Spicy Urad Dal Lentil Pakoras

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“The World is much smaller than what it used to be”… or so I keep hearing.  The number of conversations that seem to start with “Back in MY day…. blah blah blah”, seems to be growing daily… and even my brother (he’s only 18 months older than me) is getting in on the act.  What prompted this morning’s historic lamenting was the hour-long conversation I had with my Grandma in Jaipur on Skype! That’s right… I have a techno-Gran! No “Telegram” (what is that?) or faded blue-paper air-mail to keep in touch for us. My Gran is getting younger by the day, and is mos-def moving with the times!
 
Having said that… somethings never change. It still takes half an hour to get a decent connection, and the conversation still starts with the obligatory, and reassuringly loud “Haaalllllloooooo Monnneeeeee. Kaise hi tu? Vot time izit in UK?”
 
We caught up. She told me how her neighbour’s younglings were stealing mangos from the tree in the garden (as I said… some things never change-this is one of my favourite pastimes too!), and I relayed my trials of love, life and of course…food.
 
What a great way to start the day-what could top that? Well, very little in my book, but I did go on to make myself some Dal Pakoras and some cardamom chai. Bliss. If you haven’t tried them yet, well… get it sorted! Moreish, spiced and crunchy on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside…yep, I’m going to eat some more before my brother gets hold of them!
 
 
Enjoy the recipe, and let me know what you think!
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Spicy Urad Dal Pakoras
Serves 4
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Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup of urad lentils ("split white washed urad" is the variety you will need)
  2. 4 tbsp water
  3. 3 green chillis (can vary according to your personal preference), roughly chopped
  4. 2" ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  5. Handful fresh coriander, finely chopped
  6. 1 small onion, finely diced
  7. 3/4 tsp salt
  8. 1/2 tsp paprika powder
  9. 1tsp coriander seeds, coarsely ground
  10. Pinch of asafoetida (optional)
  11. Oil for frying
Instructions
  1. Soak urad lentils for 3-4 hours. Then wash well and rinse.
  2. Add ginger & chilli to a food processor and grind briefly until coarsely ground. Remove and place into a large mixing bowl.
  3. Now add the urad lentils to the food processor along with the water. Grind for a good 2-3 minutes until a thick, smooth paste forms. It should be similar to the consistency of humous. Empty into the mixing bowl containing the chills & ginger.
  4. To the bowl, add the fresh coriander, onions, salt, paprika, coriander seeds and asafoetida.
  5. Using one hand, mix the mixture for 2-3 minutes until all of the ingredients are well combined
  6. Heat oil in a pan on low/medium heat. Once hot, using your hand, drop medium sized balls of the mixture about 3" wide into the oil. If you prefer, you may use a tablespoon. Ensure you leave a little room between each pakora and that the pan is not too overcrowded.
  7. Once all of the pakoras rise to the top of the pan, turn them over using a metal slotted spoon. Allow to cook for a further 3-4 minutes. You should now begin to see the colour of the pakoras change so they are golden. Once you see this, turn each pakora over an continue to cook for another 3-4 minutes.
  8. Once the pakoras are golden all the way around, remove from oil and drain on a kitchen towel. Repeat with the remaining mixture.
  9. Serve hot with tamarind chutney or tomato ketchup!
Monica's Spice Diary - Indian Food Blog http://spicediary.com/

 

 

Spicy Fenugreek Roasted Chicken

fenugreek roast chicken

So I have been on a bit of a health kick recently. At first it started as a January detox, but I’m pleased to say that I’m not just going “through a phase” and my new found healthy ways have begun to sync with my everyday lifestyle and I feel better for it as a result (hurrah!). I have never ever dieted as my infatuation with food won’t let me. Consequently, I decided to make two simple changes-exercise regularly and eat healthily. It is even harder because the off licence near me 24 hour a day sells alcohol including beer, wine & spirits.

