Dates & Oats Energy Bites

No Bake Date and Oats Energy Bites

Energy Bites

My best friend sent me a picture of my co-workers getting into a habit of eating healthy breakfast at work a few days back. The picture had them bringing breakfast jars to work.

It all started with me sharing my overnight oats jar, with a dear colleague one morning. It got us talking about how easy it is to put together this breakfast option. Like I say healthy need not be boring!

Overnight Oats2

Overnight Oats 

This is for you Sho and MJ, thanks for waking me up from my blog-slumber and reminding me why I love sharing recipes in the first place. Also Palla, without your persistent nudge I would have not written a word this weekend.

So no promises of being regular out here posting recipes. However I would do my best juggling a hectic full time job and a new gym subscription.

Well, the past few months have been quite exciting. I have tried making many lifestyle changes, few have take shape and few are work in progress. More on that soon!

I have not bought white sugar in the last 4 months, given up white rice, tried some exotic ingredients (mac powder, cacao nibs, chia seeds, wheat germ, matcha powder and so on)

Along with thus I have hopped on the bandwagon and made these date-oat energy bites, best decision ever!

It’s got simple ingredients which come together quickly to get this moorish bite. I made mine with Medjool dates, oats, dried coconut flakes and walnuts, great source of dietary fibre and protein.

I chose Medjool dates on purpose, they are a good source of fibre and essential minerals. I also like their caramel like taste.

Ingredients

Ingredients

Ingredients
1 cup pitted medjool dates
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup walnuts
1/4 tsp cinnamon or more
Himalayan pink salt to taste
Little water to help blend everything together

Pulse all ingredients together in a food processor for 3-4 minutes. You should have a fine paste.

Remove the mixture in a plate. Grease your palms lightly with any neutral oil or simply dip them in cold water. This would prevent the mixture from not sticking to your hands.

Now take a tablespoon of the date mixture and roll it.

Once you shape it like a small ball, roll only the one side in unsweetened coconut flakes.

Energy Bites

Voila! You got yourself some pretty looking pre or post workout snack to munch on. This recipe should make about 12 bite sized portions.

Store it in an airtight container in the fridge for a week. Pack these in your lunch box, here’s the His&Her edition of lunch boxes in our household. Sahil was very happy to carry these to work!

Lunch Box

What are you usual pre or post workout snacks ? Do let me know!

Paneer Tikka / Shashlik

My first post for 2016 had to be a special one. New Year’s eve for me and Sahil is mostly at home. We either host a family dinner or a house party with close friends. Once it’s closer to 11pm, we step out and drive around to catch a glimpse of the breath taking fireworks which has tourists from world over flock to Dubai.

This year however we were in mood for something outdoorsy. Josh, my colleague suggested we join him and my other work mates for a camping trip. On a side note, Josh is also a founding member and lead vocalist / guitarist for the popular Dubai band Candy Flippers. Go follow them because they are aaaahhhmaazingggg!

We settled for a BBQ themed camping trip in Ras Al Khaimah desert. The build up to the new year’s eve was amazing as well. After endless banter on a common Whatsapp group and 4 trips to the hypermarket we were well stocked.

Desert

It was fun going to the mall looking for camping supplies since this was my first camping experience in the desert. It was magical to say the least!

I was in-charge of catering to the vegetarians in the group. I decided to go for Paneer Shashlik, Veggie burgers with caramelised onions, roast potato pouches and grilled assorted vegetables.

Here I am sharing the recipe for Paneer Shashlik or Paneer Tikka.

Ingredients
2 1/2 tsp tikka masala
1/2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp cumin powder
2 tsp coriander powder
2 tsp chaat masala
1 tsp dried mint
1/4 cup fresh mint / kasuri methi
1/2 tsp red chilly powder
Pinch of turmeric
750 grams paneer / cottage cheese cut in cubes
2 red peppers cut in squares
2 yellow peppers cut in squares
2 capsicum cut in squares
2 medium red onions cut in squares
400 grams greek yoghurt
3 tsp ginger garlic paste
salt to taste
50 ml canola oil
1 tsp kasundi paste
1 tsp carrom seeds
2 tsp chickpea flour / besan
1/2 tsp red chilly powder
Salt to taste

In a mixing bowl, whisk greek yoghurt and add tikka masala, ginger garlic paste, coriander powder, garam masala, cumin powder, turmeric, chaat masala and dried mint and mix well.

