Lasuni Palak Sambar- Garlic Spinach Sambar

Spinach Garlic smabar
Hello dearies!!!! My love for sambar is  shown time and again on this space. Its the most satisfying and healthy soup/ dal/lentil for me. Be it a cold day or a warm day, Sambar and rice with a dollop of ghee/clarified butter is my go to meal.

I have an en-number of South Indian friends who make all kinds of sambar. I was totally alien to the concept of adding different veggies to the sambar. My mom at the most added drum stick, eggplant and potatoes to the sambar.

But the exposure I got from meeting people of mixed cultures, food habits after coming to US, is what I cherish most in my stay here. One such food exposure I got was adding leafy greens to Sambar and lentils.

You will need;
1 Cup cookedToor dal, 

**Pressure cooked with little Turmeric and Hing and mashed well
3-4 Cloves Garlic
1 tspn Tamarind Pulp

1 cup chopped spinach
1 tbspn(heaped) Sambar Powder

** I used 777 brand sambar powder.
Salt to taste
Little Jaggery/Gur-Optional

Water as needed

1 tspn Oil 
1 tspn Ghee/Clarified butter
1 tspn mustard seeds
1 Tspn Cumin /Jeera 

In a pot heat some oil+ghee, ad the tempering ingredient let the seeds splutter then add the chopped garlic, let it fry well.
After the garlic is fried well, add some water, add the Sambar Powder and salt and the Tamarind Paste. Add the chopped spinach. Lastly add the cooked dal and Gur and bring it to a boil. Let it boil a few minutes and the Sambar is ready. 
Since I made it for dinner to go along with rice, I did not use any garnishing and even Curry Leaves, as I had none on hand. But feel free to jazz it with curry leaves and cilantro. I drink sambar in bowl fulls, so any lentil with sambar powder will work for me.

 This Sambar is so tasty on its own, that I skipped rice  totally and had it like soup.



Hariyali Matar- Peas in Spinach and Cilantro sauce

Hello Sweeties!!!! This is the time for jolly, feasts and partying. Good food, Gifts and Snow are the highlights of this month. If feasting can be done in a healthy way nothing like it.

So to keep the check on our eating and food habits in order, I bring to you this dish which was taught to me by my little sister ''S". She made it for Diwali dinner and my boys were talking about till good month.

I kind of immediately took the recipe from her, but could get to making it only now. I skipped the addition of the dry cashew paste and the cream, but we did not miss it in any way.
To make Palak Paste;
1 Bunch spinach leaves or one bag cleaned spinach
4 cups water to blanch the spinach 
Salt to taste
Boil water on high heat with salt. Once it comes to a boil, Add the washed, cleaned spinach leaves (Do not bother to chop the leaves as we will grind them in a grinder to make a fine paste), let them wilt for 2 minutes and take them out. You can dip them in ice water to stop their cooking process or grind it immediately in the grinder. Doing this helps the spinach retain their vibrant green color. You have the paste ready to use.

To make Hariyali Matar;
2 cups palak paste
1 Cup Cilantro Paste
** Grind the washed Cilantro and make a fine paste 
1+1/2 cup Frozen peas thawed
1 small onion-finely diced
1 small tomato diced fine
2-3 cloves garlic mashed
1/2 inch ginger grated
2tspn oil to make the gravy
1 tsp Garam Masala
1 Tbspn Cashew paste-Optional
** Soak 1TBspn cahsew nuts in warm wtare and grind into a fine paste
1/2 cup heavy Cream-Optional 
Salt to taste if needed.--
**Paste has salt

In a wok. heat the oil, add the onions, ginger and garlic for a minute, add the tomatoes, cashew paste and fry them till they look cooked and sweat a bit, then add the palak paste and the cilantro Paste. Then lastly add the peas, cream and the garam masala and let the mixture heat up a bit. Check for salt and add if needed.. Delicious Hariyali matar is ready to be served with any Indian bread.



