Thursday, August 30, 2012

Green Chutney Infused Punjabi Chole (Chickpea/ Garbanzo Bean Curry) - A blooper just became a creator

History has it that kitchen bloopers often gives way to new and improved dishes. A half baked cake became, what we know today as the gooey-ooey Lava Cake. And when the Archbishop was to visit a Convent of Santa Rosa in Puebla, the nuns panicked and ransacked their pantry and added everything from spices to stale bread and even chocolate to the sauce and served it over roasted turkey. Thus creating the national dish of Mexico; the famous Mole Sauce!

Now my dear friend the Cocowind had a similar blooper and became the inspiration for this post. She pureed some cilantro, mint leaves, green chilies. salt and sugar for her "Green Chutney" and was too lazy to wash up. She used the same blender to make some onion paste for her Punjabi Chole (Chickpea/ Garbanzo bean curry) recipe. She called me up after dinner saying she just had the "most awesomest" (pardon! Wren & Martin!!) with a subtle hint of mint.


Fast forward two weeks... I am making my green marinade for my Lamb Chops for our cookout party. Put a big bunch of cilantro, a handful of fresh mint leaves, 2 cloves of garlic, 4 green chilies, a teaspoon of coarse salt and a cup of fat-free Greek Yogurt in a blender and puree to a smooth paste. The marinade is done.   And as usual, my proportion went for a toss and I was left with a little less than half cup of excess marinade. I poured the extra marinade in a small zip lock; labeled it, with date and tucked it neatly in the freezer, behind the bag of frozen broccoli and forgot all about it.

A zillion years later... actually six days later I re-discovered it and as luck would have had it, I had my big bowlful of plumped up Chole ready from the overnight soaking. I prepared it just the way we prepare our usual Punjabi Chole, with lots of onion, garlic, ginger and tomato. I just added a teaspoon of my marinade to the masala and it just took the dish to a whole new level. So unusual... so Summer-ey.... so wonderful. And you need not prepare the chutney fresh every time. A store brought Green Chutney or a Mint Chutney would do the trick as well. Here how I did it.

Recipe Snapshot: Green Chutney Infused Punjabi Chole (Chickpea/ Garbanzo Bean Curry)

Serves: 6 serving


What I used:
Dry Kabuli Channa/ Chickpea/ Garbanzo Bean - 2 cup
(you can use canned beans too. In that case it'll be two 12 oz can)

Onions - 1 large onion, finely chopped

Ginger - 2 tsp, grated

Garlic - 6 fat cloves, finely minced

Tomatoes - 2 plum tomatoes, chopped

Bay leaf - 1

Cardamom - 3-4

Cinnamon - 1 small stick

Cloves - 3-4

Turmeric powder - 1 tsp

Red Chili Powder/ Paprika - 1 tsp

Coriander Powder - 1 tsp

Cilantro-Mint Chutney - 1 tbsp

Green Chilies - 4-5 or to taste

Cilantro/ Coriander Leaves - for garnish

Salt


Canola/ Sunflower/ Veg Oil  - 2 tbsp

What I did:


1. Soak the dry beans in ample water, overnight and pressure cook till tender, drain and reserve. If using canned beans, drain and wash thoroughly and set aside.





2. Heat the oil in a wok/ pan and temper with bay leaf, cardamom, cinnamon and cloves.







3.  Once the spices stop spluttering, add the finely chopped onions and fry till slightly golden.







4. Now add the grated ginger and garlic and fry till the rawness is gone.






5. Add the salt, turmeric powder, red chili powder and coriander powder and fry till the masala is cooked through.






6. Add the tomatoes and cover and cook till the tomatoes are pulpy and the oil has separated from the masala.







7. Now add the Green Chutney. I added my reserved marinade and mix well. You can use any store brought green chutney. However, use only a little, else it'll be very overpowering. We want a subtle hint of flavors.




