appetizers Archives - Rachna cooks

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Mirchi Bhajiya Recipe

Mirchi Bhajiya Recipe

mirchi bhajiya recipe

Pakoras (fritters) or deep fried stuff of any kind is not really cooked regularly at my home. But once in a while, why not? Especially when I managed to source these plump, light green, non-spicy chillies just perfect for mirchi bhajiyas (chilli fritters). You can pretty much stuff any filling in these chillies, dip them in a batter and deep fry and they are gorgeous.

I have eaten a potato filling, the spicy dal (lentil filling) earlier but it was for the first time that I had a sesame seed filling when my mum-in-law made them. So well this is her recipe with some tweaks of my own. This is very mildly spicy and goes great with masala chai or beer.

Here is the recipe:

Makes 8 bhajiyas 

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: Deep frying time about 7-8 minutes per batch of 2-3 chillies

Ingredients:

250. gm long, light green chillies (washed and dried)

75 gms. white sesame seeds lightly roasted

2 tbsp. flax seeds lightly roasted (optional)

2 tsp. coriander powder

2 tsp. chilly powder

salt to taste

5-6 tbsp. tamarind paste

For the batter:

1 cup besan (gram flour)

1/2 cup rice flour (for crunch)

1 tsp. turmeric powder

1 tsp. cumin seeds

1 tbsp. ginger-garlic paste

Salt to taste

Oil for deep frying

Chaat masala for garnish

Recipe:

mirchi bhajiya recipe

Slit the chillies from top to the bottom while keeping the chilly intact. Now, remove the seeds and veins from inside. Keep aside.

mirchi bhajiya recipe

To make the filling, blend together dry roasted sesame and flax seeds. To this powder, add coriander powder, chilly powder, salt and add tamarind paste. Add a little water if it is too thick. The filling must be thick and not runny. Use this to fill each chilly well.

mirchi bhajiya recipe

Now make the batter using the ingredients mentioned above. Mix them well to avoid any lumps. Add in water slowly till you have a thick batter. You want a batter that will coat the chilly. It should not be too runny.

To make the bhajiyas, heat half wok/kadhai sunflower or any other oil that you like for frying the bhajiyas. When hot, dip the filled chillies in the thick batter so that it coats the chillies evenly. Now put them in hot oil and deep fry till dark golden brown.

Take it out and sprinkle with chaat masala and serve hot with green chutney, ketchup or even guacamole. Enjoy this piping hot indulgence.

Chicken Momos

Chicken Momos

chicken momos

This is a favourite recipe in our house that is actually the husband’s recipe. He makes it so well that it is better than what I’ve had outside. It is actually pretty simple to prepare so let’s dive straight into it.

Ingredients:

For the filling:

1/2 Kg chicken mince boiled

1 capsicum finely chopped

2-3 green chillies finely chopped

1 large onion finely chopped

2 inch piece ginger finely chopped

salt to taste

For the outer shell:

1/2 Kg maida/processed flour

1 tsp. salt

2 tbsp. oil

Water to knead into a dough

Recipe: Mix maida/processed flour with salt, oil and water. Knead the maida dough and set aside. Since the chicken mince is cooked, add all the chopped ingredients and salt and mix well. Your filling is ready now. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. It should not be wet. Now roll out the dough into large circular disks/chapatis. Cut each such round into 4 equal parts. Stuff each part/pocket with adequate filling and seal it by pinching the ends together to form a pouch in any shape that you like. Make all the pouches/momos.

Steam them in a steamer for about 10 minutes. Your momos are ready to serve. Serve with any hot dipping sauce or chutney of your choice. Make for a really tasty snack/appetizer. Enjoy!

A really simple Kanji recipe

A really simple Kanji recipe

kanji2

Here in Bangalore, we are fortunate to have winters that are pleasantly cold during the mornings and evenings and also get decent sunshine during the day time. Winter is also a time for produce like mustard greens, averekai and red carrots. Hence it is the best time to indulge in gajar ka halwa and carrot kanji.