Heat oil in a pan and add carrom seeds. Once they splutter, add kasundi paste and red chilly powder. Let it cook for a few seconds and add chickpea flour.

Keep stirring continuously on low heat until the mixture gets some color. Take it off the heat and pour over the yogurt mix.

Blend the mixture lightly and add the paneer, onions and peppers and coat it evenly with the mixture. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Once you are ready to cook, you can start assembling the paneer tikka on a skewer.

If you are using the bamboo ones, make sure you soak them in cold water beforehand so that they do not burn when placed on the hot BBQ.

I decided to go for the stainless steel BBQ skewers given they seemed sturdy and could make more servings of the paneer tikka in one go. Also they last you many BBQ trips, I got mine for AED 8 for a pair of 4 from Carrerfour.

Now let’s get on to the assembly part, you begin by oiling the skewer well. Add one cube of red pepper followed by one cube of yellow pepper, then one cube of capsicum and lastly one cube of onion and one cube of paneer. Follow this for step for the rest of the mixture on hand.

Place it on the hot BBQ, it takes usually 15 minutes for the skewers to get cooked. Keep turning the paneer skewers after every few minutes so that all sides get some color evenly. Once it is evenly browned, remove the paneer and veggies from the skewers and serve with spicy coriander mint chutney.

Paneer TikkaUnfortunately I do not have good pictures for the dish however this did taste good and the recipe will be a bookmark for any other BBQ parties I host.

I had used the same recipe before, here is a better picture I have from that BBQ party.

Paneer Tikka 1

However I did make some changes to the recipe and this post includes my revised version.

Do try it sometime and let me know if you like it!

Somewhere in the middle of a desert, cooking on the BBQ, under the stars, next to the bonfire and tents set up, listening to some guitar and have an ensemble croon to melodies. Too much was happening around however I felt a sense of calm and happiness. This is how we welcomed 2016 and hope this be the best year yet for us.

Wishing everyone here as well a great 2016!

Oats Vegetable Tikki

Oats Tikki

Oats Vegetable Tikki 

I am a huge appetizer fan and usually love to serve a variety whenever I have dinner parties or friends over for chai.

On one such occasion, I served this crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside tikki. Patties, cutlets or tikkis are a staple snack in Northen parts of India. Aloo Tikki is mostly featured in the appetiser section in most Indian eateries and serves as a base for many chaat items.

Move up towards western India and Mumbai has aloo tikki’s popular cousin Ragda Pattice. The spicy chutneys the tikkis are usually served with make it a medley of flavours. Sweet, tangy, spicy and crunchy what more would you need!

These are fairly quick to assemble and make and perfect way to use up leftover boiled potatoes. Since I wanted to feel less guilty, I added some oats and vegetables to them. Adding oats also helped up the crunch factor in the tikkis.

Cooking Time : 10 minutes
Serves : 4

Ingredients
1 cup rolled oats + 1/4 cup ground oats
2 potatoes boiled and mashed
2 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
2 tsp dried mango/ amchur powder
1/4 tsp paprika powder
1 tsp minced ginger
2 green chilled finely chopped
1 red onion finely chopped
2 carrots grated
1 tsp wheat bran
1/4 cup bread crumbs
2 tsp finely chopped coriander leaves
Salt to taste
Canola Oil for shallow frying

Grind the oats. In a bowl, add all the ingredients and mix them well.

Now with greased hands, make 12 equal portions and roll out in flat tikki (cutlet) shape.

Dust them in a plate with equal portions of ground oats and breadcrumbs.

Shallow fry on each side until they acquire a even brown color. Serve immediately with coriander mint chutney.

Let me know if you liked this recipe and any variations I can try the next time.

Until next time, happy cooking!

Mumbai Diaries – Dhokla

I came back to Dubai earlier this week after a 20 day long vacation in Mumbai. It was good fun meeting family and enjoying delicious meals from my mum’s kitchen. How I miss it!

