Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Deconstructed Potato Peas Samosa Bites


This is a sponsored post on behalf of  California Lavash and I have been compensated. All opinions are 100% my own. 

Potato and Peas Samosa Bites; the BAKED version of fried Samosas. These appetizer bites are delicious, super addictive and EASY to make!! 


Have you heard of Samosas? That addictive Indian snack that consists of a fried dough covering filled with spiced potato and peas mixture. Samosas are almost like the MUST HAVE appetizer at most parties! They are full of guilt as they are deep fried but happen to be a favorite in our home!! 

From being a great snack for get togethers to something that completes movie nights, Samosas are a must have in all our parties. Hot samosa and piping hot chai make the most addictive snack for a rainy day! 


I have tried various versions of samosa at home. Some with changed fillings, some with a different covering and some baked instead of fried. This is my favorite variation to the Samosa! This appetizer needs no frying, can be easily customized and is great for parties.

Most of the elements in this one can be made before hand or bought from the store. For this appetizer I used the Naan bread from California Lavash. They are soft, super delicious, Vegan and made from natural ingredients. I am a complete fan of their products; Naan, Lavash and Pita Breads. I always make it a point to bring atleast one packet home when I shop for my groceries. 



Lately I have been trying to make something yummy using their products and this is the second one. The first recipe I tried was this Cauliflower Peas Naan Pizza. And I promise you I shall post some more recipes soon. 

Coming to today's recipe, this appetizer is such a treat to have and pretty easy to make, given that most elements can be made before hand. I decided to go with the classic combination and so made the potato peas stuffing. However, the same can be replaced with paneer, tofu, egg bhurji or your favorite meat. 



This can be prepared in advance, the chutneys or sauces can be store bought and of course Naan from California Lavash! I set everything up as a bar; baked naan, filling and the toppings. I let each guest make their own based on how spicy or sweet they like theirs. It was a great hit! So I decided to make them again and post them here. 


Variations

For this recipe I used regular and wheat naan. Garlic naan or any flavor of your choice works well too. I used a cookie cutter to make rounds of the naan. The same can be made using triangles. I gobbled all the sides of the naan so I was okay making the rounds too! 

If you do not want to bake these, you can crisp them on a tava too. Just add some butter to crisp them if desired. 

You can also use the same rounds to top them with a variety of toppings. And yes, adding some CHEESE is always a great idea! Top these bite sized appetizers with your favorite toppings and enjoy! 

Love Samosas? Try these Baked Samosa Puffs too. They are also addictive for sure!

Pin for Later


Ingredients

Potato 2 medium
Green Peas 1/2 cup
Onion 1 medium, diced
Garlic Ginger paste 1/2 tsp
Oil 1 tbsp
Red Chilli Powder 1/2 tsp
Turmeric Powder 1/2 tsp
Mustard Seeds 1/4 tsp
Cumin 1/4 tsp
Salt 1 tsp
Sugar 1/2 tsp
Lemon Juice 1/2 tsp
Naan 1-2
Spicy Cilantro Chilli Chutney
Sweet Tamarind Chutney 
Sev/Fried noodles as required
Cilantro 


Method

Pressure cook the potatoes and peel them. Chop to small pieces. Put peas and 1/2 cup water in a bowl and microwave for 3-4 minutes. Drain and set aside. 

Heat oil in a pan. Once hot, add mustard seeds. Once they pop, add cumin seeds. Let them pop and then add in garlic ginger paste and half the diced onions.

Let the onions cook and then add in potatoes and peas. Also add in turmeric powder, red chilli powder, salt and sugar. Mix well and cook for a few minutes. 

Turn down the flame and add lemon juice. Mix well and let the mixture cool.


Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 F/ 180 C. Using a cookie cutter ( I chose a 3 inch round cutter) make bite size rounds from California Lavash Naan bread. I used a one regular naan and one whole wheat naan.

Brush the rounds with some oil or butter (optional). Place them in the oven and bake for 5-6 minutes; till they are crisp.


Remove from oven and set aside. Add one tbsp of the potato peas filling on each of them. 


Top with Spicy Cilantro Chilli Chutney, Sweet Tamarind Chutney,  Sev/Fried noodles and Cilantro. You may also add some pomegranate seeds. Serve immediately.  




Monday, March 26, 2018

Instant Pot Matki Misal

Matki Misal is a quick, easy and ONE POT recipe made in the Instant Pot. Serve it with Pav bread, Farsan and Onions to make a delicious breakfast! 


