Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Carrot kosambari ~ Carrot and mung bean salad

Festival season with all it's sweets and snacks always leaves me craving something light, healthy and nutritious. Something that is healthy to the core and is completely unlike all the rich calorie laden food that is inevitably an integral part of any festival season. Something like...... this kosambari. Kosambari is a salad that originates from South Indian cuisine. It is made with either cucumbers, cabbage or carrots. Kosambari usually combines one kind of vegetable with some soaked split mung beans/ moong dhal, making it a good combination of nutrition and protein. 

This is one of my favorite salads and I could easily have a big bowl of this salad anytime :) With a hint of heat from the chilies, natural sweetness of the carrots and coconut, hint of tartness from the lemon juice, every bite of this salad is just bursting with flavor. If you are craving something light and healthy, this might be just the salad for you too :)

Carrot Kosambari ~ Carrot and Mung Bean Salad | Veg Inspirations photo af68d324-efdd-4505-9236-8b5f561454d1_zps41f3ed53.jpg

Click here for a printable view of this recipe

Ingredients and method to make carrot kosumbari
1/3 cup split mung bean lentil ( mung dhal / paytham parappu)
4 med large carrots grated 
3 Tbsp freshly grated coconut ( or frozen thawed to room temperature ) (nariyal/ thengai)
3 Tbsp finely chopped cilantro ( coriander leaves/ hara dhania / kothamalli )
Salt to taste
1/2 Tbsp lemon juice ( or to taste ) ( nimbu ka ras/ elimbicham pazham)

2 tsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds ( rai/ kadagu)
2 Thai or Indian variety green chilies cut finely ( hari mirch/ pachai molagai)
Pinch of asafoetida powder ( hing / perungayam) (optional)

Rinse mung thoroughly and drain. Soak mung in sufficient water for at least 1 hour or a little longer.

Grate carrots and add to a large bowl. Drain soaked mung thoroughly and add to grated carrots. Add salt to taste, coconut and cilantro/ coriander leaves and mix well. 

Heat oil in a small pan, add mustard seeds to it. When the seeds begin to splutter, add green chilies and asafoetida if using and stir a few times. Pour entire seasoning on the salad. Add lemon juice to salad and mix again. 

Serve immediately. 

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Easy Chocolate Pedha in under 5 mins ~ Indian chocolate fudge ~ Easy Diwali recipes.

You know how it is some days, you just want something with chocolate in it :)  One such day when I was tinkering in the kitchen , and was in the mood for something chocolatey,  I decided to try modifying my earlier doodh pedha recipe and make a chocolate version of pedha.  It was the perfect chocolate fix and was so quick and easy to make that I could not resist adding this to my Diwali menu this year :)

Initially I was not planning to post this, since there are already a few other pedhas in this space.  But just as I thought I might not post this, my friend called me up and asked me if I could suggest something really quick and easy that she could make within a few minutes for Diwali. And this was the first thing that came into my mind :)  So if you too are looking for a really quick sweet, that is also delicious, chocolatey and kid friendly, this might the pedha for you :)

 Easy Chocolate Pedha in under 5 minutes ~ Quick Diwali sweet ~ Indian chocolate fudge | Veg Inspirations
Click here for a printable view of this recipe

Ingredients and Method to make Chocolate pedha
1 and 1/4 cup of sweetened condensed milk (one 14 oz can)
1 and 1/4 cup dry milk/ milk powder (I used carnation brand)
1 and 1/2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
3 and 1/2 Tbsp clarified butter + a little extra to grease hands (ghee/nei)
Optional garnish
a few slivers of almond

In a microwave safe glass bowl mix together all the ingredients thoroughly.

Place in microwave and heat on high in 1 minute increments for 3 minutes and 30 seconds, making sure to stir the mixture every minute. To check if done, cool the mixture slightly and if you are able to roll a little of the mixture between your fingers you know it is done. Try not to overcook the mixture too much as it will result in hard pedhas.  
Allow the mixture to cool a little until it is touchable.Grease palms and roll into a small ball, flatten gently and press with the thumb at the center to make a little dent. Proceed with the rest of the mixture in the same manner. Garnish with slivers of almond if using.

This recipe yields approx 20 med/ large pedhas. The yield will depend on the size of pedhas.
Store pedhas in an airtight container. It does not require refrigeration if used within 2 to 3 days .

My microwave strength is 1000 watts, so if yours is more powerful you will need to microwave it for lesser time and if yours has less strength it will take a little more time.

The milk powder I use has a very fine texture, if you have one that has a granular texture, give it a turn in the blender/ mixer/ spice grinder so that it is a little more fine texture. 

Other pedha recipes in this space,

2 minute almond pedha ~ Badam Pedha

Doodh Pedha ~ Indian fudge

If you are looking for Indian sweet recipes, here are a few more

Besan Kaju burfi ~ Chickpea cashew fudge

Badam Halwa ~ Indian almond fudge

Kaju Katli ~ Burfi ~ Indian cashew fudge

Moong dhal ladoo ~ Indian sweet made with mung bean lentil

Besan Ladoo ~ Indian sweet made with chick pea flour

Easy Rava Ladoo without sugar syrup 
Read more ...

