Thursday, March 31, 2011

Methi Matar Malai

Just when I was rejoicing that spring was here early, the weather has taken a turn and we have cold, gray days again.... But atleast it's nice and bright till nearly 7pm - and that always boosts my spirits. I can't wait for the beautiful spring flowers...

Today's recipe is one that involves the slightly bitter fenugreek/methi leaves (vendhaya keerai) - I always bring home a bunch since it's easy to find fresh methi leaves quite often and they are usually used in this gravy or added with chapathi dough or adai. However today's gravy has a creamy component going on that makes this methi leaves and peas combination taste heavenly.... I used this recipe (with some modifications) and got mouthwatering results and it won over everyone in the family. I think the idea of cooking the onions in boiling water is an important step and ensures there is no raw taste of the onions without using too much oil/ghee.

METHI MATAR MALAI (Fenugreek Greens & Peas in Creamy Gravy)



Ingredients:


Methi leaves - 1 bunch, leaves plucked and washed
Fresh/Frozen Peas - 1 cup
Onion - 1 small sized, peeled 

Almonds - 6 to 7 (soaked in hot water)
Green Chillies - 5
Cloves - 2
Cardamom - 1
Coriander powder - half tsp
Salt - to taste
Milk - 1.5 cups
Oil - 2 tsp
Ghee - 1 tsp

Method:
1) Pierce the halved onion with cloves and drop in boiling water. Allow to cook for about 8 mins till soft. Drain from the water and remove the cloves



2) Grind this onion with green chillies and almond/cashew to a fine paste.


3) Heat oil/ghee in a pan, add cardamom and the ground paste and fry for about 5 to 7 mins. on medium flame.


4) Now add the methi leaves and allow to cool till wilted. Then add the peas, coriander powder and salt and cook for another 5 mins.


5) Add the milk and bring to a slow simmer until it thickens a bit. Serve hot with rotis.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Broccoli Artichoke Crescent Wreath

Crescent Rolls are so versatile and adaptable - they make entertaining so easy and fun. I've used them to make these spinach pinwheels and sometimes to substitute puff pastry in some recipes... When a friend made these spinach-artichoke wreath recipe using cresecnt rolls, I loved how it looked and the way it tasted. She said that it was really simple to make and I wanted to try since then.

However, when the day finally came (when i had both, artichoke and crescent rolls), I noticed that I didn't have any spinach (fresh/frozen). But I still wanted to go ahead, so I substituted spinach with chopped broccoli instead and proceeded to make these. This with soup made for a filling, satisfying dinner. Thank you Jessy for introducing me to this pretty dish!

BROCCOLI/SPINACH ARTICHOKE WREATH


Ingredients:
Pillsbury Crescent Rolls - 1 pack (refrigerated)
Milk - 1 tbsp or Egg Wash
Parmesan cheese - 1 tbsp, sprinkle on top (optional)

For Filling:
Artichoke hearts (canned) - half of a can, drained and chopped
Broccoli - half cup, chopped or 5 oz of frozen chopped spinach
Red Bell Peppers - 1/3 cup, chopped
Mozzarella cheese - half cup, shredded
Parmesan cheese - quarter cup, shredded
Mayonnaise/Sour Cream - 3 tbsp
Garlic cloves - 3, minced
Red Chilli flakes - 1 tsp or to taste
Olive oil - 1 tsp
Salt and Black Pepper - to taste

Method:
1) Preheat oven to 375F

2) In a small pan, heat olive oil and add garlic, once the garlic is sizzling, add in the red chilli flakes and chopped broccoli/spinach and saute with a pinch of salt until 3/4th cooked but still crispy.

3) In a bowl, combine the chopped artichoke, with the sauteed broccoli/spinach mixture and stir in the mayo/sourcream and the cheeses. Season to taste with some salt and pepper - this is our filling.


4) Unroll the crescent rolls and separate out the triangles along the perforations - you should have 8 triangles in all.

5) In a large baking sheet, covered with foil/parchment paper, arrange the triangles with some overlap at the base of the triangles with the edges pointing outward - see picture below. It will resemble a picture of the sun.



6) Now place the filling mixture along the base of the triangles.


7) Bring the tips of the triangles over at a slight angle and tuck in under the wreath. Some of the filling will show and that is perfectly fine.


8) Brush the tops with milk/egg wash and sprinkle some parmesan cheese on top. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in a hot oven or until light golden brown.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Soya Chunks Kurma

I've been absconding because work has been rather busy and there were quite a few things going on... To add on, I have a project on Queensland, Australia due on April 1st - actually, my 5 year old daughter does, but we all know who will and can browse for information, print pictures and create a huge chart for display at the school's International Festival! She is very excited about it and am sure she will help me as much as she can but it's still one more thing for me to do... We also have to figure out a way to do it while the little brother is out of the way. She also has a 'test' at her carnatic vocal class the coming weekend so every evening we've been practicing sarale varasais and getting her to perfect that and her taalam has been rather daunting. I thought all my stressful school days are over but the truth is that they are back!

Coming to this kurma recipe... I have to talk about soya chunks - i love these chewy little, protein packed fellas - always have and I can't believe that this is the first kurma recipe that i'm posting that involves them. This gravy is creamy with coconut milk and you can even add peanuts but I went with almonds instead and pressure cooked it so that made the soya chunks kind of melt in the mouth and they absorbed the flavour of the gravy beautifully.


