Thursday, July 19, 2012

Spicy Flax Meal Podi and Spinach Rice.

Flax seeds was something new to me when I saw bloggers using them in their baking as a replacement for egg. I started trying this in my baking experiments and to my surprise the baked goodies turned out super soft and moist. I got over excited and got a big bag of Flax meal from whole foods couple of months back.Though Flax seeds is a good source of Omega 3 fatty acids, it has very poor shelf life. So I always keep it sealed in the refrigerator. In my quest to find different ways to use that bag of flax meal , I came across this recipe for FlaxMeal and Peanut Podi from Usha's VegInspirations. Needless to say about her blog, she has so many recipes anything healthy :)
We use this podi as multipurpose podi for rice, Idli, dosa etc.,


I did not use Jaggery as in her recipe,except that I followed the same::
Ingredients: 
1 cup raw unsalted peanuts.( I used the roasted , lightly salted ones)
1/2 cup sesame seeds (white)
1/2 cup Channa dhal
1/2 cup blach gram dhal with skin( I used whole urad dhal)
1/2 cup flax seed meal
8 red chillies ( I used very less compared to her recipe, add more if you like it really spicy)

How to make the powder:
Dry roast each of the ingredients one by one in a low flame.Switch off the stove and add the Flax meal in the pan and give it a toss. Cool all the ingredients and powder it your dry/spice grinder.Do not make it to smooth powder. Store it in an airtight container.


This Spinach rice is one of my recipe which I experimented with this podi...The peanuts in the podi and spinach compliments each other. Perfect lunch box dish.

Ingredients:
1 cup cooked rice
2 cups roughly chopped spinach
1/2 cup chopped onions
2 cloves of garlic finely minced
1 tsp jeera/cumin seeds
curry leaves (optional)
turmeric optional (I did not use this)
2 tblsp of Flaxseed podi
1tsp lemon juice

Method:
In a wide pan add 2 tblsp of olive oil, 
To this add cumin seeds and wait till it splutters.
Now add the onions and chopped garlic  fry till slightly brown
To this add the chopped spinach and stir fry till wilts completly.
Add salt and turmeric, mix well.
Now add the cooked rice and mix well.
Switch off the stove, add the Flax seeds podi and mix well to combine.
Finally add the lemon juice and gently stir the rice.
Serve with Raita.
.



Sunday, July 08, 2012

Simple Pasta with Zucchini

Zucchini/courgettes is one of my favorite vegetable. I try to make a wide range of dishes from soups to dhals and curries, during summer when the vegetable tastes its best.This is a super simple recipe, which I happened to taste in a small motel /restaurant in  Rome.We reached the place very late in the night after a hectic flight journey from Brussels, the motel owner who himself was a chef was very kind enough to whip up this quick pasta for us at that time of the night. This is a perfect example of great food with less, but good quality ingredients.




Ingredients


4 tblsp extra virgin olive oil.
2 zucchini cut into bite sized pieces
4 cloves garlic
2 tblsp coarse pepper.
1/2 tsp dried oregano
Any pasta of your choice.(I used Rigatoni)


Method:
Cook the pasta as per the package instructions
Heat the oil in a wide pan, add garlic and fry for a minute.
Add the zucchini piece and stir for about 2 - 3 minutes
Add the dried oregano, mix well.
Now add the cooked pasta and toss well to coat.
 Finally add the coarse black pepper and mix well.
Enjoy with soup or salad.





Sending this recipe to Priya's VFAM - Zucchini event guest hosted at Vardhini's.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Tofu Tikka Masala

I am so glad to be writing a post in my beloved blog after a long break. One week of blogging break has extended into few long weeks. Life has become very hectic, with new job and a hyper active pre-schooler leaving no time for not only blogging but also cooking.
Past Friday I managed to make something interesting to break the monotomy, actually I tried to use what was the only thing left over in the refrigerator. This recipe is slightly adapted from  Mansi's Fun and Food cafe and is definitely a keeper.


Ingredients:
For marinade:
1 pack Extra firm Tofu
1 Red bell pepper, cubed(optional)
1/2 cup yoghurt
1 tsp tandhoori masala (optional)
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp garam masala
2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp kasuri methi powder
1 tsp oil
salt per taste.

