Chicken Shawarma

Neha and Sanjeev loves Arabian and Middle East food, especially the pita breads, mayonnaise, grilled Chicken, kozi rice and others. Today I planned to make whole wheat pita bread ( I had some left over dough after making the pizza cups over the weekend ) along with chicken Shawarma and a clear soup which is a big hit at our place. 

From the wiki: Shawarma is a Levantine meat preparation, where lamb, chicken or mixed meats are placed on a spit (commonly a vertical spit in restaurants), and may be grilled for as long as a day. Shavings are cut off the block of meat for serving, and the remainder of the block of meat is kept heated on the rotating spit. Shawarma can be served on a plate (generally with accompaniments), or as a sandwich or a wrap. Shawarma is usually eaten with cucumber, tomato and other vegetables.

I have used boneless chicken ( the bones were used to make the soup ) and grilled it in my grill pan with just a light smear of oil, thus making this a very light and healthy food. Neha and Sanjeev had it in the evening itself and both were quite happy with the taste and combinations.

Ingredients:

  • Boneless chicken 200 gm
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper powder 1-2 tsp
  • Red chilli powder 1 tsp
  • Onion 1 big
  • Garlic 3-4 cloves
  • Eggless mayo 2-3 tbsp
  • Grated cabbage 2 tbsp
  • Grated carrot 2 tbsp
  • Refined oil 1-2 tsp

Method:

  • Finely chop the boneless chicken, garlic and onion.
  • Heat oil in a nonstick grill pan and saute the onion and garlic pieces till translucent.
  • Add the chicken pieces, salt, pepper powder and red chilli powder.
  • Cook for 6-7 minutes till the chicken gets cooked well.
  • Shred the chicken by mashing it or use a scrapper.
  • Remove from fire and keep aside.
  • Mix the grated carrot and cabbage in the mayonnaise till its mixed well.
  • Add this to the chicken and mix well.
  • Yummy home style Shawarma is ready.
  • Serve it with freshly cut carrots, cucumber, onion rings, pickled beetroot, mayonnaise and pita bread.
  • Alternatively you can sprinkle this on a pita bread and make Shawarma rolls. 


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Blueberry Cake

I had never used any kind of frozen berries before and wasn’t much aware of what all varieties were available in Chennai. The other day, I had gone to Nuts n Spices, Adyar and was browsing through stuffs available there. I happened to spot a pack of frozen blueberries and immediately without thinking much, I picked up a packet for Neha.

Now I had to think and look for recipes with it. The first in my list was a simple vanilla blueberry cake. Stay tuned to the blog for a couple of recipes with blueberry 🙂 I am quite happy with the texture and flavour of the cake. It’s super soft, moist and perfect. Happy to see me baking decent cakes. I am gaining confidence with each cake bake. 

Ingredients:

  • All purpose flour 125 gm (1 cup)
  • Corn flour 2 tbsp
  • Salt apinch
  • Sugar 100 gm (1/2 cup)
  • Blueberries 1/2 cup
  • Milk 120 ml (1/2 cup)
  • Apple cider vinegar 2 tsp
  • Baking soda 1/2 tsp
  • Butter plus oil 60 ml (1/4 cup)
  • Vanilla extract 1 tsp

Method:

  • Preheat the oven at 170 degree celsius for atleast 10 minutes.
  • Take a 6 inch cake tin and grease it with butter. Dust it thoroughly with flour and remove the excess flour.
  • Sieve the flour, salt, baking soda for 3-4 times and put it in a big mixing bowl.
  • Add apple cider vinegar to the milk and stir. It will curdle and form buttermilk.
  • Measure around 1 tablespoon melted butter in a 60 ml cup and fill it up with any flavour less oil.
  • Add this to the buttermilk. Add sugar to this mixture and whisk well till the sugar is fully dissolved.
  • Add vanilla extract and mix well.
  • Take some blueberries and dust it with a spoon of the above measured flour. 
  • Add the liquid ingredients to the flour mixture and mix it gently with a spatula.
  • Fold in half of the blueberries and stir it gently.
  • Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and sprinkle the remaining blueberries on top.
  • Tap it on the counter to remove the excess air bubbles.
  • Bake the cake for 30-35 minutes or till a toothpick inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean.
  • Take the cake tin out of the oven and allow it to cool for 7-8 minutes.

  • Invert the cake on a wire rack and allow it to cool well.

  • Slice and serve it with love.

