Thursday, April 30, 2015

Masala Vada {Baked}

Masala Vada is a popular Indian tea time snack. This vada is crisp & crunchy in texture. This is originally a deep-fried dish, but here I'm sharing a healthier baked version of this snack with out loosing the goodness of deep-fried version. This recipe can be customized easily with your choice of ingredients. Other than baking & deep-frying you can also shallow fry them with out loosing any goodness of this vada. 
Prep Time-40mins {30mins of soaking + 10mins}
Cook Time-30mins
Serves-8 to 10 vada's
1/4Cup channa dal
1/4Cup toor dal
2 Tsp jeera
2Green chili's
2Tsp grated ginger
1/2Cup chopped onions
Few curry leaves
1Tbs oil
1Tsp chili powder
1/2Tsp baking powder
Salt to taste
- Soak chana dal & toor dal for minimum of 30mins & maximum of 3hrs. 
- Pre-heat oven @350F & line up a baking sheet with parchment paper. 
- Strain water from dals & add them to a blender along with jeera, green chili's, ginger, curry leaves & onions finally. 
- Coarse grind the mixture & transfer to a bowl. Mix in salt, chili & baking powder.
- Scoop up a small ball of batter & lay it on the baking sheet. Press a little to make a nice round shape as shown above. Repeat the same with rest of the batter. 
- Place sheet in oven & bake them for 10mins. Remove from oven brush on little oil on each side of the vada's. Back in to oven for another 15mins or less @400F. 
- You can see a brown crust on top & when you flip it will be light brown too. 
- Remove from oven & allow them to cool on the counter. 
- Serve warm with ketchup or any spicy chutney of your choice. 
- I changed the temp of oven as it will help in perfect baking. 
- You can bake @400F thru out but the bake time will be sure reduced. Keep an eye to prevent from burning vada's.
- In addition to the ingredients you can add in 1Tbs of ginger garlic paste for more flavorful vada's. 
- Don't add extra water for grinding. We need a thick batter for crisp vada's.
- You can replace curry leaves with coriander or mint leaves. It's your choice.
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Chocolate Chip Cookies {Semi Homemade}

Chocolate Chip Cookies are delicious sweet bites. It is hard to categorize them as you can enjoy them any time of the day. For me they are a go to snack as when ever I'm hungry & I love to take a bite of them. The recipe I'm sharing is a semi homemade & makes it easy when you are in desperate of having a cookie. I have a sweet tooth & I crave for a sweet at night times. I love keeping something in hand for those nights when I'm desperate to have a sweet. Today is one of those nights &  I ended up making a big batch of cookies to sooth my cravings.
Prep Time-10mins
Cook Time-10 to 15mins
Serves-12 large cookies
1Pack of Betty Crocker chocolate chip cookies mix
{Follow the instructions on box} or
1/4Cup butter @ room temperature
3Tbs milk
- Pre-heat oven @300F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Unpack the mixture in to a bowl. Add butter & milk to bowl & make dough out of it.
- Scoop up a small lemon size dough balls & place them with 2inch space on baking sheet.
- Bake it for 10mins-15mins or till cookies are light brown in color.
- Remove from oven & cool them on the counter.
- I replaced water with milk & rest all the same as on the package.
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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Fried Moong Dal

