Monday, 18 June 2018

Kachumbar Salad Cup

Summer is still going on. And there is nothing like a fresh salad on these hot summer days to beat the heat. Salads are ideal summertime meals as they are quick, nutritious and don’t require much time to prepare. Salads are the mixtures of fresh fruits, vegetables with an array of different combinations of dressing. Actually eating a variety of textures keeps mealtime interesting. The ingredients used in salad can add a nice crunch which is much better than munching on any cookies or potato chips. 

The perfect way to increase the number of vegetables in the diet is to eat a variety of salads often. Eating plenty of raw vegetables ensures to get all the benefit of the enzymes found in them. These enzymes enable the body to absorb the nutrients found in the food. So more nutrient absorption leads to better health. There are varieties of salads which means that even at the same table, just by adjusting the ingredients, dressings as per likes and dislikes many versions of salad can be prepared. And anyone can make salad even kids too. It is always a perfect way to motivate particularly kids towards eating a variety of vegetables. Always salads are cool, crunchy and fun to eat which has lots of textures, colors and flavors. 

Monday is here again !! Hence the Foodie Monday Blog Hop team has decided the 149th theme as 'Salad'. Here I have prepared a salad cup using kachumbar as Kachumbar Salad Cup. Kachumbar is an Indian salad and mainly consists of freshly chopped cucumber, onion, tomato, cabbage (optional) seasoned with salt and pepper. Freshly chopped coriander leaves along with fresh lemon juice are also added to make the salad a bit more tangy and delectable.

Although I liked this salad throughout the year, but particularly during summer these are a big hit at my place. These salad provides a cooling effect when taken along with any meals or simply as it is. Cucumber, one of the main ingredient of the salad has high water content and hence eating this vegetable on a hot summer day can help to feel cool and stay hydrated. Kachumber salad can be easily prepared within few minutes. Also these are the much popular salad in most of the Indian households and Indian restaurants. 

Well how about some salads to grab without taking any help of bowl, fork etc !!! Here is an easy and no-cook version where the kachumbar salad is served in the scooped out cucumber pieces. Interesting, isn't it ? Well it is. Just scoop out the middle portion of some cucumber piece (1-1.5 inches thick) leaving the sides and bottom intact so that a cup like shape will form with the help of a melon baller or normal spoon. Then fill those cucumber cups with kachumber and serve immediately to have the crunchy and a bit tangy dish. This easy and no-cook kachumbar salad cups are surely a big hit as party appetizer.

So do try these kachumbar salad cups in these hot summer days. If you tried my recipe and enjoyed fully, then please share some pictures of your creation with me. Also kindly give your valuable feedback either in the comment box below or tag me as #firsttimercook on Instagram. You may also follow me on FacebookPinterestTwitterGoogle+Instagram and can subscribe for free to get new recipes directly into your inbox 😊

Preparation Time : 5 mins  |  Cooking Time : 0 mins

Ingredients :        

Cucumber (chopped)
¼ cup
Cucumber (large)
2-3 no
Onion (chopped)
½ cup
Tomato (chopped)
½ cup
Green chili
1-2 no
Coriander leaf (chopped)
1-2 tbsp
Red chili powder
¼ tsp
Black pepper powder
¼ tsp
Lemon juice
1 tbsp
As needed

Method :
  1. Peel the large cucumbers first and then cut into rounds of 1-1.5 inches thick. 
  2. Using a melon baller or normal spoon scoop out the middle portion of the cucumber rounds leaving the sides and bottom intact so that a cup like shape will form.
  3. Keep aside all those cucumber cups.
  4. Now in a mixing bowl take chopped cucumber, chopped onion, chopped tomato, finely chopped green chilies, chopped coriander leaves, red chili powder, black pepper powder, lemon juice and salt.
  5. Mix everything well.
  6. Fill this salad mixture in each cucumber cups and serve immediately !

Notes :

  • Black pepper powder is optional.
  • Adjust the lemon juice as desired.

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Thursday, 14 June 2018

Rozky | Slovak Bread Roll

Once again I am back with my fellow food blogger, Jolly who suggested to start another event 'Recipe Swap Challenge' where two members'll pair and has to share a dish from their partner's blog. Isn't so interesting ?? For me it's a superb idea and I joined the group. Many-times what happens is, some dishes from our fellow food bloggers attracts all of us and we just bookmarked those ones to try later. But that is never happened for me, always my bookmark list fills. So by this group, I feel that I can prepare all those dishes if paired with that belonging member. 

