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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Baked Samosa

Samosa is a popular Indian snack, triangular shaped, made with all purpose flour, stuffed with a spicy (veg/non-veg) filling and deep fried to a golden brown color. 'Deep frying', thats actually banned in my kitchen. I don't wish to give up on my favorite snacks just because its deep fried. So, i tried baking my samosas and they tasted really good. Whenever i think about samosas, i remember my school days, where in most of the evenings my dad buys me crispy vadas, bajjis and samosas, from a local guy around the corner of our house in chennai, who makes it really fresh and hot. I devour the samosa, savoring the spicy and hot filling, mmmm good ol' days. Okey-dokey, lets get to the recipe,

Ingredients:

For dough:
1 cup All purpose flour (maida)
1 pinch Ajwain seeds
1tsp Oil
Water
Salt
How to:

  • In a bowl, mix together the flour, ajwain, salt and oil.


  • Then slowly add the water(takes less than 1/2cup) and start kneading, resulting a slightly sticky dough. 


  • Wrap it up and let rest aside.

For filling:

3 medium Potatoes
1/2tsp Cumin seeds
4-5 small Green chilli (finely chopped)
1tsp Ginger (minced)
1/2tsp Garlic (minced)
1/4tsp Turmeric powder
2tsp Coriander powder
1tsp Chilli powder
1tsp Cumin powder
1/2tsp Chaat masala powder
1tbsp Cilantro (chopped)
Salt
1tbsp Oil
How to:

  • Boil and peel the skin of the potatoes. Also cut'em into small cubes and keep aside.
  • Dissolve the coriander powder, cumin powder, chilli powder and chaat masala in 2tbsp water.
  • Heat oil in a skillet, add cumin seeds, followed by ginger and garlic. Saute for a min.


  • Add green chillies, continue sautéing, then add turmeric powder.


  • Now pour the masala water and cook for a min (this way, the dry masala powders won't get burnt) followed by cilantro.


  • Then add the cubed potatoes along with salt and cook for a couple more mins.


  • Switch off and let it cool.

How to stuff:

  • Divide the dough into for equal size balls. On a slightly flour dusted surface, place a ball and roll the dough in to a flat, thin, oval shaped chapathi. With a knife, cut the rolled dough into half.


  •  On one moon-shaped half, apply water along the edges and make a cone out of it. Press the dough with watered edges to bind.


  • Now, stuff about a tbsp filling and start bringing the edges together and seal'em with a fork.


  • Stuff the remaining filling into each of the moon-shaped half and arrange it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or sprayed with oil.


  • Bake at 400 degrees for 15 mins, turn the other side and bake for another 5-6 mins or until browned.

Serve hot with ketchup, hot sauce or chutney.

Tips:
  • Brush the samosa dough with egg wash(beat 1 egg with a tsp of water) just before baking for an even brown coloring.
  • Bake for another 4-5 mins for extra crispier samosas.
Sending this dish to Guest hosting "Only" event with "Low Oil/Low Calorie" Theme
guest hosted by Priya, started by Pari (event announcement).






Friday, September 24, 2010

Garlic Hummus

From the day 1 of my visit to a neighborhood restaurant 'Aladdin Gyro-cery', i started having an affair with the gyros, falafel, pita breads, baba ghanoush and hummus. Did i say the whole menu? Looks like i did. Oops! missed the dessert, moist baklava and lovely basbousa. Me & Senthil love to dine there. They serve this awesome hummus with the falafel plate and pita breads. It tastes  so good, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with sumac. Wondering what sumac is? 'Sumac' is a shrub, which produce sumac bobs,a dark-red fruit cluster with a seed at the center. They are ground and used as a spice to give a tangy, lemony taste. The chickpeas are a great source of protein and dietary fiber, totally healthy.

Coming to the recipe, i used few extra garlic pods to make hummus, garlicky. Also, I sprinkled paprika, as i didn't have sumac in my pantry. There are quite a number of add-ins along with other ingredients, one reader suggested adding 'garam masala powder', that's an awesome idea of making hummus 'Indian style'. You be creative. My garlic hummus tasted very good with soft pita pocket breads, we just scooped up the dip and every mouthful was a moment to treasure. Next time, am gonna add few more garlic pods and make Extra Garlic Hummus.
Ingredients:

2 cups cooked /1 16oz can Garbanzo beans (Chickpea)
6 pods Garlic
1/4 cup Lemon juice
1/3 cup Tahini paste
3/4-1 cup Water
1tsp Cumin powder
1-2tbsp Olive oil
Salt
Paprika, Cilantro (for garnishing)
How to:
  • Blend together the garbanzo beans, garlic, lemon juice, tahini, cumin powder and water along with salt. 
  • Pour the water 1/4 cup at a time to find the right consistency. Also taste as you go along and add salt as needed. You can also add 1/2 of the olive oil while blending, for a smooth textured dip.
  • Transfer the blended mixture to a serving plate or bowl, swirl it with a fork, sprinkle some paprika for bright color, drizzle the remaining olive oil and garnish with chopped cilantro.
Serve with pita breads or chips.


I thought, i would add this banner for my readers to understand that the recipe is completely healthy.

Sending this dish to the following events:


A.W.E.D.MENU hosted by niloufer started by DK



CWF: LB - Chickpeas hosted by Nithu and started by Kiran


MLLA 27 an event by Susan of The Well Seasoned Cook.







Whole Wheat Pita Bread

Pita is a round pocket bread consumed in Middle eastern and Mediterranean cuisines, which are considered as a staple. These are also called as  Pita pockets. The pockets are created by the steam, which puffs up the dough. The pocket is left in the middle, after the pita is cooled and flatten. This bread can be made on a grill, any oven or even on stove top. This bread is served as an appetizer in Mediterranean restaurants. 

