Snacks & Tiffin Items

Under 20 minutes – Sweet Corn & Alu Tikkis.

 

Today was one of those days when I actually “craved” for chat foods! I had to have anything that could even  remotely be categorised under “chat”! I check my pantry and I was out of puffed rice..else I could have made Bhel Puri/Jhaalmuri. No time for pani puris and there was too much prep work needed for Channa Chat. Uncheck!  Not enough boiled potatoes to make regular cutlets, but I remembered watching a TV show where the host used corn to make some sort of a patty for a burger. I turned to dear Sanjeev Kapoor for help and he did not disappoint me…These fast fix Makki Aur Alu ki Tikki were super easy and super yuummmmmmyyyyy!!! Make this evening for your family before they come home and let me know what they thought of it!

INGREDIENTS:

1 1/2 Cup Sweet Corn.

1 Medium Potatoe boiled soft.

1 Tsp Jeera Seeds.

1 Tsp Saunf

1 Green Chilli chopped fine

1 Tbsp Ginger chopped fine.

1 Medium Onion chopped fine.

1/4 Tsp Turmeric Powder.

3/4 Tsp Red Chilli Powder.

3/4 Tsp Garam Masala.

1 Tsp Dhania Powder.

2 Tsp Chat Masala.

2 Tbsp Lemon Juice.

1/2 Cup + 1/2 Cup Bread Crumbs.

Salt to taste.

Oil to deep fry/shallow fry.

PREPARATION:

  • Keep all the ingredients ready at hand before starting the prep as the whole process hardly takes more than 20 minutes. Its a wonderful quick fix snack for you and your family with ingredients that are always at hand.
  • In a kadai, add a spoon of oil and when its hot,  season with jeera and saunf. When they sizzle, add the green chillies and the ginger and allow them to get fried in the oil.
  • Follow with the chopped onions and mix it around and immediately add the sweet corn kernels.
  • Now add all the dry masala powders except the chat masala  – Turmeric Powder, Red Chilli Powder, Garam Masala and dhania powder. We add the powders at this point as we want the powders to part cook in the heat of the kadai.
  • Mix for a couple more minutes and switch off the stove.
  • Transfer to a mini food processor or a mixer and add the 1/2 cup of bread crumbs.  The bread crumbs allow the flavours to mix in and acts as a binding agent. Keep the remaining bread crumbs for dredging the tikkis before you fry them.
  • When they are almost well pulsed add a smal bunch of chopped corriander leaves, the lemon juice and the chat masala.
  • At this point add the boiled potatoe ( optional) and mix it in.
  • When they come together to form a homogenous mixture , empty on to a clean dry bowl.
  • The mixture has to be thick and not sticky. If you feel there is still moisture left over, add a little more bread crumbs, but adjust the salt accordingly.

  • Using your palms, make out little patties , dunk them in to the bread crumbs and shallow fry them on  your dosa pan.
  • Optionally, you could deep fry them in oil.

  • Make a serving base of  micro greens, finely julienned cabbage and carrots and add a dash of lemon juice and chat masala for that extra crunch.
  • Place warm cutlets over the salad base and enjoy with a side of Tomato Ketchup or Sweet Tamarind Chutney.
  • Makes about 10 medium sized tikkis.

HINTS:

  1. You can omit out the potatoes completely. I had one boiled potatoe already in my refrigerator so I wanted to use it.
  2. When you use the sweet corn that is frozen , keep it out for at least 30 minutes before you use it.
  3. ELse transfer to a microwave for about 2-3 minutes and transfer to a kitchen tissue so all the extra moisture is absorbed. This would make your cooking on the stove top faster.
Side Dishes for Rotis/Dosas/ Naan.

Khatta Meeta Choley. (Garbanzo Beans cooked in a tangy tamarind gravy)

Punjabi Channa Masala has always been a favourite dish close to my heart, and we make it very often as a prepare ahead party dish and a dish to take for long travels by train and by road. Its always a pleasure to travel by train from one city to the other, with family, having loved ones meet you at the station and take auto rickshaws to their respecive homes.   I miss those days of train journeys overnight, packing our clothes  with great gusto, and of course the food. Amma always used to make soft parathas and Onion Thokku  for train travel as it keeps without spoiling . She would have spent hours frying the onion thokku in a kadai slathered in oil.  I loved this version with the meetha from the imli sweet chutney. Almost reminded me of the green ragada gravy that I have always wanted to have in the bangalore roadside stall, but never ever got approval for!!!

INGREDIENTS:

1 Medium sized Onion coarsely chopped.

6 cloves of garlic chopped.

4 Dried Red Chullies.

3 pieces of ginger each 2 inch long and 1/2 inch thick.

1 Tsp jeera.

2 Tbsp Dhania Powder.

2 Tsp Salt.

2 Tsp Sugar.

1 Tsp Ground Fennel Seeds or Saunf.

1/2 Tsp Ground Turmeric.

1/2 Tsp Ground Cardamom Powder.

