Saturday, January 31, 2015

Celebrating Blog Anniversary with Street Food Festival and Giveaways

31st Jan 2015 marks my four year completion of Blogging.
These four years have given me a life which added life to life. I am thankful to my family, friends and my viewers who have constantly motivated me.

Doesn't this call for a celebration? Well I have organized a small event to celebrate.
The event is open to bloggers as well as non bloggers. And yes there are some Giveaways too.

The event duration is 1st Feb to 28th Feb 2015

This event will be hosted on Ribbons to Pasta's FB page.

The theme for the event is "Street Food"

I will be accepting only fresh and Original entries, so please do not send from your archives.
It is a vegetarian site and I expect only vegetarian food pictures please. 
Bloggers as well non bloggers can participate.
All you need to participate is to click on the "Like" button and send your picture of a street Food.

You can submit one picture choosing your category where you could cook a street food and click.
Bloggers can post their entries on their blog along with the recipe.

However to be eligible for the Giveaways, you must share your entry on FB page
Logo will help to spread a word around.


Actually go on the streets to click the street vendors.
Please name the place and state, country where the picture has been taken, along with the name of the street food.
Again just one picture.

The Giveaways
I have four giveaways for the participants two for each category.
Two giveaways for Indian residents and two for overseas friends.
The giveaway is beautifully photographed recipe book on street food.
There are no sponsors for the giveaway and each category has the same book.

The Judge
The pictures will be judged by the famous photographer Vinay Panjwani.
Vinay Panjwani is a documentary photographer from Ahmadabad and his work has been exhibited in Venice, New York besides Indian states.
He was featured by the National Geographic Channel in 2013 as a part of Mission covershot .

The winners will be judged on the composition of the pictures.
The judge's decision would be final.
The results will be announced in the first week of March.

If any doubts you can leave a comment in the comment section or FB page.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Monday, January 26, 2015

Chinese Vegetable Lollipops

BM # 48   Week 4  Day 3

For Day 3 under Naashta theme, I have some fried vegetable lollipops. These are crisp, crunchy and spicy. Serving them with garlic sauce enhances the flavor. This is very close to vegetable manchurian, with a slight variation. Here we add schezwan sauce which changes the flavor and makes it nice and spicy. A little food color has been added to these, but you can surely skip it . 

While making these just make sure that the batter for these is not runny or hard, and while binding these just wet your hands to get those perfect rounds. These should always be relished right away, piping hot. The taste and texture both change after a while .So serve these as soon as you fry. If you do not want to fry, go ahead and use your appam pan.

Vegetable Balls
3 cups finely chopped cabbage
14 cup carrot , grated
Few beans, finely chopped
1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp cornflour
5 tbsp APF 
1 tbsp finely chopped garlic 
1/2 tbsp finely chopped ginger
2 tsp finely chopped green chilly
2 tbsp schezwan sauce
White pepper
Salt to taste

Mix all vegetables, except onion.
Sprinkle salt.
After 5 minutes, mix well and squeeze out the excess water.
Add all ingredients to this mix.
Bind into a dough, use the drained water if needed.
Make balls of the dough and deep fry.
Serve with garlic sauce.

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Sunday, January 25, 2015

Rice Noodles with Peanuts

BM # 48  Week 4  Day 2

For Day 2 under the theme Naashta Time I have rice noodles. We serve these rice noodles for morning breakfast and they happen to be quite a hit at home. I keep changing the recipe every time, but this one was a super hit one so I thought let me share it with you guys. Also I would get a chance to record the recipe for future reference.

1 cup rice noodles, boiled
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
1 dry red chilly, broken into pieces
1 green chilly , finely chopped
Few curry leaves
1 onion, chopped
1 tbsp green capsicum
1 tbsp yellow capsicum
1 tbsp carrot, grated
1 tsp sambar powder
1 tsp peanut powder
Salt to taste
Coriander leaves
Heat oil
Add mustard seeds, red chilly and curry leaves.
Add onions, capsicum and green chilly.
Add the spices and mix well. Add the boiled noodles and toss.
Garnish with coriander leaves.

