Easy Food Smith

Posts Tagged / Healthy Indian 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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IDLI w/ KATHIRIKAI GOTHSU / इडली और बैंगन की चट्नी (Steamed Lentil & Rice Cakes with Aubergine Chutney)

STEAMED RICE & LENTIL CAKES WITH SPICY, HOT, SWEET & SOUR AUBERGINE CHUTNEY

During the time when I was holding a corporate job, a colleague of mine brought a chutney that looked like the most unappetising thing I had ever laid my eyes on 😛 “I got this for you. Try this and tell me what you think about it” was all he said. His wife was a fabulous cook and despite the ‘thing’ looking so unappetising, I did not cast a doubt on her cooking skills. Yet, I gingerly picked a spoon and took a little of it and very apprehensively put the contents of the spoon in my mouth. I was knocked off by the taste of what ever I had just tasted. The appearance and the taste were diametrically opposite to each other. I greedily took a couple of spoons and started going gaga over it. Suddenly, he said to me “do you know what it is made of?” I couldn’t care less what it was made of since I loved it and given an opportunity, I would have polished and licked off the entire bowl!! “This is made from brinjal,” he said while rolling with glee and laughter. Eggplant (Brinjal) or what we call baingan, never figured anywhere on my list of palatable vegetables and my colleague knew this all too well. I was shocked by the revelation and could not utter a word for a few seconds. Brinjal could taste this good??!?!?

It was then that I came to realise, that no vegetable or any ingredient for that matter is good or bad in its taste. It all depends on how well it has been treated/ cooked and that brinjal chutney was the evidence to that belief. I thanked him for helping me change my stance about eggplant and since then there has been no looking back. My wonderful colleague even shared the recipe with me that his wife graciously wrote for me. So that is the story behind that hideous looking bowl of chutney in which you see the idlis dunked in happily! This recipe lives up to the hindi idiom of “soorat pe nahi seerat pe jao” (roughly translated to – do not go by appearance instead consider the character)

My colleague was a Tamilian and for long I didn’t know what the native name for this dish was since he simply told me to consider it brinjal khichdi or brinjal chutney and it was meant to be consumed with idlis and dosa. A little search on google told me that it is apparently called vankaya pachadi. However recently I saw someone on Instagram mentioned it as gothsu. Whatever the name, all I can tell you is, it’s really yum.

For this recipe you will need the following ingredients, however, feel free to adjust the amount of ingredients to suit your taste.

For Chutney

175 gram small Baingan (Brinjal/ Eggplant)

½ tsp grated Ginger

3 Green Chilies (mine were small sized & super hot)

1 Tomato (60 grams approx)

1½ C Water

For tempering:

1½ tbsp Oil

½ tsp Mustard Seeds

¼ tsp Cumin Seeds

½ C finely chopped Onions

1 spring Curry Leaves

1 tsp thick Tamarind Pulp (I used readymade)

¼ C Water

Salt to taste

2 tsp Jaggery powder (adjust to taste)

In a sauce pan, add all the ingredients under the chutney category and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cover the saucepan and let the contents boil for 15 minutes.

Switch off the heat and allow the contents to cool down a little and then blend them in a blender. Set aside.

Add the tamarind pulp to one fourth cup of water and mix it well. Sieve it and set aside.

In a frying pan or a sauce pan, heat oil and add mustard and cumin seeds. Add onions and fry till they turn transluscent. .Add curry leaves and fry till the onions turn begin to turn golden.

Add the blended brinjals to the tempering. Stir for half a minute.

Now add tamarind water and salt. Stir well and allow the contents to cook on a gentle heat to thicken the chutney a little bit (adjust to desired consistency).

Switch off the heat and stir in the jaggery powder. Taste the chutney and adjust seasonings.

 

FOR IDLIS

(RICE & LENTIL FERMENTED CAKES)

1 C Raw Rice (uncooked rice)

¾ C Urad Dal, skinless (Ivory Lentils)

Salt to taste

Pick and wash the rice & dal separately and soak them separately as well for 5 hours

Grind the dal using very little water and set aside.

Grind the rice using little water.

Mix the two together and add salt. Using very little water make a thick batter.

Cover the container. Set it aside at a warm place to ferment for for 6 – 8 hours (depending on the weather conditions) or preferably over night.

Grease the idli moulds with a little oil and pour the batter into the moulds. Add water to your idli steamer (read the user manual) and steam the idlis for 12 – 15 minutes or till a skewer inserted in the idli comes out clean. Remove from the moulds and serve with chutney of your choice.

Note: In case you do not have idli moulds, you can steam the batter in small cake tin or mould and the slice and serve the ‘idlis’.

Note: I had added turmeric to the idli batter and before pouring the batter into the mould, I had added a tempering of mustard seeds, chana dal and a few finely chopped curry leaves.

Yield: Makes 24 Idlis

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CHATPATI CHANA CHAAT / चटपटी चना चाट (Chickpea salad in Tamarind Dressing) Gluten Free, Vegan

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Summer vacations used to be long and most of them were usually spent at naani’s (maternal grandmother) house but as were stepped in to middle school, these vacations became shorter in span and later lesser in number. Reaching higher grades, the vacations were spent at home and most summer evenings were spent sitting in the courtyard of our house with birds chirping and light cool breeze providing some much needed respite from the heat. The neem tree in the adjoining house would host the parrots in the mornings and the koel in the evenings…oh those days and the joys of living in a small town. During those simple days, people usually preferred eating desi food. Such healthy foods they used to be!

The snacks included a handful of roasted chickpeas or corn on cob roasted over a small pit fire. Snacks such as Paani Puri, Dahi Bhalle or Shakarkandi ki Chaat were very popular and we used to eat seasonal and local. A simple radish salad, during witners, with a sprinkle of Chaat Masala was much loved and so was thinly sliced cabbage, carrots and tomato salad with a dash of lemon and some salt and pepper sprinkled over it. Mom used to give a bowl of these salads to us before meals. Looking back, I feel life was much more sorted then, than it is now. Our choices were few but we were so happy enjoying those simple pleasures of life. And why just happy, we were also much more healthy and strong than our kids at that age. The chickpea salad with potatoes was one such simple pleasure that we used to enjoy during summer evenings. The dressing was nothing fancy. The chaat/ salad was drizzled with some sweet and sour tamarind chutney and some chaat masala; a beautiful reminiscence of those simpler times 🙂

1 C Chickpeas (safed chana)

1 – 2 Green Chilies (adjust to taste)

¼ C finely chopped Onion

½ C finely diced Cucumber

Chaat Masala as required

Salt as required

Tamarind Chutney 

Wash and soak the chickpeas (preferably) overnight in plenty of water. Pressure-cook it in two cups of water till it is done. (I cooked till two whistles escaped from the pressure cooker)

Remove the chick peas from water. And keep aside.

Assemble the ingredients to prepare the chaat.

Add onions, cucumber and green chilies to the chickpeas. Mix everything together and drizzle the tamarind chutney over them. Mix again. Taste and add salt and chaat masala as required. Serve in individual bowls or glasses.

Drizzle some more chutney over the individual serving and serve immediately.

Enjoy!

Note: I added a little bit of coriander & mint chutney to the tamarind chutney.

Note: Feel free to add potatoes, tomatoes or any veggie of your choice to this salad.

Serves – 4

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

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