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Falafel ~ Non Deep Fried Version & NaBloPoMo Finale

Chickpea dumplings


For the longest time, I loved exotic (read non Indian) food for the simple reason that they had such awesome names! When I discovered Falafel at the lone hyderabadi restaurant, I fell in love with these crispy fried protein packed goodies. I couldn’t get enough of them. I was also amazed at how a simple preparation, could be made so glamourous with just the addition of a few other items. I’ve served falafels on their own as appetizers, as a meal with hummus, tzatziki and pita bread. Whichever way you choose to serve them, they are always appreciated and polished off.

Learn to make your own Pita from this post of mine. If you have not been able to plan the yeasted dough or don’t have it handy, use readymade store bought pizza bases to serve it. It works just fine.

Falafel (makes about 14-16 small ones) 

Chickpeas – 1 cup (dried ones)

Onion – 1 large, finely chopped

Garlic – 2-3 cloves

Fresh Coriander  – 1 small bunch, chopped

Coriander powder – 1 teaspoon

Cumin powder – 1 teaspoon

Red chilli powder – ½ teaspoon

Fresh bread crumbs or Maida – 2-3 tablespoons

Salt – to taste

3-4 tablespoons oil for shallow frying, or use the paniyaram chatti to make them in lesser oil.

  • Soak the chickpeas in enough cold water for 6 hours or overnight. Drain, add 3 cups fresh water, pressure cook for 4-5 whistles till they are cooked but not mushy. Drain the water (keep this water for other uses, it is high in nutrients).
  • Add the chickpeas and the garlic into a jar of the mixer and pulse 6-7 times in short bursts to get a coarse mixture. Add a little of the drained water if needed, but do not add too much.
  • Take out into a bowl, add the rest of the ingredients and mix well with a spoon. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  • In a non stick pan, add a few tablespoons of oil and heat on a medium heat.
  • Using your hands, make lemon sized balls of the chickpea mixture, shape it smoothly by rolling between your palms and flatten just a little bit. Place them on the hot skillet and fry till it is browned evenly. Gently turn over and fry the other side too.
  • To make them with lesser oil, use the paniyaram chatti / pan or aebleskiver pan to make them, shaped into balls and drizzle a bit of oil on them to fry evenly.
  • Remove onto a plate with a paper towel and drain till needed. Serve as an appetizer with hummus and tahini dips or use to assemble into a sandwich with salad and pita bread.


To assemble

4 mini pizza bases or 6 pita breads

toast the mini pizza bases on a medium hot tava and cut into quarters, slice horizontally not cutting all the way, but creating a flap.

put a generous amount of hummus and stuff with a few leaves of lettuce, one falafel, add a bit of tzatziki, cucumber and tomato slices and serve.

This marks the end of the NaBloPoMo. The first ever disciplined writing project I have attempted. I dragged my feet a bit, posting late on a few days and back dating. But i was determined to have all 30 posts. I realised I have a lot of food related stuff, pictures and recipes in my archives and it was easy to dip in and use them. I didn’t make anything exclusively for NaBloPoMo. It requires terrific amounts of discipline to do this nonstop. I am so glad and awfully proud I managed to do it.

November has been a month of tremendous discipline for me. Not just posting here, I also did a non stop one month photo project. If you would like to check it out, click here. Offline, I didn’t miss a single scheduled workout the results of which are showing, I have been on a very testing diet to help with some metabolic issues and was off shopping completely. Phew, made me realise that I can accomplish anything if only I applied my mind to it.

Thank you for reading and commenting and cheering me along, could not have done it without your support my dear readers.

I do not think I have the energy to sustain this kind of blogging again for a while. But I hope to be more regular than usual!

Tzatziki and Hummus

These two dips are my favourites to make, store and serve. They pair well with bread of any kind ~ Pita, Bread sticks, Crackers or vegetable crudites as well. For the Tzatziki, I add the cucumber just before serving and have found, that having hung yogurt in the fridge (keep it in the freezer if storing for more than 3 days, defrost as needed) is helpful. I also do the same with boiled chickpeas. Hummus, made from boiled chickpeas, makes an excellent sandwich spread and keeps well for atleast 5-6 days in the refrigerator.

