Tori/ Dudhi Muthias (Zucchini/Bottle Gourd Cakes)

Muthias are one of my favorite Gujarati snacks. They are steamed cakes made with a combination of healthy flours such as semolina, whole wheat, chickpea flour and so on combined with grated bottle gourd or zucchini. I make these all the time – it’s an acid friendly food – you just have to omit the chili from this recipe.

I learned this recipe from our family friend Neha Mazumdar who makes some of the best Muthias. This dish goes really well with a nice mint or coriander chutney. 

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Chickpea and Corn Sundal (An acid reflux friendly recipe)

Here is the first of my acid watcher friendly recipes.

Sundal is a super nutritious snack made with boiled chickpeas which we grew up on in my hometown of Chennai. I remember when I was young, we would go to Marina beach and there would be vendors selling “Thenga Manga Pattani Sundal” (coconut, mango , chickpeas) that they would carry in these large stainless steel tins. There was nothing quite like enjoying sundal sitting beachside, smelling the salty air with family and good friends in the good old days of Madras. 

You can use any kind of dried beans to make sundal. I used chickpeas and corn in this recipe because it was what I had on hand but just use what you have. You can add things like shredded coconut, mango and so on. All the ingredients listed below are available at any Indian grocery store.  I buy a bunch of packets of curry leaves and put them in the freezer. Click here to print recipe

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Rotis with Mint/Cilantro Gravy (Manni Sel)

Manni Sel is one of my very favorite Sindhi dishes. Sindh is a province that used to be in India before partition, but is now in Pakistan. Manni Sel is usually made with rotis or bread ( Indian bread) that is at least a day old. These rotis are soaked in a delicious cilantro and mint based gravy.

I don’t make rotis so I just use Trader Joe’s tortillas as a substitute. They work great. You could use any of your favorite tortillas or rotis in this recipe. Make sure that when you cook this dish –  you don’t put too much of the rotis in it – as it will become too dry. Keep the dish nice and gravied as the rotis tend to continue soaking the gravy long after the cooking process is done. This dish freezes really well too.

Nobody makes Manni Sel better than my best friends mother, Veena Thani does. I just love all her recipes because they are simple, really healthy and so so yummy!

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Squash Toast

This recipe is from ABC Kitchen, at one of New York City’s most beautiful stores ABC Carpet & Home.

The menu offers many seasonal dishes of which one I just could not get enough of. It was their roasted kabocha squash toast w/ fresh ricotta and apple cider vinegar”. The flavors and textures of this creation were simply divine. Thoughtfully layered with crunchy bread, salty cheese, sweet and earthy squash, topped with chili and mint – it was divinity in each bite.

I recreated this dish in my kitchen using Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s recipe and though I could not get it to taste exactly the same but it was still par excellence.

 

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You must use good quality bread and you can use any cheese from ricotta, goat cheese – I even tried it with a herbed cream cheese and it tasted so good. I would try it with butternut squash the next time around.

 

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This makes for a wonderful snack, appetizer or even a lunch dish!

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Spanish Tortilla with Mushrooms and Kale 

I looked in my fridge and found I had eggs, kale, mushrooms and potatoes and was in the mood to make something really yummy on a weekend morning. Viola – my very first Spanish Tortilla!

When we were in Spain a few years ago, this dish was a tapas favorite and I loved the comfort of it! The great thing about this dish is that it can be eaten hot or at room temperature – so you can make it ahead of time. I didn’t have fresh thyme so just used the dried version. I’m sure you can substitute it with any other herb. I found a really easy recipe by Florence Fabricant in the NYT, one that I will be using over and over again. The tricky part of this dish is flipping it over and making sure nothing sticks to the pan – using a nonstick pan will help with that!

 

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Asparagus and Mushroom Tart

Asparagus is abundant in spring time and here is a yummy way to use it. 

I love working with puff pastry because it is so forgiving that you can pretty much put anything on it and it tastes so good. I try and stock up on my puff pastry whenever Trader Joes has it (usually around thanksgiving time). Their puff pastry is affordable and doesn’t have all the extra fillers that some of the more popular brands have. I do love Dufour though – they are really pricey but are the best.

My tart has onions, mushrooms and asparagus. I had some ricotta lying in the fridge and used it as a thin layer on the base but this is really not necessary as the caramelized onions makes for a nice creamy bottom. You can however add any kind of cheese to this tart – goat cheese, Boursin , ricotta etc. if you wish. I will say that it was a bit of a struggle cutting the tart once cooked with the long spears of asparagus – so the next time around I might just chop it down into 1” pieces and sprinkle on top – it just won’t look as pretty!

 

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A Very Veggie Shrimp Salad

The warm weather is finally here and I love this shrimp salad recipe which is great for any meal. This is another one of those recipes that you can improvise on with whatever you have in your fridge. You definitely need cucumbers and onions and if you have nothing beyond that it’s perfectly fine. Add anything such as carrots, jicama, radish etc. – anything with a nice crunchy texture. You could also throw in snap peas, asparagus etc. though you would have to par boil and chop them.

I used my mandolin to slice the cucumbers and onions nice and thin but you could also just cut them into thin matchsticks.

An added flavor bonus is if you have Ikari Oil Free Perilla Dressing or any kind of Perilla (shiso) dressing – add a little bit to this salad – it really enhances the taste. 

I like to serve this salad on a nice slice of bread on top of a layer of sliced avocado. You could even serve with crispy lettuce if you want to skip the bread.

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BURNT EGGPLANT WITH TAHINI

I love Yotam Ottolenghi’s cookbook called Plenty. He celebrates the vibrancy of vegetables in multiple ways in his recipes.

This is a wonderful eggplant dip recipe – basically a baba ganoush that is really easy to make. It can be served with anything from raw vegetables to pita chips. I bake the eggplants in my oven at 350 F for about 1/2 an hour until its softened and then peel the skin and set aside. It’s just too messy doing it stove top but that does give you the best flavor. I also cant always get my hands on fresh pomegranate but that makes such a difference to this dish.  Roasted pine nuts serve as a fine substitute. 

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Chili Cheese Toast

Chili cheese toast is a beloved breakfast/ snack item in India. It’s really easy – you can make the cheese mixture ahead of time and keep it in the fridge to use at will. It’s better to use breads that are  a little denser as those wonderful holey, light and airy breads will have the cheese seeping right through when you toast them up. You can use any cheese – I use mozzarella or a Mexican blend but in India we use Amul cheese grated and that works fine too.

My favorite sauce to eat with cheese toasts with is Maggi Hot and Sweet Tomato Chili Sauce (can be found in any Indian grocery store) but regular ketchup or tabasco works really well too.

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Chicken Kathi Rolls

There are many different kinds of Kathi rolls and ways I make them but these are the ones that we grew up eating in my mother’s kitchen in India . The chicken filling recipe is really easy and tastes better if you marinate it overnight or for a few hours at least. 

For the roti (wrap) part you can make your own (which I never do) or use any ready made medium sized tortillas or rotis.  You can choose to add the egg or skip it but let me tell you that my favorite kathis are always the ones where the egg on the roti is doubled!

This recipe has multiple steps to it but is actually quite easy. 

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