Winter Vege - Green Garbanzo

Ever since I saw Indira's post on methi chole, I have had these beans on my mind. Then Vaishali followed suit by posting a ladoo recipe and my mildly obssessive nature wouldn't let me delay purchase any longer! So after making a trek to Trader Joe's I had these lovely, green pearls in my hand. And a few memories swirling in my head.

At the local hang out in my city where everyone, well ... hung out on the weekend, was a vendor who sold 'harbhara chaat'. It was impossible to walk past his cart without buying a paper cone filled with the stuff. In fact it was impossible to be in the general vicinity and not be drawn to that mouth watering mix of steamed chana, onions, lemon juice and chaat masala. The softie ice cream and pav bhaji could wait. The chana? It was pure gold!


HARBHARA CHAAT (Spiced Green Garbanzo)
Cook chickpeas in salted water until just tender (frozen peas cook faster).
Add chopped onion, green chilli and slivers of raw mango. Sprinkle chaat masala and roasted cumin powder evenly over the mixture.
Add a dash of lemon juice, garnish with finely chopped cilantro and serve. You can either spruce this up with sev or make a lo cal lunch by adding mung bean sprouts.

After that trip down memory lane I turned to my trusted cookbook for a recipe. Kalra writes, "every winter the Punjabi housewife spends half the morning shelling fresh gram to make one of her vast repertoire of cholia dishes - with potatoes, eggs or most popularly with paneer".
Combining chana with paneer sounded intriguing enough so I gave it a shot.


HARA CHOLIA TE PANEER (Green Garbanzo with Paneer)
(adapted from 'Prashad: Cooking with Indian Masters' by Jiggs Kalra)
(serves 2)
2/3 cup green garbanzo
1/4 cup paneer cubes
1/2 cup scallions, finely chopped (white part only, or use shallots)
1 tsp ginger garlic paste
3-4 green chillies, deseeded and slit
1/4 tsp red chilli powder
1/3 cup tomato puree*
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp garam masala
finely chopped cilantro for garnish

Heat ghee in a kadai or sauce pan. Add chopped onions and saute till light brown. Next add ginger garlic paste and saute till well mixed. Add chillies, red chilli powder and stir for 1-2 minutes.

Add tomato puree and saute until ghee collects at the sides of the pan. Toss in the chickpeas, stir then add 1/4 cup of water. Cook on medium heat until peas are tender. Season to taste.

Add paneer; sprinkle cumin powder and garam masala. Garnish with finely chopped cilantro and serve hot.
* I used this tomato gravy; remember to adjust spices accordingly

Tags: punjabi cuisine


Snack Happy - Date Cake

My cousin and her family visited us over the weekend for what was intended to be brunch, but ended up being lupper (lunch + supper) instead! Later, on an impulse we decided to bake a cake for tea. My little niece loves baking so it was nice to enlist her in the task as well.

I came across this recipe a few months back and have made this cake so many times since then that I can probably make it in my sleep. Though I assure you, I wouldn't choose to bake during those precious hours.

It is a snack cake - not too sweet or rich. The cardamom and brown sugar give it a very Indian dessert-like taste. The recipe is very, very flexible. I have made it without eggs, added walnuts instead of almonds and replaced vanilla extract with rose essence and it still obliged with great taste.

So with my niece helping out with measuring the ingredients and my cousin helping out with eating the dates (and whisking the batter in case she reads this!) I baked this cake again last weekend.


Cooking spray
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cardamom powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
3/4 cup dates, chopped & pitted
5 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup applesauce
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
egg substitute/ banana/ flax seeds etc. (see link below)
Topping -
1/4 cup chopped almonds or walnuts
1-2 tbsp brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350°. Coat a 9-inch square baking pan with cooking spray; set aside.

Spoon 2 cups flour into measuring cup and level with a knife. Combine flour with baking powder, soda, salt and spices. Mix then make a well in the center.

Cream butter, sugar, applesauce and vanilla in a mixing bowl. Mix oil, water and baking powder in another bowl (or eggs if using) and add to mixture. Whisk thoroughly until well blended (use a hand blender if you have one). Add to flour and stir until just moist.

Toss in the dates and spoon batter into prepared pan. Mix almonds with sugar and sprinkle evenly over top of cake. Bake at 350° for 35-40 minutes or until a tester inserted in centre comes clean.


Verdict - The adults loved the cake - it's perfect with tea/ coffee and makes a filling snack. My niece said the softened dates tasted like choc chips and wanted to bake it again so that was positive feedback I think!

* 1 egg = 1 1/2 tbsp oil + 1 1/2 tbsp water + 1 tsp baking powder. Mix only when ready to use. You can use this for all 3 eggs or use half a banana for added flavor like I did (tastes better).
* This site has great information on substituting ingredients in baking.
* Entry for the wonderful event Little Chefs in the Kitchen hosted by Trupti at The Spice who loved Me.



Travel weary - Osaman

We have been traveling for the last couple of weeks - for a bit of business and a bit of pleasure; well as much pleasure as one can get bundled in layers of clothing and sightseeing in cold weather anyway.

