Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Ilaneer Payasam

My cousin's wife made this when she invited us over dinner during our recent trip to India - I had my fill of her fabulous food and didn't really want to have dessert but when I tasted a little bit from my mom's bowl, I took to this payasam and had a bowlful of my own, minutes later. I asked her for the recipe and was amazed at how simple it was. This is something you can make in minutes if you have ilaneer (tender coconut water) on hand - no cooking required. Of course I don't get fresh ilaneer and so resorted to a frozen pack that I found and it had some pulp as well which gives a nice texture to the payasam... Thank you Sindhu anni for a yummy recipe.

ILANEER PAYASAM


Ingredients:
Ilaneer (Tender coconut water) - about 10 oz (with some pulp)
Cold Milk - half to 1 cup (adjust to required texture)
Condensed milk - 1/4 can or less (approx 100 ml) or to taste, depending on sweetness
Ghee - 1 tsp
Cashewnuts - 1 tbsp, chopped
Raisins - 1 tbsp

Method:
1) Chop the pulp of the tender coconut into small pieces and in a bowl blend ilaneer, milk and condensed milk. Adjust the milk and condensed milk to desired sweetness and texture. This is a watery payasam.

2) Heat ghee and toast cashews and raisins till golden and add to the payasam. Serve cold.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Carrot Rice

What I like about this recipe is that it can be whipped up in no time and made for a yummy lunch that even my 2 yr old was happy to eat, with some curds to tone down the spiciness... in her case. The touch about adding some ground up peanuts and coconut was something that my MIL did and it jazzes up this mixed rice.

CARROT RICE


Ingredients:
Basmati Rice - 1 cup, raw
Carrots - 2 cups, shredded
Onion - shy of 1 cup, sliced into 1 inch pieces
Garlic - 2 cloves
Ginger - 1 inch piece (made into a paste with garlic)
Curry leaves - 1 to 2 stalks
Sambar powder - 2 tsp
Viji's SIMP or Vangi bhath masala powder - 1.5 tbsp
Coriander leaves - 1 to 2 tbsp, chopped
Salt - to taste

Seasoning:
Oil - 1 tbsp
Ghee - 1 tsp (for added flavour)
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Channa dhal - 1 tbsp


To Grind (coarsely) :
Coconut - 2 tbsp
Roasted Peanuts - 1 to 2 tbsp

Method:
1) Cook the Basmati rice with 1.75 cups of water and a little bit of salt. Allow this to cool by spreading out on a plate so the grains are separate. (I pressure cooked it on Med-High for 1 whistle and medium for 2 whistles).

2) Heat oil in a wide pan and season with mustard, cumin, channa dhal and curry leaves. Add the sliced onions and ginger-garlic paste... cook till translucent and slightly brown. Now add the shredded carrots and let them sweat it out a bit.

3) Toss in sambhar powder and salt and let cook for few more minutes. Sprinkle some water and cook covered till the carrots soften.

4) Now sprinkle the vangi bhath masala powder or Viji's SIMP and give a quick stir to incorporate... and add in the cooled rice along with a tsp of ghee. Cook this till the carrot masala evenly distributes the rice and it absorbs the flavours (about 5 minutes or so).

5) Sprinkle the ground coconut-peanut powder & coriander leaves, mix, switch off the stove, Cover and let sit for a few minutes before serving.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Apple Strudel

I had some phyllo sheets hanging out in our refrigerator after making Spanakopita and was craving some dessert one fine evening. So I decided to make an apple strudel with it and was rather happy when it turned out pretty good with very little effort. The tip when working with phyllo sheets is to make sure that they are covered with a damp washcloth so they don't dry out. These sheets are particularly thin and easily prone to tearing.. particularly when brittle.

These apple strudels had a nice flaky crust and a warm, gooey, sweet filling and were absolutely delicious when paired with some cool ice cream.

APPLE STRUDEL


Ingredients:
Phyllo / Fillo sheets - 10, thawed
Apples - 2 medium, peeled, cored and chopped into small cubes
Raisins - 2 to 3 tbsp
Brown Sugar - 2 tbsp
Butter - 4 tbsp, softened
Whole wheat bread - 1 slice, powdered in a mixie to fine crumbs
Walnuts - 2 tbsp, chopped (optional)
Cinnamon powder - 1/4 tsp

Method:
1) In a bowl toss the chopped apples, brown sugar, raisins, walnuts, one tbsp butter, cinnamon & bread crumbs together.

