Cocktail Papadums & Carrot Salad

Cocktail Papadums & Carrot Salad

As promised – here is the next easy appetizer idea. Most Indians will be familiar with some version of this carrot salad. You can add in seeded & finely chopped tomatoes, or sprouted mung beans. I have just added a small twist to how it’s served. Cocktail Papadums (mini papads) are available at most Indian grocery stores. If not, you can use tortilla chips / scoops.

These papads and the salad can be made ahead of time and assembled just before serving. Hope this helps make your entertaining easier :)).

Cocktail Papadums & Carrot Salad

Cocktail Papadums & Carrot Salad

(serves 4-6)

  • 1/2 packet cocktail papadums (fried and drained)
  • 2 large carrots (peeled & grated)
  • 1 small red onion (finely chopped)
  • 1-2 green chillies (finely chopped)
  • 2-3 Tbsp cilantro (finely chopped)
  • salt to taste
  • lemon juice to taste
  • 1 medium tomato (seeded & finely diced) – optional
  • 1/2 cup sprouted mung beans – optional

This recipe is more a guide than an actual measurement:

1) Fry cocktail papadums and drain on paper towels. Store in a paper towel lined air tight container for up to 2 days. (If you cannot find mini papadums/papads,  I suppose you could get away with tortilla chips/scoops.)

2) In a bowl, mix together the grated carrots, onion, green chillies and mung beans (if using). Refrigerate till ready to serve.

3) Just before serving, add the salt, lemon juice & tomato and gently mix with a fork. (Remember that tomatoes will release moisture and make the carrot mix soggy after a while. I generally avoid it if I expect the mix to sit for a while.)

4) Serve in a bowl on a plate with the papads. Guests can fix their own bite size snack.

Cocktail Papadums

Growing up, this was something we occasionally had as Sunday breakfast to give my mom a break from cooking. We slathered our bread with ghee and toasted it on the griddle till it was golden and crunchy, and topped it with this spicy carrot salad. I still enjoy this salad, but without the bread!

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Creamy Guava-Coconut Popsicles

Creamy Guava-Coconut Popsicles

A week into summer break, and I’ve already heard “Mom, can we go to the pool?”, “Mom, can we go get ice-cream?”, and “I’m Bored!!” more times than I can take. I had my 10-year old make a list of all the things he would like to do for fun over the next two months, and making popsicles was one of the first few items. We’re checking off one item on the list each day, and yesterday happened to be the day we pulled out the popsicle molds from the basement. But let me be honest; I foresee many days where screen time is going to be my best friend :).

IMG_0042  (Mom’s ‘not-so-little’ helper)

 

I got this paleta Latin American popsicles that are either cream or juice mixed with fruit – recipe several years ago from my friend Nellie, and had really enjoyed the taste. I meant to share it here earlier, but had misplaced the hand written scrap of paper. After looking everywhere, I found it folded and tucked inside one of my many recipe books and binders. One of my most favorite recipes, these are creamy and just sweet enough. I’ve been inspired to use this basic recipe to substitute other fruits, and will update here once (if) my experiments are successful.

IMG_0043 IMG_0044

 

 

(Guava paste can be found in the Hispanic food section at the grocery store.)

Creamy Guava-Coconut Popsicles

Creamy Guava-Coconut PopsiclesCreamy Guava-Coconut Popsicle

(Makes 15-17 popsicles, about quarter cup each)

  • 1 (15 oz) can coconut milk
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 (15 oz) can condensed milk
  • 10-12 oz guava paste

1) Chop about a quarter of the guava paste into small pieces and drop into the bottom of the popsicle molds.

2) In a large blender jar, add the coconut milk, cream, milk, cornstarch, condensed milk, & chunks of the remaining guava paste. Blend till well mixed, but not frothy.

3) Pour into the popsicle molds, add handles and freeze for atleast 4-6 hours.

4) To remove popsicles, run the bottom & sides of the mold under warm water for a few seconds and slide the ice cream out.

NOTE : If using dixie cups, place them on a cookie tray or plate and then fill them according to instructions. Freeze on the cookie tray for about an hour. Then insert the popsicle sticks. This will help keep the sticks straight as they freeze for several more hours.

Microwave Besan Ladoo (Sweet Chickpea Flour Balls)

Microwave Besan Ladoo

Here’s another easy and delicious recipe I got from my aunt. She hosts a dinner at her home each fall for about 100+ people, and almost always makes hundreds of these delicious ladoos, except in the traditional way. The key to success in the traditional way is to roast the chickpea flour just right – cook too long and  the flour burns in a flash; too little and the finished sweet ends up raw and bitter. I have ruined at least a handful of batches till I got this recipe. Now, I can whip up a fail-proof batch anytime I crave for them. This recipe and the Microwave Doodh Peda recipe have been really handy when I’ve had guests over on short notice.

I have made these with regular besan and with laddu besan. Both are equally good. If you like a slightly grainer texture, use ladoo besan. If you like a smoother texture, use regular besan.

If you use homemade ghee in this recipe, make sure that all the moisture has been cooked out of the butter. I will soon post a super easy way to make Ghee in the crockpot.

Microwave Besan Ladoo

(10 – 12 pieces)

  • 1 cup besan
  • 3/4 cup fine sugar (measure into your mixer jar and grind for a few seconds)
  • 1/3 cup ghee (clarified butter)
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom powder
  • few saffron strands
  • 2-3 Tbsp toasted & chopped almonds / pistachio (optional)

1) Mix the flour & ghee in a medium glass bowl, and microwave on high for 1 minutes. Remove and stir well.

2) Repeat thrice for a total of 3 minutes.

3) Reduce microwave power to 50% and repeat for another 2-3 minutes, stirring every minute. After third time, taste a tiny pinch to check if the flour tastes raw. If it has a nice nutty, toasted flavor, then it is done. If not, continue microwaving in 30 second intervals. Be careful not to let it burn.

4) Cool the flour mixture.

5) Add sugar, cardamom & saffron, and mix well. Shape into balls and press few nuts into one side as you roll them.

6) Store in an airtight container.