Sunday, June 14, 2020

Chipotle Veggie buritto bowl ~ copy cat recipe

One of our quickest and healthiest take away when we were in the US was the "Buritto Bowl" from Chipotle. Chipotle is one of the Mexican fast food chain. This burrito bowl has often comforted us on long drives and cold winter nights. The spice from the chilli, tanginess from the salsa's and lime, the creaminess from the guacamole and crunchiness from the roasted pepper and onions create a beautiful harmony in mouth. When we moved to Bangalore 1.5 years ago we were elated with variety of spicy Indian food easily available. After the initial cravings were satisfied we started missing few of the items that we frequently ate in the US. This burrito bowl was one among them. Our Son A, is a die hard fan of Chipotle bowl and when I made this for him he was super happy and said " This is how it smells when you enter Chipotle!". 
Having tried the copy cat version 2 years ago I had a fair idea of the recipe. Do not get intimidated with the long list of ingredients.  This is a fairly easy recipe with a little cooking involved. 

The different elements in this bowl are:
1) Cilantro - lime rice
2) Black beans
3) Tomato Salsa
4) Corn Salsa
5) Guacamole
6) Roasted Onions and
7) Roasted peppers

Optional and not in picture : Sour cream, Tabasco hot sauce and lettuce.

Lets breakdown this recipe for better understanding.  
Here is what's needed:

1) Cilantro - lime rice:
2 cups Basmati rice or any long grain rice - soaked for 20 mins and drained
2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
2 tbsp oil
10 - 12 springs of cilantro or coriander leaves with stem finely chopped.
salt to taste
juice of 1 lime

I used my instant pot to make this rice. 
1) Press saute , Add oil. Add in garlic,  cilantro stems (reserve the leaves for later use) and rice. 
2) Saute until it turns turns slightly brown. 
3) Add 3 cups of water. Add in salt to taste and  pressure cook for 6 mins. 
4) When done immediately release the pressure and open the lid. Fluff with fork. Add in the lemon juice and chopped coriander leaves. Your rice is now ready. 

The same can be done in a pressure cooker or on stove top.

2) Black beans:
1.5 cups of black beans soaked overnight and drained
2 bay leaves
4-5 garlic cloves finely chopped
1/2 - 1 tsp of dried oregano
salt to taste
1 tsp oil

I used Instant pot to make this. 
1) Heat oil on saute. Add bay leaves and garlic. Saute.
2)  Add in the beans, salt to taste and water. Crush the oregano between your palms and add it in. 
3)  Cook it on beans / chili mode and let the pressure release manually. If it  has excess liquid then let the beans cook without the lid on , until its nice and  thick. 

This can also be done in a Pressure cooker or on stove top. The stove top version would take a long time though.

3) Tomato Salsa:
3- 4 meduim sized tomatoes - Finely chopped
1 medium onion finely chopped
2-3 green chillies finely chopped ( adjust according to your spice level)
Salt and lemon juice to taste
chopped coriander leaves 

Mix all the above ingredients to make the salsa.

4) Sweet corn salsa:
2 cups boiled corn kernels
1/4 piece of capsicum
1 medium onion finely chopped
1 green chilly finely chopped ( adjust according to your spice level)
Salt and lemon juice to taste
chopped coriander leaves 

Mix all the above ingredients to make the salsa.

5) Guacamole:
2 ripe Avocados
1 tomato finely chopped
1 medium onion finely chopped
2 green chillies finely chopped ( adjust according to your spice level)
Salt and lemon juice to taste
chopped coriander leaves 
Cut the avocado lengthwise and remove its pit (Do not throw it away)

Mix all the ingredients except Avocado and give it a mix. Add in the avocado and mash lightly with the back of spoon. I like mine chunky so  I mash the avocado lightly.

Pro-tip: Keep a pit of the avocado in the guacamole to retain its color and freshness.

6) Roasted onions and Pepper:
2 capsicum/ peppers sliced
3 Onions sliced
Salt to taste
1/4 tsp Taco seasoning (Optional)
Olive oil 2-3 tbsp

Heat oil in a cast iron pan. Saute the veggies with salt and taco seasoning individually on high flame until well roasted yet crunchy.

To Serve:
Take a bowl, Add in the rice. Top it with beans and both the salsas.  Add in the guacamole and roasted veggies. Add in the optional  items hot sauce, sour cream and cheese Serve immediately.  Mix and enjoy! 

