Thursday, November 29, 2007

Egg Aviyal

Why this egg dish is called an aviyal I do not know but this is how my MIL refers to this and since I learnt this recipe from her, I follow suit. This is my husband's favorite, a very delicious side-dish, can be made in a jiffy and pairs really well with rice and rasam.

EGG AVIYAL


Ingredients:

Eggs - 4, boiled, peeled & cut into big pieces
Oil - 2 tsp
Salt, to taste

Curry leaves - few
Mustard seeds - half tsp

To Grind:
Onion - half, cut into big pieces
Dried Red Chillies - 3 to 4
Coconut - 2 to 3 tbsp
Black peppercorns - 5 (or to taste)
Turmeric - a small pinch

Method:

1) Heat half a teaspoon of oil and sauté the onions till lightly brown. This step is entirely optional but I just prefer it this way. Grind the fried onions with the red chillies, coconut, turmeric and pepper to a thick paste with very little water.

2) Heat the remaining oil and season with mustard seeds and curry leaves, then add the ground paste, salt and fry this for a few minutes till it starts to brown a bit. Now add the egg pieces and toss this gently with the paste on a medium flame.

3) Continue doing the above until the pieces are well coated with masala and are well cooked, which takes about 4-5 minutes. Egg avial is now ready.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Creamy Broccoli Soup

I love creamy soups and this one is a low fat version to boot. This is another dish that even broccoli haters will like and I also make it spicy by adding some red chilli flakes. My daughter, husband, inlaws and some friends who have tried this were pretty happy with the result and claimed it was better than the cheese loaded broccoli soups. So, here's another winter warmer coming your way...

CREAM of BROCCOLI SOUP

Ingredients:

Olive Oil - 1 tbsp
Onion - 1, medium, chopped
Celery - 2 medium stalks, chopped (optional)
Carrot - 1 big or 2 small, chopped or grated
Potato - 1 small, peeled and chopped
Broccoli - 2 to 3 cups, chopped
Vegetable Broth - 2 cups
Low Fat milk - 1 cup
Low fat Sour Cream/ Whipping Cream - 2 tbsp
Red Chilli Flakes - 1/2 tsp or to taste
Salt and black pepper to taste

Method:

1) Heat olive oil in a stockpot and add onion, celery (if using), carrots and potato. Sauté this until the onions soften and turn translucent.

2) Now add the chopped broccoli and chilli flakes, stir for a few minutes more before adding the vegetable broth and about a cup of water. Let this come to a boil... Cover and simmer until the vegetables are cooked. Switch off the stove and allow to cool a bit.

3) Reserve a few tbsp of the vegetables and keep aside (to lend some texture to the soup). Puree the remaining with a cup of milk. Return to the pan with the reserved vegetables and add salt and pepper to taste. Add more water/milk, if required, to adjust consistency.

4) Let this heat through. When hot enough (not boiling though), add the sour cream or if you feel indulgent, whipping cream and stir.

5) Soup is now ready to be slurped with warm and crunchy garlic bread or croutons.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Vegetable Stew

I've been meaning to post this ever since I posted my Aapam recipe ... but, better late than never... :) As proclaimed earlier, i prefer savoury stews to sweet coconut milk to go with aapams and though i do like potato stew, I started adding more vegetables to it in an effort to make it more nutritious so here's my recipe...

VEGETABLE STEW

Ingredients:
Potatoes - 2, medium, peeled & cut into 2 inch thick slabs
Carrots - 1 big, peeled and cut like the potatoes
Beans - abt 15, cut at an angle (french cut)

Peas - 1/2 cup
Onions - 2, medium, cut into 1 inch slices
Green Chillies - 10 to 15, slit into two
Ginger - 1 inch piece, chopped
Coconut Milk (thick) - 4 to 5 tbsp

Curry Leaves - few
Oil - 1 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Salt, to taste

Method:
1) Microwave the vegetables with some salt and little water for 7 minutes.

2) In a pan, heat the oil and season with mustard seeds and curry leaves. Now add the onion slices, ginger and green chillies. Saute this till the onions, soften and brown a bit.

3) Now add the vegetables and sufficient water. Let this come to a boil and then allow to simmer covered for 10-15 minute for all the flavors to blend. Adjust salt as required.

