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Savory Cornmeal Pancakes

Savory Cornmeal Pancakes

I am craving spicy food these days.

Pohe (flaked rice), spicy fish curry, chicken wings with hot sauce, spicy soups, curries and dal. The list is endless. Thanks to mom being here and her cooking; its easier to indulge in the spicier palate.

Yesterday, we made these cornmeal pancakes for breakfast. After routine of eggs, toast and oatmeal; they were a refreshing change.

Savory Cornmeal Pancakes

The pancakes themselves were not too spicy ( though you can kick up heat a notch if you will easily with more green chilli peppers) but with homemade pickle it sure did hit the right note. I suppose some garlic chutney would go well with it too.

I wanted to add grated zucchini or cucumber to them but we didn’t have any on hand so made them plain. This looks like a good vehicle to sneak in some veggies. I made a couple of small-sized ones for Varun. He ate the bits without cilantro so next time I will chop them super fine so he gets in his veggies for the day.

Savory Cornmeal Pancakes

Savory Cornmeal Pancakes Recipe

  • 1/2 cup corn meal
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4  teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup yogurt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 – 2 spring onions finely diced
  • 1 green chilli pepper finely diced
  • 1/2 cup cilantro finely chopped
  • 1  tablespoon oil

1. In a large bowl, mix  cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside

2. In another bowl, beat the egg with milk. Add yogurt and beat well so there are no lumps.

3. Add the milk-yogurt mixture to the flour mix. Add ginger, garlic, chilli pepper and cilantro. Mix well. Taste and adjust seasonings. Set aside for 10 – 15 minutes.

4. Heat oil in a non stick girdle. Ladle 1/4 cup of the mixture on to the girdle when hot. Cook on each side for a couple of minutes till golden brown.

Serve warm with sour cream, pickle or yogurt.

Paneer Masala Toast

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I am in the last few weeks of pregnancy. In the home stretch. So far everything has been same as first pregnancy.

Except that since I am at home ( and pregnant and writing  food blog), I am hungry. A lot. All the time.

After breakfast. After lunch. And mostly immediately after dinner. Also especially around 4:00 pm.

I feel like a cow, grazing all day long.

Fed up with constantly raiding the fridge, I decided to make something more filling and scrumptious so that I could eat it again.

Paneer masala toast was born out of that necessity.

Hot buttered toast, spicy paneer spread on it and topped with cool crunchy tomatoes.

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I ate one. And decided to save one for Varun as he loves paneer. But it was so good that I made myself another one half an hour later. Gobbled it all up. Cleared it all up so there was no trace of it left.

I felt so bad ( for being a bad parent and not sharing it with Varun) and yet so good.

I have to make it again. In a bigger batch. And share with family. Because thats what home cooking and parenting is all about. Right? Right?

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Paneer Masala Toast Recipe

  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup fresh paneer crumbled ( use tofu instead of paneer)
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 serrano chili finely diced
  • 1/4 cup finely diced red onion
  • Pinch of Cumin powder, Corriander powder
  • Handful of cilantro leaves finely chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 slices of whole grain bread
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon pesto sauce
  • 2-4 slices of tomato

1. Heat oil in a skillet. Add cumin seeds once heated. As the seeds sizzle, add the chillies and red onion. Let the onion cook for a minute or so taking care not to burn it.

2. Add the spice powder and paneer. Add salt. Mix well.

3. Add cilantro leaves and let cook for another minute or so till the paneer is cooked. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Remove and keep aside in a bowl.

4. In the same skillet, heat tablespoon of butter. Grill bread slices in the buttered skillet. Flipping over once browned taking care not to char it.

5. Once the bread is grilled, spoon pesto sauce on one of the bread slices. Layer the paneer masala filling. Lay the tomato slices on top.

Cover with the other grilled bread. Press down with a spatula.

6. Remove from the skillet and cut in half.

Serve warm with ketchup and hot tea!

Savory Tomato Pesto Tart

Ready to eat tomato tart

There are some dishes that come together effortlessly and are like a party of flavors in your mouth. Tomato and pesto is  one such combination. Quality ingredients shine and provide easy snack, lunch or appetizer.

Tomato Tart

I found some cherry tomatoes at our local supermarket. They were sweet and fresh and paired with pesto made for a savory side to soft scrambled eggs. They made the breakfast that much more special.

If you are planning a summer brunch with friends, this gotta feature on your menu. Paired with a salad and rose there is nothing more simple and more fitting ode to summer than this.

Tomato tart 2

Savory Tomato Pesto Recipe

  • 1 cup homemade pastry or store-bought puff pastry
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1 – 1 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoon pesto
  • Salt to taste
  • Few cranks of black pepper
  • 2 tablespoon mint leaves roughly chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 180 C or 350 F

2. Roll out the dough into a 8 inch circle about 1/4 inch thick. Prick all over with a fork to prevent puffing leaving about an inch edge around the perimeter untouched.

3. Blind bake this pastry dough for about 6 – 8 minutes till golden brown. I weighed this down with an oven safe bowl with some beans to keep the center unpuffed.

4. Remove from oven and then layer the mustard and pesto over the base. Leave the edges as is.

5. Arrange the tomatoes in rows or circles. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

6. Put it back in the oven and bake on middle shelf for about 12 minutes or so till the tomatoes are cooked at the edges and pastry is brown at the edges.

7. Remove from the oven and let cool a bit.

Cut and serve warm.

Everyday Chicken Meatballs

Chiken meatballs 2

I mentioned that I made two types of meatballs for my June Daring Kitchen Challenge – Mutton Apricot meatballs and Chicken meatballs. This post is about the chicken meatballs. Simple and easy to make, they can be cooked ahead on weekend and added to your salad , pasta or in a sandwich. They are perfect as appetizer with some mint chutney at an open house or a potluck.

