Thursday, January 31, 2008

Cooking from Other Blogs # 5

Well, here are some more recipes that I tried from fellow bloggers and absolutely loved. Thank you girls for such awesome recipes and for sharing it with us all.

Nupur's Sabudhana Khichdi in the microwave which was just mind blowingly simple and tasted awesome. My search to make the perfect sabudhana khichdi just ended. I skipped the potatoes however and added onions instead.

Nupur's Ragda Patties which made for an awesome spicy lunch especially because I spiced up the patties like I did for my aloo tikkis.

Seema's Chaklis which turned out buttery and crisp. I gave some to the teachers at my daughter's daycare and they loved it too.

Nandita's Potato Wedges recipe was simple awesome especially when made with red potatoes




Tofu in Garlic Sauce from Rajitha's blog where I substituted the Paneer with Tofu. Was great with some fried rice. We polished off the bowl in minutes.


Oh! Sorry I forgot to include this one earlier.. totally forgot.
Kribha's Pumpkin Halwa which was awesome. My husband and daughter liked it a lot and it was gone in no time.

Stuffed Peppers from Richa's blog. Unfortunately no pictures but I loved it. Must make it again.
Update on 5th July 08 : Adding picture when I made it again recently. Just skipped the coconut though and used anaheim peppers.


Nandita's Chocolate Brownies which were easy to whip up and tasted good. Sorry but no pictures again.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Soya Upma

I finally managed to buy soya granules and could create my entry for WBB - Soy, hosted by the sweet gal at Hunger Pangs. Sorry it took so long Rajitha! Well, I made it for breakfast today and here I am posting the recipe.. this is as fresh as it gets :)

I know that some of you may be discouraged by the idea of using soya and only soya in this upma but it really does taste good. You don't really taste big pieces of soya and it just lends the dish some body and a chewy texture. When paired with the crunchy, sweet carrot and cabbage it makes for a delicious breakfast. My husband hasn't even tried it once because it sounds healthy and has the word 'upma' in it's title so you only have my word for how good this is... :) I think it makes for a healthy, tasty, quick breafkast.

SOYA UPMA
Ingredients:

Soya granules - 1/2 cup, cooked acc. to package directions.
Onion - half medium, chopped
Carrot - 1 small, grated
Cabbage - 1/2 cup, chopped
G. Chillies - 2 to 3, slit
Ginger - half inch, grated
Oil - 1 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
Urad dhal - 1/4 tsp
Jeera (Cumin) - 1/4 tsp
Asafoetida (hing) - a pinch
Coriander leaves - little, chopped
Salt, to taste
Lemon juice - to taste (optional)

Method
1) I let the soy granules be in boiling, slightly salted water for about 5 minutes and let them stay there for another 10 minutes before draining and squeezing out excess water.

2) Heat the oil in a pan and season with mustard, urad dhal, jeera and hing. Once the mustard splutters, add the chopped onion, g. chillies and ginger and let cook till the onion softens.

3) Now add the grated carrot, cabbage, salt and saute for 4 to 5 min.

4) Now add the soy granules and allow to cook for another 2 - 3 minutes before removing from the stove. Sprinkle some lemon juice if desired and serve hot garnished with coriander leaves.

Another great breakfast idea with Soy would be to make a Tofu Scramble, stuff them between two slices of bread and pop them in a sandwich toaster.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Baingan Bhartha

This was (if I remember right) the very first recipe I got off the web to try - from Bawarchi, (a good 8 years ago & the recipe has gone through a lot of changes since then). I first tasted this dish at a Punjabi restaurant and loved it so much - couldn't believe it was eggplant. The recipe I had printed out said that I need to hold the brinjal over a flame until the skin charred... Not having anything to hold the brinjal with, I stuck a knife through it and held it over the flame, with dreams of having tasty bhurtha for dinner... wouldn't my friends be pleased? But within minutes, i noticed that the knife handle had started to melt ! I proceeded to make the curry with whatever roasting the brinjal had undergone in those few minutes and was quite disappointed with the end result (not surprisingly).

Years later, I cooked the brinjal in the oven at 450F and that worked well but it would take a good 45 minutes or so to get roasted eggplant... but now I've modified things quite a bit and use the long, purple brinjals instead of the big fat ones since these have lesser seeds and the skins aren't too thick. I also nuke them in the microwave for about 12-15 minutes and don't even bother removing the skin. I like this method the best because it's quick and easy and my husband loves the end product.

