Tarator – Cold cucumber soup


BM #103: Week 4, Day
Theme : Balkan States

Looking for vegetarian recipes from the Balkan states, I came across some recipes very close to home. I didn’t know that our buttermilk is a common drink there as well but with a different name. It’s called Doogh, tahn or Ayran depending on the place.

Then I came across another yogurt based recipe, that’s not tzaziki but a slightly thinner soupy version – Tarator. Its one of those are recipes that can be prepared in more ways that one, I guess. I could see a lot of different recipes online, but the base recipe is almost same for all. Yogurt, thin or thick – according to personal preference, with cucumber that’s either chopped very finely or ground to a paste along with yogurt. Walnuts and dill are common additions , so is the oil. I personally liked the addition of olive oil and walnuts and this soup turned out to be more delicious than I thought it would be. It’s light and perfect for a hot summer day.

Read on for the recipe.

Recipe source: Cooking LSL

Makes 1 serving

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 1/2 cup water, or per preference
  • 1/2 medium cucumber, peeled and chopped finely
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
  • 2 tablespoon chopped dill( I didn’t have any)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt as needed

Method:

  1. Whisk the yogurt with water and set aside.
  2. Set aside a spoon of cucumbers and walnuts for topping, if preferred. In a bowl, add cucumbers, garlic, walnuts, salt and oil. Mix in the yogurt. Taste test and adjust seasonings.
  3. Top with the reserved cucumbers and walnuts and a spoon of oil.

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Greek frappe

BM 103: Week 4, Day 2
Theme: Balkan States

While looking for recipes under this theme, I came across the frappe recipe and the interesting story behind its invention. Apparently a Necafe employee wanted to have coffee but didn’t have any hot water to make it. So he mixed Instant coffee, with ice water and ice cubes in a shaker and thus frappe was born!

It’s a very popular drink in Greece and it’s so easy to make. I wish I had come across this recipe at the start of summer than at the end of it. Take instant coffee, sugar and a little water in a bottle with a tight lid and shake it for a minute or two. I actually keep a kitchen timer, else I might shake for ten seconds and say it’s done :D. Pour this frothy mix into a tall glass filled with ice. Add water or if you prefer coffee with milk, add cold milk. That’s it! Frothy delicious frappe is ready to serve.

Recipe source : Classic Greek Frappe

Serves 1

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons instant coffee powder
  • 2-4 teaspoons sugar, or per taste
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • Ice cubes
  • Milk or Water as needed

Method:

  1. In a clean glass jar with a tight lid, add the coffee, sugar and water. Screw the lid on and shake vigorously for about 2 minutes.
  2. Fill a tall coffee cup half way with ice cubes. Add the frothy coffee into it. Slowly add water and/or milk to the cups. Serve. I like to add water first and then a little milk to it.

And here it is with a little milk. Frothy still!

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Djuvec Rice


BM# 103: Week 4, Day 1
Theme : Balkan States

While looking for recipes from the Balkan states, I came across this dish that’s similar to ratatouille. A little bit of reading online told me that Djuvec (pronounced as joovetch), can be a vegetarian or meat based stew. It can be made with a variety of vegetables and you can add beans or meat to make it a complete meal. When rice is added, it becomes djuvec rice and a main dish that can be served on its own if preferred. The recipe is common to the Balkan states so you might find it marked as Bosnian/ Croatian/ Serbian depending on the blog you read from.

I made it for lunch recently and loved it. To an Indian, this is similar to tomato rice loaded with vegetables and free from the regular masalas.

Read on for the recipe.


Recipe source: Bosnian Djuvec rice

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup uncooked rice
  • 2 cups vegetable broth/water
  • 1 medium onion, chopped finely
  • 1 small capsicum, diced small
  • 1 small eggplant, diced small
  • 1/2 zucchini, diced small
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder, or per taste
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Heat oil in a big pan and sauté onions, garlic, capsicum, zucchini and eggplants.
  2. Once the vegetables are almost cooked, add the tomatoes and green peas along with chili powder and salt. Mix well and cook until the tomatoes are mushy, about 5 minutes.
  3. Mix in the rice and broth/water. Taste test and adjust seasonings if needed. Let the water come to a boil. Cover and cook until the rice has absorbed all the water, about 10-15 minutes. Take off the heat. Done!

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Instant Pot Nutella Bread Pudding

BM# 103: Week 2, Day 3
Theme : Recreate into a new dish

I always pack snacks for my son so that he has something to eat on the way back home after his practice or a match. He is very hungry at that time and can eat one or two sandwiches easily. Sometimes I pack a little more than what he needs as his hunger quotient cannot be exactly determined. So it’s not too uncommon to be left with some leftovers. Recently when I ended up with two extra Nutella sandwiches, instead of devouring it immediately, I decided to make bread pudding out of it.

I made some more sandwiches, cut it into big cubes and added a custard made with eggs and milk/cream to it. Traditionally bread pudding is made in oven, but I used the Instant Pot instead and the pudding was so moist and delicious! I loved the taste of it, it wasn’t too sweet and the Nutella tasted great in there. The next time, I might add some Nutella or chocolate chips to the custard as well, because everything tastes a little better with chocolate.

Read on for the recipe.

Recipe source : Nutella Croissant Bread Pudding

Ingredients:

  • 6 Nutella sandwiches*, cut into cubes
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Almond slices for serving, optional

*I used bakery bread with about 2 teaspoons of Nutella for each sandwich.

Method:

  1. Mix the eggs, cream, milk, vanilla and sugar in a bowl. Whisk well to combine.
  2. In a big tray or plate add the sandwich cubes and add 1/2 of the whisked custard. Let the bread absorb some of the custard.
  3. Now transfer this to a stainless pot or Pyrex bowl that fits well inside the Instant Pot and add the rest of the custard on top of it.
  4. Add one cup of water to instant pot bowl and place the trivet inside it. Place the bread pudding inside the Instant Pot bowl and cover it with a lid that fits or aluminum foil.
  5. Set instant pot to Manual mode and set timer to 25 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally. Serve warm or cold with sliced almonds on top.

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