Notes:

  • You can use lemon extract instead of vanilla extract and some lemon zest for a different flavour.
  • Do not thaw the frozen blue berries or else it will bleed.
  • Its important to coat the berries with some flour to prevent it from sinking to the bottom of the cake.
  • Let the cake cool well before you take it out of the cake tin, or else it might break from the centre.
  • Also wait till the cake is sufficiently cool before slicing.

Sambhar

Every family will have their recipe of sambhar and people will usually swear that theirs is the perfect one. The method and ingredients differ from state to state, district to district and from house to house. Kerala sambhar is different from Tamil Nadu sambhar which is different from Karnataka sambhar. Within Kerala too, it varies with respect to the vegetables used, whether coconut is added or not. 

The one that I usually make is what I have learnt from my mother in law. For me and my family, this is the perfect family 🙂 I do not like to use many vegetables in sambhar. I usually make it with shallots ( Madras onion or sambhar onion) and ladies finger. I also use fresh coconut and roast it and then grind it to make the sambhar masala. I do not add any store bought ready made sambhar powder or masala.

Ingredients:

  • Tur dal 1 cup
  • Shallots 12-15
  • Ladies finger 8-10
  • Tomato 2 small
  • Turmeric powder 1 tsp
  • Salt to taste
  • Sugar 1 tsp
  • Tamarind lemon size ball
  • Grated coconut 3-4 tbsp
  • Dried red chillies​ 5-6
  • Coriander seeds 1 tbsp
  • Fenugreek seeds 1 tsp
  • Udid dal 1/2 tsp
  • Asafoetida 1/2 tsp
  • Mustard seeds 1 tsp
  • Curry leaves 2-3 sprigs
  • Coriander leaves 2 sprigs
  • Refined oil 1-2 tbsp

Method:

  • Wash and soak the dal for an hour.
  • Cook it with little salt and turmeric powder till it is soft and mushy.
  • Peelthe shallots and cut the bigger ones into 2 pieces. Cut the ladies finger into 2 inch long pieces.
  • Saute the shallots and ladies finger till they are slightly fried. 
  • Cook these two along with chopped tomato pieces, salt and turmeric powder.
  • Soak the tamarind in water and squeeze out the pulp. Strain it and keep aside.
  • Meanwhile to make the masala, take some oil in a kadhai and add fenugreek seeds and udid dal.
  • When it becomes golden, add dried red chillies, coriander seeds, curry leaves and fry for 4-5 minutes.
  • Now add the grated coconut and fry till it is golden.
  • Switch off the gas and add asafoetida powder to the roasted masala and mix well.
  • Grind it into a smooth paste.
  • Add the tamarind pulp and the ground masala to the boiling shallots-ladies finger mixture.
  • Boil till the raw smell of the ground masala goes off.
  • Add the cooked dal to this mixture and simmer well.
  • Check salt and add a pinch of sugar.
  • Add washed coriander leaves and mix.
  • To make the tempering, add little oil to a frying pan and add mustard seeds to it.
  • When it splutters add dried red chillies and curry leaves to it.
  • Add this to the cooked sambhar and close the lid. Let all the aroma get infused into the sambhar.
  • Serve with rice or idli/dosa or vada or pongal.

Healthy laddoos

My hubby is very much obsessed with jogging these days. He runs for more than an hour on most days. As much as this worries me, at the same time I am constantly in the look out of some healthy bites for him, which is easy to carry in his pocket or can be had in the morning before he starts his jog. The home made muesli and granola bars were the result of such attempts. But one can’t be having the same stuff daily, right? 
Few days back when my attempt to make granola bars failed ( I didn’t want to add extra sugar or jaggery syrup and thus the bars didn’t bind well and became all crumbly ) and then it was transformed into muesli 🙂 And after few days, the remaining muesli was mixed with banana puree and baked again to give me healthy bars. Now, that is also about to get over. So, this time it’s some healthy laddoos with roasted oats, wheat germ, nuts, chia seeds, flax seeds, melon seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, raisins, kismis, cranberries, dates mixed with melted butter, maple syrup, date syrup and honey. I hope he likes it and will carry it with him. The best part is along the proteins and fats from the nuts and seeds and dried fruits, the oats and wheat germ is going to provide the needed carbohydrate too. 

