15 July 2020

Neem Flower Patties | Nimba Kadha Pithau (Vegan & Gluten free)

vegetarian patties using the healthy and nutritious neem flowers (nimba kadha) from Odia cuisine





Neem tree and its flower :


Neem holds a significant position in the Indian traditional culture. Neem tree is likely native to the Indian subcontinent. We all have heard a lot about the benefits it holds from our parents, grandparents. Every part of the Neem tree be it the bark, seed, root, fruit, leaf, flower or even twig is beneficial to our body in a way or another. Neem is also an essential ingredient in several Ayurvedic medicines that treat various issues ranging from fever infection, skin disease, hail problems, inflammation and dental disorders.

The Neem tree flowers between end of February to starting of May. The honey-scented white flowers, found in clusters are a good source of nectar for bees. Apart from these period in a year, one can dry these flowers and store in an air-tight container to use later on. I always store 3-4 bottles of dried neem flowers as shown in below picture. These stay perfectly and one can enjoy through out the year by using the dried ones. Neem flowers are known for improving digestive health and are used in Indian cooking. These days one can also get both dried as well as the powdered form of these neem flowers in super markets. The flowers can be roasted, boiled or fried for use in many dishes like rasam, rice dishes, pachadi, using lentils and many more.





I have here come up with a side item of a lunch platter using these flowers as Neem Flower Patties or Nimba Kadha Pithau.


ALSO DO CHECK SOME OTHER RECIPES USING NEEM FLOWERS WHICH ARE ALREADY SHARED IN MY BLOG ðŸ‘‡

Ingredients needed for these neem flower patties :

  1. Neem flower - Neem flower can be used in either fresh or dried form. As this is the off season for neem flowers, so I have used the dried ones which I had stored this year.
  2. Onion & Garlic - These patties can be prepared without using these. But by adding these the patties taste more flavorful. I have used finely sliced onion and some roughly crushed garlic cloves.
  3. Green chili & Red chili powder - These give the spiciness to the patties. And this is recommend to add in order to balance the bitterness from the flowers.
  4. Gram flour (besan) - This plays the binding factor in the patties.
  5. Rice flour - Due to this patties become much crisp. Instead of rice flour, one can use regular rice (3-4 tsp). For that, simply soak the rice for 30 minutes and then make a paste using little amount of water. And use that in place of rice flour.
  6. Turmeric powder - adds a lovely color to the patties.
  7. Salt - as per taste, it is added.
  8. Water - a very little amount of water is needed to make the mixture.
  9. Mustard oil - Regular oil can be opted here for frying the patties. But I will recommend to go for mustard oil if adding onion & garlic which enhances the overall flavor.



    What are the steps to prepare these pithau or patties ?


    The dry ingredients like rice flour, gram flour (besan), red chili powder, turmeric powder, salt are mixed in a bowl. In another mixing bowl the neem flowers (here I have used dried ones) are taken along with finely sliced onion, roughly crushed green chilies & garlic cloves and above mixed powders. Everything is then mixed by adding water little by little. After that a pan is heated with mustard oil. 1-2 tsp portion of the mixture at a time is shaped as a patty and shallow fried by covering the pan and flipping in between over low-medium heat till becomes light brown in color all over. Then these are ready to serve !

    Dietary note :

      ✔  Vegan
      ✔  Healthy Patties
      ✔  Gluten free
      ✔  Odia cuisine
      ✔  Low oil
      ✔  Nutritious dish

      Serving suggestion :


      If you are a bitter gourd (karela) fan then this pithau / patties you will surely enjoy. We love to have these neem flower patties in lunch spread which has steamed rice, dal, a curry, these patties and some salad. When hot, these taste so crisp and perfect. Even the bitterness is bit less as compared to the cool down. Withing few time, these can be prepared and have. Just mix everything, shape like patty and fry. Voila ! these are ready to serve. The recipe is super simple and easy too. Do make these nutritious and healthy patties aka pithau from odia cuisine.


        The event related to this post :





        Well for current month the event 'A to Z Recipe Challenge' has come up with the alphabet 'N'. That means, there must be a recipe post having the main ingredient name starting with alphabet N. So I opted N for 'Neem Flower' and have prepared Neem Flower Patties | Nimba Kadha Pithau.




