Friday, April 27, 2007

Noodle Bhel

'N of Indian Vegetables' sure was a tough one for me. I don't know why but somehow I just went blank on veggies starting with 'N'. Finally, I remembered this recipe called 'Noodle Bhel', which I had come across in a newspaper 2 yrs back. I never really got to reading the recipe in detail and so with just an idea of the main ingredients, I made my own recipe. This simple dish is deliciously mouthwatering, can be altered to one's taste and liking easily, and can be served as a salad or a snack.

Ingredients:(There is no strict measure for ingredients in this recipe so use as per your liking)
Sprouted green mung beans
Maggi noodles (masala flavor) 1 packet
Chopped onions
Chopped red capsicum
Chopped cabbage
Grape tomatoes halved
Tamarind chutney (I used the readymade tamarind-date chutney by Swad)
Chaat masala
A little bit of cayenne pepper
Salt to taste
Olive oil

The first thing required to make this bhel is sprouted green mung beans. It generally takes 1-2 days the way I do it. First wash the mung beans and then soak them for about 4-5 hrs. Then drain of all the water and spread the beans on a cloth or tissue towel till they are completely dried. Then line a plastic bowl with tissue paper, place the mung beans in it, cover it with the tissue and keep it in the oven to sprout.
Once the beans are ready, the bhel is a snap to make.Take the sprouted mung beans in a bowl. You can either use them directly or sautee them in a little bit of oil to get rid of the raw taste. I used raw beans and it looks like this...

Now, break the noodles. Reserve the masala included in the packet for later.In a pan, heat a little bit of oil and fry the noodles till they turn a little crispy and brown.They will look like this...

Add these noodles to the mung beans. Next, sautée the onions, capsicum and cabbage in a little bit of olive oil and add them to the beans. Cooking the veggies is optional. They can be added just like that.Then add the halved grape tomatoes.Sprinkle the reserved maggi masala powder, chaat masala, cayenne pepper and salt over the salad. Pour the tamarind chutney and toss the bhel. And thats it...Noodle Bhel is ready to serve!
The best part of this bhel is that the ingredients can be added or skipped according to one's liking and this is a delicious way to make kids gulp down their veggies. This is how the final product looks...Enjoy!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Eggless Strawberry Cake

This is my first post for a dessert and I am proud to say it is a cake! Sounds silly, I know...but this is my first attempt at baking and I am really happy to see positive results. It all started with me buying an electric beater. Its been a long time since I have been planning to add this to my collection of kitchen gadgets and finally it happened last Sunday. I was so excited that I couldn't wait to use it. I wanted to bake a cake pronto but I didn't have eggs at home. I didn't have the patience to run out to the store and get them and so i started searching for a recipe for egg less white cake. A lot of the recipes suggested using condensed milk, which also I didn't have at hand. After a long search I finally found this recipe which was pretty straightforward. I also had some fresh strawberries which I wanted to use. So using the white cake recipe I created my own strawberry cake. The end result was surprisingly good and i did not miss the eggs one bit.
The source for the recipe for egg less white cake was
My version of the cake :

3.5 tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature
1.25 cups plain flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup sugar + 1 tsp for strawberries

2.5 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup milk

1 cup fresh strawberries chopped
a few drops of lemon juice


Sprinkle 1 tsp sugar and lemon juice on chopped strawberries and keep aside. This will bring out the juices from the strawberries and make them a little moist. Sift together the baking powder, salt and flour.Next, cream the butter and sugar. Then add a little flour to the butter and sugar mixture. Mix it and then add a little milk and mix. This way, add flour and mix alternately. Finally, fold in the strawberries to the batter using a spatula. Grease and dust baking pan with butter & a little flour to prevent cake from sticking. Bake in a 375 degrees F preheated oven for about 35-40 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool before cutting pieces.
Enjoy cake with a cup of chilled milk!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Matar Kababs

Last week I missed the 'L of Indian Vegetables' event. I had a couple of recipes on my mind, but somehow did not manage to get my grocery done in time...blame it all on my laziness!:) But this week I am back!
'M of Indian Vegetables' brought to my mind a variety of recipes ranging from brunch items to entrees to appetizers. I finalized on an appetizer dish made with a 'M' vegetable which is extremely versatile and popular in Indian as well as International Cuisine. Any guesses? It is the famous 'Matar'!!! Known as 'Peas' in English, it is the simple solution to add color and crunch to any recipe. I use 'Matar' in rice, curries, pasta, soups ...., in short, in anything & everything.
My entry for this week's event is 'Matar Kababs'. I found this recipe in my mom's diary of recipes. I don't know the original source of this recipe. My mom has been maintaining this diary since she got married.She has written recipes she found new at the time as well as the traditional & tried -out dishes. Staying away from home in a different country, this is certainly the most prized possession I have,which also comforts me with the feeling that my mom is always with me...
My recipe of Matar Kababs is very easy and quick to make. I have entertained with this appetizer and I can assure you that these kababs disappear from the platter in minutes! So be prepared...

