Sunday, December 16, 2007

Idlis with a Twist

We love South Indian food .......and Idlis are the most favorite of all .....simple to make, non -fatty .... we all have our reasons for loving these delicate beauties .

The only problem I used to have was that the preparation required before you get to the stage of steaming them ...... what if you wanted to have idlis one fine morning ...and you do not have the batter ready with you ......believe me this can be a BIG problem in a north Indian household like mine......then one fine day I saw my mother-in-law making these beauties without any preparation in advance ......and I had to learn this recipe ...I did learn and now I am sharing the recipe with you all ...

The beauty of this recipe is not only the fact that it is INSTANT ...but also that it allows me to add some nutrition to idlis making them more healthy isn't that a great twist !!!

These idlis are made of rava ( sooji, cream of wheat) and I add a healthy dose of veggies ..all this makes them a perfect healthy breakfast or snack for me .

Rava idlis ( 12)

Sooji/Rava/ Cream of wheat - 1 cup

Curd/yoghurt - 1/2 cup

Baking soda - 1/2 t sp.

Salt - as per taste

Water - as required

Idli stand

For the tadka -

Oil- 1 tb sp

Rai / Mustard seeds - 1 t sp

1 small onion - sliced lengthwise

Green chilli- 1

Carrot - 1/2 roughly grated

Capsicum - 1/4 finely sliced

Salt- as per taste

Red chilli powder - 1/2 t sp

Take the sooji/rava , mix the curd and salt to it to make a paste . Add a little water if required to get the required consistency. Drop 1 tbsp of the mixture on each cup of the idli maker ( ensure that you have smeared some oil on the cups beforehand). Steam the idlis for 8-10 minutes.

Take the stand out and let it cool a little before removing the idlis .

In a heavy bottomed pan, heat the oil for the tadka , add the mustard seeds . Heat till they add spluttering, add the onion . Saute for a minute then add the chopped green chilli , then add the carrot . Add the salt and red chilli powder . Let the carrot and onion cook for 2-3 minutes then add the capsicum . When the capsicum is semi cooked , add the idlis ......turn them carefully so that they do not break . Let the idlis fry a little so that the color and flavors are imbibed by the idlis. Cook for 3-4 minutes .

Serve these idlis with coconut chutney or tomato sauce ....or just have them by themselves ...they taste yummy every way.

Its movie time folks.......

Yes !! it is movie time ....after a long time I could get the time to sit and actually watch a complete movie uninterrupted ........ All the activity before and after the India trip ....meant that I missed out on all the movies released in the last couple of months .

Usually we are the first show ( well maybe not the first show ) but definitely the first week audience for any movie that we have decided is worth watching . I am not ashamed to say that movies are our favorite to dos for the weekends ...the whole excitement of rushing to get the tickets ..the smell of popcorn and hot samsoas ...the well dressed crowd ....... movie theatre in Singapore is the 2nd place where I get to see so many Indian faces ...and all that somehow makes me feel a little more close to the country ...

Well since I missed out on the whole lot of pre-diwali and diwali releases ...I decided to catch up by having a show all for myself at ....where else but Home sweet home ......the DVD was set , the lights were dimmed ....the phones switched off ....but wait can we watch a movie without the all important POPCORN.......this time around hubby dear was in his sweet and benevolent mood ....not ignoring the fact that he is the popcorn expert of the home and so he made a whole lot of hot and enticing popcorn for me ...and we happily watched the movie ......but obviously not before I clicked a few photos of the same :-)

Popcorn ( just enough for 2 popcorn loving people )

Dried corn kernels - 1 cup
Butter - 1-2 tb sp.

Take a heavy bottomed pan ( with a cover) ( I use my irreplaceable pressure cooker) , put it on medium flame . Now add the butter and a little salt ....When the butter starts melting ...add the corn kernels and mix the whole thing nicely.

Keep stirring the mix for a few minutes cover the pan ( ensure that it is partially open ) . Keep the flame medium ...after about 2-3 minutes the corn would start popping . Keep it on the flame till the time the popping continues ....It would take 3-4 minutes . Now switch off the flame and serve the popcorn after tossing it with a little more salt.

Popcorn is ready to be enjoyed....................

