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Blog: Cooking with Madhu

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Kofte & White Curry Sauce

Posted on 11/23/2014 at 6:57 PM

Spinach Kofte in a White Curry Sauce

 

Koftas are basically meat or vegetable balls. Indians make variety of lamb and goat koftas but the most popular are the vegetable koftas. Once made into balls the koftas are always simmered in a curry sauce. The most common; vegetable koftas in homes are made with bottle gourd (lauki) and in restaurants with potato and paneer.  Spinach koftas are very rare.

 

This recipe has a little bit of inspiration & a bit of creativity to get it the way I wanted it. It does take some time to make koftas as they are a two-step process. I often make the koftas when I have some free time and then I freeze them and put them in the sauce when I want to serve them. I like to make the spinach koftas in a white spicy sauce.

 

I hope you enjoy them as much my family & I do!  Enjoy!

 

Spinach Kofte

2-10oz - Frozen Chopped Spinach, thawed

10oz - whole milk ricotta cheese

1/3 cup - cashews, raw, coarsely chopped

3 Tbsp - golden raisins

¼ cup - cornstarch

¼ cup - besan (chickpea flour)

1 tsp - salt

½ tsp - cayenne

canola oil for frying

 

1. Thaw frozen spinach and squeeze out all the water between palms of hands or in a towel.

2. Place the squeezed spinach in a large plate and add ricotta cheese, chopped cashews, raisins, salt, cayenne, cornstarch and besan. Mix well with a large spoon until well blended.

3. Oil hands and make 1-inch balls. Set aside.

4. Heat oil to 300F and fry balls until golden brown.

Remove on to a plate lined with paper towel. Set aside. Makes about 30 balls.

 

Creamy White Masala Sauce

¼ cup oil

2 tsp cumin seeds

3 cups onions, chopped

6 garlic cloves, chopped

2-inch ginger, chopped

2-3 green chilies, chopped

6 cups water

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp paprika

1 tbsp ground coriander

2 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

2 cups half-n-half

2 tbsp cilantro, finely chopped

 

1. Heat oil, fry cumin seeds. Add onions, cloves, ginger, and chilies. Cook until onions are translucent. Do not brown. Remove from heat and cool.

2. In a blender, grind the onion mixture with 2 cups water.  Return to stove. 

3. Add the remaining 4 cups water. Bring to boil.

5. Add cayenne, coriander, salt, and sugar. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

6. Add half-n-half and cilantro. Remove from heat.

7. Place koftas in a single layer in a baking tray. Pour the onion sauce over the koftas. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake at 350F for 20 minutes. Remove foil and serve.

Copyright Madhu Gadia, M.S., R.D., 2014

Fried Bread (Puri)

Posted on 11/16/2014 at 10:08 PM

Puri

Puri (fried bread) makes any meal a celebration. Everyone, young or old, enjoy puries. Although you can make them alone, they are easier to make with two people; one fries and the other rolls.

Puri technically falls in the category of flatbreads. It seems wrong to call the deep-fried bread known as puri a flatbread, since it puffs up like a balloon in the hot oil, but within seconds it looses its steam and gently falls flat. Puri is a special bread made on holidays, special celebrations, weddings, parties, and banquets. Sometimes on weekends, especially if I have company over, I will serve hot puries and potato curry for brunch. It is sure to bring a satisfied smile to the guests as well as to my family.

Most puries are plain with just a hint of salt, and they are used to scoop up flavorful curries. They keep better than other flatbreads and thus are often taken when traveling long distances and at Indian picnics. Puries can also be stuffed or flavored for a different twist.

They are simple to make and need no prep work. I would highly suggest you use white whole wheat flour to make Indian flatbreads. White whole wheat flour is easily available in most local grocery stores. Roti-atta/flour is only available in Indian grocery stores.


2 cups roti-atta/flour or white whole-wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
7/8 to 1 cup water
7/8 cup (plus or minus 1 tablespoon) water
2 teaspoons canola oil - canola oil for frying

(Dough can also be made in a food processor or electric mixer.) 

