Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Indo-Chinese Noodle Dosa

When Indo-Chinese meets South Indian, a delicious dosa recipe emerges. This Noodle Dosa is addictive, yet super easy to make! 


Dosa, a simple crepe made from rice and lentil has gone too far with respect to innovation. From the simple Sada Dosa and Masala Dosa we have graduated to Chinese Dosa, Maggi Dosa, Paneer Chilli Dosa and what not! Everytime I visit my favorite street vendor in Mumbai, he has a range of new flavors that are almost beyond my imagination! 

While some combinations are really unique, the rest are super delicious and easy to make at home. Among the newer combinations, the one with noodles and schezwan sauce is my favorite. I am a fan of Indo-Chinese food and Dosas is on my go-to list of comfort foods. So when there is a recipe that combines the two, I cannot not like it.

I have tried various versions of this dosa based on what I have had in India and how we like our dosa. This one turned out to be our favorite. With a teaspoon of Schezwan Sauce in each dosa with a simple stir fry of vegetables and noodles, we can never get enough of this version! 


To make this dosa I used a thin variety of noodles. The thin ones go really well with the dosa. I have used thick Udon noodles in the past, but they seem to overpower the dosa. With them, you can taste more of the noodles and less of the dosa! 

The filling I had in the dosa was enough for one dosa. If you like a super loaded dosa, feel free to add twice the amount. It will taste the same with just some extra noodles in there! This recipe works really well to use up extra noodles too. If you are looking for a quick way to use up hakka noodles after a party, this dosa might be your answer! 


Variations

If you have seen the vendors on the street make this dosa, you would see that they make the noodles on top of the dosa. While that is a great way to do, I like to make my noodles separately and combine ot with schezwan sauce and spring onions on the dosa. 

I have not added anything beyond the noodles and schezwan sauce in the dosa. However, cheese and paneer are often added to the dosa and they taste great too. If you want a milder version, skip the schezwan sauce and make the dosa the same way. 

If you like other vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower or mushrooms, go ahead and add them. I stuck to the traditional vegetables that I have seen the street vendors add. 

Plus, if you are making this out of leftover noodles, just add them all. It does not matter what all has gone into the noodles as long as you like it!

I served it with some homemade Schezwan Sauce, Coconut Chutney and Sambhar. Enjoy it with these or just have them without any sides. It tastes amazing both ways! 




Ingredients

Dosa Batter 2 cups

Dry Hakka Noodles 3/4 cup
Onion 1/2 medium
Pepper 1 medium
Carrot 1 medium
Cabbage 1/4 
Spring Onion 3-4 stalks
Oil 1 tsp
Soy Sauce 1 tsp
Vinegar 1/4 tsp
Salt and Pepper

Butter as required


Method

Make the dosa batter as per this recipe. Set aside. Cut all the vegetables into long strips.

Heat 4 cups of water and 1 tsp salt in a large saucepan. Add the noodles and cook till al-dente. Drain the noodles and put them in a saucepan. Sprinkle little oil on them and mix well, to ensure they do not stick. 

Heat oil in a wok or thick bottom saucepan that is wide. Add the pepper and onion. Mix well and add carrots and cabbage. Cook on high flame for 2-3 minutes and mix well.  


Now add the boiled noodles, vinegar, soy sauce, salt and pepper. Toss well and turn down the flame. 

To make the dosa, heat the tava/griddle. Pour about 1/2 cup-3/4 cup batter on the tava and spread to a thin round. Cook till the bottom is light brown. 

Spread 1 tsp Schezwan Sauce on the dosa and add the prepared noodles. Sprinkle some spring onions and lightly mash everything with a pav bhaji masher. 

Spread some butter on top, and fold the dosa into half. Serve with Sambar, Coconut Chutney and Schezwan Sauce


Thursday, May 18, 2017

Eggless Strawberry Chocolate Cake

A perfect combination of chocolate and strawberries that is colorful, delicious and easy to make. A summer treat that everyone needs to try!


Strawberries are in season and I am making a TON of recipes using them. From milkshake to cake and from ice cream to chocolate dipped berries. We went a couple of weekends ago to pick strawberries. The berries there were super bright colored and looked amazing! 

While we had initially decided to bring home only a pound or so, we ended up with FOUR pounds of berries to finish between the two of us! We made glass of milkshake, roasted half a pound of berries and made a couple of smoothie bowls too. 



Then I wanted to make a cake that was full of strawberries. I thought I would make a strawberry cream cake. My husband is a fan of chocolate cakes. Thus, I changed my mind and made a chocolate strawberry cake. The sweetness of chocolate and the fruity flavor of strawberry came together really well in the cake. I started to wonder why I had not combined the flavors in a cake earlier. 


