Sunday, March 28, 2010

Some anticipation and some spicy curry

Pin It Now! Another weekend goes by. I had a very lazy weekend this week. Did not do anything much except anticipating some good times. Anticipation I did and actually lots of it !
It so happens that my sister visits us next week all the way from India that too for a month.I am really looking forward to having some girly times with her. All those sisterly conversations, some company in kitchen and whole lot of shopping.How exciting is that !

In between all the anticipation however I did manage to make some spicy fish curry. I used this recipe from the blog Fork-Spoon-Knife by Asha Pagdiwalla.
Fish Curry

I followed the recipe very closely.Even the step of not opening the lid till serving time. The curry had distinct south-indian flavors from the urad dal and the fennel seeds. The tangy-ness of the tomato and tamarind compliments very well with the garlic and fennel seeds.Its one of those homely curries perfect for a sunday lunch.It tasted great with some rotis and rice.
Though I did use fish in the Meen Kozhambu I am sure it will taste great with some potatoes or eggplant as she suggests it.
Thanks Asha for sharing your mom's recipe !

Saturday, March 27, 2010

No hassle Broccoli

Pin It Now! Broccoli got introduced to me only after coming to US. I avoided picking it up at the grcoery store not knowing how to cook with it. However after having tried out this recipe its becomea routine item in our grocery shopping.

I realized I liked it crunchy and half cooked rather than soft and mushy. The recipe is very simple and cooks in minutes in the oven.

 Here's how I made it :


 2C Broccoli florets cut into bite-sized pieces
 1tbsp cumin 
 1small potato cut into thin and small pieces
 salt to taste
 1crushed dry red chilly( or more to taste)
 1glug of olive oil

 1. Line a baking sheet with foil. Pre-heat oven to 350F
 2. Mix the ingredients into a bowl and spread on the baking sheet.
 3. Bake in oven for 8-10min till the potato is cooked through and the broccoli is crunchy.

 Transfer to a serving bowl. I served mine with rotis and a curry.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Yet another Banana Bread recipe but ..

Pin It Now! this time its with chocolate and crystallized ginger..

As a new week begins I look back and realize how the weekend just flew by me. I had to cross out so many tasks on my list but I only finished so many. This weekend it was some much needed Spring Cleaning as they call it. Not that we waited for Spring to plan this cleaning. It was actually long overdue.

On Sunday I joined my some friends for a spring get-together. The event is organized every spring to give the community  kids a chance to showcase their performing arts talent.
Though my little one is yet to learn any human-understandable art he too joined in with some lound aaaahs and ooos.. Nonetheless the show was fantastic. What I loved more were the proud faces of the kids and their mums-dads after everyone clapped at their act. I so wished to bottle these expressions and see them again at a later time.

On the cooking front I really wanted to use up some crystallized ginger and chocolate chips that too in a quickbread. I did print the recipe and had all what I needed to start baking. However like I said before I could not get to it until today.
I have tried many fruit breads in the past and I wondered how I had never thought of putting together a banana bread.And somehow this weekend I was craving for somehommeade fruit bread.
Here's how i made it : -

Dry ingredients
1 cup banana puree
4 tblp melted butter

Wet Ingredients
1 cup all-purpose white flour
3/8C brown sugar
3/8tsp baking powder
1/4tsp baking soda
3/4cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 C chopped crystallized ginger
pinch of salt
handful of chopped pecans/walnuts

  • Mix the dry ingredients to a bowl
  • In another bowl whisk the dry ingredients. 
  • Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour the banana mixture. Mix till just combined and all flour is incorporated.
  • Mixture will be lumpy.
  • Bake at 350F for 55mins.

I got one 8X4 loaf with the above proportion.

The bread turned out very moist and flaky. It had a strong banana flavor. The ginger complimented the sweetness perfectly. 
We packed some slices in a cling film to take along to work. Serves as an excellent mid-morning or afternoon snack.
Update - This bread has been YeastSpotted !
See you in a few !

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Dinner for my teeny tiny one....

Pin It Now! Today I have a recipe not for the little ones but for the very very little ones. Having a little one come into our life has posed several challenges for this home-cook. Making meals for him was just one of them. Its a full U-turn on many of the parameters like spice-level,texture and the quantity. Recently I tried this whole wheat upma which he relished very much.
This recipe uses whole wheat(dalia) rather than the regular white semolina. 
Here's how i made it : -

1. Heat oil/ghee in a kadai and add :-
    Pinch of Mustard seeds
    Pinch of  cumin seeds
    1 small piece of green chilly
     pinch of finely grated ginger
     1/2 tsp onion

    pinch of turmeric

2. Then add:-
     1/2 tsp tomato
     1/2 tsp green peas ( you can add corn also)
    Saute till slighly cooked

3. Then add :-
     2 tbsp dalia
     And saute for a minute

4. Add 1C of hot water. Mix well.And add :-
    pinch of salt
    few drops of lemon juice
    pinch of sugar
    some fresh/dry coconut powder

5. Cover and simmer for 20 mins or so till the water gets absorbed and the dalia is soft.
    Check in between and add more water if required.