Arugula- Spinach Stir Fry

Mulyachya panachi bhaji

Hello dearies!!!!! I have been asked many times of how I make the leafy greens. Traditional Maharashtrian recipes may confuse you, as such simple veggies are made in different ways in most households. There is not necessary one way to making it.

I usually use coconut and onion with garlic when making these preparations. The pungent ones like Arugula need something sweeter to balance the sourness, so I use onions and fresh coconut, while Fenugreek seeds tons of garlic with some sweetness to balance out the bitterness.

You will need;
1 bag of cleaned Arugula leaves
1 cup spinach leaves
**  you can also use the Arugula salad mix bag we get here in US.
1 medium onion diced
1/2 cup fresh or frozen coconut
2-3 cloves garlic
1 tsp Red chili powder
1 Tsp Jaggery crushed
** You can use honey or sugar if jaggery is not on hand
Salt to taste

1 tbspn Oil
1 tsp Mustard seeds
1 tsp Cumin/Jeera seeds
Pinch of hing/Aesofodita
Pinch of turmeric

 The arugula and spinach leaves are already cleaned and washed if using from a bag. If not wash and clean and chop the leaves. 

In a wok, over medium heat, heat the oil. Once the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds, let it pop, then add the Jeera seeds, then add the hing and turmeric, add the onion, garlic and let it sweat for 2 minutes till the onion gets transparent.

Then add in the greens and cover and let cook for 5-6 mins. Then add in the coconut, red chili powder and jaggery and salt to taste. Cover and let cook for another 2-3 mins. Remember the greens reduce to half after cooking, so add salt last.

Enjoy this stir fry with some hot phulkas or Pita bread or Bhakri.



Eggless Chai Spiced Gingerbread Man Cookies

Hello sweeties!!!! Can you believe that we are into the Holiday season of year 2013!!! Every year we kick start the holidays with shopping for gifts and setting up the tree.

After that comes the baking part, where we do bake an assorted varieties of cookies chocolate, peppermint and custard cookies. This year I tried my hand by tweaking the ginger bread man cookie recipe with some chai spice.

Original recipe for Ginger bread man cookie is here. I tweaked a few things to basically use what I had on hand.

I used Agave and chai spice to make my gingerbread man cookies more Indian and it did take the taste a notch up, for sure.

You will need;
1 stick butter at room temperature
2.5 cups All purpose flour
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup Agave nectar
1 tbspn Vanilla extract
1 tbspn Ginger powder
1 tbspn Chai spice mix-
** Powdered form of clove, dry ginger, green cardamon, black cardamom,  pepper corn, cinnamon.
1 tspn Cinnamon powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/3rd cup milk--if needed

In a bowl, mix the dry ingredients and keep aside. In another bowl, cream the butter and sugar and then add in the agave nectar, and vanilla extract, slowly add the flour till the dough becomes easy to handle. Add milk if needed to form a dough, cover in the cling film/plastic wrap and chill for an hour or so.

Roll into a disc of half cm thick and cut  the gingerbread man shapes. Bake at 300 F till they turn slight brown...for abt 8-10 mins.

The cookies are ready to be shared with a loved ones and wish, " Happy Holidays and Seasons Greetings to you"!!!!!



Vegeterian Bean Soup/Bean Chili Indianized and No meat!!!

Hello Sweet pies!!! I bring to you a warm and spicy soup/chili recipe today. Chili for most Americans means meat, beans and spicy. This is my version of Indianizing the classic American dish to blend with our mixed food habits. Its spicy, and has beans but sadly no meat. Feel free to chop some bean patties or burger patties and add to the soup if you like.

I cooked this soup over stove top, but feel free to use your crock pots and slow cookers. The longer it cooks the better it tastes.

 You will need;
3-4 small 8 oz Cans of assorted beans
* I used corn, black beans, kidney beans, chick peas and Southwest blend of beans.
1 tbspn Oil
1 Can of Crushed Tomatoes
1 Big onion diced
1 Stem of celery diced
1 Tspn Garam masala powder
1 tsp Red chilli powder 
2-3 cloves of garlic chopped
1 inch piece Ginger,chopped
Lemon Pepper Spice Mix- as per taste-- Optional
* *Lemon pepper is a mix of dry lemon, onion/garlic, black pepper and mix of celery salt
Salt to taste 

In a wok, take the oil, heat over medium heat,add the ginger and the garlic, add the onions, celery and dash of salt. Let the mixture cook for 2 minutes, then add the tomatoes and cook till the onion and tomato gets mashed well.