1. In a mixing bowl combine flour, and salt. Make a hole in the center of the flour. Add water gradually as you mix dough. (Depending on the type of flour, the amount of water needed may vary slightly.) Knead the dough thoroughly until smooth and elastic. The dough should be soft but easy to roll into a ball. It should not stick to your hands. Dough is slightly harder than bread dough in consistency. Cover and let stand for 10 minutes or longer.

2. Lightly oil you hands. Divide dough into 20 balls. Roll each ball between palms of your hands in a circular motion until the dough is smooth. Press to flatten.

3. Heat oil, about 3-inches deep, in a karhai/wok or skillet on high heat. Oil is ready when a little bit of batter dropped in the oil rises to the top right away (about 400ºF).

4. Using lightly oiled surface and rolling pin, roll-out each ball to about 3-inch circles. If you are frying alone, roll out all the puries and place between towels to prevent drying. If you have help in frying, one person can roll the puries and the other one can fry.

5. Carefully drop one puri at a time into the hot oil. Using a large flat frying spatula turn the puri as it rises to the top. Lightly press with the spatula and it will puff into a ball. Turn the puri again and lightly brown both sides.

         

6.Drain the puri on the side of the karahi and place on couple layers of paper towels. Continue frying one at a time, making sure the oil is hot.

7. Serve immediately as puffed breads or store in airtight container. Once the puries are drained of excess oil and slightly cooled, the puries will deflate. While they are still slightly warm, place them in an airtight container. Or stack them on top of each other and wrap them in an aluminum foil.

Note: If the puries are at room temperature it is best to not warm them for they can dry quickly. Serve them with hot curry instead. If refrigerated, for best result, place the puries stacked and tightly wrapped in an aluminum foil, in a 350ºF-preheated oven for 10 minutes. Do not overheat the puries as they will become dry.

Nutrition Information per serving: Calories: 152; Total Fat: 8 g (Saturated Fat: 0.5 g); Carbohydrate: 17 g; Protein 3 g; Fiber: 3 g; Sodium: 118 mg

From: The Indian Vegan Kitchen, Madhu Gadia, M.S., R.D., Penguin Group 2009 (www.cuisineofindia.com)

 

November 2014 Indian eRecipes Newsletter

Posted on 11/07/2014 at 5:51 PM

November 2014
Happy Holidays

Dear Madhu,

I’m happy to be finally writing this newsletter and connecting with you after several months of hiatus. All I can say is that things just spun out of control, and it was impossible to keep up with everything. There have been couple of life altering changes; I moved back home to Iowa and have a new job. I am very happy to be back home and am now working with K -12 private schools (FLIK Independent School Dining). To tell you the truth I do not know how things fell in place; I am just grateful that they did.  

Diwali - Festival of Lights

Among the hustle bustle of moving and adjusting to a new job, there were the Diwali celebrations. Diwali is an Indian festival celebrated with similar reverence as Christmas or Hanukkah. Diwali celebrations like Christmas celebrations last 3 -4 weeks. Symbolically, Diwali – festival of lights - is a celebration of the “victory of good over evil” and signifies the lifting of spiritual darkness. For over 20 years we have been hosting a Diwali party. The whole family helps out, but, of course, the majority of the work falls in my court (as with all moms). I plan the menu, shop, and start prepping about two weeks in advance. I like to prepare most of the things myself, but I do ask for help from some of my friends – all of whom are fabulous cooks and always willing to help.

Now it’s time for Thanksgiving and soon it’ll be Christmas. I am sure you will fall into a similar holiday frenzy of trying to get everything done. Remember to take care of yourself – see “Healthy Holidays” below for some self-care tips.

Healthy Holidays

Holiday season can be a challenging time to stay on track with healthy eating goals. How can you eat well and enjoy your favorite homemade treats, office parties, and big meals? Here are three healthy things I do for myself to celebrate the season without feeling guilty or deprived; you need to find things that work for you. After all savoring food is part of enjoying the holidays.

