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Tag Archives: starter

Indian style Chana Tikki (Chickpea Patties)

Snacks are a big thing in our home, not store bought but homemade ones that are devoured with much gusto after the boys get back home from school and work.

Snacks are also an important part of every party we hold at home, because we really love the sit down, relaxed, course by course dinner over the buffet style anyday. Hence there are plenty of recipes on my blog for this category but I realised that somehow there aren’t many vegetarian options in the list.

And I often get requests from friends asking for vegetarian snack or appetizer recipes which got me thinking that I need to make more of these. And that’s how these chickpea tikkis happened.

Indian style Chana Tikki (Chickpea Patties) - thespiceadventuress.com

Chickpea is a popular ingredient worldwide, amongst all cuisines, vegetarians and nonvegetarians alike. We also know that it is a really good source of protein which makes it a pretty healthy option too. I love using chickpeas in curries, rice dishes, salads, dips etc…. but this is the first time I have tried out a tikki using it.

This recipe is actually an adaptation of several kebab and tikki recipes that I have made before or read in books. I didn’t want to use potatoes as the binding agent, so instead used soft white bread and flour. Since the latter are in small amounts, the taste and texture of the chickpeas really shines through. And these are grilled with very less oil on a flat nonstick or cast iron pan because it has a crumbly texture.

So let’s get on to making these delicious, super moreish chickpea or chana tikkis/patties, best paired with this mint coriander chutney. And if you try it out, do tag me in your photograph (#thespiceadventuress) so that I can see it too.

Ingredients:

  1. 2 cups chickpeas; cooked in salted boiling water till mushy
  2. 1 tsp cumin seeds
  3. 2-3 medium garlic cloves; grated
  4. ½ inch ginger; grated
  5. 1 medium red onion; finely chopped
  6. 1 tsp chaat masala
  7. 1 tsp coriander powder
  8. 1 tsp red chilli powder
  9. A pinch of asafoetida/hing
  10. 2-3 tbsp breadcrumbs (more if necessary)
  11. 1-2 tbsp white flour
  12. Vegetable oil
  13. 1 tbsp coriander leaves; finely chopped
  14. Salt, to season

Method:

  1. Soak the chickpeas overnight; cook in salted boiling water till soft and mushy. Drain and keep aside.
  2. Add 2 tbsp oil in a pan, add cumin seeds and allow to crackle. Then add the chopped onions, garlic paste and ginger paste. Sauté till the onions are softened and light brown.
  3. Next add the cooked chickpeas, coriander powder, red chilli powder, chaat masala and asafoetida. Season with salt (remember the chickpeas already has salt) and cook on low heat for about 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add the chopped coriander leaves and remove from heat. Allow to cool well before grinding.
  5. Once cooled, grind the chickpea mixture without water. Then add the flour and breadcrumbs and knead to dough like consistency. Add more breadcrumbs till you get the desired consistency.
  6. Slightly grease your palms using oil and shape the chickpea mixture into round patties/tikkis. Refrigerate for about 15 minutes just to firm up but bring back to room temperature before grilling.
  7. Heat oil in a nonstick pan, just enough to coat the surface as we need to lightly grill the patties and not shallow fry. Place the tikkis on the pan and cook well on one side before flipping over. Take care as you flip over as the tikkis have a crumbly texture or it will break.
  8. Serve warm with mint coriander chutney.

Note – Another way of enjoying these tikkis or patties is by crushing it between a pav; add a dollop of chutney and you have another version of your favourite vada pav. Or go Western by crushing it lightly between a slider bun and add some greens and your favourite mayo for a vegetarian slider.

Indian style Chana Tikki (Chickpea Patties) - thespiceadventuress.com

 

 

 

 

 

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Lamb Cigar Rolls

“I have a son, who is my heart.
A wonderful young boy, daring and loving
Strong and kind.”

-Maya Angelou

Today our little munchkin turns 9.  And our hearts are filled with so much joy and happiness…..

Adi is a happy child, a genuine kind soul who finds happiness in humor, music and bear hugs. And as much as we would like to take credit for his upbringing, the truth is that it is not us. His kindness and generosity comes from within him and we are really blessed to have him in our lives.

And just as every other parent, we wish him good health and a joyful heart always.

