Tag Archives: American Masala

A bowl, a whisk, a spatula, and a frying pan; or my first fusion dish ever!

I had fun with a new creation this morning. Its made with Indian crepes called cheelas. I was inspired to make it because I had made a savory filling for a tart over thanksgiving that I never ended up making. (Plus, though I brought the filling home, I left the crust in my sister’s fridge!) Cheela batter is healthier than regular crepe batter. Here I fused it with a traditional French (Provencal) based savory filling of red cabbage and onion.

The filling was for a cabbage and red onion tart from the Martha Stewart Living website (i provide the link here). I was nervous about serving a cabbage filling (kind of a departure for me i guess) but it came out wonderfully..sweet and a touch of vinegar-y. They ended up being a perfect compliment to the indian crepes (cheela(s)). Marvelous, and my first fusion concontion to boot! There are a few reasons why I thought it was valuable to share.

  • Indian crepes are made out of chickpea flour (besan) so they are full of protein.

I checked the nutrition data tool (LOVE THIS!) and it says one cup of chick pea flour contains 21 grams of protein. I made 8 crepes which meant about 175 calories each for my husband and I, just for the crepes without the filling. The total distribution from these crepes are about 61% carbs, 25% protein and 14% fat. That is from the flour alone. It also seems to contain thyamine and is a good source of manganese and folate. So good for all you pregnant woman right?

  • The batter does not contain fat. It contains spices, chopped up chili peppers and herbs (like cilantro) and it is thinned with water. Chick pea flour can be tricky to make tasty (I used to find it so) but with a few standard Indian spices, it is getting easier. I used the recipe from American Masala (of course) for the crepes (cheela). I am not going to duplicate the recipe here since I definitely encourage people buying this lovely book. I did add black pepper to the batter since my filling was something based in French flavors and i wanted to compliment that. But I also added garam masala and cumin seeds since I did not have some of ingredients on hand that he recommended. My mom has her own recipe but it saved me a phone call. I did want to say that over time, you will evolve your own mix of spices to add to the batter. You basically whisk the batter together to a thin pancake like consistency.
  • Using Sarvan’s technique, I used only 1/4 tspn of oil for each crepe during cooking. As I progressed I was able to use less and less since the oil from the previous crepe would remain at the bottom of the pan to assist with the next one.
  • Notes, tips and observation on cooking the crepes. I originally made the mistake of putting in way too much batter…i also subconsciously thought i had to put oil in the pan to cook the crepes. The whole thing just stuck together to the bottom of the frying pan like bad eggmaking can sometimes do. I had to scrape the whole thing off and start over! The second time I used a non-stick pan and heated it with no oil at the bottom. I was careful to use about 1/4 cup of batter like Sarvan suggested and quickly circled the batter from the center out to make it as large as possible. Once I did that I drizzled a 1/4 tsp of oil over it. and then I let it cook until the bottom turned golden brown. Now, I still have room for improvement. I need to learn to make the circles thinner and wider quickly. My crepes were likely smaller than they needed to be. The heat has to be right because the chick pea flour cooks quickly and while you want to get the bottom golden brown, you also want the get the whole thing dry on the top too. Still, i’m so happy with my first batch. I have never succeeded in getting them off the pan and these turned out to be eminently flippable.

Thanks to both Sarvan and Martha Stewart for my first fusion creation! This was a perfect breakfast/brunch dish coming home from Thanksgiving.

Cost per serving: Chick pea flour and cabbage and onion. Oh my god, this is like the mother of all staples. I am going to the math quickly on this, rather than too precisely. I included the price of the cabbage, red onion, 1 cup of besan flour, the thyme in the cabbage red onion filling, and the oil in the whole recipe for four servings (each serving is 2 stuffed crepes). I come up to $0.40 cents a serving

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Love, American Masala style: the Cauliflower

You may feel skeptical about using the word “love” to describe one’s relationship to the cauliflower, but you can easily fall in love with how simple it is to create something delicious using Indian spices with this recipe. The recipe is from American Masala, the cook book I have recommended in previous posts and the link to which you can find on my side bar. I am not even sure what I did qualifies as cooking…I used one bowl to combine several spices with oil, then coated the cauliflower pieces (with onion) and then baked in a baking dish at 450 degrees for 45 minutes. How easy was that? Super easy and super fragrant. Be sure to pause to revel in the spices after they ground and after they are mixed into the oil.

Cardamon Roasted Cauliflower

Cardamon Roasted Cauliflower

Here are the spices. Feel free to ask me any questions about them:

  • Cardamom pods (green), 3
  • Coriander seeds, 1 tbspn
  • Cumin seeds, 1 tspn
  • Dried red chilies, 3 (I used about a half teaspoon of red pepper flakes)
  • Whole peppercorns, 1/2 tsp

Put all of this in a coffee grinder (or small food processor) until you have a fine powder. Then measure 1/3 cup of EVOO into a bowl. I used, as viewers of this blog know, grapeseed oil as substitution. I don’t mind using EVOO in this, just don’t have any on hand right now. Mix the spices into the oil (and inhale…). Then toss your cut up florets into the mixture and coat. Saran (the author) uses one whole head of cauliflower plus 1 medium size onion (sliced finely). Coat thoroughly and then place the vegetables in a baking tray and roast until they are tender at 450 degrees. He says about an hour and I found it was done in about 45 to 50 minutes. Sprinkle with kosher salt and serve. I wonder if it would add flavor to it if you chopped up an herb like cilantro finely and also mixed it in the oil/spice mix. Even without it, the flavors just pop in your mouth. I do love that part of the American Masala style! 🙂

Price per serving: for a generous serving I would say $0.71 cents a serving. This includes the price of the cauliflower and the oil, the two prime ingredients. It is a tad expensive and its because cauliflower is expensive and I used organic cauliflower to boot. As usual, the price doesn’t include spices because I do believe these are an investment unless you are able to buy them in bulk. (In which case, more power to YOU). Any suggestions on how to lower the price are welcome.