Sunday, January 30, 2011

Peas Pulao/Green Peas Rice..

Peas pulao is a rice dish similar to Jeera Rice except for green peas which is added to the rice when it is cooked.
This is also a another rice dish which is simple, easy to make and kids friendly!!
The white and green color combination makes it look very attractive inspite of its simple taste.
Here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

Green Peas- 1 Cup(frozen or fresh)

Basmati rice- 2 Cups

Oil and Ghee(combined) - 2 Tbsp

Bay leaf-one

Cumin seeds-1 Tbsp

Green chillies- 2 small slit length wise

Cloves- 2 nos.

Cinnamon- a small piece

Salt to taste

Procedure:

1.Wash the basmati rice,drain the water and set aside.

2.Heat oil and ghee in a pan or a rice cooker and once hot, add the bay leaf, cloves, cumin seeds and saute for two mins.

3.Add the green chillies, green peas and the rice and fry till the rice turns bright (about 5 minutes).

4.Add water and salt and wait till it starts to boil.Check for the salt and spice levels now and adjust it accordingly.If you feel the rice is spicy, you can discard the green chillies at this stage.

5.Close the lid and cook until rice is done and is separate.The rice and peas should not become mushy.

6.Fluff it up with a fork or ladle and serve hot with any curry or gravy of your choice. I served it with Gobi Capsicum curry and it was yummy!



Lot of variations can be made to the rice by adding paneer or cauliflower along with the peas.


Jeera Rice/Cumin Flavoured Steamed Rice..

Jeera Rice is a simple yet sumptuous steamed rice dish where the rice is cooked with  the cumin seeds and it gives out a wonderful aroma and flavour.
It is a perfect rice dish apart from the basic steamed rice which can be had along with any curry or gravy.
I prefer the jeera rice for any other rice as it is easy to make,great in taste and can be enjoyed by kids too!!
It can be kept very simple by just adding jeera or can be modified by adding more spices, thus enhancing the flavour.Here is my version:

Ingredients:

Basmati rice-1 Cup

Cumin seeds-2 Tbsp

Cumin powder-1 Tsp

Green chillies-1 (optnl)

Bay Leaf-one

Aniseed- one

Cloves-4 nos.

Ghee and oil combined- 2 Tbsp

Salt to taste


Procedure:

1.Wash the basmati rice, drain the water completely and set aside.

2.Heat oil and ghee in a pan with a tight fitting lid or a rice cooker and when it is hot, add the bay leaf and cumin seeds, aniseed, cloves and saute for two minutes.

3.Add the green chilly,cumin powder and the rice and fry till the rice turns bright white in colour.


4.Add water ( I use 2 cups of water for one cup of rice), salt and check the salt while it boils before closing the lid.

5.Let the rice cook till it is soft but not too dry or mushy.Each grain should be separate.

6.Fluff with up with a fork or mix it gently and enjoy it with any gravy of your choice.


Channa or Chole Masala /Chikpeas or Garbanzo Beans in Tomato Gravy..

Channa-Batura is a welcome dish for any Indian on any given day!!
A famous north indian cuisine, the channa masala is nothing but chikpeas cooked in a spicy tomato gravy and the batura is an Indian bread which is fried in oil.The two make an awesome combo!!
Rich in protein and easy to make this is a perfect dish for any occasion.
There are many versions of this recipe, but this one is very simple and tasty and I would like to share the same:

Ingredients:

Chikpeas/ Garbanzo beans- 3 Cups or 1 lb canned chikpeas

Toamtoes-2 large

Tomato paste-1 Tbsp (optnl) 

Ginger- an inch piece

Garlic- 2 pods (optnl)

Green chillies- 2 finely chopped

Cumin-1 Tbsp

Besan/Chikpea flour- 1 Tbsp

Red Chilly powder-1 Tsp

Dhaniya powder- 2 Tbsp

Turmeric- 1 Tsp

Garam Masala- 1 Tsp

Asafoetida- a pinch

Bay leaf- one

Cinnamon- one inch stick

Salt to taste

Oil-2 Tbsp

Chopped Cilantro- to garnish


Procedure:

1.Wash the chikpeas well and soak them overnight or for 6-8 hrs in cold water.If using canned chikpeas, no need to saok it in water.

2.Pressure the soaked chikpeas till soft, but not mushy.

3.Grind the tomatoes, ginger and garlic into a paste.

4.Heat oil in a pan and when hot, add the bay leaf, cinnamon, cumin seeds and then the besan flour and fry it for two minutes till it turns slightly brown in colour.

5.Add the green chillies, the ground paste, tomato paste if using ( i use the paste for the colour) and the turmeric, red chilly powder and the coriander powder.

6.Cook for 5 to 6 minutes till the oil separates from the mixture and it reduces to half in quantity.

7.Next add the cooked chikpeas, salt and 2 cups of water and mix it well.

8.Simmer the heat and the cook it covered for about ten to fifteen minutes.

9.Open lid and mash the chikpeas slightly with a ladle,add the garam masala and cook for another minute.

10.Remove from heat, garnish with chopped cilantro and serve hot with batura, rotis or Jeera Rice.




Note:If the gravy is too thick, add water and cook it on low heat for till you reach the required consistency.
Adding besan flour gives thickness and extra flour to the gravy (tip from Manjula's kitchen).
The spice levels can be adjusted accordingly to suit your taste buds.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Baked Kunukku/ Baked Lentil fritters..

Kunukku is a snack prepared from left over adai batter.It is usually deep fried in oil, but again keeping the health factor in mind, i tried baking it and it turned out great!
Its very simple and here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

Leftover adai batter-2 Cups
 
Rava or sooji-1/4 Cup

Chopped onions-1/2 Cup

Red Chilly powder-1/2 tsp

Chopped Curry leaves- a few

Oil-2 Tbsp

Oil Spray

Salt if needed

Procedure:

1.If adai batter is refrigerated, bring it out and leave it at room temperature for sometime.

2.Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

3.Add the sooji, chopped onions, chilly powder, curry leaves, oil and salt if needed to the adai batter and mix it well. The batter should be thick.

4.Line a baking tray with foil and spray some oil on it.

5.Take small quantities of the batter and keep it on the tray leaving some space between them and spray a little oil on top of it.