2) Melt the remaining 3 tbsp of butter and keep aside.

3) Take one sheet of phyllo, brush some melted butter on it slightly and cover with another sheet, brush butter again and repeat until you have 5 sheets of phyllo.

4) Place half of the apple filling along the narrow edge of the top phyllo sheet and roll the whole thing up slowly, making sure to tuck/fold the sides as you go along.

5) Repeat the above step for the remaining 5 sheets of phyllo. We now have 2 rolls of apple strudel. Brush the tops with remaining butter.

6) Score the top of strudel roll 2 inches apart about half inch deep (so it's easier to cut when cooked).

7) Bake in a pre-heated oven at 350F for about 35 to 40 minutes, till golden.


8) Serve warm with a scoop (or two) of ice cream and Indulge!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Curried Egg Sandwich

This post is what tempted me to make this delicious sandwich. I've had plain egg sandwiches before and though I ate them, simply because it was the only vegetarian option available at that place and time, I can't say I loved them - I found them too bland and overly creamy for my taste. But this one from Stefanie's blog is so flavorful and the spiced up, caramelized onions make this extremely delicious. I pretty much followed her recipe but made a couple of changes and it made for a lip-smacking lunch along with some oranges.

CURRIED EGG SANDWICH


Ingredients:
Whole wheat bread - 2 slices
Egg - 1, hardboiled & peeled
Red Onion - quarter cup, chopped
Mayonnaise - 1 tsp
Mustard - a dash (not seeds but the condiment)
Sambar powder - half tsp
Salt & pepper to taste
Spinach leaves - to serve
Oil - 1 tsp

Method:
1) This is the method I usually use to hardboil eggs. Place egg in a small pan and add enough water to just cover it. Heat and bring the water to a boil. Let this boil for about 3 to 4 minutes. Switch off the flame, cover the saucepan and let sit for about 10 to 15 minutes. Perfectly hard-boiled eggs are ready. Now peel and cut into small cubes.

2) Meanwhile, heat 1 tsp of oil in a small pan and add the chopped onions, after about 3 minutes toss in a bit of salt and the sambar powder. Cook till they are browned and caramelized, stirring constantly.

3) In a small bowl, combine the chopped eggs, caramelized onions, mayonnaise, dash of mustard & salt and pepper to taste.

4) Toast the 2 slices of bread and layer one slice with washed and dried spinach leaves. Top with the egg mixture evenly, place another layer of spinach leaves and finally the second slice of bread. Enjoy !

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Menu Ideas

These are some menus that I've used over the past year for regular weekday dinners or when I have friends or relatives visiting. I'm posting this so it will be a handy reference for when I run out of ideas.... it may be repetitive since I haven't edited it all. Most of the dishes here have been blogged already here.

Dinner party ideas (for small groups)
1) Aloo paratha, capsicum cabbage raitha, black bean soup and idli fry
2) Carrot Coriander soup, pav bhaji, paneer tikka (with onions, bell peppers and pineapples), devilled eggs
Aug 24
Sun - Chapathis + Rajma + bell pepper besan
Mon - Biryani + Cucumber Raitha + Mangoes
Tue - Quesadillas + Corn Bread / Black Bean soup
Wed - Rice + Vendakai fry + Rasam/Curd
Thu - Sweet potato paratha + Cabbage mung dhal
Fri - Summer Rolls or Ragda Patties.

Jul 28 08
Mon - Veg Noodles
Tue - Rice, Radish Kootu, Bhindi Besan
Wed - Chapathi + Aloo Capsicum
Thu - Vangi Bath + Methi Rice
Fri - surlachi wadi + rice wraps?

