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Appetizers

Sep 292015
 
Tsunth Monji - Green Apple Fritters
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Tsunth Monji - Green Apple Fritters

I have been waiting for this month’s Progressive Eats party day to arrive with bated breath! And it’s because I am sharing a dish from Kashmir that is virtually unknown to those who did not grow up there. It’s not a main stream dish in the sense that when I was growing up this was saved for and served on a very special occasion – Lord Krishna’s Birthday. In most Hindu families this was a dish served on the day of fasting (feasting). Although you abstain from eating grains, meats, and most vegetables – fruits are allowed and why not! The festival arrives in peak summer, so fruits are in abundance and hence during a fast, one could eat copious amounts of fruits. Interestingly the only cooked foods allowed on those fasting days are foods that have been fried. One may not eat anything boiled if they are observing a fast. Hence the Tsunth Monji – Green Apple Fritters were a big deal on those fasting days.

Tsunth Monji - Green Apple Fritters-13

Apples are Kashmir’s pride and joy. Any Kashmiri worth her salt knows her apples. Though an indigenous Kashmiri loves her Ambri apples which are native to Kashmir, we have grown used to our Benoni, Irish Peach, Ambri, White dotted Red, American Apirouge, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious and the Maharaji. And now in my adopted country I love my Granny Smith, Gala, Honey Crisp, Braeburn and everything in between.

Tsunth Monji - Green Apple Fritters-13

So pardon me my extreme enthusiasm to share this recipe with you. The recipe requires tart apples – so granny smith are a perfect fit, but if you are in India and can get hold of Maharaji apples – there is nothing better for this dish than those. The medium heat cooking brings out a nice tartness to the apples. Paired with spices and chestnut flour batter the combination of crisp, hot, warm, sweet, sour, salty is a taste you won’t forget easily.

Tsunth Monji - Green Apple Fritters-17

And if that was not enough to entice you  with apples, we at the Progressive Eats have a mouth watering line up of “apples”. Fall is here and it’s all about the apples because this month, our host is Liz of That Skinny Chick Can Bake and she chose apples! I do love her for choosing apples this month. Thank you, Liz for hosting.

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These Sweet and Savory Apple dishes are

Savory Dishes:

Sweet Dishes:

Tsunth Monji – Green Apple Fritters

Tsunth Monji – Green Apple Fritters

Ingredients

  • 2 medium Granny Smith apples
  • a medium bowl filled with water to soak sliced apples in
  • 3/4 C chestnut flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds ( 1/2 tsp ground cumin)
  • 1 tsp Hungarian paprika ( or kashmiri chilli )
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper ( for heat - use as per your taste)
  • 1/2 C to 3/4 C water
  • 1/4 C chestnut flour for dredging
  • Oil for frying
  • Chaat masala and Chutney for serving ( optional )

Instructions

  1. Core the apples. Slice each apple into 8 to 9 slices.
  2. Keep the apple slices in the bowl of water to prevent discoloration while you get the oil hot and mix the batter.
  3. Heat oil in a medium kadai ( preferably ) or any heavy bottom deep saute pan. ( use medium heat)
  4. while the oil is heating, mix the 3/4 C chestnut flour, cumin, salt, paprika, cayenne and half cup of water to make a batter. The batter should look like a pan cake batter. Add more water if needed.
  5. Put the flour for dredging on a plate.
  6. Now make an assembly line - take the Apple slices out of the water, on to the four for a quick dredge, then into the batter and then into the pan for frying. Fry until brown and crisp on both sides. Remove and drain excess oil before serving.
  7. Serve with chutney or a dash of chaat masala.

Notes

Ensure the temperature of the oil is between 325 and 360. No thermometer? Check if Oil is ready for frying by inserting a DRY wooden spoon into it. If it is ready, bubbles will form around it.Maintain the oil temperature to avoid soggy fritters. Do not let oil smoke.. Bad juju for flavor and safety. Do not overcrowd the pan.

http://www.spiceroots.com/tsunth-monji-green-apple-fritters/

 

If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, a progressive dinner involves going from house to house, enjoying a different course at each location. With Progressive Eats, a theme is chosen each month, members share recipes suitable for a delicious meal or party, and you can hop from blog to blog to check them out.

We have a core group of 12 bloggers, but we will always need substitutes and if there is enough interest would consider additional groups. To see our upcoming themes and how you can participate, please check out the schedule at Creative Culinary or contact Barb for more information.