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Killing three birds with a stone - That's what its all about

Isn't it great when we can prepare three absolutely different dishes , while making effort for just one .....

Today I am sharing with you no actually three such ways of utilising / consuming one simple Moong daal pakodas . It has been raining cats and dogs here since the last couple of days .....perfect season for a plate of hot sizzling pakodas with a steaming cup of tea . Yesterday I made Moong dal pakodas ..and as always I made a whole lot of pakodas ( you will soon know why ).

Moong dal pakodas take a little planning in terms of having to soak the split moong dal ( yellow one) for atleast 30- 60 minutes before hand . But once you have done it can sit back and relax as you can have these pakodas as starters , main dish or a very good accompaniment.

Let's start with the pakodas first , I made a whole lot of these , but here I am giving you the recipe for about 10 - 12 medium size pakodas -

Moong dal pakodas

Split moong dal ( yellow one) - 1/2 cup

Green Chillies - 2-3 ( depending on how hot you want the pakodas to be )

Ginger - 1/2 inch , chopped fine

Salt - as per taste

Baking soda - 1/2 t sp.

Red chili powder - as per taste

Oil for deep frying

Soak the moong dal in sufficient water for about an hour . Then rinse it well with water and grind in the blender with about 1 tbsp of water ( you can add a couple of green chillies and ginger while grinding also , however I like to add them later) . Grind the dal to a batter , which is grainy when you feel the texture of the batter , it should not be absolutely fine. Now pour the batter in a relatively bigger vessel and add the salt, chili powder , green chili , ginger and the baking soda . Whisk the batter briskly with hand or a flat spoon so that it becomes a little fluffy . This would make the pakodas soft and light . Heat the oil in a deep wok and once it is hot spoon the batter carefully into the oil. The pakodas would immediately rise up . Keep frying them till they become a lovely golden color . Take them out of oil and drain the excess oil by keeping them over tissue paper / kitchen towels.

Serve them hot with tomato ketchup / coriander chutney or any other sauce of you liking.

Chances are that you wouldn't be left with any left overs , but just in case you do have some pakodas left do no fret can use them to make either of these two dishes .

Moong dal pakoda Curry

Dahi pakodi

I always make a lot of pakodas when I get the chance ( this happens rarely because of the concerns about getting over weight etc etc) . I make some pakodas with salt and some without salt as I use the salt less pakodas to make a wonderful curry and I find it easier to adjust the salt levels .

Moong dal pakoda Curry

Moong dal pakodas - 10-15

Onion , large - 1

Ginger - 1 inch piece

Garlic - 8-9 small pods

Green chili - 2-3

Curd - 1/2 cup

Turmeric - 1/2 t sp

Red chili powder - 1 tsp

Garam masala - 1/2 t sp

Cumin seeds - 3/4 tsp

Tomato - 1 large

Salt - as per taste

Oil - 1 tb sp

Water - as required

Grind the onion, ginger,green chillies and garlic to a paste in a blender . Keep them aside.

Then grind the tomato to a paste also.

Then heat oil in a heavy bottomed pan . Once hot add the cumin seeds . As the cumin seeds splutter add the onion,ginger,green chillies and garlic paste and saute the same till it becomes translucent. Then add the turmeric and red chili powder , saute for 2 minutes till the water in the paste almost dries up . Add the tomato paste and keep sauteing till the oil starts to separate from the masala . Then slowly add the beaten curd into the masala , 1 tbsp at a time . Mix the curd well into the masala and keep sauteing the masala at low flame till oil starts to separate from it. Then add about 1 cup water to it and cover the pan. Let it simmer for 5-10 minutes over low flame till the gravy is well cooked ( keep the gravy a little thin . because when we add the pakodas , they soak up some water ) . Then add the garam masala and salt to the gravy .

( if you are using pakodas with salt then add a little less salt to the gravy and in case you are using unsalted pakodas then add a little more salt as the pakodas would soak up some salt).

While the gravy is cooking , soak the pakodas in hot water for 5-10 minutes ( this makes the pakodas soft and also helps in taking out some oil from them) . After 10 minutes , drain the pakodas and squeeze them lightly between the palms before adding them to the ready gravy .

Let the pakodas soak in the hot curry for about 15 minutes before serving .

You can garnish the curry with coriander leaves . This tastes amazing with roti/ parantas .

