Zucchini Kofta Curry


Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

Zucchini, also called Courgette in some parts of the world is a very versatile vegetable.  With all it's health benefits, it can be cooked or  baked in a number of ways. With them, you could make  a curry, bake a cake, a bread, make fritters, make zucchini noodles or even eat them raw. Today I would like to share a creamy Kofta curry. This is a two part recipe, where the zucchini balls are fried and then served with a gravy, together  in one place.



Ingredients:

For the Zucchini  Koftas

Zucchini-2 large, (washed, grated and the water squeezed using a cotton cloth)
Chickpea flour-1 cup or more
Salt- to taste
Turmeric powder-1 tsp
Red Pepper Powder- 1 tsp
Ajwain (Carrom Seeds)-1 tsp
Oil-for deep frying
Cilantro leaves-a handful, chopped


For the gravy

Cashews-1/2 cup, roasted
Tomatoes- 4 medium sized, cubed
Green Peppers-3 small
Ginger -Garlic paste-1 tbs
Onions-1 medium sliced
Oil-1tbs.
Salt-to taste
Kashmiri Mirch Powder-1 tsp
Turmeric Powder-1/2 tsp
Garam Masala-1 tsp

Directions:

For the Zucchini koftas

1. Heat oil in a pan.

2. Mix the grated zucchini, salt, red pepper powder, turmeric powder, chickpea flour, cilantro leaves, carrom seeds well.

3. Form round balls with your hands and carefully slide them into the hot oil and fry them until they turn golden brown all around.

4. When done, remove them with a slotted spoon onto a paper towel.


To make the gravy.,


1. Grind together the roasted cashews, tomatoes, green peppers to a fine paste and set aside.

2. Heat oil in a pot and fry onions until they turn golden brown.

3. Add the ginger-garlic paste and stir until it turns brown and becomes fragrant.

4. Pour the ground cashew paste along with salt, kashmiri mirch powder, turmeric powder, garam masala and cook on medium while stirring frequently to avoid burning until you see the oil separate.

5. Turn off the heat and transfer the gravy to a serving bowl.

6. Carefully place the zucchini balls into the gravy while it is still hot and garnish with cilantro leaves.

7. Enjoy!









Trifle Pudding


Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

Trifle Pudding is a stunning dessert made with layers of different textures, flavors and colors. It is very fancy looking and easy to put together. With whipped cream and custard as the basic ingredient, you could use limitless combinations of fruit and different kinds of cakes to layer. You could either make everything like the whipped cream, jelly, custard etc., from scratch and use fresh fruit or, use store bought whipped cream, pound cake  and canned fruits. The choice is yours.

Since we had a lot of guests over to break fast with us during Ramadan, I had to use short cuts for making the dessert as I also had to cook dinner. However, I have made sure to buy the canned fruit with fruit in light syrup or in water or in it's own juice.




Ingredients:

Pound Cake- 1 cut into bite sized cubes (Sara Lee, family size)
Whipped Cream- 24 ozs ( one big and one small container)
Canned Papaya-1 can, drained
Canned Mandarin Oranges-1 can, drained
Canned Pineapples- 1 can, drained
Yellow Custard-2 cups (made from the box)
Sweetened Condensed Milk-1 can
Halal Fruit Flavored Jello -Pre-made from one box, cut into cubes.


Directions:

1. In a large mixing bowl, pour in the whipped cream and to it add the condensed milk and give it a gentle mix.

2. Add all the drained fruit except the mandarin oranges to the whipped cream mixture and mix well.

3. In a large trifle bowl add a layer of the cake cubes.

4. Follow with a even layer of custard.

5. Then pour out a layer of the whipped cream mixture.

6. Spread out the jello cubes over the whipped cream mixture.

7. Repeat layering until you fill up the bowl while keeping the whipped cream as the top layer.

8. Decorate the top layer with the saved mandarin oranges.

9. Enjoy!


Cantaloupe Lassi

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

I can't believe it has been months since I have not been blogging. However, I am back now and wish to bring you the recipes of the stuff I have been cooking while I was away.

Lassi is a popular Indian yogurt based drink and could be made sweet or savory, with fruits or without. Regardless of the ways in which it can be made, it is very refreshing and helps cool down the heat from any spicy meal. While Texas has been seeing three digit temperatures, I came up with this cool way of adding cantaloupe to my lassi and the result was extremely good. It had a hint of sweetness from the honey, a bit of tang from the lemon juice a mild fragrance of the cantaloupe itself.

Ingredients:

Yogurt-1 cup
Cantaloupe-1 cup, peeled and cubed
Honey-1 tbs
Lemon juice-1 tsp
Water-1/4 cup
Mint leaves- enough to garnish

Directions:

1. Blend together all the ingredients until smooth and frothy.

2. Pour into serving glasses and garnish with some mint leaves and a piece of cantaloupe.

3. Enjoy




Flourless Chocolate Cake

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

I texted my brother and said that this was a flourless, butter/oil-less, sugar-free chocolate cake, he texted back and said "If nothing, what's in there? "Yeah, it has very few unusual ingredients. It is a gluten free, sweetened with dates and made with canned chickpeas. It is not like a flour cake. It is more like a cheese cake. Extremely soft, super moist, dense yet light- a guilt-free dessert! Nothing but goodness in it. I have adapted it from www.cookingwithalia.com.



