Tea time snack platter

BM #116 : Week 2, Day 6
Theme : Platters

I had a teatime platter with Indian snacks in my mind for this theme. But I decided against it since most of it involves deep frying, which I am not very fond of. I have improved enough to do deep fry decently, but the desire to do it is just not there. Deep frying is a hazard for someone like me who washes their hands 150 times a minute and then goes back straight to hot oil with water dripping from hands :D…

I have consciously cut down this hand washing habit when I am cooking, it has also weaned because of the cold weather that remains for a good portion of the year here. Still it happens often that I catch myself dripping water into pans while cooking – Never a good idea when handling hot oil ! So I have never been a good fan of deep frying – it’s hazardous for me :-D

Anyway for the platter here, I shelved the Indian snacks idea for another day and decided to use all the snacks I have at home. I added a couple of sandwiches too as a more filling meal. For the eggplant sandwiches, I used leftover sautéed eggplant from lunch. I would have made a couple more sandwiches, but I was out of bread. I just realized that the tea time platter has coffee instead of tea :-)), well my husband prefers coffee, so this works better for us.

Scroll down for the recipes and more pictures.

The platter has

  1. Roasted peanuts
  2. Paneer sandwich
  3. Roasted makhana
  4. Crackers
  5. Sev
  6. Eggplant sandwiches
  7. Tortilla chips
  8. Salsa
  9. Coffee
  10. Tea biscuits
  11. Mixed cheese
  12. Apples
  13. Cashews
  14. Cauliflower crackers
  15. Raisins
  16. Cucumbers
  17. Mint chutney

Paneer sandwich

  • Crumble two tablespoons of paneer in a bowl. Add 2 teaspoons each of very finely chopped carrots and cucumber. Add one chopped green chili. Carefully add 1 teaspoon of sriracha or any hot sauce of your choice. Stir everything together and use as filling on toasted bread.

Eggplant sandwich:

  • Heat oil in a pan. Sauté one small onions and 2 cloves of minced garlic. Add one small chopped tomato along with 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon coriander powder, 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder and salt as needed. Once the tomatoes are cooked and soft, add two medium diced eggplants. Cover and cook, stirring in between, until the eggplants are done. Serve as a filling inside toasted bread.

You can find the recipe for roasted makhana here but the one on the platter is readymade.

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Mezze platter 2

BM #116 : Week 2, Day 3
Theme : Platters

This is the first platter I prepared for this week’s theme. We had guests with kids coming over and I thought they will like the fruits and vegetable spreads a lot. My son and his friends really love all kinds of fruits. I had the dips and pita in mind for the adults. Everyone enjoyed the dips a lot and we ended up finishing a whole packet of pita bread over this. So that was what prompted me to make one more Mezze platter later that week, which I shared yesterday.

The platter has three homemade sauces/ dips – Tzatziki, Hummus and Baba Ganoush. The last two need tahini and I have used readymade one here. Tahini is toasted sesame seeds ground into a paste with a little oil, so it can be made at home if you have sesame seeds. But I took the easy way out here. I am actually not a fan of hummus but freshly made hummus tasted so much better than the store bought ones. I have made tzatziki before and I love it, this time I used zucchini instead of cucumber for a change.

I haven’t made Baba Ganoush before. My friend recommended it to me telling how easy it is to make and thats what triggered the whole idea for this platter. Baba Ganoush an eggplant based sauce. You need to use the big eggplants (baingan bharta ones) for this. It’s a fairly straightforward recipe. All of these dips/sauces are simple recipes with very few ingredients. So this platter was really easy to make. I wanted to add some more items to this like falafel and more grilled vegetables, I might do it another time :-).

Read on for the pictures and the recipes.

The platter has

  1. Cucumber sticks
  2. Almonds
  3. Cherry plum
  4. Dates
  5. Grapes
  6. Walnuts
  7. Hummus
  8. Feta
  9. Carrot sticks
  10. Zucchini tzatziki
  11. Cherry tomatoes
  12. Baba Ganoush
  13. Pita bread
  14. Roasted peppers
  15. Red and green olives

Hummus recipe : you need

  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 3-4 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 1/2 cups of cooked chickpeas (or a15oz can)
  • Salt to taste
  • Olive oil to drizzle and a pinch of paprika

In the food processor bowl, add 1/4 cup tahini and juice from a large lemon (3-4 tablespoons) and process for about a minute. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, one spoon of ground cumin, one minced garlic and salt to taste. Process for another minute, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl once if needed. We need 1 1/2 cups of cooked chickpeas for this. Add half of this to the food processor and process it. Now add the rest and process until everything is smooth. You might have to scrape the sides of the bowl for everything to mix well. You might also need to add 2-3 tablespoons of water if the hummus is too thick. Taste test and adjust seasonings if needed. Store in an airtight container and refrigerate.

Zucchini tzatziki:

  • 1/2 of a large zucchini, grated
  • 3-5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1-2 teaspoons lemon juice, per taste
  • 2 cups of Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method: Wash and Grate the zucchini. I didn’t peel it before grating. In a bowl, mix the minced garlic, salt and pepper , olive oil and grated zucchini. Add yogurt and mix well to combine. Taste test and add lemon juice accordingly. Refrigerate for the flavors to mingle. Serve with warm pita bread or snacks of your choice.

