Egg Samosa

Egg Samosa

Egg Samosa

Samosa is not just a very popular Indian snack but also a very versatile one.Different parts of the country have different preparations for samosa. While in the north, aloo samosas are very popular, in the south, onion samosas find more takers. Samosas can not only have different kinds of fillings (potato, onion, chicken, mutton etc.), but can also be shaped in more than one unique way. Although predominantly a savoury snack, Samosas can also be prepared in the sweet form. Yes, in short I believe that an entire book can be written on Samosas :) .

But today, I am going to talk only about Egg Samosa. This recipe is straight from mummy’s kitchen, as I haven’t really come across it anywhere else :) . This used to be one of our “look-forward-to” and “eat-as-many-as-you-can” snacks in the Ramzaan meals :) .Preparation for egg samosas is a very simple, three-step process. First step is to make the scrambled egg (egg, chopped onions, coriander leaves, green chilli, salt) and allow it to cool. The scrambled egg should be properly scrambled and should not have too much moisture (so no tomatoes please!). Next step is to make the samosa dough (maida, little oil, water, salt). Last step is to roll the dough into roughly 5″ diameter, put the filling in center, moisten the circumference with water and then finally fold into a semi-circle, and tightly press the edges. Deep fry until light golden brown.

You can also get hold of special samosa cutters from the market. These cutters are basically used for getting more even and styled edges. Samosas can also be shaped as cones instead of semi-circles as I have described above.

For those of you who have never had this before, Egg Samosa may sound a little strange in the beginning. But trust me, when you eat it, you will be in heaven :) . So do prepare this in your homes too!!

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Pesto Pasta

Pasta with Pesto Sauce

Pasta with Pesto Sauce

I love everything that speaks, smells or looks even remotely Pasta. It’s not only my ideal comfort food but also my first preference whenever I have to cook something in a hurry. In fact, I am so addicted to it as a bachelor, that I may run short of rice and flour in my pantry, but Pasta will always be well stocked ;)

Simplicity is the corner stone of my food philosophy; and that’s what you have in Pesto Pasta. Pesto Pasta is a cold pasta dish and tastes best with spaghetti pasta. To make this, cook pasta till al-dente, drain and mix in the pesto sauce. Check out my Pesto Sauce recipe here. There’s no need to add any olive oil, as pesto sauce already contains lots of olive oil. You can also optionally sprinkle grated parmesan cheese(if you can afford it’s exorbitant price) on top, if you like your pasta with creamy texture. One can also add olives and cherry tomatoes to the pesto pasta for more variety.

Enjoy yummy Pesto Pasta with your family. It can be served as a main dish and is great for bonding over family meals.

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A Saucy Affair

Pesto Sauce and Tomato Sauce

Pesto Sauce and Tomato Sauce

I am a big fan of Italian cuisine, and sauces form a crucial component for a majority of Italian dishes. They are used for dressing meat and vegetable dishes and also for dressing my evergreen favourite dish, Pasta. Two such famous mother sauces in Italian cuisine are Pesto Sauce and Tomato Sauce.

The key ingredients for Pesto Sauce is Parsley leaves, few Basil leaves, a handful of nuts (preferably walnuts or pinenuts),garlic cloves (2-3), salt to taste and a good helping of olive oil (mind you, no water!!).All these ingredients (minus the olive oil) are first coarsely grinded in a mixer and then olive oil is added little by little, till the herbs and the nuts are finely grinded. A key tip to get the pesto sauce with perfect consistency is to add a generous helping of olive oil. Olive oil when used sparingly, makes the pesto sauce sticky and hard. And don’t worry about the excess oil. Olive oil is edible and considered as good for health.

As for the tomato sauce, there are several ways to prepare it. I have used the classic combination of tomato and basil.First immerse the tomatoes in simmering water for 5 minutes, then remove and peel off the skin .Now dice the tomatoes and cook in a pan with little bit of olive oil. Add a handful of fresh basil leaves and thinly sliced garlic (optional). Add salt and sugar to taste. Cook for around 10-15 minutes, until the tomatoes are soft.

Store the sauces in glass jars and refrigerate. They should stay fresh for at least a week.

