Fafda – Chickpea flour snack

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Fafda is somewhat an identity of Gujarat when it comes to food. Everyone loved fafda! A Gujarati morning without fafda is like a river without water. Fafda is a popular morning snack in Gujarat made from Bengal gram flour. As with every other festival in India, food is of prime importance and there is special food associated with each religious occasion. This dish is most popularly consumed on festival of Dussehra. On a daily basis, people queue up at sweet shops to get a fresh batch of hot Fafda. People don’t usually make it at home because its recipe is not known and very difficult to get it right. I love trying new varieties of food, and being away from India makes me want to attempt making things at home since Indian authentic snack foods are hard to find. My family loves Fafda and I grew up in India eating them every weekend morning for breakfast. After moving to America, this ritual kind of stopped because it is very difficult to find this snack in the restaurants.  After multiple attempts my mom and I found a perfect recipe. This is our favorite meal for breakfast with stir-fried green papaya, green chilies, and spicy peanut chutney. My recipe is easy to make at home, yet tastes like it came from your favorite street shop. Give it a try and enjoy this classic snack with your loved ones.

Ingredients:

1.5 cup chickpea flour (besan)

1 tsp baking soda or papad kharo

1 tsp ajwain (thymol-carom seeds)

1 tsp crushed black pepper

1 tsp salt

¼ tsp turmeric (optional)

4 tbsp canola oil

¼ cup water to knead the dough

Oil for frying

Method:

Add 2 tbsp oil, salt, turmeric powder, crushed black pepper, ajwain seeds, and baking soda together in a bowl and mix well. Add the chickpea flour and add water little by little to make the dough little softer than chapatti dough. Knead the dough at least for 6-10 minutes. Add 1 tbsp of oil and knead the dough nicely for another 4-5 minutes and leave it aside for 15 minutes covering it with kitchen towel. After 15 minutes, take a small portion of the dough and place it on a greased surface (wooden surface preferred). With base of your palm, flatten the dough and drag the dough in a straight line. This will form a strip.  Note: This is very difficult till you are practiced enough. Gently and carefully run a knife below the rolled strip to remove the strip. Deep fry the strip over medium heat till light golden yellow. Remove strip from heat and place on a paper towel to soak out the excess oil. Repeat same step with rest portions. Let it rest for a minute and serve hot with chilies, stir-fry green papaya or spicy peanut chutney.

P.S. Will post the recipe for stir-fry green papaya and spicy peanut chutney soon 🙂

 

   

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Matar Paneer Masala

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Once in a while after long 13 hour work day, I find myself in need of a very simple recipe and a quick dish that I can get on the table in 30 minutes or less. I want minimal chopping, uncomplicated prep work and as little clean up as possible. When making Indian food, I spend plenty of time prepping & chopping vegetables. After multiple attempts, I have made up quick, easy and healthy Matar Paneer recipe. I call it healthy because I am not loading it with cream, butter and cashews.

Matter paneer is an all-time favorite of mine. Matter paneer is basically a flavorful vegetarian dish made of soft cheese called paneer, which is lightly pan fried then added to a spiced gravy with peas. I like to add variety of vegetables such as green beans and potatoes at times just to jazz it up! Much like soup, matter paneer tastes better a few hours after it’s prepared, or even the next day, as a short sit allows the ingredients and spices to meld together.

Ingredients:

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 cinnamon stick

1 black cardamom pod

1-2 red dry chilies

2-3 serrano or thai chilies

2 medium yellow onions, chopped and puréed

3 medium tomatoes, chopped and puréed

1 tbsp ginger paste

1 tbsp garlic paste

1 tbsp coriander powder

1 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp paprika powder

2 tsp garam masala powder

1 cup of frozen green peas

1 cup of french green beans (optional)

1-2 cups cubed paneer (can also substitute with tofu)

Method:

Pan-fry the paneer cubes in little olive oil. Cook them turning occasionally until all the surfaces is a light golden color. Carefully remove the cheese cubes and allow the oil to drain on the kitchen paper towel and set aside.

Pour drizzle of olive oil into a saucepan and heat to medium-heat. Sprinkle the cumin seeds, red chilies, cardamom pod, cinnamon stick and serrano chilies. When cumin seeds began to change color, add onion puréed. Sauté onion puréed until slightly brown and then add tomato puréed. Sauté till the oil starts to separate.

Add coriander powder, turmeric powder, red chili powder, garam masala, salt and ginger-garlic paste. Mix all the ingredients and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes. Add water and keep stirring until gravy comes to a boil.

Add frozen green peas, and french beans, and other vegetables (optional). While stirring occasionally, cook all the vegetables in the gravy for another 4-5 minutes.

Add paneer cubes. Stir the mixture properly and cook on a medium heat for about 2-3 minutes. Garnish the dish with chopped coriander leaves (optional). Matar paneer is ready to serve. Serve hot with rotis, parathas, naan or plain steamed rice seasoned with cumin seeds. I personally prefer to have this with a plain tandoori roti as the dish is quite heavy; it is better balanced by lighter bread.

Tips:

It is perfectly okay to use store brought paneer. If you are health conscious you definitely can make paneer from skimmed milk at home. That will further reduce the calories from fat keeping the protien content intact. In the resturants, this dish is made with plently of butter/oil, a large chunk of cashew paste plus a dollop of fresh cream added towards the end of make it even richer. This recipe avoids the extra calories, which you can add if you like before you add all the vegetables in the gravy.

Vegans can substitue the paneer with tofu or boiled soya chunks.

Vegetable Quinoa Soup

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Soup season is in full swing and I am loving every second of it!!  Yesterday I made a big pot of vegetable quinoa soup. This is a warming and very satisfying soup specially in winter!  You can make this soup without quinoa and substitute pasta.  I like to use quinoa because it’s a really nutritious superfood that provides a great source of protein. The grainy texture helps make this soup filling enough to provide a meal in itself.

Ingredients:

3 tbsp olive oil

1 medium finely chopped onion

1-2 finely chopped jalapeno peppers

1 tbsp fresh ginger paste

1 tbsp fresh garlic paste

2 cups finely chopped carrots

1 cup finely sliced mushroom

1 medium zuchinni chopped

1 cup uncooked quiona

1/2 cup uncooked orzo

1 cup black beans

3-4 tbsp soy sauce

2-3 tbsp sriracha sauce

1-2 tbsp ketchup (optional)

14oz can vegetable stock

1-2 cup of water

Method:

Heat the olive oil in large, heavy-bottomed stockpot over medium-low heat. Once hot, add the onion-green chillies and cool until tender. Add the garlic-ginger paste and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add carrots, zuchinni, mushrooms and continue to saute for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add vegetable broth, water, quinoa and orzo. Cook until quiona and orzo are cooked approx. 25 minutes. Add black beans, soysauce, sriracha and ketchup.  Simmer for another 10-20 minutes. As with all soups, the longer you let the soup simmer and set, the more flavour the soup will develop.

Hope you enjoy and please share your experiences 🙂

Tips: You can add variety of vegetables to this soup. Adding one to two cups of whatever is in your fridge. You can also add variety of beans (chickpea, kidney beans, navy beans, etc)

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