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Sep 3, 2012

Thengai Poli / Sweetened Coconut Stuffed Flatbreads!!!

Hi guys!!!

Poli happens to be one of my favorite Indian sweets. Adyar Ananda Bhavan sells one of the softest and tastiest polis. Anyway, the Maniyachi and Kadambur polis (mostly which I have had when travelling in trains) are hard to beat!!!

The two types of fillings used generally are coconut and channa dal puran. I love both of them :-) I had some scraped coconut that I had to use up and was obsessed with the idea of poli for a whole day, so ended up making these sweet little treats.

Now lets see the recipe.

Ingredients:

For the filling:
Scraped coconut - 1 cup
Sugar - 1/2 cup
Cardamom powder - 1 tsp
Ghee - 2 tbsp

For the poli:
Maida - 2 cups
Salt - a pinch
Water - for kneading
Sesame oil - 1 tbsp



Procedure:

1. Knead the maida into a soft dough adding a pinch of salt and water as needed. Finally add the 1 tbsp oil and knead it into a non-sticky smooth dough.
2. Heat a kadai and add the scraped coconut and sugar. When the sugar has melted add the cardamom powder and ghee. Keep stirring till it forms an almost solid mass. Turn off heat and let it cool.
3. Divide the dough into golf ball sized portions and spread them out. Place some coconut filling in the centre and seal the ball again and keep it aside.
4. When you have added the filling into every dough ball, start rolling out from the first ball. Use oil to avoid sticking. I spread the balls out by pressing them out when holding them in my palms. You can use a rolling pin too.
5. Heat a tawa and cook the poli on both sides till brown spots appear. Add some ghee when cooking if necessary.

Tastes great when hot!!!

Aug 29, 2012

Egg Puffs!!!

Hi guys!!!

With the easy availability of the ready-made pastry sheets here, I tend to prepare puffs frequently. No one can deny the fact that puffs are amazing with the evening tea. I have tried the usual versions of the puffs - the veg, egg and chicken. I have been wanting to try a jam and sweetened coconut filled version for a long time. Something close to the Danish pastries. Will try that soon and post it too :-)

Egg puffs has always been my favorite. Everytime I went out with my mom shopping we make sure that we get something to munch on around the tea time. It is either samosas or puffs. And when it is puffs I always settle for egg puffs. With the pastry sheet available ready the effort required to prepare puffs is minimal.

Now lets see the recipe.

Ingredients:
Makes 6 puffs

Pastry sheet - 1 rolled out
Eggs - 3 boiled
Onion - 1 big
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Curry leaves - a small bunch
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
Corriander powder - 1/2 tsp
Chaat masala - 1 tsp
Amchur powder - 1/4 tsp
Salt - as per taste
Oil - 1 tbsp



Ingredients:

1. Boil the eggs and slice them in halves once ready. Roll out the pastry sheet and cut them in 6 portions.
2. Heat the oil and add the cumin seeds when hot. When they splutter add the chopped onion and curry leaves. Saute till the onions turn soft.
3. Add all the masala powders and salt and mix well till the raw smell leaves.
4. Finally add the halved boiled eggs and mix well to incorporate the masala.
5. Preheat the oven to 200C. Line a baking sheet with foil. Place the filling with the eggs placed on top of the onion mixture. Close the ends and seal well.
6. Bake for about 20-25 minutes in the preheated oven until the top turns golden brown.

Serve hot with tea/coffee!!!!

Aug 28, 2012

Sweet Chilli Vegetable Sauce!!!

Hi guys!!!

I always have stock of Chinese sweet chilli dip cum sauce. I like to use the sauce in my Indo-Chinese dishes or just as a dip when munching on crisps. When preparing Chinese curries it is mostly "The Manchurian". I was preparing Fried rice the other day and wanted to prepare a curry that was not a manchurian. I kept thinking for a while and finally decided to add a twist to the simple stir-fry veggies. I just added some sweet chilli sauce to the veggie stir-fry and an amazing combination for the Egg Fried Rice was ready.

The recipe is quite easy and you can add whatever veggies you are comfortable with. I just used beans, carrots and cauliflower. Baby corn and broccoli would be a great addition too. Now lets see the recipe.

Ingredients:

Assorted veggies - 2 cups
(use veggies generally you use in stir-fry)
Onion - 1
Bell peppers - 1
Garlic - 3 cloves
Soy sauce - 1 tsp
Sweet chilli dip - 2 tbsp
Sugar - 1/2 tsp
Salt - as per taste
Sesame oil - 2 tbsp



Procedure:

1. Heat the oil in a wok and add the chopped garlic and onion. Saute till the onion is half cooked and then add the bell peppers.
2. Next add the chopped veggies and mix well. Add some water and close the lid and cook till the veggies are almost done.
3. Add the soy sauce, sugar, salt and finally the sweet chilli dip and stir well. Simmer for about 10 minutes and turn off heat.

