Monthly Archives: June 2021

Shish Taouk


Shish Taouk Sheesh Tawook Lebanese Style Chicken Kababs

Delicious Middle Eastern Kabobs – Lebanese style. Superb as appetiser, starter or make a meal of it. And what to say of sandwiches, which are at the heart of middle eastern food and lifestyle. Just slather the pita bread with Toum and pile on the shish taouk kabobs and salads and pickles for a satisfying and delicious snack or meal!

Ingedients

  • 1 Kg. Boneless chicken breasts
  • 6 tbsp. yogurt
  • 1 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1 small slice of lemon with the peel
  • 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar, if available.  If not use regular vinegar
  • 6 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. garlic paste
  • 2 tsp. white pepper or black pepper
  • 1 tbsp. ginger garlic paste
  • ½ tsp. oregano, crushed
  • 1 tsp. chilli powder or paprika
  • 2 tsp. salt, or to taste
  • 1 tsp. tomato paste

Method

  1. Cut the chicken into 1” cubes.
  2. Mix all the ingredients from yogurt to tomato paste and mix well into the chicken cubes. 
  3. Marinate for 4 to 6 hours or overnight in the refrigerator. 
  4. Heat the grill. 
  5. Skewer the chicken and grill till light brown. 
  6. Turn over and brown the other side. 
  7. Serve with grilled tomatoes, onion, olives, cucumber, olives, etc.
  8. Serve as a appetizer or accompaniment to any main meal.
  9. Have with pita bread, spread with Toum (Garlic Sauce) and green salads.

Toum


Traditional Homemade Lebanese Garlic Sauce

Toum (Garlic Sauce) usually used as a dip for grilled chicken, meat, etc. So creamy and fluffy and ah the taste… simply lip-smacking, you can just eat and lick it as it is. You would never believe it is homemade! Serve with Shish Taouk, Souvlaki chicken, Crispy fried chicken and any grilled meats or roasted vegetable. Slather on pita bread sandwiches or serve as a regular dip!

Traditional homemade garlic sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 cup garlic
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup iced water
  • 3 cups oil, like canola, sunflower

Method

  • Peel garlic and remove the germ if desired (makes the taste less sharp) by cutting in half and scooping out the germ in the centre of the garlic.  I skipped this step today due to lack of time.
  • Place the garlic with salt in a blender and process till garlic is smooth, use the lemon juice at intervals to facilitate movement of the garlic. 
  • Add a little water if the lemon juice is not sufficient.  Adding more lemon juice may make it too sour.
  • Once the garlic becomes a smooth paste, start adding the first cup of oil in a continuous drizzle while the blender is running. 
  • Stop the blender to give it a rest.
  • Then continue adding the remaining oil alternating with the iced water till all oil and water are incorporated. 
  • The paste should be light and fluffy by now.  
  • If not add one egg white and run the blender for 2 minutes to achieve the fluffy consistency.
  • Transfer to a sterilized glass jar or a container and refrigerate. 
  • Use for a month, if it lasts that long! 
  • This recipe makes a large quantity of toum.  So it would be better to try with half or quarter of the recipe. 
  • But bear in mind that if the toum doesn’t become thick and fluffy, the garlic mixture should not be wasted, use it in cooking where garlic paste (with tartness) is required.

Bharwa Masala Mirchi


Bharwa Masala Mirchi

Stuffed Masala Peppers

These stuffed chillies can be consumed as a pickle or an accompaniment or loaded into sandwiches or rotis for a snack! Make a large batch and store in the refrigerator for upto a month!

Bharwa Masala Mirchi

Ingredients

  • 6 large long green Chillies
  • ¼ cup sev (fried bhel puri sev)
  • 1 ½ tbsp. fennel seeds (Saunf)
  • ¼ tsp. Ajwain (carom seeds)
  • ½ tsp. turmeric powder
  • 2 tbsp. coriander powder
  • 2 tbsp. Amchur (Dry mango powder)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. Asafoetida
  • ½ tsp. mustard seeds
  • 4 to 5 tbsp. oil

Wash chillies and wipe dry.  Make a slit on the length of the chilli without cutting through.  Carefully remove the seeds and the pith with a small spoon or a knife.  Leave the stem on. 

To prepare filling:-

Powder the sev fine.  Grind the fennel and Ajwain to a powder.  Mix the sev, fennel, Ajwain, coriander, amchur, turmeric and salt in a bowl and add 2 tbsp. of the oil and mix well.

Stuff the masala powder into the chillies and set aside.  Heat the remaining oil and temper with asafoetida and mustard seeds.  When the seed pop add the stuffed chillies and fry on medium low heat for 3 to 4 minutes till it changes color and is light brown. Turn and cook other side for 2 minutes. Don’t burn them.  When the chillies are soft, switch off flame and cover and keep for 5 minutes.

