Archive for the ‘Chaat’ Category

Savory cake for a change

Saturday, January 2nd, 2010


One weekend morning I was looking into my pantry thinking of putting together a breakfast. I grabbed some chickpea flour (garbanzo bean flour or gram flour) and made this dish for a hearty breakfast. This has been sitting in my draft for quite some time and I am posting it today. Read very carefully till the end and you’ll know why it got its name :)


Chick pea flour – 1.25 cups
Salt- to taste
Sugar- one pinch
Grated ginger- 1 tsp
Finely chopped green chilies- 1 whole chili
Baking soda- 1/2 tsp
Sesame oil- 2 tbsp and another 1 tbsp
Water- 2 cups(approx).

For the topping:
Curry leaves- 1 handful
Cilantro – one handful
Green chilies-2
Salt- to taste
Lemon rounds- to garnish


Sift chickpea flour and baking soda together with salt and sugar. Add water to this and keep whisking to avoid any lumps. The batter has to be thick like a pancake better/idli batter.

Add grated ginger, chopped green chilies and 2 table spoons of  sesame oil to this flour mixture. Let is sit aside for 10 minutes.

Grease a broad,wide vessel (not tall vessel) with one table spoon of sesame oil. Pour the garbanzo flour mixture into it and steam it in a pressure cooker for 15-17 minutes. Check if it is done by inserting a fork into it, if the fork comes out clean, the cake has steamed well. Let it cool for a minute and slowly go around the edges with a knife. Invert it on to a plate.

The topping:

Grind the curry leaves, coriander leaves, salt, green chilies together into a thick paste. Add about 3 table spoon of water to this paste so that it is spreadable.


Spread the cilantro paste on top of the cake. Garnish with cilantro leaves and lemon wedges.
Slice and serve with khatta-meeta chutney.

If you are wondering, yes, it is dhokla! I just wanted to try it this way to see if I can add some more flavor and moistness to the dhokla. And this version was a change from the usual dhokla we make that I thought of building another layer with some other chutneys the next time.

I added plain water, but you can also add yogurt instead of water or a mixture of water and yogurt.


And I am sending my savory cake for a change to Divya’s show me your cake event.

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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


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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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Butter Biscuit (Iyengar Bakery Style)

Friday, December 11th, 2009


During my school days in the evenings I would take the bus to a bus stop near home and walk from there. On the way, there used to be this Bangalore Iyengar Bakery selling couple of goodies all freshly made and that too without eggs. The entire place would be filled different aromas from Butter Biscuits, Egg puffs, Masala Bread, Iced Buns, Coconut buns, Tooty-fruity-cherry breads,Samosas,Cutlets etc etc. And the cost of these items would be less than 10 rupees. Often, mom or dad will give some money as a treat to buy these and munch on the way home. Sometimes, these snacks would be waiting for us at home as a surprise after school snacks.  The taste of Iyengar bakery snacks is just amazing and even thinking about it makes me drool. Just the name itself would indicate quality of the products and freshness.

Now when I am running the kitchen department,I plan and cook something for Lunch and Dinner but when the  tea time comes, I give up on healthy eating and munch on chips, french fries, samosas or bajjis. If and only if Iyengar bakery would start a branch abroad where there are lot of desis, I am sure they would give a run for their money to McDonalds or Burger King.

Hubby grew up in Bangalore and we would often talk about the goodies we used to eat from Iyengar bakery. His favorite is egg puffs while mine is masala bread and butter biscuit. These butter biscuits are somewhat similar to the short bread cookies  but the only difference is the recipe has no eggs. The biscuits turned out to be yummy and we finished the first batch in a flash- warm from the oven, chewy and just melts in the mouth. These biscuits also store well and can be kept in a airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Ingredients (Makes about 25 biscuits)

All purpose flour- 1 cup  and an additional 3/4 cup (I measured in a 200 ml glass)

Baking powder- 1 pinch

Un-salted butter- 3/4th of a whole stick at room temperature.

Salt- 1 pinch

Sugar- 3/4 of the same measuring cup

Water or milk- 1 tbsp(to knead)


Before baking the biscuit, let the butter sit at room temperature for a couple of hours (use a bowl so that even if it melts you can collect it).

Mix this butter, sugar, baking powder, salt and one cup of  flour. Do not use a blender to blend. Do not knead roughly. Just gently mix all ingredients. If the butter absorbs all the flour and is still runny use the additional flour to bind the ingredients. This biscuit dough will not be like a cookie dough as we did not use eggs. The dough will be slightly powdery-falling apart and you cannot shape it. Use milk or water to bring it together as you knead it.

Keep this dough inside a refrigerator for 15 minutes. Pre heat the oven to 375.

Line a baking sheet with tin foil. There is no need to dust the pan as there is enough butter in the dough and the biscuit will not stick to the pan.

Scoop about a tablespoon of the dough and slightly squeeze it into a ball and place it on the baking sheet. In a similar way, arrange other biscuits in the tray. Bake at 375 for only 8-10 minutes to a slight golden color. The biscuits will be slightly runny/looking undone but they will harden as they cool.

When I made this biscuit, I divided the dough into two batches to check if I had added enough flour to butter ratio. Sometimes, butter would be more than the flour and biscuits will be slightly soft. Check the first batch and adjust the ratio for the other batches.You can adjust the amount of sugar added to the biscuit too.

Serve the biscuits with samosas, cutlets with tea or just munch it as you wish :)

I am sending this butter biscuit to WYF Tea Time Snack Event hosted by EC.

For similar butter biscuit but with jam filling, updated recipe is here.

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