Mango Salsa

Mango is called the ‘King of Fruits” and in India, we believe it is. When mangoes are in season, we hardly even look at another fruit. We are lucky to live near an agricultural campus where they grow organic mangoes and a huge variety of them. During the season, we eat mangoes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The season starts beginning of April and goes on till the monsoons hit in July and every few weeks we get new varieties of mangoes, which taste different. Other than just eating them, we make curries (with small ripe mangoes) and other savoury dishes like mambalam pulliserry, morkootan, etc.

Ingredients

  • 3 ripe mangoes – chopped
  • 1-2 green chillies, chopped finely
  • 1 onion, chopped fine 1 tomato, chopped
  • 2 tbsp coriander leaves/ cilantro – chopped
  • juice of 1 lime
  • salt to taste

Directions

  • Mix all the above ingredients. Serve with tortilla chips
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Nethra’s Kadle Puri – The Time-Pass Snack

Kadle puri or pori is a snack which is healthy as it is made up of puffed rice, peanuts, roasted gram and some spices. It is an easy to carry snack which can be eaten anywhere and at anytime. Carry a bag of this to work and munch on this instead of chips. This has a crunch and is savoury so feels like you are eating chips. Make a big batch and store in an airtight container. Puffed rice can be found in most indian stores/ supermarkets.

This recipe is inspired by Nethra, my colleague, who got this to school during one of our long days and this sustained our energy for the rest of the day. This is her recipe. Some people add garlic to it. If you do, add 6-8 cloves of peeled garlic with the spices and make sure it is fried well.

Ingredients

  • puffed rice 10 cups
  • raw peanuts 2-3 cups (you could use roasted peanuts too)
  • channa dal / roasted gram 2 cups
  • dried coconut pieces – 1 cup (optional)
  • red chillies 2
  • mustard seeds 1 tsp
  • ajwain/ carom seeds 1 tsp
  • cumin seeds 1 tsp
  • 10-15 curry leaves
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • garam masala 1 tsp (optional)
  • chat masala 1 tsp (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp asafoetida
  • 1-2 tsp chilli powder
  • salt to taste (about a tablespoon)
  • 4-5 tsp oil

Directions

  • Heat oil in a big pan
  • Fry peanuts and keep aside
  • Add mustard seeds, asafoetida, cumin and carom seeds
  • Once mustard seeds splutters, add curry leaves and all the spice powders including salt.
  • Fry for 30 seconds on low flame. Take care not to burn the spices
  • Add fried gram, peanuts and puffed rice and keep stirring for 3 minutes. Make sure the puffed rice is coated with the spices evenly. Keep tossing and stirring. Taste for seasoning and add more salt if required. Make sure the puffed rice is crisp
  • Cool and store in an airtight container
  • Serve them in newspaper cones for some fun snacking.

This is a really good snack to have with coffee, tea or a cold beer. You can also add some chopped onions, tomatoes or even grated carrots to a bowl of kadale pori and eat it as a hearty snack. It is quite hearty and very healthy. So if you have a craving for some salty, savoury, fried stuff, get a bowl of puffed rice instead. Enoy!

Spicy Healthy Yogurt Dill Dip

This is a quick and easy dip to make and a big hit! It is healthy since we use yogurt instead of sour cream.

I always thought dill was an exotic herb until I realized it was sabakki / sabbasige soppu and available fresh everywhere in India. Sprinkle some fresh chopped dill goes well with baby potatoes; this was very common in Sweden.

For this dip, I started with a paste of chilli and garlic, which can be made ahead and saved for a few weeks in the fridge. Of course, it gets mellow as the weeks pass. I use this paste as part of a vinaigrette for salads too. If you have this paste in the fridge, you can whip up this dip with ease. Last year, my friend. Mohua, gave me a bottle of the chilli garlic paste, which I have since recreated.