Misal, that spicy breakfast paired with freshly baked pav bread is always super yummy. In many parts of Maharashtra this is a commonly served breakfast. With variations depending on where it is from, this dish is really popular in all it's forms. With variations that include adding papad to yogurt and from a less spicy version to a super spicy, Misal is super yummy for dinner as well.

Video Recipe



Most people enjoy it with pav and some have it with slice bread. Though a lot of restaurants and stalls serve misal, the BEST I have ever had is on the highways. They make the tastiest misal and the freshest pav.

Being a fan of Misal I love to make it at home. Sometimes I make a version with mixed pulses and sometimes with just one kind of pulse. the method is more or less similar so I keep switching the pulses used. 


The traditional recipe needs a lot of effort and multiple pans to make it. Not since i started using my Instant Pot! This one pot method to make Misal is now my go-to recipe. And what is better than that? I can make it in under 30 minutes!! No need to boil the pulses separately, it all happens in one go. This makes the pulse absorb maximum flavor from the spices as they cook. 

For this recipe I have used Matki. I soaked them overnight and let them sprout for two days. These sprouts were used to make the Misal. However, the same can be made from dried green peas, mixed pulses and dried yellow chana. It is the same method even for pulses that are not sprouted. 


In this recipe I used store bought Usal masala. On my last trip to India I enjoyed some Misal on the highway. They were selling traditional Misal masala too, so I got some packets with me. I love how the Misal comes out so tasty with this masala. If you like a home-made version, you can use that too. Adjust the quantity based on how spicy you want it. 

The traditional recipe of Misal combines Usal, Kat and Farsan. To make it simple, Usal is the pulse mixture that is made as the base of the dish. Kat or spicy gravy is added into the Usal and the dish is finally topped with farsan, diced onions, lemon and cilantro. Served with pav or sliced bread, this Misal makes a delicious breakfast. 




Variations

In this Instant version I made the Misal in one pot. That meals Usal and Kat are made together. I added some extra water to the usal before cooking it and it resulted in a perfect dish with the dry ingredients cooked and a spicy kat floating above. We do not have an EXTRA spicy version of Misal and this method worked really well. If you would like to make the kat separate, make that in the Instant Pot by deglazing the pan after making the usal or on the stove top. 

If you do not have an Instant Pot, make the same recipe in a Pressure cooker. Cook for 8-10 minutes or 2 whistles to get similar results. I have made it several times in the pressure cooker too. Here is a recipe: Misal Pav

For this breakfast I made pav from scratch (here is the recipe: Pav Bread). You can buy store bought pav or serve Misal with slice bread. The same curry can be served with parathas too. 

The Misal Masala used in the recipe can be made from scratch or can be store bought. Most Indian stores carry different brands of it. Pick a masala of your choice and use it. 



Ingredients

For the Misal
Matki/ Moth Beans 2 cups, sprouted
Onion 1/2 medium, diced
Tomato 1 medium, diced
Oil 2 tbsp
Mustard Seeds 1/2 tsp
Ginger garlic paste 1 tsp
Curry Leaves 1-2
Cloves 1-2
Cinnamon 1 inch piece
Goda Masala/ Usal Masala 2 tsp
Red Chilli Powder 1 tsp
Turmeric Powder 1/2 tsp
Salt 1 1/2 tsp
Lemon Juice as required
Cilantro to top

Accompaniments
Onion 1 medium, diced
Mixed Farsan 1 cup
Lime wedges
Pav Bread (Get the recipe here: Pav Bread)

Pin for Later


Method

Soak the matki and sprout them as shown here. If you do not have sprouts, just soak them overnight and use.

In the base of the Instant pot add oil. Set the mode to saute and high. Add the mustard seeds and let them pop. Once popped, add cloves, cinnamon, curry leaves and ginger garlic paste. Saute till the raw flavor vanishes.

Add in onions and goda masala. Mix well and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add in tomatoes, red chilli powder and turmeric powder. Saute till the tomatoes are mushy. Add matki sprouts and salt. Saute for a minute and add 3 cups water. 

Press cancel and then press pressure cook. Set pressure to high and set timer to 3 minutes. Close the lid, set to sealing and let the misal cook. Once the timer completes, wait for 5 minutes and release pressure manually. 

Open the Instant Pot and sprinkle lemon juice and cilantro. Mix well and serve with diced onion, Mixed Farsan, Lime wedges and Pav Bread.



Monday, March 19, 2018

Vanilla Mousse Cream Rolls | Cream Horns


Spring ready dessert that is EASY to make and delicious; Vanilla Mousse Cream Rolls is the recipe you need for all your parties!





