October 16, 2011

Chakli/Muruku/ Crunchy Lentil Snack

Chakli or muruku, as it is commonly known in India, is a spicy crunchy lentil snack. It can be made the easy and the hard way, of course the hard way reaps the best results. 

What you need: Makes 25-30 chaklis
Chakli/murukku press. You could try a cookie tube press too.
2-3 cups of Oil to fry (vegatable/canola oil)

The hard way:
3 cups akki hittu/Rice flour
1 cup yellow hesar bele/yellow moong dhal
1 cup uddina bele/ white urad dhal
1 cup kadale poppu/ soft puffed channa dhal
1 Tbsp jeera/cumin seeds
1 Tbsp yellu/white sesame seeds
2 tsp red chili powder
1/4 tsp hing/asafoedita
1 Tbsp hot oil
1 and 1/2 to 2 cups warm water
Salt to taste
The easy way:
3 cups akki hittu/Rice flour
1 cup kadale hittu/Besan flour
1 cup urad dhal flour
1 Tbsp jeera/cumin seeds
1 Tbsp yellu/white sesame seeds
2 tsp red chili powder
1/4 tsp hing/asafoedita
1 Tbsp warm melted butter
1 and 1/2 to 2 cups warm water
Salt to taste

Dry roast the rice, and dhals separately until they are aromatic, cool completely and powder them to a fine consistency.

Easy method, start here: Mix all the powders, chili powder, salt, cumin, and sesame seeds together. Pour a Tbsp of sizzling hot oil (If you are doing the easy method, substitute this for melted butter) on the mixture and mix thoroughly. 

Now add warm water little by little and mix into a soft and pliable dough. Roll them out into 3 or 4 sections and shape them into cylinders. Add them into the chakli press. Roll them into desired shape.

Heat about 2-3 cups of oil in a pan to deep fry. When the oil starts to smoke, reduce the heat a bit, and then gently lower the chaklis into the oil. They will sink, and foam at first, then come up to the surface. 

Flip them over to the other side and let cook to a golden brown. Drain the oil and place in a sieve, to drain the excess oil. They may be stored up to two weeks in air tight containers. Enjoy!

October 10, 2011

Pineapple meatballs in pepper stir-fry

This recipe is a contrasting combination of meatballs marinated in pineapple bits, and stir fried in spicy peppers and onions.

What you need: serves 6
For the meatballs:
2 lb ground turkey meat (lamb/chicken/pork/turkey)
1 cup red onion finely chopped
2 cups diced fresh or canned pineapple
1 tsp ginger finely chopped
1 tsp garlic finely chopped
1 Tbsp of olive oil
½ cup scallions/green onion finely chopped
2 tsp red chili powder
½ tsp pepper powder
¼ tsp turmeric
Salt to taste

For the stir-fry:
½ tsp jeera/cumin seeds
2 cups of pepper/capsicum juliennes
1 cup onion juliennes
½ tsp pepper powder
1 tsp soy sauce
Salt to taste

Take a large mixing bowl; add in the ground meat, pineapple, onions, scallions, and all the above mentioned ingredients. Mix well and let it chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. 

Divide the mixture into 30 lime sized meat balls. Place them on a greased foil placed in a baking sheet. 

Preheat the oven at 400 degree F for about 10 minutes prior to placing the meatballs. Bake them for 25-30 minutes.  
In the meantime, get a saucepan nice and hot, add a tsp of oil, toss in the cumin seeds and onions, sauté them on high for a minute. Add in the pepper juliennes and cook on low. 

Once the meatballs are cooked, add the golden brown meatballs into the sauce pan, and sprinkle pepper powder, salt and soy sauce, and toss them all together on high for just a minute or two. 

They go great as an appetizer, a side or in a wrap. Enjoy!

Trifuit-trilayered cake

This is an easy cake to make with minimum ingredients. The cake is a fatless sponge and filled with light cream and fruit. The cake is light, fluffy, and low in calories, so another reason to try!

October 4, 2011

Pepper, corn and paneer curry

(Please bear with the clicks for a month, an iphone for now!)

What you need: Serves 4 as a side dish
½ lb paneer (Indian cheese) cut into ½ inch cubes (Vegans, substitute this ingredient with tofu)
½ cup fresh/frozen corn
½ cup colored peppers/capsicum finely chopped
½ cup finely chopped onions
½ cup finely chopped tomatoes
1 tsp ginger garlic paste
½ tsp garam masala powder
¼ tsp jeera/cumin powder
¼ tsp turmeric powder
¼ tsp black pepper powder
½ tsp red hot chili powder
2 tsp olive oil
A spring of curry leaves
¼ tsp mustard seeds
Salt to taste

In a thick bottom skillet, on medium heat, add 1 tsp oil. When it begins to shimmer, add the mustard seeds and curry leaves, cook covered. When the splattering subsides, add onions and ginger garlic paste. Cook for just a minute. Toss in the tomatoes till they are all soft and pulpy, add the corn and peppers, toss another minute, add all the powders, and salt. Cook covered for about 5-7 minutes on low heat, stirring once in a while. 

Add in the paneer cubes and let the mixture simmer, covered, on low heat for about 5 minutes. Now the paneer would have softened and swelled. Perfect timing, turn off the heat and serve hot. Garnish it with freshly chopped cilantro if you like.

It is complimented with flavored or plain rice. It tastes good with chapathis/wheat flat bread too. Enjoy!