BAINGAN BARTHA

Ingredients:
Long, purple Eggplants (aka Chinese Eggplant) - 3 (pic. from Wiki)
Onions - 2, medium, chopped
Tomato - half of a big one, chopped
Garlic - 4 to 5 cloves, minced
Ginger - 1.5 inch piece, minced
G. Chillies - 4, minced
Coriander leaves - 1/4 cup, chopped
Chilli powder - 1 to 2 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
Garam Masala - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric Powder - 1/4 tsp
Salt, to taste
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Oil - 1 tbsp + cooking spray

Method:
1) Wash the eggplants and wipe dry. Cut the calyx off. Make a couple of slightly deep slits on each eggplant (so they don't burst when microwaved). Spray with some cooking oil and rub all over the eggplant. Place these on a microwaveable plate or bowl and cook on high for about 12-15 minutes. Remember to turn them over once in between. They will turn soft, wrinkly and shrink. Let them cool a bit and chop very finely. I do not peel but you could peel them if you wish so.
2) Heat the oil in a pan and toss in the cumin seeds, once they sizzle, add the chopped onions, ginger, garlic and g. chillies. Saute this till the onions start to brown and caramelize. This is important.

3) Now add the chopped tomatoes, half of the chopped coriander leaves and some salt. once the tomatoes soften, add salt, turmeric , chilli powder, coriander powder, cumin and garam masalas. Give all this a quick stir before adding in the chopped, almost mushed up, eggplant.

4) Allow this mixture to roast on a medium flame (stir every minute or so to ensure it doesn't burn) for about 10 - 15 mins.

5) Garnish with the remaining coriander leaves and serve with warm rotis.


Happy Republic Day everyone.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Spicy Black Bean Soup

We had quite a bit of snow last Thursday and obviously I wanted something hot and comforting to sip on while I watched the huge flakes fall. I love watching the snow fall and how everything looks when covered with snow.. it makes everything seem magical, pure and clean. I had about half a can of black beans leftover after making Quesadillas so decided on a soup recipe that used them up. It was quick and easy and while the soup simmered I did some shoveling so I could get my car out later. It was so good to slurp this spicy soup and I'm sure to make this quite often. This made 3 bowls of soup so go ahead and double it if you want more.

BLACK BEAN SOUP



Ingredients
Black beans - half a can
Carrot - 1, big, peeled and chopped into small cubes
Onion - half of a medium
, chopped
Garlic - 3 cloves, chopped
Corn - 1/2 to 3/4 cup (I used frozen)
Whole peeled tomatoes - 3, chopped (I used canned variety)
Oil - 1 tsp
Vegetable Stock - 2 cups
Water - 1 cup
Chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
Salt, to taste

Garnish:
Sour cream
Cilantro
Microwaved Tortilla Strips (explained below)

Method:
1) Heat the oil and saute the garlic and onion for a few minutes before adding carrots. After a few minutes, add the chopped tomatoes and corn.

2) Add cumin powder and chilli powder and a little bit of salt (not too much). Add in the half can of black beans and the vegetable stock. Add about a cup of water or so to reach desired consistency. Once it comes to a boil, cover and let simmer for about 20-30 minutes.

3) Wanting something crunchy to top the soup, I thought of making some baked tortilla chips but decided on a even quicker method and it worked out great. I cut half of a small flour tortilla into 1/2 inch strips and sprayed them with some oil and microwaved for about 30 -45 seconds. Watch closely because it takes just a second for them to get charred. Let it stand out for a few minutes and it will get nice and crisp.

4) I found the soup spicy enough and so didn't add any black pepper. Season it to taste and ladle into a soup bowl. Top with sour cream (if desired), cilantro and finally the tortilla strips. Very satisfying indeed.


I would like to send this as my entry to Susan's Legume Love Affair event.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Mor Kuzhambu

Mor Kuzhambu is a tangy, spicy gravy made with buttermilk as a base. Quite a few vegetables can be added to this like ash gourd (white pumpkin), chow chow & spinach. It can be jazzed up by adding steamed toor dhal dumplings similar to the ones added to paruppu urundai kuzhambu or it can be made plain. This is super easy to whip up too and I usually pair it with Beans Paruppu Usili and a Potato fry.

MOR KUZHAMBU


Ingredients:
Thick Curds/Yogurt (preferably sour) - 2 cups
Ash Gourd - 1/2 cup, cubed and microwaved with some salt (optional)
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Coriander leaves - few stalks, chopped
Salt, to taste

Seasoning:
Oil - 1 tsp
Mustard - 1/2 tsp
Methi seeds (vendhayam) - few
Dried Red Chillies - 1, broken in two
Curry Leaves - few

To Grind:
Coconut - 2 to 3 tbsp
Green chillies - 6
Red Chillies - 4
Ginger - 1 small piece (1/4 inch to 1/2 inch)
Coriander seeds - 1 tsp
Cumin seeds (jeera) - 2 tsp
Toor Dhal - 1 tbsp (soaked in warm water for 30 mins)
Pottu Kadalai (Dalia/Roasted Gram) - 1 tbsp

Method:

1) Beat the yogurt with some water till smooth and not too thick. Add the ground paste, turmeric powder and salt. Mix well.

