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Category Archives: appetizers / snacks

Wonton Wrapper Samosa

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Wonton Wrapper Samosa

Wonton Wrapper Samosa

I’ve had wonton wrappers sitting in my freezer since err….I can’t really remember. Actually I buy a lot of stuff at the grocery store which I don’t really needand when I am in the act of buying it, I have visions that include dreamy, beautiful and totally stunning plating of the end product. What happens in reality is that they languish in the deep recesses of my fridge, freezer or pantry cupboard and after a few months, depending on their state, they get used in something totally ordinary or they get trashed.

A packet of wonton wrappers was one such item I picked up imagining great parties being thrown around wontons and spring rolls. But like a blot on my conscience, every time I opened the freezer, the pack of wrappers would guilt trip me! This weekend, I made samosas with them. I usually do not deep fry at home, I am terrified of filling a kadai with oil and God knows I don’t need to eat anything deep fried. But I felt those wrappers had patiently waited to come out of the freezer for so long that they did deserve their own kadai of hot oil.

I was doing an Iftar food coloumn for Hans India, the paper I write for and wanted to include a recipe for samosas which are one of the most popular Iftar foods (in Hyderabad). These wonton wrappers make samosa making a breeze, if you have a dry leftover sabzi or even some chicken or mutton keema, it can be shredded and used as a stuffing. The wrappers make for a terrifically crunchy outer covering which is my favourite part. In fact the outer covering is very much like the Hyderabadi Chota Samosa. For those of us who have eaten and relished onion filled Chota samosa, being able to replicate the taste and texture of them in a home kitchen is a big score!

Wonton Wrapper Samosa

Wonton Wrapper Samosa

Wonton Wrapper Samosa (Makes 20)

20 wonton wrappers (easily available in the frozen food section of a supermarket)

1 cup filling of choice –

(I used a dry Aloo filling for half and a chicken mince filling for the other half. The recipe for chicken mince filling is mentioned below)

oil to deep fry

1 tablespoon flour mixed with 2 tablespoons of water to make a ‘glue’

Method

Spread the wonton wrapper on a flat surface covered with a kitchen towel.

Fold one corner of it over the rest of the wrapper to form a triangle, fold over again to form a pocket. Here’s a helpful video on samosa folding.

Spoon in 1 tablespoon of filling into the pocket, cover the loose flap and seal with the glue, set aside. Repeat with all the wrappers.

Heat the oil in a kadai drop the samosa into the oil carefully, fry till golden, turning over to cook all sides. Use a spoon to remove the golden samosas, place onto tissue paper to drain and serve when still hot.

Chicken Mince for Samosa Filling

250 grams Chicken mince

1 medium onion finely sliced

1-2 green chillies chopped finely

¼ cup fresh coriander leaves

½ teaspoon ginger and garlic paste

¼ teaspoon cumin powder

2 tablespoons oil

salt and pepper to taste

 

Method

 

Heat oil in a pan, wash the mince and set aside.

Add the onions and green chillies to the hot oil and saute till they are just turning golden brown. Add the ginger garlic and saute for a minute.

Add the Chicken mince and saute till the colour changes to opaque.

Add the salt, pepper, cumin and coriander leaves, mix well, cover and cook on a low flame for 10-12 minutes or till the mince is turning a light shade of brown. Turn off and cool.

 

Sweetheart Cookies

Sweetheart Cookies

Sweetheart Cookies

There is a brand of cookies that sells heart shaped cookies made of puff pastry. Sprinkled with sugar, these were quite the rage. I decided to try my hand at them with ready made puff pastry. If you want to make them from scratch, there is an easy to do puff pastry recipe here. I use this quite often, but chill the butter just a bit (because our room temperature is not the same as room temperature in the recipe’s country of origin)

There is puff pastry available in my neighborhood super market and I buy it sometimes to try various bakes. I want to attempt a pot pie with puff pastry  as the topping next.