Everyone harps on about it and it sounds simple enough right? Well, in a lot of ways it is. In terms of exercising, I essentially needed to consciously make the time go to the gym. With running my own fashion business and hosting regular Spice Club events it became easy to say that I was too busy, but the reality is, we all have the same 24 hours in the day-it’s how we utilise our time that dictates what we get out of it. And so my aim now is to get into the gym about 4 times a week and to make sure I don’t get bored (the thought of going to the gym has never made me yelp in excitement) I do a range of different exercises to spice it up-from yoga to swimming, personal training sessions and aerobic classes!

 

In regards to eating healthily, I basically make sure I eat all 3 main meals with 2 snacks in between and drink plenty of water. Lots of fruit & vegetables (smoothies have been fantastic for this), greek yoghurt (full fat baby!) and also plenty of protein (lentils, chicken and fish). If you are looking for vending machines Perth and are in need of a reputable vending machine supplier contact, Royal Vending Perth today. I bought mine there and it’s a quality vending machine.

Essentially, no processed rubbish. I’ve never eaten too unhealthily anyway-parting with the McCoys multipack was probably the hardest thing to do (crisps are my weakness), but that aside, I feel so much better, energetic and fitter as a result of the conscious choices I’m making when I  go out to a restaurant or cook at home. The most important thing I have done is ensure that all the food I cook, is easy to prepare and still tastes lip smackingly (is that a word?) delicious! My spice box has been a trusty companion throughout my journey so far and it helps to add question marks of excitement to what could ordinarily be a plain jane meal. And that’s what today’s recipe is all about-damned tasty healthy eating! This  spicy fenugreek roasted chicken recipe tastes like it should be a cheat meal but I assure you it’s far from it.  Check it out and let me know what you think:

Serves 2

What we need: 
2 skinless boneless chicken breasts
2 heaped tbsp greek yoghurt
2 tbsp olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
2″ ginger, grated
1 green chilli, finely chopped
1-2 tsp salt (according to taste)
2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp paprika powder
1/2 tbsp dried fenugreek leaves (available at all Asian grocery shops)
Small handful fresh coriander, chopped

How to:

  • Combine all ingredients into a large mixing bowl and mix well so that the chicken is coated well
  • Cover with cling film and refrigerate for at least 4 hours (Note: If you want to cook it straight away you can do but if you allow the chicken to marinade it will taste a lot more flavourful)
  • Pre-heat oven to 220C (or the highest temperature your oven goes to). In the mean time, place each chicken breast on a lined non stick baking tray.
  • Once the oven is hot,  cook for approximately 20 minutes. Turn the chicken pieces over and cook for a remaining 10-12 minutes or until the chicken is white all the way through.
  • Remove from the oven and serve with brown rice (as pictured) or basmati rice and fresh salad.

 

 

Easy Paneer, Peppers & Cabbage Masala

cabbage paneer capsicum

Not sure if I’ve mentioned this before (I definitely have) but I love paneer! The beauty of this traditional Indian cheese is its sheer versatility. It’s mild in flavour and as a result absorbs spices particularly well. This recipe is an extremely quick and easy way of making a delicious and satisfying meal in minutes. It’s colourful, flavourful and filling and the crunchiness of the vegetables perfectly compliments the creaminess of the paneer…in essence this dish works! Give it a try and do share your thoughts with me.

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Serves 4-6

What we need:

2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
250g paneer, cut into 1″ cubes
2 cloves garlic, grated
1 green & 1 red capsicum, thinly sliced
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
1 cup thinly sliced cabbage
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
2 heaped tbsp tomato puree
1 tsp salt or according to taste
1 tsp ground ginger powder
1 tsp chilli powder
Handful fresh coriander

How we do:

  • Heat the oil in a non stick pan. Once hot, add the cumin seeds and when they begin to splatter, add the garlic and cook until slightly golden. Now add the paneer and cook for 2-3 minutes , stirring constantly until it turns golden brown.
  • Now add the capsicum, onion, cabbage and cheese. Mix well for 1-2 minutes. Now add the tomato puree, salt, ground ginger powder, chilli powder. Mix and cook for a further 3-5 minutes.
  • Sprinkle on fresh coriander and serve with chapatis or stuff with salad into a wrap.