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Showing posts with label street food. Show all posts
Showing posts with label street food. Show all posts

Friday, September 8, 2017

Cauliflower Tawa Pulao

Sometime back when the term 'paleo diet' was still new and restricted to the jargon of a 'chosen few', I stumbled upon something called the 'cauliflower rice' . It was the proposed substitute of the regular rice. But I was a bit skeptical about it as cauliflower lacks the sweetness and the aroma of the latter. A single disastrous trial proved my worst fears and ensured that it stayed off the menu .

I had completely forgotten about the recipe till now. But a small mistake in the grocery list ended up with a glut of cauliflowers in my fridge and I was forced to resort to some really creative culinary techniques. From making a pasta sauce to a wholesome soup, I went overboard with my experiments and managed to finish off mot of the stock. Yet there was this small head of cauliflower that begged for attention before I logged out of the kitchen for a long weekend. That is when I pulled out the cauliflower rice recipe from the archives of my memory and gave it a Mumbaiya style twist !!

The spice of the pav bhaji masala and the tang from the tomatoes and lime juice surely turns this recipe into a winner. A dash of cheese is sure to add another level of yumminess to this dish. Most kids will love this version of the 'tawa pulao' so make sure you add it to the menu of your kiddo's potluck party.

Read on for the recipe -

Preparation Time - 25-30 mins

Ingredients -

  • 2 1/2 cups grated cauliflower (tightly packed)
  • 1 small carrot ( finely chopped)
  • 1 small capsicum ( finely chopped)
  • a handful of green peas
  • 1 large ripe tomato (finely chopped)
  • 1 small onion ( finely chopped)
  • 1 tsp GG paste
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder
  • 1 tsp pav bhaji masala
  • 2 pinch turmeric
  • 2 pinch garam masala
  • 2-3 tsp lime juice
  • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 2 tsp cooking oil
  • salt to taste
  • grated cheese for garnishing 

Preparation - 

To make the grated cauliflower, cut the cauliflower into large florets. Use either a grated with large holes or pulse it for a few seconds in a mixer. Dry it on a paper towel to absorb the excess moisture.

Cooking - Steam the grated cauliflower for about 5 mins in a steamer.

Heat 2 tsp oil in a large wok. ( use one that is usually used in Chinese style cooking as it has a large surface area )

Add onions and fry till translucent.

Add the GG paste next and fry for 2-3 mins.

Add all the powdered masalas along with 2-3 tsp water to prevent burning. Fry for 2 mins with sprinkling of water at regular intervals.

Add the tomato and cook it till mushy.

Add chopped carrots, capsicum and green peas. Add a little salt. Saute on medium high for 3-4 mins.

Finally add the cauliflower rice, sprinkle some more salt and turn up the heat.

Stir fry for 2-3 mins till everything is nicely mixed .

Add the lime juice and toss it once again.

Transfer to the serving bowls.

Garnish with chopped cilantro and grated cheese.

Serve immediately.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Schezwan Matar Chaat ( A Crazy Indo-Chinese Fusion experiment )

Stick to a desi palate ? Or try some Chinese 'chatka' for a change (does not matter even if it is for the 500th time). One of the perennial dilemmas that I face everytime I venture out for some street food is to make up my mind. Walking down one of those lanes is sheer torture for me with the tongue tickling panipuris, chaats, pav-bhajis and dahi vadas trying to lure me with their tantalizing appearance even as the sinful aromas drifting from a nearby Chinese stall has my mind in the throes of what can only be described as a 'culinary orgasm'. Often I end up ordering both. Only to regret wasting food. That is if I am lucky enough to escape the obligatory tummy-ache.

It was during yet another bout of such a dilemma on an idle winter afternoon that I thought of marrying two of my all time favorites so that I could enjoy both at the same time. "Only an idle brain can come up with something so insane ", retorted the husband as he promptly dismissed the idea. "Hah ! Wait till I execute my idea. You will be asking for seconds", replied back the incensed rebel (aka me). Though the first trial did not go as well as I had expected, a little bit of perseverance paid off. It was no longer a toss between the two. Instead I had the perfect amalgamation of two of my favorite street foods.

