Monday, March 31, 2008

Methi Ka Paratha - Ver.2

I know the above picture is not very good. Hopefully when I make this version again, I will be able to take a better picture.

I learned this methi ka paratha at my "Rotis & Parathas class".


Methi ka Paratha - Ver. 2

Ingredients
1 bunch fresh methi/fenugreek leaves, washed, roughly chopped
1 small tomato, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander-cumin seed powder
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
salt to taste
wheat flour, as needed

oil for shallow frying

Method
1. Heat oil. Add cumin seeds.
2. As the cumin seeds start to splutter, add onions. Saute for 3 minutes.
3. Add tomatoes, chili powder, coriander-seed powder, turmeric powder.

4. Add methi/fenugreek leaves and salt to taste.
5. Saute for 2-3 minutes.
6. Let it cool completely.
7. Put the methi mixture in a plate. Add wheat flour slowly and start kneading. Keep kneading till a homogeneous, elastic dough is formed.

8. Cover and keep aside for 15 minutes.

9. Divide into equal balls. Roll out into thick parathas.
10. Shallow fry on both sides till brown spots appear. Use few drops of oil while frying.
11. Serve hot with yogurt or raita and pickle.

Note -

1. The quantity in the term "bunch of fenugreek leaves" may differ from shop to shop, region to region. So make your own adjustments accordingly.
2. Do not let methi overcook when sauteing. There should still be some crunch. So take off the heat immediately after a quick saute.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Methi ka Paratha - Ver. 1

My classmate, Ritu used to bring these amazing parathas. She had given me her mom's recipe sometime back. I meant to try it from ages, because generally I always land up making methi na thepla. & I call this ver. 1 - just because ver. 2 is already ready in the draft! :-)


Methi ka Paratha - Ver. 1
Ingredients
1 bunch of fresh methi/fenugreek leaves
salt to taste
1/2 tsp red chili powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder (optional)
1 tsp grated ginger
1 small onion, chopped
1/4 tsp tymol seeds/owa/ajwain/ajmo
wheat flour - as needed to bind the dough
1 tsp oil


oil for shallow frying


Method
1. Wash, dry and coarsely grind the fenugreek leaves in a blender. Make sure they are not completely mashed.
2. Squeeze if there is any excess water.

3. Mix all the ingredients to make a dough. Cover and keep aside for 15 minutes.

4. Make balls, roll out into thick rotis.
5. Shallow fry till brown spots appear on both sides.


Note -

1. The quantity in the term "bunch of fenugreek leaves" may differ from shop to shop, region to region. So please make some adjustments accordingly.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Garlic/Lasoon Chutney

This chutney is a staple at my home. I serve it with Vada-paav, wheat flour appams or bhakris.

Lasnichi Chutney
Garlic Chutney
Ingredients
1 cup desiccated coconut, grated
3 - 5 Garlic cloves
4-5 dry red chilies 0r 2 tsp paprika
salt to taste
sugar to taste
1/2 tsp Tamarind (Optional)

Method
1. Roast coconut and red chilies. Let it cool down.
2. Grind with the rest of the ingredients
3. Store in an airtight bottle.

Note -
1. Roasting time varies from house to house resulting in deep red, red or brown colored garlic chutney.

2. American garlic cloves are huge compared to Indian ones. So above 3-4 garlic cloves is the proportion for American garlic cloves. You can use about 7-9 Indian garlic cloves for the above proportion. You can most certainly vary the amount of garlic per your own preference.

This fiery garlic chutney is my contribution to Jihva:Garlic.

Jihva Event is started by Indira of Mahanandi.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Indian Cheese - Paneer Making at home

Making homemade paneer


Step 1 -
Pour 1/2 lit milk in a heavy bottomed saucepan or pot on medium to low flame.


"Doodhacha Toap - Milk Container" is my entry for Click!


Step 2 -
Remember a watched milk never boils too!! ;-) Keep looking!!



Step 3
Keep a ladle inside to avoid milk boiling over.



Step 4
Keep the curdling agent ready. Any of the following will work
1. plain curds or yogurt or
2. Leftover whey or
3. Lemon or
4. Vinegar

About 1 Tbsp or 2 of each should work. But keep more amount handy just in case.


Step 5
As the milk starts to boil, add the curdling agent, and watch how the milk curdles. Add more if needed.


Step 6
The milk solid separates from the milk liquid. The milk liquid is whey and milk solid is Indian cottage cheese - Paneer or Chhena.




Step 7
Carefully separate the cheese with a ladle



Step 8
Pour the cheese in a clean muslin cloth kept on top of another pot



Step 9
Tie the muslin cloth in a pouch so all the extra water gets drained away in the container below. You can keep some weight on the pouch to remove excess water.



Step 10
Call Little Miss Muffet, here's whey!! :-)



Step 11
Paneer is ready!!


Rules of thumb -
1. Generally, when making paneer for sweet dishes, plain yogurt or leftover whey is used. For making paneer for savory dishes, lemon or vinegar is used.

