Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Apple Beet Jam

I had a few apples that were a bit sorry looking and it didn't seem like we could enjoy it as is, so I was thinking about a jam and the timing of having an abundance of beetroots as well made me think of a combination of apples and beets to make a jam. The resulting jam had a beautiful color (of course) and it tasted really good. The kids loved it on slices of toast and when I quizzed them on the ingredients, they got the apple right but did not guess the beetroot and were quite surprised. I didn't add too much beets since I didn't want its flavour to overpower the jam... but it was a fairly large beetroot that I used in comparison to the size of the apples.


APPLE BEET JAM - Makes about 2 cups

 

Ingredients: 

Apples - 5, small, peeled and cored
Beetroot - 1 large, peeled 
Sugar - 1.5 to 2 cups approximately (see notes to determine how much) 
Ginger - 1 inch, peeled
Lemon juice - 1-2 tbsp

Method:
1) Pressure cook the peeled beetroot for 2-3 whistles till soft. Chop into medium sized pieces

2) Chop the peeled and cooled apples into medium sized pieces

3) Grind together (I used a Blendtec) the beet pieces,  apples and ginger with a little water if needed to a fairly smooth paste.For the above measurements, I got close to 3 cups of the ground mixture.

4) Heat a heavy bottomed, deep pot and add the ground paste with sugar. I used 1.5 cups since the apples and beet had some inherent sweetness.... you can go upto 2 cups for a sweeter jam.

5) On medium heat, continue to cook this (it will splatter, so take care) with occasional stirring for the first 20 mins or so and more frequent stirring as time goes by. I found that partly covering the pot, helped reduce the splatter a bit and enabled the jam to cook faster. 

6) Add lemon juice after 20 mins and cook until the jam thickens. 
Test: You can test by freezing a plate - pour jam on very cold plate, and draw a line with your finger to split the jam, if it is done, it should not come back together (and stay on separate sides). 

7) Remove from stove and allow to cook completely (it will thicken more upon cooling). Store in a sterilized glass bottle and refrigerate.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Apple Oats Pancakes

This is a great alternative to flour pancakes and has a lot of flavor from the apples, cinnamon and vanilla.... While my son likes oats, my daughter is not a fan and if I'm careful to say Apple Pancakes (instead of Apple Oatmeal pancakes) she ends up enjoying these pancakes and I am happy knowing that she is eating something healthier than pancakes made with all purpose flour / maida.

The same batter can be thinned out a bit and also be used to make crepes quite easily. My trick for crepes is to use the non-stick aapam pan i have - perfect crepes each time.  My recipe is based on this  fabulous one, with a few modifications... 

What I like about this recipe (besides it being rather nutritious) is that putting all the ingredients in a blender means the batter is whipped up in no time.


APPLE OATMEAL PANCAKES

 

Ingredients:

Applesauce -- 1/2 cup (can go up to 1 cup if desired)
Old-Fashioned Oats  - 1 cup
Egg - 1 (can be substituted with 1 tbsp ground flax seeds - see note below)
Coconut oil - 1 tbsp (can use butter instead but we prefer the flavor of coconut oil)
Milk - half cup
Sugar/Maple Syrup - 2 to 3 tbsp (if when serving you are not going to use sweeteners this is good, else reduce)
Baking powder - 2 tsp
Vanilla extract - 1 tsp
Cinnamon powder - half tsp
Salt - 1/8 tsp
Chocolate chips - optional topping (my husband loves the chocolate chips sprinkled on this)
Coconut oil/Butter for cooking panckaes

Method:

1) In a blender, add the oats, cinnamon powder, salt, baking powder and blend for 30 seconds until the oats are fully powdered.

2) Next add the eggs, coconut oil, milk, vanilla, sugar or maple syrup and allow this to blend for another 45 seconds until you have a smooth batter.

3) Meanwhile heat a pan/griddle on medium low heat (about a 4 on a scale of 1 to 10) and when the pan is hot enough, brush some coconut oil or butter and pour batter to form small pancakes.

4) Sprinkle Chocolate chips if desired and cover the pancake. Once bubbles start to appear on the top, flip and cook the other side as well.

