Easy Food Smith

Posts Tagged / Appetiser

KURKURI BHINDI CHAAT / कुरकुरी भिन्डी चाट (Crispy Okra Snack – Indian Street Food)

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North Indian street food and the variety it offers are amazing. There are many variants but most chaats are yogurt based that have a generous drizzle of Tamarind Chutney and Green Chutney and a sprinkle of many wonderful spices such as roasted ground cumin powder, rock salt, Chaat Masala or spice mix. It is always lip smacking good and making a choice between the many chaats can be sometimes quite a task! The chaat may be hot or cold / room temperature. Dahi Bhalla chaat for instance is served either at room temperature or cold and same is the case with the Spinach Fritters Chaat. Whereas the Aloo Tikki Chaat (Potato Patties) is served hot straight off the skillet and ditto with the Samosa Chaat. I visit Delhi twice a year to meet family and friends i.e. once in summer and once at the onset of winters. And during my summer visit it is always the dahi bhalla chaat that I choose and during the winter visits it is the piping hot aloo tikka chaat or crispy potato chaat (try the one that is sold at kiosk at Barakhamba road, right outside IDBI Bank and not towards HDFC Bank).

However, there is nothing as Bhindi Chaat that is served at any chaat corner. It is me taking a step further on from bhindi raita and turning it into chaat. Feel free to leave out chutneys and serve the crispy fried okra with spiced up yogurt for bhindi raita. And in case you do not want to have it even as raita, then simply serve the crispy fried okra as a side dish along with rice and lentils. It will taste good…but not as good as a chaat would. I prefer making the tamarind chutney from scratch since it is so much better than the store brought ones and it does not take much time to make either.

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Bhindi is not liked by many because it releases slime when it is cooked. Therefore one needs to either make a quick stir fry or ‘cure’ it with something citrus such as lemon juice, dry mango powder or tomatoes when making a curry dish. But for this dish, the okra is thinly sliced and then marinated with spices and coated with the gluten free chick pea flour before being fried, which turns out to be a sure shot way of killing all that slimy stuff and the result is crispy and delicious okra fritters.

For Okra Fritters

300 grams  approx. – Okra / Bhindi / Ladies Finger (Buy tender okra for this and avoid thick mature ones.)

1 tsp (scant)  salt

1 tsp Red Chili flakes

1/4 tsp Turmeric

1 tsp roasted Cumin Powder

1½ tsp Coriander Powder

¼ C Besan (chick pea flour) + Rice Flour (take the ¼ measuring cup and fill half the cup with chickpea flour and the rest with rice flour)

Oil to fry

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To serve:

1 Cups Yogurt (whipped lightly)

Roasted Cumin Powder for sprinkle, optional

Red Chili Powder to sprinkle, optional

Chaat Masala to sprinkle, optional

Tamarind Chutney to drizzle

Green Chutney to drizzle

Wash and drain the okra. Pat dry to remove any excess moisture. Chop off the top and bottom of the okra and chop the okra into thin slices vertically. (do not slice too thin else the okra slices will burn easily while frying)

In a small bowl, mix together all the spices – salt, roasted cumin powder, coriander powder, chili flakes, mango powder and turmeric.

Sprinkle the spices all over okra and massage well with your hands so as to ensure that all the slices are well coated with the spice mix. Set aside for 5 – 7 minutes.

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Keep the oil to heat in frying pan or wok. Meanwhile prep the okra.

Arrange / layer the okra on a plate. Mix together the flours and using a sieve, sprinkle/ dust the flour mix over the okra (basically dredge the okra). Gently using your finger tips mix it into the okra so that all the okra slices are well coated.

Fry the okra pieces (in batches) till they turn golden brown in color (ensure that you keep stirring them often to prevent the okra from burning). It took me approximately 5 minutes time. (the time will depend on how thick or thin you have sliced the okra)

Remove the okra from the oil on to an absorbent paper or kitchen towel. Allow it to cool.

Arrange okra on individual serving plates. Drizzle yogurt over the okra and then some tamarind chutney and green chutney. Sprinkle spices if required. Serve immediately else the okra will go soft, sitting in yogurt.

Serves: 2 – 3

Note: Try to slice the okra in even size. This will help the okra to cook evenly and in the same time.

Note: In case you intend to serve the crispy okra as an appetizer or snack (i.e. without yogurt or as a chaat), sprinkle it with some Chaat Masala.

