Friday, December 31, 2010

Wishes for 2011!

I am sorry for my long absence ! My daughter had been sick for the past week. She had Pneumonia and was hospitalized, treated with oxygen antibiotics etc. I wanted to end this year with a sweet dish, but the last week has been very hard for my little girl and us. I treat lots of sick kids, but when it's your own it is totally different.

I am so thankful that she is better and we came home today. It is gonna take couple of days for her to recover and am sure she will bounce back well.

In the mean time, I managed to squeeze 5 mins to wish all my wonderful blog friends a wonderful and prosperous new year!

May 2011 bring you all joy, happiness, good health and prosperity!

See you next year!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Pineapple Pulissery/ Morkozhambu


Pulissery a.k.a morkozhambu is a authentic Kerala recipe. The difference between the Tamil Nadu and the Kerala recipes are the addition of coriander seeds, cumin, and a little toor dal. The pulissery has only coconut, cumin, and chilis.
Pineapple is grown in abundance in the Alappey region of Kerala. I have tasted only mango pulissery. Tried pineapple pulissery and it was no way inferior to the mango counterpart. I used fresh pineapple chunks but canned one will work as well. Anyways, enough talk: let's get down to business!!!

Get ready:

  • 1 cup fresh pineapple chunks
  • 1 cup yogurt beaten
  • 1/3 cup grated coconut
  • 1 red chili
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1/4 tsp. hing/asafetida
  • Water as needed

For Tadka:

  • 2 tsp. coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
  • 1/4 tsp. methi seeds
  • 4-5 curry leaves

Go!

  • Cook the pineapple chunks with turmeric powder, a pinch of salt, and enough water to cover them.
  • Grind the coconut, red chili, and cumin with little water to form a fine paste.
  • Add the yogurt, hing, ground coconut paste, and salt to taste to the cooked pineapple. Make sure you have only just a little water in the pineapple before u add the yogurt and coconut.
  • Cook the pulissery till it foams at the sides. Take care not to bring it to boil as the puliserry may curdle.
  •  
  • Do the tadka and pour it on top pf the pulissery.
  • Serve hot with rice and a ny side dish.

Wishing you all a merry christmas!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Aarudra Darshan/ Thiruvathirai: celebrating with Kali & Curry

Arudhra Darshan  is observed in the Tamil month of Margazhi (December – January). It is essentially a Saiva festival and celebrates the cosmic dance of Lord Shiva, which is represented by the Nataraja form. It takes place on the full moon night in the month of Margazhi. The festival is mainly observed by Tamil brahmins.
Most temples perform special poojas for shiva in the form of Nataraja, (king of dance) who is worshipped on this special day.

People make kali, pronounced more like cully and a curry made with at least 7 vegetables. I have no idea why a sweet dish is served with a savory curry. Surprisingly it goes pretty well. Some special vegetables added for this include koorka (chinese potato) and kavathu (dunno what it is in tamil or english).

There is also a lot of regional variation in how the curry or kootu is made. People also call it "thalagam". I would like to share with you all how this is made in my home.





Thiruvathirai Kali: ( serves 2)

  • 1/2 cup raw rice
  • 1/4 cup moong dal
  • 1/2 cup jaggery powdered
  • 2 cups water ( can be 1 3/4 cups depending on your rice)
  • 2- 3 tbsp dessicated coconut
  • 1 tsp cardamom powder
  • 1 tbsp cashews
  • 1 tbsp ghee.
Go:
  • Dry roast the rice and moong dal separately till slightly pink. Do it on a medium flame and take care not to burn it.
  • Once cooled, grind them together into a coarse sooji/ rawa like powder.
  • In a heavy bottomed pan add the water, jaggery and coconut. Once it comes to a boil and frothy, add the powdered rice dal mixture, cardamom powder and stir well till they all are well incorporated.
  • Turn the heat off.
  • Transfer it into another vessel and pressure cook for 2-3 whistles.
  • In a pan add the ghee and fry the cashews till golden and add it over the cooked kali after you take it oit of the cooker.




To make the curry/ kootu :

  • Mixed vegetables 2- 3 cups medium size cubed ( I used beans, bottle guard, carrots, peas, pumpkin, potato and eggplant.)
  • Coconut 1/2 cup ( more coconut, better it tastes)
  • 2 green chillies
  • 1 small marble sized tamarind soaked and pulped in 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • Salt to taste.

For Tadka:

  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 4-5 curry leaves ripped
Method
  • In a heavy bottomed pan, add the vegetables and just enough water to cover them. Add salt and turmeric powder and cook till veggies are soft.
  • Add the tamarind extract to the partially cooking veggies.
  • Grind the coconut and green chilis into a fine paste adding water as needed.
  • Add the ground coconut paste to the cooked veggies and let it come to a boil.
  • Turn off the heat.
  • Do the tadka and add it to the curry.
  • Serve with kali or rice.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Tomato Cashew Chutney



I had bookmarked this a while ago and finally made it! Yay.... It was such a flavorful , creamy chutney to be enjoyed with steaming idlis or crispy dosas.

Get ready:

  • 1 medium tomato chopped
  • 1 tbsp cashews
  • 1 tsp chopped ginger
  • 1 tbsp chopped onion
  • 1tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp coconut grated
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp urad dal
  • a few curry leaves

Go:

  • In a pan add 1/2 tbsp oil and fry the cashews till golden.
  • Add onion and saute till translucent.
  • Add the ginger, tomatoes, red chilli powder and fry till the tomatoes are mushy.
  • Add salt, coconut and fry for few min. turn the heat off.
  • Once cooled a little, blend them into a chutney like consistency.
  • Do the tadka with the remaining oil, mustard seeds, urad dal and curry leaves.
  