Fried Moong Dal is an amazing tea time snack which is crunchy & addictive. I'm sharing two versions of making this snack. The actual recipe for fried moong dal requires moong dal to be deep fried in oil, but the microwavable recipe for this snack reduces the oil content in it & tastes the same as deep dried one. To keep this snack fresh & crisp store it in a air tight container & it should be good for 1week. As said this is very addictive snack & sure you will not be able to stop with little bites.
Prep Time- 30mins {minimum or overnight}
Cook Time-6mins
1/2Cup moong dal
1/2Tsp baking soda
1Tsp oil
1/4Tsp chili powder
Soft Salt to taste
Oil for deep frying
- Soak moong dal along with baking soda for minimum of 30mins & maximum to overnight.
- Strain water from dal & allow it dry on a towel. Dal should be dry. It will take 10mins to dry.
Microwave version
- In a microwave safe mix dal & oil.
- Microwave it for 1mins & mix. Then microwave it for 1more minute & mix.
- Repeat the same procedure for another 4 more minutes. If you see any lumps break them while shuffling the dal.
- You can see a fried moong dal which is fried & crisp.
- Mix in salt & chili powder. Enjoy this snack as it is.
Deep Frying Version 
- Heat oil for deep frying. Mean while arrange a plate with paper towels.
- Dal should be dry with no drops of water left to it. Once oil is hot add little by little of dal to pan & fry them to puffed shape. 
- Dal doesn't have to turn brown in color. It should be puffed & you are ready to remove it on to the paper lined plate. 
- Repeat the same with rest of the dal.
- Transfer the fried dal to a bowl. To that add in salt & chili powder. Mix it well & enjoy the snack.
- For every 1min mix the dal to fry it evenly.
- Add a 1/4 tsp of chat masala to flavor it up.
- Make sure dal is dry before deep frying it.
*** Pictures represent the microwavable version.
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Thursday, April 23, 2015

Onion Samosa

Samosa is a popular and favorite snack of India. This snack is originated from central asia, with a presence world wide. This snack is available as deep fried one in the markets but to make it healthy you can bake it too. So here I'm sharing both ways (deep-fried & baked) of making this dish with my one of my favorite fillings. You can make the layer from scratch or can use store bought wonton wraps to make this snack.
I'm not so crazy about these store bought samosa's with the traditional filling, but my favorite one's & those I go crazy for are sold in trains. Yes...I know they aren't made in hygienic conditions & the oil used has no words to explain. They are small in size & the onion filling makes them so tasty.
Filling is the main part of samosa. The classic filling in samosa is made of onions, potatoes & peas. You can play with fillings of your choice & can enjoy this snack. I used onion poha filling in this recipe as it is one my favorites & also a yummy filling.
Prep Time-30mins
Cook Time- 30mins to 40mins
Serves - 12
For filling 
1Onion finely chopped
1/4Cup poha
Few curry leaves
1/4Tsp turmeric
1Tsp red chili powder
2Tbs oil
Salt to taste
For Outer layer 
1Cup all-purpose flour + some flour for dusting
1Tsp lemon juice
Pinch of salt
For flour paste 
2Tbs all-purpose flour
2Tsp water
Onion Filling
- Heat pan with oil. To that add onions & curry leaves. Fry them till onions are translucent.
- Add salt, chili powder & turmeric. Cook for 1min & switch off heat.
- Add poha & mix them well. Balance salt & chili powder if needed.
Making the outer layer
- Mix ingredients under out layer by adding little water at a time & form a smooth dough.
- Cover dough with a wet cloth & allow it to sit for 15mins before making roti's.
- Divide dough in to 6 equal balls. Dust the base where you are rolling the roti with little flour.
- Roll a thin roti out of the dough as seen above & keep aside. Repeat the same with rest of the dough balls.
- Heat a wide pan & allow it to get hot. Now lay a roti on hot pan & cook on both sides till the wetness disappears as seen above.
- Remove from pan & repeat the same with rest of the roti's.
Flour paste
- Mix flour & water to form a smooth paste.
Making Samosa
- Cut roti's into half as seen above. Layer the flour paste to the straight line of roti & fold it to cone shape. Press the edges a little to make sure they are stuck together.
- Now place spoon full of stuffing it to the pocket & stick the edges using flour paste. Now samosa is ready to be fried or baked. Repeat the same with rest of the stuffing & cut roti's.
For Baking 
- Pre-heat oven @400F & line up a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Arrange samosa's on the baking sheet with a little gap in between & brush them with little oil on both sides.
- Bake them @400F for 15mins & by now they should be mildly brown in color. Flip samosa's to other sideBake them for another 10 to 15mins. You can see a brown crust on top of samosa.
- Remove them from oven & cool them on counter.
Deep Frying 
- Heat oil for deep frying. Add in uncooked samosa's to pan & fry them on medium to low heat till they are nice & brown in color. You can fry couple of samosa's or more at a time depending on the pan size.
- Remove them onto a paper towel once they are golden in color on both sides. 
-Serve them hot as they are or along with green chutney or ketchup.
- You can use your favorite filling instead of the one shared here.
- Brush a generous amount of oil on both sides of samosa's before baking them. This will give you crisp samosa's when you bake.
- Baked samosa's are crunchy when they are warm & are less crunchier after 1hr.
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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Egg in the Hole