If you have a busy lifestyle, then these homemade sauces are not just a money saver, but also a massive time saver. And when used as dressing for pasta, they taste just as yummy :)

I will soon be posting about my pasta recipes made using these sauces. Till then, Bon Apetite :)

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Gulgula

Gulgula

Gulgula

Gulgula is one of those rare sweet recipes which can be prepared in a jiffy. It is a deep fried, sweet snack which is very popular in north India. And as some of you may have already guessed, the concept is very similar to fried donuts :)

And now for the surprise ingredient. It’s not made from maida, which is used in most sweet and savoury snacks.And it’s not made from besan, the mother flour for all pakoda dishes. It’s core ingredient is Atta (whole wheat flour), the other Holy Grail of all Indian Flours :) . And since Atta is good for health, Gulgulas make for a very guiltless dessert :) .

To prepare gulgulas, one needs to first prepare the batter. The batter is made from atta(1 cup), sugar(1 cup), saunf, water, curd(1 tbsp), oil(1 tbsp), fruit salt(a pinch). The consistency of the batter should be thick enough(yet soft enough) to very slowly drip away from a spoon. Traditionally, Gulgulas are round in shape, but getting the perfect round gulgulas comes only with practise. To deep fry the Gulgulas, pour the batter from a spoon into the oil. As the batter slowly drips from the spoon and lands on the hot oil, it will form a rough round shape.Fry for around 5 minutes or until dark golden brown.

Gulgulas is one of those sweets which taste better when homemade. And if you are a person with a sweet tooth, then this is a must try dish. Trust me, Gulgulas, when prepared correctly, are unputdownable :)

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Aloo Bonda

Aloo Bonda

Aloo Bonda

Potatoes are very popular in the erstwhile state of Bihar in India, where I come from.Bihar is in fact one of the largest cultivators of potato in India. Hence in Bihari cuisine, potatoes form an integral part of a large number of dishes, almost as integral as onion is to Indian cooking.And one such dish is Aloo Chop, otherwise known as Aloo Bonda.

Aloo Bonda is a very popular snack and street food, especially in north India. When I was small, Aloo Bonda and Samosas used to be our favourite snacking items for the evenings, which we would purchase from the kinara shop.As kids, we simply used to love it! And my fascination with this dish continues even now :)

Well the recipe for Aloo Bonda is very simple. There are two components to the dish; the potato stuffing and the batter used for the coating. For the stuffing, boil potatoes in a pressure cooker for 15 minutes, then peel and mash them. Now take tiny amount of oil in a pan, fry some chopped onions and green chillies, add some coarsely crushed peanuts, and finally mix in the mashed potatoes. Add salt to taste and a pinch of turmeric powder (for yellow colour). Fry this for 5 minutes, allow to cool, and then shape into golf-sized balls. Next prepare the batter with 1 cup of besan, 1 tbsp of rice flour, a pinch of fruit salt, salt to taste, and any choice of powdered Indian spices. The batter should be thick enough to form a uniform coating around the potato balls. Finally dip the potato balls into the batter and then deep fry them for 3 minutes.Yummy Aloo Bonda is ready to serve!

I know people love to have competitions over gulab jamuns :) . I am ready to have one over Aloo Bonda ;)

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Bread Pakoda

Bread Pakoda

Bread Pakoda

Pakodas is one of those versatile Indian snacks which can be made from probably anything under the sun, including your regular sandwich bread. Pakodas with tea is an evergreen snacking item prepared in households as well as sold by street vendors.In fact, Pakodas would probably rank next after panipuri and chaat, in the popularity ratings for Indian street food.

So this brings me to the dish, Bread Pakoda. Bread Pakoda can be prepared in more than one way. The simpler way is what you can see in the picture above. Bread triangles are simply dipped into the pakoda batter and deep fried. In another variation, bread is used in sandwich form with a stuffing of mashed potato (the stuffing is upto your imagination), and is then dipped into the pakoda batter and deep fried. And of course, the bread can be cut into any possible shape.

The key to the flavour is the composition of the batter. In my recipe, I have used 1 cup of besan, 1 tbsp of rice flour (for crispness) and 1 tsp of fruit salt (for fluffiness). The batter can be seasoned with any of the regular Indian spices( chilli powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, cumin powder etc. ) and salt to taste.I have added chopped coriander leaves for extra flavour and colour. The consistency of the batter is important to ensure even coating around the bread. Also the oil should be neither at very high temperature (uneven cooking) nor at too low temperature (bread will soak the oil).

I hope you will prepare this dish at your homes and enjoy it as much as I did :) .

