Category Archives: Finger Foods and Appetizers

Aloo Batata/Potato Wada

Potato Wada

Potato Wada is the fried potato dumplings. It is one of the yummy snacks enjoyed with ketchup or pickle on holidays in Gujarat, India. When I moved to USA in 1970s’ Italian, Mexican, American, pizza were all new to me and I used to make these wada it home for my family.

DF = Dairy Free GF = Gluten Free V= Vegan



Preparation time: 10 Minutes

Peeled and mashed potatoes

Cooking time: 25 Minutes
Cooking level:  Easy

Ingredients for Potato
5 medium Idaho potatoes
Salt to taste
1 tsp of grated ginger
 2 tsp of grated garlic
1 tsp of cumin powder
2 tsp of lemon juice
1 tsp of green chilli paste

Ingredients for Tampering

Ready to fry wada

2 tbsp of oil
2 tsp of mate pa beans/ Urad dal
Finely chopped full curry leaves
1/2cup of chopped cilantro
Garlic
1/4 tsp of turmeric powder

Ingredients for Batter
8 tbsp of besan or chick pea flour
(sifted)
1 tsp of red chili powder
salt to taste
1/4 tsp of turmeric
Pinch of baking soda
water to make batter
1 and 1/2 cup of oil for deep frying

Preparation
1Boil the potatoes and mash without any lumps in order to make smooth dough balls.

Batter for Wada
Deep frying potato wada

2. Add ginger, cumin powder, lemon juice, salt, green chilli to the mashed potatoes
3. In a small pan,  add 2 tbsp of oil on medium heat,  add mate pa beans/ urad dal until it turns golden brown
4. add garlic, cilantro, finely chopped curry leaves
5. add the tamper to the mashed potatoes
6. mix the tamper and mashed potatoes and make 20-25 medium size balls as shown in the picture above
 7. For the batter, In a mixing bowl add chickpea flour, red chili powder, salt, baking soda, turmeric and water so that the it makes a correct consistency which is neither  thick or watery. 
8. In a frying pan, add oil and heat it for deep frying. Add the potato balls/wada into the batter and deep fry the dumplings.
9. Turn the dumplings in order to cook it evenly
10. Place them on the paper towel in order to absorb the extra oil
11. Serve with your favorite cilantro, Mint, Tamarind, or ketchup.


Tips:

Dry mango powder/ amchur powder can be substituted for lemon juice

Sweet Potato Fries

Sweet Potato is one of the best sources of beta carotene in a form of vitamin A. It is very low in calories. There is no saturated fat or cholesterol making it an ideal diet food. Sweet potato has Vitamin C, B6, Manganese, Copper, Potassium, Iron, Calcium, and Fiber.

AO = Antioxidan tDF = Dairy Free GF = Gluten Free HF = High Fiber LS = Low Sugar V= Vegan


Cooking Level: Easy
Preparation Time: 20 Minutes
Baking Time: 20-30 Minutes
Ingredients:
Sweet Potatoes
Crushed Garlic
Salt to taste
Fresh Parsley
Oil Spray
Preparation:
1. Wash and cut the sweet potatoes in Julienne style.
2. Spread it all the over the baking sheet
3. Preheat the oven at 200 degrees
4. Spray with cooking oil spray
5. let it bake for 20-30 minutes until they turn crispy
6. Sprinkle with salt, crushed garlic and parsley. 
I would like to thank Mayank for passing this recipe to me and his consent to post it on my blog.  Please try this recipe before you crave for french fries or pick a bag of chips. Please feel free to give your valuable comments and suggestions on this recipe. 

Bitter melon karela fritters


Karela- Bitter melon is a vegetable one should know for sure.
you will love it or hate it. Relationship with this unique vegetable is either or.  Karela is widely known in India and China. This is a fruit of a subtropical vine in India, it looks like Zucchini with bumps. It is very bitter in taste and with proper preparation one can love to acquire the taste of it. Most of the time it is thinly sliced and fried with some spices to it. It is amazing to know the fruit contains a polypeptide called gurmarin that suppresses the body’s neural response to sweet stimulant.  that means after consuming karela sweet buds can be satisfied very easily in one helping of dessert. As i grew up in India, we tend to use each and every part of vegetable. I am sharing a good old  recipe which I learnt from my  mother.  I hope you will enjoy it!!