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Oat Rava Ladoo ~ Indian sweet made with oat and semolina

Ever since I tried oats in an Indian sweet for the first time when I made this oats kheer/ payasam,  I feel more confident about using oats in Indian sweets.  I use oats often in my bakes and oatmeal bars and know that it works well in sweets. But initially I was a little wary of using it in Indian sweets. Once I did and realized how well it works, I have been keen to try oats in more variety of Indian sweets.

Last month during navaratri I tried making a variation of my rava ladoo recipe with oats. It turned out very well and I have been wanting to make it again. Since Diwali is just a few days away, I decided to make this sweet for Diwali as well :)

The oats in this recipe is virtually undetectable. It tastes just like the regular rava ladoo and you would not be able to guess that this delicious sweet actually has a good for us ingredient in it :) This ladoo is also easy to make and pretty quick too.  So if you are planning to make a sweet for Diwali or for any other special occasion or get together , give this easy ladoo a try and let me know if anyone in your family could guess that it has something as healthy as oats in it :) 

 Oat Rava Ladoo ~ Oats laddu ~ Indian sweet made with semolina and oat | Veg Inspirations

Click here for a printable view of this recipe

Ingredients and Method to make oat rava ladoo

1/2 cup medium rava ( semolina)
1/2 cup oat flour 
1/2 cup grated coconut ( nariyal/ thengai poo)
1/2 cup sugar (shakkar/ sakkarai)
3 green cardamom (elaichi/ ellakkai)
1/4 cup warm clarified butter (ghee/ nei)
1 Tbsp cashew nuts broken into small pieces ( kaju) 

In a heavy bottomed pan, heat 1 tsp clarified butter / ghee and roast kaju until golden brown on low to medium heat. Remove the cashew pieces and place in a large bowl. 

In the same pan add another 1/2 tsp clarified butter/ ghee and roast rava / semolina on medium heat until aromatic. Make sure the rava does not turn reddish, just until aromatic.  Remove and place in the same bowl as above.

Powder oats in the mixer/ spice grinder until it turns to a fine powder. I used quick oats to get this flour. Measure oat flour after powdering. Add 1/2 to 1 tsp ghee and roast the oat flour on low to medium heat for a min or so. Do not allow the oats to change color either. Remove and place in bowl along with rava.
In the same pan, roast grated coconut until it turns a little creamy. Place in bowl along with rava and oat flour.  Allow this mixture to cool a little until it is touchable.

Powder sugar along with cardamom seeds in a mixer/ spice grinder until fine and add to the rava- oat flour mixture and mix well.

Add balance of warm clarified butter/ ghee and mix well. Take a little mixture in your palm and roll into a  medium sized ladoo.  Continue with the rest of the mixture in this same manner.

Yielded approx 20 medium sized ladoos

Store in an airtight container, this ladoo does not require any refrigeration for 3 to 4 days, if it lasts that long :)

Notes : 
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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Ribbon Pakoda ~ Ribbon Murukku ~ Rice and chickpea flour fritters

Can you believe Diwali is less than a week away ? Time really flies, it seems like just yesterday that 2014 began and we were wishing everyone for the new year. And just like that, in a blink of an eye it seems, it is already mid October, the year is almost coming to an end and the festival season is upon us.  I've had some requests from my readers for Diwali recipes, and I will do my best to provide a few recipes for sweets and savories before Diwali. I recently posted  this coconut burfi  which is a great sweet to make for Diwali,   so I decided to post one savory snack before another sweet :)

Ribbon pakoda / murrukku  or ribbon bakshanam is a savory snack made with rice flour and chickpea flour. Some versions of it also used split black gram lentil flour / udad flour or puffed chickpea lentil four/ dalia/ pottu kadalai maavu. I had already posted one version earlier, which is the way my mother in law makes her ribbon pakoda.  This version of ribbon pakoda is the way it is made in my mothers side of the family. This is a quick and easy snack to make and is definitely a crowd pleaser. I've made this a few times when my friends come over and all of them like it a lot :-) 

Ribbon Pakoda ~ Ribbon Murukku ~ Rice and chickpea flour fritters ~ Easy Diwali Recipes | Veg Inspirations

Ingredients and Method to make ribbon bakshanam
1 1/2 cups rice flour (chawal ka atta/ arisi maavu)
1 cup chick pea flour ( besan/ kadalai maavu)
1 tsp chili powder ( or to taste ) ( lal mirch/ thani molaga podi)
Salt to taste
2 Tbsp butter melted (makhan/ vennai)
A press and a disc in the desired shape to press out the dough.
Oil to deep fry the bakshanam/ fritters 

In a large bowl, mix together both the flours. Add salt to taste and chili powder and mix again. 
Add melted butter to the flour mix and mix  well. 

