Category Archives: Appetizers/Starters

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gOBI 1
Learn how to make Gobi Manchoorian/ Gobi Manchoori

Gobi Manchoorian/ Manchoori is an Indo Chinese food which is quite popular in India. It is said to have been developed by the tiny Chinese community that lived in Kolkata for over a century.  It is nothing but fried cauliflower tossed in a sweet and chili sauce. There are two different variants of it, dry and gravy. If I were frying I would use all purpose flour and cornstarch to make a thin batter; dip the florets in the batter and then deep fry.  Once that is done follow the below mentioned sauce recipe.  Few recipes even call for Ajinomoto (MSG) to increase the taste however I try to avoid it due to health reasons. Some add food colors to give the florets a bright red color, which is quite common in restaurants. I avoid that as well.
gOBI 2
In the past I have baked the same dish using different flours – chickpea,all purpose and even whole wheat flour. The problem was it wasn’t as crispy as I had expected it to be also there would a thin layer of batter stuck in the base of the florets. This used to put me off. That’s when dusting cornstarch came to my mind. I actually used about 3-3.5 tablespoon of cornstarch. The cauliflower florets baked beautifully, ending with a crispy texture. But the only thing was I could feel the cornstarch even after baking ( I realized I added a lot).The next time I would work with 1.5-2 tablespoons only. I know fried ones are the best but I wanted to try something that I could enjoy whole heartedly without worrying about calories. Making junk food healthy is a very smart idea:) .
Gobi 3
To me these tasted great, not as crispy as the fried ones but slightly close to it. Once they are coated in the sauce, I don’t see much of a difference. A good sauce is the key! If you plan to use them just as plain fritters, do season them with salt, pepper, cayenne and some turmeric (for the color) before baking. Also broil it for about 2-3 minutes towards the end to make it more crispier.

Baked Gobi Manchoori

Serving Size: 3

Baked Cauliflower with sweet and Chili sauce - healthy twist to a tasty junk food.

Ingredients

  • Baking Cauliflower
  • 1 large cauliflower, cut into florets about 5-6 cups
  • 2 tablespoon oil
  • 1-2 tablespoon cornstarch
  • For the Sauce
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 2-3 garlic pods, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, chopped
  • 2-3 thai green chillies, chopped
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup bell pepper, cubed
  • 2 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • Green chili/red chili sauce, as needed
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoon cilantro , chopped
  • Salt as needed

Instructions

Preheat oven at 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Cut the cauliflower into small florets. Wash and dry in a paper towel. Place all the cauliflower in a large bowl. Drizzle oil over the florets coating it well. Now add the cornstarch and toss it. Spread it evenly on the lined sheet. Bake for 20 minutes. Flip each floret. Increase temperature to 425F. Bake again for about 20 minutes. You will end with slightly crispy florets with a brownish tinge. Feel free to broil it for about 2 – 3 minutes for more crispier option, which I didn’t.

Sauce - Heat oil in a pan. Add garlic, ginger, chillies, onion and bell pepper. Saute until the onions turn pink. Do not overcook the veggies, do retain the crunchiness. Now add the ketchup and soy sauce. If you are using the chilli sauce, please add now( We don’t eat too spicy food, so I avoided the sauce). The mixture will start sizzling. Add the cauliflower,lemon juice and salt. Mix well. Garnish with cilantro.

http://www.thefoodielovers.com/2015/03/baked-gobi-manchoori/

If you are thinking of gravy please add some water mixed with very little cornstarch towards the end and then a quick boil will result in a semi gravy Manchoorian sauce. Serve as an appetizer or along with fried rice/noodles. Spring onions are a great choice too, if you have some handy do add it right at the end.

Enjoy guilt free!

 

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Bialys 1 main

Ever since I read about Bialys in Julia Child’s book Baking I have been wanting to make these. Thanks to Aparna who came up with Bialys for the “We need to Bake” event. I baked these as soon as she announced it( which was last Summer ). But these pictures ended up being in my draft for this long.