I will start chronicling now on my travel diaries in the blog as well and this is the first of the many to come, let me know your thoughts on the same. The series will have my experiences while travelling to a destination and not necessarily a recipe to go with it. Again I am no expert at writing about travel but being a professional travel writer’s wife, I have come to love travelling even more over the years now.

Going back to my trip to Mumbai, it was such a fulfilling experience when I cooked for my family one evening. I made some pasta, oats spinach tikkis and dhokla.

Dhokla is popular Gujrati snack and quite nutritious at it too. Weight watchers can rejoice since this recipe goes easy on the calories too.

The dhokla turned out much better than usual, must have been my grandma watching over me and giving her expert tips when she saw me mixing the batter or tempering the dhoklas later.

I could see a glint of pride and her smiling ear to ear when I made the tempering and not get deterred by the crackling and popping of mustard seeds. This stuff used to always scare me and I had burnt my wrists a few times panicking over the popping mustard seeds in hot oil.

How things change! We just looked at each other and that moment melted my heart, it was simply beautiful.

Dhokla

Ingredients
Dhokla batter

2 cups gram flour
3 tsp canola oil
2 tsp green chilli paste
1 tsp ginger paste
1 sachet eno (fruit salt)
3/4 tsp lemon juice
Salt to taste
1 1/2 cup water
Handful of freshly chopped coriander powder
Pinch of red chilly powder (optional)
Freshly grated coconut (optional)

Tempering
3 tsp canola oil
2 tsp mustard seeds
2 tsp cumin seeds
10-12 curry leaves (optional)

In a mixing bowl, sieve the gramflour and add salt, eno, chilli, ginger paste and mix well.

Add water, little at a time and blend all the ingredients together. The consistency of the batter needs to slightly thick and hence add water as per requirement. Do not pour all of the water instantly.

Add oil and mix well, this helps give the batter a good sheen. Do not let the batter sit on the side for long after it has been made.

In a steamer, boil water and add the batter to greased plates in the dhokla stands. Fill the plates with the batter only to half the capacity since once steamed, the batter will rise.

Steam for almost 10-15 minutes with the lid on. Always set the steamer on medium heat, high flame will dry out the dhoklas and the end result won’t be soft and spongy.

Just like we check cakes, use a toothpick to check if the dhoklas have been cooked throughout after 10-12 minutes. If the toothpick comes out dry, remove the dhoklas off the heat.

Let it cool for a while and then un-mould them from the plates and cut them in diamond / square shape.

To make the tempering, heat oil and add mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Once they crackle, remove from the heat and with a spoon spread it over the dhokla pieces. I wish I had curry leaves that day so I could have added them to the tempering but we were too lazy to venture out and get some. Aren’t holidays all about lazing around and not stressing over the little things ?

Garnish the dhoklas with a generous sprinkling of freshly chopped coriander leaves, a pinch of red chilly powder and serve with green chutney and tomato ketchup.

I also like garnishing with freshly grated coconut but again it was not available and we gave it a pass.

This is one special post, for me this is not much about the recipe here but about my experience that one rainy evening in Mumbai spending some quality time with my loved ones.

Here’s to my family who taught me cook with love! Happy cooking! 😀

Pav Bhaji

Pav Bhaji

Mumbai monsoons have arrived, said my dad with a chuckle and that we had a long chat reminiscing about how I used to love jumping in puddles of water as a kid when it used to rain! Given the opportunity, I still do 😛

We discussed how the average Mumbaikar’s idea of a good monsoon outing is visiting Juhu beach, eating gola, also known as chuski or shaved ice on a stick submerged in flavored food colored water and downing plates of bhel puri, dahi batata puri and of course the iconic Juhu beach Pav Bhaji.

We got nostalgic about our picnics there when I was a kid, the scary fall I had when horse riding or making sand castles. They were good fun times!

If you visit Mumbai, it is an important to-do in travel iternarary. Over the years the place has been very crowded and now it’s been many years I have not visited Juhu beach. I prefer Worli Seaface instead for the quiet there and listening to the waves!

Below is my take on the Pav Bhaji!

