumber slices.

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This is my post for the Blogging Marathon under the theme, Lebanese Cuisine.

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Bansi Rava Upma

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When the husband heard about this week’s theme and my first two dishes, he was pretty upset. He felt that by documenting those elaborate breakfasts alone, I was not being completely honest. Though I do make elaborate breakfasts for the weekend, it is not quite as often as he would like it to be. So, in the interest of transparency and honesty is this breakfast which also makes a regular appearance during weekend. I make this when we plan a lunch out. I make enough so that this doubles up as dinner too and I have that rare break from the kitchen.

The husband loves rava upma but I am not a huge fan because it is not so healthy. I came across this post on bansi rava upma and it fit with what we both wanted. So I modified it significantly to suit the husband’s taste and now we are all happy. Bansi rava is hugely popular in Karnataka and easily available across all stores. From what I understand, bansi rava is brown and coarser as compared to sooji which is white and very fine but it is not as coarse as semba rava / daliya. The nice part of making this upma is that we can roast the bansi rava along with the vegetables in the pan before adding hot water.

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Serves 3

WHAT WE NEED

Bansi Rava                                  1 cup

Onion, medium                         1

Green peas, shelled                  1/3 cup

Oil                                                2-3 tsp

Mustard seeds                           1 tsp

Curry leaves                              2 sprigs

Green chillies                            1-2

Chana dal                                   2 tsp

Urad dal                                      1 tsp

Ginger                                         1″

Grated coconut (optional)       2 tbsp

Water                                           3 cups

Salt

 

WHAT TO DO

  • Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds
  • Once the mustard seeds splutter, add the chana dal and urad dal
  • Once the dal starts browning, add the chopped curry leaves, green chillies and grated ginger
  • Then add the onions and fry till they turn translucent
  • In another vessel, boil the water
  • Then add the peas and fry for 2-3 minutes
  • Add the bansi rava and fry for 5-6 minutes
  • Once the water comes to a rolling boil, add it to the pan and mix it with the rava
  • Add salt and stir the mixture well
  • Simmer and close the pan for 1-2 minutes
  • Open it and stir it frequently till it absorbs all the water, for 2-3 minutes
  • Add the grated coconut and mix well
  • Serve hot with pickle or chutney of your choice
  • Enjoy!

I usually add coconut oil for this upma and it adds a lovely flavor.

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This is my post for the Blogging Marathon under the theme, ‘Weekend Breakfast’.

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Rava Dosa – a nearly foolproof recipe

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In the second of my Weekend Breakfasts, I have the most delicious Rava Dosa with the classic partner, medhu vadai and accompanied by sambhar and two types of chutneys – coconut and coriander. All of this has to be washed down with a tumbler full of frothy, steaming filter coffee.

I have tried numerous recipes for the rava dosa and most of them have simply not worked. Either the dosa would come out in bits and pieces as if it has been toyed around by a toddler or it would stick strongly to the tava and simply refuse to budge. I kept experimenting with various types and quantities of rava and rice flour and finally I can tell you that I have a nearly foolproof recipe for the rava dosa. It is no longer something I can only have at a restaurant. I can have it whenever I feel like it, which is way more often than it should be. So I love this recipe and this dish so much that I am convinced this is my legacy. Whatever I do or don’t do henceforth, I am happy to report I can make a good Rava Dosa.

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The basic recipe has mainly three ingredients – rava / semolina, rice flour and curds. Simple thumb rules to go by are – The time needed to keep the rava soaked in curds is directly proportional to the proportion of rava in the recipe. The more rava you use in the recipe, the crispier is your dosa and the skill needed to make it is also more.

The usual proportion I use is 1/2 cup of rava to 1/2 cup of curds and 1 cup of rice flour. You can use as low as 1/4 cup of rava & curds each to 1 cup of rice flour. Even an equal amount of rava and rice works but I find that I prefer the taste and texture when the rava is half the quantity of the rice flour. Though you can use 1-2 tbsp of curds for 1/2 cup of rava and substitute the rest with water, I would recommend you not to do that. Using equal amount of rava and curds is one of the key reasons for success in making this dosa.

The rava and curds need to be mixed together and set aside before adding the rice flour. If you use only 1/4 cup then you need only 10 minutes of soaking for the rava. If you are using more, then you would need around 20 minutes. You can play around with this depending on the time available to you.

If the curds are sour the dosa tastes better but that does not mean you cannot make this with fresh curds. All I suggest is to have the curds at room temperature. If you do not have time to get the curds from the chill of the refrigerator to room temperature, then take the required curds in a separate bowl and add few spoons of boiling water to it. This will help increase the temperature of the curds. This can also be used before giving curds to kids if you don’t want them to have it cold.

The amount of water to be used depends on the quality of rava. The best test to check if you have sufficient water is to pour a small amount of batter on a very hot tava. If it does not immediately form a lace like pattern, then you may need to add more water. But add water in 1-2 spoons each time so that you do not end up with excessive water in the batter.

The tava needs to be very hot while pouring the batter. As soon as you pour the batter, reduce the flame slightly and once you turn over the dosa reduce it to low flame. This will ensure the tava is not overheated which can result in blackening the dosa.

