Moroccan Zaalouk

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We try and explore the cuisine of a different country each month in our Blogging Marathon and I try to take up the theme, if only to bake a new kind of bread from a new country every month. This month’s cuisine is Moroccon and as I was browsing through various recipes, I realised how similar it is with Indian cuisine. I found this recipe for an eggplant and tomato salad called Zaalouk which is quite similar to Baingan Bhartha made in India. Coincidentally the husband picked 2 large eggplants on his trip to the supermarket and I decided to kill multiple birds with one stone.

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This is a salad in Moroccan cuisine and is said to go very well with bread. I simply topped it on my toasted homemade bread and I have to tell you it is divine. I would have frowned on having baingan bartha for breakfast but this zaalouk with bread is a treat. The key difference between the two is the amount of tomatoes used in the dish. While we use 1 or 2 tomatoes for an entire eggplant, this dish calls for 3-4 making the taste significantly different, not to mention delicious.

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Recipe adapted from here

Serves 4-5 people

WHAT WE NEED

2 large Eggplants

5-6 Ripe tomatoes

4-5 Garlic cloves

1 tbsp Cumin seeds

1 tsp red chilly powder / paprika

Oil

Salt

Water

 

WHAT TO DO

  • Rub some oil on the eggplants, poke a few holes with a fork and roast them on high flame till they are cooked
  • Remove the skins and mash well
  • Heat 2-3 tsp of oil in a pan and add cumin seeds
  • Finely chop the garlic and add to the pan
  • Add finely chopped tomatoes and chilly powder and let cook for 5-6 minutes on low flame
  • Add the roasted eggplants and mix well
  • Add salt and a little water and simmer for 5-7 minutes
  • Garnish with fresh coriander and serve hot
  • Enjoy with some bread!

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

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Soya Tomato Dosa

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Pressure situations result in some fun inspiration and quick fix dishes. I overslept last weekend and that coincided with the husband and daughter waking up early and being very hungry before I had time to sip my tea. So I needed a quick breakfast to keep them calm. One thing led to another and I was able to feed them before they ate me up.

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Makes around 10-12 dosas

WHAT WE NEED

Soya flour                                3/4 cup

Rice flour                                 1 cup

Tomato, medium                    1

Salt

Water

WHAT TO DO

  • Cut the tomato and blend it into a paste / puree in a mixer
  • Take the rice flour, soya flour and salt in a bowl
  • Add the tomato paste and mix
  • Add enough water to make a dosa batter. The batter should be slightly runny, not as runny as a rava dosa batter
  • Heat a tava and once it is hot, add a ladle full of batter and gently spread it on the tava
  • Add oil at the edges of the dosa and once it starts browning gently release the dosa from the tava with a spatula
  • Repeat the process till you have as many dosas as you need
  • Serve warm with idli gunpowder or chutney
  • Enjoy!

 

This is my post for the Blogging Marathon under the theme, ‘Crepes all the way’.

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Millet Dosa

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The husband has been asking me to reduce the carbs in our daily diet since he has to lose only a few more kilos to reach his ideal weight. It is tough to take him seriously because he makes these requests while munching on a bag of chips or biting into a milk chocolate. But I also needed to finish my packet of millets and so I agreed to go along with his request. I have been making millet dosas and idlis for quite a while now but I have not been able to simultaneously please both the husband and daughter. If he likes it, she wouldn’t and vice versa. Finally I cracked the perfect balance between taste and there being reasonable amount of millets in the batter to make some difference. Of course, the battle will be on to somehow try and add more millets in but that is a fight for another day.

I have tried this recipe with all the millets but all three of us agree that little finger millet or sama arisi is the best of the lot while thinai or foxtail millet is our least favourite. But thinai makes for a delicious pongal and so we end up eating enough of that too. I use the same batter for both idli and dosa. While grinding the batter, I add water to make a thick batter which is suitable for idlis. When I need to make dosas, I take some batter in a separate vessel and add some more water to make dosas. I use only the wet grinder to make this batter because I don’t get satisfactory results in my mixer. But my mother swears by her mixer for the idli batter and so you can try and see how you like it.