Prep Time : 15 minutes
Cooking Time : 30 minutes
Serves : 4

Ingredients
6 medium potatoes boiled and mashed
1/2 cup green peas
1 1/2 cup caulifower florets
2 green chillies finely chopped (optional)
5 tsp canola oil
2 medium onions finely chopped
1 tsp grated ginger
3 cloves garlic finely grated
6 tomatoes finely chopped
50 ml tomato paste
1 large capsicum finely chopped
2 1/2 tsp pav bhaji masala powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp red chilly powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
Salt to taste
5-6 tsp butter
Coriander leaves for garnish
A few wedges of lemon

In a pressure cooker, boil the potatoes in salted water. Once cooled, mash them with a potato masher or with a fork. Set it aside.

Cauliflower - Peas Mash

In a pot, blanch caulifower florets and peas and give them a cold bath once out.

Cauliflower - Peas Mash 1

In a food processor, just blend them together to bread crumb consistency. Do not add any water to the blender. Set it aside.

Pav Bhaji - Prep

The key to making great pay bhaji is being sorted with the prep beforehand. The dish comes together quickly this way.

Let get started!

Traditionally, bhaji is cooked on a flat disc shaped iron tawa (griddle) but I had to do with a humble kadhai in my rental kitchen.

Pav Bhaji2

In a kadhai, heat some oil and add green chillies. Once it sizzles, add the ginger and garlic followed by the onions and cook them until they are translucent.

Pav Bhaji 3

Please note traditionally not many people use green chillies in the pav bhaji and use red chill paste instead. I did not have red chillies on hand and hence went for green chillies.

Pav Bhaji5

To the onions, add tomatoes and cook for a few minutes. Once mushy, add tomato paste, it lends a good consistency to the mix and also gives a deep red color. Cook them well.

Pav Bhaji6

Add chopped capsicum, sautee for a while and add the cauliflower and peas to the mixture.

Add pav bhaji masala, coriander powder, red chilly powder, turmeric and salt to taste. Blend the ingredients well with some water.

Add mashed potato to the mixture and mix well. Keep adding water to the mixture as required.

Add dollops of butter and season well with salt, let it simmer for a while. Usually I use Lurpark or Ellie & Vier butter but for pav bhaji I bring out Amul butter.

Amul butter is just synonymous with Juhu beach style pav bhaji and is like a staple ingredient in every kitchen when making pav bhaji or maybe just me!

Garnish with freshly chopped coriander leaves and some more butter.

Prepare this dish when you feel like indulging and need not worry about the pav maska maar ke! (Indian bread with extra butter)

To have the pav with the bhaji, on a tawa just add butter and roast the pav in the buttery goodness for a few minutes until they have evenly browned.

Pav

You can buy good pav at the bakery section of Lulu or even try the portuguese rolls available at Waitrose.

Serve with dollops of butter on the side, lemon wedges and finely chopped onion.

Pav Bhaji1

I hope you relish this as much as I did. Until next time, happy cooking! 🙂

Cottage Cheese & Spinach Falafel Bites

Throwing in a get together can be exhausting especially when you are clocking in a 10 hour work days and have a crowd to feed and every one has a very specific palette. A little planning goes a long way and making a to-do list for all the prep can ease off any anxiety.

I threw a Holi dinner party for my newly wed brother-in-law and the extended family. Now this is a traditional Punjabi family set up and while we might be Indo-Chinese style Spring Roll, Momos and Pav Bhaji loving folks, on festivals we like to belong where our roots are and so I braced myself to make an out and out Punjabi feast. I took some liberty to tweak only the starters and appetizers.

We thought of bringing in some variety and playing with flavors which are not quite alien to them. My mum-in-law said why not marry a version of palak paneer (spinach & cottage cheese) and chana masala (chickpeas) for them. I remembered this recipe for Spinach & Feta Falafel Balls from BBC Good Food website and adapted the same to my family’s liking.

The result was great! Two recipes which I would keep handy for future get togethers will be this one and my Spicy Peanut Balls recipe served with Tomato Thokku. The textures and flavor combinations are great.