Carrot kanji is a fermented drink that is made in the North of India during the winter months. It is tangy and spicy and warms you. Also since fermented drinks are good for you, another reason to indulge. Now this is such a simple recipe that even my kids can make except the chopping part considering that my younger son recently almost hacked off his finger. So, anyhow, here is the simple versatile recipe:

Ingredients:

4 red carrots peeled and chopped into pieces

2 turnips peeled and chopped into thick pieces

1 large beetroot peeled and chopped into thick pieces (Beetroot gives it the rich ruby red colour)

2.5 tsp. mustard seeds powdered

1 tsp chilly powder

2 tsp salt

3 tbsp. black salt

2 litres water

Recipe:

You will need a clean glass or ceramic jar to ferment the kanji in. Add in the chopped vegetables along with the mustard powder, chilly powder and both the salts. Now cover with water. You will find that the vegetable pieces float on top. Cover it well and keep it out in the sun for a few hours. In 2 – 3 days, your kanji will have fermented enough and will be ready for consumption. The best thing about this recipe is that it is extremely versatile. If you can get black carrots, make it with black and red carrots. Or use beetroots like I’ve mentioned. You could also use radish in place of turnips or just eliminate them. The taste is the same.

kanji1

Also taste when it is getting ready. If it has less salt, add more, same with chilly powder. If salt is more or if it is too sour for your taste just add more water. It is preferable to consume it within a week or it gets way too sour. The pickled vegetables are tasty as is or can be had as a side with your meals.

Like any fermented drinks, this one is an acquired taste. I know people who swear by it and others who swear at it. 🙂 Either way, try it. It is different and at least quite liked in my home. And seriously how easy it is to make this.

 

 

 

Green chana chaat/ Hara chana chaat

Green chana chaat/ Hara chana chaat

hara chana chaat

I absolutely love the fresh green chana (green gram) that you get for a very short period during winters. During my childhood, I remember my mom making this simple yet delcious chaat with it regularly when it was in season. The sweet taste and crunch of chana complemented perfectly by the sharp taste of green chillies, tomatoes and onions and the piquant tanginess of chat masala. Yum! Even as I type this, I feel my mouth water.

Here is the simple recipe much like the other chaats that we make with sprouts or other fresh produce:

4 generous servings

Ingredients:

½ Kg. green chana fresh

1 onion finely chopped

2 tomatoes finely chopped

2 spicy green chillies finely chopped (vary as per your taste)

some freshly chopped coriander for garnish

1 tbsp. lemon juice

½ tsp. black salt

1 tsp. chaat masala

salt to taste

Recipe:

Toss all the ingredients together with the masalas and mix well. Have it immediately and savour its delightful flavours. It is a healthy, nutritious and yummy snack for any time and occasion. Enjoy!

Sookhi arbi/Dry colocasia

Sookhi arbi/Dry colocasia

sookhi arbi

Colocasia or arbi or ghuiyan as we used to call it at home is a tricky vegetable to cook with. If you handle it raw or eat it even slightly undercooked, you will have among the most unpleasant experiences of your life with the pins and needles sensation persisting for quite some time. But, if you cook it well, it can be a tasty dry dish or even a nice curry.

This one can be rustled in a jiffy if you have boiled colocasia at hand. Here is the simple recipe:

Ingredients:

Arbi: 500 gms (boiled and peeled)

3 tbsp. oil

1 tsp. ajwain or carrom seeds

2 tsp. chilly powder (have less if you like less heat)

1/2 tsp. turmeric powder

1 tsp. amchur (dry mango) powder

1 tsp. roasted cumin powder

1 tsp. coriander powder

1/2 tsp. roasted saunf (aniseed) powder

salt to taste

Recipe:

Take the peeled colocasia and press it between the palms of your hands to flatten it. Apply oil on your palms as the boiled colocasia could be sticky. Now heat oil in a non-stick pan. Add in the carrom seeds and let them sputter. Add the flattened colocasia and let them cook a bit till they turn golden and crisp up a bit.

