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How to Make Oil Free Pakoras? Don’t Waste Cauliflower Stems SuperFood

It’s that time of the year, rains ruining your travel plans and messing up your laundry duties. We all need the warmth and feel good factor of bhajiyas and pakoras with chai but with all the goodness of no oil of-course. So I’ve come up with a few recipes to do just that.

Cauliflower stem and leaf pakora:

It’s the monsoon season, vegetable prices are soaring and one can’t afford to throw away any edible portion of vegetables especially when they are so expensive. Did you know the actual raw yield of a head of cauliflower is just about 55%. If you purchase 1 kg cauliflower for 63 rupees which is the prevailing rate. You are essentially dumping 28 rupees worth of perfectly edible cauliflower in the bin which is wrong on so many levels.

Making this cauliflower stem pakoras is incredibly simple and is sure to brighten up a gloomy monsoon evening. Best enjoyed with a cup of piping hot chai.

 

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Cauliflower stem pakora
Course Snacks, Vegetarian
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Course Snacks, Vegetarian
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Wash the cauliflower, destem the florets and keep aside. We will not be using the florets. You may use the florets for your regular sabji or any other purpose. Once cut you can store the florets immersed in water for upto 24 hrs in the refrigerator.
  2. Roughly chop up the stems, leaves and the stalks. In rare cases the cauliflower comes whole along with the larger leaves that completely envelope it. Make sure you don’t include these as we want to make sure that the pakoras don’t have too much leafy content which will leach out water and not allow them to crisp up adequately.
  3. Once this is done put all of these contents in a blender and blitz the mixture till it is finely chopped up but not to a paste. Add some salt to the mixture, mix and keep it aside. The salt is added for seasoning ofcourse but also to ensure that the leafy portion lets of some of the excess moisture. Moisture being the enemy of crispyness.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare the batter and keep it aside. Keep water for boiling. Squeeze the blended cauliflower and drain the excess water. Now add it to the batter, check the consistency as mentioned in the ingredient list.
  5. Once the water is boiling, add the batter in small dolops either with a spoon or your hands. The batter will be sticky so keep a bowl of water handy so that you can quickly rinse your fingers before dropping the next pakora. The boiling process is to make sure that the contents of the pakora are cooked and it gives structure for us to be able to spread out on a baking tray. Poach for about 2-3 mins, drain and cool in the refrigerator. Cooling in the refrigerator will help in the drying out of the surface of the pakoras and help in the browning process in the oven.
  6. Grease a baking tray with 1 tsp of oil and spread it. Preheat the oven to 200*C, add the pakoras to the tray and bake. After about 2 mins, increase the temperature to max, around 250*C. You might have to turn them around slightly to achieve even browning.
  7. After about 5-7 mins it should be crispy, golden brown and ready. Serve hot with ketchup or sauce of your choice.
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Birbal ki Khichdi | Slow Cooked Dum Khichdi Recipe

Birbal ki Khichdi

Birbal ki Khichdi

Have you heard the tale of Akbar’s wise minister Birbal and his Birbal ki Khichdi? I grew up listening to bedtime stories about Akbar & Birbal. Birbal was a clever man, his wit and wisdom was well known in Akbar’s kingdom. He was Akbar’s advisor, he had a simple solution for every problem in the kingdom.

Birbal was the only one who could even teach the King a lesson when he was wrong just by using his wit. One such famous tale about Akbar is called “Birbal ki Khichdi”. This is how the story goes.

One day in winter, Akbar and Birbal were taking a morning walk by the lake, discussing some official matters. Suddenly the king slipped and lost his slipper in the lake. The water was cold that he squealed like a little girl and jumped out of the water. When Birbal giggled at this little mishap, the King, to mask his weakling reaction declared a public dare. Any man who would stand in knee deep water all night in this lake would be given a big reward from the King’s treasure.

A poor man, who needed money to get his three daughters married decided to accept the dare. On a winter evening, he stood all night in knee deep water in the lake to win this reward. When he came in front of the King to claim his reward, the King couldn’t accept his defeat and refused the prize claiming the man had cheated. Akbar said that there was a little lamp lit miles away, at a window in his palace. This man was warming himself up by looking at that lamp all night, and so was he did not deserve the prize.

The man hurt and helpless went away. Akbar was happy that he had outsmarted Birbal this time, and he wouldn’t have to pay the man. Birbal was not one to stand such injustice. He decided to teach Akbar a lesson.

The following day, Birbal did not come to the Darbar. He sent word to the King saying that he would come once he had cooked and eaten his Khichdi. When many hours passed Akbar felt angry and frustrated and decided to go by the lake himself, where Birbal was cooking this khichdi all morning. Akbar was shocked at what he saw.

Birbal had lit a small lamp on the ground and tied a pot of khichdi to a long bamboo over it. The bamboo was really long and it was impossible to cook the khichdi that way. Akbar frustrated to see this said to Birbal, “this is ridiculous Birbal! It is impossible to cook the khichdi from that far.”

Birbal smiled and said to Akbar, “Why my King? If an old man can warm himself with a little lamp far, far away, then why can’t my khichdi cook on this bamboo?”

Akbar realised his mistake right away, he smiled and agreed to pay the old man who had stood all night in the lake. And so, once again, Birbal saved the day.

Since the day I heard this story as a five year old, I’ve been fascinated by what Birbal ki Khichdi would taste like. Slow cooked, rich with lots of ghee, gooey and beautifully garnished for the King and his ministers. Here’s my recipe for Birbal ki Khichdi.


