Dukkah Spiced Chickpea Rice

What do I pack for lunch tomorrow ? This is a question I ask almost every day to my dearest husband and he never has a good enough answer. He does not like to take leftovers of dinner last night as is. This leaves me in a fix!

So I have to work a lot with leftovers in one way or another. Some days I use the curry or vegetable in parathas and make kathi rolls or if I have stir fried veggies, use them up in noodles. On most days, I have a bowl of left over rice staring back at me. When I am at leisure, I sometimes make Spicy Peanut Balls from leftover rice.

On one such instance, I made this rice with chickpeas and spices. This is a easy office lunch option, gets ready in few minutes and is very easy to prep.

Chickpeas add a source of protein to an otherwise basic recipe. I used to always spice this up with the usual coriander and cumin powder. However this time around I decided to experiment with dukkah spice mix.

My colleague recently visited his home back in Egypt and his mum lovingly packed homemade dukkah spice mix for me. See packing brownies for team mates comes with it’s own advantages! 😀

Dukkah is an Egyptian spice mix comprising of toasted sesame seeds, hazelnuts, coriander, almond meal and cumin. I’m no expert about these spice mixes but just sharing the information imparted by my colleague’s mum!

I have used chaat masala previously to add some zing to rice dishes like Tawa Pulao. This time since I was using a Middle Eastern spice mix, I decided to substitute the chaat masala with some sumac. And I’m glad that I did so!

Here’s my recipe for the Dukkah Spiced Chickpea Pulao:

Chole Pulao

Comes together in : 20 Minutes
Ingredients

2 onions finely chopped
2 tomatoes finely chopped
1 green chilly finely chopped
1/3 cup carrots finely chopped (optional)
1/2 cup chickpeas
1 1/2 tsp dukkah masala
1 tsp sumac powder
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp carrom seeds (optional)
1 tsp coriander powder
3 tsp canola oil
4 cups cooked rice
A handful of parsley roughly chopped
Salt to taste

In a sauté pan, heat some oil and add cumin seeds and carom seeds. Once it sizzles, add green chilly followed by onions.

Cook onions until they are translucent, add tomatoes. Let them cook till they are mushy.

Add the spices, salt to taste and blend well together followed by chickpeas. Let it stand in the mixture for a while.

Add the cooked rice and mix it well with the mixture. Garnish with parsley and serve hot with a side of cucumber raita.

Chole Pulao1

Until next time, happy cooking!

Couscous Salad

I have busy first looking for one and then moving houses for the last few weeks now. It is such a tiring process.

But I had a lot of fun looking for new furniture, Nonetheless we finally moved in our new house this weekend and I wanted to make up for all wall of silence on my blog. So here I am, back to the Middle Eastern spread on the blog, sharing an easy recipe for the couscous salad.

Couscous Salad

This is a new favorite and an easy lunch box recipe. It gets ready quickly on weekday mornings. You can chop up the veggies while the couscous is resting.

Couscous is a healthy protein rich option and also low on calories. Add any veggies you love to eat on a given day and you have colorful lunch box which you co-workers would like to dig in.

Comes Together in : 15 Minutes max
Ingredients

1 cup couscous
1 cup boiling water
1 finely chopped cucumber
1 finely chopped red onion
2 finely chopped tomatoes
6 finely chopped baby radish
2 tsp olive oil
3 tsp tomato paste
Juice of 1 lemon or more as needed
Salt to taste
Freshly ground Black Pepper to taste
Handful of finely chopped dill leaves

In a wide bowl, pour boiling water over couscous and cover it with a lid for 10 minutes.

Let the couscous absorb all the water. After uncovering the lid, when all water is absorbed, use a fork to fluff the couscous and let it cool for a while.

Fluffy Couscous

You could also use vegetable stock to add flavors.

Couscous Tomato Paste

Add the tomato paste and with hands rub the paste in to the couscous.

Veggies

Add all veggies. Dress the salad with olive oil, salt, black pepper and dill leaves.

Couscous Salad1

Toss them well and let it refrigerate for a bit. Savour this on a hot summery afternoon!