July 14th 08
Sun - carrot rice + ulundhu saadham
Mon - Chapathi + Rajma + bell pepper besan
Tue - Idli + Sambar
Wed - Chapathi + Palak Paneer
Thu - Rice + Chow chow poricha kootu + Potato
Fri - vangi Baath & carrot rice

Week of July 7th 08
Mon - Mushroom Biryani
Tue - Noodles + Roasted Broccoli
Wed - Chapathi + rajma
Thu - Rice, cauliflower roast, chow chow pitlai
Fri - Summer Rolls.

Harsh & Shalini visit
Tortilla chips + Mango Salsa
Masal Dosai + Coconut Chutney - done except chutney
Paneer Tikka
Onion Pakoda
Kuska
Cauliflower + Cannelini beans Kurma
Brownie & Icecream Grapes

June 1st week
Mon - Broccoli Soup + Pesto Spaghetti
Tue - Vangi Baath
Wed - Enchiladas
Thu - Chapathi + Cabbage Kootu
Fri - Veg Noodles + Kothu parotta
Sat - Bagel/Sandwich with Omlette -
Rice, Sambar, Rasam, potato fry, beans thoran -
Pav Bhaji + Dhokla
Dessert - Tiramisu & Ilaneer Payasam.

May 24-26 weekend (Latha visit)
Sat:Bfast - VenPongal + Gothsu + Chutney
Lunch - mexican / Dinner - Outside?
Sun:Bfast - Bagel
Lunch (Picnic?) - Limeade + Cucumber sandwiches + Nutella sandwiches + Ragda Patties + Dessert shells with berries & whipped cream.
Dinner - Pizza + soup
Mon:Bfast - Adai + chutney + Aval Poha
Lunch - Rice + morkuzhambu + potato fry + beans paruppu usili + rasam
-------------------------------------------------------
May 19th week
Mon - Chapathi + dhal + bhindi fry
Tue - Rice + Kovakai fry + mochai kuzhambu
Wed - Roasted Veggie Pasta
Thu - Fri -

May 14th 08
Wed - Idli + mullangi sambhar
Thu - Rice + vathal kuzhambu + chow chow kootu (mung dhal) + vadaam.
Fri - Tomato Soup + Pesto Pasta

Seema's Trip:
Biscotti & Mango icecream, noodles, pav bhaji, dhal for sambar, idli maavu.
Fri Lunch: Rice + Theeyal + Cabbage Thoran + Cauliflower Fry + Rasam
Fri Dinner: Veg Noodles + Egg Puffs + Tomato Soup +
Sat Bfast: Idli + Chutney + Sambar + Ven Pongal
Sat dinner: Pav Bhaji + Paneer Pizza + Tomato Dosa + Coconut Chutney
Sun Lunch: Kuska + Kurma + Curd Rice

Mon: Spinach poriyal
Adai + Aviyal Spinach Kootu or Palak Paneer Egg Kurma Vangi Baath or Ven Pongal & Gothsu

Dinner Party Menu:Paneer Tikka Pizza, Sorakkai Koftha, Veg Pulao, Mango Icecream, Sabudhana Khichdi.

Menu Ideas
Bfast: Sandwich, Ven Pongal, Dosai / Idli, Waffles
Lunch: Baingan Bartha+Curd Rice, Rice+ vazhakai curry (mor kuzhambu/sambar)+ rasam, chow chow kootu
Dinner: Chapathi + Kurma, Noodles.
Fri Dinner: Egg Puffs + Soup
Sat Bfast: Carrot & Peas Sandwich
Lunch: Rice + Keerai kootu + Rasam + Tindora Fry
Dinner: Gobi Manchurian + Roasted Broccoli + Baked Potato Wedges.
Sun Bfast: Tomato Dosa + Radish Chutney
Lunch: Chapathi + Mattar Paneer
Dinner: Outside? or Kothu Parotta

