Sunday, May 31, 2015

Kung Pao Tofu

 

 
A quick Chinese style stir fry always comes to my rescue for a quick week night meal. I generally have a Tofu slab and Chinese friendly vegetables in the fridge. As I chop my vegetables, I start rice on one burner. Once my wok is hot, the stir fry comes together in the matter of minutes.
 
Kung Pao Tofu
Ingredients
1 slab tofu, cut into cubes
Few drops of oil for roasting tofu
 
3 baby bok choy, chopped
1 bunch spring onions
Few pieces of baby corn
1/4 cup bamboo shoots
1/2 each red and green pepper
1/2 each zucchini and yellow squash
 
 
Tempering
1 tbsp. oil
Few drops toasted sesame oil
2-3 red chilies, halved
 
 
Whisk together
2 tbsp. corn starch
1 cup water
Few dashes of soy sauce
1 tsp paprika
1 tbsp. tomato ketchup
1/2 tbsp. honey
1 tsp rice vinegar
salt as needed
1 tbsp. ginger-garlic paste
 
Garnish
1/4 cup roasted spicy peanuts (I use from Sprouts)
 
Method
1. Whisk corn starch mixture and set aside.
2. Heat few drops of oil and roast tofu cubes and set them aside
3. Heat a wok. Add oil . Add red chilies. As they sizzle, add vegetables one after the other. Stir fry for about a minute each.
4. Add tofu cubes and stir fry on high flame.
5. Add whisked marinade. Mix.
6. Garnish with spicy peanuts.
7. Serve with steamed white or brown rice
 
Note -
1. Do not overcook vegetables. There should be some crunch.
2. If you have some time on hand, you can drain tofu to remove the excess moisture as mentioned here.
3. Any Chinese friendly vegetables like green beans, snap peas, carrots etc. can be used.


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Friday, May 29, 2015

Prawns Balchow


I found good quality shrimp/prawns from India at our local Sprouts the other day. We had a get-together that weekend. So I decided to make Prawns Balchao. This is what I did -

Prawns Balchao
Goan Prawns Pickle/Curry
Ingredients
2 lb prawns, deveined

Marinade
10 Kashmiri Chilies, soaked in water for 2 hours
1 tsp. cumin seeds
10 black pepper corn
6 cloves, garlic, chopped
1 1/2 ginger, chopped
1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
salt to taste
2 tsp. white vinegar
1" piece of cinnamon
1 tsp. garam masala

Tempering
2 tbsp. mustard oil
1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
1/2 tsp. asafoetida
1 tsp. sugar
2 cups, finely chopped onion
1 cup, finely chopped tomatoes
2 sprigs curry leaves

Salt if needed

Method
1. Drain the Kashmiri chilies. Grind with the remaining ingredients for the marinade.
2. Marinate prawns with above marinade and set aside for 1/2 hour.
3. Heat oil in a pan. Add  mustard seeds, asafetida and curry leaves. As they splutter, add sugar. When it caramelizes, add onion. Sauté till onion is soft.
4. Add tomatoes. Sauté for 10 minutes.
5. Now, add prawns along with the marinade and 1/2 cup water.

6. Bring to boil.
7. Let it simmer till a thick gravy is formed.
8. Adjust for salt -if needed.

Note -
1. Instead of Kashmiri chilies, paprika can be used.
2. If you don't have mustard oil, use any oil of your choice. Note that mustard oil has a strong flavor.
3. This recipe is for about 8 people.



Thursday, May 28, 2015

Vangi Pohe


We Maharashtrian love pohe for breakfasts. Although Kande pohe, Batate pohe or Matar pohe, Maka pohe are more popular, there are versions like vangi pohe and tondli pohe. Any vegetable can be added to this humble pohe to add the flavor of that vegetable. CKPs even make pohe adding prawns - fresh or dried.

Vangi Pohe
Flatten Rice with Eggplant
पोहे
Ingredients
4 fistful raw pohe - thick variety
3-4 small Indian eggplants/brinjals, chopped
salt to taste
1 tsp sugar

Tempering
1 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
2 green chilies, slit
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp asafoetida
7-9 curry leaves


Garnish
2 tbsp cilantro/coriander leaves, chopped
1 tbsp fresh coconut, grated (optional)
4 wedges of lemon

Method
1. Clean pohe, wash and drain them in a colander.
2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a a big wok or kadhai. Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, turmeric powder, chilies, curry leaves.
3. As the spices splutter, add eggplants.
4. Sprinkle about 1 tsp water, lower the gas, cover.  Pour water on the lid. Let it cook till eggplant is cooked but is not turned into a mush.
5. Add pohe, salt and sugar. Stir well. Sprinkle another spoonful of water. Cover. Cook for 5 minutes.
6. Ladle into 4 individual serving plates. Garnish with coconut - if using and cilantro. Serve with one lemon wedge per plate.