Serve plain (since it's sweet enough) or if you skipped the sugar - you can drizzle some maple syrup or chocolate syrup.

NOTE: If using Flax seeds as a substitute for egg. Ensure you add it to the oats in step 1 and grind it. Also you will have to increase the volume of milk or water by another half cup to 3/4 cup. Due to the texture of the flax seeds the batter tends to thicken as it stands. I have tried both versions and our family prefers the version with egg since it results in fluffier pancakes but flax seeds also work fairly well as long as the consistency is taken care of with additional liquid.



Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Kosha Dim - Bengali Egg Curry


Though we love my usual egg curry recipe, I was craving something new to try (and without coconut in it since I had made thai curry the previous day) and came across this recipe and the fiery color of the curry caught my eye. I followed this recipe with a few modifications and it resulted in a finger-licking gravy that was spicy and had a hint of sweetness going through it that helped deepen the flavor.

The important aspect is to cook on a low to medium flame for a longer time so the masala comes together really well and is smooth.It goes great with rice especially and also rotis. 

DIM KOSHA - Bengali Egg Curry



Ingredients:

Eggs, hard boiled - 4 to 6, peeled
Onion - 1 large, finely chopped
Tomato puree - 1/3 cup + 1 tbsp of tomato ketchup
Ginger - 3/4 inch piece, minced
Garlic - 2 to 3 cloves, minced
Green Chillies - 2, slit
Chilli powder - 1 tsp (or to taste) + a few shakes more to fry eggs
Turmeric powder - half tsp
Garam Masala or Egg Curry Masala - 3/4 tsp 
Sugar - half to 1 tsp
Salt - to taste 
Cumin seeds- half tsp
Mustard seeds - quarter tsp

Bay Leaf - 1, small
Oil - 2 tbsp + 1 tsp (traditionally mustard oil is used, but I didn't)

Method:
1) Hard boil eggs: Place eggs in a bowl of water (covered) and bring to a boil. Once water boils, switch off stove, cover and allow to rest for 20 minutes. Drain hot water and add cold water, leave for a few minutes before peeling. 

2) Score eggs on sides, Heat 1 tsp of oil in a medium hot pan and add salt, turmeric and a small sprinkle of chilli powder and gently place boiled eggs and fry for a few minutes till they take on a nice color. Keep stirring them so the skin doesn't get scorched to much  on one side. Set this aside 

3) Heat 2 tbsp oil and add the mustard, bay leaf and cumin seeds, follow with green chillies, onion, ginger, garlic and fry for a few minutes before adding salt, sugar and allow this to cook on a medium flame for about  8 to 10 minutes or so, until onions soften and start to caramelize a bit. 

4) Next add turmeric powder, tomato puree, chilli powder and garam masala/egg curry masala and stir and allow this to continue to cook on a medium or medium low flame until the masala is well cooked - you may have to stir frequently to avoid it from burning. Add about a cup or so of water and allow this to simmer for 20 minutes or so. 

5) Adjust water to desired thickness and slip in the eggs at this point and allow to cook for another 5 to 10 minutes before curry is ready.



Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Cabbage Uppu Huli Dosa & Waffle Dosas

This, I understand is a popular Mangalore / Udipi dish and the addition of spices and tamarind sounded very interesting so I decided to give it a try. I used this recipe from RedChillies as a base and we really liked the end result... It's a flavorful dosai and we really liked the coconut flavor that came through as well and I added some cabbage as well to add some veggies and a slight crunch and the best part is no fermentation so just a few hours of soaking and it can be made about 30 minutes later.

