Monday, 29 September 2014

Lebanese Style Chickpea Salad Recipe

I'm back from the land of tikkhat (pungent) shev bhaji, smoky flavoured bharit (roasted brinjal mash), and sweet creamy badam shake. I've been to Jalgaon for a long weekend to meet my brother who has moved there 2 months ago for his job. And like always, I've associated the place with it's food.

Lebanese Style Chickpea Salad
 Before I left for the trip, I came up with this lovely salad recipe. A refreshing Lebanese style chickpea salad. It can be put together quickly and makes for a good mains or even a starter.

Lebanese Style Chickpea Salad
The smooth creaminess of the yoghurt plays well with the sharp flavour from the garlic. Added to this are the hints of nuttiness from the tahini paste that surprise your tastebuds and comfort them!

Lebanese Style Chickpea Salad
Lebanese Style Chickpea Salad Recipe

Preparation Time: 8 hours (soaking time for chickpeas)

Cooking Time: 25 minutes (for pressure cooking the chickpeas and cooling them)

Assembly Time: 5 minutes

Serves: 4


For the salad

2 cups white chickpeas (kabuli chana/ chhole chana) soaked overnight
4 cups water (for cooking the chickpeas)
2 medium sized onions finely chopped

For the dressing

4 tbsps yoghurt/ curd
2 tbsps tahini paste (recipe here)
4 cloves of garlic
Salt to taste


Pressure cook the chickpeas with the water and some salt till they're done. It takes about 15 minutes.

In a blender, blend together the yoghurt (you don't need to hang it, the tahini paste thickens it enough), the garlic cloves and the salt to make the dressing.

Drain the excess water from the chickpeas and let them cool a bit.

Mix the chickpeas and the onions in the salad bowl.

Add in the dressing and let it coat the salad well. It helps to use your hands and fingers for this!

Serve fresh. I have garnished it with a few slices of pickled jalapenos. You can garnish with corriander leaves or flat parsley leaves.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Know Your Town (Thane Vaibhav) Publication: Easy Party Finger Foods

Dear Readers,

With all your love, Salt and Pepper (With a Lot of Spice!) is scaling new heights. I am now going to be a regular food columnist with Thane Vaibhav's Friday supplement Know Your Town (KYT).

Easy Party Finger Foods, KYT, Thane Vaibhav. 12th September, 2014

For more detailed recipes of the above, you can visit:

Pan-Seared Aubergines with a Yoghurt Dip:

Cheesy Sweet Corn Canapes:


Hope you'll join me on this journey and enjoy the articles!

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Singapore Food Adventures: Bubble Tea and Iced Tea with Jelly

Bubble teas were my first ever Singapore food adventure.. My to-be sister-in-law (who was my lovely host in Singapore) knows I love tea. So the day I landed and we passed by a bubble tea shop she told me, "You should definitely try this!"

Passionfruit Bubble Tea from Agantea
The best way I could find to describe a bubble tea was to call it a 'tea falooda'. Basically, it is flavoured iced tea, with or without milk, with tapioca pearls, jelly chunks, coconut-y noodles etc. This drink is meant to be sipped and chewed. It fulfills your thirst and sweet food cravings in one glass!

Lemongrass Iced Tea with Lime Jelly at Toastbox Singapore
Another interesting tea beverage I had was the lemongrass iced tea with lime jelly. It's a very simple concept. Sweet and cold lemongrass iced tea is served with thin slices of lime jelly on top. It makes for a refreshing drink for the hot and humid Singapore weather.

When you're in Singapore, switch from your regular cup of coffee to these local tea beverages for a pick-me up!

Where to Find Them? There are bubble tea shops at every corner, mall and metro station in Singapore. I personally preferred agantea for the variety of flavours and milk-less bubble teas. I had the lemongrass iced tea with lime jelly at Toastbox, a franchise selling Kaya toast and more. They have many restaurants around Singapore.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Healthy Falafel Rolls Recipe

Falafels are an integral part of the Lebanese, Palastenian, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines. Like any traditional dish, there are different versions of its recipe and preparation. The underlying similarity among them is that they are made of chickpeas. It's the herbs and spices that vary across cuisines.

Healthy Falafel Rolls Recipe
Falafels are traditionally served in a pita pocket with dips, condiments and pickles to spice it up. In my healthy version, I've shallow-fried the falafels instead of deep frying them (though the recipe remains the same if you wish to deep fry them) with little effect on the texture and wrapped them in a whole-wheat roti (an Indian unleavened bread) instead of a refined flour pita.