These are good as a quick snack to serve with tea/ coffee, if you have last minute guests, or even as a valentine treat (since the great festival of love is almost upon us)

Sweetheart Cookies

Sweetheart Cookies

Sweet Heart Cookies (Makes about 20)

10x 8 rectangle of Puff pastry (depends on the size of the sheet that is available. I used half of the sheet I get in a roll)

2 tablespoons Granulated white sugar

2 tablespoons Milk

Spread out the puff pastry on a piece of aluminum foil or butter paper, smoothen it with your hands.

Roll the left part inwards to the right, and the right part towards the left. It should look like a pair of binoculars.

Slice the rolled up dough into ¼ inch slices using a sharp knife and lay them flat on a baking tray lined with aluminum foil.

Brush all the cookies with the milk and sprinkle the granulated sugar.

Bake in an oven preheated to 180 degrees celsius for 12-13 minutes or till they are golden brown. Cool before serving

These cookies taste best fresh. Store in an airtight container if keeping.

They can also be dipped in melted chocolate for a more indulgent treat.

Nutella and Fresh Fruit Dessert Pizza

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Nutella and Fruit Pizza

Nutella and Fruit Pizza

For some reason, I am terribly preoccupied these days. I lose track of what I was doing and the only way to stay sane is my multiple to-do lists. I am spending a lot less time at the laptop, but my phone bills are testimony to the amount of time I am connected online, monitoring the FB page and emails and other stuff.

Such is my preoccupation, that on the last trip to the bank, I wasted not one, but three cheque leaves because I either entered wrong numbers or signed where I wasn’t supposed to! I spend over 45 minutes gazing at the stuff on the shelves in the supermarket and will forget to bring home something basic like sugar. Not that I am overworked, I am just forgetting stuff.

I’ve been posting recipes here with a lot more frequency than this blog is used to, and yet forgot to tell you something important that I am part of. Sometime in March, when I went to Goa on vacation and met up with two of my favourite bloggers Aparna and Revati, we decided to finally make a blogger’s meet happen. We had been talking about it for a couple of years, but this time we decided to stop talking and start doing. If you are connected with me via FB you will know, that the first ever Indian Food Blogger Meet is happening in Bangalore. It will be held in August on 1-2 and promises to be a two day celebration of blogging and bloggers. We have a lot of interesting and useful session lined up and I cannot even tell you how excited I am that an idea that I had in my head is actually taking shape in front of my eyes. If you want to know more about this, connect with us on FB or follow us on twitter. We even have a blog which will have all the updates.

For each one of us involved, with a different sensibility, skill set, located in a different city, with multiple things happening in our offline lives, yet we have managed to do all the main things and invite people who will add value by sharing their blogging journey. There is a lot more to do in terms of typing up loose ends, but the agenda has been put together after much thought and aimed to be of value to the participants. I am delighted that speakers, some of them very respected bloggers are travelling from across the country to be at this meet. If you are a blogger and would like to be a part of this, here is the information on how you can participate.

Thank you for the overwhelming response to the post about Amma’s operation. I am happy to update that she is recovering well and is active. Each comment both here and on FB was read to her and she has expressed her thanks. I had friends and family calling me all through the day of the operation. My classmate from college when to a temple and dedicated 1008 chants to her, Amma’s best friend was at the Kanakadurga temple at Vijayawada when I texted to tell her that everything went well and offered special prayers in thanksgiving. Some friends and family woke up at 4 AM and prayed through the time of her procedure. Aunty E was praying and waiting by the telephone for an update. My MIL stayed by my side, carrying water and sandwiches that FIL had made so that I would have moral support.  I am overwhelmed with the goodwill that Amma enjoys. Whatever be your faith, the circle of love, prayers, healing energies and spirit enveloped us as a family and Amma especially is something I am extremely grateful for it.

