Thursday, 9 October 2014

Couscous and Chickpeas/Garbanzo Beans Salad

This is a light, simple and healthy lunch salad. I happened to try this salad when i was in London accompanying my hubs on his business trip. 

A small deli of a greek restaurant was serving it along with some other yummy lunch options. Well i guess the name of the restaurant can be a bit misleading as far as the couscous part of salad is concerned. I initially thought it was a greek recipe well it turns out its not. I have been told (and i did my research as well) that couscous is not included in any of the traditional greek recipes. This may resemble Taboule recipe but not entirely. 

Anyhow greek or not i did love the idea of this salad a lot. I am not sure what the original recipe is. But this is what i came up with which tastes very much similar to what i had in london. Give it a try when you are not in a mood to prepare a regular lunch or maybe even dinner. 



Ingredients:
1/2 - 3/4 cups of cooked chickpeas/garbanzo beans
1/2 cup or less of cooked bengal gram (optional - this is something extra that i added)
1/2 cup of whole wheat dry couscous
1 green chili finely chopped
Lemon juice - Add as per your preference
1/4 cup of pomegranate seeds (gives a mild sweetness and crunch to the salad)
2- 3 tbsp each of chopped cilantro and parsley 
Salt to taste 
Olive oil

1) Cook the couscous as per packet instruction. This is what i did. In a medium saucepan combine half a cup of water, a little olive oil and salt . Bring it to boil and remove from heat. Pour half cup of dry couscous into the sauce pan. Stir well. Cover and let it stand for 5 mins. Fluff with a fork.

2) To the couscous add the boiled chickpeas, bengal gram, a dash of olive oil if required,  green chili, pomegranate seeds, lemon juice, chopped parsley and cilantro. Toss everything together. Check for seasoning. Add more lemon juice or salt if required and serve. 

You can even add onion and tomatoes to it for a different variation and flavor profile. 



Friday, 26 September 2014

Veg Toast Sandwich - Mumbai Street Food Style

Vada Pav, chaat, pav bhaaji, sandwiches, cutting chai.....these are some of the famous street food that defines Mumbai. 

I have grown up gorging these delicacies at every walk of my life. Be it at the school canteen, that little hole in the wall kinda restaurant near the college,  the sandwichwala (person selling sandwiches) right across the street from my institute or a food cart near the railway station on my way back from work. 

Mumbai street food not only makes me drool but brings back loads of memories and happy times spent with family, friends and colleagues while savoring yummy street food. 

One such mumbai comfort street food is the Veg Toast Sandwich. It comes in all kinda variety. Plain veg, with cheese, without cheese, toast sandwich, with bell peppers and cheese, only cheese and many more.



I still fondly remember the veg toast sandwich me and my friends used to have almost all the time during post graduation days. This sandwichwala had a peculiar style of serving the sandwich. He used to top it up with lots of nylon sev (small pieces of crunchy chickpea noodles) :). Absolutely yummy... and thats how i love to have it always. The other sandwichwala i still remember had a really small stall right outside the railway station. Me and my colleague happily gobbled down the yummy sandwiches made by him after work. He is very well known for the mountain of cheese that he serves with all of his cheese sandwiches. 

Hubs and me crave for the street style sandwiches every now and then and try to recreate it at home. In this post i will be sharing with you our simple recipe for the quintessential and humble veg toast sandwich street food style.

Since this is the indian version of sandwich i have used amul cheese, amul butter and maggie ketchup. Desi all the way :P.



You will need the following ingredients:

(This recipe will make approx 5 sandwiches)

10 slices of white sandwich bread (use good firm bread)
Green chutney
Amul butter (at room temperature) use more or less as per your preference
Amul cheese (slices or grated cheese) use more or less as per your preference
1 medium sized cucumbers skin removed and sliced
3 medium sized boiled potatoes skin removed and sliced
1 medium sized tomato sliced thinly
1 or 2 medium sized boiled beetroot skin removed and sliced
Chaat Masala 
Salt to taste
Maggie ketchup for serving 
Nylon sev for garnishing (optional)
You can also use thinly sliced onions along with the veggies 

For the green chutney:
This is my simple recipe for the green chutney
1- 1/2 cup of cilantro/coriander leaves 
2 -3 green chilies (you can adjust the amount of chili as per your desire)
1/2 - 1 inch piece of ginger root
1/2 tsp of oil 
1 - 2 tbsp of water 

Blend all of the above ingredients in a blender/mixer to a smooth paste. Green chutney is ready. 