And last but not the least a great accompaniment to a meal ......Dahi pakodi...

This is one of my favorite ways of having the pakodas .... even after 2-3 days of refrigeration ....just dunk the pakodas in warm water and let them soak for 5-10 minutes . In the meanwhile prepare the yogurt ....take about 2 cups of yogurt ( curd) , beat it well ,add salt , red chilli powder , roasted ground cumin powder , a little black salt ( all as per taste) ....mix it all well . I even add a pinch of sugar ( I think it makes the taste interesting) . Take out the pakodas ( about 6), squeeze them lightly between your palms and soak them in the ready curd mix. Garnish with red chili powder , cumin powder , coriander leaves . Serve them as an accompaniment or separately as chaat or snack ...they taste great !! ;-) and the best part is that no one would complain about being served left overs ;-)

Sunday, December 2, 2007

I am back now ....

There has been a long - long break from blogging for me .....No this was not an intentional one by any means ...... let's just say life happened to move too fast around me and I got caught up in its whirlwind . Guests at home , bouts of illness for both me and hubby dear , maximum work load at office , our annual India trip and my only brother-in-law's wedding ( loved every minute of it ) ...all this happened during this break and I am still catching my breath after all this ;-)

But now I am back and I promise to be more regular than I have been till now .....I just came back from my annual India trip and I am loaded with recipes of yummy food ;-) ....and I cannot just wait to post them all here .....But I am still getting the house and office in order and as soon as I get a grip on both of them I shall share all those recipes with all of you .

Till than take care and keep those cooking pots boiling and the stoves burning . :-)

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Instant Rava Uttapam

This is yet another instant recipe that comes to my rescue when I have run out of ideas for breakfast . The rava and the vegetables make it a wholesome and healthy way to start the day .I use minimal oil while making it and that makes it even more healthier. It is an ideal breakfast for both bachelors and families , when you want a breakfast filling enough without making too many efforts. This photograph is not of the best uttapam that I have made , but till the time I get around to making this and actually get the chance to take a decent photo I guess this one will have to do. :-)

( For 4 medium size uttapams)

Rava/ Semolina/ Sooji - 1 cup
Curd/ Yogurt - 1cup
Water - as required
Onion - 1/2 medium size , chopped finely
Tomato - 1 medium size ,finely chopped ( I used cherry tomatoes as I had a few languishing in my refrigerator)
Green chili - 1-2 as per taste
Capsicum - 1/4 finely chopped ( I did not have any so I did not add it , but it tastes wonderful)
Salt - as per taste
Red chili powder - as per taste
Coriander leaves - 1 fistful , finely chopped
Oil- for making the uttapam


Take rava in a vessel and add half of the curd ( the more sour the curd is the better it tastes) , add water so that the batter that is formed is of medium consistency. Let it stand for 10 -15 minutes , in the meanwhile you can chop up the vegetables .
After 15 minutes , the rava would have soaked up the water and the batter would have become thick , add the remaining curd and mix well . Now add the vegetables ,salt , chili powder and mix the batter once more.
Take a frying pan and heat it over the stove , add a few drops of oil and then spread a ladleful of the batter on the pan . Spread it a little with the ladle. Now pour a few more drops of oil over it and cover the pan with a cover . Let it cook for a couple of minutes , then flip over to the other side and cook similarly.
When both the sides are well cooked ( slight brown spots would appear) , serve hot with tomato ketchup or the traditional coconut chutney.

Crisp Plantain (raw banana) Fritters

When I saw that bananas have been chosen as the ingredient for JFI last month , as usual my mind started racing , thinking about all the things I knew could be made using bananas .

As I belong to the Northern part of India where Bananas are consumed mainly as a fruit , there were hardly any north Indian dishes I could thing of . But then thanks to my dad's transferable job we have had the opportunity to live in different parts of our amazing country. My mother being a firm believer of the health benefits of having fresh and in season fruits and vegetables , did not hesitate to include the locally available goodies into the menu. She would take the recipes from her friends and then modify them to suit our palettes.

This is one of such recipes . I don't know from where she picked it up ...but it used to be a big hit with us especially on a rainy day . We used to have a number of banana trees in out back yard and I remember my mother picking a fresh plantain and then making these fritters for us.Both me and my brother loved the crisp fritters , with the subtle taste of the plantain enhanced with just salt and chilli.