6.Place it on the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 20 minutes or so till the top starts to turn brown in colour.Turn them over and bake for 5 more minutes.(invidual oven heat may vary)

7.Be careful not to let the kunukku burn.Remove form the oven and enjoy it with sauce!!





Note: The fried kunukku is usually round in shape, but i made it a little flat so that it would bake well on the inside.

Spinach Cheese Dosa..

Kids always like something different! Give them the same dosa or idly everyday and they are like "its so boring ma"!!
I hve a 5 yr old, who unlike other kids, prefers upma varieties more than any other tiffin.
So, to make him get used to eating idli or dosa,i had to do something different.
This Spinach Cheese Dosa gave him the pizza feel and he was real excited!
Its served my purpose in two ways- was able to give my son something different as well as not waste the spinach curry i had made for lunch!!
Here is how i made it:

Ingredients:
 
Dosa batter
 
Any leftover or  freshly made spinach curry

Grated cheese-any cheese of your choice ( i used mozarella)

Oil to make dosa

Procedure:

1.If you have refrigerated the dosa batter, bring it out at least half an hour before making the dosas.

2.Heat the tawa or griddle and once hot, spread the batter in circles to make the dosa.

3.Apply  little oil around the corners and spread the spinach on the dosa.

4.Sprinkle the cheese generously on it and let it melt on the spinach as the dosa is cooking.

5.Do not flip over, just fold the dosa into half and cook on each other till it becomes golden brown.(as shown in the picture)

6.You can serve it right away or to make it more interesting, you can roll the dosa to make it like a wrap and excite your little one!! "Spinach Cheese Wrap" is what my son named it!!

7.I had some onion chutney which was not so spicy, so i applied it on the dosa before adding the spinach and cheese and it gave that extra kick!! (reminded me of mysore masala dosa and kempu chutney!! )

Spinach Curry:

There are many ways to make spinach curry. I usually heat some oil, add cumin, mustard seeds, green chillies and frozen or fresh chopped spinach, turmeric and salt and let it cook for sometime till the spinach wilts and is done.Other variations are you can add onions,saute a little and then add the spinach and you can also substitute the green chillies with  the red chillies.


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Couscous Upma/Couscous Salad..

Couscous is a North African dish and is becoming popular in the other countries of the  world.
It is similar to our rava or sooji and the couscous granules are made rolling moistened coarsely ground semolina into small balls.

Now coming to the dish,this is yet another healthy treat simple to make,yet delightful to taste.
I was first introduced to this dish at my brother's place and i thank my s-i-l for making this wonderful dish.Thanx Manni!!
The preparation is similar to our upma,except that there is no need for any tempering.
Here goes the recipe:

Ingredients:

Couscous-1 pkt -10oz (i use the Near East brand Original Plain Flavour)

Green Bell Pepper-1

Orange Bell Pepper-1

Potato-1

Toamtoes-2

Green chillies-3

Peanuts- a handful

Chilly powder-1 Tsp(optnl)

Turmeric-a pinch

Oil-1 Tbsp

Chopped cilantro-to garnish 

Water

Procedure:

1.Cook the couscous according to the instructions on the packet.

2.Fluff it up using a fork and set it aside.Do not make it mushy.

3.Wash the veggies and cube them. Slit the green chillies.

4.Heat oil in a pan and add the chillies and  the potato.

5.Let it cook for a few minutes, then add the bell pepper, tomatoes, chilly powder, turmeric and salt.

6.Saute the veggies until they are soft, yet crisp.Toss in the peanuts.

7.Add the cooked couscous to the veggies and switch off the heat.

8.Mix it well and garnish with chopped cilantro.

Note: You can make the dish more colorful and healthy by adding any vegetable of your choice.

If adding salt while cooking the couscous, reduce the salt in the veggies accordingly to avoid the dish becoming salty.

Kadai Tofu /Spicy Tofu Indian Curry..

Needless to say, we all love paneer dishes and when it can be enjoyed in a healthier form, nothing better!!
This is a recipe which i came across in youtube and i have tried and tasted it.
The original recipe uses paneer, has no onion or garlic in it as it is a Jain dish, wherein i have  have added onions and garlic to enhance the taste and substituted paneer with tofu, making it more healthy!!
Tofu is similar to paneer except that it is made with soy mik which is said to be protein rich and low in cholesterol when compared to paneer.
It is mainly used in Asian cuisine where tofu is substituted for meat in vegetarian dishes.
 Here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

Firm Tofu - 1 pkt

Green Bell Pepper -2 (medium sized)

Red Bell Pepper-1 (optnl)
  
Onion-1 large

Toamtoes-4 or 5 (medim sized)

Green chillies-3

Ginger-1/4 inch piece

Garlic- 2 to 3 small pods

Oil-3 Tbsp

Cumin seeds-1 Tbsp

Red chilly powder-1 Tbsp

Coriander powder-2 Tbsp

Kasuri Methi/Dried fenugreek leaves-2 Tbsp

Turmeric powder-a pinch

Asafoetida- a pinch

Salt to taste

Procedure:

1.Drain the water out of the tofu,pat it dry with a paper towel or wrap it in between a paper towel and place some weight on it (like a bean can) to squeeze out the excess water.

2.Cube the tofu, bell peppers and onions into 1/2 inch square pieces.

3.Blend the tomatoes, ginger, garlic and green chillies to make a puree.

4.Heat oil in a pan or kadai on medium heat and first fry the tofu  till it starts to turn brown.

5.Next stir fry the bell peppers and then the onions and drain on a paper towel..The veggies have to be crisp,do not overcook them.

6.Add the cumin seeds to the same oil and let it splutter and then add the asafoetida.

7.Now add the tomato puree,turmeric, chilly powder, coriander powder and fenugreek leaves.

8.Cook for about 5 minutes till the tomato puree reduces to half. Add salt and 1/4 cup water at this stage.

9.Once the gravy begins to boil, add the tofu, onions and bell pepper and let it cook for about 5-7 minutes on low flame.

10.Do not stir in between as the tofu pieces may break.

11.Remove from heat and serve hot with naan or roti of your choice.




We had it with hot Garlic Butter Naan and it was just yummmmmmmy!!!!

Note: The same recipe could be used for kadai paneer substituting the tofu with paneer.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Garlic Butter Naan/Flattened Indian Bread..