Note
1. Always use thick pohe for making this kind of pohe.

Check out several renditions of pohe from my blog
1. Microwave Kande Pohe
2. Batate Pohe
3. Kalya Vatanyache Pohe
4. Maka Pohe
5. Thanksgiving Pohe
6. Soybean Pohe


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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Bohri Chicken & Cashew Curry


A carnivorous cousin was visiting us over the weekend. I was meeting him after a decade. I wanted to make food of his choice. I made Shammi Kababs, Prawns Curry and Bohri Style Chicken curry.

This Bohri Chicken Curry was from Suvir Saran's book - Indian Home Cooking. I reduced the amount of cashews.

Bohri Chicken & Cashew Curry
From Suvir Saran's Indian Home Cooking
Ingredients
1/2 cup raw or roasted cashews
 
4 whole, dried red chilies
 
1-inch piece of cinnamon stick
 
6 whole cloves

 
3 tablespoons coriander seeds
 
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
 
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
 
8 garlic cloves
 
2 inches fresh ginger, peeled and sliced

 
1/2 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut,


2 tbsp. canola oil


1 teaspoon ground black pepper
 

 
2 cups water


1 teaspoon salt, or to taste 
 
 
3 potatoes, cut into big chunks
 
 
Marinate
 
2 lb bonelss skinless chicken breasts and thighs, cut
 
2 tbsp. yogurt
 
1 tsp salt
 
1/2 tsp turmeric power
 
1 tbsp. ginger-garlic paste
 
 
 
Method
 

1.  Roast chilies, cinnamon stick, cloves, coriander, cumin, onion, garlic, ginger, coconut, and cashews one after the other in a large saucepan or casserole over low heat.  Cook, stirring, until the cashews and coconut have turned a light golden color, about 10 minutes.  Cool and process to a paste in a food processor.
3.  Heat a pressure cooker. Add the oil, the spice paste, and the black pepper and cook, stirring, until the mixture turns a deep golden brown, about 10 minutes. Keep a cup of water beside the stove as the mixture cooks.  As the spices begins to stick, add water, about 1 teaspoon at a time, and scrape the bottom of the pan with the spoon to pull up the browned bits and keep the spices from burning.
4.  Add the chicken along with marinade, and potatoes and cook for about 5 minutes. 
5.  Add the water and the salt. Pressure cook till 2-3 whistles.
 
6.  Open the pressure cooker lid after pressure drops. Simmer and serve with flatbread or rice of your choice.
 
Note -
1. I reduced the amount of cashews and oil from the original recipe.
2. I used pressure cooker to expedite the cooking process.
3. I always marinate chicken.
4. I added potatoes to the curry.
5.  Please refer to the link provided for the original recipe.
 

 
Credits
 Suvir Saran's Book  Indian Home Cooking. 

Monday, May 25, 2015

Pineapple Lassi


I had a huge bag of frozen pineapple chunks from Costco. I thought of making this frosty delicacy.

Pineapple Lassi
Pineapple Smoothie
Ingredients
2 cups frozen pineapple chunks
1 cup plain yogurt
sugar or any other sweetener of your choice (optional)
water as needed

Method
1. Thaw pineapple chunks for just half an hour.
2. Blend using 1/2 cup water in your heavy duty mixer.
3. Add yogurt and sugar or any sweetener if using.
4. Blend.
5. Adjust water depending on the desired consistency.

Note
1. This is really a no-frills recipe. You can adjust the amount of pineapple, yogurt and sugar depending on your taste.


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Saturday, May 23, 2015

Using Lemongrass



We Maharashtrians and Gujaratis use lemongrass leaves instead of the lemongrass roots as  the Thai cooks do. We add it to flavor our tea. It gives a unique refreshing flavor. It also soothes sore throat.

So far, I used to bring a bunch of lemongrass from the farmers market, put in water for some time to force roots and then I used to plant. This time, I have just kept my bunch of lemongrass in a flower vase. It has roots now. It sits pretty in a corner, as if it's a flower vase.

I think it looks great. I clip the leaves for my tea as needed, and the leaves grow right back.



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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Cashew Tofu

 

 



I am in the process of implementing all the popular Chinese dishes - sometimes using chicken (per my family's preference) and sometimes replacing chicken with tofu (per my preference). Feel free to use either of the proteins - whichever suits your life style.


