Sizzling Fajita Whole Wheat Pita

August 29, 2008

The wheat flour I bought to bake whole wheat focaccia earlier was still lying around on my kitchen counter. Wanting to use it again, I started looking for recipes and I ended up here. I’ve been a silent reader on Jugalbandits’ blog for over a year. Theirs in one of the blogs I visit everyday. Their writing is witty, funny, sarcastic (I love it!), lively and really inspiring. Their enthusiasm for living a healthy life is remarkable. I don’t know if I can find any more adjectives for them..am kinda running out. 🙂 However, Bee and Jai, I do want to say thank you for your blog and I really do appreciate it!

Whole wheat pita

Now I made the pitas, but did not know what to eat them with. Don’t get me wrong, they were really tasty, however I wanted it to be complete healthy meal. When I opened the refrigerator to see what all I had, I had nothing substantial. J and I are going out of town for the long weekend and I have been avoiding going to the grocery store till after the trip. All I found were frozen Morningstar products, marinated onions that I keep on hand for sandwiches, etc., and cheese. J and I whipped this dish out and it was quite tasty for not using any fresh vegetables. It may seem like a lot of work, but trust me, it just took us 40 mins to prepare the meal..including 30 mins. of marinating time. However, there was a lot of cleaning after the everything was done, but J took care of it 😀

Ta

PS: I marinate one onion at a time and it stays good for at least 10 days in the refrigerator.

fajita pita

Recipe: Sizzling Fajita Whole Wheat Pita
(Serves 3, Makes 8 pitas)

Ingredients

For Whole Wheat Pita

2 cups Whole wheat flour
2 tsp dry yeast
3/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup warm water

For Vegan Steak Fajita

1 packet Morningstar Steak strips
1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 tsp dried garlic (you can use fresh..I was just lazy to use the fresh one)
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp brown sugar
salt
pepper

For marinated onions (Can be made few days ahead)

1 red onion
1 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt
pepper

For Yogurt-Feta Sauce

2/3 cups yogurt
1/3 cup feta cheese (I used mediterranean herb feta cheese)
1/2 tsp dried garlic
salt
pepper

Method

For pita bread

Knead all the ingredients together into a soft dough. The dough should be smooth and it may be slightly sticky. Add olive oil, just enough to coat the dough and let it sit covered in a warm place for 1.5 hrs. Deflate the dough and knead for one min. Divide the dough into eight equal parts and roll them into balls. Place the balls in a baking sheet and cover them with a towel to prevent them from drying. Place a baking stone (if you are using a baking sheet, place it inside the oven when you are ready to bake pitas) and preheat the oven to 500 degree F. Take one ball and roll it out so that it is 3/16 of an inch thick, sprinkle semolina/cornmeal if using baking sheet, and place it in the oven. Bake it for 4 mins. approx. If it starts browning, take itout immediately even if not puffed up. Once done (does not smell yeasty), take it out of the oven and let it cool on wire rack. Repeat till all dough is used up. Once cooled, wrap the pitas in aluminum foil.

whole wheat pita

For marinated onions

Preheat the oven to 350 degree F. Slice the onion into thin rings. One trick I have learned for slicing/chopping onions is that put the onion in the freezer for 15 mins. Take it out and then chop/slcie to avoid “crying” over the onions. When kept in the freezer, the gas that gets released while chopping an onion also freezes. So no more crying! Line a baking sheet with foil and lay the onion slices on the sheet. Bake the onions for 30 mins. While the onions are getting baked, in a bowl mix balsamic vinegar, oil, brown sugar, herbs and salt and pepper. Once onions are baked, cool them and add them to the balsamic mix. Store them in an air tight container for a later use.

For fajitas, mix all the ingredients other than the morningstar vegan steak in a bowl. Add herbs or anything else you might want to add per your taste. Pour the marinade in a ziploc bag. Add frozen vegan steak to the ziplock bag and shake it to coat all the pieces. Let them sit for at least 30 mins. Heat a skillet on medium heat and cook the steak pieces for about 5 mins.

For yogurt-feta sauce, mix all the ingredients in a bowl and stir well. Refrigerator it, until you are ready for assembling the pitas.

For assembly, spread about 1.5 Tbsp of the yogurt-feta sauce on the pita. Add pew pieces of vegan steak and onions. Fold it and tada..its ready to serve. You can also do the same in a pita pocket.

This goes to Zlamushka’s Spicy Kitchen for the Tried & Tasted event featuring Jugalbandhi for the month of August and to Sia of Monsoon Spice hosting the JFI – Soya blog event.


