Sunday, June 22, 2014

Chickpea Tikki aka Chickpea Burger

As a bengali, I grew up calling chickpeas "Kabuli Chana" and always thought that this quintessential Sunday treat with fried Luchi must hail from Kabul!! For more than 30-yrs, I have devoured on its various culinary appearances, and only thought of fact-checking when starting to put together this recipe for the blog - and am relieved to learn I was not too mistaken!
Citing Wikipedia here:
The chickpea (Cicer arietinum) is a legume of the family Fabaceae, subfamily Faboideae. Its seeds are high in protein. It is one of the earliest cultivated legumes: 7,500-year-old remains have been found in the Middle East.[1]
Other common names for the species include garbanzo bean, ceci bean, channa and Bengal gram.
I thought of making the tikkis with two things in mind - firstly, I wanted to have something savory without all the deep frying and secondly, wanted something high in protein and fiber. I must mention at this point how transforming an experience it is when "you know what you eat". It's a lifelong journey and I am taking baby steps towards it. Yes, take it as my words of wisdom :)

Serving size: 2 tikkis
  1. 2 cups dried chickpeas (soaked overnight and boiled) or 2 can chickpeas/garbanzo beans drained and washed
  2. 4 grated boiled potatoes. Add 1 - 2 beaten eggs if you like - the purpose being of a binding agent. Corn starch would be another alternative
  3. finely chopped green chillies/ paste to taste
  4. 1 tbsp finely grated ginger
  5. salt to taste
  6. 2 tbsp dry roasted and ground cumin and coriander powder - feel free to adjust to taste and liking for the flavor
  7. 1 tbsp Chaat masala
  8. 2 tbsp lemon/lime juice
  9. coarsely chopped cilantro/coriander leaves

  1. Coarsely mash the chickpeas in a food processor or go crazy with a fork or your best warriors, your hands that is. Do not make into a fine paste as you would for a hummus. You want some texture in you tikkis or patties
  2. Transfer the mashed chickpea in to a bowl and mix in the remainder of ingredients. You can always adjust the spices to your taste.
  3. Once the mixture has come together, shape into small balls (roughly golf size balls) and lightly flatten with your palm to give shape of tikkis or patties or burgers!!
  4. Lightly grease a cookie sheet and place the tikkis. You can make a crowd unlike for cookies :)
  5. Bake at 400 C for 15 - 20 mins or until lightly browned. Turn to brown both sides.
  6. Serve with your favorite chutney or any condiment.

Variations: You can also add spinach, sweet peas, onions to name a few to this recipe

French Crepe

Summer in Tennessee is as bountiful as it can be! With the onset of Summer Solstice, I wanted to get "indulged" in what the golden Sun and verdant Earth is blessing us with. The first best opportunity came on a Sunday morning. With incessant music of the Song birds and the whirling fog into my living room, I started beating up eggs and flour.....and, mention I must, I was missing more than one friend for company. Marie-May - you inspire me with love and life. Bon appetit!

Servings: 12

Ingredients for batter:

  1. 1 cup self-rising flour
  2. 1 tsp granulated sugar
  3. 1/4 tsp salt
  4. 3 eggs
  5. 2 cups milk
  6. 2 tbsp butter, melted
For filling: 

I went with fruits that I had - strawberries and Kiwi, slightly drizzled with honey and heavy cream. Do what you fancy!

  1. In a deep mixing bowl, sift together all the white ingredients, add eggs and beat up to a smooth batter
  2. Add butter and mix well into the batter
  3. Heat a non-stick frying pan and lightly grease with butter or cooking spray. Use ~ 2tbsp of the batter for one crepe and roll the pan to uniformly and thinly spread the batter (do not use the Spatula to do so)
  4. Light brown on both sides, turning very gently, and serve hot with your favorite filling

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Key Lime Bars

As someone who is intimately inspired by Nature, I have been wondering about how to welcome Spring! After the gloomy white winter, when the sights and smells of Spring in its daffodils and lavenders, song birds and soothing breeze awaken the spirits of life, I want the same spirits in my kitchen!
Key limes are known for their unique flavor and acidity and they are quite hard to find in the super market. But when I found them, I had to bring them home. Being fond of citrus desserts, I considered tweaking the recipes of lemon bar and Key lime pie into Key lime bars - bite size desserts with the right zing and zest!

