Khandvi – A Gujarati Snack

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Khandvi is a simple, filling Guju snack made of dahi (yogurt) and besan flour (chickpea flour). It’s a rather novel texture, almost like a solidified custard consistency. It’s pretty easy to eat 5-6 of these at a time.

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To make these, I used some haldi (turmeric) and mustard seeds I brought back from India. I was missing a few things (curry leaves, hing, etc) but they still came out delicious.

Khandvi 

Adapted from Veg Recipes of India

For yellow part:

1 cup chickpea flour

3/4 cup plain, unsweetened yogurt

2 1/4 cups room temperature water

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon ginger purée

Pinch of onion powder + pinch of garlic powder (or pinch of hing/asfoetida, if you have)

Pinch of salt

Whisk together the yogurt and water, and then add the spices and mix. Add the chickpea flour and whisk until no longer lumpy.

Spread some oil on two large, rimmed pans and set aside. Nonstick pans work even better.

In a nonstick sauce pan on very low heat, heat the mixture until it solidifies. The original recipe notes it takes 17 minutes to reach the desired consistency, and this is about how long it took for me, too. To test whether the consistency is good, take a small spoonful onto the pan and let it cool a little, then try to roll it. If it rolls, you’re in the clear! Take the mixture off the heat and spread it out in a thin layer across the pan, as evenly as possible.

For “filling” and topping:

2 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut

2 tablespoons cilantro or a pinch of coriander powder

1 teaspoon coconut milk or water (or omit)

Mix these together and sprinkle around on the thin layer of chickpea/yogurt.

1 tablespoon oil

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

2 teaspoons sesame seeds

pinch curry powder or 8-10 curry leaves

Heat oil and add mustard seeds, cook until sizzling. Add the curry and the sesame seeds, cook until sizzling/browned. Take off heat.

Assembly: 

Cut the yellow lengthwise into strips, and then roll roll roll. You can do a variety of shapes and sizes. After rolling, arrange on a serving dish and spoon the mustard seed/sesame seed/oil mixture across them. I also sprinkled black sea salt for flavor and color contrast!

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Soft yet crispy, sweet yet savory, delicate yet filling. A snack of contrasts that won’t fail to please! Khana swadisht thaa!

Also because I am a wimp I left out spicy green chilis. You can add these in the batter or in the filling if you so wish.

Spiced Mixed Pulses Soup

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I don’t really experiment with dried beans or lentils much, but I saw a little bag of mixed pulses in the store and it was just so colorful and pretty that I bought it. Thus, I had this bag of dried pulses and had to do something. So, I made some soup! Perfect for the lovely 97 degree November days we’ve been having!

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Spiced Mixed Pulses Soup

Adapted from Lisa’s Kitchen

1 small bag of mixed pulses (see original recipe for exact amounts; the types and amounts don’t matter toooo much). I had channa (chickpeas), some different beans, and some different daals (lentils).

Mix together in a bowl:

1 small red onion, chopped very finely

1 tablespoon garlic/ginger paste

3/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon ground cumin

Cayenne if you want some kick (I didn’t… I’m boring)

Remaining ingredients:

2 tablespoons ghee, butter or oil

1 small tomato, seeded and finely chopped

handful of dried curry leaves

1/4 teaspoon asafoetida (hing)

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 cup coconut milk

Fresh cilantro.

Soak the pulses overnight (this is why I don’t deal with dried legume stuff). Drain, and bring to a boil in enough water to cover the pulses with about 2 inches of water to spare. Simmer for about 1 hour.

Mix together what I told you to mix together above.

Heat your fat of choice in a pan and add the mixture in the bowl to it; saute for 5 minutes. Add the tomato, curry leaves, hing, and salt to taste. Cook and stir often for 8-10 minutes. Add this to the beans. Pour in the coconut milk and simmer for 20 minutes.

Garnish with the cilantro and serve hot. Additional garnish: some extra coconut milk!

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Enjoy. Love me some fiber, protein… coconut… yum. This was pretty tasty and went very well with sweet potato parathas. Other accompaniments would be some dahi (yogurt), or rice, or both, and a sweet lime pickle.

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So many dishes, though… I can make such a mess in the kitchen. It’s kind of unavoidable especially with Indian food… or so I’ve found thus far.

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So that’s my kitchen, here in our little ground floor flat. Hope you like the soup. I recommend it.

Oats and Coconut Payasam

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Payasam is very similar to kheer. It’s called “kheer” in North India, while usually referred to as “payasam” or some variant thereof in South India. A lot of dishes are kind of like that: similar dishes, different names. Just to make things nice and confusing for the foreigner. But you get the hang of it pretty quickly!