4) Finally stir in the coconut milk and allow to heat through (not boil). Remove from stove and serve this creamy curry with Aapams.


P.S. I think the lighting is to blame for the yellow looking curry in the pictures. This actually looks off-white. Sorry about that. I will update with a better picture later if possible (the next time I make it).

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Methiwale Chole

This is a recipe by Hemant Trivedi and one that has become a regular at home. It's easy to make and tastes good too. I follow his recipe for most part but make it a bit more spicy to suit our tastes. This, he says, is a Rajasthani recipe and therefore doesn't use onion or garlic but is still very flavorful.

METHI CHOLE

Ingredients:

White Channa - 150 gms, soaked overnight and pressure cooked with salt till soft
Methi (Fenugreek) Leaves - from 1 big bunch (OR) 2 cups, de-stemmed
Tomato - 1, chopped
Ginger - 1 inch piece, chopped
Green Chillies - 3, chopped
Coriander leaves - 1/4 cup, chopped
Jeera (Cumin) powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Garam Masala - 1/2 tsp
Chilli powder - 1.5 tsp
Sambar powder - 1 tsp
Besan (Kadalai maavu) - 1 tbsp
Amchur powder or Tamarind paste - to taste
Salt, to taste

For Seasoning:
Oil - 2 tsp
Jeera - 1 tsp
Methi seeds - 1/4 tsp
Cloves - 1
Cinnamon - 1 small piece
Mustard - 1/2 tsp
Asafoetida - a few pinches

Method:

1) Heat oil in a deep pan and add jeera, methi seeds, cloves, cinnamon, mustard & asafoetida. Once they cracle and splutter, add green chillies and ginger.

2) After a few seconds, add the methi leaves (no need to chop them) & salt. Fry this for 5 mins. Now add the chopped tomato and all the dry masalas. Cook this for another 5 minutes till tomatoes soften.

3) Now add the cooked channa to this and crush some of them to thicken the gravy. Add amchur powder or tamarind paste to taste. Add some water, cover and let this simmer for about 10-15 minutes. Add chopped coriander leaves and a paste of besan mixed with water. Cover and let simmer for another 5-10 minutes.

4) Methi Chole is now ready to serve with warm chapathis.



I would like to send this as my entry to 'Powerless' Cooking Event hosted by EasyCrafts.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Biscotti

The very first time I tasted Biscotti, I didn't take to it very much and later found that it was not the biscotti itself but the almond extract added to it. Over time, I have started liking those that don't have an overpowering taste of almond extract and have grown to love the not-so-sweet, so very dunkable biscottis. After reading through a few recipes it seemed like it was quite easy to do and in my search for a good one I came across this at the Allrecipes website that was lower fat and used olive oil instead of butter. I've made this a couple times (with a few alternations) and it's worked out great always so wanted to share this simple and delicious recipe and also send this as my entry to Zlamushka's Spoonful of Christmas Event.

These biscottis are studded with bits of sweetened cranberries, almonds and chocolate-chip. Feel free to substitute these with your favorite flavorings/nuts, dip them in melted chocolate or drizzle with some white chocolate. I just kept these simple. Biscotti, means Twice Baked and that's exactly what has to be done. They are baked first as logs which result in a slightly soft cookie which is later sliced into thinner cookies and baked again to crispy perfection.

CRANBERRY-ALMOND-CHOCOLATE BISCOTTI


Ingredients:
All-purpose flour - 1 cup
Arthur's White Whole Wheat Flour - 3/4 cup (or 3/4 cup All purpose flour)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil - 1/4 cup
Sugar - 3/4 cup
Eggs - 2 (I replaced one with 1/4 cup Egg Beaters)
Vanilla Essence - 2 tsp
Orange Zest - 1 tsp (optional)
Baking Powder - 1 tsp
Salt - 1/4 tsp (if using salted nuts, omit or reduce salt)
Craisins (Sweetened Dried Cranberries) - 1/2 cup
Semi-sweet Chocolate chips - 1/2 cup
Almonds (unsalted) - 1/2 cup, chopped

Method:
1) Pre-heat oven to 300F (150C). Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

2) In a big bowl, beat oil and sugar till well-blended (a few mins). Mix in the vanilla essence and beat in the eggs.