All of us call Adi the ‘gourmet’ boy. His love for oysters is legendary; yes he can down a dozen of the raw ones which always get us attention at any restaurant we go to. But he is equally at home with traditional South Indian food especially dosas and this tomato egg chutney which is the ultimate combo for him. In fact that’s exactly what I will be making for his birthday dinner!

Lately he has also taken fancy to homemade snacks, especially the savoury ones. These days, he comes home ravenous from school. The growth spurts are real and that means I am always hunting for interesting recipes for quick after school snacks, especially ones that can be made in bulk and frozen to alternate through the week.

The Lamb Cigar Rolls fit the bill perfectly.

Lamb Cigar Rolls - thespiceadventuress.com

Frozen puff pastry sheets are a real blessing; and I always have some stocked in the freezer. Which means that I just need to make a filling for a quick, healthy and delicious snack. These lamb rolls were inspired by the paneer rolls I made last year for Adi’s birthday; it was hands down the best loved starter of the party.

The filling is really simple; lamb mince spiced with cumin, dried mint, paprika and turmeric with chopped onion, garlic and ginger through it. A few spices and aromatics can work wonders with lamb and the flavour of the meat really shines through. A handful of chopped raisins too for that intermittent sweet burst of flavour.

If you are fond of puff pastry snacks, then here’s another delicious one using kangaroo mince.

Lamb Cigar Rolls - thespiceadventuress.com

Ingredients:

(Makes 18-20 rolls)

  1. 5 Puff pastry sheets; each sheet cut into four
  2. 500gm lamb mince
  3. 1 small or ½ medium onion
  4. 3 medium garlic cloves
  5. ½ inch ginger
  6. 2 heaped tbsp coriander leaves; finely chopped
  7. ½ tsp cumin powder
  8. ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  9. ½ tsp dried mint
  10. 1 tsp paprika (or use Kashmiri chilli powder)
  11. Salt, to season
  12. A handful of chopped raisins (optional)
  13. Sesame seeds, for garnish
  14. Vegetable oil

Method:

  1. Defrost the puff pastry sheets before use.
  2. Heat 2-3 tbsp oil in a pan and brown the lamb mince in batches. Remove and keep aside.
  3. In the same pan, add the onion, garlic and ginger; sauté till the onions have softened.
  4. Next add the lamb mince back and season with the spices and salt. Mix well to combine and then add the raisins and coriander leaves. Mix well and remove from heat. Allow to cool completely.
  5. Pre heat the oven (fan forced) to 200°C
  6. Divide one pastry sheet into 4 equal squares.
  7. Place 1-2 tbsp of the prepared mince at one end of the square. Wet the edges of the sheet and roll tightly to form a cigar shaped roll. Repeat for all the other sheets.
  8. Place in a tray lined with baking paper. Spray the rolls lightly with oil and sprinkle the sesame seeds.
  9. Bake in the oven at 200°C for 30 minutes or till golden brown (time taken may vary depending on the type of oven so check intermittently).
  10. Serve warm with your choice of dipping sauce.

Note – If you want to freeze for later, prepare the rolls and freeze in an airtight container. Keeps upto 2 months.

Lamb Cigar Rolls - thespiceadventuress.com

Omelette Brochettes

We are big time egg lovers and go through quite a few cartons every month. In fact, if its egg curry bubbling on the stove, my son would sniff it a mile away and come running all excited about dinner.

All forms of egg dishes are welcome in our home and fried runny yolk eggs are a hot favourite of the kiddo for weekend brunches. We are lucky that so far, there has been no restrictions at school too because Adi really loves egg sandwiches in his lunch boxes.

Even though there are plenty of different egg dishes I cook, I was still on the hunt for new ones especially that cater to the after-school-hunger-pangs category. With a growth spurt happening, Adi comes home from school totally ravenous and needs something really substantial. And that’s how I came across a similar recipe for Omelette Brochettes in a cookbook called ‘Mini Treats’ by Hinkler Publications.

Omelette Brochettes, a simple and delicious snack - thespiceadventuress.com

This one’s pretty simple to make, almost like a frittata. Though I have used onions, bell peppers and ham, any combination of meats or veggies can be used depending on your preferences.

It’s a really easy and simple dish to make and one you can make in bulk which also makes it as an excellent starter choice especially for children’s parties. If you are a light eater like me, it makes a delicious lunch option too when paired with a simple green salad.

I have not used cheese in this recipe, somehow I don’t like the texture too much if I have to refrigerate and then re-heat it later. But I would,  if I was making it for a party or to have immediately afterwards.