        Now let’s go through how to make "Neem Flower Patties" at home 👇
          


        : Recipe Card :



        Neem Flower Patties | Nimba Kadha Pithau (Vegan & Gluten free)

        Print
        Neem Flower Patties | Nimba Kadha Pithau (Vegan & Gluten free)
        Author: sasmita
        Prep time: 5 MCook time: 10 MTotal time: 15 M
        vegetarian patties using the healthy and nutritious neem flowers (nimba kadha) from Odia cuisine

        Ingredients:

        • Neem flower (fresh / dried) 1/2 cup
        • Onion (finely sliced) (medium) 1 no.
        • Green chili (roughly crushed) 1-2 no.
        • Garlic clove (roughly crushed) 2-3 no.
        • Gram flour (besan) 2 tsp
        • Rice flour 3 tsp
        • Red chili powder 1/2 tsp
        • Turmeric powder 1/4 tsp
        • Salt as needed
        • Water as needed
        • Mustard oil for frying

        Instructions:

        1. In a mixing bowl take the dried or fresh neem flowers and finely sliced onion, roughly crushed green chilies & garlic cloves.
        2. Then in another small bowl mix rice flour, gram flour (besan), red chili powder, turmeric powder, salt.
        3. Add this mixture to the above mentioned bowl.
        4. Mix everything well by adding a very little amount of water.
        5. Now heat a pan and drizzle 1 tbsp of mustard oil.
        6. Take 1-2 tsp portions of the mixture at a time and place over the hot pan.
        7. Cover the pan and allow to cook a bit.
        8. Flip and fry the other side over low-medium heat till becomes light brown in color all over.
        9. Transfer to a plate and serve hot with steamed rice-dal combo !

        Notes:

        Always fry over low-medium heat. Adjust the spiciness as desired. Serve immediately to have crispy patties. Also when these cool down, taste little more bitter. Instead of rice flour, one can use regular rice (3-4 tsp). For that, simply soak the rice for 30 minutes and then make a paste using little amount of water. And use that in place of rice flour. Some boiled potatoes (in grated form) or few finely chopped potatoes can be added to the mixture. I have not used potatoes.
        Vegetarian, Side dish, Nimba kadha, Odia cuisine, Mustard oil, Rice flour
        Neem flower, Patties, Odia side dish, Vegan, Gluten free
        odia
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        13 July 2020

        Layered Hung Curd Sandwich

        3-4 slices of bread smeared with some chutneys, filled with the goodness of vegetables and hung curd to make a very healthy layered sandwich




        What is HUNG CURD here ?


        When the milk coagulates we get a thick white substance called as curd. Although the curd seems thick solid still it has a bit of liquid named as whey. When the curd is drained of all its watery part aka whey, then it becomes Hung Curd (Greek Yogurt). We can easily make hung curd at home if we have curd in our pantry. I have already shared the details procedure of preparing curd at home, do check HOW TO MAKE CURD AT HOME. Well for making hung curd, first pour the curd onto a colander lined with muslin cloth and tie the cloth. Leave the cloth hanging over the kitchen sink for at least 3-4 hours or till all the water drains out. After this, the hung curd is ready. The hung curd lasts for a long time without becoming sour as compared to the curd / yogurt. This hung curd is a good substitute for mayonnaise, white sauce or any cheese dip. 

        Today's post is a sandwich recipe using hung curd and that too a layered sandwich. Hence the name is Layered Hung Curd Sandwich. This is a completely No-Cook recipe.



        Layered Hung Curd Sandwich :


        The filing is prepared using hung curd in this sandwich. I have use three bread slices to make a layered sandwich here. This layering is completely as per convenience. One can go with 4-5 slices of breads to make the layered sandwich.

        Dietary note :


          ✔ Vegetarian
          ✔ Kids friendly
          No-Cook sandwich
          ✔ Easy and quick to assemble


            Ingredients for this layered sandwich :



            • Bread - Any bread like white, multigrain, whole wheat etc can be used here to make these sandwiches. I have used white bread here. Also I have used only 6 slices to make two layered sandwiches each having 3 bread slices.
            • Vegetables – Feel free to use the vegetables here in this sandwich as per convenience. I have used finely chopped cabbage, carrot, capsicum (bell pepper), sweet corn, onion, tomato, cucumber. Some others like beetroot, spring onion, mushroom (slightly cooked) etc one can add.
            • Spices – I have picked only black pepper powder along with few red chili flakes. One can add Italian herbs here for some extra flavor.
            • Hung Curd – This is used to bind all the fillings. Instead of this one can use the store bought Greek yogurt too. 
            • Spread - Only green chutney (mint-coriander chutney) and tamarind chutney I have used to smear the bread slices. Instead of tamarind chutney, tomato sauce can be picked.
            • Butter - I have not used butter here. One can smear butter in each bread slices before putting any other things over the bread slices. Also the bread slices can be toasted in the pan with some butter. I have not toasted the bread here too.