For the first challenge in that group, I have paired up with Mayuri di. She is such a kind person whom i know since a long time through another food group. I am just in love with all her baked goodies. When I came to know that I have been paired with di, then I started browsing first my bookmarked lists 😉 and came across the Rozky (Slovak Bread Rolls) which she had posted for Bread Bakers theme. So I have picked that recipe but made a vegan version of those mini baguette like rolls 😊.

In Slovakia, the most popular form of bread used is named as Rozky (Rozak is the plural form). These are basically some mini baguettes but slightly curved to give a crescent shape. The ingredients used are so basic ones. Also the process is really easy and there is no need of any fancy tricks to maintain. Simply make dough balls, roll and cut each ball into quarters, roll into shape as slightly curved. These baked rolls are the widely used dish in Slovak cuisine. Here I have prepared in totally a vegan version means no butter or no milk or no egg-wash 😉, yet the outcome is wow !! These can be served with some sauce or as an accompaniment with any soup or with evening tea.

So do try these Rozky or Slovak Bread Rolls. If you tried my recipe and enjoyed fully, then please share some pictures of your creation with me. Also give your valuable feedback either in the comment box below or tag me as #firsttimercook on Instagram. You may also follow me on FacebookPinterestTwitterGoogle+Instagram and can subscribe for free to get new recipes directly into your inbox 😊

Preparation Time : 15 mins  |  Resting Time : 2 hrs  |  Cooking Time : 20 mins 

Ingredients :        

All purpose flour
3 cup
Active dry yeast
2 tbsp
Water (Luke warm)
1 cup
1 tbsp
Olive oil
½ cup
1 ½ tsp
Sesame seed
For sprinkling
Mixed herb
For sprinkling
Carom seed
For sprinkling

Method :
  1. In a small bowl take warm water, sugar and yeast and mix everything.
  2. Cover the bowl and keep aside for 10 minutes.
  3. After 10 minutes, the whole mixture'll turn frothy.
  4. Next in another mixing bowl take flour, salt, oil and the yeast mixture.
  5. Mix everything gently and make a smooth and soft dough.
  6. Cover the bowl and keep aside for 1-2 hours or till double in size.
  7. Again knead the well risen dough a bit over a floured surface.
  8. Make 2 inch balls from the dough.
  9. Take one ball and over a floured surface roll into 5-6 inch size circle.
  10. Now cut into 4 quarters.
  11. Take one quarter placing the widest part towards you, fold inward the two corners of the widest part and press.
  12. Next roll that quarter dough piece into a cylindrical shape.
  13. Place on a baking tray lined with butter paper and after placing, bend the cylindrical shape slightly so that a crescent shape will form.
  14. Similarly make all the crescent rolls from rest of the dough and place over the baking tray keeping some space in between.
  15. Keep aside to rise again for 30-35 minutes.
  16. Meanwhile preheat oven to 180 degree C.
  17. After risen well, brush the rolls with olive oil gently and sprinkle either sesame seeds or mixed herbs or carom seeds or any toppings as desired.
  18. Bake for 18-20 minutes at 180 degree C or until the tops are golden.
  19. Take out from oven and allow to cool down completely. 
  20. Serve with some sauce or as an accompaniment with any soup !

Notes :

  • Toppings totally depend upon choice.

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Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Chaulachuna Poda Pitha | Rice Flour Cake - Raja Festival Celebration

Raja Festival - celebration of womanhood is finally approaching which is a three-day-long festival in Odisha, normally falls upon 14th, 15th and 16th June ! The term Raja has come from Rajaswala which means a menstruating woman. In villages of Odisha, some mythologies still present that the mother goddess Earth undergoes menstruation during the first three days. So this is a festival to celebrate womanhood. Raja or swing festival is basically celebrated for a long three days and the second day signifies beginning of the season of rain. This festival basically welcomes the agricultural year all over Odisha state of Indian subcontinent. While menstruating women are isolated and forbidden to enter temples in many parts of India these day too, but this is a matter of great pride for Odisha where the Raja festival celebrates this integral aspect of womanhood.

