Archive for October 2011

Happy Deepavali!

October 26, 2011

As we are celebrating Deepavali (Diwali for short), I fondly remember my mother making strained yogurt (hung yogurt or yogurt cheese). Strained yogurt has been used in a variety of ways from savory to sweet dishes in Indian kitchen. The dessert made with strained yogurt is marvelous any time of the year. Different kinds of fruit toppings can be used to emphasize any occasion or season. In the past I have displayed pictures with yogurt cheese or plain yogurt with the assortment of fruits. Today I would like to share some of the pictures including strained yogurt dessert (Shrikhand).


Chickpea Flour Dumplings

October 15, 2011

Chickpea flour (besan) dumplings, also known as muthias (an Indian version of dumplings popular in state of Gujarat in India), is typically made from edible gourd (lauki), root and green leafy vegetables like methi (fenugreek leaves) along with a combination of flours and spices. These come in a myriad of flavors ranging from mildly hot to slightly sweet and sour tasting. My favorite dumplings are the one prepared out of grated edible gourd, zucchini-carrot and of course my all time favorite fenugreek and spinach that can be made in just under 30 minutes so long as you have the needed ingredients on hand. The best part is that you can cook these in the microwave and season afterwards without adding too much oil. Below is a simple recipe using the chickpea flour along with grated zucchini and everyday spices used in my kitchen.

4 1/2 cups grated zucchini or lauki
1 cup chickpea flour
1/2 cup sooji or cream of wheat
1/4 cup corn flour
1/3 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt or to taste
¼ teaspoon turmeric – optional
¾ cup plain yogurt or as needed
½ tablespoon vegetable oil
¼ teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon white sesame seeds

1) In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients excluding the last four ingredients. Using a wooden spoon, mix in about 1/8 cup of yogurt intermittently to form moderately soft dough. Add extra besan or yogurt to achieve the right consistency.
2) Add additional seasonings and continue to mix, just until well incorporated. (Since the dough is soft, sticky and hard to stir, I find it easier just to mix it with my hands).
3) Mix thoroughly and wet your hands lightly with water or oil and divide the dough into three equal portions and shape each portion into a log about 5-6 inches long. It is extremely important to use the light touch while shaping the logs or rolls. Or simply make them in oblong shape dumplings (muthias-literally means resembling a fist).
4) Lightly grease a microwave safe casserole dish and place the chickpea-zucchini rolls on top of the greased dish and add about ¼ cup of water. Cover and microwave on high until firm to the touch or until toothpick inserted in center of the roll comes out clean. It will take about 8 to 9 minutes, depending upon the microwave wattage. Or simply steam it in the pressure cooker.
5) Let it cool completely and cut them as needed. Heat oil in a skillet and immediately add cumin and sesame seeds. Partially cover the skillet with a lid and as soon as the seeds start sputtering add the cut pieces and pan-fry until lightly golden on both sides. Remove from the heat and serve warm.


Stuffed Peppers

October 13, 2011

Over the past three decades I have been growing a variety of vegetables in my garden that actually started with my interest in growing herbs indoors in the containers in early 70’s. As fall is officially here and the gardening season is over for warm weather vegetables, I wanted to share the pictures of my home grown peppers and stuffed vegetables. I also wanted to provide a recipe for stuffed peppers.


1 pound peppers of choice
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 potato, peeled and cubed
1 tablespoon chaat masala and salt to taste
1/2 cup roasted peanuts, ground

1) Wash the peppers well. Remove the stems and make a deep lengthwise slit in each pepper, but don’t cut all the way through.
2) Using a sharp paring knife, carefully scrape out some of the seeds without breaking the skin and lightly season the cavity of peppers with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Set aside.
3) To make the stuffing: Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add the onion and cubed potatoes, stirring often until onion is softened. Add the chaat masala, salt and additional oil if desired. Stir to mix and cook until potatoes are fork tender. At this stage, I like to add a handful of ground nuts or seed flour and finely chopped coriander leaves. Adjust the seasonings to taste and allow the mixture to cool completely before stuffing the peppers. Stuff the peppers with the potato-peanut mixture and set aside.
4) In a large skillet, heat the remaining oil over medium high heat and carefully place all the stuffed peppers, filling side up, next to each other. Cook over medium heat until well browned on both sides. I personally bake them in the oven until softened or partially cook them in the microwave and pan-fry on the stovetop until lightly golden brown.