Omelette Brochettes, a simple and delicious snack - thespiceadventuress.com

Omelette Brochettes, a simple and delicious snack - thespiceadventuress.com

Do try it out and let me know if you enjoyed it and don’t forget to tag your creations with #thespiceadventuress while posting on social media so that I can see it too. Happy cooking!

Ingredients:

  1. 3-4 tbsp olive oil
  2. 1 cup whole milk
  3. 12 large eggs
  4. 1 onion; finely chopped
  5. 8 ham slices; chopped
  6. 2 mini red bell peppers; finely chopped
  7. ½ tsp red chilli flakes
  8. 3 tbsp parsley leaves; finely chopped (reserve a bit for garnish)
  9. ½ tsp dried Italian herbs (a mix of dried oregano, thyme and rosemary)
  10. Salt, to season
  11. Freshly milled black pepper; to season

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 160°C (fan forced).
  • Line an oven pan (32x26cm) with baking paper. (You can also use a square or rectangle cake tin).
  • Heat olive oil in a pan and add the chopped ham; sauté for about 2-3 minutes and then add the onions.
  • Once the onions are softened and translucent, add the bell peppers. Season with salt and allow to cool slightly before adding to the egg mixture.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and milk together. Add the chilli flakes, dried herbs, parsley and the cooled onion ham mixture. Season with salt and pepper and whisk well.
  • Pour into the pan and cook in the oven for 12-15 minutes or till the egg has set.
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before turning it out of the pan. Cut into squares and serve with your favourite sauce.

Omelette Brochettes, a simple and delicious snack - thespiceadventuress.com

Crab Salad with Asian Herb Dressing

It’s been a pretty ‘meh’ week so far and I can’t wait for it to get over. My health took a beating and what followed were days of extreme fatigue and tiredness. And I think when women fall sick, we tend to suffer more emotionally than physically.

The week actually started off on a really good note. On Monday, I went on an impromptu lunch date with two of my girlfriends and we had a really good time. Those stolen couple of hours for ourselves were a blessing in our otherwise harried lives. But the euphoria didn’t last long because by the end of the day, I started feeling weak and terrible.

I hardly got any cooking done, surviving on takeaways and basics the whole week. I am quite behind on deadlines but I really couldn’t care less. A big lesson I have learnt is to listen to your body and slow down when it tells you to and I am doing just that. And since I hadn’t tried out anything new, I decided to share with you guys a gorgeous salad that I did a while ago for a client – a Crab Salad with Asian Herb Dressing.

Crab Salad with Asian Herb Dressing - a light, refreshing and gorgeous salad - thespiceadventuress.com

If you like delicate flavours, then you will love this crab salad. It’s light and summery with a hint of heat from the chillies and aromatics. And that fresh herb dressing only adds to the sweetness of the crab meat.

Purchasing crab meat can be an expensive affair and I would recommend getting those huge mud crabs and taking the meat out yourself. A bit time consuming but way more affordable. And if you have kids, get them onto it…will keep them silent for a while though you might end up with shells all around.

Crab Salad with Asian Herb Dressing - a light, refreshing and gorgeous salad - thespiceadventuress.com

Crab Salad with Asian Herb Dressing - a light, refreshing and gorgeous salad - thespiceadventuress.com

Excellent as a refreshing salad on its own, but it can become the most gorgeous looking party canapé just as easily. I used fried Indian pappads to become a crunchy vehicle for this beautiful salad. You can find all sorts of small sized pappads in Indian stores (sometimes in major supermarkets too). I used the masala pappads for that extra dash of flavour but you can use plain/pepper or cumin studded ones. Generally as an accompaniment, I tend to roast the pappads but for a canapé, I prefer fried as it stays crisp for longer.

You could also opt for crackers or mild flavoured potato crisps….anything crispy that doesn’t overtake the sweet freshness of the salad. A glass of sparkling and this pretty canapé is bound to get conversation flowing….

Crab Salad with Asian Herb Dressing - a light, refreshing and gorgeous salad - thespiceadventuress.com

Crab Salad with Asian Herb Dressing - a light, refreshing and gorgeous salad - thespiceadventuress.com

And as always, I love to hear from you when you have tried any of my recipes. Feel free to drop a comment, mail or share on social media (remember #thespiceadventuress so that I will not miss it). Have a great weekend folks!