            How to make the layered hung curd sandwich ?


            In a mixing bowl first the hung curd along with finely chopped cabbage, finely chopped bell pepper, finely chopped carrot, boiled sweet corn, salt and black pepper powder are mixed well. Next the bread slices are trimmed from all the sides using a knife. (This process is optional, one can keep the brown edges). 

            Then for a layered hung curd sandwich first three bread slices are placed over a plate. The green chutney is smeared over one bread slice and then 4 (put as desired) onion slices are placed side by side followed by 4 tomato slices. Few red chili flakes and salt are then sprinkled over the tomato slices. Next half of the curd mixture is put over the second bread slice evenly and then this bread slice is placed over the above bread slice. 4 (put as desired) cucumber slices are then put side by side on top of this bread slice. Again few red chili flakes and salt are sprinkled over the cucumber slices. After that the tamarind chutney (use tomato sauce if tamarind chutney is not available) is smeared over the third bread slice and finally this bread slice is placed over the hung curd bread slice with the chutney smeared side down. 

            Gently the whole bread stack is pressed and using a sharp knife, it is cut into 2/ 4 parts (either into triangular or square shapes). The layered hung curd sandwiches is now ready.

            Serving suggestion :


            This layered hung curd sandwich is a very healthy sandwich which is liked by any age group. This is one of the simple yet eye-catchy sandwich in layered form and is perfect for either breakfast, snack or even for a light meal. I have kept this super simply and used only hung curd. One can add some mayonnaise, cream cheese etc too along with hung curd. And yes, always prefer to have these sandwiches immediately, else these will tend to slightly soggy. The ingredients here are the easily available kind in the pantry and also kids will surely enjoy to make these as these are so easy to assemble.

              The event related to this post :






              Monday is here again and thFoodie Monday Blog Hop team has decided the 255th theme as 'Dahi Delight' which is suggested by Poonam this timeI love her specifically all the Maharashtrian recipes. Well for the theme she suggested to make any dish using curd aka dahi. So here I have come up with this Layered Hung Curd Sandwich and contributed for the theme. Do not forget to check her Curd Quinoa recipe which is on my to-do list too. 



              Now let’s go through how to make "Layered Hung Curd Sandwich " at home 👇
                


              : Recipe Card :



              Layered Hung Curd Sandwich

              Print
              Layered Hung Curd Sandwich
              Author: sasmita
              Prep time: 15 MCook time: Total time: 15 M
              3-4 slices of bread smeared with some chutneys, filled with the goodness of vegetables and hung curd to make a very healthy layered sandwich

              Ingredients:

              • Bread slice 6 no.
              • Hung curd (Greek yogurt) 1/2 cup
              • Carrot (finely chopped) 2 tbsp
              • Bell pepper (capsicum) (finely chopped) 2 tbsp
              • Cabbage (finely chopped) 2 tbsp
              • Sweet corn (boiled) 2 tbsp
              • Onion (sliced) 8 no.
              • Tomato (sliced) 8 no.
              • Cucumber (sliced) 8 no.
              • Black pepper powder 1/4 tsp
              • Red chili flakes (optional) as needed
              • Green chutney as needed
              • Tamarind chutney as needed
              • Salt as needed

              Instructions:

              1. In a mixing bowl take hung curd, finely chopped cabbage, finely chopped bell pepper, finely chopped carrot, boiled sweet corn along with salt and black pepper powder.
              2. Mix well and keep aside.
              3. Now take the bread slices and cut out the brown sides of the bread slices using a knife. (This process is optional, one can keep the brown sides)
              4. Then for a layered hung curd sandwich first place three bread slices over a plate.
              5. Spread the green chutney over one bread slice and then put 4 (put as desired) onion slices side by side followed by 4 tomato slices. Sprinkle few red chili flakes and salt over the tomato slices.
              6. Spread half of the curd mixture over the second bread slice and put this bread slice over the above bread slice.
              7. Put 4 (put as desired) cucumber slices side by side on top of this bread slice. Sprinkle few red chili flakes and salt over the cucumber slices.
              8. Spread the tamarind chutney (use tomato sauce if tamarind chutney is not available) over the third bread slice and then put this bread slice over the hung curd bread slice with the chutney smeared side down.
              9. Gently press the bread stack and using a sharp knife, cut it into 4 parts (either into triangular or square shapes).
              10. Similarly make layered sandwich with rest 3 bread slices and cut into 4 parts.
              11. Serve the layered hung curd sandwiches immediately as it is or along with tomato ketchup !

