Summer Lunch Ideas: Green Peas & Edamame Hummus and a Quick Sandwich

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It is crazy hot here! I mean sweaty, sticky, barely-able-to-keep-my-eyes-open-past-noon hot! Luckily I am on vacation this week too, so I am allowed to nap :D

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The munchkin is at home with me too, so I still need to make nutritious lunch for the two of us, instead of sticking to a bag of chips and iced coffee (yes, have done that on occasion!)

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But when it is so hot, you don’t really want to stand in front of the stove for too long, salads and sandwiches to the rescue!

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I like to mix up my sandwiches now and then. Instead of the usual veggie and cheese, yesterday I made this lovely open-faced sandwich.

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The star of this sandwich was this lovely, vibrant Green Peas and Edamame Hummus…

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Look at that color! Isn’t it gorgeous? The munchkin loves Edamame, so this hummus was just perfect for her too.

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The sandwich was simply a slice of Danish rye-bread, Rugbrød, (very nutritious and a staple of Danish cuisine) slathered with oodles of the hummus and topped with a soft-boiled egg and slivered radish.

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The runny yolk, the hummus and the sharp rye-bread, heavenly!

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The best part: the whole meal comes together in about 20 minutes!

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You can also use the hummus as a dip to dunk veggies, crudites, crackers or pita chips. Or use it to make your own sandwich. It is creamy, lemony, gorgeous and is sure to pep up any regular sandwich!

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Here’s the recipe (adapted from Just A Taste).

Green Peas & Edamame Hummus and an open-faced Sandwich

  • Servings: Makes 1 cup of Hummus
  • Time: Approx 20 minutes
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Ingredients:

1/2 cup frozen shelled Edamame
1/2 cup frozen Green Peas
1 tablespoon Tahini
1 Tablespoons freshly squeezed Lemon Juice
1 Garlic clove, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon Cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon Red Chilli powder (optional)
1/4 teaspoon Salt or as per taste
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 sprig Cilantro, to garnish

Directions:

Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil.
Add the edamame and cook just until tender, 3 to 5 minutes.
Remove the edamame to a colander. Return the water to a boil, add the peas, and cook just until tender, about 1 minute.
Transfer the peas to the colander with the edamame to drain.
In the bowl of a food processor, pulse together the edamame, peas, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, chilli powder, 1 tablespoon water and salt until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
With the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil and continue processing until the mixture is a smooth puree.
Taste the hummus and season with additional salt if needed.
Transfer the hummus to a bowl, top with chopped cilantro and serve.

To make the Open-faced sandwich: Take a slice of dark rye-bread and slather it generously with the hummus. Top with a soft-boiled egg and slivered veggies. Sprinkle salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

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Rose to the Occasion: Baked Gulab Jamun (Indian syrup-soaked Donuts)

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I have written a lot in past posts about the diversity of Indian food as well as about the affinity of Indians to all things sweet.

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Put those two things together and you can’t begin to imagine the sheer, unparalleled variety of sweets and desserts available all over the country :D

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One very popular dessert, consumed at most special occasions is ‘Gulab Jamun’. ‘Gulab’ means Rose in Hindi, a reference to rose essence which is sometimes used to flavor this dessert.

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‘Jamun’ is a tart-sweet purple fruit, probably referring to the shape of this dessert, which can be round or slightly oblong.

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This dessert is made by making small balls of khoya, which is simply milk that has been cooked for a very, very long time till most of the moisture is evaporated. These milk solids are mixed with a bit of flour, formed into balls and deep-fried to golden perfection.

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Then the balls are soaked in a sugar syrup which has been flavored with cardamom, saffron and rose essence. The balls absorb the sugar syrup and become these lovely, delicate, juicy dumplings, which literally melt in your mouth.

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It is generally served warm, about 2-3 jamuns in a bowl with some of the soaking syrup. Absolutely divine!

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I took a few liberties with the traditional method, using milk powder instead of khoya and baking the balls instead of deep-frying them. It results in jamuns that are a bit harder and need to be soaked for longer.

