Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Sabudana Vada/ Tapioca Fritters

If you've been following my posts lately, they have a common thread tying them together. 

Monsoons. The Rains, the continuous down pour, the gray skies, the gloomy weather, all of it called only for one thing- comfort food. 

When it used to rain outside, as a child I would either to go out n play in the puddles or I used to curl up in a corner near the window and read a book. Ahhh.... along with that reading time, there used to be this delightful plate of some kind of fried fritters that my mum would so lovingly make. That is how I started associating rains with that warm crispiness. The crunchy, nutty textures, spicy aromas made me feel brighter and well, lets just admit it, who doesn't like something fried! No wonder they call it comfort food. On top of everything a hot Cuppa would just make my day absolutely ideal. 

So today, when the clouds were thick and dark and no sunlight was peeking in, I was in dire need of something that would make my day a little more cheerful. 

Side note: I really should stop relying on food for comfort. 

Sabudana Vada or tapioca fritters was my choice of snack for the evening. Spiced with simple Indian spices, these fritters are a very popular street-food, especially in Gujarat and Maharashtra. Served with a spicy green chutney or even some ketchup makes for a very delicious snack. This recipe can be easily halved or doubled. I served this with The Blushing Mojito today. Usually we have a hot cup of cardamom tea with the vadas




Makes: 16-18 Vadas

Time taken: 30 min + soaking time

Complexity: **

You'll need

1 1/2 cups tapioca or sabudana
3/4 cup water
1 1/2 cup boiled and mashed potatoes
2 green chilies, sliced thinly (with seeds- optional) 
few stems coriander leaves
1/2 cup roasted, coarsely ground peanuts
juice of 1 lemon
salt to taste
1 tsp red chili powder
1 1/2" pc of ginger grated
5-6 garlic cloves grated
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp garam masala 
Pinch of love
oil for frying


Method

Sabudana needs to be soaked in water for about 2 hours for it to soften up. Take a large bowl and add the sabudana to it



Add in the water. Let it soak for about 2 hours. Cover it and set it aside



After 2 hours, the little tapioca will have bloomed and swollen up in size. They would be soft to touch and quite squishy, so very gently, just run a spoon along them to separate any chunks that have formed just like you fluff up the rice. 


Grate the ginger and garlic over the tapioca and thinly slice the green chilies over it too. I like the hum of heat running through these, thats what makes these so deeelish! 



Add in the salt and chili powder



As usual, freshly roast the cumin and coarsely grind it with a mortar and pestle for an intense impact



Add that and the coriander powder to the mix




Next take some peanuts and dry roast them till they are golden. We want to coarsely grind these as well



Here they are, all ground up. 



Add that too in the bowl



Top it off with some garam masala



Squeeze the lemon juice over it, here's me using the squeeze-y thingie



Now is the time to add in those mashed potatoes. I just roughly crumbled the boiled potatoes with my clean bare hands



Add in that fresh green coriander and start to combine everything with a wooden spoon or better still your hands. 



Once combined, it should look like this.... a crumbly dough like mix that comes together when pressed and takes shape of a ball



Take a soup spoon and start making small portions of that mix. Flatten those balls in a patty shape like so. The tapioca tends to puff up and grow in size when fried, so try and keep these thinner than usual and smaller too




Meanwhile, have your oil in the wok heating on medium heat for atleast 4-5 minutes till the oils starts to shimmer. Add in the patty one by one very carefully. They will first sink down completely to the bottom. The oil will be bubbling furiously, stay extra safe



Once they start to cook, they will float up like this




Let them fry till they are a golden brown colour. Remove from oil and drain on kitchen napkins



To serve, you have options of ketchup and mint chutney. 



How delightful they are!! 



Sunny, really! That crunch, that crispy texture, that nuttiness from the peanuts and that spicy green chili inside... how I love it!


The little pearl like beads so beautifully golden and tempting



I had 4 of these and I was sooo happy, not proud of it, but sooooooo happy!! 



Curled up reading my Bridges of Madison County for the 24037th time and my Chai and these vadas..... life is beautiful! Indulge! 








Monday, July 27, 2015

The Blushing Mojito

I will admit, I made this drink on a whim. It was a hot clammy day and I was in dire need of something cold and refreshing. Looking through my fridge, I found I had some fruit and some sprite. And my mind suddenly did that quick calculation of the combinations I could make- the flavours that could work and eliminating those that wouldn't. 

I'm such a food ninja! (not really, but I'd like to think so) 

Mojitos have always been a top favourite of mine. Especially the fruity ones. I like how rejuvinating they are with all that mint and the lime or lemons. Today I had some pomegranate on hand and some kiwis. And to think that I could make something that would turn out to be pinkish, I didn't need any incentive beyond that. 

I call this a Ruby Red and Black Diamond Mojito because of the ruby like seeds of the pomegranate and the smattering of the black Kiwi seeds.

And here's how I made these adorable Pin-hued Mojitos that you can get away drinking in the day time cause they are virgin! I reckon they would make a great water infusion as well if you don't have sprite or soda on hand. Aaaaand since I think of everything, to make this adult friendly, you can very well add PAMA or pomegranate liqueur to this for a bright Pinkier girl-y drink version. On to the nonrecipe - recipe 





Serves: 4

Time taken: 5 minutes

Complexity: *

You'll need

1 pomegranate, deseeded
bunch of mint leaves
1 Kiwi, quartered and sliced
Ice
1 tbsp lemon juice per glass
Sprite
pinch of love


Method

In a mortar and pestle or with a muddler, combine the pomegranate seeds, the mint leaves, the kiwi slices and lemon juice. 