Serve with besan chillas, rotis or with any meal as pickle or appetiser.  Can be preserved for a month in the refrigerator.

Crispy Fried Chicken


Crispy Fried Chicken

The chicken is so amazingly delicious and crispy and crunchy that you just can’t have enough of it. It was just flying off the frying pan. Very simple and easy to make with very few common ingredients. Serve as a starter, appetizer or as an accompaniment with any main meal. Or simply serve as a meal with a green salad and potato fries!

Crispy Fried Chicken

Ingredients

  • 1 Kg. Chicken or Boneless chicken breasts
  • 2 tbsp. ginger garlic paste
  • 1 tsp. salt or to taste
  • 1 to 2 tbsp. vinegar
  • 1 tsp. cumin powder
  • 1 tbsp. coriander powder
  • ½ tsp. garam masala powder
  • 1 tbsp. chilli powder or to taste
  • 1 cup rice flour & 3 tbsp. rawa for coating
  • Ghee or oil for frying
  1. Clean chicken and cut into large pieces. If using boneless chicken breasts, cut into strips or cubes.
  2. Mix the ginger garlic paste with the masala powders, salt and vinegar to a smooth paste. Add a little more vinegar if the paste is too dry.
  3. Apply this mixture to the chicken and allow to marinate for half an hour or can even keep overnight in the refrigerator.
  4. Roll each piece of chicken in rice flour rawa mixture.
  5. Heat enough ghee/oil in a frying pan.
  6. Place the chicken pieces in the pan.
  7. Deep fry, reduce flame to medium, turning occasionally until a delicate brown and tender about 3 to 5minutes each side.
  8. Serve hot.
  9. May be shallow fried if desired.

Prawn and Cauliflower Caldine


Caldine or Caldinho in Portuguese, is a typical goan curry recipe used to cook, fish, vegetables or shrimp. It’s a light coconut curry and as the consistency is quite thin can easily double up as a spicy soup. It is mildly spiced and considered a “sweet” curry. This combination of shrimp and cauliflower is quite commonly prepared in a caldine and tastes delicious over boiled rice or with some crusty bread or poee or pao used to mop up the runny curry and the juicy morsels devoured with the crunchy cauliflower and luscious shrimp. Keep the shells of the shrimp intact (provided they are fresh) and you will enjoy sucking and relish the juicy caldine that is trapped in the shells!! Make sure the cauliflower has some crunch, so avoid overcooking.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup medium to large prawns
  • 1 medium cauliflower
  • 1 medium onion
  • 3 green chillies
  • 1 medium tomato
  • 1 tbsp. oil
  • 1 tsp. Salt, or to taste

Grind to a paste

  • 1 cup fresh coconut or 4 tbsp. coconut powder
  • 3 large cloves garlic
  • ½ tsp. cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp. pepper corns
  • 1 tbsp. coriander seeds
  • 1 small marble sized ball tamarind

Method

  1. Shell & devein the prawns.  If the prawns are very fresh, keep the shell intact, removing the head and legs.
  2. Wash and drain. 
  3. Apply a pinch of salt and turmeric and set aside. 
  4. Separate the cauliflower florets and cut into large pieces. 
  5. Immerse in salted water for 15 minutes to loosen dirt and kill insects, if any.
  6. Grind the masala to a paste. 
  7. Slice the onion, slit the green chilies and chop the tomato. 
  8. Heat oil in  a vessel,
  9. Add the sliced onion, green chilli and fry till light brown. 
  10. Add the tomato and saute till soft. 
  11. Add the masala paste with the masala water and additional water for the curry as required,
  12. Add 1 tsp. salt and bring to a boil and simmer 5 minutes. 
  13. Add cauliflower and cook 5 minutes till almost tender. 
  14. Add prawns and cook 10 minutes. 
  15. Adjust seasoning and serve with steamed rice.
  16. Goes well also with Poee, or bread to mop up the delicious gravy
  17. Try it with some crusty bread….. yummy!!

Six Breakfast Sandwiches to kickstart your day


Six Breakfast Sandwiches to kickstart your day!

Quick and Easy with minimum preparation!

Make a meal of these sandwiches, for brunch, lunch, dinner or simply as a quick snack to satiate you.  If you wish to cut down on the carbs, have them as “open sandwiches”, using only one slice of bread. Enjoy these crisp, crunchy sandwiches with various fillings with fresh ingredients that can be adapted to suit your taste. Instead of tomatoes, use cucumbers, jalapenos or gerkins. I am partial to fresh basil and like to use it in everything if I have it on hand. You can substitute basil with parsley or fresh coriander. Feel free to use your preferred sauces like, tomato, mayo, mustard, etc. to suit your taste.

