food

Palak/Spinach Phulkas

I do not plan my meals unless I have people coming over. When it comes to everyday cooking, I look at my small blackboard where I write my “vegetables at home list” and plan my meals around that. And yesterday, I realised that a bag of spinach needed to be finished off and I was wanting to make a simple roti and dal kind of lunch. And that is when I decided to make these Spinach phulkas. They turned out so well and brought a nice change to a simple friday lunch. My boys loved how green they looked and gobbled them up in minutes.
And here is the recipe for the same :

One bunch of spinach leaves- washed and pat dried

Wholewheat flour/Atta- as required

Salt and Ghee- As per taste

Warm water- If needed

Method:

-Take spinach leaves and grind it in a blender to a fine paste with enough water.

-In a wide bowl, add your wheat flour, a pinch of salt and a spoon of ghee.

-Add the spinach paste too.

Mix everything well. You should be able to make a nice soft dough with the water from the paste itself, If, even after mixing you feel that you might need more water, then add warm water. Knead well and make a soft dough.

The dough should look like this.

Cover and Rest for 20-30 minutes.

Now divide the dough into equal sized balls and make chapatis or phulkas as normal.


Once cooked, brush a little bit of ghee on top of each phulka and keep them warm in a casserole until serving.

 

 

Other variations I have tried:

Beetroot phulkas(same method)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Easy one pot Vegetarian rice

Its about 8:40 am on a Wednesday morning. I have managed to serve a good breakfast for all of us and also packed some lunch for the husband. The lunch that was a tad bit salty if I can remember correctly. Anyway, we are all ready. Husband leaves for work and I leave with this little person to drop him off at nursery. I buckle him up in his seat and turn the car engine on. And thats exactly the moment when my car-mad son had to ask me a question as funnily inappropriate as this- Mummy, why doesn’t our car ever get stuck??????  I was a little angry but wanted to laugh. And we come back home later in the day and he tells me he had a plate of vegetables for lunch at school. I say, thats amazing and that it will help to keep him strong and well. And he immediately runs to try and lift his daddy’s dumbbells. But he cannot and he comes back at me and asks why hasn’t he become strong yet?  Ermmm.. I scratch my head and give him a hug. I tell him they are way too heavy and only when he grows as big as his daddy, he might be able to do it. And now he wants to grow big immediately. God save me! He is going through a rather curious phase and asks a million questions in a day. Good for him! But not for me you see… because I am not very intelligent enough in the first place to answer every question of his. But my husband who is generally more knowledgeable than me gets away with it somehow. So, my answer to some of his questions is ” Let daddy come home and we can ask him together” and this has been working for a while now.

So, While I am learning to appear smart and impress my son, you should probably scroll down further for an easy one pot rice recipe… My version of a quick vegetable biryani!

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Here’s what you will need:

Recipe serves 2-3 people

Basmati Rice– 200 gms (Washed & Soaked for atleast 10 minutes)

Water– For every cup of rice, add 1.5 cups of water.

One large onion– thinly sliced

Ginger garlic paste– made from 2-3 garlic cloves and a small piece of ginger

Vegetables like Carrots, beans, beetroots, peas (Grate carrots and beetroots if you can for a nice texture)

About 3 big spoons of thick creamy yoghurt

Red chilli powder– one spoon or more if you like it hot

Coriander powder– one spoon

Turmeric powder– a small pinch

Hing/Asafoetida-a small pinch

Salt– To taste

Ghee/Oil– As preffered

One spoon of cumin seeds, One clove, one cardamom, a small stick of cinammon and one bay leaf to add to Oil/Ghee

Coriander leaves to garnish

-Heat up Oil/Ghee in a pot, add cumin seeds,clove, cardamom, a small stick of cinammon and one bay leaf.

-Add sliced onions, saute till golden brown.

-Add ginger garlic paste. Saute for a minute. Add vegetables and reduce flame to medium and cover and cook for 5 minutes. If you are adding grated beets & carrots, you can also add them while you add rice because they cook really fast.

-Now, reduce flame. Add the spice powders & hing. Mix well. Add yoghurt. Add water and salt. Mix well and check for salt. It should feel a little salty because the rice tends to absorb salt quite well. So, don’t worry if you find it quite salty at this stage. Somewhat like your tears if you have ever cried and tasted it too 😀

Increase the heat a little, and let the water start to boil. Now, add the soaked and strained rice.Let it cook partly covered.