For the Gravy:
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 medium tomatoes, pureed
1 tsp jeera
1 bay leaf
1tblsp ginger garlic paste
1 tsp chilli powder
1tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp crushed kasuri methi
salt to taste


Method:
Drain the water from the tofu, wrap it in layers of kitchen towel and keep it aside for about 10 mins.
Cut it into cubes and marinate with the ingredients mentioned in marinade, along with red bell pepper.
Let it sit for a minimum of 15 minutes. Puree the tomatoes and keep aside.
In a large pan, add 2 tsp of oil and the spread the marinated tofu and peppers and roast it in a medium flame till it browns on all the sides.
Heat about a tsp of oil in a sauce pan, add jeera and bay leaf when its hot.
To this add the chopped onions and fry till translucent.
Now add the ginger and garlic paste and fry till the raw smell disappears.
Now add the tomato puree, salt, chili powder and coriander powder.
 Reduce the heat and allow it to boil for 10 mins.
Finally add the fried tofu and the veggies, mix well. Add crushed kasuri methi to the gravy.
Simmer for another 5 mins in low flame.

Serve with Roti/Chapati's



Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Eggless Banana Nut Muffin

Its been a long time since I baked a muffin. I have been baking this eggless version of the simple banana muffin for quite sometime now, but I got to get the pictures only this time. Flax seeds are an excellent substitute for egg in baking recipes especially turns out well with Muffins or Quick bread recipes. 
Basic recipe for this muffin is from Saffron Hut.




Ingredients:
3 large ripe bananas
1/3 cup butter, at room temperature
1 and 1/2 cup Flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp Baking powder
1/2 tsp Baking soda
1 tblsp Flax seeds + 3tblsp Water
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped walnuts


Method:
Preheat the Oven to 375F
Soak the Flax meal with the 3 tblsp of water, allow it to sit for 10 min.
Roast the walnuts slightly in a dry pan and then chop coarsely.
Peel and mash the bananas using the back of a fork in a small bowl.
Combine the butter and sugar in a bowl and beat till they become creamy.
Sift the Flour, baking powder and baking soda together in a separate bowl.


To the butter and sugar mixture add the flax meal mixture and vanilla extract and beat well to combine.
Now add the flour mixture in batches and mix gently to combine, until no visible streaks of flour left. Its okay if  the mixture is a little lumpy.
Fold in the mashed banana and the chopped walnuts.
Spoon the mixture into the muffin pans lined with paper cups.
Bake for 15-18 mins.


Make 12 Muffins.




Wish You all a very happy and relaxing long weekend:)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Tomato Rice Noodles With Egg

Hope you all had a great Mother's day weekend. I sure did. I made this tomato rice noodles on Saturday morning to kick start the weekend. Its easy to make just like any regular noodles, except that this is made of rice and not maida/flour. You can skip the eggs if you don't use it, I added them to make it interesting for the kid. Quite a filling dish for a weekend brunch.


Ingredients;
3 cups of cooked noodles.
1 medium onion.
2-3 medium tomatoes
1 tsp chilli powder
2 cloves garlic finely chopped
1 tsp mustard
1 tsp urad dhal
2 eggs

Method:
Cook the noodles as per package instructions.
Wash noodles in the strainer with cold water to remove the starch if any.
In a wide pan, add 2 tblsp of oil.
Add the mustard and urad dhal when the oil is hot.
When the mustard pops add the chopped onion and fry till translucent
Now add the tomatoes and fry till the tomatoes get mushy.
Add the chilli powder and salt and fry till the pulp releases oil.
If not using egg, add the cooked noodles and stir well to combine.
If using egg, move the tomato gravy to a corner of the pan, and break open the eggs on the other side.
Allow them to set for a couple of seconds and then scarmble then till they are cooked.
Now mix the scrambled eggs along with the tomato gravy and then add the cooked noodles.
Mix in the noodles, till they are nicely coated with the tomato gravy, occasionally breaking the long strands of the noodles with the back of the ladle.
Keep in low flame uncovered for 2 mins and the switch of the stove.



Note:
I used Chinese rice noodles/Rice Vermicelli (Mie Hoen) -thin ones for making this. But we can also use the Indian rice sevai packets  like MTR for making this dish.
We can also adding some frozen peas or corn to this to make it more colorful.


Sunday, May 06, 2012

Fish Curry/Salmon Curry with Coconut.

I feel that Salmon doesn't pair up well with the South Indian fish Kulambhu. I usually make a simple salmon curry with tomato paste which I have blogged here or bake the fish like I mentioned here.But this delicious curry is my recent favorite and as salmon is loaded with Omega 3 fatty acids I make it at-least once a week now.