To deseed the pomegranate, just slice it in half and gently bash the top of the pomegranate to release the seeds. 

Gently muddle the ingredients together. If you want to give this a twist, you can also add a green chili to slowly infuse the heat in the drink. I didn't do it this time. 



Transfer the mix to the glass and add some ice to it





Pour sprite over it to add that sparkling sweetness and you're done! You can also add champagne, some sparkling water, some soda or even plain water to suit whatever mood you're in.  




Just give it a couple of minutes to let the flavours all marry and get to know each other better...See how its turning a pinkish hue with all those ruby red seeds 




The refreshing pomegranate mojito ready to drink



Sip your way to freshness.... see what I meant about the bejeweled look. Do you see those beautiful black diamonds peeking out at you. 



This just made my day!! The flavours -so invigorating. I am thinking some lemon zest would have been wonderful as well. Make it your own.... 



This is from another time I made it, I love pairing it with foods that tend to be heavier, so something fried/ oily/ cheesy, goes brilliantly with this. The mint and pomegranate, both are known for their digestive properties. This time I paired it with Sabudana Vada or tapioca fritters which is a crispy crunchy fried Indian street-food. 



The colour my cheeks turn when people praise the food I make.... Indulge!! 








Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Lavash Chicken Salad Bowl


This is in continuation of my previous recipe - Doner Kebab @ Home. Over the weekend I wanted to experiment with something that I hadn't done previously and was super excited to see how close to perfection I was! 

I literally did a jig when I pulled it off. Well almost, I had a plating issue, but who cares! It still looks incredible and beautiful!! 

So I headed to the kitchen with the notion of making an edible salad bowl for the Turkish Kebabs I was making. With that idea I thought the most appropriate base for the bowl would be a Turkish unleavened flat bread- Yufka/ Lavash. Lavash is a large and very thin flatbread thats almost see through. When baked the bread turns crisp and is also known as Cracker bread. 

 The slightly tricky part is kneading the dough appropriately so it is really stretchy and elastic. The elasticity is what allows the bread to stretch to the extent that it becomes almost translucent while being rolled out. Now at any other time, I would have very well just rolled out the lavash, and made chicken and salad wraps like you probably could. Ambition knocked that idea out of my head and I made the salad bowl. 

Stunning, isn't it?! 



Excited and determined, I headed to my kitchen. Come, let me share the recipe with you


Serves: 3-4 lavash (about 15"-18" wide)

Time taken: 10 mins baking time + 1 1/2 hr kneading n dough resting time

Complexity: ****

You'll need

1 cup flour
3/4 cup wheat flour
3 tbsp olive oil
3/4 cup water (give or take a little)
extra flour for dusting
1 tsp salt
pinch of love and a whole lot of patience

Method

To begin, I needed to knead the dough. To start take the 2 flours and salt in a bowl



Add in the olive oil



Pour in half cup of water and start kneading slowly with your fingers. We are just going to bring the dough together at this point. Keep adding water as required, tbsp by tbsp so you don't go overboard. The dough should not be very springy or hard. 



This was after 3-4 minutes of kneading. 



Brush some oil over it and cover to let it rest for 30 mins



After 30 mins, remove the plastic wrap 



Pinch the side of the dough like this, stretch it out 



And fold it over the rest of the dough



Repeat this till you have incorporated dough from all sides. 



Turn over, cover and let it rest for another 30 minutes. 

After 30 minutes, uncover the dough, repeat the procedure once again and let it rest for 30 minutes. 



After the last resting time, preheat your oven at 100C or 200F 

You'll notice that the dough has become very smooth and stretchy. Take a golf ball size chunk of dough and shape it into a ball. With your rolling pin start rolling it out on a clean surface. 




Once its rolled out to about 5", dust some flour over it and under it so it doesn't stick. 



Keep rolling till the bread is rolled out quite thin, almost 1mm thick. It should be translucent by now. 



Take a large/ small -whatever sized bowl you want your final bowl to be, glass bowl thats oven proof. Very carefully, pick up that rolled out lavash and lay it on the bowl. If it tears, just pinch the dough together. 





Take a sharp knife and cut off the excess dough thats hanging on the side of the bowl. Place it in the oven to bake and cook. You can now raise the temp to 150C or 300F. It should take 5-7 minutes depending on the oven size for the lavash to cook. 



Cooked and ready!Allow this to cool for 10 minutes before you try taking it off the bowl. Once cooled, it should come off quite easily. I ofcourse tried once and was too eager, tried removing it before it cooled down and cracked the Cracker bread! Wasn't too happy about that. With some very wise advice from my mum, I kept the patience to let it cool down the second time and 



Voila!! Slipped off like magic! 



Sheer beauty! 



Looks like a dried sunflower.. or maybe its just me



The lavash, so crispy



Baked Golden perfection 



You can see how delicate this is. This is where I sort of had an issue. I wanted to plate the Doner kebabs straight over the salad filled bowl. But since this was literally feather like, I couldn't do that. Had to shave off the Doner Kebabs into bite sized pieces but hey, it all worked out! 



For the salad I used beetroot, red cabbage, pomegranate, cucumber, carrot, lettuce and yellow bell pepper. 



The dressing was a traditional yogurt based concoction called Cacik or as the Greeks call it Tzatziki




I stared at this for ages and the started cracking the bread and before i knew it, it was gone! It was VERY delicious and so rewarding! 



A view from the top



Indulge!