Ingredients:

  1. 400gms white crab meat
  2. 1 small Lebanese cucumber; chopped finely

Read the full recipe here…..

Recipe developed, styled and shot for Supreme Seafood.

Vietnamese Prawn Spring Rolls (with Sweet n’ Spicy Dipping Sauce)

The looong Easter weekend is finally over and it’s back to work today. Well, not quite for me as the little fellow is at home for his term break. So technically, the holiday mood continues…

Last term holidays, Adi handed out invitations to his friends for play dates without asking me. So I found myself caught in completely unprepared situations having to think on the spur for interesting snacks to feed the brood. Though eventually that play date fell upon another mom’s shoulders, I didn’t want a repeat of that scenario this time too so decided to stock up on some finger food before hand, something I know children love to munch on.

And that is how these Vietnamese Prawn Spring Rolls came to be.

Vietnamese Prawns Spring Rolls - The ultimate party snack for kids and adults alike - thespiceadventuress.com

We are all familiar with spring rolls especially the deep fried ones. Perhaps, one of our all time favourite ones in the snack list. There are so many fillings that can be used, both vegetarian and non vegetarian. But I must admit that I am partial to pork and prawn spring rolls.

One of the best spring rolls that I have eaten is at a small Vietnamese restaurant near home. They serve thin, crispy spring rolls to be dunked in a delicious dipping sauce. And traditionally, these spring rolls are eaten wrapped inside lettuce leaves and a couple of mint leaves. Though generally iceberg lettuce is used, I enjoyed this with cos lettuce this time. Let me tell you, once you have it this way, you will not want to eat spring rolls any other way.

The cool crispiness of the lettuce followed by the crunchy deliciousness of the spring roll finishing off with minty freshness and all of it tied together by the sweet and spicy dipping sauce.

Vietnamese Prawns Spring Rolls - The ultimate party snack for kids and adults alike - thespiceadventuress.com

So you get the point…it is delicious!

Now Adi is not too fond of the lettuce/mint leaves/dipping sauce combo; he just prefers dunking it in store brought sweet chilli sauce. And I am sure his buddies are gonna think the same. But all of us do agree on one thing that these Vietnamese prawn spring rolls are the best.

Psst…..I also managed to sneak in some extra amount of carrots. I am sure the mummies are gonna love the idea.

If you are making spring rolls for the first time, then you might take a bit of practice to get it right but hey, it’s no rocket science. I hope the images are helpful or you can just watch any ‘how to make spring roll’ video on YouTube.

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Apart from these spring rolls, I am also planning to make these Chilli Chicken Bites and Upma Cutlets. Do you have any easy suggestions that I could try out? Would love to hear all of it….

Without wasting any more time, let’s get frying these delicious Vietnamese prawn spring rolls!

Ingredients:

(Makes around 26 rolls)

For the spring rolls:

  1. 1 packet spring roll pastry (small )
  2. 300 gms prawns; deshelled and deveined
  3. 1 large carrot; grated
  4. 1 medium onion; finely chopped
  5. 1 tbsp garlic powder
  6. 1 tsp sugar
  7. 1 tsp black pepper
  8. Salt, to season
  9. Paste mixture for sealing the pastry:
  • 1 tsp all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp water
  1. Vegetable oil; for deep frying

For the dipping sauce:

  1. 2 tbsp vinegar
  2. 3 tbsp fish sauce
  3. 2 tbsp sugar
  4. 1 cup water
  5. ½ tsp chilli paste (optional)

To serve:

  1. 2 heads of Cos lettuce; leaves separated
  2. A bunch of mint leaves

Method:

  1. Mince or finely chop the prawns. Remember it should have a bite so do not overmince to a paste like texture.
  2. Add the carrots and onions along with the garlic, sugar, pepper and salt. Mix well to combine till you get a uniform consistency.
  3. Mix the flour and water to get a paste like consistency which is to be used for sealing the ends of the pastry.
  4. It is faster if you separate your pastry sheets in advance and store in an air tight container or zip lock bag to prevent drying out. Alternately, you can separate the sheets that you want and then wrap in a damp cloth, removing one at a time.
  5. Place the sheet in a diamond shape (i.e. one pointed end of the sheet towards you as depicted in the picture).
  6. Place a small amount of the filling at the end towards you (do not overload with filling as this tends the roll to break open while frying). Hold the edge and fold over the filling towards the other end and then pull it tightly towards you so that the filling is nestled tightly inside. The tighter the roll, the better will be the shape of your spring roll and also helps it from breaking in the oil.
  7. Fold the other two ends towards each other and roll the whole thing into a cylinder. Seal the end with the flour paste to secure it tightly. Place in an airtight container and cover with lid immediately to prevent drying out.
  8. Repeat the same for all the rolls.
  9. Heat enough oil in a deep pan to deep fry the rolls. To check if the oil is hot enough, insert a chopstick or wooden spoon; if you can notice bubbling around the wooden part, then the temperature is right. Do not over heat the oil as this will burn the rolls outside without cooking the inside prawn meat.
  10. Also, fry only 4-5 rolls at a time in a medium sized pan. Overcrowding leads to a temperature drop which results in soggy rolls.
  11. Fry the rolls in batches and place in a strainer. Remove after a few minutes to a kitchen paper. Avoid stacking up to ensure that the crispness stays longer.
  12. To prepare the dipping sauce, mix together all the ingredients; taste and adjust seasoning accordingly.
  13. Serve on a large platter with the spring rolls, lettuce, mint leaves and dipping sauce so that each person can customize to individual taste preferences.

Note:

  • Spring roll pastry sheets come in both small and large sizes. I have used small ones in this recipe but if you are using large, then adjust the recipe accordingly.
  • Prawn meat can be substituted with any meat of choice. You can also make a vegetarian version with mashed veggies of choice.

Vietnamese Prawns Spring Rolls - The ultimate party snack for kids and adults alike - thespiceadventuress.com

Vietnamese Prawns Spring Rolls - The ultimate party snack for kids and adults alike - thespiceadventuress.com

Hashbrown Muffins with Ham, Cheese and Sundried Tomatoes

Hashbrowns!

Who doesn’t love a good hashbrown….crispy, golden goodness that make our mornings brighter and delicious.

But what could be better? Oven baked hashbrown muffins generously endowed with ham, parmesan and sundried tomatoes. Now we are talking….

Hashbrown Muffins with Ham, Cheese and Sundried Tomatoes - a savoury kid friendly snack perfect for lunch boxes and parties alike - thespiceadventuress.com

 

I have been wanting to make some savoury muffins for a while now but pushed it off till the school term began again. It was #backtoschool today and these hashbrown muffins seemed like the perfect treat to welcome my boy home after his first day in Grade 2.

The idea for a hashbrown muffin came from the blog ‘Recipe Tin Eats’; she used bacon in her recipe but I wanted to create a flavour that Adi enjoys. So it had to be ham and cheese! For that extra flavour punch, some finely chopped sundried tomatoes did the job. And a generous sprinkle of parsley for that refreshing, herby goodness.

A simple and easy to make recipe, these savoury muffins are excellent for parties or when you need to feed a crowd. Also freezes well, so you can make a batch ahead and re-heat it when necessary. And of course, a great lunch box recipe. Do not hesitate to experiment adding flavours that you or your kids enjoy. For a vegetarian version, I am thinking a hashbrown with ricotta and spinach.

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Hashbrown Muffins with Ham, Cheese and Sundried Tomatoes - a savoury kid friendly snack perfect for lunch boxes and parties alike - thespiceadventuress.com

Do you make savoury muffins? I would love to hear about your recipes, so please drop in a comment below. And if you do make these hashbrown muffins, make sure you tag me using #thespiceadventuress so that I would not miss it.

So, let’s get on to the recipe;

Ingredients:

(Makes about 20 muffins)

  1. 100gms ham; chopped finely
  2. 1.2 kg potatoes (any starchy variety); grated
  3. ½ cup sundried tomatoes; chopped finely
  4. 2 tbsp parsley; finely chopped
  5. Salt, to season
  6. Freshly milled black pepper; to season
  7. 1 cup mozzarella; grated (or any melting cheese)

Method:

  1. Sauté the ham on low heat till lightly browned. Keep aside.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 160°C fan forced (180°C for conventional).
  3. Wash the grated potatoes once or twice in cold water to remove excess starch. Squeeze out the excess water in small batches and place in a bowl.
  4. Add the ham (reserve a bit for garnish), cheese, sundried tomatoes and 1 tbsp parsley to the potatoes; season with salt and pepper. Mix well to combine.
  5. Oil the muffin tray well (even if it is nonstick); scoop about ½ cup of the potato mixture and place in each muffin well. Flatten the top lightly with the back of a spoon.
  6. Oven bake for about 20-25 minutes or till the top has taken a golden brown colour.
  7. Garnish with the remaining ham and parsley; serve warm.