Bialys 2 main

The recipe was adapted from King Arthur Flour. I am really not happy with the pictures and wanted to re-do, but just haven’t had the time for it. These Bialys are best eaten when warm. Also, if you want to make  it slightly chewier, refrigerate the dough overnight after the first rise. The next day, take the dough out and keep it at room temperature for about half an hour. Then shape the rolls and proceed with the recipe. These Bialys are on the softer side so do not over bake them or they will dry out and become tough. Anyways here it is warm chewy rolls with Caramelized Onions.

Bialys – Chewy Rolls with Carmelised Onion Topping

Yield: 8 Large Bialys

Ingredients

  • For the dough:
  • 1 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (use bread flour if you can find it or all-purpose flour + 1 tbsp vital wheat gluten)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Milk for brushing the dough
  • For the Onion Filling:
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 3 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 3/4 tsp garam masala
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

Make the dough first. If you are using bread flour or vital wheat gluten, then your dough will be tougher to knead so if you have a machine you can use, I would say go ahead and use it. Me, I always take the easier way out provided I get good results. If you’re doing this by hand, just adapt the instructions to that.

Put the yeast, sugar, salt and flour in the food processor bowl. Pulse a couple of times to mix and then add the warm water in a steady stream. Knead until the dough comes together as a mass and then let the dough rest for 10 minutes. This will help the dough absorb water. Knead again, adding a little more water or flour (not too much) if you need it, until your dough is smooth and elastic but not sticky.

Shape it into a ball and put it in a well-oiled bowl, turning the dough till it is well coated. Cover and let it rise till about double. This should take about 2 hours. If you’re not making the Bialys right away, you can refrigerate the dough overnight at this point. When ready to make them, keep the dough at room temperature for about half an hour and then proceed with the rest of the recipe.

In the meanwhile, make the filling. Heat the oil in a pan, and add the cumin seeds. When the crackle, add the onions, and sauté over low to medium heat. Sprinkle a little salt and continue sautéing until they become soft and turn golden brown in colour. Add the garam masala and stir well. Keep the caramelised onions aside to cool.

Sprinkle your work surface lightly with flour and place the dough on it. Divide it into 8 equal pieces and shape each one into a roll by flattening it and then pinching the ends together to form a smooth ball. Place the rolls on a lightly greased baking sheet and cover them with a towel. Let them rise for about one hour (about 1 1/2 to 2 hours for refrigerated dough) till pressing with a finger on the top leaves a dent.

Work on one piece at a time, while you keep the others covered so they don’t dry out. When the rolls are ready, pick them up one at a time and using your fingers, form the depression in the middle. Hold the roll like a steering wheel with your thumbs in the middle and your fingers around the edges. Pinch the dough between your thumb and fingers, rotating as you go and gradually making the depression wider without actually poking a hole through.

Remember not to press on the edges, or they will flatten out. Once shaped, you should have a depression about 3” in diameter with 1” of puffy dough around the edge, so your Bialy should be about 4” in diameter. Prick the centre of the Bialy with a fork so the centre doesn’t rise when baking.

Place the shaped dough on a parchment lined (or greased) baking tray leaving about 2 inches space between them. Place the caramelized onion filling in the depressions of each Bialy. Brush the outer dough circle with milk.

Bake the Bialys at 450F for about 15 minutes till they’re golden brown in colour. Cool them on a rack. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature. Bialys keep well in an airtight container for a day or two and just need to be warmed up slightly before serving.

http://www.thefoodielovers.com/2014/03/bialys-chewy-rolls-with-carmelised-onion-topping/

Thanks for the recipe Aparna.

Enjoy!

Nina

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Snow Storm today….more than a feet of snow already and it’s not over yet. This reminds me of a similar snow storm two years back at a time when we were expecting our little one. I vividly recall the tense face of my husband who had to shovel our drive way every two hours just to make sure we don’t get stuck in case I develop labor. Thankfully, my baby was sweet enough to come out on after the stormy weather.

