Spicy snacks

Crispy chana dal chivda/snack

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Crispy chana dal snack

Bengalgram Dal/Kadlebele (Kannada)/Chanedal (Konkani) is a versatile dal and often used more to prepare snacks or as seasoning/tadka. Some of the better known chana dal based foods are dhokla, sweet khichdi, puran poli, and also kosambari/salad. My recipe for today uses chana dal to make a crispy fried snack – either to be enjoyed as a ‘time pass’/tiffin snack or with upma dishes. Hope you enjoy it !

What you need to have:

1. Bengalgram dal – 1 Cup

2. Peanuts – 1/3 Cup

3. Chilli powder – 1 Teaspoon

4. Turmeric powder – 1/2 Teaspoon

5. Pepper powder – 1/2 Teaspoon

6. Black salt powder – 1/4 Teaspoon

7. Curry leaves – A few

Ingredients of crispy chana dal snack

What you do with what you have:

1. Wash and soak Bengalgram/chana dal in water over night. Drain and dry it for about an hour on a dry cloth or in a colander shaking every now and then. While soaking, I usually place a spoonful of saunf/fennel seeds packed in a cloth along with the soaking chana dal. The saunf/fennel seeds enhance the crispiness of the dal and lend a special aroma.

Soaked and dried chana dal

2. Dry roast curry leaves in a skillet till crispy, but make sure it does not change colour.  When cooled, crush/powder a few curry leaves.

Curry leaves being dry roasted

3. Place a skillet with one cup cooking oil on medium flame. When hot, place a holed-spatula in it and fry the soaked chana dal in spatula till crispy. Repeat the process in batches for the remaining dal too. Adjusting the flame of your burner to ensure that the dal isn’t over-fried/burnt. Transfer to a colander to allow excess oil to drain out.

Soaked chana dal being fried in oil

4. In the same oil and spatula, fry peanuts too till crispy and transfer it to the same colander.

Peanuts being fried

Fried chana dal and peanuts

5. Transfer fried chana dal, peanuts to a skillet and add chilli powder, turmeric powder, white pepper powder, black salt powder, salt and few roasted curry leaves and and curry leaves powder from step-2 to it. Fry over simmering flame and stir for a few seconds. Enjoy with with upma, bhel or even as a snack by itself !

Powders and salt being added to fried chana dal

6.  Transfer it to an air tight container – it will remain fresh and crispy for more than a week.                                                                                                             A closer view of the snack

Crispy dal with Avrekalu upma

How long it takes: 30 minutes(other than soaking)

Good to remember:

1. Frying should be on medium flame depending upon one’s burner.

2. Adding peanuts is optional.

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Grilled Paneer Sandwich

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Grilled Paneer Sandwich 

How long it takes: 60 minutes

Makes:  16 Sandwiches

Quick-fix recipes are useful for breakfast and snacks, and one such trial led to this recipe. Paneer is quite versatile with breads/rotis and in a scrambled/bhurji form it can be easily used as a yummy filling. A couple of years ago I had put up the recipe for veg sandwich which was well appreciated, and I thought of making a filling with paneer. Hope you enjoy it too –

What you need to have:

1. Grated Paneer – 1 Cup

2. Bread slices – 16 (I have used whole wheat bread)

3. Butter (cholestrol free is what I prefer) – 100 grams

Grated paneer & butter 

Whole wheat bread slices

Ingredients of Stuffing:

1. Onion chopped fine –  1/2 Cup

2. Cumin seeds – 1 Teaspoon

3. Green chilli (grated ) – 1

4. Tomato chopped – 1

5. Turmeric powder – 1/2 Teaspoon

6. Chilli powder – 1/4 Teaspoon

7. Garam masala powder – A pinch

8. Chopped Cilantro – A handful

Ingredients of seasoning

What you do with what you have:

1. Wash and chop tomato fine. Wash and peel onions finely, as well as coriander/cilantro and keep aside as shown in the image above.

2. Place a skillet with 3-4 teaspoons of cooking oil on medium flame.  When hot, add jeera/cumin seeds to it.  When jeera splutters, add chopped tomatoes and fry till mushy. Add chopped onions with salt and fry till done.

