Saturday, July 31, 2010

Musabbaha-Whole Chickpea Hummus Syrian Style

Hummus or Hoummous is a creamy dip made of chickpea and tahini optionally with spices or flavours added. I have seen and made hummus too and loved it.But while googling for something to do with my extra parsley other than my quick and easy tomato salad when I came across this post and was surprised to know about this whole chickpea hummus or Musabbaha.This is a chickpea hummus where chickpeas are kept whole and spiced with cumin,pepper and chilli powder and a dressing made with tahini , parsley, garlic and lemon is poured over it and the whole thing is garnished very lavishly with parsley.You can use this as a starter ,sandwich topping,side dish or salad.I enjoyed it as salad itself.

Chickpeas: 1/2 cup
Garlic: 1-2 cloves
Lemon Juice: 3 tbsp or as needed

Salt: as per taste
Cumin Powder
Chilli powder
Black Pepper
Olive oil

Tahini Paste:1-2 tbsp
Fresh Parsley: 2-3 tbsp or use as much as you want.

Cook the chickpeas that has been soaked previously.You can also use canned chickpeas after draining out the liquid. Crush together lemon juice,garlic and little salt together and mix half of it to the chickpeas.Also add the spice powders -cumin,chilli & pepper  to the chickpeas and mix well also addding little olive oil.Do the taste test and adjust the salt or the spices. Keep aside or you can also arrange it in small serving plates like this...

Meanwhile mix the tahini with the rest of the lemon-garlic-salt mix to obtain a smooth creamy sauce.Fold in chopped parsley into this sauce.The sauce should be tangy and you can add as much lemon juice as you need to get your kind of tang.I added around 2 tbsp of parsley into the sauce and kept about  1 tbsp for garnish.You can adjust the amount if you do not like parsley.

Layer the sauce on top of the chickpeas.No need to mix in .The flavours will be absorbed even if you do not mix in.It looks almost like this,though you can add more sauce than what you see in the pics.

Drizzle little more olive oil  on top and garnish with the remaining parsley .Serve chilled or at room temperature.

This hummus is spicy and very herby thanks to the parsley.The tahini is very creamy and provides warmth as the sesame as apt to do.You can mix every thing together and also use it as a wrap/sandwich filling rather than going for layers.

I think this whole chickpea hummus is the last minute but a perfect starter entry to MLLA 25, hosted at Siri's,an event by the WellSeasoned Susan.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Fat Free Mango Flap Jacks

Flap Jacks are a part of British Cuisine and are made of oats,butter,golden syrup/honey and brownsugar.These are actually Brit cousins of US Granola Bars and in some parts of North America flapjacks may refer to pancake.Normal Brit flapjacks can be crusty or moist and thin or thick squares baked in a tray and are perfect for tea or anytime time snacking and you can also add additional ingredients like yogurt,chocolate,nuts etc.I saw an easy flapjack recipe in Tarla Dalal site where she has used half cup of butter along with oil to make a rich  flapjack and I played around replacing butter with mango puree and adding wheat germ and flax and got these nutritious and  fat free flapjacks.

Oats: 1 and 1/4 cup
Wheat Germ : 3 tbsp
Flax Seed: 1 tbsp
Brown Sugar: 1/4 cup
Honey: 1/4 cup
Mango Puree: 6 tbsp
Powdered Ginger: as per taste (optional)

In a big bowl mix together oats,flax,wheat germ,powdered ginger (optional) and brown sugar.Add in honey and then add in mango puree starting with 4 tbsp and knead/combine/mix well to form a thick rounded mass adding more puree as needed.It took me 6 tbsp but can vary.Also if you do not have wheat germ or flax,replace it with oats itself or dry muesli or cornflakes.You can also add in 1-2 tbsp of raisins in addition to the ingredients mentioned.It looks like this ...

And start spreading it on a greased tray/thali like this ...

to get this ...

Bake it in a preheated oven at 200C/400F for about 15-20 minutes or until the mix starts browning.You can pull it out as soon as the edges turn brown get chewy and slightly soft flapjacks or bake it 1-2 minutes more to get crunchy flapjacks.I pulled it out as soon as the edges browned.

