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.

 

Thalipeeth (Maharashtrian Savory Pancakes)

Thalipeeth is a Maharashtrian breakfast or tea time snack. It is a very nutritious dish made with seven types of flours and fresh vegetables. Thalipeeth is usually served with fresh homemade butter, ghee, or thick yogurt. The recipe varies from region to region or even family to family and this is the recipe I have eaten. The flour for thalipeeth is called Bhajni. It is a mix of various flours. Even this differs from family to family. Some people add ragi and semolina while some leave out the bajra flour. I use the store bought bhajni flour which is easily available.

Thalipeeth

Even with the other ingredients, it differs from home to home. Traditionally it is just onions but you can add chopped spinach, chopped methi leaves, grated carrots or grated cabbage too. You can also add sesame seeds or coarsely ground peanuts. Rolling the thalipeeth can be a task. Since the dough has bajra flour and besan in it, it is not easy to roll with a rolling pin. If you cannot shape it with your palm like bajra rotis, you can put it between sheets of greased plastic and roll it. I used two sheets of butter paper and did not have to use the extra oil for greasing.

Thalipeeth

Thalipeeth is thicker than roti. Making holes in the thalipeeth and cooking it covered helps it to cook evenly. Thalipeeth is best eaten hot with homemade butter, ghee, or thick yogurt. I like it with garlic chutney and yogurt.

Thalipeeth

Ingredients

Makes 12 Thalipeeths

  • 3 cups Thalipeeth Bhajani flour
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 1 green chilli finely chopped
  • ¼ cup chopped coriander leaves
  • 1 cup chopped spinach
  • 2 tsp red chili powder
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • Salt to taste
  • Warm water for kneading the dough
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • oil for cooking

Recipe

Mix the thalipeeth flour, onions, spinach, chillies, coriander leaves, salt, red chili powder, turmeric powder, and oil. Add little warm water at a time and knead the mixture into stiff but pliable dough. Cover it and keep it aside for 5-10 minutes. Knead the dough again and divide it into number of thalipeeths you want to make. Roll each portion into circles. You can do this with your palms just like the like the bajra roti is made or place the dough ball in between two sheets of butter paper and roll it carefully. Make a small hole in the center of the thalipeeth. If you are making a big roti, bigger than 5 inches in diameter, you can make multiple holes. These holes are used to pour oil and cook the thalipeeth evenly.

Heat a tava and smear around 1/2 tsp oil on the tava. Peel the butter paper from the thalipeeth carefully and  place the thalipeeth on the tava. Pour some oil in the holes and around the thalipeeth. Cover and cook for around two minutes on medium heat. Flip and cook for two more minute. Serve hot with homemade butter, yogurt, or garlic chutney.

 

Thalipeeth Bhajni

To make the Thalipeeth flour at home, roast the following flours separately on low heat for 8-10 mins making sure you do not burn any of them. Once the flours are roasted and cooled completely, mix them and store in airtight container. This thalipeeth flour can be stored for 4-5 months.

  • 1 cup Bajra atta (Millet flour)
  • 1/2 cup Chawal ka atta (rice flour)
  • 1/2 cup Besan (split bengal gram flour)
  • 1/2 cup Jowar aata (sorghum flour) 1/3 cup urad dal aata (split black gram flour)
  • 1/2 cup gehu ka atta (wheat flour)
  • 1/4 cup dhania powder (ground coriander seeds)

Rajasthani Mirchibada

Rajasthani Mirchibada

Mirchi bada in Rajasthan or mirchi bhajji is South is a delicious street food made of thick and long green chillies dipped in gram flour and deep fried. It perfectly complements piping hot tea on a rainy day. For a very long time, this was our Sunday special snack along with other bhajiyas. In Rajasthan and at my home too, the mirchi bada is stuffed with a potato filling which is slightly sour and cuts the heat of chillies.

Mirchibada Stuffing

 

It is a good idea to deseed and boil the chillies for few minutes. It helps to reduce the heat in chillies. Remember not to make the batter too thin or it won’t stay on the chillies. Traditionally, roasted cashews and anardana are added to the filling but I like to add roasted peanuts and tamarind paste to add a sour kick to the spicy chilli. In south, it is slit open after frying and topped with finely chopped onions and masala peanuts. Whether you decide to serve it the south Indian or the north Indian style, remember to serve them hot. That is when they taste the best. This snack is best served hot along with mint or tamarind chutney.

Mirchibada

Ingredients

Makes 8-10 Mirchi Badas

  • 8-10 long green chillies (the less hot ones used for Mirchi bhajjis)
  • Finely chopped onion (optional topping)
  • Masala peanuts (optional topping)
  • Oil to fry

For the filling

  • 2 potatoes boiled and peeled
  • 3-4 tbsp groundnuts roasted and coarsely grounded
  • 1 green chilli finely chopped
  • ½ tsp red chilli powder
  • 2-3 pinches turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp anardana powder (can be swapped for ¼ tsp aamchur powder or ¼ tsp tamarind pulp)
  • Salt to taste

For the batter

  • ½ cup gram flour (besan)
  • 2 pinches turmeric
  • ¼ tsp red chilli powder
  • ¼ tsp carom seeds (ajwain)
  • Salt to taste
  • Chilled water (approximately ½ cup) to make batter

Recipe

Slit the chillies along their length to make a pocket for the masala. Deseed them and boil them in rolling hot water for 3-5 minutes. Drain and keep aside.