Healthy Falafel Rolls Recipe

Preparation Time: 8 hours (overnight soaking of chickpeas)

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Assembly Time:  2 minutes per roll

Serves: 4


For the Falafels

2 cups chickpeas (kabuli chana) soaked overnight
1 medium onion finely chopped
2 tbsp finely chopped flat parsley
2 tsps cumin powder
2 tsps corriander powder
2 tbsps sesame seeds
1 tbsp gram flour (besan) for binding
3 tbsps olive oil
Salt to taste

For the rotis

3 cups whole wheat flour
2 tbsps whole wheat flour for sprinkling
1 1/2 cups water
1 tbsp oil

For the Lebanese Yoghurt Dip

1 cup hung curd
2 garlic cloves crushed
Salt to taste

For Serving

1 medium onion cut into thin slices
3-4 pickled jalapeno slices per roll



Cook the chickpeas in a pressure cooker till done (about 15 minutes). Drain the extra water.

In a grinder, coarsely grind the chickpeas.

Add in the onion, chopped flat parsley, cumin and corriander powder, sesame seeds, salt and gram flour and make a dry mixture.

Make 1 inch balls from the mixture, flatten them a little and shallow fry on both sides on a medium high flame. Make sure they turn golden brown on both sides to get the falafel crispiness.


Knead a pliant dough out of the wheat flour and water.

Use the oil to ensure the dough doesn't stick onto the plate or your hands. It will make for a better mixed dough.

Make a dough ball of 1 inch diameter. Sprinkle some dry whole wheat flour on the rolling suface, use a rolling pin in circular motion between both hands till you get a thin roti.

Heat a flat griddle and roast the rolled out roti on both sides till done.

Lebanese Yoghurt Dip

In a bowl mix together the hung curd, crushed garlic and salt. Whip together till you get a creamy smooth mixture.

Assembling the Rolls

Whole Wheat Rotis for Healthy Falafel Rolls
First take the roti and arrange the shallow-fried falafels on it.

Whole Wheat Rotis and Falafels for Healthy Falafel Rolls

Now add a layer of the creamy Lebanese yoghurt dip

Whole Wheat Rotis, Falafels topped with Lebanese Yoghurt dip for Healthy Falafel Rolls

Finally add in the onion slices, pickles and some parsley leaves.

Healthy Falafel Rolls

Roll it all together and serve!

Healthy Falafel Rolls

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Spiced Lettuce Cherry Tomato and Olive Salad Recipe

I am my biggest critic.

The End Result of the Salad
So when something I've made gives me this result at the end, I am the happiest!

Now let me show you what was at the beginning of this...

Spiced Lettuce Cherry Tomato and Olive Salad
Surprised? Yes! It was a salad!

Spiced Lettuce Cherry Tomato and Olive Salad
With less than 4 months to my wedding, weekend invitations for lunches and dinners from our extended family have started pouring in. So after some wonderful lunches that are quite filling, I crave for lighter meals in the week. A light and filling meal that I always turn to are salads, especially lettuce based ones. So here's a recipe I recently tried of a Spiced Lettuce Cherry Tomato and Olive Salad.

Spiced Lettuce Cherry Tomato and Olive Salad Recipe

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Assembly Time: 5 mins
Total Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 2


For the salad

15-20 iceberg lettuce leaves separated from the bunch
10 cherry tomatoes sliced in half
2 tbsps olive slices

For the dressing

1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tbsp lemon juice freshly squeezed
Salt to taste

1 tbsp Mayonnaise (eggless)
1 tbsp whole grain mustard sauce

For serving

1 tsp grated parmesan cheese (optional)


Wash the lettuce leaves thoroughly. Fill a large bowl with cold water and ice and soak iceburg lettuce leaves in it for 10 minutes to make them crispy. Remove the leaves from water and pat dry.

In a salad bowl put in the refreshed iceberg lettuce leaves, the cherry tomato halves and the olive slices.

In another bowl, mix together the Extra Virgin Olive Oil, lemon juice and the salt and stir well with a fork. Add the dressing to the salad and toss well.

Put the mayo and the mustard in small dollops on the salad such that it can be mixed with it while eating.

Sprinkled grated parmesan cheese and serve fresh!