Serves four
Preparation time 45 Minutes
Cooking level: Medium

Ingredients:
6 Bitter melon  washed and dried
Peel the skin of the bitter melon  at least one and 1/2 cup
Ginger and chilli paste
1/4 tsp of turmeric
1/4 tsp red chilli
1 tsp each coriander and cumin powder
2 tbsp of whole wheat flour 
3 tbsp of besan or chickpea flour
1 tsp of sugar
1 tsp of lemon juice
1 tsp oil to add
3-4 tbsp of oil to fry
salt to taste
How to make:
Peel the skin of the bitter melon
Add salt to peeled skin of the bitter melon. set aside for half an hour.
Squeeze excess water out of peeled skin of bitter melon
Now add all the spices, wheat flour, besan flour,sugar,  lemon juice and one tsp of oil to the peeled skin of bitter melon.
Mix well making a  dough and later oblong shape called muthia as shown in the picture below. 
In a medium saucepan pan,  heat the oil on a medium high heat.
Fry all the muthias slowly stirring upside down.
Enjoy it with chutneys or sauces. 
Tips:  Taking the water out of bitter melon peels reduces its bitterness.
Always serve warm ,when it is warm it has more flavor and less bitter in taste.

Peeling Procedure
Bitter Melon

Muthais



Bitter Melon Fritters





Kumato tomatoes Bruschetta

Prep time:  5 minutes
Bake time:   10-12 minutes

cooking level : very easy
Recipe Type AO = Anti-Oxidant ,
                        V = Vegan
Serves: 2-4

Ingredients

2 kumato tomato chopped
one small red onion chopped
2tsp of extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
one bunch fresh basil washed and chopped
2 cloves of minced garlic
one french baguette

  1. sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  2. Directions:
Kumato  tomatoes  are truly exceptional. Try it and you will experience authentic tomato flavor. It has a mild clean flavor and once sliced, it then ripens to a dark brown skin with a sweet spicy aroma, ideal for salads. Here is a quick recipe of Bruschetta . I am sure You will enjoy this.
  1. Mix everything in a bowl. set aside for ten minutes.
  2. Cut the french baguette into oblong shape.
  3. Spoon the mixture on top of bread. Leave the juice on side otherwise bread will get soggy.
  4. Toast the bread in toaster oven for 5-7 minutes till it is golden brown.
  5. Enjoy!

                                                                                    
                     
                                                             

    Crispy Kale Chips

    Prep time :5 minutes
    bake time: 10-12 minutes
    very easy recipe

    Next time you’re looking for a snack to munch on, try these kale chips instead of potato chips.

    Kale is one vegetable that I always wanted to add in my diet.
    I was too lazy to work with recipes that took a long time, but our guest chef Reena  came up with an easy way to make kale chips.Cut kale into 2 inch pieces. Toss with olive oil in a bowl. Add salt and other seasoning per your taste.(chili powder is a good choice).
    Put the chips on a baking sheet and bake at 350 for 12 minutes or until crispy.  Enjoy.!

    Artichoke Spinach Dip

    Artichoke Spinach Dip

    Artichokes are not well utilized in Indian culture, but I have always been fascinated with artichoke spinach dip.So this week I started my first experiment from scratch

    Ingredients

    • 1 artichoke
    • 1 cup baby spinach
    • 2 cloves garlic
    • Salt & black pepper
    • 1 tbsp sour cream
    • 1 tbsp cream cheese
    • 2 tbsp shredded Parmesan cheese
    • Parsley flakes
    • 1/2 diced onion
    • 2 tbsp mozzarella cheese

    Instructions:

    1. Boil the artichoke. Peel each layer of petals and scrape the ends to get the edible residue off with a spoon and collect this material in a bowl.
    2. Scoop the fuzzy center part covering the heart out and discard it (DO NOT EAT IT). The remaining portion at the bottom is the heart- cut it into pieces.
    3. Cut the baby spinach and microwave it for 3 minutes.
    4. Add all the ingredients and mix them well.
    5. Top it off with mozzarella cheese and bake it for 10 minutes.
    6. The dip is ready to eat with your favorite chips (pita, tortilla, etc.)

    Bhel Puri

    One of my favorite chaat is Bhel Puri. The best ones I’ve found are sold by street vendors at their stalls.  It is a very famous push cart food in India. It is similar in style to America’s food trucks.  Bhel has been very famous in the Gujarati community for centuries. It is eaten as a snack, sometimes as an appetizer and sometimes as a main meal. In any form, Bhel is always appreciated by any guest and host, too. It is a medley with an array of flavors to tantalize the taste buds including sweet, sour, crunch and rich aromas.

    Cooking Time: Varies
    Assembly Time: 5 minutes
    Cooking Level:  Easy
    Recipe Type: Vegan
    For Jain Recipe: Omit potatoes & onion & add cubed apple and/or cucumber

    Ingredients:

    1/2 lb. Mamara (rice krisipes) available at Indian store
    (Bhel mixture is readily available at Indian stores)
    1/4 lb. Thin Sev (crunchy noodles available in Indian store)
    3    TBsp Roasted Peanuts
    2    Small Potatoes, cubed
    1    Small Onion, cubed
    Green Sauces (also ready-made available)
    Date Sauce
    Garlic Sauce
    Few Cilantro Leaves, chopped
    Lemon Wedges, optional
    1    Small Raw Mango, cubed

    Directions: 

    1. Mix all the ingredients very well. 
    2. Garnish with thin sev, cilantro and onions.

    Let me know what you think by leaving a comment! I love to hear from my readers!

