Saffron infused sweet and savory Butternut Squash Patties are my contribution to Sunita from "Sunita's World" blog's "Think Spice..Think.." event.This month's spice is "Saffron", thanks for hosting Sunita!:)
This is how Saffron looks in it's natural form:
Photo from Wikipedia.
Saffron is a spice derived from the flower of saffron crocus (Crocus sativus).Saffron, has been always the world's most expensive spice by weight,is native to Southwest Asia and Kashmir in India.It was first cultivated in the vicinity of Greece.
Saffron, when used in excess in strands or powder form tastes bitter. When used sparingly, it imparts a beautiful fragrance and color to any dish.Saffron strands have better fragrance when soaked in warm milk or water than the powdered Saffron. Do store them in the freezer to prolong their shelf life than keeping them in a dry place in the pantry.
For more info and to look at the beautiful pictures of Saffron flower, click here and about Kashmiri Saffron and to buy it, click here.
Here are my Saffron-Vanilla pudding and savory Butternut Squash dish and Butternut Squash Waffles, enjoy!:)
Sweet and Savory Butternut Squash Patties or mini Pancakes infused with World's most expensive spice, Saffron!
First you need to: peel and cube about 2 cups of Butternut squash. Place them in a microwavable dish, add 1/4 tsp Saffron Strands and about a cup of water, cover and cook in the MW for 5-10mins or until squash is soft, almost dry and water is evaporated.Let it cool a bit, and grind the squash into a puree.
Add 3-4 tbsp of plain flour or as much it needs to make it thick into a thick batter, 1 tbsp Corn starch (optional) to the puree and mix well. You can add 2-3 tbsp Potato flakes too to the hot puree if you like. Texture should be like very thick batter.Add more flour if it's thin. Divide this mix into two in 2 different bowls.
Here is how to make both of these patties:
For sweet patties:
Add 2-3 tbsp powdered sugar, 1 tsp Vanilla essence, 1 tsp Cinnamon pd, 2 tsp Pumpkin spice ( or 1/8 tsp clove pd, 1/4 ginger pd) to one portion of squash puree and mix well.
To make sweet patties:
Heat a non-stick pan, add 1 tbsp of oil or butter and drop 1-2 tbsp of thick batter,spread a little to a thick about 3" rounds about 3 patties at a time. Let them cook until golden and flip carefully and cook the other side. Repeat the same with rest of the batter.
Serve these sprinkled with powdered sugar or Maple syrup or both.
For savory patties:
Add store bought 1 tsp Rasam or Sambhar or Curry pd, 1/2 tsp Garlic pd, minced Cilantro or Parsley,salt and chilli flakes or green chillies if you like, mix well.
For making savory patties:
Wipe the pan clean with a paper towel, add oil and heat again. Do the same as above and cook both sides until golden.
Serve with Ketchup or coconut chutney and a lemon slice.
I loved the sweet patties. Sugar and squash becomes caramelized when cooked and gives them a crunch and tastes great with syrup. Try these for breakfast.Using the non-stick pan prevents you from using too much oil or butter.
Savory patties are a blend of sweet squash and spicy hot curry pd, wonderful with coconut chutney. Enjoy!:))
Masala Peanuts, "fried" in the Microwave is my entry to "Easy cooking with Microwave" which is hosted by Srivalli for "Cooking 4 all seasons" with a theme of "snacks" this month. Thanks for hosting Sri!:))
Trial and error!
When Sri announced microwaved "snacks", first thing came to my mind was the crunchy masala peanuts which I used to deep fry in oil but found this recipe in the MW cookbook I have mentioned below. I followed her recipe EXACTLY at first as she has written but I wasn't that happy with the result although tasted good.
The author has asked us to heat 4 tbsp of oil first and then add the wet, spiced peanut mix to the oil to fry in the MW for 6 mins but I found that Peanuts were still tasted raw inside even though the spices are crispy,little over cooked.(I have high powered MW and used huge Spanish Peanuts!:P)
I improvised on her method to make it better.I microwaved the raw peanut for a minute first to crisp them, let it cool and then added the water and masala mix on top.I sprayed the no-stick oil on the other plate lightly to prevent sticking while cooking, then spread the spice coated peanuts and sprayed again on the top of spiced peanuts to save some calories instead of cooking in 4 tbsp oil to cook for 3 minutes.
Voila! Got a perfect plate of crunchy masala peanuts. Try it, I am sure you will love it as much as we did!:)
Microwaved spicy crunchy masala Peanuts:
This "Masala Kadalai" recipe adapted from the Microwave cookbook by the author Mallika Badrinath with my own additions and improvisation:
1 cup unsalted Peanuts, 2 tbsp water.
Mix these in a bowl: 2 tbsp Besan or Chickpea flour, 1 tbsp Rice flour, 1/2 tsp Garlic pd, 1/8 tsp turmeric, 1/2 tsp Cumin pd,1/4 tsp Ajwain(Carrom) seeds, salt and chilli pd to taste.
No-stick oil to spray. Two microwavable plates.
How to make it:
1. Spray a microwavable plate with no-stick spray lightly and keep aside.
2. In another plate, microwave peanuts for a minute and cool and then add water. Sprinkle all the flour and spices on the wet peanuts, shake the plate or roll the peanuts gently in masala to mix until well coated.
3. Add all this to sprayed plate and spread gently in to single layer. Spray the oil again lightly on top of coated peanuts. DO NOT spray oil on the wet peanuts, spices won't stick! Add masala first, mix and then spray!!
4. Microwave for 3 mins on high. Check once after 1 1/2 minutes just to make sure they are not burning. After 3 minutes,it looks clumpy but as it cools Peanuts will get crispy.
5. Cool on a paper towel. MW few seconds more if you feel that they are still not crisp enough after it's cooled.
5. When completely cooled, gently separate the clumps. Serve with coffee or even better, cold beer.YUM!
Notes: Other nuts you can use in the same way are Cashews, Almonds etc. You can also throw in some Rasam pd, Sambhar pd and any curry pd to the batter for a different taste!
That's it, enjoy the quick, full of nutrients and a low fat snack too!:))