2. Whey is very nutritious. So do not throw away that liquid. Use for kneading chapatis, or making daal /vegetables, use in rasam/sambar, as a broth/stock for soups & stews etc.

3. Generally whey made with vinegar is discarded because it smells and tastes stronger than others. This is what I have heard. I have never used vinegar for making paneer/whey so do not know about the taste.

The first picture "Doodhacha Toap - Milk Container" is my entry to this month's Click:Metal at Jugalbandi.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Tittori - Parsi Lima beans

Like many of you, I too get the weekly email recipes from TarlaDalal.com, I got this recipe sometime back, I saved it in the recipes folder and forgot about it. Today, while thinking what to cook with lima beans, I discovered this recipe. It turned out great. I made a couple of changes for convenience like using pressure cooker instead of slow cooking the lima beans, decreasing the amount of oil and coconut milk, but the result was really delicious.

Here's the original link to this recipe -
http://www.tarladalal.com/Recipe.asp?id=4788

Or

This recipe given below is AS-IS from http://www.tarladalal.com/



Tittori from Tarladalal.com
Parsi Lima Beans curry
Preparation Time : 10 mins.
Cooking Time : 40 mins.Serves 6.
Ingredients
3 cups sprouted and peeled val dal (pavta)
1 cup chopped onions
1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
½ tsp garam masala
½ tsp coriander (dhania) powder
½ tsp cumin (jeera) powder
½ tsp chilli powder
1 tsp turmeric powder (haldi)
1 tbsp sugar
1 cup finely chopped tomatoes
2 cups coconut milk
3 tbsp oil
salt to taste

Method
1.Heat the oil in a large pan and add the onions and ginger-garlic paste to it.
2.When the onions turn translucent, add the garam masala, coriander powder, cumin powder, chilli powder, turmeric powder, sugar, salt and tomatoes.
3.When the mixture leaves oil, add the val dal and 2 cups of water and allow to cook on a low flame till the dal is done.
4.Add the coconut milk, mix gently and bring to a boil.
5.Serve hot.


My changes
1. I pressure cooked the lima beans before adding to the curry.
2. I used only 1 cup reduced fat, organic coconut milk
3. I used 2 tsp oil.
4. Instead of ginger-garlic paste, I used ginger-garlic-green chili paste which gave a greenish hue to this curry.
5. I think even garbanzo beans or kabooli chana will also taste equally delcious with this coconut milk based curry.


Verdict -
Coconut milk added creamy consistency and a delicate flavor to this simple curry. We loved it.


Credits

http://www.tarladalal.com/

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Thanks, Richa!!

Sometime back, I wrote about Jhal Moori. It was my own interpretation of the famous Bengali bhel. I have never been to Kolkata. So haven't really tasted the real taste of the street food there. I just googled the recipe and found the most common ingredients which were readily available in my pantry and made my own version of Jhal moori. We relished it because ours is an ultimate chaat loving family.....and then there was a pleasant surprise waiting for me.

I got an email from a dear friend - someone who is as dear as salt! She told me about this amazing masala called jhal moori masala which is, (along with some tamarind pulp) to be drizzled on this bhel to make it authentic. She didn't just share this information but also sent a generous amount to me. Her unique masala is straight from Kolkata...Talk about the authentic taste!!

When I started food-blogging in October 2007, I didn't know that blogging is not just about sharing family food recipes, but is also about building friendship.

Thanks, Richa for your generosity & friendship. Richa, Tusi really great ho!!!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Narkel Chingri

I have been cooking all the delicious Bengali food for RCI:Bengal. Last week, I made this delicious "Narkel Chingri"which is coconut shrimp/prawns in Bengali. The recipe is adapted from "Bengali Cooking" by Chitrita Banerji.

The taste of this dish is quite bold due to mustard oil and freshly ground mustard seeds. If you are not familiar with these ingredients, you can reduce the quantity. But for the authentic taste, I do not recommend substituting them with anything else.

Narkel Chingri
Adapted from "Bengali Cooking" by Chitrita Banerji
Ingredients
1 lb shrimp, peeled/deveined/cleaned
1/8 tsp Turmeric powder
1 tbsp or 3 tsp Mustard oil

Grind to a fine paste
1/2 of fresh coconut
1 tsp - 1 Tbsp Mustard seeds (Decide your own range!)
2-3 Green chilies
salt
Garnish
1 Lemon wedge

Method
1. Heat 2 tsp mustard oil.
2. Sprinkle turmeric powder on the shrimp/prawns.
3. Saute the shrimp/prawns in the oil for 2 minutes.
4. Add ground paste and 2 tbsp water.
5. Saute till all the moisture evaporates. Add remaining 1 tsp of mustard oil. Switch off the gas as the shrimp/prawns are cooked.
6. Keep covered till ready to serve.
7. Squeeze some fresh lemon juice before serving.

Note -
1. I served this Bengali coconut shrimp with "Kaljira rice" that I found in Whole Foods with a label "Imported from Bengal".

2. If you are in Mumbai, don't forget to visit "Only Fish" which is now "Oh! Calcutta" for some delicious Bengali delicacies.