3) In a separate bowl, combine the flours, salt and baking powder with a whisk. Gradually stir this into the egg mixture. Next, mix in the cranberries, almonds and chocolate-chips.

4) Spoon out the mixture into 2 equal logs. Wet hands with cool water and shape the dough into uniform logs (this ensures that the dough doesn't stick to your hand).
5) Bake this for 35 mins or until logs are light brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes.

6) When cool enough to touch, slice the logs at an angle to about 1/2 to 3/4 inch slices.
7) Lay them flat, back on the parchment covered cookie sheet and allow to bake for about 20-25 minutes extra or until dried out. I flipped them over after the first 10 minutes. Remove it sooner if you want them slightly chewy instead of crisp. I like them crisp so had them in for about 20-25 mins.
8) Allow to cool, so they can crisp-up and store in an airtight container.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Ginger Chutney

This month's theme for Sunita's Think Spice is Ginger which is my favorite. I love this knobby root and make sure I add it to my Tea everyday and to most of the dishes I make. But I wanted to make something that featured this prominently, not just in the background of a dish and decided to make this Ginger Chutney. This recipe is from my friend Latha and it was at her place that I first tasted and liked this. Since ginger aids in digestion, I made this for our Diwali lunch which was more elaborate than usual. Here's the recipe and please excuses the pics... they were taken in a hurry.

GINGER (INJI) CHUTNEY


Ingredients:
Ginger - abt 100 gms, sliced into pieces
Dried Red Chillies - 3 or 4
Coconut - 2 tbsp
Tamarind paste - 1/4 tsp
Gingelly oil (Nallennai) - 2 to 3 tbsp
Asafoetida - a pinch
Salt, to taste

Method:
1) Heat oil in a pan and fry the red chillies, asofetida and ginger till ginger is browned. Add coconut now and fry till golden. Remove from stove and allow to cool for a bit.

2) Grind the above with the tamarind paste and salt to a chutney consistency.


Thursday, November 15, 2007

Gobi Manchurian

This has to top my favorite food list. I always ordered this at restaurants and for any party at home for which we ordered food, this was definitely there. I was so happy when I first made this by myself for I never knew it was this simple. I've made quite a few changes to the very first recipe I tried and this is how i make it nowadays. My husband loves this too and if this didn't have the deep-fried component to it, I would make it pretty often. I've made both gravy and dry versions of this and we love both...

GOBI (CAULIFLOWER) MANCHURIAN

Ingredients:
Cauliflower Florets - 3 to 4 cups, par-boiled in salted water and dried
All purpose flour (Maida) - 1/3 cup
Cornflour - 1/4 cup
Besan (Kadalai Maavu) - 1/4 cup (optional)
Chilli powder - 1 tsp
Ginger-garlic paste - 1 tsp
Salt, to taste
Oil - to Deep Fry

For the Sauce:
Onion - 1/2, chopped
Green Bell pepper (capsicum) - 1/2, cut into 1 inch cubes (optional)
Spring Onions (Scallions) - 4 stalks, chopped
Garlic - 3 cloves, chopped
Ginger - 1/2 inch piece, chopped
Green Chillies - 2, chopped
Pepper powder - 1/2 tsp or to taset
Soy Sauce - 1 tsp
Ketchup - 1 tsp
Sriracha Chilli Sauce - 1 tsp
Oil - 2 to 3 tsp

Method:
1) Mix all the flours together with chilli powder, ginger-garlic paste and salt into a batter. Keep about 1tbsp of this batter to be used in the sauce later. Toss the cauliflower florets into the remaining batter and deep fry till done in hot oil. Drain on paper towels and keep aside.

2) Heat about 3 tsp of oil in a pan and add the chopped onions, scallions, ginger, garlic, green chillies and bell peppers. Saute this for a few minutes.

3) Now add the pepper powder, soy sauce, ketchup and chilli sauce. Check and add some salt at this stage. To the 1tbsp of batter, mix about 1/4 cup water (or lesser) and add to the pan. In a few minutes this will thicken up.

4) Toss in the cauliflower florets and stir so the sauce coats the cauliflower pieces. Remove from the stove.

5) Garnish with spring onion tops or coriander leaves and Serve. We had ours with Vegetable Noodles.


