Oven Baked Falafel

Lakshmi:Lazy dinner days are devoted to a compulsive visits that Satish and I make to a wraps counter near an ostensibly lit clothing retailer in Chennai. Apart from the jarring brightness of the neon lights that the retailer sports and the barrage of mosquitoes, out on an indefinite war against humanity, the location and the food are perfect. We never fail to get a bite of their wonderful falafels.  I added a couple of tablespoons of oil to the standard falafel ingredients and baked them-  the addition of oil completely negates the “over drying” effects that baking can have on traditionally deep fried dishes.

Mandira: I am not a big fan of any form of  channa.Or rajma for that matter.  But I dont mind Falafel mainly because you can hardly make out you are eating channa.Till now eating falafel was restricted to ordering at hotels. Now I make my very own falafel right at home!

food-005

Ingredients:

  • Kabuli Channa/ Chick Peas – 1 cup
  • Ginger – 1/2 inch piece (grated)
  • Onion – 1/2 cup (finely chopped)
  • Garlic – 2 cloves (minced)
  • Coriander – 1/4 cup (finely chopped)
  • Parsley – 1/4 cup (finely chopped)
  • Powdered Cumin – 1 tsp
  • Red pepper flakes – 1/4 tsp
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil – 2 tbsp

dscf05481

Method

  1. Soak the Chick Peas in enough water for 18-20 hours.
  2. Grease a baking tray and preheat oven to 220 C.
  3. Drain the Chick Peas and grind them along with the garlic into a thick slightly coarse paste.
  4. Add the grated ginger, chopped onions, coriander, parsley, salt and red pepper flakes to the paste and mix well.
  5. Add the remaining oil and mix well.
  6. Shape into circular discs and arrange on baking tray.
  7. Bake at 220 C for 20-22 minutes turning over the falafels once in between  until the falafels  turn golden on both sides.

Serve with sauce of choice.

Lakshmi’s Notes: Don’t make the paste too dry or too runny. It needs to be firm enough to hold shape but feel wet when handled. The paste needs to be a just a little bit coarse to ensure that the falafels are crunchy. With a paste that is too smooth, the texture will fall below expectations. Baking times may vary.

food-006

Mandira’s Notes:I liked the way the Falafels turned out. But I think I stinged a little too much on the oil and that made them a little dry on the inside. A few more drops of oil woudnt have hurt, really! Baking in the oven gave them a nice crisp outer cover. I was too lazy to prepare any dip so I brough the good old tomato ketchup in use. The aroma of falafel as it cooks in the oven reminds me of kababs…slurrp.(yes I can slurp even if I am a vegetarian. It smells that good!)

dscf0544

Baked potatoes

While Lakshmi is away traveling, I am trying my best to keep this blog alive. I tried a couple of the recipes she has put up on the yumblog, all of which, of course are baked dishes. I don’t think she would mind my doing an individual post here, after all this isn’t the first time I have hijacked this blog! So, everybody, here’s presenting baked potatoes!

Ingredients

  • Large size potato – 3 nos
  • Green peas – 1 cup
  • Onion – 1
  • Ginger garlic paste – 1/2 teaspoon (optional)
  • Garam masala powder – 1 teaspoon
  • Green chillies – 2 nos
  • Coriander leaves – 3 twigs
  • Tomato puree – 2 tablespoons
  • Oil- 1 tablespoon
  • Hing – 1/4 teaspoon
  • Salt – to taste
  • Grated cheese – 3 table spoons (or cheese singles – 3 pieces)

Method

  • Wash the potatoes well and pressure cook. Peel and cut into two length wise.
  • Scoop out the center. Now the potato halves will look like shallow cups.
  • MW the peas with 1 tablespoon water and hing for 4 minutes.
  • Finely chop the onions, green chillies and coriander.
  • Heat oil in a kadai, add the onions and fry for 2 minutes. Add the tomato puree and keep stirring till the oil separates.
  • Add the ginger garlic paste, green chillies, coriander leaves, garam masala and salt and mix well.
  • Add the boiled peas and cook for 2 more minutes, stirring continously.
  • Fill the potato cups with the pea curry, top with grated cheese or cheese singles.
  • Place the potato cups in an oven proof dish. Bake in a hot oven till the cheese melts.

Source: The original recipe is here on the yumblog.

Lakshmi’s note: No notes here, just a picture.

cheesepotatojpeg

Mandira’s notes: Its hard to resist changing a recipe that includes potatoes because potatoes are so versatile and take flavours so well. I parboiled the peas with salt, no hing. For the filling I finely chopped one large onion, sautéed it with a dash of rosemary, added the peas and seasoning.  Seasoning was only salt and pepper. Rosemary went surprisingly pretty well with the peas and potatoes.

potatoAs you can see, I tried to stinge on the cheese!

Calzone

What Dominos makes you pay a bomb for, you can easily make at home! Here’s how…

Ingredients:

For the crust-

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup Maida
  • 1/2 cup Whole Wheat Atta + 1 tbsp for dusting
  • 1 tsp Yeast
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Honey
  • Oil – 4 tbsp

For the filling-
Any dry vegetables will do.spinach-paneer, roasted peppers, mushroons and onions, Aloo ki Sabji etc work very well. You’ll need approx 1 1/2 to 2 cups of veggies for filling.

