Dal Pakwaan

Dal Pakwaan

 

Dal Pakwan is a sindhi breakfast. It is crispy puris made of all purpose flour (maida) and topped with chana dal mixed with onion, tomato, sweet and spicy chutneys and lots of fresh coriander. I don’t know its Rajasthan connection but I remember eating it in Ajmer where it is sold as a street food. This might not be the most authentic version of dal pakwan as I have made modifications for taste and presentation.

Dal Pakwan

Traditionally pakwan is a big circle shaped crispy puri with the topping of dal. I wanted to make bite sized snacks which are easier to eat so I made them in different shapes like taco shell, canapé, and also in square shape for the ease of serving and eating. I also substituted half of all purpose flour for whole wheat flour. You can add any herbs to the pakwan dough to add a flavor to the puris. Remember to poke the puris with a fork before frying. You can also use this dough to make canapés to fill with dal or any other savory filling.

Dal Pakwan

For the dal too, I have added mung dal and toor dal to the recipe as suggested by a friend from Jaipur where it is a popular dish. It turned out healthier and tastier. You can also add deseeded and finely chopped cucumber to the topping. Chaat masala also adds to the taste.

Remember to keep the dal very thick. Mix the tomato onion mix just before serving and serve immediately to avoid the snack getting soggy.

Dal Pakwan

Ingredients

Serves 4-5

For Pakwan

  • ½ cup all purpose flour (maida)
  • ½ cup whole wheat flour (aata)
  • 1 tsp pepper powder
  • ½ tsp carom seeds (ajwain)
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil to fry

For Dal

  • ¼ cup split green gram (mung dal)
  • ¼ cup split pigeon peas (toor dal)
  • ¼ cup Bengal gram (chana dal)
  • ¼ tsp asafoetida (heeng)
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 1 tomato finely chopped
  • 2 green chillies finely chopped
  • 1 tsp roasted cumin powder
  • Few pinches rock salt
  • Few tea spoons lime juice
  • Few tbsp fresh coriander finely chopped
  • Few tbsp sweet chutney
  • Few tbsp mint chutney

Recipe

For the Pakwan

Mix together the flours, black pepper powder, ajwain, 2 tbsp oil, salt, and little water to make stiff dough. Cover and keep aside for 10-15 mins. Knead again and divide into equal number of portions. Roll and cut each portion into a shape of your choice. Poke with a fork at 2-3 places and deep fry in hot oil until its crisp.

Pakwan is usually big and circle shaped. I wanted to make bite sized snack so I cut them in small 3 inch circles and squares.

For dal

Wash and soak the dals for 1 hour. Pressure cook with salt, turmeric and asafoetida till the dals are cooked (2-3 whistles). Do NOT add too much water. The dal needs to be fairly thick. Once the pressure is released, open the cooker and mix the dal lightly and keep aside.

In a bowl, mix together chopped onions, tomatoes, green chillies, roasted jeera powder, rock salt and little lime juice.

Just before serving, add the onion tomato mix to the dal and put it on the pakwan. Top it with mint chutney and sweet chutney as per taste. Garnish with lots of coriander. Serve immediately.

 

Egg less Spanakopita (Greek Spinach Pie)

Eggless Spanakopita

Spanakopita is a type of spinach pie made with filo/phyllo pastry, spinach, and feta cheese. Crispy phyllo pastry with melt in mouth spinach filling is one of the best Greek dishes I have tasted. Being a vegetarian in a foreign country can be a tough thing but you also get to try vegetarian dishes from different cultures. I had some wonderful Greek friends who modified their dishes for my no egg diet and this is one of them.

Phyllo Pastry

This is a very simple dish with very few ingredients. Fresh spinach leaves, fresh paneer, and Feta cheese mixed with basic spices like salt and pepper make a wonderful melt in mouth filling. Try to make fresh paneer for the filling and you will not even realize the absence of egg in the filling. Curdle the milk and strain it using a muslin cloth. Hang it for an hour or  till all the water is drained out and you have fresh crumbly paneer ready. You can also use ricotta cheese. Feta cheese by itself is very salty so be careful with salt in the filling.

