Sunday, May 31, 2020

Mango Salsa (Pico De Gallo)

This Mango Salsa is juicy, slightly spicy and sweet. Perfect as a dip, in tacos or as a topping for grilled recipes!

This is a sponsored post on behalf of Marathon Mangos. All opinions are mine alone.



Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no extra cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. 

Don't you LOVE quick and easy recipes that are delicious too? I definitely do.

This Mango salsa is all of these and more. Made from a mix of freshly chopped vegetables and minimal seasoning, this salsa or pico de gallo is SO good for summer parties and beyond.

I cannot even begin to count the number of times I have made this recipe but never been able to shoot it. 

Most of the times it is for parties and in the rush up I fail to shoot it. And once the party is over there is NO leftover for me to shoot.

Finally, when Marathon Mangos sent me a box of their Altaufo Mangos, I made the recipe once more and shot it in time for summers!




Why you'll LOVE this recipe



A super quick recipe which requires finely chopped vegetables and some spices, this mango salsa is fresh, sweet and tangy. 

Serve it with some chips, use it in tacos or over grilled vegetables. Better still, enjoy it just like that. The salsa is definitely the perfect cooling bowl you need on a hot summer day.

The combination of sweet mangos, spicy jalapeño and tangy lemon juice is SO good and the freshness from cilantro elevates the dish.

I used exactly 9 ingredients to make this one. The same dish can be made using a couple of ingredients less or more too! 

The key ingredients are mango (obviously!), jalapeño and tomatoes. The other ingredients can be used or skipped or substituted.




How to cut a mango



When it comes to mangos, these are considered the king of fruits in India. It is available in different varieties, shapes and sizes. Here in the US there are different kinds of mangos.

While they all differ in many ways, they are similar in some ways. ALL of them taste great and they pose a challenge to many about how to cut them.

The easiest way to cut mangos is to cut the cheeks on all four sides first and then scrape the flesh over the seed.


Using a paring knife score the cheeks with horizontal and vertical cuts. And then spoon out the flesh. So super easy! 

If you would like another way, try using a peeler to peel off the mango. Then go ahead and slice it. 

While this works, it may fail for thick skinned mangos. So I prefer the first method better! 




Mango Salsa do's and dont's



Start with ripe but firm mangos. Altaufo will work the best in US, Alphonso where available. They work really well in the recipe without becoming mushy.

Choose ripe tomatoes for a pop of color and flavor. And deseed them. The seeds make it mushy.

Jalapeños can be used with the seeds or without. The seeds and veins make the salsa slightly spicy. Make your pick based on how hot you like it. Habanero peppers can also be used in place of jalapeños.


Cherry tomatoes, avocado or green onions can also be added to the salsa. They work really well.

The MOST important thing here is to chop the vegetables really fine. You want to be able to scoop it onto chips or grilled vegetables. 



What to serve it with?



This salsa is best served with tortilla chips. The spicy sweet dip is so good with salted chips! 

Other than that, it is great to add to any kind of tacos. 

Plus, it is great to serve with grilled dishes like Tofu Tikka Skewers or Balsamic Grilled Vegetables.


Other Dip recipes



Fan of dips? Here are some of my favorites:



Ingredients


Mango 2 large cheeks (I used Altaufo)  
Red Onion 1/2 medium, finely chopped
Tomato 1 medium, deseeded and finely chopped
Green Pepper 1/2 medium, finely chopped
Jalapeño 1/2, finely chopped
Cilantro a handful
Lime 1/2
Pink Salt 1/2 tsp


Method


Using a paring knife make cuts in the mango cheeks. The cuts should make tiny squares on the surface.

Using a spoon scoop out the mango flesh from the skin.

In a bowl mix together onion, tomato, green pepper, jalapeño, cilantro and mango.

Sprinkle salt and pepper and add the juice of half a lime. 

Mix well. Serve immediately or refrigerate before serving. This salsa is BEST enjoyed with chips or in tacos. 




DISCLOSURE: WE ARE A PARTICIPANT IN THE AMAZON SERVICES LLC ASSOCIATES PROGRAM, AN AFFILIATE ADVERTISING PROGRAM DESIGNED TO PROVIDE A MEANS FOR US TO EARN FEES BY LINKING TO AMAZON.COM AND AFFILIATED SITES.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

How to make Sourdough Naan

Quick and easy fluffy sourdough naan. These are airy, have a slight tang and is a great way to use up sourdough discard! 



Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no extra cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. 

This easy to make naan uses a handful of pantry essentials and some sourdough discard. No commercial yeast needed and it can be made on the stove top with little effort.

Naan, a popular Indian bread is best enjoyed with Indian curries and dals. One of the most ordered items at Indian restaurants, naan has SO many variations.

The type of naan depends on the leavening agent and the toppings.

Garlic, rosemary, mint, green chili, onion and butter are commonly used toppings. 

The most popular leavening agents include a combination of baking powder and yogurt or yeast. Instead of commercial yeast, adding sourdough starter/ discard is a great way to leaven the dough.

What is sourdough discard?

For those unfamiliar with sourdough baking, sourdough discard is nothing but an active sourdough starter. 

A sourdough starter is made from flour and water and the starter is fed with flour and water at regular intervals. Along with feeding, some amount of starter is discarded from the process too.

The discard is essentially flour and water but with some natural yeast activity. 

For those who bake a lot, there is a LOT of discard and throwing it away is not the best thing to do. 

Instead the discard can be used to make various recipes, this naan being one of them. It is a natural leavening agent and results in soft naans with a slight tang based on how active the starter is.


Tips to make this sourdough naan

This recipe is made using sourdough starter. The starter can be made from any flour mix. It works well with a well established starter; i.e. the starter rises and falls predictably. 

The portions below are perfect to make 6 medium size naan. The recipe can easily be doubled or halved. 

I have used all purpose flour in my recipe but whole wheat flour works too. The naan might be slightly dense though.

Do not let the rolling part of the recipe scare you. Naan does not have to be perfectly round. It can be oval or even an abstract shape.

Cooking the naan is done on a cast iron skillet. The skillet has to be really hot before placing the naan. Do not forget to preheat the skillet.

The final step includes cooking the naan on an open flame. This is the preferred way of doing it. However if using a glass top or coil gas, cook the naan evenly on both sides. The brown char spots might be missing but the taste will still be great.



How to use the instant pot in the recipe

Given that the recipe uses a leavening agent, it is required to give the dough some time to develop. 

This step can be done in various ways like placing the dough in a warm spot on the kitchen counter, in the oven with the light on or in the instant pot.

Using the instant pot is my favorite way to proof any dough. Using the yogurt mode on low or normal gives consistent results in half the time. 

Cover the dough with a damp kitchen towel and place it in the pot. Close the lid or use a glass lid to cover.  

For naan and other flatbreads I generally keep it for 45- 60 minutes. The dough does not necessarily double, but becomes perfect to use.

Serving suggestions

Just like most Indian flatbreads, naan is best enjoyed with Indian curries. 

I like to serve my naan with CholePaneer JalfreziPunjabi Dum AlooSarson da Saag or Paneer Makhani.




Storing naan and heating

Naan is best enjoyed hot. Serve it while it is still hot or store it to warm before serving. 

To store, completely cool the naan and then wrap them in a kitchen towel or in paper towels. 


Let them rest and make sure to heat them on an open flame or on a griddle before serving. 

Steps by step recipe

In a bowl mix together milk, yogurt and sourdough starter. Spread the starter evenly in the mixture.



Add the flour, baking powder and salt. Mix well till a shaggy dough forms. 




Cover with a damp towel or plastic film and place in a warm place for 2 hours. If using the Instant Pot, let it rest covered on yogurt mode for 45 minutes. 



After the dough has rested, transfer to a lightly floured surface and divide into 6 parts. 

Preheat a cast iron or thick griddle/ tava to medium high flame. 


Using one part of the dough roll it out to a round or oval of 1/4 inch thickness.

Spread black sesame seeds and other toppings like green chili, garlic or cilantro. Press it down so that they stick.



Turn the naan over and apply some water. Transfer the naan to the tava, wet side down.

Cook on medium-high flame till a few spots appear on the naan. 

Turn the tava over and cook on direct flame till the naan bubbles and all the portions are cooked. 


Remove from tava and spread some salted butter on it. Serve warm with your favorite Indian curry. 




Ingredients

Unfed 100% hydration Sourdough starter 1 cup
Plain Yogurt 1/4 cup
Warm Milk 1/2 cup
Salt 1 tsp
Salted butter as needed 

Method

In a bowl mix together milk, yogurt and sourdough starter. Spread the starter evenly in the mixture.

Add the flour, baking powder and salt. Mix well till a shaggy dough forms. 