              Notes:

              Feel free to use the vegetables as desired like beetroot, spring onion, mushroom (slightly cooked) etc. Serve this sandwich immediately as it becomes soggy if kept to serve later. The layering pattern also can be varied. Any bread like white, multigrain, wheat etc can be used here to make these sandwiches. I have not toasted the sandwich. If you want, then simply spread better over a pan and toast the sandwich from both sides. Always use fresh hung curd. The bread slices used here are also not toasted. You may toast the bread slice first and then do the layering. To make hung curd, first line a muslin cloth over a colander and keep the colander over a bowl. Pour the curd (check here how to make curd at home) over the muslin cloth gently. Tie the cloth and keep over the colander till all the water (whey) drains out which takes hardly 2-3 hours. Then the hung curd will be ready to use. Along with pepper powder, some Italian seasoning can be added. The ingredients can be doubled or tripled as per the requirement.
              Hung curd, greek yogurt, Vegetarian Snack, Kids friendly, Easy and quick recipe, black pepper, green chutney, tamarind chutney, carrot, onion, cucumber, sweet corn, cabbage, bell pepper, tomato
              Sandwich, Breakfast, Tiffin, Vegetarian, Snack, Hung Curd Sandwich
              International
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              Tag @firsttimercook on instagram and hashtag it #firsttimercook






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              12 July 2020

              Masoor Dal Pakoda | Red Lentil Fritter (VEGAN & GLUTEN FREE)

              a perfect crispy and slightly spicy tea time snack using red lentil aka masoor dal





              Monsoon has finally arrived and no one can think of any rainy evening is complete without a plate full of crunchy lip smacking pakoras, hot samosa, hot bhajiyas with a varieties of chutney like spicy green chutney and sweet tamarind chutney, roasted corn on the cob (bhutta) rubbed with lemon etc. The list is actually endless, isnt it ! It is a pure pleasure to gorge on some tasty hot snacks along with a cup of hot tea or coffee during monsoon.

              Well today I am here with a monsoon snack using the Red Lentil aka Masoor dal which is called as Masoor Dal Pakora / Red Lentil Fritters. The best thing here is that one can add any filling in the pakoda paste and alter the ingredients as per own choice and these will still taste mouth-watering and delicious.



              Masoor Dal / Red Lentil :


              These are small red-colored lentils. One can get these from the grocery store with or without skin, whole or split form. This lentil is very soft and cooks quickly. Being abundantly rich in iron and protein, this is a perfect go-to option for vegetarians. Thus owing to its various nutritional and dietary benefits, it must be included regularly in a vegetarian diet. These are widely used for culinary purposes in India like to make dals, soups, curries, stews and side dishes too. Red lentils can also be used to make homemade face packs to treat skin problems like acne, tanning, dark skin and so on.

              How to make the masoor dal pakoda :


              The star ingredient here is the masoor dal (red lentil). The lentil is first washed and cleaned thoroughly. Then with enough water it is allowed to soak which takes 2-3 hours. I have used 1 cup of soaked masoor dal. The soaked dal is ground along with green chili into a coarse paste without adding water. This paste is then mixed with finely chopped onion, grated ginger, roughly teared curry leaves, cumin seeds, salt and yes, 1 tbsp of soaked masoor dal (used to make the pakoda bit crunchy and crisp). This mixing part can be done using hand or a spoon and basically to incorporate air into the paste which results into fluffy and light pakodas. Then small portions of the paste is carefully put onto the hot oil and allowed to fry over medium heat till these become golden brown from all the sides, flipping in between. The well fried pakodas are finally transferred onto a plate lined with absorbent paper which are then ready to serve !



              💡FEW TIPS TO MAKE PERFECT MASOOR DAL PAKODA :

              • Always fry the pakodas over medium heat. If the heat is low, the pakodas will absorb oil and if the heat is high then the pakodas will become brown from outside and remain uncooked from inside.
              • The masoor dal should not grind into a fine paste. Instead make a coarse paste that too without using any water.
              • The paste must not be of thin consistency, else while deep frying all will scatter in the hot oil.
              • Do not forget to mix the paste using hand or a spoon to well incorporate air which results into fluffy and light pakodas.
              • If this aeration process seems bit tough and to avoid the hand exercise one can add a pinch of baking soda to the paste.
              • 6-7 no of pakodas has to deep fry at a time, basically add depending upon the size of the pan keeping in mind not to over crowd the pan.