“Ground Beef” & Ricotta Pesto Lasagna

August 13, 2008

When Sia of Monsoon Spice announced JFI – Soya, I did my little happy dance (with J rolling his eyes). The reason for my excitement was the fact that we eat soy “meat” almost every week. Without that, I do not know how J and I could co-exist … at least without losing our sanity. 😉

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For the dinner party last weekend I had the grandiose idea of making some lasagna, which of course I had never made before! I didn’t even know what ingredients to use for lasagna. But then I remembered seeing this at Meeta’s What’s for Lunch, Honey?. Both J and I, do not like mushrooms, so I thought of using the “ground beef” with some tomato sauce. Now, with the ingredients decided, the next challenge for us was to boil lasagna pasta. Neither J nor I had ever dealt with lasagna pasta sheets before that day. Thankfully we had a pot big enough to fit the pasta. Making (I mean boiling) pasta is almost always J’s job. I am too much of a klutz to handle hot water (that’s what he thinks). After J was done draining the pasta, I layered the lasagna and trust me this was the most fun part of the whole lasagna making process.

The lasagna tasted really good, with creaminess of pesto (Thanks Meeta!) and a slight tanginess from tomatoes. Everyone loved it and the fake meat did taste and feel like real meat. I cannot vouch for it, as I have not tasted meat ever. But judging from 4 people’s reaction, I guess it did taste like real meat.

Off this goes to:

1. Sia’s JFI – Soya event. Photobucket

2. Dee of Ammalu’s Kitchen – Herb Mania – Basil

3. DK of Culinary Bazaar’s AWED – Italiano

Ta

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Recipe: “Ground Beef” & Ricotta Pesto Lasagna
(Serves 6)

Ingredients

1 lb lasagna package
1 package Morning Star Meal Starters – Crumbles (Frozen 12 oz)
1 cup Marinara sauce for “meat” crumbles
2 cups additional Marinara sauce (I used Prego)
3 cups loosely packed basil leaves
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/3 cup olive oil
2 cup ricotta cheese (I used low fat)
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese + extra for sprinkling over lasagna
4 garlic cloves
3 Tbsp melted butter
salt per taste
pepper per taste


Method

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

For pesto, add basil, garlic, pin nuts, olive oil, butter, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper in a food processor and pulse till you get a creamy mix. In a big bowl mix the pesto and ricotta.

In a pan, heat the “meat” crumbles for about 2 mins. Add the marinara sauce to the pan and heat the sauce for 4-5 mins. Keep the mix aside.

Boil the lasagna pasta according to the package directions. Drain the pasta once its cooked.

To assemble the lasagna, butter a baking dish. Pour one cup of additional marinara sauce on the bottom of the baking dish. Lay 3 sheets of lasagna on the marinara sauce. Cover the lasagna sheets with ricotta pesto mix. Lay 3 more lasagna sheets over pesto and then layer with “meat” mix. Cover with more lasagna sheets. Continue the layers till all ingredients are used up and ending with final layer of lasagna sheets. Pour 1 cup of additional marinara sauce over the lasagna sheets. Sprinkle some parmesan cheese over the marinara sauce.

Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake for 20 mins. Uncover the baking dish and bake again for another 20 mins. Enjoy!


Twisted Dum Aloo – Maybe?

August 5, 2008

Dum Aloo is my all time favorite dish. The spicy, sweet, creamy sauce with tiny potatoes swimming in it … ahhh! Divine! This is one dish I love cooking despite the effort and time it takes to prepare. I’ve made it a couple of times and every time I made it differently (because I didn’t know better!).

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The recipes that I found for authentic dum aloo required preparing of dum (dough used to seal a clay pot..this style of cooking was introduced by Mughals) and seemed quite time consuming and to tell you the truth, a little bit intimidating for a novice cook like me.  My mother-in-law is currently visiting us and I wanted to make a special meal for her. So, I decided to make dum aloo with the ingredients I had at hand..which of course meant that I cooked it differently than how I have in the past. One thing I did to save some time, was to make three different sauces the night before. So the next day after coming back from work, all I had to do was cook everything together.