To prepare the filling, mix all the ingredients for the filling and mash them using hand or a potato masher. You can choose to add amchur or anardana powder instead of the tamarind paste. Idea is to add a hint of sourness to the filling. You can add all the spices as per taste to make the filling more or less spicy.

Take one boiled chilli at a time and fill it with the potato filling. Do not over fill the chillies. Keep them aside till you are ready to fry them.

For the batter, Mix the gram flour, turmeric, red chilli powder, carom seeds and salt. Add little water at a time to make a paste consistency batter. It should stick to the chillies when you dip them in water. It took me a little less than ½ cup of water to get the right consistency. Using ice cold water to make batter for bhajiyas helps them become crispier.

Heat oil in a kadhai. It should not be smoking hot. To check if the oil has reached correct temperature, just drop a tiny bit of batter in the oil. If it sizzles and floats immediately, the oil is hot enough to fry the chillies. Dip a potato filled chilli in the batter and ensure that it’s properly coated. Drop it carefully in hot oil and fry until golden. Fry few chillies at a time.  Drain them on an absorbent paper and serve hot with mint or tamarind chutney.

 

 

 

 

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.

Vegetable Cutlet

Vegetable Cutlet

Vegetable cutlet is a popular south Indian snack made with boiled vegetables and spices. This is a slightly different version of the vegetable cutlets you get at the south Indian restaurants. It is a deep fried snack but I shallow fry it on a non stick pan to make it less oily. You can have it as an appetizer or a tea time snack.

These cutlets can be prepared ahead of time and fried just before eating. You can freeze them and use them when required. The pungent and spicy taste of fennel seeds, garlic, and green chillies is the USP of these cutlets.

Vegetable Cutlet

If you find the cutlets dough watery, you can add ¼ cup of bread crumbs. This will soak the water and also add texture and flavor to the cutlets. I used the Japanese panko bread crumbs. You can use any bread crumbs. You can also use semolina (rava) to coat the cutlets. It adds crunch to the cutlets. You can deep or shallow fry these cutlets depending on your taste.

These cutlets should be served hot with fresh salad and tomato ketchup. Vegetable cutlets also go well with hot tea.

Vegetable Cutlet

Ingredients

Makes 16 cutlets

  • 3 potatoes chopped
  • 2 carrots chopped
  • 8-10 beans chopped
  • ¼ cup green peas
  • ¼ cup gram flour (besan)
  • ¼ cup rice flour
  • ¼ cup bread crumbs
  • 5-6 green chillies
  • 5-6 cloves of garlic
  • Bunch of coriander (approximately ½ cup)
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds (saunf)
  • ¼ cup all purpose flour (maida)
  • ½ cup water
  • cups of bread crumbs or rava to coat the cutlets
  • oil to fry the cutlets

Recipe

Grind the green chillies, garlic, coriander and fennel seeds to a paste and keep aside.

Pressure cook the potatoes, carrots, beans and green peas till they are soft. Once cooled, squeeze out all the water and mash the vegetables. Put the vegetables in a mixing bowl. Add the gram flour, rice flour, bread crumbs, ground paste, and salt. Mix well. Adjust the seasoning at this stage. Roll into sixteen oval cutlets.

Make a thin watery paste of all purpose flour and water. Dip the cutlet in this water and roll it in rava or bread crumbs. Refrigerate the rolled cutlets for an hour. Deep fry in hot oil or shallow fry on a non stick pan using little oil. Serve hot.

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.

Aalu Toast

Aalu Toast

Aalu toast is a fantastic lip smacking street food you can eat only in Hyderabad or so I thought until a friend from Jaipur shared this similar recipe. Aalu toast originally is triangle shaped bread topped with potato mix, deep fried and then served as a chat with various chutneys and lots of sev. This one is more of a bite sized DIY chat version. There is no match for the aalu toast you can get at couple of places in Hyderabad but this comes closest if you want to make it at home. Thank you Kshamta for reminding me of this delicious street food 🙂

You can use any bread you like. White, wholewheat, or multi-grain. I tried white and multigrain breads and both tasted fine. To make the chat healthier you can even toast the bread instead of frying it. The idea is to have a crisp and crunchy base. How you do is totally up to you. The fried one tastes better of course.

aalu toast

This is one of the best DIY snacks. You can prepare the chutneys, potato mash, and bread n advance and just let the guests decide on how sweet or spicy they want their chat. Since the chutneys and potato can make the bread soggy, this chat is best enjoyed immediately after it is topped with potato and chutneys.

Aalu Toast

Ingredients

  • 3 slices of bread
  • 1 potato boiled and mashed
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • ½ tsp chat masala
  • ½ tsp cumin powder
  • 2-3 tbsp thick yogurt
  • 2-3 tbsp mint chutney
  • 2-3 tbsp sweet chutney
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup thin sev
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil to fry the bread

Recipe

Cut the bread into bite sized pieces in desired shapes. I used cookie cutters to cut the bread into bite sized circles and squares.

Heat oil in a deep pan/kadhai and fry the bread till it is crisp and brown. Drain in on paper towel to remove excess oil. Keep aside. You can even toast the bread in oven if you want to make it healthier.

To the potato mash, add red chilli powder, cumin powder, and chat masala. Mix well and check for salt. Add salt if required.

Just before serving, put approximately 1 tsp potato masala on a piece of bread; top it with mint chutney, sweet chutney, yogurt, onions, and sev. Serve immediately.