This post is my contribution to RCI:Bengal hosted by Sandeepa of Bong Mom's cookbook.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Mangalore/Mangaluru Puranpoli

This is my sincere attempt to make Mangalore style Puranpoli like my grandmother used to make. These Mangalore puranpolis look vibrant yellow with turmeric in the dough. Most of the Mangalore stores in Mumbai sell these Puranpolis. Amma's puranpolis used to be huge while Mangalore stores puranpolis are much smaller in size.

Happy Holi!!!

Mangalore/Mangaluru Puranpoli- Ubbatti
Sweet flatbread from Mangalore
Ingredients

For puran -
1 cup chana daal
1 cup jaggery
2 cardamoms, peeled, seeds powdered
A generous pinch of nutmeg powder, freshly ground

For Poli -
3/4 cup wheat flour
1/4 cup maida
A pinch of salt
1/2 tsp turmeric powder

Rice flour for dredging while rolling the poli

Accompaniment
Ghee
or
Warm Milk
or
Rosu (coconut milk + jaggery + cardamom + nutmeg)

Method
1. Pressure cook chana daal adding double amount of water. Take out, drain the water. This water can be used to make "Katachi Amti".
2. Put the boiled & drained chana daal in a saucepan and let it simmer on a slow flame till all the moisture evaporates.
3. Add jaggery and keep mashing till jaggery melts.
4. Simmer till the moisture evaporates.
5. Switch off the gas. Add nutmeg and cardamom powders.
6. Let the puran cool down. Using potato masher, potato ricer, blender or food mill , mash the puran to a smooth paste. Keep aside.
7. mix wheat flour, maida, salt and turmeric powder. Adding water, knead the dough.
8. Add oil and knead again till the dough appears elastic and does not stick to the hand.
9. Cover and keep aside for 5 minutes.
10. Heat a griddle, pan or tawa.
11. Make equal balls of the dough and puran. Make a small puri of dough. Stuff the ball of puran inside. Gently dredge in a rice flour and roll out thin poli.

12. Roast on tawa without adding oil or ghee. Roast on a low flame till brown spots appear on both sides.

Notes -
1. Many people - probably all of them - recommend making a ball of dough and ball of puran bigger than the ball of dough. And then covering ball of puran with ball of dough and then rolling into poli. However, I find the method of making a small puri, adding puran, and then rolling into poli much easier. It could very well because I am still a novice.

2. Serve this poli with Rosu as mentioned in the accompaniment and you get a delicious Vegan sweet bread.

I just checked my Kalnirnay, and found lots of festivals are lined up one after the other. With my humble Mangalore Puranpoli, let me wish you all
- Happy Holi
- Happy Eid
- Happy Easter
- Happiness always,
Meera...

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Bhutta



Fresh corn on cobs!! Roast them on charcoal. Rub some salt-chili powder and squeeze some fresh lemon juice!! & voila!!! Fresh, wonderful street snack from Mumbai is ready for you in a jiffy!!

Bhutta

Roasted/grilled corn on cob

Ingredients

Fresh Corn on cobs

Charcoal grill

Garnish

Lemon (per taste)

salt (per taste)

Chili powder (per taste)

Method

1. Grill the corn till brown/black spots appear.

2. Garnish as mentioned.

3. Enjoy!!

Chora daal na Pooda


 Chora daal na pooda served with Masoor Tikhale (Masoor sprouts curry)

Chora daal is the daal made from small, red chowli beans. It is readily available in the local Indian stores here. It is white in color and used extensively in Gujarati cuisine for making special pooda, chora na dhokla etc.

I am sure there must be different versions of this pooda, but I am sharing the recipe as used in my family. We love this pooda or dosa crispy and love to eat with a spicy curry. In her book "The complete Gujarati cookbook", Tarla Dalal says that this poodla - as she refers to this pooda - is served with doodhpak. However, we prefer the spicy accompaniment. So here' s our family recipe.


Chora Daal na pooda (Serves 4)
Ingredients
1 cup chora daal, soaked for 4 hours
Salt to taste
2-3 cloves of garlic - preferably green garlic if available
1-2 green chilies

Method
1. Soak the chora daal in adequate water for 3-4 hours.
2. Grind the drained daal adding water as necessary along with garlic cloves, green chilies and salt.
3. Adjust the consistency of the batter to resemble the dosa batter.
4. Heat a griddle or dosa pan. Pour a ladleful of batter. Spread into a thin round like you would spread a dosa.
5. Add a drop or two of oil. Brown on both sides.

Note -
1. Do not exceed soaking time more than 4 hours otherwise it will start stinking.
2. We like this pooda crispy so I make it thin and brown on both the sides. If you prefer, you could make thick or soft.
3. Chora daal looks similar to urad daal, especially if you are in a hurry. So please label the container in which you store this daal, to avoid having to eat chora daal idlis! :-)
4. When in season, green garlic is used in this pooda. The fresh garlic cloves are ground along with the daal and greens are chopped and added to the batter.
5. Above proportion will yield about 12 - 15 poodas. This count varies depending on the diameter of the pooda.
 

