Baked Samosas!
Samosa is a favorite Indian snack. But what keeps me away from it is the deep-fried part. The baked version uses way less fat and the layered effect of the fillo pastry adds to the taste. Now, I spend less time making samosas and they taste even better!


Ingredients: (makes 15 to 20 samosas)

fillo pastry sheets - 15 to 20
potatoes - 2 (boiled and peeled)
peas - 1 cup (boiled)
cumin seeds - 1 tsp
fennel seeds - 1 tsp (optional)
cashewnuts - 1 tbsp (broken)
green chillies - 2 (adjust according to taste)
oil - 1 tsp
butter - 1 to 2 tbsp (melted - for brushing)
salt to taste

Method:

Prepare the potato-peas mixture by frying cumin seeds, fennel seeds, cashewnuts and finely chopped green chillies in a teaspoon of hot oil and then adding the potatoes and peas with salt. Mix well and keep aside.

Brush a sheet of fillo with melted butter. Fold it vertically at the center into a rectangle. Brush with butter. Place 2 tablespoons or potato-peas mixture in one corner and fold into a triangle. Keep folding triangularly through the rest of the sheet. Stick the edges with a little water. Brush the top with melted butter. Repeat for the remaining fillo sheets. Bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees (Fahrenheit) for 10 minutes. Flip the samosas and bake for another 10 minutes until golden brown. Serve fresh with tomato sauce or tamarind chutney (Oh, I love it with the tamarind chutney)!
Spinach Potato soup
The nutritive value of spinach is well-known. But making kids eat spinach is one of the biggest challenges for moms. Potato being a natural favorite, forms a great combination with spinach. Here is a Thai-inspired recipe that was well-received when I invited my friends and their three kids for lunch.


Ingredients: (serves 4)

spinach leaves - 4 oz (about 100 grams)
potato - 1 large
peas - 1/4 cup (boiled)
coconut milk - 2 cups (thick)
vegetable stock - 1 cup
salt - 1 tsp (adjust according to taste)
pepper powder - 3/4 tsp (adjust according to taste)
butter - 1 tbsp
ginger-garlic paste - 1/2 tsp
lemon juice - 1 tbsp
fresh cream - 4 tsp

Method:

Pressure cook/microwave the potatoes until soft. Take washed spinach leaves in a sauce pan with very little water (about 3 tablespoons). Boil for about 5 minutes until the leaves are just wilted, but do not let them change color. Allow to cool, add boiled peas and blend to a fine paste. Keep aside.

Cool, peel and completely mash the cooked potato and keep aside.

Heat coconut milk and vegetable stock in a sauce pan. Add the spinach paste, mashed potatoes, ginger-garlic paste and salt. Cook for 5 minutes. Mix in the butter, lemon juice and pepper. Decorate with fresh cream and serve hot.
Chickpeas fry (sundal)
'Navratri' (nine nights) in India is celebrated primarily as a social networking festival (it has deeper religious connotations signifying the victory of good over evil). People invite each other to their houses for the traditional display of 'kolu' (dolls) and exchange greetings. Sundal, made of chickpeas, green gram, peanuts, snow peas and similar legumes is typically served to 'kolu' visitors.


Ingredients: (serves 2)

canned chickpeas - 2 (or 350 grams, soaked overnight in salt water)
grated coconut - 2 tbsp
cabbage+carrot - 1 cup (grated)
green chillies - 3 (adjust according to taste)
mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
black gram (urad dal) - 1/2 tsp
curry leaves - 1 stalk
lemon juice - 1 tbsp
oil - 1 tsp
salt to taste

Method:

Heat oil in a saucepan. Add mustard seeds and black gram. When it splutters, add finely chopped green chillies and curry leaves. Then add grated coconut, grated cabbage, carrot and salt as required. When half-cooked, add chickpeas (drained). Cover and cook until done (the chickpeas must be cooked, but still remain whole - not broken or mushy). Stir in the lemon juice and serve fresh.
I'm sending in this entry to DNSW C hosted by Akila and Susan's My Legume Love Affair event hosted by Divya (MLLA #28).

Notes:
The traditional version does not include grated cabbage or carrots. It's a healthy, colorful optional addition.
Banana Blueberry Milkshake
Having had a late snack, I wasn't hungry at dinner night, but very tired and sleepy. Now, skipping dinner would mean waking up and rambling around for a midnight snack. The luscious fruits presented the perfect option for a quick, healthy, light and filling dinner!


Ingredients: (serves 2)

banana - 1
blueberries - 1 cup
peach - 1/2
milk - 1 cup
ground flaxseed - 2 tsp
honey - 1 tbsp
ice cubes - a few (optional)
whipped cream - for topping (optional)

Method

Blend all the non-topping ingredients, top it with a little whipped cream if you like and serve fresh!
Spinach tamarind gravy (sambar)
Sambar is an everyday affair in a south-Indian home. It is usually made with "stronger" vegetables, but using spinach in sambar is healthy, though uncommon. The tamarind adds a tangy flavor to the spinach and my family loves this!


Ingredients: (serves 2)

spinach - 1 cup (finely chopped)
tomatoes - 2 (finely chopped)
sambar powder - 2 tsp (recipe provided separately)
tamarind paste - 1 1/2 tbsp
yellow pigeon peas (toor dal) - 3 tbsp
red lentils (Masoor dal) - 2 tbsp
mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
black gram (urad dal) - 1/2 tsp
asafoetida - a pinch
turmeric powder - a pinch
ghee - 1 tbsp
red chilly powder - 1/2 tsp (optional - depending upon how spicy the sambar powder is)
salt - 1 tsp (adjust to taste)

Method

Wash and pressure cook the dals in plenty of water with a little salt and turmeric powder. Heat ghee in a sauce pan and add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, black gram and asafoetida. When it splutters, add tomatoes and fry for a couple of minutes until soft. Add spinach, sambar powder, salt and tamarind paste. Fry for 5 minutes. Add the pressure cooked dals and water if required, to obtain a thick liquid consistency. Boil for a couple of more minutes and serve hot with rice, idly, dosa, chapati, etc.
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