Make sure you turn them both ways. After they are a nice color, add in the spices one after another, stir and keep on low flame for a couple of minutes. That’s it. You are done. Your hot, crispy, tangy sookhi arbi is ready. Have it with chapatis or just as a snack. It is quite yummy. Try it!

 

Chicken drumsticks marinated in tomato chutney

Chicken drumsticks marinated in tomato chutney

chicken drumsticks

With my Philips airfryer, making food that looks and tastes great without the extra calories of frying is super easy. I make chicken drumsticks quite often at home. The ones marinated in tandoori masala are an all-time favorite. This time, I experimented by marinating the chicken drumsticks in the tomato chutney that I otherwise make often. The result was yummy drumsticks that tasted slightly different. Philips airfryer gave them the perfect crunchy exterior while keeping them moist and succulent inside and perfectly cooked too.

Here is the simple recipe:

Ingredients:

For the tomato chutney marinade:

2 ripe tomatoes chopped

1 inch piece of ginger chopped

3 green chillies (as per the heat preferred)

1/2 bunch washed coriander leaves

salt to taste

2 tsp. oil

8 pieces chicken drumsticks

Oil to baste

Recipe:

chicken drumsticks

Blend the ingredients of the marinade with no water in a blender till a thick chutney is made. Add oil to it. Now, make deep gashes in the chicken drumsticks and marinate in this chutney for at least 4 hours. If you do it overnight, your drumsticks will be more flavorful.

Preheat your oven or airfryer and airfry or bake till the drumsticks are golden brown and well cooked. Keep basting with oil and remaining marinade for more flavor.

Serve hot with sliced onion and lemon slices. Enjoy!

Health benefits of Avocados and recipe for Guacamole / Avocado Dip

Health benefits of Avocados and recipe for Guacamole / Avocado Dip

Avocados are a fruit that are a huge hit with health-conscious people. It is unlike any other fruit as it is not sweet and is high on good fats instead of carbohydrates. A ripe avocado has a mild buttery taste, a bit similar to tender coconut but not sweet at all.

I got to taste this fruit for the first time in the US and was hooked on to it instantly. When we moved back to India, we found a variety of avocados in India that is called butterfruit in Bangalore. I remember that a relative served the mashed pulp with sugar reigniting fond food memories. What do you know! We planted a seed in our backyard. Nine years later (yes, patience pays!), we have a tall avocado tree that bears copious fruits. I have been experimenting with many recipes since I have a bounty to play with. Though, I do still love to consume it just as it is, guacamole is a favorite in my house. Have it with nachos/chips or spread it on your toasted bread, it is immensely satisfying. You can also use avocado in your salads. My children love the avocado smoothie which is made by blending avocado pulp with some sugar and milk. You could try a variation by using avocado and banana and blending it with milk. Both are tasty and nutritious.

Tips to choose the right avocado and ripen it:

The avocados are generally sold unripe. Choose the ones that are a bright green with white spots all over. These ripen well within 2-3 days. Do not buy ripe ones unless you are immediately consuming them. Store your unripe avocados in a paper cover along with bananas or apples. They help to ripen the avocados. Once ripe, the Indian avocados look blackish in colour. They are also soft to touch and when pressed yield. That is the right time to cut it open. The flesh is a pale yellow with a green tinge.

Here are some health benefits of avocados:

It is very high in Vitamin K, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Folate, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6 and Potassium. It contains more than 10% of your RDA for each of those in just one fruit of 100 gm. It has more Potassium than bananas which is important to regulate your electrolyte balance, lower blood pressure and avoid muscle cramps.

One fruit typically has 160 Calories having 5 gms. Fiber, 2 gms. Protein, 15 gms. of healthy fats and 2 gms. of carbohydrates.

It contains no cholesterol or sodium.

77% of its calories come from fat. It contains monosaturated oleic acid which is a heart healthy fatty acid that reduces inflammation.