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Whole wheat dosa ~ Govan pitta phanna poLo

Our mornings are incomplete without a proper breakfast.. cereals etc  never make it to our pantry as none of us actually enjoy it. We prefer  South Indian breakfasts at home. This dosa recipe was shared by my dear friend G. He is a total foodie and keeps sharing new recipes for me to try.  When he shared this recipe, I was surprised by how healthy and easy this was.. Back home, Amma always made a similar dosa but with Maida or plain flour. Immediately I tried this recipe and it was an instant hit. Apparently this is a common breakfast item in amchi Kochi homes and is called "Govan pitta phaNNa poLo ~ Seasoned atta dosas".
Here is what's needed:
1 cup whole wheat flour / Atta
2-3 tbsp of Rice flour (This was not in the original recipe. But I wanted to make it crispy hence added it)
2 tbsp grated coconut
2-3 green chillies
a pinch of cumin seeds
salt to taste
1 tbsp Coriander leaves chopped
To Season
1 tsp Oil, preferably coconut
1 tsp cumin seeds
a generous pinch of hing
salt to taste
1) Mix the flours together with  water until it is of pouring consistency.
2) Crush the grated coconut with green chilles and a little bit of cumin seeds with a pestle. Add this to the batter. Add salt to taste.
3) Prepare seasoning : Heat oil in a small pan, add cumin seeds. When they crackle , add in the curry leaves and hing. Pour this over the batter. Add in the chopped coriander leaves.
4) I used a hard anodized tava for this. I thin the batter to water consistency and make dosas like I do for rawa dosa.. Roast it well on all sides. Use ghee or oil and patiently wait until it crisps up beautifully. Serve hot with chutney of your choice.

Please note:
1) Addition of rice flour is completely optional. I do it so that the dosas turn out crispy.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Peanut Laddu ~ Vegan and Healthy!!

I have a sweet tooth and crave for at least a small bite of sweet after every meal.. Recently I have made few diet changes that has helped me immensely with my health! In this what I miss the most is sweets. I usually keep a jar of roasted peanuts handy for quick snack and at times when I crave for sweet I just toss in a tiny piece of jaggery with few peanuts.
On one such days when I was badly craving for sweets, I suddenly remembered these laddus that my Maharashtrian friend in Shanghai used to make often. I asked my cousin if she had a recipe for this and she immediately  sent one which had ghee and nuts in it..  I avoid ghee in my food so wanted to try it without it.. Luckily it worked.. This is one of the easiest recipes that I have ever blogged.There is no recipe as such just toss in the mixie and bind.. you can also easily adjust the jaggery as per your preference for sweetness.
Here is what's needed:
2 cups of Roasted peanuts
1/4- 1/2 cup grated jaggery ( I used organic dark brown jaggery and it was very sweet so used only 1/4 cup yet felt it was very sweet)
2 green cardamom pods peeled
In a mixie jar or blender add the roasted peanuts (You could peel the roasted peanuts too.. but I did not) and add the jaggery and cardamom seeds. Blend it until smooth.You could also add in other nuts of your choice.
The peanuts release natural oil that helps in binding easily. Make laddus and store in an air tight container..

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Karathe Kismuri ~ Crispy fried bittergourd in spicy coconut masala

Konkani cuisine is mostly vegan and we love our coconut in every form... Most of our cooking uses coconut in one form or the other. Kismuri is a traditional Konkani style salad kind of side dish which is a favourite among many!  This can be made with Raw bananas / Yam / Bittergourd/ Bread fruit or even potato.. I love to pair this with some nice konkani style curry or humble and soul food Dalithoy! Instead of deep frying I add the vegetable pieces in a cast iron kadai/pan, toss in 2 tbsp of coconut oil and shallow fry on low flame until it beautifully crisps up.. And yes do not make the mistake of tossing it into your mouth at this stage because these are super addictive!!

Here is what's needed:
2 medium sized bitter gourds, deseeded and finely chopped
1 cup grated coconut (Fresh) If using Frozen thaw it before you use
4-5 fried red chillies (I use a mix of byaadgi and spicy round chilli)
Marble sized tamarind
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 onion finely chopped
Salt to taste

1) Apply salt to bittergourd pieces and keep it aside for 30 mins. Squeeze the water out of it well and either deep fry or shallow fry the pieces. ( I used a cast iron pan , added 2 tbsp coconut oil and shallow fry). Make sure they crisp up well and take care not to burn them.
2) Grind grated coconut, red chillies, salt, tamarind and coriander seeds. The masala has to be ground coarsely.
3) At the time of serving mix in the finely chopped onions, karela pieces and masala. Serve it immediately. It is best served with hot rice and some hearty Dal!