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Also, I made a thicker sugar syrup, so that the syrup coated the balls and became more like donut holes that one could eat without extra syrup. A bit lighter than the traditional recipe and still luscious! Saffron and cardamom scented deliciousness :D

I have just returned from a lovely vacation (all about it soon!) and am late to Friday Fiesta this week. The party is in full force and being hosted by an awesome twosome: Hilda @Along The Grapevine and Julianna @Foodie On Board!

Here’s the recipe (adapted from Veggie Belly).

Baked Gulab Jamun (Indian Sugar-soaked Donuts)

  • Servings: Makes 24 Jamun
  • Time: Approx 2 hours
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Ingredients:

For the Jamuns:
1 cup unsweetened Milk Powder (not coffee creamer)
1 tablespoon Butter at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon Baking Soda
3 tablespoons All-purpose Flour
A pinch of Salt
1/2 teaspoon white distilled Vinegar
1/3 cup Whole Milk
A teaspoon of Oil or Ghee for greasing

For the Sugar Syrup:
2 cups Sugar
2 cups Water
Seeds from 4 Cardamom pods, crushed
A drop of Rose essence (optional)
A small pinch of Saffron threads (optional)

Directions:

Place the sugar and water in a small saucepan.
Bring to a boil and watch for the sugar to dissolve.
Once its dissolved, boil for another 5 minutes.
Turn off heat and add cardamom powder (and rose essence and / or saffron, if using).
Set the syrup aside.
Now make the Jamuns. In a mixing bowl, add milk powder or dry milk, baking soda, flour and salt. Mix well.
Then add butter and vinegar. Add milk a little at a time and mix till it forms dough.
You may not need all of the milk.
When a soft, sticky dough forms, stop adding milk. Cover and let the dough stand for about 20 minutes.
After resting, the dough will be less sticky, airy and a little firmer.
If it’s too sticky, sprinkle a little flour. If it’s too dry, add a little milk.
Knead the dough for some time.
Dip your fingers in oil or ghee, divide the dough into 24 even pieces and roll them into balls.
Dip your fingers in oil as and when needed to avoid sticking.
Bake the balls on a silicone baking mat in a preheated oven, at 300 F (150 C) till they are brown and risen, about 7-10 minutes, turning them over once in between.
Remove from oven and let them cool.
Add the jamuns to the sugar syrup. Stir gently so the jamuns are well coated in syrup.
Cover and let the gulab jamuns soak in the syrup for at least an hour before serving.
Serve warm.

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Summer Jammin’: Apricot & Vanilla Jam + Jam Tarts (A guest post at SimplyVegetarian777)

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One of the best things about blogging is all the wonderful people you get to meet and have virtual parties with. A bit nerdy maybe, but a whole lot of fun!

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I first met Sonal at the fabulous weekly potluck Friday Fiesta hosted by the inimitable Angie, the (not so!) Novice Gardener.

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And since then, Sonal has been such a wonderful supporter of my blog and a real friend, she writes the most lovely, supportive comments on my posts and has made my day, so many times with her sweetness.

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And she is a force of nature when it comes to cooking up a storm (mixed metaphors, I know, but it’s Sonal I’m talking about). She makes the most amazing meals for her family and friends. Check out what she cooked for her husband’s birthday, for instance and try not to drool :P

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So, when Sonal asked me to do a guest post, I couldn’t show up with just one dish, could I? That’s the reason for the double whammy today: Homemade Apricot and Vanilla Jam…

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And these little dainty Jam Tarts filled with the aforementioned jam.

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Perfect for tea with friends, aren’t they? They are incredibly easy to make and the tarty, golden apricot jam with the big hit of vanilla works beautifully with the salty pastry.

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Well, it all began with some apricots that the munchkin insisted on buying at the supermarket. And of course she refused to eat them once she found out they were tarty.

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When life gives you tart fruit, you make fruit tarts! But first you make jam! Lovely golden jam, with Vanilla, always Vanilla :D

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The jam itself is really easy too. You simply macerate the apricots with sugar till it is almost mush and then cook it with Vanilla to complete the process. Couldn’t be simpler.

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For the rest of the post and the recipes, head over to Sonal’s.

These little guys are joining me at Angie’s Friday Fiesta this week. This week’s potluck is hosted by a lovely trio: Indu @Indu’s International KitchenSelma @Selma’s Table and Hilda @Along The Grapevine. Come party with us, won’t you?