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Saturday, January 24, 2015

Whole Wheat Sesame Crackers

BM # 48  Week 4  Day 1

For this week I have chosen the theme Naashta Time. The word Naashta literally means breakfast in India. One also refers to Naashta as an evening snack. So when we talk of Naashta, we can indulge into so many varieties. It could be light, could be heavy. Freshly made hot Idlis, Dhoklas, Chole Kulche, or Vada Pav Paani, a Sandwich, the list is endless. It could also include longer shelf life snacks like Sev, Bhakarwadi or some namkeens. A cup of tea for the grown ups, juice or milk for the younger kids could complete the snack. Inspite of such a huge variety, yet we are  lost as to what to serve. Well this week I have three super recipes, which could be served as a snack,  so do come back again to check some more Snacks.

For today I have some crackers. These are whole wheat crackers, quick , simple to make and yet delicious. You have the choice to deep fry or bake these. I baked them.these could be served with any chutney, or relished as it is. I served these with mango chutney for a sham ka naashta, which is an evening snack.

Whole wheat sesame crackers
1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup sesame seeds, black or white
1/2 teaspoonSalt
1/4 cup oil
8 to 9 tablespoons water to bind the dough

Preheat oven to 180C for 15 minutes.
Sift the flour and salt.
Add sesame seeds.
Add oil and rub in to make fine bread crumbs.
Gradually add water to bind the dough.
Divide the dough into two balls, roll each about 1/8 " thick.
Cut squares of desired size .
Place the squares on un-greased baking sheet and bake for about 15-20 minutes or until the crackers are crisp. 
The baking time depends on the thickness of the squares.
Store in a tightly covered container up to 1 week.

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Monday, January 19, 2015

Samosa Kadi Chaat

BM # 48  Week 3  Day 3

For more than twenty years we lived in row houses. These are houses which have one common wall and so you have one neighbor on each side. So we had one Muslim neighbor and one Sindhi. The Sindhi lady was a young lady who was a good cook. Most mornings she would call out and pass a nice hot bowl of the vegetable of the day. Inspite of us being the same community, there was a vast difference in our cooking styles. She happened to take Maths classes for kids and one of her student was Rajasthani. This boy's mother made amazing samosas and served with a Kadi. Her batch was always big and our neighbor always used to get it. My neighbor knowing my love of chaats, always made it a point to share from her share....And that's the origin of this recipe. On my search I did find a Samosa Kadi by TD, but it was more a fusion chaat then a typical one. I could not get the perfect recipe but tried making it from the lost taste . It was very very close to what I ate years back. So enjoy this Rajasthani Chaat, which is really really delicious.

This time I made wheat based samosas and roasted them in a air fryer.

1 tbsp gram flour
1/2 cup curd
1/8 cup mint leaves
2-3 green chillies
A small piece ginger
Pinch black salt
Juice of 1 lemon
Blend all ingredients in a mixer.
Take a pan , pour the blended mix.
Cook on slow fire till slightly thick.
Cool .
Check the taste of the curry, it should be spicy and slightly tangy, you can add lemon juice to make it tangy.

To serve
Place a samosa in a bowl.
Pour the Kadi on top.
Sprinkle coriander leaves and pomegranate pearls.
The samosa will be hot and the Kadi should be at room temperature.

Check out some more samosa varieties
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Sunday, January 18, 2015

Dahi Bread Chaat

BM # 48  Week 3  Day 2

Day 1 under the chaat theme , I shared the chutney recipes which are normally used for chaats. Today I shall share the recipe of Bread Chaat. For making any chaat a base is needed and this is just like our papadi chaat but instead of papadi I have used bread. So let's get to the recipe... But wait is there a recipe to it, no not really . It is all about how you assemble the dish and the ingredients in the frig.

Let's see what I have done.
Bread cut into cubes and deep fried.