It is high in fiber which is excellent for gut health. It has 7% of its weight in fiber which is very high.

Here is a simple recipe of Guacamole that can be stirred up in a jiffy:

avocado guacamole

Guacamole

Ingredients:

2 ripe avocados (the avocados must yield to pressure and feel soft when ripe. Indian varieties turn black on ripening)

6-8 cloves of garlic mashed

Lemon juice from 1 large lemon

1 large onion finely chopped

2 ripe tomatoes chopped

2 green chillies/jalapenos finely chopped (optional)

2 tsp. cilantro/coriander leaves chopped

Salt to taste

Recipe:

Take out the pulp of the ripe avocados in a bowl. Mash them with the back of a spoon to form a creamy mash. Now put in some lime juice to prevent the flesh from oxidizing and turning black. Add in all the chopped ingredients and mix with a spoon. Add the remaining lime juice. Now taste to check seasoning. Keep it in an airtight jar to prevent it from turning black. Consume it within a day or two.

It is yummy and so good for you. What more can you want!

Chicken nuggets – Indian style

Chicken nuggets – Indian style

Chicken nuggets Indian style

My kids love chicken nuggets, the husband as well. I mean they are pure golden goodness and yummy too. Though earlier, we tried making the frozen stuff from the bag, these days, I prefer to make them myself at home. You know they are not difficult to make or time consuming either. And, I prefer consuming fresh food. Needless to mention that it’s always very healthy and hygienic. It is tastier too. So here is my simple recipe of chicken nuggets with an Indian tadka.

Ingredients:

500 gm. boneless chicken breast cut into pieces

1 tsp. black pepper powder

Some chopped coriander

Marinade:

¼ cup buttermilk

1 tsp. chilly powder

2 tsp. ginger garlic paste

Salt to taste

For the nuggets shell:

1 cup breadcrumbs

¼ cup flour

1 egg

Recipe:

Marinate your boneless chicken pieces in the marinade ingredients for at least 4 hours. Overnight is even better.  Now drain out the liquid well. Make sure the pieces are almost dry.

Add some chopped coriander, ½ tsp. black pepper and chicken pieces and mince it in your food processor. The mince must be nice and moist but not runny. I always enjoy mincing it in my Morphy Richards Food Processor.

Chicken nuggets Indian style

Now to assemble, take your breadcrumbs in a plate.  I make my own breadcrumbs by throwing in a couple of slices of  bread in the blender. Just blend a little and you have great quality breadcrumbs. Season with some salt and pepper. But keep it less as the chicken already has its own salt and spices.

Take flour in a plate and whip the egg in another bowl.

Now using your hands, form the chicken mince in the shape of nuggets. Dip them gently in flour first, then in egg mix and in bread crumbs. Make all the nuggets in this manner.

Now either shallow fry on each side in a pan or deep fry them in hot oil. They are done in a few minutes. Take them out when golden brown and serve hot with the chutney of your choice.

This is a great recipe as a snack in the evening.

Samosa made in an Airfryer

Samosa made in an Airfryer

I recently bought the Philips Airfryer. I have been weighing this decision for the past several months since it was launched. It is a tempting product to buy because let’s face it we love our fried food. We all droll over those pakodas, fries, nuggets, kachoris and samosas. But the excessive calories due to deep frying makes us stay away. I have two growing sons, and they would love to have their fries and burgers more often. Hence, the lure of airfried food. Hopefully, the taste will be as good sans the ill effects of deep frying. I have been trying many dishes, and this is one of them. Of course, the recipe remains the same if you want to go for the conventional deep-frying method. All you’ll do in the end is deep fry the samosas to a crisp golden brown in hot oil instead of airfrying.

samosa airfryer

Ingredients

Shell:

Maida/Refined flour 2 cups

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. ajwain

4 tbsp. ghee/oil

Water

Filling

2-3 medium size boiled potatoes

1 cup boiled peas

Dry masala

1 tsp. saunf (aniseed)