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May 262015
 
Galouti Kebab
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Galouti Kebab

Kebabs or Kebobs have captured the imagination of the entire world. The taste of meat, marinated with herbs and/or spices and grilled on fire pits, ovens or in tandoors is not something one can forget easily. Add to that, the numerous ways kebabs are made – cut into cubes and skewered, minced and made into patties, cooked in a tandoor or on open fire, and in case of Doner Kebabs/ Shwarma, sliced meat is cooked on a rotating spit. 

Since the method of cooking is rather fast and over high heat, most kebabs have a prolonged marination with spices, natural acids and herbs to render a great tasting plate of delicious meat.
Galouti Kebab

But like everything else, food evolves. We adapt and learn and innovate. Kebabs also have come a long way from being meat based to being vegetables and fruit based as well. This kebab Fest with the Progressive Eats is a showcase of the love we all have for kebabs and things served with kebabs.

For this Progressive Eats dinner, I made the Galouti Kebabs.  And what’s more, I made them in the Creative – Culinary  Kitchen with Barb. It was a fun day cooking and shooting pics and eating. Barb made the Naans and she also let me use her Grandma’s rolling pin! Score! I have always wanted to roll some dough with that pin!
My first batch of kebabs I put into the pan got overcooked. I blame it on the chatting we were busy with while cooking. But do not fret, we ate those too. There wasn’t any kebab that was ill-treated by us. We did try and wait until the photos were done and then dived straight into dinner. Freshly made naan, melt in the mouth kebabs and a friend to share it with.

Galouti Kebab

Galouti means melt in the mouth. The use of green papaya paste to make the meat tender is an age old trick to make the Galouti kebabs. After being mixed with the papya the meat is infused with select herbs and spices,finely ground meat is shaped into patties and fried in pure ghee until they are browned. So that’s what I did.

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Kebab Fest!

Kebabs
Bread
Side/Dip/Chutney
Drinks
Desserts

 

Galouti Kebab – Melt in the mouth Kebab

Galouti Kebab – Melt in the mouth Kebab

Ingredients

    For Kebabs
  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 1 pound ground beef (or use just one kind of meat)
  • 2 Tbs ginger paste
  • 2 Tbs garlic paste
  • 2 Tbs raw papaya paste
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp ground mace
  • 1/2 tsp ground green cardamoms
  • 4 Tbs roasted ground channa dal (dalia)
  • Salt to taste
  • To Fry
  • Ghee to shallow fry - about 4-6 Tbs
  • Serve With
  • All or any of these:-
  • Green Chutney
  • Sliced Tomatoes
  • Sliced Onions
  • Sliced Cucumbers
  • Sliced Radishes
  • Raita ( mix of yogurt, dried mint and cucumber)
  • And
  • Some Naan or Roti

Instructions

    Form the kebabs
  1. Mix both the meats and add all the other ingredients for the Kebabs in. ( The ghee is only for frying)
  2. Mix to combine and cover and let it chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Divide into 25 equal portions and make flattened patties out of each portion.
  4. Cook the Kebabs
  5. Heat the ghee in a pan and shallow fry the kebabs until browned on both sides. Take care to turn the kebabs. They are really tender will fall apart if you try to flip them if they are not cooked.
  6. Cook for about 2-3 minutes on each side on medium heat, until browned and cooked through.
  7. Serve Hot, with any of suggested servings and do serve this with a naan or roti.
http://www.spiceroots.com/galouti-kebab-melt-in-the-mouth-kebab/

Welcome to Progressive Eats, our virtual version of a Progressive Dinner Party. This month’s theme is a Kebab Fest and is hosted by Anshie Dhar who blogs at SpiceRoots. Join us and make something unique and delicious!

If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, a progressive dinner involves going from house to house, enjoying a different course at each location. With Progressive Eats, a theme is chosen each month, members share recipes suitable for a delicious meal or party, and you can hop from blog to blog to check them out.

We have a core group of 12 bloggers, but we will always need substitutes and if there is enough interest would consider additional groups. To see our upcoming themes and how you can participate, please check out the schedule at Creative Culinary or contact Barb for more information.

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Apr 282015
 
French Onion Tart
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French Onion Tart

When the theme for April’s Progressive eats was announced, I imagined myself making a Dacquoise or a Mille-feuille. Having already made the Gateau Opera a few dozen times and enjoyed the Croquembouche challenge with Jenni, I was ready to make a switch and make something else. The decadent Dacqupiose was tempting me. But then I thought, I do need to go out of my comfort zone and make something new and something that showcases the sublime beauty of regional French Cuisine.