A simple ragda chaat is infused with the flavors of Schezwan egg noodles. Minus the noodles bit of course. Read on for the recipe -

Preparation Time - 30 mins

Ingredients - 

  • 1 cup yellow peas (soaked overnight)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 medium sized potato
  • 1 large capsicum
  • 1 small carrot 
  • 1/2 cup finely sliced onions
  • 1/2 cup finely sliced cabbage
  • 5-6 finely chopped garlic cloves
  • chopped green chillis 
  • 3-4 tsp Schezwan sauce
  • 3 tbsp tomato sauce
  • 2 tsp vinegar
  • 1 tsp light soy sauce
  • 3 tsp oil
  • 2 pinch garam masala
  • a pinch of turmeric
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • salt to taste
  • cilantro for garnishing
  • fried papad for garnishing 

Preparation - Wash and cook the yellow peas with 2 cups water, the potato, turmeric and salt to taste. Remove from flame after 2-3 whistles. The peas should be thoroughly cooked without turning mushy.

Drain the excess water. Peel the potato, roughly mash it up and add it to the cooked peas.

Cut the capsicum and carrot into long slices.

Cooking - Heat a wok. Add 2 tsp oil.

Add the finely chopped garlic and green chilis. Once the garlic is fragrant, add all the veggies and saute on high for 2-3 minutes so that they do not lose their crispiness. 

Add the sugar, schezwan sauce, soy sauce, tomato sauce and vinegar. Toss for 1 minute.

Add the boiled peas and potato along with a generous sprinkle of water. Adjust the salt.

Cook for 2-3 mins. Sprinkle garam masala and mix in. (If it looks too dry at this point, sprinkle some more water. The yellow peas tend to absorb a lot of water)

Around the same time, scramble the eggs in another skillet.

Transfer the schezwan chaat to the serving bowls/plates. Top with the scrambled eggs, sliced onions, more green chili (optional), crushed papad and cilantro.

Serve immediately.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Mughlai Paratha ( with chicken bharta stuffing )

There goes the last non-vegetarian post before Navratri kicks off !! A simple yet delectable Muglai paratha mad with whole wheat and stuffed with a deliciously finger-licking chicken stuffing. Most folks usually use maida instead of whole wheat which looks great in terms of presentation, but the best way to do it is to use atta and maida in equal proportion which not only looks great but also tastes much better than the maida variety.

However, I have used only whole wheat which I fortified with some flaxseed powder. For the stuffing, I pressure cooked the chunky chicken pieces with some spices, then shredded it and mixed it up with boiled and mashed eggs, chopped onion, green chili, cilantro and just a tint bit of garam masala (optional). Lower calories without compromising on the taste.

Read on for the recipe -

Preparation Time - 30-40 mins

Ingredients -

For dough-
1 cup whole wheat atta
4 tbsp warm milk
2 tsp oil
salt to taste
just enough water for kneading into a stiff dough

Rest -
1 cup chicken bharta (chk recipe HERE)
1 egg
2 pinch salt
oil for cooking the paratha

Preparation - Take the atta in a wide plate. Add the oil and salt. Rub it in.

Then add the milk and a little water. Knead into a stiff dough.

Smear more oil on the dough and keep it aside (covered) for 30 mins.

Break the egg into a bowl, add salt and beat it lightly.

Cooking - Take small portions of the dough. Roll it out into rotis.

Heat a flat tawa or frying pan. Place the roti on it. Smear 1 tsp egg mix over it.

Add some of the chicken bharta to the center of the roti. Fold it from all sides into a parcel. Brush more egg on top of it.

Drizzle with oil and cook on both sides. (Usually Mughlai paratha is shallow fried with lots of oil but I prefer to cook it with a few drops of oil in a nonstick skillet )

Serve hot it green chutney, ketchup and onion rings.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Badaa Piaji ( Twice Fried Onion Fritters from Odisha )

'Dahi Bara - Ghuguni - Alu dum' maybe the most iconic street food that defines Cuttack. But another yummy snack comes a close second on the list of must-try's whenever one visits the city which is also famous for the silver filigree artifacts. However it remains little known even within the state. The 'Badaa Piaji', a unique twice fried version of another popular snack 'piaji', is quite crispy and delectable.

