Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Zucchini Chutney

I've been trying to make veggie chutneys of late for my daughter - similar to this... When I mentioned this to a friend a few days back she told me about a Zucchini chutney that she had tasted from a colleague's lunchbox and said that she would be asking for the recipe soon. So, when I saw this post on Madhu's blog, it sounded very similar to what my friend had described so I chopped the lone zucchini in my fridge, followed her recipe and turned it into a bright, green, inviting & delicious chutney. The following measurements make a rather mild chutney so increase the chillies if you want it spicier. Thank you Madhu. This pairs well with idlis, dosais and also with chapathi.


Zucchini - 1, cut into chunks
Onion - 1/4 of a large one, chopped
Channa dhal - 1tbsp
Coconut grated - 1tbsp
Cilantro leaves- few springs
Green Chillies / Red Chillies - 3
Tamarind - 1 small piece or 1/4 tsp thick tamarind paste.
Oil - 1tsp + few drops

1) Heat a few drops of oil, add Channa dhal and fry for few minutes until golden. Remove & keep aside.
2) Heat the 1 tsp of oil and fry the onions till transparent and then add the g. chillies & zucchini & fry until tender & dry.
3) Allow to cool a bit. In a mixie, first grind channa dhal and then add veggies, tamarind, coriander leaves, coconut and salt with water as required to make a smooth paste.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Aloo Gobi (Dry)

This combination is a popular favorite and quite ubiquitous in Indian restaurants. We prefer the dry version and so I do not add any tomatoes when making this... but there are some versions that include it.


Cauliflower - 1, cut into florets & washed.
Potatoes - 2 to 3, medium, cut into medium cubes
Onion - 1, sliced thinly
Red Chilli powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Coriander powder - 1/2 tsp
Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
Garam Masala - half to 1 tsp
Salt - to taste
Cumin seeds - half tsp
Oil - 1 to 2 tbsp, as required

1) In a wide pan, heat oil and add cumin seeds, followed by onions and fry till brown.
2) Mix all the masala powders & salt with a bit of oil to make a paste and add this to the onions and saute for a few seconds.
3) Add the cauliflower and potato pieces and stir until uniformly coated with spices.
4) Sprinkle a few drops of water, cover and allow to cook on a medium flame until they are tender, stirring occassionally / tossing until golden brown.
5) Garnish with coriander leaves, if desired, and serve with warm rotis.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Sorakkai Kadalai Paruppu Kootu

This spicy curry is a perfect way to mask the rather bland taste of Sorakkai (Lauki / Bottlegourd)... the channa dhal adds a nutty flavour and offers a bite to the texture. I've made this several times and is a recipe I got from here.

This curry can be made on the stovetop or using the pressure cooker. I prefer the latter method since it's less involved and requires no pre-soaking of channa dhal. So, remember to soak the channa dhal for a few hours if using the stove top method. Also, I go easy on the tomatoes because my husband doesn't like an overtly tomatoey taste but go ahead and double the quantity if you like.


Sorakkai - 1 small, about 5 cups when peeled & chopped
Channa dhal - 3/4 cup
Tomato - 1 medium
Turmeric powder - half tsp
Red chilli powder - half tsp
Sambar powder - half tsp
Coriander powder - half tsp
Cumin powder - half tsp
Kitchen King / Garam Masala - half tsp
Extracted Tamarind water - 1 to 2 tbsp
Coriander leaves - for garnish
Salt - to taste

Mustard - half tsp
Urad dhal - half tsp
Cumin seeds - half tsp
Asafoetida - a couple pinches
Red Chillies - 1, broken
Curry leaves - few

1) Heat oil directly in a pressure cooker and add the seasoning ingredients. Then add the washed channa dhal and cubed sorakkai.. Saute this for a couple of minutes before adding in the chopped tomatoes.

2) Next add all the masala powders & salt. After a minute, add about a cup & a half of water. Close the lid and allow this to pressure cook for 3 whistles or till done.