Egg in the Hole as the name suggests a sunny side egg in a bread hole baked or cooked on stove-top. As I have mentioned in my previous posts we (me & hubby) love eggs to be part of our diet. This recipe is easy peasy & also scrumptious for a breakfast. I have used white bread in this recipe but you can make this delicious breakfast with any bread of your choice. I have shared both baked & stove-top methods here. My favorite is stove-top because of it's simplicity.
Prep Time-5mins 
Cook Time-15mins 
4Bread slices {Any kind}
1/2Cup shredder cheese
Oil or butter
Salt & pepper as needed
Baked Version 
- Pre-heat oven @350F. Spray a baking sheet with oil & keep aside. 
- Cut bread in a desired shape by using a cookie cutter of your choice. The ideal cutter would be a round one & used the same. 
- Now lay the bread slices on the baking sheet. Break open egg in one bread hole & repeat the same with rest of the eggs. 
- Egg white does skid out a little, place the baking sheet in oven right away you finished filling the holes. 
- Bake for 10mins & remove out of oven. By now eggs are set in place & now evenly sprinkle salt, pepper & cheese on them.
-Bake for another another 5mins or till the cheese is settled on bread. This will set the yolk too.
- Remove from oven. Cool it on counter top & serve it.
Stove-top Version 
- Heat a pan & add a dollop of butter to pan. 
- Place cut bread on pan & break open a egg in to the hole. Cook it for few seconds till the egg white is set. Flip bread & cook for few seconds. With this the yellow won't be runny & will be set perfectly.
- Now reverse the bread. Sprinkle salt, pepper & cheese on bread. Allow cheese to melt & it hardly takes seconds for cheese to melt as the bread is already hot enough.
- Once the cheese is melted remove bread from pan.
- Repeat the same with rest of the bread slices & eggs.
-Serve warm & enjoy the healthy breakfast. 
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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Baked Granola

Granola is a healthy breakfast dish.  I first tasted granola at a hotel breakfast bar & instantly fell in love with it. I love crunchy food & granola is mildly crunchy which won't put so much of stress on your tooth too. Granola is mix of oats, sweetener,  nuts, dried fruits & some butter. It is a perfect filling breakfast to start your day with. I used steel cut oats to make this dish as it gives this a much crunchier texture. But the original granola consists of rolled oats & a little mix of steel cut oats too. You can play with the recipe & customize it as you like. Like for a sweetener you can go with brown sugar, maple syrup, granulated sugar, honey or any other sweetener of your choice.  I came across few microwavable granola dishes which I would love to give them a try in near future. For now I'm settling with this baked granola which makes me happy in tummy.
Prep Time-5mins
Cook Time-35mins
1Cup steel cut oats
1/4Cup brown sugar
2Tbs butter @ room temperature
1/4Tsp salt
1/4Cup pumpkin seeds
1/4Cup sliced almonds
1/4Cup chopped apricots
- Pre-heat oven @300F degrees & line the baking sheet with lining.
- In bowl mix all the above ingredients & spread the mixture evenly on baking sheet without any lumps.
- Bake @300F degrees for 15mins. Then remove granola mixture from oven & shuffle it to bake it evenly.
- Place back the baking sheet in oven & bake for 20 more minutes or till it turned to mild brown in color.
- Remove from oven & cool it on counter. In case of lumps break them before storing.
- Store it in a airtight container.
- I have used only steel cut oats. You can replace them with rolled oats or can make a crunchy granola with half & half of both.
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Monday, April 20, 2015