Spanakopita Filling

Make sure the oven is preheated and keep checking the pastry. Don’t let it get too brown or it will taste bitter. Traditionally it is brushed with butter but olive oil works just fine too. Spankopita can be eaten warm or cold.

Egg Less Spanakopita

Ingredients

Makes 12 pieces

  • 2 cups spinach washed and finely chopped
  • ½ cup feta cheese crumbled
  • ¼ cup ricotta cheese or fresh paneer
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 3-4 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 8 phyllo pastry sheets
  • 1 green chilli
  • ¼ tsp black pepper powder
  • Salt to taste
  • Olive oil/butter to brush (appx 3-4 tbsp)

Recipe

Feta cheese is very salty. Always taste the filling and add the salt in the end when using feta cheese in any dish.

Defrost or thaw the phyllo sheets. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan. Add chopped garlic and sauté. Add chopped green chillies and onions and cook for 1-2 mins. Add chopped spinach and mix well. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until the spinach is wilted. Remove from heat and transfer to a mixing bowl. Add the crumbled feta cheese, crumbled ricotta/paneer, and pepper powder. Mix well and check for seasoning. Add salt now if required.

Take an 8 inch baking dish. Brush olive oil or butter at the base and layer a phyllo sheet to cover the pan. Brush some oil/butter on this sheet and layer one more sheet. Repeat this for two more sheets. Now add the spinach mixture and spread evenly. Cover the spinach filling with a phyllo sheet and brush oil/butter. Add 3 more sheets in the same pattern. Brush the top sheet with oil/butter again and put the baking dish in the preheated oven for 20-25 mins. The top should be golden and filling should be warm. Let the dish cool down for 5-10 minutes before cutting to make pieces.

Cut in squares and serve.

Pav Bhaji Sandwich

Pav Bhaji Sandwich

This is one of my oldest and best experiments so far. Right from my college days, this was (and still is) my go to dish whenever there was turai or brinjal for lunch at home. White or whole wheat bread filled with vegetables filling flavored with pav bhaji masala makes these sandwiches a complete and quick meal without any guilt. My siblings and I have always relished these quick and flavorful sandwiches.

Pav Bhaji Sandwich

You can add finely chopped garlic along with onions if you like. You can also add vegetables like beans or sweetcorn. Do not overcook the veggies or they will lose the crunch. Cheese is optional. You can add a slice of cheese to the filling just before you grill it. I use olive oil to grill the sandwiches, you can use butter too. I grill my sandwiches on a tava; Sandwich maker should give the same results too.

You can prepare the filling in advance and grill the sandwiches just before eating. I pack these sandwiches for lunch sometimes and they taste good but I would still prefer them fresh and hot.

Pav Bhaji Sandwich

Ingredients

Makes 10-12 sandwiches (depending on the size of the bread)

  • ½ cup onions
  • 1 cup carrot
  • ½ cup capsicum
  • ¼ cup green peas
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 tbsp pav bhaji masala
  • Salt to taste
  • 20-22 slices of bread
  • Butter/olive oil as required

Recipe

Heat oil in a kadhai or non stick pan. Add onions and sauté for 1-2 minutes till they are translucent. Add capsicum and sauté for a minute. Add carrot and green peas and sauté for another minute. Add pav bhaji masala and salt. Mix well and cook for 2-3 minutes mixing in between. Transfer the filling to a bowl and let it cool slightly. Fill between two slices of bread and grill on tava or a sandwich maker using butter or olive oil. You can add cheese slice to the sandwich before grilling. Serve hot with ketchup.

Raw Mango Rice (Kairi Ke Chawal)

Raw Mango Rice

Raw mango rice is the summer version of tamarind rice or lemon rice. Cooked rice is mixed with a paste made of raw mango, urad dal, chana dal and ground nuts.

Summers in Hyderabad can get super hot and my mom’s way to avoid getting into the kitchen is to cook dishes that can be made ahead and need very less time in kitchen before serving them. One of such dishes is the raw mango rice. It can not only be prepared ahead but is also good to beat the heat.