Sending this to bookmarked recipes


Friday, December 17, 2010

Butternut Squash Erissery and being tagged!


A traditional kerala feast includes a variety of dishes made with lots of coconut. Nothing can beat the taste of freshly grated coconuts. Being a palgat brahmin, coconut is a must in most of our cookings. Times have changed and frozen coconut is a staple in my freezer. This is my family recipe and I hope you will enjoy it too!

Some dishes to name are  Olan , Pulissery, Thoran, Kalan and Erissery. Traditionally it is made with Chenai ( yam) and plantains. I replaced it with butternut squash and it tasted excellent.
  Using coconut oil brings out the best flavor of this dish. The black pepper gives a nice kick to the erissery.

Get Ready:

  • 2 cups butter nut squash cubed
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper corn/ kurumilagu
  • 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 red chilli
  • 2 tbsp dessicated coconut
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • Salt to taste

For the tadka:

  • 2 tsp coconut oil/ olive oil
  • 1 tbsp dessicated coconut
  • 1/4 tsp mustard seeds
  • 3-4 curry leaves
Go:
  • Add enough water just to cover the butternut squash in a pan.
  • Cook till soft, not mushy with turmeric powder and salt to taste.
  • Grind the pepper, red chilli, cumin, coconut with a little water to form a nice paste. ( no need to roast them)
  • Add the ground paste to the cooked squash and mix well, without mushing up the squash too much.
  • Let it come to a boil and turn the heat off.
  • In a pan do the tadka. by spluttering the mustard seeds. curry leaves and fry the coconut till golden on a low fire.
  • Pour the tadka an the erissery.
  • Serve hot with rice as a  side dish.
Nithu  tagged me and gave an excellent idea to pick and choose questions from 3 fellow bloggers. And that's what I did!
1. Who inspired you to cook or bake?
My parents and the foodie in myself! He.. He...
2. What is your take on organic food? is it a big deal for you?
I have accidentally bought organic bananas in the past and thought,"Gee! these bananas are expensive!" I then tried buying milk, but was getting way too expensive. They became like sour grapes for me and went back to regular food. so, bottom line, not a big deal!
3. You try a new recipe and it does not turn out good,what will you do ?

I will feel miserable all day and look back to see, what went wrong. Once I identify where I screwed up, I will give it a try again and may be even again. Three strikes and it's out from my recipe collection!
 
4. Do you have a New Year's resolution-and will you be sticking to it?
 
I really want to avoid snacking junk. At work, there is always easy access to cookies, cakes and brownies as it's someone's birthday all the times. I want to have the guts to say no to my cravings and keep it under control.

5. Do you time your breakfast,lunch & dinner or eat when you are hungry ?
 
I strongly believe in eating meals on time. Untimely meals may increase one's chance of developing acid peptic diseases and binging later.

6. Name three ingredients you consciously avoid or eliminate even when the recipe calls for it ?
 
Parsley, too much cheese, olives

7 . Name three things you have to use in most recipes ?

Oil, cilantro and mustard seeds.

It's my turn to tag these gals ... and pass the link to your friends!

Aipi
Kiran
Priya mharorajasthanrecipes
Prathima
hamareerasoi
chitchatcrossroads
Nitha

Happy weekend for you all!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Gujarathi Kadhi & my 100th post!

It has been more than a year since I started blogging, but I have been on the slower pace. Although, I have a long list of bookmarked recipes, finding time to do them seems to be hard on me. I am so thrilled that i have come to my 100th post. I was initially planning to come with a bang cake, but then dropped it.
I wanted  this post to be simple and satisfying! I found this gujarathi Kadhi recipe from tarla dalal's cook book and wanted to share with you all.

Gujarathi kadhi

Get Ready:

  • 2 tbsp Besan/ gram flour
  • 2 cups plain yogurt
  • 1 &1/2 - 2 cups of water
  • 1 tsp green chilli ginger paste
  • 5-6 curry leaves
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • salt to taste 
Tadka:
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp Mustard seeds
  • Asafetida a pinch
  • 1 red chilli
  • 1 tsp oil
Go:
  • Mix besan,yogurt, 1 & 1/2 cups of water and whisk well.
  • Add chilli ginger paste, salt, sugar, curry leaves and let it  come to a boil on a low heat.
  • simmer and stir and turn off the heat.
  • Ina pan, do the tadka and pour it on the kadi.
  • garnish with cilantro and serve hot with plain rice.
Sending this to Priya & Aipi's Bookmaked event.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Banana and Nutella Crepes


Banana and Nutella is one of the matches made in heaven!
I could pretty much eat Nutella with any fruit, sandwich or cookie. It's creamy. Its chocolatey. Its hazelnutty. What more could you ask for?
Recently I saw on cooking channel about a  "Crepe Amor", a fast food crepe joint in Washington DC. It was started by 2 Indian guys, who have taken crepes to a different level.
Crepes are a thin, lacy, pancake like food a popular street food in Paris. Here is my take on that which I whipped up with nutella, bananas, and strawberries.

Get ready

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • A pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp. butter melted
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup Nutella
  • Cooking spray
  • Bananas and strawberries, thinly sliced.
  • Cool Whip whipped cream
Go!

  • Add the flour, sugar, salt, eggs, melted butter, and milk to a blender and pulse for a few times till everything is blended well without any lumps.
  • Heat a tawa or a griddle and grease with cooking spray.
  • Use a 1/4 cup measure to pour the batter on the tawa.
  • Swirl it around and make a circular crepe.
  • Flip over the other side when the edges are loose.
  • Cook the other side till golden.
  • Cook all the crepes with the remaining batter.
  • Microwave the 1/2 cup Nutella for 45 seconds so that it is runny and easy to work.