Platter

Serves : 6
Makes about : 30-35 bite sized balls
Prep Time : 10 minutes
Cooking Time : 10 Minutes

Ingredients
200 grams baby spinach
1 can chickpeas
1 medium sized onion finely chopped
50 grams Cottage Cheese
2 tsp roasted cumin powder
1 green chilly
1 tsp coriander powder
4 tsp plain flour
4 tsp herbed breadcrumbs
2 tsp chaat masala
Handful of fresh coriander leaves
Salt to taste

The original recipe called for blanching the spinach by poring boiling water over it. I just sautéed the spinach with onions just until it was soft.

In a food processor, add the onion spinach mixture along with the chickpeas. Rinse and pat dry the chickpeas to avoid more moisture in the mix.

Add cottage cheese, coriander leaves, roasted cumin powder, coriander powder, chat masala, green chilly and salt to taste and pulse well.

Once the mixture is grainy, add flour and breadcrumbs and blend well.

Remove from the food processor, grease your hands and make roll bite sized balls.

IMG_5756

Deep fry over medium heat until they have a pretty brown color. I really wish that I had some pictures for this post.

Cottage Cheese & Spinach Falafel

Serve with tzatziki and hummus.

Chatori Galli – Barsha 1

I love eating street food and the mere mention makes me go weak in my knees! Such is my fascination with chaat vendors that I should be given the most loyal customer award for visiting Elco, Bandra Mumbai traveling to the other side of the city just to eat the pani puri and papdi chaat.

I find very limited good chaat houses in Dubai unlike India wherein there is one in every corner of the street. I came to know about Chatori Gali in Al Barsha via Twitter. Some one strongly suggested that I visit them for their jalebis.

Chatori Galli

This is a relatively small dining place just behind Mall of Emirates and a stone’s throw away from Bikanervala which is more popular in the area. Just a disclaimer, I have tried these dishes reviewed over 5 visits and found them to be consistent.

I started by trying the Gol Gappe (Delhi) or Phuchkas (Bengal) or Pani Puri (Mumbai). It is hollow fried crisps filled with a sprouts / potato mixture and downed with flavored water. I wasn’t impressed. It lacked serious amounts of masalas and that “ahhaa” factor.

We next moved on to try Raj Kachori, deep fried round flattened ball filled with a stuffing of lentils, cubed potatoes, sprouts, well beaten yoghurt and chutneys and garnished with sev.

Raj Kachori

The Kachori in itself was quite dried out and hence not crisp and was overloaded with yoghurt. There was very minuscule amounts of stuffing and hence it was another ‘No’ for me.

Pyaaz Kachori

On a side note, the Pyaaz Kachori (Onion stuffed) was great in comparison.

We also tried Ram Ladoo, a popular snacking dish in North India. These are deep fried moong dal (split green gram skinless) and urad dal (split green gram skinless) balls served with spicy tangy green chutneys garnished with grated raddish. It was average and needed to be soaked in the chutney before serving them. That’s how it’s traditionally served, maybe I had high expectations!

Ram Ladoo

The best memories I have had of Ram Ladoo are in my teens when I visited Amritsar and ate them at a small time vendor. He soaked them in Kanji, a popular Punjabi fermented drink made with red carrots, turnips, beets spiced up with rock salt, red chilly powder and mustard powder. He later topped them with spicy hot green chutney and radish! Drool worthy!

Moving on to the review, we proceeded to order Bread Pakoda, now this won me over completely. Bread slices sandwiched with a spicy mashed potato mixture coated in chickpea flour batter and deep fried.

Bread Pakoda

It had a generous sprinkling of chaat masala. It was served to us piping hot and with a side of coriander and tamarind chutneys.

Samosa Chaat

We tried Samosa Chaat, it was delicious. They served the samosa piping hot and were quite generous with the chutneys (thank goodness!), as a result, me and my guests were vying to get the last bite. Gluttony!

On another visit we tried “Parathe wali Galli ke Parathe” this immediately took me back to the bylines of Old Delhi in Chandni Chowk where Sahil first took me for a date many years back shortly after we visited the magnificent Jama Masjid.

For old time sake, we ordered the Parathas, you can choose two from the various varieties of parathas available. We ordered aloo pyaaz (Flat bread stuffed with spicy boiled potato and onions mix) and Gobhi (Cauliflower stuffing). Usually parathas are cooked on a tawa (flat griddle) but this particular type of parathas are deep fried in a wok.