After 5-7 minutes, you will see that the rice has absorbed all the water. At this stage, reduce the flame to the lowest setting. Cook completely covered for 10 minutes. Then switch off the flame and let it rest for another 10-15 minutes.

Just before you serve, add fresh coriander. Serve with your favourite curry or a simple raita/spiced yoghurt with onions, green chillies and cucumber.

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Homemade Pita breads!

So, one among million other things that I have wanted to cook is fresh Pita breads at home. And guess what…I made it yesterday. The entire process felt so magical especially for a beginner-level baker like me. Starting off with a simple yeast dough that puffs up like a balloon towards the end of the process was such a joy to watch with my side-kick(my son) who was equally excited and stood beside me as I cooked these on the stove. Its a very easy recipe which I found on youtube but I like to be adventurous at times so changed it a bit.

I have managed to post this recipe sooner than I thought(Thanks to Instagram). A few lovely women on Instagram appreciated me and wanted to know how I made it. Luckily, I also have pictures and short videos from yesterday… To tell you the truth, I always like to click pictures and videos for such recipes only because I can go back to refer when I am making it again. And as an added bonus, I get to use it for the blog when I want to!

SO here goes…

This recipe will make about 14-16 medium sized breads!

3 cups of all purpose flour or you can use whole wheat flour! ( I used 2 cups of AF and 1 cup wheat flour)

1/2 half cup fine semolina

1 tablespoon milk powder

1 tblspn instant yeast

1 Tspn sugar/ honey

1/2 tblspn salt

Some warm water

1/4th cup extra virgin olive oil and more for rubbing on the dough later

  1.  In a wide bowl, mix flour, semolina, salt and olive oil. In another small bowl, add little warm water(shouldn’t hurt your finger when you dip in) add yeast and sugar and dissolve well. Wait for a few minutes and you will see some foaming. Now add this to the dough. Now, I know you can add instant yeast directly to dry ingredients but I prefer doing it this way so I can be sure the yeast has activated. Feel free to add it directly to flour if you have worked with yeast previously.
  2.  Mix very well and make a nice dough by adding warm water. And at first its okay to add little extra water so you get nice sticky dough. Then take it off the bowl and knead knead knead for a good 15 minutes or so while adding drops of warm water every now and then. You will be pleasantly surprised to see a beautifully smooth dough as you keep kneading. When you get a nice bouncy feeling to the dough and a sore feeling to your arms, oil the bowl well and transfer the dough back to the bowl.​​ Also coat the surface of dough with oil.

    ​3. Cover and allow to rise for an hour or more.

    Once it’s risen well, punch the dough and take out all the air. So therapeutic I tell you!​

  3. Now divide dough into preferred sizes and dust some flour on the work surface or your regular roti board. Start rolling the balls into preferred shape round or oval. Roll it thicker than chapatis. Like a paratha maybe!
  4. Arrange each rolled out bread onto kitchen towels side by side. Cover and leave this to rise for another 30 mins. Might not rise too much but I read that this step helps with puffing up later while cooking. ​

  5. After 30 minutes or so, heat up a skillet, medium to low flame and cook each bread for about 40 secs in total.As you keep turning and cooking, you will see how beautifully it puffs up. Then take it out and place on clean kitchen towels. 
  6. Don’t stack immediately, wait for it to cool and then stack.
    Cover the stacked breads well and store in kitchen towels in room temperature or freeze them in freeze safe bags.

We love yoghurt and anything yoghurt based. And we are also partial to greek yoghurt. SO you can be sure we love Labneh..the strained yoghurt cheese that is just so so so good… When I finished making the breads, I started to crave for a good dip. I quickly took a cup of greek yoghurt onto a muslin cloth and allowed it strain for a couple of hours or so. But the longer you strain, the thicker and creamier it is.

Just before serving, I transferred it to a bowl and drizzled some extra virgin olive oil on top. You can add olives, fresh parsley, fresh oregano, za’tar spice on top of this. I didn’t have any of these in stock. But trust me this stuff is rich and delicious on its own. It is good on toast, good on top of herbed vegetables, or simply get sweeping with some warm homemade pitas like we did.