Ingredients:
Salmon Fillets -4 (I used frozen)
1 medium onion chopped
1 medium tomato chopped
2 tblsp chopped garlic
1 tblsp chopped ginger
1 tsp chilli powder
2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp fennel/sombhu seeds
few curry leaves

To grind
3 tblsp shredded cococut
1 tblsp whole black pepper seeds
1 tblsp jeera/cumin seeds

Method:
In a wide pan, add 2 tblsp of olive oil.
To the hot oil  add the fennel seeds and curry leaves.
Now add the chopped onion, garlic and ginger, fry till the onion is browned.
Add the chopped tomatoes, salt and turmeric. Fry till the tomatoes turns mushy.
Add the chilli and the coriander powder, fry till the oil is released from the tomatoes.
Now add 1/2 cup of water, mix well and bring it to a boil. Add the fish gently , reduce the heat to medium and close with a lid.
After 5 mins open the lid and gently turn over the fish. Again close and cook for another 3 mins.
Meanwhile grind the coconut, pepper and jeera and add the paste to the gravy along with 1/2 cup of water.
Mix gently and cook till it comes to a boil. Add chopped coriander leaves and switch off the stove.


Note:
The gravy should be slightly thick and not very thin.
Do not over cook the fish, else it will turn rubbery.
If you want to avoid coconut, substitute with 3 tblsp of Dhalia /pottukadalai. Fry the chutney dhal in a pan without oil for 2 mins and then grind with pepper and jeera.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Collard Greens Thanni Saaru

'Thanni Saaru' is a soup like curry, made predominantly with greens and coconut milk. The slightly bitter tasting greens like drumstick leaves, Manathakali keerai, or Agathi keerai are used for this saaru.
 I experimented this dish with the fresh bunch of collard greens. Traditionally it is made with freshly made coconut milk (thin and the thicker version), but I used the coconut milk from the can. This is a great way to use collard greens apart from the porial/stir fry.




Ingredients:
3 cups chopped collard greens
1 cup coconut milk from the can
1 cup water
2 green chillies(slit) / red chillies
1 clove garlic, sliced thin
1 medium onion chopped
1 medium tomato chopped
1 tsp mustard
1/2 tsp fenugreek/methi seeds(optional)
1 tsp jeera/cumin seeds.


Method:


Wash the Collard greens and remove the center stalk from the leaf. Roll the leaf and chop finely.
Add 2 tsp of oil in a sauce pan.
When the oil is hot add mustard seeds, methi and jeera.
When the mustard pops, add the onion, garlic green chillies and fry till translucent.
Now add the tomatoes and cook till mushy Add the collard greens, and salt.
Add the water, cover and cook in medium heat for atleast 10 minutes. 
Once the greens are cooked, add the coconut milk and give it a stir.
Bring it just to a boil. Switch off just when it becomes frothy. 
Do not over boil or it will become curdled.


Enjoy with hot steamed rice.



A Baby Shower Cake | Buggy Cake

I made a baby shower cake for a friend of mine past weekend. This cake has a long story to share. I baked the cake the day before the get together and decided to decorate it late night after the kid goes to sleep. So as per plan started decorating the cake and it came pretty good . When its all done, I tried to lift it up to place the cake in the fridge, and all of a sudden I dropped it. :(  . My heart was broken completely that I could'nt think of anything else for the next half an hour. After that I did some clean up, luckily the cake was not broken, just the icing got messed up, and the wheels in the cake were broken. I manage to make two more wheels from the left over cake and somehow finished the cake again by 5.30 in the morning with  whatever left over Icing I had.

So what do u think of this Cake which got a complete makeover:(..believe me the first version came out really good..:)..But I am glad I could pull it through :)


How I made the Cake:

I baked   1 - 9 inch round  vanilla cake , and 2 -  8 inch chocolate cakes.
Cut out the shape of the buggy from the 9 inch vanilla cake. I carved the handle out of the cut out piece.
Cut two 3 inch circles out of the  8 inch chocolate cakes.

Icing used - Betty Crocker  whipped vanilla Icing for the buggy, chocolate frosting for the wheels and handle.


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Neiman Marcus Chocolate Chip Cookie

I know what you are thinking on seeing the title. No, this is not the infamous Neiman Marcus cookie recipe  which is associated with an urban legend that a lady was mistakenly charged  $250 for this recipe back in the 40's. But this one is from a little cookie book named  '500 Cookies', which claims that this is the original Neiman Marcus recipe which is also published in the store's website. The recipe calls for a tsp of instant coffee powder which gives it a unique taste and stands apart from the regular chocolate chip cookies.