To serve, spread the Nutella on one side of the crepe.
Arrange bananas or strawberries on top of the Nutella.
Fold the crepe over and serve with a spoon of whipped cream and drizzle some Nutella.


What are you waiting for, go DIG IN!!!

I am sending this to Veggie Fruit: Banana  started by mharorajasthanrecipes!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Coconut Kiss Macaroons

 I am so happy to share with you all that i won the second place in the "Eggless holiday cookie contest" held by Manjula's Kitchen.
I  honestly could not have made it without all your support and I sincerely  thank you all for that.


(Yields 25 cookies)


 Get Ready

  •  2 ½ cup sweet grated coconut (One 7 oz. bag)
  •  1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. cardamom powder 
  •  A pinch of salt  
  •  4 oz. sweetened fat free condensed milk
  •  1 tsp. vanilla extract
  •  25 mini milk chocolate morsels

Go: 
  • Preheat oven to 350 F.
  • Line a cookie sheet with parchment and grease with cooking spray. This step is very important as it prevents the cookies from sticking to the sheet.
  • In a bowl, mix the coconut all purpose flour, cardamom powder, and salt.
  • Add the condensed milk and vanilla to the coconut mixture and mix well till everything is well blended.
  • Cover the mixture and refrigerate for 20 mins.
  • After 20 mins., with a teaspoon or using your hands make small balls and spread the cookies on the cookie sheet. These cookies won’t spread and you can arrange them closely.
  • Press a mini milk chocolate morsel in the middle of the macaroon and bake for 15 20 mins. or till golden.
  • Take the cookie sheet out of the oven and let the macaroons cool for a few minutes on the parchment paper.
  • Remove the macaroons and let them cool on a wire rack.

Store and enjoy any time!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Cilantro Pistachio Pesto

It is hard to keep 1 bunch of cilantro fresh for long here. especially if your family is small and not using cilantro every day. i love cilantro so much that i buy it ,but it breaks my heart to see it getting all mushy very soon. I had to rescuse that poor cilantro and some untouched pistachios sitting in mypantry.
I was inspired by Satya's pesto pasta to make this dish. I did not use parsley, as I don't like it and used all cilantro.

I used 3 medium green chillies for this pesto, which was on the spicy side for me. I just loved the taste of it and the pesto can be used for pasta, rice dish,sandwich spread, as a dip with crackers etc..

Get Ready:

  • 1/3 cup pistachios
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves and stem
  • 3 green chillies
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt to taste

Go:

  • In a blender, pulse the pistachios, cilantro, gralic, chillies and salt till combied and minced.
  • Add the olive oil slowly and grind to a smooth or coarse paste according to your taste.
  • Store refrigerated for later use.



Cilantro pistachio pesto pasta

Cook some elbow pasta.
reserve some pasta water. Take 2 tbsp of pesto and whisk it with the pasta water in the pan. Add the drained pasta and toss. I threw in some cherry tomato just for some color.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Mirchi Ka Salan / Italian pepper curry in creamy sesame coconut peanut sauce

Mirchi ka salan is a very famous curry from the hyderabadi cuisine. It uses all the locally grown produce like peanuts and sesame seeds  abundant in the state of Andhra pradesh.
I have never tasted this curry before, but heard lot about it after I started blogging. It has been in my bookmarked list for a while and finally got to do it.
It tasted excellent and reminds me of bhagara baingan.
Mine was medium spicy , thanks to the kick from those peppers. But, if you want it mild, remember to deseed the peppers.

Ok, let us get to the recipe. The list may seem exhaustive, but easy to make it. One can use even japeno peppers, but..

Just, hold on... get your tums, malox, zantac or any other gizmos if you have a lighter stomach:))

Get Ready: ( serves 2)

  • 6 Italian/ banan peppers
  • 5 pearl onions
  • 1/4 cup dry roasted, unsalted peanuts
  • 1/4 cup grated coconut
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 long red chilli
  • 1/4 tsp hing/ asafetida
  • 1 small marble sized tamarind, soaked in 1/2 cup water and extracted
  • 2 tbsp jaggery or to taste
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 cloves
  • 2cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp ginger garlic paste
  • 1/2 cup water
  • few curry leaves
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
Go:

  • Cut the stem/ kambu of the pepper, and slit them but not in halves. De seed them if you don't want it spicy.
  • In a pan, dry roast the peanuts, sesame seeds, coconut separately. peanuts will become golden, sesame seeds will pop and coconut will turn golden. Set aside.
  • Add a 1 tsp of of oil and fru the pearl onions for a few mins and keep aside.
  • In the same pan roast the coriander seeds, red chilli and hing with the oil that coated the pan. set aside.

Enough of roasting, I promise...

  • Now grind the peanuts, sesame seeds, coconut, red chilli, pearl onions, jaggery, hing with the tamarind extract into a smooth paste. This is your gravy base.
  • In a pan add the remaining oil, do the tadka with mustard seeds, cumin & curry leaves.
  • Add the peppers and sear them on either side. They will turn white, make sure you don't burn them.
  • Then add the ground masala to the seared peppers.
  • Add salt to taste, turmeric, redchilli powder and 1/2 cup of water. if the gravy is too thick add more water to the desired consistency.
  • Let it come to a boil, cover and simmer for 5 mins.

Turn the heat off and serve with plain rice, pulav, biriyani or rotis.