And today one of my neighbor’s car got stuck in the drive way and we had to help them.We were at home today but had a few friends over for dinner last night. It’s very easy to get carried away with temptation during the holiday season with lot of potlucks,parties and get togethers. I therefore wanted  to make an attempt to do something light and healthier. I am actually slowly switching to whole grains.Recently, I came across TVP – Textured Vegetable Protein and have been wondering for a while as to how best I could use this ingredient.

TVP also called as TSP ( textured Soy protein)is produced from soy flour and absorbs flavors of whatever it is added to. It’s truly a great meat substitute for vegetarians.You get it in the form of chunks,granules or flakes. 1:1 is the ratio to cook with TVP. Hydrate 1 cup of TVP with a cup of liquid.( I used hot water).It is cheap, quick to cook and loaded with proteins….making it very healthy. You may also use the soy chunks or nuggets that’s easily available, but I haven’t tried it yet.

I came across Sala’s wonderful blog, her recipe – Minty Veggie Kebabs was something that caught my attention. She had used TVP and that’s how this idea came about. I have tweaked the recipe to suit my taste buds. I usually bake my kebabs in the same way using mashed vegetables, but the addition of TVP made so much of a difference.These Kebabs were crispy from the outside and soft on the inside. They tasted delicious with mint and date chutney.If you are using TVP for the first time like me; this is definitely a good recipe to start with.

BAKED VEGETABLE KEBABS USING TVP

Makes about 15 kebabs

Ingredients :

1 cup TVP
2 green chillies, chopped
4 garlic cloves
a small piece of ginger(1″)
a teaspoon chilli flakes
2 large Potato
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 red onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 carrot,grated
1/2 cup grated cauliflower
1/4 cup corn( I used frozen)
1 teaspoon garam masala
Few mint leaves
1/2 cup cilantro
juice from 1/2 lemon
bread crumbs ( as needed)
salt as per taste

Directions :To start with add a cup of hot water to TVP and allow it to soak for about 20 – 30 minutes.Drain and squeeze it well.Set it aside. Cook the potatoes, peel and mash them. In a motor and pestle, pound the garlic,ginger,green chili and chili flakes(increase/decrease as per your spice levels).

Heat oil in a skillet, add the onions and saute until pink. Add the pound garlic mixture. Cook for about 3 – 4 minutes. Add the bell pepper,carrots,cauliflower and cook until they are half cooked. Now add in the corn,TVP,garam masala and salt. If there is any water it should evaporate by now; you should end up with a thick cooked mixture.Check the taste for spices. Transfer it to a large bowl, add mashed potatoes,mint and cilantro. Squeeze lemon juice. Knead into a thick mixture. If there is still moisture, add the bread crumbs. I used Panko, but any bread crumbs should work. (I didn’t measure the panko, but i think I would have used about 1/2 cup). If using wooden skewers soak in water before using it. Divide the mixture into 15 balls.Take each of them and tightly press onto a skewer forming a log, like a kebab. Place them on a greased baking sheet,lined with aluminium foil/parchment(ensure to spray oil,it might stick otherwise).

Preheat oven to 400F and bake them for about 20 minutes, flip them on the other side and bake for another 10 – 15 minutes or until done.It might take longer depending on your oven temperature. Keep checking in between, you should end up with a brown color coating all over.If you under cook it, it will not be crunchy. Serve them with mint and date chutney( I used store bought ones).

Bon Apetit!

Nina

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Empanadas it is !

Empanadas are something that’s very common in my house. Most often I have made the fried ones with a simple and delicious potato filling. I have baked a few times too, but the fried ones have always been our favorite. This time when I saw the empanadas challenge in the DBC forum, I was happy to participate. I must say I loved the dough….the crust was perfect..it was great.

Patri of the blog, Asi Son Los Cosas, was our September 2012 Daring Bakers’ hostess and she decided to tempt us with one of her family’s favorite recipes for Empanadas! We were given two dough recipes to choose from and encouraged to fill our Empanadas as creatively as we wish.