Mon Bfast: Maggi or Bee Hoon
Lunch: Egg Biryani
Dinner : Anand's place
Tues: Idlis + Chutney or Ven Pongal + Gothsu.Tues
Lunch: Rice, pepper kuzhambu, thovayal, beans paruppu usli.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Egg Puff + Chapathi & dhal
Ragda Patties? or Idiyaapam
Diwali lunch: Sambar + Rasam + Potato curry + Bajji + Aviyal + Aval payasam
Friday breakfast: Rava Dosai Lunch : Aloo paratha + Paneer Makhani
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Weekend Menu
Saturday.Lunch:Mullangi Sambar, Rasam, Cabbage-Beans Poriyal, Cauliflower & Potato curry, Carrot-Almond Payasam, Microwave Appalam.
Tea + Puff pastry
Dinner: Tandoori Paneer + Broccoli roast + Bread Cup + Pumpkin cream cheese roll.
SundayBfast: Aapam + Stew
Lunch: Biryani + Raitha + Curd Rice with apple, carrot.
PLAN:Thu - Make pumpkin roll, Cut Cabbage, Make mint-coriander paste for biryani, make filling for breadcup, Make Puff Pastry.
Fri - Make rasam, sambar, cut vegs for biryani, Cut vegs for Stew, Grind for Aapam and Idli, Make Carrot-Almond Payasam.

MENU THIS WEEK
Kovakai, Cauliflower, Capsicum, Cabbage, Undhiyu, beans, carrot, spinach, chow chow, vazhakai, broccoli, Mint
16/Jul/ MonChapathi + Undhiyu + Chow chow kootu
17/Jul/ TueRoasted Veg with Pasta Bake
18/Jul WedBiryani + Veg Kurma + curd rice
19/Jul ThuNaan + Paneer + Capsicum (Swad blog)
20/Jul FriDosai
-------------------------------------------
8/Jul/ Sun
Bfast : Veg. Cheese Toasts
Lunch: Rice, vendakai poriyal, bottlegourd channa dhal poriyal, Theeyal
Dinner : Leftovers
9/Jul/Mon Chapathi & Chow chow kootu
10/Jul/Tue Pasta with Pesto & Mushrooms
11/Jul/Wed Ven Pongal, Eggplant Gotsu/Rasavangitastypalettes.blogspot.com
12/Jul/ Thu Chapathi, capsicum curry, chole
13/Jul/Fri Quesadilla

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Spanakopita

Spanakopita is a greek dish where a spinach & feta cheese mixture is stuffed inside or layered with phyllo dough. Though I have always wanted to taste this, I never got an opportunity to do so... but I tasted this Garlic Spinaci Pizza which had some garlicky spinach and feta cheese toppings and absolutely loved it, so I figured that I would definitely like the taste of spanakopita and decided to make it at home.

I've worked with Phyllo (or Filo) sheets before when making Baklava and they are quite easy to work with as long as some precautions are taken... These are extremely thin sheets and can very easily tear, dry up or turn brittle, but when covered with a damp towel and worked with quickly, one sheet at a time, they are quite flexible and easy to handle. What is good about these sheets are that they turn nice and crisp when baked and have very little fat in them and so are definitely a healthier option to puff pastry. The textures are different so they can't always be interchanged but some recipes work well with either of them.

My filling is not very traditional because I added some garlic, red chilli flakes and used a tomato-basil Feta but it was tasty nevertheless. These can also be made ahead, frozen and cooked when it's time to serve.

SPANAKOPITAS

Ingredients:

Phyllo sheets - about 10 to 15
Spinach (frozen) - 10 oz package, thawed and drained

Feta cheese crumbles - 4 oz pack

Onion - 1, chopped finely
Garlic - 3 cloves, chopped
All purpose flour - 1 tbsp
Eggs - 2 (I used about 1/3 cup Egg Beaters)
Red Chilli flakes - 1 tsp or to taste
Salt & Pepper - to taste
Olive oil - 2 tsp
Butter - 3 to 4 tbsp, melted

Method:
1) In a saucepan, heat oil and add the onions and garlic, when softened and edges are beginning to brown, add red chilli flakes and spinach .

2) Cook this with a bit of salt along with the tbsp of flour until the mixture is quite dry. Add some pepper to taste. Go easy on the salt because feta cheese is quite salty.

3) Transfer this to a bowl and add the egg and feta cheese and mix well. This is our stuffing.

4) Thaw the Phyllo sheets according to package directions and when ready, cover them with a damp (not wet) towel so they don't dry out.


5) Take a sheet of phyllo (keep the rest still covered) and brush lightly with melted butter and lay another sheet of phyllo on top. Brush the top with a bit of butter as well and cut it into 3 long strips.

