Bhindi Masala ~ Indian-Style Spiced Okra

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Everyone should discover and eat more okra. Well that’s what I think at least, and for some reason I’ve always viewed okra as a ‘treat” vegetable. You heard it - a treat! Will get to the treat part in a moment.

Okra is ubiquitous in the South Asian diet and very often is found as a side to an authentic Indian meal or ‘thali’ (stainless steel plate containing various curries and vegetables including rice, a sweet and flatbread). There are so many variations of recipes that use Bhindi (okra) as the main ingredient but most of the time it’s just the okra itself that is simmered, fried, deep-fried, steamed or braised in masala and cooked to perfection. Once you get used to this vegetable you’ll see there is absolutely nothing that can act as a substitute for it and clearly no other vegetable that can stand in its place.

Okra, also referred to as “Lady’s Finger” contains a gooey-like centre membrane that some might argue makes it possibly off-putting. However, when cooked well (um, cooked right) all that gooeyness turns crispy and is utterly delicious making okra highly addictive. So this is where the “treat” part comes in. I always remember having okra cut up into small bits, deep-fried until crispy, served hot tossed in masala and garnished with sea salt. We used to pop these into our mouths just like popcorn! And a plate full would disappear in literally seconds.

Either way, when cooked well and spiced up with masala this can really create an unforgettable Indian meal. Here is a basic Bhindi Masala Recipe that should always be eaten with warm fresh Chapatis.


BHINDI MASALA ~ INDIAN-STYLE SPICED OKRA

METHOD OF PREPARATION:

1) In a frying pan add oil, mustard and cumin seeds. Cover pan with a lid allow mustard seed to pop and cumin seeds to become slightly brown.

2) Add okra, potatoes and onions. Add ARVINDA’S MADRAS MASALA and salt. Mix and stir-fry for a minute.

3) Cover with lid and cook on low heat until potatoes are tender. Uncover and cook until okra is slightly crispy. Serves 4.

INGREDIENTS:

1 TBSP. oil
½ TSP. mustard seeds from ARVINDA’S ESSENTIAL WHOLES SPICE KIT
½ TSP. cumin seeds from ARVINDA’S ESSENTIAL WHOLES SPICE KIT
1 LB. fresh okra, cleaned with wet towel, thinly sliced
3 medium potatoes, thinly sliced
1 medium onion, sliced
1 TBSP. ARVINDA’S MADRAS MASALA
1 TSP. salt or salt to taste

This recipe will work equally well with Arvinda’s Curry Masala!


Cauliflower Tikka Bites with Garam Masala Tomato Chutney

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Here’s a #SuperBowlSunday snack with a Tikka Masala twist!

If you’re wondering what the word “tikka” means, it is simply the term to refer to “small pieces” of typically chicken and sometimes lamb, but can also refer to small pieces of vegetables that is marinated in a yogurt based marinade with a chili spice mixture.

In this case, I made TIkka Cauliflower Bites served with Garam Masala Tomato Chutney, of course without the yogurt marinade as it really isn’t necessary for these delicious little bites. The end result is all full flavour, a chili bite with some heat that is substantial enough for any Super Bowl Sunday party table.


CAULIFLOWER TIKKA BITES with GARAM MASALA TOMATO CHUTNEY

Method of Preparation:

1) Boil cauliflower florets until cooked for about 5-7 minutes. Drain.

2) Preheat oven to 425F.

3) In a bowl, whisk together chick pea flour, rice flour, ARVINDA’S TIKKA MASALA and salt. Add water and mix well. Coat cauliflower florets with batter.

4) Oil a baking sheet and place coated cauliflower on a single layer. Sprinkle with nutritional yeast. Bake for 20 minutes until crispy. Garnish with cilantro.

5) GARAM MASALA TOMATO CHUTNEY: Stir together ingredients together in a small bowl. Serve as a dipping sauce.