Naan is a very famous North Indian Cuisine and is traditionally made in the Tandoor or a Clay Oven.
It is a flattened or leavened bread and is eaten along with a curry or gravy.
This dish though easy is a little tricky as the soft and puffy nature of the naan is what matters differentiating it from a regular chappati or paratha.
After desperate searches and numerous trials and errors, i was able to arrive at a 'close to perfect naan' and i'm very excited to share the recipe:

Ingredients:

All purpose flour/Bread flour/Maida -4 Cups

Active dry yeast-1 pkt (14 oz)

Baking Soda-1 Tsp

Salt-2 Tsps

Yogurt/thick curds-2 Tbsps

Oil-2 Tbsps

Eggs-1 (optnl) i used 3 tbsps of flax seed with 1 tbsp water to substitute 1 egg

Lukewarm water-1 Cup

To brush the top of the naan:

Butter-half  or 1/4 cup (i'm a butter lover!! )

Garlic-3-4 minced or chopped finely

Garlic powder or garlic salt-1/2 Tsp

Cilantro- a handful (chopped finely)

Procedure:

1.In a large bowl, sieve the all purpose flour (reserving 1/4 cup for dusting), yeast, sugar and salt and add the curds and the egg or flax seed mixture (if using) to form a mixture in crumbles.

2.Now add the water slowly and greasing your hands, knead the mixture using elbow grease  to form a soft elastic dough.

3.Place the dough in a greased bowl and cover it with a moist cloth or damp paper towel and leave it in a warm, draft free place for it to rise.

4.For brushing the naan, melt the butter and add the minced garlic, garlic salt and chopped cilantro.

5.The dough should double in size and this takes approximately about 2 hrs depending on the climate of the place you live. ( i usually warm the oven  for half a minute, switch off and place the dough so that it rises soon, but beware not to overheat it!)

6.After the dough has risen, dusting your hands with flour and applying flour on the sides of the bowl, slowly remove the dough which will be very sticky now.

7.Place it on a dusted surface or board and punch it down to remove all the air and knead it for a few minutes.

8.Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 deg F. (individual oven heat may vary)

9.Divide the dough into eight soft balls.

10.Roll them into thick round pieces or if it is too sticky, just wet your hands and pull them to form a triangular or tear shape and brush the top with the garlic butter oil.

11.Line a baking tray or pizza stone with aluminium foil and place the naan on it and bake it for 3-4 minutes until the top of the naan turns golden brown.

12.The naan should be soft, so check in between to prevent the naan becoming hard or getting charred.

13.Once done,take it out and brush it with some more butter and serve hot along with any curry or gravy of your choice.


14.I had made Kadai Tofu  and Kathirikkai Rasavaangi and it went very well with the naan!!

Mor Kuzhambu/South Indian Kadi/Seasoned Buttermilk..

Mor Kuzhambu aka mor kootaan aka majjige huli aka majjiga pulusu  is a very popular dish and it means seasoned or flavoured buttermilk.
It is the South Indian kadi in other words.
This dish forms a very important part of the South Indian menu and is served on all festivals and occasions.
Vegetables such as ash guard or white pumpkin, okra or ladies finger, colacasia or taro root can be used in the mor kuzhambu or paruppurundai (steamed lentil balls) mor kuzhambu is also one of the classic preparations.
There are many variations in the making of this dish, the base ingredient being the same.
The traditional or conventional recipe calls for more  coconut to arrive at the thick consistency of the kuzhambu, but the altered recipe focuses on substituting coconut with thoor dhall (which helps to makes the kuzhambu thick) and other items keeping the health factor in mind not compromising on the taste.
Here it goes:

Ingredients:

Buttermilk/whipped curd -1 Cup

Vegetables- 1 Cup (if using any)

Turmeric-a pinch

Salt to taste 

To soak and grind into fine paste:

Thoor Dhall/thuvaram paruppu-1 Tbsp

Cumin seeds-1 Tsp

Raw rice-1 Tsp

Coriander seeds/Dhaniya-1/2 Tsp

Fenugreek seeds-1/2 Tsp

Peppercorns- 3 to 4

Grated coconut-1 Tbsp

Green chillies-2 to 3 (depending on spice levels)

water-1 Tbsp

For Tempering:

Oil-1 Tbsp

Mustard seeds-1 Tsp

Curry leaves-a few

Red chilly-1

Asafoetida/Peringayam-a pinch

Procedure:

1.Soak the thoor dhall along with cumin seeds, fenugreeks seeds, coriander seeds, peppercorns and grind it along with  it with the green chillies and the coconut gratings into a fine paste adding little water.

2.Mix the ground paste with the buttermilk adding salt and turmeric and set it aside.

3.Heat oil in a pan and let the mustard seeds splutter and add curry leaves, red chilly and asafoetida to it.

4.If using any vegetable,add it now and let it boil.

a) If using white pumpkin,remove skin,chop into square pieces or big chunks and boil it before adding to the kuzhambu.
b) If using ladies finger or okra,wash and pat it dry,cut into 2 or 3 inch pieces,fry it in little oil till crisp and add to the kuzhambu towards the end.
c) If using colacassia or seppankizhangu,boil it,remove skin and add to the kuzhambu while its boiling.
d) If using paruppurundai or steamed lentil dumplings,add it when the kuzhambu is boiling.

5.Now add the buttermilk with the ground paste in it to the pan and let it  to boil and switch off and remove from heat once it starts to boil..Do not let it boil for too long as buttermilk when boiled will start to brittle.

6.The mor kuzhambu makes an excellent combination with any Paruppusili curry, kaara curries(stir fry) such as pototo, brinjal, ivy guard, taro root and also with tiffins like adai upma etc.



Note: The tempering can also be done at the last and poured on the kuzhambu once its done.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

16 Bean Adai/16 Bean Pancakes..

The normal Adai is something which is made with three kinds of lentils and is know to be rich in protein.
This 16 Bean Adai is a treat which i came across in Saffron Trail. I have made this adai a couple of times and v as a family loved this dish!!
A high protein food,different in its own way just makes a heartwarming dish.
Thought i would share the recipe:

Ingredients:

16 Bean Soup Mix-1 Cup

Brown rice(long grain)-1 Cup

Whole urad dhall/muzhu ulundhu -a handful

Red Chillies-5 to 6 nos.

