Archive for the ‘Snacks’ Category

Chickpea savory donuts with yogurt sauce(chickpea thayir vadai)

Monday, November 7th, 2011

On a bright and sunny evening this weekend,we wanted to eat something new but also something that we are used to,something that was comforting and reminds us of the good times back home where we sit around the garden table, enjoy a meal and share stories. Given how fast little R is growing up, we often think of the times we spent back home when we were young and remember people, food, movies and places that gave us the spirit and good times to look forward too. Speaking of people and food, we were discussing similarities in world cuisines and how lucky lil R is, to experience a bit of everything given how much both N and I have traveled and the sweet memories we have of those times.

Such talks always leads us to make something that makes you feel good, what warms you inside out!  Quickly I raided the pantry and while I was looking for ingredients, a bag of garbanzo beans caught my eye.N suggested some vadais(lentil donuts), lets call it falafel of India. Vadais are also deep fried and crunchy and some types of vadai are like cousins of falafel :) Using chickpeas to make vadai was new as vadais are normally made out of lentils,not dried beans.

As part of the foodbuzz program, I was invited to post recipes for an extraordinary Greek Getaway with FAGE yogurt, so N and I decided to make a chickpea thayir vadai,instead of plain vadais.

Thayir vadai is savory donut soaked in spiced yogurt and this is served either as an appetizer or as a snack or chat(to go with tea in the evening), sometimes thayir vadias are a meal on its own.

Yogurt is always used in Indian and Greek cooking and,for us living in hot weather conditions,it symbolizes a natural and healthy cool drink during the summer season and we use it all year around. I also make yogurt at home and while I make gravies,I add the yogurt to the gravy to give  some richness and smoothness for a wonderful taste and aroma.

This is how I made the crunchy chickpea vada using falafel as an idea.

Ingredients(Makes 11 vadais of 5 cm diameter each)

Dried chickpeas- 1 cup
Green chilies-2
Ginger- 1/2″ piece
Chopped onions-1/4 cup
Cilantro- a handful-chopped
Unsweetened grated Coconut- 1 tbsp
Rice flour- 2 tbsp
Salt- to taste(less than 1/2 tsp)
Coriander seed powder- 1/4 tsp
Red chili powder-1/4 tsp
Water- around 2 tbsp
Canola oil- to deep fry

For the yogurt sauce:
Any plain yogurt or Fage yogurt(greek yogurt) – 1 cup
Salt- to taste
Red chili powder- 1/4 tsp
Chopped cilantro- 2 tbsp
Mint chutney- 1tbsp
Grated carrots and cucumbers/chopped nuts(optional)- for garnish

Method:

Soak the dry garbanzo beans in hot water for 4 hours and then drain the beans. Take a blender, add the drained beans and pulse until it becomes a coarse powder. Add the chopped ginger, green chilies, cilantro, onions and blend well, also add 2-3 tbsp of water if required, to make it a thick paste. Transfer the paste to a bowl and add the rice flour,red chili powder, coriander seed powder,salt and coconut and mix well.(Always add salt at the end as salt sometimes can make the chickpea paste a little watery;the rice flour acts as a binding agent).

Heat the canola oil in a pan.

While the oil is heating up, pat a side of a ziplock bag(I usually use my palm) with water-just to wet the side of the bag. Take a lemon sized ball of the vadai paste,flatten it once and make a hole in the middle like a donut.Invert the bag on your palm immediately so that the donut can be transfered to the palm/tip of your fingers.

When the oil is ready, drop the donut into the oil gently. Let it rise up and turn golden brown on one side then flip it to the other side and let it cook until it turns golden brown.


Once the vadai is golden brown on both sides, remove from the oil and let the oil drain on a paper towel. Similarly, repeat the procedure for the rest of the batter.


Or if you do not want the donut shape, you can even fry it like a falafel using an icecream scoop. Tastes good either way!

Whisk together yogurt, salt, red chili powder, mint chutney and cilantro.

Serving: Arrange 3 donuts on a serving bowl. Pour the yogurt sauce on top. Garnish with cilantro/grated carrots/cucumbers or even chopped toasted nuts and grapes. Serve immediately. Goes great just for a family of three or for a potluck too! Both adults and kids will love this.

As part of the Foodbuzz Featured Publisher program, I have been entered for the chance to win a trip to Greece courtesy of FAGE. You too can enter to win one of three trips to Greece by entering the FAGE Plain Extraordinary Greek Getaway here http://www.fageusa.com/community/fage-greek-getaway.