Ingredients:

Chickpeas- 1 can (drained)
Hot water-1 cup
Eggs-2
Salt-a pinch
Baking Powder-1 tsp
Dark Chocolate-8 oz
Dates-8, pitted.



Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 360 deg F.

2. Soak the pitted dates in hot water for 10 minutes.

3. Melt chocolate over a double boiler and set aside.

4. Put all the ingredients into the jar of a good blender., the chickpeas, the melted chocolate, soaked dates along with the water, salt, baking powder, the eggs and blend until you get a smooth mixture.

5. Grease a pan and line it with a parchment paper and pour the mixture in and bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.

6. Turn off the oven and let the cake sit in the oven for 10 minutes.

7. Take the cake pan out of the oven and place it on the counter top and allow it to cool completely.

8. When cooled, invert the cake onto a serving platter, cut into pieces and enjoy!

Rice Paper Chicken Roll

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

While I am still not fully convinced about the benefits of a gluten-free diet, I am enjoying exploring gluten-free recipes. These delicate rolls are made with crispy edible rice paper, always found in the Asian section of any Grocery Store. The paper is dipped in warm water for a brief moment to soften it up and make it pliable. A mixture of sauteed vegetables along with chicken or fish can be used as a filling and the paper is rolled up and the filling is secured inside of the beautiful sheer wrap. Read on and see how I made it.



Ingredients:

Rice Paper- as needed
Warm water-as needed

For the filling

Bell peppers-2 cups, cubed
Chicken-2 cups, cubed
Salt-to taste
Lemon Juice-as needed
Black Pepper powder-to taste
Fresh Cilantro- a few tbs, chopped
Ginger-garlic Paste-1/2 tsp
Oil-as needed

Directions:

1. Heat oil in a pan and saute the bell peppers, sprinkled with salt and pepper on high heat for a few seconds.

2. Transfer the bell papers to a bowl and set aside.

3. Heat some more oil and saute the chicken along with ginger-garlic paste, salt, and pepper powder until done and transfer the chicken to the bowl of bell peppers.

4. Drizzle the lemon juice and add the fresh cilantro to the chicken mixture and toss to combine the ingredients and set aside.

5. Take a wide mouthed bowl with warm water and dip one rice paper for 5 seconds.

6. Once softened, place it on a clean and dry plate.

7. Spoon out a 2 tablespoons full of the veggie mixture onto the center of the paper.

8. Grab one edge of the paper and bring it over the filling.

9. Fold in the two side flaps and roll the entire paper up securely.

10. Garnish with cilantro leaves and serve with a sauce of your choice.

11. Enjoy!



Popped Amaranth Grain

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

Amaranth grains are really small and beautiful looking grains, loaded with nutrition. As a child, I have seen amaranth grains being given to our love birds, have eaten  popped amaranth brittle and also eaten amaranth leaves in stir-fries. When I found these tiny grains at our local health food store, I bought them and called my Mom to ask her for the possibilities of cooking them. She gave me a long list and I am gonna share them with you as I keep trying them out.

For now, here is a how-to post on making your own popped amaranth. It takes only few seconds to pop this grain and you could get creative and incorporate this goodness in your daily diet.



Ingredients:

Amaranth Grain-as needed

Directions:

1. Heat a steel pot with tight fitting lid( preferably a glass lid to see the seeds pop) on high heat.

2. Add a table spoon of the grain into the pot and cover it with the lid and shake the pot around until you hear the popping sound.

3. When the popping sound stops, remove the lid and transfer them to a plate.

Notes:

- The grains pop too quickly, so act quickly or you will end up with burnt grains.

-Secure the pot with a lid or you will have a big mess to clean up:)




Instant Rawa Idli (Steamed Semolina Cakes)

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

Idlis are steamed savory cakes, mostly made with fermented batter consisting of soaked rice and black lentils. These happen to be a common breakfast item in South Indian households and is enjoyed by people from all over India. It is served with a chutney or sambar, which is a spicy and flavorful lentil soup.

This  recipe for the semolina idlis is a variation of the original recipe for the rice and lentil idlis. They are made with semolina and yogurt and can be made instantly. There is a secret ingredient that cuts out the long fermentation time and creates a bubbly batter in seconds and makes the idlis pillowy-soft. It is an effervescent fruit salt called the Eno salt,  that can be bought from most Indian stores.

Ingredients:

Semolina-2 cups
Yogurt-1 cup(beaten)
Water-1 cup
Salt-to taste
Asafoetida (hing) -1/2 tsp
Eno Salt-2 tsps
Oil-1 tbs
Mustard seeds-1 tsp
Cumin seeds-1 tsp
Chana daal (bengal gram)-1 tsp
Urad Daal(black gram)-1 tsp
Curry leaves -12-15


Directions:

1. Heat oil in a big pan and add the cumin seeds, mustard seeds, and allow them to sizzle and crackle.

2. Add the chana daal and urad daal and stir them around for few seconds until they turn a darker color.

3. Put the curry leaves in and allow them to turn darker.

4. Putt the asafoetida in and immediately put the semolina in and stir and roast it until you smell a nice aroma and it turns a nice light golden color.