Back home after a zillion bland and greasy meals, I was glad to get into the kitchen and whip up (what else but) some comforting dal and rice. Instead of my usual preparation I decided to try a new recipe.
My travel weary bones creaked and complained at the added work but like a brave soldier I pressed on. Oh alright, I admit it, updating my blog was the ulterior motive ;-)

So 'Osaman' it was - a watery Gujarati dal made of red or yellow lentils. It is similar to the Konkani 'saar' or 'rasam' of the South - dal that can be had as soup or as an accompaniment to rice. Best of both worlds in my opinion!


OSAMAN (Gujarati Dal)
(serves 3-4)
(adapted from this recipe)
1/4 cup red lentils (masoor dal)
1 tsp ginger paste
1/2 tsp turmeric
2-3 kokum (or 1 tbsp tamarind pulp)
1-2 tbsp jaggery
2 tbsp peanuts, roasted
salt to taste
For seasoning -
2 tsp ghee
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
2 green chillies, slit
a pinch of asafetida
few curry leaves

Cook dal with 3 or more cups of water. When it is well done add ginger paste, turmeric, kokum/ tamarind, jaggery and peanuts. Season to taste then blend well with a whisk. Bring to a simmer on low heat.

Meanwhile heat ghee in a tadka ladle and add mustard seeds. When they begin to splutter add cumin seeds, asafetida, fenugreek seeds, curry leaves and chillies.

Saute for a minute then pour over dal. Simmer for 1-2 minutes. Garnish with finely chopped cilantro and serve hot.

* Verdict: For a simple soup I found the dal packed in quite a complex flavor - sweet, sour and nutty (the trademark of most Gujarati dishes I think). The husband said the jaggery would need getting used to, but overall was in favor of the mingled tastes. All in all, a refreshing change for us.



Here it is - THE ROUND UP!!!

Imagine yourself at your favorite restaurant - sit back, tune in to the mellow music and order whatever you like - it's all lip smacking good!
{Please mouse over image for
name of dish and contributor. Click on image to get to the respective post}

Bread -

Appam by MaheshwariCoconut Idlis by ShilpaRice Pancake by SajedaUndi by VaishaliVarna Puttu by Surya

Wheat Bhakri by Mahek

Soup & Salad -

CocoMango Soup by MeetaMulligatawny Soup by MandiraRed Lentil Soup by PavaniSquash Coconut Soup by RosieThai Chicken Soup by Anita

Ladyfinger Raita by RoopaMango Peas Sundal by Menu Today

Sides & Snacks -

Coconut Buns by ViniCoconut Water & Tender Coconut Pieces by IndiraCoconut Chutney by JenniCoconut Mint Chutney by MeenaCoconut Pachadi by Madhavi

Coriander Chutney by SailajaCoconut Sammanthi by GiniGarlic Chutney by AshwiniKachori by SwapnaSeafood Quiche by Marie Laure

Trio of Chutneys by PriyaCoconut Vadas by Radhika

Curries (Vegetarian) -

Avial by MythreyeeBittergourd Menaskai by SmitaBrinjal Buttermilk Kuzhambu by IndosungodBrinjal Theeyal by GiniBrussel Sprouts Stew by Menu Today

Cauliflower Kurma by LakshmiammalCoconut Milk Kuzhambu by KrithikaCollard Greens Thoran by RPCorn in Coconut Milk by PepperEggplant Rasavangy by Nupur

Kerala Sambar by JasmineKerala Vegetable Stew by ArchanaMango & Jackfruit Seeds Curry by AnnitaMango Kootan by VidhyaOlan by Priya

Shimla Paneer by RinkuTindora Fry by VijayaCurried Cauliflower by ManasiIshtu by SmithaCorn & Coconut Subji by Sudha

Tofu Curry

Curries (Non-Vegetarian) -

Curried Fish in Coconut Sauce by KayFish Curry By SraKerala Style Fish Curry by SriLaotian Prawn Curry by AnhMutton Kuruma by Maheshwari

Prawn Malai Curry by Snigdha

Rice -

Coconut Rice by RevathiCoconut Rice by SwapnaCoconut Masala Rice by SumaMalabar Coconut Rice by ShaheenSpicy Coconut Rice by Anjali

Desserts -

Beet Coconut & Chocolate Cake by AshaCoconut Badam Phirni by RoopaCoconut Bread Burfi by VaishaliCoconut Burfi by PriyaCoconut Cream Burfi by Anupama

Coconut Fudge by SeemaCoconut Halwa by Krishna & ArjunaCoconut Ice cream by HaaloCoconut Macaroons by SushmaCoconut Pineapple Burfi by Anu

Coconut Roti by ShilpaHaupia by SowmyaKozhukkattai by NaliniMoong Dal & Coconut Burfi by SandeepaNaral Wadi by Manasi & her mother

Pandan Coconut Milk Jelly By SraPatholi by ManjulaPlantain Pradhaman by PraveenaRice Payasam by ManasiSweet Potato Kheer by Ashwini

Tender Coconut Pudding by AnnitaTender Coconut Pudding by Viji

And ... that's it friends - 79 wonderful recipes to give you abundant inspiration in the kitchen for the rest of the year!
For those who would still like to send in their entries I'd be happy to update this list as and when you mail me.
Rosie has chosen GINGER as the ingredient for February - apt for the wintry months upon us. Head over to her blog for details.
Thanks Indira for this opportunity.