The ingredients are simple and i replaced 1/2 of the all purpose flour with whole wheat flour for a healthier version of the bread. The sweet smell of freshly baked bread is so warm and comforting. This bread is very easy to make and very filling dish for your breakfast or dinner served with a dip. When you cut the pita into half, you can see the pocket, where you can fill anything to form a sandwich and serve with a salad. Alright, here goes the recipe,

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups Whole Wheat flour
1 1/2 cups All purpose flour
1 1/4 + 1/4 cups warm Water 
1 packet Quick rise Yeast
1tsp Sugar
1tsp Salt
2tsp Olive oil
How to:
  • In a bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in 1 1/4 cup of water and let sit for 10 mins, until frothy.

  • In another big bowl, add the flours and salt together and mix well.
  • Now make a well at the center of the flours and pour the yeast mixture.
  • Start kneading and bring the dry flours together, pour the remaining water 1tbsp at a time and knead, resulting a slightly sticky dough.

  • Then, transfer the dough to a flour-dusted surface and continue kneading for 8-10 mins, until the dough is smooth and elastic.

  • Wrap the dough in a bowl coated with olive oil for 1 1/2hrs in a warm place, until the dough doubles.

  • Punch the dough to remove excess air, knead for a min and divide the dough into lemon-size balls.

  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees with the baking sheet in the lower rack of oven.
  • Make flat-round shapes with a rolling pin and wrap it up with a kitchen towel for 10-15 mins for the dough to rise again.

  • Either line the baking sheet with parchment paper or spray thin layer of oil.

  • Place the risen flat doughs and bake for 4 mins, flip it and bake for another 3 mins or until brown spots appear.

  • Watch the dough puffing up because of the steam.

video
  • For softer pitas, wrap'em in a kitchen towel, once out of oven. For crispy pitas bake'em couple more mins.

Serve warm with hummus or baba ghanoush.

Tips:
  • The olive oil helps in handling the dough and uses very less flour while rolling flat.
  • You can also broil the pita at Hi, with pitas on the baking sheet at the top rack of the oven, broil for 2 mins, flip it and broil for another 1 1/2 mins. 
  • Store the pitas in a zipper bag up to a week at room temperature or freeze'em for up to 3 months.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

An Apple a Day!

I would like to share some information about apples. No history or geography, but something to know for your day-to-day life. We all must have heard this saying,"An apple a day, keeps the doctor away". Now you know, i am just gonna throw some light on, why eat apples, how it should be eaten and what it does to your body. Also, i am proud of myself, as i eat a raw apple daily as part of my breakfast and its going to be a year now. If i miss it for breakfast, which is very rare, i snack on it. Also, it gratifies my sweet tooth. Whenever i am away from home, say on road trip or camping, i either pack it from home or just buy locally at stores. 

After tasting many different apples, i found 'Red Delicious Apple' is the one for me. It has a very sweet taste, nice crunchiness with somewhat dark red skin. I buy my apples from Costco. Sometimes they are out of red delicious, during that time, i buy Fuji or Gala apples. I am never out of apples at home, as i refill them regularly. Alright, let get to know'em more,
Why eat and what it does?
  • It is a good source of vitamin C, potassium and folic acids. Also trace amounts of B vitamins, magnesium, iron and zinc. It is essential for cell detoxification and enzymatic function.
  • It contains bioflavonoids, known for antioxidants, also improves immune system prevents heart disease and cancer.
  • It has high soluble fiber from pectin and insoluble fiber from cellulose, aids the digestive process and encourages the beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract.
  • It has high water content, which are cooling, moistening and helps in reducing fever.
  • Its pectin (soluble fiber) helps in reducing high cholesterol as well as blood sugar. It also decrease the chance of colon cancer.The fibers keeps the LDL cholesterol under control.
  • It contains malic acid and tartaric acid that inhibits fermentation in the intestines.
  • It is good for treating acid reflux condition also called GERD (Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease).
  • It has phloridzin, a flavonoid that helps preventing women from osteoporosis and also increases bone density.
  • It has flavonoids and photochemicals which protects against lung cancer and colon cancer.
  • It has high antioxidants, which helps eliminate acne problems and make your skin vibrant and glowing. Among the top 20 antioxidant foods, Red delicious apple takes the 12th place.(Also, 1st among apples.)
How to eat?
  • Wash the fruit and wipe it with a paper towel to remove any residue.
  • Some apples are coated with wax to prevent the crisp and shiny skin. With a vegetable brush, gently scrub the apple while rinsing, to remove any wax content and wipe dry.
  • It (All fruits) should be eaten on an empty stomach. It helps detoxifying your system and prevents graying hair, dark circles under the eyes and nervous outburst.
  • Do not cook the fruit, as it looses all its vitamins and left with taste only.
  • Never peel off the skin, as half of the vitamins and soluble fiber content are under the skin.
  • Better to eat whole raw fruit. With a juicer in your kitchen, make fresh fruit juice at home, do not drink juice in cans.
How to buy and store?
  • It should be free from blemishes with bright color skin.
  • It should feel firm with tight skin and not dull or mushy.
  • Store it in the refrigerator in a plastic bag for freshness.
  • Make sure there are no blemished apple, which would spoil the whole bag.
  • Do not wash the apple before storing.
Nutritional Facts:

Serving Size: 1 medium Red Delicious apple (154g)
Calories          80
Total Carbs    22g
Dietary Fiber  5g
Sugars            17g
Vitamin A       2%
Vitamin C       20%
Calcium          2%
Iron                2%

In my experience, apple does a lot of wonders in my body. It fills me up and energizes in the morning, its fiber regulates my digestion, keeps my skin and teeth healthy and much more. What are you waiting for? Grab an apple and start you day.


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