Easy Food Smith

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KHICHU / खिचु (Steamed Rice flour Savory Donuts) – Gluten Free & Vegan

The approx one year that we spent in Dubai went by in a blink of an eye and before we knew it was time to head back home. The first two months there were spent in settling in at a new place and getting used to a new way of life. Yet within that very short span of time, God sent into my life some amazing people. The ways of destiny are amazing. I am not one of those people who make friends easily. But it does not happen often that one comes across people with whom one clicks so well, who are full of positivity, who make us feel good about ourselves, who support us, who accept us the way we are and who make one feel how blessed one is. Sounds unreal, doesn’t it!? I find it indeed incredible that within that short span of time I was blessed with the company of some wonderful friends.

I strongly believe that we don’t meet people by accident. They are meant to cross our path for a reason. They either give us some tough lessons or beautiful memories. Our one year in Dubai was certainly a mixed bag of experiences, as life always is. But I choose to focus all my energy on my blessings and my lovely friends are a significant part of those blessings. It goes without saying that I miss the camaraderie and I cherish the time we spent together as a cohesive group of friends. I carried back home some beautiful memories.

And today’s recipe is one that I learnt from one of those friends.  I love this dish for its simplicity and how easy it is to make it. I am tempted to call them savory donuts however unlike the donuts, they are dense and they are steamed. They taste fab served with chilli oil, jiralu (a kind of spice mix) and achari methi masala (yet another spice mix). The process of making the dough is kind of making a choux pastry but with rice flour (sans eggs) and then shaping it like a donut and steaming it. Though this simple gluten free dish is served as snack but I don’t mind having it for any meal. Here is what you will need,

2 Cups Water

1 C Rice Flour

½ tsp Ajwain (carom seeds)

2 tsp Cumin Seeds

½ – ¾ tsp Salt (adjust to taste)

2 Green Chillies (finely chopped)

Pour enough water in a bowl or pot and place a steamer over it. Allow it to heat.

Meanwhile, in another pot heat 2 cups of water and add ajwain and cumin seeds along with salt & green chillies.

Let the water come to a rolling boil.

Without reducing the heat, quickly dust the rice flour all over the boiling water. (It is imperative that you scatter the flour all over the boiling water) Do NOT stir.

Allow the water to rise up on its own. It will begin to moisten the rice flour within 30 seconds or so.

Using the back of a wooden ladle carefully (so as not to splatter the hot water) and vigorously stir the mix for a minute.

Remove from the heat and decant the mixture in a bowl.

When the dough is hot enough to handle, pinch the dough in 12 balls of equal size.

Make an indent in the centre just as one makes for balushahi or a doughnut. (The idea is not to create a hole through it.)

Transfer these dough balls onto the steamer and steam them for 5 – 7 minutes

Remove the balls from the steamer and serve hot drizzled with chilli oil, jiralu (a kind of spice mix) and achari methi masala.

Incredibly simple, gluten free, healthy and ready in less than 15 minutes!

Note: In case you are unable to find jiralu spice mix, you can easily swap it with chaat masala.

Note: You can add half a teaspoon very finely chopped ginger to it.

Yields – 12 in number

Thanks for visiting and see you soon again with another exciting recipe!

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SOYA PANEER – SOY ‘COTTAGE’ CHEESE SPREAD

Soy Cottage CheeseI know, you might be thinking what in the world soy cottage cheese is?! It is not tofu in the truest sense. I took the liberty of calling it Soy Cottage Cheese since I made in a similar fashion to the way I make cottage cheese at home from milk. To me it looked like a close cousin to the traditional Indian cottage cheese hence the name! 

Tofu is made by coagulating the soy milk extracted from soy beans and then pressing the curds under weights. Depending on the time that it has been pressed, under weights, a soft or medium soft or hard tofu is attained.
For making the Soy Paneer, I deviated from the traditional way after following a few initial steps. Instead of separating the milk from the soy beans I kept the ground soy along with its milk and then boiled the two together, added lemon juices and let the milk split/curdle. And voila! Soy Paneer is what I got J
It goes without saying that this is an ideal substitute to milk for the vegans. Besides, this is a healthy and tasty option for those having lactose intolerance.


No, it doesn’t taste bad at all i.e. if that thought crossed your mind. Of course it won’t taste like the cottage cheese made from milk yet it tastes pretty good. The obvious way to find out how it tastes is of course to give it a try for yourself. My husband, who has a dislike for tofu, quite enjoys it in his sandwich filling. He thought I was kidding when I first told him that he just had a soy product for his breakfast!
So go ahead and allow your creativity devise ways to use it – for filling in parathas (stuffed flat bread) or as a topping for toasted bread or for making sandwich fillings or perhaps mixing it with potato or beet and making croquettes/ cutlets. I guess the possibilities are endless! I would eagerly wait to know how you made use of Soy Paneer in your meal J
The ingredients are few and the process is simple. I used:
For Soy Cheese:
½ cup soy beans
800 ml water+ sufficient for making soy paste
1tbsp+ ½ tsp lemon juice
Muslin cloth/ cheese cloth/ strainer

Soak the soy beans in water at night. Next day, gently remove the skin from the soy beans.
To remove the skin rub the beans gently between your fore finger and thumb (this process may take 10-15 minutes)
Rinse in water. The skin will rise to the surface; remove it and then repeat the process till you have soy bean without skin.
Pulse the soy bean in a blender or mixer-grinder adding just enough water to make a paste.
Transfer this to a heavy bottomed pot and add 800 ml water to it.
Stir well and put on the heat.
On medium flame heat the soy milk for two and a half to three minutes stirring all the while.
Add lemon juice mixed with a tbsp of water and add to the soy milk.
Stir the soy milk. You will notice the milk beginning to curdle.
Once the cheese separates from the whey, switch off the heat.
Transfer the cheese in a strainer or cheese cloth/ muslin cloth and wash it under water to remove the taste of lemon.
Drain all the water but ensure that cheese remains moist.
Note: While curdling the milk, if you feel that the juice is not enough, add a dash more of it.
For Cheese topping:

1 medium onion (finely chopped)
½ tsp cumin seeds
1½ tbsp olive oil
1 green chilli (finely chopped)
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro (dhaniya patta)
½ tsp coarsely ground black pepper (freshly ground)
Salt to taste
1 tomato (finely chopped – pulp and seeds removed)- optional

In a frying pan heat the oil and add cumin and let it crackle.
Lower the heat to medium and carefully add onions and stir fry till the onion becomes translucent.
Add the green chillies and the soy cheese. Stir well.
Add salt and black pepper and stir again.
Cook the cheese till any visible amount of water evaporates. You can check this by pressing the back of the spoon against the cheese.
Add tomatoes and fresh cilantro and cook further for half a minute.
Switch off the heat and transfer the contents to serving bowl.
The soy cheese is ready to be used.
Note: I add tomato for the bright colour it adds to the topping/spread.

Note: A generous pinch of garam masala helps in pepping up the taste of soy cheese


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