Hummus

Eid Mubarak everyone! I hope this festival brings in loads of joy and happiness to you and your family.

I’m sharing a recipe of hummus as I make at my place. Hummus is a popular Arabic dip perfect to be served with pita bread (khuboos) or just as a side for any appetizers.

Hummus2

Homemade hummus is much more healthier and cheaper than it’s canned counterparts. Easy to make and stores well for 3-4 days in an airtight container or a mason jar. Sometimes when I have the time and determination to indulge in batch cooking over weekends, instead of using canned chickpeas I go for the freshly cooked chickpeas.

It’s pretty simple! Soak chickpeas overnight and pressure cook them in salted water, drain the chickpeas and then make fresh hummus. Preserve the liquid in which the chickpeas are cooked and substitute the same with plain water as indicated in the recipe. It tastes fantastic and really makes a difference.

Hummus is my go to snack to carry for work. I eat this with baby carrots, cucumber sticks or just crackers. It is rich in protein, folic acid, Vitamin C and iron. Better than a pack of salty crisps any day!

I also substitute peanut butter with hummus for days when I feel too much PBJ sandwiches did no one any good!

Why add Tahini Paste to this ? Read here!

Comes Together In : 10 minutes
(Considering time taken to make Tahini Paste)

Ingredients
1 can chickpeas
1/3 cup tahini paste
5 tsp olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
2-3 cloves garlic coarsely chopped
1/2 cup water
Salt to taste
Olive oil and paprika to garnish

Puree the chickpeas with garlic, add little water to facilitate a smooth texture.

Chickpeas

Add tahini paste and the remaining ingredients. Keep adding water and olive oil a little at a time.

Once the texture is smooth and velvety, remove in a bowl or store well.

Hummus1

This versatile recipe can be altered to your own liking. Garnish with olive oil and add Za’atar powder, sumac powder, cumin powder or just paprika to spice up.

Until next time Happy Cooking! ūüôā

Tomato Thokku / Chutney

Everyone has a version of a tomato thokku (cooked down relish or chutney). This recipe is a favorite in my household. I was introduced to Tomato Thokku many years back, by my school friend who used to have this almost everyday in her lunch box. I remember the texture for the Thokku her mum made to be slightly runny.

Tomato Thokku

I serve this with Idli, Dosa or just plain rice and dal. I was even forced to serve this with some Cheese & Herb Garlic Bread. Look!

Garlic Bread

Sahil says this is better and healthier alternative to having pickles \o/

Tomatoes

Tomatoes are my favorite ingredient to work with and tomato chutneys with different variations are a staple in my refrigerator, I make them almost on a weekly basis.

Tomato Thokku

Ready in 20-25 minutes
Ingredients

5 Plum or Romano Tomatoes finely chopped
1 medium sized red onion finely chopped
4 tsp canola oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp carrom seeds
2 dried red chillies
8-10 curry leaves
1 tsp coriander powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper powder
1/2 tsp brown sugar
2-3 tsp tomato paste
Salt to taste

In a thick bottom saucepan or kadai, heat oil on medium heat.

Tempering

Add cumin seeds followed by mustard seeds, let them splutter.

Add carrom seeds, curry leaves and dried red chillies broken in half. You can choose to remove the seeds from the chillies if you want the chutney less spicy.

Now add red onion, cook them until they are translucent.

Add chopped tomatoes and let it cook until the tomatoes are soft and mushy.

Now on medium heat, add salt, coriander powder, cayenne pepper powder and brown sugar to the mixture and cook them until there is a ring of oil on the sides of the wok.

Add tomato paste to the mixture and cook for another 1-2 minutes. I add tomato paste since I like how it lends good consistency and color to the chutney.

Tomato Thokku

Take it off heat and transfer in a clean and dry mason jar. It stays well for 4-5 days if kept refrigerated.

I’m gearing up for Diwali next week and you will a lot of posts in the coming days for sweets and savoury items traditionally made to kick start the festivities.

Tzatziki – Cucumber & Yoghurt Dip

As a kid I used to hate drinking milk and this habit has stayed with me even in my adult years. I like all dairy products and also enjoy my milk shakes but cannot stand the sight of plain white milk.