Unlike the 'Piaji' which is made from a batter of soaked and ground Bengal gram, the 'badaa piaji' uses Bengal gram flour along with loads of chopped onions in the batter. Read on for the recipe -

Preparation Time - 30 mins

Ingredients -

  • 2/3 cup Bengal gram flour / Besan
  • 2 large onions (finely chopped)
  • 2-3 green chilis (finely chopped)
  • 2 tbsp chopped coriander stems
  • a few curry leaves
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • a pinch of turmeric
  • a pinch of baking soda
  • salt to taste
  • oil for deep frying

Preparation - Take all the ingredients (except oil) in a mixing bowl. Add water in small quantities to make a batter which is about the same consistency as 'Bara' or Vada batter .

Cooking - Heat sufficient oil in a wok. Drop small balls ( about a heaped tablespoon each) of the batter into the hot oil and fry to a light brown shade. Remove and keep aside for about a minute.

Flatten the balls with a heavy object (use a rolling pin) . Do not make then very thin else they may break.

Put them back into the hot oil and fry till brown and crisp.

Repeat the same process with the remaining batter.

Serve hot with 'Ghuguni' and some sliced onions. DO NOT forget to sprinkle a generous amount of black salt.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Papdi Chat / Sev Puri ( Holi Special )

On the day of Holi, folks of all shapes, sizes and colors would come knocking on our door. As per tradition, they would apply the 'gulal' /'fagu' or dry color on the feet of the elders first and take the latter's blessings. People of their own age would be generously smeared on the cheeks while the kids or youngsters would not be spared even an inch.

This is one such recipe that is usually served to the guests on the day. Read on -

Preparation Time - 30 mins

Ingredients - 

  • 12 papdis
  • 1/2 cup boiled and peeled potato
  • 1/2 small onion
  • 2-3 green chilis (optional..only if you like it hot)
  • 1/4 cup yogurt
  • 1/4 tsp red chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp chaat masala
  • 2 pinch roasted cumin-chili powder
  • 1/2 cup thin sev
  • chopped cilantro
  • black salt (as per taste)
  • salt to taste

For Sweet Chutney -

  • Lemon sized ball of tamarind
  • 4 tbsp jaggery
  • 1 1/2 inch grated ginger 
  • salt to taste

For the spicy 'Theekhi' chutney -

  • 1/2 cup cilnatro
  • 2-3 green chilis
  • a small piece of tamarind
  • 2 pinch cumin seeds
  • salt to taste

Preparation - Take all the ingredients for the spicy chutney in a blender jar and give a good buzz. Remove and keep it aside.

Soak the tamarind in 1/2 cup hot water for 15-20 mins. Mash and discard the solids. Take the extact in a saucepan, add the remaining ingredients for sweet chutney and boil for 6-7 mins. Remove from flame and keep aside till cool.

Crumble the potatoes lightly. Do not mash completely.

Final assembly -

Take 6 puris in each plate. Put some crumbled potato oven them and then add some yogurt. Drizzle with the sweet and spicy chutney.

Add some chaat masala, chili powder, roasted cumin chili powder and onions. 

Sprinkle sev generously all over. Finally add some more onions, chopped green chilis, chopped cilantro, yogurt, a little chutney and some black salt. Sprinkle a little bit of table salt if required.

Serve immediately.

Note - One can also add boiled chickpeas, yellow peas or even black gram dal. Add chopped tomato and cucumber to make it even more filling.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Pav Bhaji

One of the most popular street foods, I love making 'Pav Bhaji' for dinner. With all the veggies that go into the making of the dish, it is quite nutritious and loaded with natural fiber. Though a little high on calories as ghee/butter is integral to enhancing its flavor, I do like to indulge my taste-buds once in a while.