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Celebrating Local Flavors: Kothimbir Vadi (Cilantro Croquettes)

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India boasts a fantastic array of snacks and street food, as varied in flavor as night and day. And they belong to every flavor profile, be it the spicy Chhole tikki, the sweet Jalebi, the sour roasted tamarind seeds…

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Sometimes they are also a jumble of all of the above flavors, like every member of the ‘Chaat‘ family. And they are very local too, like the Macher Chop from Kolkata or the Idli/ Dosa/ Uttapam from south India.

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Now, in most metros and large cities, thanks to migration, you will find almost all of these snacks, albeit with slight variations and fusions.

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Mumbai for instance is a melting pot of cultures and cuisines. But there are certain snacks very quintessential to the Mumbai experience. Like the Batata Vada or Bhel Puri on Chowpatty Beach.

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And Kothimbir Vadi from traditional Maharashtrian (Mumbai is in the state of Maharashtra) eateries… Kothimbir is the Marathi (local language in Maharashtra) word for Cilantro and Vadi means fritter, cutlet or croquette.

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Words are not enough to describe this wonderfully delicious snack, but I will try. Close your eyes and imagine this:

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Crunchy, spicy little cakes, full of delicious Cilantro and peanut flavor. These are made by steaming a batter of chickpeas flour with loads of fresh cilantro, spices, roasted peanuts and sesame seeds until cooked, cutting the cake into bite-sized pieces and frying them till they are wonderfully crunchy on the outside.

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It is a Cilantro lover’s dream come true! I should know, I’m one of them :D

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Traditionally they are deep-fried, not my usual cup of tea… So of course, I pan-fried them. It takes a bit longer to pan-fry, but it’s so worth it.

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I looked at a lot of recipes for the perfect Kothimbir Vadi and settled upon this brilliant recipe by Dassana of Veg Recipes of India. The ingredients seemed to match the taste of the vadi back home and it was absolutely spot-on!

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I am bringing these scrumptuous vadi to Angie’s Friday Fiesta! Today’s potluck is hosted by two gorgeous ladies:  Margherita @La Petite Casserole and Sylvia @Superfoodista. Looks like it’s going to be a red, white and blue party today, so I’m gonna add some green to the mix :P

Here’s the recipe.

Kothimbir Vadi (Cilantro Croquettes)

  • Servings: 2 - 3
  • Time: 20 minutes
  • Print

Ingredients:

1½ cups chopped Cilantro (Coriander Leaves)
2 cups Chickpeas Flour (Besan)
½ teaspoon Turmeric powder
½ teaspoon Red Chili powder
1 teaspoon Ginger and Chilli paste
1 tablespoon Sesame Seeds
¼ cup Roasted Crushed Peanuts
1¼ cups Water
A pinch of Asafoetida (Hing)
Salt as per taste

Directions:

Mix together all the ingredients with water to form a smooth and thick batter.
Apply oil at the base and sides of a microwave safe cooker or bowl.
Add the batter mixture to the microwave safe bowl or cooker.
Cover it with its lid or a microwave safe lid.
Microwave on high for 3 minutes or till done.
The mixture should be cooked and firm.
Insert a knife or toothpick and if it comes out clean, the vadi is cooked well.
If after 3 minutes, the batter has yet not cooked, microwave for a minute or two more.
Let it cool.
Then remove the steamed cake on to a tray.
Cut it into bite-sized diamonds or squares.
Shallow fry or deep fry or pan fry in hot oil till crisp and browned.
Serve Kothimbir Vadi hot with tomato ketchup.

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A Bowl of Cool: Koldskål (Danish Buttermilk Dessert ‘Soup’)

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It’s raining, it’s pouring… This weekend has been pretty much rained out. But when the sun does come out, it is wonderful. The blue, blue skies interspersed with fluffy white clouds… picture perfect :)

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These picture-perfect Danish summers are never complete without Koldskål. ‘Koldskål’ literally means ‘cold bowl’ in Danish.

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It is a cold buttermilk dessert soup with the refreshing flavors of lemon and vanilla. When warm weather sets in, a lot of koldskål is consumed. And I mean a lot…

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Ready-made koldskål is easily available here and the largest dairy company sells over a million litres per week during the hot summer months.

