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Posts Categorized / Healthy snacks

MASALA SUNDAL / मसाला सुंदल (Tempered & Stir fried Black Chickpeas) – GF & Vegan

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Sundal is a south Indian dish which is made as ‘prasadam’ i.e. an offering to the Gods. So you can imagine how good it has got to be! The sundals are usually made using kala chana (black chick peas) or safed chana (white chickpeas) and sometimes with peanuts. You can use either or both. In fact you can make it with practically anything that you fancy – chickpeas, green peas, corn, peanuts, black eyed beans, red kidney beans, mung beans or a healthy mix of a few of these. Having said that, I feel that black chickpeas with their robust and earthy flavors make for the best sundal. 

I had the opportunity to first taste it at a south Indian friend’s house approximately six years back and I enjoyed it for its crunchy (because of the fried lentil), herby, earthy flavours and of course its simplicity. I did not need to ask her for its recipe since I could easily make out all the ingredients from its taste. I was pretty happy the way it turned out and later a friend told me to coarsely grind the chana dal instead of adding it whole in the tempering and it did make a difference in taste. Although most people don’t do this but I added a dash of lemon to give it a zing and it kind of wraps up the whole thing so well. This recipe is perfect for an evening snack since it is packed with protein and iron. Delicious and nutritious! 

For Chana

1 C (200 grams) Kala Chana (Black Chick Peas)

¼ tsp Salt

For masala

1 tbsp plus 1 tsp Chana dal

1 tsp whole Coriander Seeds

1 dry whole Red Chili

1 tsp grated Coconut

For tempering

2 tbsp Oil

A small pinch Heeng (Asafoetida)

1 tsp Mustard Seeds

2 dry whole Red Chilies (broken into 2 – 3 pieces)

1 tsp Urad Dal (Ivory Lentils)

A sprig Curry Leaves

1 tbsp finely chopped, fresh Coriander (cilantro)

1 tbsp finely shredded, fresh Coconut

2 – 3 tsp Lemon juice (optional)

Pick and wish the kala chana and soak it enough water for at least eight hours (preferably over night).

Discard the water and transfer the chana in to a pressure cooker. Add a glass of water and salt. Pressure cook till two whistles escape.

The pressure cooker off the heat and wait for the pressure to get released on its own. Drain the chana and set aside. (you can reserve the water instead of draining it and use it for curries or pulav)

Meanwhile, dry toast the first three ingredients of the masala will the chana dals begins to turn golden. Add the grated coconut and roast further for a minute or two or till the chana dal begins to turn golden brown.

Cool the masala and grind it to a coarse powder in a spice mixer or grinder. Keep aside.

Take on in a wok or pan and add the oil. Heat the oil and add heeng, fry for a few seconds or till it becomes aromatic and golden brown.

Add mustard seeds, broken red chilies and urad dal. Fry till the dal turns golden brown. Add curry leaves and add the chana along with the masala. Add a little salt as well.

Stir everything well. Remove from heat and add the fresh coriander, fresh coconut and lemon juice. Mix well.

Masala sundal is ready to be served as a snack or to be used as prashad.

Serves – 4 (as snack)

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SHAKARKAND CHAAT / शकरकंद चाट (Pepped up Sweet Potatoes) – STREET FOOD

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1

Call it a salad or a chaat. It is a popular street food in north of India. Street vendors selling pepped up shakarkand or sweet potatoes, paired with star fruit is a common sight during autumn and all through winters. Their chaat has a sprinkle of chaat masala, red chili powder, salt and a generous dash of lemon. Sweet potatoes, as their name suggests, are sweeter than potatoes and therefore require something tangy and spicy to pep them up and what better way than to have them with a sweet, sour and spicy tamarind chutney. Sweet potatoes have the goodness of antioxidants, they are rich in dietary fibres and help with constipation. They have carotenoids which help in producing Vitamin A. They are good for diabetics and help those with respiratory problems. This humble root has many health benefits and deserves to be included more in our diets.

