Monday, March 23, 2015

Ribbon Pakoda

I prefer savoury snacks to sweet ones and karaboondhi, seedai, thattai and these ribbon pakodas all fall into my favorite category. Though my mom uses a different recipe for ribbon pakoda, this one is from one of my aunts (J periamma). When I tasted her ribbon pakodas they were just perfect in the flavours they had and had a melt in the mouth texture (which sounds counter intuitive for a crunchy snack but I'm unable to find a more suitable description).  I found that her secret was ground pottukadalai (dalia or roasted channa - that we use when making coconut chutney). It also had a lovely garlic flavoring... so here's her recipe - the only change is that I've added extra chilli powder and some sesame seeds...

RIBBON PAKODA


Ingredients:
Rice flour (Arisi Maavu)  - 2 cups
Besan (Kadalai Maavu)- 3/4 cup
Pottukadalai maavu - 3/4 cup (grind pottukadalai to a fine flour)
Black sesame seeds - half tsp (optional)
Salt - 1 tsp
Chilli powder - 1 tsp
Butter melted - 2 tbsp
Oil, to deep fry

To Grind:
Asafoetida /Hing/ Perungaayam- small piece
G. chillies - 10
Garlic - 7 cloves of garlic
Water - about half cup

Method:
1) Grind Asafoetida, Green chillies, garlic with water to until well blended. Strain this and set aside the flavored, spicy water.


2) Sift rice flour, besan and pottukadalai with salt to ensure there are no lumps. Take this mixture in a bowl with chilli powder and add melted hot butter and mix well. 

3) Next add the flavored water from step 1 above gradually while mixing to form a stiff and smooth dough. Add water as required if flavored water is not enough.

4) Use the dough press with the one for ribbon pakoda (it has 2 slits). Grease the press and add the dough. 

5) Heat oil on medium (or slightly more) until a small bit of dough when added sizzles immediately and floats on top. Do not heat the oil too much. 

6) Press the dough to form strips directly in the hot oil ( a swirling motion of the hand when pressing enables the dough doesn't pile up and is spread out as a single layer)

7) Allow to cook on one side before flipping over and cooking till done (the bubbles surrounding the dough will subside quite a bit when ready). Drain to a paper towel and repeat this process until all the dough is used up.  

Store in an airtight container (once completely cooled) and enjoy!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Shortcut Undhiyu

I love undhiyu and first followed Nupur's recipe - and blogged about it a while ago. It truly is a labor of love and the flavors of the different vegetables and the methi dumplings are phenomenal. However, wanting a quick fix solution that will allow us to indulge in this curry on a weekday, I devised this shortcut method of using a combination of frozen foods and some fresh vegetables and this doesn't disappoint. This is in no way a traditional way of making this curry but it satisfies my undhiu cravings fabulously and enables us to have it more frequently.You can change the veggies around to your preference.

I use the Bhagwati brand Methi Gota (frozen) - see picture below for the Undhiyu recipe and also to make Kadhi Pakodi effortlessly and it has a great flavor and all it needs is some heating up in the toaster oven.

SHORTCUT UNDHIYU


Ingredients:
Methi Gota - half pack, frozen
Potatoes - 2, small to medium
Surti Papdi Lilva -  1 pack frozen
Carrots - 2 (or use 1 small sweet potato)
Suran (yam) or Raw banana - half cup (optional)- cubed
Oil - 1 tbsp
Sugar - 1/4 tsp  ( to maintain green colour of curry)
Salt - to taste
Lemon juice - about half tbsp

To grind to a coarse green  paste:
Shredded Coconut - half cup, loosely packed
Green Chillies - 5 to 6
Garlic cloves - 3 to 4
Ginger - 1.5 inch piece
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Coriander leaves - half bunch, (stalks and leaves, ends trimmed)

Method:
1) Pressure cook (in separate pans) the surti papdi lilva, yam & sweet potato (if using) and potatoes. Peel potatoes, cut into big cubes and set aside
2) Cut carrots into small rounds. microwave or parboil with a bit of water for about 5 minute.
3) Cook the frozen methi gota in a toaster oven for about 10 minutes (or follow package directions). Cut each into half.
 
4) Heat oil in a wide pan, add the veggies and continue to saute for a few mins.  Add about half cup water to this mixture with some salt, sugar and the ground green paste.  Cover and allow to cook on medium-low flame.

5) Once the water has evaporated, stir in the methi gota and continue cooking for about 10-15 minutes more with occasional stirring.

6) Finally switch off the stove and stir in the lemon juice.  Delicious with rotis.  



Monday, March 9, 2015

Stuffed Mini Peppers

I have been seeing these colorful mini peppers quite frequently these days and couldn't resist buying them. Many times, I just use them as substitute for bell peppers but there was a recipe on the back of the bag for a stuffed pepper that sounded pretty tempting... I modified it from a purely cheese filling to include some chopped spinach. The white filling with specks of green contrasts really well with the colorful peppers (this time though since I blended everything it's a green filling, but tasty nevertheless).




Ingredients:
Assorted Mini Peppers - about 15 to 16
Onion - half of a small one, chopped
Garlic - 2 cloves, minced (or use garlic powder)
Spinach - 1.5 cups, chopped
Cream cheese - 3 to 4 oz, softened
Cheddar Cheese - 2 tbsp
Mixed Italian herbs (dried) - half tsp
Dried Red Chilli Flakes - half tsp
Salt and Black Pepper - to taste
Bread Crumbs - 2 to 3 tbsp (optional)
Olive oil - 1 tsp and to drizzle

Method:
1) Wash and dry the peppers. Slice them in half (you can keep the stalks or remove them)

2) In a small saucepan, heat olive oil and add in chopped garlic, onion and red chilli flakes. When they soften a bit add the spinach and some salt (go easy on the salt). Saute until spinach has wilted and cooked down a bit.

3) Stir this into the softened cream cheese along with cheddar cheese and italian herbs - season with black pepper to taste
NOTE: (this time since I forgot to leave the cream cheese out I put that along with the spinach mixture and blended.. hence the green colored filling - I personally prefer leaving little green specks in a white filling, which didn't happen this time).

4) Lay them on a cookie sheet sprayed with oil and top each pepper with a bit of bread crumbs and drizzle lightly with olive oil (a few drops on each peppers is more than enough).

5) Bake in a 350 degree F (pre-heated oven) for 15-20 minutes....  Allow to cool a bit and enjoy warm. .