Saturday, 23 July 2016

Affogato

Hello everyone....we are back from Alaska trip and I am very much excited to share our experience and photos with all of you. So while I work on the Alaska post I thought about sharing a simple and super quick recipe for one my favorite Italian dessert /beverage. All you need is an expresso shot and really good vanilla ice cream/gelato. And I am quite sure that you will be having both of these ingredients  available in your kitchen right now. If you love coffee and ice cream then you will realize that this combination is a match made is heaven :P!!!

Affogato..... is a super simple, delicious and creamy coffee based Italian dessert. Absolutely perfect for this hot summer season. Affogato is derived from the Italian word "affogare" which means "drowned", is known to be a typical Italian way of enjoying ice cream/gelato. A scoop or two of vanilla or chocolate ice cream/gelato is drowned in a shot or double shot of expresso. The hot expresso slowly melts the ice cream to form a creamy delicious concoction. Yes it is that simple!!! You may replace expresso with strong brewed coffee but using expresso is highly recommended. 

Traditionally affogato uses nothing but a shot of good intense expresso with a scoop of gelato but you can tweak it a bit by topping it off with whipped cream, chopped nuts, shaved bitter sweet chocolate or even a dash of alcohol. Nowadays you will find a variety of recipes online other than the traditional one that uses various other flavors of gelato and toppings. 



You will need:

2 small scoop of good quality vanilla gelato/ice cream
3 - 4 tbsp or 1 shot of hot expresso
Coffee cup or any serving cup of your choice

Method:

1) Chill the coffee cup in the refrigerator for an hour or so. This way once you pour the hot expresso over the ice cream it won't melt all at once.

2) To the coffee cup/serving cup add two small scoops of  really cold gelato or ice cream.

3) Now pour a shot of hot expresso over the gelato. And your very own affogato is ready to be served.

Enjoy as is or top it off with whipped cream, shaved bitter sweet chocolate or your favorite choice of nuts.








Thursday, 16 June 2016

Hara Bhara Kabab

Hello everyone....

So today I will be sharing with you all almost every Indian's favorite and my favorite vegetarian appetizer, the Hara Bhara Kabab. In hindi "Hara" means "green" and "Bhara means filled, so the name literally translates to a kabab filled filled with green goodness. 

It is the most popular vegetarian appetizer on the menu of most of the Indian restaurants. But you know what, you don't have to go to a restaurant always to eat these delicious kababs. It can be easily made at home. What I like most about this recipe is its simplicity. This dish uses very few spices yet it tastes absolutely delish. Although it is named as kabab, this one is made differently. Without dwelling into too much details about how the actual meat kababs are made, all I would say is that this one does not need too many ingredients or charcoal for grilling and is very easy to prepare. 

I have made hara bahra kababs before as well but this time I also added fenugreek/methi leaves and green bell pepper since I had them handy. And believe me the addition of both fenugreek/methi leaves and the green bell pepper lifts up the flavor of this dish. But if you hate methi leaves then its totally optional. 

And the kababs are shallow fried so that makes it comparatively healthier than the deep fried version. Make it a size smaller and this will be a very yummy finger food for kids who generally run away from all the green veggies. 

Give this recipe a try and I promise you it will not disappoint you. 




This recipe will yield 10 - 12 medium sized kababs

Ingredients:

1 cup of blanched spinach leaves (chopped and squeezed to remove excess water). If using fresh you will need approximately a bunch.
1 cup of fresh/frozen green peas (if using frozen refresh it)
1/3 cup of blanched fenugreek leaves/methi leaves (chopped and squeezed to remove excess water)
1/2 cup to 3/4 cup of roughly chopped green bell pepper/capsicum
8 - 10 mint leaves
2 - 3 tbsp of chopped coriander leaves
1 medium to large size potato (boiled, skin removed and grated)
3 tbsp of roasted gram flour/chickpea flour
1 tbsp of finely chopped ginger
1 - 2 green chilies chopped
1/4 tsp of turmeric pwd
1- 2 tsp of chaat masala
1/2 tsp of garam masala
1 tsp of cumin seeds
1 - 3 tsp of oil for sautéing the veggies
Salt to taste
Oil for pan frying/shallow frying

Fenugreek/methi leaves are optional but I love how it amplifies the flavor of the kababs. You can also add cornflour and/or breadcrumbs in place of gram flour/chickpea flour. 

You can increase or decrease the spices used in this recipe as per your liking. You can also add amchur powder/dry mango powder instead of chaat masala or you can combine both as well. 

Method:

1) Boil or steam the potato until it is completely cooked. Once cooled peel the skin and grate the potato using a grater. I like using less potato for this recipe. Because I personally think the potatoes takes away from the taste of the dish if you use more of it. 

2) Roast the gram flour/chickpea flour in a pan until it gives out a nice aroma. Set this aside. 

2) In a large wok or saute pan heat 2 - 3 tsp of oil. Once hot add the cumin seeds and let them splutter. Now add the ginger and chilli, saute until raw smell of ginger goes away. 