Spring is knocking already and it is time to make Spring special recipes! For any party or special occasion; desserts always take center stage. Whenever I am planning a get together I decide on the dessert FIRST!

For the longest time my favorite ingredient to make easy and delicious desserts is Pepperidge Farm® Puff Pastry Sheets. With endless possibilities to use them with all kinds of ingredients, everyone enjoys these.

This Spring I wanted to start off with this dessert that doubles up as a snack! Cream Rolls or Cream Horns are super popular in many bakeries. These rolls were always a treat growing up! I would always wonder how these rolls have such a crispy outer layer with a melt in the mouth cream inside.


Once I discovered Puff Pastry Sheets I had the answer! Now I know how to get the layered rolls right each time; in under 30 minutes and with just a few ingredients. I started making these at home and now it is a home-made treat for every party. All it needs is some patience to wrap the cone tight so that the filling does not leak.

On my last grocery trip I brought home two packets of Puff Pastry Sheets (as always) and I used one to make a puffed pizza and the second box got converted to this yummy dessert! I filled mine with Vanilla Mousse, that melt in the mouth filling that adults and kids LOVE!


Now that Easter and many more Spring parties are lined up, each one of you need to try this delight for your family. I bet they would have a great time and ask for MORE! I have never been satisfied with ONE roll myself.

I have seen that one sheet of Puff Pastry is enough to make over a dozen of these horns. If you do not have the metal cone molds to make these, fret no more. All you need to do is roll a piece of foil into a triangle and use that. If you have some sugar cones, wrap the foil on them and make perfect cones! Or if you want a quick recipe, just cut rounds of the Puff Pastry and lay them in a muffin tray. They make really cute 'nests'.


Coming to the recipe, this one is pretty simple. Needing just a few ingredients, quick to make and so easy to customize. The method involves making the rolls, decorating them and filling them with your favorite flavor. I filled these with a vanilla mousse this time, but everything from a Strawberry Mousse, Chocolate Mousse, Lemon Curd to just whipped cream is great with the crispy Puff Pastry Sheets.

So on your next grocery shopping trip, make sure you grab a box of Puff Pastry Sheets, whipping cream and your favorite fruit or flavor. Whip up these rolls and enjoy them your loved ones!


Wondering what else you can make with these Puff Pastry Sheets? Check this Pinterest Board for MANY more inspiring recipes. Plus, try one of these:
See how this ONE ingredient is so good for all kinds of savory as well as sweet recipes. It is GREAT for all courses from snacks, appetizers, main course to desserts. These sheets always make preparation easy, super yummy and quick recipes. So wait no further and head STRAIGHT to this one!


Ingredients

Heavy Whipping Cream 1/2 cup
Confectioner' Sugar 1 tbsp
Vanilla extract 1/2 tsp
Unsalted Butter/Oil 1 tsp
Dark Chocolate 1/2 cup, chopped
Sprinkles as desired
Egg 1 whipped (optional)

Pin for Later


Method

Remove the Puff Pastry Sheets from the package and thaw for 45 minutes on the kitchen counter. Let it remain till the sheets fold out easily.

Use a couple of metal cones that are oven safe or make them by rolling some foil. Brush some oil or unsalted butter on them and keep ready. Preheat the oven to 375 F/ 190 C.

Cut 1 inch strips from the Puff Pastry Sheet. Wrap them on the cones, starting from the pointed end and overlapping them as you go upwards.



Brush with egg wash and place in the preheated oven.

Bake for 15-18 minutes, till the rolls are golden brown and crisp. Remove from oven and release the cones and let the horns cool completely.

In a oven safe bowl add the chocolate and microwave till it melts completely (about 1 minute to 1 minute 30 seconds). In a plate place the sprinkles of your choice.

Dip each Puff Pastry horn in the molten chocolate and then in the plate of sprinkles. Lay on a parchment paper till the chocolate hardens.


In a bowl add the whipping cream, sugar and vanilla extract. Whip till you have firm peaks. Transfer to a piping bag.

Once the horns are completely cool, pipe the vanilla cream into them. Serve immediately.




Friday, March 16, 2018

Vanilla Sheet Cake with Whipped Cream Frosting


This is a sponsored post on behalf of  Nielsen Massey and I have been compensated with a free product sample. All opinions are 100% my own. 

A perfectly spongy Eggless Vanilla Sheet cake with a delicate whipped cream frosting. Need anything better to celebrate the arrival of Spring? 