Chopped onions being added to fried tomatoes

3. Add chopped green chillies and stir a little. Add all the powders in a row.and stir again.

All powders being added in a row

4.  Finally add grated paneer and chopped cilantro and mix well.

Grated paneer & chopped cilantro being added

5. Finally transfer it to a bowl as shown in the image below.

                                                                                                                                                                  Stuffing

6. Place the stuffing and spread it evenly. Apply butter on both sides of the other slice and cover the stuffed bread.

Buttered bread slice & stuffing placed

7. Use a non-stick sandwich maker and grill till crispy and brown on both the sides.

Sandwich after being grilled

8. Enjoy with tomato sauce or plain or even with Amul butter and chutney powder of your choice.

Paneer sandwich with tomato sauce

How long it takes: 60 minutes

Makes:  16 Sandwiches

Good to remember:

1. I have used broken wheat bread for the dish. It is individual choice.

2. I have also used cholesterol free butter from Amul – not that I insist on your doing the same.

3. One can even use vegetables of one’s choice for the stuffing.

4. Grill it till brown and crispy. Make sure you do not burn it .

Paneer Parathas

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Paneer Parathas

How long it takes: 1 hour

Number of servings: 15 parathas of the above size

Paneer is very popular among the younger generation and also among the North Indian community.  Now-a days, here in South India too, paneer dishes are available in many restaurants – quite unlike the days of my youth. We can make it freshly at home or buy it conveniently from a dairy store. We use paneer in a plethora of dishes – sometimes in side-dishes like the matar-paneer masala, alu matar paneer, paneer kofta, or in biryani, or to make a sandwich or bhurji, to name a few.  I haven’t uploaded too many recipes using paneer, palak paneer being the first of others to come.  Today I would like to put up paneer paratha which tastes great with either lemon pickle or even with tomato ketchup.  Here it is:

What you need to have:

Ingredients of  stuffing:

1. Grated Paneer – 2 Cups (Amul paneer cubes)

2. Boiled Potato – 1 (medium)

3. Grated Green chilly – 1 Tablespoon

4. Chopped corinder leaves – 1/2 Cup

5. Red chilly powder A pinch

6. Turmeric powder – A pinch

7. Roasted cumin powder – 1 Tablespoon

8. Garam Masala powder – 1/2  Teaspoon

9. Lemon juice – 1 Teaspoon (optional but I have added)

10. Salt – To taste

Ingredients of Paneer paratha stuffing

Ingredients of the outer dough:

1. Wheat atta – 2 cups

2.  Cooking oil (raw) – 2 Tablespoons

3. Salt – As per taste

4. Kasoori methi powder – 1 Tablespoon

Ingredients of the paratha dough

What you do with what you have:

1. Wash the paneer cubes in normal water once it is out of the freezer. Grate it and keep it aside.  Wash and chop green chilly and coriander leaves as well.

2. Cook potato in the cooker as usual till smooth and on cooling grate it and keep it aside.

3. Place a spatula with cumin seeds / jeera on low flame. Roast it till done. On cooling powder it in the dry grinder.

Cumin seeds being dry roasted

4. Transfer grated paneer, potato, green chilly, chopped coriander leaves, turmeric powder, chilly powder, cumin powder, salt, lemon juice etc into a broad mixing bowl.

Stuffing ingredients in a bowl

5. Mix the ingredients with your hands so that you get the proper consistency for stuffing.

Paratha stuffing mix

6. Transfer atta, salt and kasoori methi powder to a sieve. Sieve the mix twice so that they blend evenly.  Add cooking oil to it and slowly add the required quantity of water to make a soft, pliable dough. Pinch out the required quantity of the dough to make round balls and roll it into 4″ diameter. Place around 2 -3 Teaspoons of stuffing from step-5 in each ball and close the edges of the dough neatly.

The dough, pinched out ball, rolled roti and the filling being placed in it

7. Roll the paratha on a plastic sheet dusting it in atta to medium thickness and around 5-6″ diameter.

Rolled Paneer Paratha

8. Place a roti skillet on medium flame and splash a little Amul margarine/butter on it. Place the paratha and fry till butter on top melts and is done at the bottom of it.

