Pizza with spinach and red bell pepper

This is not any tough task, pizza is often an easy option no matter what. Among the plethora of flavors, spinach outshines everything. The delicious contrast offers a rather quality touch. So, for a change I decided to add only vegetables and cheese. My ruse to maintain the balance without hindering the taste or the texture.

IMG_7720-0

The picture I had in mind till date is the one that I happened to watch on Food Network a few years ago. But, to be honest it wasn’t that appealing at all to the eyes except the celebrity aha moment 🙂 Something then clicked though. I don’t know what. It’s the idea of adding loads of greens, may be.

Anyways, the colors and the charm, ‘two birds in one shot’  allows you to have a carefree and relaxed time! Recipe here.

Advertisements

Healthy green rice

This rice is a whole package of nutrition and my all time favorite healthy green rice. Seemingly a simple ruse to hide most of the vegetables to keep the texture more appealing. Adding pureed vegetables would enhance the flavor and reduces the mushy texture of the rice.

IMG_7042-2

The delicious texture of the rice although I’ve added all those pureed veggies simply amazes any eyes! That’s the fact. In the end finish it with tomatoes, coriander leaves, mint leaves and green chilies to bring that authentic look!

Broccoli chicken meat balls and chicken chowmein

Broccoli chicken meat balls and chicken chowmein – Sort of two birds with one stone scenario. Everything succulent yet each ingredient holds their perspective image is what makes this dish one of a kind. The perfect recipe to work with minced chicken, easily fits if you’re looking for a variety. Since its categorized under Chinese cuisine, it nudges us to make something practically good to extend it as a meal. The closest would be chowmein noodles. It works great and blends well to turn it into a fantastic meal.P1120477-71Preparation of this dish deems sort of quick and easy as well. The option to add few vegetables like broccoli and bell pepper would make this dish a big hit – a super delicious yet healthy meal in a bowl, everything in a jiffy!

P1120467-78

Even though I love this dish, the preparation got me pause for a while. The reason was the squishy and soft minced chicken deemed darn messy to work with hands. I’m not a big fan of messing up my hands to cook food – my policy is to avoid bare hands as far as possible while prepping. Period! Well, the addition of egg makes the mixture even more squishier and extremely delicate to handle. Normally the technique folks have been following seems sort of easy to watch from far. But when you try it on your own, alas! I couldn’t tolerate the technique of squeezing it in the palm of my hand when it comes to chicken mince. I had to find another way, so as the conflict continued, I decided to come up with a clean plan to get the meat balls done in a random shape which comfortably fits with the style of the dish. Scoop out the mixture using a spoon and drop it in the greased pan. As you drop it , gently adjust the edges to form a somewhat circle. Do it in small batches, move them at the side as the pieces are half way done. It continues cooking as you work with the rest of the batches. In the end, bring all the pieces together and close the lid to cook through evenly for 5 minutes or so.

P1120480-02

Rest of the preparations are easy once the meat balls are done. If you have cooked noodles already in the refrigerator, then its two birds with one stone scenario.

P1120482-21

Cooked egg noodles 2 cups or so. Follow the cooking instruction on the package itself. And
try to prepare ahead and keep it in the refrigerator. So whenever you feel like eating a variety
dish, you get to prepare it in a jiffy.

For minced chicken balls:
1 lb minced chicken
1 egg
1 tbsp ground pepper
Salt to taste

For the sauce:
1/4 cup of water or chicken broth
Add 2 tbsp corn flour to it and mix well
Add 1 tbsp minced ginger/garlic
Add 1 tsp dry red chili flakes
Add 1 tsp vinegar
Add 2 tbsp soy sauce
Add 2 tbsp honey
Salt to taste

Check the consistency of the taste and flavor. Adjust as required.

Heat oil in a medium to large pan and spoon the chicken mixture into the pan and shallow fry it. Make sure to cook both the sides by flipping after 5 minutes or so. To ease the frying process you could move the half cooked pieces onto the side of the pan and continue frying the rest. Once you’re done with that process, bring everything together in the center of the pan. Add the vegetables at this stage and cook it through by closing the pan for about 5 minutes or so. Chicken needs only less cooking time and since the minced chicken is sort loose and squishy, it’ll cook through darn fast. Vegetables will stay crunchy and tasty textured, easy to bite as well.

