Lemon & Chilli Pickle Oil Free

Lemon Chili Pickle – Oil free

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So, the times are tough, most of the world population is indoors scared of this man made virus that has gone rogue. This is also a great time to explore the creativity from the fresh harvests from your garden, something that I really love to try my hands on. Remember these other pickles of mine which I had shard earlier.  Remember the Bhavnagri Mirch ka achaar though it’s not as sour as the Cranberry & baby Corn pickle  since on any day cranberry is far pinchy than a fresh lemon which turned out to be a hit lip smacker earlier. In late spring, some chilies and lemon came up in the garden. Neither is a complete dish so I coupled them to conjure a yummy pickle with simple spices. And mind you, I kept it oil free to retain mild crunchiness in the pickle. I like the pickle this way far better than the softened greasy ones. 

So read on, am sure you’d be tempted to  lay your hands on these simple veggies from the nearest grocer even if you don’t find them all at home right now. In a matter of 5 days, be ready to smack your lips with this yummy pickle !

…need to know (food details)

  • Number of people served : I think I’ll gobble it down in next 1 month for sure !!
  • Preparation time : 45 minutes, mostly chopping, cutting and grinding.

….and we need (ingredients)

  • Fresh ripe lemons, butterfly cut, 500 grams : Fresh and ripened lemons from the garden are a delight to pick. Sour and acidic, with a good amount of citric acid, we add lemon here not just to enhance the sour essence but also to use it’s hydrating and digestive qualities.
  • Red big chilies, (achaari or bhavnagri in hindi) split and whole, 250 grams : Another crop from my garden, big red chilies take time to reach the desired stage. They are the same green ones just allowed to sun ripen on the plant itself till they turn red. They are a good source of Vitamin C, A and E hence beneficial for skin and hair.
  • Black cardamom, 2 drummed & loosened a bit : This is a bigger cousin of green cardamom. The pods have a fragrance which is more earthy and taste which is less sweet that the green variety. It is great in fighting cold and improves respiration hence aiding in asthma. It is good for hair, skin too.
  • Cloves, 6 to 8 : Cloves is extremely beneficial for it being anti cancer, anti diabetic, pain killing and breath cleansing properties. It has a distinct pungent, bitter essence.
  • Star shaped anise, 4 : It has a strong licorice essence and helps in digestion. It works wonders in a pickle.
  • Cinnamon stick, 2 inches : Again an amazing sweet taste and flavor enhancer, cinnamon is also an anti oxidant, anti inflammatory and sugar controlling ingredient which I often use in meats.
  • Fennel seeds (Saunf), 1/2 cup or 125 grams : Fennel is amazingly sweet perfumed and tastes so much like licorice that it is a widely used breath freshener in India. Fennel has amazing benefits like maintaining bone & skin health and aiding digestion. Its a pleasure to announce that fennel swet and wild has started growing in my garden now. It has been very painstaking to bring it up in not so cordial locales of Delhi, but finally I have the bottle brush seeming 7-8 plants now.
  • Table salt, 1/3 cup or 4 tablespoon : Regular table salt can be replaced with Himalayan Pink salt. When it comes to the pickle, don’t be thrift with salt. Salt is also a natural preservative.

….time to cook ‘n roll (preparing instructions)

  • Wash and split the lemons in butterfly style. i.e. two perpendicular splits giving you 4 identical pieces.
  • Wash well the chilies and make one split in the middle. In case you want them less bitter (b.t.w. these big chilies a quite sweet anyways), you may shake loose and do away with the seeds and the stem in the middle of each chili.
  • Now take a skillet and heat it dry for 2 minutes. Now put the fennel in it and mild roast it for 3-5 minutes on medium heat so as not to burn or blacken. Add the cloves, star shaped anise, black cardamom, cinnamon stick and stir on heat for 2 minutes more. This mix can ten be taken off and ground mildly in a mortar and pestle. This will give you the earthy, crude pickle mix.
  • The skillet is still hot. Put all the salt in it and switch the gas off. This would mild cook the salt and make it perfect and earthy for the pickle.
  • Add all ingredients in a large bowl and shake well to mix properly.
  • Bottle this and keep in sun for 5 days. Shake often.
  • Immediately refrigerate it since the pickle may go bad since we haven’t added any preservative or oil.
  • Enjoy with lots of paranthas and buns for weeks !!