Ingredients:

  • Oats 1/2 cup
  • Wheat germ 1/2 cup
  • Dessicated coconut 1/2 cup
  • Almonds handful
  • Peanuts 1/2 cup
  • Cranberries handful
  • Raisins handful
  • Kismis handful
  • Assorted dehydrated fruits 1 tbsp
  • Flaxseeds 1 tbsp
  • Chia seeds 1 tbsp
  • Melon seedS 1 tbsp
  • Pumpkin seeds 1 tbsp
  • Dates 10-12
  • Date syrup 1 tbsp
  • Maple syrup 1 tbsp
  • Honey 1-2 tbsp
  • Hot water 1-2 tbsp
  • Butter 1 tbsp 

    Method:

    • Roast the wheat germ and oats separately in pan for few minutes or you can layer them in a baking tray lined with parchment paper and bake at 150 degree celsius for 5-6 minutes.
    • Roast the flax seeds, peanuts, almonds and dessicated coconut.
    • Finely chop the dates and other dry fruits.
    • Mix all dry ingredients in a big mixing bowl.
    • Take a heavy pan and heat butter. When it melts add honey and mix. Add 2 tablespoons of water and boil.
    • Pour this into the dry ingredients and mix well.
    • Add the maple syrup and dates syrup. Adjust the quantity so that the mixture becomes fully coated with the syrup.
    • Cool a bit and make laddoos out of it.
    • Store in airtight containers. It will last for atleast a week. For longer shelf life, store it in refrigerator.

      Notes:

      • Use whatever of the above mentioned ingredients are available with you.
      • I have used fresh grated coconut.
      • Maple syrup and dates syrup are optional. You can use jaggery syrup too.

      Tacos n Tortilla Wraps

      I had made baked nachos for a competition ony baking group in Facebook last year and it had come out quite well. I had also made some Tortilla wraps few months back, but couldn’t take pictures of them. Hence thought of updating my blog with the recipes some time later. So, finally I made these tortilla with some corn flour ( not to be confused with corn starch, this is makke ka aatta), corn meal, whole wheat flour and little all purpose flour. Made some cheese dip and salsa. Also made some baked nachos with the tortillas.

      I have used a 240ml cup.

      Ingredients:

      • Corn flour 1/2 cup
      • Corn meal 1/4 cup
      • Whole wheat flour 1/2 cup
      • All purpose flour 1/4 cup
      • Salt to taste
      • Hot water as required
      • Refined oil 2 tbsp

      For the filling I :

      • Paneer 100 gm
      • Salt to taste
      • Capsicum 1 big
      • Onion 1 big
      • Tomato 1 medium
      • Turmeric powder a pinch
      • Red chilli powder 1 tsp
      • Refined oil 2 tsp
      • Coriander leaves 2 sprigs

      For the filling II:

      • Rajma/kidney beans
      • Salt to taste
      • Onion 1
      • Tomato 1
      • Turmeric powder 1/2 tsp
      • Red chilli powder 1 tsp
      • Coriander powder 2 tsp
      • Spring onions 3-4 sprigs
      • Refined oil 1 tbsp
      • Coriander leaves 2 sprigs

      Method:

      To make filling I:

      • Slice the onion, capsicum, paneer and tomato into thin slices and keep it aside.
      • Heat oil in a pan and saute the onions till transparent.
      • Add capsicum, tomato, salt and the spices. Cook for 3-4 minutes.
      • Add the paneer slices and mix.
      • Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and allow it to cool.

      To make filling II:

      • Cook rajma with salt and turmeric powder till it is soft and cooked well.
      • Drain the water and keep aside.
      • Chop the onion and tomato into small pieces.
      • Heat oil in a pan and add the onion pieces to it. Saute it well.
      • Add the tomato and spices and cook.
      • Add the cooked rajma and mix well. Adjust the salt as per your liking.
      • Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and spring onions​.

      To make the Tortilla:

      • Mix all the flours, salt, oil and knead it into a soft dough using hot water. Sprinkle little oil on top.
      • Cover the dough with a moist towel and allow the dough to rest for atkeast half an hour.
      • Divide the dough into half. Keep one half of the dough covered.
      • Take half of the dough and make equal sized balls and roll each ball into a thin roti of around 8 inch diameter.

      • Prick holes on the roti with a fork.
      • Cook it on a heavy flat tawa or skillet till there are small brown specks on both sides. Do not overcook.

      • Cover the rotis in a soft towel and store them.
      • To make the wraps, just take a roti and fill it with either of the two filling and add some sliced of onion, tomato, cucumber, lettuce etc and cheese (optional) and serve.

