Masaal Vadai/ Gram Dal Fritters


We had a potluck last week with some friends and had prepared masaal vadai as one of the items; Shiva Shankari had mostly made it and it was a super hit item which all of us liked very much. This is a conventional item in most south Indian homes but we at home are more acquainted with medu vadai so its an exiting dish for me. I had tried this once with ‘pattani paruppu’ instead of gram dal, when we had my sister and family at home; it had turned slightly watery and so, thanks to Shankari only this time I learnt it right from her. 
Yields:  35 Vadais approx.

Preparation Time:  20 minutes
Soaking Time: 2 hours
Cooking Time:  30 minutes
Ingredients:
1.      Gram dal or Pattani paruppu – 500 gm
2.    Onion – 3 large
3.    Ginger chopped – 2 tbsp
4.    Curry leaves chopped – a fistful
5.     Coriander leaves chopped – a fistful
6.    Green chilies – 4-5 finely chopped
7.     Fennel seeds – 1 tbsp
8.    Salt to taste
9.    Oil for deep frying
Method:
Step 1: Wash and soak gram dal (or pattani paruppu if you are using that) for 2 hours.
Step 2: Drain the water completely; leave the dal in a colander for few minutes to drain out water thoroughly. This is where I had made mistake in my first attempt.
Step 3: Save a fistful of soaked dal and grind coarsely the rest of the dal in a mixer jar without adding water.
Step 4: Collect the ground dal in a mixing bowl, add to it the retained whole dal and all other ingredients except oil and mix well. Adjust salt and spices.
Step 5: Heat oil in a deep kadai; take lemon sized ball of the batter and pat into 3″ diameter discs with the help of your palms (use very little water if necessary to grease palms). Fry 5-6 in a batch and repeat for the entire batter.
Step 6: Serve hot as is or with coconut/ pudina chutney.
TIPS:
* Thin discs fried in simmered heat for long time render crisp vadais while fatter ones are soft.
*Vadakari is a spicy curry made out of left over masaal vadai as an accompaniment for aapam or poori or idli or dosa.
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Baked/ Roasted Potatoes

Many of us are fond of French fries but we resist for the sake of health; potato is good while the way we cook them makes it bad for health. This recipe is a kind of solution for French fry craving in a guilt-free way. Very less oil, that too olive oil and minimally spiced; there is absolutely no reason for holding back, after all potato is very beneficial for health if we cook them right. Potato is good for skin, brain, heart, kidney and tongue also ;). People restricted for carb intake must consult doctors though.


Serves:  2

Preparation Time:  5 minutes

Cooking Time:  15 minutes

Ingredients:

1.      Potatoes – 4
2.    Olive oil – 1 tbsp (can use as less as 1/4 tbsp)
3.    Salt to taste
4.    Pepper crushed – ¼ tsp

Method:

Step 1: Wash the potatoes well by brushing the skin to remove all dirt & mud and pat dry. Chop roughly into cubes without peeling.


Step 2: Sprinkle salt, crushed pepper and drizzle olive oil over it.



Step 3: Microwave it for 5 minutes; take out toss and again microwave for 5 minutes. Repeat if necessary, the potatoes should be soft till center; do not overcook the vegetable.
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Bread Semolina Toast

Making breakfast is a very challenging task me for I get up late; so I always choose stuff that are easy to prepare and are good to eat. Bread sooji toast along with a glass of milk will make a complete breakfast quickly and easily. This toast with ketchup, I don’t think any of us will have distaste for this. A couple of slices of bread was quite filling and it is definitely another bread recipe to try out.


Serves:  2

Preparation Time:  5 minutes

Resting Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time:  10 minutes

Ingredients:

1.      Bread – 4 slices
2.    Semolina/ Sooji – 5 tbsp
3.    Whisked Curds – ½ cup
4.    Salt to taste
5.     Onion – 1
6.    Green chili – 1 big
7.     Capsicum – ½ optional
8.    Coriander chopped – fistful

Method:

Step 1: Chop the onion, chili and capsicum finely. Add to the whisked curds all the ingredients except bread. Rest the mixture for 15 minutes.


Step 2: We need the semolina mix in bread spread consistency after resting. Now apply the semolina spread onto one side of the bread.


Step 3: Heat a dosa tawa, grease some butter and carefully place the spread side on the tawa and roast in medium temperature so that the semolina is well cooked and is crisp & brown. While roasting, apply the semolina spread on the top side of the bread slice.