After all that heavy duty information sharing, here is a fun recipe that will be a hit for a child’s birthday party or as an adult dessert option/ after school snack or a treat for good behaviour 😀

Nutella and Fruit Pizza

Nutella and Fruit Pizza

Fruit and Nutella Whole-wheat Pizza (Makes 2 personal pizzas)

Whole-wheat flour     11/2 cups

Instant yeast     1 teaspoon

Sugar     1 teaspoon

Milk     ½ cup

Water     ½ cup

Butter     1 tablespoon

Nutella     4 tablespoons

Fresh fruit     11/2 cup (use mango, banana, strawberries, apples or any other firm seasonal fruit)

Dried nuts     a sprinkling

Warm the water and the milk to the same temperature used to set yogurt. Add the sugar and yeast, stir and set aside till the mixture is frothy and doubles up. This should take about 10-15 minutes

The yeast must activate for this recipe. If the yeast does not froth, the pizza won’t be puffy and soft.

Mix the flour with the salt. Add the milk and yeast mixture to the flour and knead into a dough. It should be softer than chapati dough, but not soggy.

Put the dough onto a surface with some dry flour and knead it gently for 3-4 minutes till it becomes soft and spongy. Add the butter and knead it completely.

Put it in a clean bowl, cover with foil or a damp clean towel and let it rise to double, for about 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200 C. Prepare a baking sheet by brushing it with vegetable oil.

Divide the doubled up dough into two or three parts. Make it into a round ball and flatten gently. Sprinkle with some dry flour and roll into a round, like a roti. The thickness of this should be about ⅓ inch. Prick it with a fork and place it on the baking sheet.

Repeat with the remaining dough and place on the baking sheet so that the pizzas don’t touch each other.

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool for 6-7 minutes.

Spread nutella on the top of the cooked pizza, arrange fresh cut fruit on top, sprinkle the nuts. Cut into triangles and serve immediately.

 

Breakfast Ideas ~ Egg Salad Rolls

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Stop stealing my eggs!

Stop stealing my eggs!

I find myself dipping into Sage’s share of boiled eggs once in a while for a quick snack, an idle time eat, to pimp up my salad or just dunk into a tomato onion gravy. Having a couple of boiled eggs on hand has always allowed me to be fed on days when K is travelling or I am feeling particularly slothful.

I had to come up with an easy kid friendly breakfast recipe for my newspaper column and decided I had to pay homage to one of my favourite ways of eating boiled eggs – egg salad.

There is nothing much to ‘making’ this breakfast roll. Unless boiling an egg and toasting bread counts as cooking in your books (which it sometimes does in mine ;P)

Egg Salad Roll

Egg Salad Roll

Egg Salad Roll (Makes 2 rolls)

Wholewheat bread roll           2

Boiled Eggs                                 2

Mayonnaise                              2 tablespoons

Tomato Sauce                          1 tablespoon

Cucumber                                  ¼ chopped fine

Tomato                                      ½ chopped fine

Coriander leaves                   a small bunch

Salt and pepper                      to taste

Chop the boiled eggs into medium pieces, toss with the chopped cucumber and tomato in a bowl.

Add the mayonnaise, tomato sauce, fresh coriander leaves and salt and pepper and gently mix.

Slice the rolls in two lengthwise, gently warm them on a tava. Place a few spoonfuls of the filling along the length of the roll.

Cover with the other half. Secure with a toothpick. Serve with some tomato sauce on the side.

*This mixture can also be used to stuff a paratha or roti like a frankie and served.

 

Gouda and Pizza Sauce Muffins Recipe

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Gouda Cheese and Pizza Sauce Muffin

Gouda Cheese and Pizza Sauce Muffin

Amma is currently with me and as is the usual practice, I try and make something interesting when she is around. Unlike K, she is game to try anything at least once, and is deeply appreciative of my culinary escapades 🙂

A conversation almost always gets triggered from a food memory. This time, while asking about the ingredients I used, and knowing that finely grated cheese was used, she told me about how there was food rationing in the 50’s and some of the schools and organisations affiliated to America received supplies of  cheese powder and egg powder which they had no idea how to use. So they would mix the two and make scrambled eggs 🙂

I told her how I love savoury muffins and that it is a pity most people associated baking with cake and cake is sweet and hence all baked goods are expected to be sweet. In my baking classes, I used to teach a savoury pizza muffin, but due to it having not too many enthusiasts, I changed that over to a sweet variant.