6) Place about a tbsp of the filling at the bottom half of each strip in one corner and fold to form a triangle. Keep folding them over, alternating sides moving up the strip as you do so. The butter brushed on top will help seal it.

7) Repeat this for the remaining filling. Place the spanakopitas on a large baking sheet and brush tops with remaining melted butter.

8) Bake this in a pre-heated oven at 350F for about 45 minutes or till done, turning over once if the bottoms get too brown.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Sodhi

Ever since I first got introduced to aapam and stew (thanks to my keralite neighbours) that was my preferred combination, though I would indulge a little bit in the aapam + sweetened coconut milk combination as well. Whenever I pestered my mom to make potato stew with aapams she would remark how this is similar to what she had as a kid, called sodhi. Though she talked about it she never really made it - not once. I understood from her that it is very popular in Tirunelveli, and my mom had tasted it at her paati's house when visiting.

I finally got to taste this lovely curry when my very good friend, Latha, made it. It was so creamy with lovely coconutty notes and paired beautifully with the spicy potato roast and ginger chutney she cooked. She is rather popular for her sodhi recipe (amongst other dishes) and here's her fool-proof version.... Thank you Latha.

SODHI
Serves: 4 to 5


Ingredients

Moong Daal (Yellow split) - 1/3 Cup, Pressure cook till soft & mash
Beans - 20, cut into 1 inch pieces (lengthwise)
Carrot - 1 Big, cut into 1 inch pieces (lengthwise)
Potato - 1 Medium, cut into 1 inch cubes
Onion - 1 Medium, sliced thin into 1 inch pieces
Garlic - 1 Big whole bulb, peeled & kept as whole cloves
Coconut Milk - 1 Can (400 ml - I use Chaokoh Brand)
Ginger - 1 inch piece
Green Chillies - 4 to 5 or to taste
Curry Leaves - a few
Lemon Juice - 1/2 tsp ( I skipped this)
Oil - 1 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Urad Dhal - 1/2 tsp
Salt

Method:
1) Pre-cook the carrots, beans and potatoes in microwave for 4 minutes with a bit of salt. Grind ginger & green chillis to a paste (I used a mortar & pestle)

2) Heat oil in a pan and season with mustard seeds & split urad daal. Saute curry leaves, onions & garlic, till translucent

3) Add the microwaved vegetables, the ginger-green chilli paste and 2 cups of water along with salt to taste.

4) Cook uncovered till the vegetables are 3/4th done. Now add the smoothly mashed mung dhal and adjust consistency if too thick by adding about half to one cup of water, as required.

5) Allow to cook until the vegetables are fully done and very soft to the touch. Remove from stove and allow to cool slightly (about 5 minutes).

6) Now gradually pour the entire can of coconut milk and mix gently. Add lemon juice if using. Creamy, tasty sodhi is now ready to be served either with idiyaapam or rice.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Verkadalai (Groundnut) Kuzhambu

I chanced upon some fresh groundnuts in the market and bought a bunch wanting to make a kind of salad that my dad used to make when we had potluck dinners with our neighbours up on our terrace under the soft moonlight. I have such fond memories of those dinners. My father loved to have moonlight dinners and somedays we would just take our usual fare of chapathis and sabzi or dhal and go to the coolness of our "roof-top garden" which he would've prepped by watering it earlier that evening so it was nice and ready. We would eat and then just lie there and chat until late... This soon moved to a larger scale operation where our neighbours joined in as well and soon we had the best of dishes from each house and lots of fun, games and music followed.

But after all this hype about that peanut salad that my dad made, I wasn't able to give a call and find out from him the recipe... but I remembered that my mom also made a kuzhambu using this so opted to make that since I remember that it tasted quite similar to her mochai kuzhambu recipe. The resultant was a very yummy gravy with melt-in-the mouth eggplant pieces and smooth, tasty peanuts floating.