The flavors in this recipe are inspired from Northwest Frontier Province of Indian subcontinent  – whole coriander seed pods, cumin seeds and red chili powder. The flavors though can be easily altered to taste.

I sometimes flatten them into nuggets and pan fry with a crumb coat. Either ways it’s a wonderful back up to be stocked in your freezer for those busy weeknight when you want something yum for dinner but don’t have energy to tinker around in the kitchen.

Chicken meatballs

Chicken Meatballs Recipe

  • 1 lb chicken breast ground
  • 3- 4 garlic pods finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon whole coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon finely diced green chili
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 inch root ginger freshly grated
  • 1/4 cup fresh coriander leaves chopped
  • 1/4 cup mint leaves chopped
  • 1/4 cup red onion chopped
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1/4- 1/2  teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon – garam masala 
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoon – Oil (for frying)

1. Mix all the ingredients well (except oil for frying). Form meatballs and set aside.

2.Heat oil in a non-stick skillet and fry the meatballs  for a couple of minutes on each side till golden brown.

3. Drain on a paper towel to remove excess oil

Serve warm. Or store in an air tight container in fridge once cool.

Goat Cheese and Fresh Figs Bruschetta

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I think this is my lucky week. After yesterday’s pan-fried tofu success, I was inspired to make something else. I was digging into fridge to see what we have on hand and came across a packet of fresh figs. The fridge had swallowed them after I bought them a couple of weeks ago and I had forgotten all about them. I hate when that happens and usually “forgetting” results in throwing out the long forgotten vegetable/ fruit.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that the figs were perfectly ripe and ready to eat. Sweet and aromatic. I ate a couple of them as is while pondering over what to make with them.

I had seen figs wrapped in bacon or prosciutto but since I didn’t have either on hand, I paired it with goat cheese ( another classic combination) and made it into a bruschetta.

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Within minutes, the bread was toasted, goat cheese spread, figs halved and topped with honey and pistachios for an added crunch. And within minutes it was devoured. Vipul hates figs. He ate the most. Devoured is the right word. They were that good! Really. I kid you not.

This is going to be my signature appetizer going forward. Simple ingredients and simple recipe. And extremely versatile. Don’t have goat cheese on hand? Use paneer, ricotta, quark or even strained greek yogurt. Don’t like figs or they are not in season? Grilled peaches, pineapples or even kumquats would fit the bill perfectly. You can skip the honey if you like. A drizzle of balsamic reduction or some fresh mint ribbons would be great too.

It can be made ahead and can be easily scaled up for a party or a potluck.
I am gonna make this again soon. This time with cherries ( if I can find them in Hyderabad).

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Goat Cheese and Figs Bruschetta Recipe

  • Quartered Sandwich Bread slices or diagonal baguette slices – 8 pieces
  • Goat cheese -1/3 – 1/2 cup at room temperature
  • Ripe figs – 4 halved
  • Honey – 2 tablespoons
  • Pistachios – 8 – 10 , shelled and coarsely chopped

1. Toast the bread in a toaster or in a skillet. If using sandwich bread, slice after toasting.

2. Spread goat cheese on the toast generously. Place the toasts on a serving platter.

3. Balance a fig half on top of the cheese on each toast piece.

4. Drizzle honey on all the figs. Sprinkle pistachios on figs.

Serve immediately.

Kerala Style Pan Fried Chicken – Perfect Accompaniment for Beer!

Kerala Style Chicken Fry

When we visited Kumarakom in Kerala last year, we had a fried chicken appetizer with our drinks. The dish was so loved by Vipul that I got the recipe from the chef. Hyderabad is sizzling in the summer heat and we cooled off one evening with beer. We recalled, fried chicken was the perfect accompaniment for beer and wine.

So we quickly made plans to make some to go along with the drinks. I am sure you can replace chicken with any other meat, fish or even tofu though cooking times may vary a bit.

A quick and easy recipe, it comes together with very little effort and planning. It was filling, spicy and with a little crunch. Add a salad, some crusty bread and it has makings of a summer meal when you don’t want to tinker much in the kitchen but yet impress the family.

Give it a try this weekend. Am sure your family will love it as much as mine did!

Kerala Style Fried Chicken Recipe

For the marinade:

  • 1 lb boneless and skinless  Chicken (breast or thigh) cut into bite sized strips
  • 2 -3  teaspoons – Chilli powder ( adjust to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon – Turmeric powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon – Coriander powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon – Garam masala
  • 1 spring Curry leaves
  • 1 teaspoon – Salt
  • 1 1/2  teaspoon – Lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoon – Rice flour or Whole wheat flour
  • 2- 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 “ginger root, grated

For the Masala:

  • 1/4 cup – Vegetable or Canola Oil
  • 1 spring – Curry leaves
  • 2- 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Medium sized Onion , sliced
  • 1 “ginger, Julienned
  • 1 teaspoon – Red Chilli powder
  • Salt to taste

1.Marinate the chicken with all the ingredients listed in marinade section. Set aside for 30 minutes.

2. Heat oil in a wok and then fry the chicken till cooked. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

3.In the same wok, fry the curry leaves and garlic. After they sizzle and cook for about 1/2 a minute, add the sliced onions. Once the onions are cooked, add ginger, chilli powder and salt.  Keep tossing and cook for about a minute taking care that the ingredients don’t burn.

4. Add the chicken back into the pan. Toss and let it cook for another 1/2 a minute. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Serve hot with beer or wine. If with beer, also serve sliced onions and lemons. Enjoy!

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