Monday, November 21, 2011

Spicy Dahi Aloo

This dish is a combination of spicy and tangy flavours with a favorite, popular veggie - potatoes that get cooked delicately in this curry and absorb all the spices... This goes great with pulao, naan or rotis and is sure to tickle your tastebuds. This gravy would look pretty with little baby potatoes but since I didn't have them, I just used normal potatoes that had been cubed.


SPICY DAHI ALOO


Ingredients:


Potatoes - 3 medium, cooked until firm but done & peeled
If using baby potatoes - use about 10 to 12
Onion - 1 small one or half of a medium one, chopped finely
Ginger-garlic paste - 1 tsp
Yogurt - half cup, thick
Milk - quarter cup
Chilli powder - 1 to 1.5 tsp
Coriander powder or Curry powder - half tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Garam masala - half tsp
Kasuri Methi - half tsp, crushed
Oil - 2 tbsp
Salt - to taste
Cloves - 1
Cumin seeds - half tsp
Cardamom - 1 pod
Asafoetida/hing - a pinch

Method:
1) Microwave the potatoes with water to cover them for 6 minutes. They have to be cooked but firm, not mushy (so slightly underdone). Peel the potatoes. If using the big ones, like me, cut them into big chunks. Pierce the potatoes lightly.

2) In a wide non-stick pan, add about 2 tsp of oil and pan fry the potato chunks till browned - sprinkle a bit of salt on them while doing this.


3) In a kadai, add the remaining oil & season with clove, cardamom, cumin seeds & hing, then add the finely chopped onions and ginger garlic paste. Saute this until the onions are slightly browned.

4) Now add the masala powders (coriander/curry, turmeric, chilli powder and garam masala), stir for abt 30 seconds, ensuring they don't burn. Add half cup water to this mixture and allow to boil for about 3 to 4 minutes.

5) Whisk the yogurt and milk together. Reduce the flame of the kadai to a simmer and add the yogurt mixture to the curry. Add salt to taste and the potato chunks. Cover and allow to simmer for atleast 20 minutes - oil will float on top.


6) Finally add in the crushed kasuri methi. Serve with naan or chapathis.



I would like to send this yummy curry to Lisa's event 'A celebration of Indian Food'.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Broccoli Cheese Soup

Now that the cooler weather is upon us I'm including a lot of soups in our diet and this recipe is something that even kids will like (skip the red chilli flakes when making for them). Combining finely chopped broccoli (the frozen packs make this a breeze) with some smooth, creamy cheese is sure to warm you up in such a delicious way. The tiny specs of carrot add colour & nutrition.



BROCCOLI CHEESE SOUP

Ingredients:

Broccoli, chopped - 10 to 12 oz (I used the frozen pack)
Carrot - 1, peeled and chopped finely
Onion - 1 small to medium, peeled & chopped finely
Garlic cloves - 5, peeled and minced
Processed Cheese (Velveeta) - 7 oz - 8 oz (I used 9 to 10 slices of processed cheese - Borden brand)

Milk - 1 cup or if you want it richer, you can use
lesser quantity of half and half.
Vegetable stock - 2 cans (4 cups approx)
Water - 1 cup
Corn starch - 1 tbsp
Red chilli flakes - 1 tsp or more to taste (optional)
Celery salt - half tsp (optional)
Salt & Pepper to taste
Olive oil - 1 tbsp
Butter - 1 tbsp

Method:

1) Heat oil and butter and saute the garlic and onions till translucent. Add red chilli flakes and celery salt now, if using.

2) Next add the chopped carrot and saute for a few minute more before adding the chopped broccoli. Add the vegetable stock and 1 cup of water at this point and bring to a boil. Reduce flame and allow this to simmer for 15 minutes until the veggies are tender.

3) Add the cheese (cut into small pieces) and stir into the soup until. Next add the milk (or half and half if using) and keep on a simmer.

4) After about 5 minutes, mix the cornstarch with a few tbsp of cold water to a smooth paste and add to the soup, stirring continuously until it thickens to desired consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste.


The soup is now ready to serve with some crisp croutons or garlic bread.
If you don't love cheese but want a tasty, creamy soup check out my Creamy Broccoli Soup

Monday, November 7, 2011

Microwave Sabudana Khichdi / Javvarisi Upma

My dad would often try new recipes at home.. he was the one who introduced us to lauki koftas, home-made chocolate and this sabudhana khichdi among other dishes. He made this sound so simple and since I loved this, I decided to surprise my inlaws with this upma one day and didn't know how to soak the sabudana and soon it became a gooey mess - much to my disappointment. My dad on the other hand would churn out large amounts of the upma effortlessly - where every tapioca pearl would be separate and perfectly cooked.

I tried with several brands of sabudana/tapioca pearls here in the US but it was never satisfactory - my mom said that you need something called nylon sabudana which is not white but colourless... Anyway, all my sabudana woes disappeared when I chanced upon Nupur's microwave recipe - so much easier and the results have never disappointed me - always comes out perfect and finally I have an upma that is close to my dad's version (regardless of the type of sabudana)! (Thank you Nupur and thanks to your mom too for introducing you to this Microwave method). I've posted the fact that I've tried her recipe before but this time I wanted to post the recipe itself since I've made some changes to suit our taste and added a few things that are not traditionally added to this dish which is often eaten when ending a fast - such as onions.