Note: Remove as much of seeds as you can from the okra while slicing them.

Note: Adjust the amount of yogurt as per taste.

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Try these Indian street foods too:

Sundal (Sautéed Bengal Grams) – gluten free

Thonga Jhaal Muri (Spiced up Savoury Puffed Rice) – gluten free

Achaari Paneer Tikka Roll (Pickled Cottage Cheese Roll) – gluten free

Thanks for visiting and see you soon again

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Post linked to Nancy’s monthly YBR event

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GOBHI KE PAKODE / गोभी के पकोड़े (Beer Battered Cauliflower Fritters)

- 23 Comments -

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The only time of the year that one gets to enjoy anything fried here is either monsoon or the winter season. Rest of the time the humidity and heat keeps our appetites sluggish, with fried foods being the last think on our minds. Therefore without letting go off this opportunity, we make the most (read indulge) of this short winter spell by indulging in all things fried or luxurious and rich; you will see more of such post through the January, I promise. The weather here inspired me to indulge in some crispy savoury indulgence and what better than fritters. I had never tried using beer for making the batter for fritters and this time around I had a bottle of beer sitting pretty in the fridge. Since hubby and I don’t drink (but we keep stuff for friends), the only way I knew it could be put to use was using it for fritters batter. I thought to give a try, just to see how the texture of these fritters would differ from the regular batter. And I am pleasantly surprised how the beer batter makes these fritters light and crunchy. You can use this batter for fish, prawns, squid or any other vegetable of your choice. It works well even with paneer.

200 grams Cauliflower

½ C Chick Pea Flour/ Gram flour (Besan)

½ C Rice Flour + extra for rolling

¾ tsp Baking Powder

1 tsp + ½ tsp Salt

½ tsp Red Chili flakes

½ tsp Turmeric

1 tsp Amchur (dry mango powder)

2 Fresh Green Chili (ground to paste)

¾ tsp Ginger paste

1 tsp Garlic paste

2 tbsp finely chopped Mint leaves

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Chilled Beer (you can swap chilled beer with sparkling water i.e. popularly known as drinking soda here)

Oil for deep frying

Grind to paste, ginger, garlic, green chilies and cilantro. Keep aside.

Cut the cauliflower in florets (not too big in size). Slice the large florets in two or four. Keep aside.

Boil sufficient water, add 1 teaspoon of salt and then plunge the sliced cauliflower in it. Let it cook in water for half a minute. This is to get rid of any tiny worms that may be hidden in the crevices and nooks of the cauliflower. (You can apply this method of treating cauliflower each time you intend to make a dish with cauliflower). Switch off the heat and discard the water. Transfer the florets in icy cold water and once they are cool, discard the water and place the florets on a kitchen towel or an absorbent sheet. Gently pat them dry. Take some rice flour in a bowl and very gently roll the florets in it. Dust off any extra flour and keep the florets aside.

Whisk together chick pea flour, rice flour, baking powder, salt, red chili flakes, amchur. Add the ginger & garlic paste along with chopped mint and start adding gradually the beer, whisking all the while till you have pancake like consistency (not too runny or thick; should be able to coat the florets)

Start dipping the florets in this glorious batter and drain any extra batter before you dunk the florets in hot oil (not smoky). Do not over crowd the fryer with the florets else they will lower the oil temperature and take more time to fry leading to soggy greasy fritters. Reduce the temperature to medium or medium so the florets are cooked well even on the inside.

Once the fritters are golden brown, transfer them on an absorbent sheet. Serve hot with lemom wedges, Chaat Masala & Tomato Sauce/ ketchup and Green Chutney.

Note: If you do not have dry mango powder (amchur), sprinkle the fritters with some Chaat Masala before serving.

Serves – Donno…just gorge on them!!!