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Anyway,  a rose by any other name would smell just as sweet. And sweet, this is. Sweet and spicy and crunchy and smooth and creamy. Payasam (according to wikipedia) comes from a “peeyusham” meaning nectar or ambrosia… An accurate description.

You’re probably wondering, ‘okay, what is this, whatever the name is!?’ Well if you haven’t read my banana kheer post (shame on you), kheer/payasam is basically pudding/porridge made with various ingredients: usually some grain (or banana!), nuts, ghee, sugar, spices and milk.

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I got this recipe from VahChef at http://www.vahrehvah.com. His Indian cooking YouTube videos are hilaaarious and I highly recommend.

Oats and Coconut Payasam

Adapted from VahChef

1-2 tablespoons ghee

15-20 cashews, chopped roughly

1 tablespoon golden raisins

2-3 tablespoons of oats (I ended up using a bit more)

1/2 cup freshly grated coconut (You could probably use unsweetened desiccated coconut, or go ahead and test your coconut cracking skills)

2 cups or 500 mL milk

1 cup water

Sugar: I used 1 cube of jaggery and a sprinkle of granulated sugar. Original recipe says 1/2 cup sugar. Add to taste.

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

Sliced almonds for garnishing

Heat ghee in a pot, add cashews and raisins and fry until the raisins puff up and cashews are golden brown.

Add the oats and coconut and stir until you can smell some coconutty fragrance/you see a slight color change. (2-3 minutes)

Add the milk and water and cook on low heat for a while until the milk reduces and the mixture thickens. You can add more water to dilute if it gets too thick.

Add sugar and let it melt; add the cardamom and take off the heat.

Sprinkle almonds on top and serve, warm or cold. Or room temperature. It will basically taste yummy in any form.

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This was so good. I wouldn’t really mind eating this for breakfast every day. I gave some of this to my neighbors and landlords in return for goodies that they gave to me! I got good reviews from them, so let that be your guide and just go ahead and make this. MmmmMMm.

Vegan Vanilla Bean Cheesecake with Berry-Chia Compote

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Finally took the new Vitamix out for a test run by pureeing cashews into the creamiest cheese-cakey filling ever.

It so beats “regular” cheesecake. Which does seem very regular in comparison to this scrumptious concoction.

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Check out that crust, first of all. It is just ground walnuts and medjool dates, with a sprinkle of dried unsweetened coconut. Less is more.

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Complete with a raspberry/blueberry compote, which couldn’t be easier to throw together.

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Yeah, you won’t regret making this.

Vegan Vanilla Bean Cheesecake with Berry-Chia Compote

Adapted from The Vegetarian Times magazine, July 2008

2 cups raw walnuts
1 ½ cups raw cashews
½ cup pitted Medjool dates (I used 5-6 large dates)
¼ cup dried, unsweetened coconut
6 Tbs. coconut oil, melted (gently warmed)
¼ cup lemon juice
¼ cup agave nectar
The scrapings of 1 vanilla bean or 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
Compote
3 cups mixed berries, such as blueberries and raspberries (I used frozen)
1/3 cup (probably unnecessary) raw sugar
zest and juice of half a lemon
2 teaspoons corn starch
1 tablespoon chia seeds
Soak walnuts and dates in one bowl of water, and cashews in another bowl, for 3-4 hours. Drain.
Pulse walnuts and dates in a food processor until crumbly and pressable. Sprinkle dried coconut in the bottom of an 8-inch pie pan or springform pan. Scatter the walnut/date mixture in the pan, right on top of the sprinkled coconut, and press to cover.
Place drained cashews, warmed coconut oil, lemon juice, vanilla beans, and agave nectar in the Vitamix. Process until smooth and delicious. Pour the mixture into the crust, and freeze 1-2 hours/until firm.
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, heat the berries, sugar, and lemon juice + zest until bubbling, then lower the heat and simmer. Add and mix in the cornstarch and chia. Once most of the liquid has evaporated and it reaches a jelly consistency, remove from heat. Allow to cool.
When ready to serve, allow to thaw a bit and then top either the whole cheesecake with compote, or each individual slice. Alternatively, you can serve this with fresh berries.

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This was absolutely the bomb. So delicious. Vanilla beans running throughout and the lemon juice do well to lighten an otherwise decadent dessert. The tart berry compote–with chia seeds, full of fiber and other goodness–contrasts the subtle sweetness of the cake perfectly. One slice is so satisfying and chock-full of healthy fats. Do not fear the fat.

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I will definitely make this again. Even my die-hard cheesecake-loving brother ate it without question. I’m not sure if he even suspected it was anything less than the cheesecake he knows and loves.

Vegan or not, you will be the most popular person at whatever party you bring this to… or, the most popular person in your house if you just make it for fun!

