corn fritters

Summer is the time where corn is in abundance, and there are many fun ways to enjoy these fresh kernels. One of my favorites is making crispy corn fritters — perfect appetizers to serve up for a party, evening snack or even great to pack in a lunch box .This is an easy to make and full of flavor recipe, so lets get going!

Ingredients

2 cups of corn

1 cup all purpose flour

1/4 cup red bell pepper finely chopped

1 jalapeno finely chopped

2 to 3 table spoon of scallions chopped

1/4 cup of shredded cheddar cheese (can use 1/2 cup )

1 egg

1/2 cup milk

1/2 tsp of smoked paprika

1/2 tsp baking powder

salt to taste

crispy bacon to garnish (optional )

oil for shallow frying

In a mixing bowl add the corn, bell pepper, jalapeno, scallions, paprika baking powder, flour, salt (to taste), egg , milk and cheese. Mix well to incorporate all the ingredients. Heat oil in a frying pan on a medium flame, and with the help of a small scoop add the batter to the pan to make small fritters cook on each side until nice and golden brown and crispy, garnish with crispy bacon and Serve hot with your favorite sauce and enjoy!

Here is my first video check it out! Please be patient as I figure out how to film and edit ūüôā

Meatballs 2 in 1

This week was a challenge to decide what is the next fun meal to make that would engage the kids and the rest of the family, and still be delicious for everyone (including me!).

There was a great demand for fun Mexican flavors since it was Taco Tuesday, but naturally I was out of taco shells, and to add insult to injury discovered that I had just a cup of shredded cheese which would not cut it to feed my very hungry boys!

Continuing my search through available ingredients, I pulled out the ground chicken from my fridge and quickly whipped up some cheesy Mexican flavored meatballs. To accompany this, I served it up with rice, spicy home made pico de gallo and some fresh guacamole.

In all the excitement I made a double batch of the meatballs to keep in the freezer for some quick snacks next time. First, here is the meatball recipe. Keep reading to the end to see what I did with the frozen ones.

Ingredients

Ground chicken 2 pounds (thigh meat )

1 cup shredded cheese ( mild cheddar)

1 table spoon of cumin powder

3 cloves of garlic grated

1 table spoon of chilli powder

1 jalapeno finnely chopped (optional )

3 table spoons of cilantro chopped

1/2 cup of finely chopped scallions

2 tablespoons of fresh bread crumbs

salt to taste

3 table spoons of any neutral tasting oil to pan fry them

In a mixing bowl add the ground chicken and all the spices, along with the chopped cilantro, scallions, jalapeno, cheese, breadcrumbs and salt to taste. Mix well to incorporate all the ingredients — just but be careful to not over mix or the meatballs will be tough in texture.

Let this mixture rest for 30 minutes. Now form small meat balls. I used a small ice cream scoop and got about 40 small meatballs. Heat a pan on medium flame and add the oil. Once the oil is a bit heated gently add the meat balls, pan frying them on medium flame until done and nicely browned. Serve hot with salsa and guacamole just as appetizer or over rice.

Wouldn’t it be nice to turn the other batch of meatballs into something completely different and surprise not only the family but yourself too? If you are anything like me the answer is an immediate “Heck yeah!”

Yesterday I was in a busy mode to get some of the other things done around the house and lost time on planning for dinner. Luckily I remembered the meatballs in the freezer and started to think about what I could do with them. How could I camouflage these into something that tastes different and tasty? Then it hit me: chicken kofta curry. Yes, I decided to see if I could transform the Mexican flavors into this classic Indian dish.

As many of you know a lot of Mexican spices like cumin, cilantro, chili powder are used in Indian cuisine as well, so it would not be that hard to convert these and the cheese in the meat balls make this dish extra special So without further ado, I present to you transformed chicken kofta curry!

Ingredients

1 batch of of the frozen meat balls

for the curry gravy

1 large onion finely grated

1 can of tomato puree

1 inch og grated ginger

3 cloves of grated garlic

1 inch cinnamon stick

1 bay leave

2 green cardamoms

2 cloves

1 tsp of cilli powder

1 tablespoon of corriander powder

1 tsp of cumin powder

1/2 tsp of turmeric powder .

4 to 5 cashews and make a paste of it

1/2 tsp sugar

3 tables spoons of whipping cream .

3 tablespoons any neutral tasting oil

1 cup of warm water

salt to taste

In a dutch oven (or any heavy bottom pot) heat oil on a medium flame. Once a little hot add the whole spices: bay leaf, cardamom, cloves and cinnamon stick. Let this toast for a couple seconds, then add the grated onion and cook to brown (or caramelize the onions separately to speed up the process).

