Potato Skins

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My third recipe for this theme of USA cuisine was supposed to be this awesome s’mores mug cake. The only mistake I did was to wait to make it till the last minute because, mug cake. How difficult can it be? Mix ingredients and microwave for a minute, duh! But then I tried to be smart and made some changes to the ingredients and then it crashed badly, like really badly. Then I figured I would stick to the recipe but found I was out of some ingredients. Yeah, mug cake can actually cause so much grief. Anyway I fell back on potatoes which is the ultimate saviour as also very American. The added benefit is that the daughter loves it and I figured a cool way to sneak in veggies inside all that cheese. So not everything ended badly!

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The original dish is potatoes, bacon and cheese. But I needed a vegetarian version of it and so I replaced the bacon with some vegetables and also some cheese with butter and landed with a super easy evening snack.

Recipe adapted from here

WHAT WE NEED

Potatoes 4

Garlic butter 2 tbsp

Onion, small 1/2

Tomato, small 1/2

Mozzarella, grated 4-5 tbsp

Salt

WHAT TO DO

  • Preheat the oven to 220C
  • Cut the potatoes vertically in half and scoop out the flesh as much as you can leaving just the skin and little flesh
  • Melt the garlic butter and apply it on both sides of the halves and scooped potatoes
  • Place it on a baking tray skin side down and bake for 10 minutes
  • Turn the potatoes over and bake for another 10 minutes
  • Finely chop the onion. Deseed and finely chop the tomato
  • Mix the two with salt and pepper or any other seasoning
  • Take out the potatoes and turn them over
  • Fill each half potato with the onion tomato mixture
  • Top it with grated mozzarella cheese
  • Bake for 2-3 minutes or till the cheese melts
  • Serve warm
  • Enjoy!

NOTES

  1. You can use plain butter or any other flavoured butter instead of the garlic butter
  2. The filling can be any vegetable of your choice like carrots, peas, corn, mushroom, etc. In that case you have either sauté it before adding it to the potatoes or bake it for 10 minutes with the potatoes but add the cheese in the final 2 minutes.

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

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Banana Flittas

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One advice I would like to give people who are yet to be married is that to look for someone with similar taste in food. A surprisingly lot of time and effort in your life is with regard to food – buying, making, eating. If you don’t agree on that, it is not going to be easy. Trust me. You’ll thank me later. It has taken us nearly a decade to find a middle path and now we have the daughter’s taste to consider which is very likely to disrupt the equation we have painstakingly worked on to cause equal grief to both of us. 

Usually I am of the opinion that fruits should not be cooked but should be had raw and with its skin whenever possible. I do enjoy my orange cake and banana bread (but the bananas are overripe and so shouldn’t count. Right?) but little else. So I was kind of skeptical to make these banana fritters or flitaas as they are called in Jamaica. But once I did, the husband and daughter loved it so much that they are trying to make me promise to repeat this as often as I can. I am so torn between my principles and the demands of the family. Sigh! Well, I did like it too!

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Recipe adapted from here

Makes around 10

WHAT WE NEED

Bananas, ripe, medium                    2

All purpose flour                                1/2 cup

Sugar                                                     2-3 tbsp

Baking soda                                          A pinch

Ground cinnamon                              1/4 tsp

Salt                                                         A pinch

Oil                                                           2 tsp

Milk                                                        1 tbsp

Oil for deep frying
WHAT TO DO           

  • Heat oil in a pan for deep frying
  • Mash the bananas well in a bowl and set aside
  • Mix the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda and salt
  • Add 2 tsp oil and the milk to the mashed bananas
  • Add the banana mixture to the flour mixture and combine to form a smooth, wet dough
  • Drop spoonfuls of the dough in the hot oil and fry till golden brown
  • Enjoy!

NOTES

  1. The amount of sugar depends on the sweetness of the bananas. You need to taste and adjust to your preference
  2. An option is to roll the deep fried flittas in some cinnamon sugar to give it an additional level of flavour and sweetness 

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

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Honey Roasted Almonds 

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Today, we have a quick almond snack. This is the second day of the week in which I will be posting recipes of protein rich nuts and seeds. The daughter loves almonds and this made her eat them all the more. What more to ask for!

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Protein – Almonds

Recipe from here

WHAT WE NEED

Honey                             2 tbsp

Cinnamon powder       1/4 tsp

Almonds                         1  cup

Salt                                   1/4 tsp heaped
WHAT TO DO

  • Preheat the oven at 175C
  • Heat the honey in a microwave safe bowl for 1 minute on low power
  • Add the cinnamon and almonds to the honey and mix well
  • Line a baking tray with parchement paper
  • Spread the almonds on parchment paper
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes
  • Take the tray out once after 6 minutes and give it a shake
  • Let it cool completely
  • Transfer it to a bowl and mix with salt
  • Enjoy!