Serve hot with Chinese fried rice or noodles!!!

Keerai Poriyal / Spinach Stir-fry!!!

Hi guys!!!

I am trying to use spinach atleast once a week. The problem with cooking spinach for my husband is that he can only have it in the completely smashed form. That leaves me with just very few options. I, personally love the stir-fry version and just 'coz I am too lazy to go through the trouble of preparing a dish just for me, this dish has always been less frequented.

The spinach stir-fry can be prepared in 2 ways. One, using grated coconut and the other using moong dal and no coconut. I love the coconut method. Most of the Indian spinach varieties are great for this dish. I have also tried the Baby Spinach I see here in the supermarkets and they turned out good too.

Now lets see the recipe.

Ingredients:

Spinach(Any variety) - a bunch
Onion - 1
Green chillies - 1
Chilli powder - 1 tsp
Fennel powder - 1/2 tsp
Salt - as per taste
Grated coconut - 1/4 cup
Oil - 2 tbsp



Procedure:

1. Wash and dry the spinach leaves. Chop them roughly and keep it ready.
2. Heat the oil in a deep wide vessel. When the oil turns hot add the chopped onions and chillies. Saute till the onion turns soft.
3. Now add the chopped spinach leaves and saute till the leaves start to wilt. Close the lid and cook for another 5 minutes till all moisture is shed by the leaves.
4. Add the masala powders and salt and mix well. Finally add the grated coconut and mix well. Switch off heat when the raw smell of the masala powders leave.

Serve with rice and dal / sambar!!!

Aug 23, 2012

Pepper Rasam!!!

Hi guys!!!!

I prepare Rasam once a week. Mostly, it is Tomato Rasam coz my hubby loves it. I was down with a flu recently and my tongue just did not respond to any taste in my food. I had to prepare this fiery Pepper rasam to relieve myself from all the nasal congestion. It was an instant relief and made a good lunch too!!!

I generally do not grind the rasam powder and store it for ages. I like to grind it fresh everytime I prepare rasam. Now lets see the recipe.

Ingredients:

For Rasam powder:
Pepper - 2 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Fenugreek seeds - 1/4 tsp
Corriander seeds - 1 tsp
Toor dal - 1 tsp
Garlic cloves - 3 or 4
Curry leaves - a small bunch

Other ingredients:
Tamarind juice - 1/2 cup
Oil - 1 tbsp
Corriander leaves - a bunch
Salt - as per taste



Procedure:

1. Grind all the ingredients under "for rasam powder" into a coarse powder.
2. Heat oil in a kadai and add the powder to it and give it a little stir.
3. Now add the tamarind juice followed by about a cup of water.
4. When the rasam is just about to boil add the chopped corriander leaves and salt. Do not let it boil too much. When it just starts to have white bubbles all over turn off heat.

Serve hot with rice and any poriyal!!!

Aug 22, 2012

Spinach Dal / Keerai Paruppu Kootu!!!

Hi guys!!!

The weather has been moody on and off right from the beginning of this week and that has just made me absolutely lazy. I just try to cook dishes that require minimum effort. This keerai paruppu kootu is one such dish. It can be prepared in a very short period and tasted great with rice and rotis. Also, it turns out to be a good alternative to the regular masiyal or poriyal form of the spinach we usually prepare.

This dish is generally prepared with Methi leaves. But any other keerai variety can be used too. Now lets see the recipe.

Ingredients:

Toor dal - 1/2 cup
Spinach - a bunch
Garlic - 3 cloves
Onion - 1
Tomato - 1
Green chillies - 2
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Asafoetida - a pinch
Salt - as per taste
Oil - 1 tbsp

For tadka:
Oil - 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Urad dal - 1 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Curry leaves - a small bunch



Procedure:

1. Pressure cook the dal along with turmeric powder and salt. Use about 1 1/2 cups of water and cook for about 15 minutes under pressure and mash it well and keep it ready.
2. Wash and chop the spinach leaves. Heat oil in a vessel and add chopped onions, garlic and green chillies and saute till they are cooked.
3. Now add the tomato and keep mixing till it combines with onion and forms a pulp.
4. Next add the chopped spinach and saute till the leaves wilt. Finally add the mashed dal and a little water and adjust salt if needed.
5. Heat oil in a separate kadai and add all the ingredients required for tadka and add it into the prepared kootu and switch off heat.

Serve hot with rice and papad or rotis!!!

Aug 21, 2012

Fish Moilee / Kerala Style Fish Stew!!!

Hi guys!!!