In my next post, I will post Falafels and assembling a full on Lebanese style platter. Stay tuned.

Yogurt Cucumber Dip

Yogurt Cucumber Dip

Tzatziki – Yogurt Cucumber Dip (Makes 1 large cup)

Yogurt – 200 grams

Cucumber – I small, skinned deseeded and chopped small

Garlic – 1-2 cloves, crushed fine

Sesame seeds paste – 1 tablespoon

Olive oil – 2 tablespoons

Salt – to taste

Lemon juice – 1 teaspoon

Mint and coriander leaves – a small bunch, chopped fine

  • To make hung yogurt, line a sieve with a muslin cloth, pour the yogurt and place a bowl underneath, place in the refrigerator for a few hours till all the water drains off.
  • Add all the ingredients except the olive oil in a bowl and whisk till everything is well mixed, pour the olive oil over it as a garnish. Serve chilled as a dip.
Chickpea Dip

Chickpea Dip

Hummus – Chickpea Dip (makes 1 large cup)

Cooked Chickpeas – 1 cup

Lemon juice – 2-3 tablespoons

Sesame seed paste – 1-2 tablespoons

Garlic – 1 clove, crushed finely

Salt to taste

Olive oil – 2-3 tablespoons for garnish

Red chilli powder – to garnish

  • If using dried chickpeas, soak ½ cup overnight, pressure cook for 20 mins, drain and reserve both the water and the chickpeas.
  • Add all the ingredients except the red chilli powder and olive oil into a blender and blend adding ¼ cup of the reserved liquid to make a smooth paste.
  • Check for salt and adjust.
  • Transfer  to a serving bowl, using a spoon, make a well in the centre.
  • Drizzle the olive oil in the centre of the hummus and sprinkle the red chilli powder as a garnish around the sides. Serve immediately with toasted pita bread, vegetable crudités or as use as a sandwich spread.

Festive Fare ~ Bobatlu (Puranpoli)

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I’d made this for sankranti when I did a festival spread for the newspaper that I write for. What i like is that you can use maida or whole wheat flour for the outer covering or a combination. I love this freshly made and piping hot off the tava with a dab of ghee… also love it with a little milk when it is sitting in the fridge!

Bobbattu or Puranpoli (makes 6-7 medium ones)

For the filling

Chana dal/bengal gram – 1 cup (soaked in water for an hour and drained)

Sugar – 1 cup

Cardamom powder – ½ teaspoon

Salt – a pinch

For the covering

Maida – 1 1/4 cups

Oil – 3-4 tablespoons

Ghee – 1 tablespoon

Pressure cook channa dal adding a cup of water till the dal turns very soft. Grind to a fine paste.

Heat a heavy bottomed kadai, add the ground dal paste and sugar and cook till they blend and form a thick lump like paste with no moisture left. Keep stirring on slow flame.

Add cardamom powder and salt and combine. Cool and make small lemon sized balls for stuffing. Keep aside.

Combine the maida, pinch of salt, oil and enough water to make a very soft and sticky dough(softer than puri dough).

Knead well and keep aside for one or two hours.

Grease your hand with oil and pinch a small portion of dough and flatten it into a 2″ disc. Place a ball of channa dal stuffing in the centre and draw the edges of the dough from all sides to cover the stuffing completely.

Take a plastic sheet or a plantain leaf and gently flatten each ball carefully with your fingers to form a 6″ diamater flat circular roti/bobattu/poli. You can also roll gently with a rolling pin.

Heat a tawa and fry it on low flame such that its roasted on both sides till brown spots appear. Smear oil over the bobbatu while frying.
Serve warm with ghee. Store them in an air tight container or in the refrigerator. Stays fresh for a few days.

This is part of the blogging marathon… have stopped to catch my breath a bit!