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Jhal Moori - Bengali Bhel

I must admit, I was quite intimidated about trying the mustard oil. But I finally bought it. I have cooked Bengali food before, but used the usual oil. But with RCI:Bengal coming up, I wanted to cook something more authentic with traditional ingredients. I am sure I must have eaten food cooked in the mustard oil before. It's a blessing to be born and brought up in a cosmopolitan city like Mumbai where you meet friends from pretty much most of the states of India and you get to taste all the regional delicacies. but, those were also the days, when I didn't understand the subtle or bold differences of oils or ingredients etc. In school days, I just enjoyed food and happily collected recipes.

Anyways, so I was determined to make "Jhal Moori" or bengali bhel with the authentic mustard oil. As I opened the bottle of the oil, I took a big sniff - I absolutely loved it. You know, it reminded me of my mom's freshly made chili pickle. It smells just the same. She doesn't use mustard oil, but it has crushed mustard powder. I absolutely loved the flavor. It may be an individual taste.

I googled for the exact recipe of Jhal moori, but every recipe was little different. However, the common binding agent for this bhel mixture was the mustard oil. So I decided to make this jhal moori based on the ingredients I had at home.

Here's what I did -

Jhal Moori
Bengali Bhel
Ingredients
1 cup puffed rice/mamra/kurmure/churmure/moori
1 boiled potato, peeled, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
1/2 cucumber, chopped
1-2 green chilies, minced
1/2 onion, minced
1/2 lemon
1 tbsp mustard oil
A handful of sev or farsan mixture
1 tbsp cilantro/coriander leaves, minced
1/4 cup roasted, peanuts
salt to taste
A generous pinch of chaat masala (optional)

Method
1. Heat mustard oil to smoking hot. Cool it to the room temperature.
2. Mix all the ingredients except the mustard oil.
3. Pour the mustard oil on the mixture.
4. Adjust salt.
5. Serve immediately.

Note -
1. If using chaat masala, please note that it already has rock salt, so adjust salt accordingly.
2. I used organic, brown puffed rice in the above picture, though it is not mandatory.
3. I didn't have farsan mixture at hand, so I used nylon sev only. However, I do think, farsan/mixture would taste even better.
4. In my opinion,for the real flavor, do not substitute mustard oil with anything else. You need to use that pungent mustard oil only.

Update -
My dear friend Jaya informed me that you can also add some chopped coconut in this jhal moori too. Thanks, Jaya for letting me know.

& Richa sent me some yummy jhal muri masala. Do try Jhal Muri recipe with this magic masala for the authentic taste!



This post is my contribution to RCI:Bengal hosted by Sandeepa of Bong Mom's cookbook.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Javitri or Mace


DagadPhool

MW Vegetable Tahiri

Every month, I look forward to Srivalli's microwave events which challenge me to use microwave more than just for reheating.

Tahiri is like a veg. pullao from Uttar Pradesh. So far I used to cook it by conventional method of using the stove top. But I tried it using microwave. In about 2-3 attempts, I have finalized rice to water ratio as 1 cup : 2 cups + 1 tbsp. But again, microwave times differ, so you may need to do a little trial and error experiment of your own about what suits your microwave and your tastebuds (e.g. porridge like or pullao like). I prefer it more like dryish pullao consistency so this ratio has worked for my family.

Microwave Subziyonki Tahiri
Ingredients
1 cup rice (preferably Basmati)
2 cups + 1 tbsp water
1/4 cup green peas
1/4 cup cauliflower florets
1/4 cup carrot diced
1/2 tsp chili powder
salt to taste
1/4 tsp garam masala
1 tsp ghee (optional)

Tempering

2 tsp oil

1 bay leaf

2 red chilies

1" cinnamon stick

2-3 cloves

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

3-4 black peppercorn

1/4 tsp turmeric powder

Method

1. Wash rice in two changes of water. Soak the rice for at least 30 minutes or up to 1 hour.
2. In a microwaveable glass casserole (like pyrex etc.), add oil. Cover with a lid. Heat for 30 sec.
3. Add all the khada masala, whole red chilies & turmeric powder. Cover with a lid. Heat for 1 min.
4. Drain the rice. Add rice, water and vegetables. Add salt to taste, garam masala, red chili powder. Stir with a spoon. Cover with a lid. Heat for 10 minutes.
5. Take off the microwave, add 1 tsp ghee, if using, give a quick stir with a fork. Heat for another 9 - 10 minutes.
6. Let it stand in the microwave for 5 minutes before taking out.
7. Use kitchen towel/napkin to take out the container as it will be very hot. Fluff the tahiri with a fork.
8. Serve with raita and papadam roasted in the microwave, of course!;-)

Notes -
1. The microwave cooking time varies. So please use your own judgement while cooking in the microwave. You may need to work twice to come to exact water proportion. The above rice: water ratio worked well for us.
2. You can throw in some daal for an additional nutritional boost. In that case, soak daal along with water. For (1 cup rice+1 cup daal), use around 4 1/4 cup of water. I made Masoor pullao and moong khichdi using this proportion, which worked like a charm. I will blog about these two recipes when I get a chance. But again, you may need to play around with the proportion a bit.
3. I used Kashmiri Garam Masala in the above recipe, but any garam masala should work ok.