Ingredients:


1/2 cup ( 1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup light brown sugar
3 tblsp granulated sugar(optional)
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2  cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp.instant coffee powder
1 1/2 cups(8 oz) semisweet chocolate chips.




Method:
Preheat the oven to 375F (190C).
Sift together the dry ingredients including the coffee powder.
Beat the butter and sugar together till creamy.
Add in the egg and vanilla extract.Beat well to combine.
Stir the dry ingredients into the butter mixture and mix in chocolate chips.
Roll into balls. Flatten it slightly using your fingers onto a non stick baking dish 2 in apart.
Bake for 8 to 10 mins. Cool for 10 mins.
Store in an airtight container.
Makes about 2 dozen cookies.





Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Red Swiss Chard Greens Stir Fry/Porial.

I have tried a variety of greens like turnip, collard, mustard  that are available in the US to make stir fry /porial. Each of these tasted good in its own way, but didnt get close to the authentic South Indian keerai porial (stir fry). That includes spinach too as I make only dal with spinach, the porial either turns up a little bitter or gets soggy. Recently I tried a bunch of these Red Swiss Chard for a simple stir fry with shredded coconut and am hooked to the taste ever since. It tastes more like 'Ponnanganni Keerai' that we get in back home in Chennai. (I am a great fan of that one)
 Do try this porial when you get a chance to grab a bunch of these Chard, it has such delicate taste and flavor.


Ingredients:
1 bunch of Red Swiss Chard
1 small onion finely chopped
2 green chillies/red chillies(optional)
2 tblsp shredded coconut (optional)

for tempering:
1 tsp mustard
2 tsp urad dhal
1 tsp jeera/cumin seeds

Method:

Wash the Greens well. Remove the thick part of the center stalk and then chop the greens finely
In a pan add 2 tsp of oil. When the oil is hot add the mustard, urad dhal and jeera seeds. (If using red chilli add it at this stage).
When the mustard pops, add the chopped onion, and slit green chilies
Fry till translucent .Now add the chopped greens and stir to wilt. Add salt to taste.
Reduce the flame to low, cover and cook for about 10 mins. ( no need to add water.)
Add 2 tblsp of shredded coconut , mix and switch of the stove.


Notes:
Reduce the flame to 'low' after wilting.
Do not discard the stems. Store it in a ziplog bag and use them when making sambhar or dhal, tastes delicious.
Coconut is completely optional. I did not use in this picture.


Sunday, April 08, 2012

Fish Fry

Fish fry is one of the simplest method or way to cook fish. My Mom always fries fish in the dosa pan(kal) with generous amount of oil. I have chosen the less greasy version of using a nonstick pan with 1 to 2 tsps of oil, works fine for me. The trick to get a good fish fry without being dried out on the inside is to fry the fish in medium to medium high heat. If fried for a long time in low heat, the fish tends to become dry.
Baking is another option, but it depends on the variety of fish, I do that for salmon as here.


Ingredients:
Fish steaks or fillets(8 pieces)
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp fennel /sombu powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp chopped garlic
salt as required


Method:

Clean and wash the fish fillets. 
Add the chilli powder, fenel powder, turmeric, garlic, and salt and mix well to coat.
Marinate for atleast 15 mins.
Take non stick pan, add about 2 -3 tsps of oil.
Fry the fish in batches under medium heat until crisp and brown on both sides.
Remove and place in the paper towel to drain excess oil.

Enjoy with white rice and rasam my favorite combination.


Thursday, April 05, 2012

Eggless Pineapple Bread

I opened a large can of chopped pineapple while experimenting with different toppings for my English muffin pizza. Apparently I used about two table spoon of it and the rest went into the refrigerator. Every time I opened the fridge I kept thinking of how to use the left over fruit.With new job and all I didn't have any time to browse for a new baking recipe with pineapple and finally decided to bake my favorite pineapple bread, which I have already blogged here. On a Sunday evening when I was all set to bake I realized that I ran out of butter and hence went ahead with oil and made it eggless too, nevertheless the bread turned out moist and soft.



Ingredients:
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup oil
1 cup sugar
1 tin chopped pineapple (approx 2 cups)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp salt
1 tblsp flax meal(powder) mixed with 3 tblsp warm water


Method:
Preheat the oven to 350F/180C.
Butter  or line a loaf pan with parchment paper.
Mix the flax seed powder with 3 tblsp of warm water  and set aside for 10 mins.
In a bowl add the dry ingredients flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, mix well to combine.
In a large bowl  mix in the oil, sugar, flax meal and vanilla extract. Beat well to combine.
To this add the dry ingredients and gently mix to incorporate. Do not beat or over mix.
Now add the chopped pineapple along with the liquid and stir to combine.