For this muffin, I eyeballed all the ingredients and it turned out wonderfully fluffy and full of flavour.

I ran out of whole wheat flour, and have used half of all purpose flour and half whole wheat, feel free to use whole wheat flour for the whole amount, but expect the crumb to be a little grainy.

The pizza sauce I used is the one I posted in the Fusilli with pine nuts recipe. This is an all purpose pizza / pasta sauce that is very handy to have in the fridge.

Gouda Cheese and Pizza Sauce Muffin

Gouda Cheese and Pizza Sauce Muffin

Gouda Cheese and Pizza Sauce Muffins (Makes 6 large muffins)

1/2 cup All purpose flour (Maida)

1/2 cup Whole wheat flour (Atta)

1/2 cup Grated gouda cheese + 2 teaspoons for garnish

(Use any cheese such as parmesan or even processed cheddar, mozarella makes the muffin stringy, hence not recommended)

1 Egg (to make this eggless, use 1/4 cup milk + 1/2 teaspoon vinegar, let it sit for 5 minutes and use when the recipe calls for egg)

1/2 cup Milk (I used full fat)

1/4 cup Pizza/ Pasta sauce (check for the recipe here or use store bought)

8-10 fresh basil leaves, shredded (substitute with any fresh herbs of choice – mint, coriander, garlic chives or even spring onions)

1/4 cup chopped onion

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Salt to taste (add half of what you think you need because the sauce and cheese are salty)

Preheat the oven to 185 C and brush the bottom of a muffin pan with oil. For an even brown crumb, do not use muffin liners.

In a bowl, add the all purpose flour, wheat flour, grated cheese, salt, baking powder, baking soda, chopped onion and basil leaves and toss well.

In another bowl, add the egg and milk and whisk with a fork. Add the pizza sauce and mix it well. Add this mixture to the flour mixture and with a light hand, mix till the batter is just combined.

Spoon the mixture into the muffin cups equally, garnish with the reserved grated cheese. Bake for 16-17 minutes, testing with a toothpick for doneness.

Cool in the pan for 3-4 minutes before running a blunt knife around the edges of the muffin pan and removing them to a cooling rack / serving plate.

These muffins are best eaten warm. Can be stored refrigerated for upto 4 days.

PS: To make this an eggless muffin; use 1/4 cup milk + 1/2 teaspoon vinegar, let it sit for 5 minutes and use when the recipe calls for egg

 

 

Chili Garlic Sauteed Vegetables ~ Sandwich

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Sauteed Vegetable Sandwich

Sauteed Vegetable Sandwich

This has to be the month of sandwiches for me. After detesting dry bread with cucumber and tomato slices, I have become a sandwich fiend with a vengeance. There is nothing better than a good sandwich made with fresh bread. Generally I do not like the bread to be slathered on with either butter or mayonnaise. Just a little to get things going and add flavour.  This sandwich filling has three of my current favourites ~ mushrooms, olive oil and a readymade chilli garlic paste which is handy to have in the fridge.

I add this paste to curries, dal, pasta sauce, vegetables and even spinach for a nice kick. It is not too spicy and yet lends a wonderful depth to the vegetables. Am sure this can be made at home, I just picked it up on a whim of my now aimless supermarket trips and am (for a change) making good use of it.

I used onions, sliced mushrooms and a little bit of bell peppers. Am sure zucchini, thin strips of carrot, and even slices of eggplant will taste terrific in this. The key is to add a lot of onions  and saute them on a medium flame till they are sweet from the caramelization, but not brown or crisp.

A box of these sauteed vegetables in the fridge will make it easy to rustle up pasta, a roti wrap or even as a vegetable side on a busy weeknight.