3) When the pressure has subsided, remove the lid and add the tamarind water. Allow this to cool till the raw smell goes away and the curry thickens to the right consistency. Remove from the stove and stir in the chopped coriander leaves.

This goes great with rice and rotis.

For more recipes using this veggie:
Lauki Kofta
Sorakkai Channa Dhal Poriyal

Monday, December 15, 2008

Vegan Date Cake

This recipe for Date cake is from Shilpa's blog and is widely popular. I wanted to make something for my daughter who is off dairy products this month and chose this recipe and just made a few alterations. I substituted the milk with the vanilla soy milk that she drinks now and since that is already sweetened, i reduced the amount of sugar in the recipe. I also replaced half of the All purpose flour with white whole wheat. It was very easy, came together rather quickly and tasted good.


Seedless Dates - 25 to 30
Vanilla Soy Milk - 1 cup
All purpose Flour - 3/4 cup
White Whole wheat flour - 3/4 cup (or substitute with equal amt of AP flour)
Sugar - 1/2 to 3/4 cup
Oil - 1/2 cup
Baking Soda - 1 tsp

1) Preheat oven to 350F. Warm the soy milk and add chopped dates in it and let soak for atleast 30 mins.

2) Blend the soy milk, dates & sugar to a smooth paste. Transfer to a big bowl & whisk in the oil until combined.

3) Sift flour & baking soda and add spoonfuls of this into the batter and mix thoroughly after each addition.

4) Pour batter into a greased tin (I used a 9 inch square pan) and bake for 30 mins or till done (i.e. a toothpick inserted comes out clean).

I would like to send this as my entry to Santa's Holiday Challenge event hosted by JZ. Thanks JZ for the suggestion.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Buttermilk Corn Bread

I made this cornbread to go with the black bean soup and this is probably the only corn bread version (of the many i've tried) that my husband actually enjoyed.... I quite like corn breads especially the chewy ones but my husband is not a big fan but this one was an exception. I've made this in a loaf pan and also in muffin tins but prefer the loaf pan version better.. had more crust to it that way.. but I only took pics of the muffins.



Yellow cornmeal - 1/2 cup
White whole wheat flour - 1/2 cup
Buttermilk - 3/4 cup
Butter/Margarine - 3 tbsp
Egg - 1 medium
Sugar - 1/3 cup
Baking soda - 1/2 tsp
Salt - 1/2 tsp

1) Melt margarine/butter in a pan over low heat. Use a bit of the margarine to coat the loaf pan. Allow it to cool just a bit. Add sugar, buttermilk, eggs and salt. Using a whisk, mix it up well.

2) Finally add cornmeal, flour & Baking soda. Whisk till there are no big lumps and is mostly smooth.

3) Pour this into the greased loaf pan and allow to bake in a 375F oven for 20 minutes or till done.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Thayir vadai (Dahi Vadas)

No-Fry Dahi Vadas

After having success with the no-fry Malai Koftas, the next item on my agenda was the no-fry dahi (thayir) vadas. In short, the kuzhipaniyaram pan is my new best friend and I use that as a substitute for deep frying everytime something requires frying followed by dunking in a gravy. Thayir vadais are my favorite and my grandmother would make them every Diwali... I also tasted the North Indian version when visiting relatives in Jhansi and loved the tangy tamarind chutney addition so what I present here is a recipe that combines the flavours of south & north india - just the way I love it. My grandmother makes the usual Ulundhu vadai and dunks them in flavoured yogurt but I used a slightly different recipe for the vadai this time and it was pretty good.


Urad dhal - 1 cup
Mung dhal (yellow split) - half cup
Ginger - 1 inch piece, chopped

Green chillies - 3, chopped finely
Curry leaves - few, chopped
Salt, Pepper - to taste

Yogurt sauce:
Yogurt - 2 cups, thick
Milk - half cup (approx)
Water - as required for the consistency
Green chillies - 2

Coconut - 2 tbsp, shredded
Salt - to taste

Cumin powder, Chilli powder - to sprinkle on top
Tamarind-date chutney (optional)
Coriander leaves - 2 tbsp, chopped

1) Wash & soak both dhals together for about 2 hours and grind to a thick paste with as little water as possible till light and fluffy. Add some salt towards the end so it gets mixed uniformly. I use a grinder for this.