Tortillas from scratch and a Magazine Feature

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I know I shouldn’t be abandoning the blog as much as I do… but that’s the pattern I seem to follow…

In august, WOW Hyderabad which is the number one local magazine of Hyderabad, did a cover feature on people from different walks of life rediscovering and enjoying the kitchen. They featured 12 people. There was an actor, a fashion designer, a hotelier etc… and your’s truly. I’ve been called a lot of things, but for the first time I was called Hyderabad’s most popular Blogger. Am not sure if I deserve those words of praise, but am humbled that this little blog got me featured in a magazine.

It was nerve wracking to pose for the picture… but I enjoyed the fun interview with a nice guy who has been reading my blog and so knew my dog by his name! Have just been plain lazy about posting this here. So now is as good a time as ever.

Its also been almost a year now that I write a bi monthly feature with recipes for a local English daily called The Hans India. I need to find the features and scan and post them in a different section of this blog I guess, now that there are so many.

On that note, I leave you with a simple recipe to make Tortillas

Tortilla Wraps

Tortilla Wraps

Tortilla Wraps (Makes 6 Tortillas)

All Purpose Flour (Maida)      11/4 Cup

Baking Powder                             ½ teaspoon

Salt                                                   to taste

Butter                                             1 tablespoon

Water (to knead the dough)

For the Filling

Lettuce                                            1 cup

Fresh Vegetable Sticks             1 cup (such as sliced avocado, red/ yellow peppers, tomato slices etc)

Cooked Shredded Chicken or cooked Paneer slices

Baked Beans                                  (optional)

Salt and pepper to taste

Mix the baking powder and salt into the flour well and mix the butter to make it look like breadcrumbs. Add enough water to make a dough like chapatti. Knead it for a few minutes and leave it to rest for 20 – 30 minutes.

Divide the dough into six equal parts and roll out into rounds of about 6-7 inches. Heat a tava and lightly cook the tortilla on two sides till small brown spots appear and it is cooked. This is similar to making rotis but do not press down with the spatula or put directly onto the flame. Make all the tortillas and keep aside.

When the tortillas have cooled. Place the lettuce leaf in the middle of the tortilla, add a few vegetable sticks, few pieces of shredded chicken or Paneer and a few teaspoons of beaked beans, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roll up the tortilla tight and secure with a toothpick.

Repeat till all the tortillas are used up. Serve with a fresh salad, salsa and guacamole.

Street Food ~ Ragda Patties

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Ragda Patties

When Amma is with me, I try and make things she likes. She loves anything with noodles or pasta or sugar (naturally, since it’s forbidden!) or street food. I make Bhel, Dahi Vada and Pav Bhaji each time during her visits. This time it coincides with the monsoon and the perfect time for something hot and tangy. Also, both of us are chicken and won’t want to risk eating it at a roadside stall.

I love the recipes on One Hot Stove. They are what I’d call never fail. I’ve tried several of them like these Rice paper rolls, the Pav Bhaji and even spaghetti with pesto. So when I was searching online for a recipe for Ragda Patties and Nupur’s came up, I chose to make it as if there is one thing that can describe her recipes, it is ‘simple’

Ragda Patties

(Serves 4, Time Taken – 45 minutes)

For the Ragda:

1 cup of yellow dried peas (vatana) – soak overnight in fresh water, pressure cook for 5 whistles with 2 cups of water or till cooked soft

1 medium onion chopped fine

1 large tomato chopped fine

Salt to taste

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

1/4 teaspoon of turmeric powder

1 teaspoon (or more) red chilli powder

1 teaspoon coriander powder

1/4 teaspoon cumin powder

1/4 teaspoon garam masala powder

1/4 cup tamarind extract (made from a 2 inch knob of tamarind soaked in 1/2 cup water, pulp and strain to remove debris)

A pinch of asafetida

Fresh coriander for garnish

Finely chopped onion for garnish

In a large pan, heat the teaspoon of oil and when hot, add the onions. When they sizzle, add the asafetida and sauté till the onions turn translucent. Add the turmeric, red chilli powder, coriander and cumin powders and fry on a low flame till the raw smell disappears – about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and a little salt, sauté for a minute, cover with a lid and cook till the tomatoes are mushy. Add the boiled peas along with the water it was cooked in to the tomato and onion gravy and cook covered, stirring a few times for about 7-8 minutes. Add the tamarind extract, salt to taste and stir. Taste to check for seasoning. Add more chilli if you would like. Add the garam masala powder and simmer for a couple of minutes. Set aside.