Cashew Tofu
Ingredients
1 slab Tofu, cut into cubes
1/2 cup unsalted, roasted cashews
1/2 tbsp. oil for roasting tofu
1/2 cup broccoli florets
1 cup frozen mixed vegetables


Tempering
1/2 tbsp. oil
1/2 tsp sesame oil (Chinese)
1 tbsp. ginger-garlic paste

Whisk together
1 tbsp. Hoisin Sauce
1 tbsp. honey
1 tsp chili garlic paste
few dashes of Soy sauce
1 tbsp. corn starch
1 cup water
salt
freshly ground black pepper

Garnish
2 spring onions, cut

Method
1. Heat 1/2 tbsp. oil in a wok. Add tofu cubes. Sauté till they are golden brown and crispy. Set aside.
2. In the same wok, add another 1/2 tbsp. oil. Add ginger garlic paste. Sauté for 30 seconds.
3. Add broccoli florets, stir fry for a minute. Add frozen vegetables. Make sure the flame is high and so they get thawed and crisped up pretty quickly without adding too much water.
4. Now, add tofu. Fry for 1 minute.
5. Add whisked marinade. Adjust for salt if needed.
6. Add cashews. Stir fry for 2 minutes.
7. Garnish with spring onions
8. Serve with plain, steamed rice.
 
Note -
1. For chicken version, replace tofu by boneless, skin less chicken and make sure that chicken is cooked through well during step 1. I generally marinate the chicken with ginger-garlic paste, salt before frying.
 



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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Tofu Burji - Tofu Scramble

 
It's true that Tofu is considered as a blank canvas. You can add any flavors of your choice. I decided to make the vegan friendly version of burji by crumpling tofu into the usual burji recipe.
 
Tofu Burji
Tofu Scramble
Ingredients
1 block Tofu
salt to taste
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp chili powder
 
Tempering
1/2 tbsp. oil
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp. ginger-garlic paste
1 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped tomato
 
Garnish
1/4 cup cilantro
 
Method
1. Place the block of tofu on a folded paper napkin. Place another napkin on top and place some heavy weight like mortar and pestle on top to drain excess water. Keep aside for 1/2 hour
2. Heat oil in a saucepan. Add cumin powder, turmeric powder, ginger-garlic paste. Fry for 1 minute.
3. Add onions. Sauté till onion is golden brown. Stir in tomatoes. Sauté till they are pulpy.
4. Add garam masala, chili powder and salt. Add 1/4 cup water.
5. Now add crumbled tofu and cilantro.
6. Simmer till the flavors are absorbed by crumbled tofu.
 
Note -
1. You may need a tad more salt and garam masala than usual since tofu is very bland. Taste and adjust as you go.




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Sunday, May 17, 2015

Salmon Curry

 
Today I am featuring Salmon curry using Maharashtrian - more specifically, CKP style spices. Serve with chapatti or plain rice.
 
 
Salmon Curry
Ingredients
2 Salmon fillets, cubed
5 baby potatoes, scrubbed and halved
1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
salt to taste
1 tsp. red chili powder
 
 
1 cup coconut milk
1 tsp. tamarind pulp
2 green chilies, slit
 
Grind to a fine paste
4-5 garlic cloves
1" ginger
3-4 green chilies
1/3 cup cilantro
 
Tempering
2 tsp oil
2 tbsp. minced onion
 
Method
1. Marinade salmon & potatoes with turmeric powder, salt and ground paste. Set aside for 10 minutes.
2. Heat oil in a saucepan. Add onion. Sauté till onion is golden brown.
3. Add marinated salmon and potato pieces.
4. Add tamarind pulp, chili powder, coriander powder and 1/4 cup water.
5. Cook for 5 minutes. Add coconut milk and slit green chilies - if using.
6. Simmer for few minutes.
 
Note-
1. Rawas (Indian Salmon) steaks can be used. But adjust masala depending on the size of the steaks.
2. You can also add whole smashed garlic cloves, along with onion in tempering.
3. Instead of coconut milk, you can also grind coconut coarsely and add to the curry if you prefer coarse texture for your curry. In that case, add less water, and serve as a dry dish.
 




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Friday, May 15, 2015

Tostada - Mexican Pizza


Every once in a while, I make a Mexican themed menu. I keep all the ingredients on the table and everyone can choose their own ingredients per their preference. Gudiya does not like raw onions, I don't take cheese and my husband eats everything.