5. Turn off the stove and transfer to a plate and allow to cool completely.

6.When the semolina is completely cold, add the yogurt, water and salt and mix well and set aside for five to ten minutes until the batter thickens.

7. Heat water in a big pot and grease the idli mold.

8. Put the eno salt into the batter and mix it one last time to incorporate the salt into the batter.

9. Quickly pour the batter onto the idli molds and and lower it carefully into the pot of boiling water and cover with a lid and allow them to get steamed for ten minutes.

10. Turn off the stove and remove the idli mold from the pot and let it sit outside for a few minutes.

11. Demold the idlis and serve hot with chutney.

12. Enjoy!





Homemade Almond Milk

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem


Almonds are rich in nutrients including fiber, calcium, magnesium, vitamin E, iron phosphorus and many more and is cholesterol and lactose free. That makes it very beneficial and is very versatile. You could add it to you coffee, tea, oatmeal or just about anything. It is beige in color, has a subtle nutty flavor and is creamy without the cream:)

Making your own almond milk at home is so rewarding. You get to drink the meal without any kind of stabilizers or added ingredients and also use up the almond meal for a number of things. You could add it to smoothies, make desserts, or use it to thicken your gravies.

Ingredients:

Almonds-2 cups (soaked overnight and rinsed)
Water-4 cups

Directions: 

1. Use a good blender and blend together the soaked almonds and water until it reaches a very smooth consistency.

2. Strain the almond mixture using a fine strainer or a cheese cloth.

3. Press the almond meal and get all the almond milk out.

4. Pour it into a clean glass container and refrigerate.

5. Enjoy!



Notes: 

- Almond milk is highly perishable. It must be used up within two to three days

- The almond meal can be dehydrated and used as almond flour

-The longer the almonds are soaked, the creamier the milk will be

-Blend a plump medjool date or two if you wish to sweeten the milk






Breakfast Oatmeal

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

With all the benefits oatmeal has to offer, it makes me look for a number of different ways to make them and add a variety to the options I have. I prefer my oatmeal to be on the thicker side, not overly sweet and mild in flavor. I am hooked to this oatmeal for now. What's your favorite way of eating oatmeal?

Ingredients:

Rolled Oats- 1 cup (Soaked in cold water over night and rinsed)
Whole Milk-2 cups
Salt-a pinch
Medjool Dates-2-3 pitted and cut into small pieces
Coconut Oil-1 tbs
Shredded coconut-1 tsp (toasted)


Directions:

1. Bring milk to a boil and add the soaked oats and allow them to cook for two minutes.

2. Reduce the heat and allow them to simmer for a few minutes.

3. Turn off the stove and sprinkle on the salt, add the pieces of dates, give it a mix  and cover with a lid and let it rest for five minutes until the dates soften.

4. Transfer to a serving bowl, pour the coconut oil on top and sprinkle the toasted coconut.

5. Enjoy!





Chocolate Chip Cookies



Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

Yes! Finally I made the chocolate chip cookies. Cookies that are crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside with one or two melt-in-the mouth chocolate chips in every bite. They looked out-of-the world good and tasted amazing. These cookies are a child's all time favorite snack or dessert and the store bought ones have simply unacceptably long and crazy ingredients. So, here you go....try making your own and you will never buy them from the store again.


 

Ingredients:

All purpose flour-2 1/4 cups
Salt-1 tsp
Baking soda-1/2tsp
Butter-1 cup Softened
Eggs-2 large
Chocolate Chips-2 cups
Cinnamon powder-1 tsp
Turbinado Sugar-1 1/2 cups

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 375 deg F.

 2. Add the salt, cinnamon powder and the baking soda to the flour and mix well to combine and set aside.

3. Put the butter and and sugar into the bowl of a standing mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment and beat on medium speed until the mixture turns fluffy.

4. Add in the eggs and run the mixer until the ingredients get incoporated.

5. Slowly add the flour mixture and run the mixer until just combined.

6. Turn off the mixer and stir in the chocolate chips with a rubber spatula.

7. Line a cookie sheet with a parchment paper.

8. Use an ice-cream scooper to drop the cookie dough onto the lined sheet two inches apart to allow them to spread while baking.

9.  Put the cookie sheet into the oven and bake for 9- 12 minutes or until cookies turn golden brown.

10. Turn off the oven and transfer the cookies to a  cooling rack and allow them to cool completely before you dunk them into a cup of warm milk.

11. Enjoy!





Notes:

1. I have used Ghiradelli semi-sweeet chocolate chips.

2. You may add vanilla flavoring in place of cinnamon powder.

3. If turbinado sugar is hard to find where you live, feel free to use a cup of brown sugar and half a cup of white sugar.

4. If you do not own a standing mixer,  all of the procedure can be done with a wooden spatula in a round big bowl.