Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A Protein Rich Snack: Acaraje

Acaraje or a bean fritter comes from a fusion of African and Brazilian cuisines. It is a kind of street or fast food that is served with a spicy vinegary sauce!!Typically the acaraje fritter or patty is made with black-eye beans which are then deep fried in palm oil. Delicious, but I wanted to do something different with this recipe - mainly try to make a more healthy version of it. I made this acaraje with red kidney beans, and shallow fried them with very little oil.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A Swiss Treat: Green Pea and Saffron Risotto

Swiss National Day - Red, white or Swiss

This one's for Zorra to help her feel at home and celebrate 'Swiss National Day'. After much deliberation, I decided to go with a Risotto and a Gratin. Both turned out to be really easy to make and were bursting with flavour!!!!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Chikoo Milkshake | Sapota Milkshake

Chikoo is one fruit that is seen in plenty in early summer across India. As a child I remember shopping for Chikoo from roadside vendors. The ripe ones would be washed and go straight into the refrigerator. Once they were chilled, we'd peel and quarter them and serve them for dessert after lunch. Heaven - the simplest yet most delicious dessert.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Creamy Cucumber Curd Rice

I usually head to the local farmer's market on Saturday mornings. This morning I lingered a little too long there as I got into a really interesting conversation with a local farmer who is growing edible flowers!!!! But more of that a post to follow. While the conversation was both fun and educative, the heat index was not!! And by the time I got home with some really beautiful sugar snaps, zucchini, and cucumber, I knew that I had caught a touch of the sun.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Hot and Spicy Black Bean Fusili

The great thing about pasta is that its just so so versatile. I simply love to be innovative with it and every time I decide to make some, I try to work with ingredients in my refrigerator and pantry. Last Sunday, after a beautiful and very fun day out, I was rummaging in my pantry when I suddenly felt a craving for black beans. I love black beans in Vegetarian Tacos, acaraje, and salsa. But I have never tried them with pasta. So I asked myself - why not? And below is the result :)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Multi-Grain Banana Bread

I am always on a lookout for healthier alternatives to everyday treats. So when I saw Manasi's announcement for Healthy Cooking - A Cookbook Giveaway Event, I decided to go right ahead and try a new recipe that I put together last week, while considering a healthier approach to Banana Bread. Now, Banana Bread is a great favourite in my home and we adore it warm with hazelnut-cinnamon coffee!! But as we all know, Banana Bread is addictive and can become an adorably sinful if delicious treat.

I had, in fact, been toying with the idea of turning my favourite recipe for this yum cake around for a while and I have to thank the Healthy Cooking challenge for giving me the push that I needed to venture forth!!!! So, this is how I went about it: Firstly, I decided to substitute all-purpose flour with whole wheat, and a combination of grains including cornmeal and triticale. Next I dropped the white sugar and replaced it with soft brown sugar and some molasses. And finally, I replaced the butter in the recipe with canola oil. The result was a highly textured, dense, and moist banana bread with a rich malty-banana flavour. Absolutely and utterly delicious.

While this is also know in our home as the disappearing cake, I find that this cake stay best when stored in a refrigerator in an airtight storage box. Cut only as much as you are serving and enjoy it with your favourite beverage or with a lite soft cream cheese spread. Yummmm, and without further ado here's my recipe for Annarasa's Multi-Grain Banana Bread.

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup mixed grains (cornmeal, soy, rye, triticale, rolled oats, wheatgerm, flax meal)
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup Canola Oil
3/4 cup soft brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups mashed very ripe bananas

  1. Preheat the oven to 325F. As I like to make smaller loafs, I used 2 samll loaf pans. But a larger pan will work just as well. Grease the pans well.
  2. In a bowl, mix together the flour and the grains. Blend in the salt, baking powder, and baking soda.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat the oil, eggs, vanilla extract, molasses, and sugar until light and fluffy.
  4. Now add the flour-grain mixture, and the mashed bananas, and mix well using a spatula.
  5. Pour the prepared batter into the loaf pans. Bake for around an hour or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool in the pans for around ten minutes.
  6. Turn out and allow the loafs to cool on the wire rack.
Enjoy :)

All text and photographs in this blog, unless otherwise noted, are Copyright of © Annarasa 2007-2013. All Rights Reserved. Kindly do not reproduce without permission.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Indian Street Food: Rice Plate Chole | Chickpeas with RIce

Now that's an unusual name for a recipe isn't it? Not if you've been to University in Delhi, Bombay, or many of the other metros in India. When I was completing my Masters in Delhi, I spent long long hours soaking up books in the library. Reading often gave way to a ravenous appetites and late after the local cafes and canteens closed doors, it was the corner shops and street stores that catered to the hunger of budding professionals. I remember stepping out of the library with some buddies, turning a quick corner, and ordering a steaming hot Rice Plate. Quite simply this comprised a plate heaped with rich and served with a deliciously simple curry, usually either chole (chickpeas) or rajma (red kidney beans). At what can only described as a nominal price, each plate served was always enough food for two!! Filling, satisfying, and nutritious, it was an excellent motivation to go back and hit the books.

This is my version of the very same chole made to go with rice. I add cinnamon, star anise, and nutmeg as they impart a delicately sweet flavour to this otherwise spicy curry. Here's to some great memories of Delhi, University, and the ubiquitous corner shop with a Rice Plate menu!!

1 1/2 cups chickpeas, soaked overnight
2 onions, chopped fine
3 tomatoes, chopped fine
3 cloves garlic, minced
1" piece ginger, minced
6-8 curry leaves
1" piece ginger, minced
1 black cardamom
2 points star anise (from 1 flower)
1/2 tsp cumin
6 black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
A few shavings nutmeg
Small stick cinnamon
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
Salt, to taste
2 tbsp oil

  1. Drain the chickpeas, and pressure cook with with some fresh water, the cinnamon stick, black cardamom, star anise, 1/4 teaspoon cumin, peppercorns, bay leaves, a few shavings nutmeg, a pinch of salt, and ginger.
  2. In a deep frying pan, add the oil. Once it is heated, add the cumin, the curry leaves, garlic, ginger and onions. Fry until the onions are golden brown, then add the tomatoes, salt to taste, turmeric, chilli powder, and 1/4 cup water. Cook until the tomatoes are soft and you have a semi liquid curry.
  3. Pour the chickpeas with the liquid they were cooked in into the tomato-onion paste. Stir, cover and cook for 20 minutes. Check for seasonings and adjust according to taste.
  4. Serve hot with plain rice, or for a treat enjoy with Zeera Chawal (Cumin Rice). Enjoy!!
I am sending this recipe out to Sri of Cooking for All Seasons for Curry Mela. This will be my very first entry to her Mela series :)

I am also sending this out to Aparna My Diverse Kitchen who is hosting this month's Think Spice, Think Nutmeg.

All text and photographs in this blog, unless otherwise noted, are Copyright of © Annarasa 2007-2013. All Rights Reserved. Kindly do not reproduce without permission.