Savoury Treats For The Christmas Season
It's holiday time! A growling tummy in the midst of family fun is often silenced with a quick junk food fix. But what if you had nutritious, delicious savoury treats instead, this festive season?
By Hina Gujral
It's that time of the year when there's sugar everywhere! Every house you go to or guest you host, there is bound to be some cakes, chocolates and sweets on offer. And yes! Too many cookies and pastries might tempt you to go a little calorie-overboard, so here are some hot, healthy savoury ideas you can make this Christmas for your special family time!
Gluten-free masoor dal cutlet
With its soft kebab-like texture enveloped in a crispy exterior, gluten-free masoor dal cutlet can be a satiating party appetiser or teatime snack.
- 1 cup masoor dal
- 2 medium-sized finely chopped onions
- 1⁄2 a bunch of finely chopped coriander leaves
- 1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
- 2 finely chopped green chillies
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1⁄4 tsp asafoetida
- 1 tsp red chilli powder
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp amchur (mango powder)
- 2 tbsp cooking oil + 1/3 cup oil for frying
- Salt to taste
1. Soak masoor dal for 15-20 minutes in enough water.
2. Drain the dal and grind to make a fine paste.
3. Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a heavy-bottomed pan.
4. Add cumin seeds and asafoetida, and sauté till seeds change colour.
5. Add half of the chopped onions and fry till golden brown in colour.
6. Add the masoor dal paste to the pan and sauté over low heat, stirring continuously till it turns light brown. When the paste is devoid of moisture and no longer sticks to the sides of the pan, transfer to a bowl and allow to cool.
7. Add the rest of the chopped onions, ginger-garlic paste, green chillies, coriander leaves, spices and salt to the dal mixture. Stir to combine.
8. Grease a baking tray or a large plate, with some oil.
9. Spread the dal mixture on the tray to an even thickness of 1⁄4 inch. Let the mixture set at room temperature or keep in the fridge.
10. Once mixture is nicely set, cut into squares and shallow fry to a crisp golden-brown.
11. Transfer the fried cutlets to a plate lined with oil-absorbing paper.
12. Serve warm with chutney.
Whole wheat bread spirals
Savoury bread spirals are low-fat, whole wheat snacks spiked with Za’atar spice mix. These zesty spirals are a delicious accompaniment to a steaming cup of tea or a warm bowl of soup.
- 500g whole wheat flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- 300ml warm water
- 7g active dry yeast
- 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 4 tbsp Za’atar spice mix
1. In a large bowl, mix the flour, salt, yeast, sugar, 1 tbsp olive oil and 300ml warm water, to make a soft dough. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave for an hour in a warm place until the dough doubles in size.
2. Meanwhile, combine Za’atar spice mix, salt, garlic powder and olive oil in a bowl and set aside.
3. On a floured worktop, roll out the dough into a rectangle measuring roughly 30 x 40cm. Spread the Za’atar paste all over. Roll up the dough like a Swiss roll and cut into smaller slices.
4. Heat the oven to 220° C. Line a shallow 30 x 20 cm baking tin with non-stick paper and place the cut rolls in it.
5. Lightly brush with olive oil and leave to rise for 20 mins or so, until the rolls become slightly puffed up. Bake for 20-25 mins until golden, then leave to cool in the tin.
6. Serve with a bowl of warm soup or alongside a cup of tea.
Did you know
- Za'atar is a Mediterranean spice and herb mix. It is commonly eaten with pita in the Middle East.
- In India, Za'atar can be bought in leading supermarkets.
Carrot paratha, made with rice flour, is a simple but extremely nutritious flatbread choice for dinner time.
- 1 cup rice flour
- 1⁄4 cup whole wheat flour
- 1⁄2 cups of grated carrots
- A small bunch of chopped coriander leaves
- 1 small-sized finely chopped onion
- 1⁄2 tsp cumin powder
- Salt to taste
- Oil or ghee for cooking the paratha
1. Sift both types of flour together in a bowl. Add grated carrots, coriander leaves, onions and cumin powder. Stir to evenly combine all the ingredients together. Add a little water at a time and knead to make a firm yet smooth dough.
2. Drizzle a teaspoon of oil over the dough and knead for another couple of minutes. Cover and keep aside for 5-10 minutes.
3. Divide the dough into large lemon-sized balls. Flatten the dough balls and with a rolling pin, roll out medium-sized discs. The thickness of the parathas should be similar to that of stuffed parathas.
4. Cook the rolled out parathas on an iron skillet over medium heat. Do not flip the paratha more than once or twice as it is quite fragile. Smear oil or ghee on either side of the paratha while it is on the skillet. Cook till golden brown spots appear on both sides of the paratha.
5. Serve the carrot paratha with raita and sweet lime pickle.
These savoury snacks will serve as a healthy counter to all the rich food that is set to come your way this season. So, what are you waiting for? Get your family involved, put on your aprons and cook together!
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