Paratha being roasted

9. Flip the same till brown spots appear.

Paratha being roasted on the reverse

10. Repeat the process for the remaining .  Enjoy with either Tomato ketchup or Lemon pickle.  Yummmmmmmmmmmmmmmm !!!

Ready to serve Paneer paratha with Tomato ketchup

How long it takes: 1 hour

Number of servings: 15 parathas of the above size

Corn Usli

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                                                                                                                           Corn Usli

How long it takes: 45 mins

Number of servings: 2-3

Corn is available in plenty and popular in all forms. I have already put up corn pulav, corn cutlet, and babycorn capsicum masala. Today I would like to put up corn usli which is similar to other usli recipes like the white peas usli, peanut usli. You need very tender corn for this dish and hence I have used American sweet tender corn. It makes for a lovely snack in the evening or can be enjoyed with roti or rice. Let me know how you had it! Here it is.

What you need to have:

1. Sweet corn Kernels – 1 Cup

2.Chopped Capsicum – 1/4 cup

3. Mustard seeds – 1 Teaspoon

4. Chilli powder – 1/2 Teaspoon

5. Turmeric powder – 1 Teaspoon

6. Dhania-jeera powder – 1 Teaspoon

7. Chaat masala – 1 Teaspoon

8 Chopped Cilantro – A handful

10. Fresh grated coconut – A handful

11. Lemon juice – 1 Teaspoon

12 . Salt – To taste

13. Cooking oil – 2 Teaspoons

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Fresh American Corn

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Corn kernels

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Ingredients of seasoning & garnishing

What you do with what you have:

1. Peel sweet corn kernels, wash and keep it aside as shown in image-2.

2. Wash and chop capsicum fine, grate coconut, wash and chop cilantro and keep it aside as shown in image-3.

3. Cook corn kernels adding sufficient water in the cooker as usual for about 30 minutes till smooth .

                                                                                                                    Corn kernels being cooked

4. Place a skillet with 2 teaspoons of cooking oil in it on medium flame. When hot, add mustard seeds; when it splutters add chopped capsicum from step-2 and required quantity of salt. Simmer the flame and close the skillet with a lid. Stir at regular intervals – capsicum cooks fast and should take on a slightly transparent appearance.

                                                                                                     Chopped capsicum being added to the seasoning

5. When done, add all the powders one after the other in a row.

                                                                                                        All powders being added to the seasoning

6. Just mix and add cooked corn kernels from step-3 to it and also chopped cilantro and fresh grated coconut too to it. Squeeze lemon juice into the stir-fry.                                                                                                                                                                                     Cooked corn kernels, cilantro & grated coconut being added to the dish

7. Ready to serve Corn Usli is as shown in the image below. Enjoy with tea in the evening.

                                                                                                                           A closer view of Corn Usli

How long it takes: 45 minutes

Number of servings : 2-3

1. Tender corn kernels would be better for the dish. Even if a bit ripe, they will harden on cooking. Tender ones can be cooked directly on the flame.

2. One can even add chopped onions to the seasoning in place of mustard seeds depending upon one’s palate.

Corn Cutlet

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Corn Cutlets

How long it takes: 1 hour

Number of servings: 15 of the above size

Corn is available almost all year round and in different varieties like the American sweet corn, baby corn, corn kernels, the usual butta varietyetc. I have used the American sweet corn which can be even eaten raw since it is not only tender but also sweet as its name suggests. I prepared cutlets a couple of times and they are much loved by the family. Especially when it rains non-stop for hours together, one feels like having something little spicy and crispy  like the cutlet. Here it is for you to enjoy in the rains with a hot cup of tea:

What you need to have:

1. Sweet corn – 1 cup ( I have used half of it cooked & half grated )

2. Potatoes (medium) -2

3. Bread crumbs – 1/2 Cup

4. Chopped spring onion greens – 1/2 cup

5. Cumin seeds – 1/2 Teaspoon

6. Chopped onion – 1/2 cup

7. Carrots  grated- 1/4 cup

8. Chilli powder – 1 Teaspoon

9. Turmeric powder – 1/2 Teaspoon

10 .Garam masala powder – 1/2 Teaspoon

11. Lemon juice – 1 Teaspoon

12. Chopped Cilantro – 1/4 cup

13.Ginger – garlic paste –  1/2 Teaspoon

14. Cooking oil – 1/4 cup in all approx

15. Rusk powder – 1/4 cup

Corn kernels with chopped and grated vegetables

Ingredients of Seasoning & Garnishing

What you do with what you have:

1. Wash, peel and grate carrots, chop spring onion greens fine and keep aside as shown in image-2.

2. Wash, peel and cook potatoes in the cooker as usual till smooth. Also cook half the quantity of corn in the cooker till smooth adding a little salt.