          •  To make the nachos, cut the tortillas into wedges and apply some oil on the surface. Now lay them on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and bake them in a preheated oven at 150-160 degree celsius till they turn crisp and golden. Do not over brown. Keep a close eye on them after 7-8 minutes or so.

          To make tacos:

          • Take the remaining dough and divide it into small balls 
          • Roll each into a small ( around 3 inches in diameter) rotis and cook on both sides.

          • Store them in a soft towel or airtight containers.
          • Moisten each roti ( very important to moist it so that it hangs well on the wire rack) and apply oil on each roti.
          • Place them hanging on the wire rack and bake in a preheated oven at 150-160 degree celsius for few minutes. Check in between. Make sure it’s moist so that they take a good shape. Mine was not so perfect.

          • Fill it with either of the 2 fillings and fresh veggies and salsa and grated cheddar cheese. Serve it with cheese dip or simply as it is 🙂

            Eggless Mayo

            When you try to create things at home, that are usually store bought like mayonnaise you are always in a quest to improvise by trying​ out various methods, isn’t it? I already have an eggless mayo in my blog, but this I think this is tastier than the earlier one. Please do try and share your feedback.
            I have used a 240 ml cup.

            Ingredients:

            • Fresh cream 1/4 cup
            • Canola/olive oil 1/3-1/2 cup 
            • Salt a big pinch
            • Sugar a small pinch
            • Apple Cider vinegar 2 tsp

            Method:

            • Pour chilled fresh cream ( I have used the blue packet Amul fresh cream ) in a bowl and add sugar, salt and vinegar.
            • Beat it using a blender or an electric beater. Pour the oil into it like a stream and blend it well.
            • Keep doing it till it thickens and becomes creamy.
            • Check for seasoning and store it in airtight containers and keep it in the refrigerator.
            • It will stay fresh for a week to 10 days.

            Notes:

            • You can add pepper powder or mustard powder for more flavours.
            • Garlic paste can be added for garlic flavoured mayo.
            • Use it in burgers, salads or simply use it as a dip.
            • If you don’t have apple cider vinegar, add the normal synthetic vinegar.
            • You can use any vegetable oil.
            • Pour the oil slowly and once you get the desired consistency, you can stop pouring the oil.
            • You might have to whisk/beat it for 7-8 minutes.
            • An electric hand blender is a better appliance to do this job more efficiently.

            Whole Wheat Cherry Mini Cupcakes

            I have a big tin of canned red cherries with me. I have used some to make a black forest cake which was later converted to a Chocolate cake because my whipped cream refused to give me stiff peaks 😦  I was contemplating what to do with the remaining ones, when this idea of making these mini cupcakes struck me.

            I have used the Canadian organic whole wheat flour which my brother had got for me. This flour is full of bran is very coarse in texture. I am in love with the idea of using buttermilk in cakes and cupcakes. They turn out extremely soft and light and porous. This is mildly sweet and the less sugar is compensated with the sweet cherry pieces.

            I have used a 240 ml cup.

            Ingredients:

            • Whole wheat flour 125 gm (1 cup)
            • Cornflour 1 tbsp
            • Salt a pinch
            • Baking soda 1/2 tsp
            • Baking powder 1/4 tsp
            • Sugar 1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp 
            • Oil 1/4 cup
            • Apple cider vinegar 1 tbsp
            • Milk 1/2 cup
            • Canned red cherries 10-12
            • Strawberry extract 1/2 tsp

              Method:

              • Preheat the oven at 160-170 degree celsius for 10 minutes.
              • Mix the whole wheat flour, cornflour​, salt and the rising agents and sieve it atleast 7-8 times.
              • Mix oil, milk, sugar and apple cider vinegar till the sugar is completely dissolved. Add the extract and mix.
              • Line a mini cup cake tin or a normal cupcake tin with liners or grease the tin with oil or butter.
              • Cut the cherries into small pieces after removing the seeds. 
              • Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry flour mixture and fold it gently using a spatula.
              • Add the chopped cherry pieces and mix.
              • Fill the cupcake tin to 2/3 rd of its capacity and tap it gently to remove air bubbles if any.
              • Bake it for 15-18 minutes or till a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
              • Remove the tin from the oven and cool for 3-4 minutes.
              • Invert the cupcakes on a wire rack and allow it to cool well.
              • Serve it fresh and store the remaining ones in airtight containers after it is fully cooled.