Sunday, February 28, 2010

Punjabi Dal - A Comfort food

Pin It Now! Today is Holi the festival of colors. Happy Holi to everyone !! My mother tells me that she has made "Puran Poli" one of the most delicious,delicate and difficult of preparations in the Marathi cuisine. These polis cost around Rs 15 per poli in India but the ones made by her are ofcourse priceless.For these things alone how I wish I had been in India. If you are a person grown up in Maharashtra and specifically in city of Pune you will know what I mean...But alaas , we are here in US and here there are no puran-polis to be found....

Hey but we still have a lot of delicious food out here too... Like this punjabi dal. Another one added to my list of comfort foods. Its one of those recipes that are simple to make and make you feel at home.
Ok now on to the recipe. The recipe is adapted from this recipe on the blog As dear as Salt. I did not have chana dal at home so I substituted it with toor dal. It turned out delicious.
Folks you have to try this dal. It has this nice creamy texture, the kasuri methi giving it a different aroma and the cinnamon and bay leaf mingle very well to make a great combination! I have already made it twice this week and am sure making it again.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Spinach Bread

Pin It Now! I love all types of bread.I mean what can be easier and faster than a great sandwich. For a few days now I was searching for a recipe of spinach bread. It yielded this recipe on What Did You Eat by Sherry.With nutmeg, garlic and feta cheese and lots of spinach this recipe was exactly what i wanted.
I made some changes though. Instead of all-purpose flour I used bread flour. I reduced the amount of feta cheese and nutmeg since I though it would make it a bit too salty.
The bread turned out nice and crusty with a soft inside. Here is the loaf...

I made some nice chutney sandwiches with lettuce,green and red pepper and feta cheese. Made for a delicious saturday brunch. We enjoyed every bit of it !.

   Sherry of What did you eat also called it as Popeye Bread since the bread is soo 'spinachy..' . Its really sad that shes no longer amongst us. Sherry you will continue to love with your recipes.We miss you and your recipes.
    This bread goes to Susan's YeastSpotting a weekly event showcasing yeasted baked goodies.

Ciao !

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Mango Chocolate Bread - A baking experiment

Pin It Now!
Now this was just a baking experiment. I had this gorgeous mango from the grocery store. I peeled and cut the fruit to find it so nice and sweet. Yes, its still winter i mean not really summer to have really sweet mangoes. Guess i was just lucky !.
Ok, anyways I was in a mood to have some fruity bread. I modified a recipe i used earlier to use mango and chocolate. The bread was moist and tasted good. But I could have used more of the mango.
Mango Chocolate Bread
1. Preheat over to 350deg F
2. Spray a loaf pan
3.  In a mixing bowl add the following ingredients
1C All purpose flour (Add 2 tbsp cornflower and fill rest of the cup with all-purpose flour or whole wheat flour)
3/4 cup sugar
3/4C Chopped Mango
a handful of chopped dark chocolate chips
1tsp cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
1tsp. baking soda

1tsp baking powder
¼ tsp. salt

Rub the ingredients into the flour.
4. In another bowl prepare the wet ingredients :
1/4C oil
1/4C yogurt
1/4C milk or a little more if required.
Stir above ingredients to mix well.
5. Fold the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients till ingredients are just moistened.
6. Pour into prepared loaf pan.
7. Bake for 45 min until a tester comes out clean.
This cake has a very nice crumb. Its moist and just sweet enough. The chocolate mixes very well with the mango. The cake tastes better the next day. But like I said earlier it could use some more of the fruit.
See you in a bit !

Jason's Deli Style - Tomato Soup

Pin It Now! The other day I had some cherry tomatoes to finish up. Their skins had really started to wrinkle up and they started losing their glossy finish. I did not plan to make the soup Jason's deli style but on tasting it reminded us of the soup we had at this place sometime ago. In fact it tasted even better and healthier than the Jason's deli version.
It's really very simple to make and requires very few ingredients.Now on to the recipe.

