Bombay Street Food Special #9 – Deep-fried Lentil Fritters

After what seems like forever, I’m back in the blogosphere. And I just have to share this little treat with you. It is a South-Indian delight. We’ve been missing the readily available street food in Mumbai an awful lot lately, so I’ve decided that instead of whining about it, I was just going to have to put my big girl pants on and learn how to make it myself.

So off I went, to scour the internet for recipes easy enough for a beginner in South Indian food to get right. You might wonder what I’m on about. You see I love South Indian treats, but a lot of them call for the perfect ratio of ingredients, overnight fermentation and consistency of the batter, to name a few pressure points you might come across in a recipe. I wanted something that wouldn’t take as long. After a little looking, I found a recipe for Deep-fried lentil fritters. It requires a little planning in advance, since the lentils have to soak for a while (you could make the Chutney and the prep the other ingredients in the meanwhile), but other than that its fairly simple to prepare. The fritters turned out fantastic. Crunchy on the outside, fluffy on the inside and they packed some lovely flavor. I should tell you at this point, that the first time I made these fritters, the batter was a little thinner than it should have been. The resulting fritters were tasty but absorbed a little oil while they were being fried. I knew at once that I needed to make some changes. When I made these a second time and watched the water content closely. The batter was a lot thicker than the previous time.
And since then I’ve made these a couple of times and they hit the spot every single time. So until I learn to make a few more Indian street food delights, I will make these bite sized treats everytime the we’re hit with the craving for some South Indian food.
I’ve used a bit of chillies with the seeds since we like our food with a little bite. But you can either cut down on the chillies or leave them out completely. Serve this hot with some Coconut Chutney on a wet / cold day or any other day really coupled with a piping hot cuppa tea and you’re in for a real treat.

Come back tomorrow and I’ll show you how to use these fritters to make another yummy snack.

Deep-fried Lentil Fritters
1 cup Urad Dal, black lentils (skinned and split)
1/4 onion, finely chopped
2 green chillies, finely chopped
1/4 tsp. freshly crushed black pepper
1 sprig curry leaves, roughly torn or chopped
A little grated ginger (optional)
2 tbsp rice flour
Salt, to taste
Oil, for deep frying
Wash the dal a couple of times in water and drain.
Soak the dal in water for 20 minutes.
Drain the water. Rinse the dal through with fresh water again and drain.
Grind the dal with a tiny bit of water to a smooth paste. Remember, to not add too much water. You don’t want a thin runny batter.
In a bowl, mix the paste, salt and rice flour. Add the onions, chillies, pepper, ginger and curry leaves and stir through, to mix the ingredients evenly.
Heat the oil in a wok to deep fry.
When the oil is hot, ladle the batter carefully into the oil one tablespoonful at a time and keep the oil on a medium heat. Fry the fritters till golden brown.
Drain the fritters onto some kitchen paper to absorb any excess oil.
Enjoy hot with some Coconut Chutney and a hot cuppa tea.

Breakfast Quesadillas

So one morning, I found myself craving something different for breakfast. And as luck would have it, this happened to be the day we needed to go grocery shopping for the week. So its safe to say it was slim pickings. I was out of eggs, cold cuts and bread. All that I had access to was one flour tortilla from a pack we used for dinner the previous night and 1 banana. I really didn’t feel like breakfast cereal that morning, so I turned to Google to see if there was something that I could make really quick with what I had at hand. There were lots of amazing options but all required something or the other I didn’t have. I took inspiration from some and just went with flavors that I know work well. Banana and chocolate – yum, peanut butter and chocolate – double yum. In minutes, I was sitting down with a warm, gooey, chocolatey, deliciously crunchy breakfast quesadilla and a big mug of coffee. Now that’s what I call a good start to the day.

Breakfast Quesadilla

1 flour tortilla
Crunchy peanut butter
1 banana, sliced
Dark chocolate chips
A knob of butter

Spread some peanut butter on the tortilla.

On one half of the tortilla arrange the banana slices and sprinkle the dark chocolate chips over.