Fish Moilee is an awesome coconut milk based curry that is generally prepared in households in Kerala. It is generally prepared in combo with Aapam. I have prepared this curry a few times actually and found it great with rice. Using a firm white fleshed fish seems to work right. Do try to play around with fish types. I have used Seabass and King fish quite a few times for this curry. This time though I used Hake. It is a firm white fleshed fish found in European waters. I was skeptical about using it for the curry but it turned out well. The base of the curry is coconut milk. You can use store bought ones, but trust me, the freshly prepared coconut milk does enhance the taste.

Now lets see the recipe.

Ingredients:

To marinate:
Fish(Any variety) - 250 gms
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Pepper powder - 1 tsp
Salt - 1/2 tsp

For the stew:
Onion - 1 big
Tomato - 1
Green chillies - 1 or 2
Ginger - 1/2"
Garlic - 3 cloves
Curry leaves - a buunch
Thin coconut milk - 1 cup
Thick coconut milk - 1/2 cup
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Pepper powder - 1/2 tsp
Garam masala - 1/2 tsp (adjust to taste)
Cinnamon - 1"
Cloves - 4 or 5
Cardamom - 2 pods
Oil - 2 tbsp + for shallow frying the fish
Salt - as per taste



Procedure:

1. Marinate the fish in the ingredients mentioned and refrigerate it for 30 mins. Then shallow fry the fish pieces for a couple of minutes. This is only to ensure that the fish does not break off when you drop it in the curry.
2. Heat the rest of the oil in a wide vessel and add the whole spices and let them sizzle. Crush the ginger, garlic and green chillies together and keep it ready.
3. When the spices release their aroma add the chopped onions and saute till they turn soft. Next add the crushed paste and saute.
4. Now add the masala powders, salt and thin coconut milk. When the mixture starts to boil add the chopped tomatoes and curry leaves.
5. Let the curry boil for 5-10 minutes. Then add the shallow fried fish pieces and let it cook for another 10 minutes.
6. Finally add the thick coconut milk and simmer for 5 minutes and switch off heat.

Serve hot with rice or aapam!!!

Aug 20, 2012

Malai Chicken Tikka!!!

Hi guys!!!

Malai Chicken Tikka was a dish I prepared way before I went on my vacation. Back then I was in a "Tandoori-spree". Yes, I had to prepare something tandoori-like atleast once a week. This tikka is prepared just like tandoori chicken the only difference being that we do not use any of the usual masala powders we use to prepare tandoori chicken. As the name suggests, the basic ingredient is cream. Please do not conclude that this tikka is a bland and dull-tasting one. On the contrary, it is prepared with green chillies for the the spicy-kick. This is the type of dish that you will try endless times after having tried it once. You can take my word for that!!!

I have used chicken leg quarters 'coz I had them at home. Boneless chicken chunks can also be used. Now lets see the recipe.

Ingredients:

Chicken Leg Quarters - 2 / Boneless chicken - 200 gms
Yogurt - 2 tbsp
Thick cream - 1/4 cup
Grated cheese - 2 tbsp
Ginger & garlic paste - 1 tsp
Minced green chillies - 2
Ground cardamom - 1 tsp
Ground nutmeg - 1/4 tsp
Garam masala - 1/2 tsp (optional)
Ground cumin - 1/4 tsp
Ground pepper - 1 tsp
Lemon juice - 1 tsp
Salt - as per taste
Olive oil - 1 tbsp



Procedure:

1. Prepare a marinade with yogurt, cream, cheese, ginger garlic & chillies paste, all the ground powders, salt and lemon juice.
2. Make a few incisions on the chicken pieces and rub the pieces in the marinade and leave it in the refrigerator for 4-6 hours.
3. When ready to cook, take the chicken and leave it on the counter for half an hour to ensure even cooking. Preheat the oven to 200C.
4. Line a roasting pan with aluminium foil and place the chicken pieces on them. Toss the pan in when the oven is ready.
5. Cook for 25-30 minutes till the top browns a little and turn off oven.

Serve hot with mint chutney, ketchup and a salad!!!

Aug 15, 2012

Peerkangai Thayir Pachadi / Ridge Gourd in an Yogurt Sauce!!!!

Hi guys!!!

I pick up a ridge gourd from the Indian grocery store every other week and end up making sambar with it. I never really took the effort of trying something else with it. Last week, when again I took the ridge gourd out of my refrigerator thinking about the usual sambar, I suddenly realized that I had no shallots in hand. I hate the idea of using the big onions in sambar. So, I had to prepare something else. The first thing that struck me was the "kootu" but then I remembered this pachadi. I have had this pachadi in a restaurant and thought I'd give a try in re-creating it.

Now lets see the recipe.