This post is my contribution to Srivalli's MEC:Rice event.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Mixed Veg. Sambar

Ingredients
1 cup tur daal, boiled/pressure-cooked
1 cup chopped mixed veggies, (I used cauliflower, broccoli & carrots)
1 tbsp sambar masala
1 tbsp tamarind pulp
salt to taste
1 tomato, chopped

Tempering
1 tsp oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds (optional)
1/4 tsp asafoetida
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 sprig of curry leaves
2 dry, red chilies

Method
1. Heat oil in a big saucepan. Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds if using, asafoetida, curry leaves, turmeric powder & red chilies.
2. As the mustard seeds start to splutter, add the veggies. Saute for 5 minutes.
3. Add cooked daal, sambar masala, tamarind pulp , tomatoes, salt and 1 cup water.
4. Bring to boil. Add more water if necessary.
5. Let it simmer till vegetables are fully cooked but not too mushy.

Note -
1. You can add any vegetables of your choice.

ChowChow Thuvail



Ingredients
1 chowchow/choyote squash, washed, peeled, pitted, grated
salt to taste
1 tbsp walnuts
1/2 lemon

Tempering
1 tbsp oil
2 tbsp urad daal
1 tbsp roasted chana daal/daliya
3 red chilies

Method
1. Heat oil in a saucepan.
2. Add urad daal, daaliya. As they become reddish brown - but not burnt, - add red chilies, chowchow. Let it cook for 7 minutes till it becomes soft.
3. Stir in walnuts and cook for a minute.
4. Grind along with salt and lemon juice.

Balanced Breakfast



I am not making any claim that this is the most balanced breakfast. I am just narrating my attempt at preparing one to the best of my knowledge on a lazy sunday morning! (yesterday actually!)



Here's the menu -


1. Brown Idli - I made the usual idli but used brown rice instead of the usual white rice.



2. Chowchow Thuvail - Inspired by the recipe from "Dakshin" by Mrs. Chandra Padmanabhan, I made my own version, adding (& subtracting!) some of the ingredients from the original recipe. We loved it. If you try and like it as much as we did, then remember, the entire credit goes to Mrs. Padmanabhan for her wonderful recipe. But if you absolutely hate it, then me culpa!!:-)



3. Mixed vegetable sambar - I made sambar using MTR sambar powder but also added mixed vegetables of cauliflower, broccoli, carrots and tomatoes.



4. Orange - Just served fresh orange because now the oranges are in season.

***********************************************************************************




Brown Idli


Ingredients


1 cup Urad daal


2 cups brown rice


salt to taste


few drops of oil for greasing the idli stand




Method


1. Soak daal and rice separately in the morning for the idlis next morning.


2. In the night, grind both daal and rice separately. Mix both the batters, add salt.


3. Cover the batter and keep it in a warm place for fermentation.


4. Next morning, once the batter is fermented, add enough water to adjust the consistency of the batter.


6. Grease idli stand with a drop of oil.


7. Add water to a pressure cooker, pedavan, dhokla stand or big container in which the idli stand can be kept.


8. Pour the batter in the cavities of the idli stand. Place idli stand carefully. Cover. Cook on a high flame for 5 minutes.


9. Lower the heat and cook for another 10-12 minutes.


10. Switch off the heat. Take the idli stand out. Let it cool for 5 minutes.


11. Using a blunt knife, take out the hot idlis.





Tips for fermenting the idli batter -


Coming from the tropical city of Mumbai, fermenting the idli batter naturally was never a problem. But here, especially in the winter, it's a challenge. So sharing some of the tips that I learned from friends or read in the books.



1. I was told, that some people have higher heat index in their hands and so their batter ferments better than the others. Now if this indeed is true or not, I am not sure. because I grind using Sumeet and scrape it using spatula, so I am not really using hands. I think, if indeed is true, then probably it is refering to the old way of grinding by hand using stone grinder? Not sure.



2. Cover or rather wrap the container of the idli batter with a warm shawl or tea-cozy. This cute tip is from none other than Ms. Madhur Jaffrey. I do not have the book in which I read, but I think it was from "The Invitation to Indian Cooking".



3. Add 1/4 tsp baking soda just before steaming the batter of urad daal and rice.



4. Mix 1/2 tsp instant dry yeast or breadmachine's yeast with 1 tbsp warm water and then add to the batter of urad daal and rice. Keep aside for 30 minutes before steaming. However, I feel this method results in fluffy idlis but they have a yeasty odor, which I do not care much with idlis.