Hashbrown Muffins with Ham, Cheese and Sundried Tomatoes - a savoury kid friendly snack perfect for lunch boxes and parties alike - thespiceadventuress.com

Hashbrown Muffins with Ham, Cheese and Sundried Tomatoes - a savoury kid friendly snack perfect for lunch boxes and parties alike - thespiceadventuress.com

 

 

 

Crumbed Prawns with Desiccated Coconut and Spices

Why not one last recipe before 2016 arrives, especially when we love seafood so much!

Prawns are indispensable for our summer parties, and one of our most favourite foods to throw on the barbie. But today we are having crunchy, crumbed prawns with a difference. Bye to breadcrumbs and welcome to desiccated coconut to crumb these beauties.

Crumbed Prawns with Desiccated Coconut and Spices - a simple, easy to make crunchy prawn starter for your next party - thespiceadventuress.com

I made a batch of these crumbed prawns for a small get-together at home and everyone loved it, especially the kids. And ofcourse spices are integral to any recipe of mine, so I used a basic marinade for the prawns which boosts the flavour quotient. Not much of heat, but definitely more flavour.

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This is an extremely simple recipe, very few ingredients. The prawns can be pre-prepared and kept in the refrigerator till your guests arrive. I oven baked these with absolutely no oil as the coconut releases a bit of oil which is enough to get a crunchy exterior. But if you wish to shallow fry, you may do so but again, very less oil.

Served with sweet chilli sauce, these crumbed prawns with desiccated coconut and spices make an absolutely delicious starter.

Crumbed Prawns with Desiccated Coconut and Spices - a simple, easy to make crunchy prawn starter for your next party - thespiceadventuress.com

Wishing all of you a fantabulous 2016 and a year ahead of joy, happiness and abundant blessings.

Ingredients:

  1. 500gm prawns; shelled and deveined (retain a bit of the shell at the tail end)
  2. 1 ½ cups desiccated coconut
  3. Salt, to season

View the full recipe here.

Crumbed Prawns with Desiccated Coconut and Spices - a simple, easy to make crunchy prawn starter for your next party - thespiceadventuress.com

Crumbed Prawns with Desiccated Coconut and Spices - a simple, easy to make crunchy prawn starter for your next party - thespiceadventuress.com

Recipe developed, styled and shot for Supreme Seafood. 

Tandoori Paneer Skewers with Goat’s Yoghurt

My first taste of goat’s milk was when I was around 10, while living in the Middle East.

We had friends who used to work on dairy farms owned by the rich Arabs and they would bring us all sorts of delicious and exotic foods that were not so commonly available back then. Exotic varieties of dates, goat’s milk, sheep’s milk, yoghurt…..the best kind which were exclusively farmed for the rich families and not for sale.

I had almost forgotten what goat’s milk or yoghurt tastes like until recently when I got the opportunity to sample the same from CapriLac.

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Remember this vegan, dairy free almond yoghurt green smoothie and coconut yoghurt zucchini dip using No Udder products? CapriLac belongs to the same group but specializes in goat’s milk, yoghurt and goat’s milk powder.

Now you would ask, why goat’s milk?

Goat’s milk is not necessarily healthier than cow’s milk on a strict comparison basis. But it definitely has its merits. It has less lactose, a tab bit less sugar and also more calcium, potassium and Vitamin A than cow’s milk. It is also more easily digestible as it has a chemical structure which is quite similar to breast milk and hence is a great dairy alternative for those who have sensitive tummies. It is also less allergenic. So in a nutshell, it can be a great alternative to cow’s milk.

Goat’s yoghurt does not taste much different to cow’s yoghurt. I felt it is creamy but less sour than the cow’s yoghurt which makes it perfect for today’s paneer skewers.

CapriLac Goat products are Australian made (the milk comes from their own farms). No preservatives, no flavours, no additives…..which makes it a really good product for your family’s use.

I wanted to use goat’s yoghurt for a traditional Indian dish that has become a global favourite – tandoori.