Nowadays I hardly make any thing which is deep fried , but much to the glee of my husband these blog events give me an incentive to pour oil in my wok and pick up my karchi to fry something....

The recipe goes as follows -


Plantain/ raw banana - 1

Rice - 1/3 cup ( soaked in water for 2-3 hours)

Turmeric powder - 1/2 t sp

Salt - as per taste

Red chili powder - 1/2 t sp

Salt - as per taste

Oil - for deep frying


Coarsely grind the rice into a paste ( it should be coarse to touch and not a fine paste)

Add the salt, turmeric and red chili powder to this rice paste

Wash the plantain and peel off the peel. Cut diagonally into pieces of medium thickness.

Mix the plantain pieces into the rice paste and cover them with the rice paste well.

Deep fry 4-5 pieces at a time till the plantain is cooked.

Serve hot with tomato ketchup ,coriander chutney , or any other chutney of your choice

These can also be served as a part of lunch or dinner.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Healthy carrot salad

Okie ...let me start off with a confession ......I was supposed to post this one way back as an entry for RCI-Karnataka ....its actually my take on the traditional friend and blogging guide Lakshmi di of Taste of Mysore was kind enough to tell me this recipe so that I could also participate in this event hosted by Ashaji .... But even though I had done all the preparatory work , the salad was made , photos taken somehow I never got around to posting it ... and this has continued for more than a month . I guess it was some kind of a phase going on.

Well Lakshmi di is now back from her India trip and I got the gentle nudge from her for missing all the deadlines :-) ......this combined with reduced work load and hubby's absence due to an official trip has got me back to the computer jotting down this post.

I have changed a few things in the original recipe ....for starters I have used sprouted moong dal , mainly because I am a firm believer of the health benefits of sprouts and also because it adds a nice lush green color ....this when combined with the bright carrot red and white of the coconut makes this salad such a visual treat .... and isn't it true that food should appeal to all our senses of vision, smell, touch and taste. Also I added chopped green chillies instead of chili paste
mainly because I was too lazy to make a paste.

I made the salad as follows -


Whole green moong dal - 1/2 cup ( soaked overnight and then left to sprout in a wet cloth for the whole day - would give more than 1 cup of sprouts )
Carrot - 1 cup ( roughly grated )
Coconut - 1/2 cup ( roughly grated)
Lime - 1
Green chillies - 1-2 ( depending on how hot u want the salad to be ..the original recipe needed green chili paste ..but I was too lazy to make a paste and i just chopped them finely )
Salt - As per taste
Black pepper powder - as per taste
Chopped Coriander leaves - 2 -3 t sp. ( for garnishing)


Wash the sprouts under running water so that there is no smell in them ( that happens if you keep the sprouts in a closed box for sometime , because of the carbon di oxide which the sprouts produce) . Mix all the ingredients in a salad bowl. Add lime juice , salt ,pepper powder and toss the salad well . Set in the refrigerator for 15 minutes , it serves better when it is cold.

Serves : 2 people

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Bread Poha

Hi everyone …posting this recipe after a long time. Increased work load , followed by a bout of viral kept me busy all these days and as a result I couldnot make and subsequently blog something interesting . These photographs were languishing in the pending folder for quite a longtime and so I thought I would post this recipe just to become active again. A simple recipe for a hearty breakfast …using all the left over bread slices which are not stale enough to be thrown but not fresh enough to be eaten also.

Once after 2 years of marriage I remembered this recipe when I had a whole lot of semi stale bread slices and decided to make it for a weekend breakfast, and since then I have been making it regularly on request from hubby dear. Infact, many a times he puts in his request on a Thursday or a Friday itself ;-) …..

The recipe is real simple and you can freely incorporate your own ingredients.

Serves 2

Bread slices – 8
Eggs – hard boiled –2
Onion – 1 medium sized, chopped
Tomato – 1 medium size – chopped finely
Boiled potato – 1 medium sized
Peas – ½ cup
Green chilies – 2
Mustard seeds – ½ t sp
Oil – 1 tb spoon
Milk – ½ cup
Red chilli powder – ½ t sp
Turmeric – ½ t sp.
Salt – as per taste
Chopped coriander for garnishing

You can add chopped carrots, capsicum, and baby corn if you wish.