A mix of
Onion, finely chopped
Cucumbers, finely chopped
Boiled potato, finely chopped
Tomatoes, finely chopped
Green chilly, finely chopped.
Yogurt, whisked
Teekhi chutney
Khatti Meethi chutney
Coriander leaves
Pomogranate pearls.
Chaat masala
Lay the bread pieces in a flat dish.
Pour curd all over the pieces.
Pour the chutneys
Sprinkle the chopped veggies, chaat masala, salt.
Sprinkle coriander leaves and pomogranate pearls.
Serve immediately.

This is a very interesting chaat where you can make variations 

Instead of these veggies you could use a mix of the following
Boiled potatoes, finely chopped
Black channa, boiled
Onion, finely chopped

Yet another variation could be
Boiled potatoes, finely chopped
Mung bean sprouts, boiled
Onion, finely chopped
I normally use whatever is available on hand, you too could try different combos.

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Saturday, January 17, 2015

Chutneys for Chaat

BM # 48  Week 3  Day 1

The word Chaat literally means to lick in Hindi language. These are snacks served either at road side or stalls. With changing times these are also served in restaurants and even five stars hotels. In India the origin of Chaat has been from Uttar Pradesh , but now popular through out India, Nepal, Bangladesh. It is also seen in other parts of the world and is considered a true treat.

The Chaat has some fried breads and from different flours , which are topped with boiled potato, sprouted beans, boiled chick peas. These are then topped with yogurt and spicy sauces and spices.

There are basically three main sauces or chutneys as we call them. The first chutney is the Hari Teekhi Chutney. This chutney is made with fresh coriander leaves, mint leaves , green chillies .to make it tangy lemon juice, raw mango or tamarind is used. Now there are different spicy chutneys , each varying with the chaat.

Next comes the Khatti Meethi chutney or sonth. This is sweet and tangy at the same time. This chutney too has umpteen variations. Some make this with tamarind, some make with dry mango. To sweeten some use sugar , while some use jaggery, dates too are used in this chutney. In North specially in Delhi one can see bananas , apples in these chutneys. There is a rich version of this called the Shahi Imli Sonth and this version has nuts and raisins. This is best served with Dahi Wadas.

The third chutney is the Lassan ki chutney. This is made with garlic and red chillies.The garlic chutney is more popular in Maharashtra and Gujarat.

There are various toppings on chaats, sev, the deep fried gram vevermicelli ,salad, onions, coriander, pomegranate, beetroot are some of the main toppings.

Also we cannot forget that the chaats vary from state to state. There serving style varys too. Some are traditional chaats while some are innovative ones. In the North one can see Bhalla Papri Chaat, whereas in Maharashtra, it would be Dahi Batata Puri. Oh I can go on and on on this topic but let us come to today's post.

 Chaats from any state ,  have always been my favorite food and I serve them quite often. My fridge is always stacked with all three chutneys,boiled potatoes. The pantry always has sev and some kind of fried breads.

Today I shall be posting the three essentials of chaat. Yes, you guessed right. The chutneys for chaat.

Teekhi chutney
1 cup coriander leaves
2-3 green chillies depending on the variety
1/4 cup mint leaves
Black salt
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt to taste
Blend all ingredients and make a fine paste.

Teekhi Chutney 2
1/2 bunch coriander leaves
2 green chillies
1 small piece ginger
1tbsp Ratlami sev
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt to taste
Blend all ingredients to a fine paste.

Khatti Meethi Imli Ki Chutney
1/2 cup tamarind pulp
1/2 cup sugar / jaggery
Black salt
Salt to taste
1/8 tsp red chilly powder
1/8 tsp garam masala
Pinch asafoetida
Boil the tamarind and sugar or jaggery.
Add both the salts and red chilly powder.
Let it cook till thick and reaches the desired consistency.
Add garam masala and asafoetida.
Let cool, before pouring into a jar.