3) Now add the green bell pepper first and cook for a 1- 2 mins. This will help remove excess moisture. Then add the rest of the ingredients that is the green peas, spinach, fenugreek leaves, coriander leaves and mint leaves. Add the salt and turmeric powder and cook for few mins until all there is no more moisture left in the mixture and it starts sticking to the bottom of the pan thats when you know its done. This will take about 8 - 10mins. Keep this aside and let the mixture cool for few mins. 


4) Once the mixture is cooled, transfer the mixture into a blender or mixer bowl. Give the mixture a few pulse until it is nicely combined. I like it a little chunky.

5) In a bowl, add the veggie mixture, grated potatoes, chaat masala, garam masala, roasted gram flour/chickpea flour and salt if needed. Mix everything together until nicely combined. Check for seasoning by tasting the mixture. The mixture will be a little gooey but don't worry.

6) Grease your hands with some oil and make round patties. Press half of a cashew nut in the middle. Make similar patties with rest of the batter and make sure to grease your hand before making each one.



7) Finally pan fry or shallow fry the kababs on a medium flame for few minutes on both sides until nice and golden brown. This will take anywhere between 6 - 8 mins.

8) Remove them from the pan and place them on a paper towel to remove excess oil.

Serve this delicious, wholesome and healthy green kababs hot with your favorite ketchup or chutney. I served it with my my favorite sweet, sour and garlicky coriander and mint chutney. :)

I hope you enjoyed this post, so until next time....Happy cooking :D



Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Baked Sorghum Flour Crackers/Jowar Methi Mathri (Gluten Free recipe)

In some of my previous post I have mentioned how I have embarked on a journey to stay fit and healthy and wrote a really long post on my struggles to maintain a healthy weight. Its a very touchy topic for me or for any woman for that matter. Hence sometimes I get carried away and I write whatever comes to my mind at that very moment because of which I end up with a lonngg post. Ok I should stop now...hehehe. 

Anyhow, since the past few months I have been making a conscious effort to stay away from refined sugar, anything that has all purpose flour and deep fried foods as much as I can. Its not like I don't indulge in them once in a while but its a complete no for me on a daily basis. Somehow it can be a tad bit difficult to say no to some of my favorite fried Indian snacks like chakali, chips, bhajjis,  vadas etc...you get the idea right? :P. Also if anything that has a methi (fenugreek) in it then I can gorge on it endlessly :P. One such Indian snack is Methi Mathri which I love munching with a hot cup of ginger infused chai. Originally mathris are made with all purpose flour or combination of whole wheat flour and APF. These are also deep fried....Sighhhh. But if you are currently in a situation like me :P and are searching for a yummy baked version, then fret not. I have come up with the perfect recipe for thin, crispy gluten free and healthy baked version of these goodies. It is quite easy and fuss free recipe. Give this a try and I am sure you will love it. 






This recipe will yield around 30-40 mathris/crackers

Ingredients:

2 cups of sorghum flour/jowar flour
1/2 tsp of baking soda
Salt to taste (i used around 1/2 tsp of salt)
Warm water for making the dough
2 tsp of kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
2 tsp of sesame seeds
1 tsp of carom seeds
1 tsp of crushed black pepper
4 tbsp of oil

You can skip the kasuri methi and instead use other herbs like thyme, rosemary etc.

Method:

1) Heat oil in a small pan. In a bowl add the sorghum flour, baking soda and salt. Mix well. Now add the hot oil. Mix in and rub the oil onto the flour with your hands. At this stage the flour should resemble the texture of bread crumbs. 

2) Now add rest of the ingredients that is kasuri methi, sesame seeds, carom seeds and crushed black pepper. Mix everything well.

3) Start adding warm water little a time till all the mixture comes together and forms a dough. I used approximately 3/4 cup of warm water. Gently knead it and cover it with a plastic wrap/clingwrap and let it rest for 10-12 mins. This dough does not much of kneading so do not knead it too much. 

4) While the dough is resting preheat the oven to 350F (180C) and place the oven rack one level below the top rack. Grease or line a baking sheet with parchment paper and keep this ready.

5) Time to make some crackers. Divide the dough into two or three portions. Take a piece of cling wrap or plastic wrap and place it on your counter top or rolling board. Place a portion of the dough on top of it. Now place another piece of cling wrap on top of the dough and start to roll it with the help of a rolling pin. 

6) There is no need to roll it very thin else the dough will form cracks and it will be difficult to lift the crackers. Roll it nice and even as much as possible. Now remove the cling wrap from the top and using a cookie cutter or pizza cutter cut the crackers in any shape of your liking. I used a pizza cutter and cut it into small squares. Brush the crackers with a little oil on top. You may poke holes on the crackers with the help of a fork but you can skip this step. 

7) Gently lift the crackers with a help of a spatula (I used a frosting spatula) and place it on the lined baking sheet. 

8) Bake at 350F(180C) on a preheated oven for 25- 30 mins. Turn the crackers midway after 10 -15mins for even baking on both sides. I baked them for around 30 mins to get a nice color all over them. But 20 -25 mins of baking should be fine. However keep checking on them in between as different ovens can vary with respect to temperature. 

9) After baking transfer the crackers/mathris onto a plate and let them cool completely. They will be more crispy after cooling. 

Enjoy these baked goodies with a hot cup a chai or coffee. 









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