Thursday, July 30, 2015

Vegetable Puffs

Puffs is a spicy pastry snack of India. The pastry sheets stuffed with various kinds of masala and named after the stuffing.

In my hometown , veg puffs is one of the most popular snack that can be bought only from bakeries. Though vadai, bajji and many other snacks are sold during the evening time by the street vendors, those bakeries would always be crowded with an affluent group of customers, who used to buy the best snacks for their kids (though the simple homemade vada is good for all, who listens...hi hi).  At that time, ovens were not this much prevalent in India. So buying a few puffs in the evening would be more handy and classy, if some guests had arrived. In my childhood, a bakery called 'Queens' in our neighborhood was very popular for their onion puffs, veg puffs, sweet puffs etc.

This is my younger brother's favorite and at one point of time, while returning from my job,  I used to get down one stop ahead in our NGO colony to buy these puffs to see his smile :)

After coming to US, I had almost forgotten to prepare this snack at home (not possible to buy one as per our taste). Also , I am concerned more on the calories in pastry sheets (that's a different story).
But recently one day, bought a pack of these pastry sheets from Indian grocery stores and made these steaming hot along with ginger tea on a weekend. My hubby dear loves this absolutely very much and tells me to repeat every weekend :)

So try this and see a big smile on your loved ones faces!
Vegetable puffs - after baking !

Preparing the vegetable stuffing.

This is the puff pastry I bought

For calorie facts...Yes !

Thawing instructions.

Pastry sheets with stuffing

Fold the pastry squares into rectangles or triangles ....teach geometry to kids by this fun way too :)

Press the edges using a fork.

Puffs after baking ....

serve the piping hot veg puffs to your loved ones along with tea !

Ingredients:
Pastry sheets - 4
red onion - 1
ginger garlic paste - 1 tsp
oil - 2 tsp
fennel (sombu) -  1 tsp
tomato - 1
lemon juice - few drops (if needed only)
carrot , beans, peas - handful
salt - to taste
garam masala powder - 1 tsp
red chilly powder - 1/2 tsp
green chilly - 1
minced cilantro, mint leaf - 1 tbsp

Preparation:
Thaw the pastry sheets as per direction.
I thawed them by leaving the pack in kitchen counter after lunch and it stayed there for almost 2 1/2 hours (as it was little cool on that day). But other than that follow the directions in the pack.

Filling:
Heat oil in a wok. Add fennel and let it get red. Then add onion and saute till it get red. Then add the ginger garlic paste and saute. Then goes the finely chopped tomato. Let it wilt.
Put all the chopped vegetables, green chilly. Add the masala powders, salt.
Sprinkle a handful of water and cook covered. Then put the chopped mint and cilantro leaves. After it gets cooked, if necessary add lime juice. switch off. The stuffing is ready !

Method:
Preheat the oven to 400 deg F (10 mins).
Line a baking tray with aluminum foil and coat it with tsp of oil.
Keep the pastry sheets flat.
Put 2 tbsp filling (not too much) and fold as per taste.
Then using a fork, press the edges so that they close.
Coat the top with little butter or milk.
Bake for 15 - 20 minutes at 400 deg F.
Take out when the upper crust seems mild red.
Vegetable puffs is ready!

Serving suggestion:
Serve as tea time snack.


Thursday, July 23, 2015

Sapota Milkshake (low fat version)

Chikoo / sapota in Tamil / sapodilla is a  very commonly available and one of the beloved fruits in India. They will be in market since Jan till July. At that time this fruit will be available less expensive. The shopkeepers in my hometown will give the customers more than they pays for, as they would like to sell these quick ripening fruits quickly. In my childhood days, my mom's aunt (Rajathiraviyam aachi , my mom's father's sister and my dad's mom's sister), who lived in our neighborhood used to send us this sapota fruits in big baskets. That grandma's traditional house had two big sapota trees in the front yard. Those trees would bloom and give fruits at the same time, in very large quantity. So we would get a call from her around a weekend , when she had planned to arrange for a person to pick the fruits. That grandma adores girl children very much. She used to be very much attached to me and me to her :)  It was one of my most favorite places, as she would pet and would make my holidays the best.
After holidays, she and her friend (cum maid, another grandma we say) would make a big gift basket filled with eggs and cleaned whole chicken from her poultry farm and these yummy chikoo fruits. Whenever I buy some sapota fruit, I always remember my grandma and those sweet days :)

In US, I buy frozen sapota from Indian grocery stores. Here the fresh sapota is rare.  Even if I get fresh sapotas, they would take many days to ripen because of weather.

Here is a very delicious milkshake (low fat version), I make. This is my hubby dear's one of the most favorite drinks and he religiously reminds me to buy this frozen sapota fruits, on my grocery days.



Ingredients:
Sapota fruit - 2 (medium size)
skimmed milk (or) any milk - 2 cups.
brown sugar - 2 tsp
cardamom powder - a pinch
crushed ice - as per need (2 tbsp heaped)

Method:
Boil the milk and let it cool completely. keep it cooler in fridge.
(In US, we can straightly use the cold milk from the can).
Remove the skin and seeds of sapota fruit.
In a mixie jar, add the fruit, sugar  cardamom powder and grind to a smooth paste.
Add the cold milk and run the mixie few seconds.
Add crushed ice and whisk a little.
Pour in your favorite juice glass and enjoy !

Serving suggestion:
Milkshakes are a great way to include more milk.
Serve milkshakes as fresh as possible.

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