Well, I always get bit more excited particularly for this festival among rest because, this festival comes by starting my birthday first ;) yes, for me the Raja festival is a four-day celebration as my Birthday, Pahili Raja, Raja Sankranti (Mithuna Sankranti), Bhu Daaha / Basi Raja :). The next day of Bhu Daaha is called as Vasumati Snana, on which the ladies of house bath the grinding stone (sila or silbatta) as a symbol of Bhumi with turmeric paste and adore with flower, sindoor etc. All type of seasonal fruits are offered to mother Bhumi. Generally various pithas are made for celebration like poda pitha, muan pitha, chakuli pitha, kakara pitha, arisa pitha and lots more varities too. Among all, the Poda Pitha is one of my most favorite pitha. 

Poda pitha is the most authentic and the must-to-be-prepared dish for Raja festival in all Odia households. The odia word 'Poda' means Burnt and 'Pitha' means Cake. The authentic traditional way uses the soaked rice and split urad dal mixture which is flavored with jaggery, crushed ginger, cardamom and pepper. Then that whole mixture is wrapped in banana leaves, topped with burnt charcoals and cow dung cakes and finally baked slowly in earthen wares on clay oven overnight. And in the morning, ahaaa, the whole house is filled with the smoky sweet flavor of the Poda Pitha !!! 

Now-a-days, poda pithas are being prepared in micro-oven or simply on kadhai wrapped in banana leaves. But here is a version I have come up with where there is no need of any banana leaves or any micro oven, still the authentic crust will be formed all over the pitha or cake. Also I have not used any lentil in the cake dough. Simply only the rice flour is used. The whole process is cooked over low heat. The outer crust is slightly burnt, while the inside is so soft and delicious. This dish is also offered as prasad to Lord Jagannath in the Jagannath Temple, Puri. 

So do try this Chaulachuna Poda Pitha / Rice Flour Cake for celebration soon. If you tried my recipe and enjoyed fully, then please share some pictures of your creation with me. Also kindly give your valuable feedback either in the comment box below or tag me as #firsttimercook on Instagram. You may also follow me on FacebookPinterestTwitterGoogle+Instagram and can subscribe for free to get new recipes directly into your inbox 😊

Preparation Time : 15 mins  |  Soaking Time : 4 hrs  |  Cooking Time : 1 hr

Ingredients :        

2 ½ cup
1 cup
Coconut (grated)
¾ cup
Coconut chunk (small)
¼ cup
Bay leaf
1 no
3-4 no
Fennel seed
1 tbsp
Black pepper powder
½ tsp
Ginger (grated)
½ tbsp
2-3 tbsp
3 ½ cup + for soaking
½ tsp

Method :
  1. First soak rice in a mixing bowl with enough water for 4-5 hours.
  2. Then drain and spread in a plate to dry for 1-2 hours.
  3. In a blender jar take all the soaked and dried rice and make a smooth powder. Keep aside.
  4. Now in a kadhai or broad pan, heat 3 & 1/2 cup water along with jaggery.
  5. When jaggery starts to melt, add rest ingredients to the pan (press the cardamoms slightly) and allow to boil for 3-4 minutes.
  6. Next add 1-2 tbsp rice flour first and give a quick stir.
  7. Then add rest rice flour slowly while stirring continuously.
  8. A dough will form soon which will be neither thick nor thin consistency but of a smooth texture.
  9. Turn off heat and allow the dough to cool a bit.
  10. Then take a nonstick pan of 3-4 inch depth (like a kadhai / wok) and put the dough into it.
  11. Gently press the dough and make a smooth top surface using a spatula.
  12. Cover the pan with a lid tightly and allow to cook over low heat for 45-50 minutes.
  13. Then flip the pan gently over a nonstick tawa and allow to cook the opposite side (the top side which is now over the nonstick tawa) to cook for 10-15 minutes.
  14. Turn off heat and insert a knife in the center of the pitha or cake, if comes out clean then its done otherwise cook for some more minutes.
  15. Allow to cool down completely.
  16. Slice and serve these deliciously authentic Chaula-chuna Poda Pitha or Riceflour Cake from Odia Cuisine !

Notes :

  • After the dough cools down, you may knead the dough. But I have not kneaded as my dough comes out of much smooth texture after stirring.
  • Adjust the sweetness of pitha by the amount of jaggery as desired.
  • Jaggery is the authentic source of sweetness here, but sugar can be used too instead of jaggery.
  • Chhena can also be added too the dough.

