Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Cooking from other blogs #8


It's been so long since I posted a round-up of recipes that I've tried and loved from other blogs.... Whenever I am running low on ideas or have a craving for something new, all I need to do is do a quick rundown of my bookmarked recipes or browse around to either get inspiration from or even better - get tried and trusted recipes that are sure to please my family...   So, a big thank you to all for giving me these fabulous recipes.

1) First, this is something I tried from Sailu's food blog which has some pretty amazing recipes. This Broken Wheat Spinach Pongal is very satisfying and also great to serve kids since it's a one pot complete meal... as you can see, I've added quite a bit of spinach when I made this... great with yogurt or even pickle.



2) This Bok Choy Kootu from Priya's blog is now something of a regular at our home and from me being the only one who eats bok choy (as a stir-fry), it has now become something that the entire family eats and is quick and easy to prepare for weeknight dinners as well. The only modification I make is to substitute the flax seeds with almonds since that's what I usually have in my pantry...




3) For a tasty appetizer made of soy that even my chicken loving husband liked, I'd recommend Vegan Popcorn Chicken from Soma's blog. I pretty much followed the recipe except for increasing the spices and baked them instead of deep frying... They had a lovely crunch coating and this is definitely something I'll make often.



4) I bought black cardamom from India just to try out Anita's famous Punjabi Chhole recipe and it didn't disappoint... the fresh masala powder was great and i added some jaggery too to tone down the spices a bit.... definitely a keeper of a recipe.




5) Onto the sweeter things, I tried a batch of Nandita's heathiest cookies which are made with oats, nuts, chocolate chips, bananas and coconut.... Initially I thought that only I would enjoy them (since they were the healthy kind)  but the entire family loved it and the ripe banana taste combined with coconut and the chewy texture of oats with a generous dose of chocolate chips was such a winning combination.



6) I tried these milk powder burfis from Aarthi's blog since i had pack of milk powder that I wanted to use up and it seemed really simple and easy... I just went a bit easy on the sugar (than what the recipe called for) since the milk powder was already sweet and the resulting fudge was very tasty, especially when warm and had great texture and my friends and kids loved it.

7) Also, these tasty Eggless Nutella Cookies from Treat and Trick's blog, a simple fuss free recipe using Nutella which can be whipped up in no time and results in irresistible crunchy, cookies...


8) These healthy Oats Adais from Lata akka's blog which was such a tasty twist on usual adai and the evening I made them, I had a surprise visit from friends and they loved the adai too and they weren't even big on oats - so a definite winner even if you have someone who doesn't like oats.

9) Also, Quinoa Mung dosai from Usha's veg inspirations.... a great way to get everybody to eat quinoa - even those who don't particularly have a taste for it. Unfortunately no pictures for these 2 items... will update this post when I make these next. 

I'd like to also post the picture of the breakfast I had a few days ago... it was absolutely delicious and had an avocado-tomato salad (with lemon juice, salt and pepper) and a curried hardboiled egg (no mayo) made with onions and carrots and to scoop these up, some fresh, crisp lettuce leaves and half an apple to finish off the meal.




Thursday, May 17, 2012

Quinoa Mung Salad

I think this is my first post with Quinoa (Keen-wah)... although I've been including it my diet... the rest of the family did not follow suit. It definitely wasn't love at first sight but since I had read that it is pretty healthy combined with the fact that it has a fair bit of protein, I gave it another try when my mom made ven pongal with it, substituting quinoa for rice  and loved it... my parents also liked it though my husband refused to even give it a try. Later I found this Quinoa-Mung dosai recipe and that was something that the whole family (husband and kids included) ate with no complaints - thanks to Usha.