2) Heat this mixture on medium with the cooked vegetable (white pumpkin in this case) till it starts getting foamy. Do NOT let this boil. It should heat through and be just below boiling point (this will ensure that the yogurt does not split).

3) In a small pan, heat oil and season with mustard seeds, methi, curry leaves and broken red chilli and when the mustard splutters, add to the mor kuzhambu.

4) Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and it's ready to serve.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Chakkarai (Sweet) Pongal

With Pongal just passing by, am sure the blogosphere has several posts of this sweet, jaggery pongal. I used a pressure cooker as opposed to the traditional vengalai paanai adorned with turmeric and kumkum. With freshly made ghee it tasted real good.

SARKARAI PONGAL

Ingredients:

Rice - 1 cup
Mung Dhal - 1/3 cup to 1/2 cup
Jaggery - 2 cups, crushed and packed
Water - 1/2 cup + 3 cups
Milk - 2 cups
Cardamoms - 3, crushed
Ghee - 3 tbsp
Raisins - few
Cashews- few, cut into bits

Method:
1) Lightly toast mung dhal till fragrant. Wash rice and mung dhal and pressure cook together with 3 cups of water and 2 cups of milk (1:5 ratio)

2) Heat the jaggery with 1/2 cup water till completely dissolved and strain to remove impurities, if any. Heat the strained solution until it thickens a bit (1-string consistency).

3) Now add the cooked pongal to the jaggery and stir on a medium flame till it thickens a bit. Add the crushed/powdered cardamom.

4) Heat ghee in a separate pan, toast the raisins and cashews and add to the sweet pongal. Stir and simmer for a few minutes before removing from the stove. Chakkarai pongal is ready to serve.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

CLICK: Liquids Entry

I have a few pictures of liquids on hand but am unable to decide which will be a good entry for CLICK. I would love it if you can let me know what you think looks best.

You may use the Poll buttons to the right for this or leave your comments, whichever is easier.

Thank you!
Also, I'd like to wish everyone a very Happy Pongal !

Update: It looks like Liquid Jaggery 1 and Liquid Ghee are rather close but Liquid Jaggery has slightly more votes so I'm going to send that for this month's CLICK competition. Thank you so much for your much-valued opinion.

Liquid Jaggery


Monday, January 14, 2008

Rava Idlis

These instant idlis are quite popular now at home but I distinctly remember not liking these earlier on... maybe because it was from a package and not home-made. Even my mom liked the ones I made and said it was far better tasting than the packaged ones. Normal Idlis require all the grinding and fermenting but these just require some mixing and maybe 5 mins of sitting time before they can be steamed and consumed.... :) Perfect with chutney of your choice.

RAVA IDLI
Ingredients:

Fine Rava (Sooji) - 2 cups
Curds (Yogurt) - 2 cups
Carrot - 1 , grated (optional)
Curry leaves - 2 stalks, chopped
Coriander leaves - 2-3 tbsp, chopped
Grated coconut (fresh/frozen) - 1 tbsp
Ginger - 1/2 inch, grated
Green Chillies - 3, chopped finely.
Cashews - 8 to 10, cut into small bits
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Urad dhal - 1 tsp
Channa dhal - 1 tsp
Baking Soda - 1/2 tsp
Salt, to taste
Oil - 2 to 3 tbsp + 1 tsp

Method:

1) Heat the 1 tsp of oil in a pan and add mustard, urad dhal, channa dhal and cashews. Then add the chopped ginger, g. chillies and curry leaves, followed by grated carrot. Add some salt and cook till the carrots soften a bit.

2) Spread the rava on a plate with salt and baking soda and add the above fried mixture to this. Also add the 2 tbsp of oil and mix well.

3) About 15 minutes before serving, beat curds well and add coriander leaves and grated coconut. Mix this gently with the rava mixture. Adjust curds and add a little bit of water so the mixture is not too thick. It should be like idli batter or slightly thicker than that. I once used sour cream (instead of yogurt) blended with some water to thin it down and it resulted in great rava idlis. Let this mixture rest for about 5 minutes.