VERKADALAI KUZHAMBU


Ingredients:
Fresh groundnuts - 1 to 1.5 cups, (after being pressure cooked & shelled)
Onion - 1 small to medium sized one, chopped finely
Chinese (long) eggplant - 1, cut into 2 inch pieces
Tomato - half of a small one, chopped
Garlic - 6 to 7 cloves, whole
Tamarind - small lemon sized, soaked in warm water and juice extracted
Sambar Powder - 3 tsp
Turmeric - 1/4 tsp
Salt, to taste

To Grind
to a smooth paste:
Coconut - 3 tbsp
Jeera (Cumin seeds) - 1 tsp
Splash of water, as needed

Seasonings:
Gingelly Oil - 2 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Urad dhal - 1/2 tsp
Jeera (Cumin seeds) - 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves - few
Asafoetida (hing) - pinch

Method:
1) Pressure cook the unshelled groundnuts with some salt and about 1/2 cup water for 3 whistles. Then shell them to get the soft groundnuts inside.
2) Heat 2 tsp of oil and season with mustard, urad dhal, jeera and curry leaves. Add the chopped onions and garlic. Saute this until golden.

3) Now add the eggplant pieces and when they soften a bit, add the tomatoes, salt, turmeric and sambhar powder. Stir and cook for a few minutes before adding the tamarind juice.

4) Allow this to boil for about 5 minutes before adding the cooked groundnuts. Add salt to taste, if necessary.

5) Let this cook until the raw smell goes away, the veggies have softened and thickens slightly.

6) Add the ground coconut-jeera paste. Let this boil for 5 more minutes before serving.

We had it with vazhakkai roast and butternut squash erissery.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Tortilla Pinwheels

These are an easy snack to make and make for great party or picnic food because these can be made ahead and refrigerated and sliced just when you are ready to serve. It also lends itself to sneaking a fair bit of veggies into the mix and can be made to be quite spicy, if desired.

I used the plain tortillas since that's what I had on hand but it would be even better with spinach or tomato tortillas and adds a splash of colour as well.

TORTILLA PINWHEELS


Ingredients:

Tortillas - about 6

For the filling:
Light Cream Cheese - 1 (8 oz) pack, softened
Black beans - about half cup, drained and mashed coarsely (I used canned)
Red bell pepper - half medium, chopped
Fresh spinach - 2 cups, chopped
Carrot - 1 big, shredded
Chilli powder - 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp

Coriander powder - 1/2 tsp
Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp
Salt & Pepper - to taste
Pepperjack cheese - 1/4 cup, shredded
Tomato Ketchup - 2 tsp
Chilli sauce (I used Sriracha) - 1 to 2 tsp

Method:
1) Stir together all of the above ingredients under the filling to a thick consistency.

2) Spread a thick layer on the tortillas with some space around the edges.

3) Roll the tortilla tightly and wrap each in cling wrap and refrigerate for atleast a few hours or overnight. This will help the cream cheese solidify a bit so cutting into it will be easier.

4) Cut these into thick slices when ready to serve and be prepared for a tasty treat.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Creamy Mushroom Pasta

Pasta always comes to the rescue on those evenings when I'm short on time and have absolutely no idea what to make for dinner. It's so versatile and easily adaptable to our tastes and the ingredients available at that time. On one such evening, i had some cream, cream cheese and mushrooms on hand and so decided to whip this up. It hardly took 30 minutes and was deliciously creamy.

CREAMY MUSHROOM PASTA

Ingredients:
Penne - 6 to 8 ounces, cooked acc. to package directions in plenty of boiling water
Mushroom (Button or baby bella) - 8 oz, sliced
Onion - 1 small, sliced thin into 1 inch pieces
Garlic - 3 to 4 cloves, chopped or crushed
Red Bell Pepper - half of a medium one, chopped
Roma Tomato - half of a small one, chopped (optional)
Light Cream cheese - 4 oz, softened
Cream - 3 tbsp
Olive oil + Butter - 1 tbsp
Red chilli flakes - 1 tsp
Basil and chives - 1 tsp each, chopped ( I used fresh)
Parmesan cheese - about 2 to 3 tbsp
Salt and pepper to taste.

Method:
1) Drain cooked pasta and reserve about 1 cup of the cooking liquid - which will help thicken our sauce, if too dry.

2) Heat the olive oil and butter combination in a pan and toss in the garlic, onions and once they brown slightly, toss in the red pepper and allow to soften with the red chilli flakes.