Ingredients: Makes 8 small kababs (This is just a guideline--the quantities and size can be adjusted according to liking )

Matar (peas) about 1 cup(fresh or frozen)
Besan (Chickpea flour) 2 tbsp
Green chillies paste 1-2 depending on how hot they are
Garlic-Ginger paste about 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Kasmiri garam masala-- about 2 tsp --recipe follows

To make 2 tsp of Kashmiri Garam Masala you will need---
Equal quantities of :
Coriander seeds 1/4 tsp
Cumin seeds "
Cloves "
Black peppercorns "
Cinnamon stick about 1/4 inch stick
Nutmeg powder 1/4 tsp
Big Cardamom 1
Grind all these spices together to a powder. Excess can be stored and used in any curry.

To make the Kababs:
Put the matar in the food processor and coarsely mash them. If using frozen matar, thaw them and drain out excess water first.Make sure that you do not make a smooth paste. To this, add the garlic-ginger paste,green chilli paste, salt, besan and the kashmiri garam masala. Mix together, taste for seasoning and and adjust. This is how it will look...

Make small balls of the mixture, flatten them a little. The original recipe asks to deep fry these kababs, but I bake them in the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Brush a little oil on both sides of the kababs and bake them until golden brown in color. It takes about 20-25 mins. Make sure to flip them in between to finish cooking.
Before serving, insert toothpicks in each kabab to make it easier for the guests to enjoy them. Alternatively, you can also soak some toothpicks and make a skewer of these kababs and then bake them. Serve with ketchup or green chutney .

Another interesting way to serve these matar kababs is to make sandwiches/burgers. Replace the usual pattie with a matar kabab. Top it with sliced tomatoes, onions , lettuce leaves, mayo & mustard or green chutney. Enjoy as brunch, lunch or even a light dinner!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Lettuce Salad

Inspired by the salad recipes on the many food network shows where chefs/cooks make fresh salads with a variety of ingredients , I decided to make one for lunch today. My recipe is a mix of different recipes and made with ingredients that I already had at hand. I could not believe the full bodied taste a simple dressing made of lemon juice, honey and olive oil could impart to a salad! Unfortunately I did not manage to take a picture as i was not sure how it would turn out, but i will put up one the next time I prepare this salad, which will be soon.

Ingredients :
Romaine Lettuce about a cup and a half
1 Tomato chopped
A little onion chopped lengthwise
Green olives about 1/4 cup
Dried cranberries a handful
Roasted red peppers 3-4
Crumbled feta cheese about 1-2 tbsp
Cannellini (white) bean about 2 tbsp

Lemon Juice about half a lemon
Honey 2-3 tbsp
Olive oil 1 tbsp
Salt to taste
Black pepper powder

Chop the lettuce leaves and put in a bowl. To this add the chopped tomato and onion. Chop the green olives and roasted red peppers and add to the lettuce. Mix in the cranberries. Drain the cannellini beans, place them under running water and rinse them off a little ( a tip I learned from 'Everyday Italian') , then add to the salad. Add the crumbled feta cheese.
Then make the dressing by mixing together the lemon juice, honey ,olive oil, salt and pepper. Whisk together and pour over the salad. Toss the salad and serve.

The salad has an amazing sweet & savory blend and can be enjoyed by kids as well as adults.
I am really glad that I tried out this salad.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Sweet & Spicy Cabbage

Today i had one of my favorite veggies for lunch--cabbage. I just love it! It is so versatile.I have 2-3 different versions of cooking cabbage.But today i am going to share the recipe that my mom makes and its my favorite!