Fold the empty half over and press down lightly to make sure the peanut butter can do its thing and get everything together.

Add a knob of butter in a pan and over a low-medium flame toast the quesadilla till it gets nice and crunchy.

Then add another knob of butter to the pan and carefully turn the tortilla over to the other side and let it crisp up nicely.

I cut it into three wedges just to make it easier to handle.

Serve up…. and oh, please proceed carefully, the melted filling is hotter than you think it would be.

Mixed Berry Smoothies

Picking up where we left off with the Bursting Berry Muffins, I thought it would be a good idea to use up some more of those frozen berries. I’ve been dying to have a good smoothie for a while now. The days have been consistently getting cooler here and we’ve had some wet spells too. So when we had a slightly warmer day than usual, I decided to make a Mixed Berry Smoothie, a farewell to Summer, of sorts. But I love the cooler weather. It usually means Christmas is around the corner, atleast it did when we were in Mumbai. The fact that its not is going to take a little getting used to here in the Southern Hemisphere. I still find it a little unusual to have a cooler Easter and a warmer Christmas. Anyway, I digress. 

Back to this smoothie. Nothing could be simpler to put together. I used a packet of Nana’s frozen mixed berries, a mix of blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries. I loved the flavors in this smoothie. It seriously made me wonder why I don’t make them more often. Well, I guess it gives me something to look forward to when Summer is back. Another thing you mind want to consider is the seeds from the raspberries. I didn’t care for the crunch of the seeds. If you’re like me, you might want to consider leaving out the raspberries, but I think they add a nice flavor to the drink. 
How do you deal with the seeds?
If you want to make a dairy free version, simply leave out the milk and yogurt and replace it with some fruit juice. I think that would be really delicious too.
We sat down to a nice big glass each after a particularly high intensity evening walk. My body was craving for something sweet and this was perfect. So much healthier than a soda and more delicious too. 
Mixed Berry Smoothies

1 1/2 cup mixed frozen berries
1 ripe banana
1/2 cup of plain Greek yogurt
A splash of milk, optional (I needed a little to get the mix going in the blender.)
Sugar / Honey, to taste
Place all the ingredients into a blender and blitz till it reaches the desired consistency, nice and creamy.
I needed to add a little milk to get the blender going. Some people choose to use a fruit juice instead. You can use either. 
Enjoy!

Baked (Garlic Herb) Potato Wedges

It is so good to have access to an oven again. After a trying 6-7 months without one, the last few have been bliss. My last post talks about how to make a basic chicken roast in the oven. Every roast, chicken or otherwise, needs to be accompanied by a few yummy sides too. I only recently realized that I haven’t posted too many such sides on my blog. Now that was just not done. I had to rectify that. So I’m going to start with these really delicious baked potato wedges. These baked potato wedges are a step up from the humble roasted potatoes. The garlic herb seasoning makes these irresistible.

Most of you know my deep rooted love for the humble potato in every form. This recipe here, is another good one. Its healthier than the regular french fries, but don’t let that fool you. I know these wedges will make more than a few appearances on my dinner table.

Baked Garlic Herb Potato Wedges

2 potatoes, washed thoroughly, skins left on
Salt, to taste
1-2 tbsp. Olive oil
1/2 tsp garlic powder (I used garlic salt and adjusted the salt levels accordingly)
Black peppercorns, crushed, to taste
1 tsp dried Italian herb mix
A little dried parsley (or finely chopped fresh parsley), to garnish

Preheat oven to 210°C.

Cut the potatoes in half, lengthwise and each half into 4-5 wedges, equal in size.

Toss the wedges with the rest of the ingredients in a bowl and make sure all the wedges are coated evenly. You can adjust the quantities of the seasoning to your taste. The quantities mentioned above work well as a guide.

Line a baking sheet with foil. Place the wedges skin side down. Space them evenly so that they cook uniformly.

Bake for about 30-35 minutes or until browned to your liking, crusty on the ends and tender inside.

