Baked Tofu Fries


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There is nothing much to say about this recipe, actually there is nothing much to this recipe either :).  My kids love fries and they also love tofu. I have seen tofu responding very well to baking. So this recipe was a no-brainer, crunchy fries (just the way  they want it) made with less than a tbsp of oil (just the way I like it 🙂 ).

To make this healthy munch, you will need :

1. Extra firm organic tofu (I used half the slab for this recipe)

2. Chilli powder or paprika – 1 tsp

3. Garlic Paste or Garlic powder – 1 tsp

4. Salt to taste

5. Oil – 1/2 tbsp

  • First cut the tofu into strips. If you prefer super crunchy fries, cut them very thin. I prefer crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside kind, so I did medium cuts.

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  • For the rub, I mixed red chilli powder, garlic paste, salt and oil. You can also grind red chillies and garlic cloves to make a fresh rub or use the store bought chilli garlic paste.

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  • Rub the chilli garlic mix on the tofu strips gently. Even the extra firm tofu breaks easily, so be gentle :).  Line a baking tray with foil or grease the tray with cooking spray and place the tofu strips on the tray in a single layer. Bake at 425 degrees for about 12 minutes and then flip the strips and bake for another 8 – 10 minutes , until your preferred texture is reached.

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  • As I expected the golden crunchy fries were gone in minutes and the kids were complaining that I didn’t make enough :). Well, there is always next time :).

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Wonton Samosas (Spicy vegetable samosa)


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Here is an easy ‘shortcut’ recipe for the national snack of India. I am a big time samosa fan , right from school days. Hot samosas, freshly delivered to the school tuck shop at 4 p.m. every day..yummmmmm….Along with homeworks, record note books and tests, it was also a daily chore to make sure I had 65 paisa with me to buy samosa 🙂

The fillings are made different in different places. I am a little disappointed that most samosas available these days in the grocery stores and restaurants are the standard potato and peas samosas. While I love any filling, I crave for the spicy and crunchy onion and cabbage filling as we get in my hometown in India.

With rainy evenings forecast  fora week (NJ) , sounds like the perfect time to enjoy these samosas with a hot cup of tea 🙂

  • First step is to make the filling. Slice the onions and cabbage thin and long.

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  • Also dice one potato and two carrots. I have one jalapeno (seeds removed) chopped for an extra kick.

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  • Heat  1 tbsp of oil in a wok and saute the jalapeno.

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  • Now add the potatoes and carrots. Sprinkle some salt and cook for a couple of minutes.

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  • Add the cabbage and onion together. It is very important to have the crunchiness of the onions and cabbage until the very end, so a quick stir fry for a minute is all the cooking that is needed.Image
  • Add 1 tsp. of turmeric powder, 2 tsp of red chilli powder and 1/2 tsp of garam masala. Add more salt if needed.

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  • Mix well and cook for 2 minutes until the raw smell of the powders go away. Remove from heat and allow it to cool for sometime. That makes the filling.

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  • For the outer covering, I am taking a shortcut by using wonton wrappers. I find these in the vegan section of my grocer right next to Tofu.

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  • Mix 2 tbsp of all purpose flour with little water to make a paste which will be used as a glue to seal the samosas.

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  • In the wrapper, place the filling in one half (diagonally). If you place too much filling, the wrapper will rip, and too little filling makes for a tasteless samosa. But I assure you that you will find your happy medium by the time you are making your third samosa 🙂

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  • Apply the flour glue to the two edges and fold the wrapper over. If possible, tuck the edges to secure the filling.

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  • Prepare all samosas like this. If for a party, you can make these a day or two ahead and refrigerate  until you need them. Also you can freeze these  until when needed.

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  • Heat oil in a pan for deep frying and fry the samosas to a golden brown.