Monday, November 12, 2007

Beans Paruppu Usili

This is a hot favorite and pairs really well with Vathal Kuzhambu or Mor Kuzhambu. I used to steam and then crumble the toor dhal paste initially but after I tried to fry it directly, i noticed that it didn't need a whole lot of oil. It also tasted very good so now this is the method I stick to.

I would like to send this as my entry to JFI-Toor Dhal hosted by sweet Linda

BEANS PARUPPUSILI

Ingredients:
Green (Snap) Beans - 250 to 300 gms, chopped into small pieces.
Onion - 1/2, chopped
Garlic - 2 or 3 cloves, chopped (optional)
Oil - 1tbsp + 1 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves - few

Salt, to taste
Asafoetida - couple pinches

To Grind:
Toor Dhal - half cup, soaked for an hour

Jeera (Cumin) Seeds - 1 tsp
Dried Red Chillies - 10
Grated Coconut - 1 tbsp
Salt, to taste


Method:
1) To the Green Beans add some salt and about 1/4 cup water. Cover and microwave for about 7 minutes or till done.

2) Grind the soaked toor dhal with red chillies, jeera, coconut and some salt to a slightly coarse paste.


3) In a heavy bottomed pan (I used non-stick), heat the 1 tbsp of oil on medium, add the dhal paste and stir. It will seem super sticky initially but in a few minutes, as it cooks, the texture will change. I use a bit of PAM if i find it sticking to the bottom.


4) Soon the dhal will start breaking into pieces. Stir and break it into smaller pieces every 2-3 minutes until it crumbles completely. Keep this aside.

5) In the same pan, heat 1 tsp of oil and season with mustard seeds, curry leaves, asafoetida. Add onion and garlic pieces and fry till slightly browned. Now add the cooked green breans and adjust salt. Once all the water dries up, add the crumbled toor dhal paste and let this cook. Paruppusili is now ready.


Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Asoka Halwa

This is a halwa that's made with mung dhal (paasi paruppu) and is a specialty from Thanjavur and Thiruvarur areas of TamilNadu. My aunt from Thanjavur used to always bring these for us every time she visited us. As much as Tirunelveli halwas taste divine, this is an equally nice variation and this is my 2nd attempt at making this halwa since my husband likes this a lot. The first recipe I used didn't work out too great for me but this one by Mrs. Mano is perfect and I've already made it a couple times using this method. We love the fact that it's not overpoweringly sweet and is not dripping with ghee either like the halwas one purchases.

ASOKA

Ingredients:

Yellow (split) Mung Beans (paasi paruppu) - 1 cup
Sugar - 2 to 2.5 cups
Ghee - 1 cup (upto 1.5 cups)
Whole wheat flour (atta) - 0.5 cup
All purpose flour (maida) - 0.5 cup
Milk - 1 tbsp
Red food coloring - few drops
Saffron - a big pinch
Cardamom powder - 1/2 tsp

Method:

1) Pressure cook mung beans with about 3 cups of water till soft. Mash till smooth. To this, add the sugar and mix well.

2) Meanwhile soak saffron in the milk, add food colouring and cardamom powder. Keep aside.

3) Heat ghee in a pan and add the atta and maida. Stir until there are no lumps. Keep stirring on a low-medium flame until there's a nice aroma and it turns golden.

4) Now add the mung dhal + sugar mixture and stir well until well cooked and the halwa leaves the sides of the pan. Add the milk mixture and stir well and cook for a few more minutes before removing from stove. Ashoka Halwa is now ready to serve.


Wishing you all a very Happy Deepavali !

Monday, November 5, 2007

Cream of Mushroom Soup


There's this wonderful restaurant in Singapore called Marché on Orchard Road which is rather different from the others. They have several stalls where they make pizzas, pastas, stir-frys, rostis, have an array of soups, salads, desserts, crepes both savoury and sweet, waffles and so on... We just have to walk around, pick whatever we like and get to see everything being made right in front of our eyes. The entire setting is very nice and it used to be one of our favorite places. I particularly liked their Rosti with a dollop of sour cream, their earthy mushroom soup and their dessert crepes.