NOTES

  1. Let the almonds cool completely before transferring to the bowl. I did not wait long enough and the skin on the almonds came off. While it did not make an impact on the taste, it did not look very pretty.

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

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Today is the final day of lentil and bean based protein dishes for this mega marathon. I have recipes for 8 different lentils and beans and varied dishes like a soup, breakfast and main course. Today’s recipe is a simple and quick snack – roasted chana dal / bengal gram. You can have it as is or mix it with some puffed rice and chutneys and eat it like a bhel puri. I have a super quick bhel puri recipe that you can check out. If you do not have the chutneys you can still fix yourself a ‘sookha bhel’ (dry bhel).

I don’t use chana dal very often. Its use is mostly restricted to being part of all mixed rice varieties I make or in the ‘dosa chilly podi’. So in my effort to use it more, I picked this crunchy recipe for this marathon.

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The seasoning for this roasted chana dal can be anything of your choice depending on your palate. I had some ‘desi tadka’ spice mix that I needed to use up and so I used that. You can use red chilly powder, chaat masala, etc.

Protein – Bengal gram / chana dal

Recipe adapted from here

Makes 1 cup

WHAT WE NEED

Bengal gram                                  1 cup

Oil                                                    2 tsp

Spice powder mix                        1 tsp

Salt

Water

 

WHAT TO DO

  • Soak the chana dal in water for an hour
  • Drain it and place it in a vessel with enough water to fully cover the chana dal
  • Heat the vessel and bring to boil
  • Simmer for a minute and turn off the gas
  • The chana dal should be cooked but retain its bite and not become mushy
  • Spread it on an absorbent towel for around 15 minutes to dry
  • Preheat the oven to 200C
  • Line a baking tray with 2 layers of aluminium foil
  • Toss the chana dal with the oil, spice mix and salt in a bowl
  • Place the chana dal on the baking tray in a single layer
  • Bake for 30-40 minutes
  • Remove the tray every 10-12 minutes and give it a shake
  • The chana dal will be crisp and will become crisper on cooling
  • Allow it to cool and store in an airtight container
  • Enjoy!

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

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Bread Au Gratin

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Shakespeare asked ‘what’s in a name?’ I am sure he would change his mind if he saw today’s world. The name makes so much of a difference. Even regular simple things are enhanced by a fancy name. Our curiosity is piqued, our temptations increase and we get that impulse to buy the fancy stuff just to see what the fuss is all about. Similarly when I heard the name of this dish on Venkatesh Baht’s show, I conjured up very droolworthy images in my head and wanted to try it immediately. Fortunately for me, the recipe is simple and I could rustle it up quickly.

On the show, he went on to make white sauce and sauté veggies and mix them and stuff them in the bread. I was lucky that I had some leftover pasta that I made for my daughter the previous day. I used that as the stuffing and finished the entire dish in a flash. So here goes –

Serves 2-3

WHAT WE NEED

Bread slices                                      6

Leftover pasta                                 1/2- 3/4 cup

Cheddar cheese, grated               5 tbsp

 

WHAT TO DO

  • Preheat the oven to 250C
  • Cut off the edges of all the bread slices
  • Use a cookie cutter or small cup and cut a round shape at the centre of 3 of the bread slices such that it has a hole in the middle
  • Place one such slice on top of a regular bread slice and make 3 such pairs of bread slices
  • Fill each pair with the pasta till the hole in the top slice of the bread is full
  • Top generously with grated cheese
  • Bake for 6-7 minutes and broil for 3-4 minutes till the cheese starts to turn golden brown
  • Slice them into two and serve warm with ketchup
  • Enjoy!

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This is part of the Bake-a-thon 2016


Bread Pockets

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I have been terribly late in posting for this year’s Bake-a-thon as you can see multiple posts on the same day as against the schedule of thrice a week. I have been baking 3-4 dishes on the days I have time which has resulted in a flurry of activity, piling of dishes on the sink and me running helter skelter around the house with my bemused daughter in tow. As is always the case, when under pressure you fall back to your comfort zone, which in my case are the recipes from Venkatesh Bhat’s show – Samayal Samayal.

I had a loaf of bread and no ideas when Mr.Bhat came to my rescue with two simple dishes which fit the bill perfectly. One is this delightful and flavoursome bread pockets which involves packing every slice of bread with your choice of filling and baking it to golden brown. Yumm. I have used a paneer filling but you can replace that with any other filling like potatoes, leftover vegetables, noodles, pasta, etc.