1/2 a cabbage (about 2 cups) chopped
2 tbsps chana dal soaked in water for about 30 mins.
Jaggery 2-3 tbsps (may be replaced with brown sugar)
Cayenne pepper 2 -3 tsps
Mustard seeds for tadka
Turmeric 1 tsp
Oil about 1 tbsp
A little cilantro to garnish

In a pan/kadhai,heat the oil. Once ready, add the mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds begin to crackle, add a little bit of hing and turmeric powder. Then add the washed and chopped cabbage to the tadka. Mix in the soaked chana dal at this point, add a little water and cover to cook. Once the cabbage is cooked and all the water has evaporated, add cayenne pepper and jaggery. Mix well. It is ready to serve once the jaggery is well incorporated and there are no lumps visible. Garnish with cilantro.
This recipe is a little sweeter than usual recipes but the cayenne pepper balances the taste wonderfully and i am sure nobody will mind the sweet. Serve with hot chapatis and raita....yum! Pure nostalgia!!!

Thursday, April 5, 2007

My First Recipe

Welcome to Bhaatukli!
'Bhaatukli' in Marathi is the word for small kitchen utensils and accessories that little girls use to play 'house'. My love for cooking started with bhaatukli and hence the name. I was always whipping up some tasty dish in my pretend kitchen with my bhaatukli. Growing up, my mom encouraged my sister and me to learn to cook and thanks to her , today, we both love creating and trying out different recipes. On Bhaatukli i would like to share recipes that i have been eating as a child and those that i have attempted in the past 2 & 1/2 yrs of my marriage. i am always on the lookout for new recipes and my mom as well as my mother-in-law are a never ending source for lip-smacking delicacies. I also spend a lot of time surfing the net to search for different recipes and while doing so i stumbled upon Nupur's 'One Hot Stove'. I was really impressed and inspired by her blog and read it regularly since. My sister told me about Indira's 'Mahanandi' and i was hooked on to reading her blog as well. These two blogs have really inspired me but the real credit goes to my husband for pushing me to start sharing my recipes.
So ....Bon Appetit!!!

My first recipe is a very simple maharashtrian recipe. I thought of penning it down after reading about Nupur's 'K of Indian Vegetables". The first recipe that popped into my mind was kadhi-khichadi. This combo is a favourite in my house when we are in a mood for something quick and light. This dish is especially apt for those gloomy winter nights...a bowl of piping hot kadhi and a serving of khichadi with a dollop of homemade ghee can put you right back on track.
Kadhi is made from buttermilk and is a hassle free recipe that can be enjoyed with khichadi, which is basically a type of rice, or chapatis. But the problem was that there was no vegetable included in this recipe. So i thought of a variation of kadhi which includes spinach.This will also be my recipe for JFI_WBB -green leafy vegetables event.

Recipe for Spinach Kadhi ( taakatli bhaaji)
Ingredients : serves 2
Chopped spinach leaves (fresh or frozen) 1 cup

Buttermilk 1 cup

Besan (chana dal flour) 2 tbsp

Kadhi patta leaves(curry leaves) 2 -3

Peanuts (optional) 1 tbsp

Dry red chillies /green chillies 2-3

Garlic cloves 3
Mustard seeds 1 tbsp

Cumin seeds 1 tbsp

Sugar 1 tsp


Hing powder

Cayenne pepper ( if not using green chillies) 1 tbsp


Method :
Take the buttermilk in a bowl. Add sugar and salt according to taste. If the buttermilk is too sour , increase the sugar quantity.Take 2 garlic cloves, chop them finely and add to the buttermilk. Now take the besan and mix it with a little bit of water to make a smooth paste and add it to the buttermilk. Stir well.

In a saucepan/ kadhai , heat about a 1/4 tsp of oil. Once it is ready add just about 1/4 tsp of mustard and cumin seeds. The remaining seeds are used later to prepare separate tadka for the kadhi. Once the mustard and cumin seeds start to splutter, add a little bit of hing (asafeotida) powder and then the kadhi patta leaves.Fry for a minute. At this point add green chillies if using them,otherwise add the peanuts.Then add the chopped spinach and a little bit of water. Let the spinach cook.Once it is cooked and all the water has evaporated add the buttermilk to it. Add cayenne pepper, salt if needed and let it come to a boil.Once the kadhi comes to a boil turn of the heat. If the kadhi becomes too thick , add a little bit of water.
In a separate small kadhai , heat about 1/2 tbsp of oil for the tadka. Add the remaining mustard and cumin seeds.Chop the remaining garlic clove into small pieces and add to the tadka. Next add the dried red chillies and fry for a minute. If using green chillies, omit the red chillies in the tadka. Once the garlic cloves turn golden brown turn off the heat and pour this tadka over the kadhi. Serve hot with khichadi , plain rice or chapatis.

Tip: To enhance the colour of the garlic pieces in the tadka sprinkle a little bit of cayenne pepper on them.