5. Preheat the oven. Switch off. Keep the covered container of batter in the warm oven.



6. Keep the container in the microwave as it is warmer than the room temperature.











This was my attempt of making a balanced breakfast. It goes to Mansi Desai for her WBB:Balanced Breakfast event.
WBB was started by Nandita of Saffron Trail.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Kelyache Dhondus - Eggless Banana Cake


This is my paternal aunt's recipe. She used to use a Nirlep nonstick deep pan, to make this cake. Now she too uses oven and hence has given me the correct baking time of 45 minutes. I used to love this cake a lot. & she used to love to get rid of the ripes bananas! :-D

This cake reminds me of the taste of Konkani banana fritters - muluk. but this version does not have oil or butter.

Kelyache Dhondus
Eggless Banana Cake
Ingredients
1 cup mashed, ripe banana pulp
2 cups rawa or (1 cup rawa + 1 cup maida)
1 cup plain yogurt
1 cup milk
3/4 - 1 cup sugar (more or less based on your preference!)
3 cardamoms, peeled/crushed
1 tbsp doodh masala
1/2 tsp baking soda
A pinch of salt



Method
1. Mash bananas. Add yogurt, milk, sugar. Whisk together.
2. Mix salt, baking soda and rawa or rawa+ maida.
3. Add the dry mixture into the wet one.
4. Stir well so no lumps are formed.
5. Add doodh masala, crushed cardamoms. Stir well.
6. Cover and keep aside for 1 hour.
7. Preheat oven to 350 F.
8. Grease & flour a cakepan/loafpan. Pour the batter in the pan.
9. Bake for 30 - 45 minutes. Make sure if you insert a knife or a skewer, it comes out clean without any batter sticking.

Note -
1. I used only rawa in the above picture.

2. After baking for 30 minutes, keep an eye on the cake. It was ready at about 40 minutes for me, (i.e. the skewer came out clean), but I wanted a shade darker. So I left it for 10 more minutes. So though the recipe calls for 30-45 minutes baking, it really took about 50 minutes for me.
 

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Happy International Women's Day & Corn Pohe

Happy International Women's Day! I wanted to cook something simple & yellow for the event. So I made my mom's makyache pohe or corn poha. The recipe is similar to the regular pohe recipe but the addition of corn makes it taste different due to the sweetish flavor it adds to this humble pohe.

Makyache Pohe
Corn Poha/pressed rice
Ingredients
1 cup thick pohe/pressed rice
1/2 cup yellow sweet corn niblets, fresh or frozen
salt to taste
sugar to taste

Tempering
2 tsp oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/8 tsp asafoetida
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
9 curry leaves
2 green chilies, slit

Garnish
1 tsp freshly grated coconut
1 tbsp chopped cilantro/coriander leaves (optional)

Accompaniment
lemon wedges

Method
1. Clean and wash pohe/pressed rice and drain in a colander.
2. Heat oil in a kadai or wok.
3. Add all the ingredients for the tempering. Add corn. Let it cook for about 5 minutes till the corn is cooked. You can sprinkle few drops of water for corn to cook. If using frozen corn, water may not be needed.
4. Now, add pohe. Mix well so it is nicely incorporated.
5. Add salt, sugar to taste.
6. Cover and let it cook for 5 more minutes.
7. Garnish with coconut and cilantro, if using. Serve with lemon wedges on side.

Note
1. If using fresh corn on cobs, you can scrape the corn niblets or grate the corn. I used the frozen corn.
2. Depending on the quality of corn, you may need to decide the cooking time needed for the corn. If using frozen, they get cooked pretty quickly.
3. I did not use cilantro to keep the yellow colored theme for the event.



Happy International Women's Day!

This post is my contribution to Zorra's International Women's day event.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Vangyache Bharit from Khandesh

Today's recipe is from Khandesh which is in the Northwest Maharashtra. I have never been there but read this recipe in the cookbook "Ruchira" by Mrs. Kamalabai Ogale. This book is a treasure of authentic Maharashtrian, vegetarian recipes. This cookbook is special because even my mom referred to this cookbook when I was growing up. It is one of the two cookbooks she has. (The second one is Raschandrika - for the Konkani cuisine!)

I have changed the proportion to suit my family's taste.

Khandeshi Vangyache Bharit
Adapted from Ruchira by Mrs. Kamalabai Ogale
Ingredients
1 Eggplant, washed, greased
1 small onion, finely chopped
salt to taste

Grind to fine paste
4-5 cloves of garlic
2-3 green chilies
1" ginger

Tempering
1 tsp oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
A generous pinch of asafoetida

Garnish
1 tbsp chopped cilantro/coriander leaves

Method
1. Roast the eggplant till it is cooked through. Remove the peels, stem. Discard them. Mash the eggplant with a potato masher or a fork. Keep aside.

2. Heat oil in a kadai. Add all the ingredients for tempering.
3. Add chopped onion. Saute till onion is soft and the raw smell has disappeared.
4. Add green masala paste. Saute for 5 minutes.
5. Add eggplant pulp and salt to taste. Saute for another 5 minutes till a homogeneous mass is formed.
6. Cover and cook for about 2-3 minutes.
7. Switch off the gas. Garnish with cilantro while serving.
8. Serve hot with Jowar or bajra bhakri.