Transfer the batter to the loaf tin and bake for 45 - 50 mins.
The time can vary depending on the oven.So check periodically after 40 min's,a knife or toothpick inserted in the middle should come clean.




Note: If you want a mildly sweet bread reduce the sugar to 3/4th of a cup.
Replace the flax meal and water with 1 egg if you want to try with egg.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

English Muffin Pizza

This recipe immediately caught my attention when I came across this in the food network channel a few weeks ago. I prefer to have english muffins over bread for breakfast everyday whereas its the reverse with the rest of the family, but making pizza with these bread seemed to be a great idea for a weekend dinner. So without any second thought I grabbed a pack of my favorite brand of english muffins during my grocery shopping and am so glad I did that. 
I experimented with a variety of veggies for the toppings right from eggplant to zucchini and each mini pizza's turned out absolutely delicious.




Ingredients:
6 English muffins
2 cups Pizza/ pasta sauce
3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Your choice of sliced vegetables.
(I used Onions, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, zucchini, olives)
Method.
Preheat the oven to 425F
Split open the Muffin using a fork. Do not use a knife.
Place the muffins on a baking tray.
Spread about 2 tablespoon of sauce over the base. 
Spread some mozerrella cheese, and the add your toppings.


Bake for 10- 12 minutes or until the cheese melts and spread evenly.




Note: 
If using eggplant, add 1/4 tsp of salt and some lemon juice to the slices and allow it to rest for atleast 10 mins. Squeeze and drain the water before adding to the pizza.


Enjoy!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Coriander/Cilantro Coconut Chutney

Here is a simple recipe for a coconut based chutney from my day to day cooking. This chutney brings out the flavor of cilantro/coriander and is a great accompaniment for idli's and dosa's.


Ingredient:
1 bunch coriander (approximately 3 cups, loosely packed)
2 tblsp urad dhal
2 red chillies/green chillies
1 inch ginger
4 tblsp shredded coconut(fresh or frozen)
1 small marble size tamarind (1/2 tsp tamarind paste)
salt as required.
Tempering
1 tblsp sesame oil(or any oil)
1 tsp mustard
1 tsp urad dhal

Method
In a pan add 1 tsp of oil and fry the urad dhal till golden brown.Keep aside.
In the same pan slightly fry the red/green chillies and ginger.
Reduce the heat to low and the stir in the roughly chopped coriander/cilantro leaves for about a min or until wilted.
Grind everything along with coconut and tamarind to a smooth paste.

For tempering .
Add a tblsp of sesame oil in a pan.When its hot add the mustard and urad dhal.When the mustard pops switch off the stove and mix in with the chutney.


Notes:
If using frozen coconut, defrost in microwave for 2 mins and then grind using some luke warm water.
Equal parts of mint and coriander can also be added to make mint coriander chutney.
Do not cook the coriander leaves for more time, stir in low heat just until they are wilted ( just a minute or less).I usually do this after switching off the stove.

Linking this chutney to Julie's " Herbs and spices event " at Erivum puliyum where this months theme is coriander - cumin .

Friday, March 16, 2012

Lemon Blueberry Bread

I had a packet of frozen blueberries in the freezer with the idea of making a smoothie. Tried it once and the kid didnt like it at all. So I used half of them in this blueberry muffins earlier and the rest went into this delicious blueberry bread. Do try this recipe, its definitely a keeper.




Source - JoyOfBaking
Ingredients:
 1 1/2 cup All purpose flour
1/2 cup butter softened at room temperature 
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tblsp grated lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberrries
1/2 cup milk


For the lemon glaze:
 2 tablespoon white sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice.


Method:
Preheat the Oven to 350F
Prepare a loaf pan by buttering up the sides and bottom.
In a large bowl add the flour, baking powder and salt, whisk well to combine.
Take a table spoon of this flour mixture in a small bowl and gently coat the blueberries.

In an other bowl cream the butter with the electric mixture until soft.
Add the sugar and beat for another 2 -3 minutes till it becomes creamy. 
Add the egg one by one and beat well to incorporate.
Scrape the sides of the bowl using a spatula and beat the mixture till its smooth and pale.
Now add the flour mixture in three additions alternating with the milk, ending with the flour.
Gently fold in the blueberries. Do not overmix.


Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pan and bake for 50-60 mins or until the toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.






For the glaze:
Place the pan on a wire rack. 
In a microwavable bowl add the sugar and lemon juice , warm it up for 20 secs or just until the sugar dissolves.
Poke holes on the bread with a tooth pick and then gently brush the top with the warm liquid. 
Remove from the pan after 20 minutes.




Notes:
If using frozen blueberries , do not thaw, toss with flour and directly add to the prepared batter.
Do not skip the glazing part, its not too sweet and gives the bread a moist texture.





Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Chunky Guacomole With Baked Pita Chips

I used to hate Guacomole when I first tasted it in a mexican restaurant and stayed away from avacado for quite some time. But then a few years back I was introduced to this chunky version of the dip by a dear friend S (back in Belgium) in her son's birthday party. After numerous assurances from her I gave this a try and absolutely fell in love with the dip and also with the wonder fruit - avacado ever since.
Thanks to S ,nowadays I make it atleast once a week  for snack as my son loves this 'green' dip (as named by him) a lot. The tastes of the Guacomale is at its best when the Avacado is ripe, moist and in season. Never use the blackened or over ripe ones as it tends to spoil the taste.

Serve with some baked pita bread for healthy version or with some store bought tortilla chips for quite an indulgence :)


Ingredients:
1 ripe and firm Avacado
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped tomatoes(without pulp)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 small green chilli finely chopped.
salt ,coarse black pepper and fresh lemon juice to taste

Method
Cut and scoop the pulp of the avacado int a bowl.
Cut the tomato into half, and sqeeze the pulp out of it, discard the pulp and add the chopped tomato to the bowl.
Now add the onions, chilli, salt, coarse black pepper and chopped cilantro
Give it a mix with a fork, gently breaking down the avacado pieces..

To make the pita chips.
Cut open the pita bread into two discs. (I used it whole here)
Cut into triangles and bake in 400F preheated oven for about 10 -15 mins, or until it becomes crisp.


Notes:
If you like the smoother version, mash the avacado well with a fork to a smooth texture and then add all the other ingredients.
Always use freshly ground coarse black pepper as it gives much better flavour to the dish.



Thursday, March 08, 2012

Rasmalai

A yummy dessert for all the sweet and beautiful women out there!!! 
Happy Womens Day to you all...You truly rock.


Recipe source : Manjula's Kitchen
I am at level zero for making any bengali sweets, so I followed Mrs.Manjula's recipe to core and no wonder it turned delectable.

Ingredients:
4 cups milk
1/4 cup lemon juice
11/2 cup sugar
4 1/2 cup water

For the milk mixture

3 cups of milk
2 1/2 tablespoons of sugar (adjust to your taste)
1/8 teaspoon crush cardamom
1 tablespoon sliced almonds and pistachios to garnish



Method: 
Paneer:
  • Mix lemon juice in half a cup of hot water and keep aside.
  • Boil the milk in a heavy bottomed over medium-high heat, stirring frequently making sure milk do not burn on the bottom of the pan.
  • As the milk comes to a boil, add the lemon juice slowly and stir the milk gently. The curd will start separting from the whey, turn off the heat.
  • Once the milk fat has separated from the whey, drain the whey using a strainer line with cheesecloth or muslin cloth.
  • Wrap the curd in a muslin cloth, rince under cold water, and squeeze well. This process takes out the sourness from the lemon.
  • To take out the excess water squeeze the cloth, or press the wrapped paneer under a heavy pan for about one hour. Taking the right amount of water out of the paneer is the most important part of this recipe.
  • To check if enough water is out of the paneer, take a little piece of paneer on your palm and rub with your fingers. After rubbing the paneer for about 15-20 seconds, you should be able to make a firm but smooth ball.
  • If the paneer is too dry, add a few drops of water, using the water squeezed from the paneer.
  • Once the paneer is drained, place on a dry, clean surface and knead the paneer for 3-4 minutes until the paneer is almost rolls into smooth soft dough.
  • Knead the paneer by dragging the palm of your hand hard on the paneer. Keep scooping it back to together and knead more. Your palm will be little greasy.