This can be made with Potato or Raw banana or Yam too! They all taste equally delicious.. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Shevai ~ Rice string hoppers

If I had to pick only one breakfast item that I love the most..I would  easily pick Shevai ! I can never get tired of eating this. Even though the process of making this is time consuming the end result is always worth the hard work! This dish includes fair amount of planning and demands patience.. I lack patience in lot of things but cooking is totally another game.. I have tremendous patience when I cook! I wonder how?
Shevai would make appearance regularly at our breakfast plates. It was actually a two day process in my house hold to make it easy! Amma would soak the rice the previous day. Late at night just before hitting the bed she would grind it with freshly grated coconut,cook the batter to form a stiff dough and then cover it with wet cloth. This would breakdown the process and make it easy for the next day. Next day morning, balls would be made out of the dough and steamed in a steamer until done. The hot balls of the dough would then be pressed using a traditional press. Me and my brother would patiently wait for these to be done and enjoy our sunday breakfast with a generous helping of coconut oil and some spicy mango pickle! Traditionally this is eaten with  grated jaggery in coconut milk and mildly scented with cardamom powder. But I always preferred to eat it with oil and pickle or some nice spicy potato song or bibbe humman (fresh cashews cooked in spicy coconut masala with aroma of hing and coconut oil).
Both the boys in the house share the same feelings towards these white beauties which is why they are now a regular fare at our place. We can never get enough of them. If you have a helping hand with the press then you are all sorted!

Here is what's needed:
4 cups of dosa rice
1.5 cups of grated coconut
salt to taste
water to grind

1) Soak rice for a minimum of 5-6 hours. Grind it with grated coconut and water to a smooth batter. It should be of free flowing consistency. Add salt to taste.
2) Pour the batter in a thick bottomed vessel and cook it until the batter forms in to a nice non sticky dough. It should be of the chapathi dough consistency.
3) You can do two things here you can steam this dough right away or cover it with wet cloth until you are ready to steam. [I normally cook the dough late at night and then next day morning steam it. This is to simplify my work the next morning].
4) Make balls out of this dough and steam it in the steamer for approximately 25 mins.
5) Grease the press and its mold with oil to ensure the smooth working of the press.
6) Press the steamed balls in the traditional press and transfer the noodles on to moist cloth to prevent it from drying it out. Repeat the same with the remaining dough balls.
Enjoy fresh rice noodles with the sides of your choice. If you are a non vegetarian this goes really well with nice egg curry or chicken curry! Will definitely include step by step pictures when I make it the next time. Le me know if you try this!

Friday, April 3, 2020

Pesarattu ~ Whole moong dosa (Vegan)

The current pandemic - Covid 19 has imposed the situation on Lockdown in many parts of the world. This lockdown has taught us all a lot of things. I have learnt to be thankful to have pantry full of ingredients, to have the pleasure of serving hot meal to my family, to my country for taking this tough but much needed decision, to the community helpers who have ensured that everyone is safe and protected. This too shall pass!
The lockdown has thrown us all off our busy schedule wagon, I miss my evening walks, my students at school, the friendly smiles from my neighbours and colleagues. As a family we have decided to eat mindfully and healthy, using the resources available in our pantry. We have decided to limit our outings to buy essential stuff unless and until its absolutely necessary!
I had a packet of whole moong lying in the pantry. I normally make spicy maharashtrian style ussal, sprouts salad or simple amchi moong saarupkari. But this time I decided to try this dosa which I had tasted long back at my friends place. We absolutely loved this no ferment crispy thin dosa loaded with protein. This is an excellent breakfast idea.

What's needed:
2 cups whole moong
1/4 cup dosa rice
3 green chillies
1 tsp Hing/ Asafoetida
1" ginger
salt to taste
2 medium onions finely chopped

1) Soak moong and rice overnight or for 6 hours. Grind it with green chillies and ginger to a coarse paste. Add salt to taste.
2) Heat a tawa(iron preferably). Rub some cooking oil (I used coconut oil), Pour a ladle full of batter and spread it to form a uniform, thin dosa. Add some finely chopped onions and cover and cook until crispy and done. Serve hot with spicy coconut and ginger chutney!