3. Powder rusk in the mixer to a medium coarse consistency and keep it aside to dust the cutlets later.

4. Chop the shallots fine. Wash and chop cilantro finely and keep it aside in image-2.

5. Grind fine ginger-garlic paste. (Or you may use the ready-to-use ginger-garlic paste available on market shelves)

6. Grind half the quantity of corn in the mixer without adding water (the other half would have been cooked)

 Corn being crushed in the mixer

4. Place a skillet with 3-4 Teaspoons of cooking oil on medium flame and when hot, add cumin seeds to it. When it splutters add chopped onions and required quantity of salt to it and saute for a while till it turns transparent.

Seasoning in  progress

5. When done add grated carrots, chopped spring onions and crushed corn and cook for a while on low flame.

Veggies being cooked in the seasoning

6. When done, add all the powders one after the other and saute.

Powders being added to the veggie mix

7. When done, add boiled grated potato, cooked corn to it and stir in. Finally add the soaked bread crumbs to it and mix well after switching off the flame.Cooked potato & corn being added to the mix

8. Add chopped cilantro, lemon juice and a pinch of sugar (optional) to it. Check for salt and sugar etc. The final mix is as shown in the image below.

Corn cutlet batter

9. Pinch out the required quantity of the mix and shape and dust it in the rusk powder and keep it aside for a while.

Cutlet being dusted in rusk powder

9. Place a dosa skillet on medium flame and splash a little oil on it. When hot, place the cutlets on it and splash some more oil all over so that they are not burnt.

Corn cutlets being roasted

10. When fried, flip and roast on the other side adding a little oil if necessary lowering the flame as needed so that it is not burnt.

Corn cutlet roasted on the reverse

11. Enjoy hot either with tomato ketchup or pudina chutney.

Ready to serve corn cutlet with tomato sauce

How long it takes: 1 hour

Number of servings: 15 of the above size

Good to remember:

1. Use fresh American tender corn if available.

2. If the cooked corn is not softened, one can even crush it in the mixer into small pieces that can be easily bound into the mix.

3. I have not added peas as otherwise the taste of corn can not be relished.

4. Cutlet mix can be prepared and stored in the fridge to be used in a day or two.

Vermicelli Cutlet

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How long it takes: 1 hour                                                    Vermicelli Cutlet

Number of servings: 20 of the above size

Vermicelli or Semiya / Sevaiyan are the extremely thin noodles/angel hair/ spaghetti available in various brands like the Bambino, M.T.R and some local brands too. Previously we had to roast it before making any dish, but these days they come in pre-roasted packets. I have previously put up concoctions of vermicelli like the upma, pulav, and kheer. Today, I would like to put up yet another dish with this wonderful ingredient. I have already put up vegetable cutlet, snake gourd cutlet, drumstick blossoms cutlet and today I present the Vermicelli cutlet which really tastes yum with either tomato ketchup or the pudina chutney. Here it is.

What you need to have:

1. Vermicelli – 1 cup (I use the Bambino brand usually)

2. Boiled grated potatoes – 1 cup

3. Carrot grated – 1/2 cup

4. Green Peas (Frozen) – A handful

                                                                                                                                        Fresh Veggie                                                                                           

Ingredients of Seasoning:

1. Chopped Onion – 1 Cup

2. Ginger-Garlic paste – 1 teaspoon

3. Chopped Cilantro – 2 Tablespoons

4. Lemon juice – 1 Teaspoon

5. Chilli powder – 1 Teaspoon

6. Dhania-jeera powder – 1 Teaspoon

7. Turmeric powder – 1 Teaspoon

8. Garam masala powder – 1 Teaspoon

9. Cumin seeds – 1/2 Teaspoon

10. Cooking oil – 1 Tablespoon

11. Salt – To taste

12. Sugar – A pinch(optional)                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Ingredients of seasoning

What you do with what you have:

1. Wash, peel and chop onions fine. Wash and chop cilantro fine and keep it aside as shown in the above image. Peel garlic, ginger and make the paste too.