Add 1/2 tsp sugar, and once onion paste is golden brown add the ginger and garlic, saute for 30 seconds. Once that is done add all the powder spices: cumin, coriander, chili powder, turmeric and salt to taste. Cook for 15 seconds, then stir in the tomato puree and cashew paste, continue to cook for about 2 minutes. Stir again, adding in one cup of water. Bring the gravy to a simmer, add the meat balls and 2 table spoons of fresh cream. Cook until the meat balls are cooked through, which should take about 7 minutes. Drizzle with more fresh cream, serve hot with any flat bread or rice. Enjoy!

Malai Kabab

Kabab or Kebab are moist pieces of meat seasoned and usually grilled over a charcoal grill. Back home in India on hot summer weekend my papa would take us out for dinner to a kabab corner restaurant where we would order a variety of fun kababs, enjoying it with a red onion salad and paper thin flat breads called roomali rotis, with sides of spicy chutneys.

One of my favorites was creamed kabab that we kids would love because it was mild in flavor and spice. Here I have tried to recreate some of those flavors but with twist.

With a juicy and nice mild flavor these melt in your mouth creamed Kababs with a side of grilled Shishito peppers are perfect for a light evening meal or even at any party.

For the unique side, a friend introduced me to grilled Shishito peppers when she served them as an appetizer at a party. Easy to make and absolutely yummy!

Creamed Kababs 

2 pound of boneless skinless chicken cut into bite sized pieces 

2 tsp garlic grated

2 tsp ginger grated                            

1/2 cup yogurt

2 tablespoons cream 

1/2 tsp white pepper powder or black pepper .

Juice of a lemon 

1/4th tsp of cardamom powder

1/2 teaspoon of Garam masala (found in most grocery stores) 

few pinches pinch of saffron (optional) 

Salt to taste 

Oil for basting 

2 wooden skewers soaked in cold water

In a mixing bowl mix add grated ginger, garlic, yogurt, cream, lemon, garam masala, ground cardamom , saffron (if using ) and salt to taste. 

Marinate the chicken pieces for at least an hour or more if you have the time. Once the chicken is marinated skewer the chicken meat on to the skewers and cook on a grill pan or an outdoor grill over a medium flame.

While grilling baste the skewers with oil or butter every 4 to 5 mins and cook until done. Everyones grill is different and size of pieces matter too, but for reference it took me 10 -12 mins to grill each skewer.

Shishito peppers Рwash and slit them, sprinkle with some black salt or Himalayan pink salt and grill until you start seeing black specks. 

Serve hot with flat bread or just as and enjoy !

An Elegant Summer Salad

Summer parties are what I am missing this year! It has been a tradition every year where I would invite my foodie friends and enjoy summer evenings with dinner and wine enjoying their company. Laughter, music and some of my fun creations for them to taste. Grilling in the back yard is what we would do most times, as that way I would get to spend time with everyone. Some good cuts of meat sprinkled with simple seasonings fire up the grill, open the wine and chill. While meat is always the star of the dinner table, it does not mean our salads or sides have to take a back seat. Salads can be simple and yet have complex flavors that will tease and please the palate. They can be made with inexpensive ingredients and yet look elegant and taste amazing. Here is one such salad that will make a lovely addition to a summer party.

Beets and fried goat cheese salad 

Ingredients 

1 beet boiled, peeled and cut into wedges

4 thick (1″) slices of goat cheese¬†

Toasted walnuts to sprinkle ( optional ) 

1/2 cup flour 

1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs 

1 large egg beaten 

Oil to fry 

2 cups of Fresh spring mix salad greens 

4 tablespoons red wine 

4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 

salt to taste

pepper to taste

1 tablespoon olive oil 

Salt and pepper to season the greens 

1 РBoil  the beets until soft. You do not want them falling apart, just fork tender. Rinse and immediately cool down by running cold water, peel and cut in to wedges 

2 РUnwrap and freeze your goat cheese for about 15 to 20 minutes until it’s solid but not totally frozen.  Do not cut it yet.

3 РWhile your cheese is hardening,  set up a breading line in the following order: flour, egg, bread crumbs, parchment/wax paper covering wooden cutting board. 

4 – In a sauce pan add the wine, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt to season and simmer on low flame until you reach that rich salad dressing consistency.

5- Use a knife to cut 1 inch thick slices of goat cheese, make sure to wipe it off after each cut to stop it from crumbling. 