Ideally you could take a test check, by talking a drop in a bowl. On cooling take the drop between fingers, it should be 2 string consistency.

Lassan ki chutney
10- 12 whole red chillies
10-12 garlic pods
Salt to taste
1 tbsp oil
Few drops water.
Add all ingredients to a blender and make a fine paste.
This paste would be really thick and like a concentrate.
Store in a jar.
When needed, add water to get the desired consistency.

These are some of the pics of one of my Chaat Parties.

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Monday, January 12, 2015

Labn'eh Cheese from Middle East

BM # 48  Week 2  Day 3

Labneh is a cheese which is very famous in Middle Eastern countries. The first meal, breakfast begins with Labneh. I have already posted the basic version of Labneh, for today it is a Labneh which can be preserved.

When I first read about this Labneh I was simply amazed. I wondered when placed in oil for two weeks what would the taste be? I was very curious, but this needs patience, one gets the right matured cheese taste only after 3-4 days. Since I could not hold my curiosity, I removed one cheese ball after 8 hours. It tasted real good but later I realized that the more you wait, the better the taste.The flavors infuse better.

What you need
Fresh curd 
Olive Oil 
Chilly Flakes 
Basil Leaves 
Line a large sieve with cheesecloth; place it over a deep bowl. 
Place yogurt in sieve. Gather edges of cheesecloth to cover yogurt. 
Place in refrigerator and let drain for 2-3 days. 
Discard liquid. 
Roll yogurt into 3/4" balls. 
Place in a glass jar.
Add garlic cloves, basil leaves, salt, chilly flakes to olive oil.
Add this oil to the glass jar.
Cover; place in refrigerator and let marinate for at least 8 hours and up to 2 weeks. 
Serve the cheese with toast chips, whatever you like. I have enjoyed it with roti also.this cheese is my Day 3 post for week 2.

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Sunday, January 11, 2015

Beet Root Hummus

BM # 48 Week 2 Day 2

Recently I went for lunch with some friends . The lunch was Indian but they had a huge spread of Middle Eastern dips. I have always been very fond of this cuisne,and since there was a big spread of these dips, I did not feel like having the main course. The Beet root hummus looked the prettiest and attracted everyone. It tasted as good. I have tried pumpkin hummus ,which also tastes awesome, but I was sold out to the vibrant beauty.This is my Day 2 post under the Middle East Cuisine theme.

200 gms chickpeas , boiled and water drained
2 beetroots (peeled, boiled until soft) 
2-3 cloves garlic (crushed or chopped) 
1/2 lemon juice 
1/4 cup olive oil 
1 tsp cumin powder
2 tb sp curd
2 tsp tahini paste
Salt to taste
Boil the chick peas till tender.
Drain, reserve the water and use it in your gravy or for binding flour.
In a blender add all ingredients and blend to a smooth paste.
Empty in a bowl.
Drizzle with olive oil.

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Saturday, January 10, 2015

Muhammara Red Bell Pepper Dip from Middle East

BM # 48  Week 2  Day1

Muhammara is a red pepper and walnut dip which originated in Syria. It is one of the most popular dips in Middle Eastern Cuisine. This is a very simple dip and one just has to blend the ingredients to a paste. Now you have the choice to make the paste smooth or chunky, the taste is as awesome. We all are fond of these Middle Eastern dips. I have been making hummus which is the most popular dip from Middle East, but had never tried Muhammara. The mezze platters are incomplete without this dip.This is my post for the BM # 48 Day 1 under Middle East Cuisine.

1 big red bell pepper
1/2 onion
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup bread crumbs
Handful walnuts
1-4 tsp red chilly powder
1/4 tsp cuminseeds 
Lemon juice
Salt to taste

Roast the bell pepper on slow fire till completely charred.
Let cool.
Scrape off the charred skin.
Wash the pepper and chop it roughly.
Blend the bread crumbs in a food processor, adding a little water and making a purée.
Sauté the onion till golden.
Now add these onions to the bread crumb puree .
Also add the walnuts, pepper,chilly powder, cuminseeds, lemon juice , salt and olive oil.
Blend it to a smooth paste adding olive oil as needed to get the right consistency.
Serve as a dip with pita, wedges, chips or as a spread over a toast. It can also be served as a sauce with kebabs.

