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October 2010

Cumin and Spinach Latkes


Latkes are potato pancakes popularly made in Europe . They are a quick version of our vegetable cutlet and can be delicious with the addition of a couple of spices.

Here is my take on the latke.

1/2 kg potatoes , peeled and coarsely grated .

1 small onion peeled and finely grated

1 bunch spinach, cooked

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 tsp cumin powder

A pinch of garam masala

2 eggs, beaten

2 large tablespoons of flour.

Squeeze the liquid out of the grated potatoes, the grated onion and the cooked spinach.

Add the salt, pepper ,cumin and garam masala. Mix well . Now add the beaten eggs and flour. Mix again.

Heat oil in a non stick frying pan. When medium hot put a large spoonful of the mix and flatten it with a spatula till about 3-4 inches in diameter.Do this twice more till there are three large latkes in the pan. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes on each side till golden brown. Serve immediately when still crisp or keep warm in an oven.



How to make your own Sun Dried Tomatoes


In that good old tradition of the DIYer, when I couldnt get sundried tomatoes for my pasta and the only supplier was a thousand miles or more away, I decided to make my own.

A quick trip to the market produced a haul of three kilos of red, ripe tomoatoes. Carefully chosen each one was perfect without bruises or any signs of over ripeness.

Coming home I washed each one well and cut them in half from top to bottom, removing the green bit near the stem . Then placed them one by one, pulp side up with a bit of space between each half, on cake racks which I put on top of the oven racks.

Finally I sprinkled some 2 tablespoons of ground sea salt on the halves.There was just enough space in my oven for two kilos unfortunately so the last kilo has been used for a salad.

With the oven at 100-120 degrees F  the tomatoes dried out slowly over the next 14 hours( done in two periods of time).To keep the oven at this low heat level I had to keep the door ajar through the entire drying time.Some of them got done earlier and I removed them from the oven.

Two kilos of fresh tomatoes made 150 gms dried tomatoes. Dont they look fabulous? Can't wait to try them in some wonderful dish the results of which I shall share later.

A few tips:

Choose only ripe tomatoes.

Wash well and remove any part that has become over ripe or bad.

Use only sea salt on the tomatoes.

Do not put in a hot oven as they will cook not dry.

Store in a zip lock bag.

Try this recipe for pasta with sundried tomatoes

Rai ki Chatni-Mustard Chutney


1 tablespoon dark brown/black mustard seeds

2 red chllies

1/4 cup grated coconut

Tamarind paste made from a marble sized ball of tamarind ( Soak in two tablespoons water and strain  after 15 minutes)

2 tsps gur / jaggery

 3 curry leaves

A pinch of hing /asafoetida

A pinch of salt

1 dsp oil


Heat the oil and saute the mustard seeds  till they pop and  red chillies and curry leaves.Take the seeds , leaves and chillies out of the oil. Now fry the coconut till golden brown.

Put all the  fried ingredients into a blender along with the tamarind paste, gur, hing and salt. Whizz together for a minute. Your chutney is ready.

Superb with fish  or on a ham sandwich.