Chole

3Chole

Sometimes it is a race against time even though you think you are well prepared. That is the case here. I had cooked the dish and prepped the pictures a long time before the publish date, yet here I am rushing to make it for the deadline!

Anyway this is a simple recipe for chana masala or chole. This is from Vasantha Moorthy’s vegetarian menu Cookbook. I already have a chole recipe on the blog but the method of preparation is a little different here. 

I am not a fan of recipes where you have to grind the raw onions first. I prefer to cook them before grinding, else I feel that the raw smell never quite goes away. But I learned it only recently that the trick is to cook the ground onion paste in oil before adding anything else, especially veggies like tomatoes which has high water content. I am not sure whether it works every single time for everyone out there, but it sure did for me when I tried it a couple of times. 

So read on for the recipe and serve it with hot baturas!

2Chole

  1. Soak 2 cups white chana(garbanzo beans) overnight. Pressure cook the next morning until cooked well. Drain and keep aside. 
  2. Grind two medium onions, 2″ piece of ginger and 4 garlic cloves into a paste.
  3. Heat 3-4 tablespoons oil, sauté 4 sliced green chillies. Add the onion paste and cook until the raw smell of onions go away. 
  4. Add 3 tablespoons coriander powder, 2 teaspoons chili powder (or per taste), 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder and 1 teaspoon of garam masala. Mix well and cook for a couple of minutes.
  5. Purée three big tomatoes and add it. Cook mixing in between to make sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. 
  6. Add the cooked chana and salt as needed. Add water as needed to get to the consistency you prefer. Cook on medium to low heat for about 10-15 minutes. Sprinkle chopped coriander on top and serve with batura or pooris or chapati 
  7. You can grind a handful of the curry (after adding the chana) and add it back and cook for a few minutes. This is to give the curry a smooth and thick consistency. 

1Chole

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Chocolate peanut butter energy bites

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Oh please don’t be surprised! I did mention in yesterday’s post that I made the energy bites a couple of times. This was a variation of the recipe I tried. But don’t worry, this is the only variation for now. 

For this recipe, I kept the quantity of the base items – oats, peanut butter and honey -the same as yesterday. The rest is just whatever I had in my pantry that day!

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I had some dates that needed to be used up, so those were chopped and soaked in hot water for sometime. After draining and squeezing out the water, it came to about 1/4 cup. To avoid the water content, I would just chop them up or pulse them in a blender and add the next time. These didn’t last for a long time, so I needn’t have worried about the moisture from the dates. 

To make it a chocolate version, I added a little unsweetened cocoa to the mix. The raw taste of cocoa felt a little strange initially. I did get used to it, but maybe I will add Nutella or hot chocolate for the chocolate flavor the next time. 

Read on for the recipe. 
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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 2/3 cup peanut butter*
  • 2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup butterscotch chips
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup dates, soaked in hot water (about 8 dates)
  • 2 Tablespoons sunflower seeds
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 2-3 tablespoons desiccated coconut, optional 

*You can start with 1/2 cup and then add a couple more tablespoons extra if needed.

Method:

  1. Add all the ingredients to a bowl. Mix with a silicon spatula until everything is combined well.
  2. Using your hands take a small portion of the mix and roll into a ball. If the dough is sticky, refrigerate for a few minutes. Once you are done with all the dough, roll them over a thin layer of desiccated coconut to coat it. Refrigerate the balls to set firm. 
  3. I got about 20 balls with this set of ingredients.

2chocolate_PB_energybites
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Oats Peanut butter energy balls

1Oatmeal_PB_balls

Recipes don’t have to be elaborate. They can be as simple as mixing ingredients in a bowl and shaping them. That’s what this recipe is about. And it gets better, not only is this a less than five minute recipe, you can adjust the ingredients based on what you have in your pantry. I have already made this couple of times and I am falling in love more with each time.

The recipe is a pretty basic one with oats and peanut butter. Everything else is an addition. The original recipe mentioned about 1 cup oats and 2/3 cup peanut butter along with 1/2 cup flax seed powder. I didn’t have flax seeds, so I replaced that with 1/4 cup each of wheat bran and chia seeds. Desiccated coconut, wheat germ, nuts, chopped dates, protein powder would all be good substitutes here. Or you can just have peanut butter and oats with maybe some raisins. You have to cut down the peanut butter a little or add a little more oats to stop the dough being sticky or too dry. I don’t remember the original source from where I tried this recipe,  but this one from allrecipes is very close.