As we are always greedy and want lots of food, I also made pan fried falafels with whatever ingredients I had. Because, it is not the original recipe without parsley,  I will not be posting the recipe for falafels in this post. But there are a lot of websites and youtube videos to learn from.

And this is the final platter I put together for dinner

Hoummus- store bought, homemade labneh, homemade falafels and homemade pitas. For the salad, I Had a bag of mixed leaves. To a cup of that I added grated carrots, fresh cut cucumbers and cherry tomatoes drizzled with some olive oil and add a bit of French mustard. 

 

I hope you enjoyed this post!

Tiramisu

We are back in London after a rather long holiday in India. This week has been busy as we have had a lot of things to clear out and also do all the unpacking. We are almost done and slowly this change is starting to feel more normal. I even managed to whip up some dosa batter in between all the de-cluttering. Last night I was the tired mother who was sipping on a glass of Merlot and also trying to make dosas for the half pint who was happily sat on the kitchen counter to see his mum in action. Somehow, those few moments I shared with him while I served him and watched him eat made me feel oh so nostalgic. I was the little child in my mother’s kitchen who always sat on the counter and enjoyed having food off the stove while mom and I spoke random things. Yesterday, I saw myself sharing a slice of my childhood with Neil while he enjoyed his dinner just like the way I used to. This whole scene from last night made me feel something that pretty much sums up life for me. All I want to do is cook for the family with a bottle of wine perhaps….

It may only be appropriate to share one of my favourite recipes while I am talking about how much I love to cook. The recipe is only a matter of getting things in order and layering them up to form a Tiramisu. This is a non-alcoholic version only because I find the existing amount of coffee and cocoa is enough for me to go bonkers. So feel free to add a bit of rum to your coffee decoction if you are more grown-up than I am.

 

Ingredients

Cocoa powder to sprinkle the tiramisu

Coffee to wet the sponge fingers

Mascarpone -500 g

Eggs- 6 medium

Sugar -120 g

Finger sponge -it depends on the size of the box/tin u will use

 

This is the dish I like to use so it is easy to build a neat layer. The wider the better!

First prepare the coffee like you would normally do.( enough to soak the finger sponges , I usually fill a pasta plate) pour into a bowl and let it cool.

Whip the egg yolks with half the sugar to obtain a very light and creamy mixture.

Add the mascarpone to the mixture and work the whole thing with a whisk (or wooden spoon until creamy with no lumps, At this stage it should be very creamy

Whip the egg whites with a pinch of salt, add the sugar (the remaining half), with a wooden spoon, add them gradually and gently into the mixture of mascarpone and egg yolks, so you now have the cream for the tiramisu.

Soak the sponge fingers one by one in the coffee and start to build your layers.

Cover the fingersponge soaked with a layer of mascarpone cream adjusting with a spoon.

Sprinkle the surface with cocoa powder. Go ahead with  the second layer of fingersponge, cream and cocoa. Also, if before you have them arranged vertically, then place them horizontally (and vice-versa).

Complete with plenty of cocoa powder to cover the surface of your Tiramisu and Store in refrigerator for a few hours before serving.

Smoothie series #4 Popeye smoothie

Quinoa, brown rice, wholegrain breads, millets, leafy salads, beets and fruits! Oh how I wish I only ate what I just said above. Someday I am hoping to eat these regularly. Until then, I will only keep liking pictures on Instagram and make some healthy smoothies occasionally. So here is the next one called the Popeye Smoothie! 

It has a good amount of spinach to keep you charged through the morning. I have been told most greens are best to have for breakfast but I hardly follow this rule because I am most of the time just plodding along to get the breakfast done rather than think about making it healthier. But I am getting there slowly and I will hopefully make many more super healthy breakfasts.

 

A handful of spinach – I used organic baby spinach 

One banana 

Milk 

Pistachios or any nuts of your choice 

Simply blend it all together and sprinkle any seeds of your choice or you may just drink it as such. This time I added a scoop of pistachio protein powder because the husband requested for it. And it was delicious anyhow! So feel free to mix and match. But spinach seems to go very well with bananas for some reason.