3) Next add the mushroom slices and a pinch of salt so the mushrooms soften and cook down till almost dry. Add the chopped tomato and saute till heated through with salt to taste.

4) Mix the softened cream cheese with a few tablespoons of the cooking liquid to make a smooth paste and add this to the vegetable mixture along with the cream and cooked pasta.

5) Season with pepper to taste... allow this to simmer for a few minutes until the sauce is thick enough to coat the pasta.

6) Finally stir in the parmesan cheese along with the fresh herbs and serve.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Cooking from other blogs # 6

It's been a while since I posted recipes that I've tried from other bloggers... so here they are:

1) Seema's Alsanda Bea Koddel - this was a beautiful, easy curry with Black-eyed beans and we enjoyed it.



2) Shilpa's Spicy Egg - which was easy, spicy and delicious.


3) Raaga's Tori Bendi - i loved the name and the dish. What was even more delightful was the fact that I finally found a recipe to use the whole pigeon peas that my husband bought instead of toor dhal :)


4) Srivalli's Channa Pulao - this has been on my list for ages (since she posted to be precise). Her description made me crave it and I finally made it - it didn't disappoint me one bit. My husband who was skeptical initially loved it as well.

Here's the recipe with some (very slight) modifications I made:

Ingredients

For Rice

Basmati Rice - 2 cups
Turmeric Powder a pinch
Cumin Seeds - 1 tsp
Bay leaf - 1
Clove - 2
Cinnamon - 2”
Salt to taste
Water - 3.5 cups

For Masala

Onion - 1 medium
Green chilis - 6
Mint Leaves (Pudina) - ½ cup
Coriander Leaves - 1/2 cup
Coconut - 50 gms
Garlic - 4 pods
Ginger - 2"

For Channa Pulao

Kabuli Channa - 1 cup, pressure cooked separately with little salt (or two 15.5 oz cans)
Onion – 1, chopped
Tomato – 1, finely chopped
chili powder - 1 tsp
Garam Masala - 1 tsp
Salt to tasteOil - 1 tbsp
Ghee - 1 tbsp

Method to prepare:

1. Soak Channa overnight. Then pressure cook with little salt till soft. Drain the channa

2. Fry the masala ingredients (except coconut, mint and coriander) in a tsp of oil and when cool grind with coconut, mint & coriander to a paste.

3. Pressure cook rice and allow to cool completely.

4. Heat oil in a big kadai, add onion, fry till golden. Next add tomatoes with salt and cook till mushy. Then add the ground masala, cook on high flame for few mins, add chili powder. Add cooked channa and about 1/4 cup water, cover and allow to cook for 15 mins on low-medium. Increase flame to let most of the water evaporate.

5. Then gently mix the cooked rice to this masala along with 1 tbsp ghee. Cover and keep on low flame for 5 mins. Switch off the stove.

5) Manisha's No-oil Lime Pickle - this has to be one of the most popular pickle recipe and countless folks gave this a shot last summer. I decided then that I would definitely make this and here I am. It's still in the process so I can't really write about the taste yet but I can't wait to get a bite of this. A picture of the ingredients before I proceeded to give it a toss.


6) Viji's Bread Rolls - were crunchy, tasty & healthy like all her recipes are. Can't link it however since her blog is now private.


7) Pravs Eggless Banana Cake with Raisins - which is pretty healthy and makes for a nutritious snack for kids.


8) Sig's Butternut Squash Erissery - this is my first attempt at cooking with butternut squash and I chose this coconutty dish from her fabulous blog.


9) Suganya's Mor Kali - I've always heard about Mor Kali from my friends but never tasted it because my parents are not a big fan of this. Even when I tried to explain to my mom how my friends had raved about this, in the hopes that she would make for me, she didn't give it a very tempting review. I finally gave this a shot myself and used Suganya's recipe.
It has only a few ingredients: Riceflour, Buttermilk, Red Chillies, tempering, oil & salt. This will also be my entry to this month's MBP - Less is More hosted by the talented Nupur. MBP is the brainchild of Coffee .