1 pint of cherry tomatoes ( or 4-5 roma tomatoes. I used 2 roma tomatoes with 1/2 pint of cherry tomatoes)
2 handfuls of shredded carrots ( or 2 medium sized carrots)
8-10 garlic cloves
salt and pepper to taste
a glug of olive oil
a few fresh basil leaves
4-5 tblsp whole milk/heavy cream ( I used whole milk)
shredded mozarrella or mexican blend cheese to garnish
croutons to garnish

1. Preheat over to 375 F
2. Spread the tomatoes and garlic on a baking sheet.Coat these with salt,pepper and olive oil.
3. Roast until the garlic cloves turn light brown and give out a nice garlicky aroma. The tomatoes will also soften up to release their juices.
4. Stir-fry the carrots separately.
5. Let the tomatoes,garlic and the carrots cool down.
6. Blend the above to a soft paste.
7. Heat some oil in a soup pot. Add a little cumin (optional). Put the paste.
8. The paste will splatter so be careful. Then add some hot water to adjust the consistency.
9. Once soup has boiled for a few minutes simmer and add the milk/cream.
10. I added a little sugar at this point since mine felt a bit tangy. Add a few torn basil leaves and let stand for 2-3 mins. Garnish with croutons and cheese and serve.

This soup feels so good on a cold day. It goes well with a bread or even some rice. It tastes creamy,sweet and tangy. The carrots lend their sweetness and the roasted garlic gives it a nice background flavor. The basil add a nice freshness to the soup.

We had ours for a saturday brunch with some brown rice pilaf. We licked our bowls clean !

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Sunday Special - Methi Chicken

Pin It Now! Like in most households chicken curries are very popular in my home. However we do not like the gooey curries served in most restaurants. They are thickened by lots of cream or coconut milk both of which are very calorie-loaded.

Recently I tried the Methi Chicken posted by Shilpa of Aayi's Recipes. I have tried many recipes from this log and all of them have been very delicious.This recipe was not exception.
In fact every time I get a bunch of Methi from the grocery store I set aside some for this delicious Methi Chicken.I have played around with the recipe using the ingredients I had on hand and every time its more flavorful as the previous attempt. In fact it tastes better the next day and the day after ( if there are any leftovers that is..).

I followed the recipe mostly except that I do not have khus-khus at home so i just make a paste of tomatoes and onions. I also use coriander powder instead of coriander seeds. Also instead of grinding the cinnamon,cloves I just put them while making the tadka.
I served the chicken with homemade rotis and jeera fried rice for satisfying sunday lunch.
Catch you in a few !

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Going Green with Green Beans

Pin It Now! There are times when I know exactly know what to do with an ingredient. I take it and get going about the recipe. Then there are times when I plan the recipe but do something different when I actually get at it in the kitchen. Mostly its the latter, but this time when I looked at the green-beans I knew what I was going to make with them.

"Stir-fried" makes one think they will be totally unhealthy. Hey but wait no.... these ones are delicious and so very nutritional. I never ever liked green-beans as much as I like them now. In fact we almost had an argument as to who got a bigger portion of them for lunch. Ok, so before I rave about it any longer let me get into the recipe.

Green Bean Stir Fry

1. Snip the ends of green beans and cut them into 2 pieces or max 3 if they are longer.
2. Heat a deep pot with water. Let the water get to a boil. Add some salt to the water.
3. Now add the green beans and let them hang in for like3-4 mins. Maximum 5min.
4. Then allow them to drain in a colander.
5. In another stir-fry pan heat some olive oil. Add some chopped garlic and saute till fragrant.
6. Then add the green beans and mix. Add some peanut powder and salt.
7. Fry for 2-3 mins without covering them.

Serve them as a side with a sandwich or wrap. We had ours with some parathas for saturday lunch.
They would be great for lunch at work or at school. Other interesting things like fried tofu,chicken could be added to make a complete meal.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Tangy Mango Cilantro Chutney

Pin It Now! During my recent trip from the grocery store a few chilly arbol peppers made their way into our home.The ones at the market had a gorgeous green color that makes one want to use them instantly. But beware as these are really hot. Like I just needed one of them for this tangy mango chutney.

I make several different chutneys to be slathered on toasts or to go into wraps or as dipping sauce. Leftover chutneys are usually freezed into ice-cubes. That way I have my own dipping sauce whenever the mood  strikes.

