I almost feel that Sonal needs no introduction, but just in case you don’t already know her, let me tell you that Sonal is an amazing, stunning cook, producing endless dishes, mainly of Indian, and always of vegetarian, food, packed with so much wonderful flavour I think I bookmark every single post!! It seems to me that her kitchen produces food fit for Gods on a daily basis, all shared with us in beautiful photos! At the same time as being this goddess in the kitchen, Sonal is also a friendly, supportive, sharing blogger, whom I count amongst my friends 🙂
Let’s see what delights she has brought me today…(then go and rifle through her blog and see even more of her wonders)…
Tea with Elaine : Kahwa, a Kashmiri Green Tea; Date, Figs n Pistachio Salami; Eggplant Fritters (Baingan Pakode), Pan Grilled
Elaine and I decided for a date to meet up. I was so excited that I am meeting one of my oldest friends from wordpress, even if for a virtual date. There is no better love to share than the love for food! Right Elaine? I totally love her and her gorgeous food! The dips, the vegetable roasts, the goodness bars are just to die for.
Sometimes I wonder, how lucky I would have been if I was her neighbor. Sigh! I wish I had known her when I lived in UK 10 years ago.
When she said that let’s catch up over your food, I had these dishes whirling on my head. Knowing her love for Middle East food, vegetarian, eggplants, gluten free and healthier dishes in general; I had a full lunch menu in my mind but that became too ambitious for me. So I cut it down to the Brunch Menu!
A Brunch Menu which has an aromatic and healing Green tea from Kashmir, called Kahwa, infused with spices and saffron. Accompanying it, is Dates Figs and Pistachio Salami. Salami for the shape of it but is is oh-so-yum! I am sure Elaine is going to love it with her Kahwa. A delightful combination. A brunch is not complete at my place without a hearty savory dish. So I made Baingan ke Pakode or Eggplant Fritters. These are traditionally deep fried and people just love these back in India. Though not as common as potato and onion fritters, they have they own cult. I took a leap on these and pan grilled these so we both can enjoy these guilt-free. Yay! Elaine loved it! Right Elaine ;).
Now off to preparation part. 3 easy recipes and a gorgeous brunch was ready to be shared, devoured and I had a heartfelt session of laughter and fun with a good buddy of mine….Elaine :).
Kahwa, a Kashmiri Green Tea
Serves : 2
Kitchen Equipments Required : a suave pan with lid, a tea sieve, spoon, 2 cups.
Green tea bag : 1 or use 1 tbsp loose tea leaves
Water : 2 &1/2 cups
Cloves, whole : 2-3
Cinnamon bark : a small piece
Green cardamom : 2
Saffron : a fat pinch
Almonds : 2 tsp, chopped coarsely. Blanched almonds are recommended but may use them as is.
1. Crush the cardamom, cloves and cinnamon.
2. Add water to a sauce pan along with crushed spices. Bring it to a boil and then simmer for 5 minutes. Put the gas stove off.
3. Add saffron and tea bag to the pan. Cover with lid and let steep for 3-5 minutes.
4. Add 1 tsp of almonds to each cup. Pour this steeped gold in the sauce pan to the cups. Here is the thing! Some people like all that crushed spice in their cup and some don’t. So pick and choose your style. I like my cup of Kahwa with everything in it.
5. Stir with a spoon. Sip it warm. It is soothing. It is smooth. It is just wonderful.
Date, Figs n Pistachio Salami
Yields : 1 small log
Kitchen Equipments Required : food processor, parchment or butter paper, a rolling pin.
Dates : 12, pitted and chopped
Figs, dry : 12, chopped
Pistachio : 1/2 cup, chopped
Cardamom powder : a small pinch
1. Throw all the ingredients in the food processor. Blitz it on pulse for few times. Bring it all together in a kind of dough.
2. Transfer all of it in the middle of a big parchment sheet. Collect it like a log. Roll it tight in the parchment / butter paper. Fold and tick the paper from the sides.
3. Take the rolling pin. Flatten it further and even it out.
4. Refrigerate the dry fruits salami for 3-4 hrs before serving.
5. Cut it with serrated bread knife and enjoy! It is an excellent way to eat your food raw and healthy. Sweet but sugar free ( no processed sugar).
Eggplant Fritters (Baingan Pakode), Pan Grilled
Serves : 2-4
Kitchen Equipments Required : 1 big heavy bottom pan, flat spatula, a big bowl, plate covered with paper towel, chopping board, knife.
Eggplant : 1 medium size cut into 1/2 inch thick slices, approximately 8-10 slices.
Besan / Chickpea flour : 1/2 cup
Salt to taste
Red chili powder : 1/4 tsp to 1/2 tsp
Ajwain / carom seeds : 1/2 tsp
Garam masala : 1/2 tsp
Turmeric : 1/4 tsp
Water : 5 to 6 tbsp
Oil : 1 tbsp
1. Take the big bowl. Add chickpea flour and spices to it. Add 5 tbsp of water and make a thick paste kind of batter, which doesn’t flow but spreads at your command. If it is too tight, add 1 tbsp of water more. Make a lump free pasty-batter.
2. Heat oil in the pan. When it is hot, lower the flame to medium.
3. Dip one slice of eggplant at a time in the batter and coat it well from both the sides.
4. Place the slice in the hot pan. Repeat with all the slices and cook 5-6 slices at a time.
5. Cook from each side for 4-5 minutes on medium flame, till they are golden on both the sides.
6. Serve them warm with Cilantro and Mint Chutney!
Wow! I wish I had known you when you lived in the UK too, Sonal, I would have been your weekly house guest!! What a fabulous tea and what a great date we had, thank you so much for sharing your gorgeous food and beautiful spirit xx