Storage : It’s pickle, right ! But it has no oil, no preservative. So you must refrigerate it and you can use it for 45 days easily.

Potatoes in Chili Basil Chutney

Potatoes in Chili Basil Chutney

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The festival of Navratras bring glitter in Indian atmosphere, especially so in North and Western India. This is the time when all meat culinary goes for a hibernation and out come the vegetarian conjures. 

This is one such moment  when the last burst of green were being harvested from my garden in the late springs. I came up with the idea of cooking up a chutney recipe with all the basic greens and throwing in some potatoes as well. Easy Peasy – Yummy Tummy !!

…need to know (food details)

  • Number of people served : 4 to 5
  • Preparation time : 25 minutes max.

….and we need (ingredients)

  • Basil, sweet or Thai, 2 bowlfuls : In this I used sweet or Genovese basil leaves which I pluck-wash at my garden. Basil is the “King of Herbs” for many reasons. It is a strong anti oxidant. It fights virus, bacteria and other microbes in the body. I grow 4 to 5 types of basil in my garden and am always looking for new things to do with it.
  • Olive Oil, 2 tablespoon : Keep the oil light so as not to interfere with the flavor of your dish either in odor or in taste. Besides, olive oil is a great antioxidant, anti inflammatory, is good for heart and weight management.
  • Garlic Ginger paste , 1 tablespoon : You will hardly find any of my recipes missing garlic. Pungency is the reason why we use this allicin rich clove which combats sickness and common cold.
  • Cheese cube, 2 100 gram cubes : With all the calcium and protein benefits, cheese here is added for it’s creamy texture and nutty essence.
  • Green Chilies, 4 : Great for eyes and skin, green chilies are the healthiest ones to bring in the bitter zing in any dish. I used them here, freshly plucked from my garden to bring in their essence. I deseeded them well to ensure it being kids friendly.
  • Mint, a handful, about 150 grams : Mint is chopped well from our garden since they are extremely easy to grow. They are slightly bitter and sour with an umami essence. It is great for digestion and is a great anti oxidant.
  • Cumin seeds, 100 grams : Cumin has the classical earthy and nutty essence. Cumin is also extremely popular due to it’s aid to digestion, immune system, respiratory system and being a source of iron.
  • Coriander, 100 grams : This comes straight from my garden. Gives an orangy zest, coriander is again a blood regulator.
  • Salt to taste : Regular table salt would do in this.
  • Onions, chopped, 1 medium : Strong, acidic and bitter. That’s what a good red onion is supposed to be. They are also good sources of Vitamin C and Iron and are good for hair, skin and help in weight-loss.
  • Lime juice, 1 teaspoon : Sour and acidic, with a good amount of citric acid, we add lemon here not just to enhance the sour essence but also to use it’s hydrating and digestive qualities.

….time to cook ‘n roll (preparing instructions)

  • Grind the greens to a nice paste. You can wet grind it in a processor. There’s not much risk here to loose flavor but the coarseness should not be felt in the chutney later.
  • Mix the cheese grated well and keep it aside.
  • Boil the potatoes firm. Do not overboil else they’ll get mashed badly while cooking. We need to see them in the dish.
  • Heat the oil in a pan at medium heat till it starts evaporating.
  • Now add cumin in it and stir till it crackles.
  • Add the onions and the lime juice and stir for a while. About 4 minutes on medium heat should be good.
  • Now add the chilies (deseeded) and stir for about a minute.
  • Add the green paste now and stir cook on medium to high heat for 8 minutes till well done.
  • Add the boiled potatoes (chopped in an inch cubes). Cook further for 5 minutes. You may cover the pan now.
  •  There you are !!