Tadka_mangoRice

You can replace groundnuts with cashew nuts if you like. Some people also add heeng and grated coconut to the tadka. Green chilli is the only source of spice in this dish. You can add more or less green chillies based on taste and the spice level of the chillies you are using.

Chatan

The quantity of raw mango depends on the sourness of the mangoes. Mix few table spoons of mixture at a time and keep tasting while mixing to get the desired taste.

You can prepare the mango paste in advance and store it in fridge for six to eight weeks. This is an excellent dish to transform leftover rice to a tangy treat.

Kairi ke Chawal

Ingredients

serves 2-3

  • 1.5 cup cooked rice
  • 4-5 tbsp oil
  • ¼ tsp cumin seeds
  • 10-15 curry leaves
  • 4-5 green chillies
  • 1 tsp urad dal
  • 2 tsp chana dal
  • 2 tbsp groundnut
  • 3 dry red chillies
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 cup grated raw mango
  • Salt to taste

Recipe

Heat oil in a kadhai or thick bottomed pan. Add cumin seeds. Once the seeds splutter, add curry leaves and green chillies. Saute and add urad dal and chana dal. Sauté and cook for 1 min or till the dals are lightly browned. Add ground nuts and dried red chillies. Cook for one more minute. Make sure the dals or groundnuts are not burned. Add the grated raw mango, turmeric powder, and salt. Mix well and cook for two minutes mixing in between. Switch off the gas and mix and let the mixture cool for 2-3 minutes. Mix few tablespoons of raw mango mixture at a time in the cooked rice until you get the desired tanginess. You can store any leftover mixture in the fridge for 1-2 months.

Toast Cups

Toast Cups

Toast cups or mini quiches as they look like are a quick way to upgrade a simple toasted sandwich to look like a gourmet snack . It is a very easy dish to make. Bread is rolled, cut, and baked into cups, filled with different savory filling, topped with cheese, and baked into delicious hot snacks.

You can practically fill the toast cups with any filling you like. I like this Mexican filling with corn, capsicum, and paneer. The Mexican taco spice mix or the chili spice mix adds a new flavor and spice to the filling. It also makes it quick to cook.

You can choose to cut the edges of the bread if you like. Rolling the bread will make it easier to cut it and fit in the muffin mould. To add flavor to your toast cups, you can brush the cups with olive oil mixed with dried herbs like oregano, basil, thyme etc. You can use any cheese you like to top the toast cups. If you want to prepare the dish in advance, you can prepare the filling and toast the cups lightly. Assemble and bake the cups just before serving. This snack tastes best when it is hot.

Ingredients

  • 12 slices of bread with the edges cut
  • ½ cup boiled/steamed sweet corn
  • ¼ cup mixed bell peppers chopped
  • ¼ cup paneer chopped
  • ¼ cup onion finely chopped
  • 35 gms Taco seasoning/any Mexican seasoning
  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • 2-3 tbsp water
  • Cheese to taste ( used cheddar cheese)
  • Salt to taste

Recipe

Heat oil in a pan. Add onions and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Add the bell peppers, paneer, and sweet corn. Mix well and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the taco seasoning and 2 tbsp water and mix well. Taste and add salt if required. Cook for 3-4 minutes mixing in between. Transfer to a bowl and keep aside.

For the toast cups, roll a bread slice using a rolling pin. Cut a circle using a cookie cutter or a sharp edged bowl. Divide the circle into two. Adjust the semi circles in a muffin tray to make a cup. Follow the same procedure for rest of the bread slices.  Spray the toast cups with olive oil. Pre-heat an oven to 180 degrees Celsius and bake the cups for 10-12 minutes.

Take the tray out of the oven. Add a table spoon of filling in each cup. Top it with grated cheese and bake for 8-10 minutes till the cheese melts. Serve hot.

Tzatziki (Healthy Greek Dip)

Tzatziki

One of the reasons I love winters more is the barbecues.  A nice chilly weather, traditional coal barbecue grill, and family and friends are a perfect definition of happy family time for me. I can sit and cook all night.