Scrambled Eggs

Scrambled eggs are perfect & healthy morning breakfast. This is a easy recipe which will be ready in 2mins & for a busy day this dish comes in handy. Scrambled eggs are our favorite & we love having them for any course of meal. 
Eggs are the hero of any american style breakfast. When ever we vacation we never miss to try out breakfast dishes that are locally available & love to enjoy the many variation of egg dishes for breakfast.  Recently we even started brunching on weekends & believe me they are truly satisfying. My husband enjoys the simple scrambled egg as one of the orders. They are fluffy, soft & yum to taste. It's a texture hard to get in Indian style omelette. Later I realized that the secret was adding milk & butter to the egg mixture. Here I tried this microwaved scrambled eggs with those changes & could feel the similar texture I was aiming for.
Prep Time-1min
Cook Time-2mins
2Tbs milk
2Tsp butter @ room temperature
1Tsp freshly ground black pepper
Salt to taste
Ketchup for garnish
- In a microwavable mug break open eggs. Add in salt, pepper & milk.
- Whisk it to smooth mixture.
- Microwave it on high for 1min. Eggs should have puffed half way. So go ahead & microwave for 1more minute on high. By now it must have raised up perfectly.
- Cool it for few minutes. Using a fork you can scramble the egg & enjoy it with a dash of ketchup.
- You can make this dish on stove top too.
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Sunday, April 19, 2015

Quiche Bread Pockets

Quiche is a savory breakfast dish. Quiche is a crust based dish but you can find many crustless ones online. One of those variations to this recipe I came across is baking egg mixture in bread. In coincidence I had some left over bread & decided on giving this dish a try. You can use white, wheat or your choice of bread to make this dish. The egg mixture I used is a basic omelette batter but you can get creative and add in few more greens like spinach, broccoli or your choice of veggies to suite your taste buds. You can either use the whole egg or just the egg whites to make it healthy. 
Adapted from here - Quiche Toast Cups 
Prep Time-15mins 
Cook/Bake Time-25mins 
Serves - 2 to 3 people
6Bread slices 
1/2Onion finely chopped 
1Tbs minced garlic
1Tomato finely chopped
3Tbs chopped coriander leaves 
1/4Cup parmesan cheese
3Tbs milk 
Oil to grease pan
Salt & black pepper to taste
- Pre-heat oven @300 degrees. Grease pan & keep aside.
- In a bowl add onions, tomatoes, coriander leaves, cheese, garlic, milk, salt & pepper. Mix them well. 
- To the bowl break open eggs & whisk the mixture smooth.
- Stuff breads in to greased pan & keep it in the oven for few minutes. Remove from oven & add in the ready mixture to bread pockets.
- Bake them @300 degrees for 20 to 25mins. They will be puffed as seen in the picture & time to remove from oven. 
- Cool them on counter for few minutes & serve them as they are or with ketchup. 
- You can cut bread rinds for neat look.
- Roll bread a little to flatten it & it will make the jobs easy of stuffing bread in the pan. I skipped rolling the bread. 
- Play with ingredients as you like. 
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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Baked French Toast

Baked French Toast is a different way of making regular french toast. The process of making a french remains the same in both procedures, but the only difference is the cooking method. I was little skeptical while I was making this dish about how it will turn out & all. But surprisingly it came out very well & was very satisfying too. You can flavor up this dish by adding few blueberries, strawberries while baking & enjoy the goodness of them. For today I'm sharing a very basic baked french toast dish that tastes awesome. Enjoy!!!
Prep Time-15mins 
Cook/Bake Time-30 to 40mins 
6Bread slices 
1&1/2Cup milk {2%fat}
2Tbs butter @room temperature
1Large egg
1Tsp vanilla extract
4Tbs sugar 
1/4Cup chopped almonds to garnish
1Tbs melted butter for greasing the pan
Maple syrup to serve {Optional}
- Pre-heat oven @400 degrees & grease baking dish with butter.
- In a bowl break open the egg. To that add in milk, butter, vanilla extract & sugar. Whisk them to smooth batter. 
- Now lay 3bread in baking sheet as they fit. Pour half the batter on the bread & lay the rest 3 bread on top. Pour in the remaining batter on top & press the bread a little. Doing that will allow the bread to soak in the batter. Sprinkle chopped almonds on top evenly. 
- Place baking dish in to oven & bake it for 30 to 40mins. You can see the bread puffed up & also edges get crusty.
- Remove from oven. Cool for 10mins on counter top before you serve. 
- Add a dash of maple syrup & serve it .
- You can replace low fat milk with half & half for much richer taste. 
- Double the recipe for a bigger batch of french toast.
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