6.Serve slightly warm.

This is a very wholesome recipe that can be easily modified to accomodate the veggies at hand. I also throw in finely shredded carrots or potatoes at times. BTW I did get to eat some of the leftovers as well:-)


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Happy Gudi Padwa with some Rava Ladoos

Pin It Now! Its Gudi Padwa the official start of the Marathi New Year.So here's wishing you a very happy gudi padwa.May this year be full of joy and success.
 To mark the new year I made some traditional marathi rava ladoos.There are some recipes that remind you of your roots.This is one of them.
 Rava Ladoos
I followed this recipe on youtube that uses microwave to roast the rava and make the syrup. After 4-6hours the mixture hardened so I added a splash of milk and  microwaved it for a minute.

After cooling it this time I was able to make ladoos easily.We enjoyed the ladoos for dinner yesterday.And yes they did take us back in time...

Catch you in a bit !

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Secret to Soft Parathas ...

Pin It Now! Yes, I think I found the way to making soft parathas..

In fact, parathas remind me of one of my favorite paratha places in Pune :- Chaitanya. A few years back I was a regular at  this place. Some 5 or 6 of were all huddled up around a small plastic round table meant for a group of 4. The chairs were all mismatched and squeaking. The place was cheap and the food, delicious. For a mere Rs10 you could get a 10inch paratha with curd.And while you waited for it  to arrive at your table you can catch up on some office/college gossip.That was the life of a carefree girl some years back.

I generally make some kind of parathas on saturday. It gives me the perfect opportunity to try various combinations and more importantly I get the time and patience to play with them. This time I made these mixed vegetable parathas that were really soft and tasty.

The recipe is adapted from Tarla Dalal's book of Parathas . Its what I call the dictionary of parathas. There are endless varieties of parathas from the simple ones like all-in-one parathas to the more delicate and delectable stuffed parathas. I adore all those who can made delicious stuffed parathas.

 Mixed Vegetable Parathas

 This is how I made them : -

 1. Thaw 1C of mixed veggies ( frizen mixed veggies are thebest) and the blend them in a mixie. Add 2 green chillies (more if you want spicier) and blend till mixture is pasty. Ensure that carrot is also finely chopped.

2. Transfer to a bowl and add :-
     1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
      salt to taste
     1 tsp roasted and coursely ground cumin
     2 tbsp curds
     2 tbsp chickpea flour
     2 tsp oil
     Rub the above mixture till it resembles course bread crumbs.

 3. Now add -
     2C whole wheat flour (atta)
4. Add water bit by bit to form a stiff dough. Refrigerate overnight. The dough should not be loose since moisture developing after cooling will loosen it up further.

 5. I made parathas using this method. Keep the parathas warm by wrapping them in a towel or so.

 The curds and the chickpea flour make the parathas really soft. Serve with curds or a vegetable of your choice. I generally make the dough the night before since mornings are busy even on weekends.

These parathas go to Jivha for Breakfasts hosted by Veggie Platter an event started by Indira of Mahanandi.
The round up of this event is gonna be delicious. Thanks for hosting this event/.
 Cheers !

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Chana Masala

Pin It Now! You know there are times when you make something (by that I mean in the kitchen) and it does'nt turn out really the way you like it. But you still make it the same way because you know no other way to make it... sounds familiar...???

I always made a chickpeas curry like the way other curries are make. Fry the onion,tomatoes add store-bought chole masala and throw in a few other spices.Though the bhaji (curry) did taste good  I always had the onion,tomato on one side of the pot and the chickpeas to other. That is they never really mingled very well.There were other ways to thicken the curry like adding coconut-tomato-onion paste but I never took that route.Thanks to health issues and lack of time(to be read as my laziness). So this was the story of the chickpeas in my home until I read this recipe by the Jugalbandits on Jugalbandi. I love this blog !

Their chef friend revealed the secret to the thick and aromatic chana masala at restaurants. It was the slow-cooking in the crockpot. I did not own one though. Hey but I owned a rice cooker a pretty big one that too.

So the other day I soaked some chickpeas and got down to making chana masala the Jugalbandi way.
As happens many times I did not have some of the ingredients so had to make some inadvertent modifications. But the recipe is so forgiving that it will workout very well even with the minimum of spices.