Add water as needed, a little at a time to make a soft pliable dough. If the dough is too soft, it will absorb more oil, if it is too stiff it will be difficult to shape, so add water slowly and knead till you get soft pliable dough.Divide the dough into 3 to 4 oval balls as will fit in the press.

Heat oil on medium heat. You know when the oil is ready if a small bit of dough dropped into the oil rises to the top immediately. If it sits at the bottom, the oil needs to be heated some more. 
When the oil is hot, place one oval dough ball in the press, close and squeeze out some dough directly into the oil in a circular motion. 

If you are not comfortable in directly pressing dough into the oil, you can press a little out on a kitchen tissue and slowly and gently slide it into the oil. 

Flip over once or twice and fry until the bakshanam turns evenly golden brown, remove from heat and place on a kitchen tissue. 

When cool, store in an air tight container and enjoy with tea/ coffee. This snack can be stored for one to two weeks easily if it lasts that long :)

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Kaddu ka Bharta ~ Vegan Butternut squash / Pumpkin curry

Fall is officially here, although some days it is so warm here that it feels more like summer than fall. But the vegetable section at our local grocery definitely feels like fall with the variety of squash available there. I like all kinds of squash, but butternut squash and pumpkins are particular favorites of mine. Both of these are so versatile that they can easily be used in everything from curries to soups to baking. Usually when I feel like making curry with butternut squash curry, I tend to make something simple like this curry . But recently when I purchased butternut squash I felt like making something "different" for a change of pace.

Kaddu Ka Bharta ~ Vegan Butternut squash/ Pumpkin Curry | Veg Inspirations

A quick search online led me to this recipe of kaddu ka bharta on Tarla Dalal's site that sounded intriguing. The only kind of bharta I have ever tasted is one made with eggplants/ baingan ka bharta. She had made the curry with pumkins/ kaddu but I decided to adapt and make something similar with butternut squash. If you are watching your calories, here is a cool bit of info about the calorie content of both butternut squash and pumpkins. 1 cup of 1 inch pieces of butternut squash has just 63 calories and pumpkin has even less with 1 cup of 1 inch pieces of pumpkin having just 30 calories. This was such an easy and flavorful curry, the four kinds of seeds used in it gives it a very unique flavor. It is also very easy to make and works well with any kind of phulka/ flat bread/ roti. 

Kaddu Ka Bharta ~ Vegan Butternut squash/ Pumpkin Curry | Veg Inspirations

Click here for a printable view of this recipe

Ingredients and method to make kaddu ka bharta (adapted from this recipe)
8 cups of peeled and cubed pieces of butternut squash (or pumpkin/ kaddu/ paringikai)
1 red onion cut fine ( pyaaz/ vengayam)
2 Tbsp oil
1 tsp cumin seeds ( jeera/ jeeragam)
1 tsp fennel seeds ( saunf / sombu)
1/2 tsp nigella seeds/ onion seeds ( kalonji / karunjeeragam)
1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds ( methi seeds / mendiyam)
3 Thai or Indian variety green chilies cut fine ( hari mirch/ pachai molagai)
1/4 tsp turmeric powder ( haldi/ manjal podi)
2 tsp dry mango powder ( amchur powder ) ( see notes )
Salt to taste ( namak/ uppu)
1/2 tsp red chili powder ( or to taste) ( lal mirch/ thani molaga podi) ( see notes)
3 - 4 Tbsp finely chopped cilantro for garnish ( coriander leaves/ hara dhania / kothamalli ) 

Peel and cube butternut squash/ pumpkin/ kaddu into 3/4 inch pieces. Cut onion and keep aside.

In a large heavy bottomed pan, heat oil on medium heat. Add cumin, fennel, onion seeds and fenugreek seeds and stir a few times. When the seeds begin to sizzle and the fenugreek/ methi begins to brown a little add green chilies and onions and sauté until onions turn translucent.

Add butternut squash / pumpkin pieces, all the spices, salt to taste, a little water. Mix well, cover with a lid and cook until the squash/ pumpkin is cooked and soft. Stir frequently to ensure even cooking and add more water if required. Once the squash/ pumpkin is cooked, mash gently with the back of a spatula until some of the pieces are mashed and some still hold a bit more shape. Add more water if required to achieve required consistency and simmer for a few minutes until the flavors mingle.

Garnish with cilantro/ coriander leaves. 

Serve hot with phulkas/ flat bread/ rotis.

Serves approx 4 

If you scale down the heat from green chilies/ chili powder, do scale down the dry mango powder/ amchur powder a tad bit.

This recipe can be halved if required.

If you are looking for curries that go well with phulkas/ rotis/ flatbread, here are a few more....

Butternut squash/ Pumpkin curry  ~ Kaddu ki sabzi 

Mixed Vegetable Kurma ~ Broccoli Peas Curry

Tomato Coconut Curry ~ Thakkali Kozhambu
Read more ...