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Koldskål is super-easy to make at home and uses few ingredients. It is normally eaten with these small crisp biscuits called ‘Kammerjunker’.

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And when it is really hot, it can be eaten with granola or berries too for breakfast or as a quick snack. Delicious, tangy and refreshing! If you can’t find kammerjunkere, try it with some broken up Oreos.. Ummm…

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If you like lemony desserts, you will love koldskål. It is an essential feature of summer in Denmark, as certain as the rain ;)

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There are many variations to koldskål, thick and thin versions and ones with or without lemon or vanilla. People also add yogurt or junket to it. I have made the basic version here and it is seriously good :D

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I am bringing this lovely bowl of goodness to ‘Soups with SS’, a soupy affair hosted by two wonderful bloggers, Sonal @Simply Vegetarian777 and Shruti @Cooking with SJ. Do check this event out! So many soups, so little time :D

Here’s the recipe.

Koldskål (Danish Cold Buttermilk Soup)

  • Servings: 4 people
  • Time: 15 minutes plus chilling time
  • Print

Ingredients:

2 pasteurized Egg Yolks
1 Vanilla Pod
4-6 tablespoons Granulated Sugar
Zest and Juice of ½ Organic Unwaxed Lemon
1 liter Buttermilk
To serve: Fresh Berries, Kammerjunkere, Granola, Muesli or Oreos

Directions:

Scrape the seeds from the vanilla and mash it together with a bit of cane sugar until you have a uniform vanilla paste.
Beat the egg yolks, sugar, the ‘vanilla sugar’ and freshly grated lemon zest together until it is airy and light.
Add the buttermilk, stirring continuously.
Add lemon juice and chill in the refrigerator for a few hours.
To serve, pour the koldskål into bowls and top with kammerjunkere, berries or other toppings as suggested.
Serve cold.

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Savour the Summer: Elderflower Madeleines

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I thought I liked madeleines. I mean, have you seen them? So pretty, so light, so delicious. I may even venture further and say I thought I loved them…

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I have made no secret of my love for them. Be they the classic French Vanilla ones or Dark Chocolate ones, I don’t discriminate. No siree, all madeleines are equal in my eye (so long as they are well-made, of course).

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Or so I thought… Last weekend I made these Elderflower Madeleines and they are honestly the best madeleines I have ever had. Period.

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If you, like me, think you love madeleines, take these beauties for a spin…

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Imagine the usual vanilla-lemony goodness of classic madeleines heightened with the addition of elderflower cordial into the batter.

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And if that is not enough, these are served with a glaze and a  drizzle of elderflower cordial too. Madeleine heaven, I tell you…

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The light texture of the madeleines is perfect to soak up the sweet elderflower cordial. The result is a moist petite cake, just perfectly full of summer flavors.

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So if you have made elderflower coridal this year or can buy it from a shop, do try and make these lovelies. So lemony, so elderflowery.. (yes, yes, that’s a word!)

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I used this recipe from Bron Marshall. Would you believe it was one of the first madeleine recipes I came across when I had just bought my madeleine pan! I finally got around to making it and it made all my madeleine dreams come true :D

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These little beauties are accompanying me today to awesome Angie’s Friday Fiesta!! It’s getting better every week and this week’s party promises to be a riot with Elaine@foodbod and Prudy@Butter, Basil and Breadcrumbs co-hosting. Come over and join in the fun! Everyone’s invited :D

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Here’s the recipe.

Elderflower Madeleines

  • Servings: Makes 12 Large or 24 mini Madeleines
  • Time: 30 minutes plus cooling time
  • Print

Ingredients:

75 grams Butter, melted and cooled
2 medium-sized Eggs
75 grams granulated Sugar
3 tablespoons Elderflower Cordial
Zest of 1 organic, unwaxed Lemon
100 grams of plain all-purpose Flour
½ teaspoon Baking powder
Extra Elderflower cordial, to glaze and drizzle
Icing / confectioners sugar

Directions:

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar together until they are thick, pale and fluffy.
Sift together the flour and baking powder.
Combine the Elderflower syrup, zest and butter in a small bowl.
With a flat spatula, fold the sifted dry ingredients into the fluffy egg mixture alternating with a little of the butter mixture until just combined.
Refrigerate the mixture for at least 4 hours. (You can make the mixture ahead of time – it will keep fine for about 3 days)
When ready to bake, grease the madeleine pan with plenty of butter and dust with sifted flour, be sure to cover every nook and cranny, so your madeleines don’t stick.
Place the pan in the freezer to chill for a couple of minutes while you preheat the oven to 200°C (392°F)
Pipe the chilled mixture into each madeleine mould ¾ or until almost full.
Bake for 8 to 12 minutes depending on the size or until the madeleines are golden and spring back when you touch the centre.
Brush the warm madeleines with the extra cordial and dust with icing sugar, serve right away or allow to cool and store in an airtight container.
I like to serve them with extra elderflower cordial to drizzle on top.

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Feast while you Fast: Pan-fried Sabudana Vada (Tapioca Pearl Patties)

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Fasting on various religious occasions is a big deal with Hindus in India. Some people fast every week, others only on certain auspicious days each year.

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The fasting can be either for fulfillment of specific wishes or an exercise in general purification of the body and soul. There are also certain days where the fasting is observed as a duty.

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For instance, on the day of Karva Chauth, wives fast to ensure their husbands a long life. There are also certain days of the week, where devotees of particular Hindu Gods fast as a kind of sacrifice for the God.

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The fast can take on various forms: some people give up all food and drink for the entire day and eat only when the sun sets and the moon appears.

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Others forgo certain types of food and eat food from a prescribed list. Such as fruits, raw vegetables, potatoes and dishes made with buckwheat and tapioca.

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I have never fasted a day in my life, but I have always been fascinated with people around me who do. Some take it really seriously and abstain strictly.

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Others, well, I am no one to judge ;) But as a kid, I used to watch my neighborhood ‘aunties’ ‘fasting’ with wide-eyed amazement… eating copious amounts of potato chips, loads of fruits, steaming plates of sabudana khichdi, vrat ka halwa, dry fruits and freshly fried sabudana vada:D

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I wondered if it was fasting or feasting and I still do… I think some of the most delicious food is made on the fasting days and one such gem is this Sabudana Vada.

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Soaked tapioca pearls are mixed with boiled potato, toasted peanuts and a few herbs and spices, shaped into patties and deep-fried. Brilliantly crunchy on the outside, soft savory deliciousness on the inside… Never have such simple ingredients and techniques come together to create such perfect alchemic balance :D

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I have qualms about wolfing down these divine creations without any excuse of a fast. They are so, so good. The only issue for me is that these are deep-fried. So, I made a pan-fried version, simple!

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All the taste, most of the crunch, none of the guilt :D

Here’s the recipe.

Pan-fried Sabudana Vada (Tapioca Pearl Patties)

  • Servings: Makes 12 vada
  • Time: 30 minutes plus soaking time
  • Print

Ingredients:

1/2 cup Sabudana (Tapioca Pearls)
2 medium Potatoes, boiled, peeled and mashed
1 slice of Bread
1/4 cup toasted Peanuts,crushed
2-3 Green or Red chillies, finely chopped (add more or less, as per taste)
5-6 sprigs Cilantro, finely chopped
1″ Ginger, finely chopped
Juice of 1/2 Lemon
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons Cooking Oil

Directions:

Wash the tapioca pearls twice and add enough water until it is just above the level of the tapioca pearls.
Soak it for 4-5 hours.
In a large bowl, add the mashed potatoes, crushed peanuts,chopped green chillies, chopped ginger,chopped cilantro, salt and lemon juice.
Add the soaked tapioca pearls.
Dip the bread slice in a bowl of water and squeeze out as much water as possible. Crumble the soaked bread into the bowl with the potato and tapioca pearls.
Mix all these ingredients well till uniform.
Oil your palms. Take a lemon-sized ball of the mixture and form it into a patty.
Repeat with the rest of the mixture.
Heat a griddle or tava and add a couple of tablespoons of oil.
Spread it around and place the patties on the griddle.
Fry them on both sides until golden brown. They cook pretty fast and takes around 2-3 mins on each side.
Serve them hot with Tomato Ketchup.

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