Now, transfer the chicken to a wide bowl and heat 2 tbsp oil in the same pan. Add the sauce mixture to it. Gently stir the mixture and continue stirring until it loosely thickens. At this stage, you could add the cooked chicken pieces back in the pan and mix everything together. Add noodles to it and combine everything well.

Fried banana peppers

These are otherwise known as yellow wax peppers, banana chilis or banana peppers. They are rather mild, less spicy and more on the sweeter side. The waxy texture and the sweetness are perfect for snacks, especially when the day seems sort of dull and down or to enjoy with your friends…

IMG_0240-1

Chili fritters or bajjis or fried banana peppers, vendors rock this. It’s very popular in India! When you flour coat and deep fry any peppers like these, then it becomes chili bajjis, an Indian name for fritters. But I would comfortably call it fried banana peppers, sort of simple and easy to understand.

IMG_0231-1

Fortunately, I have eaten quite a lot when I was darn carefree and diet free 🙂 .  So, as I sighted these at the store, the whole vendor scenario back in Bangalore crossed my mind, so I bought them to prepare  fritters at home. Listing it here for the love of fellow foodies 🙂

IMG_0247-1

For the batter:  A cup of all purpose flour, salt and ground pepper. Add water little by little till it reaches the consistency of pancake batter.

First step – Prepare the peppers. You could leave the seeds as is or remove them – by slitting vertically – if you wish to avoid any hint of spiciness. As you remove the seeds, make sure to leave the outer case intact.

Second step – Dip in the batter and coat in bread crumbs

Third step – Deep fry

Feel free if you need any further clarification.

Enjoy!

Easy avocado cheese dip 

Simple yet delicious texture nudged me to give its well deserved place on the blog. I really enjoyed eating each scoops!

A simple combination of mashed avocados, cream cheese and red chili flakes for a contrast. It looks good, taste good and what more…It was picture perfect.

Avocados have amazing nutritious value and rich taste. Its nutty flavor and butter like creamy texture, an excellent source of potassium and folic acid and an energy booster as well.

IMG_0204-4

As for choosing the right avocados; if possible always choose avocados which are not so heavy and have dark spots and bruises on it. I always opt for spotless, clean and shiny green-skinned, unripe avocados and keep them under room temperature. To check whether it’s ready to use, gently press on the skin, when it yields to the finger pressure, it’s fully ripe and ready to use.

Ingredients
2 fully ripened avocados, mashed
2 tbsp plain cream cheese
1 tbsp light mayonnaise
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp olive oil
1 tbsp dry red chilli flakes
½ tsp ground pepper
Salt to taste

Mix all the above ingredients until well blended. Sprinkle chili flakes on top and enjoy!

From florets to fritters – Cauliflower Manchurian

Cauliflower manchurian or otherwise known as ‘Gobi manchurian’ is a widely popular and sought after Indo – Chinese dish inspired by the Chinese cuisine.  Thanks to the Chinese immigrants living in Calcutta, in the eastern part of India, for many generations. Their influence helped us to develop few delicious dishes with our own signature on it:) Cauliflower manchurian is one of them. Everything about this dish is simply delicious. Personally its one of my favorites and till date it stays the same. Hence the rave and the recipe 🙂
P1110570-0

From florets to fritters, the delicious texture and the tender yet crunchy florets combined with sautéed onions and the green tinge from the green onions  nudge us to rave about it. With the right condiments, these fritters ace as an appetizer. It balances the gap between vegetarian and non-vegetarian. The dry spicy version is a best fit to go with drinks!

P1110568-8

It’s very easy if you ever want to prepare this dish at home. When you prepare it at home it would be nice if you follow through few minor yet core steps. Otherwise, it would be a disaster if by any chance the florets are not evenly coated.  Well, luck would have it, when it was my turn to try it at home,  my instincts kicked in and provided the needed ideas how to incorporate the ingredients perfectly   The taste, texture and the aroma were in perfect pitch..