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Makes around 25 idlis or 30 dosas

WHAT WE NEED

Little finger millet 1 1/2 cups

Idli rice 1 1/2 cups

Raw rice 1 cup

Split skinless black gram / urad dal 1 cup

Fenugreek seeds 1/2 tsp

Salt

Water

Oil, to make dosas

WHAT TO DO

  • Soak the millets, idli rice, raw rice and split skinless black gram in adequate water in separate vessels for 6 hours or overnight
  • In a grinder, add the split skinless black gram and grind till it is smooth
  • Take a small portion of it and drop it in a bowl of water. If it floats then it has been properly ground
  • Transfer it to a large vessel and set aside
  • Add the millets, idli rice and raw rice to the grinder
  • Add the salt and fenugreek seeds and grind to a near smooth paste
  • Just add 1-2 tsp of salt. This salt ensures that the batter ferments well. You can adjust the salt for taste before making the dosas / idlis
  • Transfer the millet rice mixture to the ground urad dal and combine the two with your hand
  • The vessel needs to be large enough that the batter fills only half of it
  • Cover and set aside for 8 hours or till the batter ferments and expands to fill the entire vessel
  • The batter is ready for use. If you are not using it immediately then refrigerate it until you need it

To make dosas

  • Add sufficient water to the batter to make it like regular dosa batter
  • Heat a tava
  • Once it is hot, pour a ladle full of batter on it and spread it in circular motions to make a round dosa
  • Dot the edges of the dosa with some oil
  • Once it starts browning at the edges, use a steel spatula and release the dosa from the tava
  • Turn it over to ensure the other side of the dosa is cooked
  • Take it off the gas after 30 seconds
  • Repeat the process till you get as many dosas as needed
  • Serve hot with coconut chutney, sambhar or gunpowder
  • Enjoy!

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This is my post for the Blogging Marathon under the theme, ‘Crepes all the way’.

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Moong Dal Chilla

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My mother turned 60 a couple of months ago and to celebrate the occasion we went for a family lunch to this small but amazing restaurant called Swati Snacks in Mumbai. Every item on the menu was so delicious that we ordered quite a few of them multiple times. One of those dishes was this thin, crispy, buttery moong dal chilla. When I asked them about it, the restaurant guys insisted it had nothing but moong dal and it alone could result in a crispy crepe. I had two reasons to be suspicious – one, I am a typical South Indian and for me, lentil based crepes are thick and massive like ‘adai’ and secondly, I did try having besan chills and it did not work for me. Maybe I didn’t do it right but even after multiple attempts the husband refused to eat it and for once, I couldn’t fault him.

Then I figured I would try the moong dal chills. I mean, what was the worst that could happen? So I soaked some split moong dal and blended it with some salt and ginger. Voila, the results were fabulous. Then the next time I tried, I had some sour curd which I thought I could use up in this batter and the dosas were soft and delicious. So thanks to the people at Swathi Snacks for that amazing chilla and though mine isn’t as good, I still get a tasty and easy breakfasts dish on the menu.

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Makes around 8-10 chillas

WHAT WE NEED

Split moong dal 1 cup

Ginger, grated 1/4 tsp

Sour curds 1-2 tbsp

Water

Salt

Oil

WHAT TO DO

  • Soak the moong dal in water for around 3 hours. If you are in a hurry, then you can soak it in hot water for 1/2 hour.
  • Drain the water and set aside
  • Add the moong dal in the blender / mixer
  • Add the ginger and salt and enough water to make a smooth batter
  • Transfer the batter to a vessel.
  • The batter should be smooth and not very thick. It needs to be slightly thinner than the regular dosa batter but not too runny
  • Heat a tava and once it is hot, pour a ladle full of batter on it
  • Spread the batter with the back of the ladle to form a thin circular shape
  • Pour a little oil around the edges and let it cook for almost a minute on high flame
  • Once it is nearly cooked on the top side, lower the flame and use a spatula to gently separate the chilla from the tava
  • Once it comes off fully from the tava, turn it over to cook on the other side
  • Leave it on the tava for about 30 seconds on low flame
  • Repeat the process till you have made as many chillas as you need
  • Serve warm with some paneer bhurji and green coriander chutney
  • Enjoy!

NOTES

  1. You can also add some finely chopped onions and fresh coriander to the batter or to the chilla once it has been poured on to the tava
  2. Leave out the curds if you want a crisp chilla and add a little more curd for a softer chilla.