1.     Eat regularly. Skipping meals to “save calories” is counterintuitive. Have you noticed that every time you skip a meal you end up eating more at the next meal or at the party? Basically, you give yourself permission to eat an extra appetizer or dessert - after all you’ve earned it - and the net calories are always more. To help manage intake during the holidays have a lighter meal leading up to the party and remember to include your favorite holiday foods in your meals.

2.     Be Realistic. It is impossible to lose weight during the Diwali time. Holidays are never the ideal time for you to start a weight-loss program.  My only hope is that I maintain my weight. Help yourself to succeed with positive and specific self-talk and remember portion size matters. For example, if you tell yourself you’ll eat only half a slice of apple pie at the Holiday dinnr and pass on the potatoes, you’re more likely to follow through than if you plan to skip dessert completely.

3.      Exercise. However busy, I try to make time for exercise. During super busy times it is not possible to stay with my typical exercise routine, but at least three days a week, I will walk out for minimum of 20 – 30 minutes. Even that little bit will help me stay sane. Trust me, the time spent on exercise, will actually give you more energy and thus you will get more done. Try it on yourself.

Perfect Gift

Buying gifts can be stressful. There is the financial pressure as well as the struggle of finding that ideal gift. As a shameless plug, how about The Indian Vegan Kitchen and/or New Indian Home Cooking!

November Recipes

This month I’m sharing some recipes that are great for any holiday meal. For most holiday parties we have our traditional dishes that are a must; for example, it would  not be a Thanksgiving without a pumpkin pie or for me a Diwali without Puri (Fried bread) and Kaddu (Sweet and Sour Pumpkin).  Once the musts are added to the menu, I try to balance the meal with variety of exotic dishes. After all it’s a celebration. This year I also made Chole (Chickpeas), Palak Kofte (Spinach Balls in a Creamy Sauce),  Dahi Vade (Bean patties in yogurt), and Chirote (Crunchy Blossom Pastry) for dessert. (All these recipes are in the New Indian Home Cooking or The Indian Vegan Kitchen.) For Diwali or any other religious holiday the meals are typically vegetarian.

Check out the recipes for Puri and Palak Kofte in the blog. You will also find recipes for Kaddu (Sweet and Sour Pumpkin), Sukhe Alu (Curried Potatoes) and Kheer (Rice Pudding), which are all great party additions.

Puri (Fried Bread)
Palak Kofte (Spinach Balls in a Creamy Sauce) New Recipe

Happy and Healthy Holidays!  
Sincerely,
Madhu Gadia

 

Dal-Vada Burgers

Posted on 06/02/2014 at 7:42 PM

Dal-Vada Burger (Bean Burgers)

Prep Time: 10 Minutes Cook Time: 15 Minutes

Sandwiches and burgers are an international craze. Although they are not traditional Indian food, sandwiches are very popular today. This is a relatively quick bean burger recipe using canned chickpeas. I find that frozen or even restaurant veggie or bean burgers tend to be dry or bland. When testing this recipe my primary goal was to make sure it was flavorful and moist. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. And for an extra zing add a little cilantro chutney to your burger.

 

Ingredients:

1 (16-oz) can chickpeas

1/4 cup scallions (white and green parts), finely chopped

1/2 cup carrots, peeled and grated

2 teaspoons ginger, grated

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons green chiles, finely chopped, to taste

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, to taste

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped

2 tablespoons bread crumbs

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

4 whole wheat hamburger buns

4 tomato slices, garnish

4 onion slices, garnish

Cilantro Chutney (page 185), optional

Tomato ketchup (optional)

 

Instructions:

1. Drain and rinse the canned chickpeas. Make sure to drain all excess water. In a food processor, grind the beans until smooth.

2. In a medium mixing bowl, add ground beans, scallions, carrots, ginger, cumin, salt, green chilies, cayenne pepper, lemon juice, cilantro, and bread crumbs. Mix well.

 

3. Oil your palms and make 4 patties. Set aside.

 

4. Heat 2 tablespoons oil on medium-high heat in a large skillet. Add patties and cook for 5 to 7 minutes on each side until golden brown. (If needed, add a little more oil to help brown the patties.)