Enjoy!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Cranberry Salsa




Hope everybody had a nice Thanksgiving!!! I was away in Boston and New York visiting friends and family, and had a fantastic Thanksgiving. I was thankful to have such wonderful company! I missed you all and wasn't able to visit your wonderful blogs. But, here I come with an awesome salsa that I made with my friend in Boston. Our Thanksgiving lunch included cranberry salsa, vegetable dum biriyani, sweet potato fries, butternut squash with rosemary, and apple pie. It was SO DELICIOUS!!!
Cranberries are abundant around this time and especially in the New England area. They are tart and sour and are a kind of wild berries. They are mainly used as a sauce or a relish for Thanksgiving feasts. Try this spicy salsa and you would wanna stock up cranberries forever!!! :)

Get ready

  • 2 cups fresh cranberries (Cut them in halves or quarters) 
  • 1 1/3 cups chopped red onions
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons minced green chiles
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 5-6 tbsp. orange juice
  • Salt to taste
Go!!!

  • In a bowl, mix the cranberries, chili, onion, cilantro well. Add salt and sugar according to your taste.
  • Add lime juice and orange juice; toss well.  The lime juice and orange juice can be adjusted according to your taste.
Serve as a side and enjoy!!!
Pretty easy, huh?
Again, happy Thanksgiving and ENJOY!!!


I'm happy to inform you that I am amongst the 5 selected in holiday eggless cookie contest hosted by Manjula's Kitchen. PLEASE CHECK IT OUT!!!!!! (:-)





Sunday, November 21, 2010

Tres Leches Cake


Tres leches or 3 milk cake is a famous latin or mexican dessert. A basic sponge cake soaked in 3 milks is something to die for. I first tasted it in Brooklyn, NY. There was this wonderful bakery in brooklyn where they sell individual servings of TL cake. My husband and my son always wanted to go there for a treat. It was R's birthday and I made this cake for him.

I followed the recipe from here

I, however halved the recipe and I still have some cake left in the fridge.


Get ready:

For the cake

 3/4 th All purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup unsalted butter

For soaking:

1 cup whole milk
1/2 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
3/4 can (12 oz) evaporated milk

For frosting:
Cool whip
mandarin orange slices
maraschimo cherries


Go:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F Grease and flour one 8 X 8 inch baking pan.  You want it with some depth as you will pour the milk in.
  • Sift flour and baking powder together and set aside.
  • Cream butter or margarine and the 1/2 cup sugar together until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time and the 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract; beat well.
  • Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture 2 tablespoons at a time; mix until well blended. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  • Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 minutes. Pierce cake several times with a fork.
  • Combine the whole milk, condensed milk, and evaporated milk together. Pour over the top of the cooled cake.The sponge cake will absorb all the liquids and will be so.. olala lah.....!
For Frosting:

Spread the cool whip pn top of the cake and get creative by decorating with cherries, oranges, kiwi or strawberries.

Enjoy!


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Black eyed beans salad with Date & Tamarind Dressing



This is a very healthy, protein & fibre packed salad. Could be enjoyed any time! Even though the name sounds like a mouth ful, the salad dressing is similar to the sweet chutney one makes for bhel puri. Why not do we use it as a dressing? i did and am happy that I did it. If you will like the tangy and sweet taste with a kick of chilli at the back, you sure will like it.

Get Ready: (serves 2)
  • 1/2 cup Black Eyed Beans (BEB)
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped green and red bell pepper (Chopped to the size of the beans)
  • 1 inch grated ginger
  • 1 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 3-4 dates
  • 1 tsp jaggery/ brown sugar
  • 1 small marble size tamarind
  • 2 tbsp warm water.
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1  dried red chilli
  • salt to taste
Go:
  • In a pan add 1 tsp of oil and roast the black eyed beans for a few mins. By this you don't have to soak the beans for it to cook well.
  • Once cooled, cover with enough water and pressure cook for 4 whistles. You can omit this step if you want to use canned BEB.
  • Soak the tamarind and dates in water for 15 mins.
  • Add the cumin powder, red chilli, jaggery, salt to the soaked tamarind dates and blend finely. This is our dressing.
  • Toss the cooked BEB, bell peppers, ginger, cilantro and the dressing till the dressing coats all the beans & peppers.
  • Refrigerate  or use immediately as a refreshing salad.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Mooli Paratha/ Radish Paratha


How many people hate the smell when you cook radish?

I certainly do, but I like to eat radish. Garlic also has a strong aroma, but it gets a lot of attention from all of us. Poor radish, letz give him some TLC and roll it up as a paratha.

I learnt that ( thanks to wiki), paratha is a combination of 2 words "Parat" & "Atta". It originates from the state of Punjab and has found it's way into many world cuisines, with a different name.

Paratha - India, Pakistan, bangladesh
Palata -   Burma
Farata-   mauritius
parata-   Trinidad & Tobago.

Is'nt that amazing how food and culture move whever they go.

Let me share with you a very flavorful Mooli paratha which I learnt from Vah chef. I did not have amchur powder and replaced it with chaat masala.


Mooli Paratha (makes 5- 6 parathas)

Get Ready:


For the filling:

  • 1 & 1/2 cups garted mooli/ white radish
  • 2 green chillies very finely chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp chaat masala
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • a pinch Hing
  • 1 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 2 tsp salt or slightly less

For the atta/ dough:

2 cups flour
1 tsp vegetable or canola oil
water as needed.


Go:

  • Add 2 tsp of salt to the grated mooli and let itsit for an hour or so.
  • squeeze the water out of the mooli, by pressing with your palm and fingers. do not discard the water.
  • Take a non stick pan and add the grated mooli, all  the ingredients for the stuffing and fry without any oil till every thing is combined. It takes about 7 -10 mins. turn the fire off as your stuffing is ready.

  • Make the atta with the mooli water and 1 tsp of oil to make a medium stiff dough.
  • Let it sit for 15 -20 mins.
  • Divide the dough into equal number of balls.
  • Roll into a small disc about 2-3". Place the filling in the center and gather the edges and cover.
  • Roll again into a paratha, making sure the fillings don't come out.
  • Heat a tava and cook the parath with oil or ghee.
  • Serve hot with yogurt or any pickle.