Here's how I made it :-

In chutney blender add :
 1 chilly arbol pepper (or any other pepper of your choice)
  handful of cilantro leaves
  a handful of chopped mango
  groundnut  powder /groundnuts
  2 cloves of garlic
  1tsp  grated ginger
  salt to taste
   lemon juice a few drops
   pinch of sugar
   1 tsp cumin seeds
   shredded carrot
And that's it. Blend in and taste and adjust the seasonings to the desired spice level.The colour of chutney will vary depending on the quantity of ingredients. Add more cilantro for greener color.
I try to make my dips healthy by replceing some of the peanut powder with shredded carrots.
This tastes great and increases the nutritional value.
    We had ours with some rotis and vegetable. Leftovers will be used for breakfast tomorrow.
Have a great weekend !!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Carrot and Apple Cake

Pin It Now! Some of the apples left over from the apple crumble the other day went into this apple and carrot cake. This cake was put together in a jiffy by using a basic recipe and then modifying it with the ingredients I had on hand. To my pleasant surprise the ingredients mingled beautifully. I am sure to bake this cake again.

Following is the recipe :-

1. In a bowl mix together foll.

2 tbsp corn starch
1C all purpose flour (Take 2 tbsp cornflour in cup and add APF to make 1C of flour)
1/2 cup sugar( I used brown sugar)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon powder
1 tsp nutmeg powder

2. To the above mixture add the foll.
1 medium shredded apple
2 medium shredded carrot
handful of walnuts

3.In another bigger bowl mix the foll.
1/4 C oil
1/4 C milk
1/2 cup applesauce

4. Stir the flour mixture into the wet ingredients until just combined. Used the cut and fold method of mixing.

5. Bake in a prepared pan at 350 deg. F for 45 min. Do the toothpick test.

The cake smelled heavenly when baking. The crumb was delicious with bits of carrot showing up beautifully. This makes a perfect mid-morning or afternoon snack.

Its not Valentine 's day really but I did bake this cake for my eternal valentine :) . So this cake goes to the Bake a Cake event - Valentines Day Special event hosted by Nina of Confections of Bake-a-holic. And now that's a nice name.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

My version of Carrot Herb rolls

Pin It Now! I admit I love baking specially baking breads. I love kneading the dough,looking to see how it has doubled in volume,and the aroma of bread baking in the oven. Making it is a joy and enjoying it with my favourite spreads pure bliss.
I attempted Carrot Herb rolls from this site and the rolls did not disappoint me at all. I halved the recipe since it was only for the two of us. But I really should have made more. They were so tasty!
It was the first time I used bread flour.Bread flour gives a nice porous and chewy bread.
Even though i expected a more softer roll I was still pretty satisfied about the results.
Here are the rolls fresh out of the oven....

Go ahead,grab one.. :)

Saturday, February 6, 2010

A Baby shower and a Cake

Pin It Now! Its so pleasing to take something to a party and get an empty container back. To know that all the guests really enjoyed your dish and that included the little ones too.
So my friends, here's the recipe for the Date cake that you all requested. Actually its taken from the site Aayi's Recipes. I have tried several recipes from this blog and all have been a hit in my family.
Ok now back to the recipe...

18 dates(Khajoor,I used the pitted n chopped dates we get at walmart)
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup all purpose flour or maida
1/2 cup oil
1 tea spn baking soda
1 tbl spn walnut pieces

1. Mix the milk and the date in a micro-wave safe bowl and heat in microwave for 30s. Keep a watch so that mixture does not boil over.Heat till dates mixture becomes soft. Cool for 10-15 min.

2.Add sugar and grind them to a smooth paste along with the milk in which it is soaked in. Add oil and mix.

3.Mix the flour and baking soda and the nutes. Mixing nuts with the flour coats the nuts with flour so that they dont sink to the bottom of the pan.

4.Add the flour one table spoon at a time and mix slowly. Use the cut and fold method to mix. You need to take the mixture from the bottom and fold it on top.A rubber spatula helps a great deal.Do not mix in circular motion like dosa batter. Cut n fold method folds in air and helps the cake become fluffy.

5. Prepare a baking pan with butter and dust with flour.Pour mixture into it.

6. Preheat the oven at 350F. Bake the cake in a greased oven proof dish for 35-40min (or till a knife inserted in the cake comes out clean).

7. Do not open the over for the first 30 mins else cake will deflate.

The cake was a huge hit at my friends baby shower. I made it the day before specially because it gets better the next day.The baby shower was very well hosted at P's place and we all had a great time !

Catch you later with another something about food and life !

Ciao !!