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Teek Biscuits ~ Spicy Masala biscuits

These masala biscuits brings back nostalgic memories from my childhood. My uncle always had a stock of these biscuits in a transparent pearl pet jar. As a child I never understood why he loved these over sweet and melt in the mouth nankhatai's. These were spicy! Every bite had a sharp taste of pepper and green chilli with a hint of sweetness. As a Child the taste was absolutely confusing!How could any one like savory biscuits was something I never understood  Over  a period of time, these were forgotten until one day I landed on kudpi maam's blog.These biscuits reminded me of home and my uncle's box!  I decided to try his recipe for my hubby  P who loves savory stuff over sweet any day. The house smelled delicious as these baked. The first batch was over in no time and I was forced to bake another batch! These were so good that even I who never liked savory biscuits fell in love with these! Bake a batch and enjoy these with a nice cup of coffee!

Click here to read the original recipe
11/4 cup All Purpose flour
1/2-3/4 tsp Salt (Original recipe suggests 1/4. I found that the salt was very less hence added more. Use 1/2 tsp and if you feel its not sufficient add more)
3/4 tsp Baking powder
1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
100 gms or 7 tbsp +1 tsp  Unsalted butter at room temperature
 2" finely chopped Ginger
 3-4 finely chopped Green chilli
2-3 sprigs finely chopped Curry leaves
2 tsp crushed peppercorns
2 tbsp plain yoghurt
1/2 tsp powder hing/asafoetida
1 tbsp black sesame seeds
1 tbsp finely chopped cashew
2 tsp( I used around 3 tsp of organic raw sugar) powdered sugar

1)  Mix hing powder well with yoghurt. Beat the butter well with spoon until it turns creamy and lump free.
2) Sift flour, salt, powdered sugar and turmeric powder. Mix in the butter and rub well until the mixture resembles bread crumbs.
3) Add in the chopped curry leaves, ginger, green chilli, peppercorns, sesame seeds and cashew bits.
4) Add in the yoghurt and mix them all together to form a dough. Shape the dough into a log and chill it in fridge for 30 mins.
5) Preheat oven to 350 F/ 170 C  for 10 mins. Cut the log into equal sized cookies.  Place it on a baking tray lined with parchment paper with a distance of 1mm between them.
6) Bake at 350 F / 170 C for 5 mins, then turn down the temp to 300 F/145 C and continue to bake for another 10-15 mins or until the base of  cookies turn golden brown.
7) Remove on to a cooling rack and cool completely before storing them in air tight container.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Eggless Butter Cookies

Baking is a big stress buster for me. The little guy shares the same passion as me when it comes to baking. The minute he notices the butter sticks on the counter he gets excited. We work together as a team. He helps me with the lining of trays, creaming the butter, measuring the ingredients. The time spent together helps him learn about measurement, gives him a chance to experiment / observe and more than all appreciate the effort that goes into making food. We bond as we have a blast in the kitchen. It also takes me back to my mom's kitchen. As a  kid I used to hang around my mom, holding her saree pallu questioning her endlessly about various ingredients or spices used. Even now when I am home I spend most of the time sitting and chatting or helping mom in the kitchen. Now when I think of it I am glad that she took time to answer all my questions patiently as it helped me immensely with my love for Cooking. Memories are made from moments like these!

These butter cookies are pretty easy to make with basic ingredients available in our kitchen pantry. The butter cookies are eggless, cumbly and pairs perfectly with a cup of hot coffee. My friend Sumana shared this recipe with me. These have been a hit with our family and friends. I hope you do give a try and let me know if you liked it.

Here is what's needed:

2 cups APF
1 cup or 2 sticks of unsalted butter softened
3/4 cup fine granulated sugar
2 tsp Vanilla extract


1) Sift flour to ensure that there are no lumps. In a bowl cream the butter and sugar using a hand blender or whisk until light and creamy. Add in the vanilla essence and the flour. Using hands bring it all together to form a dough. Do not overwork the dough.
2) Preheat oven to 350 F.
3) Make small balls by pinching out the dough and roll it into a smooth ball. Place them on baking tray lined with parchment paper.  Do not place the cookies too close to each other. Gently press with a fork to flatten it out and make a pattern on the cookie.
4) Bake it for 12-15 mins in the oven or until the bottom turns brown. If the cookies are under baked they will turn chewy when cooled and if it is over baked they turn crunchy. So keep an eye after 12 mins. Gently lift a cookie to check if its browned else keep it for few  more mins.
5) Cool the cookies on a cooling rack and when done store them in an air tight box.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Vegetarian Pad Kee Mao ~ Drunken noodles

Thai cuisine is very much similar to our Indian cuisine. When we dine out we prefer to try out different cuisines. Thai tops our list!
P loves spicy food and Thai red curry is his favorite. I have not tried making Thai food from scratch. I usually resort to pre-made pastes to satisfy our cravings.
A friend of ours introduced us to Pad Kee mao or The drunken noodles, and it was love at first bite. This became a regular while dining out until one day I decided to try it out at home. The main reason for me to try this at home was the amount of oil used in restaurants. Also being a vegetarian I was never sure of the sauces being used. Hence began my quest for the recipe. Google gave me quite a lot of recipes. I checked them all and finally when I started cooking this recipe evolved.
Feel free to play around with the sauces and veggies of your choice. I skipped tofu and baby corn in this since I did not have it in hand. Adding it would definitely elevate the dish even further.