2) Add in the chopped ginger, g. chillies & curry leaves with pepper and mix thoroughly. One could deep fry the batter after forming them into patties similar to this. I used the kuzhipaniyaram/appe pan instead following RedChillies' fabulous method. I add about a drop of oil in each depression on medium-low flame and once the batter is filled, cover with a lid and allow to cook till light brown. Flip over and cook the other side as well.

4) Keep some hot water on the side and dunk the vadais once they are cooked into this. This will enable them to get soft and will remain that way when put in the yogurt sauce later. Take them out after a few minutes, squeeze gently to remove excess water.

3) Grind g. chillies & coconut to a smooth paste and blend with milk, yogurt, water as required & salt to form a smooth, thick liquid. Soak the vadais in this blend for atleast 2-3 hours - the longer the better.

4) Just before serving, sprinkle the top with chilli powder, cumin powder, tamarind-date chutney and coriander leaves and enjoy this tasty treat.

Since this is high in protein and low in fat and combines the goodness of lentils and yogurt, I think this will make for a healthy & tasty dish for pregnant women and would like to send to Sangeeth's event Eat Healthy - During Pregnancy.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Honey Roasted Almonds

I had a big pack of whole almonds on hand and in an effort to get my husband interested in those, I tried making a honey roasted version that he could snack on while at work. This recipe comes together in no time and requires no fancy ingredients. I also think that these would make for a nice holiday gift and would like to send it as my entry to Home-made Christmas Gifts event hosted by My Kitchen Treasures.


Whole almonds (with skin) - 2 cups
Sugar - 1/4 cup
Honey - 2 tbsp
Salt - 1/2 tsp
Water - 2 tbsp
Vegetable/Canola oil - 2 tsp

1) Preheat oven to 350F. Cover a baking sheet with aluminium foil (with the dull side up and shiny side down). Spread the almonds on this as a single layer and bake for 12 to 15 minutes stirring once or twice in between to ensure that it's roasted uniformly. Remove from oven and set aside.

2) Mix sugar and salt in a bowl. Heat a wide pan on medium and add honey, water, oil & stir. Allow to boil and add the roasted almonds and keep stirring and cooking till all the liquid has been absorbed by the nuts.

3) Immediately transfer to a bowl and sprinkle the sugar-salt mixture over it and toss so it's uniformly coated.

4) Spread this almond mixture on the foil covered baking sheet and allow to cool completely.
Tasty honey roasted nuts are ready to devour or pack and gift.

To see my last year's entry for this event check out : Cranberry Almond Biscottis

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Stir-fried Long Beans

My husband really enjoys the stir-fried beans served at Chinese restaurants and so I tried this with a bunch of yard long beans and it turned out pretty good - had a spicy, garlicky kick and my 3 year old liked it too... :)


Long Beans - cut into 2 inch pieces, about 2 heaped cups total
Garlic - 3 to 4 cloves, minced
Sriracha chilli sauce - 2 to 3 tsp
Soy Sauce - 1 tsp
Salt - to taste
Oil - 2 to 3 tsp

1) Heat oil in a pan on medium and add the garlic and a bit of salt... make sure they don't burn or turn too brown.
2) While they are sizzling and still pale, stir in the chilli sauce & soy sauce and after about 30 seconds or so, toss in the beans and stir-fry on medium high for about 3 minutes or so. Adjust salt at this stage.
3) Add about 2-3 tbsp of water, cover and allow to cook on medium (don't lower the flame too much). Open the lid after about 4 to 5 minutes or when all the water is almost evaporated and check for doneness. It should be still a little bit crunchy but cooked. If not, add a sprinkle more of water and let it stay for a few minutes longer.

4) When done, open the lid and let most of the remaining water (if any) evaporate. It's now ready to serve and is wonderful on it's own or with some rice.