I would also like to send this post to Madhuram's Your Recipe Rocks (YRR) event.
To see other recipes I've tried out from other blogs - click here.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Karahi Dosai

This is something that my MIL made when she visited us... Since dosais usually dry out a bit and are not ideal to pack for lunches, uthappams serve as a great alternative and fit the bill where dosais fail. She made these dosais, kind of thick like oothappams, in a karahi made of iron (iruppu chatti in Tamil) and made them kind of plump, sprinkled roasted red onions and spiced it with some red chillies and idli milagai podi - it was just so good! The edges were crisped up and it was soft and fluffy in the middle. It's a little wonder that my husband just loves them - as do I.

KADAI DOSAI

Ingredients:
Dosa Batter - as required
Red Onions - 1 or 2, medium (OR) Shallots, chopped
Dried Red Chillies - 4 to 5, broked into small bits
Idli Milagai podi - to taste
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Oil - 2 tsp + enough to make dosas
Salt - to taste

Method:
1) Heat the 2 tsp of oil in the karahi and toss in the mustard seeds, once they splutter, add the broken bits of dried red chillies and the chopped onions with some salt. Cook until the onions brown. Set this mixture aside.

2) Return the karahi to the stove and add a spoonful of oil and swirl it a little bit. Pour about one to two scoops of dosa batter and spread it just a little bit in the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle the idli milagai podi and onion-chilli mixture on top. Drizzle some oil along the edges and on the dosa.


3) Let this cook on a low flame and when the bottom is fully cooked, turn it over and cook the other side as well. It tastes good all by itself and doesn't really require any other accompaniment.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

My friend's 5 year old daughter goes for a baking class and I heard that they whip up quite a few delicacies there - like quiche, sugar cookies, irish soda bread, cakes and so on... It reminded me of the Cooking class that was offered at our school during our 'interest period'. We were allowed to pick 2 classes each year and we could pick from embroidery, carpentry, photography, carnatic vocal, veena, violin, guitar, bharathanatyam, cooking, flute, mirudhangam and so on... I was rather keen on the cooking class - mainly because we got to eat the treats that were made and they were quite different (mostly snacks and sweets) from the usual fare we get a home but my mom dissuaded me saying that I would most probably be doing a fair bit of cooking later on in life and this was my chance to try out something else. We did get a taste of some of the yummy treats from friends who were in the cooking class from time to time.. and I'm glad I picked Veena and Embroidery - immensely enjoyed myself.

So, this little girl came with a recipe card when she visited our place and we set about re-creating the chocolate chip oatmeal cookie she had made in her previous class. She was so excited and helped in measuring, mixing and also putting spoonfuls of the dough onto the baking sheet. We loved the crispy, crunchy taste of the cookies so I wrote down the recipe and made it again a while ago.. Thank you Joshna for this fabulous recipe.

CHOCOLATE CHIP OATMEAL COOKIES
Yield - 30 to 40 small cookies


Ingredients:
All purpose Flour - 1 cup
Oats (I used Quaker old fashioned) - 2/3 cup
Butter - 1/2 cup
Chocolate Chips - 1 cup
Sugar - 1/2 cup

Brown Sugar - 1/2 cup
Vanilla - 1 tsp
Egg - 1
Baking Soda - 1 tsp
Baking powder - 1/2 tsp
Salt - a tiny pinch

Method:
1) Preheat oven to 375F. Combine flour, oats, baking soda, baking powder and salt with a wire whisk.

2) Beat softened butter, brown sugar and sugar on medium, till creamy and smooth.

3) Add the vanilla and egg, beat on low till incorporated.

4) Add the dry ingredients and beat until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

5) Drop rounded spoonfuls of the dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet (atleast 2 inches apart) and bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until lightly golden. Allow to cool completely to get the crunchy taste...



I wanted to take this opportunity to mention some awards that I've received...
JZ & Ramya were sweet to give me the 'Giant Bear Hug' Award - Thank you girls for your generosity...

I would like to pass this onto my good friends Seema , TBC , Rajitha & Kribha

Madhavi has given me the 'Blogging with a Purpose' Award - extremely kind of her. I would like to pass this onto Viji, JZ, Sig, Easy Crafts and Nandita.


Vegetable Platter - has given me the Yummy Blog Award. Thank you so much! :)