The cake came out really delicious and we devoured it in two days! We thoroughly enjoyed the chocolate flavor in the cake, with the strawberry pieces studded in there. And with the Nutella based ganache on top, there could not have been a better cake! 


Personalize your Strawberry Chocolate Cake

I made an EGGLESS version of the cake. Initially I used to never be convinced with eggless baking. However, I tried a buttermilk version of the cake and I have been in love with this recipe since then. In the past, I have made eggles versions of pineapple cake, chocolate cake and this strawberry cake. However, if you like a cake with eggs, replace the buttermilk part with 1 egg. It should work really well. 

Almost all chocolate cakes have Vanilla extract in them. But I was going to try a newer combination. So I added Almond extract in the cake. With all the Nutella on top, the almond flavor worked really well in the cake. If you would rather make a traditionally flavored one, use Vanilla Extract. 


The recipe here uses strawberry. However, the same can be made with blueberries or raspberries too. Better still, you can combine the berries and make a mixed berries version! Do not forget to roll the berry pieces in flour before adding to the batter. Else, the berries will settle to the bottom of the pan. 

I baked the cake in a 9 inch Angel food Cake mold. However, the same cake can be made in a 8 inch pan or in two 6 inch pans and stacked. It all depends on how you like your cakes. 

Lastly, the ganache I made is from Nutella. If you like a chocolate version, add chopped dark chocolate in a bowl and add cream on it. And decorate the cake with fresh strawberries like this or with chopped berries and chocolate chips. 


Ingredients

For the cake

All purpose Flour 1 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp
Sugar 1 cup
Cocoa powder 1/2 cup
Strawberries 1 cup, chopped 
Buttermilk 1 cup (Can be substituted by 1 cup milk+1 tsp vinegar)
Oil 1/2 cup
Baking Soda 1 tsp
Almond Extract 1 tsp 
Salt a pinch

For the Hazelnut Ganache 

Nutella or chocolate hazelnut spread 1/2 cup
Whipping Cream 1/4 cup

Strawberries a handful to decorate


Method

To make the cake

Mix together milk and vinegar and let stand for 5-6 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 F/ 180 C. Line a 9 inch bundt cake or 8 inch round with non-stick spray or parchment paper.

In a bowl sift together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. 

In the base of the stand mixer or in a big bowl mix together buttermilk, almond extract and oil. Whip till combined. Add in the dry ingredients and mix well. 

Roll the strawberries pieces in 2 tbsp all purpose flour. Add that to the batter and gently fold them in. 

Transfer the batter to the prepared mold. Bake for 20-22 minutes, till a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. 

Remove and cool on a cooling rack till the cake is completely cool.


To make the Ganache

Add Nutella in a bowl and whip lightly. Heat cream in a pan till it starts to bubble. 

Pour over Nutella and mix well. Cool till it thickens a little. 

Pour the ganache over the cake and let it settle. Decorate with strawberries and powdered sugar. Enjoy! 





Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The BEST Instant Jalebi recipe

An instant version of Jalebis; sinful crisp fried spirals dunked in sugar syrup. This Indian version of Funnel cakes make a perfect dessert or breakfast recipe!


Jalebi, those rounds of crispy fried flour dunked in sugar syrup. The dessert that everybody enjoys! Some people dunk it in milk, some in rabdi and the rest enjoy it for breakfast with gathiya. 

Jalebi is one of the most popular desserts at weddings. A live counter of jalebi is pretty common now. A person makes fresh jalebi there and it is served with rabdi or vanilla ice cream. Everytime I think of a wedding, I instantly dream of the orange yellow rounds of goodness!


I have a traditional recipe of jalebi on the blog. However, it needs a lot of planning to make them. So I started making this instant version. Now, with this recipe, Sundays are so much better. We plan to make jalebi in the morning and we are enjoying hot breakfast in under 30 minutes! A typical Gujarati breakfast combination of home-made jalebi and store bought gathiya. Plus, fried chillies and papaya mixture. It is heaven on a plate to say the least! 


Everytime I visit India, I love to visit Shrinathji, a small town in Rajasthan. There is a famous temple there that I love to visit. But besides, I simply love all the food that can be enjoyed on the streets on the town! A typical day starts with a lovely breakfast of Jalebi, Gathiya, Kadhi and Masala Chai. Here is a glimpse of the breakfast combination.


Shrinathji is where I have had the best jalebi ever. When I am back from India, I crave this combination really often. So an instant version of jalebi comes to my rescue. 