SOYA CHUNKS KURMA Ingredients: Soya chunks - about 25 pieces Peas - half cup or so (I used frozen) Onion - 1 medium (if big, use 3/4) - chopped Tomato paste - 1 to 2 tbsp diluted in water (substitute with 1 pureed tomato) Coconut milk - 1/3 cup (you can also use coconut milk powder mixed with warm water) Salt - to taste Garam masala - 1/4 tsp Coriander leaves - for garnish Oil - 3 tsp (divided) To Fry & Grind: Garlic - 5 cloves Ginger - 1 inch piece Green Chillies - 5 to 6 Poppy seeds - 1 tsp Almonds / Cashews - 12 Coriander seeds - 2 tsp Cumin seeds - 1 tsp Chilli powder - half to 1 tsp (to taste) Curry Powder / Kitchen king masala - half tsp Method: 1) Boil water in a wide mouthed bowl with a bit of salt and add the dry soya chunks (Nutrela). Switch off the stove, cover and allow to cook for 15 min. This makes them soft and they also become quite big. If too, big you can halve them after squeezing out all the water from them (once cooled). Set them aside. 2) Meanwhile, fry the ingredients to grind in a tsp of oil for a few mins. Allow to cool and grind to a fine paste with some water.


3) In a cooker, heat the remaining oil and fry the chopped onions till soft and translucent. Now add the diluted tomato paste (or tomato puree) followed by the ground paste. Fry till the paste is almost dry.


4) Add the frozen peas at this stage and salt as required, along with the well drained soya chunks & garam masala. Add sufficient water and coconut milk to form gravy of desired thickness.


5) Cover and pressure cook this for about 7 minutes or 2 whistles.


6) Once the pressure is released, transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle coriander leaves as a garnish. This pairs well with chapathis/rotis. Note: This can be just cooked in a pan but I think pressure cooking makes the soya chunks taste even better.


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Apple Crisp

Looking for a warm, comforting dessert that tastes heavenly with vanilla ice cream? This is the recipe for you. Juicy apples, sweetened with some sugar tossed with tart cranberries and topped with a crumbly mixture of flour, oats, brown sugar, nuts and butter - what more could one ask for.... This is the perfect fall dessert but can be made any time really. I made this for a party so some hurried pictures were taken but it was a dessert that both, the kids and adults enjoyed.

APPLE CRISP


Ingredients:
Apples (I used a mix of granny smith and red delicious) - 4 or 5, peeled, cored and cut into half inch pieces
Sugar - 1/4 cup, or to taste depending on how tart/sweet the apples are
Dried Cranberries (Craisins) - 1/4 cup (optional)

For Topping:
All purpose flour - half cup
Regular oats - half cup
Walnuts - 1/3 cup, chopped finely
Brown sugar - half cup
Sugar - 1/4 cup
Cinnamon - half tsp (optional)
Butter - 5 to 6 tbsp, softened

Method:

1) Preheat oven to 350F. Butter a large casserole dish.


2) In a large bowl combine the filling ingredients - apple, sugar, cranberries and place in the casserole.

3) Combine the ingredients for the topping until crumbly in a separate bowl and spread over the apple mixture (to cover it).


4) Bake the mixture for about 35 to 45 minutse or until topping is golden brown. Serve warm with some vanilla ice cream!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Eggless Vanilla Cake

It was my son's half-birthday few weeks back - he's 1 and a half now (ok, I admit, I was just looking for an excuse to bake a cake). It so happened that we had some friends over for lunch on that day, so this delicious cake from Sharmi's blog was included in the menu (that comprised of Vazhaipoo vadai, Poori & Potato Masaal, Egg Curry, Vegetable Biryani, Capsicum-cabbage raitha & Rasamalais).

The cake requires no special equipment and needs just a whisk to blend everything together - it's very easy and quick to make and my friends were asking me for the recipe since everyone enjoyed it. I increased the amount of sugar and added some tutti frutti in just for some colour, but that's entirely optional. Thank you for this tasty recipe Sharmi.

EGGLESS VANILLA CAKE


Ingredients:All Purpose Flour (Maida) - 1.5 cups
Thick Yogurt - 1 cup
Sugar - 1 cup
Vegetable oil - half cup
Baking powder - 1.5 tsp
Baking soda - 1/4 tsp
Vanilla extract - 1 tsp
Tutti Frutti - 3-4 tbsp, mixed with a tsp of flour (optional)

Method:1) Sieve all purpose flour twice. Preheat oven to 375F

2) Whisk/blend together yogurt and sugar thoroughly. Add baking powder and baking soda and mix well. Leave aside for 5 minutes.... (small bubbles will start to appear)

3) Add vegetable oil, vanilla extract and mix well. Add flour in small portions, mixing well after each addition until creamy and thick. Stir in the tutti frutti (if using)

4) Lightly grease a loaf pan with some oil, pour the prepared batter and bake for 20 minutes

5) Remove from oven, brush the top with some milk, return to the oven and bake for another 10-15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

6) Allow cake to cool completely before slicing and digging in.