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Once you add everything to the bowl, its a good idea to mix with a spoon or a silicon spatula. Because of the peanut butter, the mixture might be somewhat sticky. If you are not able to roll into balls, refrigerate it for a few minutes for the mix to rest. That should help with rolling. I didn’t have to do that, though. Else add a little more oatmeal or wheat bran to even out the stickiness from peanut butter. Or you can start with 1/2 cup peanut butter and then add a couple more tablespoons if needed.

I left the energy bites in the fridge itself to set. But most of it got devoured before it made it to the safety corner in the refrigerator.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 2/3 cup peanut butter*
  • 1/4 cup wheat bran
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips
  • 2 Tablespoons honey

*You can start with 1/2 cup and then add a couple more tablespoons extra if needed.

Method:

  1. Add all the ingredients to a bowl. Mix with a silicon spatula until everything is combined well.
  2. Using your hands take a small portion of the mix and roll into a ball. If the dough is sticky, refrigerate for a few minutes. Once you are done with all the dough, refrigerate for the balls to set firm. Eat as you wish!
  3. This recipe made about 20 one inch energy balls for me. That number would depend on the size of the bites.

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Masala Eggs

masala_eggs 

During the days  before marriage, eggs were a staple in our pantry and masala fried eggs were one of the regular recipes.  It’s a simple preparation and very tasty if you like eggs. I had completely forgotten about this until my friend’s mother prepared it sometime back. 

Soon after, I also started preparing these again. I prefer sunny Side eggs over hard boiled eggs because of the simplicity of preparation. But with the instant pot,  making hard boiled eggs is so much easier. All it takes is 6 minutes in the manual mode and immediate pressure release. You get perfect boiled eggs all the time! 

Though very easy to make, it qualifies perfectly for a protein rich dish. Without really planning it, the last few recipes has fallen under the quick and easy category. Hopefully I will be able to continue it for the rest of the week as well. 

Read on for the recipe. 

1masala_eggs 

Ingredients:

  • 6-8 hard boiled eggs
  • 1.5 teaspoon chili powder*
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder 
  • 1.5 teaspoon pepper powder*
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander powder,* optional
  • Salt as needed
  • 2 teaspoons oil

*replace all three with one single tablespoon of sambar powder

Method:

  1. Cut the hard boiled eggs in half if preferred. Else you can keep the egg whole as well. 
  2. Heat oil and add the chili powder, pepper powder, turmeric and salt to the oil and fry for a few seconds. Make sure that the kitchen is well ventilated, else when the masalas cook they might make you sneeze.
  3. Once the masala is cooked (roughly 10-15 seconds or so), add the eggs. Add more oil if needed. Let the masalas coat the egg. Flip sides and let it cook for a 2-3 minutes. Take off the heat and serve with rice and sambar. 
  4. Alternatively you can make a paste of the masalas with a little water. coat the eggs with it and then cook the eggs for a minute or two till done. 

Note: you can use a Tablespoon of sambar powder instead of chili and pepper powders. The masalas can be adjusted according to your spice level preference. 

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Blueberry Smoothie Bowl

2blueberry_smothie_bowl Sometime back we had purchased a big pack of yogurt from Costco. It had about 20 5 oz yogurt containers. What we didn’t notice before picking it up was that it was the fruit at the bottom type. It means you have plain yogurt at the top which has to be mixed with the fruit at the bottom. Apparently that was more effort for my family and so it stayed unused occupying precious refrigerator real estate space. 

It was to finish that pack of yogurt that I started making smoothie bowls. The good news is that not only did it take care of  those yogurt containers, it also took care of the fruit intake of my son. The yogurt has about 11 grams of protein so I thought it would fit in this month’s theme of protein rich food. 

Read on for the recipe. 

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Ingredients:

  • 1 5oz blueberry yogurt container  
  • 1 Tablespoon Nutella 
  • 1 banana, sliced, reserve a few pieces for decorating 
  • 1 kiwi peeled, few pieces reserved for decoration 
  • 1/2 cup blueberries 
  • Honey or other sweeteners, if needed
  • Toppings of your choice 

Method:

  1. Blend the yogurt with banana, kiwi, blueberries, peanut butter and Nutella.  Add honey if needed and blend again. Pour into a bowl and decorate with the reserved slices of fruit. I have added some chia seeds and chocolate chips as well. 