Difference in this and the traditional version

The traditional recipe to make Jalebi requires mixing the ingredients and leaving it to ferment overnight. The fermentation depends on where you live and the temperature. It is sometimes dicey because I leave it to ferment overnight hoping to make jalebis the next morning but it does not ferment. So my plan goes for a toss! 

While the ingredients in this recipe are similar, the addition of fruit salt converts the recipe to an instant one. That is the ONLY difference between this and the fermented one! 


Variations

The ingredients in the recipe are such that every pantry will easily have them. Using cornstarch or besan gives the same result. You can make it with either of them. 

I used home-made yogurt that was thick. If your yogurt has water, add 3 tsp and reduce the water content. Make sure you use just enough water. Adding too much will make the dough drip and not form rounds. 

Adding color in the recipe is optional. Add it if you want bright colored jalebis. It does not alter the taste at all. 


Ingredients 

For the Jalebi 
All purpose flour/Maida 1 cup
Cornstarch/chickpea flour 2 tsp
Yogurt 2 tsp
Ghee/ Clarified Butter 2 tsp
Yellow/ Orange Food Color a pinch
Water 1/2-3/4 cup
ENO/ Fruit salt 1 tsp
Oil or ghee to fry

For the Sugar Syrup
Sugar 3/4 cup
Water 1/4 cup
Cardamom seeds 1-2 pods
Saffron a pinch



Method

To make the Sugar Syrup

Mix together sugar and water in a wide saucepan. heat on medium flame till the sugar melts and the syrup is thick. I did not check the string consistency, just ensured it is thick enough to coat the jalebis. 

Add saffron and cardamom seeds. Mix and keep on lowest flame till jalebis are made. 


To make the Jalebis

In a bowl mix together the flour with all the other ingredients except water, oil and fruit salt. 

Heat oil or ghee in a pan. Keep on medium flame. 

Add fruit salt to the jalebi mixture and mix well. Use water to make a pancake style batter. The amount varies based on the besan/cornstarch and all purpose flour brands. The mixture will froth and become light. 

Transfer to a jalebi maker/ empty ketchup squeezy bottle or a ziplock bag. If using a bag, make a small hole at one end. 

Make overlapping rounds of the batter in the oil/ghee. Fry till crisp on medium flame. Turn over and fry for a minute. 

Drain and add to the sugar syrup. Turn it around to coat completely. 

Serve immediately with gathiya, papaya sambar and fried green chillies. 



Sunday, May 14, 2017

Gujarati Methi Thepla

Blogging Marathon #76 Week 2 Day 3
Theme: Picnic Recipes
Dish: Gujarati Methi Thepla

Easy to make flatbread with goodness of fenugreek greens. Serve these with potato bhaji, masala chai or yogurt and have a PERFECT meal! 



The theme for this week's Blogging Marathon is Picnic Recipes. From all the recipes that are appropriate for the theme, Thepla fits the theme perfectly. A Gujarati delicacy that will go on every trip we make! Whether it is a road trip, a day long picnic or a long train ride, thepla is always in the bag.

Flatbreads made from wheat flour, methi leaves and spices; these theplas have a long shelf life. They taste awesome at room temperature or heated up; making them perfect for any trip. Plus, served with a cup of Masala Chai, this breakfast delicacy doubles as a yummy lunch or dinner option.


When I was a small girl, I used to hate greens. Spinach, fenugreek, dill or any other greens were far away from my liking. However, I used to enjoy eating thepla with milk. So my mother and grandmother would make them very often just so that I would eat greens. Now I enjoy the greens on their own, but the love of thepla remains. 

While the traditional theplas are generally made from fresh methi leaves, I used to make them from Kasoori Methi (dried methi leaves) when the fresh ones were not available. However, lately the Farmer's Market in here now carry TONS of fresh methi and now thepla makes an appearance on our weekly menu! 


The vegetable that goes hand in hand with thepla is potato. This is the combination that travels across the world with us on every trip! The potato bhaji is made in different forms to be served with thepla. However, the version with LOTS of garlic and sesame seeds is my favorite. My grandmother made the BEST version of this bhaji. Plus, mango pickle and chai will complete the meal.


Variations

When it comes to thepla, every family has a signature recipe. Some make it thick, some make them almost translucent. Some add cilantro and spinach too, others stick to just fenugreek. 

Another common difference is adding yogurt. Many people choose to leave it out and use just water to bind the dough. And yes, garlic is an ingredient that makes an appearance in some versions and are left out in the rest. 

It doesn't matter what variant of the thepla you make, it will become your favorite in no time. And once you are addicted to it, it is difficult to break away. If you want another version of the thepla, don't forget to check out this Bajri Dhebra recipe. A close cousin of thepla, these are made from bajri (pearl millet) flour. 