WHAT WE NEED

Bread slices                                5

Paneer                                          50 gms

Spring onion                               6-8

Olives, pitted and chopped    6

Coriander leaves                         from 10-12 stalks

Red chilly  powder                     1 tsp

Ginger, grated                             1″

Butter, at room temp                1-2 tbsp

Water

Salt

WHAT TO DO

  • Preheat the oven to 250C
  • Place each bread slice in a plate of water and then press it between your hands gently to squeeze out the water
  • Use a rolling pin to gently roll the bread slice and take out any excess water
  • Be careful to ensure the bread slices do not tear
  • Mix all the other ingredients, except butter, thoroughly in a bowl
  • Divide the paneer mixture into 5 portions and fill each portion in one slice of bread
  • Roll the bread slice to cover the mixture and seal on all sides by gently pressing the two ends of the bread slice together
  • Brush the bread slices with butter on both sides
  • Bake for 7-8 minutes and broil for 3-4 minutes till both sides are golden brown
  • Serve warm with ketchup
  • Enjoy!

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This is part of the Bake-a-thon 2016


Stuffed Tomatoes

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We have a new vegetable vendor in our complex who gets fresh veggies and fruits and sells them at a reasonable price. As part of his marketing, he has come up with the offer of free tomatoes. Yes, as many as you like. All you need is to have bought at least one other vegetable. Cool right? So, needless to say my house is overflowing with tomatoes at all times. It is so hard to shake off that silly feeling of grabbing what is free. But I come home and sanity prevails and I am left wondering how to use up all the tomatoes. The daughter is exhausted with tomato soups and tomato rice and tomato juice.

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So when I was at a loss to come up with a baked dish for today’s post, I figured it has to have tomatoes because, duh! So I picked out whatever ingredients were in the fridge and pantry and set out to make the dish as I went along. Modestly speaking, it was quite delicious. I liked them so much that I finished them all without leaving any for my husband. He saw the pictures on the laptop and went ballistic. So I have promised to make them again tomorrow because, free tomatoes. Yay!

Makes 5 stuffed tomatoes

WHAT WE NEED

Tomatoes, medium                 5

Paneer / cottage cheese         60-70 gms

Roasted garlic                           2 cloves

Pitted green olives                   1 tbsp

Mixed Italian herbs                  1 tsp

Chilly flakes                                1/2 tsp

Fresh coriander                          To garnish

Oil

Salt
WHAT TO DO

  • Preheat the oven at 200C
  • Cut a slice from the top of the tomatoes and scoop out the inner flesh and seeds
  • Cut a small slice from the bottom of the tomatoes t ensure they can stand well without falling
  • Rub oil on the skin of the tomatoes 
  • Mix all the other ingredients except fresh coriander to form a crumbly mixture
  • Fill the tomatoes with the paneer mixture
  • Place them on a baking tray and bake for 12 minutes
  • Remove from the oven and garnish with fresh coriander 
  • Serve warm
  • Enjoy!

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This is part of the Bake-a-thon 2016


Mint Pakoda

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There is a nice cool breeze blowing now in Bangalore and it sometimes results in a mild fog in the morning. When you step out of the house you rub your hands together for the little warmth that it gives you. You want all meals to be piping hot and you know you shouldn’t leave clothes out overnight because it will get wet in the morning with all the dew. Hot tea is welcome at all times and if it is with some crunchy pakoda then you feel total bliss. So this is for the Bangalore weather!

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Only when you have the need to finish off an ingredient soon do you realize that there are recipes you have never tried. I have had bhajiyas and pakodas from a variety of ingredients but somehow missed the mint leaf. So this theme and the large bunch of mint led me to the discovery of mint pakoda. It is very similar to the onion pakoda, not bhaji made in the ‘Bhavan’ restaurants of Chennai but the thin crispy pakodas made in Mumbai. Chennai onion bhaji is dicing the onions horizontally and deep frying them in chickpea flour similar to potato and raw banana fritters. But the pakoda version is thinly dicing onions and separating them completely and then mixing them with minimal chickpea flour, just enough to coat it and then adding very little water and deep frying them which ensures the very crispy version. I followed the same method for the mint leaves and it turned out quite good. So here goes –

WHAT WE NEED

Fresh mint leaves                                  from 15 stalks

Chickpea flour / Besan                         2-3 tbsp

Ajwain                                                        1/4 tsp

Red chilly powder                                   1/2 – 1 tsp

Oil for deep frying

Water

Salt

WHAT TO DO

  • Wash the mint leaves thoroughly
  • Heat the oil in a pan
  • In a medium bowl, take the mint leaves, chickpea flour, ajwain, chilly powder and salt and mix well
  • Add water little by little to bring all the ingredients together
  • Ensure that the chickpea flour coats all the mint leaves fully
  • Once the oil is hot, take a spoonful of the mint mixture and gently drop into the oil
  • Fry till the pakodas turn golden brown and then take it off the oil
  • Repeat till the entire mixture is similarly deep fried
  • Serve hot with ketchup or any chutney of your choice
  • Enjoy with a cup of tea!