Storage : Good for storage for upto 3 days at optimum temperature .

Missing Something ? : You can use mustard seeds instead of cumin to cook.

Broccoli Stalks Pesto Dip

Broccoli Stalks Pesto Dip

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I have always confessed the satisfaction of preparing ketchups, dips, pickles etc. since they make flavors last beyond their seasons and last several treats as well. . This one is slightly different from the Basil Pesto I shared earlier by way of the green dominance of broccoli stems/stalks. This is a uniqueness that I am proud to preserve (i.e. the broccoli stems). Recall the recipe of Cream of Celery Broccoli Stalks . Here, I just use the same power packed, nutritious stems of broccoli to prepare this fritter (pakora) accompaniment common at our place, just like the ajwain chutney recipe. Read on and enjoy the treat !!

…need to know (food details)

  • Number of people served : dip along and dip a long !!
  • Preparation time : 15 minutes max.

….and we need (ingredients)

  • Basil, sweet or Thai, 3 cupfuls : In this I used sweet or Genovese basil leaves which I pluck-wash at my garden. Basil is the “King of Herbs” for many reasons. It is a strong anti oxidant. It fights virus, bacteria and other microbes in the body. I grow 4 to 5 types of basil in my garden and am always looking for new things to do with it.
  • Olive Oil, 1/3rd cup : Keep the oil light so as not to interfere with the flavor of your dish either in odor or in taste. Besides, olive oil is a great antioxidant, anti inflammatory, is good for heart and weight management.
  • Garlic, minced, 1 teaspoon : You will hardly find any of my recipes missing garlic. Pungency is the reason why we use this allicin rich clove which combats sickness and common cold.
  • Pink Salt, 3/4th teaspoon : I prefer coarse Himalayan pink salt here since it is extremely healthy.
  • Cheese cube, 100 grams : With all the calcium and protein benefits, cheese here is added for it’s creamy texture and nutty essence.
  • Walnuts, 1/2 cup : Walnuts have a good amount of good fats called polyunsaturated fats or PUFA. They have Omega 3 and decent amount of minerals like iron, zinc, calcium and Vitamins like E & B loaded in them. In taste they add a distinct earthiness and nutty essence.
  • Broccoli stems, shaved, 250 grams : Broccoli’s health benefits and earthy flavors are amazing, esp. for kids. I use a rather peculier portion of the plant. The stems. I use the insides of the soft broccoli stems by peeling off the hard outer skin. It tastes like cucumber. you may also use it in salads and many other preparations.

….time to cook ‘n roll (preparing instructions)

  • Wash well and break the basil. Breaking works better than chopping the basil. Chopping is said to be detrimental to the flavor.
  • Wash and dry the walnuts since they are quite dusty when fresh.
  • Grate the cheese and mix with olive oil loosely.
  • Shave off the broccoli stems using only the inner less fibrous meaty part. It would seem quite like a cucumber.
  • Now add all ingredients in a kitchen grinder and make a paste of it. I would prefer not to add water to loosen it to your requirement, instead ad 1 teaspoon of olive oil.
  •  There you are !!

Storage : Good for storage for upto 3 months at optimum temperature .

Missing Something ? : You can replace the walnuts for groundnuts and even better with pine nuts for max authenticity.

Basil Pesto Sauce / Dip

Basil Pesto Sauce

Pesto is probably the most popular organic dip besides mustard and the good old ketchup. Though we have immensely popular Indian chutney’s of various types of amazing flavors and benefits. Hope you recall the Cherry Tomato Ketchup recipe and the Carom Leaves Chutney that I shared sometime back. While, to many of us pesto would not raise eyebrows or turn heads, believe me, I have known people who have not known what to do with big basil shrubs and have pruned and thrown away a healthy lot of it. Interestingly it is these set of folks who enjoy pesto in my treats loudly and ask me for its recipe. So for those folks and for all to enjoy, here’s how I do this simple yet wholesome sauce !