 Method:

  • Warm water. Add honey. Add yeast. Let it stand for 5 minutes.
  • Sieve the Madia, Whole wheat Atta and Salt. Add flour-salt mix to the dissolved yeast and whisk into a smooth dough. Knead by folding for about 1-2 minutes till dough is smooth. Set aside for 2-4 hours or until doubled in volume in a well oiled bowl.
  • Punch to release air and divide into 2 portions.
  • Preheat oven to 250 C. 
  • Roll out one portion into a 6 inch round dusting with some flour. Place filling on one half of the circle, fold the other side over to form a crescent shaped Calzone. Seal the edges (use a fork and press if you want it to look pretty).
  • Using a spatula tranfer to a greased baking tray. Bake at 250C for 15 minutes until golden brown. Makes  2 individual portions
Source:
Mandira’s notes– I used capsicum, onions and paneer for the filling along with chillie flakes and oregano. The calzones go very well with any soup.
Lakshmi’s notes- I borrowed the idea for spinach feta filling from this recipe for a casserole calzone at Cooking Light. Instead of the regular cresent shape, I folded the dough into a rectangular pocket. 

 

 

 

Baked Samosas

Baked Samosas mean freedom of standing over oil. Samosas make fabulous appetizers and cocktail snacks. The original recipe has been handed down to Arundathi of My Food Blog by her mother who got it from her friend Vasumathi Shah. You can see that this is a recipe that likes to travel.

baked samosas

Makes: 20-24 Medium Samosas

Ingredients

For the Outer Covering

  • Whole Wheat flour – 1 cup (use finely ground chapati flour)
  • All purpose flour – 1 cup
  • Butter – 1/4 cup
  • Salt to taste
  • Water to knead
  • Extra Flour for dusting

For the Filling

  • Onion – 1 (large) finely chopped
  • Green Peas – 1/2 cup parboiled
  • Potatoes – 4 (medium) boiled and mashed well
  • Pudina – 12-15 leaves finely chopped
  • Coriander – 2 twigs finely chopped
  • Ginger – 1/4 inch finely chopped
  • Garlic – 2 cloves minced
  • Peanuts – 1/2 cup roasted
  • Turmeric – 1/4 tsp
  • Chilli Powder – 1/4 tsp (adjust to taste)
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil – 2 tsp

Method

  1. Mix the flours and the salt in a large bowl.
  2. Soften the butter and combine well into the flour mix in the bowl.
  3. Add water little by little to make a firm dough. You do not need to knead it too much. Knead it till the dough comes together to form a ball.
  4. Pat the dough into a circle and leave it to rest for 20 minutes.
  5. Prepare the filling. Heat some oil, saute the ginger and garlic till garlic turns golden. Add onions and saute till translucent. Add Pudina, Coriander, Turmeric and Salt. After the water has reduced, add the boiled and mashed potatoes. Add Chilli Powder. Mix well and keep on flame for a minute. Cool the filling.
  6. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C. Grease an oven dish with 1 tbsp Oil or Butter.
  7. Divide the dough into 20 – 24 balls, each about 1 inch in diameter.
  8. Take one ball and shape the samosa with the filling. Samosas can be shaped in two ways: – Roll into a triangle. Place some filling in the center. Bring edges together and seal them to form a pyramid. Pictorial here.
    – Roll into a circle. Cut half way to center on one side. Fill in the filling in one semi circle. Shape into cone. Seal edges. Pictorial here.
  9. Repeat with rest of the dough. Place samosas on greased oven dish and Bake at 220 for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

Serve hot with chutney or sauce of your choice.

Source: Original recipe has been posted by Arundathi at her food blog. Recipe has been modified to replace half of the All purpose flour with Whole wheat flour. Filling varies and in our humble opinions samosa fillings are meant to be creative. 🙂

Ensure the following:

  1. The choice of filling is yours and it can be modified. The filling should be dry, mashed and should not be wet or high in water content. The filling should be cooked. Stickling to the filling in the original recipe will give you very authentic samosas. We used our creative juices.
  2. The dough is not to be kneaded too much. Letting dough just come together ensures that your baked samosas have a flaky crisp exterior rather than just crisp or very hard ones. You know your dough is ready, when you can easily roll it out.
  3. Dough must be allowed to rest for sometime, it helps to form gluten and it helps in rolling.
  4. If your oven does not heat evenly from all sides, you will need to turn the samosa mid way for even baking on both sides.
  5. Do not line your baking sheet or container for crisp results.

Lakshmi’s notes:

Half of the butter can be safely replaced with oil. It gives the same results though the samosas with more butter taste richer. Vegetables represent Indian sizes, a medium onion in India may be just half an onion elsewhere, please use your discretion to interpret how much is required. Oven timings may vary, watch out for the first time to note timings for your oven. About 2 tbsp of filling is an approximate amount of filling for each samosa. Leaving the dough to chill overnight in the fridge gives better results. Pat the dough into a disc before chilling. Bring dough to room temperature before rolling. Samosas can be made well in advance, since they’re baked, they don’t lose their crispiness.

Mandira’s Notes:I made these samosas with soup for dinner. We din’t want to do any elaborate cooking yet wanted to eat something “different” and this recipe fit the “simple n quick”bill very well. I added a few tiny cubes of paneer to the filling and instead of adding the pudina in the filling I used it to make a chutney to serve with the samosas. I am not fond of peanuts, so I skipped those all together. I substituted the butter in the dough with refined oil.

PS: people, please note how neat lakshmi’s samosas are and how totallllly outa shape mine are!

baked samosas