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You may also like these recipes

Paalak Patta Chaat (Spinach Fritters s/w Spiced Yogurt, Tamarind Sauce & Green Chutney)

Sweet Banana Fritters

Dahi ke Kebab (Yogurt Patties)

Mini Cocktail Chicken Patties

Kache Kele ke Kebab (Savory Raw Banana Kebabs)

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KHATTI MEETHI DAL / खट्टी-मीठी दाल (Sweet & Sour Lentil Soup)

- 39 Comments -

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The most wonderful feeling after a holiday, for me, is the feeling of being back home. The comfort of one’s own house and one’s routine, even though mundane, is unsurpassable. This year I didn’t take a break from the blog which I usually do around Diwali. Instead, this year, I prepared the posts in advance and kept uploading them from where ever I travelled while meeting friends and family. It so happened that a few weeks before Diwali a friend casually remarked that I take too many breaks from blogging and sometimes I simply disappear from my blog for weeks. I mulled over his words and realised that he was quite right. I have been doing the disappearing act quite often and although most of the times, the ‘breaks’ have been unplanned and unintentional but they do affect my blog and me in the process. The circumstances force me into phases of inaction and then it takes me a few more days to switch on my ‘get into action mode’ button. My target is always to upload five recipes a month and an extra one is a huge bonus; although that rarely happens. And talking about five posts a month, I yet again managed to skip a post scheduled for the 3rd of this month. Some things never changedo they!?

While the weather in north had begun to change with a nip in the air in mornings, here the weather doesn’t go through much change. Nonetheless a bowl of this dal or lentil soup is something that I can have irrespective of the weather being hot, warm or cold. Lentil soups are easy, wholesome, and fast to make; even more so if you pressure cook the lentils. There is something about the sweet and sour flavours of this particular soup which is so compelling that the palate never seems to get gratified. You keep on spooning more and more mouthfuls of it, hoping that this soupy bliss never ends. Perhaps it has got something to do with the pungent earthy flavors of its tempering. Why not try it for yourself and figure it out! You can enjoy it as a soup or the typical Indian way, which is, with a bowl of rice and a side dish. For a change, try pairing it with Papad instead of a loaf of good ol’ rustic bread. You can use what ever tempering you wish to add to this soup. For those who do not like the pungent flavors of garlic can opt for finely chopped shallots and minced ginger.

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½ C Toor Dal/ Arhar Dal (Split Pigeon Peas)

2C Water

¼ tsp Turmeric powder

½ tsp Red Chili powder (adjust heat +/-)

Salt to taste (I used ½ tsp)

1st Tempering:

2 tsp Oil

½ tsp Mustard Seeds

½ tsp Cumin Seeds

¼ tsp Asafoetida Powder (mine isn’t too strong)

7-8 Curry Leaves

½ tsp Coriander Powder

1 tsp, levelled, Tamarind Paste (adjust to taste +/-)

1 tbsp Palm Sugar (Gur Shakkar) or Jaggery (adjust to taste +/-)

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2nd Tempering:

1½ tsp Ghee

1 tsp chopped Garlic

¼ tsp Degi Mirch, optional (to add color to the tempering)

Pick & wash the dal and transfer to a pressure cooker. Put the pressure cooker on stove top, switch on the heat and add water to the dal along with salt, turmeric powder and red chili powder. Allow the dal to come to a boil. Reduce the heat to minimum and fit the lid over the pressure cooker. Cook on low flame for 5 – 7 minutes. Switch off the heat and let the dal sit in the cooker (do not try open the lid) till the pressure has worn off. Open the pressure cooker and mash the dal with the potato masher or back of a big spoon. Keep aside.

For the first tempering: The whole process of tempering will take just a few seconds so keep all the measured ingredients ready with you. Heat oil a small pan and once it begins to get hot, reduce the heat and add asafoetida powder. Bring the heat to medium and add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Once they crackle, add the curry leaves (be careful when you add curry leaves as they will splutter oil). Add the coriander powder and cook it only for a second or two since the oil is hot and can burn the coriander powder. Add this to the lentils and stir well.

Add the tamarind (I dilute it with water) and the palm sugar. I strongly advise you add the palm sugar and tamarind little by little so as to adjust the sweetness and sourness according to your taste. The quantity mentioned here is how we like it.

For second tempering: Take ghee in a small pan and heat it. Add the chopped garlic and fry on a low heat till it becomes aromatic. I prefer to turn the garlic golden brown. Switch off the heat and add the degi mirch. Add this to the dal and stir again. (this tempering is visible in the pics) I usually add half of it to the dal and the rest I divide equally to garnish the dal before serving.

Sprinkle with fresh coriander and serve hot.

Yield: serves 3

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You may also like to check out these recipes:

 Lauki wali Chana Dal (Split Bengal Gram w/ Bottle Gourd)

Fox Nut Seeds Soup w/ Brown Butter Lentil Tempering

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Thanks for visiting and see you soon again

Yours truly got lucky and won the OCTOBER’S YBR at Nancy’s blog.

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