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I am so glad that I cooked it differently! Because the sauce was spicy, creamy, with a slight sweetness and tanginess to it (from tomatoes). I think adding the cream to it gave that creamy and sweet texture to the sauce. The potatoes were crispy on the outside and really scrumptious from the sauce they had absorbed. Everyone loved it! From now on, I think I am going to stick to this recipe till I find some other way to cook 🙂

Ta

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Recipe: Dum Aloo
(Serves 4)

Ingredients

6 baby potatoes
1 Tbsp Oil
1 Tbsp red chili powder
1 tsp kitchen king masala
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 Tbsp heavy cream
pinch of asafoetida
Salt per taste

Green sauce
2 green chilies
1 inch sized ginger
3 garlic cloves
1 inch of cinnamon stick
3 cloves
1 cardamom
1 tsp of cumin

Red sauce

4 medium sized tomatoes

White sauce
1 Tbsp oil
1 onion – chopped
1 Tbsp cashews


Method

Boil potatoes (not too soft) and skin them. Place the potatoes on a foil lined cookie sheet and spray them with a tiny bit of oil. Broil them for about 4 mins or till they are crispy on the outside. Be careful to not get them burnt. Turn the potatoes over and broil them for another 3-4 mins. Prick the potatoes with a toothpick or a fork.

For green sauce, mix all the ingredients using a food processor. Add a small amount of water to mix all the ingredients together. For red sauce, boil the tomatoes and cool them. Then puree the tomatoes and strain them for a smooth sauce. For white sauce, saute the onions in 1 tbsp of oil till they are cooked. Let the onions cool and in a food processor puree them along with the cashews.

Heat oil in a pan and add asafoetida. Once the oil is hot, add the green sauce and saute till slightly brown. Add the onion sauce and red sauce. Add all the other dry ingredients (red chili powder, turmeric, kitchen king masala, and salt). Cook the sauce with frequent stirring for another 8-10 mins at medium heat. Now add the cream. Cook for 2-3 mins. Do not boil the sauce. Cook at low to medium heat. Add the potatoes in the sauce and let them simmer for another 4-5 mins. Garnish with some fresh cilantro and serve with jeera rice or parathas!


Less is More: Simply “Delicious” Okra

July 16, 2008

The other day I went to Central Market (I LOVE this place) and was browsing around in the produce section when I saw her…there she was, lazing around in the corner.  Okra looked so dainty and tender (which is unusual as I have not come across fresh/tender okra very often) that I greedily stuffed my bag with some and continued on my stroll around the fruits and vegetables at CM.

Once home, I was not sure how to cook it. In the past, I have tried it stuffed, stir fried, with yogurt gravy, etc. But this time around I was looking for a quick and easy way to make it. While browsing around the other blogs, I found just the type of recipe I was looking for. Suganya of Tasty Palettes has an amazing, mouthwatering collection of recipes. The one that caught my eye for the moment was her Simply Okra dish. I followed the recipe to the T and result was tender, spicy (but not overly) and crispy okra. J, who hates okra, LOVED it!!! I had forced him to try just one tinny bit with the thought that he’ll try and would make his “don’t like this” face. But I couldn’t have been more wrong. After the first bite, he gave me this sly smile and said “I actually like this!”..and soon he had the bowl in his hands and was enjoying every bit of okra..I was so surprised that I literally stared at him open mouthed 🙂

Because of this okra dish, I get to participate in one of the blog events, MBP, started by Coffee for the first time. For the month of July, Nupur of One Hot Stove is guest hosting MBP: Less is More and the okra dish would be just perfect! 😀

I served okra with mom’s recipe of Khatta mag (Green moong in spicy yogurt) and rice.

Ta


Recipe: Moong in Yogurt
(Serves 3)

Ingredients
1 cup cooked green moong (I boil it in pressure cooker with water)
1-1/2 cup of yogurt
1tbsp besan
1 tbsp lasan chutney (ground garlic, red chili powder and salt. You can also just add mashed garlic and red chili powder instead of lasan chutney)
2 green chilies
small piece of ginger
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp turmeric
2-3 curry leaves
pinch of asafoetida
1 tbsp of oil
salt per taste


Method
In a large bowl, mix yogurt, ginger, green chili, lasan chutney, besan, salt and little bit of water (you can use the water from boiled moong if any left over). Make sure to not thin the yogurt out a lot.
Heat oil in a pan. Once hot, add asafoetida, mustard and cumin and curry leaves. Add the yogurt mixture and cook for few minutes. Add boiled moong to the yogurt mixture and cook for another 5-10 mins. Serve hot with rice or roti.


