Categories
Appetizers/Snacks Baking Easy Recipes Lentils Snacks

Bajri (Millet) Crackers With Chana Dal dip

A sense of rejuvenation entwines me as I hit the publish button.Being out of touch for more than 4 months, a part of me always felt incomplete,unfulfilled. While I was away, I realized the role of blogging in my life – I missed it. Thank you so much for all your kind emails, tweets & messages. I knew I had to be back in action soon. I am doing better than before & hope to update this space often now.

Last few months have been rough, less of ups, lots of down. Keeping health issues aside, my mind was irrational, loud & restless. I had loads to complain & challenge. I denied the things which came my way, I failed to handle them. Sometimes, life takes its own course and no matter how hard you try to tame it, it does not reciprocate. The very fact that I felt a certain way at that point in my life, I had no choice but to understand that this was meant to be.The sooner I did , the easier it got. The more I questioned : “Why me?”, the difficult it became. There was no force within me that could change the situation, no magic wand or a click of fingers to set it all right, all I  got was inner strength to sail me  through. When faith falters & hopes diminish, its best to reach out for that simmering potential inside to navigate, exactly what I want to do right now.

For long, I wanted to bake crackers at home,or let me put it this way-  I wanted to experiment with savory, whole grain flour baking with an indian touch.I tried the cracker recipe below with a mix of whole wheat & fine wheat flour a couple of times, but it left me wanting for more – something more healthy perhaps? and simple,crispy, spicy too at the same time.Not the most fancy looking crackers around- these are spiced similar to deep fried indian snack – mathri and I think I got what I was looking for this time. Bajri or millet is a gluten free, whole grain widely popular in India to make porridge, flatbreads or pancakes. I did not like it much the first time I ate it but now, its an acquired taste for me especially when I want a break from carbs.

The dip to go along is made with chana (split bengal gram) lentils, which is my new found way to eat them. Rated lowest GI (glycemic index) lentils, these score high when it comes to an earthy, nutty taste.Chana dal yields better amongst lentils to dip-making coz they do not turn into a slimy mush if cooked properly. Easily available in indian stores & tasting similar to garbanzo beans, these lentils are something you would want to stock on.

P,did not care much for the crackers but liked this dip.He polished it off with baked potato chips in the name of healthy food.I found myself snacking on these batch after batch. Somehow the combo is addictive – reminds me of the rajasthani meals at Dilli Haat – bajra roti & masala chana dal.

Yield – About 2 dozen

Ingredients

  • 1 cup fine bajri atta (millet flour)
  • 1/2 cup atta (whole wheat flour)
  • 2.5 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp ajwain (carom seeds)
  • 1/4 tsp red chilli flakes (optional)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup + 3 tbsp water (or as required for kneading the dough)
Method
Combine all the ingredients except water in a big bowl. Rub with fingers till the mixture resembles grains.
Start adding water slowly & mixing with hands so as to form a soft, pliable dough. Cover the dough with a damp kitchen towel & let rest for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile preheat oven to 3o0 F / 150 C. Line a cookie sheet with parchment.
Knead the rested dough for 2-3 minutes and pinch into equal portions. Thinly roll out the equal portions on a flour dusted surface or between sheets of parchment.
With the help of fork, pick the rolled dough so that it does not fluff while baking. Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut the rolled dough into desired shape.
 Transfer to the cookie sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes or until done & crisp. You will need to check midway & flip the crackers to ensure even baking.
Cool the crackers on a rack and store in air tight containers for upto 2 weeks.
Chana Dal Dip (Makes about 1.5 cups)
Ingredients
  • 1 cup chana dal (split bengal grams)
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • salt to taste
  • 3 cups water
  • 4 cloves garlic,chopped
  • 1 ” fresh ginger shoot, chopped
  • 1 serrano chili, chopped (remove seeds to adjust heat)
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp roasted cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil + more to drizzle
Method
 

Soak the chana dal in water for atleast 6 hours or overnight. Pressure cook the dal along with turmeric powder & salt in the soaking liquid on high for 2 whistles. Alternatively you can cook the dal in a pot with lid (for about 40-45 minutes) till tender.

Transfer the cooked & cooled dal to the food processor along with garlic, ginger, cilantro chili & lime juice. Pulse 10-12 times slowly adding oil until smooth. You can further adjust the consistency using the reserved cooking liquid. Check the salt & adjust if required.
Drain & reserve the liquid (this liquid can be used as stock or to knead savory doughs).Let the dal cool to room temperature.
Transfer to the serving bowl, drizzle some olive oil, garnish with chopped cilantro & serve along with bajri crackers.(recipe above)
Store refrigerated in air tight container for  4-5 days.