Tostada
Ingredients
1 1/2 cup cooked black beans
1/2 cup grated Mexican cheese

Garnish
1 tbsp. chopped cilantro
1 tbsp. chopped green onions
2 tbsp. chopped onions
2 tbsp. red but firm tomatoes

lime wedges
avocado slices
Hot sauce

Tostada shells

Method
1. Take a crispy tostada shell.
2. Spread drained black beans.
3. If you are using cheese, place it in microwave for 30 seconds or till the cheese melts.
4. Garnish with any or all items of your choice.
5. Serve immediately

Note -
1. Tostada shells are easily available in the market. But if not, you can easily crisp up tortilla/flatbread/chapatti.
2. I used blue corn tortilla shells.
3. I generally soak and later cook black beans with turmeric powder, salsa, cumin powder and salt.




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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Grilled Vegetable Kabobs


 

 
 



After eating the colorful kabobs at the BBQ restaurant, I was very eager to try them myself. If you don't have liquid smoke, just proceed without it. They will still taste good. For Gudiya, I sprinkle just salt and Hubby and I like to sprinkle some taco or tandoori seasoning on the cooked kabobs. They are very simple to make.

Grilled Vegetable Kababs
Ingredients
10 small mushrooms
1 yellow squash- probably only half will be needed
1 zucchini- probably only half will be needed
1 green bell pepper - probably only half will be needed
1 red bell pepper- probably only half will be needed
1 small purple onion

Few drop liquid smoke (Optional)
salt as needed
black pepper ground
Taco or Tandoori seasoning
Oil spray such as Pam

Method
1. Cut all the vegetables except mushrooms.
2. Thread each wooden skewer into a desired pattern of colorful vegetables, starting and ending with mushrooms.
 

3. Heat a grill pan. Spray some oil
4. Place wooden skewers in a single layer.
5. Spray some oil on top.
6. Rotate till nice grill marks appear on vegetables. Switch off the gas.
7. Sprinkle salt and black pepper powder. If you like it spicy, sprinkle tandoori masala or taco seasoning.
8. Cover with an Aluminum foil - as if making a tent till ready to eat.
 

Note -
1. Step 8 is very important. If you keep the kabobs open , they will be dried.

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Monday, May 11, 2015

Vaal ni Rasawali Daal


My mom-in-law uses vaal daal to make a dry and wet version. This daal does not require too much soaking. So it comes handy when I want to make something in a hurry.

Vaal ni Rasawali Daal
Field Beans Daal Curry
Ingredients
1 cup Vaal daal, soaked for 1 -  2 hours
salt to taste
1/2 tbsp. tamarind pulp
1 tbsp. jaggery
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp coriander cumin powder
1 tomato, roughly chopped

Tempering
2 tsp oil
1/2 tsp ajmo/owa/carom seeds
1 tbsp. ginger-green chili paste
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
2 curry leaves sprigs

Garnish
1 tbsp. chopped cilantro

Method
1. Soak vaal daal for an hour or two.
2. Heat oil in a saucepan. Add spices for tempering. As they splutter, add drained vaal daal. Saute for 30 seconds, add 1 cup water.
3. Bring to boil. Switch gas to low. Add tomato, chili powder, tamarind, jaggery, salt and coriander-cumin powder.
4. Let it simmer till vaal daal is cooked. Add more water if needed.
5. Garnish with cilantro.

Note -
1. Adjust jaggery per personal preference.
2. Do not let the daal turn into a mush.

Check out my dry version of the same daal - Surti laal Vaal ni daal




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Saturday, May 9, 2015

Ragi/NachaNi Dosa


 
 

 

As usual, I was perusing the shelves of my Indian stores the other day, I came across the recipe of Ragi dosa on the back of the Ragi flour pack. I pretty much followed it to create my version. I would love to announce that I have finally mastered the art of making dosas on the cast iron griddle. So far, I could only make good dosas on the nonstick pans.

Ragi Dosa
Finger Millet Pancake
Ingredients
1 cup urad daal
1 cup rice (white or brown)
3 cups Ragi/Nachni flour

salt per taste

oil for cooking

Method
1. Soak daal and rice overnight.
2. Drain and grind to a smooth paste.
3. Cover and keep it for fermenting for 6-8 hours.
4. Add ragi flour and mix so there are no lumps.
5. Add salt and water to adjust the consistency.
6. Heat a nonstick or cast iron pan.
7. Spread a spoonful of batter, making concentric circles.
8. Drizzle oil as needed. Cover and let it cook.
9. Serve hot off the griddle with a chutney of your choice.

Note -
I clean off the cast iron pan using a paper napkin after cooking every dosa.




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Thursday, May 7, 2015

Parsley Chutney

I am partial to Italian Parsley. I like the flavor but I must admit that I don't care for curly parsley as much. Since I have planted Italian parsley, I thought of sharing this most simple recipe with you all.