Cover with a damp towel and place in a warm place for 2 hours. If using the Instant Pot, let it rest covered on yogurt mode for 45 minutes. 

After the dough has rested, transfer to a lightly floured surface and divide into 6 parts. 

Preheat a cast iron or thick griddle/ tava to medium high flame. 

Using one part of the dough roll it out to a round or oval of 1/4 inch thickness.

Spread black sesame seeds and other toppings like green chili, garlic or cilantro. Press it down so that they stick.

Turn the naan over and apply some water. Transfer the naan to the tava, wet side down.

Cook on medium-high flame till a few spots appear on the naan. 

Turn the tava over and cook on direct flame till the naan bubbles and all the portions are cooked. 

Remove from tava and spread some salted butter on it. Serve warm with your favorite Indian curry. 




DISCLOSURE: WE ARE A PARTICIPANT IN THE AMAZON SERVICES LLC ASSOCIATES PROGRAM, AN AFFILIATE ADVERTISING PROGRAM DESIGNED TO PROVIDE A MEANS FOR US TO EARN FEES BY LINKING TO AMAZON.COM AND AFFILIATED SITES.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Mango Lassi

One of the MOST popular drinks at Indian restaurants, rich and creamy Mango lassi is super easy to make at home!





Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no extra cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. 

Mango season is the MOST loved time of the year. Once mangos arrive, they become the centerpiece for every meal. 

Chopped into pieces, served as sliced or churned into aamras; mangos are super satisfying and great in all forms. 

If you are a mango lover just like me, this mango lassi recipe is made for you! 

The sweetness of mangos combined with the slight tartness of yogurt makes a great combination for sure. A super smooth drink that is creamy, filling and perfectly cold, mango lassi is a MUST-HAVE during mango season. 


What is Mango Lassi?



A drink made from yogurt; lassi can easily be understood as drinkable yogurt. 

Lassi comes in various forms; sweet, salty, with rose, mango or other fruits or with lots of nuts. 

Mango Lassi, as the name suggests has yogurt and mango. That would be it for a traditional version. No milk, water or sugar is added.

However, based on the sweetness of the mangos and how thick you desire the lassi to be these can be added. 

Mango lassi is a super popular drink at Indian restaurants and for events. But it is SUPER easy to make it at home and enjoy. 




What you need to make Mango Lassi?


As I mentioned above, you need some mangos and yogurt. The sweeter the mangos, the better the taste of lassi without any add-ins.

If using Greek yogurt, you might need to thin it out with some water/ milk. If using regular yogurt this may not be required.  

To make it even better I like to add some saffron and cardamom. Both aromatics, they raise the flavor of mango so well. 

Plus, adding some crunch as toppings works perfectly. I add some slivered almonds or chopped pistachios. They pair really well with the lassi. 

Finally a blender or hand blender is needed to make lassi. I like to use a blender to get a thick creamy lassi.





What mangos work best for this lassi?



In India we generally use alphonso or kesar to make lassi. These mangos are used in its fresh form to make lassi when in season. 

However given the short time that these would be available, my mother used to freeze the pulp of these mangos so that we could enjoy it year round. 

Here in the US we do find these pulps in the Indian store. My first priority is definitely alphonso mango pulp for this followed by kesar.

If you do not have access to Indian mangos or pulp, the same can be made using Ataulfo or Tommy mangos too.

Which yogurt can be used to make this?


Yogurt is one of the required ingredients here and most of the time I use home-made yogurt. I use my Instant Pot or Mealthy Multipot 2.0 to make my yogurt from scratch.

Have you tried the Mealthy Multipot? Read my review for that here. Buy your own Multipot here. Remember you can get $10 off on any product from Mealthy (above $59.95) using the code HERBIVORECUCINA. Or get yours from Amazon.




If you do not want to make your own yogurt from scratch, store bought plain yogurt works too. If it is Greek Yogurt, add some water to make it drinkable. For regular yogurt, not much water might be needed.


How to make Vegan Mango Lassi?



This recipe can be made vegan very easily. Just swap out the yogurt for your favorite Vegan yogurt and follow the same proportions. It works out really well. 


What to serve mango Lassi with



Given that the lassi is super cooling and refreshing, it can be enjoyed in multiple ways. 

Have it as a smoothie early morning with some nuts if you like. 