When I made this mushroom soup based on a recipe I have from a book that my cousin gave me, it tasted exactly like the one that I had at Marché, and was an instant hit. This is a crowd pleaser for sure and is a favorite with kids too. If you feel indulgent, substitute the milk with cream but I've never had the need to do so, because this is very satisfying as is.

CREAM of MUSHROOM SOUP


Ingredients:

Mushrooms (white button) - 1 pack (8 oz), chopped
Vegetable stock - 2 cups
Olive oil - 1 tbsp
Onion - 1/4, chopped
Celery - 2 stalks, chopped
Italian seasoning - 1/4 tsp
Red chilli flakes - 1/2 tsp
Milk - 150 ml
Flour - 1 tbsp
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1) Heat oil in a deep pan, add onion, celery and sauté for a few minutes. Later, add mushrooms and continue to fry till cooked down.


2) Stir in the flour. Then add the italian seasoning (or mixed herbs) , red chilli flakes, salt and the vegetable stock along with required amount of water. Bring this to a boil and then reduce flame, allow to simmer for about 30 minutes.

3) Remove from stove and allow this to cool slightly. Puree this along with the cold milk. Make it smooth or slightly coarse based on your preference. At times I keep aside 2-3 tbsp of the mixture (without blending it) so as to lend some texture to the soup.

4) Return to pan and let this heat through, adjust salt and pepper to taset. Now you are ready for a warm, comforting mushroom soup.


Friday, November 2, 2007

Pumpkin Roll with Cream Cheese Filling

Don't let the Pumpkin in the title put you off. This roll is sure to change your queasiness (if any) associated with pumpkins in dessert - it did for us: One evening, my husband came home with a piece of cake wrapped carefully and wanted me to taste it. I was surprised, because normally the pastries and chocolates he gets to indulge at office rarely make the journey home, so here was an exception to the rule. I must've known that there was some underlying reason behind it all at that very second. As I bit into the cake, it was a moist layer of cake with sweet cream cheese with a biteful of crunchy nuts... I loved it. Then, he went on to tell me that it was made with pumpkin and that I should try making this at home. I couldn't believe it tasted so good since I'm not a fan of pumpkin pie. My mother, who is pretty finicky when it comes to anything but Indian food, also liked this a lot. Soon, I got the recipe ... (it was the famous Libby's Pumpkin Roll )and made this... I couldn't believe how easy it was to make and I've made countless rolls since then that friends and family have enjoyed.

Keeping up with the Halloween and Autumn theme, here I am with the tasty roll... If you like carrot cake, you won't be disappointed with this.

PUMPKIN ROLLS with CREAM CHEESE FILLING

Ingredients
For Filling:
Low Fat Cream Cheese - 1 pkg (8oz), softened
Powdered Sugar - 1 cup
Margarine - 2 tbsp, softened
Vanilla extract - 1 tsp

For Cake:
All-purpose flour - 3/4 cup
Baking Powder - 1/2 tsp
Baking Soda - 1/2 tsp
Ground Cinnamon - 1/2 tsp
Salt - 1/4 tsp
Eggs - 3 (large)
Sugar - 1 cup
Pumpkin Puree - 2/3 cup
Walnuts - 1 cup, chopped finely (optional)
Powdered Sugar - 1/4 cup (to sprinkle on towel)

A Kitchen Towel slightly larger than the jelly roll pan.

DIRECTIONS:

1) First, beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, margarine and vanilla extract in small mixer bowl until smooth. Refrigerate this, while the cake is being made so it firms up.

2) Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan; line with parchment paper. Grease and flour paper. This is a sticky cake so I spray everything with PAM.


3) Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt in small bowl. Beat eggs and sugar in large mixer bowl until thick. Beat in pumpkin.


4) Stir in flour mixture. Spread evenly into prepared pan. Sprinkle with nuts.
5) Bake for 13 to 15 minutes or until top of cake springs back when touched. Meanwhile, spread quarter cup powdered sugar on the kitchen towel and keep ready.


6) Once cake is done, immediately loosen and turn cake onto kitchen towel (spread with powdered sugar). Carefully peel off the parchment paper.

7) Roll up the cake and towel together. Allow to cool.


8) When cooled down, carefully unroll cake, remove towel and spread with the refrigerated cream cheese filling.

9) Reroll cake, wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight (for best results) or atleast a few hours before slicing and digging into it.