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Virtual Party Snacks Round up

Monday, November 15th, 2010

Shabitha started the virtual party event and I had the opportunity to guest host it, considering the festival season I chose the theme of snacks- sweet and savory. Just take a look at our round up and you would want to be in a party that has all these snacks :) You thought diwali was over..Not here!

PJ’s Sago Vada

Santosh Bangar’s Bread Fry with Potato

Santosh Bangar’s Soy Nugget Cutlet-Tikki

Kavitha’s Sabudhana Vada

K from Khichdi’s Sooji Ka Halwa in Microwave

Megha’s Kele Ke Halwa/Banana Pudding

Megha’s Stuffed Mirchi Pakoda’s

Megha’s pan fried eggplant

Megha’s Tri flavored Kheer

Megha’s Stuffed Zucchini

Megha’s Chocococco Burfi

Priya’s Tandoori Chappathi Noodles

Priya’s Oats Coconut Murukku

Priya’s Quinoa Thattai

Priya’s Omapodi/Sev

Padma’s Athirasam/ Kajjaya

Padma’s Thenkuzhal

Padma’s Omapodi

Padma’s Ragi Kai Suttu Murukku

Padma’s kai suttu murukku .

Padma’s Maida Murukku

Padma’s Ragi Murukku

Padma’s Murukku/Chakli:

Padma’s Ukkarai:

Janet’s Paleys-Energy bars


Denny’s Acaraje – Brazilian Black eyed pea fritters.

Denny’s Curried Potatoes in Wonton Cups

Thank you all for participating. I hope I have included all the entries, in case if I have missed any entries, please leave a comment and I’ll update it.

A token of appreciation for participating in the event, do accept it friends!

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Recipe Marathon Day 4: Easy Vegetable Seekh Kebabs

Monday, December 28th, 2009

I am a big fan of street food, chaat and tikkis. There was this small chaat shop near vitan in Mylapore and they used to make this awesome pav bhaji and bhel puri. Slowly, the tension of studies, thesis and work took over and I didn’t have time to go out in the evenings and grab some chaat. I got a bag of haldirams or banana chips or lays and munched them.

But when I went home for a vacation after long time(2 years) and after a scorching summer (We hit 110 a couple of days in TX), all tanned and clothes hanging everywhere, I was not able to eat the usual meals properly.

Sis and Brother in Law took me to this place one evening for dinner. If I remember well the place was Mirchi’s. They had this real, fire pit set up under each table and the appetizers were vegetarian kebabs of every kind you can think of. Though I have been to kebab factory and similar places, this concept was unique. Some of the kebabs were well done and they were warming in this BBQ pit on the table and some were cooking and we were able to toss them in to our plates depending on the done-ness we liked. I was so hungry and for a change, some one was cooking for me! I kept feasting on the kebabs (must have gobbled a dozen at least) when BIL looked at me kindly and reminded that there was a full buffet as well :)

It was embarrassing that I ate till I looked like I am going to burst, but they gave the best gift I ever got in a long time- good food and rest. Even if you are an adult and can run your own show, sometimes you just wish you were a kid, am I correct?

My mouth is watering now to even think of their golden-brown kebabs. This is a recipe from my sister and this book like the previous biryani and this is a healthy version of kebab as we use dried fruits and nuts and vegetables. I guess the restaurant used fresh nuts,figs and dates as that was the harvest season and boy, the fruits just melt and caramelize beautifully.

And this is what I am going to taste with tea during this recipe marathon , come on in with a blanket and make yourself comfortable by the grill!

Ingredients: (makes 6 cylinders)

Boiled Potatoes -3 (Medium size)
Grated Carrot- 1 medium size
Frozen peas -1/4 cup
Salt to taste
Tandoori masala- 3/4 tsp
Cashew nuts and almonds- 4 tsp (together)
Raisins- 3 tsp
Dates- 6 each
Chopped Green chilies-3
Ginger-garlic paste- 1/4 tsp
Butter- 1 tbsp
Chopped Cilantro- 2 tbsp
Sun flower oil- 2 tbsp
Bamboo Skewers -4

Method:

Mash the boiled potatoes. Remove the seeds from the dates. Finely chop raisins, dates and nuts. Soak the skewers in water for 10-15 minutes so that the dry sticks won’t catch fire when they are baking/grilling.

Ingredi-kebab

Heat one teaspoon oil in a pan and add grated carrots, mashed potatoes and peas. Add salt, stir fry them well, add ginger garlic paste and the tandoori masala powder. (If you do not use tandoori masala powder, use a mix of cumin powder, coriander powder and red chili powder).