Ingredients

  • 10 green chillies
  • 10 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • salt to taste
  • 2 cups yogurt or greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh dill leaves or 1 tsp dried dill
  • a dash of lime juice

Directions

  • Add chillies, garlic, and vinegar to a blender and blend to a fine paste. Save in a glass jar till later use.
  • If using regular yogurt, place muslin cloth in a colander and the colander in a bowl to collect all the liquid.
  • Pour yogurt into the colander and let it sit.
  • Leave it for an hour or for up to 4-5 hours. I usually keep it in the fridge overnight.
  • Place hung yogurt in a bowl. Add 1/2 to 1 tbsp chilli garlic paste, dill, salt and a dash of lemon juice.
  • Check for taste and add more chilli garlic paste if required.
  • Serve with chips or pita bread.
  • For a no carb diet or for a healthier version, serve with carrot, cucumber and celery sticks.

Spicy Stuffed Chilli Bhaji

On a cold wintry day or on a rainy day, this is the best dish to eat – hot, spicy, deep-fried goodness. A plate of bhajis, a hot steaming cup of tea or coffee, a good book and a comfortable chair – company optional.

I often see bhajis being fried in street corners in carts, the smell of the bhaji wafting across the street calling your name. Most often, I resist, because one cannot stop at one bite. My mouth is watering while I write this post, just thinking of those bhajis. You can use the same batter and dip slices of potatoes, raw banana, onions or cauliflower pieces, and deep fry.

Usually, chilli bhajis are not stuffed in the south of India and if they are, a mixture of tamarind paste and salt is applied on the inside of the chillies. Here I have stuffed them with potatoes and onions.

Ingredients

  • 5 green peppers (preferably banana peppers or slightly large peppers) – calculate one per person or more
  • 1 cup boiled and mashed potatoes
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 inch ginger, chopped (optional)
  • 1 green chilli, chopped fine (optional)
  • 1 tsp chopped coriander leaves/ cilantro (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tsp oil
  • For Batter: 1 cup gram flour (besan/ kadale maavu)
  • 1/4 cup rice flour
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • a pinch of baking soda
  • about 1/2 cup water
  • To deep fry: 2 cups vegetable oil

Directions

  • Wash and slit chillies and scoop out seeds with a spoon. Keep aside
  • In a pan, take 1 tsp oil, When hot, add mustard seeds. When they splutter, add onions and fry. Add ginger and chillies.
  • When onions are golden brown, add mashed potatoes, salt and mix. Add cilantro. Keep aside and let it cool.
  • To make the batter, add all ingredients in a bowl, slowly add water and mix. The consistency should be of pancake batter.
  • Stuff 1-2 tsp of potato mixture into the chillies. (When I ran out of potato mixture, I stuffed some with an onion-chilli mixture.
  • Heat oil in a wok.
  • Add a drop of batter in the oil to see if it is hot. The batter should sizzle and rise to the top
  • Dip stuffed chillies into batter and deep fry till golden brown. Turn every few minutes to make sure they are golden on both sides.
  • Take it out of the oil and drain on kitchen paper.
  • Serve as whole or sliced. Serve by itself or with chutney or ketchup

Vegan Lentil Mushroom Burgers

Leftovers, what do we do with that. Cooking for 2 or 3 is something I cannot do. In our family, we are small eaters but I still cook for an army. I can eat the same dish for another day, maybe. But then, I have a yearning to make something completely different with all the ingredients.

In my fridge, I had finely chopped sautéed mushrooms (which I usually have – I throw them in soups, in omelettes or in pasta), Indian mashed potatoes and soaked lentils and pita bread. The inspiration here was falafels. I threw the veggies and lentils together, some chopped onions and made a burger, tucked it in pita bread and dinner is ready.

These burgers are delicious, healthy and protein rich. If you have some of these leftover, which is highly doubtful, make a curry and toss them in.