I made a simple potato filling for the savory ones and a coconut and nut filling for the sweet one. Here is how I made them:

EMPANADAS WITH SWEET AND SAVORY FILLING

3½ cups all-purpose or bread flour( I used the latter)
1 cup warm water
½ cup less 1 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sweet paprika

Sift the flour into a bowl, make a well in the middle and add all the ingredients.Mix with a wooden spoon until all the ingredients have been incorporated.Turn dough onto your counter and knead for 8 minutes.Make a ball and allow to rise covered with a cloth for about half an hour before using.Once risen, turn the dough back into a floured counter and cut it in half. Cover one half with the napkin to prevent drying.

Spread the other half of the dough using a rolling pin. You can use a piece of wax paper over the counter, it will make it easier to move the dough around. Depending on the shape of your oven pan or cookie sheet, you will make a rectangle or a round.Now, the thinness of the dough will depend on your choice of filling and how much bread you like in every bite. For your first time, make it about 3mm thin (about 1/10th of an inch) and then adjust from that in the next ones you make.

SAVORY POTATO FILLING

2 large Potatoes grated
1 medium onion,sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
a teaspoon chili flakes
salt as per taste

In a saucepan, heat oil and saute onions until translucent. Add grated potato and mix. Close the lid for about 2-3 minutes. Once the potatoes are half done, add salt and chili flakes. Mix and set aside.

SWEET COCONUT AND NUTS FILLING

1 cup freshly grated coconut
1 cup jaggery
1/2 cup chopped nuts(I used cashewnuts,almonds and pistachios)
2 tablespoon clarified butter
a pinch of salt

Heat butter in a pan, add in the nuts and saute until golden brown. Remove and set aside. In the same pan, mix coconut and jaggery. On low heat allow it to cook, stirring in between. First the Jaggery will melt and then it will all come together to a thick mass. Add in the nuts,mix. Allow it to cool completely before using it.

Assembling the Empanadas

For the Savory – If you haven’t used wax paper, either lightly flour or line with wax paper your pan or tray.Cover the base and sides with the dough. Using the rolling pin or a knife, cut the extra dough.Place the filling, making sure it is cold and that all the base is covered. Using a hot filling will make the bottom layer of the empanada become soggy. Be careful to avoid adding too much oil from the filling, try to make it as “dry” as possible. Start preheating your oven to moderate 350°F.Take the other half of the dough and spread it out to the same or less thinness of the base. You can use a piece of wax paper for this too. Take into account that this “top” dough needs to be smaller around than the bottom, as it only needs to cover the filling.If not using wax paper, move carefully the top to cover the filling. If using wax paper, transfer the dough, turn upside down, cover the filling and gently peel off the wax paper.
Using your fingers, join bottom and top dough, when you have gone all the way around, start pinching top and bottom together with your thumb and index finger and turning them half way in, that way you end up with a rope-like border. When you are finished, make a 1 inch hole in the middle of the top layer. This will help hot air exit the empanada while it’s baking without breaking the cover.You can use left-over dough to decorate the empanada.

In a small bowl, beat an egg and add a tbsp of cold water. With the pastry brush, paint the top of the empanada with the egg wash.
Place the empanada in the oven and bake for about 45 minutes. Check that the bottom part is done.

For the sweet empanada – Roll the dough into small disc(about 3″ in diameter). Place a tablespoon of the filling one one side and fold from the other end. Press the sides gently. Brush with the egg wash and bake. I baked both the savory and the sweet together, the latter took a little less time to bake.

I wasn’t happy with the sweet empanadas, the filling was fine but the crust was somewhat too very crunchy and tasted a little different…a little eggy too. The savory one was good but I guess it was the filling which needed some more make up.

My usual potato filling that I use to make fried empanadas wasn’t a great filling to use for the baked ones. The next time I should use a different filling. Also, the next time I plan to use individual ramekins for making empanadas.

Thanks Patri for a great challenge!

Nina

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