Add the chopped green chilies and cilantro.

Do not add water but make sure that the vegetables are stir fried well. At the final stage, add nuts, dates and raisins and mix well. Add the butter and mash it well with the veggies . Let it cool. Divide it in to equal parts.

Shaping-veggie-Kebab

Take a skewer out of the water. Take one part of the kebab mixture. Dab it with a tea spoon of water so that it will hold it shape and make like a kebab (cylinderical) around the skewer. Arrange all other kebabs in a similar way. Brush with a bit of oil on top of the kebabs.

Baking: I baked these kebabs at 375 oven for 10 minutes each side as N tends to smoke them so much :)

Grilling : If grilling, wait till both sides are golden brown. Do not keep turning the kebab.

Pan frying: I made some patties as well, with the same veggie-nuts mixture and I shallow fried them in a tea spoon of sun flower oil till each side was golden brown. The raisins and dates may caramelize when you pan fry and the patties may get a brown color but that’s OK.

Serve the kebabs with a slice of lemon and ketchup. Enjoy with a cup of steaming hot chai and a favorite movie.

kebab-plate

This is what we have been offering for the past few days during the marathon hosted by Nupur of One hot stove :

Day 1: December 25 : See the recipes here

Day 2: December 26: Check out what’s cooking here

Day 3: December 27: Still going strong, see the delicious recipes here

I am sending this easy vegetable seekh kebabs to for Oraphan’s Easy Veggie 50th Post celebrations.

I am glad that you visited us for tea. Waiting to see you all tomorrow with some “steaming” stuff to feast on.

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Vadai (Lentil Donuts)

Friday, December 18th, 2009

Just a few days ago, while we were hurrying up to go to a friend’s place for a pizza party, I glanced at the festival calender I made when the year 2009 started(seems like yesterday but here I am preparing to welcome 2010). It was Hanumath Jayanthi, the birthday of Lord Hanuman and we usually make a vadai mala (garland of donuts) to celebrate the occasion.

Lord Hanuman is the pillar of strength and it is said in the epic Ramayan that he had the courage, determination and the quick thinking ability to find Sita in Sri Lanka where she was kept as a captive by king Ravana. Hanuman not only found Sita, but he managed to speak with her, learning about her real condition in captivity, analyzed the strength of rakshasas(demons) by deliberately inviting the demons for a fight and thereby creating an opportunity to meet the King Ravana. Hanuman was sent to Sri Lanka just to see if Sita was there but he accomplished 3 jobs in one! And that is why students and kids pray to Hanuman to get the buddi(quick thinking ability) to succeed. More about Ramayan and Hanuman can be found here.

I decided to make a couple of vadais and offer them, instead of making dozens of vadais and we headed out to enjoy our pizzas.

Ingredients: ( Makes 11 vadais)

Urad dal- 1 cup

Green chilies- 2 (deseeded)

Curry leaves- a few

Salt – to taste

Canola oil- for deep frying

Method:

Soak the urad dal in water for 15 minutes. Drain all the water from the dal and grind it to a smooth paste. If needed, add a table spoon of chilled water while grinding. Do not add large quantities of water as that runny batter cannot be used for making vadais. Vadai batter has to be thick. If it gets runny by any chance, add a teaspoon of rice flour to thicken it, but its better not to add water to grind. Do not add salt while grinding as that would make the batter runny too. When you are about to pulse the batter for the last time, add salt, chopped green chilies and curry leaves and blend them well.

Vadai-Batter

Heat oil on a medium flame.

Use the palm of your hand or a take a plastic sheet(ziplocs work very well) and scoop a tablespoon amount of the vadai batter onto the sheets. Make a hole in the middle and slightly slide the vadais from the sheet into the oil. Make sure that the oil is not too hot (then the vadais would be raw inside and brownish on the outside) or too low(then the vadais would turn out white in color and they will absorb lots of oil while cooking). Smear the palm or the sheets with little bit of water/oil to prevent the vadais from sticking.

Frying-Vadais

Use a medium flame throughout and wait till the vadais are golden brown on one side and flip them and cook them on the other side. Drain the vadais on a paper towel. Enjoy with your coffee as a evening snack or offer it as a prasam during festivals.

Usually I make sure that the oil is well heated and there is no water in the vadai batter apart from what is used to shape them. But the one in the left end of the picture, with a protruding curry leaf, actually decided to pop out and say hello to me. The curry leaf popped out when it was in the oil, but luckily nothing major happened except a few splashes of oil here and there.

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