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    This Week’s Healthy Tip

    Popular North Indian Chaats (Snacks) & Their Health Benefits 


    From fitho.com:

    Aloo Chaat: Crisp brown deep fried potato pieces served with, chaat masala and a mixture of sweet and tangy chutney. Potatoes are healthy, but deep frying them makes them unhealthy. So, clearly this chaat is not something you can indulge in, when you’re trying to watch your weight. If you want to make it healthier, you can pan fry or bake the potatoes with less oil, but it still doesn’t make aloo chat healthy :) . So follow the golden rule ‘mind the portion size’ while eating aloo chaat.

    Calories: Approximately 350 calories (based on serving size)
    Bhel Puri:  Made from puffed rice (murmura, muri) with mash boiled potatoes, sev (yes, they are fried) with, tomatoes, onions along with tangy tamarind sauce and spicy coriander sauce. Bhel Puri is a healthy option in chat and and a good snack if you’re watching your waistline.
    Calories: Approximately 200-250 calories (based on serving size)
    Pani Puri:  Called by varied names across India- Puchka, Gol Gappa, Bataashaa, Gup Shup, is a round hollow fried crispy shell, and filled with water mixture of tamarind, chili, chaat masala, potato, onion and boiled chole (chickpeas).
    Yes, the shell is fried, but the filling is mostly healthy, so this one is on our approved list of chats.
    Calories: 150-180 calories for 4-5 medium sizes pieces.
    Papri Chaat: A mixture of crispy fried dough wafers made from refined wheat flour, chick peas, boiled potatoes and yoghurt, tamarind chutney which is garnished with sev. This chaat is a borderline case. Its got the benefits of the boiled vegetables, and the benefits of yoghurt nutrition, but the base (papri) is fried and made from refined flour, which has a high glycemic index and is loaded with calories and fat.
    Calories: Approximately 300 calories for a medium size serving.
    A really healthy chat is yellow matar chat or a fruit chat. As you can see, with most chats, there is a part of it that’s unhealthy. Now, you know what is unhealthy, and what to avoid. So, next time you’re at a chat stall, you won’t be left wondering about the nutrition. If you like to indulge occasionally, its alright.  Just make sure you eat healthy most of the time and you get your exercise in!

    Cottage Cheese Fritters – Bhajia

    Cottage cheese fritters or “Pakoras” are a Saturday treat in my house. This is a guilty pleasure. This recipe is very simple and calls for a few ingredients.  Once done, they taste amazingly good.

    Preparation Time: 10 minutes
    Cooking Time:  20 minutes

    Ingredients:

    1    12 oz. Package Cottage Cheese
    1    Medium Onion, diced finely
    1    Tsp Cumin Powder
    Salt to taste
    1    Small Jalapeno, seeded & finely chopped
    2    Tsp Cilantro, chopped
    1/2 Cup Flour, white
    2    Tbsp Cornstarch
    Oil for deep frying

    Directions:

    1. Empty the cottage cheese into a medium bowl. 
    2. Using a hand blender, blend the cottage cheese so it is smooth.
    3. Add onion, salt, cilantro, chili and cumin powder.
    4. Heat the oil in a fryer on medium heat.
    5. Spoon the mixture in a frying pan. Care should be taken at all times not to scald yourself.
    6. Deep fry until golden brown. 
    7. Serve hot with your choice of sauce.

    date sauce
    green chutney

    Enjoy with different sauces.

    You may also like vegetable pakoras. Try my recipes for Onion Pakora and/or Vegetable Pakora.

    Nutrition Facts are for Entire Recipe.
    Let me know what you think by leaving a comment! I love to hear from my readers!