Let it cool for 1-2 minutes  and then with a sharp knife,cut through the flapjacks to mark individual pieces/bars.

Allow it to cool completely and then serve it cutting along the lines.

The mangoey flavour is there in the flapjacks.You can also use store bought pulp if you do not have fresh mangoes.Or even use store bought cornflakes mix to make you flapjacks.These sure are filling and very healthy and they can also be the perfect guilt free midnight snacks.

The flapjacks are onway to HealthNutChallenge: Tropical Temptations as mangoes were in season here (till two days backs ie ) and these are  perfect anytime snacks.

Monday, July 26, 2010


This is a simple creamy and cold raw tomato soup from Cordoba in Spain.The basic ingredients are tomato,bread,garlic,vinegar and olive oil which are blended together.This is not gazpacho as it differs in the amount of bread used it seems.The tomatoes are supposed to be peeled while making this,but I referenced few blogs where this was given and they used tomatoes just as such.Here's the way I made this easy and tangy soup.

Tomatoes: chopped almost 1.25 cup
Garlic: 1-2 cloves
Bread: any crusty bread can be used :cubed about 1/2 cup
Olive oil: 2 tsp+
Salt:as per taste

Soak the bread cubes in little water for a few minutes to soften them.In a blender add tomatoes,garlic,vinegar,and little bread and adding olive oil blend in to a thick soup.You can add more bread depending on the thickness you want.It took almost 1/2 cup for me to get the required soup consistency.Adjust salt and serve chilled or at room temperature garnishing with fresh cream or the quickest (as per me) pepper.

Pepper is not used tradionally and the thick soup is very hearty even without it.I loved the soup and licked the blender (ok I am a tomato person and a glutton as well) clean.The soup is tangy as tangy ingredients except bread are used.If you are not a tangy person you can give this a miss.You can also use this as a dip in which case you increase the amount of bread and optionally spice it up.Salmorejo is already on way to AWED:Spain at Priya's,an event by DK.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Petit Pains Au Lait- French Milk Rolls

French Milk rolls are delectable breakfast or snack bread rolls with a soft crust and sweet light soft crumb.This is as per The Book of Bread by Christine Ingram and Jennie Shapter.Now I  came to know about these rolls from Jayasri of Samayalarai who had made these from the said book and with whom I have been partnered this month for Taste & Create.I had bookmarked several recipes succumbed to these rolls which she had made more sweeter and stuffed with chocochips.But thanks to my erratic oven (it seems I am jinxed - either there is no power or the oven is having problems- but I am not going to give up),I tried only one fourth of the recipe and made only 3 rolls.

All Purpose Flour: 1 cup
Salt: 1/2 tsp
Caster Sugar: 1 tbsp
Butter softened: 1 tbsp
Instant Yeast: almost 3/4 tsp

Milk: 4 tbsp luke warm + more for glazing

In a big bowl,sift together flour,salt and mix in sugar.Rub  in softened butter and mix well. Meanwhile to 2 tbsp milk add yeast and let it froth for a few minutes.Add the remaining 2 tbsp and put the milk mixture to the flour mix into a soft dough.

Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead to form a smooth elastic dough.Keep it covered in a warm place and in a big oiled bowl covering with a n oiled cling film (or rotating it once to coat) until it is doubled in bulk  for about 1 hour or more.

Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and gently punch the dough doen and divide it into equal pieces -in my case 3. Shape them into a square as per Jayasri or simple round rolls,while stuffing the chocochips within.For this first shape into a round ball,then put few choco chips and pull the edges together so as to smoothen the other side..Once the edges are sealed,add more chocochips and again smoothen the other side completely.Thus the chocochips are stuffed twice.Then put the rolls on to a lined/greased baking sheets with the smooth side on top and atleast few inches between them.Also refer the original recipe if you are confused with these instructions.

Cut cross or slash 1/4 inch deep on the top of the rolls and allow the rolls to rise for the second time and this also may take another 20 minutes or more.