Green Chillies-2 nos.

Ginger-1/2 inch piece

Curry leaves-few

Asafoetida/Peringayam-a pinch

Salt to taste

Oil to make adais

Procedure:

1.Wash the beans and the urad dhall and soak for abt 2 hrs and then soak the rice along with it for another 2 hrs.

2.Grind the soaked mixture into a coarse batter along with the red and green chillies, ginger, asafoetida and salt adding the curry leaves towards the end.

3.The batter need not ferment unlike dosa batter and the adai can be made right away.

4.Heat a tawa or griddle and spread a ladle full of batter in circles to make the adai and make a small hole in the centre for it to cook well.

5.Apply half tsp of oil around the adai and in the center while it cooks.

6.Flip over and cook on both sides till golden brown in colour.

7.Serve hot with a dollop of butter, jaggery, mor kuzhambu, avial or milagai podi yennai.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Instant Thiratti Pal/Curdled Milk Sweet..

Thiratti Paal is a very famous milk sweet made by tamilians for many occasions. The traditional method is to boil the milk on low heat for a long time and let it thicken to form a curdled mixture.But the microwave method of doing it is so simple and hardly needs any effort!!
This is a very popular recipe and i'm sure many of them are aware of it.
But for those who don't know,here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

Condensed Milk - 1 Tin (i used the 14 oz tin)

Warm milk - 2 Tbsp

Fresh thick curd - 2 Tbsp

Ghee -1/2 Tsp

Procedure:

1.Mix all the ingredients except ghee in large microwave safe bowl and microwave on HIGH for 5 mins stirring once in between.

2. Then add the ghee and mix well and microwave again on HIGH for 1 minute.

3. Let stand for 2 minutes before serving.Yummy thiratti pal ready!!

Note: 

1. Do not forget to stir in between the first five minutes.

2.The power of each microwave differs, so have a watch when it is cooking.

3.I microwaved it six minutes before adding ghee to get the brown colour. You can do the same depending on the power of your microwave.


Khara Biscuits/Spiced Cookies..

I guess this goodie would be familiar for those hailing from Karnataka (a state in Southern India), especially from Bangalore, and i'm sure you would be missing it !!
What a bliss it was to the taste these freshly baked masala biscuits from the Iyengar Bakeries in Bangalore!!
Ok, now coming to the recipe, it is a very easy one and very less time consuming.
I have baked these a couple of times and it was a hit every time!! Here is the recipe: 

Ingredients:

All purpose flour/Maida-1.5 Cup

Margarine/Vegetable spread/Softenend butter-1/2 Cup

Green chillies-5 or can be adjusted according to your taste ( deseeded and finely chopped)

Baking Powder-3/4 Tsp

Ginger-paste-1 Tsp

Omam/Ajwain-1/2 Tsp (optnl)

Dry mint leaves-1 Tsp

Curry leaves and cilantro-1 Tsp (finely chopped)

Plain thick Yogurt-2 Tbsp

Curry Powder- a pinch (optnl)

Salt to taste

Procedure:

1.Sieve the flour, baking soda and salt and cream the butter or margarine into it adding it little by little to form crumbles.

2.Now add the spices and salt and knead well using your hands and finally add the yogurt making sure the dough is stiff and not too soft.

3.Cover the dough and let it sit for 10 to 15 mins.

4.Preheat the oven to 400F and grease a baking tray.

5.If you have a cookie cutter,cut the dough into required shapes or u can drop it on the tray using a cookie dropper if you like it to be a lilttle thick.I did so because we love the biscuits that way.

6.Prick the top of the cookie with a fork to let the air escape which will help the cookies not to puff up.

7.Bake for twenty minutes or so till the top begins to brown slightly and an inserted tooth prick comes out clean.

8.Remove and cool on wire rack for sometime and store it in an air tight container.

9.Anything better than a cup of hot chai and some khara biscuits to enjoy your evenings??




Thursday, January 20, 2011

Kathirikkai Rasavaangi/Sauteed Eggplants in Peanut-Sesame Gravy..

This is a very luscious dish and the very thought of it would add calories to our body!!
Lavishly sauteed in oil and cooked in a rich and creamy peanut sauce, this eggplant dish has it all..
There are many variations for the masala used in this dish, but im going to share the one which i learnt from Lakshmi Mami-thanks so much mami (unga Chappati -Rasavaangi combinationa marakkamudiyaadhu)!! Here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

Indian eggplants-8- 10 nos.(small round ones make the best dish)

Diluted tamarind juice-1/2 Cup

Cumin seeds-1 Tbsp

Red Chilly powder-1 Tbsp

Turmeric-a pinch

Oil-5-6 Tbsps

Salt- to taste

Chopped cilantro - to garnish

To dry roast and grind coarsely:

Peanuts(skin removed)-1/2 cup

White Sesame seeds-1 Tbsp

To grind into a paste:

Onion-1 large
 
Ginger- an inch piece

Garlic-2 pieces (optnl)

Procedure:

1.Wash the eggplants well,remove the stalk and make a slit on top in the shape of a cross to its three fourth.

2.Grind the onions,ginger and garlic together into a fine paste.

3.Dry roast the sesame seeds first and then the peanuts in the same pan and once cool, grind it into a coarse powder and mix the red chilly powder with it.

4.Heat oil in a wide pan and once hot add the cumin seeds and when it turns slightly brown,add the onion-ginger-garlic paste.

5.Saute for a few minutes till it diffuses its raw smell and then carefully add the eggplants one by one and cook well by frying it from all sides.

6.Once the eggplants are soft and cooked,add the tamarind juice, salt and turmeric.

7.After about five minutes, add the ground peanut-sesame-chilly powder.

8.You will begin to notice that the gravy starts to thicken once the peanut powder is added.

9.Cook for about five to seven minutes, switch off the heat and garnish with the chopped cilantro.

10.Let it sit for few minutes with the lid on for the flavours to cook up.

11.Rasavaangi is enjoyed best with steamed rice, roti, idli or dosa.






Chocolate Pecan Fudge..

