Category Archives: Snacks


Winter here is characterized by cold and sub zero temperature. Dec,Jan and Feb are peak winter months. Surprisingly the weather hasn’t been bad as expected. It doesn’t seem like January so far. The weather is going to be great the entire week; it’s in 30F’s. Wow am I dreaming or what??:)

I am not a big fan of winter, it’s a little depressing. I know it’s time to enjoy winter activities, but how long? One can’t do that every day….huh! I miss stepping out and playing with my little one. Oh how much I hate winters!!! Anyways I should stop cribbing coz for now, we ain’t experiencing any snow storm or freezing temperature. I baked these Taro chips last evening and couldn’t stop munching. It was just perfect for the weather. The picky little one enjoys anything crunchy…so this is one of her fav now:)

I had some small Taro root lying at home for almost 2 weeks. The best part about them is there shelf life is much longer than most of the vegetables. Since I couldn’t slice the entire vegetable, I chopped the remaining into bite size pieces, seasoned with salt and pepper; baked them until crisp, for about 30 minutes. It tasted a lot like breakfast potatoes. They taste great as soon as they are baked;but they tend to harden in a few hours’ time. However, the Chips remain crispy for long; all you need to do is to store them in an airtight container. You may sprinkle salt, pepper, paprika, chili powder/cayenne pepper as per your liking. Instead of drizzling the entire baking sheet with oil, just brush them over. This way you will not need a lot of oil( I used about a teaspoon oil for about 6 taro’s), thus making it healthy!


Makes a big bowl of chips

Taro root
Chili powder/cayenne pepper
Olive oil

Directions: Preheat oven at 400F. Peel the skin and slice the taro using any slicer(mandoline slicer). Place them on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake in batches; do not over crowd the pan and also do not overlap the slices. Using a brush slightly brush them with olive oil. Sprinkle salt, pepper and chili powder. Bake for 5-6 minutes, rotating mid-way. Bake until its golden brown on the edges and crisp. They brown quickly so watch out.

They become crispier when they come to room temperature. Enjoy the crunchy-munchy healthy chips:)

Bon Apetite!



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.


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!



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 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:


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.


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.


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!



Guess my break was longer than I expected it to be.Both my husband and my daughter were unwell in between and then once they got better I was occupied with too many things.Blogging completely took a back seat. Here I am, back now with this month’s Daring Baker’s Challenge.

Our July 2012 Daring Bakers’ Host was Dana McFarland and she challenged us to make homemade crackers! Dana showed us some techniques for making crackers and encouraged to use our creativity to make each cracker our own by using ingredients we love.

It’s been a busy day today and I just have a few minutes before I step out. I will write more in my next post. But for now presenting the yummiest crackers that I’ve ever made – Cheddar Oregano and Walnut Icebox Crackers. Wow the name itself sounds so tempting, isn’t it? It’s loaded with all my favorite ingredients.

We were asked to make two different crackers using different methods of forming. I chose the ““Icebox methods” to make the “Cheddar Oregano – Walnut Icebox Crackers” and the “Hand rolled method” for making the “Health Crackers”. I followed the recipes as is for the first one. Added chili flakes for the second one, just to give that extra kick;also substituted rosemary with oregano.


Makes about 40 crackers


1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 cup plain (all-purpose) flour
1/2 cup wheat germ
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup + 1 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup water
1 large egg white
Cracker topping:
Sesame seeds, poppy seeds, nigella (onion) seeds, salt
Salt sprinkling

Mix the oats, flour, wheat germ sugar and salt together in a large bowl or bowl for the standup mixer. Combine the water and oil and stir into the oat mixture until it comes together and a dough forms.Form dough into a disk and allow to rest in the fridge for about 20 minutes but up to a day if you are making the ahead.Preheat the oven to moderate 325°F. Divide the dough into quarters and work with one piece at a time, allowing the remaining pieces to stay in the fridge as you proceed with rolling out the crackers. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to about 1/16 inch (1½ mm) thick and transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet by carefully wrapping the dough around the rolling pin.
Brush the dough with the egg white mixed briefly with a tablespoon of water and sprinkle with seeds and salt of your choice.Cut the dough with a pizza wheel and bake for 25-30 minutes until browned. Crackers that are not crispy once cooled may be returned to the oven. Store in an airtight container and eat within two weeks.


Makes about 40 crackers


½ cup butter, well softened
2¼ cups grated aged cheddar cheese (the better the cheese, the better the cracker), firmly packed
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose (plain) flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon of chili flakes

Combine butter, oregano,chili flakes and cheese in a stand mixer and beat well (can also be done by hand). Add the flour, salt and nuts and stir to combine. Form the dough into two tight logs and wrap with cling film. Chill for at least an hour and up to several days. The log can be frozen at this point for several months.Heat the oven to moderate 325°F.Slice a log into 5mm (1/5 inch) coins and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake about 10 minutes until golden brown.

Store in an airtight container and eat within three days.

I loved making these CRACKERS.Of the two,the Icebox Crackers were my favorite one.Thanks Dana for the great challenge!

Bon Appetit!


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