E : Etcetera

Tiffin Talk

Skip the old, boring sandwiches and surprise your children with these five delicious and healthy lunch box ideas.

Chef Reetu Uday Kugaji

1. DIY Granola Bars

Preparation Time: 20 minutes including freezing time
Baking Time: 2 minutes
Makes: 10 granola bars
Ingredients and Quantity:
Rolled Oats, toasted: 1 1/4th cup
Mixed Nuts, toasted: 1 tbsp.
Almond/Peanut butter: 1/4th cup
Dates, pitted and chopped: ½ cup
Dried chopped figs: 1 tbsp
Organic Honey: 1/4th cup
Place the toasted oats, almonds and dates in a large mixing bowl – set aside.
In a non-stick pan add honey and peanut butter over low heat. Stir and pour over oat mixture and mix well.
Once thoroughly mixed, transfer to an 8×8-inch baking dish.
Press down firmly until all the mixture is evenly flattened
Cover with parchment let it firm up in the fridge or freezer for 10 minutes.
Remove bars and cut chop into 6 bars or 6 squares
Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

2. Crackerwiches

Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Serves: 4
Ingredients and Quantity:
Multigrain Crackers: 8
Peanut butter: 2 Tsp
Strawberries, sliced: 4
Almond, slivered: 4 Tsp
Cinnamon powder: 1/4th tsp
Organic Honey: 1 tbsp
Place the crackers on a flat base.
Apply peanut butter.
Place the slices of strawberry.
Sprinkle slivered almonds and cinnamon powder.
Drizzle honey on top.
Top it with another cracker.
Repeat this process to prepare 4 crackerwiches.

3. Mini Oats and Vegetable Uttapam

Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 10 to 12
Ingredients and Quantity:
Oats, quick-cooking oats or Rolled oats: 1 cup
Semolina: ½ cup
Asafoetida: a pinch
Yogurt whisked: 1 cup
Cumin seeds: 1 tsp
Red chilli powder: 1/4th tsp
Soda Bicarbonate: a pinch (Optional)
Water: As required
Onion, finely chopped: 1
Tomatoes, deseeded and chopped: 1
Red Cabbage, chopped: ½ tbsp
Red / Yellow / Green Capsicum, finely chopped: 1 medium-sized
Carrots, peeled and finely chopped: ½ tbsp
French beans, chopped: ½ tbsp
Ginger, finely chopped: 3/4th tsp
Salt: to taste
Extra Virgin Olive oil: 1 tbsp
For Garnish:
Coriander leaves, fresh, chopped- ½ tbsp.
Grind oats and semolina. Add asafoetida.
Now add Yogurt, cumin seeds, red chilli powder, soda bi carb, ginger and water, as required to make a thick batter.
Keep aside for 10 minutes. Add Salt to taste.
Mix well.
In a glass bowl combine the chopped onion, tomatoes, red cabbage, capsicum, carrots, French beans and very less salt, as we have already added salt to the batter.
Heat a non-stick pan apply a little oil, spread a ladleful of batter.
Now take a spoonful or more of mixed veggies and spread over the batter.
Ensure that it sticks to the batter.
Drizzle few drops of oil in the centre of the uttapam as well as on the edges.
When it is golden brown, flip it to the other side to cook and till the vegetables are lightly caramelized.
Serve hot garnished with chopped coriander leaves and accompanied with Coconut or Tomato chutney.
Chef Tips:
You may sprinkle lemon juice if desired.

4. Beetroot Falafel with Cilantro Tahini

Preparation Time: 8 hours including soaking of chickpeas overnight
Cooking Time: 15 to 20 minutes
Chilling Time in Refrigerator: 2 hours
Makes: 10 Balls
Ingredients and Quantity:
Chickpeas, dried: ½ cup
Beetroot, cooked and roughly chopped: 1 medium-sized
Onion roughly chopped: ½ cup
Parsley, finely chopped: 1 tbsp
Cilantro, finely chopped: 2 sprigs
Garlic cloves: 3
Cumin, lightly roasted: ½ tsp
Salt: to taste
Bengal gram / Refined flour: 2 tbsp
Vegetable oil: As required for deep frying
Cilantro Tahini Sauce:
Tahini: 1/4th cup
Garlic cloves: 2
Cilantro, chopped: 1/4th cup
Lemon juice: 1 tsp
Salt: to taste
Pepper: to taste
Ground cumin: 1/4th tsp 
Wash and put the Chickpeas in a glass bowl with enough water to cover it.
Soak Overnight.
In the morning drain off the water and wash the chickpeas thoroughly.
Let them dry for a little while.
Place the drained and uncooked chickpeas in a food processor. Blend it along with beetroot, onion, parsley, cilantro, garlic, cumin and salt to taste.
Add 02 tbsp. of Bengal gram / refined flour and pulse. Ensure that it blends properly but not pureed.
Place the mixture in a bowl, which is covered in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
Form the mixture into 10 equal balls and deep fry in hot oil on each side so that it is evenly cooked and coloured.
For preparing the Cilantro Tahini Sauce:
Pulse garlic, cilantro, cumin, salt and pepper in a food processor until smooth. Add tahini and lemon juice; process only for 30 seconds. Add water to adjust consistency and whisk well.
Serve the beetroot falafel hot with Cilantro Tahini Sauce.
Chef Tips:
1. You may add herbs and freshly ground black peppercorns in the Chickpea mixture before it is refrigerated.
2. You may add more Bengal gram / refined flour to the chickpea mixture if required.

5. Crispy Baked Eggplant

Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Baking Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4
Ingredients and Quantity:
Eggplant (Bharta Baingan): 1 medium sized
Salt to taste / as required
Extra-virgin olive oil: 2 tbsp
Parmesan, freshly grated: 1 tbsp 
Italian seasoning: 1 tsp (Optional)
Garlic powder: 1 tsp
Freshly ground black pepper: ½ tsp (Optional)
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Cut eggplant into very thin rounds.
Lay slices of eggplant on kitchen paper towels in an even layer. Season lightly with salt, set aside 10 minutes. Wipe any visible moisture from the slices Transfer eggplant slices to a large bowl and toss with it with olive oil. Add Parmesan, Italian seasoning, and garlic powder. Season with black pepper and toss the slices without breaking them, until they are evenly coated.
Arrange eggplant slices in an even layer without overlapping them, on a large baking sheet. 
Bake until golden and crisp, 15 minutes. Let it cool completely before serving it.
Serve with tomato sauce or any sauce of your choice.


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