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Monday, January 5, 2015

Gobhi Aaloo Biryani

BM # 48  Week 1  Day 3

Gobhi Aaloo Biryani is my Day 3 post under the theme Biryanis. This is a Biryani which is very different from the regular Biryani's. Normally the Biryanis have a medley of vegetables, along with some paneer at times, but this one is absolutely different. It has just cauliflower and potatoes along with loads of onions. My DIL made this Biryani and served it with boondi raita.

The cauliflower and potatoes both are deep fried , but I am sure you can shallow fry them as well, The Biryani looked pretty as well as there were specs of red colour She used some red food color. Personally I do not add any color to food, prefer to add natural colors, so you could substitute the red color with a wee bit of beet root .
Here is the recipe...

Gobhi Aaloo Biryani
500 gms cauliflower, cut into flowerets
4 potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
6-8 finely chopped onions
2-4 green chillies
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
12 tsp red chilly powder
1 tsp garam. Masala
1/2 tsp dry mango powder
1 small piece grated ginger

Sprinkle salt on the washed cauliflower and potatoes.
Leave it till the oil for deep fyring is being heated.
Once the oil is hot fry the cauliflower and then the potatoes.
Drain on a kitchen towel.
In a pan add oil.
Add cumin seeds, and rest of the whole spices.
Add onion and cook till pink.
Add the grated ginger and green chillies.
Add the fried potatoes and fried cauliflower.
Add salt and the dry spices.
Mind you we have already added salt to the fried veggies and even our rice is cooked with salt.
Place the vegetables to cook on very slow fire for a few minutes, till the oil separates.

Layering the rice
Remove 1 small bowl of rice and add beet root juice to it this will give a beautiful hue to the rice.
Alternately you could add good quality food color.
After the first layer of rice, sprinkle some of the colored rice over the plain boiled rice.
Spread a layer of the vegetables.
Again sprinkle the colored rice and finally the regular rice.
Sprinkle some milk or water on top.
Cover with a foil and bake for about 15 minutes.

Some other Biryani's which might interest you..
Pakistani Biryani
Kabuli Pulao..Jodhpur Special
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Sunday, January 4, 2015

Jodhpuri Kabuli Pulao

BM # 48  Week 1  Day2

For Day 2 under the themes Biryanis I am posting Jodhpur's famous Kabuli Pulao. This is called Pulao, but is more on the lines of a Biryani. No, we don't layer it but rice is cooked separately and then mixed with vegetables and spices, simmered and thus infusing all flavors.

While my son was doing his post graduation he used to carry lunch and these boys shared it. While they shared their lunch, he once had this Pulao and asked me to try it. It was a task finding this recipe...he did not even know the name. All he told me that his friend was a Rajasthani, and the rice had bread pieces. I called up my Rajasthani friends and finally got the recipe...only then I knew that it was called Kabuli Pulao.

Jodhpurs Kabuli Pulao
2 cups basmati rice

2 potatoes, cubed
2 beet roots, cubed
2-3 onions, round slices
2 slices bread
1/2 cup curd
2-3 bay leaves
1" piece cinnamon
2-3 cloves
1/2 tsp red chilly powder
1/2 tsp garam masala
Salt to taste
Coriander leaves
Wash and cook rice, so that each grain is separate.
You could boil the rice in a pan or a rice cooker.
Keep aside and let them cool.
Deep fry the potato cubes, beet root cubes and the bread pieces.
Keep aside.
Heat about 2 tbsp oil and ghee in a pan.
Add bay leaf, cinnamon, cloves.
Add onion slices and sauté till golden.
Add red chilly powder and cook till well combined, this should not take more than half a minute. The chilly should be red, make sure it does not burn.
Add curd immediately.
Add salt , turmeric powder and garam masala.
Mix well and cook the spices till oil separates.
Add the fried potatoes, beet roots and bread pieces.
Mix well .
Now add the boiled rice and coriander leaves.
Mix gently so that the vegetables and rice mix well.
Cook for 10 minutes on very very slow flame for the flavors to infuse.
When I say slow flame,I place the gridle on very slow flame and then place the pan on it, this way the heat is very low.