Maple-Candied Walnuts & Almonds with Coconut

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While I am at work [short story: I work at the library here on campus; I process ILLs, check out books, help patrons with research questions, and occasionally help decorate display cases or do other odd jobs],  sometimes my boss and I will talk about the current news in the field of nutrition, like the Paleo diet and gluten sensitivity and the like. We exchange recipe ideas and she gave me this one, out of a book called The Candy Counter. After hearing rave reviews from my boss, I decided to make it too!

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Coincidentally, my friend Sarah asked me to bake a little something for her Teen Vogue party just a few days earlier!

This recipe couldn’t have come at a better time. It’s college-kitchen friendly–and slightly addicting.

Maple-Candied Walnuts & Almonds with Coconut

Adapted from The Candy Counter, page 192

1/2 cup grade A maple syrup

1 cup raw walnuts

1 cup slivered almonds

1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Combine all ingredients in a bowl (I used a rubber/silicone nonstick bowl) and pour on a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet; spread evenly (thinly as possible, to get those delicious browned edges). Bake 15-20 minutes, until golden brown, bubbling, and the coconut is nice and toasty.

Cool completely on the tray, either placed on a wire rack or just on top of the stove. Break into pieces. Store up to 1 week.

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These went over very well at the party, and made the lounge smell wonderfully mapley and delicious. Next time I think I would sprinkle a bit of sea salt to bring out the maple flavor, and perhaps roast it a bit longer… I was seriously paranoid it was going to burn.

The flavors of the nuts and the coconut and the maple syrup just complement each other so well. Crunchy, yummy finger food. The party was a lot of fun–it was a makeup/sharpie/photo-taking extravaganza! A great end to a long, post-spring-break-week.

Many thanks to Sarah for putting the party together and to Teen Vogue for supplying the makeup, Sharpie totes, and party decorations!

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…. and now it’s time for homework.

Coconut Macaroons

In the mood for an easy, vegan, soft, chewy, coconutty cookie that is… well… adorable?

Stop here.

Coconut Macaroons

Adapted from Chocolate Covered Katie; made 13

1 cup finely shredded unsweetened coconut
1 tablespoon whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons coconut milk
3 tablespoons agave syrup
1 packet truvia (or +1 tablespoon agave)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 360°.

Combine all in glass bowl and then microwave 3 minutes on high. For pretty, spherical-ish cookies, use a melon baller, ice cream scoop or cookie scoop to deposit on parchment-papered pan.

Cook 14-16 minutes or until very lightly browned. Cookies will be very soft.

For chocolate, drizzle melted chocolate, dip, or make chocolate and pipe on with a plastic bag.

1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
1 teaspoon agave
splash vanilla
2 tablespoons+ cocoa powder

Mix until combined, add more cocoa if not thick enough to pipe. Put in small ziplock, trim off corner, and design away.

Mmm.

I can’t believe I hated coconut for so long! These were so delicious. And much better texture than traditional egg/condensed milk/sugar-laden macaroons I’ve tried in the past.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

If super-soft, rich-tasting, oozing with chocolate peanut butter cookies are your thing, look no further.

If all of the above is necessary, plus the healthy factor, well, you’ve just hit the jackpot.

If you are craving chocolate, in cookie form, but don’t want to make enough to feed five bake sales, this recipe is perfect.

And if you like ice cream with warm chocolate chip cookies… wait, why did I even write “if” in that sentence? There’s no question!

Above, the cookies with vanilla banana soft serve. Perfect pairing!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Adapted from Texanerin (for more round, exact looking cookies, follow her recipe! Below is more like drop-cookie style)

1 1/4 cups canned chickpeas, rinsed
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons natural peanut butter, if unsalted also + 1 pinch of salt
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup-ish chocolate chips/chunks, homemade or Nestle

Preheat oven to 350.

In a food processor, combine everything but chocolate chips. Get it super smooth.

Remove to a separate bowl and stir in chocolate chips.

Dollop about 2 tablespoons worth onto a parchment-papered cookie sheet.

Bake 12 minutes or until desired doneness. Makes about 12 cookies.

So if you’ve actually read this far, you will have noticed that chickpeas are the secret weapon here, much like in these blondies and this chocolate chunk cookie cake. Chickpeas are mild in flavor but lend a rich-feeling texture when pureed–and match well with whatever sweetener they are imbued with and are especially delicious with chocolate. The batter was wetter than I wanted it to be, but I should probably have dried off the chickpeas like the original recipe told me to… and I just totally didn’t even see that step.

These are super dense in the middle, soft and good warm or cold. The whole tray was gone in less than 24 hours. Plus, with minimal sweetener, chickpeas, peanut butter and heart-healthy cocoa, I wouldn’t mind calling these more of a snack than a dessert! But of course, they’re delicious either way.