Serve immediately. Add more salt if needed while they are still hot from the oven.

Sprinkle a little parsley over the potatoes and serve hot.

Sit back and enjoy!

Zucchini Fritters

UPDATE:

Watch the recipe video here –

This recipe has quickly become one of my absolute favorites. Its a funny story,until a couple of months ago, I didn’t really care much for Zucchini. They aren’t easily available in Mumbai but I’d had it as a side dish at a couple of restaurants and every single time, I personally found it revolting. I couldn’t understand what all the fuss was about in blogland. I saw so many blog posts with so many absolutely delicious recipes, I figured it was just me, something I didn’t like and was going to have to live with it. Again, this was hard for me to understand, because there aren’t too many things that I don’t like. Anyway, life went on. And then when I moved to Sydney, my aunt invited us to spend the day with them at their place in Woy Woy. At dinner, one of the sides that my uncle whipped up was a simple veg. stir fry, which had zucchini in it and you know what, I loved it, much to my surprise. I wanted to make sure it wasn’t a one off thing, so I decided to try my hand at cooking it myself.

After a few minutes online, I had found a recipe I knew would be nice. I bought some zucchini from my favorite Paddy’s market (Haymarket). I had the rest of the ingredients on hand. This recipe is fairly quick to put together, apart from hand grating the zucchini. If you have a food processor that can do the job for you, go for it. Nothing like saving time and effort. Its simple and quick to put the batter together and then all you do is fry it up. Within a short while, you will be sitting down to some pretty amazing fritters. My husband and I love these little guys so much, I’ve made them thrice already. And trust me, I can see myself making these fritters many more times to come. Try it out for yourself and see how good these are.

Zucchini Fritters

2 medium zucchini
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 chilly, finely chopped
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup grated cheese
1 egg
2 tbsp. fresh coriander, finely chopped
1/2 tsp. dried oregano leaves
1 tsp. salt
1/4 cup of bread crumbs, approx
2-4 tbsp olive oil

Grate the zucchini coarsely. Sprinkle a little salt (about 1/4 tsp.) over it and let it stand for about 10 minutes. The salt will draw out all the excess liquid. Place in a colander and squeeze to drain out as much excess liquid as possible.

Place the grated zucchini in a bowl. Add the onion, chilly, flour, cheese, salt, coriander, oregano and bread crumbs. Whisk the egg and add to the batter. Mix all the ingredients together. If the batter is to wet, add a tbsp or 2 of bread crumbs.

Heat a tbsp of olive oil in a pan. Place spoonfuls of the batter onto the pan and using the back of the spoon, flatten it out a bit and shape into fritters. Fry on medium heat till it turns golden brown. Flip and cook on the other side till it turns golden brown too.

Drain on kitchen paper and serve hot.

Yummy, yummy, yummy!

** I have tried this recipe using cream cheese as well as grated cheese and both times, it was delicious. Feel free to experiment with your favorite cheese.

This recipe has been shared at –
Show Me Your Plaid

SRC: Blueberry Pancakes

Here we are at October’s SRC reveal. How I love reveal days! I’m happy to say that this month’s reveal treated me to the yummiest breakfast in a long, long time. For this month, I was assigned Kim’s blog, Everyday Mom. Kim’s blog has so much deliciousness packed in one place, I was spoiled for choice. She cooks and bakes with her 3 gorgeous children and you will see them featured in her posts. I was torn between quite a few of her recipes, like this Crunchy Kale, and this Chicken Satay Salad, and the yummy Mango Panna Cotta, these super fun Tortilla Bowls, Zuchinni Fries and these Black Bean Sweet Potato Quesadillas. Can you imagine the dilemma I was faced with? It was hard to pick one for the reveal. I will be making a few of these in the coming days but for the reveal I went with an absolute winner – her Pancakes. Now if you’ve been around for a while, you know I’ve posted pancake recipes in the past, namely my Coconut Pancakes, these Almost Vegan Pnother aancakes and Nigella Lawson’s Pancakes. So why another post on pancakes, you might wonder. Well, until now, I’ve never had the opportunity to make pancakes using buttermilk. And for the first time I had access to some yummy blueberries, that I’d picked up on a trip to Sydney’s Paddy’s Market at Haymarket.