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Myths and misconceptions regarding tandoori are rife and rampant. To being with tandoori refers to a dish that has been cooked inside a tandoor, a specialized kind of clay oven. The tandoor arrived in India through the Persian traders and even today, you can find plenty of households in Iran use the tandoor on a daily basis.

So technically the ‘tandoori’ refers to any dish prepared inside a tandoor but these days, the name has also been extended to dishes which use the traditional spice marinade. Again, this marinade has quite a few variations and this one is my version perfected after a lot of trial and error. I do not like to use besan (chickpea flour) in the marinade but prefer to keep it light with just yoghurt, aromatics and spices.

Paneer, as all of us know is Indian cottage cheese and now so commonly available in mainstream supermarkets. Now this is made from cow’s milk so those of you who wish to avoid it can use the same recipe for preparing mixed vegetable skewers (mushroom, broccoli, cauliflower), tofu, chicken or prawn skewers.

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Tandoori Paneer Skewers are an excellent party starter. In fact, it is a hit every time I make it for guests.  It’s flavourful, delicious, pairs equally well with beer, cocktails or wine and just the right summer party food. Perfect for your meatless Mondays too; pair with a simple green peas pilaf and mint coriander dip like I did.

If you have a tandoor at home, that’s great but since most of us will not have it…grilling or pan fry is the best option.

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Note – I have seen many photographs with perfect looking paneer cubes with hardly any signs of charring. But remember, it is those brown charred bits that you actually need because that’s where the deliciousness is!

Ingredients:

  1. 400 gms paneer (Indian cottage cheese); cut into equal sized cubes
  2. 1 medium red onion; cubed
  3. 2 ripe, yet firm tomatoes; remove pulp and cut into cubes
  4. 1 green bell pepper; cubed
  5. 3-4 tbsp vegetable oil
  6. 5-6 tbsp tandoori marinade
  • 4-5 tbsp Goat’s yoghurt
  • ½ tsp ginger paste
  • ½ tsp garlic paste
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • ½ tsp Kashmiri red chilli powder
  • ½ tsp coriander powder
  • ½ tsp cumin powder
  • ½ tsp chaat masala
  • A pinch of black salt
  • 2 sprigs fresh coriander leaves; finely chopped
  1. Salt, to season
  2. Lemon wedges, to garnish
  3. Bamboo skewers

Note:

  • Kashmiri chilli powder is mainly for a deeper red colour. It is optional and the level of heat can be adjusted with regular red chilli powder.
  • Chaat masala and black salt (kala namak) are available at all Indian stores.

Method:

  1. To make the tandoori marinade, mix the goat’s yoghurt with all the aromatics, spices and coriander leaves in a non reactive bowl.
  2. Add the paneer and vegetable cubes into the marinade and mix well. Season with salt and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or as long as possible. Bring to room temperature before cooking.
  3. Soak the bamboo skewers in water for at least 15 minutes before using to prevent burning.
  4. Skewer the paneer cubes and vegetables alternately so that each skewer has paneer, tomato, onion and bell pepper.
  5. Oil a flat pan or grill well and heat to smoking point. Reduce heat and place the skewers. Increase heat to medium and grill till done on all sides. Paneer cooks really fast so a minute or two on each side would be enough.
  6. Garnish with lemon wedges and serve with a mint coriander dip.

 

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Disclaimer – This is a sponsored post in association with CapriLac Foods. But the recipe and all the opinions expressed are entirely mine. 

Vindaloo Lamb Chops

Whenever you are learning to cook a dish or experiment with a new cuisine, it is very important to pay attention to the basics.

Don’t try and go fusion and modern twists the very first time. Go traditional and learn to cook and perfect the dish as it has always been done. And since there are innumerable versions of the same recipe floating around on cyber world, do your own bit of research before narrowing in on a recipe that closely identifies to the original.

I thought of speaking about this today because I see a lot of people creating so called ‘fusion’ dishes without having a real understanding of the original. Now I don’t have a problem with fusion or modern, I do it myself all the time but only after I have almost perfected the original. And why is this important? Because it helps us to learn the basics, have a real understanding of how and why the dish or recipe came to be, a bit of history and also because it helps us to preserve the original which seems to be fast disappearing from today’s world.

For example, the vindaloo. One of the most popular Indian curries in the world but also one that is much misrepresented. The secret to a good vindaloo lies in the spice paste; get it right and you get the dish right. I got the recipe for a traditional vindaloo around 2 years back from a Goan source and I have made the spice paste so many times to get the exact balance which lends the right flavour complexity to the final dish.

