Monday, September 26, 2011

Vada Sambar - A Spicy Indian Staple Breakfast

Vada Sambar - A Spicy Indian Staple Breakfast

It's about a month since mom left  and yes I miss her, no matter how long I have lived away from home that bond between mom and daughter is always special. All the while mom was here she treated us to all her special recipes, my job was simple eat and take pictures. This time on I made extra effort to not let her in the kitchen yet she always managed to get in the kitchen and cook.

Like any typical American family our breakfast at home during weekdays consists of cereal, toast, eggs with parents in town we were treated to typical Indian breakfast, a true luxury I say one such dish that warms your soul and satisfies all your spicy cravings in Vada Samabar a staple south Indian breakfast. I cannot remember the time I ever made this on my own. After a serious fiasco of oil spilling all over my hand I completely gave up deep frying so when mom made these it was hard to resist.

Sambar recipe can be found from my previous posts here 

Ingredients for Vada
1 cup Urad dal
3-4 green chilies
2 tbsp rice flour
pinch of baking soda (optional)
inch of ginger
salt according to taste
3 cups of oil for deep frying.

1. Let urad dal soak in water for about 2-3 hours.
2. Grind Urad dal with salt,green chilies ,ginger and rice flour into a fine paste without adding water, if it gets too hard to grind just add enough water to make the dough a bit wet.
3. Take care and make sure all the ingredients are well incorporated, this is very critical in order to avoid oil spluttering.
4. remove batter from the  grinder and use hand whip and aerate the dough, this makes the Vada's soft.
5. Heat oil in a pan and when oil gets hot, take a small portion of the dough and flatten into on your palm and make a hole in the middle, this is an art that you can master with time, don't worry if you cant get this shape, just flatten the dough and slip into the hot oil.
6. Fry vada's on both sides till its well cooked for about 3-4 minutes and remove from heat and place on tissue paper to allow all the excess oil to drain out.

7.Dunk the hot Vada's in sambhar and serve piping hot.

Sambar vada is one such delicious combination that its hard to resist, its a indulgence well worth.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Baked Sweet Potato Chips - Sweet & Spicy

Baked Sweet Potato Chips - Sweet & Spicy

Healthy snacking is a strict discipline that I have hard time following, I find myself  really hungry once I get back from work, I snack on the first thing I can get my hands on and the guilt that follows is just awful, over a period of years  learnt that to get myself of this rut first thing is to stop buying food that are high in carbs or fat, I think I am getting there but still I have my moments.

When you have a group of enthusiastic friend/fashionista’s  you are never short of ideas and tips for healthy snacking, learnt about home made Sweet potatoes snacks and what  an excellent snack it makes not to mention it's a good source of fiber and iron,  just pop it in the microwave for few minutes and drizzle with honey or agave and Walla you have yourself an healthy snack extending this idea a little further is today’s recipe. I so love these chips excellent for munching with your cup of evening tea.

Recipe can be totally customized according to taste, I like my chips chunky if you like yours crisp slice them paper thin and adjust oven setting accordingly

about 3 medium sized sweet potatoes
tbsp of salt preferred seasoned sea salt
tbsp of smoked paprika (adjust according to taste)
tbsp of balsamic vinegar 
tbsp of honey/agave
tbsp of brown sugar/cane sugar

1. Pre heat oven to 250
2.Peel and thinly slice sweet potatoes according to thickness of your choice, keep in mind they do shrink in size once baked.
3. Mix in all above ingredients with sliced potatoes and toss till every slice is well coated.
4. Place an aluminum foil on the baking sheet, spray pam or oil and now layer sweet potatoes .
5.Place it in the pre heated oven and allow to bake for 6-7 minutes , toss them over and bake for an additional 5-6 minutes.
6. Remove from heat and allow them to cool down

Once these cool down , make your self a cup of hot tea and zone out and take a five minute break from everything around you and enjoy these crispy sweet and spicy home made sweet potato chips.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

End Of Season Bounty - Tomato Plum Smoothie !!

End Of Season Bounty - Tomato Plum Smoothie !!

Ahh my favorite time of the year is here - Fall , weather is perfect evenings are just right for walk in the park with slight chill in the wind, few more days before we take out our bulky jackets and sweaters well I live in California so I guess I should not be complaining about the upcoming winter.

This year like every year planted few tomatoes.cucumber, chilies, corn,squash, zucchini,lemon cucumber and water melon plants, few were super successful like corn, we harvested our very first corn and few were a super flop like water melon, either it did not get the required sun or the soil was not well drained either way few days/months into planting it withered away and died. As for tomato plants we brought them from our local farmers market, never had such juicy and sweet tomatoes. I could just eat them off the tree without any added flavor, these puppies were so flavorful, I am planning to save some seeds for next year. 

We had a bounty this summer and as the season comes to an end tomatoes shrink in size though the flavor is still intact. Most of the trees are already drying up and I think they will last for about a month or so. Last week a friend of ours dropped off a bag full of plums, juicy and sweet and they made for a perfect snack.

Today morning put tomato and plum together in my Vitamix added a dash of agave/honey and few ice cubes ,made for one healthy refreshing and tasty smoothie.

There is no better way to start a day than this refreshing smoothie !!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Weekend Read

This weekend just like any other is going to be a busy one, will be meeting virtual friends in person for the first time and old friends over lunch on Sunday. I had this big summer reading list that I wanted to finish during summer but summer came and went by in a blink and did not get a chance to read even a single one.

I feel lost and disconnected when I don't read for a long time, reading is my therapy and the impact it has on me is significant, that's why I put extra effort to choose books that matter and so that I do not end up wasting my precious "me"  time.

One such book that has topped my reading list is The Dressmaker of Khair Khana, got my hands on it yesterday night and it was hard to put it down once I started hopefully this weekend I get to finish it.

Will write my review once I get to complete the book, so what are you doing for the weekend any good book recommendations , would love to hear from you.

Have a happy weekend , thank god for the short week here in the US.

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