For assembling the sandwich:

1) Take two slices of bread. Spread the green chutney in one slice and the other with butter. 

2) Now start layering the sandwich with cucumbers, potatoes, beetroot and tomatoes. There is no hard and fast rule as what should go first. Feel free to layer as much or less as per you liking. 

3) Sprinkle pinch of salt if you like and some chaat masala on top of the veggies. 

3) Now place a slice of cheese or spread grated cheese on top of the veggies. Place the other slice (with butter) butter side down on top of the cheese. Spread a little butter on top as well. 

4) Preheat your sandwich maker and butter the surface. Place the sandwich and cook till the bread is crisp and nice golden brown in color. 

5) Remove the sandwich from the sandwich maker. Now comes the fun part. Feel free to eat it as is. I top the bread with some green chutney, a little ketchup and finally nylon sev. Repeat the same procedure with reast of the bread slices. 

Serve hot :D





Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Ginger Chutney (Inji Curry) - Onam Special

With the festival of Onam around the corner, i thought it would be fun recreating some of my favorite onam recipes prepared by mom.

Onam brings along fond memories of family get together, cooking delicious recipes with family and eating on a banana leaf to our heart's content :D. Everyone in my family cooks something or the other this day. Even my father prepares his signature payasam (rice kheer/pudding) for every onam. 

Onam is a hindu festival celebrated by Malayalee's (also fondly referred to as Mallu's :P) in the state of Kerala, India and malayalee's all across the globe :). It is considered to be festival of harvest and marks the homecoming of mythical king Mahabali. The Onam ritual includes making of Pookalam or floral carpet in one's home or patio/balcony, Sadya (onam feast) served on a banana leaf, which includes around 14 to 15 types of curries & vegetable dishes, sambar, rice, pappadam, different types of pickles and payasam (rice pudding) for dessert. Dance and music is also one of the rituals followed by many. 

In this post i am presenting one of my favorite Inji (ginger) curry or you may also call it ginger chutney. Served along side other pickles like mango and lemon during onam, this happens to be the one i like the most.



Spicy, sweet and tangy all at the same time, its like a little party in your mouth. This chutney can be served on the side with all the daily indian rice preparations and even with idili, dosa and pessarattu. 

Recipe Courtesy: Mom :)

This recipe will make around half a cup of chutney.

Ingredients

1 to 1 1/2 cup of peeled and thinly sliced ginger 
1/4 cup of tamarind pulp (made by soaking tamarind in warm water for few mins)
1/4 cup of melted jaggery 
Salt to taste
Oil for frying ginger  

For tempering 
1/2 tsp of mustard seeds
1/4 tsp of asafoetida or hing
1/2 tsp of chili powder 
7 - 8 curry leaves  
1 tbsp of oil 

Method:

1) Prepare tamarind pulp by soaking tamarind in warm water, squeeze with hand and remove pulp. Strain and keep it aside.  In a small sauce pan melt the jaggery with 1 - 2 tbsp of water, remove from heat when jaggery is completely melted. Set this aside. 

2) In a separate pan take about 1/4 cup of oil. Add the sliced ginger when the oil is hot. Fry the ginger slices on a medium flame till it becomes nice golden brown and crispy. Be careful not to burn it.

Couldn't resist clicking a picture of sliced ginger :) 

3) Remove the fried ginger from the pan and place it on a paper towel to remove excess oil. Allow it to cool for few mins

4) Transfer the fried ginger into a food processor/mixer and grind it to a coarse texture. 

5) Now in a saucepan add 1 tbsp of oil. Add the mustard seeds when the oil is hot and let them splutter. Add asafoetida, chili powder and curry leaves. Saute for few mins.


6) Now add the ginger, tamarind pulp, melted jaggery and salt to taste. Mix thoroughly and cook. Keep on cooking and stirring it until the chutney starts looking shiny and thickens a bit. Remove from heat and let it cool. Transfer it into a glass bottle.


Allow to cool and serve as a side with rice, dosa, pessarattu and i think this will also work well as a chutney for dipping and eating regular pappads.  Store in a glass jar and refrigerate.