So how do I ensure my calcium intake ? By eating loads and loads of yoghurt. I never miss a small cup with my lunch or an occasional fruit yoghurt smoothie to keep the mid day hunger pangs at bay.

I also like incorporating yoghurt in different dips and sauces. This recipe is for a Greek sauce Tzatziki, simply said a yoghurt and cucumber dip. This is closer to the Cucumber Raita minus the garlic, we Indians are used to eating at home with Vegetable Pulao (pilaf).

Cucumber Dip

1 400 ml tub full cream yoghurt / store bought Greek yoghurt
3 cloves garlic finely grated
2 cucumber finely chopped / grated
Few sprigs of fresh dill leaves chopped
3 tsp olive oil
Salt to taste
A pinch of black pepper
Few drops of lemon juice

I usually use a cheese cloth to strain the yoghurt for 4-5 hours or even longer if you wish. Else you can also buy Greek yoghurt readily sold in supermarkets, which I find horribly expensive. You can also use low fat yoghurt but I like the full cream yoghurt since the texture for the dip comes out beautifully.

After all the water has been drained from the yoghurt, you can add finely grated cucumbers. You can even chop them finely if you wish. Make sure to drain all the juice from cucumbers beforehand. You don’t want a runny dip.

Now add the cucumbers, finely grated garlic and dill leaves to the mixture. You can choose any herbs you prefer like mint or parsley. Once I did not have any fresh herbs, so I just used dried mint powder and it still tasted good. Here’s a picture for the same, this time around I did not strain the yoghurt enough and hence it is runny.

Tzatziki

Add a generous drizzle of olive oil. Season with salt and black pepper to taste and mix it well.

Refrigerate for 2 hours or more for the flavours to seep in and the dip is ready to be served. Finish it off with a garnish of few sprigs of dill.

Serve with toasted pita bread, roast baby potatoes or carrots. This dip stays well for up to 3 days when refrigerated.

Tomato & Roasted Pepper Dip

Tomatoes are my favourite ingredient to work with. With an abundance of so many varieties available in supermarkets, it is interesting how different varieties result in getting different textures. I prefer the Plum, Roma or cherry tomatoes the most while cooking.

As a kid, I used to eat tomato ketchup with everything – be it fries, crackers, roti, bread, rice, crisps. I used to even put it in a bowl and just eat it as is. And who can forget painting lips with ketchup and licking it clean later. Yumm! Don’t judge me, we all have done crazy things as kids!

I think as a teen, I took a liking to Italian cuisine since they use tomatoes liberally in their sauce base and other wise. Picture Caprese salad looking pretty with rings of mozzarella nestled between thick slices of tomatoes cut round and with a generous drizzle of olive oil and basil leaves or give me tomato soup at the end of the day with toasted garlic bread on the side and I’m back to being my chirpy self again.

Dinner parties see me making this tomato dip often. This also happens to be a staple dip at home, I’d even eat this with dal (lentils) rice or plain roti (Indian flat bread).

Salsa

Cooking Time : 20 minutes
Ingredients

5 large plum tomatoes finely chopped
1 medium red onion finely chopped
1 medium red bell pepper finely chopped
2 cloves garlic finely chopped
1 Thai red chilly deseeded and finely chopped
20 ml olive oil
1/2 tsp rock salt
Salt to taste
Ground Black Pepper to taste (optional)

Blanch the tomatoes in warm water until the skin comes out clean. Let them cool and dice them finely. If you are running short of time, just chop them finely.

In a pan, warm the olive oil and add the thai red chillies. Do not deseed them since they impart the heat to this mixture. Once they splutter add the onion and cook them until they are translucent. If you would like to keep the heat quotient low, use cayenne pepper or red chilly flakes as per your preference.

Add tomatoes, cook them until they are mushy and leave the oil on the sides of the pan.

Add red bell pepper and cook them until they are soft. You can also toss them separately in a pan with little olive oil on high flame until they wilt. When I am not short of time I prefer roasting the bell pepper on high flame, peeling off the skin and then adding it to the tomato mixture. It gives a nice roasted flavor to the dip!