Notes
Making the eggplant pulp for bharit -
1. Roast the greased eggplant on the gas flame, by rotating it from time to time till the peel is completely charred. Remove the peels, stem and mash the pulp. (Read: messes up the cooking range!)

2. Pre-heat the oven 350 F. Cut eggplants in half. Bake for about 30 mins till they are cooked through. Keep an eye in between to check on the eggplant. You may need few minutes more or less.

3. Broil the eggplant similar to #2.

4. Pressure cook the eggplant just like you would any other vegetable. Peel off, discard the stems and use the pulp. But if you crave for smoky taste, then you have to roast the eggplants. I learned this method of pressure cooking from my mom-in-law.

5. Take out the Barbeque grill and just grill the eggplant. (Summer, summer, where are you?)


This post is my contribution to Pooja's Vegetable of the week: Brinjal.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Tofu Hakka Noodles



We really love Chinese food that you get in India. It's hot & spicy, just suited for Indian palette. Last week, I made these Tofu Hakka Noodles, inspired by Indo-Chinese cuisine.

Tofu Hakka Noodles
Ingredients

1 packet whole wheat noodles/whole wheat Angel hair Pasta
1 tbsp oil
1/2 slab of Tofu, cubed
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1 tbsp ginger, minced
3 spring onions, minced
1 carrot, cut into matchsticks
1/2 bell pepper, cut into matchsticks
1/2 onion, sliced
1/2 cup cabbage, shredded
10 - 12 green beans, cut into french style
salt to taste
1 tbsp Light, low sodium Soy Sauce
1 tbsp tomato ketchup


Garnish
Freshly crushed black pepper
Chili sauce
green-chilies & vinegar

Method
1. Cook the noodles according to the packet instructions. Set aside.
2. Heat oil in a wok.
3. Add minced ginger-garlic , onions and vegetables. Saute on a high flame till they are cooked but still crunchy.
4. Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste.
5. Add soy sauce, tomato ketchup and vinegar.
6. Add the noodles & tofu cubes.
7. Mix everything together.
8. Serve hot with chili sauce, green chilies in vinegar & crushed black pepper.

Note -
1. Soy sauce already has salt so add salt sparingly.
2. You can shallow fry or bake tofu cubes before adding to the noodles.

This post is my entry to Bindiya's Favorite foods: Chinese Food.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Ode to Arusuvai, friendship, memories!


As mentioned yesterday, when I received this aromatic masala from Maya of Konkan World, I exactly knew what I am going to make. I am going to make at least four dishes from it. Thanks to Maya's generosity, actually I can make many more. but these four dishes - batata patal bhaji, dry peas patal bhaji, masala poha & masala kurmura (charmurya upkari) - will be prepared in my kitchen soon. So the first on my list - Batata patal bhaji was on the menu for our dinner last night. I didn't follow any recipe. I just let Maya's masala take the lead, and made this simple yet aromatic and delicious curry. This is Maya's homemade masala so it bursts with a lot of flavor & incredible aroma.

Vatana - Batata Patal Bhaji
Konkani Alu Matar
Ingredients
4 medium potatoes, peeled, boiled, cubed
1 cup green peas
1 tomato, chopped
salt to taste
sugar to taste
Tempering
2 tsp oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp asafoetida
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
2 sprig of curry leaves
 
Garnish
1 tbsp chopped cilantro/coriander leaves
 
Accompaniment
Fresh lemon wedges
 
Method
1. Heat oil in a kadai.
2. Add all the ingredients for tempering.
3. As the mustard seeds splutter, add potatoes, green peas, tomatoes.
4. Add 1/2 cup water, salt to taste, sugar to taste, poha masala.
5. Bring it to boil.
6. Lower the gas flame, cover with the lid. Cook for 5 minutes.
7. Let it simmer for 2-3 minutes.
8. Garnish with cilantro.
9. Serve with lemon wedges on side.
10. Can be served with rotis/chapatis, parathas or dosas. I served with chora na pooda - which is a Gujarati dosa with red chowli daal. I will post this recipe soon.
 
Note -
1. You can adjust the consistency of the gravy by adding more or less water.
2. You can mash one of the potatoes, while keeping the rest as cubes. So the mashed potato gives the thickness to the gravy.
Now it's my turn to pass on the surprise ingredients. I am passing it to these wonderful friends -
Uma of Essence of Andhra
Pooja of Creative Pooja
Girls, I will email you as soon as I mail the ingredient. Please give me a day or two. Thanks for your friendship.
My wonderful blogger buddy Purnima of fantasy cooking, is not in the same geographical zone as me. So I am unable to send the ingredient to her.But I am sending loads of love, hugs and best wishes to her as a part of Arusuvai friendship chain. Thanks Purnima, for being there.