8. Now add the reserved cooked beans and mix well. 








9. Add a cup of water (I used a cup of the cooking liquid, in which the beans were boiled) and add slit green chilies.


10. Once the water is reduces and you have the desired consistency of gravy, take it off the flame and garnish with fresh cilantro. I generally finish off the gravy with garam masala and a fat pinch of Kasoori Methi. But since the gravy has mint and cilantro chutney in it, I avoided it. I do not want to over spice the dish. 

2. Heat the oil in a wok/ pan and temper with bay leaf, cardamom, cinnamon and cloves.























This recipe is low on spices and huge on flavor. Just what you want in your summer months. This fabulous curry pairs well with any Indian bread like the roti, parathas, naan or kulchas. Its an awesome combination with big round Bhature. It goes equally well with rice or even Aloo Tikkis. But if you are a Carb-conscious Diabetic like me, consider eating a big bowl just by itself or with a light salad on the side. Yumm!


Diabetic Platter:
Chickpea or Garbanzo bean is a great option for a diabetics. It is low in Saturated Fat, and very low in Cholesterol and Sodium. It is also a excellent source of Dietary Fiber, Protein and Copper, and a good source of Folate and Manganese. However, it contains good amount of Carbohydrates as well. Hence when ever you are having this chickpea curry, do not add any side of rice, bread or rotis. Have it by itself accompanied by a light leafy salad. So all in all it is a very well rounded recipe with the right amount of Protein-Fiber-Carbs. A perfect lunch or dinner option.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Fresh Tuna Fish Salad with Avocados - on Toast or by itself

Its salad time again and this time with the meaty goodness of fish! Tuna is supposed to be good for you, especially if you are diabetic because it targets heart health and reduces hypertension, which are the general problem areas if you are diabetic. Tuna, as a protein is packed with tons of minerals including large amounts of iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and selenium. You'll also get small amounts of magnesium and manganese in just one can or a 6-ounce tuna steak. 

"Tuna is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, 464 mg per serving to be exact, which promotes heart health by reducing erratic heartbeats, lowering your risk of heart attacks and blood clots. Reducing blood clots has an added bonus of preventing and reducing risk of stroke.

A major health benefit of tuna, thanks to 190% (DV) of selenium is to flush toxins out of the liver. This promotes overall good health, which is a key factor in successful and ongoing fat loss.

One of the health benefits of tuna that should be of great interest to all in need of fat loss is preventing and controlling high blood pressure. Thanks to the omega-3 and polyunsaturated fatty acids, tuna is a great way to control hypertension as well as prevent it for those at risk.

These health benefits will allow you to maintain good health so that your fat burning abilities operate at an optimal level all day long." You can read the detailed article here.


Since Tuna is so good for you, I try to incorporate it in my diet as frequently as I can. In fact, Tuna Salad is a great lunch option and one of my favorite. I eat my other Tuna Salad pretty often, specially when I am on the go. This salad takes a little longer, but its worth the effort. The Avocados bring good fat to the salad and makes it more hearty and delicious. On the flavor front the creaminess of the Avocados and the tang of the Lime Vinaigrette, will surely make your tongue dance. The onions/ shallots provides the crunch and the grape tomatoes provides the small busts of sweetness. The original recipe uses wasabi powder in the dressing, but since I didn't have any, I added a teaspoon of horseradish mustard. Fiery, tangy, creamy with little busts of sweetness.... what else can you ask from your salad!

Here is how I did it. And oh! This is again a Food Network recipe. This time its Ina Garten's BareFoot Contessa's Tuna Salad.


 The first criteria for this salad is to get a very fresh, deep red 6oz Tuna Steak.


Season it with salt and pepper and olive oil on both sides.


In a very hot cast iron or hard anodized skillet, cook the fish for 2-3 minutes on each side. The original recipe asked for just 1 minute on each side, but then it would had been very rare on the inside. I prefer it medium rare and hence cooked for a little longer. However, do not go fore more than 4 minutes a side, else the fish would be rubbery.