An easy recipe to put together and a treat for breakfast, this recipe ticks all the boxes for me. The buttermilk does its magic and makes such fluffy pancakes, I was thrilled. Never before have I had such fluffy pancakes. I stuck to Kim’s recipe but halved it, since it was for just the two of us. I made some plain buttermilk pancakes (just incase my husband wasn’t feeling like the blueberry ones – he’s undecided on whether or not he likes blueberries). To the rest of the batter I added a handful of blueberries, but no other changes were made. We had the pancakes with some honey drizzled on top. They were so delicious, even my ‘undecided about blueberries husband’ enjoyed them. This will be my go-to recipe for pancakes from now on – Thanks Kim.

In the pan – on its way to becoming some brekkie deliciousness
Here are some of the plain buttermilk pancakes. You will notice the all of the pancakes are a little more on the brown side. We absolutely love the light crunch and caramelisation that this adds to the pancakes. You can pull them off the pan earlier to suit your liking. 

And last, but definitely not the least, some blueberry pancakes.

Blueberry Pancakes

1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cup buttermilk
2 tbsp butter, melted
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste / vanilla extract
Maple Syrup, to drizzle over
A handful of blueberries (Approx. 1/4 – 1/3 cup)

Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl.

Combine the wet ingredients and add to the dry ingredients. Whisk together till combined.

Gently fold in the blueberries.

Heat a pan, spray some oil to coat the pan.

Pour a ladlefull of batter onto the hot pan. Leave some space for the batter to spread a little.

When you see bubbles appearing and bursting on the top, flip the pancakes over and cook till done.

Serve with some maple syrup! Yumm!!!

Thanks Jane – The Heritage Cook for hosting our very own Group A month after month and April – Angel’s Homestead for making sure that our fun Group here at the Secret Recipe Club runs smoothly and continues bringing a ton of yum to our tables every month. 

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Tropical Summer Smoothie

I know how erratic my posts have become on the blog lately. Heck, some of you, I’m sure, are wondering how come there’s another post so soon. I’ve been loaded with work lately and that’s always a good thing. I’m so eager to show you some of the stuff I’ve been working on once they’re done. But till then, here a quick, simple and yummy smoothie to keep you going. They’re perfect for summer. I’m seriously considering putting them into popsicle moulds the next time I make it. I popped all my fruit into the freezer overnight so I didn’t need to use any ice.

Tropical Summer Smoothie
Makes 2-3 servings

10-12 strawberries, frozen
3 ripe bananas, frozen and chopped into pieces
Flesh of 2 mangoes, frozen
Sugar / sweetener to taste
Approx. 1/4-1/2 cup of unflavored yogurt
Pop all the ingredients into the blender and give it a whiz. 
Serve chilled.
Easy peasy, isn’t it?
Do check out and participate in my ongoing giveaway. You can find the details here.
This recipe is linked to – 
Sweets for a Saturday
Weekend Potluck

Mini Eggless Banana Walnut Muffins

Can you tell that I absolutely love bananas? They’ve always been one of my favorite fruits. If you’re new here and don’t believe me, check out these beauties – Banana Bread, Bananas Foster, Stuffed French Toast and Monkey Business. See I wasn’t kidding. Today I have yet another banana treat for you. And let me tell you that these were absolutely wonderful. Even though they were an eggless bake, they were light, moist and super yum. I made mini muffins this time just as an excuse to have a second helping, maybe even a third 😉 These were so great that the next time I whip these up, I’m going to make them the regular muffin size. I think that tells you how much we enjoyed them. I hope you do too! Oh, I love my new silicone mini muffin cups. They are so gorgeous, they just brighten up my day. Am I crazy to want them in every color available 🙂 ? Unfortunately I forgot to use them while baking the muffins but they do make a pretty picture. Can’t wait to bake with them.