…need to know (food details)

  • Number of people served : This much would last at least 10 fritter treats 🙂
  • Preparation time : 10 minutes
  • Serving size : 1 tablespoon works well with 1 bowl of fritters

….and we need (ingredients)

  • Basil leaves, 2 cups, fresh would be great : In this I used sweet or Genovese basil leaves which I pluck-wash at my garden. Basil is the “King of Herbs” for many reasons. It is a strong anti oxidant. It fights virus, bacteria and other microbes in the body. I grow 4 to 5 types of basil in my garden and am always looking for new things to do with it.
  • Garlic, 3 – 4 cloves : You will hardly find any of my recipes missing garlic. Pungency is the reason why we use this allicin rich clove which combats sickness and common cold.
  • Walnuts, 1/3rd cup : Walnuts have a good amount of good fats called polyunsaturated fats or PUFA. They have Omega 3 and decent amount of minerals like iron, zinc, calcium and Vitamins like E & B loaded in them. In taste they add a distinct earthiness and nutty essence.
  • Cheese cube, 1, 200 grams : With all the calcium and protein benefits, cheese here is added for it’s creamy texture and nutty essence.
  • Olive oil, 1/2 cup : Keep the oil light so as not to interfere with the flavor of your dish either in odor or in taste. Besides, olive oil is a great antioxidant, anti inflammatory, is good for heart and weight management.
  • Salt, 1 tablespoon : I prefer coarse Himalayan pink salt here since it is extremely healthy. 

….time to cook ‘n roll (preparing instructions)

  • Wash well and break the basil. Breaking works better than chopping the basil. Chopping is said to be detrimental to the flavor.
  • Wash and dry the walnuts since they are quite dusty when fresh.
  • Grate the cheese and mix with olive oil loosely.
  • Now add all ingredients in a kitchen grinder and make a paste of it. I would prefer not to add water to loosen it to your requirement, instead ad 1 teaspoon of olive oil.

Storage : 1 month refrigeration is a “can do”. You’ll also love doing things with the sauce besides using it as a dip. Remember, when I made the Tricolor Tiffin last month. They rocked 🙂

Missing Something ? : Many iterations are possible in this. You can change the salt to Kosher or even regular table salt. The oil should preferably be virgin olive oil. The cheese can be romano, Reggiano or even simple cheese cubes which can be grated and later pasted. It’s best to use sweet broad basil only. The walnuts can be replaced with pine nuts. Didn’t I mention that there are several iterations 🙂  !!

Tricolor Tiffins

Tricolor Tifins

The Tuesday was busy with business squabbles. Works were stuck, moods were clogged and then came a time one realized that tomorrow was Independence Day. Must be some little treat to match the moods. Then I came across some wonderful Independence Day treats that my fellow bloggers had created that I was extremely impressed. and just couldn’t sit back.SO I dug into the kitchen cabinets to check out all that I could lay my hands upon and lo behold ! I have in platter some great treat for all within a jiffy. Do try and enjoy 😀

…need to know (food details)

  • Number of people served : 3 to 4
  • Preparation time : 15 minutes
  • Serving size : 2 to three rolls each

….and we need (ingredients)

  • Wheat bread slices, 4 :  No specific reason why I chose wheat bread. It’s just the one that we use at our place and that was what I had with me then. BTW, wheat bead is said to have all the great nourishment of  whole wheat like fiber, protein, antioxidants and iron.
  • Crude pesto : You would say, NOW ! thats not an ingredient. But look ! I’m not really selling a recipe here, it’s a treat snack for the JIT (Just In Time) moment. I prepared this by just blending 2 cups lime basil from my garden with crushed mixed nuts, 5 cloves of garlic with 2 cubes of cheese in 2 teaspoon of olive oil.
  • Flax seed chutney : It’s a more or less of a fixed condiment in my refrigerator now. Recall my recipe for this yummy and healthy chutney. Click here