For the Patties (Makes 10 medium sized patties)

4 medium potatoes, boiled and peeled
2 slices of bread or ½ cup bread crumbs
Salt to taste
½ teaspoon red chilli powder
3 tablespoons of oil for frying

Mash the boiled and peeled potatoes. Wet the bread slices and crush and mix into the potatoes. If using bread crumbs also, wet the crumbs a bit and add to the potatoes. Add the salt and red chilli powder and knead till it becomes soft and holds its shape when made into a ball. Divide into 10 balls, roll between your palms and flatten slightly to form a patty. Heat half the oil in a non stick pan and add the patties to the oil. Fry on medium heat for 3-4 minutes on each side, drizzling with the remaining oil till they are golden brown. Drain onto paper and set aside.

Khatta Meetha Chutney

1 cup of tamarind extract (made from a fist sized ball of tamarind, soaked in hot water)
¼ cup of Jaggery
A pinch of salt

Add everything together and heat in a pan. When the Jaggery has melted, pass everything through a medium sieve to remove impurities from the Jaggery. Cook for about 10 minutes on medium heat, stirring gently till it becomes thick and gets a sauce like consistency. Cool and use as needed.

To plate the Ragda Patties

Place two patties onto a plate. Pour about 1 cup of hot ragda onto the patties. Garnish with fresh cilantro, finely chopped onion and the tamarind chutney. Enjoy piping hot!

Easy Pindi Channa ~ Vegan

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Its tough to better a classic recipe. Like P’s chole that I posted ages ago. However since i cannot really stick to a recipe and dont do things by the book, i accidentally discover newer ways of doing things, or easier ways. Sometimes the experiments are a big flop and that too makes me realise that i cant better a classic…. did I say that already? ok.

I like channa in most forms, as salads, curries or as a snack. Its an easy way of increasing the protein content in a vegetarian diet. Here i tried to simplify things and turned up with this cracker of a recipe. this recipe reminded me so much of the chole served at havmor restaurant owned by the ohri’s group in hyderabad. many a beautiful memory is attached to eating chole bhature here with my bff S. Try it, its delightful. Almost restaurant style.

Easy Pindi Channa (Serves 3-4)

1 cup dried Chickpeas/ Kabuli channa, soaked for 8 hours or overnight, rinse and drained

Pressure cook with 1 litre/ 4-5 cups water, add 2 cloves, 1 black cardamom, 2 small bay leaves, 1 teaspoon of tea leaves/ 1 teabag, 1 small stick of cinnamon, pinch of hing (asafoetida), salt to taste for 12-15 whistles, or after 2 whistles, turn the heat low and cook about 20 mins. The Channa should cook soft but not be mushy.

After the pressure has released, open the cooker, strain the channa, reserve the water. Pick out the whole garam masala and discard.

In a heavy bottomed pan or kadhai, heat a teaspoon of oil, splutter 1/2 teaspoon of ajwain (carom seeds) and allow them to splutter.

turn the heat low and add 1 tablespoon of gram flour and fry till it turns golden brown. make sure you do not burn this.

Add 2 slit green chillies, 1 teaspoon grated ginger and fry for a minute. add 1 tsp each of coriander powder, cumin powder and chole masala or 1/2 teaspoon of garam masala. Add 2 teaspoons of  amchur powder or tamarind pulp extracted from a lemon sized ball of tamarind. Saute another minute.

add the boiled and drained chickpeas, 1/2 cup of the reserved water and cook on a low flame for about 5 minutes.

Check for salt and spice, adjust according to taste. Take off the heat. Serve hot garnished with grated ginger, onion slices and wedges of lime. Best eaten with hot puris or bhature. Also bread/ pav or regular chapathis.

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