Thursday, July 31, 2014

Sheekh Kabab With Caramelized Vegetables (Simply Delicious Veg Kabab)

Veggie Sheekh Kababs are amazingly delicious and make quite an entrance when presented to family and friends! With the colorful caramelized veggie topping, they are irresistible!! These Kababs are so delicious, we make a meal of them! Serve them as starters or with a meal. 

I had them in a restaurant and the presentation was fabulous; the kababs were topped with sauteed onions and brought to the table sizzling on a hot cast iron platter! I have recreated them here for everyone's enjoyment; I added the succulent caramelized veggies with an eye for color.

Veggie Sheekh Kababs
1. For nicely browned and crispy kababs, deep fry them. Alternately the kababs may be cooked in a skillet with a drizzle of oil.
2. Unripe green bananas make the best kababs - but potatoes will do if the bananas are not available. The dough may be formed into patties also and cooked in a skillet with a little oil.
3. The dough may be prepared a day or two ahead.
4.  If you don't use all of the dough, chill in fridge for a day or two; or freeze for longer storage.
5. If either chaat or garam masala are unavailable, use a little rock salt, toasted ground cumin, ground black pepper, a little cinnamon and cardamom; you may want to increase the salt a little too as chaat masala has lots of salt.

About 20 small kababs


2 green unripe Bananas or 3 Potatoes
2 tsp Chaat Masala (Spice Salt)
1/2 tsp Garam Masala
1 tsp Each - ground Coriander & Cumin seeds
1-2 Green Chiles, minced (Jalapeno or Serrano)
1 Medium Carrot, minced
1/2 small Onion, finely minced
4 Tbsp Fresh Cilantro, chopped
Sea Salt to taste as needed (you might not need too much as Chaat masala has lots of salt)
1/4 tsp Turmeric
1 pinch Asafetida
4 Tbsp Besan (Chickpea flour)
Oil for cooking
Green and Sweet chutneys for serving
Caramelized Veggies for serving


Trim the ends of the green bananas and cut in half; cook in water to cover until soft but not mushy. Let cool.

When cool, remove and discard the peels; coarsely grate or mash the bananas and place in a large mixing bowl.

Add all the rest of the ingredients to the bowl except the oil, chutneys and caramelized veggies.

Knead to mix all the ingredients well; the dough should be firm and not sticky.  Form little ovals or balls and push a chopstick through to make holes in the center - this ensures thorough cooking but is not essential. Wet your hands with fresh water as needed - wet hands help to keep the dough from sticking to your hands.

Deep fry the kababs in hot oil or cook them in a skillet with a little oil.

Serve hot with the chutneys and the caramelized vegetables on the side. Enjoy!!

Caramelized Vegetables: These are great as a topping on pulavs/rice dishes, soups, bruschettas, quesadillas, pizzas, grilled sandwiches, etc.

1-2 Tbsp Oil
1 large Onion, any color, cut into slivers
2 medium Carrots, cut into thin strips
1 Jalapeno or Serrano Chile, cored and thinly sliced (optional)
1 pinch Turmeric
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
2-3 Bell Peppers (Capsicums), yellow, orange, red, or green, thin strips
1/2-1 tsp Smoked Paprika
4 Tbsp fresh Cilantro, chopped

Heat the oil in a wide skillet and add the onions, carrots, and chiles if using with the salt.

Stir and cook over high-medium heat until onions begin to soften - about 2 or 3 minutes.

Add the turmeric and bell peppers and cook stirring often until the veggies begin to brown and caramelize on the edges. Remove from heat.

Stir in paprika and the cilantro.

Serve hot over the kababs. Enjoy!!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Pickled Veggies Mexican Style (Escabeche Delicioso)

We adore the pickled veggies often served in Mexican restaurants; the canned ones are too soft and just not the same. So I made our own. These pickles are very easy to make and you can adjust the heat by adding a little or lot of Jalapeno peppers.

The traditional pickles usually contain carrots, onions, garlic, and the Jalapenos; but cauliflower florets, radishes, jicama, chayote squash, zucchini, green beans, etc are welcome additions. If the amount of veggies is increased, the amounts of the seasonings and vinegar need to be increased as well.

These Mexican style pickled veggies are so delicious that we cannot stop eating them; in fact they get eaten right out of the jar before they have a chance to properly marinate! They are great as nibbles or starters, on nachos, as a side with any Mexican food, or great to snack on any time.


2-4 Jalapenos
2 Carrots
2 Onions
1 Turnip
2 cloves Fresh Garlic
1 tsp Coriander seeds
3-4 sprigs Oregano
3-4 sprigs Thyme
1 Bay Leaf
1 Tbsp Kosher Or Sea Salt
1 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Large jar suitable for keeping the pickles


Prepare the jar and lid by washing with very hot water; let them drain upside down on a clean kitchen towel until needed.

Wash all the veggies and herbs and trim them as needed.

Peel and trim carrots, turnips onions and garlic. Quarter turnip and onions. Slice all the veggies, but not paper thin - it is nice to have some substance to bite into :-). About 1/4 inch thick will do nicely. Cut the garlic into thin slices or lightly crush them and leave whole.

Heat a large skillet with the oil and add the onions and garlic; stir for about a minute. Add the rest of the veggies and shake and stir until veggies are warm - about 2 or 3 minutes. Turn off the heat.