My Mom used to serve this chaat almost every weekend as soon as the sweet potatoes used to hit the markets. It was our evening snack – it is tasty, healthy and keeps the appetite gratified till it is time for dinner. Though I am not too fond of sweet potatoes but this is one way that I love to devour them. More over there is not much work to do to make this chaat. For the tamarind chutney you can either make fresh chutney or you can procure a ready-made pack of tamarind chutney. Or use tamarind paste, add the required ingredients, give a boil or two, strain it and the chutney is ready. Personally, I prefer making the chutney from scratch because it tastes way better than the store brought one. I decreased the amount of palm jaggery to my recipe for the Tamarind Chutney to adjust the sourness and make it sweet and sour. Another way to add sourness is to add the lemon juice just as the street vendors do it. As I said earlier, they add star fruit to perhaps balance the sweetness of sweet potatoes. The idea is to strike a balance of flavors. I have seen people adding apples, cucumbers, carrots, onion, etc to it. Play along with what you would like to add and enjoy 🙂

This is what you need:

2-2

½ kg sweet potatoes

1 medium bowl tamarind chutney (not thin in consistency, since the moisture from sweet potatoes will loosen it)

Chili Powder (as per taste)

1 tbsp Chaat Masala

Rocket Salt (Sendha Namak) or regular Salt to taste

2 tbsp freshly chopped Coriander

Boil the sweet potatoes till they firm yet cooked. (if cooking in pressure cooker, cook till one whistle escapes and then immediately open the pressure cooker and drain hot water and add cold water to stop the process of cooking any further)

Once they are cool enough to handle, peel them and cut them into bite size pieces.

Sprinkle them with salt and chillies (I do this quite generously!) You can also add chaat masala along with salt and chillies if you wish.

Adjust the amount of chutney by gradually pouring some amount over the sweet potatoes and if required add more.

Give them a good mix and keep them aside for 2 minutes and then serve. This way the tamarind gets well assimilate with the sweet potatoes and coats well.

Note: Feel free to add fruits of your choice along with green chilies to the sweet potatoes.

Serves – 4

3

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ROASTED SALT & PEPPER FOX NUTS / भुने मखाने

For those who have been wondering why I have not come around at your blog since a week, I have been facing endless glitches with my laptop. Can’t really blame the poor fellow for working at its whims and fancies! It has served me nearly uncomplaining for the past six and a half years. My loyal friend simply refuses to work anymore giving me the message loud and clear that it has outlived its utility for me. So adieu my friend and I hope the new one would be as great as you have been all these years! J
This post of mine is going to be short and crisp which is unlike my other posts. Fifteen odd minutes, approx, is all that my laptop is going to give me to write and upload this post. After that, it will freeze and no amount of cajoling or my punching of its keys will elicit any response or make any difference to it. On days it refuses to even do that! 
Fox nuts or Gorgon nut also known popularly as lotus seeds, makhane, phool patasha, phool, makhane, are a great way to snack guilt free. Why guilt free you ask? Well, they have zero fat! Now, don’t you love that? They are high in calcium and fibre, rich in anti oxidants, aid in digestion, strengthen the kidneys, help lower blood sugar, regulate blood pressure and there is a lot more to themfind here. I am totally sold out!
These nuts can be enjoyed in both savoury and sweet form. For the simple savoury way – you need to roast them in a little oil or ghee and sprinkle spice/s of your choice. The nut is pretty versatile and often used in curries, added to veggies and pilaf, and it is even used to thicken soup. 
 
In their sweet avatar, the makhana are served in a pudding form called kheer (also known as payasam) which is often consumed during Durga puja time by Hindus who fast for nine days and abstain from eating grains and even salt. So hailed is its status that an offering of it is made to the Goddess Durga during the festival. Punjabis use this seed to make an offering of thanks to fire (for providing them warmth during the harsh winters) during the festival of Lohri.
 
There is hardly as anything such as ‘recipe’ for this toasty savory makhana. Feel free to alter the amount of ghee/ oil and also the way you wish to pep them up…by adding chat masala or dry mint powder or cinnamon powder or black salt or red chilli flakes (if u like them hot) or paprika or garam masala or whatever fancies you! I love the crunchy, nutty, spicy punch of this makhana snack.
I used,
2 cups of fox nuts
¾ – 1 tsp ghee
Salt to taste
¼ tsp black pepper powder
Heat a heavy bottom pan or wok and add ghee. Once it has melted, add pepper powder and then the fox nuts. Roast them on a high flame for approx a minute stirring to ensure they do not burn.
Reduce the heat to minimum and roast them covered for 5-7 minutes ensuring to turn them around every minute or so. Half way through, add salt.
Once done, remove them on a plate to cool and store in air tight container.
Note: The amount of time to roast them will depend on their size.
 
Serves 2 
 
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