Until next time happy cooking!

Vegetable Daliya / Bulgur Porridge

Breakfast 1

I am always on the look out for healthy recipes which are quick to make and are comforting as well. Past few weeks have not been great health wise and thus comes the focus on nutritious food packed with goodness of essential nutrients.

I love having couscous in my salads but this time around I was running out of it hence decided to go for a porridge like dish made of bulgur or broken wheat. I was bored with oats so did not opt for it.

It is a diabetic friendly dish which is high on fibre and protein. Easy to make and something which you can lay on the table in 20 minutes.

Daliya 1

Cooking Time : 20 minutes
Serves : 4

Ingredients
1 1/4 cup daliya / broken wheat / bulgur
1 finely chopped onion
1 finely chopped tomato
1 finely chopped capsicum
1/4 cup shredded carrot (optional)
1/4 cup peas
2 finely chopped green chillies
2 tsp canola oil
1/2 tsp carrom seeds
1 1/2 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin seeds
3 cups water
Salt to taste

In a pressure cooker, heat some oil and add cumin seeds followed by carom seeds.

Once they sizzle, add some green chillies followed by onions.

Cook them until translucent, add tomatoes and cook them for a minute.

Add capsicum, peas and sautee them well. You could also add broccoli, sweet corn to the mixture.

Add all the dry spices and mix well and season it with salt as required.

Vegetables

Add bulgur to this mixture and roast it well until the spices are coated well with it.

Daliya

Add 3 cup warm water to the mixture, mix well and close the lid of the pressure cooker.

Pressure cook until 3 whistles and turn off the heat.

Breakfast

I served this with mango milkshake on a weekend taking in the views from my balcony. Until next time happy cooking!

Spicy & Tangy Chickpeas

I discussed following a high protein diet for the last few weeks and in continuation to the same I decided to blog about this Spicy & Tangy Chickpeas recipe.

Chickpeas Masala1

Again this is a quick dish I make for office lunches with chapattis. It comes together quickly in 15 minutes and sees me out of the door with a brown bag in hand.

Living in Dubai, opting for take aways and ordering in food regularly at work is often the easy way out. But even if you spend a minimum of AED 20 on lunch everyday, the amount can dig up a hole in your pockets by month end. I rather treat myself to a new cookbook or a massage from the money saved by carrying lunch.

It’s a habit I try to keep at and constantly look of recipes which do not see me in kitchen for long on work day mornings.

In this recipe, I have substituted the chaat masala with sumac powder and I can say that I am not going back. This was a good call.

Sumac is a popular spice used in Middle Eastern cooking. A few spices which I discovered after coming to Dubai and which fascinated me were Zaatar, Sumac and Dried Loomi powder while strolling in the spice souks of Global Village and Union Co-op shelves.

Sumac is a good source of Vitamin C, Omega 3 fatty acids and is an antioxidant. It has a very subtle lemony and tart flavour and I love sprinkling it to on my salads, hummus and chaats.

Serves : 4
Cooking Time : 15 minutes

Ingredients
1 can chickpeas
2 medium sized onions finely chopped
2 medium sized tomatoes finely chopped
1/2 tsp red chilly powder
1stick cinnamon
2 star anise
1 green chilly finely chopped (You can add 2 if you can handle the spice)
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp tomato paste (optional)
3 tsp canola oil
1 1/4 tsp sumac powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin seeds
Salt to taste
A handful of finely chopped coriander leaves

In a wok, heat oil and add cumin seeds. Once they sizzle, add green chillies and ginger garlic paste.

Let it cook for a minute and add onions.

Add tomatoes once onions have browned. Cook tomatoes with the dry spices until they leave a ring of oil on the sides of the wok.

Add salt to taste and drained and rinsed chickpeas and sauté them with the mixture well.

Cook for a few minutes, take off heat and garnish some freshly chopped coriander leaves and slit green chillies.

Chickpeas Masala

Until next time let me know you quick fix recipes!