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Oatmeal Stawberry Banana smoothie

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Dish: Oatmeal Strawberry banana smoothie bowl
I am a big fan of overnight oats and chia pudding recipes. It’s as simple as mixing things in a bowl at night and waking up in the morning to a delicious meal. I make it very frequently and each time I try a different version of it. But now a days, a constant element in my recipes is peanut butter. I noticed that my hunger pangs are curbed a lot more when there is some peanut  butter in my oats or smoothie bowls. 

Smoothie bowls are also a staple at home, especially for my son’s dinner. Here is a recipe that’s a combination of a smoothie bowl and overnight oats. It’s as simple as adding overnight oats to a smoothie.  The recipe is rich in protein with oats and peanut butter. It’s a tasty as well as a filling recipe. 

Read on for the recipe. 

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Serves 1

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 5-6 strawberries
  • 1 medium banana, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Toppings of your choice

Method:

  1. Soak and refrigerate oatmeal in milk overnight or for at least 3 hours.
  2. Blend this with strawberries, banana, peanut butter and honey.
  3. Serve in a bowl with toppings of your choice. Here I have used homemade granola from Pavani, raisins, strawberries and cashews and some more honey for drizzling on top.

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Potato Kibbeh

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For the month of February, one of the Blogging Marathon theme was ingredient swap. One of the ingredients I got was bulgur wheat from Pavani . I had prepared lentil kofte (or a version of it since I was short of all the supplies except bulgur :D), but I still had enough to try some other recipe.

A generic search for vegetarian bulgur recipes landed me on this page and I was absolutely taken in by their baked version of potato kibbeh.  With pictures as good as theirs and clear step wise instructions, it was almost a crime not to prepare it :-)). Though I made it long before, it has been staying in the drafts section for way too long. Since this month’s theme is protein rich foods and this recipe has bulgur, chickpea and spinach as sources, it time for this recipe to join the virtual world.

Kibbeh is a Middle Eastern dish prepared with bulgur and mostly meats. There are many variations to the dish right from shaping it to the method of cooking. It can be deep fried, baked or served raw and is shaped as a ball, patty or scored into diamond shapes. You can read more about this dish here.

Read on for the recipe and pictorial.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 kg (2.5 lbs) potatoes, cooked
  • 1 1/4 cups fine bulgur wheat
  • 1 big onion, sliced
  • 1 small grated onion
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • a pinch of cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the filling:

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 orange bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas
  • salt and pepper to taste

Soak the bulgur in lukewarm water for 20 minutes. Drain and set aside. Cook the potatoes separately. Once its cooked, add to a bowl and mash well so that no lumps remain. Add the grated onion, salt, pepper, allspice, cinnamon, parsley and drained bulgur. Mix well using your hands until everything is uniformly spread. It will come to the consistency of a dough finally.

For the filling, heat a tablespoon of oil in a pan. Saute one big chopped onion and one each red and orange bell pepper. Add salt and pepper to taste. Now add one cup of cooked chickpeas and 2 cups of spinach. I have used a small pack of frozen spinach here.

Add the bulgur to the potato mix and mix everything well. Divide this bulgur potato ‘dough’ into two parts. In a baking pan, spread one tablespoon of oil. Spread a layer of thinly sliced onions from one large onion.

Spread one half of the bulgur potato mix on top of the sliced onions. Spread all of the filling evenly on top of the bulgur mix.

Once you have covered the entire surface with the filling, add the rest of the bulgur dough evenly on top of the filling. Cover it completely.

Using a knife, score whatever patterns you want into the dough. The knife scoring go all the way down to the bottom of the dish. I cut it into wedges and then made not so deep circular patterns on top. Spread 1/4 cup of olive oil on top evenly and bake in a preheated oven for 40 -50 minutes at 400F. If the top is not browned at the end of that time, keep under broiler for a couple of minutes. Take off the oven and cut into slices once its cool enough to touch.

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Zucchini Burrito Bowl

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September and April are two months when Blogging marathon goes a step further and becomes mega marathon. That means an entire month of blogging with Sundays off. 26 recipes in a month. The theme for this month is a generic protein rich foods. 

With almost a two month long summer vacation where I neither cooked or clicked, I wasn’t a 100% confident that I would be ready to participate this month. Somehow between old drafts and some simple everyday recipes, I am here finally! 

