Easy Chickpeas Salad


Off late we have been experiencing moderate weather unlike the scorching heat we get during this time of the year. It does not mean that we are completely out of the woods yet, there are some spikes and we still have days on which the temperature climbs over the 100F. On such days, I don’t feel like staying in the kitchen more that I have to and I resort to quick and easy salads of this type for lunch/dinner. 

With good amount of protein and fiber this salad is a winner. I love the colorful and healthy combination of beans and veggies. Onion and pepper add good crunch and complement the soft garbanzo. The tomatoes and cheese add the right amount of sweet and tanginess making it very flavorful. 

This salad is pretty versatile, so you can add any veggies or fruits to cater to your taste. You can add cucumbers, chopped celery, grated carrots, apple, pomegranate etc. 

 Apart from this method, I sometimes give this salad an Indian twist. I sprinkle some chaat masala alogng with red tamarind chutney and green chutney (instead of lemon and cheese). Let me warn you the taste is pretty addictive that you will not believe that you are actually eating a salad.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can chick peas/garbanzo (rinsed and drained )
  • 1/2 cup red onion chopped
  • 1/2 cup red pepper chopped (optional)
  • 1 jalapeno seeded and chopped
  • 1 tomato (seeded and chopped )
  • handful cilantro, chopped
  • 1-2 Tbsp feta cheese
  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice/vinegar
  • Salt to taste
  • ¼ tsp Pepper powder /crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 Tbsp oil

 

Method:

  • If using canned chickpeas then drain the liquid and rinse the beans. Drain water completely.
  • Else you can soak the chickpeas overnight and pressure cook the next day. Drain the cooked liquid (or use it for something else) and use only the cooked beans.
  • In a big bowl add the veggies first and toss it gently. Add the chickpeas, cilantro and combine them.
  • Add salt, lemon juice, pepper powder and stir well.
  • Let it sit aside for an hour or so, so that veggies soak up all the goodness. Sprinkle the cheese before serving.

 

Palak /Spinach ka Raita

Raita a yogurt based Inidan condiment is a favorite in our family and so I make it often. With variations like cucumber raita, okra, potato raita , boondi raita etc the possibilities are endless. It is served as side dish along with vegetable rice, pulao, biryani or with rotis/parathas.

This spinach raita is an easy, healthy and a good way to eat your greens. It is a good way to sneak in veggies and feed it to the picky eaters. You can make variations by adding chopped cilantro, pepper powder, grated carrots etc

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup fresh yogurt – (plain) ( I used fat free yogurt)
  • ¼ cup chopped onion
  • ¼ tsp red chili powder (optional)
  • Salt to taste

Seasoning:

  • 2 cups of packed spinach (cleaned and chopped)
  • 1″ piece of ginger grated
  • 1 green chilli chopped
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 Tbsp oil

Preparation:

  • Note: Make sure the plain yogurt (curds) is not sour.
  • Heat oil in a pan on medium heat. Add the mustard seeds and the cumin seeds.
  •  Add the chopped spinach, ginger, salt and green chilli to it and stir until the spinach is cooked. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
  • Take a bowl and whisk the yogurt, add milk or water to thin it. Add the cooked spinach mixture to this and mix well.
  • Add the chopped onion and sprinkle some chilli powder.
  • Keep the raita in the fridge if serving at a later time. If left outside it can get sour.

Baingan Masala/ Eggplant Dry Curry


Brinjal is a frequently used vegetable in our house maybe after okra, potato, tindora.Another plus is that it is available in the Indian stores throughout the year and so I cook with it often. 

Baingan Masala is one dish I learnt few months ago and I have tried it many times since.  There are so many variations of this classic dish; some are prepared with the typical north Indian flavor, others use many spices stuff  it in the brinjal and make it the  bharwan way. Anyway this is my version of Baingan masala which has a touch of Konkani flavor to it. 

Spicy and tangy this curry goes well with rotis/pooris and daal rice. On days when I am pressed for time, I make this curry along with a kachumber (salad) and plain rice. I then heat up store bought rotis, and we eat it along with salad and yogurt rice. 

Here are other recipes using brinjal: 

Serves: 3-4

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 medium purple brinjal/eggplant/baingan (similar to these)
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 4-5 curry leaves
  • 2 medium tomatoes
  • 1 tsp Jaggery for taste (optional)
  • Asafetida/hing a pinch
  • Salt
  • 1 Tbsp Oil

To make the coconut masala

  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut (fresh/frozen)
  • 1 Tbsp coriander seeds/dhaniya
  • 1 Tbsp urad daal
  • 1 Tbsp tamarind paste
  • 3-4 red chillies

Method:

  • Wash the Baingan/brinjal thoroughly and cut into long strips. Place it in a bowl of water to avoid discoloration.
  • Heat a small pan; roast the coriander seeds, urad daal and red chillies in little bit oil until it turns brown.
  • Next make the coconut masala, by grinding the coconut along with the roasted red chillies, urad daal, coriander seeds, tamarind, and water. The masala should be slightly coarse, thick so do not add too much water.
  • In the meanwhile heat oil in a thick bottomed pan. Add the mustard seeds, let it splutter and then add the curry leaves, hing.
  • Add the chopped brinjal/baingan, salt and fry until it turns light brown and is cooked.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes
  • Add the coconut paste and cook until the raw smell of coconut is gone. Sprinkle some water in between, so that it does not stick to the bottom. Check for taste and adjust the seasonings if required.
  • Garnish with shopped coriander leaves. Serve hot with rice or rotis.