Ingredients:

  • 200 grams mushrooms, (button, oyster or a mix of different mushrooms) chopped
  • 1 big potato, cooked and mashed
  • 1/2 cup channa dal (split chickpeas) or any lentil of your choice
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 1-inch piece ginger, finely chopped
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 green chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tbsp chopped coriander/cilantro or parsley
  • 1-2 tbsp oil

Method:

  • Wash and soak lentils in water for at least an hour.
  • Grind coarsely in a mixer or food processor and keep aside.
  • In a frying pan, heat 2 tsp oil.
  • Add one chopped onions, garlic and ginger and saute till golden brown.
  • Add chopped mushrooms and saute until they are cooked.
  • Take off heat and cool Transfer to a bowl, add mashed potatoes, chopped chillies, rest of onions, cilantro, cumin powder, and lentils and mix.
  • Shape into patties, pack the mixture tightly so it will not break.
  • Place on an oiled baking tray.
  • Bake in a preheated oven (350ºF / 180ºC) for 15-20 minutes
  • It can also be fried in a pan. Heat some oil in a pan and pan fry them.
  • Turn them halfway through.
  • Serve on a burger bun or toasted pita bread.
  • Top with condiments of your choice (cheese, pickles, jalapenos, goat cheese, chutney, thinly sliced tomatoes or thinly sliced cucumbers)
  • This can be eaten without the bread or served as an appetizer with some chutney or sour cream.

Chatpata Chutneys

If you ask an Indian what their favourite chutney is, one will get multiple different answers. For me, it depends on what I am eating it with. With idli and sevai, it has to coconut chutney, with adai it is onion chutney, with sandwiches it would be a mint chutney, with flatbreads a sour and spicy chutney and so the list goes. Every family has their own versions of the chutney. I have already posted carrot chutney and spinach chutney. Here are a few more recipes. These chutneys can be served as an accompaniment or a side, a spread on bread or as a dip. It is easy and quick to whip up on short notice. (Chatpata means piquant or zesty.)

Peanut Chutney

Peanut or groundnut chutney is common in some parts of India, especially in Andhra Pradesh. It is almost like savory peanut butter with hints of onion, garlic, and coconut.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup peanuts
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp channa dal
  • 1/4 tsp tamarind paste (you can substitute with 1/2 tsp lemon juice)
  • 3-4 red chillies (increase to 6 if you want it extra spicy)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1-inch ginger (optional)
  • 1/4 cup coconut (optional)
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup water

To Temper

  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp urad dal
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • a pinch of asafoetida
  • 4-5 curry leaves

Directions

  • In pan roast peanuts (or use roasted peanuts). Keep aside
  • Heat oil in a pan. Add channa dal and chillies. Add onions, ginger, and garlic and saute till golden brown.
  • Add all ingredients (other than tempering ingredients) into a blender and grind. Add water. Grind till smooth.
  • In a pan, heat oil for tempering. Add ingredients for tempering. Once the mustard splutters, pour on the chutney and serve.
  • Tempering brings out the flavor of spices and the dish ‘pops’. If you do not have certain ingredients, adding just mustard is fine too.

Onion Tomato Chutney

Ingredients

  • 4 tomatoes chopped
  • 2 onions chopped
  • 1 tbsp channa dal
  • 2-4 red chillies (depending on the level of spice required)
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • To temper – 1 tsp oil, 1 tsp mustard seeds, a pinch asafoetida

Directions

  • Heat oil in a pan. Add channa dal, red chillies and fry for a minute.
  • Add onions and saute till golden brown.
  • Add tomatoes and saute till cooked well.
  • Grind with a few tablespoons of water.
  • In a pan, add oil and add ingredients for tempering.
  • Once the mustard starts spluttering, pour over chutney and mix.

Coconut Chutney

Ingredients

  • 1 cup fresh coconut (chopped or grated)
  • 1-3 green chillies (depending on the spice level you would like)
  • 1/4 cup roasted channa dal
  • 1/4 tsp tamarind paste (optional)
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup water
  • To temper – 1 tsp oil, 1 red chilli, 1/2 tsp urad dal, 1/2 tsp mustard seeds, a pinch asafoetida

Directions

  • In a blender, grind all the ingredients except the tempering ingredients
  • Heat oil in pan, add rest of ingredients for tempering
  • Once the mustard starts spluttering, pour over chutney and mix.

Enjoy!