You can also roll 2 chapthi's, place filling on one and cover with another chapathi to make a paratha.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Vegetable Barley Soup



Last week was busy and stressful. My parents went back to India and my little one started daycare. She has been so clingy to me that i barely have any time when I'm home. So whatever I cook has to be with least effort and time spent in the kitchen. I'm hoping that she will  settle down soon and get over separation anxiety.
I am down with cold, runny nose and feeling blah....
A hot bowl of soup will definitely kick start my system as i had a full schedule of patients and was on call for the night.  My pager started going off and I knew I had a long night ahead. I made this soup after coming home from the clinic, as i didn't want to eat anything.
Anyways, here is a quick and easy vegetable soup. I also added some pearl barley and firm tofu as I had them in hand. i used whatever veggies i had left in my fridge.

I did not actually measure anything except for the barley. Cooking with barley was introduced to me by friend  Priya M, who has an excellent blog Now Serving.

Get ready: ( serves 1)

  • 2 tbsp pearl barley
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 1 garlic
  • 1 medium tomato
  • 1/4 zucchini diced
  • 1 hand full of chopped carrots
  • 1 tbsp tofu cubes ( used them as they were having too much fun time in the house)
  • a dash of dried oregano leaves
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala powder
  • few sprigs of cilantro
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • juice of a 1/4 lime
  • salt to taste
  • 2 cups water/ vegetable broth  ( i used water)

Go:

  • Soak the barley for 20 mins and pressure cook with enough  water to cover it for 6-7 whistles.
  • In a pan, add olive oil, saute the onion and garlic.
  • Add the tomatoes and saute for few mins. Add all the vegetables and give a quick stir for few mins.
  • Add the salt,seasonings, water, barley ,tofu and let it come to a boil.
  • Adjust spices as per taste.
  • Let it simmer till all the vegetables are done. if you think the soup is too thick add some more water to the desired consistency.
  • Turn the leat off, add cilantro and lime juice.


Enjoy this steaming soup with a roll / garlic bread.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Gottu Rasam/ No dal Rasam

Everyone must have had a wonderful Diwali! After all the sweets and food during this period, one may wish to have something very light on the stomach.

A cup of rasam will be the most welcoming thing for your stomach!

Gottu rasam or Goddu rasam is an easy rasm to make without any dal.
This recipe is from my grandma who used to make when we were sick.

This can be done in a jiffy when you don't have time to cook. Also it's very comforting to eat with hot rice, ghee and papd if you ahve a cold or feeling under the weather. My kids are fighting a cold and this is perfect for that.
If you want to drink it as a soup, it's even yummier!
 If you want it fancier you can add chopped tomatoes or garlic, but usually not needed.


 Appalam/ Papads are an standard accompaniment in thesouth with rice. Usuallu it is deep fried or fire roasted. I have an electric stove and i found spraying  the appalam with cooking spray and nuking for 30 -40 secs gives very nice fried taste with less oil.


Get ready:

  • marble sized tamarind
  • 1 & 1/2 cups water
  • salt to taste
  • a pinch of turmeric powder
  • a pinch of asafetida
  • few sprigs of cilantro and curry leaves ripped
  • 1 tsp ghee
  • 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp mustard seeds
  • 3/4 red chilli ( dried one)
Go:

  • take 1/4 cup of water and add the tamrind to it. You don't have to even take the extract.
  • Add turmeric, asafetida, salt to taste to the tamarind water.
  • Let it boil for 5- 10 mins till theraw smell goes away.
  • Now add the remaining water, curry leaves, cilantro and let it come to a boil.
  • In another pan, add ghee and do the taska with mustardseeds, cumin, redchilli and add it to the rasam.

Rasam is ready!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Badam Burfi/ Almond Burfi and Diwali wishes!



It's sweets time for Diwali ! I would like to share an easy burfi recipe with you all.
Most of the badam burfi's will tell you to soak the badam for few hours and peel  the skin. I really don't have the patience to peel the skin of 1 whole cup pf almonds.

Here is a very easy badam burfi which can be made with no fuss, no peeling, no soaking.

Get ready:

  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1/2 cup milk powder
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • a pinch saffron soaked in 1 tbsp warm milk
  • 2 tbsp ghee/ clarified butter
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom powder

Go:

  • Coarsley or finely powder the dry almonds with skin ina blender or spice grinder.
  • Mix the milk powder with the powdered badam and set aside.
  • In a heavy bottomed pan, add the sugar and 1/4 cup water.
  • MAke the sugar syrup to 2 string consistency. It will take about 10 mins.
  • Now add the badam, milk powder and mix well on moderate flame.
  • Add the  ghee little by little and cook till the mixture doesn't stick to the pan for about 5 mins.
  • Grease a plate and pour the badam mixture in it.
  • Smoothen the surface with a greased spatula.
  • Let it cool, cut into diamond shapes and serve.
It soft, rich and perfect for the festive season.

Wishing you and your family a happy and prosperous diwali!
!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Ribbon Pakoda


It's diwali in 1 week and every household will be gearing to make lots of sweets and savory dishes to celebrate.
I miss Diwali back home. I have good memories of celebrating this wonderful festival. Me and my brother would be so willing to wake up early, take bath, put on new clothesand will be ready to blast off all the fire works. Too bad my kids are not getting that opportunity to celebrate.
But, one day, I will take them to see diwali in India.

Ribbon pakoda is a crisp snack prepared in many households in the south during diwali.It resembles a long ribbon and hence the name. It' easy to make and even easier to finish it once you make! Before making this make sure you have the murukku press or ribbon pakoda press to make it.