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

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Peanut Porridge

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I just finished a mega marathon of Protein Rich Dishes but I am clearly not over it. My theme for today is ‘Dishes from the Caribbean’ and what do I pick? Another protein packed dish. This one is so simple and delicious, not to mention easy to make with most ingredients readily available in your kitchen. It is a breakfast dish but I had it for lunch and felt content for the next 4-5 hours. This is surely getting into my breakfast roster.

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This peanut porridge is popular across all of the Caribbean. It started out as street food and is very popular with vegetarians. It has now gained popularity at restaurants with locals and tourists alike. There are different versions to make it – with condensed milk, evaporated milk or coconut milk.

Recipe adapted from here

Serves 1-2

WHAT WE NEED

Quick cooking Oats                            1/2 cup

Raw peanuts                                        1/2 cup

Wheat flour                                           2 tsp

Cornmeal                                               1 tbsp

Condensed milk                                    2-3 tbsp

Ground cinnamon                                1/2 tsp

Ground nutmeg                                     1/2 tsp

Water                                                       1 1/2 – 2 cups

A pinch of Salt 
WHAT TO DO

  • Heat 1 cup of water with a pinch of salt 
  • Grind the peanuts in to a fine powder and set aside
  • Grind the oats into a fine powder
  • Mix the ground oats and peanuts in a bowl
  • Add the cornmeal and wheat flour and mix well
  • Add 1 cup of water and stir to form a smooth paste
  • Pour this paste into the boiling water and mix well to ensure there are no lumps
  • Simmer and let it cook covered for 6-7 minutes
  • Stir frequently to avoid the porridge sticking to the base of the vessel
  • Add the condensed milk, nutmeg and cinnamon 
  • Mix and simmer for 2 minutes
  • Serve warm with some fruits for a wholesome tasty breakfast
  • Enjoy!

NOTES

  1. If you only want a mild sweetness to your porridge, add 2 tbsp of condensed milk else add 3 tbsp
  2. The porridge will be slightly runny immediately after cooking but will thicken when let to cool
  3. You can replace the water with part milk 

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This is my post for the Blogging Marathon under the theme, ‘Dishes from the Carribean’.

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Chocolate Chia Overnight Oats

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Overnight oats is another item that has been on my to-do list forever. I am so glad that I finally got to tick it off. I have been trying various combinations with it and most of them have been quite successful. Whenever I have these oats for breakfast, I don’t feel hungry for longer hours and is perfect for rush mornings. The dish for today has cocoa and chia seeds with a splash of honey, dash of nutmeg soaked in milk and topped with bananas. I tried a similar dish with coconut milk instead of regular milk and that was delicious as well.

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Protein – Oats

Recipe adapted from here

Serves 1-2

WHAT WE NEED

Rolled oats                    3/4 cup

Milk                                1 cup

Cocoa powder               2 tbsp

Nutmeg                           1 tsp

Chia seeds                      1 1/2 tbsp

Banana                            1

 

WHAT TO DO

  • Mix all the ingredients except bananas in a jar
  • Cover it and refrigerate overnight
  • Add additional milk in the morning if the oats has become too thick
  • Top it with banana slices
  • Enjoy!

DSC_1218This is my post for the Mega Marathon for the theme, ‘Protein Rich Dishes’.
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Poppy Seed Waffles

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This is the last day of the week and I am using poppy seeds for my final dish this week. The first three days were for the three popular nuts – cashews, almonds and pistachios and the next three days for the seeds – chia seeds, flaxseeds and now poppy seeds.

I bought some poppy seeds quite a while back to make some Karnataka special dishes in my bid to inculcate more local dishes into our daily meals. But like always, I got distracted by the next bread recipe and the poppy seeds made sad faces from the pantry every day. 

Does it ever happen to you that you are stuck with a craving for a particular taste or flavour for days on end for no reason at all? I have been craving some lemon flavours for the past few weeks. No idea why but the lemon in my fridge are done faster than you can say nimbu pani.