Bake in a preheated oven at 200C/400F brushing the rolls with more milk for about 20-25 minutes or until they are golden brown.

Delicious rolls are ready to eat.They are off to Taste & Create as well.Thanks Jayasri for the keeper recipe.I will also be trying the savoury version as well.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Pane Toscano -Saltless Tuscan Bread

Okay,this is my amateurish attempt at the Tuscan bread which is a rustic saltless bread from Tuscany and is consumed with soups or salad (panzanella) or blended into soup (ribollita) or served toasted with simple topping (crostini/bruschetta) as a starter. Normal bread has salt in it which makes it tasty or acts as a preservative upto a certain extent though most baking books do not explain the reason for salt addition apart from the taste matter. Anyway Tuscan bread does not have any salt and it is said that since the duty /tax on salt was very high the public protested against it and avoided the salt in the bread giving rise to a chewy thick bread which they enjoes with wholesome soups.I have adapted the recipe from King Arthur Flour Site -Pane Toscano (and as usual halved it )though several different methods can also be seen.

All Purpose Flour: 11 tbsp
Instant Yeast: 1/8 tsp
Luke warm Water: 1/3 cup

All Purpose Flour: 1.5 cups + 4-6 tbsp
Yeast: 1/2 tsp + a pinch
Warm Water: 10 tbsp

Mix in a big bowl, the flour,yeast and water to get a wet mass of dough and keep it overnight at room temperature.

To the sponge bowl,add in 1/2 cup of flour,yeast and warm water.Mix well and add in flour half cup at a time to get a stiff dough. It took me about 1 and half cup and 4-5 tbsp. Turn onto a floured surface and knead for 8-10 minutes to get a smooth elastic dough.

Keep it covered in an oiled bowl turning once until it doubles up in size -almost 1hour.Handle the dough gently and without deflating/punching turn it on to a lightly floured surface and by squeezing and gathering all the edges underneath smoothen the top and shape into a round loaf.The loaf after the first rise and shaping loks like...

Place it on a lined and lightly greased baking sheet onto which some cornmeal has been sprinkled and then keep it covered in a warm place until doubled again.After the final rise...

Preheat the oven to 450F/232 C.Make slashes on top of the bread preferably tic-tac-toe pattern. Keep the baking sheet inside and bake for 15 minutes while spraying water every 5 minutes. Then reduce the temperature to 400F/200C and bake for 25-30 minutes or more until browned. Since I halved the recipe,the time would be few minutes before the mentioned range. Keep a check on the oven every 3 minutes whicle spraying water and check after 18 minutes during the second phase of baking . You must hear a hollow sound from the bread when thumped at the bottom and a wonderful bready aroma will come from the oven .

The spraying is to make crust hard and gives a steaming effect.You can also go for a cup of hot water which can be placed inside the oven.Instead what I did was before placing the baking sheet in the oven,I brushed the top of the loaf with water and then placed it in the oven.Every 3 minutes I sprayed or drizzled water or you can say poured water on sides of the oven and also splashed a few drops on the liner in the baking sheet. This I did every 3-4 minutes ant that too 4 times.That was a mistake actually as my crust has not browned properly though the bread is fine,atleast thats my conclusion.It was thick and chewy with hard crusts.But I have never tasted Tuscan bread and have nothing to compare mine with.On tasting,well it is bland as there is no salt.You use it with soup or your choice of dips.

I served few slices with my simple roasted tomato soup though any soup ought to work.Rest I plan to turn into panzanella and other suitable recipes.

Hope Lisa accepts this amaeteurish Tuscan bread for NCR:Bread for soup hosted this time at Lisa's. The bread being Italian also goes for BBD #32 :Italian Breads hosted at Family &Food. Finally I am happy that it is YeastSpotted by Susan. Its long time since I went there.