I have been wanting to try out the fudge for a long time and.... ta-da i made it!! This recipe was born out of nowhere from a sequence of confusions in the kitchen!! But the taste,texture and everything about it was just right!! So, people please pardon me if you'll don't get paid off  for your mistakes the in same way!! Its quite similar to my homemade chocolates except for some minor changes.
Here it goes:

Ingredients:

Unsweetened Dark chocolate cocoa powder(any brand)-1 cup
 
Whole milk/half and half-1 lt
 
Unsalted Butter-1 stick(1/2 Cup)

Sugar-1 Cup

Vanilla essence-1/2 tsp (optnl)

Prodecure:

1.Melt the butter in a thick bottomed pan and add the rest of the ingredients to it.

2.Mix it well and let it cook for about an hour on medium low flame, stirring in between to avoid sticking at the bottom.

3.If using a thermometer,cook until it shows 115 deg C or if not just do the cold water test by taking a samll ball of the mixture and dropping it in cold water.The mixture should form a ball and should be soft and flatten when pressed between your fingers.

4.Grease a 9 x 9 tray with some butter and  pour the mixture into it and top it off with some pecan bits.

5.Mark the pieces using a knife or a pizza cutter.

6.Let it cool untouched  for about 2-3 hrs or simply put it in the freezer for an hour or two to help it become hard.

7.Cut out the pieces and enjoy the blissful taste of chewy chocolate with the crunchy pecan bits!!

8.The pieces can be stored in air tight containers and refrigerated for longer life.

Note:The consistency of the mixture is very important for the chewy texture of the fudge.So do not over or under cook it.



Monday, January 17, 2011

Masala Vadai/Spicy Lentil Fritters..

Masala Vadai and Chai-The Ultimate combo!!
Takes me back to the good old days of train travel in India where the chorus of masal vada by the vendors was such a delight to the ears!!
This is another Indian snack which is made with lentils and spices and fried in oil.
Here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

Kadala Paruppu/Channa dhall-1 Cup

Thovaram paruppu/thoor dhall-1 Tbsp

Chopped Onion-3 Tbsp chopped

Chopped Ginger-1 Tbsp

Green chillies-3-4 nos. finely chopped

Fennel seeds/sombu/saunf-1 Tbsp

Carom seeds/omam/ajwain-1 Tsp (optnl)

Grated coconut-1 Tbsp (optnl)

Chopped curry leaves- a few

Chopped Cilantro

Asafoetida/peringayam-a pinch

Salt to taste

Oil- to fry

Procedure:

1.Soak the channa dhall for about 2 hrs and drain the water.

2.Grind 3 tbsp of the soaked dhall into a fine paste and keep it aside the grind the rest of the dhall coarsely by just pulsing it twice or thrice without adding water.

3.Mix the ground dhall and the rest of the ingredients except oil to form a batter.The finely ground dhall paste helps to hold the mixture together making it easy to pat the vadas.

4.Wet your hands and take a small lemon sized ball of the batter and press it flat between your hands to form a round thin pattie.

5.Heat oil in a kadai or a frying pan and once it is hot,drop the patties in small batches and fry it until crisp and brown in colour and drain on a paper towel.

6.Enjoy it hot with chutney,sauce or best- a cup of hot ginger,elachi tea!!

7.Store it in an air tight container to maintain crispiness.




Friday, January 14, 2011

Sakkarai Pongal/Sweet Rice Pudding..


Wishing You All a Very Happy Pongal, I would like to add the recipe for Sakkarai Pongal which is made on this auspicious day.Here is my recipe:

Ingredients:

Raw rice-1 Cup

Moong dhall/Paasipparuppu-1/4 Cup

Jaggery-2 Cups(powdered or grated)
 
Milk-1 Cup

Cardamom powder-a pinch

Cashews-a few

Ghee-1/4 Cup

Water-2 Cups

Procedure:

1.Traditionally, the Pongal is made in a "Ponga Paanai" or a Bronze Pot, a heavy bottomed vessel in which the rice and dhall is cooked in milk, but a cooker or any thick bottomed pan with lid can also be used in its place.

2.Wash the rice well and set aside and roast the moong dhall for a few minutes until aromatic.

3.Boil milk in the cooker and when it starts boiling, add the rice and dhall along with the water and pressure cook for 2 to 3 whistles.

4.Meanwhile melt the jaggery adding very little water and strain the liquid into another container to remove any debris or impurities in it.

5.Open the cooker once it is done and cooled down and add the jaggery liquid to it.

6.Stir the mixture  and let it cook with the lid open on low flame and add some ghee (holding back some for the garnish) while it cooks.

7.Heat the remaining ghee and fry the cashews until brown and pour it on top of the Pongal along with a pinch of cardamom.Close the lid and let it sit for a few minutes before serving.

8.And there, delicious, ghee flavoured Sakkarai Pongal is ready!!



                                                                    Pongalo Pongal!!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Baked Idli Wedges..

When left over bread can turn into Bread 65 and leftover dosa batter into Paniyarams, why not left over Idli into Baked Wedges??
Am I sounding wierd??Not really people,cos this evening I wanted to make a snack to go with tea and wondered what to do! Did not have much stock of things in hand except some leftover Idlis which i had made for breakfast this  morning. Was not too interested in making idli upma or podi idli that i usually do, and thus was born the idea of baking it!! And guess what, the result was truly amazing!!
Have come across many masala idli and fried idli recipes, but not this one exactly.
Wanted to share the recipe as its simple yet sooper!!
Here it goes:

Ingredients:

Leftover Idlis(any count)-cut to long pieces of medium thickness

Oil  or oil spray

Seasoning of your choice like red chilly powder, salt and a pinch of hing or peringayam.
(I coated the idlis with milagaipodi and oil)

Procedure:

1.Cut the Idlis into long strips like wedges.

2.Prepare seasoning of your choice,spray some oil on the Idli pieces and toss them in the seasoning till they are evenly coated.

3.Meanwhile preheat oven to 400 deg F and line a baking tray with aluminium foil.

4.Arrange the Idlis in the tray leaving some space between the pieces.

5.Bake for 20-25 minutes untill golden brown and crisp turning them over once in between.

4.Garnish with some Italian seasonings on top and enjoy it hot with sauce or any dip!!



5.A great low calorie snack with minimum effort and maxi'mummm" effect!!! Sorry Fries!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Mooli Aur Aloo Ki Subzi/Red Raddish Potato Curry..