1 tsp. coriander seeds

1 tsp. cumin seeds

4-5 black pepper

I tsp. pomegranate seeds

1 tsp. chilly powder

Others

1 green chilly

1/2 inch ginger

I tbsp. oil

1/2 tsp. cumin seeds

salt to taste

Recipe:

Put the salt and ajwain seeds in the flour. Add in the oil or ghee and incorporate in the flour. It should become the consistency of bread crumbs. Now add water little by little to make a stiff dough for the shell. Keep covered for half an hour. Set aside.

samosa airfryer

Take a tbsp. of oil in a kadhai. Add in cumin seeds and allow them to sputter. Now add in green chilly and ginger paste and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the chopped potatoes and peas to this mix and fry some more. Dry roast all the dry masalas and coursely grind them in mortar and pestle. Add in the this dry masala mix to the potato-peas mixture. Add salt. Taste and adjust seasoning.

samosa airfryer

To assemble the samosa, make balls from the maida dough. Now roll out a circle. Cut it into half. Use each half to form a cone by using water as a glue to form a pocket. Put one teaspoon of the cooled filling inside and seal the ends with water. Make all samosas in this manner. Brush lightly with oil and put in a preheated airfryer for about 8-10 minutes at 200 degrees C. Your samosas will be ready and golden brown. Unlike the flaky pastry of a conventional samosa, this one is way crunchier. But, the taste is great. I will try some other tricks to see if the pastry can be made more flaky in some manner with my next outings.

Overall, this is a tasty, much-healthier version of this much-loved Indian snack. Try it. Like I said earlier, you can use the same recipe and deep fry the samosas in hot oil for the good old taste.

Homemade wholewheat Chicken wrap

Homemade wholewheat Chicken wrap

Wraps are extremely satisfying. And, they are popular all around the world. Whether you have them as the Middle eastern shawarma, the Mexican burrito or the Mumbai Frankie, everyone loves them. I do enjoy eating them and more often than not I make them at home with chicken or paneer (cottage cheese). If you have some marinated chicken at home, then it is easy to throw together. You also get to make it with wholewheat roti instead of the maida ones that you get outside. This way they are healthier and can be had both for breakfast or for a hearty meal.

chicken wrap

Ingredients:

(For about 6 wraps)

Marinated chicken breast

250 gm. Chicken breast cut in small pieces

2 tbsp. thick Yoghurt

1 tbsp. ginger garlic paste

1 tsp. chilly powder/fresh ground pepper

1/2 tsp. turmeric powder

1/2 garam masala powder

1 tsp. oil

salt to taste

Make a paste of the marinade. Marinate the chicken in this thick paste for at least 2 hours and even better overnight.

Sauteed vegetables:

You can use any vegetables that you like. I use capsicum, onion and tomatoes sliced and sauteed in a little oil with some salt and pepper. They must not become soggy and should retain their crunch. You may also keep them raw if you so like.
Wholewheat wrap:

I use chapati dough made with wholewheat flour and water.

Sauces:

Mayonnaise

Mustard

Recipe:

Grill/pan cook your chicken breasts till they are done and have a nice coating on top. Cool and make thin slices.

chicken wrap

Keep the vegetables handy. Now roll out one paratha which is slightly bigger than your normal roti/paratha using a rolling pin. Cook it on the griddle by applying a tiny bit of oil on both sides. Take it off the griddle. Now to assemble the wrap, smear the paratha with mayonnaise and mustard. You may use mint chutney or any other sauces that you like.

chicken wrap

Put in the chicken and veggie filling. Now roll both the sides. Your chicken wrap is ready. Wholesome, delicious and very tasty, it makes a great meal. Your kids will love it too.

This is a very versatile wrap. You can substitute chicken with other fillings like cottage cheese, tofu etc. You can use different marinades as per your taste. You can also use mushroom, carrot, pickles in the wrap. Keep trying variations to enjoy this delicious old-world favorite.

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