Other excellent and different versions :
Susan's Saltless Tuscan bread which makes use of flour paste
Ilva's saltless Tuscan Bread

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Red Cabbage & Sprouts Slaw

Coleslaw is a simple raw cabbage salad made usually with mayo-mustard- vinegar dressing.Normally the coleslaw has no mayo or mustard as these were discovered much later than the salad itself.Instead of mayo you can use thick (Greek) yogurt or hung curd.There are several versions and these days almost all cabbage salads are called slaws and they have several ingredients and sometimes cabbage has to take a backseat.I made a simple coleslaw or cabbage salad with red/purple cabbage with alfalfa sprouts and carrots.I did use eggless mayo that I had but went without mustard.

Red cabbage: 1 cup finely chopped
Carrot: 1 cup grated
Alfalfa sprouts: 1 cup

Mayonaisse: 2 tbsp
Vinegar: 2 tsp
Sugar: 1-2 tsp
Salt&Pepper: as per taste

Wash and chop/grate finely cabbage and carrots and add to a big bowl.Add cleaned sprouts and mix well.Add mayo,vinegar,salt,pepper and sugar and toss everything together.Chill for a few hours in the fridge and serve as a side salad or sandwich filling or along with burger or whatever way you prefer.

You can use any sprouts with this and can even include onions, peppers, pineapples etc.The dressing can be adjust as per taste and any kind of vinegar or mayo can be used and you can also add herbs of choice.The sugar is also optional.

The simple yet healthy sprouts slaw is onway to Let's Sprout at Priya's very tasty recipes.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Mango Muesli Smoothie

This is a simple smoothie that I made with the seasonal (overflowing) mangoes and a little of the microwave muesli made earlier.Now one of my main intentions on making the muesli was recreating several dishes that I have on the web that were made with dry muesli or granola or whatever you call.So though I am using is majorly for breakfast/snacking I will also be using it to make cookies,or whatever exciting recipe I find this smoothie being one of them.I had seen a granola smoothie in one cooking site and tried to recreate the same with the ingredients available.

Yoghurt: 1/2 cup
Milk: 1/4 cup
Water :preferably cold: 1/4-1/2 cup

Mangoes: 1/2 cup chopped
Powdered Ginger: optional: 1/2 tsp
Sugar/Sweetner: as per taste
Muesli: 2 tbsp

Extra Muesli: for garnish

Blend together all the ingredients and serve topped with muesli.Add 1/4 cup water first and then puree and add more water/yoghurt/milk depending on the thickness you want.Despite adding almost half cup of water mine was fairly thick. You can also add one banana to get mango banana muesli smoothie in which case more liquid may be needed.Adjust the sweetner depending on the sweetness of mango and the muesli.You can even use low fat/non fat/fruit yoghurt for making this.Do adjust the ingredients as per taste.

The smoothie was thick and filling and was very mangoey and "oatty" if there is such a term.I had simply added two tablespoons of muesli and this included the nuts and raisins in it and the toasted nutty taste was there. The smoothie is better served chilled as the taste increase on keeping and is perfect in hot weather.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Microwave Muesli

Muesli is a breakfast cereal usually consisting of uncooked oats in milk/yoghurt base.It usually requires soaking of oats in milk/yoghurt/condensed milk base for several hours or overnight so that it reaches the muesli or the porridge stage at the time of consumption usually breakfast.But these days several dry forms of mueslis are available.As per wiki these dry forms are just a mix of oats,fruits,nuts along with whey or milk powder and sweetners.I wanted to try out dry muesli at home as I have been seeing a lot of these in stores and also felt that they are easier to make or use as compared to soaking oats overnight.I hit jackpot when saw this excellent microwave recipe for dry muesli from Green Gourmet Giraffe.I have slightly adapted it to make it oil/fat free and used apple sauce along with honey to obtain dry muesli.