3 Cups Garbanzo beans or chickpeas or White Channa Cooked.

2 Tsp Tamarind Concentrate.

2 Tbsp Sweet Tamarind Chutney.

A hndful of chopped cilantro.

PREPARATION:

  • Soak the white channa for about 6-8 hours and cook with a little salt in the pressure cooker for about 2-3 whistles. Set aside.
  • In a mixer jar, combine the onion, garlic, red chilies and the ginger and pulsed until well mixed. Add a tad of oil if you need to.
  • In a  large skillet, heat the 2 tsp of ghee and add the jeera and wait until it sizzles for a couple of seconds. Now add the pulsed mixture in to the hot oil and stir fry for about 6-7 minutes until the paste has become almost reddish brown. This is the base of this gravy dish.
  • Stir in the dhania powder, salt, sugar, fennel powder, turmeric, and ground cardamom and mix until the spices are cooked. At this point make sure that the spices are well mixed but not burnt.
  • When the raw smell leaves, add the cooked channa along with the water and mix in well. Add the tamarind paste and the sweet tamarind chutney and you will find that the channa gravy becomes a dull brown color.
  • At this point check the gravy for sweet and spice and salt . If the sweet is too much, add a little bit of red chilli powder to adjust the taste
  • Keep stirring and bring it to a boil. Lower the heat at this point and cook uncovered for about 15 minutes until all the water is absorbed.
  • Stir in the cilantro and serve hot with Tiranga  Pulav and a slice of lemon and a garnish of chopped onions.
  • This dish is best the DAY AFTER as the spices all settle down and come together in this dish.

 

Side Dishes for Rotis/Dosas/ Naan.

Navratan Korma ( Vegetable Medley cooked in a Creamy Korma sauce of cashews, raisins and coconut milk)

Life is all about experiences, and learnings from such encounters, and moving on to become better and more fulfilled. We see so many people, read so mnay books, by varied authors, but only a few of them create lasting impression in our minds. One such poem was “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost. “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood and I – I took the one less travelled by, and that has made all the difference”…I read these lines over and over and over again and from then on, I have learnt to NEVER regret any decision in my life. The best option would always be to find out what to do next and how to move on.

When my eyes chanced on Raghavan Iyer`s 660 Curries in my local library, I was excited! It`s been a dream to lay my hands on that book, just like Ive been waiting to read ” The Mainland China Cookbook” for a long long time!  I liked the little anecdotes by the author in all his little posts in the book. All his recipes have his  underlying love and passion for his cooking! I tried a couple of recipes from his book and this particular one was partially inspired by his version and I must say it was almost close to the restaurant version – only much more delicuous and wholesome and much less greasy!!! Navratan means “9 gems” , and this dish has mughlai roots, so I am guessing it gets its name from the ingredients that go in to making the dish.

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup Cauliflower Florettes.

1 Cup Potatoes Cooked.

1 Cup Baby Corn.

1/2 Cup Peas.

1/2 Cup Corn.

1 Medium Onion.

1 Medium Tomato.

1 CUp Milk.( Or 1/2 Cup Milk + 1/2 Cup Coconut Milk for richness)

Spices:

3-4 Cloves.

1 Bay Leaf.

1 Tsp Cardamom Powdered.

1/4 Cup Cashews.

1/4 Cup Raisins.

1/2 tsp Red Chilli Powder.

1/2 Tsp Punjabi Garam Masala.

1/4 Tsp Turmeric.

2 Tsp Ginger Garlic Paste.

1 Tsp Sugar.

1 Tsp Kasuri Methi.

PREPARATION:

  • Cube all the vegetables in to slightly bigger cubes say and all of them in to a stock pot. Add a little salt and let them slowly boil together. When they are done drain the vegetables but save the water in which the veggies are cooked. Set aside.
  • In a flat bottomed kadai add 2 tsp of oil and when its hot season it with a dash of cumin seeds., When the seeds have spluttered, add the roughly chopped onions and follow up with ginger garlic paste, raisins, cashews, bay leaf, cloves, cardamom powder. Cover and cook in medium low heat until the nuts and the onions have browned. Now add the diced tomatoes and cook for a couple more minutes.
  • Slowly add the reserved water which was used to cook the veggies and let this deglaze the kadai and remove all the spices sticking to the pan.
  • Switch off  the heat in another 3-4 minutes and set aside. Transfer to a mixer jar and puree to a smooth paste adding the 1/2 cup of milk.
  • To this add red chilli powder, turmeric powder and punjabi garam masala and pulse it for a few more seconds.
  • Take the same kadai and add a spoon of oil and season with jeera. Now add the cooked veggies and give it a quick swirl.
  • Add the pureed paste and to this addd the spoon of sugar and mix it well.
  • Adjust the consistency, add the remaining 1/2 cup of milk ( or coconut milk) check salt and  wait until it starts boiling. Add crushed kasuri methi.
  • Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve hot with Butter Naan / Phulkas.
  • I served mine with Cucumber Raitha and a cup of fresh sweet corn hashed with a pinch of chat masala and kala namak!