Makes 10-12 medium sized dosas

WHAT WE NEED

Rava / Semolina                                         1/4 cup

Curds (Sour / fresh)                                   1/4 cup

Rice flour                                                     1/2 cup

Cumin seeds / Jeera                                   1 tsp

Whole black pepper                                  1/2 tsp

Coriander leaves (finely chopped)         2 tsp

Broken cashewnuts (optional)                1 tsp

Salt

Water

 

WHAT TO DO

  • Mix the rava and curds in a bowl and set aside for 20-25 minutes
  • The rava would have soaked a lot of curd and will appear to be a thicker mixture
  • Add the rice flour, cumin seeds, pepper, coriander leaves, cashew nuts and salt
  • Add around 1- 1 1/4 cups of water and mix all the ingredients to a runny batter.
  • Heat the tava till it is nicely hot
  • Pour a small amount of batter on the tava. If it immediately spreads into a lace like pattern then the consistency of the batter is fine. Else add few spoons of water
  • Pour a laddle full batter from the outside in i.e. pour the batter in a circular form as an outline and then fill it with the remaining batter. The shape of the dosa will not be an exact circle but slightly shapeless
  • Pour oil at the edges of the dosa and a couple of drops on the dosa
  • Reduce the flame to medium low and wait patiently till the edges start turning brown
  • Once the edges are brown, reduce the flame to low and turn the dosa to the other side using a spatula. This is the key step when one has to be very careful.
  • Use the spatula slowly and carefully to release the dosa from the tava. If you meet with too much resistance, give it few more seconds before you try again
  • Do not wait for more than 30 seconds for the upturned dosa else it will become hard
  • Take it off the tava and put the gas on full flame again before pouring the next ladle of batter
  • Continue the same procedure till you have as many dosas as you need
  • The batter can be stored in the refrigerator for a couple of days. Before using the refrigerated batter, check if you need more water to be added to it
  • Enjoy the golden brown dosa hot with sambhar and chutney!

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This is my post for the Blogging Marathon under ‘Weekend Breakfasts’.

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Sandwich Platter


Yes, I still exist and so does the blog. I took a break for a couple of months to take car elf some other stuff in my life. Not that I completed everything I wanted to do in these two months but I am significantly more in control than I started out. In these two months, the daughter started kindergarten and has to be woken up at 6 am every morning. Thank you for your sympathies. My mom is turning 60 and so we did a little pre-celebration for that with a trip to Coorg. By the time I coordinated with the entire family of only 6 people and planned the trip, the white hairs on my head quatrupled. Then my father-in-law turned 70 last month. You see where this story is going and why I didn’t blog.

This week’s theme is about my favourite meal – breakfast. One of the few things I enjoy since exchanging my money paying job for tantrums and yells paying job is a leisure breakfast. I pack off the husband and daughter and sit down to relish my breakfast while scrolling through the social media feeds or listening to some melodious tunes while watching the clouds darkening and hoping for a quick rain. This week’s theme is ‘Weekend Breakfast’ which is a class of its own. Before the daughter was born, our weekend breakfast was a routine trip to the nearby Udupi restaurant. We even ordered the same items every week. The husband would choose poori sabji while I would have set dosai and kurma which would be washed down with s strong dose of filter coffee.

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Since I love bread and therefore sandwiches, I make different types of sandwiches for breakfast on a weekend. This gives us a chance to experiment and also the daughter gets to taste new stuff regularly. The humble sandwich lets us experiment with everything from the type of bread to the spread and fillings. It can be a hearty nutritious meal or a tasty drooling treat.

The sandwich platter is accompanied by fruits and some saffron milk for the kid and some fresh lime juice for me. This platter has –

  • Grilled Potato sandwiches with a spicy coriander chutney
  • Hummus sandwich with tomatoes and cucumber
  • Grilled cheese and tomato sandwich
  • The classic – Bread butter jam

You have a choice to either grill or toast your bread or have it plain. The spread can be anything from coriander or mint chutney to hummus or cheese spread. The fillings can be the usual tomatoes and cucumber or potatoes or healthy like beetroot and carrots. These sandwiches can be had with mayonnaise or ketchup.

 There are hardly any recipes in these sandwiches, just a simple assembly of readymade / raw ingredients. The new thing I tried was grilled halloumi cheese with raw tomato slices inside lightly buttered toasted bread. One thing to keep in mind is that halloumi is a very salty cheese and you don’t need any extra salt for the sandwich.

For the hummus sandwich, I used plain bread to which I applied a generous dose of hummus. Then I placed tomato and cucumber slices to complete the sandwich.

I made the bread butter jam because I wanted backup for my daughter in case she didn’t like any of the others. Usually I get the unsalted butter to room temperature and then mix one part butter with one part jam of my choice to form a smooth mix. Then I apply it on the bread. This is usually the first bread I make and set it aside for 10-15 minutes which makes it so much more delicious. This time I used pink guava jam which was loved by us all.

The only thing I made was the spicy coriander chutney. I used it along with boiled and mashed potatoes seasoned with salt and pepper. Then I grilled the sandwich to a crisp treat.

 So here is the recipe for the chutney. I am not sure of the source of this recipe. I have been making it for a long while now. If I am not mistaken, it is from Sanjeev Kapoor’s website. This is a quick, no cook, no coconut chutney perfect for a spicy sandwich.

WHAT WE NEED

Bread slices                                2

Green chillies                            1-2

Coriander leaves & stems        8-10

Salt

Water

WHAT TO DO

  • Tear the bread into 4-5 pieces and put it in a blender
  • Cut the green chillies and add it to the bread. If you do not want a very spicy chutney, you can add 1 chilly else go for 2.
  • Wash and tear the coriander and add it to the bread
  • Add salt and requisite water to blend all the ingredients to a smooth paste
  • Generously apply on bread slices and add the veggies of your choice to make a spicy sandwich
  • Enjoy!


This is my post for the Blogging Marathon under the theme, ‘Weekend Breakfast’.
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Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this BM