One day when I had some sprouted mung beans, I decided to combine it with some quinoa for a salad since I had tasted something similar at Costco.  Added veggies and wanting some sweetness added some orange segments as well... I forced my husband to taste it but after the first bite he was hooked. I then served it with the pita chips (remember this recipe? and yes we still had some left, bags from Costco are humongous) for him and he liked the crunch from the pita chips and now he has been asking me to pack this for his lunch :) I'm glad this recipe made a convert of him.  I have made this salad several times since then and is very easy and perfect for hot summer days (when you don't want to be in the kitchen) since there's very minimal cooking involved and it's easy to change up the veggies and fruit so you can have a tasty variation each time. Makes a great dish for packed lunches or picnics too.


QUINOA MUNG SALAD - 3 to 4 servings

Quinoa Mung Salad

Ingredients:
 Dry Quinoa - 1/3 cup cooked
Green Mung Beans- half cup dry, soaked overnight or sprouted.
Onion - half of a small one, chopped
Tomato - half of a medium one, chopped
Cucumber - half cup, seeded and chopped
Orange - sections of 2 oranges, cut into pieces
Bell pepper (raw or roasted, green or red) - 1/3 cup chopped
Spinach - big handful of raw, chopped finely
Coriander leaves / Parsley - 2 tbsp, chopped
Lemon Juice - juice from 1 lemon or to taste
Extra Virgin Olive oil - 1 tbsp
Lemon - Pepper seasoning (optional) - few shakes
Butter - 1 tsp

Salt & ground Black pepper - to taste



Method:

1) Heat a small deep pan on medium, add quinoa and water in the ratio 1:2 (so 2/3 cup in this case), add a tsp of butter and a few pinches of salt (better to undersalt at this stage). Once the water starts to boil, reduce flame to a simmer, cover with a lid and allow to cook until dry (about 10 to 15 mins). Once done, stir gently and keep aside. The key is not overcook quinoa so it has a slight crunch and that gives the salad great texture. 


2) Since the green beans were soaked, they needed only a few minutes in the microwave. Add beans, a bit of salt and a tbsp of water and cook for about 5 to 6 minutes until cooked but still has a bite to it. The skins may peel off but no need to discard. The water had fully evaporated for me, but if not drain it. 


3) In a large bowl, combine the cooked quinoa, mung dhal, onion, tomato, cucumber, bell pepper (I used red), spinach and coriander leaves. 


4) In a small bowl combine the extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, salt, black pepper and some lemon-pepper seasoning if using (I had the Mccormick brand that i'm trying to use up) and stir this into the quinoa-mung salad.


5) Finally stir in the orange segments (I even added some of the orange juice i got when cutting into the orange). Chill this for about 15-30 minutes to allow the flavours to mingle. Tasty quinoa salad is ready.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Thai Curry (Red/Green)

I can't believe I haven't posted this dish so far since this is something I make very often.. atleast once every 2 weeks especially when I'm hard pressed for time... this may have a lot of veggie chopping involved but it still works out to be a fast dish and a wholesome one since it has an array of vegetables and tofu simmered in spicy thai curry infused coconut milk.  Initially I used to make the pastes myself but after I found the Maesri brand of canned thai curries, I've stopped doing that... this brand has no shrimp paste included (something i always check for) and is fully vegetarian and tastes just perfect. Also, with most restaurant dishes that I recreate at home, I love the fact that I can add a ton of veggies. Feel free to vary the vegetables you use based on your preferences and what you have... I've used eggplant, beans, cauliflower, broccoli, zucchini, carrots, sugar snap peas, bell peppers etc. in all kinds of combination and have never been disappointed.

I love the red curries while my husband is partial to the green curry... my daughter loves them both and infact she gets so excited when she gets a whiff of the fragrant curry and comes to the kitchen asking "Are you making my favorite curry?" While eating dinner she keeps claiming that she wishes she could eat this everyday... She even tolerates the spiciness of the dish just cause she loves it so much. I  try to mix in more rice and even some ghee to make it less spicy for her and my son.... I usually add the entire can of the curry paste but if it's too much (read spicy) then you can add according to taste and store the remaining in a bottle in the refrigerator and use the next time or add to noodle dishes such as this.