Parsley Chutney
Ingredients
1 bunch Italian Parsley
1/2 bunch cilantro (optional)
3-4 cloves garlic
1/2" ginger
1/2 lemon, freshly squeezed
3-4 green chilies
salt to taste
1/4 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp cumin seeds

Method
1. Rinse parsley and cilantro - if using. Chop roughly.
2. Grind all the ingredients adding very little water.

Note-
1. Do not substitute curly leaf parsley.
2. For a different flavor, add a handful of roasted peanuts.


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Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Double Beans chi UsaL

 
If I am not mistaken, we call the dried version of this particular bean as  double beans and if they are available in pods, we call it "Bajirao Ghevda". I remember going to Dadar with mom to shop for that bajirao ghevda which was considered a delicacy. I love double beans for its beautiful pinkish purplish hue.

Double Beans chi Usal
Ingredients
3/4 cup Double Beans, soak overnight so they plump up next morning
salt to taste
1 tsp Goda Masala
1 tbsp coriander-cumin powder
1/2 tsp chili powder

Grind to a smooth paste
1 bunch cilantro
7-8 fresh mint leaves
3-4 green chilies (or per taste)
1" ginger, peeled
3 cloves garlic, peeled

Tempering
1 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp asafoetida
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 medium onion, chopped to about 1 cup
2 small tomatoes, chopped to about 3/4 cup

Method
1. Pressure cook double beans using adequate amount of water.
2. Grind green paste and set aside.
3. Heat oil in a kadhai/wok. Add cumin seeds, asafoetida and turmeric powder. As they sizzle, add onions. Sauté till onion is soft. Add green paste and tomatoes. Sauté for 10 - 12 minutes on medium flame.
4. Add coriander-cumin powder, chili powder and Goda masala. Sauté for 5 more minutes.
5. Add cooked Double beans and potatoes with cooking liquid.
6. Stir in jaggery and salt. Bring to boil. Let it simmer till desired consistency is reached.

Note -
1. This curry needs to have a little gravy so do not let all the moisture evaporate.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Mandeli Fry - Golden AnchovyFry

Mandeli is golden anchovy, which is found in the coastal waters of Mumbai. Mom makes simple rawa fry, fanna upkari ,  alle piyyav or curry adding teppal/tirphal. I was dumbstruck - in a good way - when I discovered these golden anchovies at our Indian stores.

Mandeli Fry
Golden Anchovy Fry
Ingredients
12-15 Mandeli/Golden Anchovy, cleaned
salt to taste
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp asafetida
1 tsp chili powder

Dredge
1 tbsp rawa + 1 tbsp rice flour

Oil for frying

Method
1. Clean, rinse mandeli. Marinate with salt, turmeric powder, asafetida and chili powder.
2. Heat oil in a pan.
3. Dredge each mandeli in rawa-rice flour mixture till it's uniformly coated.
4. Place gently on the tawa in a single layer.
5. Fry on both sides till crispy.

Note -
1. Serve as an accompaniment with a daily meal or as a starter.


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Friday, May 1, 2015

Moong Daal Halwa


Let's start this month of May on a sweet note! This is a sinfully rich dish which is worthy of special occasion.

Moong Daal Halwa
Lentil Pudding
Ingredients
1 cup yellow moong daal(without peels), soaked for 4 hours

1/2 - 3/4  cup clarified butter/ghee/toop

1/2  cup mawa/khoya/khawa or Ricotta cheese
1 1/4 cup sugar
3 cups milk

Garnish
Few strands of saffron, soaked in 1 tbsp. warm milk
1/8 tsp nutmeg powder, freshly pounded/grated
8-9 green cardamoms, peeled, pounded

Method
1. Soak yellow moong daal in adequate water for 4 hours. Drain completely.
2. Grind to a coarse paste adding just few drops of water as needed.
3. Heat ghee in a heavy bottomed saucepan.
4. Add the ground daal paste and fry on a low flame without letting ground daal burn.
5. Sauté patiently for about 45 minutes till raw smell disappears.

6. Add khoya or cheese. And keep frying again on low flame for another 45 minutes. (Yes, it's tedious!;-)
7. Now, add sugar and milk.
8. Add nutmeg, cardamom and saffron.
9. Keep on whisking on low flame till pudding/halwa/shira like consistency is reached.
10. Enjoy warm moong daal halwa.

Note -
1. Use yellow moong daal - the one without green peels.
2. This is a rich dish that needs lot of ghee/clarified butter. But the daal paste needs to be roasted well in ghee to avoid the raw daal flavor to the dessert.
3. Adjust sugar per desired preference.











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