I am basically a foodie and not very fussy about any vegetable or fruit.But Raddish or Daikon, as it is otherwise known, is one particular vegetable which i used to hate as a child,mainly because of its pungent smell.
This vegetable is known to be the blood purifier and detoxifier and is supposed to prevent and cure a number of ailments like jaundice, piles, leucoderma, cancer and so on.
Now after being enlightened about the goodness of this vegetable, i feel that there is no reason for me to ignore or neglect it.The Red Raddish is widely available here in the US and seems to impress me a little more than the white one(no particular reason). I usually make raitha with this and for a long time i was in search of a spicy recipe using this veggie. Finally i arrived at one and i am very pleased with it that this has become a regular item in our menu nowadays!!
Here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

Red Raddish-2 to 3 Medium size bunches

Potatoes-1 Medium size

Chilly powder-1 Tsp

For Tempering:

Mustard-1 Tsp

Urad dhall-1 Tsp

Red chilly-1 no.

Turmeric-a pinch

Asafoetida-a pinch

Oil-2 Tbsp

Curry leaves-a sprig

Salt to taste

Procedure:

1.Remove the raddish from its bunch and wash it well along with the potato leaving the skin on.

2.Cut the veggies into four pieces and then into thin slices.(like in the pic above).

3.Heat oil in a pan and add the items for tempering except salt and turmeric.

4.Once done,add the raddish, potato, salt, turmeric and chilly powder.

5.Lower the heat a little and let the vegetables cook covered for a few minutes until it is soft yet crunchy.

6.Remove the lid and stir it so that it does not stick to the bottom of the  pan and roast it until crispy and golden brown in colour.

7.Enjoy with hot rice, roti or phulkas!!

Note:The leaves from the raddish could also be used in the dish and can be added after the tempering is done.
I did not use it in my curry as the leaves were not very fresh.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Melagu Vadai/Flattened Peppercorn Fritters..

Melagu vadai is also a festival menu made for Hanumath Jayanthi which marks the birth of Lord Hanuman.
This vadai is made of whole black lentils or urad dhall and unlike the usual medhu vadai, this vadai is supposed to be flat and crispy.
The ingredients for both the vadas are the same except for the method of preparation.
Last week, for the the first time i prepared this for Hanumath Jayanthi and was very happy that it turned out good.Here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

Muzhu Ulunthu/Whole Urad Dhall-1 Cup

Raw Rice-1 Tbsp(optnl)

Ghee or hot oil-1 Tbsp

Peppercorns-1 Tbsp

Asafoetida/peringayam-a pinch

Chopped Curry leaves-a few(optnl)

Oil to deep fry

Salt to taste

Water

Procedure:

1.Wash the urad dhall and rice(if using) and soak it for half and hour.

2.Drain the water completely and grind it into a coarse paste along with peppercorns,jeera,salt and hing ading very little water if needed.If using curry leaves,add it towards the end and pulse it twice.

3.Add the hot oil or ghee to the batter and mix it well.

4.The vada batter should be a thick paste otherwise patting it would become difficult.

5.Switch on the heat for the oil on medium high.

6.Take a small lemon sized ball of the batter and pat it lightly into a flat disc on a greased plastic or ziplock cover by wetting your hands a little.

7.Slowly invert the vada into your right hand and drop it into the oil carefully frying it until crisp and golden brown.

8.Drain it on a paper towel and enjoy the yummy taste of pepper in the vadai!!




                                                             Bolo Jai Hanuman Ki!!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Uppu Cheedai and Vella Cheedai/Salt and Sweet Rice Flour Bites..

"Chinna Chinna padham vaithu kanna nee vaa vaa vaa"..
This is a song which is sung to invite Lord Krishna home at the time of Gokulashtami or His Janmashtami.
What else comes to our mind when we talk of Gokulashtami???Nothing but the crunchy,crispy,yummy Uppu cheedai and Vella cheedai.These are small deep fried rice balls and is supposedly meant to Lord Krishna's favourite.
I am sure its not only His, but ours too!!
The Uppu Cheedai is the salt version and the Vella Cheedai is the sweet version of it.

Recipe for Uppu Cheedai:

Ingredients:

Rice flour-1 Cup

Roasted Ulutham maavu/Urad dhall flour-2 Tbsp

White sesame seeds/ellu-1 Tsp(optnl)

Pepper-1Tsp

Jeera-1 Tsp

Coconut pieces-about 10 or Grated coconut-1 Tbsp

Softened Butter-2 Tbsp

Asafoetida/Peringayam/hing-a pinch

Salt to taste

Oil to deep fry

Procedure:

1.Roast the rice flour for 5-7 minutes untill aromatic.

2.Grind the pepper, cumin and coconut if using pieces coarsely.

3.Sieve the rice and urad dhall flour well and mix all the ingredients adding very little water only if necessary to form a tight dough.

4.Heat oil in a kadai or deep frying pan. 

5.Take a damp muslin cloth or a damp paper towel and spread it on the ground.

5.Roll out the dough into small marble sized balls on the spread cloth.

6.Drop them in the oil in small batches and fry untill golden brown.

7.Keep moving the cheedai in the oil so that it does stick to each other in a bunch.

8.Drain them on a paper towel and store them in a air tight container for upto a month.

Note:Cheedai is generally known to burst when dropped in oil and it can cause a real catastrophe in your kitchen.To avoid the same,the following points have to be kept in mind while making it:

1.Both rice and the urad dhall flour should be very fine for which sieving is important.Any coarse thing may also lead to bursting of the cheedai while frying.

2.There should be absolutely no moisture in them, care to be taken especially if using frozen coconut that is thawed.

3.The balls should be rolled out lightly and not tight as it may cause the cheedai to burst while frying.

Recipe for Vella Cheedai:

Ingredients:

Rice flour-1 Cup

Roasted Ulutham maavu/Urad dhall flour-2 Tbsp


Powdered/grated Jaggery-1 Cup

White sesame seeds/ellu-1 Tsp

Coconut chopped into small thin pieces/grated coconut-1 Tbsp

Cardamom Powder-a pinch

Softened Unsalted Butter-2 Tbsp

Water to melt jaggery

Oil to deep fry

Procedure:

1.Roast the rice flour well until pinkish white and aromatic,a little more than we do for Uppu Cheedai.