Oats: 1.5 cups
Coconut Grated: 4 tbsp (I used fresh. Can also use sweetened flakes as well)
Wheat Germ: 4 tbsp
Sunflower Seeds: 2 tbsp
Flax seeds: 1 tbsp
Sesame Seeds: 1 tbsp (I used white)
Mixed Nuts: Chopped :4 tbsp (I used pecans )

Apricots: chopped: 4 tbsp (I used bright yellow Turkish Apricots for some colour)
Dried Figs: chopped : 4 tbsp
Raisins: 2 tbsp
Currants: 2 tbsp

Apple Grated: 1 small apple peeled and grated or approx 5 tbsp
Honey: 1/4 cup
Vanilla: 1/2 tsp
Cinnamon ,Clove Nutmeg: optional :as per taste
Salt: 1/4 tsp

Microwave in a bowl,peeled,grated apple (roughly 5 tbsp when packed and measured) for 1 minute at 100% power.I went for another 30 seconds so that the apple turned entirely mushy. Just 1 minute is also enough.Add honey,salt,vanilla and cinnamon+cloves+nutmeg if using to the saucy apple mix and microwave until bubbling for 1-2 minutes.Start at 30 seconds as it took just 50 secs for me.

Meanwhile,in a big microwave safe bowl,mix in oats,wheat germ,coconut,sunflower-sesame and flax seeds.Also add in the chopped nuts.Pour the liquid into the oats mix and mix everything well.Microwave at full power for about 4-10 minutes,stirring the mix each minute till the entire mix turns roasted and browned.I did it 7 times.Stir in the chopped figs,apricots,raisins and currants and mix everything well.Break up the clusters of oats if any and cool completely and store in an airtight container preferably in the fridge as apple has been added.

The muesli was not that "appley " or spicy.So the use of spices is optional and as per taste.There was an aroma of spices while cooking/toasting but when tried as such the muesli tasted of oats,dried coconut and toasted nuts.You can add sweetened coconut flakes instead of fresh as I have done.I used the spices to get the apple pie like aroma but the only aroma afterwards is the toasted oats.Also if you do not want/have the apple,you can use any fruit puree or vegetable oil itself.Oil was used as a binder it seems in the original and also add some richness.But I replaced it with apple puree/sauce.

You can serve it adding milk,condensed milk adding fresh fruits or just as you serve store bought muesli/granola or cornflakes.

UPDATE on 15th July 2010: The muesli being made completely in the microwave is also going to grace Valli's Breakfast table at 365 Days of Microwave Cooking.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Escalivada-Roasted Vegetable Salad Spanish Style

This is a simple salad made by grilling/roasting ingredients primarily eggplant,onions,pepper and tomatoes to which a simple dressing is added.This is from Catalonia in Spain and is served as a tapas or appetizer.The idea behind tapas is to increase the appetite and this salad sure does that job and is easy to prepare. Escalivar means to roast over hot ashes/embers and thus the dish derived its name.

Eggplant: 1 almost big
Onions: preferably white : 1-2 medium size
Red BellPepper: 1 big
Tomato: 1-2 medium size

Extra Virgin Olive Oil: 4+tbsp
Red Wine Vinegar/Sherry Vinegar: 1-2 tbsp (optional)

I fire roasted each ingredient individually though this can be done in the oven or grill top.I did not peel or skin the vegetables except the onions whil roasting.Wrap each in aluminium foil and let it rest till completely cool preferably an hour.

Peel the eggplant,tomato and red pepper and cut into long strips and add together in a big bowl.For tomato and pepper,you can remove the seeds as well.I did not do this.For the onions,remove the outer roasted/charred skin and cut into rings.You can also use green pepper instead of red for making it more colourful.

Mix all the ingredients for the dressing ingredients in a small bowl.Pour over the roasted salad and toss to mix well.You can add part of the onion rings as a garnish as well. Serve at room temperature as an appetizer on top of canapes or toasted bread or chips or whatever way you fancy.

The salad is truly appetizing and I loved it.The dressing is very simple but very appetizing.You can add garlic or anyother spice or herb to it and vinegar itself is optional.You can increase the no: of tomatoes if you want to avoid this.But this is one salad where I feel the presentation is as important as taste.All the (over)roasting,peeling,cutting into strips,tossing in a bowl is very simple but looks not that photogenic.So instead of mixing if you arrange the individual roasted items on salad plates and pour the dressing and let it sit then it would look presentable.