Pair it with your favorite Indian delicacy like CholePaneer JalfreziVegan Gobi Musallam Biryani  or 30-Minute Instant Pot Vegetable Biryani.

It also works well to serve with Indian appetizers. Cupcake HandvoDeconstructed Potato Peas Samosa BitesLoaded Curly Fries Nachos and Oven Grilled Tandoori Vegetables are my favorites to enjoy with a glass of mango lassi. 

More Mango recipes to try


If you are a mango lover like me, here are some more recipes from the blog that use mangos:




Ingredients


Mango 2 big cheeks (about 1 cup if using canned)
Plain Yogurt 2 cups
Cold Water 1/2 cup
Sugar 3 tbsp
Pistachios or other nuts to top 2 tbsp

Method


Using a mortar pestle roughly crush the saffron strands and cardamom seeds. 

Add everything except pistachios to a blender. Run for 3-4 minutes till thick and smooth. 

Pour into three glasses and top with chopped pistachios. Serve immediately or chill before serving. 

Lassi can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours after preparing. 



Monday, May 18, 2020

How to make Sourdough Focaccia

How to make sourdough focaccia that is perfectly crisp and chewy on the outside and soft inside. Super flavorful and has the tang of sourdough.





Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no extra cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. 

Sourdough, a bread that has always been popular and a process that has gained limelight in the last few weeks. 

This type of bread needs just flour, water and salt to prepare. No looking for yeast and no fancy ingredients needed. The ONLY thing it really needs is patience and that too in a good measure. 


If you are ready to follow a consistent routine and have patience, you can make a sourdough starter at home with just flour and water. There are plenty of methods available to follow. 



Once you have a mature starter that is rising and falling consistently, the world of sourdough opens up. From recipes using the starter to using the discard; there are SO many great things to explore. 


I made a starter using all purpose flour and wheat flour and have been baking with it for a few weeks now. Finally, after making quite a few loaves and breads; I am confident of sharing this one.  


The recipe works with any kind of mature starter, not just the one with wheat and all purpose flour. Here is a great starter recipe if you need one. 





What makes it SO good?


When starting the sourdough journey, it helps to start with easier breads. This focaccia is one of them. 

With just some rising required, it helped me believe in my starter before I start off with more complex breads. 

The flavors of sourdough in the resultant bread is unbelievable. It turned out so good that I end up baking this bread every week now. And finally the recipe is here! 

The focaccia is crisp and golden on the top and soft inside. With the tang of sourdough, this bread is great as a side or appetizer. 


Made using sourdough starter this recipe needs just flour, water, starter and olive oil. 

The toppings can be added based on what you like. Olives, vegetables and herbs work really well on this bread. 


Time taken to make this recipe 


This recipe has various steps and total time of about 24 hours. With a few steps of fermentation, the recipe needs to be started the day before for it to work out really well.

If you are pressed for time, start the recipe early in the morning and with a shorter refrigerator proofing time you can get it ready for dinner. 

I generally like to start with my starter at about 10 am and make the dough at 2 or 3 pm. With the stretch and folds and bulk fermentation; the dough is ready to be popped in the refrigerator by 8 pm. 


The next day it is ready to be enjoyed for lunch or dinner! 




A few points to consider


The success of the recipe depends on a variety of things. Here are some pointers to get started:

  • Start with a mature starter. That means the starter rises and falls at regular intervals. 
  • The starter needs to be fed and should be active when starting. To ensure, you can do a float test; though it is not 100% accurate. 
  • Use a digital scale rather than cup measures. If you intend to bake sourdough often, having one is a great idea. 
  • Make sure the dough bulk ferments at a constant temperature. This can be done in the oven with the light on or in the instant pot.

Using the Instant Pot to proof the dough


Using the instant pot for any kind of proofing is a great idea. The only catch is that it works for instant pots with the yogurt function. 

The low setting for yogurt maintains the ambient temperature needed to proof the dough. It cuts down the time needed to about half from 2 hours to an hour.

To proof in the instant pot, spread some olive oil in the inner pot. Place the dough and cover with a kitchen towel.

Close the lid, set mode to yogurt and low. Set time to 60 minutes and you are all set! 




Storing tips


After the focaccia is baked and enjoyed, if you have leftovers (we rarely ever do), wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and pop it in the refrigerator or freezer. 

Focaccia can be refrigerated for a couple of days and frozen for 1-2 months! 


What to serve with this bread?


We love our focaccia withe some balsamic vinegar and olive oil. It is great with marinara sauce too.