Baking Temperature: 350 F
Recipe size for 8 x 8  inch baking pans


Shortbread Crust -

  1. 1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  2. 1/4 cup icing sugar
  3. 1/8 tsp salt
  4. 1 cup flour
Mix all ingredients into a crumbly/sandy texture -  I used hands! Spread on the baking tray till even and with slightly raised edged. Bake till golden brown on the edges - took me about 18 mins. Let cool on a wire rack.

Filling -
  1. 1 cup granulated white sugar
  2. 2 large eggs at room temperature
  3. 1/3 cup fresh Key lime juice (you can use lemon juice for lemon bars)
  4. 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  5. 1 tbsp Key lime zest
  6. 1 drop green food color (optional)
  7. 2 tbsp all purpose flour
Mix into a smooth texture, pour of the cooled crust and bake uncovered for 20 - 25 mins. The center should still be jiggly. Allow to cool at room temperature. Refrigerate for 2 - 3 hours. You can top with whipped cream or icing sugar. ENJOY!

Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies

In the rush of the morning when one has to get ready and be out of the door in less than an hour's time, breakfast table is something easy to skip. But breakfast on the go is hit and essentially what I resort to...a granola bar on one hand and the wheel on the other. After having explored most options for granola bars available in the super market, I am honestly bored of them. So, gave it a thought - how about a cookie -turned granola bar recipe and without the ton of sodium. I am very happy with how these turned out and above all, I can control my favorite fruits and nuts in them. In a word, these are Delish.....

Serving Size:

Yields 20 large cookies

Baking temperature: 350 F

  1. 3/4 cup softened unsalted butter
  2. 1 cup packed light brown sugar (I did not  have on hand- so used 1/2 cup molasses and 1/2 cup white sugar)
  3. 1 large egg at room temperature
  4. 1 tsp vanilla extract (I used orange extract because I love the citrussy flavor)
  5. 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  6. 1/2 tsp baking soda
  7. 1/2 tsp salt
  8. 3 cups old fashioned oats (uncooked)
  9. 1 cup nuts or chocolate chips
  10. 1 cup dried raisins or cranberries


  1. cream the butter until smooth
  2. add sugar and cream with the butter
  3. add egg and essence and blend
  4. add rest of the ingredients and mix well with a spatula
  5. scoop out mixture on a parchment lined baking sheet (I use ice-cream scoop)
  6. Bake for 12-15 mins until edges are crisp and center is soft
  7. Let cool on a wire rack
  8. store in an airtight container

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Welcome to SpiceArt

Cook to express

I have now been cooking for roughly five years and I now call this a blessing of Graduate School Life!!! After nights of surviving on the ever glorious Maggi Noodles and days of brooding over Wendy's wraps-to-go, one has to miss "home-made" food - more so because of the comforting word "home" I believe.

And it is very lawful to be selfishly nostalgic about your home and complain!!! Well, thanks to the best of roommates who risked me as one of the "house-hold cooks", I did rise above and beyond overcooked rice and over-sweetened lentils!!!! And as fate would have it, despite of innumerable scars and burns I love to be  a much so that I now cook to express - happiness, joy, success, togetherness, friendship, name it! Cooking has long been established an art form and I am a beginner. Yet, I love the satisfaction and joy I see in the people I cook for...a dish well-seasoned and well-served is so wonderfully rewarding. And as they say, I have managed to reach some hearts through their stomach :)...