Add canned beans. Adjust the amount of water. I added water till 2 inches above the mixture, adjust the salt. Add in the red chili powder, spice blends and the garam masala. 

Cover with the lid and reduce for good 30-45 min over low to medium heat. Thin it out or enjoy it thick. Top it with some sour cream, tortilla chips or some cheese; the bean soup/veggie chili is sure to impress all.



Baked Wada Pav- Stuffed Baked Buns- Low Fat Version

Hello Sweeties!!! How did your TG holiday go? I am surely thankful for all my friends and family with whom I could spend each and every day of this holiday. 
Minus the crazy shopping, the holiday spirit was big in Ashland. We  put the tree and did the decorations. Also took the kids to Crayola Crayon factory and came home with bunch of crazy crayons and crafts we did there.

My kids love Wada Pav, the most famous snack of Mumbai. If America runs on Dunkin, Mumbai runs on  wada pav. But the whole mess of frying in closed house where you cannot open the windows and the smell of the frying remains in the house puts me off from making this snack which is loved by all. 

This is a short cut to making wada pav and if not entirely, it does satisfy the craving anytime of the year.

Prep Time; 10 mins to mix the dough
1 hours for the dough to rise
Makes around 30 small Buns

You will need; 
For the dough, 

2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups All Purpose flour
1 Tbspn dry High active Yeast
1 Tbspn Sugar and 1/2 cup warm water to bloom the yeast
1 Tsp Dried Rosemary
1/2 tsp Dried Basil
1 Tsp Garlic powder
2-3 Tbspn Olive Oil and
Salt for taste
water as needed to make the dough 

For stuffing;
2 medium size plantains
2 small potato
pinch of Haldi/Turmeric 1 tspn cumin powder
1 tspn coriander powder
1 tbspn chopped cilantro
2-3 crushed cloves of garlic
1/2 inch ginger grated

1 Finely Diced Jalapeno Pepper
Red Dry Garlic- Chili chutney-Optional
salt to taste

Boil the plantains and the potato for 2-3 whistles and then 5 mins on low flame in a pressure cooker. In a bowl, mash the plantain and potato and mix  all the spices, jalapeno, cilantro, ginger and garlic and mix well.

In a bowl, take the dry active yeast, sugar and warm water and mix well. Keep it aside to bloom for 10 minutes. The mixture will be frothy, if the yeast is active. If the yeast is old discard the mixture and get fresh yeast. I always prefer to check the yeast then move on to the dough.

In a mixing bowl, take the flour, add the seasonings, garlic powder, rosemary, basil,  and little oil to start the mixing, as you move along making the dough, add the oil and knead into a soft dough. Cover with the plastic wrap and let it sit in  a warm place.

I preheat the oven to 200 Degree F and then shut it off. Then place the bowl with the dough to rest and rise for a good hour. I have never experienced problems with dough rising.

When the dough doubles in size, it is ready to be baked into some yummy rolls. Punch out the air from the dough and divide the dough into 30 equal balls.

Take one ball and roll a circle of about 2 inches in diameter. This is also called roti or poori; and spread  the dry garlic chutney on it( if you like.) This chutney is easily available in most Indian grocery stores. This is optional, but does give the authentic taste like back home.
Make balls of the potato mixture sand stuff the bread roti that you made and close the ends, Do as many buns as you can, I could make about 30 rolls and even bake a small loaf of bread in the dough.

 Arrange leaving space in a tray and let it rise again for another 30-45 minutes. Brush with some butter.
Bake in a preheated oven at 375 for about 15-20 minutes. enjoy warm with some Broccoli soup. I served it with some Bean soup/Bean Chili (Recipe will be posted soon).