My husband who never took to this initially and would only tolerate it if I fried them like vadas is now a huge fan of this upma... he loves the crunchy peanuts in the dish, I love the chewy tapioca and my son loves the potatoes :) so all in all a winner.

MICROWAVE SABUDHANA KHICHDI


Ingredients:

Javvarisi/ Sabudana/tapioca pearls - 1.5 cups (soaking method given below)
Raw/Roasted peanuts (unsalted) - about 1 cup

Potato - 1 big one, peeled & cut into tiny cubes

Onion - 1 small to medium, finely chopped (optional)

G. chillies - 5 to 6, minced finely (adjust to taste)

Ginger - 1 inch piece, minced finely

Cumin seeds - half tsp

Coriander leaves & Grated Coconut - 1 tbsp each (for garnish)
Ghee - 1 tbsp
Oil - 1 tbsp

Sugar - half tsp
Salt - 1.5 tsp (adjust to taste)


Method:

1) Wash sabudana, drain then cover with just enough water to cover the pearls. Cover and leave overnight or atleast 6 hours. Fluff gently with a fork.

2) If using raw peanuts, roast at 425F for about 10 minutes and remove he skin. If using already roasted peanuts, skip this step. Once the roasted peanuts have cooled, grind coarsely.

3) Mix the sabudana with the coarsely ground peanuts and set aside.

4) In a strong microwaveable bowl (I used a wide pyrex one), add oil, ghee, cumin seeds, g. chillies, ginger, onion and potato - microwave this for 2 mins. Add a teeny bit of salt and microwave again for a minute or until the potatoes are almost cooked.


5) Add the sabudana, peanuts, salt and sugar and mix well. Cook on high for 2 minutes and allow to rest in the microwave for a minute.


6) Stir and cook- 2 mis on high and rest for a minute or two. Check if done, if not cook for 1 minute intervals until the sabudana is cooked
(will look translucent), allowing it to rest for a minute each time after.

7) When done, stir in the coriander leaves and grated coconut (if using). Tasty upma is now ready to serve. This is a very filling, high calorie breakfast.




Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Lemon Rice & Breakfast Ideas

I'm sure everyone is feeling pretty stuffed and sweet after Deepavali and Halloween... :) I know I am. Eventhough this year I didn't feel like making a whole lot of things, I still made 7 cups burfi (always reliable and always yummy) and chaklis and thankfully both came out really well.. and for Diwali dinner we had an elaborate meal with vadai and semia payasam. I trust you all had a lovely celebration.

Coming to the simpler things in life, I can't believe I haven't posted lemon rice on this blog in all these years. This is probably the easiest thing one can whip up... is super quick and anything tangy & spicy is a winner in my book.

Lemon Rice


Ingredients:
Rice - 1 cup (I prefer to not use Basmati)
Lemon juice - 3 to 4 tbsp (depends on how tangy and juicy your lemons are)
Channa dhal - 1 tbsp, soaked for abt 15 mins
Dried Peanuts - 2 tbsp (optional)
Dried Red Chillies - 2, broken into bits
Green chillies - 5, slit into two
Curry leaves and coriander leaves
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Hing/asafoetida - a pinch
Mustard seeds, Urad dhal - half tsp each
Salt - to taste
Oil - 1 tbsp

Method:
1) Cook rice with about 2 cups of water & a bit of salt (1:2 is what works for the rice I have but this can vary). Ensure the grains are separate and not mushy. When cooked, quickly transfer to a wide, shallow plate and allow to cool.





2) Heat the oil, season with mustard seeds and urad dhal, once the mustard starts popping, add the channa dhal, peanuts, red and g. chillies, curry leaves, hing, turmeric powder and salt. Saute this until they get fried - takes several minutes.


3) Add the cooked and cooled rice to this and mix (I use a spatula) gently until well coated with the seasonings.


4) Switch off the stove and add the lemon juice, stirring well. Finally garnish with coriander leaves.


This tastes best when it has rested for a while and has time for the flavours to marry. Sometimes I add in half of a chopped onion and fry that along with the seasonings for a tasty variation.

Before I sign off, I wanted to share some of my new favorites when it comes to breakfast...


1) Sprout salad with whole wheat bread & egg - Mung sprouts tossed with onion, tomatoes, g. chillies (sometimes i add grated carrots too), lemon juice and salt makes the sprout salad. Something my dad whipped up very often when he was here.


2) Avocado and Tomato Open Faced Sandwich - Toast a whole wheat bread slice until crisp, spread some Maggi hot and sweet sauce on it, then layer with sliced tomatoes, topped with sliced, ripe Hass avocados (so buttery and good), squeeze a few drops of lemon juice and sprinkle with salt and pepper. The crisp toast with the creamy avocado with the tang of tomatoes - so tasty!



My husband, who grimaced at first when I offered him a taste, quickly changed his mind after taking a bite and stole my sandwich.. of course I had more avocados so made myself another one... and forgave him :)

Well, that's for now... will catch up with you all later.