Monday, March 16, 2015

Chilled avocado mint soup

I know most parts of the world are experiencing extended winters right now. But it is quite the other way round in Africa. Summer should have ended a almost a month ago and it should have been raining cats and dogs by now. I have been trying to cool off by drinking loads of fresh fruit juices, lassis and stuff. Apart from these, I have also been eating a lot salads and a lot of this soup. I first tasted this soup at a friends place in Dar. This soup was refreshing, cool and filling without weighing too much. It was just perfect for the warm humid climate of Dar.

I have made this soup quite a few times since then and each time, I have fallen in love with this soup all over again. This soup is elegant, rich, creamy and insanely easy to prepare. Just mix all the ingredients in a blender, blend and eat. Can a soup get any easier than that? 

The surprising this thing about this soup is that, it does not contain any cream. It does have butter milk but the rich, velvety texture, mostly comes from the avocados. The blending, fills the mixture with air making the soup light and airy.  I suggest adding more stock if you prefer a thinner consistency. You could top it with cream or sour cream and tomatoes if you prefer a richer soup. But then soup is tastes delicious on it's own

Chilled avocado mint soup recipe:
Preparation time: 15min
Cooking time: nil
Serves- 4


Avocados- 2
Juice of one lemon
Spring onions- 2, finely chopped
Coriander leaves- 2 tbsp
Mint leaves- 2tbsp
Green chilies- 1, finely chopped
Vegetable stock- 1-1/2 cups
Chilled butter milk- 1-1/2 cups
Cumin powder- 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Black pepper powder- to taste
Chili flakes and mint leaves to garnish

  • Peel and dice the avocado only before making the soup. Drizzle lemon juice all over the avocado while cutting.
  • Place all the ingredients in the blender jar and process till well blended.
  • Pour into a bowl and refrigerate till ready to serve.
  • Garnish with chili flakes and mint leaves and serve.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Mexican rice with Salsa

I think I have already confessed about my love for the Mexican cuisine and Salsa in this post. So in this post, I am actually taking this love one step further by making Mexican rice with salsa. 

I have another confession to make. I am a sucker for easy and quick fix recipes. I do enjoy making dishes which involves elaborate cooking techniques. But that is once in a while. Most of the times, I prefer dishes that is quick to prepare and yet taste delicious and wholesome. Recipes like these come to my rescue when I don't have enough time to cook. Or, when I have to pack S's lunch box in 30min.

I made this rice today for my lunch. And it was made without a thought. I had some leftover rice and some habanero salsa in the fridge. There was also some cooked Rajma in the freezer, so I decided to combine all of them to make this flavorful rice. I couldn't believe, a spontaneous preparation could taste this good. Even if I may say so myself. The best part about this recipe is, it can be customized to your taste and availability of the ingredients. You can substitute the kidney beans and corn with vegetables with carrot and french beans. The basmati rice can be replaced with brown rice to make it more nutritious. If you prefer you rice less spicy, then just substitute the habanero salsa with red salsa and you are good to go. 

Mexican rice with Salsa recipe:
Preparation time: 20min
Cooking time- 10mins
Serves- 4

Cooked long grained rice- 4cups or 500gms
Butter- 1tbsp, melted
Oil- 2tbsp
Cumin seeds- 1/2tsp
Onion- 1small, finely chopped
Frozen corn- 1/2 cup
Red kidney beans- 1/2 cup, boiled and drained
Finely chopped Red or orange bell pepper- 2tbsp
Sugar- 1/2tsp
Coriander leaves to garnish- 2tbsp


  • Toss the cooked rice along with the melted butter and set aside.
  • Heat oil in a wok and add the cumin seeds. Once they turn brown, add the chopped onions and fry till they turn pink.
  • Add the frozen corn and the kidney beans and fry for 3-4mins. Stir in the chopped bell peppers and fry for 2-3mins more.
  • Add the sugar and the salsa and mix well. Stir in the rice and toss well with the mixture. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with tortilla chips and sour cream on the side.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Tamarind and carom seed Stuffed Jalapeno Fritters

I know. I know. I am giving you an over dose of chilies. First there was habanero chili salsa. Now there is jalapeño fritters. I think I am going through a phase where I am not able to stop eating peppers. Be it habanero, jalapeños or the Bhavnagari. I seem to love them all.

The chili fritters or the mirapakaya bajji always makes me nostalgic. Since these fritters are a very common street food in my home town, savoring these spicy fritters was almost an everyday affair. Hundreds have been the evenings where we enjoyed these batter coated chili fritters with steaming cup of tea. Strangely though, these fritters were never made at home. It was always brought from the push cart vendor from street corner. I vaguely remember the chili fritters that he made was way different from what I have for you today. His fritters were stuffed. But then the stuffing was mostly a mixture of the humble cumin seed powder and red chili powder. The stuffing was simple. But then, it transformed the plain chili into something aromatic and exotic. I remember we couldn't get enough of these crisp, batter coated peppers.

Despite all the nostalgia and the fond memories, I never thought of making these fritters at home. When I found these fresh jalapeños during one of my shopping trips, the memories came flooding back and I knew I had to make these at home. This recipe for the hyderabadi style mirapakaya bajjis were given to me by a neighbor and dear friend. I made a few changes to the recipe to suit our taste buds and outcome was delicious. The fritters were over even before I knew it. Do give this recipe a try and let me know if you like it.

Stuffed Jalapeno Fritters recipe:
Preparation time- 25min
Cooking time- 20min
Makes- 10 fritters

Jalapeno chilies- 10, washed and pat dried
For the stuffing:
Tamarind- Size of a small lime
Jaggery- 1tsp
Salt to taste
Ajwain or carom seeds- 1tsp
Saunf or fennel seeds- a pinch
Grated dry coconut- 2tbsp
Gram flour- 1tsp
For the Batter:
Gram flour or besan- 6tbsp
Rice flour- 1-1/2tbsp
Salt- 1tsp
Asafetida- a pinch
Paprika powder- 1/2 tsp
Water as needed
Other ingredients:
Oil to deep fry

  • Make a 3" vertical slit in the green chilies and scoop out the ribs and seeds from the chilies and keep aside. You can choose to leave the seeds if you prefer your fritters extra hot.
For the filling:
  • Soak the tamarind in quarter cup of water for 15mins. Extract the pulp and mix it with jaggery and salt.
  • Transfer the tamarind mixture to a thick bottomed vessel and boil the mixture on low heat till the water is evaporated and a thick paste is formed. Take off the heat and set it aside.
  • Dry roast the carom seeds and fennel seeds till fragrant (it doesn't have to turn brown) and set aside to cool.
  • Dry roast the desiccated coconut for a few seconds and keep aside.
  • Grind the toasted seeds and the grated coconut to a powder in blender till fine. Mix the gram flour and pulse till well combined.
  • Add the ground mixture along to the tamarind pulp and mix to form a thick paste.

For the batter:

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the gram flour, rice flour, salt, paprika powder and asafetida and mix well. Add water gradually to make a thick batter and keep aside.
To Proceed:
  • Stuff each chili with a tea spoon of the stuffing mixture and keep aside.
  • Heat oil in a wok. To check if the oil is hot enough, drop a little batter into the oil. If the batter rises to the top slowly, then the oil is hot enough.
  • At this stage, add two tea spoons of the hot oil to the prepared batter and mix it carefully.
  • Dip the stuffed peppers in the batter to coat completely and place it in the pre heated oil and fry till the fritter turns golden in color. 
  • Repeat the same procedure for the rest of the stuffed peppers. Drain on paper towels and serve immediately with a dip of your choice.

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