Kaju Peda – Cashew Truffles

CP
It’s the eighth day of Chaitra Navratri today. Navratri is a festival of nine nights, “Nav” means nine and “Ratri” means night.
The beginning of spring and the beginning of autumn are considered to be important junctions of climatic and solar influences hence it is observed as an auspicious period of worship for Hindus.
During this period, people fast and do not eat non-vegeterian food and avoid onions and garlic. We ended our fast today with prayers in the morning and made the ‘bhog’ i.e. offerings of poori, Semolina Halwa and Kale Chane.
 
I have featured here a recipe for Kaju peda, it’s a traditional Indian cashew nut fudge recipe. It’s very simple to assemble and easy to make as well. I made this for Diwali last and again on Gudi Padwa.
Gudi Padwa is celebrated on the first day of Navratris and marks the start of a Marati new year.  Gudi Padwa is mainly celebrated in the Indian state of Maharashtra where I was brought up.
Cashew Pedas
 
Makes Approximately: 20 pedas
 
Ingredients
200 grams cashew nuts
2 tsp clarified butter / ghee
1/2 to 3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp cardamom powder
Few tsp of full fat milk
Slivered Pistachios to garnish (optional)
Soak the cashews in warm water for 2-3 hours. Once the cashews are soft, drain them and blend with very little water in a blender.
Pulse the cashews until they are creamy.
Cashew Mixture
In a thick bottom wok on low heat, heat ghee and add the cashew mixture. I usually oil the wok so that the cashew mixture does not stick to the wok.
Add powdered sugar, cardamom powder and full fat milk to this mixture and keep blending it well until the sugar dissolves.
Cooking
After a few minutes, the mixture will start leaving the sides of the wok. Turn off the heat at this point.
Cooling the Mixture
Let the mixture cool until it is ok to handle the mixture. Make bite sized balls from the cashew mixture. Let me show you my attempt previously around Diwali which I was not quite happy with.
Diwali
Result this time, the difference just adding 2-3 tsp of milk to the mixture so that it does not dry out. Also I did grease my palms well and hence you see the sheen on the peda this time around. Win!
Cashew Peda2
Press down a pistachio sliver in the cashew ball and roll it well.
You can also use silver vark easily available in Al Adil stores to add a nice festive touch to the pedas.
I will bring you some Navratri recipes over this week before it’s too late. Happy Cooking! 🙂

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.

Red Cabbage & Carrot Salad

Off late I have taken a liking to eating carrots with a side of hummus or zataar labneh. It’s my usual go-to snack at work as well. I have always liked eating the red carrots I find back home. When I first came to Dubai, finding red carrots also referred as Pakistani carrots became a rarity.

I took my own sweet time liking the orange-tinged New Zealand or Australian carrots but now I use them in mostly everything. I put diced carrot in tomato soup (it lends a beautiful color and adds an undertone of sweetness to the acidity of the tomatoes) in savoury snacks like Poha, Upma or just carrots in salads.

Orange carrots are a good source of beta carotene and Vitamin A. Long hours spent glaring at the computer screens have left my eyes looking tired so I munch on these apart from investing in an eye cream.

I have family come over often for weekend lunch. My brother in law likes experimenting with salads and his favorite is the sprouts salad I make. However this time around he asked me to make something different.

Salad 2

I instantly remembered a bookmarked recipe from BBC Good Food’s website. I had red cabbage in the fridge and decided to make this Red Cabbage and Carrot Salad. It’s an adapted version.

Ready in 10 minutes max
Serves : 4 people

Ingredients

3 carrots grated
1 baby red cabbage
1 medium sized red onion thinly sliced
4 sprigs of coriander and mint leaves each
1/3 cup toasted and coarsely chopped salted peanuts

Dressing

Juice of 2 limes
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper powder
1 tsp organic brown sugar

Toss all the veggies in a salad bowl. I have added more of the peanuts since we like a bit more crunch in the salad. I have used a pack of pre-toasted and salted peanuts which you easily get in Indian supermarkets.

In a small bowl mix the ingredients for the dressing and blend them well.

Add the chopped herbs and pour the dressing over it. Add the toasted peanuts and serve immediately or chill for 10 minutes.

Salad

I hope you like this recipe as much as my family did.