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Monday, 11 June 2018

Apricot Truffles (Vegan & Gluten free)

Ramdan, the annual fast for Islamic religion is going on all over the world which normally falls from mid-May to mid-June. For Muslims, Ramadan is the most sacred month of the year and each Muslim fasts every day from sunrise to sunset. They abstain from eating any food, drinking any liquids, smoking anything from sunrise to sunset. The only people that do not have to fast during Ramadan are children, the elderly, pregnant women and those who are travelling or who are ill. The reason why Muslims fast is because it is one of the Five Pillars of Islam, the other pillars being faith, prayer, charity and making the pilgrimage to Mecca – the Holy City. 

During Ramadan, Muslims wake up well before dawn to eat the first meal of the day, which has to last until sunset. This means having a meal (suhoor) with lots of high-protein foods and drinking as much water as possible right up until dawn, after which they can't eat or drink anything. And after evening prayer, they break their day's fast with a light meal followed by a larger meal (if-tar). After one month of fasting, finally they celebrate the end of Ramadan with the festival of Eid al-Fitr which literally means 'festival of breaking the fast'.

This year, Eid al-Fitr is expected to fall on the evening of 14th June or on the evening of 15th June, depending on the sighting of the crescent moon. Since the festival is approaching, so the Foodie Monday Blog Hop team has come up with the 148th theme as 'Eid Special' to celebrate the occasion. The foods eaten to mark Eid vary across the world and there is no traditional set menu till now. Both sweet and savory dishes are consumed starting from biryani, lamb kebabs to rice puddings, baklava and many more. Here I have prepared a no-cook dessert using apricot for the theme contribution as 'Apricot Truffle'.

Apricot, the yellowish-orange fleshy fruit tastes both sweet as well as tart. Apricots or Khubani (in Urdu language) can be consumed as raw or in dried form as well. Most of the times, we are familiar with the dried version of apricot, because these fruits don’t last for more than a few days and hence they are dried to keep them consumable. Apricots contain an impressive list of minerals and vitamins like A, C, E, potassium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorous etc. They are also a good source of fiber. Actually they have numerous health benefits starting from treating digestion, reducing cholesterol to aiding weight loss and treating respiratory conditions etc. Apricots are used in various kinds of preparations like jams, juices, jellies and a variety of sweet dishes. I have already prepared a dessert using the dried apricot as 'apricot pudding trifle' in my blog before.

Well coming back to the dish, here I have used some desiccated coconut along with pitted apricot to make the truffles. These truffles are so good and take only 10 minutes to prepare. It is a simple no-cook recipe. Just blend everything in a blender jar and make balls. Also these can be packed for kids snack box and will be a best in-between-hunger-pang-pick-up. These apricot truffles are completely vegan and gluten free.

So do try these Apricot Truffles (Vegan & Gluten free). If you tried my recipe and enjoyed fully, then please share some pictures of your creation with me. Also kindly give your valuable feedback either in the comment box below or tag me as #firsttimercook on Instagram. You may also follow me on FacebookPinterestTwitterGoogle+Instagram and can subscribe for free to get new recipes directly into your inbox 😊

Preparation Time : 10 mins  |  Cooking Time : 0 mins

Ingredients :        

Apricot (pitted)
1 cup
Desiccated coconut
1 cup
Lemon zest
1 tsp
Lemon juice
1 tbsp
¼ tsp
Black raisin
For rolling

Method :
  1. In a bowl first soak the pitted apricots for 2-3 minutes along with warm water.
  2. Then roughly chop those soaked apricots and keep aside.
  3. In a blender jar take desiccated coconut, roughly chopped apricots, lemon zest, lemon juice and salt.
  4. Pulse with an interval of 10-12 second until a dough like texture is formed.
  5. Transfer to a plate and start making balls of 1-2 inch size.
  6. In another plate take some sprinkles and roll each ball over these to get well coated.
  7. Refrigerate in an air tight container to firm well and then serve !!!

Notes :

  • Do not over process everything for long, otherwise a paste will form and the balls cant be shaped easily.
  • Fresh grated coconut also works well if desiccated coconut is not available.
  • Always prefer to finish within 1 day if stored at room temperature and within 4-5 days if refrigerated.
  • Addition of black raisin is completely optional, can be omitted too.
  • Any other dry fruits can also be added.

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