Mini  Eggless Banana Walnut Muffins
Yields 12 mini muffins

2-3 over ripe banans, mashed
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup natural unflavored yogurt
1/4 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt, or to taste

Preheat the oven to 180ºC and prepare your muffin mould

Mash the bananas in a bowl and add the oil, yogurt, sugar and vanilla and mix well.

Mix the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda in a large bowl. Mix well.

Add the mashed banana mix and fold it into the flour till incorporated. Don’t beat the batter.

Add the walnuts, reserving a few and stir them in gently.

Spoon the batter into paper lined muffin tins and sprinkle the reserved walnuts on top of them.

Bake for 20-30 minutes or till done.

This recipe is linked to –
Sweet Tooth Friday
Sweets for a Saturday
Savory Sunday
Mix it up Monday
My Meatless Mondays
Bake Fest

An awesome milkshake called Monkey Business

A couple of years ago when we were in Hong Kong, we had dinner a couple of times at BLT located at Tsim Sha Tsui. I found this place a little pricey but the set up was lovely and the food was good. Altogether a great dinning experience. We’d usually have a milk shake with our burgers and a side of fries or onion rings. When it comes to milkshakes, I tend to lean towards fresh fruity ones while my husband prefers something chocolatey. We tried out a few of their amazing concoctions and loved every one of them. I miss those kind of milk shakes and so I figured I might as well try and replicate them at home. I mean, its a milk shake! It can’t be that hard. Right? And you know what, I was right. My first attempt was to replicate this milk shake called Monkey Business – fun name, don’t you think? You can’t go wrong with chocolate, bananas and peanut butter. Thats right! With a few basic ingredients on hand, you can treat yourself to this delicious shake in minutes.

Monkey Business


1 cup approx. chocolate ice cream
1 ripe banana
2 tbsp peanut butter

Blitz everything in a blender until smooth. Taste and adjust the flavors to your liking. Serve in a glass

I used some chocolate sprinkles and a chocolate wafer to dress it up.

This recipe is linked to –
This Week’s Cravings
Sweets for a Saturday

Mix it up Monday
My Meatless Mondays
Recipe Sharing Monday
Just Another Meatless Monday
Mangia Mondays
Crazy Sweet Tuesday
Tempt My Tummy Tuesday

Aloo Tikkis – Potato Patties

The last couple of weeks have just passed me by. There are so many goodies that I’ve whipped up during this time, but I just haven’t gotten around to posting any of them yet. To top that I had the craziest weekend. We had the family over for lunch on Saturday, it was so much fun having them over, that’s 11 people and 3 dogs in all. Once they left, I had to focus on a real quick clean up since I had to complete an order of a kilo of handmade liqueur chocolates and a couple of dozen thank you bars for a Monday pickup. By the time Monday  arrived, I was ready to sleep it off. Of course, that was not possible. Even though things were so hectic, I enjoyed every minute of it.

Since I had very little time to put meals together in the last few days, I whipped up some of the quick but good stuff. One such treat is the Aloo tikki, or a potato cutlet. Its comes together fairly quick and is really tasty. I served it as a side but I think it would be really tasty in a vegetarian burger as well. This tikki is fairly versatile and you can add a few finely chopped veggies to it if you’d like. You need to add some bread crumbs to make these a little sturdier than they would ordinarily be. It also adds a lovely crunch to the tikkis.  This would be a great way to serve the kiddies their veggies, in a burger. I think they’d enjoy it. Try it out and let me know how it goes.
Aloo tikkis before frying
Aloo Tikkis

2 potatoes, washed, boiled and mashed
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 green chilly, finely chopped (optional)
Some fresh coriander leaves, chopped
Salt to taste
A pinch of chat masala (optional)
1/2 tsp red chilly powder or to taste
A couple of pinches of cumin powder
1-2 tbsp bread crumbs
Oil, for frying
Mix all the ingredients except the oil well. 
Check for seasoning and adjust if needed.
Shape into small cutlets.
Shallow fry in a pan.
Serve hot.