Vindaloo Lamb Chops - thespiceadventuress.com

Once I got it right, I began to experiment with the spice paste to use it in different avatars like today’s dish – the vindaloo lamb chops.

The idea for this dish came while preparing for a party. I wanted to do a lamb chops starter but also wanted to do a quick Indian version of the same. So the thought of using the vindaloo spice paste came into mind, especially since I always have a stash stored in my freezer. It’s a dish that comes together so easily especially if you have the marinade ready beforehand.

Vindaloo Lamb Chops - thespiceadventuress.com

Succulent, delicately frenched lamb chops smothered with the lipsmacking vindaloo marinade, pan fried and finished off with a dash of tomato sauce.

The perfect weekend starter…..and fingerlickin’ good!

Ingredients:

For the vindaloo marinade:

(This makes more than the required amount; the rest can be frozen in batches and used whenever necessary)
1. 4 dried red chillies
2. 1 tbsp cumin seeds
3. 1 tbsp coriander seeds

Read the full recipe here.

Vindaloo Lamb Chops - thespiceadventuress.com

Recipe developed, styled and shot for Supreme Seafood.

Japanese Shrimp Fry (Ebi Fry) with Katsu Sauce

Suddenly there is this eerie silence at home! A new academic year has started and my son went ‘back’ to school today.

Though this is a going back, I experienced the same anxiety, excitement, silent nervousness that I felt last year when he started school for the very first time. It’s going to be a new class, new teacher, many new friends….hope he won’t miss his old teacher much, hope he will make new friends fast, hope he likes his new teacher……the list goes on.

Feelings that every mother goes through, especially paranoid ones like me. No, that’s not true. All mothers are paranoid. Period.

Personally, the best way for me to handle this inner turmoil is to engage myself in activities that I enjoy. And what more than cooking…..

Today, I am stepping out totally from my comfort zone and trying my hand at a Japanese dish. I am a newborn to this cuisine, yet to understand or experience its foundations. Japanese cuisine is a highly refined one and still remains an enigma to most except for sushi and sashimi and the occasional don.

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I am doing an easy one today, a classic that is totally befitting a beginner. Japanese shrimp fry with katsu sauce.

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Japanese always use Panko breadcrumbs as opposed to ordinary bread crumbs which provide a crispier texture. Panko is made from crustless bread and hence has large, airy granules which absorb less grease and thereby give more crunch to the finished product. Panko crumbs are commonly available these days at all mainstream supermarkets and also in Asian stores.

Use it next time you want to deep fry something and you will be amazed at the texture.

These fried shrimp can be paired with any dip but to make it more Japanese, I am going with the katsu sauce. This is an easier version of the traditional one but the flavours are strikingly similar.

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An extremely easy dish that appeals to all palates, this Japanese style fried shrimp with katsu sauce is an excellent starter to any meal. And perfectly paired with the ‘Boy meets Girl Pinot Grigio 2013 by Adrian and Rebecca Santolin from Naked wines.

To quote the winemaker, ‘Slightly blushed with a hint of colour, this wine stays true to varietal form. Modelled on the European styles, it is savoury and textural yet smooth and full on the palate.’

And in my words….a delicious, crisp but not too dry white wine.

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Ingredients:

1. 15 large shrimps, peeled and deveined leaving the tails intact
2. 1 – 1 ½ cup Panko breadcrumbs
3. ½ cup plain flour
4. 1 egg, beaten
5. Salt, to season
6. Freshly milled black pepper, to season
7. Shredded cabbage, to serve with the shrimp
8. Vegetable oil, to deep fry the shrimp

For the Katsu sauce:

1. ½ cup tomato ketchup
2. 2 tsp mustard (use powder or paste)
3. 1 tsp garlic powder
4. 1 tsp black pepper
5. 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce


Method:

1. To prepare the katsu sauce, mix all the ingredients, cover and refrigerate for at least one hour for the flavours to develop.
2. Heat oil in a pan to fry the shrimps.
3. Season the shrimps with salt and pepper.
4. Flour the shrimps lightly, dip in beaten egg and cover well with the Panko crumbs.
5. Deep fry till golden brown.
6. Serve hot on a bed of shredded cabbage with katsu.
7. Enjoy!

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This recipe for Japanese shrimp fry comes from here.

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