In order to ease the process, I would fry and keep the onions ready!

For the fried onions

Minced onions – 2 large
1 tbsp minced ginger and garlic
1 t minced green chillies
2 tablespoon oil
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon dried red chilli flakes for a contrast and texture
Few whole dried red chillies

———————————————————————————————————

The main ingredient here is; clean & dry cauliflower florets, preferably bite size pieces! I would suggest to flour coat the florets before it goes in the batter. It helps to stay the skin intact when you fry. You’ll need close to one cup of extra flour to coat the florets.

Ingredients

Clean & dry cauliflower florets
One cup extra flour to coat the florets
Oil for deep frying

Ingredients for the batter

All purpose flour – 1 cup
2 tablespoon corn flour
Enough  water
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper [optional]
1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds – again optional.
Salt to taste
Food color [Optional] if you enjoy the orange texture

Combine everything together by adding little water at a time.

Combine all the ingredients for the batter by adding water – little by little – till you get the right consistency, neither too watery nor too thick. Add the florets to it. Mix well.

Deep fry separately. Stir occasionally and fry until crisp. Drain it on paper towels. Set it aside.

Garnish with (finely chopped) fried onions as well as spring onions. Enjoy with any of your favourite sauce!

spinach falafel cutlets

Indeed a feast to the eyes; falafel fulfills everything you want for a meal or best to whomp up your weekend with family! It fits easily and comfortably both as a snack or even by itself as a meal. Delicious addition of vegetables and pickles on the side simply enhances the whole beauty and gives a healthy touch as well. Hence it makes falafel a must have in vegetarian menu. It  also provides sufficient protein portion.

IMG_6139-01

Unlike other fritters, the interesting fact I like about is its delicious dual texture. The consistent dark brown texture on the outside and the graceful green texture inside was quite intriguing to me. Honestly it took a while to get a good grip of processing the beans to frying some fantastic looking falafel cutlets. I would say, replacing parsley with spinach seems to be a great option. Two handful of fresh spinach is a big deal, indeed 🙂

Anyhow, now I’m quite good at preparing falafel at home. This post is purely intended to save the recipe and share the joy!  That being said, feel free to comment if you find anything less or more 😉

IMG_6127-02

Let me tell you, it won’t tolerate if you bend the rules – as I did in my earlier attempts – by adding more water to ease the stiffness and heedlessly adding flour to correct the discrepancies. Even though adding flour helps to some extent, the flaw reflects in the end result.

Instead, gently process the soaked chick peas batch by batch without adding water in the food processor and treat it nice and easy. If you wish you could switch spinach instead of parsley as I did. Hint of onion, ginger and green chilies, to spice it up a bit. As to give the shape, simply use your palm to give the beautiful falafel cut. It’s neither hard nor fun, but in the end it’s worth the effort. 

1 cup dried chick peas

2 handful of fresh spinach

1 small onion, sliced

2 green chillies, halved

1 tsp cumin powder

1 tsp ground pepper

1/2 tsp baking soda, optional

Salt to taste

Oil for frying

In a large bowl, rinse and soak 1 cup of chick peas. You need enough amount of water to completely submerge the chick peas. Also, remember to level up the water every few hours as the beans tend to increase in volume. Soak it up around 8 hours or so.

After a quick rinse, drain the water off. Transfer the beans in a food processor or mixer, adding along fresh spinach, onion slices, green chillies, ground pepper, cumin seeds and salt. Pulse it until the mixture blends well to a coarser texture yet sort of smooth overall. Add just a hint of water when necessary. Too much water would hinder the right forming of the fritters while frying. Adjust salt and spices according to your taste.

Shaping into small patties are simple. Using a spoon, scoop spoonful of mixture, gently roll and shape the mixture in your slightly grease wet palm. Deep fry the patties in oil until golden brown. It may look green in the beginning after you dropped the patties in the hot oil. Allow it to reach the right texture and in the process it get cooked through as well.

Drain them on a paper towel. Serve with lots of greens and pickled vegetables and sides. Enjoy!