….time to cook ‘n roll (preparing instructions)

  • Cut off the edges of the bread slices. I never liked them anyways 🙂
  • Roll them hard with a rolling pin into 2 mm thick slices. If they are crispy, I suggest you move them in the microwave for 15 seconds. If they are crisp, they will crack either while rolling or while serving.
  • On one slice spread the flax seed chutney well.
  • On the other slice, spread the pesto dip.
  • Place one atop the other such that there is a layer of bread between both spreads.
  • Now roll them into tight rolls.
  • Now you a long roll with you. Chop it into 1 inch or 2 inch smaller rolls and serve with tea. Be appreciated 😀

Storage : You can store for 1 heating (if they manage to escape the treat 🙂 )

Missing Something ? : Try putting some dried oregano as a outer seasoning. Will seem good. Also, you may add red chili powder to the flax seeds chutney.

Ajwain ki chutney

Ajwain Ki Chutney

Chutney is the dip which is a undenying part of an Indian table. Indian chutneys are not just taste based, they are a concoction of healthy and hard tasting ingredients. They are generally high in spice quotient and is a mandatory accompaniment with all fritters and pakoras. In fact we Indians would supplement all the ketchup in the world for a few dips in any chutney. Read on and enjoy this simple and quick treat…. 

….need to know (food details)

  • Number of people served : It’s a dip, as many people who can enjoy it, can be served.
  • Preparation time : 5 minutes of grinding + 5 minutes of cooking.

….and we need (ingredients)

  • Ajwain leaves (carom seeds’ leaves) 125 gms. Carom seeds are a common spice in Indian kitchens. Here we use the carom plant’s leaves for this chutney. Easy to grow and has a tremendous oregano like flavor. Carom is an excellent digestive, pain reliever, antiseptic and cure of common cold.
  • Chana daal (split chickpeas) 1 tablespoon. Commonly available cereal, forms the flavor equating mass of the chutney.
  • Garlic cloves 7 – 8. Brings out the pungency in the dip. Is an excellent detox, fights common cold and reduces BP levels.
  • Jeera (cumin seeds) 1/2 teaspoon. Favorite Indian seasoning with benefits of curing insomnia, BP levels, digestion level etc.
  • Green chilies 2. Can’t do without the Xing in any chutney.
  • Dhania powder (coriander seed’s powder) 1 teaspoon. Balances digestion. Another popular seasoning.
  • Oil 1/2 teaspoon. Try to use a light vegetable oil.
  • Rai (black mustard seeds) 1/4 teaspoon. The sour in the chutney is this, has major skin, hair and other health benefits.
  • Curry patta leaves 8 – 10. Lowers graying of hair, cholesterol level and is a natural preservative for the foods.
  • Imli paste (Tamarind) 1/2 teaspoon. Helps in weight loss and prevents constipation.
  • Asafoetida (hing powder) 1 pinch. Hugely popular Indian flavor that helps in maintaining BP, blood sugar and soothes asthma.
  • Salt to taste. Obviously 🙂 

….time to cook ‘n roll (cooking instructions)

  • Dry roast chana daal, jeera and dhania for 1 minutes.
  • Cool this and then powder it.
  • Add ajwain leaves, salt, tamarind, garlic to this powder and grind again.
  • Add 2 to 4 tablespoon water while grinding.
  • Now heat the oil in a pan and saute the curry leaves on medium flame for 2 minutes.
  • Now add heeng and, mustard seeds and chilli and stir for 2 more minutes.
  • Now mix the earlier prepared paste to this.
  • Finally enjoy

Storage : This can be refrigerated for around 6 weeks easily. But I’ll be disappointed if you do not gobble it in the 1st week itself.

Missing Something ? : You can replace tamarind with raw mango powder (amchoor) or anaardana.