Ingredients:

1 small cauliflower head, cut into florets
1/8 CUP chick pea flour
1/8 CUP rice flour
2 TBSP. ARVINDA'S TIKKA MASALA
1/4 TSP. salt
1/8 CUP water
2 TBSP. oil
1/8 CUP nutritional yeast
2 TBSP. cilantro, chopped

GARAM MASALA TOMATO CHUTNEY
1/2 CUP
crushed tomatoes
1/2 TSP. garlic paste
1/2 TSP. ARVINDA'S GARAM MASALA
1/4 TSP. salt

Kale Onion Pakoras (gluten-free & vegan)

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I'm not quite sure why one would buy frozen Pakoras when you can easily make them in less than 20 minutes! You heard me right. 20 minutes (or less!).

The ingredients are simple and you may already have them in your pantry. All that's required is a mixing bowl, then add the dry ingredients, kale and onion and a bit of water to create a thick batter, then shallow deep-fry...and voila, you have steamy hot Pakoras ready to be eaten, hot on the spot!

This is the only way to eat them in my opinion. Hot. Fresh. And right out of the fryer!

If you're looking for something to pair with your beer this St. Paddy's Day, this is your shortcut to something mouthwatering, homemade and loaded with flavour. And the bonus is that it's quite beautifully green too!


KALE ONION PAKORAS

Method of Preparation:

1) In a mixing bowl add chick pea flour, ARVINDA'S CURRY MASALA, sea salt, fennel seeds from ARVINDA'S ESSENTIAL WHOLE SPICES KIT and baking soda. Whisk together to get rid of any lumps.

2) Add water to create a smooth batter. Mix in onion, kale and cilantro (optional). 

3) Line a plate with paper towel and set aside. Heat 1 cup of oil for frying in a small wok or deep frying pan on medium-high heat. Fry pakoras a few at a time for a few minutes, turning to cook evenly until golden brown in colour. Drain on paper towel and serve hot.

Yield = 12-14 medium sized pakoras.

Ingredients:
1 CUP chick pea flour, sifted
2 TSP. ARVINDA'S CURRY MASALA
½ TSP. sea salt
¼ TSP. fennel seeds from ARVINDA'S  ESSENTIAL WHOLE SPICES KIT
¼ TSP. baking soda
¼ CUP water, add extra 1 TBSP. if necessary
1 CUP green kale, finely chopped
½ small onion, finely chopped
2 TBSP. cilantro, finely chopped (optional)

 

 

 


These Kale Onion Pakoras also serve well with a cup of Masala Chai. Enjoy and wishing you much luck on this St. Patrick's Day! :)

Christmas Chai Snow Crescents (Eggless & Gluten-Free)

This year we made most of our Christmas cookies gluten-free. We love them because they're light and crispy, and they've been a hit amongst all our guests so far.

This season we doubled the batch, stored the dough in the freezer and baked these cookies as we needed them so they're always fresh and crispy on the day of serving them.

If you haven't done your holiday baking as of yet, try making these Christmas Chai Snow Crescents which are easy, delicious and festive to cheer up any Christmas dessert table!

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CHRISTMAS CHAI SNOW CRESCENTS ~ eggless & gluten-free

Method of Preparation:
1) Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 325F.

2) In a large bowl, cream butter with sifted icing sugar. Add ARVINDA'S CHRISTMAS CHAI MASALA (or ARVINDA'S CHAI MASALA) and almond extract and mix. Sift in flour and mix. Fold in ground almonds.

3) Take a small ball of mixture and roll between palms of the hand to form a cresent. Continue with remaining mixture.

4) Bake for 15 minutes in the oven or until slightly golden brown. Cool on wire rack. To garnish cresents, dip into icing sugar to create a festive snow finish.

Ingredients:
½ CUP butter
½ CUP icing sugar + extra for ‘snow’ finishing
1 TSP. ARVINDA'S CHRISTMAS CHAI MASALA (or ARVINDA'S CHAI MASALA)
1 TSP. almond extract
1 CUP gluten-free flour mix
½ CUP blanched almonds, finely ground