Read on for the recipe -

Preparation Time - 35 mins (includes standby time)

Ingredients -

  • 1 cup cauliflower florets
  • 1 cup cubed carrots
  • 1/2 cup green peas
  • 1/2 cup chopped french beans
  • 1 medium sized capsicum
  • 2 medium sized potatoes
  • 2 medium sized tomatoes
  • 2 medium sized onions
  • 2 tsp GG paste
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 heaped tsp Kashmiri chili powder
  • 3 level tsp Pav Bhaji masala
  • 1-2 green chilis
  • 4-5 tbsp coriander leaves
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • 1 tsp oil
  • pav buns (store bought)
  • additional butter as required
  • lemon juice/wedges

Preparation - Take the cauliflower, green peas, french beans, capsicum, green chillis and poatoes in a pressure cooker. Add 1 1/2 cups water and close the lid. Cook for 2-3 whistles on medium flame.

Remove and keep aside till steam escapes. Drain the water and keep aside. Peel the potatoes and lightly break/mash them.

Finely chop the onions and tomatoes.

Cooking - Heat the oil and ghee in a wok. Add the chopped onions and fry till it just turns translucent. Add the tomatoes, GG paste, garlic paste, kashmiri chili powder and pav bhaj powder. Fry for 4-5 minutes till the tomatoes are mushy and the raw smells of the masalas have gone off.

Add the boiled veggies and potatoes. Adjust the salt. Mash them with a traditional hand masher or use a hand blender if you have one. Add the drained water and allow to simmer for 12-15 mins. Sprinkle 2 tbsp coriander leaves and add more water if it looks too dry.

Fry the pav bhaji with butter in a separate tawa/pan.

Serve hot with onion rings, coriander leaves, some butter and a dash of lemon juice.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Jain Pav Bhaji

Jain food happens to be an extension of the Jainism philosophy of 'Ahimsa' or non-violence. Hence it does not include any ingredient which is harvested in a manner that causes death or injury to any living being. That eliminates all the root vegetables as it involves uprooting/killing the plant and displacing small organisms living in the vicinity. Also, foods that stimulate feelings of anger/negativity ( 'tamas') like onions and garlic are also prohibited.

My first taste of Jain pav bhaji came during my stay in Pune. This is a city that offers some really amazing jain food though I have forgotten the names of the places after so many years. Coming back to the Pav Bhaji, it is a really simple one made without using onion, garlic or even potatoes. Hence it is something that can be eaten/served to guests on 'Vrat' or fasting days. One just needs to buy a 'Pav Bhaji Masala' that eliminates onion and garlic among its ingredients and one is good to go. I got the 'no onion-no garlic' masala from a brand called 'Kapol'.

Read on for the recipe -

Preparation Time - 25-30 mins ( this includes a standby of 10-12 mins )

Ingredients -

  • 1/2 raw banana
  • 1/2 cup green peas
  • 1 1/2 cup cauliflower florets
  • 1 cup shredded cabbage
  • 1 medium sized capsicum
  • 2 medium sized tomatoes
  • 1 tsp pav bhaji masala
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 pinch cumin seeds
  • 3 tsp oil
  • salt to taste
  • 4-5 pav/buns
  • butter as required
  • coriander leaves for garnishing
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • lemon wedges for garnishing

Preparation - Wash the cauliflower, cabbage and green peas. Transfer to a pressure cooker.

Wash and peel the raw banana and cube it. Add to the cooker along with 1/2 cup water, a pinch of turmeric and salt. Cook on medium flame for 2-3 whistles.

Keep aside till steam escapes. Use a hand blender to mash up the boiled veggies into a coarse/chunky paste. ( one can also use a traditional masher instead )

Chop the capsicum and tomatoes into small pieces.

Cooking - Heat 3 tsp oil and a bit of butter in a pan.  When sufficiently hot, add the cumin seeds.

Once the seeds stop spluttering, add chopped capsicum. Fry for 1 minute before adding the tomatoes. Cover with a lid for 1 min. Remove lid and crush the softened tomatoes with a spatula.

Add all the powdered masalas along with a little salt. Fry for 1-2 mins before adding the mashed veggies.
Cook for 8-10 min to blend all the flavours. Adjust salt if required and add a few teaspoons of hot water if it is getting too dry. Sprinkle coriander leaves and remove from flame.