6- Take goat cheese rounds and dip in flour, then egg and then bread crumbs. Lay these onto the lined cutting board. Continue until all slices have been coated. 

Note: If your cheese is really soft pop it into the freezer for another 5 minutes to chill. 

7- Take a large high-sided skillet over medium. heat, add oil and once oil is hot, fry the goat cheese rounds until crispy on both sides. Remove and drain on paper towel.

8- To serve:  Lay out your greens on the serving dish, season with salt and pepper, add the beets Season them salt and pepper as well arrange those amongst the greens. add the toasted walnuts for crunch, Drizzle with the dressing, and tuck the salad with goat cheese rounds. 

Enjoy !

Fish curry in a Hurry .

It has been very different past three months due to covid! The house is full with my boys and husband at all times working, schooling and now into summer break. Schedules have been all over the place and days can go by in a blur. Some days are just crazy with all the chores that have doubled and I find myself just exhausted at the end of the day, but I still want to make sure everyone is fed healthy, nurturing food.

There are days when 30 minutes is all I want to give to cooking, and in such cases combining protein and vegetables in one dish is just perfect. My boys enjoy seafood, and we try to have it at least once a week. One that they really love is salmon, and I have tried many fun recipes to make it, be it changing up cooking methods, or seasonings and flavors. Somedays we just do panfried salmon with salt, pepper and butter. Other times steamed teriyaki style is another favorite.

Today I made fish and vegetable curry with as little time spent as possible, while ensuring there is a good mix of fish protein and vegetables. This simple recipe has a combination of salmon, carrots and long beans. Carrots add a subtle sweetness and long beans give a nice earthy bite in this curry.

Ingredients

4 pieces of salmon fillets cut in 1 1/2 inches wide.

2 to 3 table spoons of any neutral tasting oil

3 cloves of garlic grated

1 inch of ginger grated

1 onion finely chopped

1 cup of long beans chopped into one inch pieces (green beans may be used instead)

1 large carrot peeled and sliced at an angle .

1 can of thick coconut milk

1 tbs of curry powder (use your fav brand )

1 green chili slit in half (optional )

1 tsp lemon juice

1 tsp of soya sauce

salt to taste

Heat a dutch oven or pot on a medium flame and add the oil. Once the oil is hot add the chopped onion and saute until the onions are soft and start to turn color. This can take a couple mins. Once the onions start to turn color add the ginger and garlic, sauteing this for about 30 seconds until the raw flavor of the ginger and garlic goes . Now add the curry powder, salt to taste, carrots, longs beans. Stir fry for a few seconds, then add the coconut milk and bring it to a simmer on a low flame for a minute. While the curry is simmering gently slide the salmon fillets in one layer, green chilli and soya sauce. Cover and cook this for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the fish is done. do not over cook as this will make the fish tough . Add the lemon juice and serve hot with steamed rice. Enjoy !

Methi Chicken

The joy of harvesting your own greens and incorporating them into your meals is so satisfying, and with that comes such a great sense of achievement. It is just our 2nd year into kitchen gardening and we are still learning with trial and error but we have had sweet small successes, and one of them is growing fenugreek. Also known as methi leaves in India, fenugreek are extremely nutritious and packed with vitamins, and not too mention they are easy to grow. I harvested some this week and decided to make this very simple and tasty chicken curry with fenugreek leaves. If you do not have fenugreek you could substitute with baby spinach and/or tender mustard greens.

Ingredients

2 pounds of chicken (I used skinless bone in chicken you may choose boneless with varying cooking times )

2 cups packed with fenugreek leaves washed and chopped (you may substitute with spinach or mustard or both )

1 bay leaf

3 peppercorns

1 green cardamom

2 cloves

1 2 inch cinnamon stick

1 tsp of cumin seeds

3 to 4 tbs oil

1 large onion finely chopped

1 inch piece ginger grated

3 to 4 cloves of garlic grated

1 green chili slit lengthwise (optional)

11/2 tbs coriander powder

1 tsp turmeric powder

1 chopped tomato

2tbs of plain yogurt (optional)

1 tsp cayenne powder ( add more if u like it spicy )

1/4 cup water

salt to taste

Heat a dutch oven or a wok over a medium flame and add oil. Once the oil is hot add the cardamom, cumin, bayleaf, peppercorn and cinnamon stick and after a few seconds add the chopped onion. Saute until they turn golden in color on the edges, then add the grated ginger and garlic. Again saute for a few seconds at this stage add the chicken pieces, the powdered spices, yogurt (if using) along with the salt. Turn up the flame to high and sear the meat, stirring it for a couple minutes. Now add the greens and tomato and sear this for another 30 seconds stirring it. After this add 1/4th cup of water, cover and cook on low flame for 20 to 25 minutes. Serve hot with steam rice or any bread of choice.