2. Add a teaspoon of cooking oil and cook vermicelli in a broad based vessel adding 4-5 glasses of water till done / soft / transparent. Then transfer it to a colander to drain the water completely.                                                                                                                                                                            Vermicelli being cooked till soft

3. Wash, peel and grate carrots. Run green peas as well in the mixer to a coarse consistency. Cook potatoes in the cooker and on cooling grate them as well and is as shown in the image below.                                                                                                                                                                                      Grated veggies

4. Place a skillet with 1 tablespoon of cooking oil  on medium flame and add cumin seeds.  When it splutters add chopped onions from step-1 and also required quantity of salt to it.                                                                                         

 Chopped onions being fried in the seasoning

5. When done add ginger-garlic paste from step-1. Fry it till the raw smell disappears and nice aroma oozes out.

  Ginger-Garlic paste being added

6.Add grated carrot and green peas as well to it and cook till done on low flame closing it with a lid and stiring at regular intervals so that it does not burn.                                                                                                                                      

               Grated carrots & beans being cooked

7. Finally add all powders and stir well.                                                                      

                                                                                                       Powders being added on cooking veggies

8. Transfer it to a broad based bowl along with cooked vermicelli, chopped coriander leaves and grated cooked potatoes. Add a pinch of sugar and lemon juice to it and mix well with your hands to bring it to a required consistency.                                                                                                                                           

Ingredients of vermicelli cutlet mix

9. Mix well with your hands and shape it to ones requirement. Powder a few toast in the mixer to a medium coarse consistency and just dust the shaped cutlets in it.                                                                                                      

   Cutlet being and a few dusted in toast powder

10. Place a dosa tawa on medium flame and splash a little oil on it. When heated place dusted cutlets from step-9 on it. Fry till the bottom of the cutlets turn crispy.                                                                                                       

 Cutlets being shallow fried

11. Flip and roast the other side as well splashing generous quantity of oil till crispy and is ready to serve now.

 Ready to serve Vermicelli Cutlet

12. Enjoy with either Pudina chutney or Tomato sauce.

                                         Vermicelli cutlet with pudina chutney & tomato sauce

How long it takes: 1 hour

Number of servings: 20 of the above size

Good to remember:

1. Always use fresh veggies for flavour and colour.

2. One can use veggies like cauliflower, beans etc as well if available in your pantry.

3. One can even microwave them if urgent.

4. I always shallow fry them to make it light and also for taste. The reason being that it can be shallow fried while doing other work in the kitchen. 🙂

Pudina Chutney (Mint Chutney)

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Pudina Chutney

How long it takes: 15 minutes

Number of servings: 5-6

Pudina in Kannada is called mint in English. It has an aroma which is sometimes not tolerated by one and all. It is a creeper that grows well in the kitchen garden  and does not need fussy care. It has immense use in kitchens across cultures all over the world and we use it in our daily life in a few salads, pulav and also especially as chutneys in the preparation of sandwiches, chaats and other snacks. These days, people use it as an ingredient in mixtures, chakli too. I have already put up Mint Rice and would like to put up this Pudina chutney which is a good combo for Sabudana Vada. Here it is:

What you need to have:

1. Dry roasted bengalgram dal – 1 cup

2. Mint leaves – 1/2 cup

3. Cilantro – 1/4 cup

4. Bilimbi or Tamarind  – As per taste

5. Green chilly – 3-4

6. Salt – To taste

           

Ingredients of Pudina chutney

What you do with what you have:

1. Wash and chop both mint and cilantro/coriander leaves and keep it aside.

2. Clean roast bengalgram dal, and chop off the stem of bilimbi as well.

3. Grind chopped cilantro, pudina, green chilly, roasted bengalgram dal, bilimbi, salt and a pinch of sugar in the mixer adding water in steps to a required medium coarse consistency.

4. Transfer it to a serving bowl. Ready to serve pudina chutney is as shown in the image below.

                                                                                                                Ready-to-serve Pudina Chutney

5. Enjoy with Sabudana vada. Yummmmmmmmmmmmmmm

Ready to serve Pudina chutney with Sabudana vada

How long it takes: 15 minutes

Number of servings: 5-6

Good to remember:

1. Quantity of both cilantro and pudina depends upon one’s palate, so also green chilly.

2.The consistency of chutney should be always medium coarse, to avoid it from being tasteless.

3. Can store in the refrigerator for 4-5 days and used as a spread in sandwiches or as dips for other snacks.