In a pan heat the oil and add mustard seeds. Once they have stopped spluttering, add the chopped onion and green chilies. Sauté the onion till it becomes pinkish in color, and then add the finely chopped tomatoes. Add the salt, red chilli powder and turmeric powder and stir 2-3 times. Cook till the tomatoes are squishy. Then add the chopped boiled potato and peas . Cover the pan and cook on low flame till the peas are cooked.
In the meanwhile, slice the bread pieces into about 2 cms squares and keep them aside. Also slice the boiled eggs into squares.
Once the peas are cooked, add the bread slices to the pan and mix well. Sprinkle the milk over the slices, mix and immediately cover the pan. The milk will evaporate and make the bread soft. Keep the flame low otherwise the bread will get burnt. After 2-3 mins open the pan and mix the poha lightly and add the boiled egg pieces. Garnish with coriander and serve with tomato ketchup.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Poori Mania - Palak/ Spinach Poori with Kala chana and Sooji Halwa

When I saw pooris being blogged on every blog that I visited ...I thought what is all with this poori mania ????........

A little more blog patrolling revealed that Anita of A Mad Tea Party has started this and declared poori - bhaaji as the national food of India. I must say I whole heartily agree with her, but instead of making pooris with bhaaji .....I decided to make poori with the traditional kala chana " black chickpeas" and Sooji halwa , which are my hubby's favorite also.
Traditionally this combination is made at the end of the nine days fasting period called "Nav ratra" in the northern parts of the country .
Pooris have become a rare treat these days with the increased awareness about the HDLs and LDLs ..but this combination is always welcomed in our home and you can serve this for any meal of the day and be rest assured that it will be devoured with much gusto and happiness ;-) . I added palak "spinach" to the poori dough to assuage our guilt about devouring them and also to add a little more taste and color to it.....well here comes my recipe for the same.
Palak Poori ( about 15 )
Wheat flour - 1.5 cups
Palak/ spinach - 1 bunch
Salt - as per taste
Oil - 1 tbsp
Oil for frying
Clean and wash the spinach and then boil it in a pressure cooker with very little water. After 2 whistles , remove the cooker from the stove and cool it under running water . You can also use a microwave for this purpose .Puree the spinach in a blender .
Take the flour in bowl and add the salt. Then add the 1 tb sp oil and rub the flour well between your fingers. Then add the spinach puree to the flour and knead to make soft dough . If the puree is not enough then you can add a little water to prepare the dough. Set the dough aside for 15 mins after covering with a moist cloth.
Pinch out small balls of dough and roll them into small circles with the help of a rolling pin . Deep fry these circles in hot oil . Puffed up delicious pooris are ready !
Sooji Halwa ( for 2 people)
Sooji/ Semolina - 1/2 cup
Besan / Gram flour - 1 tb sp.
Sugar - 1/2 cup
Ghee - 1/3 cup
Cardamom - 2-3
Water - 2 cups
Dry fruits - as per taste
Dry roast the sooji in a pan till it becomes fragrant . Then add the besan/ gram four and stir for a minute . Add the ghee to this mixture and keep stirring continuously . Fry till the time the ingredients become light brown ( some people like the halwa to be whitish or a little pale ...if you like it that ways than you can stop the roasting at that stage , I like mine a little dark in color so I roast it a little longer) . Lower the flame to minimum and add crushed cardamom . Then add the sugar and immediately add the water . Let the mixture simmer at medium flame . Keep stirring continuously till the consistency becomes thick . Take off the stove and garnish with dry fruits of your choice.

Food for little goddesses - Zeere Wala Chana

This dish is made in almost all North Indian households atleast two times in a year at the end of the nine day fasting period called the "Nav Ratra" . Usually this is served to all the young girls who are invited to the house that day . These young girls are believed to be the incarnations of Goddess Durga and are hence treated like that on that day . In my household we make it more than two times simply because we both love this dish .
When I saw Sunita's spice event 'Think Spice Think Cumin' , I thought of a lot of dishes like Zeera rice , Zeera aloo ...but then everyday I saw someone making them , blogging them and sending their entries to Sunita. With each passing day I ran out of options ....and then it struck me that I can make this recipe . But as usual I managed to miss the deadline set by Sunita :-( I seem to be developing an expertise in missing all these deadlines .
Well , though I missed the deadline I still made this dish and here I am sharing it with you all .

