Archive for August 2008

Chickpea Patties

August 29, 2008

This is a great–tasting quick-to-make method of making leftover cooked chickpeas. If you like, the patties may easily be prepared with a combination of cooked soybeans and cooked brown rice, along with herbs and seasonings of choice. Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are available in three varieties – brown or kala chana, green and opaque (garbanzo), or kabuli chana in the Indian kitchen.

Tip: Once the chickpeas are cooked; they may be used in four different ways: dips, fritters (falafel), salad, or simply using the chickpeas along with the herbs and seasonings of choice (like chana chaat).

2 1/4 cups cooked chickpeas, drained
3/4 teaspoon salt or to taste
1/4 cup white sesame seeds, lightly toasted
1/2 teaspoon chopped ginger
1 large clove garlic, peeled and chopped
1/2 tablespoon chana chaat masala or to taste
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped coriander leaves
1/4 cup rice flakes, moistened
Vegetable oil for pan-frying

1) Combine cooked chickpeas, salt, sesame seeds, ginger and garlic in a food processor. Add chana chaat masala or 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and 1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice if desired and pulse until the consistency of a coarse thick paste or dry pulp.
2) Empty the mixture to a bowl and add the remaining ingredients except the vegetable oil and stir to mix. Add additional rice flakes (poha) or sesame flour as needed to hold the shapes of the patties and mix thoroughly. Adjust the seasonings as needed.
3) Form the chickpea mixture into patties and coat each patty with additional rice flakes. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes before pan-frying.
4) Heat oil in a large cast-iron skillet and pan-fry in oil for 3 to 5 minutes on each side, until lightly brown. Serve warm.

Yield: 4-6 Chickpea Patties.

Chickpea Pakora

August 19, 2008

Chickpea pakora is traditionally a round or oval shape fritter resembling falafel, made primarily with pureed split hulled beans or dals with onion, herbs and seasonings in the Indian kitchen. Chickpeas are one of the most versatile legumes (or beans) and may be used in a myriad of ways ranging from appetizers, entrees, and even desserts (made with chickpea flour, known as besan halwa).

1/2 cup hulled split chickpeas
1/8 cup hulled split black beans
1/2 teaspoon chopped ginger
3/4 teaspoon salt or to taste
1 small onion, chopped
1/4 cup chopped coriander leaves
Vegetable oil for deep-frying

1) To prepare the batter for these fritters simply follow the same steps (#1 and #2) given for the Dahi Vada recipe posted on August 18, 2008 on Nani’s Indian Cooking blog. The batter can be made the evening before and kept covered in the refrigerator until needed.
2) Transfer the mixture to a bowl and add a generous pinch of baking powder and set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes. Add onion, chopped coriander leaves, 1 tablespoon semolina (sooji) and additional water if necessary to form a batter just thin enough to drop from a spoon. Stir to mix thoroughly and adjust the seasonings.
3) Heat oil in a large cast-iron skillet (preferably a wok) and gently drop a heaping teaspoonful batter for each fritter onto the heated oil and fry a few fritters at a time until crisp or approximately 4 to 6 minutes.
4) Drain on paper towels and repeat the process until all the fritters are deep-fried. Serve warm with chutney or tomato based dipping sauce.

Yield: 30-45 Chickpea Fritters.

Dahi Vada

August 18, 2008

Prepared in advance, made from dhuli urad dal, there isn’t a time when this wouldn’t be welcome addition – at a lunch, served as a side dish at a sit-down dinner, or the traditional late-afternoon combo snack known as chaat in my nani’s kitchen.

1 cup dhuli urad dal, soaked
1 32-ounce plain yogurt
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon chaat masala
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon mild chili powder
Salt and black pepper to taste
Vegetable oil for deep-frying

1) Drain dhuli urad dal (hulled split urad) thoroughly and place in a food processor fitted with a sharp metal blade and add 1/2 teaspoon chopped ginger.
2) Proceed to pulse until the mixture turns into a coarse paste. Turn off the blender and scrape down the sides of the food processor bowl with a rubber spatula. Add 1/8 to 1/3 cup water little at a time to facilitate the blade. Process until the mixture is smooth (almost resembling sticky dough).
3) Empty the batter in a mixing bowl. Cover the bowl and let it rest for about 30 minutes at room temperature. Just before deep-frying the vada or round fritters add in a generous pinch of salt, baking soda and 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice. Stir to mix thoroughly.
4) Heat oil in a large cast-iron skillet and gently drop a heaping tablespoonful of batter for each vada onto the heated oil, frying 4 to 5 vadas per batch and leaving room between each vada for expanding or spreading, until golden, 5 to 6 minutes. Drain on paper towels and repeat the process until all the vadas are deep-fried.
5) Place the vadas in a bowl filled with cold water. Let them soak for 3 to 4 minutes and gently squeeze out the water without breaking them.
6) In a medium-size bowl, combine yogurt (dahi), lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon chaat masala, 1/2 tablespoon sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Add a generous pinch of roasted ground cumin if needed.
7) Place vadas into a non-metallic shallow dish and pour half of the seasoned yogurt sauce on top. Refrigerate covered until time to serve.
8)To serve: Spoon a little yogurt onto each plate, spreading it around in a spiral fashion with the back of the spoon to form a large circle. Carefully place a vada onto the circle made with yogurt, drizzling a bit of additional yogurt over top if desired, and garnish as needed.

Tip: The ideal way to serve dahi vada is buffet style with a combination of samosa, sev and chaat where everybody can make their own plate according to their taste. Tamarind or date chutney, plain yogurt, chaat masala, roasted ground cumin, ground red chili powder, cayenne pepper, chopped green chilies and additional black salt are often served with this dish.

Note: While preparing seasoned yogurt sauce it is advisable to add seasonings to only 2 cups of plain yogurt and serve the remaining yogurt as needed along with the additional spices.

Yield: 12 to 16 Dahi Vadas.