So I looked for a lemon flavoured recipe with poppy seeds and landed on to this one. The daughter, who loves my regular waffle recipe loved this one too as did the husband. So I can safely say this one was a success!
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Protein – Poppy seeds

Recipe from here

Makes 14 small waffles

WHAT WE NEED

All purpose flour                   3/4 cup

Baking powder                       1 tsp

Baking soda                             1/4 tsp

Salt                                             1/4 tsp

Sugar                                         2 tbsp

Lemon zest                              1 1/2 tsp

Oil / melted butter.                3 tbsp

Egg                                            1

Lemon juice                            4 tsp

Milk                                          8-10 tbsp

Poppy seeds                            4 tsp

 

WHAT TO DO

  •  Preheat the oven to 220C
  • Whisk together the all purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt
  • Mix the sugar with lemon zest by rubbing the zest together with the sugar to ensure it releases its flavours
  • Add the lemon and sugar to the dry ingredients
  • Whisk the egg lightly
  • Add the lemon juice and milk to the egg and mix 
  • Add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients 
  • Add the poppy seeds
  • Mix to ensure no dry flour is left in the bowl
  • Pour the batter into the waffle mould till almost full
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes or till the top is golden brown
  • Let it rest for 2-3 minutes before de-moulding 
  • Serve warm with honey or maple syrup 
  • Enjoy!

NOTES

  1. You can also cook the waffles in the waffle iron. I use the silicon waffle mould

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This is my post for the Mega Marathon under the theme ‘Protein Rich Dishes’
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Flaxseed Molaga Podi

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This dish has been on my to do list for the longest, just after baguette, pretzel, malai kofta, kanjeevaram Idli….ok, I clearly have a very lengthy to do list. But this was one of the first dishes I made for this marathon primarily because my regular molaga podi was almost done. At home, the one jar I cannot afford to keep empty is the molaga podi because if there is an emergency and you had to grab your important stuff and run, the husband would pick our daughter and then the molaga podi and then some documents, cash and then probably check on me. Grr
So this time I mixed some flaxseeds with the lentils and red chillies and the flavour was amazing, not to mention the other health advantages of flaxseeds.

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I reworked my regular molaga podi recipe to include flaxseeds. If you are making this the first time, you need to keep in mind that different red chillies have different spicy quotients. So I suggest that you keep 2 tbsp of the ground res chillies aside and mix the balance with the lentils. If you find that the podi is not spicy enough, you can add the balance ground chilly powder else use it for dals and curries. I jave reduced the number of chillies from that recipe since I moved to Bangalore and found that the chillies are spicier here than what I got in Malaysia.

Protein – Flaxseeds, Bengal gram, Split black gram

Makes around 1 1/2 cups

WHAT WE NEED

Dried red chillies                  25

Bengal gram / chana dal      1/3 cup

Split black gram/ urad dal   1/3 cup

Flaxseeds                                 1/3 cup

White sesame seeds              1 tbsp

Oil                                             2 tsp

Salt

WHAT TO DO

  • Cut the stem from the dried red chillies
  • Heat a pan and dry roast the sesame seeds till they start popping
  • Set aside to cool
  • Heat the same pan and add 1/2 tsp oil
  • Add the red chillies and fry them for 2-3 minutes on low flame till it begins to get a darker colour
  • Ensure it does not turn black
  • Set aside to cool
  • In the same pan, add 1/2 tsp of oil and fry the Bengal gram till it starts turning golden brown
  • Set aside to cool
  • Repeat the same procedure for urad dal and flaxseeds separately
  • Transfer the chillies to a mixer and blend to a very coarse powder
  • Add the sesame seeds, lentils salt and flaxseeds and blend to a coarse powder
  • Enjoy with idli, dosa, etc!

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This is my post for the Mega Marathon under the theme ‘Protein Rich Dishes’.
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Spinach Dosa

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This is the last day of the week and my final vegetable based protein dish. Spinach is the vegetable of choice. As a kid, I was anemic for sometime which my mother took as a personal affront. So she fed me a bunch of spinach each day pureed. She refused to stop even after my hemoglobin levels were over the threshold so much so that I was convinced that my vein, if cut, would bleed green instead of red.

I read somewhere recently that if two people in a house agree on the fan speed then they are definitely not married. I think that should be extended to dosas as well. The husband and I have completely different views on what a perfect dosa should be like. He thinks dosa should be thick and small while I think any dosa thicker than a banned plastic bag should be termed an uthapam.   