 

French Onion Tart

I am really proud of the Tarte á l’Oignon – French Onion Tart. You may ask why. After all it is just a pie, some might say. I know. But if you asked my friend Barb @ Creative Culinary, she would tell you how utterly terrified I was of making pies. She was also amused and told me on certain occasions that I was being silly since I was someone who didn’t blink before taking on complex desserts and was terrified of a pie. So she took on the mantle of a mentor and called me over and we baked pies. And I was allowed to use her Grandma’s rolling pin too.

The good thing about pies is that they are simple. And that’s what is terrifying too. I think simple dishes should be executed flawlessly because they rely on technique more than anything else.

Today’s Tarte á l’Oignon – French Onion Tart is the Appetizer course for Progressive Eats. I hope I made my friend and teacher proud. And I am really thrilled with this. I did it!

French Onion Tart

Caramelized onions, cooked slow and long to coax their sweetness out, freshly made dough for the base, a touch of salt and pepper, a few eggs, a little cheese  and a sprig of thyme. Ingredients that you probably just have on hand. Why not give this a try? If I can do it, anyone can! Honest!

Have a taste of the French Cuisine with my Progressive Eats friends and see what they have cooked up.

 

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Join us for the Flavors of France!

Appetizers
Salad
Soups
Main Course
Bread
Veggies/Sides
Drinks
Desserts

 

Welcome to Progressive Eats, our virtual version of a Progressive Dinner Party. This month’s theme is the Flavors of France and is hosted by Jane Bonacci who blogs at The Heritage Cook. Join us and make something unique and delicious!

If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, a progressive dinner involves going from house to house, enjoying a different course at each location. With Progressive Eats, a theme is chosen each month, members share recipes suitable for a delicious meal or party, and you can hop from blog to blog to check them out.

We have a core group of 12 bloggers, but we will always need substitutes and if there is enough interest would consider additional groups. To see our upcoming themes and how you can participate, please check out the schedule at Creative Culinary or contact Barb for more information.

 

Tarte á l’Oignon – French Onion Tart

Tarte á l’Oignon – French Onion Tart

Ingredients

    For the Tart base
  • 1 stick cold unsalted butter
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons cold water
  • Filling
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4-5 large onions, thinly sliced
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • 1/2 C gruyere
  • 3 Tbs whole milk
  • 2 Tbs crème fraîche
  • For Garnish
  • 3 thyme sprigs

Instructions

    Make pastry: Step1
  1. Blend together flour, butter and salt in a bowl with your fingertips or a pastry blender or pulse in a food processor.
  2. Mix until most of mixture resembles coarse meal with some small (roughly pea-size) butter chunks. Gradually add in ice water and gently stir with a fork (or pulse in processor) until incorporated.
  3. If the pastry holds together, it's ready. if it doesn't add a bit more water and work it in. Be sure to not overmix the dough.
  4. Gather dough together and flatten into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap, chill until firm, at least 1 hour.
  5. Step 2
  6. I made three smaller tarts out of the dough, but you can simply roll it out to cover a 9 or 10 inch tart pan.
  7. Roll out the disk of dough on a floured surface with a floured rolling pin into a round to fit into your tart pan. Trim excess dough, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang, then fold overhang over pastry and press against side to reinforce edge. Lightly prick bottom with a fork and chill until firm ( about 30 minutes)
  8. Partially blind bake the tart shells for about 10 minutes ( I had three small so it took lesser time) at 400*F. You may need more time for a bigger tart shell.
  9. Tarte á l’Oignon
  10. Preheat the oven to 425ºF. In a heavy pot combine olive oil, butter, sliced onions and salt. Sautee the mixture until it starts to sizzle, then turn the heat down to a simmer, cover, and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally until the onions are sweet and caramelized. Add in pepper to taste.
  11. Set aside to cool.
  12. Combine eggs, milk, creme fraiche with onions. Spread the onion mixture on top of the partially blind baked shells. Top with cheese and a sprig of thyme. Bake in the middle of the oven for 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
  13. Serve at room temperature.
http://www.spiceroots.com/tarte-a-loignon-french-onion-tart/

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Mar 312015
 
Chicken Satay
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chiken satay

There are some dishes that open your senses to the possibilities of an adventurous and pleasing relationship with a new cuisine. The Malaysian chicken Satay is one of those dishes. Eating Satay in Malaysia or Singapore is an experience in itself, one that I was fortunate enough to be part of a long time ago. It was my first introduction to the Malaysian cuisine and street food and I was hooked.

chiken satay

 

The most interesting lesson was how to order the satay. Here I was sitting with a bunch of locals, drinking some beer on the patio of a restaurant and ordering satay from the nearby cart. I asked for one skewer. The silence that followed and the eyes that rolled after my order are hilarious in retrospect. But at that moment, I felt I probably said something insulting. After the eye rolls, I was informed, between unstoppable giggles, that satay is ordered by dozens at the very least! Well! I learned fast. Because once I tasted the sweet, salty, nutty, meaty goodness – I made them buy me dozens of satay sticks all through my stay.