 

5. In the meantime, lightly oil the buns and brown facedown in a frying pan or a griddle until light brown.

 

6. Place a patty on the bottom half of bun, top with tomatoes, onions, Cilantro Chutney, and tomato ketchup, as desired.

 

Note: You can make the patties up to one day ahead and grill them when ready to eat.

For a grilling party, fully prepare the patties and reheat on grill on aluminum foil.

 

Makes: 4 servings Serving Size: 1 sandwich

Nutrition Information per serving: Calories: 311; Total Fat: 11g, Saturated Fat: 1g; Carbohydrate: 45g; Protein: 11g, Fiber: 10g, Sodium:679mg

 

From The Indian Vegan Kitchen by Madhu Gadia, www.cuisineofindia.com

 

February 2014 Indian eRecipes Newsletter

Posted on 02/13/2014 at 8:58 PM

February 2014
Happy Valentine’s Day

Dear Madhu,

Just when I think life couldn’t get any busier, it does. The last few months remind me of my elderly patients from counseling days, who would always tell me, life gets busier as you get older. Ok, I believe you.

I have to admit, the reason for being so busy has been both work and pleasure. As you know, every time you go on a vacation, you end up with pending work. Thus the cycle continues. In November, I went to India for two weeks, short but a fun filled trip; see India Trip blog.

Along with travels, there were the holidays, which means parties, guests and lots of cooking and eating. No complaints, just too busy to write a blog or a newsletter.

Curry Bar Update

I am proud to say that the Curry Bar at Aetna just celebrated its 2nd birthday. We (FLIK International) started the curry bar, featuring my recipes from the New Indian Home Cooking and The Indian Vegan Kitchen, two years ago in December. I organized the menus, adjusted the recipes for volume cooking, and trained non-Indian cooks to prepare authentic Indian food.

I feel a personal sense of accomplishment with the curry bar success. The food is well received and we have repeat customers. At the curry bar, we serve approximately 150 customers for lunch everyday. The key to its success has been my recipes and due diligence. The chef and his staff are doing a great job of following the recipes. I am so glad that I stuck to what I do best – healthy home-style food.

I created a model program that we will soon be expanding to other FLIK cafeterias. I am looking forward to working with the FLIK’s culinary masters and take my “curry bar” concept around the country.

Love Potion

Celebrate valentines with your loved one and share a handful of chocolate covered almonds. Dark chocolate contains flavanols, a compound that prevents cancer and may improve blood flow to your heart and brain. Key is to eat in moderation, 1 ounce per day.

Recipes

I have been a bit lax in posting recipes on the blog, certainly not because I wasn’t cooking. But you will find one new recipe, one that my aunt lovingly made for me in India, my favorite paratha (grilled flatbread) stuffed with grated daikon, called Mooli Paratha. By the way, daikons are long white radishes, see wikipedia.  In hindi (national Indian language) radishes are called mooli.

Fresh long white radishes are very popular in India, during the winter season. My dad loved mooli. He would grow them in his garden, and everyday when he came home for lunch, and still in his suit, he would pull one from the ground, wash it, lightly scrape the skin, cut it vertically into four, squeeze some lemon juice and lightly sprinkle with salt. He thoroughly enjoyed them with his meal and so did we. During the “mooli season,” you would also find street vendors selling mooli, cut vertically, and spiced to your desire. Dad could never pass one up.

I rarely eat the daikons in America. I am sure I would, if I could get them fresh, but usually they have been in the store for a while. Plus I have not had one that is as juicy and sweet as the ones in India. But the daikons here make great parathas. These parathas take sometime to make, but it is worth the time. Dip them in plain yogurt for a delicious meal anytime.

Daikon Paratha (Mooli Paratha)

Happy and Healthy Cooking!  
Sincerely,
Madhu Gadi

Copyright © 2014 Madhu Gadia. All Rights Reserved
Copyright © 2017 Madhu Gadia. All Rights Reserved