  1. Tapenade and Feta Cheese Sandwich with Zaatar (Wild Thyne or Oregano)

Ingredients – Per Sandwich

2 Slices bread

2 tomato slices

2 tbsp. crumbled Feta cheese

2 to 3 tbsp. Black Olive Tapenade

1 tsp. Zaatar

2 tsp. olive oil

Lettuce, fresh basil and cherry tomatoes for serving

Method

Apply Tapenade to the bread slices.  Put one tbsp. olive oil on a hot pan and place the bread slice tapenade side up.  Spread the crumble feta cheese, sprinkle the zaatar, drizzle some olive oil and top with the tomato slices.  Place the second slice of bread on top of the tomato slices tapenade side down.  Apply olive oil to the top of the bread.  By now the underside of the sandwich should be brown.  Turn over and toast both sides.  Serve crisp olive tapenade and feta cheese sandwich with soft succulent centre, with some iceberg lettuce and fresh basil.

2. Grilled Pepperoni Cheese Sandwich

Ingredients – Per sandwich

2 Slices Bread, of your choice

2 slices cheese

8 slices pepperoni

Butter to coat the bread

Dijon Mustard

Method

Butter one side of the bread and place on a skillet or pan, buttered side down.  Place 1 slice of cheese and 8 slices of pepperoni on the top of the bread.  (You may broil the pepperoni for ½ to 1 minute in the microwave if you wish).  Top the pepperoni with a slice of cheese.  Cover the open-faced sandwich with a lid.  Spread some Dijon mustard on the second slice of bread.  When the underside of the open-faced sandwich is brown, top the sandwich with the other slice of bread, mustard side down.  Butter the upper side of the bread and turn to brown the other side.  The cheese should be melted by now.  Remove and serve immediately when brown and crisp on both sides.

3. Grilled Halloumi Tapenade Sandwich

Ingredients – per sandwich

2 slices Bread

3 slices Halloumi Cheese

2 to 3 slices tomato

Iceberg lettuce (or any lettuce you have at hand)

Some fresh basil

2 tbsp. tapenade

Olive oil to brush the bread

Method

Grill the halloumi slices on a hot pan till brown on both sides. Brush the bread slices with olive oil and spread tapenade on the other side of the bread.  Place the olive oil side on a hot pan with the tapenade facing up.  Top it with the tomato slices, lettuce, basil and halloumi and cover with the second slice of bread, olive oil side facing up.  When brown on the underside, flip the sandwich over and toast till brown.  Serve immediately, crisp and warm on the outside and crunchy, salty and tangy on the inside!

P.S.:  I am partial to fresh basil and use it in everything if I have it at home.  Feel free to use any fresh herbs of your choice.

4. Tuna Melts

Ingredients – for one sandwich

1 small tin Canned Tuna (in sunflower oil)

1 small Onion, finely chopped

2 tbsp. Mayonnaise, or as required

1 green chilli, finely chopped (optional)

1 tsp. Sweet relish (optional)

1 tsp. Dijon Mustard (optional)

2 slices of tomato

Fresh Basil

1 slice cheese

Method

Put the tuna alongwith the oil in a bowl, add the chopped onion and green chilli and mash to a paste.  Mix with mayonnaise and the sweet relish and mustard, if using.  The tuna would taste as good though, without the relish and mustard.  But if you love their complex flavors, you would enjoy these additional flavors.   Butter one side of the bread and place on a heated griddle, buttered side down.  Top with the tuna mayo paste, tomato slices and cheese slice.  Add the fresh basil and cover with the second slice of bread, buttered side up.  Flip the sandwich over when the underside is brown and toasted.  Brown both sides and serve hot and crunchy with the soft juicy delicious tuna filling.  Serve with some crisps or potato chips.

For variation: Add gherkins or jalapenos instead of tomatoes

5. Grilled Egg & Cheese Sandwich

Ingredients – for one sandwich

2 slices bread

2 eggs

Salt and pepper for the eggs

2 tomato slices

Butter to spread on the bread

Method

N.B: You need to use a large skillet for this recipe so you get enough of the egg omlete to fold over the sandwich.

Grease the skillet with a little butter and add the beaten eggs seasoned with salt and pepper and spread evenly over the pan.  Place one slice of bread buttered side up in the centre of the egg omlete.  When the egg browns lightly and sets completely, flip over so that the buttered side of the bread is now touching the pan . Fold the egg over the four sides of the bread. Top with tomato slices and fresh basil (or lettuce or baby spinach) and a slice of cheese. Place the second slice buttered side up on top of the cheese slice and turn the sandwich over the brown both sides.  Serve hot and crisp with some green salad or sprouts salad if you wish to serve it as an express lunch or dinner!