Chicken Satay

 

Well, now you know that I will be serving the satay by the dozens and this is the appetizer for our Progressive Eats Dinner for March. This month’s theme is Asian Feast and is hosted by Jeanette Chen who blogs at Jeanette’s Healthy Living. To be able to fit an entire Asian feast into one Progressive Eats dinner party is an impossible task. So we are bringing you sample dishes from some of the Asian countries and hope you enjoy our samplings for this month. Join us and make something unique and delicious!

If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, a progressive dinner involves going from house to house, enjoying a different course at each location. With Progressive Eats, a theme is chosen each month, members share recipes suitable for a delicious meal or party, and you can hop from blog to blog to check them out.

We have a core group of 12 bloggers, but we will always need substitutes and if there is enough interest would consider additional groups. To see our upcoming themes and how you can participate, please check out the schedule at Creative Culinary or contact Barb for more information.

 

Chicken Satay

Chicken Satay

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds skinless chicken thighs and breast cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 Tbs oil
  • 30- 40 wooden skewers, soaked in water overnight
  • To make the Marinade
  • 2 Tbs coriander seeds
  • 2 Tbs cumin seeds
  • 1/4 pound shallots
  • 5-6 cloves of garlic
  • 2-3 Tbs Galangal minced or ginger minced
  • 4 stalks tender part of lemon grass
  • 2 tsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbs palm jaggery or coconut palm sugar
  • To serve
  • Cucumber and onions Slices
  • Satay Sauce ( Recipe coming up soon)

Instructions

    Marinade
  1. Dry roast coriander and cumin seeds over medium/low heat till fragrant. Blend with shallots, garlic, lemon grass and galangal into a smooth paste. Mix in the rest of the ingredients for marinade and blend everything together. Add it to the chicken and mix to combine and let it marinade for a few hours.
  2. After the few hours, thread the chicken onto the soaked skewers and grill on medium high for about 5 minutes on each side. Once all the chicken is grilled, Place in a preheated oven at 400* F for another 10 minutes, until cooked through.
  3. enjoy with cucumber garnish and satay sauce.
http://www.spiceroots.com/chicken-satay/

 

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Here is the rest of the dinner menu. Enjoy!

Appetizer
Salad
Soups
Main Course
Bread
Veggies/Sides
Drink
Dessert

 

 

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Dec 302014
 
Labneh
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Herbed Labneh

What the world knows as Labneh, I grew up knowing as Chakka which, simply put was strained yogurt cheese. It used to be a really nice treat in my school lunch box, smothered between two flatbreads with a pinch of salt and spice. The tangy, refreshing taste of the cheese with the hot smoky spices and the chewy bread was quite delightful. I used to look forward to lunch on those days, though ironically this was something my grandmother would pack me because she didn’t have time to cook an elaborate lunch. It was simple, it was humble but it was good.

Herbed Labneh

So is Labneh. Easy to make and so versatile. You can throw a platter full of veggies and bread together, dole out some labneh and just like that appetizer or a snack is taken care of. In addition to being easy and delicious, it is full of healthy nutrients.

As I mentioned before in my Yogurt making post, there are somethings that I grew up doing because it was the way of life. Yogurt making being one and making cheese was the other. Though I never thought of paneer making or making chakka out of yogurt as cheese making, it appears that in today’s sense of the word – I was doing just that. Fascinating! How very!

Herbed Labneh

While I usually make my own yogurt and then make Labneh, I have used store bought Greek Yogurt in times when the said home made yogurt has not been available. You can check the post on how to make homemade yogurt (without the yogurt making gadgets) and make yogurt or use a store bought Greek yogurt for this Herbed Labneh recipe.

