Corn Pakodas


Corn pakodas ( Corn fritters)

Now that winter has arrived and looks like it is here to stay, it’s time to curl up on the couch and start enjoying chai-pakoda inside! There is something about pakodas that no matter what vegetable you put in them, they turn out delicious. Since my kids think corn is the best vegetable ever, I end up making these a lot. This is my mom’s version and is simple, easy to make and will leave you licking your fingers!

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Ingredients: Serves 4

3 cups of corn

Cilantro- 1 small bunch

2-3 string sof curry leaves

2-3 green chillies- finely chopped

2” fresh ginger

2 tbsp corn flour

Salt to taste

Oil for deep frying

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Method:

If you are using frozen corn, thaw it for an hour or so and drain out the water. Then add salt and cover and cook in the microwave for 2-3 minutes till the corn becomes soft. Again drain out any excess water. In a blender, give the cooked corn a gentle whirr so each one roughly splits into 4 parts. You can do the same in a food processor, but go easy on the blades. The point is you want the dough to be gritty in nature. Add 2-3 tbsp corn flour to make into into a dripping consistency. Then add in the chopped green chillies, chopped curry leaves, cilantroe and a generous dash of fresh grated ginger and salt to taste.

In a frying pan, heat oil and drop in small lobules of the dough. Fry till golden brown.

Serve hot. These golden beauties are best enjoyed with Maggie tom-chi sauce of course!

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Corn- Pomegranate Kosambari


Kosambari is a super healthy South Indian side dish that usually uses a raw vegetable (such as cucumber/carrot) and a lentil (moong or chana daal) as it’s main ingredients. It is that crunchy and perfect balance of salt, sour and spice often coming from lemon juice and slit green chillies. Try this unconventional version without the lentil, but with plenty of colored vegetables ( loaded with the much hyped about anti-oxidants), corn for the crunch, pepper for the spice, raw mango for the sour and yes, to a add a twist, pomegranate kernels for sweet! The secret to the whole recipe is chopping all the veggies as tiny and uniform as you can. Considering how healthy and tasty it is, you won’t guilt yourself going for the seconds on this one.

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Ingredients:

Red, yellow and orange peppers – Finely evenly chopped to corn kernel size

Corn- 1 cup ( Thaw the frozen corn for an hour)

Pomegranate kernels – 1 cup

Raw mango – ½ cup finely chopped

Cilantro, shredded coconut , mustard seeds and oil for garnishing ( optional)

Salt to taste

Fresh ground pepper powder ½ tbsp.

Toss in all the diced veggies, pomegranate seeds, corn and cilantro in a mixing bowl. Splutter ½ tbsp of mustard seeds in ½ tbsp. of oil, Add salt, pepper powder and additional fresh lemon juice if needed. Enjoy your full week’s worth of antioxidants!!

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Green apple pickle


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Green apple pickle

Ever crave for instant mango pickle, but realize it is not the season for raw mangoes?? Here’s one recipe that you can use as a substitute for raw mango pickle and can be made instantaneously since green apples are ubiquitous throughout the year. They taste almost as good as raw mango. This comes very close in taste to “dhedeer uppinkai” that we all love at South Indian weddings.

Ingredients:

Green apple- cut into 1” thin pieces

1 tbsp each of mustard powder, methi (fenugreek)powder, turmeric powder, red chilli powder

Fresh squeezed lemon juice from 1-2 medium sized lemons

Oil, 1 tsp mustard seeds and pinch of hing ( asafoetida) for tempering

Salt to taste.

Cut the green apple into 1”pieces. Add all the above ingredients except salt and let it stand overnight in the refrigerator. Few hours before you are ready to serve, temper with mustard seeds in oil and add salt and lemon juice per taste. If you need extra spice, fine chop some green chillies and add them into the oil when you temper the mustard seeds. You can stock up the excess, refrigerate it and use it for upto 1 week.

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2-bite marshmallow pops!


If you are ever hosting a baby/bridal shower and need to make a quick party favor, try this one. Even if you are not, and want to engage your kids in a fun family culinary session this summer, this idea still works great. Takes 20 minutes to make a batch of 20 and uses simple ingredients that live in the pantries of most households with kids. Add your own wrapping touches and you ‘ll have one of those fancy hand-made-personalized gift type deals, for a fraction of cost! Tried this for a shower recently and these sweet treats a hit with kids and adults alike.

You will need:

Marshmallows ( Giant ones are better)

Chocolate chips ( meltable semi sweet or dark chocolate chips, I love the Ghirardelli dark ones!)

Sticks ( The ones from the craft isle or small straws will also work)

Rainbow sprinkles ( The best about this recipe per my 7 yr old!)

 

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Gently pierce a giant marshmallow into the end of a stick/straw. While you are doing that, get a double boiler (with steam) started to melt the chocolate chips in. As the chocolate melts, dip the marshmallow half way through into the molten goodness, spinning it gently so all sides are evenly coated. Roll the chocolate covered mallow in the rainbow sprinkles. You could use a block of thermocol to make the sticks stand upright, if you don’t have one on hand, just lay them on wax paper and let  it dry for 10-15 min. Have fun dipping and drying! Wrap them in your own fancy way, add favor tags etc, etc.. or enjoy as is!!