I am giving you the ratio of besan to rice flour and you can make as much or  as little depending on what measure you use.

Always use 2 besan/ chana dal flour to 1 rice flour. The rest is all like a breeze! Trust me...

Get ready:

  • 2 cups besan
  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 1/4 tsp Asafetida
  • 2 tsp red chilli powder ( can omit this if you don't any spice)
  • 1/4 tsp salt or to taste
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup water, used very little at a time
  • Oil to fry.

Go:

  • Mix, all the flour, asafetida, salt, chilli powder and butter.
  • Add water little by little, eveb sprinkle it and form a soft dough. Do not add the whole cup of water in go, other wise you will have bajji batter. to make the pakodas crispier, add 1 tsp of hot oil while making the dough.
  • Heat oil for deep frying.
  • Take a ball of the dough and put inside the ribbon pakoda press.
  • Squeeze into circular shapes into the hot oil.
  • Deep fry them till golden or till it floats on the oil.

Enjoy!
Check out my Thenkuzhal as well for diwali snacks

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Tombstone Cupcakes, Deviled Eyes and a Party!

Halloween is the best holiday next to Christmas! Well, I didn't say this but all my neighbor hood kids did!

A day were all kids get their sugar high and a day when all parents try to pick the one almond joy, or a snickers bars from their kids cauldron!

Hehe... been there done that!

Any way our neighbor had a halloween party and I made tombstone cup cakes and devilled eyes! You should seee the eyes of the kids brightening up as they saw the whole tray!

This time I made cup cakes in ice cream cone, so it was a double yummy treat for them.


Tombstone cupcakes

  • Any boxed cake mix
  • Ice cream cones ( the ones with a flat base)
  • crushed oreo cookies
  • Milano cookies broken in half
  • Chocolate frosting
  • Black, red or any color iceing pen.











  • Bake the cake as per box instructions. Instead of sup cake liners use ice cream cones as shown below.
  • Once they are cooled, cover with chocolate frosting, Use those little hands to help as they love doing these stuff and licking the knife afterwards.
  • Sprinkle crushed oreos which is the dirt.
  • Write RIP, or draw a cross on the milano cookies and insert them in the cake. this is the tombstone!
  • You could add green sprinkles, as grass, some gummy worms and make it as gross as you want.
The box mix gave 12 cone cakes and the rest i made it as 8" cake. We decoated with mini masrsh mallow ghosts and more oreo dirt.

Placing the foil on the muffin tray, holds the ice cream cones in place and doesn't let them topple over. Keep them in the foil when you are done decoarting the cake to trtansport without any mishaps!

Deviled Eyes:

  • Hard boil eggs. omce cooled cut them and take the yolks out.
  • Mash the yolks well. add mayonnaise, djion mustard, salt, paprika to the yolk.
  • Fill a zip lock bag with yolk mixture.
  • Snip off the end and pipe it onto the cut egss.
  • Arrange a sliced olive, or fruit loop as I used for theeyeball.
  • Draw red lines/ squigges for the blood vesseks with tomato ketchup and a tooth pick.
You sure are gonna be one cool Mom!



Enjoy and Happy trick or treating!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Paneer Peas Pulav

A very easy and quick one pot meal either on a busy weekday or for potlucks. You can add as many veggies or spices you want in this dish.

Many kids like paneer and many mom's will see a empty lunchbox if you pack this rice!


Get Ready: ( serves 6-8)
  •  2 cups Basmati Rice (washed, drained)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 medium onion thinly sliced
  • 3-4 green chillies slit
  • 1 tbsp ginger chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves chopped
  • 1 cup tomato puree
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1 cup paneer cubes ( small size)
  • 1 tsp pulav masala
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp ghee
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

For Tempering/ tadka
  • 1tsp ghee
  • 1 tsp saunf/ fennel seeds
  • 1 small bark cinnamon stick
  • 2 green cardamom.

Go:

  • Add 1 tsp of olive oil in a pan. When hot, add the paneer cubes and fry till slightly golden and set aside. You can totally omit this step if you want to and just add paneer as it is.
  • Add 1 tsp of olive and saute the rice for a 5 mins and set aside.
  • In a pressure cooker, add the remaining oil and ghee. when hot add the tadka ingredients.
  • When they splutter, add the onion, garlic, chillies, ginger and saute till the onions are translucent.
  • Add the tomato puree, masala powders and saute till the oil starts to separate at the edges.
  • Add the peas & saute for few mins.
  • Add the rice, paneer, 2 cups of water, salt to taste and stir everything.
  • Close the cooker and cook for 1 whistle and turn off the heat. As we are directly cooking in the cooker, one whistle is enough.
  • Once you open the cooker, fluff therice with a fork and garnish with either fried onions and/ or with cilantro.

Sending this to Priya's
 and Jagruti's


Enjoy!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Kanchipuram Idli & Guest Post

Dear friends,

I have been featured in Nithu's Guest post and am so happy to share this information with you.

So please check out Nithu's  for Kanchipuram Idli!

Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Kashmiri Aloo Curry




I have heard there are many versions of dum aloo. I honestly haven't tasted one so far!


I was watching a cookery show on a tamil channel where they showed how to make kashmiri aloo. They used cooked baby potatoes which were stuffed with  paneer, nuts, raisin stuffing and then shallow fried them in oil.
The stuffing was leaking out and the cook used a lot of oil to fry them .

I wondered why can't i bake,( so less oil) the same thing like a kofta and try it in the curry.

It came out well and was happy as I used very little oil! Just to spray the baking sheet.

The only thing is the koftas soak up all the gravy. My only note  to you all is add the baked koftas just before serving., I mean literally just before serving.

I served them with rumali roti's. I was fumbling to take pictures and serve at the same time! By the time i got around to take photos most of the gravy had been absorbed by those dumplings!