CABBAGE UPPU HULI DOSA (Cabbage Spicy, sour dosa)



Ingredients:

Raw Rice - 1.5 cups
Dried Red Chillies - 5
Coriander seeds - 2 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Tamarind - gooseberry sized ball
Grated Coconut -  1/2 cup
Jaggery - 1/4 tsp (optional)
Cabbage - 1.5 cups, very finely chopped
Coconut oil - to cook dosas and little to fry the masalas
Salt - to taste

Method:
1) Wash and soak rice for 4 hours at least.
2) In a small pan, heat half tsp of oil on low flame and fry the cumin seeds, coriander seeds and dried red chillies.
3) Drain the soaked rice and add to a blender, add the fried spices, jaggery (if using), salt and grated coconut. Add sufficient water to grind to a smooth batter.
4) The consistency usually is that of a dosa batter, however once i stirred in the finely chopped cabbage I discovered that it was not easy to spread the batter. Once it was mixed with a bit more water, it was easy to pour the batter onto a hot pan (without spreading like we do normally for dosas) and it turned out crispier this way too. 

5) I used coconut oil to drizzle on the dosas. Also i covered the dosa when cooking the first side and flipped it over and cooked the other side too. 

That's it, dosas are ready and it was awesome with chutney and sambhar. 

WAFFLE DOSAS
This is not a detailed recipe but more of a twist/idea on an existing recipe. Since the kids were getting bored with the usual dosais and idlis, I decided to pour dosa batter (follow the same recipe as idli batter and mix with a few tbsps of rice flour and water) on the waffle iron and the result was a crispy, crunchy exterior with soft dosa in the middle. Kids really loved this twist. I used about 1/3 cup for my waffle iron and this is a normal waffle iron (not the one that makes belgian waffles).

Friday, February 12, 2016

Lemon Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies

Even as I signed up for the Bake Sale at my daughter's school, I started imagining the possibilities and initially started with lofty goals of making cutely decorated cake pops or pretty cupcakes but then as the date drew closer and I realized I would be doing much of the baking on a weekday and so needed baked goods that were quick and easy to make, would keep well and not require refrigeration....  So, I started to fall back on my usual recipes like Chocolate chip cookies and Brownies but my daughter got swept into the excitement of it all and insisted that we offer something different and with a twist and not the usual fare.

She searched high and low for recipes or ideas and since her favorite flavors are lemon, mint and raspberry she was thrilled to find Emeril's recipe for these Lemon Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies. I was skeptical about trying something new for a bake sale (in case it flopped, I may not have time for a redo ) but she convinced me fairly well on how this was an easy recipe, had great reviews and that it would taste good.  So we chose this cookie recipe and a twist to our usual brownie recipe to incorporate some whipped cream cheese with vanilla and sugar for a Cheesecake Swirl Brownie.

True to her words, this is a very easy recipe that gives fabulous results.... The cookie is buttery with a fragrant, bright lemon flavor and the tartness of the raspberry jam makes for a cookie that is not cloyingly sweet but tastes fabulous.

LEMON RASPBERRY THUMBPRINT COOKIES - makes 48 cookies



Ingredients:
Raspberry Jam/Jelly - about half cup (I used Smucker's Natural brand) 
All purpose flour - 2 1/4 cups, levelled
Baking Powder - 1 tsp
Salt - 1/4 tsp 
Butter - 2 sticks (1 cup) at room temperature
Sugar - 2/3 cup
Egg Yolks - 2 (from large eggs), preferably at room temperature
Fresh Lemon Juice - 1 tbsp

Lemon Zest - 1 tsp (I grated the zest of 1 large lemon)
Vanilla extract - 1tsp

 Method:
1) Combine Flour, Baking Powder, Salt and Lemon zest in a medium bowl and mix together.
2)  In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar till light and fluffy (takes about 2-3 minutes)
3) Next beat in the egg yolks , lemon juice, vanilla extract.
4) Add the Flour mixture in 2 batches and beat until moist clumps form. Mix the dough with your hands and refrigerate for about 30 minutes atleast (you can also let it stay in the fridge covered for a day).
5) About an hour before baking, remove dough from the refrigerator and leave it out. Knead the dough until it becomes pliable. This ensures that the dough won't crack
6) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
7) Make 3/4 inch or 1 inch balls, roll them tight and place on a baking sheet. With a 1/2 tsp measure (dipped in flour) press into the dough ball gently to form an indentation (this is where the raspberry jam will go) and is technically our thumbprint :)  We could use our thumb to press down but I found that using a half tsp measure provided a better, more uniform indentation. (see video below)

video

8) Once the cookies are pressed down, fill the indentations with half tsp of Raspberry Jam.
9) Bake for 13-16 minutes until the bottoms turn golden. Remove and allow to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.
 