Masala Bhaat

Masala Bhaat is an authentic Maharashtan one pot meal. Filled with the goodness of vegetables and seasoned with aromatic and warm spices, always found served at weddings and special occasions, this is a flavorful dish. I remember devouring this rice preparation at a friends place, her mother would make this for every birthday lunch party I still remember how she would make the simplest meals taste so good. Here is my take on masala bhaat with a less spicy version for my taste, but feel free to spice it up.

1 Tbs oil

1 Tsp mustard seeds

1 Tsp cumin seeds 

1 Bay leaf 

1 1 inch  piece of cinnamon stick 

1 onion chopped 

1 inch ginger grated 

3 cloves of garlic chopped 

1/2 tsp red chilli powder 

1/2 tsp turmeric powder 

1 green chilli (  or more if u want Spicy) 

1 tsp goda masala( a Marathi Garam masala ) you can get it in a Indian store or you may use any regular Garam masala, it will still taste great but will not be authentic.

Vegetables – 1 cup cauliflower florets , 

1/2  cup of carrots and peas each .

1/4th cup of raw peanuts or cashews.

1 cup raw rice 

2 cups water 

Salt to taste 

1 tbs ghee to drizzle 

Handful of grated coconut and cilantro to garnish ( optional ) 

Heat oil in a pan on a medium flame, add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, cinnamon, bay leaf. Once all this starts popping add onions and sauté for a few mins until the edges are turning brown. Add the ginger, garlic and sauté for a minute. Once the raw smell of the ginger and garlic is gone while being careful not to burn, add all the dry spices and mix well, sauté for a few seconds and now add the vegetables, peanuts or cashews and sauté for a min. Cover this and cook for a couple minutes. Now add the washed rice, mix it well add water and salt. Stir everything gently once more and bring it to a boil, once it comes to a boil then cover and cook  on a low flame until the rice is cooked and all the water is absorbed. Serve hot with a drizzle of ghee and garnish with fresh grated coconut and cilantro. enjoy !

Vegetable Manchurian

Vegetable Manchurian- One of the most satisfying Asian inspired dishes in India is this very flavorful vegetable balls served with a spicy, salty garlic sauce. Traditionally these are deep fried, but I decided to try a healthy alternative and put these straight into the air fryer for the same crispy deliciousness. Once added to the sauce, it turned out delicious, light and full of flavor! To round the meal out I served this with simple vegetable fried rice. Truly a fun and tasty way to add a lot of vegetables to ones diet.

For the manchurian balls 

1/2 cup cabbage 

1/2 cup cauliflower florets 

1 carrot 

2 Scallions/green onions 

One clove garlic 

1 table spoon soya sauce 

White pepper powder for taste 

2 table spoons corn starch 

3 tablespoons plain flour 

1 table spoon oil to brush-the air fryer and the balls 

In my food processor I pulse the vegetables until fairly fine, add all the seasonings, flour, cornstarch and mix well. Form them into the balls, arrange them in the air fryer, brush them with oil and cook them on 370 for 15 to 18 mins or until golden brown periodically checking on them. 

Tip – As you add the salt and seasonings to the vegetables they tend to release moisture so only add the seasonings when you are ready to form the balls and cook them right away.

For the sauce 

3 tablespoons of finely chopped garlic

1 inch chopped ginger 

1 green chilli chopped ( or more if you like )

4 tablespoons of soya sauce 

1 table spoon chili garlic sauce 

1 cup of vegetable or chicken stock ( your preference)

Few pinches of white pepper powder 

2 green onions finely chopped 

2 table spoon oil 

1 1/2 table spoon cornstarch 

1 tablespoon water 

In  a wok or pan heat the oil, and once hot add ginger green chilies.  After couple seconds add garlic (the idea is to cook the garlic but not let it brown). In a few seconds of adding the garlic add the all the sauces and the stock season with pepper powder, letting this simmer for a minute or so allowing all the ingredients to flavor the sauce. Now add the manchurian balls and while that is simmering take a small bowl and make a slurry of 1 1/2 table spoon of cornstarch and water and add this to the simmering gravy and let the sauce thicken to your desired look of the dish. Garnish with green onions and enjoy!