Baba Ganoush:

  • 1 large egg plant
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2-3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Salt to taste

Method : I cooked the eggplant in the microwave. Alternatively, you can roast it in the oven at 425F for about 35 minutes too. Rub a little oil between your palms and rub it all over the eggplant. Pierce it with a fork all over for both methods.

If using microwave, keep the eggplant in a microwave proof plate and cook at 100% power for about 10 minutes. Let it cool a little in the microwave itself. Take it out carefully and cut into two in the middle. Let the steam escape and slowly scoop out the flesh into a bowl, discarding the skin and the liquid released.

Add everything else to the eggplants and mix well. You can use a food processor for this too, but a fork would do. Taste test and adjust seasonings. Serve with olive oil drizzled on top.

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Chaat Platter

BM #116 : Week 2, Day 1
Theme : Platters

I have a picture of a chaat lunch in my drafts folder, I had taken the picture because it was filling out our dining table with the various chutneys and yogurt and the fillings and everything. I actually had to stand on top of a chair to take a picture of the whole meal. It looked nice and so I had planned a chaat platter for the mega marathon.

Once I had the recipes in place (ragda patties, Chole tikki and pani puri as bass recipes), I happened upon the world of food boards/ charcuterie boards. You have to look up that hashtag in Instagram or give a google search to see what a visual treat that it is!! It’s chopping boards or cheese boards or trays completely filled with food. I have seen Charcuterie or cheese boards before, but the boards can be of any theme of your choice. And so I decided to do a chaat platter like a food board.

The biggest advantage of serving a food board is that you can choose and make whatever combination you like. With these base recipes of Chole, ragda and pani puri, you can make a whole lot of chaat recipes. The same patti can be used for ragda patties, Aloo tikki Chole and Aloo tikki chaat. For pani poori, you can have variations like boondi pani puri, Dahi poori, Chole pani puri, ragda pani puri on top of the regular potato and Chana filling. You can try any combination you want. Usually I make a couple of different kinds of pani, but with so many options, I decided to stick with just the regular pani.

I usually make the chutneys too at home, but this time I had some readymade chutneys and so used that. I have linked the recipes that I use below, but the platter has the readymade one. The puris are also readymade. The chaat masala is homemade, mine finished during the peak coronavirus times, so made it at home since I had all the individual spices.

The platter has

  1. Aloo tikki / Patties
  2. Ragda
  3. Chole
  4. Yogurt
  5. Green chutney for chaat (readymade)
  6. Tamarind chutney for chaat
  7. Coriander leaves
  8. Chaat Masala (recipe below)
  9. Chopped onions
  10. Panipuri pooris (readymade)
  11. Panipuri Paani
  12. Boondi (readymade)
  13. Potato filling for pani puri (recipe below)
  14. Chole filling for panipuri(recipe below)
  15. Lime wedges

Potato filling for pani puri

  • Mash one boiled potato with salt and chili powder to taste. Sprinkle chaat masala and some finely chopped coriander leaves, if preferred. Use as stuffing for pani puri.

Chana filling for pani puri

  • In a bowl, add half cup of cooked chana. Add some chopped onions, chaat masala, chili powder and salt to taste. Mash with a fork but leaving some Chana in chunks and some mashed. This helps it to hold together well making it easy to scoop and fill the Puris.

Chaat masala recipe:

  • 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 2 tablespoons cumin seeds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ajwain seeds
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoons dried mint leaves
  • 1 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 3 tablespoons amchur
  • 2 tablespoons kala namak

Method: Dry roast coriander, cumin and fennel seeds over medium heat until it turns a little darker. Once it’s cooled down, grind into a powder with the rest of the ingredients. Store in a dry airtight jar.

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Roasted Makhana/ flavored Fox Nuts

BM# 102: Week 4, Day 2
Theme :
One bowl recipes

Makhana / Foxnut / lotus seeds make a tasty and healthy snack. Though you can find flavored ones from Indian stores, it’s very easy to make it at home. The advantage is that you can try more flavor options per your taste.

When I saw Priya Srinivasan’s post, I knew have to give it a try. I have never made these at home before. The effort is minimal, especially if you are roasting the makhana in microwave. I don’t think you save a lot of time when it comes to stovetop vs microwave, since you will have to do multiple batches in microwave to avoid overcrowding. But there is more ease to doing this in a microwave than stovetop.

The flavor options are up to your imagination, it can be as simple as salt and pepper or you can make even caramel or wasabi makhana version. Anything that works with popcorn, would work here as well. So it’s all up to you.

Read on for the recipe.

Ingredients:

    100 grams makhana
    1/4 teaspoon red chili powder
    1 teaspoon oil
    Salt as needed

Stovetop method:

  1. Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in a pan. Add makhana, lower the heat and roast makhana for about 10 minutes or until makhana is crispy and crunchy. You’ll have to keep stirring in between to prevent burning.
  2. Add the chili powder and salt and mix it in. Remove from heat and serve in a bowl.

Microwave Method:

  1. In a microwave proof plate, layer the makhana without crowding. I had to do the 100gm packet in three batches.
  2. Microwave for one minute, stop and mix everything and microwave for another minute. Repeat this two more times until all the makhana is roasted.
  3. Now heat oil in a deep pan. Add the salt and chili powder. Add the roasted makhana and mix carefully. Since it’s weightless, it tends to jump off the pan, so use a deep pan or be careful while stirring/mixing.
  4. After a minute of sautéing, turn off the heat. Let it cool in the same pan before storing in an airtight container.

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