Tag Archives: Indian cooking

Sweet potato chaat

Chaat is an Indian street food. It literally means to lick – meaning the dish is so good that you will be left licking your fingers. There are umpteen varieties of chaat, and an upcoming cookbook by the Food Network judge Maneet Chauhan is dedicated to this genre. In my case, it was the solitary sweet potato staring at me that led me to create this easy chaat that was gobsmacking, lip smacking good. Here’s how I made it.

Ingredients:

  • 1 sweet potato, peeled, cut into small cubes and washed
  • 2 tsp cooking oil (I used vegetable oil)
  • 1 tsp chaat masala (available at Indian stores, but you can use curry powder in a pinch)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small tomato, finely chopped
  • 1 green chili, finely chopped
  • 1/4 inch piece ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp tamarind chutney (available at Indian stores, but you can add pomegranate or date molasses)
  • 1 tbsps sev (chick pea sticks – available at Indian stores, but you can use a few potato chips crushed for crunch)
  • Slice of lemon (adds visual interest/additional tartness if needed)

How to:

1. Heat the oil in a pan. Add the cubed sweet potatoes and fry till the sweet potatoes are fried nicely and turn dark. Keep tossing frequently to prevent it from burning. This took about ten minutes on a medium flame for me. Turn off the stove.

2. Sprinkle the salt and chaat masala on the cooked sweet potatoes and toss.

3. Take a platter and scatter the sweet potatoes on it. Now drizzle the tamarind chutney on top. Layer the rest of the vegetables on top of the sweet potatoes. Finish with a flourish of sev on top and a lemon slice on the side.

4. Finish eating and of course do tell me if it was lip smacking good:)

A delicious breakfast made from the unloved end pieces of bread

Please don’t judge me. I do not like the bookend pieces of bread that come in every loaf. The thick, slightly stubby pieces that I eat with reluctance, only to not waste them. But this morning, faced with four of those slices that I had saved from two packs of the low carb 647 bread, I decided to do something a little different; something that turned out to be super delicious. I have always loved the dish called poha, flattened rice flakes made into a delicious savory breakfast with onions, tomatoes, spices and more and that’s exactly what I decided to do with the four lonesome pieces of bread. The result was a delicious breakfast that I totally enjoyed with a steaming cup of cappuccino. Oh and one nice benefit of this dish was that I used a bunch of odds and ends lurking in my fridge.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • A pinch of asafetida
  • 1 green chili, finely chopped
  • 1/4 inch piece of ginger finely chopped
  • 1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small tomato, finely chopped
  • A handful of baby spinach finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 end slices of bread with crust cut into small cubes
  • 1 tbsp cilantro finely chopped
  • A tbsp of fresh, grated, coconut (optional)
  • A tsp of lemon juice (optional)

How to:

1. Heat oil in a pan for a minute and then add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, and asafetida.

2. When the mustard seeds stop crackling, add the green chilies, ginger, and yellow onion. Sauté for five minutes.

3. Add the tomato, baby spinach, turmeric powder, and salt, and sauté for a couple of minutes.

4. Add the bread cubes, and toss so all the veggies and spices are mixed in well with the bread cubes.

5. Turn off the heat, garnish the dish with the finely chopped cilantro, freshly grated coconut, and the lemon juice (if using).

6. Divide into two bowls and enjoy hot with a cup of coffee or tea.

Savory Breakfasts Rule In India – Here’s One Mouth- Watering One to Create

By Lakshmi:

Every time I go back to India, I look forward to the food.  Every relative or friend you visit insists you partake in a meal with them.  And every road side stall, fancy restaurant and five-star hotel beckons you with choices galore.  One humble savory food that can be prepared on a budget, but feels like a hearty meal is Uppuma.  While there are dozens of varieties of Uppuma, a visit to Saravana Bhavan (that ubiquitous South Indian chain) got me hooked to the kind made with roasted wheat vermicelli.

So what is this Uppuma you may ask?  Simply put, it is defined in many places as a porridge.  In my vocabulary, porridge is a gooey, mushy eat.  Take a look at the picture above.  Does this in any way resemble the porridge you know?  Instead to me it is almost like a pilaf, the nutty taste of the fine vermicelli, blending with the vegetables and chillies, a perfect crunch imparted by the mustard seeds, dal and cashew nuts with the final touch of coconut bringing in the ultimate tropical feel.  Have a plate with a steaming cup of coffee and you will be transported to a culinary heaven that you may not have experienced to date.

Without further adieu, here is my recipe for the Vermicelli Uppuma that is created frequently in my kitchen (since it takes only 20 minutes to prepare).  If you want to totally delight guests at an event with an appetizer that will keep them hooked and guessing, simply put spoonfuls of the completed dish in little phyllo cups and serve!

Recipe for Vermicelli Uppuma – Serves 6 

Ingredients:

1 cup roasted wheat vermicelli (I use the Bambino brand available at Indian stores and on Amazon.com)

A handful of cashew nuts broken

1 tbsp mustard seeds

1 tbsp urad dal

4 green chillies finely chopped

1 inch piece of ginger finely chopped

1 red onion finely chopped

1 red pepper finely diced

1 carrot finely grated

.5 cup of fresh or frozen green peas

1.5 tsp salt

2 tbsps vegetable oil

1 tbsp clarified butter or take an extra tbsp of oil

Freshly shredded coconut (3 tbsps)

2 cups water

Method:

Heat the oil and butter in a large non stick pan or wok.  When the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds, urad dal, green chillies, ginger, cashew nuts and onions.  Fry till the mustard seeds pop and the onions and cashew nuts turn brown.  Add two cups of water, salt and the vegetables and bring the water to a boil.  Now slowly add the vermicelli and stir continuously till the vermicelli is blended and thick and appears to have the consistency of dried porridge.  Add freshly grated coconut, give it another swish and cover promptly and take off the stove.

Let dish rest for 15 minutes (covered) and fluff before serving.  When done, it will be fluffy and each grain of vermicelli should be separate.  Serve on plates for a meal or in phyllo cups as an appetizer.  Don’t forget to bring out steaming hot cups of coffee.

If you’d rather get an instant Uppuma fix, head to one of the many Saravana Bhavan restaurants in the US and abroad.  A complete listing can be found at

http://www.saravanabhavan.com/restaurants.php?