I don't know if this is an authentic version, but it tasted wonderful and we all thoroughly enjoyed it.

Here you go...

 2- Potatoes cooked and peeled

For the gravy
1 medium sized onion  + 1 red chilli + 1 japeno chilli ground
4 -5 medium sized tomatoes pureed ( puree should be 1 cup)
1 tsp fennel/ saunf  seeds ( to be powdered)
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp garam masala powder (optional)
1/4 cup yogurt at room temp, & well beaten
2 tbsp oil
1 inch cinnamon stick
3 green cradamom pods
1 bay leaf
1/2 star anise
salt to taste
1/2 cup water as needed

For the stuffing/ kofta
1 tbsp almonds chopped
1 tbsp cashews chopped
1 tbsp raisins chopped
1 tbsp paneer grated
1 green chilli chopped finely
 1 tbsp cilantro finely chopped
a pinch of salt




Go:

  • Mix all the ingredients for the kofta stuffing and set aside.
  • Mash the cooked potatoes and make a little ball.
  • Flatten the ball to a small disc. Add a spoon of the filling and cover it with the potato to make a smooth ball.


  • Use all the filling and make balls and set aside.


  • Pre heat oven to 375 F and grease a foil lined baking sheet. Spread the potao balls and bake for about 3- -45 mins till they are golden. Flip them over once in between the baking time.




For the gravy:

  • Heat oil in a pan, and add the cinnamon, cardamom, star anise, bay leaf.
  • Add the ground onion and fry till it does not stick to the pan.
  • Now add the fennel powder, garam masala, chilli powder, salt and f ry well for about 5 mins.
  • Then add the pureed tomatoes and fry till the oil separates at the sides.
  • Now add the yogurt and mix very well, stirring continously. this will avoid the yogurt forming small lumps.
  • Now add 1/2 cup water, adjust slat and spices and let it simmer for 5- 10 mins. If the gravy is too thick, add little more water.
  • Turn off the heat and add the potato dumplings/ kofta just before serving.
  • Garnish with cilantro and serve.

Goes well with phulkas, rotis and naan.

Enjoy!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Rumali Roti



Rumali roti is very famous north indian roti which is extremely thin. "Rumal" means a handkerchief and as the name explains, it is so thin that it can be rolled like a hanky. This special roti is usually served in weddings and pretty hard to make. The chef flips them in the air like a pizza and make it so paper thin. I have watched them do that in awe and then carry on stuffing many inside my mouth!

I found a quick and easy way to do rumali roti at home by my fav chef Sanjay at vahreh vah.com. I tried it today and it was pretty good. Of course you cannot compare to what the pro's make, at the same time not too bad for an ordinary person to make it at home.

I don't have a big skillet as the chef did, so I made my rotis small to be cooked on a 8" skillet.

Get Ready:

  • 1 cup All purpose flour/  Maida
  • 1 cup Atta
  • 1 cup plus a few tsp of warm water
  • A pinch of salt.
  • Rice flour to dust and roll

Go:

  • Mix the flours and makea soft dough. I mean really soft dough and keep aside for 15 mins.
  • Heat a tawa or skillet and make it really hot.
  • Make one ball th size of a lemon. Split that into two and roll a small chappathi.
  • Grease one side of the chappathi with some oil and dust it with rice flour on the greased side.
  • Put one greased surface on the other and stick the edges.
  • Roll as thin as you can .
  • Cook on the tawa.
Serve hot with any gravy curry!

You can view the making of rumali  roti   Here as it 's hard to explain...


Enjoyed it with Kashmiri aloo, recipe to follow soon!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Black Bean Burger



I never thought of making burgers at home as I always bought Patel brothers veggie burgers or trader Joe's masala burgers. These burgers were so handy for an after school snack or lunch for my son.
Unfortunately I don't have either one of these stores nearby:(( . Tried the morning star veggie burger and they were, not up to my taste.

Most of the recipes that I searched used egg as a binder in them. I do eat eggs and somehow was reluctant to use them this time. My parents are here and they don't eat eggs. So, I've replaced the egg with corn flour and made these burgers. One could also use cooked brown rice or bulgur wheat or soy chunks as the binder. I found this recipe in a magazine which I modified to my taste.

The key is to drain your beans pretty well before making these burgers. Infact, I spread them on a kitchen towel before you start to work. They froze well and can be used for a quick meal anytime.
Get Ready:
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and well drained
  • 1/2 onion, very finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 1/4 red pepper finely chopped
  • 1/2 carrot grated
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp Garam masala powder
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup corn flour
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs ( I used panko)
  • 2 -3 tbsp water.
Go:

  1. Mash the black beans using your hand or the back of a fork. You don't want them all too mushy, so leave a couple of chunks so you can bite into it.
  2. To this add the onion, garlic, pepper, carrot, salt to taste, cumim powder, chilli powder, garam masala powder and mix well.
  3. Mix the corn flour in water to a paste like consistency. Add the cornflour paste and bread crumbs to the bean mixture and mix well to incorporate every thing.
  4. Adjust spices as needed.
  5. Pre heat oven to 375 F and line a baking sheet with foil. Grease the foil with cooking spray.
  6. Bivide the bean mixture into 6 0r 7 balls.
  7. Flatten them and shape like patties.
  8. Arrange them on the foil lined baking sheet and bake for 20 - 25 mins. You can also cook them on the tava with little oil.
  9. Serve as burgers topped with tomato rings, cilantro and a dollop pf sour cream in burger buns.
This was my packed lunch today and was satisfying!