Zeere wala Kala Chana / Black chickpeas with Cumin
Black chickpeas/ Kala Chana - 2 cups
Cumin - 1 tsp.
Green chillies - 2-3
Red chili powder - 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 1/2 tsp
Dry mango powder - 1 tsp
Salt - to taste
Asafoetida - a pinch
Oil - 1 tbsp
Soak the black chickpeas overnight and then pressure cook them with 3-4 cups of water. Add a little salt while pressure cooking the chickpeas . Cook till 4-5 whistles.
Once cooked drain the chickpeas and keep them aside .
In a pan heat the oil . Add a pinch of asafoetida to the oil and once you can smell it add the cumin . Then add the chopped green chillies followed by the boiled chickpeas. Stir well so that all the chickpeas are covered with oil . Then add the red chilli powder and coriander powder followed by the salt. Stir well till the chickpea is well fried and all the water has dried . Take the pan off the flame and when a little cool add the dry mango powder and stir well .
Traditionally it is served with pooris and sooji / atta halwa. You can serve it as a side dish with any wet /gravy . It can also be a part of the breakfast or a snack by itself .

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Express Recipe - Potatoes in a light and fragrant tomato gravy

When I read about the Summer Express Cooking Event being hosted at malluspice..I was a happy person ..coz I knew exactly what I had to make .

But then as it happens when you are over confident ...I did not realise how fast time flew and before I knew the deadline was here...and then I had to actually run and time everything ;-)

As a result ...I am just sending the recipe of one part of a complete meal for this event :-(

This is a simple recipe .....a perfect one for those days when its too hot to stand in the kitchen or when you are hard pressed for time .

The gravy is totally tomato based and low in oil content - hence a healthy recipe too ...

Ingredients :-

Potato - 1 large , peeled and diced into medium size pieces

Tomato - 2 -3 large

Cumin seeds /zeera - 1 t. sp.

Red chilli powder - as per taste

Green chilli - 1-2 depending on taste

Turmeric powder - 1/4 t sp.

Garam masala - 1/4 t sp. ( as per taste)

Salt - as per taste

Oil - 1 tb. sp.

Coriander leaves - for garnishing

Cooking time - 20 mins

Serves - 2 people

Method :-

Wash all the vegetables together . Then peel and dice the potato .

Puree the tomatoes in the blender .

Now in a pressure cooker , add the oil . Once the oil is hot enough add the cumin seeds and finely chopped green chillies. Once they stop spluttering , add the potato pieces . Saute for a minute , then add the tomato puree , salt, turmeric powder, chilli powder.

Close the pressure cooker and let it be on high flame . After the first whistle , reduce the flame . Take the cooker off the stove after the 2nd whistle.

Once a little cool , open the pressure cooker and keep it on medium flame add the garam masala and let it simmer for 2-3 minutes . Mash the potato a little so that the consistency becomes a little thick . Take off the flame and garnish with coriander leaves.

I usually team this with matar pulav or some other rice dish , plain curd, papads and salad.

This can be served with paranthas/chapati also.

Note : - One can add peas to add color and flavor to the dish .

Phirni - traditional Indian Rice Pudding

Somethings hold a special place in the heart because of the memories associated with them . This particular dish is one of those things for me .....a very simple but delicious dessert ..this used to be the favorite ..made on all those small celebrations ..... highest marks in a class quiz, getting selected on some team . We used to celebrate all those small victories and accomplishments and phirni used to be a part of it :-) . Though I don't get to make this dessert that often now ....not because of the lack of occasions for celebrations ...but more so because of the wish/need to watch the calorie intake :-(

Someday when I have kids and I will need to celebrate their achievements and successes ..then maybe I will again get a chance to relish this favorite of mine :-)

Since it is served when chilled , summer time is the ideal time to make and relish this dessert. The gulab jal /rose water added also has a cooling effect on the body.