Note : This recipe has a strong garlic flavor. You can reduce or omit garlic quantity as per your liking.

Enjoy & Thanks for stopping by!

Categories
Appetizers/Snacks Easy Recipes Side Dishes Vegetarian

Achari Paneer Tikka – Skewered Indian Cheese With Pickling Spices

 

 

Achari comes from the word “Achaar” which means pickle in Hindi. Tikka is any kind of boneless meat or vegetables baked or roasted on skewers. Pickles in India are a serious business involving lots of spices, lots of oil & lots of solar energy. Achari is a method of using the pickling spices to make curries. The spice mix is pungent and resonant with bold flavors from fenugreek (methi dana), mustard (raai) & nigella(kalonji) seeds.These spices are not hot, rather they are pungent, quite bitter and have a very strong aroma.In pickles, they ferment over a period of time & give a tangy taste. In curries, they lend a really unique & piquant taste. Achaari preparations don’t taste like normal curries, the taste is acquired & unusual, but at the same time can be very very addictive. Having said that, this should not stop you from trying these skewers coz they are different and really delish. Give these tikkas a chance – trust me it will take you straight to India.You just need to stock up on few spices which last forever from indian stores.


 

Ingredients (Serves 2-3) 

  • 400 gms /14 oz paneer ( Indian cheese, pierced with a fork,cut into 1” cubes)
  • 1 medium orange bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 10-12 grape tomatoes, whole
  • 1 medium red onion,diced
  • Oil for brushing
  • Lemon Wedges, Cilantro for garnish
  • 10-12 bamboo skewers

Notes:-

  1. Paneer is easily available in Indian stores under different brands.
  2. Paneer can be replaced by extra firm Tofu or Halloumi /Any cheese which can withstand grilling or roasting without melting.
  3. You can use any vegetables of choice here – zucchini,mushrooms work great. Just ensure that the cooking times of vegetable dont vary much.
  4. Dice the vegetables smaller/thinner than paneer, coz it takes less time to cook than veggies.
  5. For the Non vegetarian Version– Use boneless & cubed lamb, mutton, beef, chicken(dark portions) or shrimp.

For the Marinade:-

  • 1/2 tsp each of cumin, fennel, coriander & brown mustard (raai) seeds
  • 1/4 tsp each of nigella & fenugreek seeds
  • 4-5 dry red chillies or red pepper flakes (adjust to tolerance)
  • 2 fat garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 3 tbsp plain, thick greek yogurt, slightly sour
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp mustard oil (preferable for better taste, can be substituted with canola/olive/corn oil) 
  • Salt to taste 

Method:-

  • If using bamboo/wooden skewers soak them in water for atleast 2-3 hours.
  • Soak the cubed paneer in enough warm water seasoned with salt for about 15 minutes.Once soaked, drain and pat dry with a paper towel. 
  • In a small sauce pan, on high heat, lightly dry roast all the seeds under the “For the Marinade”.Roast for about 20 seconds or till you smell the aroma.Remove into a small bowl and let cool.
  • Next, in the same pan, roast the whole red chillies for about 20 seconds.
  • Tip the cooled, roasted spices along with red chillies into mortar or coffee grinder. Grind to a smooth powder to get a achari spice mix.
  • In a bowl (big enough to hold the marinade & ingredients), combine the yogurt, achari spice mix, ginger, garlic,oil,lemon juice & salt.Whisk well to mix.
  • Combine the paneer with the achari marinade,toss gently, cover the bowl with a cling film and set to marinate for 30 minutes,refrigerated. 
  • Add the vegetables to the marinade 5 minutes before ready to cook the skewers. This is important to keep the moisture of vegetables intact.
  • Once marinated, thread the marinated paneer & vegetables on soaked bamboo skewers. Brush with oil on all sides.
  • Cooking the Tikka :- I grilled the skewers on high for 4 minutes each side. You can cook them in my broiler till the paneer edges started to turn brown.About 10-12 minutes.You will need to flip them sideways to cook on all sides. Alternatively you can cook them in a skillet/griddle (about 8-10 minutes)
  • Serve warm with green coriander-mint chutney and flatbreads or rice. 

Notes:-

  1. If using red meat or chicken for making this recipe, marinate the meat overnight or atleast 6 hours to get better flavors.