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Saturday, January 3, 2015

Pakistani Biryani

BM # 48  Week 1  Day 1

 This is my first post for the year 2015 and before I begin A Very Happy New Year to all my friends!!
Coming to the year's first BM!!
This week I will be making some Biryanis. Biryanis are a mix of rice, whole spices , curried meat or vegetables. Normally they are layered where after a layer of rice a layer of curried vegetables is placed . It is topped with another layer of rice. Nuts , raisins, fried onions, saffron, may be sprinkled. The dish is then sealed and cooked on slow fire or Dum as we call it. Some Biryanis are made without layering, both rice and vegetables or meat are cooked separately , mixed and then put on Dum. Lucknow specializes in this style of Biryanis. While talking of Biryanis how can we miss the famous Hyderabadi  Biryanis.

For today I have picked a Pakistani Biryani. I made this Biryani while my cousins were here from USA. While eating this Biryani my cousin found it to be truly authentic. I wondered how he felt that. He has some Pakistani friends in US and he has had Biryani in their house so perhaps he could say that. I have never tasted a Biryani in a Pakistani house, but I was happy to know that it was authentic.

Pakistani Biryani
2 cups basmati rice
1 tbsp mint leaves, chopped
1 tb sp whole spices
1-2 tb sp lemon juice
1-2 tsp shahi jeera
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
Few strands saffron dissolved in 1/4 cup milk
Salt to taste

For the biryani masala
3 onions, medium size, sliced
3 tomatoes, large, finely chopped
2 potatoes, large , cubed
1 carrot , sliced round
A few French beans , cut into 1" pieces
1/2 cup peas
1 cup cauliflower flowerets
1-2 cup yogurt
2 tb sp ginger garlic paste
1 tsp red chilly powder
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp coriander powder
Coriander leaves

Fried onions
Nuts for garnishing

Boil 4 cups water and add mint leaves, salt , turmeric, whole spices and lemon juice.
After a few boils add the rice with 1 tbsp of oil.
Let the rice cook till the moisture has gone simmer and cook till done.
Alternately transfer the rice to a rice cooker and cook rice.
When the rice is done, take it off the flame. Place in one star anise in the center. This releases a soft aroma and flavour to the rice.
Allow the rice to cool completely by spreading it on a tray or a dish.
Once the rice has cooled, add in the saffron (diluted in hot milk) and mix the rice gently. Avoid smashing the grains.

For the masala
Heat oil.
Add black cumin and allow them to splutter.
Add two sliced onions and saute till dark golden.
Add in the tomatoes and cook till they are tender.
Add in the ginger garlic paste, and saute till oil separates..
Add the powdered spices, along with some salt and all the chopped vegetables. Mix well.
Cover and cook on low heat till vegetables are tender.
Add the yogurt and allow to cook for another ten minutes.

Grease a baking dish or a pan.
Spread half the rice.
Add in the vegetable masala.
Next spread a layer of rice.
Sprinkle saffron milk.
Garnish with fried onion and nuts.
If using a baking dish , cover with a sheet of foil and bake for 20 minutes at 180 deg.
And if using a pan simmer for 20 minutes making sure all the flavors seep in.
I normally keep a heavy girdle on slow fire and then place my pan on it. This reduces the heat and we get the dum effect that we want.
In a pan, spread half of the vegetable masala. Add half of the rice, topping it with another layer of vegetable biryani masala. Spread another layer of rice on top.
Finally top it with fried onions (or raw onion rings) and Almonds

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