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  • The only thing left to do now is, sit by the window and enjoy the crunchy samosa, with hot tea while watching the rain 🙂

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Indian Finger Fish (Fish sticks)


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I grew up in a small coastal town, Tuticorin. My parents were busy doctors (still are..) and the earliest they would come home is 10 at night. It was our routine that we went out for dinner every Saturday night, and we always went to this particular restaurant called “Sugam”, coz’  it was the only restaurant that had most items in the menu still available at 10:45 p.m. ( Yeah, in our town, in the 80’s , night life ended in the early evening 🙂 ). As a child , there is not much to look forward to a late night dinner, as by then, hunger would have arrived and left and sleep was fast approaching. One of the few things that kept me awake and interested in dinner was the amazing “finger fish”  in that restaurant, crunchy on the outside and super juicy on the inside with the perfect blend of spices. That was my standard order every week. I will stop by the restaurant during my visit next month. I won’t be eating finger fish anymore, neverthless, I just can’t wait to relive the memories.

  • I am using Tilapia for this recipe. Any mid fish can be used. Clean and cut the fish fillets into finger shaped pieces. I used about three fillets today.

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  • Mix turmeric powder, chilli powder, black pepper, salt and garlic powder with a little water to make a paste. If you do not have garlic powder, you can use garlic paste.

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  • Marinate the fish with the paste and set aside for 30 mins.

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  • Beat an egg for the egg wash.

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  • Dip the fish pieces in egg wash and roll in bread crumbs. I prefer regular bread crumbs. Breading should be minimal, so I avoid panko.

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  • Prepare all the fish pieces this way.

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  • Heat oil for deep frying and fry the fish to golden brown. Once oil becomes hot enough for frying, lower the heat. If your fish sticks turn brown as soon as you drop them in the oil, it means the oil is too hot. The sticks should gradually turn from light brown to golden brown.

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  • As you know, fish cooks quickly. However, make sure it is done.

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  • Serve with ketchup. This is usually a big hit with kids.

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Beach Sundal (Chick peas salad with green mango)


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I don’t know if I could call this street food, because I’ve only tasted these in Tamilnadu (South India) beaches. It is quite an experience, munching on this hot and spicy sundal while caressed by the salty ocean breeze. It is called  “Thengaa (coconut) Maangaa (green mango) Pattaani (peas) Sundal”. I have never tasted coconut in this sundal, so I don’t add coconut in my recipe.

  • Ingredients:

(Traditionally dried green peas are used for this sundal, but I love chick peas.)

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  • In a pan/wok, heat 3 tsp of oil and splutter a tsp of mustard seeds. Then saute the chopped green chillies, grated ginger and curry leaves.

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  • Then add the onions and green mango together and saute, just enough to take the edge off. The onions and mango shouldn’t become too soft.

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  • Saute the grated carrot. Again , make sure they don’t soften too much. Add salt to taste.

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  • Add the chick peas and mix with the other veggies. Add crushed garlic and mix well. Garlic is optional, but it is always wise to add some garlic to all your lentils/beans recipes 🙂

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  • Finally sprinkle the chopped cilantro and turn the heat off. Add more salt if needed. Also if you want to make it more spicy , you can add crushed red peppers.

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  • Cover with lid and leave the sundal in the same wok for at least 10 minutes (with heat turned off).

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  • And you have to serve this sundal in  paper cone to complete the beach experience.

[After I prepped all my vegetables today, I realised that my camera was completely out of charge. I couldn’t wait an hour for the camera to re-charge as the kids were already in the car with their beach toys. So all  pictures were taken with my windows phone today. Though I had some lighting issues, I think they turned out okay 🙂 ]

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Besan puttu / scrambled chick peas flour


This is a  perfect rainy day snack without frying (ready in 5 mins). If you crave for bajji/pakora on a rainy evening, but double thinking it because of its deep frying, try this, same flavor, same taste sans the frying.
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Mix 5 tbsp. of besan (chick peas flour) + 2 tbsp. of rice flour + 1 tsp turmeric powder + 2 tsp chlli powder + salt to taste.
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Add water and make batter with the consistency of bajji/pakora batter.

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In a non-stick pan add a tbsp. of oil and fry mustard seeds, urad dhal, curry leaves and chopped green chillies.
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Sauté chopped red onions and coriander leaves. (You can add thinly sliced bell peppers also).
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Pour in the prepared batter and stir.Image
Keep stirring as the batter thickens.
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Try breaking the big chunks while stirring…
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This is just like scrambling an egg. If you don’t use a non-stick pan, you might have to use more oil.
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And its done… This is traditionally a side for rice, but I like it as a snack.
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