This year has been SWEET. I started off the year with some desserts and sweets and seem to be continuing the trend! I now have a TON of sweet recipes coming up, given the amount that I made in the last couple of months! My husband, who has a sweet tooth has been enjoying himself to the fullest. And I must admit, I seem to be developing a sweet tooth too. 

For the longest time, I have never liked desserts and sweets as much as I have in the last few months. I have been working on multiple projects that focus on desserts lately. Plus Indian festivals coming each month. And finally a lot of bookmarked recipes that need to see the light of day. With all these things happening at the same time, we are celebrating everyday! It is someone's birthday somewhere, so why not have a cake for dessert tonight?


While I made a TON of Chocolate cakes all the time, I have been meaning to expand my horizon. My husband is a die hard fan of chocolate and so I always make something overloaded with chocolate. Personally, I love fruits and vanilla, but I can never get myself to finish the entire dessert myself! 

Who doesn't like a good spongy Vanilla cake? I have always been a fan of fruity and simple flavors; vanilla being my favorite. For the longest time I have been meaning to put a yummy vanilla cake on the blog; but have been pushing it out for various reasons. 

A great vanilla cake starts from the BEST Vanilla Extract. And what better than Nielsen Massey's Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract. That is a great flavoring agent for ALL things vanilla. I love their flavors and how a small quantity is so flavorful. I have tried their Coffee, Lemon and Orange in the past. Now I have their Vanilla Extract and it is amazing.


Coming to the recipe, I decided to give the traditional cakes a miss and make a sheet pan cake. This again has been on my mind for a while. Needing a simple frosting in a small quantity, these cakes are great for those who like the sponge. But bakers beware, this cake requires that the sponge be PERFECT! There is not much frosting to hide the shortcomings of the sponge. But fret no more, this sponge recipe is perfect for all kinds of cakes. 

This cake is EGGLESS like many other bakes on the blog. I used to feel that eggless cakes are not as great. But after making them over and over again I realized how you can make them moist, yummy and perfectly spongy. If you like eggless bakes, try one of these cakes or muffins:



I topped this sheet pan with a vanilla flavored frosting and ditched the butter in the cake and the frosting. For sheet cakes, the idea is to frost them while still in the pan and serve them straight from the pan. So if you cannot get the frosting all around the sides, it is PERFECTLY okay. These cakes look best in their not so perfect form and are great for parties where each guest cuts it to the size they desire.

The result of this cake turned out amazing; a soft sponge that was moderate in sweetness, a sweet vanilla frosting that not just taste amazing; it is super cute with the light pink color there. 


Variations

I kept the cake free from complex flavors to taste the vanilla only. However, if you like, add your favorite fruits in the batter to make this into  fruity one. Make multiple cakes to layer them and convert the same recipe to a stacked cake. 

The frosting I made is just whipped cream. However, use your favorite topping for the cake. Whether it is cream cheese or buttercream, make your favorite topping. 

Are you a fan of decorated cakes? Ditch the frosting on top and use your best techniques to make a colorful cake.  


Ingredients

For the cake

All purpose Flour 1 1/2 cup
Confectioners' Sugar 1 cup
Buttermilk 1 cup (Can be substituted by 1 cup milk+1 tsp vinegar)
Oil 1/2 cup
Baking Soda 1 tsp
Salt a pinch

For the Icing and Decoration

Heavy Whipping Cream 1 1/2 cup

Confectioners' Sugar 4 tbsp
Pure Vanilla Extract 1 tsp

Pink gel color a pinch
Green gel color a pinch
Sprinkles 




Method

To make the cake

Mix together milk and vinegar and let stand for 5-10 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 F/ 180 C. Line a 9*9 square pan with non-stick spray or parchment paper.

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


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

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

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


To make the icing

In the base of a stand mixer add cream, vanilla extract and confectioners' sugar (can be substituted by 3 1/2 tbsp powdered sugar and 1/4 tbsp cornstarch). Beat till it has hard peaks. 

Remove 2 tbsp of the frosting and add in the pink color. Mix well and set aside. In the 2 tbsp frosting that was set aside, mix in green color. 

To finish off the cake

Spread the pink colored frosting on the cooled cake. Transfer some frosting to a piping bag and decorate by making flowers. Use the green to make leaves.  Decorate using sprinkles and serve. 



Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Instant Rava Idli | Steamed Semolina Cakes

An EASY to make Indian breakfast or dinner recipe, this recipe of INSTANT Rava Idli (Steamed Semolina Cakes) is a keeper! 



