Category Archives: FOOD

Vegan cauliflower frittata (inspired by Handvo)

Lately, I have been looking for dishes that are more like one pot meals. You prep, cook on the stove or oven, and end up with nutritious, no frill meals that actually taste super good as leftovers too. This particular dish is inspired by a snack from Gujarat, India, known as Handvo. It is like a giant frittata that can be made in the oven or in a pan on the stovetop. This nutritious version is actually like the eggy version in that it is quite low in carbs, yet the blend of creamy coconut milk, versatile cauliflower and nutty chickpea flour, take it to a whole new taste level. My recipe is a version inspired by the woman who inspired many young Indians to cook, Tarla Dalal. A wedge of this served with some zhoug, cilantro chutney, sriracha, or even ketchup is the perfect anytime snack or light meal.

Ingredients:

  • One can coconut milk (I used the 403 ml can of Thai kitchen organic coconut milk)
  • 6 tbsps chickpea flour.
  • 1/2 small cauliflower cut into tiny florets
  • 4 green chilies, finely chopped
  • 1 inch piece ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 small bunch cilantro (coriander leaves) finely chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin-coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp salt (adjust to taste)
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp oil

How to:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Mix all the ingredients except for the mustard seeds and oil in a bowl, ensuring there are no clumps of chickpea flour.

3. Transfer the mixture to a greased 8 or 9 inch cake pan

4. Heat the oil and add the mustard seeds. When they crackle, scatter on top of the mixture in the cake pan.

5. Bake for 50-60 minutes till the top is nice and golden brown and the centre appears set.

6. Let cool for 10 minutes and then cut into 12 wedges. Serve hot or cold, as suggested with one of your favorite condiments.

7. This will stay fresh for several days in the fridge, if kept wrapped in foil. When serving, simply toast in a toaster for a few minutes before serving.

 

Tahini parathas – Where India meets the Middle East

I love parathas, the flaky, stuffed with anything, griddle cooked with generous amounts of ghee or oil flatbread. I’ve made it plain and with many a stuffing; but seeing a half a jar of tahini in my fridge, triggered an idea. What if I stuff the parathas with tahini and cook them with some toasted sesame seeds on top? Well, there was no waiting on my part as I got to work and created these flaky breads. In the words of my mom, they were melt in your mouth goodness!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups atta (I used this whole wheat flour from the Indian store)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • Water to form dough
  • 1/2 cup Tahini (use the one that is smooth, where the oil does not separate such as Trader Joe’s organic Tahini or Sooms which is available on Amazon)
  • 2 tbsps toasted sesame seeds
  • Oil or butter to cook the flatbreads

How to:

1. Mix the atta, salt, and oil in a bowl, adding water and kneading till the dough comes together nicely and is smooth. I used my stand mixer for creating the dough.

2. Divide the dough into 1 inch balls. Take each ball on to a lightly floured board and spread it with a rolling pin into a medium sized circle (like a medium sized tortilla)

3. Spread a tsp of tahini all over the dough with your fingers and roll the circle gently into a rolled log.

4. Slowly circle the log into a coil, tucking ends under (see image below).

5. Take the snail shaped coil and spread into a medium sized tortilla on a lightly floured board. Gently press some toasted sesame seeds into the paratha.

6. Put the paratha onto a warm griddle, dribbling a tsp of oil all around it and cook till brown spots appear. Flip it to the other side and continue cooking till you see brown spots.

7. Remove from the griddle and set aside. Repeat with the rest of the dough.

8. Serve plain with a hot cup of tea, or eat with your favorite veggies.

Melt in your mouth puran polis

I’ll blame it on the present times. I was done with work and eyeing the ingredients in my pantry when my husband said, “Why don’t you try making Puran Polis?” It is a favorite dish of my mother in law and of course, my parents love it too. These dessert flatbreads when done right melt in your mouth, the jaggery and sugar sweetened, cardamom and saffron flavored, flattened chickpea stuffing forming a flavor medley with the covering doused with ghee. I had always thought of this as a difficult preparation, but after reading a few different recipes, created this version that was a bit time consuming, but not difficult.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup atta (whole wheat flour used to make chapatis)
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • A pinch of salt
  • A tbsp of cooking oil (I used vegetable oil)
  • 1 cup chana dal (baby chickpeas that have been split and polished)
  • 1/2 cup jaggery or dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp cardamom powder
  • A couple of strands of saffron crushed
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • Ghee for smearing on the completed puran polis

How to:

1. In a bowl, or in a stand mixer with a dough hook, combine the flours, salt, and cooking oil along with enough water to form a smooth pliable dough (should feel like soft play dough). Cover the dough and set aside for 30 minutes.

2. Cook the chana dal with two cups of water on the stove, or in the Instant Pot on high pressure mode for 20 minutes. Let the pressure release on its own.

2. Drain the cooked dal and transfer to a pan.

3. Over medium heat, add the jaggery and sugar to the cooked chana dal and keep stirring for about 10-15 minutes so the mixture is thickened. It will look like play dough, but rough due to the the dal. Turn off the stove, add the cardamom, saffron, and the tbsp of ghee and mix well. With a hand blender, blend this mixture so it really does become smooth like play dough. Set the mixture aside to cool down. When it is cool, proceed to make the polis.

4. Divide the dough into eight balls. Divide the cooled sweet mixture into eight balls.

3. On a well floured board, roll a dough ball into a circle about 4 inches in diameter.

4. Put a ball of the stuffing at the center of the circle of dough, bring the dough from all sides to the centre and pinch at the top.

3. Pat the dough ball with the stuffing on the floured board and roll out gently to a circle about 6 inches in diameter. Set the poli aside on parchment paper and continue with each of the other balls of dough and stuffing in a similar way.

4. Warm a griddle or pan, and cook the polis one at a time, gently flipping the poli after a minute to the other side. When light brown spots appear, the poli is done. Transfer to a plate and smear with some ghee.

5. Serve warm.