My most favorite part of barbecues is the different dips and sauces. I like to keep them healthier and don’t want to lose the taste at the same time. This Greek dip is one of the healthiest dip I know. This can be enjoyed with kebabs, grills, burgers, falafels, chips, vegetables etc.

Greek yogurt is one of the healthiest things to eat. If the quality is right, you will not even realize the absence of cream, cream cheese, or any other fatty stuff. I get the Greek yogurt available in store and hang it for further 2-3 hours to get any remaining water out. you can use the yogurt set at home too. The idea is to get all the water out of the yogurt to get a creamy and thick yogurt. Once it is whipped well, it is as creamy as mayonnaise, or fresh cream.

Cucumber with its cooling properties is a perfect choice for this dip. Make sure to de-seed the cucumber and chop it as finely as you can. Dill is cucumber’s best friend when it comes to salads or dips. If you can add fresh dill, that’s the best. I like this dip with nachos, slivered carrots and bell peppers. This can be stored in fridge for 2-3 days. I made this for the Halloween party recently and it was loved by everyone.

Tzatziki

Ingredients

Makes 3 cups

  • 2 cup hung yogurt/Greek yogurt
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 ½ tbsp vinegar
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • ½ tsp white pepper
  • 1 cucumber peeled, de-seeded, and diced finely
  • 1 tbsp fresh dill, chopped finely

Recipe

I used around  800-900 gms of Greek yogurt  and hanged it in a muslin cloth for around 3 hours to get 2 cups of hung yogurt.

Combine olive oil, vinegar, garlic, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Mix until well combined. Using a whisk, blend the yogurt well. Add the olive oil mixture to the yogurt mixture and mix well. Add the cucumber and dill and mix well. Chill for at least 2-3 hours before serving. Serve with vegetable crudités, chips, or nachos.

Spicy Pizza Sandwich

Spicy Pizza Sandwich

Sandwich is one of the most versatile snacks. You can fill it with anything you like and the Spicy Pizza sandwich is my version of one of the most loved food on the planet. This very easy, quick, and spicy recipe can be changed as per individual tastes by adding the toppings(or fillings) of one’s choice. If you love pizza, you will surely enjoy this sandwich version of pizza.

Just think of the toppings you like on your pizza and add them to this filling. You can make it healthier by reducing the amount of cheese, using whole wheat bread instead of white bread and by adding more vegetables. I use a mix of cheddar and mozzarella cheese but just cheddar or just mozzarella works fine too.

Coming to spice, I like my snacks spicier. I add very finely chopped ginger to the filling. It adds both spice and flavor to the filling. You can add or reduce the quantity of ginger and chilli flakes as per taste. You can also add other fresh or dried herbs like basil, thyme, or pizza seasoning.

You can prepare the filling in advance and refrigerate it for up to a week. This is a quick snack for evening or even a light dinner when you are too tired to cook.  Serve the sandwiches hot with ketchup or a dip of your choice.

Spicy Pizza Sandwich

Ingredients

Makes 4 sandwiches

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp ginger finely chopped
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes
  • 2 tbsp onion chopped
  • 3 tbsp corn boiled
  • 3 tbsp mixed bell peppers chopped or julienned
  • 1 tbsp olives
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • ¼ tsp black pepper powder
  • Salt to taste
  • Cheese to taste
  • 8 slices of bread
  • Olive oil/butter to grill the sandwich

Recipe

Heat oil in a non stick pan. Add oregano and ginger. Sauté and cook on low flame for 30-40 seconds. Add chilli flakes and onions. Cook till onions are translucent but still crisp (30-40 seconds). Add the bell peppers, corn, and olive. Cook for a minute on high heat. Add tomato paste, salt, and black pepper. Mix well and cook for a minute. Switch off the heat and let the filling cool down a little.

Divide the filling into four portions. Spread one portion on a piece of bread. Top it with the cheese of your choice and put another piece of bread on the top. Spray olive oil or spread butter and grill the sandwich till brown on both sides. You can grill it on a tava too (griddle). Serve hot with ketchup or dip of your choice.