Serves 2 as a small dish
1 cup of mustard seeds
1½ cups of water
1½ cups of rice vinegar
2 tbsp of olive oil
½ cup of sugar
1 tbsp of salt
A pinch of salt
Freshly ground pepper
2 cups of canned or boiled chickpeas
A spoonful or two of Sriracha sauce (depending on your heat preference)
Cauliflower (half of a small head, cut into florets)
For pickled mustard seeds, combine the mustard seeds, water, vinegar, sugar, and salt in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a simmer over low heat. Cook the mixture stirring often, for around 45 minutes, until the mustard seeds are plump and tender. Remove from heat and let cool, then transfer to a container and refrigerate. (They can be used right away, but they get even better after they have had a chance to sit in the fridge overnight). They keep for several months.
For the chickpeas, preheat the oven at 450°. Toss chickpeas with oil, Sriracha, and salt until evenly coated. Spread on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, stirring once or twice while baking. Remove from oven and let cool.
For the roasted cauliflower, preheat oven to 450°. Toss cauliflower with oil, salt, pepper, and roast for around 30 minutes, or until cauliflower begins to brown and some of the thinner edges start to crisp. Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes.
Combine cauliflower and chickpeas in a bowl or on a platter. Add a few spoonfuls of pickled mustard seeds, a squeeze of lemon, and a dollop or two of Greek yoghurt to each bowl, then gently toss to distribute.
Crispy baked Beguni
2 pounds small to medium-size eggplant (about 6 depending on exact size)
2 large eggs
3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup plain breadcrumbs (use Rice Chex crumbs for a gluten-free option)
1 tsp dried Italian seasoning
½ tsp each salt and freshly ground pepper
Olive oil, for baking sheets
Preheat oven to 375°F. Thoroughly coat a baking sheet with oil. Set aside. (You may need to use two sheets). In a shallow bowl, whisk together the eggs and 1 tablespoon of water. In another bowl (a pie plate works well), combine the crumbs, Parmesan, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper.
Cut the eggplants into thick rounds. (I like them to be between 1/2 and 3/4 inches thick so they have time to brown in the oven before softening). Dip the eggplant slices in the egg mixture, letting the excess drip off. Dredge the dipped slices in the Parmesan mixture, pushing down gently to coat well. Transfer the coated slices to the baking sheet.
Bake until golden brown on the bottom, about 17-20 minutes. (Peek underneath using a spatula; if they are not yet golden, give them a few more minutes and check again). Flip the slices and continue baking until lightly browned on other side but still slightly firm, about 10 minutes more.
All ovens vary, so do not hesitate to adjust a few minutes either way. You want the first side to be golden brown; then worry more about doneness and texture than getting the second side equally browned. (When pressed for time, I simply give the tops a quick broil rather than flipping and cooking for the additional 10 minutes).
Remove from the oven, and serve as is or with a side of marinara sauce for dipping.
Keema filled Potato Skin
1 kg large potatoes
1 cup mince meat, cooked in any style; even leftover keema-curry will do
250g cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper
Dried red chilli flakes
Heat the oven to 400°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Pierce each potato several times with a fork or sharp knife. Place the potatoes directly on the oven rack and bake, about an hour, until the skins are crisp and a knife easily pierces the potatoes. Transfer to a wire rack until cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes. Set the oven to broil.
Slice each potato in half lengthwise. Using a spoon, scoop out the flesh, leaving about ¼-inch intact; reserve the flesh for another use (can be used in any kind of fritters). Brush the insides of the potatoes with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Flip potatoes over, brush the skin sides with some more olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Evenly space the potato halves skin-side up on a baking sheet and broil until the skins start to crisp, about 2 to 3 minutes, keep a close watch so they do not burn. Flip the potato halves over and broil until the top edges just start to brown, about 2 to 3 minutes more.
Evenly fill each skin with cheese and prepared mince meat. Place in the over and broil until the cheese is melted and bubbling, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove and top each with 1 teaspoon of sour cream or thick yoghurt and a sprinkling chilli flakes and coriander leaves. Serve immediately.
500g pumpkin, peeled, seeded, cut into 3cm pieces
Olive oil spray
400g can chickpeas, rinsed, drained
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tbsp ground cumin
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
80ml (1/3 cup) olive oil
Chopped fresh continental parsley, to serve
Preheat oven to 200°C. Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper. Place the pumpkin, in a single layer, on the prepared tray. Spray with oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until tender. Set aside for 20 minutes to cool.
Process the pumpkin, chickpeas, garlic and cumin in a food processor until almost smooth. Add the lemon juice and process until well combined.
With the motor running, add oil in a thin steady stream until smooth. Transfer the hummus to a serving bowl. Sprinkle with parsley and serve with any kind of bread.
By Sharmin Rahman