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I make spinach dosas mostly when the batter is insufficient for the number of dosas needed. I add some spinach purée which increases the volume of the batter and also gives it a nice flavour. I paired this with some lentil and coconut chutney which I came up with when I discovered that I didn’t have any fried gram to make the regular coconut chutney. I had some mixed lentil powder we use to mix with rice. So I blended it together with some coconut, ginger and green chillies. It tasted very nice with the dosa and we had a lovely weekend breakfast.

Protein – Spinach, Skinless black gram / Urad dal

Makes 15 dosas

WHAT WE NEED

Dosa batter                            4 cups

Spinach                                   1 small bunch

Green chillies                        1-2

Salt
WHAT TO DO

  • Wash and chop the spinach
  • Blend it along with the green chillies, salt and little water to a fine purée
  • Mix around 1/3 cup of purée with the batter 
  • The consistency of the batter should be slightly less than regular dosa batter but not as watery as a rava dosa batter
  • Heat a tava and pour a ladle full of batter on it
  • Spread the batter in a circular motion and pour few drops of oil around the edges of the dosa
  • Once it starts browning at the edges, use a steel spatula and turn it over
  • Let it cook for a minute and then take it off the tava
  • Repeat the process with the rest of the batter till you have as many dosas as you need
  • Serve warm with chutney or molaga podi
  • Enjoy!

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This is my post for the Mega Marathon under the theme, ‘Protein Rich Dishes’.
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Peas Paneer Paratha

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Today we celebrated Janmashtami / Lord Krishna’s birthday. I know the rest of the country was done with this last month. But we have our own strange calendar which always schedules Janmashtami when no one else does. When we were kids, my brother and I were told that since God had too many places to visit on a single day, he gave us a after appointment in order to be able to spend more time with us rather than a hurried visit. We felt rather special hearing it. Today I found myself giving a similar explanation to my daughter when she wondered why we chose a different day for the festival. Is this how traditions are started?

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My dish for today is green peas paratha with paneer. My daughter loves paratha of any kind. In other words, if it is round and topped with ghee it can easily be named paratha and she would eat it. So as any mother would, I manage to stuff all kinds of vegetables in the parathas and she gobbles it up. Peas is not one of her favourites. So parathas are the perfect way for her to get all the protein from the peas. As for me, I seem to have a ‘P’ fixation of some sort. I love Peas, Paneer, Paratha, Pizza, Pasta, Panagam, Pongal, etc. Maybe I will eat all salads if they were renamed as Psalads like Psmith. 

This is the first time I measured out ingredients for the paratha to write this post else I always work on estimation. I have not added green chilies to parathas since it is for my 4 year old. But you can add some to the filling to raise the spice quotient.

Protein – Green peas and Paneer (Cottage Cheese)

Makes 6 medium parathas

WHAT WE NEED

For the dough

Whole wheat flour                     400 gms

Oil                                                   2 tsp

Salt

Water


For the filling

Green peas (fresh or frozen)        1/2 cup

Paneer / Cottage cheese                 150 gms

Red chilly powder                           1/4 tsp

Garam masala                                  1/4 tsp

Fresh coriander                                Few sprigs

Salt

Water

Ghee / clarified butter


WHAT TO DO

  • In a large bowl, mix the flour, oil and salt
  • Add water to make a soft dough. Set aside for 20 minutes
  • Heat 2 cups of water in a vessel and add the green peas
  • Cook for 6-8 minutes till it is completely cooked
  • Drain the water and set aside the peas
  • Grate the paneer and transfer it to a bowl
  • Mash the peas nicely and transfer it to the same bowl. If you want you can pulse the peas in a mixer to form a coarse paste
  • Finely chop the fresh coriander and add it along with salt, chilly powder and garam masala to the bowl
  • Mix all the ingredients for the filling together
  • Heat a tava 
  • Divide the dough and the filling into 6 parts each
  • Roll out one portion of the dough with a rolling pin
  • Keep one portion of the filling inside and bring the ends of the rolled out doug together and close it
  • Roll it out again carefully to ensure that the dough does not tear and filling does not come out
  • Transfer it to the tava and cook on one side
  • After a minute, turn it over and let it cook on the other side 
  • Once both sides are cooked, take it off the tava and brush it with some ghee
  • Repeat the same process with the rest of the dough and filling
  • Serve warm with curds or pickle
  • Enjoy!

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This is my post for the Mega Marathon under the theme, ‘Protein Rich Dishes’.
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