Note - I emailed some of you but didn't get a response. I do not know if the email went into spam or you just didn't check the email? But I don't want to bother you with redundant emails.
Also, to those of you, who would like to be a part of this friendship chain, make sure that your profile displays your email address, so you can be contacted.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Arusuvai Friendship, Thanks Maya

The Arusuvai friendship chain was started by Latha and Lakshmi of the Yum blog. This is the friendship chain where you send your surprise ingredient to two or more of your blogger buddies. The friends use the surprise ingredient in their cooking and blog about it. This chain was quite popular in India. and now Latha of Masala Magic started the chain in USA. Thanks to all for this wonderful concept.


Ever since my dear friend, Maya of Konkan world told me about Arusuvai friendship chain, I was excited. It's funny that yesterday I even dreamed about it! Sounds childish? but I was that excited!! :-)

When My daughter, Gudiya and I went to check mail, we found the parcel. We both were so excited. Wonder who was excited more, she or me? Finally after reaching home, we opened the parcel. Gudiya was on cloud 9 when she found a big bar of symphony. "Mumma, tell Maya aunty that it's the best chocolate in the whole wide world. Can I take a bite now?". I was eager to see my surprise ingredient. I gave her one rectangle of the chocolate, "Mumma, tell Maya aunty, this is the best chocolate I ever had in my whole life!" So Thanks, Maya aunty from Gudiya.


and then I sniffed the surprise ingredient...It brought back childhood memories. Redolence - the smell and nostalgia together!! I was on cloud 9 x infinity. You know why? This masala, my grandmother used for making lipsmaking poha, potato curry and dry peas curry. Definitely, it's the same. I emailed Maya, and I was right.

So my surprise ingredient was "Phovva masala/powder from Kumta".

I can't thank her enough for bringing back the childhood memories. After my grandmother, somehow this masala was also lost. I asked my mom and aunts but nobody seem to know the recipe. Even my favorite Mangalore store in Mumbai has no clue about it. I was looking for it and today, I have the same masala in my hand. Isn't it amazing? I have been sniffing that masala from time to time as if it's a perfume. For me it sure is a perfume called "nostalgia". :-)

Thanks, Maya! You made my day, dear friend!!:-D

I have already had an email-correspondence with the friends whom I will be sending my secret ingredient. Stay tuned...

Recipe coming soon.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Egg Vindaloo

A simple egg curry when I am in a hurry! :-)

Egg Vindaloo
Ingredients
6 hard-boiled eggs, peeled, halved
1 onion, chopped
6 Kashmiri chilies
1 tsp cumin seeds
1" ginger
3 cloves of garlic
1/2" cinnamon
2 cloves
2 tbsp vinegar (malt or white distilled vinegar will work)
1 - 2 tbsp sugar (depending on your preference)
1/2 tsp garam masala (or any other variety)
1/8 tsp turmeric powder
salt to taste
1 small tomato, chopped into big chunks
1 tbsp oil

Garnish

1 tbsp chopped cilantro

Method

1. Grind kashmiri chilies, ginger, garlic, cumin seeds, cinnamon, cloves, half of onions with vinegar.

2. Heat oil. Saute the remaining onion for 5 - 7 minutes.

3. Add above ground paste. Saute for another 7 minutes.

4. Add garam masala, turmeric powder, sugar & 1/2 cup water.

5. As the curry comes to boil, slide in halved eggs, tomato, salt to taste.

6. Let it cook for 5 more minutes.

7. Serve hot with plain rice , rotis or pav.

Note -

1. If you are watching the cholesterol and do not care for yolks, then you can discard them before adding to the curry. I generally keep the yolks of half of the eggs & discard the rest.

2. I used white distilled vinegar.

3. Kashimiri chilies are mild and give a nice color. If you are going to use some other chilies, you may need to adjust the spice level accordingly.

4. If you do not like the taste of vinegar, then either use it in less quantity like 1 tbsp or do not use it at all. Instead, serve lemon wedges with the curry for some tang. But then it wouldn't be a Vindaloo because Vin in the Vindaloo is for Vinegar!!:-)

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Mango Cheesecake

This is one of the many recipes I discovered at the desi gettogethers in America. I do not know the creator of the recipe because this recipe is generally passed down from people who have come a few years earlier in America to the next batch. So now, I am passing on the baton. :-D


Mango Cheesecake (Serves 16)
Ingredients
1 Mango Pulp Tin (I used Ratna brand)
1 Cool Whip (8 oz)
1 Cream Cheese (8 oz)
Knox unflavored Gelatin 3 packets 1 oz. each
1 cup Sugar
2 readymade grahamcracker Pie Crusts (of your choice)

Method
1. Blend sugar, cream cheese, cool whip and mango pulp in a food processor or electric hand blender.
2. Boil 1 cup water. Switch off the gas and then slowly add 3 packets of gelatin. Stir well.
3. Mix glatin water with the blended mango mixture and blend again
4. Divide the mixture into 2 pie crusts
5. Keep in the fridge. It will set in 6-7 hrs.
6. Cut each pie in 8 wedges. Serve chilled.

Note -
1. In the picture above, I used Keebler chocolate pie crusts. Graham cracker crust can also be used.
2. You can use low fat or fat-free versions of coolwhip & cream cheese.

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