For the Rasmalai:
  • Divide the dough into 12 equal parts and roll them in smooth balls.
  • To make the balls apply some pressure at the first and then release when forming the balls, lightly press to make about 3/4″ patty shape. 
  • Mix the sugar and water in a pressure cooker on medium high heat and bring to a boil.
  • Add the paneer balls and close the pressure cooker. After the pressure cooker starts steaming, turn the heat to medium and cook for about seven minutes.
  • Make sure the cooker is large enough to accommodate the finished rasgullas patties, as they will expand to about double in the volume while cooking in the syrup!
  • Close the heat and wait a few minutes before opening the pressure cooker. Pour cold water over the cooker before opening.
  • Take out the patties from the syrup and squeeze them lightly,and keep aside.
  • Boil the milk in a frying pan on medium heat until the milk reduce to about 2 cups.
  • Make sure to frequently stir the milk as the milk burns easily in bottom of the pan.
  •  Add the sugar and the Rasmalai patties in milk. Let it cook for few minutes.
  • Add the cardamom and mix in. Garnish with sliced almonds.
  • Serve the Rasmalai chilled.

And finally this ones for me as today is my 7th blog anniversary. Ya its a long time...but its been a slow and steady adventure for me, with lots of pictures  :) and also breaks!!.
I am  learning new things everyday through this wonderful community of bloggers and I love every bit of it.  I started taking pictures of the food just to post in the blog and now its become a passion for me. I am also learning new tips and techniques on that front through all my fellow bloggers and thank you all for sharing your experiences.


Have a great Weekend !!!

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Mutton Kuzhambhu / Lamb Curry

Here is a delicious recipe for mutton kuzhambhu passed on by my grandmother to my mother and now to me. We rarely include mutton/lamb in our diet probably once a year and that's the reason why it took so many years  for this recipe to be posted in this blog.The original recipe calls for grinding the masala one by one to a smooth paste. Ya, they did that in the good old days when they did'nt have any access to ready made masala powders, using the 'Ammi kal'  (stone grinder) by hand. Though my mom followed the method for quite some time she switched to the mixer eventually. She also adds some potatoes which gives a unique flavor to this dish.
I have given the original recipe as such and also some modifications needed to suit our kitchen :)




Ingredients :
500 gm Mutton/lamb chopped
1 medium onion
1 medium tomato
1 tsp chilli powder
2 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
2 medium potatos peeled and cubed
1/2 cup chopped coriander leaves
for tempering 
1 tsp sombhu/ fennel seeds
few curry leaves
Paste 1
8 cloves garlic
1 inch piece of ginger
Paste 2:
1 inch cinnamon
4 cloves
Paste 3:
1 tsp whole pepper
2 tsp jeera/cummin
 Paste 4:
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1 tsp poppy seeds (optional)  - I didnt use


Method:
Traditionally each masala set is ground seperately.
But here is how I made it.
Grind the garlic, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, pepper and jeera to a smooth paste.keep aside.
Next grind the coconut and the poppy seeds (optional) to a smooth paste. keep aside.
Pressure cook the mutton with salt, turmeric, and 1/2 tsp of chilli powder and 1 cup water for  upto 4 - 5 whistles.


In a thick bottomed sauce pan, add 2 tblsp of oil.
Add the fennel seeds and curry leaves when the oil is hot.
Then add the chopped onion and fry till translucent.
Reduce the heat to medium and add the ground masala paste and fry for couple of minutes.
Then add the chopped tomatoes and salt fry till the oil seperates on the sides.
Now add the chilli powder, coriander powder, and turmeric powder and mix well. 
Add the cubed potatoes and about 1/2 cup of water and cook covered for 3-4 minutes.
Then add the cooked mutton along with the water. Mix well, cover and cook for 10 mins.
At last add the ground coconut mixture, chopped coriander leaves and cook uncovered for another 2 mins or just until it comes to a boil again. 
 Serve hot with steamed white rice




Notes/Variations:
  • Poppy seeds are optional, I didnt use it for this dish
  • I follow the same recipe to make chicken kuzhambhu
  • This recipe is a bit on the spicier side, reduce the spice levels or increase the coconut to 1/2 cup for a mild/less spicy version and vice versa.
  • If its difficult to make the paste in your blender  try the following - Mix together 2 tblsp of ginger garlic paste(readymade) with 2 tsp of garam masala , 1 tsp pepper powder and 1 tsp jeera powder. 
  • You can also use thick coconut milk instead of coconut paste although there will be a slight difference in taste.
  • Cauliflower and potatoes makes a great vegetarian substitution.
Other Related recipes:
Chettinad chicken kuzhambhu/curry 
Lamb/Mutton soup
Mutton Chops Pepper fry

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Cilantro Yoghurt Dip

I started using this dip as a basic sauce for my pita bread sandwich.We liked it so much that nowadays I prepare this as a dip for any type of North Indian (Samosa, Aloo tikki, Pakora...) or South Indian snacks( Bhajji, Pakoda, Chilli gobi...). Its also a great way to finish off any leftover sour cream in the refrigerator, which is a nice alternative to yoghurt.