Sauteed Vegetable Sandwich

Sauteed Vegetable Sandwich

Chili Garlic Sauteed Vegetables ~ Sandwich (Makes 2)

4 slices                       Bread of choice, lightly toasted

1 medium                   Onion, sliced (about 2/3 cup)

1 cup                          Vegetables such as bell peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, spinach etc, sliced

1 tablespoon              Extra virgin olive oil

Salt to taste

1 teaspoon                 Chilli garlic paste (or grind together one clove of garlic with 1 ripe red chilli)

a handful of fresh herbs such as coriander or basil

1 teaspoons               Salted butter

  • In a flat pan, heat the oil and add all the vegetables. Saute on medium heat till the vegetables have wilted and the onions are translucent(about 2 minutes).
  • Add the chilli garlic paste, salt to taste and the fresh herbs and mix well.  Continue to saute till the liquid from the vegetables has almost dried off. At this point, the onions should be a deep brown and still soft. Turn off the heat and cool.
  • On a medium hot tava, toast the bread lightly and apply the butter.
  • Place the sauteed vegetables in a thin layer, top with the other slice of bread and press down lightly. Toast for 1 minute on each side, ensuring the filling does not come out.
  • Slice diagonally and serve warm.

Note: these vegetables can be stored in the fridge in an air tight container for upto 5 days to make a quick meal tossed with cooked pasta or in a wrap.

 

Tandoori Aloo Grilled Sandwich Recipe

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Tandoori Aloo Sandwich

Tandoori Aloo Sandwich

I was going through the motions of getting through a random day. It is getting hot in Hyderabad and my energy levels are surely going to hit severely low notes soon. I had a deadline to meet and that involved shopping for ingredients, making 3 recipes, taking pictures, writing out the recipes and sending them to my editor. It was 4:30 PM and I had to complete this task by 6PM. Yes, yes.  This is exactly where you should do the ‘eye-roll’. I wanted to make one subway style sandwich which I have already featured here with home made bread rolls, one with sauteed vegetables in olive oil and Italian spices like they serve at coffee shops and one desi style grilled on a tava sandwich with a potato filling. K really loves potatoes stuffed into sandwiches, and I had boiled a few earlier in the day, that was the loose plan.

On my way to the nearby supermarket, my namesake called and we chatted. I told her my task at hand and asked for ideas. She told me she had made this sandwich with left over tandoori aloos, made for a BBQ and it was the best sandwich ever! That fixed the deal for me! I decided to make the potatoes with the spicy/ tangy tandoori masala. Arundhati cooked the potatoes with yogurt and tandoori masala as they were originally meant for the BBQ. I used the spice mix to pan saute the potatoes.

Even if I say so myself, this sandwich turned out so good, we had it two nights in a row as dinner. The mixtures keeps well and it will be convenient to have a small stash of spiced up potatoes in the fridge for ‘food emergencies’. I don’t have a sandwich maker and grilled this sandwich old school, on a hot griddle, pressing it down with a steel plate to get it to crisp up.

Tandoori Aloo Sandwich

Tandoori Potato Sandwich (Makes 2 Sandwiches)

4 slices                        Bread of choice

2 medium                   Potatoes, boiled, peeled and roughly crumbled

1 teaspoon                 Tandoori Masala

½ teaspoon               Vegetable oil

salt to taste

1 tablespoon            Fresh Coriander leaves

2 slices                     Cheese

1 tablespoon           Table butter

1 medium                Tomato, sliced

In a pan, heat the oil and add the crumbled potatoes. Add the tandoori masala and mix well. Saute till it is well coated. Add the salt to taste, coriander leaves and remove from the heat. Cool slightly.

Toast the bread on a tava, butter the slices and place a slice of cheese on top.

Arrange the sliced tomato over the cheese evenly and put half of the potato stuffing on top. Cover with another slice of toasted bread and press down.

Toast lightly on the tava till the cheese begins to melt. Serve immediately.

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