Step 4: Flip the bread to uncooked side, grease some butter around and roast this side also.


Step 5: Serve hot with tomato ketchup for an easy and filling breakfast.



TIPS:

*Making the spread too thin will make the bread soggy and may be difficult to handle as the spread will stick to the tawa.

*On the other hand lack of moisture in the spread will make it fall apart will roasting.

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Kothu Parotta


Actually I had made it with naan so I should rather call it kothu naan. I have tried to make this not so healthy – damn spicy dish, a less wicked one by adding some veggies [Just a sort of excuse ;)]. The making of kothu parota in the roadside shops while travelling is an attention-grabbing process; the flavour, sound and looks are all quite appealing but the hygiene factor holds us aback. Making it at home with less spice, less oil and some vegetables is a guilt-free way to relish it occasionally. Store bought ready parotas or left over parathas or even rotis can be used apart my my naan version.
Serves:  2
Preparation Time:  10 minutes
Cooking Time:  10 minutes
Ingredients:
1.      Naan – 4
2.    Cabbage chopped – 1 cup
3.    Spinach – 1 cup
4.    Tomato – 1 large
5.     Onion – 2
6.    Garlic – 6 cloves
7.     Ginger – 2” piece
8.    Green chilies – 2
9.    Tomato sauce – 2 tbsp
10.Salt to taste
11.  Oil – 1 tbsp
12.Pepper crushed – ½ tsp (optinal)
Method:
Step 1: Pile the naan or roti that you are going to use; cut them into small bite sized squares and crush them slightly between fists to soften a bit. In the roadside shops they typically mince the parotas using dosa spatulas in both hands which makes that tak-tak sound. 
Step 2: Heat oil in a large kadai and fry ginger, garlic, green chilies in it and add onion after a minute and fry until it starts to brown.
Step 3: Add cabbage, tomato and spinach and toss well with required salt. Add the chopped naan and mix well.
 Step 4: Now add tomato sauce and crushed pepper if using and sauté in high temperature by rapid stirring. Adjust salt and spices at this stage. Avoid frying too much to prevent the naan/ parota from getting tough.
Step 5: Take out and serve immediately the crisp and juicy kothu parota along with onion raita.
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Paneer Tikka

Almost always Kundan orders for paneer tikka when eating out. So, I had wanted to try this for a long time now and had an opportunity to make it when we had guests for lunch yesterday. I have seen proper south Indian restaurants serving this starter (tastes way different from northern versions though) as there are many takers of it down here too. Mine was a simple beginner’s kind; it turned slightly salty otherwise the recipe was definitely good.


Serves:  2

Preparation Time:  10 minutes

Marinating Time:Minimum 30 minutes

Cooking Time:  15 minutes

Ingredients:

1.      Panner – 200 gm
2.    Youghurt/ Hung curds – ½ cup 
(Normal curd might be runny after mixing spices and will not stick onto paneer, hence we use hung curds)
3.    Salt as required
4.    Red chili powder – 1 tsp
5.     Chaat masala – ½ tsp
6.    Ginger garlic paste – ½ tsp
7.     Cumin powder – ¼ tsp
8.    Pepper crushed – ¼ tsp
9.    Butter – 2 tbsp
10. Coriander or salad for garnishing

Method:

Step 1: Cut the paneer into cubes or flat rectangles as you desire.



Step 2: Prick holes on all the surfaces with the help of a fork.



Step 3: Whisk curds with all the spices and salt and smear over the paneer cubes. Preferably refrigerate it until cooking because we want the marinade to seep into the paneer at the same time preventing the curds getting sourer.

Step 4: Now heat a tawa, grease with butter and arrange the marinated paneer ensuring that the paneer holds as much dressing as possible.


Step 5: Cook in medium heat so that paneer gets cooked well and then flip carefully with tongs. Drizzle some more butter and when done transfer delicately to serving plates as the tikkas have turned softer by now.



Step 6: Serve with green yoghurt chutney. This is prepared by grinding: a fistful mint leaves, a fistful coriander leaves, a green chili, a clove of garlic, juice of half a lemon, salt and then mixing it with whisked hung curds. So simple na… I am a bigger admirer of this chutney than the starter itself. I keep licking it even before the starter comes on table and after we finish the starter 😉


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