              Dietary note :

                ✔  Vegan
                ✔  Gluten free
                ✔  Deep fried snack
                ✔  Monsoon Pakoda / fritter
                ✔  Quick and easy to prepare
                ✔  Vegetarian Snack


                Serving suggestion :


                Rainy evening and a hot masoor dal pakoda (even any other pakoda) platter fully compliment each other. These are super crispy, slightly spicy and perfect to quest our evening hunger pang. Along with a hot cup of masala tea or ginger tea this pairs pretty well. Even these can be served along with some green chutney, tamarind chutney or any other sauce. The pakoda paste can be prepared in advance and just before serving time, the pakodas can be fried and served hot. 


                  The event related to this post :






                  Well this time our fortnight foodie group named as Healthy Wellthy Cuisines is decided to select 90th theme : 'Monsoon Time' and is suggested by Poonam. She is a wonderful person and a versatile food blogger friend of mine. Do check out her space for many traditional Maharashtrian recipes. Recently she has shared Dahi ke Kabab which is apt for this monsoon as well as festive time and I simply love that. Well coming back to theme she suggested to make any monsoon special dishes, So this Masoor Dal Pakoda are contributed for the theme. Here are some similar recipes shared by our Healthy Wealthy Group members Beets and Potato Tikki by Preethi, Ram Ladoo by Swati, Rice Cutlet by Nams Corner, Garlic Rasam by Poonam, Paneer Pakoras by Shalu, Baked Maddur Vada by Vanita, Vegetable Pakora by Jayashree, Moong Dal Pakoda by Ruchi.




                  Now let’s go through how to make "Masoor Dal Pakoda" at home 👇
                    


                  : Recipe Card :




                  Masoor Dal Pakoda | Red Lentil Fritter (VEGAN & GLUTEN FREE)

                  Print
                  Masoor Dal Pakoda | Red Lentil Fritter (VEGAN & GLUTEN FREE)
                  Author: sasmita
                  Prep time: 15 MCook time: 20 MTotal time: 35 M
                  a perfect crispy and slightly spicy tea time snack using red lentil aka masoor dal

                  Ingredients:

                  • Masoor dal (red lentil) (soaked) 1 cup
                  • Ginger 1/2 inch
                  • Green chili 1-2 no.
                  • Onion (finely chopped) 1/4 cup
                  • Curry leaf 1 sprig
                  • Cumin seed 1/2 tsp
                  • Salt as needed
                  • Oil for deep frying

                  Instructions:

                  1. First put all the soaked red lentils aka masoor dal along with the green chilies into a blending jar, keeping 1 tbsp of soaked dal aside.
                  2. Make a coarse paste without adding water and transfer to a mixing bowl.
                  3. Meanwhile heat oil in a pan for deep frying.
                  4. Add finely chopped onion, grated ginger, roughly teared curry leaves, cumin seeds, salt and the soaked masoor dal (1 tbsp).
                  5. Mix everything well.
                  6. When oil is hot enough, lower the heat to medium first.
                  7. Take small portions of the mixed dal paste and carefully put onto the hot oil (6-7 no of pakoda has to deep fry at a time, basically add depending upon the size of the pan keeping in mind not to over crowd the pan).
                  8. Allow the masoor dal pakodas to fry till they become golden brown from all the sides, flipping in between.
                  9. Transfer the fried masoor dal pakodas into a plate lined with absorbent paper.
                  10. Similarly make pakodas with rest mixed dal paste.
                  11. Serve these hot and crispy pakodas along with tea or some green chutney, tamarind chutney or any other sauce !

                  Notes:

                  Do not use any water while grinding the masoor dal. A pinch of baking soda can be added to the dal paste, but optional. I have not used. Always fry the pakodas over medium heat. If the heat is low, the pakodas will absorb oil and if the heat is high, then the pakodas will become brown from outside and remain uncooked from inside. Adjust the spiciness as desired. Instead of using green chilies while grinding, these can be finely chopped and added along with onion. Add 1 tbsp of soaked masoor dal to the dal paste after grinding. This is optional, but this addition will make the pakoda more crispier.
                  Masoor dal pakoda, Red lentil fritter, onion, green chili, vegetarian snack, curry leaves,
                  Snack, Monsoon Snack, Deep frying, Red lentil, vegan, gluten free
                  Indian
                  Did you make this recipe?
                  Tag @firsttimercook on instagram and hashtag it #firsttimercook






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