Place all the veggies in a sterile jar and add the salt, herb sprigs, spices, and vinegar; stir to coat all the veggies.

Cover tightly and let marinate for a day; stir with a clean spoon or shake a couple of times a day to coat all the veggies with the vinegar. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Remove what you need of the pickles to a bowl and serve at room temperature. These pickles are good for a month or more if they last that long :). Enjoy!!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Creamy Green Seed Butter (Sunflower-Pepita Spread)

Creamy Sunflower-Pepita Butter is delicious and good for you too! I love serving it with raw veggies, chips, toasted bread; serve it any way you like it. A friend makes it and serves it with slices of carrots, celery, and a few chips for a perfect snack! The herbs may be varied - using whatever is fresh - cilantro, parsley, basil, etc. I have recreated it from the taste and here it is for you to try and enjoy!

I process this spread in a high speed blender to get the ultra-smooth texture; you may process in a food processor also but you will have a slightly chunky version. Both are great but different.

Notes: When made with fresh basil, the spread started to turn brown right away on the surfaces exposed to air. Some fresh herbs tend to oxidize and turn a little brown on the exposed areas when cut or ground; although it might look a bit unappetizing, it does not change the taste and is still quite safe to eat. Blanching the herbs produces a bright green spread that does not brown; just immerse the herbs into boiling or very hot water and immediately lift them out and plunge into ice water to stop the cooking. Drain well and proceed with the recipe.

The seeds may be sprouted - after soaking drain the water, rinse and drain thoroughly. Cover and let sit for 1 or 2 days until they begin to sprout. The seeds should be rinsed and drained thoroughly twice a day to keep them fresh and clean. Use when the seeds have just started to sprout.


1/2 cup EACH Raw Pumpkin and Sunflower seeds
1 pinch Cayenne pepper or to taste
1 big bunch fresh Coriander (Cilantro) OR 2 cups Basil
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
1 Lemon
2-4 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil


Pick over the seeds and discard any discolored seeds or foreign matter; rinse with fresh water, drain and soak in plenty of fresh water for a few hours or overnight.

Remove the very end of the stems from the cilantro. Pick over the coriander leaves and discard yellowed leaves and weeds. Wash in several changes of water to clean thoroughly. 

Drain the soaked/sprouted seeds, rinse with fresh water, and drain well again.

Squeeze  the lemon and discard the rinds.

Place cayenne, cilantro, salt, Olive oil, the soaked seeds and half the lemon juice in the container of a blender; process into a puree adding a couple of tablespoons of water to help process. You may have to stop the blender and push down the ingredients into the blades a couple of times.

Taste and add more lemon juice and salt if you like. I start with 1 lemon and add more as needed.

Scrape into a clean jar, cover, and refrigerate until serving. This will last for a week to 10 days. 

Serve with fresh veggies, toasted breads, rice cakes, crackers, chips, etc. Enjoy!!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Quinoa Pulav (Spiced Quinoa With Veggies)

Colorful and nutritious, Quinoa Pulav is delicious! We love it with fresh and juicy chopped salad or sprouted bean salad. Serve with curries, a raita and chutneys or Indian pickles too if you like. Papadams (Indian lentil wafers) go well with this pulav also. 

This is a basic recipe; the veggies may be varied according to availability, the season, or individual preferences. I change it up a bit by using diced zucchini, colorful peppers, corn, etc in addition to or in place of some of the veggies in the recipe.

Here is a picture of the pulav with sprout salad; it is not a great one but gives one the idea.

Quinoa Pulav with Sprouted Bean Salad

6 servings


1 cup Quinoa
2 tsp Oil
1/2 tsp Brown Mustard Seeds
1 Tbsp Chana Dal
1 pinch Asafetida
1 small Onion, finely diced
1 Tbsp Ginger, finely minced
1 Green Chile, cored and minced
1 stem Fresh Curry Leaves, leaves sliced finely
1 big pinch Turmeric
1 tsp Sea Salt
1 Carrot, diced
6-8 Green Beans, sliced small
2 Mild Red Peppers OR 1 Red Bell Pepper, diced
2-4 Tbsp Fresh Cilantro, chopped
1 Tbsp fresh sweet mint, sliced (optional)
1/2 Lemon/Lime (optional)


Start heating 2 cups of water to a boil.

Rinse the quinoa and drain. Set aside until needed; a large strainer is great for draining these fine grains to prevent any down the drain.

Heat the oil and add the mustard seeds and dal. 

When the mustard seeds dance and pop, let them for about 15-20 seconds.

Stir in the onions, ginger, green chile, asafetida and the curry leaves. Stir in the green beans with salt and spices and cook for about 5 minutes on low to medium heat.

Add in the carrots, and peppers and cook for a couple of minutes stirring well.

Pour in the boiling water.

Stir in the quinoa and simmer for about 10 - 12 minutes partially covered - be careful that it does not boil over.

Turn off the heat, cover tightly, and allow the quinoa pulav to sit undisturbed for at least 15 minutes.

Gently stir in the chopped herbs and stir in lemon/lime juice if you like or pass wedges of lemon or lime at the table.

Serve hot, warm or at room temperature with your favorite accompaniments. It is good even cold!