4) Meanwhile grease idli moulds and pour this batter. Allow to steam cook for 8 minutes or till done. The above measurements make about 18 - 20 idlis.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Aviyal

When my dad suggested that I learn cooking (during my 10th std holidays) and picked Aviyal as the very first item he wanted to teach I couldn't believe my ears - first because I had no intention of learning to cooking then and thought that aviyal was too complicated a dish to be the first one! I remember just helping him with the preparation while he explained that it really had nothing much to it and was amongst the simplest of dishes. I totally agree with him now. It couldn't get easier.

AVIYAL
Ingredients:
Mixed Vegetables - 3 to 4 cups, cut into thick 1.5 inch pieces(I use potatoes, raw bananas, beans, carrot, peas, chow chow, suran, white pumpkin)
Thick Curds (Yogurt) - 1/4 cup
Coconut Oil - 2 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves - from 1 stalk
Salt, to taste

To Grind:
Grated coconut (fresh/frozen) - 1/3 to 1/2 cup (the more the better)
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Green chillies - 10

Method:
1) Microwave the vegetables with salt and little water, covered on high for about 8 to 10 minutes or until crisp-tender.

2) Heat a pan and add the cooked vegetables, ensure it's not too watery, if it is, let the mixture boil until it thickens a bit. Now, add the ground coconut paste and allow this to cook a bit on a medium flame. When done and the vegetables are tender to your liking remove from the stove.

3) Season by heating the oil, adding mustard seeds and curry leaves. Pour over the vegetable mixture. When the entire mixture has cooled a bit, stir in the yogurt. Aviyal is now ready to serve with rice or Adais.

TIP: Try adding some fried onion vadaams to aviyal. It's excellent.

I would like to send this as my entry to RCI-Kerala hosted by Jyothsna of Curry Bazaar.

Other Kerala inspired recipes on my blog:
Olan , Puttu & Kadala Curry , Yardlong Beans Thoran , Egg Aviyal , Vegetable Stew , Theeyal , Caramelized Sweet Plantains

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Spicy Diamond Cuts

During the Christmas break we were craving for something to munch on and I decided to make these. I have tasted the spicy (salted) version of this and the sweet ones and both are pretty good but only made the spicy ones this time. Though the recipe calls for maida, I used whole wheat flour (atta) mostly and a little bit of all purpose flour. This is perfect with a cup of tea.

SPICY DIAMOND CUTS
Ingredients:
Whole wheat flour - 3/4 cup
All purpose flour - 1/4 cup
Butter - 2 tsp, melted
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Chilli powder - 1 tsp (or to taste)
Salt, to taste
Oil, to deep fry

Method:

1) Mix the flours with cumin seeds, chilli powder and salt. To this mixture add butter that has been heated and mix. Add water little by little and knead into a stiff dough.

2) Pull apart portions of the dough and roll into thin chapathis. Cut these into small diamonds (first cut horizontal lines about an inch apart and then cut vertically at an angle).
3) Heat oil and deep fry these pieces till golden. It will turn crispy when it has cooled a bit.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Egg Puffs

When I saw this Egg Puff recipe on Shyamala's blog I wanted to try it out immediately. I loved the idea of having the eggs on a curried onion base and it was so simple to put together too. I normally only make a vegetable puff with the puff pastry sheets so this was a great alternative. I stuck to her recipe for most part and made some very slight changes. We thoroughly enjoyed this and have made it twice already. Thank you Shyam for a great recipe.

I personally don't like the puff pastry sheets to be too thick.. I find it very buttery and flaky for my taste so I normally end up rolling it out thinner and make about 9 rectangles out of 1 sheet for this. So, my measurements below make 9 puffs. If you like the thick puffs, please use 2 sheets of puff pastry instead.

CURRIED EGG PUFFS

Ingredients:

Puff Pastry sheet - 1 (half of a packet), thaw according to pkg directions
Eggs - 6, hard boiled, peeled and cut into half lengthwise
Onions - 2, sliced thin, 1 inch pieces
Tomato Puree - 1 tbsp or half small tomato, chopped (optional)
Chilli powder - 1 tsp

Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
Garam Masala - 1/4 tsp
Coriander powder - 1/2 tsp
Coriander leaves - few, chopped
Salt, to taste

Oil - 2 tsp

Method:
1) Heat the oil in a pan and add the sliced onions. Saute this for a few minutes with some salt. Let it brown a bit.

2) Then add all the masala powders and tomato puree. Cook this mixture for a few more minutes and adjust salt to taste. Finally add the chopped coriander leaves and remove from the stove. Allow this mixture to cool. Divide into 12 portions.. i had about a tbsp each.