Labneh-5

Herbed Labneh

Herbed Labneh

Ingredients

  • 2 C Greek Yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 2-3 sprigs of thyme
  • 1 tsp dried chives
  • Salt as needed
  • 1/2 C Extra Virgin Olive oil
  • Equipment Needed
  • Cheesecloth and strainer

Instructions

  1. Line a sieve or a strainer with cheesecloth and set over a big enough bowl. Place yogurt in the center of the cheesecloth. Gather edges of cheesecloth to cover yogurt. Place the yogurt along with the bowl in refrigerator. allow to drain for at least 24 hours.
  2. Take the strained yogurt which will now be soft and cheese like. Scoop out little balls and place in a glass jar.
  3. Add the herbs and salt and garlic powder to the oil and mix. Pour this mix into the glass jar with cheese. Refrigerate for at least 12 hours before using.
http://www.spiceroots.com/herbed-labneh/

 

 

 

 

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Join Us for a Mediterranean Feast

Appetizers

Salad

Soup

Main Course

Bread

Veggies/Sides

Drinks

Dessert

If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, a progressive dinner involves going from house to house, enjoying a different course at each location. With Progressive Eats, a theme is chosen each month, members share recipes suitable for a delicious meal or party, and you can hop from blog to blog to check them out.

We have a core group of 12 bloggers, but we will always need substitutes and if there is enough interest would consider additional groups. To see our upcoming themes and how you can participate, please check out the schedule at Creative Culinary or contact Barb for more information.

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Sep 212014
 
Potato Pizza-3
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Potato Pizza-3

Pizza – the ultimate Football food, followed only by chicken wings. For this Sunday’s game day, I just decided to go with Pizza. The potato pizza is a family favorite. I first discovered it in Jim Lahey’s ‘My Bread’. This was the time when I first started experimenting with breads and one of my first successful attempts at bread making was his ‘No knead’ bread.

I remember my pizza making days back in India. I would buy a pre made pizza base, load it up with some spicy red sauce and top it up with tandoori chicken or vegetables and lots of Amul cheese. I can’t say pizza purists would have dared eat my concoction, but I used to get a lot of compliments for it.  But going back now, I know it was all about the toppings and not about the crust. The more I understood dough baking, the closer I got to knowing what kind of pizza crust I liked. And the farther away I moved from buying a pre made pizza crust.

Potato Pizza-2

This potato pizza is a classic Italian pizza and a total package. You might be tempted to think that since it has no cheese and no sauce it will be meh. Meh it is not. The crust, the thinly sliced potatoes, rosemary and garlic come together in one delicious, crispy bite. I do add some chilli flakes or fresh chillies for heat. And on days when it is other than Football day, I serve it with a salad and steamed vegetables.

For today’s Football food, we had the potato pizza, chestnut soup and lot of veggies with a dip. Though the game did not go our way, we were still cheering on our team. Well that’s the thing about Football. Some days you don’t win, but then there is pizza ! #Footballfood Week3

Potato Pizza

Potato Pizza

Ingredients

    Pizza dough
  • 500 grams bread flour ( I used 00 flour)
  • 10 grams active dry yeast
  • 5 grams salt
  • 3 grams sugar
  • 300 ml water ( I ended up using a couple of Tbs more as my flour was drier)
  • 2-3 tbs olive oil
  • Topping
  • A big bowl full of tepid water
  • 1Tbs salt
  • 4 Idaho potatoes (medium)
  • 1/4 C diced onions ( I like the red)
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tsp chopped garlic

Instructions

    Pizza Dough
  1. Stir together the flour, yeast, salt and sugar in a bowl.
  2. Add water and mix it all together until just blended without any dry spots.
  3. Ensure you don't mix it too much. once everything is mixed in, cover the dough and let rise at room temperature for 2 hours.
  4. Prep the Potatoes
  5. Mix the salt into the bowl of water.
  6. Peel the potatoes and then wash them.
  7. Using a knife or mandoline and slice the potatoes very thin.
  8. Add the sliced potatoes into the salted water. This will keep them from oxidizing.
  9. Let them soak in the brine mixture for an hour or so.
  10. The potatoes will look soft after this soak.
  11. Drain the potatoes and pat them dry using a kitchen towel.
  12. In a medium size bowl, toss the potatoes,oil, onions, garlic rosemary and chilli flakes.
  13. Assemble the pizza
  14. Tip the dough out of the bowl onto a lightly floured surface and cut it in half.
  15. Brush a baking sheet with olive oil or use parchment ( I used parchment to reduce the quantity of oil ) Then tip half of the dough on the pan.
  16. Stretch it out to the edges. And work it out all over the pan. This will be a very thin layer of crust, so it might tear. In that case pinch the tears back together and keep stretching it out.
  17. Spread half of the potato mixture evenly over the dough and double up the potatoes on the edges.
  18. Do the same thing with the other half of the dough and bake at 450*F for 30 minutes.
  19. Do preheat the oven at least 15 minutes prior to baking.
http://www.spiceroots.com/potato-pizza/

 

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