Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Hummus - Recipe with white sesame seeds

With spring season upon us, we really feel blessed to notice spring blossoms scattered here and there. Every season has its own way of making its presence felt. If there is strong and cold winter, then there is spring, which comes as a balm to sored souls. Summer, has own way of making its presence felt, being sweltering and hot. And autumn, well, what do I need to add, autumn whenever spelt, it itself creates vague and beautiful pictures, enticing our senses with colorful disposition.

Now come back from that whirlwind trip of seasons, step aside and park yourself in your kitchen, it’s time to cook. Eating with season has become part of our food plans. And it’s not that something, I pre-plan, but then it has become a routine. For that matter, I have never seen my Ma or Ma-in-law making out such plans about eating with season, to them it was all about, what was really available easily in their respective local vegetable markets, and which obviously used to be flooded with all the local produce and in accordance with seasonal fruits and vegetables (I have started a label “Eating with season” keeping in mind the changes, that are good to include for our day-today grocery plans and eating habits. I will try to update that label from time to time.)
It was going like that, until came those leading globe explorer, who with their each expeditions opened up a new world to each one of us. They due to their curiosity, meticulously started exploring new ingredients, new recipes and new cuisines. And with that, came new discoveries about methods, ingredients and exploring other world cuisine.

Hummus a great Mediterranean dip, can be relished throughout a year.Although, served as part of Turkish-style meze platter. You don’t have to wait for a particular season to relish this mouth tingling dip. All you need is cooked and boiled chick peas, and I am sure every Indian home keeps dried chick peas in their pantry. And for those of you, who are always on a tight schedule, you do have pre-cooked chick- pea cans.

But to get that store-bought quality, one has to make it with toasted sesame seeds or better if you can get “Tahini paste”. Now Tahini paste is easily available in middle-eastern stores here in abroad. But in case you can't get Tahini paste easily, you can use toasted white sesame seeds/ “till” as in Hindi. And olive oil can also be replaced with normal sunflower oil, although olive oil is the primary oil used in hummus preparation
Now to the recipe

Hummus – A Mediterranean dip
Recipe requirements
  •  2 cups of cooked chick peas or use 1 pre-cooked chick peas can
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 4-5 tbs of olive oil
  • ¼ tsp of grounded pepper /cayenne pepper
  • 1/3 cup of Tahini paste or use ½ cup of toasted white sesame seeds
  • ½ tsp of black pepper powder
  • Salt as per taste
  •  2 -3 tsps of lemon juice
  • Some more olive oil for garnishing

If you are using dried chick peas. Soak those overnight in water, and next day cook it as usual in a pressure cooker for two whistles. You can even use canned chick –peas as well.
If you can get Tahini Paste easily, go ahead with it. However, if you are getting difficulty in finding one, then, use white sesame seeds. Take white sesame seeds and dry roast them for about 6-8 mints at medium flame or till they turn out slightly golden. Keep an eye on them while roasting them.
In a blender or mixer, add all the ingredients- cooked chick peas, Tahini paste or ( toasted sesame seeds)  lemon juice, grounded pepper , garlic , olive oil, black pepper powder and salt. Blend all, if needed add very little water, just to rotate the mixer blades.

Take out in a bowl, garnish with more olive oil and crushed red chilly flakes. A smooth and delicious dip is ready as a side to many appetizers or roasted vegetables or a typical Turkish style meze. You can garnish with finely chopped parsley as well.

Happy Cooking Friends

Friday, March 20, 2015

Black Eyed Beans Sundal- Lobia Sundal Recipe

I would really like to feel solace in warm weather, as mother nature switches herself into a milder climate over here, and  it’s also first day of Spring/ Vasanta season. Finally spring is here and with that, all those beautiful spring blossoms to lay eyes on. And also to greet us today, a rare sight of partial solar eclipse in UK.It was predicted earlier, but not in sight as of now where we live, as it’s cloudy outside, well then its normal weather up here and a working day also. Even then there are reasons, or may be no reasons to update this blog. Well, it has become a routine for me. And when it becomes a routine, you don’t need reasons to do things even if it’s first day of spring or a day with partial solar eclipse or may be a day in “Chaitra Navaratri “ or a special day like “Ugadhi” and “Gudi –padwa” .And did I mention reasons to update the blog, how predictable , sometimes  , most of the times, I can be.

Sundal is a very traditional stir/fry recipe from south India. There is chick –pea sundal, rajma sundal or moong dal sundal and many more variations on this. Well I am no authority in sundal, but a beginner, and really like simple stir/fry recipes of lentils or legume preparations. And this way of making legumes, lentils is easy for me and to you also. Black eyed beans/ lobia beans are cooked with a mustard seeds + coconut tempering, so the name lobia sundal.Without much exaggerating here , I now jump to write the simple and yet delicious preparation from down South India.

Lobia Sundal – Black eyed Beans Sundal (stir/fry)
Recipe requirements
250 Gms of cooked black eyed beans or 1 pre-packed tin of cooked black eyed peas
½ cup of scraped/grated coconut – desiccated may work as well
For tempering
½ tsp of black mustard seeds
2-3 dry red pepper
½ tsp of salt or as per taste
2-3 tbs of cooking oil
Pinch of hing (asafetida)
 Two handfuls of curry leaves
Cook pre-soaked black eyed beans in a pressure cooker for two whistles. You can use pre-packaged tins of cooked black eyed beans also.
Heat up a pan, add in cooking oil, temper it with mustard seeds, red pepper, and curry leaves and pinch of hing.
Add in desiccated coconut, it would be better to use freshly scraped coconut if you can get it easily.
Now add in cooked black eyed beans, adjust salt .If you wish you can add black pepper powder.
Cover it and let cook for about 10-12 mints at med-low flame.
Your delicious black eyed beans sundal is ready. 
A great snack in these chaitra Navaratri days.

Wish you all a very happy Ugadhi and Gudi-Padwa…Happy Cooking