3) Roll out the thawed puff pastry sheet, on a lightly floured surface, to desired thickness and cut them into 12 rectangles or squares (so you can form triangular puffs).

4) Place about 1 tbsp of the onion mixture in the middle and place a halved egg on top. Fold over and crimp the edges with a fork so they seal well.


5) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and pop these puffs in for about 10-15 minutes, or till golden brown. Let cool a bit before biting into them.


Here's a cross-sectional view of the puffs.


I would also like to send this as my entry for JFI-Onions hosted by Radhika of Radhi's Kitchen. Thank you Radhika for picking a very essential ingredient from my kitchen for JFI this time.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Garlic Chutney

When I read that the 'Think Spice' event hosted by talented Sunita is garlic, I wanted to make this fiery, garlicky chutney which is sure to keep the vampires away! :) It's a rather simple chutney with very few ingredients but packs a punch and goes very well with Idlis, Dosais or Aapams. This is another of my friend Raji's recipes.

The picture was taken right in the pan I sauteed it in since we were super hungry and had no time to transfer, make it look pretty et. al - Sorry about that... :D

GARLIC (POONDU) CHUTNEY


Ingredients:
Garlic - 20 cloves, peeled
Dried Red Chillies - 12 to 15 (or as per taste)
Urad Dhal - 1 tsp (optional)
Salt, to taste

Gingelly Oil (Nallennai/Indian Sesame Oil) - 1 tbsp + 1 tsp (or more as per taste)
Curry leaves - few
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp


Method:
1) Heat 1 tsp of oil and saute urad dhal, garlic and dried red chillies. Saute this till golden.

2) Grind this in a mixie with some salt till smooth. Add some water (if necessary) in order to get a smooth paste.

3) Heat the 1 tbsp of oil and season with mustard seeds and curry leaves, add the ground chutney and saute this for a few minutes. Chutney is now ready.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Vangi (Eggplant) Bhath

There are some recipes that become an instant hit the very first time you try and they end up becoming a regular at home. Vineela's Vangi Bhaath is one such recipe and since it's so easy to make, especially when the Masala powder is ready in the fridge, it works great for busy weekend dinners. When paired with a raitha and chips it makes for a complete and enjoyable meal. Thank you Vineela for such a lovely recipe.

The masala powder measurements below will last about 2-3 preparations of Vangi bhath and stay well for 6 months when refrigerated.

VANGI BHATH

Ingredients:

For the Masala Powder:
Dessicated coconut - 3 tbsp
Chana dal (Bengal gram - 2 tbsp
Urad dal - 2 tbsp
Coriander seeds - 2 tbsp
Seseme seeds(Ellu) - 1 tbsp
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Cloves - 1
Cardamom - 1
Sha jeera( Caraway seeds) - ¼ tsp
Fenugreek seeds(Methi) - ¼ tsp
Dried Red chillies - 5
Cinnamon - 1" piece
Groung Nutmeg - ½ tsp
Asafoetida - a pinch

For the Bhath:
Basmati Rice - 1.25 cups (dry)
Eggplant (long purple) - 3, cut into 2 inch juliennes
Peas - 1/2 cup
Peanuts - 1/3 cup, cut into small pcs.

Onion - 1 big, sliced into 1 inch pieces.
G. Chillies -3, slit

Jeera - 1 tsp
Channa Dhal - 2 tsp
Chilli powder - 1 tsp
Vangi Bath Masala - 2 tbsp or to taste
Tamarind paste - 1 tsp (store-bought)

Curry leaves - few
Coriander leaves - for garnish
Oil - 1 tbsp
Ghee - 1 tsp

Method:

1) Heat a sauce pan and dry roast the ingredients for the masala powder. Cool and grind this to a powder. This will keep well for 6 months in the refrigerator.

2) Cook Basmathi rice with water (Ratio 1: 1.75) and some salt till done. Allow the rice to cool so the grains can be separate.

3) Heat oil add the curry leaves, cumin seeds and chana dal fry for few seconds,then add the chopped green chillies ,onions & salt. Sauté for 2 minutes.

4) Add eggplant pieces ,turmeric and sauté till eggplants are semi translucent.

5) Add (frozen) peas, chilli powder, vangibhath masala pwd and stir for a while. Cover and cook in low flame for another 2 minutes.

6) Add tamarind juice, roasted peanuts, stir well and cook till done.


7) Carefully stir in the cooked basmathi rice and adjust salt & masala pwd according to taste. Add a tspn of ghee to it and mix well to get all the flavours into the rice and Cook for another 4 minutes by covering with lid.

8) Remove from fire and garnish with fresh Coriander leaves.