I saw that Rice is the selected ingredient for this month's JFI hosted by Sharmi of Neivedyam a plethora of recipes involving rice ran through my mind. But finally I chose this simple , cooling and sweet dessert as my entry into the event , not to mention that I got to make and eat it with my dear friends not to forget all with the "legitimate reason" of needing an entry for the event ;-)

Phirni / Traditional Indian rice pudding - Serves 6

Ingredients :-

Rice ( any white rice would do ) - 1/4 cup

Milk - 1 litre

Sugar - 6-7 tb sp. ( as per taste)

Rose water/ Gulab jal - 1 tb sp.

Dry fruits of your choice - as per taste

For this dessert , we need to soak the rice in some water for 1 hour or so and then grind the rice . The rice should be ground a little coarsely and not into a paste .

In the meanwhile , take a thick bottomed pan and heat the milk in it .Once the milk starts to boil , lower the flame and let the milk simmer for 15 -20 mins . Once the quantity has reduced a little add the rice paste into the milk . Add the paste very very slowly and constantly stir the milk as you do so . This step is very important , because if not stirred properly and constantly lumps will form and we do not want that to happen .

Once all the rice has been added to the milk , keep stirring the milk constantly for the next 10 mins . Ensure that the rice does not settle down and stick to the bottom of the pan. While stirring the milk you will notice that the consistency changes and it will have a creamy consistency.

Now , take the pan off the flame and add the sugar . Stir a little so that the sugar dissolves .

Once the contents of the pan are a little cool , add the gulab jal /Rose water and the finely chopped dry fruits .

Keep in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours .

Serve chilled !

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Chicken Do Pyaza

This one is the quickest and the easiest way of preparing a Indian style chicken dish that I am aware of ...... again a vintage mom's recipe which I love for the ease and simplicity ... According to mom the story goes that this dish was invented by the chefs of the Nawab of Awadh during one of the hunting trips of the nawabs.During the hunt the chef was so caught up in the action that he forgot to make preparations for the elaborate dishes he had planned . So , the chef just chopped up all that ingredients and tossed them into the pot . The result was a simple dish and aromatic dish that the Nawab loved this one so much that it became on the favorites of his...

I don't know whether the story is true or whether it was mom's invention to satisfy the umpteen questions I used to have about everything ...but it definitely makes for an interesting anecdote which I love to share with whoever is willing to listen ;-) .

Now this chicken do pyaza is quite different from the one you would have had in restaurants will not find chuncky pieces of onions etc in this one ...but the taste would definitely make it one of the favorites .... and the good thing is that you donot have to spend hours in the kitchen "bhunoing" the masala as is the case with most other north Indian non-veg dishes ....just roughly chopped up onions,ginger ,garlic....lots of whole spices and the chicken ...toss them all into the ubiqitous pressure cooker ..and let it cook ....and after 20-25 mins ...voila your dish is ready :-)

Ingredients :-

Chicken - cleaned - 3/4 kg

Onion - 3/4 kg - 3-4 large onions - roughly chopped

Ginger - 1 and 1/2 inch - roughly chopped

Garlic - 6-7 large pods - roughly chopped

Tomato - 2 large

Cinnamon - 1/2 inch piece

Cloves - 6-7

Black pepper - 7-8

Whole black cardamom - 1

Whole dried red chillies - 9-10

Green cardamom - 2

Oil - 3-4 tb sp.

Red chilli powder - 1tsp

Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp

Salt - as per taste

Garam Masala powder - a little

Method :-

Clean up the chicken pieces and keep them aside. Roast all the dried whole spices on a warm pan till you can smell the aroma , then just crush them slightly . Heat up the oil in the pressure cooker , once the oil is hot add the whole spices , saute for a minute , then add the roughly chopped up garlic and ginger followed by the onions ..(we need a large quantity of the onion coz it will make the semi dry gravy in this dish).Once the onions are translucent , add the tomatoes saute till it is a little soft add the chicken . Saute till the chicken becomes white in color .Add the red chilli powder , turmeric powder and salt and saute for 2-3 minutes . Then close the pressure cooker and keep the flame on high , after the 1st whistle lower the flame to low . After the 2nd whistle , turn off the flame and after depressurizing the cooker open it . There will be a lot of water left in the cooker so put the cooker on the burner and cook till almost all the water has evaporated .Then add the garam masala powder and mix the contents a few time so that everything is well mixed and the oil starts to separate a little . Taste for salt ....put in the serving dish and garnish with coriander .