This is a very versatile recipe and you can change the fillings to make different variations and flavors.. such as strawberry. Or you can skip the lemon flavoring and fill the cookie with some nutella or with some chocolate and nuts.

We packed our goodies in ziploc bags and stapled some decorative napkins (cut into strips) to make them "fancy" and more appealing. Both, the cookies and the brownies were sold out and that made us very happy.





 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Fried Rice

For something I make quite frequently, I was quite surprised to note that I have not posted this so far...
This is my saviour on most days when it comes to preparing school lunches for the kids, especially if I have leftover rice from dinner. No time to chop veggies? eggs can make this come together in a jiffy.  Or you can even mix both veggie and eggs when making fried rice. Or substitute with chopped mushrooms for a mushroom fried rice.

Jasmine Rice has the perfect texture  for fried rice but pretty much any other rice that we normally use (ponni raw rice, sona masuri, or basmati) will still work. It is better to have rice to that has been cooked and refrigerated so the grains stay separate... Wet fingers and crumble the rice so they don't stick to your fingers.

FRIED RICE

 

Ingredients:

Cooked and refrigerated rice - 1 cup, grains separated
Egg - 1   OR
Minced Veggies of choice - carrots, beans, cabbage or corn - half cup OR substitute with chopped mushrooms
Soy Sauce - 1 to 1.5 tsp (or to taste) 
Sriracha (Chilli sauce) - quarter to half tsp
Ketchup - quarter to half tsp 
Salt and Black Pepper powder - to taste 
Oil - 2 to 3 tsp

Method
1.  Heat a wide pan on medium or med. high. Once hot add the oil and coat. 
2. Add egg (or the veggies). Scramble (or saute) with some salt and black pepper. 
3. Once egg is scrambled or veggies are crunchy, add the rice and the soy sauce, chilli sauce and ketchup and stir on a med-high flame.

Hot, tasty fried rice is ready to serve.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Baked Green Bean "Fries"

We had these Green Bean "Fries" at a new movie theater that has opened near our home... The new concept these days is to combine snacks/dinner with movies.. where you can order while watching a movie or buy and take inside to much on while enjoying the movie and the varieties are much more than popcorn/candy. While I would much prefer samosas and hot tea as munchies, we did enjoy these spicy green bean fries and brownie bites.

Back home, I wanted to re-create the dish but had no intentions of deep frying green beans and decided to try a baked version and it was delicious - especially when it's just out of the oven.  The beans were cooked perfectly and they had a spicy, crunchy exterior. 

BAKED GREEN BEAN "FRIES"



Ingredients
Fresh French / Green beans (fresh)  - 30 to 35
All purpose flour - 4 tbsp 
Egg whites - 3 to 4 tbsp  
Sriracha chilli sauce - 1 tsp
Bread Crumbs - for 3 larges slices of bread
Parmesan cheese - 1 to 2 tbsp
Red Chilli Flakes - 1 tsp
Garlic powder, pepper powder, dried italian seasoning, salt to taste
Oil - to spray

Method:
1)  Prehead oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking tray with aluminum foil and spray with oil evenly.

2) Keep three separate wide bowls or plates ready: in the first one add 3 tbsp flour, in the second one combine egg whites with 1 tbsp flour, garlic powder,  dried italian seasoning, salt, pepper, sriracha. For the third one combine in a mixie/blender , bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, red chilli flakes and spread out (preferably in batches so it doesn't all get wet and clumpy). 

3) Wash and trim the green beans... (do not dry completely, they should be wet - but not dripping water)

4) Take a few beans at a time and dredge in flour,  the wetness of the beans will help the flour adhere to the beans. Next dip in the egg-white mixture and roll in the breadcrumbs and off to the baking tray... Repeat this process until all beans are done. 

5) Spray some oil on top of the beans and bake for 10 mins one one side, flip the beans and allow to cook for another 7 minutes. Enjoy hot.