Once the fish is rested and cooled, chop it into cubes. The pink interior is NOT RAW... its RARE! I am the last person on earth who can eat raw fish!!! So trust me.


Prepare a spicy vinaigrette, with olive oil, salt, pepper, lime zest, lime juice, light soy sauce, hot sauce and horseradish mustard or wasabi powder.


Add the cubes of Avocados to the vinaigrette and mix well. Keeping the avocados in the vinaigrette will prevent it from turning brown.


Now, we'll assemble the salad. In a big bowl, add the chopped onions or shallots, spring onions/ scallions and the grape tomatoes.


Next add the cubed tuna fish and toss well.


Finally add the avocados along with the vinaigrette and toss well. Serve at room temperature.


This salad can be enjoyed by itself or on top of a whole wheat toast.

Recipe Snapshot:


What I used:
Fresh Tuna Fish - 1 6 oz steak
Olive Oil - 1 tsp
Red Onion or Shallot - ¼ cup, chopped
Spring Onion/ Scallions - ¼ cup
Salt
Pepper

For the dressing:
Extra Virgin Olive Oil - 1 tbsp
Lime Juice - juice of one lime
Lime Zest - zest of one lime
Light Soy Sauce - 1 tsp
Horseradish Mustard - 1 tsp
Hot sauce - ½ tsp
Salt
Pepper


What I did:


1. Season the Tuna Steak with salt and pepper and olive oil on both sides.

2. In a very hot cast iron or hard anodized skillet, cook the fish for 2-3 minutes on each side.

3. Once the fish is rested and cooled, chop it into cubes.

4. Prepare a spicy vinaigrette, with olive oil, salt, pepper, lime zest, lime juice, light soy sauce, hot sauce and horseradish mustard or wasabi powder.

5. Add the cubes of Avocados to the vinaigrette and mix well.

6. In a big bowl, add the chopped onions or shallots and spring onions/ scallions and the grape tomatoes.

7. Next add the cubed tuna fish and toss well.

8. Add the avocados along with the vinaigrette and toss well.

9. Serve at room temperature.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Stuffed Zucchini Boats

This post is sort of a continuation of my last post. Simply because I had served my Savory Bread Pudding with these delectable Stuffed Zucchini Boats on a sunny Sunday at brunch. And the similarity does not end there. This recipe is also inspired from Food Network. If my last post was a tweaked version of Giada at Home's Tomato-Basil Bread Pudding, this post is inspired by Rachael Ray 30 Minute Meals's Stuffed Young Zucchini.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Savory Bread Pudding - My One-Pot Breakfast

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and making it interesting and nourishing is a big challenge. My day starts off on a very wrong note, if the first meal of the day doesn't satisfy my tummy and my soul. On busy weekdays, its generally oatmeal for us and milk and cereal for Lil' Sid. On weekends we wake up late and to make most of the summer months we generally head out for "some fun in the sun". So we end up having a quick brunch. 

Of late, all my quick brunches were Plain Bhaat (Steamed Rice), Aloo Seddho (Boiled and lightly smashed potatoes), Musoor Dal Seddho with Sorsher Tel (Boiled Lentil with a dash of Mustard Oil) and Dim Seddho (Hard Boiled Egg). Quick, comforting and nourishing.

And then one afternoon I was watching Giada at home on Food Network and she made this simple Tomato-Basil Bread Pudding for her girl pals. I loved the simplicity of the dish and the fact that it can be a meal in itself. I made this for my next brunch and it was such a hit with my son and husband. To make it more substantial, I added loads of veggies and to lower the fat and the cholesterol quotient, I used only one whole egg and the rest only whites.

Here goes my version of Savory Bread Pudding:


Lightly grease an oven proof dish with some non-stick cooking spray. Chop 6 slices of Whole Grain Bread in to small cubes. You can keep the crust on.


