Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Sweet and Spicy Basil Rice (Serves 2)

I was almost going to add this to my http://www.justveganit.com/ site and then realized that even though the ingredients for this dish were vegan and sugar free, the minimal oil criteria didn’t quite fit in here.

Either way, this simple and yet elegant creation is perfect for an evening when you are not really in the mood of cooking something elaborate. You can start with some salad maybe and finish your dinner off with this dish. You will really enjoy this basil flavored rice with just a hint of heat and sweetness in it.

1 cup of sweet basil leaves (packed)
1/3 rd cup olive oil (5.33 tbsp of olive oil)
1 medium green chili
2 tbsp dried raisins
1/3 cup roasted walnuts
2 cups cooked (al dente) basmati rice
salt to taste

Wash the basil leaves well. Add the basil leaves, olive oil, chopped green chili, raisins, and salt to taste in a blender and blend it as fine as you can. Set aside the mixture in a cup. You can even do this before hand and store it in the refrigerator. It should retain its freshness for a few days easily.
Cook 2 cups of basmati rice, al dente (just cooked right, like you would cook rice for a pulav or fried rice). Please do not steam or pressure cook your rice as those processes will make the rice sticky. The best way is to pour the washed rice in boiling water (water level should be at least an inch and a half above the level of rice) and when the rice is done, drain the water similar to the way you would drain water from pasta.
Let the rice cool down a little and make sure not much moisture remains after the water has been drained out.

While this is going on, quickly chop walnuts and roast them on medium heat until they release their oils and are nice and brown.

In a bowl, combine the rice, the basil paste and the walnuts. Add more salt according to taste. Serve hot.

Health Rating: High

Monday, June 7, 2010

Alu Tikki (Potato Nibblers) (Serves 7-8)

For our barbecue party I had prepared this appetizer for the kids, and hence kept it simple and not added any hot peppers or chilli powder. 

Alas, by the time the kids could even get a sniff of it, we adults just ate it all up. That is what a lovely evening, lots of beer and wine, and a barbecue does to you :-). 

Good thing is if this ever happens to you, you can always make some more quickly as long as you keep some boiled potatoes ready in the fridge as a back up ;-). Will remember that for the future. Here is the recipe.

5 medium potatoes boiled (do not overcook)
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp Shan Garam Masala or Haleem Mix
1/8 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp coriander powder
Salt to taste
1 small bunch coriander leaves chopped fine
1 cup Panko bread crumbs for patting the potatoes 

In a small pan on low to medium heat, add 1 tbsp oil. As the oil starts to heat up, add the cumin, garam masala, turmeric, and coriander powder and give everything a mix. Turn off the heat after 5-10 seconds ensuring that the spices don't burn up.

Mash the potatoes with your hands until fine (make sure you boil the potatoes just right, and not overcook it). Add the spice mixture and oil, salt, and the fresh coriander leaves and mix everything well. Form the potatoes into little balls, and flatten them in the palm of your hands. You can use some oil on your palms so the potatoes don't stick.

Heat a non stick pan, and add very little oil. Pat the tikkis or nibblers to the bread crumbs, and roast them on the pan, both sides until the bread crumbs turn golden brown. As you cook, add oil as needed. Please don't overdo the oil, though.

Serve hot with coriander/mint chutney and Heinz ketchup. Yummy! Your kid/s will love this simple addictive appetizer. And you will, too :-).

Health Rating: Medium

Ingredient Substitute/s: For adults, to the above recipe add 1 tbsp red chilli powder, and 2 medium seeded jalapeno peppers chopped fine. If you don't have bread crumbs, you can use cream of wheat instead.