Grilled bellas with Sriracha…aah!!


Grilled bellas with Sriracha…aah!!!

If you tired of seeing fried appetizers at every party ( like me☺)here’s a healthy one to kick start your next party.

Good part about this recipe is, you can use your imagination to create any kind of filling that goes into the mushrooms.

Even better part is this recipe takes the best hot sauce in the world, Sriracha! Just load it up with cheese and the savoury Sriracha sauce and all is golden!.

Ingredients: ( Serves 6-8)

Portobello mushrooms about 4

Topping#1: Tofu (extra firm) 1 block, Spinach 1 cup ,Seasoning ( Italian herb or any generic seasoning)

Topping #2: 1 cup Roasted red peppers, 1 cup chopped onions, toasted pine nuts and handful cilantro

Sriracha hot sauce ( any hot sauce will do, but no sauce tickles your taste buds like this one!!)

Mozzarella cheese 1 cup

Oilve oil spray

Method:

Wash the mushrooms, trim the stem and scoop out the undersurface clean with a spoon. In a pan, sautee the tofu, spinach with the seasoning and salt added. Then, gently fill in the tofu and spinach into the mushroom till the cleaned out brown bed is covered.

Instead you can also lightly sautee finely chopped red bell peppers and onions and load them into the mushroom. You can sprinkle some toasted pine nuts and cilantro too.

If you are feeling lazy (like I was the first time I made them) you can just spray olive oil and then add dollops of sauce directly from the bottle onto the loaded mushroom. If you are in a more energetic mood ( like I was when made them for the second time), using a basting brush to coat a mix of olive oil and hot sauce onto neatly halved mushrooms. Finally top the mushrooms with cheese, generously.

If you are in a hurry, you can directly bake them in the oven at 350 deg for about 30 min. If you happen to have sometime on hand, the better way is to wrap them real tight in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 4 hrs prior to baking. The latter method is better as the toppings have more time to soak in the oil and sauce, adding more flavor. Add a dash of extra Sriracha sauce on the side while serving.

Tip: If your mushrooms leave out a lot of water like mine did, gently soak up the excess water using the ever faithful super absorbent Bounty tissue!

 

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Kesar kulfi


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Kesar kulfi

 

A sweltering hot day in summer always calls for a cool sweet treat to beat the heat! This is one easy recipe that can be put together in 10 minutes, provided you have the right ingredients on hand. Having seen this being made a few times now ( by my husband who owns the recipe), I can guarantee this will be a party favorite.

 

Ingredients: ( Makes about 15 small cups of kulfi)

 

Condensed milk – 1 can 14 oz

Evaporated milk – 1 can 28 oz ( Whole milk is obviously better, but you can use 2%, just to be a lil guilt free!)

Almonds- ½ cup, about 4 oz ( You can use slivered or sliced ones)

Unsalted pistachios – ½ cup, 4 oz ( optional)

Saffron threads 1 tbsp

Cardamom – 4-5 shelled

Whole wheat bread – 2 slices ( Yes, bread is the secret ingredient in Kulfi to bind everything else and give it the texture)

Whipped cream – 2-3 tbsp ( Cool whip works best)

Plastic Cups – 4 oz

Ice cream sticks

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Blend all the above gently in a blender till the nuts are crushed well. Pour into small 4 oz cups. Refrigerate for about 2.5 hrs in the freezer. Insert ice cream sticks when it is about semisoft in consistency and let if freeze for a couple more hours. After cooling for about additional 3 hours, these irresistible goodies will have lick me written all over them!

 

 

 

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Hot and sour noodle soup with mushroom and tofu


Hot and sour soup

Hot and sour soup

It ‘s soup weather!

Be it that chill in the air or that annoying cough and cold that’s bothering you, this is one hearty soup that will comfort your senses. Inherently low in calories, it can be the perfect 11 am snack! Plus you can toss in any ingredients of your choice from chicken, noodles to mushroom and veggies. Here is what I made.

Ingredients: Serves 4

Vegetable stock – 32 oz ( 1 medium carton)

Soy sauce – 1 tbsp

Tamarind pulp – 1 tbsp

Hot sauce ( Sriracha) 1 tbsp

Brown sugar – A pinch

Salt to taste

Tofu and shiitake mushrooms – cut into small cubes and sautéed in olive oil

Egg noodles –1 small cup cooked

Cilantroe – Finely chopped 2 tbsp

Fresh ginger shredded– 1 tbsp

In a large pan, bring the vegetable stock to a simmer. Do not let it boil. Add the soy sauce, chili sauce and tamarind paste, sugar and salt to taste.  In a separate pan, sautee the tofu and mushrooms with salt and olive oil. Add this and the cooked noodles to individual bowls just before serving or the mushroom/tofu will become too soggy. Garnish with cilantroe and fresh shredded ginger.