Ingredients

Whole wheat flour 1 cup + more for rolling
Fenugreek leaves/ Methi leaves 3/4 cup
Ginger Chilli paste 1 tsp
Garlic crushed 1/2 tsp
Red Chilli Powder 1/2 tsp
Turmeric Powder 1 tsp
Sesame Seeds 1 tsp
Yogurt 2 tbsp
Salt 1 tsp
Oil 1 1/2 tbsp + more for cooking



Method

Wash and roughly chop the fenugreek. Mix all the ingredients except oil in a bowl. 

Add 1- 1 1/2 tbsp oil and mix. Use some water (about 1/4 cup) and make a smooth and slightly firm dough. Let the dough rest for 10-15 minutes. If the dough stands for longer, the methi will start leaving water and make the dough soft.


Once rested, divide the dough into 5-6 balls. Using one part, make a smooth ball pressing in all the methi leaves. Flatten the ball and dust with dry flour. Roll out the dough to a round disc of 5-6 inches. Repeat for all the balls.



Meanwhile, heat the tava and place one thepla on it. Cook on medium-low flame for a minute or two till bubbles start to appear. Turn it over, apply some oil and cook till spots begin to appear. 


Turn it over, apply oil and cook for a few seconds. Turn over one last time and remove from flame in a few seconds. Serve warm with a dry potato stir-fry, chai or yogurt and pickles.


Better still, pack it all and take it on your next picnic! 





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Friday, May 12, 2017

Balsamic Caprese Pasta Salad

Blogging Marathon #76 Week 2 Day 2
Theme: Picnic Recipes
Dish: Balsamic Caprese Pasta Salad


This Balsamic Caprese Pasta Salad is a light, quick, and simple vegetarian side dish or picnic special recipe. Easy to make and super delicious.



Pasta is one of our favorite dishes. Whenever I am out of ideas to cook for dinner, I make pasta. From red sauce based pastas to green, pink, white and orange; we enjoy all of them!

Apart from the regular stove top pastas, we also enjoy casseroles, salads and au-gratin made from pastas. Plus, when we are planning trips, a quick salad with pasta and vegetables is always demanded! 

A simple combination of pasta, vegetables and either a balsamic vinegar based sauce or a mayonnaise based one is our favorite. Just mix everything up and the salad is ready. 


Pasta for a trip?

Isn't pasta supposed to be a fine dine recipe? Is it not something we enjoy with a glass of wine and and in a candle lit setup? Can we take pasta for a trip? If you have these questions in mind, you need to read on.

Pasta is one of the easiest dishes to make for a trip. And it can also be one of the freshest dishes for a day trip. What I like to do is boil the pasta the previous night and refrigerate. On the day of the trip mix in everything else and pack it right away! The pasta remains fresh and the flavors get a chance to settle well too. 


We went for a fruit picking trip last weekend. It was going to be a picnic for the entire day. So we packed some of our favorite snacks to nibble on the way. Plus, we made some yummy dishes for lunch that we enjoyed by the fields. For this trip I made this Caprese Salad with Farfalle pasta. 

When making a pasta for a trip it has to be dry enough to carry and wet enough so that it does not feel chewy or dry. That is the reason I use balsamic vinegar in the salad. And a LOT of basil leaves. The flavors go well and the pasta turns out really yummy. Plus, adding fresh mozzarella makes the salad nice and moist. 


If you do not find fresh mozzarella cheese, use the shredded one. Plus, if you cannot find fresh basil, use the frozen ones. They work equally well. And select a pasta of your choice, just make sure it is small in size like penne, farfalle or elbows.

So next time that you are planning a trip, consider making a salad using pasta. It is delicious, easy to make and filling! Or make this with Minestrone Soup, Olive Garden style Salad and Garlic Breadsticks. It will surely become your go-to meal idea for weeknights!



Ingredients
Pasta of your choice 1 cup (I used Farfalle) 
Fresh Mozzarella Cheese 1/4 cup, pieces
Onion 1/2 medium, diced
Cherry Tomatoes 5-6, sliced
Garlic 2-3 cloves, minced
Basil Leaves 5-6, chopped 
Olive Oil 1 tbsp
Balsamic Vinegar 1 tsp
Dried Oregano 1 tsp
Salt 2 tsp
Pepper powder 1/2 tsp



Method


In a pan heat 4-5 cups of water. Add 1 tsp salt and bring to a boil. Then, add pasta and cook till al-dente. Drain and set aside.


In a bowl mix olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, basil leaves and dried oregano. Once it is mixed, pour over the cooked pasta. 


Then add the onions, tomatoes, Mozzarella Cheese, salt and pepper. Toss everything together and serve. 




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