6. Halloumi Lettuce Wrap

Ingredients – for one wrap

1 tortilla wrap

Mayonnaise or mayo Sriracha, etc as desired to spread over the wrap

3 to 4 Tomato slices, grilled

3 to 4 Grilled Halloumi

Lettuce, fresh basil, (or coriander leaves or mint)

Method

Place the tortilla on a warm pan on low heat.  Drizzle mayonnaise as required and place on one end of the tortilla, grilled halloumi slices, tomato slices, lettuce and basil. Fold into half and serve immediately.

Millets Dosa


Millets Dosa

Millets Dosa

(Jowar – Bajra Dosa) (Sorghum – Pearl Millet Dosa)

Ingredients

Makes 8 to 10 Dosas

½ cup Bajra flour (Pearl Millet flour)

½ cup Jowar flour (Sorghum flour)

½ cup Rice flour

¼ cup flaxseeds powder (optional)

1.5 cups thin butter milk (Chaas)

Water as required to make a thin batter

1/2 tsp. cumin seeds

½ tsp. green chilli paste

½” pc ginger finely chopped

½ tsp. pepper powder

1 tsp. Salt or to taste

Ghee as required

Mix the flours and combine well, add salt, cumin, green chilli paste, ginger, pepper and mix with butter milk to a pouring think consistency.  Add additional water if required and adjust consistency.  Cover and set aside for 5 minutes.

Heat a dosa pan to very hot.  Pour a ladle and a half of the batter and cook till brown.  Drizzle ghee in the centre and all around.  After a minute, flip and fry on the underside for a minute.  Remove and serve while crisp and hot with Idli Podi (Gun Powder) or any chutney of your choice. Continue frying the remaining dosas ensuring the batter is thoroughly stirred and mixed before each dosa is put on the pan, as the flours tend to settle to the bottom of the dish.  Leftover batter can be stored in the refrigerator and later or the next day.

P.S.:  To ensure the bajra and jowar flour remains fresh, store in the freezer.

Quick Breakfast Tortilla Wrap


Quick Breakfast Tortilla Wrap

This easy and quick breakfast is ready in minutes! Enjoy as a snack or for dinner or supper.

For variation, use chapatis or phulkas instead of tortillas.

Quick Breakfast Tortilla Wrap

Ingredients

To make one wrap – per person

  • 1 Tortilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 slices cheese
  • A handful fresh baby spinach
  • 2 or more slices of cold cuts (beef, pork, chicken ham, smoked turkey, mortadella, etc.)
  • A pinch Salt & pepper, or to taste
  • 1 tsp. butter

Method

  1. Break the eggs into a bowl, season with salt and pepper. 
  2. Heat a pan, add butter and pour the beaten eggs into the pan. 
  3. Immediately place the tortilla over the egg and quickly turn the tortilla over (must use your fingers for this) so it is coated with the egg on both sides.
  4. Now fry for a minute till egg on the underside is light brown. 
  5. Flip the tortilla over and place 2 slices of cheese side by side at the end nearer to you. 
  6. When cheese melts slightly, top with spinach and 2 or more slices of cold cuts, as per your taste. 
  7. Carefully transfer the tortilla to a board and form into a compact roll, beginning from the side with the filling. 
  8. Cut diagonally into two halves and serve immediately. 
  9. Ketchup, mayonnaise or mustard sauce may be added as per taste. 
  10. I prefer it plain.

Makhane ki Kheer


Makhane ki Kheer

Makhanas have important benefits. They are rich in nutrients and hence make a great addition to a healthy diet. They are high in antioxidants and help stabilize blood sugar levels and have anti-aging properties and may also promote heart health. They are rich in protein and gluten free.

As makhanas are low in calories they make an excellent snack in between meals to satisfy hunger pangs. For a snack, roast the makhanas, sprinkle with salt and enjoy.

The Makhana kheer is a rich dessert but low in calories. It is an important item on fasting and Navratri menus as regular grains like rice and wheat are not allowed during fasting in India.

Makhane ki Kheer

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Makhane (lotus seeds, fox nuts)
  • 3 cups milk
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 to 3 tbsp. ghee
  • 10 nos each almonds, pictachios, raisins, (nuts sliced)
  • 3 cardamoms
  • A pinch saffron
  • 2 to 3 dried roses for garnish and decoration (optional)

Method

  1. Clean the lotus seeds and lightly roast in ghee till light brown and crisp.
  2. Grind to a coarse powder, you can leave some large pieces.
  3. Heat the milk and when it come to a vigorous boil, add the sugar and stir till dissolved.
  4. Then add the ground makhane. Stir frequently.
  5. Let it simmer for 1/2 hour. Add the nuts, raisins, ground cardamom and saffron and simmer 5 minutes.
  6. If you like a thicker and granular consistency cook for further 20 to 30 minutes and then proceed with adding nuts, etc.
  7. Allow to cool. Refrigerate 1 hour before serving. Serve cold.
  8. May be served slightly warm if desired.
  9. Crumble the roses and sprinkle over the kheer for garnish and decoration. Use fresh rose petals if available.

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