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    This Week’s Healthy Tip


    The Health Benefits of Cottage Cheese 


    From xomba.com 

    Cottage cheese was originally made in small cottages as a way to use leftover milk. In addition to being versatile, cottage cheese can be a nutritious addition to almost any diet. 
    It’s Low in Calories and Fat
    Even four percent milk fat cottage cheese is low in calories with about 120 calories per serving, but you can also buy low fat and fat-free versions which only have around eighty calories. Standard cottage cheese has anywhere from four to six grams of fat, while the fat-free is completely free of fat, although fat-free may have added starches to compensate. Because cottage cheese is filling, a single serving of this low calorie food can be quite satisfying.
    It’s High in Protein
    A single serving of cottage cheese has up to fifteen grams of protein, much of it in the form of casein, a slow digesting form of protein. Although not as high in protein as meat and poultry, it’s one of the best non-meat sources of protein around. The high protein content of cottage cheese and its high casein content make it a high satiety food so it reduces hunger for longer periods of time.
    It’s Low in Carbohydrates
    Most cottage cheese is low in carbohydrates with carb contents ranging from three grams to six grams. The low fat versions are often higher in carbs since they have added starches.
    It’s High in Bone-Building Calcium
    Calcium is important not only for building strong bones, but also for maintaining normal blood pressure. With around seventy grams per serving, cottage cheese can go a long ways towards meeting the daily calcium quota.
    Don’t forget about the versatility of cottage cheese. It can be used as a healthy, low fat substitute for other higher fat soft cheeses. When pureed in a blender, it can be a base for a heart healthy, but tasty dip. Simply sprinkle in some herbs and spices to add flavor. It makes a refreshing warm weather side dish or dessert when served with fruit. Use it instead of sour cream on baked potatoes or as a substitute for ricotta cheese in lasagna. Mix it with yogurt or puree it into a smoothie. It also tastes great as a side dish with just a little added seasoning. You’ll find lots of other exciting ways to use this healthy, versatile food. Enjoy the health benefits of eating cottage cheese!


    The Best Onion Dip


    This onion dip is a huge hit at every party!  There is never any left in the bowl.  It’s great to bring to picnics and barbecues.  The guests will ask you how you made it!



    Ingredients:

    2    Large “Sweet” Onions
    4    TBsp Butter
    4    TBsp Olive Oil
    1/4 Tsp Cayenne
    1    Tsp Salt
    4    Ounces Cream Cheese, room temp
    1/2 Cup Sour Cream
    1/8 Cup Silken Tofu (substitute: mayonnaise)

    How To Prepare: 

    1. Cut the onions into quarters.
    2. Melt the butter and oil in a pan.
    3. Add the onions and cayenne, salt and even some pepper.  
    4. Saute over low heat for as long as you can.  The smell as they cook is AMAZING!  
    5. Take them off the stove to cool a bit.  
    6. In the meantime, put the cream cheese, sour cream and mayo in the mixer.  Feel free to add more mayo if you like.  
    7. Process til smooth.  
    8. Add onion mixture.  
    9. Blend.  
    10. Best if refrigerated for at least an hour.  Serve it with kettle cooked chips. 
    11. Easy to double or triple. 
    12. The best onion dip!  Enjoy!!!

    Nutrition Facts are for Entire Recipe.

    Let me know what you think by leaving a comment! I love to hear from my readers!

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    This Week’s Healthy Tip

    The Health Benefits of Onions


    Anemia:  The high content of iron in onion makes it beneficial for the treatment of anemia.
    Anti-coagulant:  Just by eating half a medium raw onion daily can significantly lower cholesterol and help prevent heart attacks.
    Anti-inflammatory:  The anti-inflammatory agents in onion are useful in reducing the symptoms of inflammatory conditions such as arthritis and gout.
    Anti-septic:  Fights infection bacteria, including E.coli and salmonella, and is effective against tuberculosis and infections of the urinary tract, such as cystitis.
    Blood pressure:  Whether you eat it raw or cooked, onions help to lower blood pressure naturally.  It also thins the blood, dissolve blood clots and clear the blood of unhealthy fats.
    Cholesterol:  Eating half a medium raw onion daily significantly helps to correct thrombosis, lower the LDL cholesterol and prevents heart attacks.
    Colon cancer, prevention:  Fructo-oligosaccharides in onions stimulate the growth of good bacteria in the colon and help reduce the risk of tumors developing in the colon.
    Constipation and flatulence:  Add plenty onion in your cooking to help relieve chronic constipation and flatulence.
    Diabetes:  Chromium in onion helps diabetics’ cells respond appropriately to bringing down the insulin level and improve glucose tolerance.
    Diuretic and blood cleansing:  Help counter fluid retention, urinary gravel, arthritis and gout.
    Ear disorder:  In some culture, cotton wool is dipped into onion juice and put into the ear to stop ringing in the ear.
    Hair loss:  A study has shown that applying onion juice on scalp twice a week for 2 months will cause hair regrowth. Definitely cost much less that those hair tonic.
    Immune booster:  The pungency increases blood circulation and causes sweating.  Useful in cold weather to ward off infection, reduce fever and sweat out colds and flu.
    Osteoporosis:  A compound has recently been identified in onions that prevents the activities of breaking down bone. Especially beneficial for women who are at risk for osteoporosis as they go through menopause.
    Respiratory:  Mix equal amounts of onion juice and honey and take 3-4 teaspoons of this mixture daily.  It helps liquefy mucus and prevents its further formation.  It is also one of the best preventive potion against common cold.