I try recipes from books, from package labels and of course, the internet besides the traditional Bengali cuisine that I grew up with. What I am always looking for in a recipe is authenticity and some degree of challenge - really, I do not like easy cooking. Success is not always ensured, but failure brings new insights. So, I thought of compiling recipes I found unique and food-forms I find creative to share with my friends.

Before I begin the voyage, I bow down to all Mothers because they are the greatest chefs. I have never been able to reproduce the taste of anything my Maa makes...but in trying is my tribute to her....

Oven Fried Crispy Chicken

One of those days when you crave for something crispy without the deep-frying......I thank to the broil option of the oven :) Give these a will want more....

Dish Category: Starter, Appetizers, Side Dish

Serves: 4

What I like about this recipe: Simple, easy, healthy, savoury and tasty


  1. 1 lb boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
  2. 1 cup yogurt, lightly beaten
  3. 2 tbsp lemon/lime juice
  4. 1 tbsp hot sauce of choice
  5. 1 tsp garlic salt - optional
  6. 2 cloves garlic, paste
  7. 2 cups cornflakes/bread crumbs/all-purpose flour
  8. 1 egg
  9. 1 cup milk
  10. salt and black pepper to taste
  11. 2 tbsp olive oil
  12. Cooking spray
  1. Whisk the yogurt, lemon juice and garlic paste together and coat the chicken pieces well. Let marinate for 20 - 30 mins. The longer the better
  2. Preheat oven to 350 deg F
  3. Crush cornflakes (if using) in a food processor and set aside. 
  4. Beat together egg and milk, season with salt, pepper and hot sauce
  5. Dip the chicken pieces into the milk and egg mix and coat with cornflakes. Repeat after 10 minutes as the cornflakes become moist; re-dippin them in the crumbs enhances crispiness
  6. Spray baking sheet with cooking spray and place chicken pieces 
  7. Sprinkle with seasonings if desired
  8. Bake for 15 - 20 minutes...or until inside of tenders are white
  9. Broil for 5 - 6 mins or until golden and crispy on the outside
  10. Serve with your choice of sauce

Okra Shrimp Gumbo

My first shot at Creole cooking......The legendary cuisine of New Orleans.

Inspired by my dear friend Jim...a fantastic office-mate and an adventurous cook!

Recipe Source: From the book "Creole!" by Deirde Stanforth

Dish Category: Side Dish, Entree

Serves: 8 - 10

What I like about the recipe: Easy, lots of veggies, hearty and traditional

Possible Modifications: Will work great with any sea food like crabs, crawfish, go crazy! :)


  1. 2 lbs Okra
  2. 4 tbs any fat - bacon fat, I used butter
  3. 2 tbsp all purpose flour
  4. 1 onion, finely chopped
  5. 2 green onions, finely chopped
  6. 1 pod garlic, minced
  7. 1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
  8. 4 medium tomatoes, chopped
  9. 2 lbs raw shrimp - peeled and deveined
  10. 1 tsp salt or to taste
  11. 1 tsp Cayenne pepper
  12. 5 dashes Tabasco or choice of hot sauce
  13. 1 green bay leaf
  14. 1/4 tsp thyme

  1. Wash Okra and cut into 1/4-inch rounds
  2. Put 2 lbs fat in a skillet and fry Okra, stirring often to prevent burning, until it is browned and dried, with all sliminess gone
  3. In a deep cooking pot melt the remaining fat and blend in flour to make a roux, cooking and stirring until deep brown. Do this over very low heat because flour can burn
  4. Add the chopped onion, garlic, green pepper and stir to cook
  5. Add tomatoes and stir till cooked
  6. Add the cooked Okra and mix
  7. Add enough water to have atleast 2 inch standing water above the vegetable mix
  8. Add the raw shrimp
  9. Add all the seasoning and bring to a boil
  10. Let simmer cook for ~ 30 mins till the shrimp is completely cooked
Serving Suggestions: Gumbo is always served in a soup bowl over a teacup-molded mound of hot rice.
Refrigerates and reheats very well