Serve with Chapatis/parantha/rice .

Serves : 4

Note : since the dish is semi dry it will be better to serve it with a raita or even plain curd.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Cooling Watermelon,Pineapple & Feta cheese salad

Watermelon is the fruit of summer.....and what do we all look for in the sultry heat ...something cooling !!
Well when I saw that the "Fruit of the month" was my favorite watermeon I was delighted . A little search over the net revealed a number of ways of utilizing this beautiful and gorgeous fruit for making lovely and tasty dishes.

Salads are a favorites in the summers here's a colorful , cooling and gorgeous looking salad using this fruit . The firm texture of the pineapple wonderfully complements the watermelon and the feta cheese brings just the right amount of surprise element into the salad.

Ingredients :-

Watermelon - cubed - 1-2 cups
Pineapple - cubed - 1-2 cups (same quantity as watermelon)
Red onion - finely chopped - 2 tbsp.
Feta cheese - crumbled or diced - 3 tbsp.
Mint- finely chopped - 1-2 tbsp.
Freshly squeezed lemon juice - 2-3 tbsp.
Freshly crushed/ground black pepper - as per taste
Salt - as per taste

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and toss well .Refrigerate for 1/2 - 1 hour before serving. Add salt just before serving and toss well. Adding salt earlier will lead to a soggy and watery salad which we donot want. So go ahead and happy tossing :-)

This is my entry for
A Fruit A Month (AFAM) - July I hope it is accepted :-)

Watermelon Icer

Ingredients :-

Watermelon - cubed and deseeded - about 2 cups
Orange juice - 1/4 cup
Yoghurt - 3 heaped tbsp.
Vanilla essence - 2-3 drops
Ice - 1/2 cup

Method :-

Put all the ingredients in the blender and blend well .

Pour in a glass and decorate with a sprig of mint and a slice of orange/lime...

A wonderfully mellow and cooling drink is ready.

Serving - 2 medium sized glasses

This is my second entry to A Fruit A Month (AFAM) - July .....couldn't help myself I love the fruit too much :-)

I hope it is accepted too .... ;-)

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Kidney beans Sandwich

This recipe is a result of my experimentations .... Kidney beans is one of the favorite foods of my hubby and so I thought of using it in a new way . I have taken the basic recipe from Mexican recipes using refried beans. Breakfast is usually a hurried affair for most of us rushing to catch the bus to office , getting the kids ready for school ..and doing hundreds of other things .... the beauty of this recipe is that you can make the filling and store it in the fridge ...then in the morning all you need to do is to make the sandwich and grill it ...
Well enough rambling about my reasons for loving it is the recipe for all those who might want to try it :-)

Boiled and mashed Kidney beans /Rajma - 1 cup
1 Medium sized onion - finely chopped
1 Medium sized tomato - finely chopped
3-4 pods of garlic - finely diced
1/4 inch Ginger - finely diced
Green chillies - 2-3 (depending on taste)
Salt - to taste
Red Chilli powder - 1/2 tsp.
Asafoetida/ Hing powder - a pinch
Garam masala powder - 1/2 tsp.
Oil - 2 tb. sp.
Water - 1/2 cup
Mozarella cheese - Grated - 1/2 cup
Bread slices - 6-8

The procedure :-

In a pan heat up the oil . Once the oil is hot add the asafoetida , then add the chopped garlic and ginger followed by the onion and green chillies. Sautee till the onion is translucent , then add the tomato . Cook on a medium flame till the tomato is well cooked and mixed with the rest of the ingredients , then add the red chilli powder , salt . Then once the oil starts separating from the mix in the pan add the mashed kidney beans and mix well . Then add the water and cover the pan .Let it simmer at low flame . This allows the various flavours to blend together and make a wonderfully creamy mixture . Then after about 3-4 minutes add the garam masala and then recover the pan . Cook till the ingredients have mixed well and then remove from flame.

Then apply this mixture evenly over a slice of bread , spread a layer of mozzarella cheese and cover with another bread slice . Apply a little oil over the outer surface of the bread slices and grill the sandwich . This will melt the mozarella cheese. Once well grilled , cut the sandwich diagonally or serve as it is ...

A healthy and nutritious breakfast is ready . :-)