Rava Idlis, a different kind of steamed cakes; these are made from semolina, yogurt and some spices. These idlis are great for breakfast as they are not very heavy, need only a few ingredients to make and need no grinding or fermentation. With very little preplanning, this recipe is great for breakfast or even a quick brunch or dinner.  

These semolina idlis have always been my breakfast love for lazy weekend mornings. Though it has been a favorite dish for a long time, I would ALWAYS trust the packet and use the pre-mixed rava idli mix to make them. Not long ago I was visiting my aunt and she whipped them up from scratch in NO TIME! 


That is when I was super excited to try it from scratch too. The first few steps are pretty much similar to regular upma recipe. The last bit changes from adding buttermilk and cooking to adding some baking soda and steaming. Now I make it from scratch pretty often and bid goodbye to the packets! 

A plate full of these idlis served with piping hot sambar and a chutney is my new definition of comfort meal! When a day starts with these soft idlis, it is definitely a great one. What's great is that this recipe comes together in around 40-45 minutes. If you are in a rush in the morning, do most of the preparation the earlier day. Then all you need is 20 minuted to make these for breakfast. 

Not just for breakfast, we now enjoy these for dinner too. I like them with a side of Tomato Onion Chutney and Gun Powder chutney. With zero grinding and fermentation like traditional Rice Idlis, this works great for all meals. Plus, they make a meal by itself along with the chutneys. Served with a side of Indian style Filter Coffee, it is a great meal for sure.  


Variations

Though I made the entire recipe in one go, it is easy to make it in parts too. Roast the semolina and add the ingredients except ginger and chilli. Store this in an airtight container. When ready to make, saute the ginger, chilli in ghee and add them. Rest of the procedure remains same. 

Another yummy variation to this is to add vegetables of your choice. From grated beets and grated carrots to minced onion and green peas taste amazing in these idlis. It is an easy way to include vegetables in the diet.

A lot of people like to use sour yogurt in their recipe, but I have always got similar results with regular yogurt too. And Greek yogurt or homemade yogurt work great in the recipe. Just adjust the amount of water depending on how thick the yogurt is. 

Finally, the same mixture can be used to make Instant Rava Paniyaram. The paniyaram using this recipe come out really great. They are PERFECT snacks for any party or get together. 


Fan of Idlis? You MUST try one of these too:

Coming to the recipe, this one needs just a few ingredients that are easy to find in any pantry. Semolina or rava is an interesting ingredient in the pantry. From savory upma, paniyarams and idlis to sweet sheera and halwa, from being a great way to coat tikkis to rolling pizzas with a crisp base; this ingredient is super versatile and comes handy in many recipes. 

So if you do not have this yummy ingredient in your pantry, get it NOW and start making all things delicious. First up should be THIS Rava Idli. 



Ingredients

For the Idli
Rava/ Semolina 1 1/2 cups
Yogurt 3/4 cup
Baking Soda 1/2 tsp
Oil 1 tbsp
Salt 1 1/2 tsp

For the Tempering
Ghee 2 tbsp
Urad Dal 2 tsp
Chana Dal 2 tsp
Mustard Seeds 1/2 tsp
Asafetida 1 pinch
Cumin Seeds 1 tsp
Curry Leaves 4-5
Green Chilli 1-2 minced
Ginger 1 inch piece, grated
Cashews 2 tbsp



Method

In a  bowl soak the chana dal in warm water for 10-15 minutes. Drain and set aside. 

Heat the ghee in a pan and add mustard seeds. Once they pop add asafetida and cumin seeds. Once they pop, add urad dal and chana dal. Mix well and let the dal turn brown. Add the curry leaves, green chilli, cashews and ginger. Let them cook for 4-5 minutes. 

Add in the rava/semolina. Mix well and roast for 8-10 minutes on low flame. Make sure the rava does not burn. Once you can smell a nice aroma of roasted semolina, turn down the flame and cool the mixture. 

Mix in salt, beaten yogurt and some water to make a thick batter. Let it rest for 15-20 minutes. 

Meanwhile, heat water in an idli stand base or pressure cooker base. Line the idli plates with oil and keep ready. 

Once ready to make the idlis, add the baking soda in the batter and mix well. It will bubble for a bit. Add some water if the batter is too thick. 

Divide the batter into the idli cavities and steam for 10-12 minutes. Remove once a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. 

Use a spoon dipped in oil to remove the idlis. Serve with your favorite chutney and sambar. I enjoyed mine with Tomato Onion Chutney and Gun Powder Chutney!