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Birbal ki Khichdi
Slow cooked, rich with lots of ghee, gooey and beautifully garnished for the King. Here's my recipe for Birbal ki Khichdi with 6 different garnishes and toppings. This recipe has a smoky flavour with dungar given with chillies!
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 3 hours
Passive Time 12 for slow cooker
Servings
cups
Ingredients
For the Dum Khichdi
Topping 1
Topping 2
Topping 3
Topping 4
Topping 5
Topping 6
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 3 hours
Passive Time 12 for slow cooker
Servings
cups
Ingredients
For the Dum Khichdi
Topping 1
Topping 2
Topping 3
Topping 4
Topping 5
Topping 6
Instructions
Dum Khichdi
  1. Mix and soak the dals and rice for 2 hours. Then wash and drain out the water.
  2. In a heavy copper bottom vessel, add the soaked dal rice mixture along with 3 cups of water.
  3. Add 1/4 cup ghee, turmeric, salt, garlic and red chilli powder. Mix well.
  4. Line the copper vessel with a heavy, flat tava and cover it with a fitted lid. Place a heavy weight on the lid so no heat can escape. Turn on the heat on high and allow it to cook on high heat for 10 minutes or till you hear bubbling sound.
  5. Open the lid and add the remaining half cup of ghee, mix well. Cover with a fitted lid again and place a heavy weight on top of it. Turn the heat to the lowest setting and cook for 3 hours. Check every 20 minutes, stir to avoid sticking. Add ghee if the khichdi starts sticking to the bottom.
  6. For SLOW COOKER, Simply add all the above ingredients, cover with a lid and cook on the lowest setting for 12 hours or overnight.
  7. Heat 1 tablespoon ghee in a steel bowl until it is piping hot. Place it in the khichdi, add whole red chillies and cover with a fitted lid. Place some heavy weight over it. This ghee can be poured into the khichdi to flavour it. Mix well.
Toppings
  1. Divide the khichdi into 6 equal portions.
  2. Top the first portion with mixed nuts and dried fruits fried in ghee and fresh pomegranate.
  3. Top the second portion with garlic tossed in cornstarch and fried, raw spinach, thinly sliced and few drops of raw mustard oil.
  4. For the third portion, prepare an onion tomato salad with whisked curd and place it on the khichdi along with green chilli.
  5. For the fourth part, add onion sliced and fried in ghee until golden brown, along with a sprig of mint.
  6. Top the fifth portion with a roasted urad dal papad brushed with ghee and sprinkle red chilli powder on top.
  7. For the sixth portion, simply steam green peas and toss them with chaat masala. Place these to top the khichdi.
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Veg Manchurian on Crispy Noodles | Vegetarian Snacks | Chinese Street Food

Video Recipe

 

 

 

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Printable Recipe – Veg Manchurian on Crispy Noodles

 

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Veg Manchurian on Crispy Noodles
Veg Manchurian is a common favorite chinese street food. We all crave for it! Care to make it healthier and guilt free? This natural foods recipe uses a steaming method. No frying makes the veg manchurian light, fluffy and deliciously moist.
Chinese Street Food
Course Snacks, Vegetarian
Cuisine Chinese
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Passive Time 5 minutes
Servings
Manchurian balls
Ingredients
For the Veg Manchurian Balls
For the sauce
For the crispy noodles
Course Snacks, Vegetarian
Cuisine Chinese
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Passive Time 5 minutes
Servings
Manchurian balls
Ingredients
For the Veg Manchurian Balls
For the sauce
For the crispy noodles
Chinese Street Food
Instructions
Manchurian Balls
  1. Roughly chop all the vegetables for the manchurian balls. Add them into a mixture and grind them into a course mixture.
  2. Add cornstarch and salt to the mixture. Mix well.
  3. Take a spoonful of mixture and roll it into a lemon ball shape. Repeat this until the entire mixture is shaped into manchurian.
  4. Heat water in a wok and place a bamboo steamer lined with lettuce or salad leaf in it.
  5. Place the manchurian balls in batches and steam them for 5 to 7 minutes.
  6. Allow them to cool. Then roll each of them in cornstarch, dust off the excess and set aside.
Manchurian Sauce
  1. In a wok, heat vegetable oil.
  2. Add the manchurian pieces and allow them to turn golden brown on both sides.
  3. Add chopped garlic, ginger, spring onion bulbs. Add green chilli if you would like the sauce to be hot and spicy. Saute all the ingredients together.
  4. Add chopped carrot and allow them to cook for 2 minutes.
  5. In a glass of cold water, add dark soy sauce and cornstarch and mix well until there are no lumps remaining in the solution. Add salt if required.
  6. Add the cornstarch solution to the wok with the manchurian and allow it to come to boil. Mix well.
  7. Turn off the heat and add chopped spring onion leaves to the sauce. Mix well and set aside.
Crispy Noodles
  1. Cook the instruction without the spice mix, as per the instructions given on the pack.
  2. Add salt and a few drops of soy sauce. Allow the noodles to cool to room temperature.
  3. Take two same size glass bowls that are fitted easily on top of each other. Smear some oil in one bowl and at the bottom of the other bowl. Repeat this with all the pairs of bowls to be used to make as many nests as you wish to serve.
  4. Divide the noodles into 3 parts. Add one part of the noodles in one of the greased bowls. Take the other fitted bowl with oil at the bottom and neatly fit on top of the noodles to make a nest. Repeat the same with all the remaining noodles for small nests. Or You can also use the entire pack of noodles and two big bowls to make a single crispy noodles nest.
  5. Keep the fitted bowls with noodles in the refrigerator for 20 to 30 minutes.
  6. Take the set noodles nest and pan fry them with hot vegetable oil on a non-stick pan.
  7. Place the crispy noodles on a serving plate. Place the manchurian balls with a spoonful of sauce on top. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds and spring onions greens.
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