2.Let it cool and dry roast the sesame seeds and coconut pieces in the same pan for a few minutes.

3. Sift the rice flour and urad dhall flour and add the sesame seeds, coconut pieces, cardamom powder and butter.

4.Meanwhile boil water in a vessel and add the powdered or grated jaggery to it.

5.Once the jaggery melts,using a strain it into another vessel using a strainer to remove any debris in the jaggery.

6.Now heat the strained jaggery for a few minutes to form a thin syrup and then remove it from the heat.

7.Slowly add the rice flour to it and stir to form a tight dough without any lumps or the jaggery water can also be added to the rice flour mixture little by little to do the same.

8.Either ways,care should be taken while adding the jaggery water as excess water may spoil the dough.

9.Cover it with a damp cloth or paper towel and let it rest for about 15-20 minutes.

10.Roll out the dough into small gooseberry size balls little bigger than the Uppu Cheedai.

11.Heat oil on medium and fry the Vella Cheedai in small batches until golden brown.

12.Drain on a paper towel and store it in an air tight container.

Note:The Vella Cheedai usually has cracks on its surface unlike the uppu cheedai which is normal.
Excess jaggery may cause the vella cheedai to break when dropped in oil or it may even turn out very hard.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Godhuma Dosai/Wheat Flour Pancakes..

Dosa is a very common and staple food of South India and is very tasty too!!
It is similar to the pancakes we get in the US but the flour used for the dosa batter is predominantly rice and whole black lentils.
There are so many methods of making dosa and so many varieties too, each special and tasty in their own way.
One such dosa is the Godhumai or whole wheat flour Dosa which does not need any soaking,grinding or fermenting and can be made instantly.
This is made during times of fasting or vratham among the Tambrams and has a sweet and a spicy version too.The recipe which i am going to share here is the spicy godhuma dosa.Here it goes:

Ingredients:

Whole wheat flour-2 Cups

Rice Flour-1/4 Cup(optnl)

Red Chilly powder-1 Tsp

Water-3 to 4 Cups approximately

Salt to taste

Oil to make dosas

For Tempering:

Mustard seeds-1 Tsp

Cumin seeds-1 Tsp

Asafoetida/Hing-1/2 Tsp

Oil-1 Tsp

Curry leaves-a few

Procedure:

1.Mix wheat flour, rice flour, salt, red chilly powder well and add water little by little to form a thin batter without any lumps.
 
2.The batter should not be too thick like the normal dosa batter or should be too watery either for the dosa to come out crispy.

3.Now for the tempering, heat 1 tsp of oil  and add the rest of the items under tempering and pour it in the batter.

4.Mix well and set aside for 20 minutes.

5.Heat a tawa or griddle and when it is hot(very important for the tawa to get heated well) pour the batter in a scattered manner.

6.Now, if the batter is too thick,then it will stay in a place and not spread and if it is too thin,it will start breaking as soon as we pour the batter.

7.Grease it with a little oil around the corners and wait for it to turn brown and flip over the other side and cook for a few minutes till it becomes crisp.

8.Clean the griddle with a wet cloth and and stir the batter well each time before making the next dosa.

9.This dosa tastes good with anything like milagai podi or gun powder, coconut or tomato chutney and believe me, kids love this dosa with sauce or ketchup!!


Note:The batter consistency for this dosa is very important and it is best when eaten hot, otherwise tends to become soggy.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Methi Pulao/Mendhiya Keerai Saadham/Fenugreek Leaves Flavoured Rice..

Methi or fenugreek leaves as we all know are very strong and aromatic and have multiple uses.They are widely used for culinary as well as medicinal purposes.They are said to reduce the bad cholesterol in the body and excess sugar in the blood or urine.
Have a bunch of methi leaves at home and wondering what to do??
Here's a very simple recipe i came across in showmethecurry.com and would like to share it:

Ingredients:

Methi leaves-2 bunches

Any long grain white rice-2 Cups

Tomato-1 medium size chopped

Green chillies-4 nos. or depending on spice levels

Red Chilly Pwdr-1 Tsp

Turmeric Pwdr-1 Tsp

Garam Masala Pwdr-1/2 Tsp

Cumin coriander Pwdr-1 Tsp

Oil-2 Tbsp

Salt to taste

Procedure:

1. Chop the roots and the thick stems off the bunch of Fenugreek Leaves.

2. Wash well and finely chop the rest.

3. Sprinkle a generous amount of Salt on the leaves, mix and keep aside for 15-20 minutes.

4. Wash the Rice well and soak in some Water and keep aside for 20 minutes.

5.In a pan (that has a tight fitting lid) or a rice cooker, heat Oil on medium heat.

6. Once the Oil is hot, add in the Cumin Seeds and allow them to change color.
 
7. Add in Green Chillies,Tomatoes and Turmeric Powder.

8. Squeeze out the water from the Fenugreek Leaves and put them in the pan.

9. Add in Cumin-Coriander Powder, Red Chili Powder and Garam Masala Powder.

10. Cook for a couple of minutes.

11. Drain the water from the Rice and add the Rice to the Methi Leaves.

12. Cook for 2 minutes.

13. Add the Water and mix well.

14. Check on the Salt, add in needed.

15. Increase the heat, and allow the Rice to cook till most of the Water has evaporated and you can see the Rice come up to the surface.

16. Mix, lower heat, preferably to simmer and cover. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes.

17. After 15 minutes, open cover, turn off the heat, mix/fluff gently.

18. Cover and allow the Rice to rest for a couple of minutes before serving.

19. Serve hot with Raita and Chips.



Monday, January 3, 2011

Restaurant Style Venpongal and Tomato Gotsu..

