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Chai with Friends: The Jam Lab

Chai with Friends: The Jam Lab


Zucchini Thepla

300gms whole wheat flour
170gms finely grated zucchini (1 medium)
2 tbsp vegetable oil
Pinch of asafetida
1 tsp Spicewalla Cumin Seeds
1 tsp carom or Spicewalla Ajwain Seeds
3 tsp Spicewalla White Sesame Seeds
1 tsp Spicewalla Ground Turmeric
1 tsp Spicewalla Dark Chilli Powder
2 ½ tsp Spicewalla Sicilian sea salt
2 garlic cloves
1 inch ginger
1 green chilli
1 ½ tsp brown sugar
120 gms Greek yogurt (1/2 cup)
1 tbsp water
3 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
1 tsp vegetable oil for massaging the dough
Extra whole wheat flour for rolling, dusting
Oil for cooking the thepla

Tomato-Sev Curry

10 medium tomatoes halved and cut into small pieces
2 cloves garlic
1 inch ginger piece skin removed
1 green chilli ( or 2 if you like it spicy)
3-4 tbsp vegetable oil
4-5 curry leaves
1 tsp Spicewalla Cumin Seeds
1 tsp Spicewalla Brown Mustard Seeds
pinch of asafoetida
3/4 tsp Spicewalla Ground Turmeric Powder
¾ tsp Spicewalla Coriander Powder
¾ tsp Spicewalla Cumin Powder
Salt to taste
¾ - 1 tsp Spicewalla Garam Masala
¾ tsp Spicewalla Dark Chilli Powder (or omit if you do not want it spicy)
3-4 tsp of tomato paste (in the non-tomato season)
1 heapful tsp of brown sugar

¼ - 1/3 cup medium to fine sev (chickpea noodles) – found at any indian grocery store.
3-4 tbsp chopped cilantro
Black Eyed Peas and Spinach Curry:
2 cups black eyed peas
2 tbsp. ghee
1 teaspoon Spicewalla Cumin Seeds
1 teaspoon Spicewalla Brown Mustard Seeds
1-2 teaspoon grated ginger (I like it more gingery)
2 cloves of grated garlic
1 green chilli finely chopped
2 small tomatoes finely chopped
2 cups baby spinach and baby kale leaves mixed

Dry Masalas:

1/2 teaspoon Spicewalla Dark Red Chilli Powder
1 teaspoon Spicewalla Ground Turmeric Powder
1 teaspoon Spicewalla Coriander Powder
1 teaspoon Spicewalla Garam Masala
salt to taste

2 tbsp. chopped cilantro


For Zucchini Thepla

1. In a mini food processor, add in the garlic, ginger, green chilli and make a paste of it. If you do not have a mini food processor, grate the garlic and ginger using a hand grater, and finely chop the green chilli.
2. In a large bowl, add in the dry ingredients like whole wheat flour, asafoetida, cumin seeds, carom seeds, sesame seeds, ground turmeric, red chili powder, salt, brown sugar, and whisk to combine. Add in the grated zucchini, ginger-garlic-green chilli paste, yogurt, oil and cilantro, and mix with your hand, while holding the bowl with your other hand. Combine as much as you can without adding water. The zucchini has a lot of water content, so it will bind with the water from the zucchini. Add about 2 tbsp of water and mix well. If you feel it is still a bit dry add one tablespoon at a time and check. The dough will come together, be patient! Knead the dough properly on a flat surface for 2-3 minutes. Then massage with one teaspoon of oil. Keep it back in the large bowl, cover with a kitchen towel, and let it rest for 30 minutes.
3. Now break the dough into 16 portions, each about 40 gms in weight. Roll each portion between the palm of your hands in a clockwise motion with one hand, and anti-clockwise motion with the other hand and roll till it forms a nice round ball. Press it slight to flatten. Keep it back in the bowl. Repeat for the other 15 portions of dough.
4. Heat a flat medium pan, on medium heat. Let it get hot for 5 minutes.
5. On a flat surface or a chakla or a marble piece, take a round flat piece of dough, dunk it in the additional flour that is kept aside in a bowl, and using a rolling pin, start rolling the dough in a continuous motion, with light pressure to roll out the dough evenly. Pause, lift the pin, turn the dough and roll, and repeat the process to get an even round smooth 7 inch circle. It takes a lot of practice to get it round. So do not worry if the you do not get it the first few times. The goal is to roll it out thin enough, to about 2mm thickness.
6. Gently take it off the surface, and put it on the pan. Let it cook for 30 seconds, flip the thepla. Now add about 1-2 tsp of vegetable oil around the thepla and spread it on the top as well. Flip it again and spread a tiny bit of oil on the other side too. Let it cook for 30-40 seconds on each side more, until you see brown spots on the thepla, that is when you know it is cooked well. Set it aside on a plate.
7. Repeat the same process for the remaining 15 theplas.
8. Enjoy with some pickle of your choice, and masala chai, or Greek yogurt with some chaat masala on the top!
9. The theplas keep in the fridge, wrapped in aluminum foil for about a week.

Tomato Sev Curry:
1. Make a paste in a chopper/grinder with the ginger, garlic and green chillies.
2. In a medium pot, on medium heat, add in the vegetable oil. Let it heat up for a minute. Now add in the cumin seeds, mustard seeds, asafoetida, curry leaves and let it splatter for 30-45 seconds. Now add in the ginger/garlic/green chilli paste. Saute for 30 seconds. Add in the chopped tomatoes and all of the spices, and brown sugar. Mix and let it simmer on medium heat for 12-14 minutes. Keep it partially covered. Keep sautéing every few minutes so as not to burn the tomato vegetable. The tomatoes should reduce down, and should be sort of pastey and not soupy. Keep stirring for another minute or so, and it is done! Switch off the stove.
3. Pour it into the serving bowl. Garnish with the fine sev or chickpea noodles. Garnish with the chopped cilantro! Eat it with roti, or naan or rice!
Black Eyed Peas and Spinach Curry:
4. In a small bowl, add in the black eyed beans, and soak them overnight in water covering more than an inch above the beans.
5. After soaking overnight, in a pressure cooker, on medium heat, add in the ghee, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, a pinch of asefoetida and let it splatter for half a minute or so. Add in the ginger, garlic, and sauté for a minute. Add in the tomatoes, and sauté for 3-4 minutes. Add in all the dry masalas, and sauté for 2 minutes till it looks pastey. Add in the spinach and kale, and sauté again till wilted for a min.
6. Add in the soaked black eyed beans. Add about 3 cups of water, close the pressure cooker, and switch it off after about 4 whistles. When it is ready to open, check if there is too much water. If there is still a lot of water, boil it off till the curry thickens a little bit.
7. Garnish with cilantro.
PS. If you do not have a pressure cooker, you can cook it in a medium saucepan, and cook it covered as well for about 30 minutes. Check the beans to see if they have softened, and the water has reduced. If not soft enough, boil it for another 15 minutes and check again. You may need to add more water to make sure that the beans are covered when boiling.
8. Enjoy with rice/bread/naan/roti!


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