To serve it with an entree; totally recommend Cauliflower Sauce Mac n CheeseOne Pot Pasta in Creamy Pumpkin SauceRed Lentil Pasta with Sundried Tomato Pesto and Sicilian Eggplant and Mushroom Penne.

Or serve it with a hearty bowl of Broccoli Cheddar SoupMinestrone Soup or Loaded Baked Potato and Cauliflower Soup.


Steps to make Sourdough Focaccia

To make the dough


Feed the starter with flour and water. Place in a warm place for 2-4 hours. 




Once the starter doubles and is bubbly, remove 90 grams of the starter. 

In a large bowl add the starter and water. Mix for 5 minutes using a spatula or hand till the starter is well distributed.




Add the flour and salt. Mix well till a wet and shaggy dough is formed. It will not be super dry but do not worry. 




In a large bowl spread some olive oil. Place the dough in it and cover. 

Stretch and fold


After 30 minutes open the cover and fold the dough on all sides. To do so,  wet your fingers with water. Stretch the dough from the bottom and fold it to the top. 

Cover and repeat it 3 more times, spaced out by 30 minutes.

This is how it looks after 4 stretches.



Bulk Fermentation


After the dough has been stretched and folded four times in all, let it rest covered in a warm place for 2 hours. Or use an instant pot to proof in an hour.



Overnight Fermentation


Meanwhile spread 2 tbsp olive oil in a high walled 9x13 inches cookie tray. Place the dough in it and lightly spread it to cover the tray. 

Cover it with plastic wrap or a towel and place in the refrigerator. It can be there from 4 hours to up to 24 hours. 

Preparing to bake


A couple of hours before baking remove the tray from the refrigerator and let the dough warm up to room temperature. 

Preheat oven to 450 F/ 230 C. Prepare the toppings. 

Once the dough has rested for an hour, it will be bubbly and gassy. 

Using fingers coated with olive oil dimple the dough and spread the vegetables and sprinkle the seasoning. Drizzle the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil.



Baking the focaccia


Bake the focaccia for 20-22 minutes, till the top looks crisp and golden brown spots appear. 

Remove and serve with a side of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. It can also be served with some marinara sauce. 



Ingredients 

For the focaccia

Mature Sourdough starter 90 grams
All purpose flour 545 grams
Water 390 grams
Sea Salt 15 grams
Olive Oil 14 grams

For the toppings

Olive Oil 4 tbsp
Red and green peppers 1/4 cup, sliced
Onion 1/4 cup, sliced
Jalapeños 6-8

Method

Feed the starter with flour and water. Place in a warm place for 2-4 hours. Once the starter doubles and is bubbly, remove 90 grams of the starter.

In a large bowl add the starter and water. Mix for 5 minutes using a spatula or hand till the starter is well distributed.

Add the flour and salt. Mix well till a wet and shaggy dough is formed. It will not be super dry but do not worry.

In a large bowl spread some olive oil. Place the dough in it and cover.

After 30 minutes open the cover and fold the dough on all sides. To do so, wet your fingers with water. Stretch the dough from the bottom and fold it to the top.

Cover and repeat it 3 more times, spaced out by 30 minutes.

After the dough has been stretched and folded four times in all, let it rest covered in a warm place for 2 hours. Or use an instant pot to proof in an hour.

Meanwhile spread 2 tbsp olive oil in a high walled 9x13 inches cookie tray. Place the dough in it and lightly spread it to cover the tray.

Cover it with plastic wrap or a towel and place in the refrigerator. It can be there from 4 hours to up to 24 hours.

A couple of hours before baking remove the tray from the refrigerator and let the dough warm up to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 450 F/ 230 C. Prepare the toppings. Once the dough has rested for an hour, it will be bubbly and gassy.

Using fingers coated with olive oil dimple the dough and spread the vegetables and sprinkle the seasoning. Drizzle the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil.

Bake the focaccia for 20-22 minutes, till the top looks crisp and golden brown spots appear.

Remove and serve with a side of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. It can also be served with some marinara sauce.




DISCLOSURE: WE ARE A PARTICIPANT IN THE AMAZON SERVICES LLC ASSOCIATES PROGRAM, AN AFFILIATE ADVERTISING PROGRAM DESIGNED TO PROVIDE A MEANS FOR US TO EARN FEES BY LINKING TO AMAZON.COM AND AFFILIATED SITES.