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French Toast

Yummy French Toast

French Toast

France is celebrated not just as the fashion capital of the world, but is also widely regarded as a Food Mecca.The French give this characteristic artistic touch to their cooking, and their dishes look so appealing on the plate that one would even hesitate diving in.French cooking techniques are also one of the most difficult to master. The Cordon Bleu culinary school, which originated in France, however is steadily becoming popular all over the world, and is leaving it’s stamp on the contemporary food philosophy.

Ok, now brace yourself for the myth buster :) . French Toast is not a French dish. It never originated in France.Secondly, French Toast is not supposed to be one of those elegant desserts; It’s traditionally cooked from stale bread and can be rustled up in 15 minutes.But there’s no denying it’s delicious beyond words. it’s my ideal comfort food :)

The recipe for French Toast is unbelievingly simple. Cut the bread into halves.Although, it’s okay to use stale bread for this dish, make sure that the bread is firm and not crumbly, else the toasts will disintegrate while frying. Pour some milk(preferably cold) in a bowl, beat in a egg (for the binding), add sugar to taste, and any other flavour agents of one’s choice. My favourites are cinnamon powder and cardamom powder.Dip the bread pieces in this mix, and then shallow fry them in a pan.Cook from both sides until they get a golden brown colour.And voila, French Toasts are ready to serve!! :)

Well, this dish fits in perfectly with my personal food philosophy of Cooking Simple, Cooking Fast, Cooking Healthy and Cooking Yummy :) Try this out, dear friends, if you haven’t yet.Cooking just doesn’t get simpler than this.This is a recipe with no regrets :)

 

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Soyabean Biryani

Soyabean Biryani

Soyabean Rice

So I had this box of soyabeans lying forlorn on my kitchen shelf, and rightfully so, because it had been ignored for long :) . Yes, I had again and again procrastinated cooking with soyabeans. Until the expiry date was too close, and the pantry too empty to cook anything else. And lo and behold, Soyabean Biryani was born :D

Ok, enough of the poetic touch :) . Well, soyabean biryani might not be such a rare dish to come across; it’s served in my office cafeteria after all; although it’s too dry and tasteless to inspire anyone.However, I feel that soyabeans as an ingredient has not been used to it’s potential in Indian cuisine, even though it has several nutrition benefits. Alas, vegetarians find it too meaty , and ironically, non-vegetarians find it not meaty enough.

In my recipe, I have stuck to the traditional biryani cooking process. First, the soyabeans are left to soak in warm water for around 10 minutes and then removed and gently squeezed to release extra water.To cook the biryani, whole spices are roasted in ghee, soaked basmati rice is then added and flavoured with any seasoning of one’s choice. My favourite combination for the seasoning is garam masala, cinnamon powder, coconut powder,nutmeg shavings and salt.One can even add the off-the-counter biryani masala powder, however that drastically changes the colour of the biryani. The rice is then mixed with soyabeans and allowed to cook in water, and towards the final stages, little milk is added (optional) to give a soft texture to the rice.The rice is then garnished with fried onion slices.

While cooking this dish, it’s important to take care that we don’t add too many soyabeans. When cooked, soyabeans expand in size and suddenly look like twice the quantity. I have fallen into this trap before and this prompted the following tongue-in-cheek comment from my dad

Beta, this dish is supposed to be Rice with Soyabeans or Soyabeans with Rice?? :)

Let’s celebrate the unassuming soyabeans, I say!!

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Banana Dumplings

Banana Dumplings

Banana Dumplings

To prepare this, I haven’t followed any recipe as such. I had some bananas that were spoiling fast , some leftover batter from making French Toasts and some fleeting memory of banana fritters recipe from some cooking show.The final product was a quick and easy marriage :) . And far from turning out as a disaster, it actually tasted yummy :)

The banana pieces are first well immersed in a batter of milk, sugar and 1 egg. To give more depth of flavour to the batter, one can add cardamom powder or cinnamon powder. Here egg is primarily used as binding agent; so those who avoid egg can very well use cornstarch. Next the banana pieces are gently rolled over a plate of rice flour until they are uniformly coated and are no longer sticky to touch. After this, leave them to refrigerate for 15-20 min to allow the coating to get well adhered. Finally deep fry them until they get a nice golden colour.

Although they can be had as is, drizzling them with chocolate sauce or custard sauce can take the dish to another level. Also I am aware that banana and sesame is a classic combination. So one can also consider rolling the banana pieces over a plate of white or black sesame seeds before coating them with rice flour.

Happy Cooking!! :)

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