Chana Masala

Here is my version of it :-

1. Soak 2 cup of chickpeas overnight. Pressure cook them with salt. They should not be fully cooked (Half-cooked you could say).

2. Heat some oil in a pan and add :
    1/2 chopped onion
     1/2 tsp salt
    1-2 cloves of garlic     
    Fry till turns slightly brown and mushy

3. Add the spices as per your tast. I just eyeballed the amount :-chilli powder,kasuri methi,chole masala,coriander powder.

 4. Add the tomatoes and fry till it becomes slightly mushy.

 5. In the riice cooker add : -
      Half-cooked chickpeas
      1-2 cups of water
       onion-tomato paste
       1/2-1 chopped potato
     Stir and keep on cook setting.

6. Watch the mixture in between . Add more water if required. Once the potatoes are cooked,taste and keep on warm for an hour or so.

 7. Then stir in :-
      1 heaped tbsp of tamarind-date chutney
       a handful of cilantro.

8. Let it warm until serving time around 30 min or so.

Though this dish is not one of the fastest cooking ones it tastes great. You can serve it as soon as the curry thickens. The tamarind date chutney imparts its own sweetness which I found very comforting.
This was one tasty curry. The thickness of the curry was something we all loved. The kasuri methi adds that restaurant like taste. I served it with rice and yogurt.

This recipe goes to the Blog Bites event started by Nupur of One Hot Stove. I never thought I would be sending a non-rice recipe for a rice cooker event. Anyways enjoy girl ! I love your blog!

Hugs !

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Quinoa Salad

Pin It Now! While browsing through several food blogs I noticed several recipes made with Quinoa. Most of the recipes emphasized its health benefits and rich protein content.
So on my recent trip to the grocery store i bought some quinoa (pronounced as keen-wah ).I loved the salad made at this site. It looked so colorful , fresh and super-simple. I followed the recipe closely though I had to omit some ingredients like olives,ginger and use cilantro instead of parsley. The recipe turned out great and made a satisfying meal.

The pressure cooker method to cook quinoa works great. We enjoyed the nutty texture which is something in between indian suji and soft white rice.When paired with some cooked chicken or oven-baked fish this makes a great meal for weeknights.

Hugs !

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The perfect Pav Bhaji - My style

Pin It Now! As a sandwich is to the Americans so is the pav-bhaji to us desis (as we are called here in US Of USA). There are endless versions of this classic dish. Every household,every hotel in India has their own recipe.And almost all of them are equally delicious. Over the years I have experimented over the ingredients, perfect procedure, and the right combination of spices to finally arrive at this version of pav-bhaji.
I like my food to look good I mean it should be a feast for the eyes too.:) So I like to have my pav-bhaji in slightly reddish orange color. A touch of paprika comes in handy here.  Also I omit the cauliflower in the list of veggies since it makes the bhaji slightly bitter. I use less potato to reduce the carbs and increase the quantity of peas,carrots,string beans.

Here is my version of it :-

1 boiled potato grated
1 cup mixed veggies ( I use mixed veggie bag from the grocery store here)
1 medium onion finely chopped
2-3 tomatoes finely chopped
1/2 green pepper finely chopped
( I use twice the onion+green pepper and tomato in 1:2 combination. Tomatoes should be twice that of onions and green pepper together.)
1 heaped tbsp ginger-garlic paste (amount of ginger > garlic )
salt to taste
1 heaped tbsp pav-bhaji masala ( I use Everest brand )
1 tsp chilli powder
lemon juice
pinch of sugar
cilantro and chopped onion for garnish
3-4 tbsp oil and butter for garnish

1. Heat some oil in a kadai and when its a level less than smoky add the ginger-garlic paste. Add the onion,chopped green pepper and fry till the raw smell of onion and ginger-garlic paste reduces. Cover and cook for 3-4 min. The onions should be soft.
2. Add the tomatoes and spices(chilli powder,pav-bhaji masala and paprika).Mix and cover and cook for 3-4mins.
3. Pressure cook the mixed veggies and mash to a paste.
4. Add this mixture to the pan and saute. Mash again if not completely mixed.Add the grated potato.
5. Add water to get required consistency. The mixture tends to splatter so be careful out there.
6. Cover and cook for 4-5 mins taking care that mixture doesnt dry up.
7. Add salt,lemon juice,sugar and taste. Adjust the spices to desired level.
8. Server with cilantro,dollop of butter and onion.

I think the key to making the perfect bhaji is that the spices should be given the time to mingle and release their flavor.So the cooking time at every stage is really important. Feel free to add cauliflower if you wish.
I also had plans to make laadi pav but its not materialized till now.

We enjoyed it with a nice crusty bread and papads for a weeknight dinner.