Paranthe Wali Galli ke Paranthe

The parathas are served with Chole (spicy and tangy chickpea curry), Kaddu Ki Launji (Pumpkin cooked downed with spices and mildly sweet), Aloo Sabzi (Potato cubes in onion tomato gravy), Mixed cauliflower and carrot pickle smeared with mustard powder, a few pieces of tomato and cucumber and sweet chutney. Unfortunately since we have ordered this twice, I can’t seem to find the picture with Kaddu ki Launji.

I loved the Aloo Sabzi, it was quite spicy but I savoured every morsel of the paratha dipped in the sabzi. Yumm!

As for the parathas, I could not have beyond one piece. The parathas were crisp on the outside but all that deep frying made them too heavy.

Bedami Aloo

We moved on to Bedami Aloo. Bedmi is an another popular breakfast option served in Chandni Chowk and Old Delhi. It is a puri (deep fried puffed bread) made with wheat flour and ground lentils, either skinned black gram dal or green gram dal.

The accompaniments which come along with the Bedami Puri are same as the parathas. We were keen on having it only with the Aloo sabzi and asked to be served the same instead of the Chole and Kaddu Ki Launji. Again great dish and a must try once you visit this place.

Sarso Ka Saag - Makai Roti

We also ordered Sarson Ka Saag with Makke Ki Roti. Sarson ka Saag is mustard leaves and spinach leaves cooked with spices in and usually mustard oil. Makke ki Roti is flatbread made with maize flour, easily available in Indian grocery stores here. It was delicious and was served with a side of jaggery and raddish.

Tawa Paratha & Raita

If you are looking for a lighter option than the parathas then you can also opt for the various menu options like Methi Roti, Gobhi Roti or Missi Roti. I chose Tawa Paratha (Wholewheat flatbread cooked on a disc shaped griddle) with Boondi Raita. Simple home style dinner option.

Kadhi

I tried the parathas with Raita and once with Kadhi Pakoda, it was simply delish. The Kadhi was punjabi style, buttermilk cooked with gram flour, mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, cumin seeds and red chilly powder.

Vegetable Poha

We also tried Poha, it was a nice light snack. Poha is flattened wife flakes cooked with onions, peas, mustard seeds and garnished with peanuts, coriander leaves and Sev (Savoury Gramflour Vermicelli).

It was just good to be had with a side of masala chai. The tea served at Chatori Gali is prepared fresh and they use Lipton tea bags for the same however I did skip this on my subsequent visits. I don’t blame them, I’m quite picky about the masala chai I have.

Thandai

Sahil tried Thandai, it is a chilled drink made from milk, ground dry fruits flavored with kewda, rosewater, saffron, sugar and fennel seeds. This one was made with store bought syrup and sparingly topped with almond flakes. He found it quite refreshing. Their drinks menu also has fresh juices, Kanji, Fresh Lemonade, Lassi and Milkshakes.

Motichoor Ladoo

In desserts, we tried the Motichoor Ladoo, it was quite dry and not good enough.

Let’s move on to the sole reason you should visit Chatori Galli, which is their Jalebi. It’s deep fried flour shaped in spirals and soaked in sugary syrup flavored with cardamom or saffron at times. It’s difficult to explain what a “jalebi” is and hence the pictures below:

Jalebi In Making

It was crispy, crunchy and supremely heavenly. It tasted divine and was just the thing you need to taste on a day when you feel under weather. When dipped in the Rabdi, it is a killer combination!

Jalebi & Kulfi

We however had the piping hot jalebis with their stick kulfi. The kulfi was quite creamy and not too sweet and good way to end a hearty meal.

Matka Kulfi

The Matka Kulfi was pretty looking in the earthen pot but did not taste as great as the Stick Kulfi.

Visit Chatori Galli with a big appetite, the service is quite off sometimes mainly due to how busy the place is in evenings. However we have found a friend in Sandeep, a great guy who takes pleasure in serving you well.

Until next time, Happy cooking 🙂

Other Locations: Oud Metha / Meena Bazzar, Bur Dubai

Disclaimer : All featured dishes and meals were paid for my me and this post is not a sponsored one.