In a nonstick pan, heat up 1 tbsp of oil and saute the onions and garlic till soft. Then add thawed out mix veggies (carrots, green beans, sweet peas, corn kernels and broccoli florets) and the grape tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper and let it cook for a minute till the rawness of the veggies are gone but they are still crunchy. I have used frozen pre-cut mix vegetables. You can definitely use some fresh one and even play with different vegetables  Mushrooms, cauliflowers, spinach can be good options. You can add some breakfast sauages or bacon/ pancetta too.


Now take the pan off the flame and add any herb of your choice. Giada used basil for an Italian twist, but here I added cilantro/ coriander leaves for a little Indian flavor. Curly or flat leaf parsley can be good choice if you want more Continental flavor.


Now pour the prepared veggie mixture over the bread cubes and toss well. Add quarter cup of grated Parmesan cheese. Addition of cheese is an optional step though. You can also use crumbled Feta or any goat cheese for an additional tang.


Now we'll make the custard. The original recipe uses 6 whole eggs. But to reduce the cholesterol and the fat quotient I used 5 egg whites and 1 whole eggs. In a bowl add the egg and the egg whites, 1 cup of milk and salt and pepper. Whisk well to make a smooth custard.


Since we are using just 1 whole egg the custard will be a little thinner. If you use 6 whole eggs, you'll get a richer and more creamier custard.


Pour the custard over the bread-veggie mixture.The bread pieces will instantly soak up all the custard and will be moist. It will now go into a 375F oven for 30 minuets.


Half an hour later golden baked Savory Bread Pudding is ready. Just dig in!




Recipe Snapshot:


What I used:
Multi-grain Bread - 6 slices cut into cubes with crust on.
Frozen Mixed Vegetables - 1 cup thawed
(carrots, green beans, sweet peas, corn kernels and broccoli florets)
Grape Tomatoes - ¼ cup
Onion - 1 small sized or half a medium chopped
Garlic - 2 cloves (or 1 fat clove) minced.
Grated Parmesan Cheese - ¼ cup
Canola/ Veg Oil - 1 tbsp
Salt
Pepper
Oil spray

For the custard:
Egg - 1 whole egg and 5 egg whites only
2% Milk (Toned Milk) - 1 cup
Salt
Pepper


What I did:
1. Preheat the oven at 375F.

2. Lightly grease an oven proof dish with some non-stick cooking spray.

3. Chop 6 slices of Whole Grain Bread in to small cubes. You can keep the crust on.

4. In a nonstick pan, heat up 1 tbsp of oil and saute the onions and garlic till soft.

5. Then add thawed out mix veggies (carrots, green beans, sweet peas, corn kernels and broccoli florets) and the grape tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper and let it cook for a minute till the rawness of the veggies are gone but they are still crunchy.

6. Take the pan off the flame and add any herb of your choice. I added cilantro/ coriander leaves for a little Indian flavor.

7. Now pour the prepared veggie mixture over the bread cubes and toss well.

8. Add quarter cup of grated Parmesan cheese. Addition of cheese is an optional step though.

9. Now for the custard. In a bowl add the egg and the egg whites, milk and salt and pepper. Whisk well to make a smooth custard.

10. Pour the custard over the bread-veggie mixture.The bread pieces will instantly soak up all the custard and will be moist. It will now go into a 375F oven for 30 minuets.

Tip: I have started making this bread pudding on weekdays too. I just tear the bread into a lightly greased ramekin and just add the thawed frozen veggies (without frying). In a cup I whisk up an egg white with a little milk, salt and pepper and pour it over the bread and veggies and put in the oven for 12 min. By the time my morning cuppa of Darjeeling is brewed, my scrumptious breakfast is ready too.



Diabetic Platter:
This is a quick and easy recipe and very nutrition too. You get the complex carb from the multi-grain bread; the protein from the eggs sans the fat and cholesterol; the goodness of vegetables and a little calcium from the milk. For diabetics, breakfast is the only meal where we can eat a little more carbohydrate, provided its a complex carb. Hence it is a perfect delicious way to kick start the day.