Heat  1-2 tsp butter in a separate pan. Fry the pav to a light golden.

Garnish the bhaji/curry with a dollop of butter, more coriander leaves and lemon wedges. Serve hot with the pav.

Note - Use Kashmiri red chili powder if you want a reddish hue to the bhaji. Also, I have kept the quantity of chili powder quite less as I was making it for my toddler. Add more if you want it hot.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Vegetable Manchurian

Vegetable Manchurian happened to be one of my favorites dishes during the college years. I could have it for evening snacks, then again for dinner and if there was still some leftover ( quite miraculously !! ), it would go into the making of my breakfast the next day. Such was my fascination with this delicious Chinese recipe that there was seldom a week when I did not have it. But as they say 'Too much of a good thing is bad'. I lost my appetite for this yummy dish soon after and it was years before I went anywhere near it. I distinctly remember avoiding it at wedding banquets and office parties where it happened to be one of the popular starters for the vegetarian crowd.

But when I came across it recently while browsing for popular Indo-Chinese recipes. Memories came flooding back and I could not resist trying it out at home. While the ones served at restaurants are good, I just wanted to relive the fun that I used to have when making it with my Mom. And btw, it also happens to be one of my brother's favorite. Here this one is for you Bro. Happy Raksha Bandhan !!!!!!!!

Read on for the easy recipe -

Preparation Time - 45-55 mins

Ingredients -

For the balls -

2 1/2 cups shredded cabbage
2/3 cup grated carrot
1/3 cup finely chopped capsicum
1/2 cup finely chopped spring onions (i used both the white and green portions)
1/2 cup finely chopped french beans
2-3 green finely chopped chilis
4 tbsp all purpose flour
2 tbsp cornflour
1/3 tsp chilli powder ( skip this if the green chilis are hot ..mine had very less heat )
salt to taste
oil for deep frying

For the sauce -

3 tbsp finely chopped spring onions
2 tbsp finely chopped garlic
2 tbsp finely chopped ginger
2 finely chopped green chilis
3 tsp soya sauce
3-4 tsp vinegar
2 tsp chili sauce
2 tsp tomato ketchup
1 1/2 tsp cornflour
1 tsp sugar
2 pinch garam masala ( only if you like the Punjabi-fied version )
salt to taste
3 tsp vegetable oil ( if you have sesame oil, use it )
2 tsp spring onion greens for garnishing

Preparation - Take all the vegetables in a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle salt and keep aside for 1 hour. After 1 hour, all the veggies would have left water. Thoroughly squeeze out this excess water.

Add all purpose flour ( 2 1/2 tbsp at first ), cornflour, red chili powder and more salt (if required) to the mixing bowl. Mix everything together. Try to form the balls (use a tablespoon as the measure to get balls of uniform size). If they seem crumbly, then add more all purpose flour.

Cooking - Heat sufficient oil in a wok. Once it reaches the right temperature, place one ball as a test first. [If it does not rise quickly to the surface, the oil is cold and the balls will absorb too much oil. If it turns dark too soon, the oil is overheated. If it starts to break, then it needs more binding agent.]

Once the first ball turns out fine, then add 4-5 of the balls at a time. Do not crowd the vessel as it will cause the oil temperature to plummet . Fry on medium flame till golden brown.

Remove and place on paper towels to absorb excess oil. Repeat the process for the remaining vegetable balls.

Heat 3-4 tsp oil in a separate wok. Add the spring onions, garlic, ginger and green chillis. Fry on medium high, taking care not to burn the garlic.

Add soya sauce, tomato ketchup, vinegar and chili sauce to the wok along with the sugar and fry for 1 minute.

Dissolve the cornflour in 1 cup cold water. Add to the wok. Adjust salt. Keep stirring till the sauce thickens.

Add the fried vegetable balls to the wok and toss to coat them evenly. Sprinkle garam masala if using. Turn up the heat for 2 mins. Remove from the flame leaving behind a little gravy (do not worry, it will get absorbed).

Note - Add more water and increase the quantity of sauces used if you need more gravy.

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