THAI RED/GREEN CURRY






Ingredients:

Tofu - 16 oz, drained and pressed down with paper towels for an hour.
Veggies of choice - about 4 to 5 cups raw (
I've used eggplant, beans, cauliflower, broccoli, zucchini, carrots, sugar snap peas, bell peppers)
Maesri brand Red Curry/Green curry paste - 1 small can (4 oz) or to taste
Coconut milk - 1 to 1.5 cups
Salt - to taste
Chilli powder - half tsp (optional)
Oil - 1 tbsp, divided




Method:


1) Cut the well drained tofu into small cubes. Heat a wide skillet on medium and spray some oil or add a tsp of oil and spread evenly, place tofu cubes in a single layer and sprinkle some salt and chilli powder. Alternatively, toss tofu cubes with salt and chilli powder before browning them in the skillet. Allow to cook until the sides are browned slightly. Keep aside.

2) In a big pan, heat the remaining oil and add the veggies, saute them for a few minutes with a tiny bit of salt. Next add the curry paste and a few tbsp of water and stir until it coats the veggies uniformly. 

3) After about 5 minutes, add 2-3 cups of water (or as required to form a thin gravy) and half cup coconut milk, when the mixture begins to boil, reduce flame, cover and allow to simmer until veggies are tender crisp. 

4) Finally add 1 cup of thick coconut milk and the pan fried tofu cubes and keep on a slow simmer for another 5 minutes  or so. Taste for salt and adjust if needed.
 

5) Fragrant Thai curry is now ready to serve with rice.



Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Wheat Flour Dosas / Godhumai Dosai

My mom would often make these when we ran out of idli/dosa batter or if we needed a really quick meal since these are super instant (no fermentation or waiting time required) and quite tasty too. However, I was never a fan of these godhumai dosais - I can't really think of why specifically... Now that I do like quite a few things I didn't enjoy as a kid... e.g. upma, I decided to try these out on a whim. I didn't quite expect them to turn out light and crispy like rava dosais so I was pleasantly surprised with the result.

It's best to make the batter when you want the dosas instead of making them ahead of time. It's fairly easy to whip up a second batch if you notice that the family seems to like it :)

WHEAT FLOUR DOSAS / GODHUMAI DOSAI

Ingredients:
Whole Wheat Flour / Atta - 1 cup 
Water - 1.5 to 2 cups (or as required) to make a rava dosai like batter
Salt - to taste
Cumin seeds - a pinch
Black pepper powder - I ground some using my pepper mill

Green Chillies - 1 to 2, minced finely
Curry Leaves/Coriander leaves - few, chopped

Oil - to cook dosas

Method:
1) In a bowl, blend together the flour and water (I used a whisk to ensure the batter was lump free) until smooth. The consistency should be thinner than regular dosa batter and must be similar to rava dosai batter... so it will look kind of watery (like buttermilk).

2) Season the batter with salt, pepper, cumin seeds, green chillies and curry & coriander leaves. 

3) Heat an iron griddle pan (dosaikkal), and when hot (sprinkle a few drops of water, they should sizzle and evaporate almost immediately), drop a few tsp of oil and rub the entire pan. If you have a well seasoned pan, there will be no issues with the dosas sticking. 

4) Scoop a ladleful of batter from the top, after stirring the batter well, and pour on the hot pan, dropping it from a few inches high. This kind of batter cannot be spread out like usual dosai batter so you just have to pour the batter from the outside in and it will immediately form a lacey pattern. 

5) Drizzle some oil along the edges of the dosa and allow to cook until golden brown. This does take a bit more time than usual dosas & rushing them will result in torn dosas... when ready, the dosai will be easy to flip over. Cook for a few more minutes after flipping for tasty, crispy dosai. We had ours with milagai podi