Enjoy! PS: excuse me for the terrible picture, as it was taken in a rush!
Sending this to Priya's


Sunday, October 3, 2010

Curried Shell Pasta salad with Yogurt & an Award



The classic macaroni salad uses Mayo as the main ingredient in the dressing. Mayo has eggs and more calories to contribute!

So why not substitute mayo with yogurt? The Greeks and Lebanese use yogurt with pasta, so why not me?

So, I did it!  This  is an excellent, to die for pasta salad with home made yogurt. It was so creamy and did not fail in the taste. This salad tasted even better once chilled.
So here is a quick and easy pasta salad for any time of the day, for those busy bees out there! I also threw a hand full of black eyed beans left over from the previous day.

Get ready:

  • 2 hand full of shell pasta (dry one), cooked aldente
  • 1/4 onion chopped
  • 1/4 red pepper diced
  • 1/2 samll jalapeno
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp sambhar powder
  • 3-4 tbsp low fat yogurt
  • Cilantro 1 tbsp chopped.
  • salt to taste.

Go:

  • In a bowl mix the yogurt, cilantro and salt to taste. Keep aside
  • Keep the cooked pasta aside.
  • In a pan, add oil. When hot saute the onions and jalapeno till the onions are translucent.
  • Add the red pepper, black eyed beans and sambhar powder and saute for a few minutes.
  • Turn off the heat.
  • Toss the sauted onion, pepper mix  into  the pasta and yogurt dressing .
  • Serve chilled.

PS: You may also add some grated ginger or green peas as per your taste. the options are endless!

Akila of Learning to cook passed me this award. I am so humbled and would like to give her a big thank you. She has an excellent collection of recipes and please check it out.

I would like to share this with

 Food For Thought!!

priya mitharwal
Satya
Kiran
Ragini
Priya Suresh
Aipi
Prema
Jay
Sameena

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Onion Pakoras/ Pakoda


It has been raining here over the last 2 days and the mercury has fallen down. It's gloomy outside and I was craving for soemthing crunchy to go with my elaichi chai. Made these pakodas or pakoras however you want to call them for my tea time snack.

Let it rain, let it rain....I have my pakodas to enjoy!

Get Ready:

  • 1 cup Besan/ gram flor
  • 1/4 cup Rice flour
  • 1 pinch baking soda
  • 1 tsp Saunf/ fennel seeds
  • salt to taste
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 1/2 jalapeno chopped
  • 4-5 Curry leaves torn into small pieces
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil, hot
  • 1-2 tsp of water
Oil to deep fry

Go:

  • Mix the chopped onions, jalapeno, curry leaves, cashews, saunf, salt to taste well with the besan and rice flour.
  • Pour the hot olive oil on top of the dry flour, onion etc mix. It will kind of make a noise and bubble.
  • Watch your hand and mix them all well.
  • It will not be moist and look a bit crumbly.
  • Add little water and mix them all well. The right consistency is the dough should be still crumbly, yet sticky enough to make a small ball.
  • Heat oil in a deep pan. To check if it's hot, add a small drop of the pakora dough, it should immediately rise up.
  • Drop small balls into the oil, and deep fry them till golden.

Enjoy with hot tea.

I would like to thank jay for giving this participation award for letz reelish paneer. Thanks  Jay!




Sunday, September 26, 2010

Rasmalai


Rasmalai needs no introduction, but let me tell you one thing that it originates from the state of Orissa.

 I got this recipe from my friend 5 yrs ago and it comes perfect every time I've made. We had some friends over the weekend and I made rasmalai and it sure was a hit! Good friends and good food always makes me happy!

Get ready:

 
1 tub part skim ricotta cheese (30 oz)
1/3 cup sugar

 
For the Cream:

 
3 cupsHalf and half
 2 cups 2% milk
1 & 1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. cardamom powder
2 pinches of saffron
Chopped nuts (Pistachios and Almonds)

 
Go:

 
  • Preheat the oven at 375 F. Grease a baking dish and keep aside.
  • Empty the ricotta cheese into a bowl and add 1/3 cup of sugar and mix well.
  • Transfer the ricotta cheese mixture into a baking dish and bake for about 45 mins. to an hour or till a toothpick inserted comes out  clean.
  • Let it cool and cut into pieces of desired size/shape.

 
 
 






To make the Malai:

 
  • Take a heavy bottomed pan and add the half and half and 2% milk.
  • Let it come to a boil.
  • Take 3-4 tbsp. of warm milk in a bowl. Crush and soak the saffron in the milk.
  • Add the saffron milk to the boiling milk and keep stirring on low flame.
  • Let the milk simmer and become thick.
  • Now add the sugar and let it simmer till it has reduced to 1/3 or 1/2 its volume.
  • Turn the heat off and let it cool.
  • add the baked ricotta squares and garnish with chopped nuts. ( yeah, ik now i went a bit over board with nuts :))
  • Refrigerate and serve chilled.
Enjoy! This served about 10 people. You can half this recipe or adjust sugar according to your taste.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Quinoa Herb Salad


In case if you have not heard of Quinoa (Keen wa) it's an ancient seed packed with protein which has been around for ages.
However I started using it since last year and I love it!
You can make Quinoa upma/ kichdi which I have posted earlier.

Recently I tried this salad and it was pretty good. There is no measurements for this. The only tip is wash the quinoa before you cook, so that the bitterness is removed. Bitter taste comes from the saponins on the outside of the grain.

What ever measure you use, add 1 & 1/4 cup water and pressure cook the quinoa.
Let it cool, as this is a cold salad.
Once cooled, fluff it with a fork.
Add any vegetables of your choice.
I used grated carrots, basil, mint leaves, cilantro, jalapeno and peanuts.
Add salt and lemon juice to taste.

Easy and yet nutritious salad for your lunch box is ready in a jiffy!

Enjoy & have a nice weekend!