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This is my post for the Blogging Marathon under the theme – One ingredient Three Dishes.

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Anything Goes Burger

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There are days when you need to make something but don’t have the ingredients. This recipe is for those days. Want a burger but don’t have much to make a patty? Pick anything and everything in your fridge and pantry and ta da! Your burger is ready. My original plan was to make a lentil burger but I used up part of the lentils for another dish and I did not have enough to make this one. So I improvised and pulled out stuff that needed to be used and got this one ready.

This burger has some one eyed peas, boiled potato leftover from my potato burger, cornflour paste from my paneer burger, deep fried papad because only one was left and it would otherwise create a fight in the house as to who would have it, boiled carrots leftover from what I made for my daughter, one bread slice, leftover coriander and chilly paste. I am sure most or similar items would be available at home all the time. Trust me these make a good combination. So here goes –

Makes 1 Burger

WHAT WE NEED

One eyed peas, soaked and boiled                               4 tbsp

Potato, medium sized, boiled                                       1

Carrot, small, boiled                                                        1/2 -1

Deep fried papad                                                               1

Cornflour paste                                                                1 tsp

Red chilly powder                                                             1/4 tsp

Coriander leaves-green chilly paste                          1/2 tsp

Powdered oats                                                                   1 tbsp

Bread slice, powdered                                                     1

Burger bun                                                                         1

Salt

Tomato slices                                                                    1-2

Onion slices                                                                       1

Mayonnaise                                                                       1-2 tbsp

Oil for shallow frying

 

WHAT TO DO

  • Mash the peas and potato nicely so as to ensure no lumps are left
  • Crush the papad into smallest bits so that it is easy to mix with the rest of the ingredients
  • Mix all the ingredients, except for the burger bun and oil to make a patty dough
  • Shape the dough to form a patty as wide as the palm of your hand and set aside
  • Heat a pan and add some oil
  • Once the oil is hot, add the patty and fry till both sides are golden brown
  • Slice the burger bun horizontally into two and toast it, if you like
  • Spread the mayonnaise over the lower half of the bun
  • Place the patty over it and then place the tomato and onion slices on top of the patty
  • Place the top half of the bun over the onion slices
  • Serve with ketchup
  • Enjoy!

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Potato Burger

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After the yummy paneer burger, I have a more classic version today which is a vegetarian’s go-to option – Potato Burger or as McD calls it here Aloo Tikki Burger. I have made the patty for this one countless times but never as a burger style. Usually we make it as aloo tikki and have it with chutney or ketchup as an evening snack. I figured I could put this into a bun and make it a delicious burger with some mayonnaise and cheese.

I am no fan of lettuce and I so I have avoided it in my recipes but you can add it if you like. I am probably one of the few people who likes to eat capsicum raw. So, for some green, I have included a slice of capsicum in this burger instead of an onion. If you leave it out, I will totally understand. This patty recipe is from my mom and a family favorite. So here goes –

Makes 2 burgers

Potatoes, large, boiled                            2

Bread slices                                                2

Chilly powder                                             1/2 -1 tsp

Garam masala                                            1/2 tsp

Coriander leaves, finely chopped        2-3 tsp

Salt

Oil for shallow frying

Burger buns                                                2

Mayonnaise                                                2 tbsp

Tomato slices                                             2-3

Capsicum slices                                         2

Cheese slices                                              2

 

WHAT TO DO

  • Peel the potatoes and mash them to ensure no lumps are left
  • Take some water in a plate and soak the bread slices in the water, one by one
  • Squeeze out the water and add the bread slices to the mashed potatoes and mix well
  • Add the chilly powder, coriander leaves, garam masala and salt and mix well to form a patty dough
  • Divide the dough into two and shape each part into a patty the size of your palm
  • Heat some oil in a pan
  • Place the patties on the oil and fry them till both sides are golden brown
  • Remove from the pan and set aside
  • Cut the burger buns horizontally into two and toast them lightly, if you like
  • Apply some mayonnaise on the lower half of the bun and place the patty over it
  • Top the patty with tomato and capsicum slices and place a cheese slice on top
  • Cover the cheese slice with the top half of the bun
  • Serve with ketchup
  • Enjoy!

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This is my post for the Blogging Marathon under the theme – Burgers.

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