Pav Bhaji

July 14, 2008

As a kid, this was my THE favorite dish. I could pretty much eat it every day and probably would have, if mom cooked it everyday…which she did not as she did not like us having too much of that “white bread”. Back then our school timing was 7:30 am to 1:30 pm. But sometimes we had an afternoon school for sports activities. On those days all the parents would send tiffin for their kids. Mom knew how tired I would be by 1:30 and that I still had to keep on going till 5:30 pm. So she would make my favorite dish “pav-bhaji” and have my dad deliver it (piping hot) to me at the school right in time for lunch. And as soon as I would open the tiffin, I would have this big smile on my face. All my friends sitting around me would be excited because they knew they would get a bite of it as well. Everyone loved my mom’s pav-bhaji. The tiffin consisted on pav-bhaji, masala chaas and papad..it was yummiest meal ever 🙂 ..I couldn’t thank her enough for all that she has and still is doing for us. Thanks Mom!!

I make this once in a while because all my friends love it. I made this tonight and even J loved it who is not a big vegetable fan! Though it does not taste the same as mom’s (I don’t know why) everyone loves it. Just like my mom I feel the same about “white bread”, so sometimes we have parathas with bhaji..no pav and it still tastes like heaven 🙂

Ta

Recipe
(Serves 4)

Ingredients

3 potatoes (approx. 1 lb)
1 eggplant (approx. 1 lb)
1 small cauliflower
1/2 cabbage
1 onion (finely diced)
3 tomatoes (boiled and pureed)
3 green chilies
small piece of ginger
3 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp of pav bhaji masala
1 tbsp of garam masala
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp red chili powder
1 tsp of turmeric
1 small stick of cinnamon
3 cloves
pinch of asafoetida
Oil for frying
salt per taste


Method

Boil potatoes, eggplant, caulifower and cabbage in a pressure cooker (or microwave). Grind the green chilies, garlic, ginger, cumin, cinammon stick and cloves. Heat the oil in a pot. Once hot add asafoetida and chili paste. Fry the paste till it gives aroma and browns a little bit (be careful to not burn it). Add onions and fry them till they are done. Add pureed tomatoes to the onions and all the dry spices other than salt. Cook the tomato paste till the oil separates. With a slotted spoon add the boiled vegetables to the tomato paste. Mash the vegetables in the pot. Add salt per yor taste and cover the pot (else it splash all over..i learned the hard way!) and let it cook for about 15-20 mins. Stir it frequently so that it does burn at the bottom of the pan. Serve hot with raw onions and coriander sprinkled on top and some pav (bread). Enjoy!


Toasted Potato Sandwich

July 13, 2008

In Rajot, “Balaji Sandwiches” are famous for their spicy, buttery sandwiches. It is a “hole in a wall” kinda place, but you should see the amount of people lined up to eat these delish sandwiches. I remember the times when  we would go shopping to the bazaar  with my dad, he would take us to “Balaji Sandwiches” and we would eagerly wait in the queue for our turn and god was it hard to do! With all those aromas floating around you, my mouth would water and I would be scared of drooling all over myself in public.  They were so yummy! I have never been able to imitate Balaji sandwiches, but the ones mom taught me to make came pretty darn close. Thanks Mom! ~muah~

In the gradschool, my roommates and I would be so tired at the end of the day after classes and work on campus that these sandwiches would be just the thing we needed. Easy to make, tasty and cheap!After getting married, I made them a couple of times and my SIL E loved them. Whenever she came home from school, I would try to make these for her. She is home right now for summer but is soon heading back for summer school. So we decided to make these for lunch. I served them with some green chutney and ketchup.



Toasted Potato Sandwich

(Makes 5 sandwiches)

Ingredients

3 large potatoes (finely diced)

1 onion (finely diced)

1/2 cup of peas (I use frozen)

3 small green chilies

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp cumin

1 tbsp garam masala ( I use Everest brand)

1 tsp pav-bhaji masala (I use Everest Brand)

1 tsp Red chili powder

1/2 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp of asafoetida

2 tbsp oil

Salt per taste


Method

Heat oil in a pan. Once hot add asafoetida, mustard seeds and cumin. After the mustard seeds crackle, add diced onions. Cook till the onions are light brown and translucent. Add diced green, pav-bhaji masala, garam masala, red chili powder, and turmeric. Fry the onions in the spices for a few minutes till it sends out a nice masala aroma. Add the diced potatoes, green peas and salt per taste. Cover the pan and let the potatoes cook till they are soft. After the potatoes are cooked, roughly mash the potato-peas mixture. Let the mixture cool down a bit. Now take two slices of bread. Butter one side of both the slices. Spoon the potato-peas mixture and spread evenly on buttered side of one slice. Place the other slice buttered down on the mixture. Butter both the slices of bread on outside and toast the sandwich in sandwich toaster or grill. I use George Foreman grill for our sandwiches. Once the bread browns on the outside, serve it hot with green coriander chutney and ketchup!