I know I have not done a good job with my pics as I simply tossed everything together but the salad is a sureshot appetizer that goes to AWED:Spain hosted by Priya, an event by dear DK.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Chewy Dates Cookies

These are the simple dates cookies or biscuits adapted from Divya's blog.I did not make any changes except bake at a reduced temperature and got the chewy filling dates cookies perfect with a cuppa.

All Purpose Flour :2 cups
Baking Powder: 1 tsp
Salt: pinch (avoid if using salted butter)

Cold Butter: 4 tbsp (I used salted)

Chopped Dates: 1/2 cup + as needed
Sugar: 1/4 cup + taste

Milk: 8-12 tbsp

Melted butter or Sugar for topping

In a big bowl mix together flour,baking powder and salt. Add in cold crumbled butter and mix to resemble coarse sand or bread crumbs.Mix in chopped dates and sugar and adding milk knead to form a dough.

Roll out the dough into a thin sheet and using cookie cutters of choice cut into shapes.I did not roll the dough.I found that the I had added a bit more milk than necessary and the dough was a bit sticky.So I patted it with hands to form a thin circle and then tried to cut out shapes.And for the second batch I simply pinched pieces and flattened them into circles.

Place the shaped dough pieces onto a lined baking sheet.Glaze the top with melted butter or sprinkle with sugar as I did.I had used salted butter and wanted more sweetness.So I topped with sugar.This is completely optional.

Bake in a preheated oven at 350F for about 12-15 minutes or until the top start to brown.Cool for a few minutes and enjoy with yout tea/coffee.

My cookies turned out to be chewy and filling and my daughter loved it even without the sugary topping.The cookies were soft and chewy and very slightly crunchy.The original recipe went for baking these at 450F for 10 minutes and got very crunchy cookies.But mine thanks to the extra addition of milk and lower temperature turned out to be soft and chewy.Hope Divya does not mind this change.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Spiced Mango Pecan Muffins

This is a simple quick bread/ muffins I made with the pecans sitting in my pantry for a long time and the mangoes that were peeping from my fridge.I found an excellent recipe at Eatingwell site and adapted it slightly by halving it and replacing butter with the mango puree and as usual the egg replacer.The muffins do not look professional but tasty they surely were.

Dry Mix:
Whole Wheat Flour (aatta):3/4 cup
All Purpose Flour: 1/2 cup
Baking Powder: 3/4 tsp
Baking Soda: 1/4 tsp
Salt: 1/8tsp or a pinch
Ground Cinnamon,Cloves and ginger :as per taste

Wet Mix:
ButterMilk: 1/2 cup
Egg : 1 large OR Ener G Egg: 1.5 tsp + 4 tbsp of water
Mango Puree :3-4 tbsp
Brown Sugar: 1/3 cup I used light brown sugar

Diced Mango: 3/4 -1 cup
Pecans: Toasted and Chopped: 1/4 cup

Mix the dry items in a big bowl.In a mediium bowl mix the wet items along with the sugar.Make a hole in the centre of the dry mix and pour the wet mix into it.Stir just until combined.Fold in the chopped mango and pecans.

Scoop into muffin pan/cups and optionally top with a whole pecan.

Bake in a preheated oven at 200C /400F for 20-25 minutes or until the tester in the middle comes clean.My first batch took 27 minute while second one was done by 25 minutes.Keep an eye after 20 minutes.Once done,take out of the oven and let it cool for 10 minutes in the muffin pan.Then invert onto a wire rack and cool completely.

First look....


The muffins were tasty but do not have the professional look.The original recipe had 1 table spoon of butter and oil each which I replaced with thick mango puree.I used 3 tbsp of puree but if the batter looks very dry then you can add 1 more tbsp.Since I used egg replacer I added at first 2 tbsp of water but still the mix looked very dry thanks to the wheat flour in the dry mix and so I added 2 tbsp water more.If you use a large egg I suppose this may not be the case.Since I used mango as a puree and also in chopped form the muffins tasted mangoey if there is a word.Then the pecan taste will come followed by the spices taste.This again depends on the amount of spices you have used.

Thanks for visiting my Blog

/*TYNT script starts here */ /*TYNT ends */