The first recipe in the series is a simple black beans and zucchini burrito bowl. Burrito bowls are very easy to make and it’s a favorite at home. Black beans is loved in almost all recipes and so I always have some in hand. I served the beans preparation with cooked brown rice, grated cheese, sour cream and homemade guacamole

Read on for the simple preparation and the pictorial. 

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Recipe source: Mexican zucchini and corn burrito

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 big onion, chopped
  • 2 medium zucchini, diced
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 (14 oz) can black beans
  • 1 (14 oz) can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a pan. Saute one big chopped onion till pink. Add two medium diced zucchini and cook for a few minutes. Now add one cup of frozen corn and one can of black beans. 

Add a teaspoon of chili powder and dried oregano each. Season with salt and pepper. 

Add one 14 oz can of chopped tomatoes or 5-6 pureed tomatoes. Mix everything well, check the seasoning and let it cook for 10-15 minutes until zucchini is done. 

Here I have served it as a burrito bowl with brown rice, grated cheese, chopped tomatoes, guacamole and sour cream. 

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Mixed Vegetable Curry

For this week’s Cooking from Cookbook event, this is a take on vegetable Sagu from Vasantha Moorthy’s Vegetarian Menu Cookbook. Sagu is a mixed vegetable curry from Karnataka and is served with chapati, poori, set dosa etc. It is very similar to vegetable kurma. 

I have tried the recipe from the book without any modifications. However an online check told me that coriander seeds is not commonly included in the ground masala paste. So I might be leaving it out the next time I am making the recipe. I am not very sure about the authenticity of the recipe, but it was a tasty one for sure!

Read on for the pictorial. 

Serves 4 

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups diced mixed vegetables (carrots, potatoes, cauliflower, beans, green peas etc)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes , chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • Salt 
  • Oil and ghee to sauté
  • Chopped coriander leaves to decorate 

For the masala

  • 1 Tablespoon coriander seeds*
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon roasted gram dal
  • 2-3 green chilies (I didn’t have any so used red chilies)
  • 2 cloves 
  • 1″ cinnamon stick
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/2″ ginger piece 
  • 3 tablespoons grated coconut

*skip if you don’t have. Most of the online recipes don’t have this listed. 

Fry the masala items from the list above until the onion in 2 teaspoons of ghee. Take off the heat. 

Now add a little more ghee if needed and sauté the onion, ginger, chili and coconut. Grind into a paste adding a little water if needed and the rest of the fried masala items. Set this aside. 

Heat oil and sauté the onions in the same pan. Once it’s done, add the tomatoes and sauté until it’s soft. Add turmeric powder and salt as needed. 

Add the diced vegetables and a little water to help the vegetables cook. Cover and cook until the vegetables are done.

Add the ground paste, chopped coriander. Let the curry cook for a few more minutes. Taste test the seasonings and adjust if needed. Serve with chapati. 

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Potato Cheeselings

1potato_cheeslings Evenings are the time when life calls for something savory to eat with a hot cup of tea. These slightly spiced peppery cheesy potato cheeslings fit the bill perfectly. 

The recipe is from Vasantha Moorthy’s Vegetarian Menu cookbook. The biscuits- or potato cheeslings as the book called these, were crisp when it came right out of the oven. However, a little while later, it went soft. I had to reheat them on the stovetop to get them to be crispy again. So I would suggest baking only on a need basis. The book suggested cutting the dough into small rectangular strips for baking, but I used a round cookie cutter. 

Read on for the recipe. 

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Ingredients:

  • 1 large potato, boiled
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup vanaspati/ solid ghee/ softened butter/ coconut oil*
  • 1 cup grated cheese 
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, or to taste
  • Salt and pepper 

* I used coconut oil which had turned solid because of the cold weather. 

Method:

  1. Cook and peel the potato and drain off all the water. 
  2. Mash the potatoes, mix with all the other ingredients and knead everything into a dough. Taste test and adjust the seasonings.
  3. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes and divide it into two parts. Roll out the dough into a large rectangle about 1/4″ thick. You can either cut out strips of size 2″X 1″ or use a cookie cutter and cut out some other shape. 
  4. Bake for about 25-30 minutes until the top turns brown. 

Note: I noticed that the biscuits turn soft a little while after it’s taken out of the oven. So bake in small batches as needed. I have a feeling this would be a good candidate for deep frying as well. 


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