Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Baked Southwestern Rolls

Ah – Super Bowl.  Is it that time of the year already?  We still haven’t recovered from the last one – when Seattle beat Denver a gazillion to nothing (or something like that).

There was no enthusiasm this year to watch the game.  We really didn’t have a team to support.  Do you support a team mired in the Deflate Gate controversy or do you support the team that routed your home team?  

Anyway, our friend hosted the Super Bowl party at her place as she does every year.  My husband and younger son were going to watch the whole game.  I had a lot of work to catch up on and dropped in for about an hour or so, so that I could meet my friends and chat for a bit.

I had signed up to bring an appetizer though I had no idea what to take.  Started browsing online for vegetarian recipes and found several versions of baked Southwestern Egg Rolls. 

I really liked the idea and decided to make this my way.  Since there are no eggs in my recipe and no eggs in the wrapper, mine are just Southwestern Rolls.

I was not sure how they would come out if I baked them instead of deep-frying.  After I started assembling the rolls, I put one in the toaster oven and deep-fried the other.  My husband was the official taster.  He did say that the deep-fried version tasted better, but the baked version tasted good too.  So I ended up baking the rolls.  Everyone loved it!

Here is what you need:

(to make around 40 rolls)

  • 3 – 4 tsp. oil
  • ½ medium onion, chopped
  • 3 jalapenos, minced
  • ½ red pepper
  • ½ yellow pepper
  • 3 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • ½ cup frozen corn
  • salt to taste
  • 1 – 2 tsp. red chili powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin powder
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • ½ bunch chopped cilantro
  • spring roll wrappers, thawed
  • 2 – 3 tsp. oil for brushing
  • non-stick spray


Here is how I made it:

 For the filling:
  1. Heat oil in a skillet.  Add onions and jalapenos.  Mix well.
  2. When the onion turns translucent, add the peppers.  Sauté for a minute or so.
  3. Add the black beans.  Cook on medium heat for a few minutes.
  4. Mix in the corn, salt, chili powder, cumin powder, garlic powder, and cilantro.
  5. Once the spices are blended, turn off the heat and let it cool.

To make the rolls:

Take the spring roll wrappers one at a time.  

Place about two teaspoons of the filling about a third of the way from one corner.

Fold up the bottom and the sides.

Wet the top part with water, and roll up the spring roll tightly. 

Set it aside on a plate, covered with a wet paper towel.  Repeat till all the filling is done.

About an hour or so before serving:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Meanwhile, spray a couple of cookie sheets with non-stick spray.
  3. Using a silicone brush, brush a little bit of oil onto each roll.  Place these on the cookie sheet.
  4. Bake these till they turn golden brown (for about 20 – 30 minutes) turning once about half way through.

Serve with spicy homemade salsa.

Sunday, February 1, 2015


Every time I make Gujrati food, I think of this dialogue from 3 Idiots:

Kareena Kapoor's famous dialogue in 3 Idiots : "Tum Gujararti bade cute hote ho, par tum log ka khana itna khatarnak hyun hota hain - dholka, thepla, fafda, handva - aisa lagta hain koi missiles hain (You Gujjus are so cute, but your cuisine sounds deadly - dholka, thepla, fafda, handva  - they sound like missiles)

Handvo is one of those dishes I only got to try after coming here.  It tasted so good that I have made it a few times.  The only problem is that I am the only one who likes it.  My husband thinks like Kareena Kapoor and won’t eat it at all.  And my youngest stays away from all these dishes. 

Anyway, because I am the only one who eats this at home, I don’t make it often – maybe once in two – three years?  A couple o weeks ago, with vacation winding down, I was losing track of days of the week and forgot that it was Friday  - the day that my milk gets delivered in the morning. 

By the time I realized this, it was late afternoon.  I brought the milk in and even though the outside temperature was well below freezing, wasn’t sure if the milk was good.  I decided to boil some of it and make it into yogurt.  The milk was good, but I ended up with a lot of yogurt.  Since I had just made dhokla, I decided to indulge and make handvo with the extra yogurt.  I now had enough handvo for a few days’ worth of lunch.

I got this recipe from a friend of mine.  It comes out great every time.  I use the Handva flour I get in my Indian store.  There are several recipes online to make this from scratch.

Here is what you need:

  • 2 cups Handva flour
  • 2 cups sour yogurt
  • 1 medium lauki (bottle gourd)
  • 2 – 3 green chilies, minced
  • 1” piece ginger, grated
  • juice of one lemon
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. red chili powder
  • ½ tsp. turmeric
  • 2 tsp. oil
  • non-stick spray

For tempering:

  • 2 tsp. oil
  • 2 tsp. mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp. white sesame seeds
  • ½ tsp. hing (asafetida)

Here is how I made it:

  1. Mix the handvo flour with yogurt and salt.  Cover and let it sit overnight.
  2. Heat oven to 400°F.
  3. Peel and grate the lauki (about 2 ½ - 3 cups).
  4. Add all the ingredients listed (except the tempering) along with the lauki to the handvo – yogurt mixture.  Mix well.
  5. Grease a 9 X 13 baking dish with non-stick spray.
  6. Pour the prepared mixture into the dish.
  7. Heat oil for tempering. Add mustard seeds
  8. When the seeds sputter, add cumin and sesame seeds.  Add hing.
  9. Once the cumin changes color, pour this gently over the handvo mix.
  10. Bake at 400°F for 30 – 35 minutes, till a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  11. Let it cool completely and then cut it into pieces.

Serve with chutney of your choice.

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