Here is what's needed:
1/4 cup dark soya sauce
2 tbsp Maggi seasoning sauce
1-2 tbsp red chilli garlic paste
1 tbsp Thai peanut paste
2 tbsp Sugar

Flat Rice noodles 1/2 lb
Thai basil leaves generous fistful washed
Carrot 1 cut into julienne
Peppers colored 1 cup cut into julienne
Onion 1 thinly sliced
Spring onions 2 small bunches whites and greens separated and chopped
Mushrooms 8 chopped
Broccoli 10 florets cleaned
Garlic 8 pods finely chopped
Oil Canola or peanut to stir fry
Salt to taste

1) Soak the rice noodles in warm water until al-dente. The noodles should have a bite in them after being soaked else when tossed in sauce it could break and turn into gloopy mess.
2) Mix all the ingredients under sauce well. Keep aside. Keep all the sauces and veggies ready as this is to be cooked on high flame.
3) Heat a wok on high. Add oil. When the oil is hot, add in the finely chopped garlic and saute for few seconds.  Add in the sliced onions, white part of spring onions, saute. Add in rest of the veggies and tofu (if using) except the greens of spring onion. Saute until the veggies are half done. If the veggies are cooked further they would end up soggy and soft which would affect the over all taste of the final dish.
4) Add in the sauce mix and half of the basil roughly torn. Add in the soft noodles and saute. The sauce mixture already has quite a good amount of salt so watch out when adding salt. At this point do the taste test and check if it needs any seasoning. I added a little bit of chilli garlic paste at this point to notch up the spiciness.
5) Finally add in all of the basil. Give it a quick stir. Transfer the noodles to serving bowl, garnish it with spring onion greens. Enjoy!

P.S: I used regular rice noodles that we normally use for Pad thai. The freshness that Thai basil renders to this dish cannot be replaced with Italian basil.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Tawa Pulao

Tawa Pulao is a famous Mumbai street food. I have very fond memories of Mumbai trip.Few of my summer vacations and Ganesh Chaturthi holidays were spent in Mumbai with my cousins. Those were the best days of my life. I have fond memories of learning to skate, playing in the rains,cycling, cricket and lots more.  My aunt would let us experiment to our hearts content in the kitchen. I think the freedom to experiment and appreciation towards the food by others has made me fond of cooking!

This tawa pulao is usually made by the street side vendors using pav bhaji masala,butter,veggies and cooked rice. The pulao is mixed on huge tawa or griddle hence the Tawa Pulao. The veggies are cooked al dente keeping it crunchy and fresh. This has been a hit with my family and friends. Pair it up with some cool raita and enjoy a nice lunch/dinner. 

Here is what's needed:
2 cups basmati or any fragrant long grain rice
1 cup chopped veggies like carrot , beans sliced lengthwise
1/4 cup frozen green peas and corn
15 bite sized cauliflower florets
1 big onion finely sliced
1 tomato finely chopped
1 cup mixed bell peppers sliced (This adds to the flavor do not skip this)
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp Pav bhaji masala powder
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
generous pinch of Kasuri methi
3 tbsp butter or oil
1 tsp cumin seeds/ jeera
1/2 tsp fresh ginger garlic paste
1 tsp Lemon juice
salt and little sugar to taste
chopped coriander leaves to garnish

1) Heat a big pot of water and cook rice with salt to taste until just cooked. Don't over cook. Drain and cool. Refrigerated left over rice works well in this recipe.
2) In a wok add the butter or oil. Add the cumin seeds let it splutter before thorwing in the sliced onions. Cook on high . Add in the tomatoes and cook till mushy. Add the veggies and coloured peppers and saute on high until cooked but crunchy.
3) Add in all the masala powders and kasuri methi (Crushed between palms) and saute for a min. Add in the cooled rice and mix gently taking care not to break the rice. Add salt and little sugar to taste. Check for seasoning.Add spice powders if needed. When the rice is nicely and rice is evenly heated add the lemon juice  and Mix well. Let it be on low flame for a few more mins. Switch off. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.Serve with cool raita.