Ingredients:
2 cups Cilantro/Coriander leaves tightly packed.
2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup of thick yogurt/sour cream
1 green chilli *
1 tsp Jeera/cumin seeds.
1 tblsp lemon juice.

*Increase or decrease the amount of green chillies as per your spice level.

Method:
Add all the ingredients to the blender and grind it to a smooth sauce.
Serve with your favorite snack.


Sending this delicious dip over to The Big Chutney Chow Down At  Priya's Now Serving and
The Ep- series : Herbs and Spices at Erivum Puliyum where this months theme is Cilantro and cumin.


Before ending this post I want to thank Asiya Omar for passing on this beautiful award to me
I love both her blogs in tamil and in english full of authentic recipes.
Thanks Asiya for thinking about my blog :)
I would like to pass it on some of the other wonderful bloggers that I recently came across..

Shobha Shyam of  Good Food 
Maha of  Maha's lovely home
Anu of Hot Pot Cooking
The South Indian Home
Suja Manoj at Kitchen corner 

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Meen Kuzhambhu / Fish Kuzhambhu

In Tamil fish is 'Meen' and 'Kuz(l)hambu' is a tamarind based gravy which is spicy and tangy, more like the pulusu in Telugu. Meen kuzhambhu is the most common recipe in the southern part of India and is the most favorite recipe for fish. Growing up whenever Amma cooks fish its always been this kuzhambhu accompanied by a spicy fish fry.The menu never changed and we never got bored with this dish :). 
After venturing into a totally different style of cooking after marriage (Tanjore based) which was quite difficult for me adapt I was quite releaved to see that there was no change in this particular kuzhambhu made by my MIL :) . So this is the common recipe used in most of the household, with very slight changes, sometimes with coconut or without coconut. I personally prefer the no coconut version which is slightly more tangy than the other. My mother regularly adds 2 or 3 whole slit brinjals or some pieces of mangoes (when in season) which also enhances the taste greatly.




Ingredients:
1/2 kg of any white fish( catfish, tilapia, trout..)
11/2 tsp chilli powder 
3 tsp coriander powder 
1 lemon sized ball tamarind
3 garlic cloves thinly sliced.
1/2 cup shallots/onion chopped
1/2 cup chopped tomato


Tempering:
2 tsp of Karu vadagam/kuzhambhu vadagam *
               (or)
1 tsp mustard
1 tsp methi seeds/vendhayam
few curry leaves


Method:
Soak the tamarind in warm water and squeeze the thick pulp out of that (approx 2 cups).
If using Tamarind paste , mix 1tblsp of the paste to two cups of water. 
Wash the fish pieces with little bit of salt and keep aside.
In a kadai or sauce pan add 3 tblsp of gingelly/sesame oil.
When the oil is hot add the tempering ingredients, then add sliced garlic and chopped onion and fry till translucent.
Now add the chopped tomato, turmeric and salt.
Fry till the tomatoes are reduced to a pulp and the oil seperates out.
Now add the chilli powder and coriander powder and fry for 2 mins. Now add the thick tamarind juice stir and close with a lid.
Let it boil in medium heat for about 10 mins. 
Add the fish pieces one by one gently. Close with a lid and simmer for 10 mins. Do not over cook the fish as it will become mushy. 
Switch off the stove and let the kuzhambhu sit for atleast an hour before serving.




Notes/Variations:
  • I have used sesame oil which needs an acquired taste, you can also use any other type of oil except olive oil.
  • Vegetables like Brinjal or mango can be added while frying the onions to bring out an extra flavour.
  • 1/4 cup of  ground coconut paste can also be added as a yummy variation.
  • The amount of onion should be very little as given in the recipe,more onion will give a mildly sweet taste to the kuzhambhu.
  • If the kuzhambhu is little thin or watery - fry 1/4 cup of chopped onion. Grind to a paste and add along with the tamarind juice.
  • * Vadagam is a homemade combination of different spices like fennel, methi, garlic onion , mustardd etc., bind using castor oil and sundried till its completly dry. This vadagam is regularly used for tempering especially for the tamarind based gravies.
This 

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