Season it well with salt to taste and pepper. You may also add dried herbs if you wish. I also add little garlic butter towards the end to give the mixture a glossy finish.

Dip & Dhokla

Serve with Crackers, Falafel, Pita Bread, Potato Wedges, Chips, Nachos or even Dhokla.

Spicy Peanut Balls

I like to work with left overs in the fridge. The most common left over in my kitchen happens to be cooked rice. Some days you do not want to go the traditional route and make a dal, curry or stew to go along with left over cooked rice from the night before.

Whenever I’m out at a book store I either gravitate towards the cook books featuring appetizers, baking, party food or books on entertaining and hosting dinner parties. I came across this recipe in “Party Food & Appetizers” and I immediately bookmarked it to try out later. I picked this cook book from Borders.

Cookbook

I have made this recipe many times with a slight changes and it has consistently been a crowd pleaser. It’s amazing how people try and guess what these were made with. I usually cook a batch of rice and leave it for 2 hours to cool at room temperature before I start making this.¬†I first made this for a dinner party I hosted for my colleagues and served it with an assortment of dips to choose from like Creamy Spinach Dip, Homemade Hummus, Tomato Roasted Pepper Dip and Tzatziki.

Look wise they almost seem like “Falafel” but are crunchy and crumbly at the same time.

Spicy Peanut Balls1

Cooking Time : 20 minutes
Ingredients

2 garlic cloves
1 tsp ginger
2 green chillies finely chopped
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp caster sugar (optional)
2 tsp soy sauce
3 tsp coriander finely chopped
2 cups cooked rice
1 cup peanuts coarsely chopped
Bread crumbs as required
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt to taste

In a blender, put garlic cloves, ginger, green chillies, coriander, peanuts, sugar, turmeric powder and salt.

You can choose to dry roast the peanuts before hand. They would add to the crunch.

Blend well and now add soy sauce and lemon juice. If your guests can take spice, add chilli sauce. I prefer Nando’s Peri Peri sauce.

Add cooked rice to the mixture one cup at a time and blend until it turns in to a slightly sticky mixture.

Remove in a bowl and add bread crumbs as required for binding. I also use bread crumbs sparingly to coat the spicy peanut balls before deep frying. As per the original recipe, roasted peanuts were used to coat the balls.

Grease your palms with little cooking oil and shape in small round balls. Deep fry and serve hot with tomato ketchup.

Until next time happy cooking!

Creamy Spinach Dip


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Few weekends back saw me and hubby partying with my set of work colleagues. I get very excited for throwing house parties and love the entire ritual of deciding the menu, grocery shopping, having the cutlery sorted and having the house look prim and propah. I usually like to have elaborate appetizers hence the dips come in handy.

This dip has always been a hit whenever I throw house parties. This also happens to be husband’s favourite hence had to be featured. I love this for the creamy and buttery texture and the subtle flavour of white pepper powder which gives the much required kick to the palette.



10 parts Frozen Spinach / 2 bunches of Fresh Spinach Leaves
1 pack thick cooking cream (I used Puck’s)
50 ml Full Fat Milk
1 tsp Garlic Butter
2 tsp Olive Oil
2 cloves Garlic crushed
1 1/2 tsp white pepper powder
Salt to taste

Heat Olive oil on medium heat in a saucepan.

Add crushed garlic and sauté for a minute.

Thaw the frozen spinach and squeeze out all the excess water and add the pan. Let it simmer for 2 mins. Don’t over cook the spinach else it will lose it’s bright green color.

Add sea salt and white pepper and mix it well. Lower the heat.

Dilute the cream with little milk, blend it well and add to the spinach mixture. Cook it for another 2 minutes and add milk.

Keep stirring the mixture continuously. When the cream becomes half, remove from heat.

Let the mixture cool completely and refrigerate it for a minimum of 2 hours.

Serve with Nachos, Crackers, Baby Carrots or Pita Bread. This dip can be stored for 3 days if refrigerated.