There are lot of things which make us feel nostalgic and and one such thing for me is having hot steaming venpongal and coconut chutney for breakfast in Hotel Annapoorna Gowrishankar in Coimbatore, a city in South India.
And for all ya coimbatoreans out here, im sure you'll are missing the Annapoorna Vengpongal like i do too!!
This is a South Indian breakfast delicacy eaten with coconut chutney, tomato gotsu or puli gotsu.
A small addition to the recipe makes a big diference in the dish and thus makes it restaurant style.
Last but not the least, my recipe would be incomplete if i fail to credit my brother-in-law for his expertise in making this particular combo.Cannot forgot our Phili trip and the Venpongal Tomato Gotsu you had made for us!!
Here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

Raw Rice-1 Cup

Paasi Paruppu/Moong Dhall-1 and 1/4 Cups

Milk-1 Cup

Water to cook-2 Cups(can be adjusted accordingly)

Salt to taste

For Tempering:

Ghee-2 Tbsp

Whole or broken cashews-10 Pieces

Melagu/Whole black pepper-2 Tbsp

Jeeragam/Cumin seeds-2 Tbsp

Pepper powder-1 Tsp (optnl)

Green chillies-2 Nos.(optnl)

Ginger-1 Tbsp (crushed or grated)

Asafoetida/Peringayam-1 Tsp

Curry leaves-a sprig

Procedure:

1.Wash the rice and dhall, drain it and spread on a paper towel or cloth for all the water to get absorbed.

2.Dry roast the above for a few mins till the  rice becomes white in color and aromatic,but not brown, and pressure cook the same for two whistles along with the milk and water, adding salt.

3.And now for the tadka, heat ghee in a pan and add all the items under tempering and saute for a few mins and pour it on top of the pongal.

4.Mix well and serve it hot with ghee on top.

Note:The pongal can also be cooked with only water,but adding milk gives it a very rich taste and makes it the Restaurant Style Pongal!!
To save time,the tempering can also be done in the beginning and then cooked along with the rice and dhall.This yields the same result.

Ingredients for Tomato/Gotsu:

1.Tomatoes-5 medium finely chopped
( i use a combination of whole tomatoes and tomato paste for the red colour)

2.Onions-2 medium finely chopped(optional)

3.Mustard seeds-1 Tsp

4.Urad dhall-1 Tsp

5.Channa dhall-1 Tsp

6.Green chillies-5 small

7.Dry red Chilly-1 no.

8.Curry leaves-a sprig

9.Ginger-an inch finely chopped or grated

10.Red Chilly Powder-1Tsp

11.Rasam Powder-1 Tsp

12.Turmeric-a pinch

13.Asafoetida/Peringayam-a pinch

14.Oil-1 Tbsp

15.Salt to taste

Procedure:

1.Heat oil in a sauce pan and add the mustard seeds, urad dhall, channa dhall, dry red chilly, green chillies, ginger, curry leaves, asafoetida and turmeric powder.

2.Now add  the chopped onions, fry them untill transparent and then add the tomatoes and tomato paste if using.

3.Let it cook for a few minutes till the raw smell goes and then add salt, chilly powder, rasam powder and little water.

4.Cook covered on medium flame for a five minutes till the onions and tomatoes absorb the flavour from the spice powders.

5.The Gotsu has to be watery and not thick so do not overcook it.

6.Yummy tomato gotsu is ready to be eaten with hot venpongal!!

Gujarati Khichdi and Kadi Pakoda..

The Khichdi Kadi duo was a super hit in our house recently and this simple yet wholesome protein packed food is rightly called as the 'comfort food' of (not only)the Gujaratis!!!
I dont know if this recipe is authentic,but it sure is delectable and irresistable!!
It can be made plain or with vegetables,with yellow moong dhall or green,mushy or separate depending on individual's taste and convenience.
I used the green broken moong dhall and raw rice as i wanted it to be a little different from the regular venpongal made with the yellow moong dhall.
The recipe for the Khichdi,Kadi and the Pakoda is as follows:

Ingredients for Khichdi:

Broken green gram dhall/Yellow moong dhall-1 Cup

Peas and Carrots- 1/2 Cup (optional)

Raw rice-1 Cup

Water to cook - 3 Cups(can be adjusted accordingly)

Ghee-4 Tbsp

Bay Leaf-1 No.

Cloves-4 nos.

Cinnamon-a small piece

Jeera/cumin seeds-1 Tbsp

Whole Black Pepper-1 Tsp

Ginger-1 inch piece

Green chillies-4-5 nos.

Asafoetida-1 Tsp

Turmeric pwdr-1 Tsp

Curry leaves-a sprig

Salt to taste

Procedure:

1.Wash both the rice and dhall and let it soak for about half an hour.

2.Pressure the above in a cooker for about two whistles with some green chillies,ginger,turmeric and salt.

3.Now heat the ghee in a pan and add the rest of the items like bay leaf,cinnamon,cloves,black peppers,cumin,curry leaves and hing and pour it on top of hte Kichdi.

4.Let it stand for a few mins with the lid on before serving  for the aroma to cook up.

5.Eat it hot with a dollop of ghee and kadi pakoda by the side.

Ingredients for Kadi:

1.Thick curd-1/2 Cup diluted to 1 Cup/Yogurt drink-1 Cup

2.Besan Flour-2 tbsp

3.Ginger-an inch

4.Green chillies-4 small

5.Turmeric-a pinch

6.Asafoetida or Hing-a pinch

7.Curry leaves-a sprig

8.Cilantro-a few for garnishing

9.Salt to taste

10.Oil-1 Tsp

Procedure:

1.Whisk the curd and add the besan flour,salt and turmeric mixing well to avoid lumps.

2.Heat a tsp of oil and add the rest of the ingredients to it.

3.Now pour the curd-besan mixture and let it boil for a minute or two till it starts to become thick.

4. Switch off the heat and add the chopped cilantro to garnish.

5.If u feel the Kadi is too thick,then just add a little water and dilute it.

Ingredients for Pakoda:

Besan flour-1/2 Cup

Onion-1 medium-finely chopped

Red chilli pwdr-1 Tsp

Hing-a pinch

Oil to deep fry

Procedure:

1.Sieve the besan flour,salt and chilli powder and hing together and add water little by little to form a batter,the consistency of which should be like dosa batter.(not too thick or too watery)

2.Make small balls and deep fry in oil and drain it on a paper towel to absorb excess oil.

3.Add the fried Pakodas to the Kadi before serving and enjoy it with hot Khichdi with a dollop of ghee on top.


Note: Another time saving method to cook the Khichdi is to heat ghee in the cooker,add all the ingredients for tempering,saute for a few minutes,add the washed and soaked rice,dhall and water and pressure cook for two whistles.