Ingredients:

Peerkangai / Ridge Gourd - 1 big
Onion - 1
Green chillies - 1 or 2
Ginger - 1/2"
Grated coconut - 2 tbsp
Curd - 1/4 cup
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Urad dal - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves - for seasoning
Corriander leaves - a small bunch
Oil - 2 tbsp
Salt - as per taste



Procedure:

1. Peel the ridge gourd and slice them into tiny cubes. Grind the coconut, green chillies, ginger, curd and half of the cumin seeds together into a paste.
2. Now heat the oil in a kadai and add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, urad dal and curry leaves. Next add the chopped onion and cubed ridge gourd followed by turmeric powder and salt. Close  the lid and cook for about 5-10 minutes on medium flame.
3. When the vegetable is almost cooked add the ground paste and mix well. Check the salt and simmer for another 5 minutes.
4. Chop some corriander leaves into the pachadi and switch off heat.

Serve with rice and kara kuzhambu!!!

Aug 14, 2012

Kadai Paneer Masala!!!

Hi guys!!!

Paneer is an all-time favorite to both me and my husband and I tend to prepare some dish or the other with it every week. Kadai Paneer is a really quick dish and can make a great meal. It is a wonderful combination for rotis and pulao. The ingredients are not that many and the curry is prepared in no time. I have not fried the paneer cubes before using them in the curry. But if you are used to adding fried paneer cubes in the curries feel free to do so.

Now lets see the recipe.

Ingredients:

Paneer - 250 gms
Bell peppers - 2 medium sized or 1 big
Onions - 1 big
Tomato - 1 big
Ginger - 1"
Garlic - 3 or 4 cloves
Green chillies - 1 or 2
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Chilli powder - 1/2 tsp (Mine is uber spicy. Adjust according to ur taste)
Corriander powder - 1/2 tsp
Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
Fennel powder - 1/4 tsp
Garam masala - 1/2 tsp
Salt - as per taste
Oil - 2 tbsp



Procedure:

1. Grind the onion, tomato, green chillies, ginger and garlic into a coarse paste. Fry the paneer cubes in a tbsp of oil if going to fry it.
2. Heat the oil in a kadai and add the ground paste and saute till the mixture starts to ooze oil from the sides.
3. Now add all the masala powders and salt. Next toss in the chopped bell peppers and cover and cook for about 5 miinutes till the peppers are half cooked.
4. Now add the paneer cubes and mix well. Simmer the curry for about 10 minutes and switch off heat.

Serve hot with rotis or pulao.

Aug 13, 2012

Vegetable Dum Biryani - An Ultimate Weekend Indulgence!!!

Hi guys!!!

What a month I had!!!! It was a great feeling to spend time with family after one long year. But the whole month flew away in no time. Although I returned last week, I came with a flu and found it really hard to get back to my normal routine. Stepping into the kitchen after this break made me feel like I was going to kindergarten all over again!!! Anyway, I had great native dishes without having to move a thing for the last one month. All-in-all it was a wonderful vacation and I can't help but already think about the next one...

Having had endless feast-like meals mostly comprising of non-vegetarian dishes during the vacation, we decided to have only vegetarian dishes ever since we returned. We succeeded in doing that for a week too!! I am making it sound like an achievement 'coz I am hardcore non-vegetarian :-) Anyway, my husband wanted me to prepare vegetable dum biryani on Sunday. I usually prepare vegetable biryani as an one-pot meal but preparing it in the dum method is every minute worth the effort.

Now lets see the recipe.

Ingredients:

For the rice:
Basmati rice - 2 cups
Bay leaves - 2
Cinnamon - 1" stick
Cloves - 5
Cardamom - 3
Salt - 1/4 tsp
Ghee - 2 tbsp
Water - 3 cups

For the gravy:
Onion - 1 big
Green chillies - 2
Ginger - 1"
Garlic - 3 big cloves
Corriander & Mint leaves - a bunch
Chopped veggies - 1 cup
(I used beans, carrots, potatoes, cauliflower)
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
Corriander powder - 1/2 tsp
Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
Fennel powder - 1/4 tsp
Garam masala / Biryani masala - 1/2 tsp
Curd - 1/4 cup
Salt - as per taste
Oil - 2 tbsp

Food colour - a pinch dissolved in warm water (optional)



Procedure:

1. Heat the ghee in a pressure cooker or in a vessel and add the whole spices listed under "For the rice" and saute till they sizzle.
2. Now add the rice and saute till you get a nice aroma. Now add the salt and 3 cups of water and cook under pressure for exactly 10 minutes. If you can successfully drain the rice from the starch you can cook it in a vessel instead of cooker too. The motive is to have rice that is 3/4th cooked.
3. Now to start preparing the gravy, first grind the ginger, garlic, green chillies and just a portion of the corriander and mint leaves together into a coarse paste.
4. Now heat the oil in a wide kadai and add the chopped onion and saute till it turns pink and soft. Now add the ground paste and saute till the raw smell leaves.
5. Now add all the masala powders, salt and curd. Mix well and add the chopped vegetables. Add some water and close the lid and cook till the vegetables turn soft. Turn off heat when the vegetables are cooked.
6. Preheat the oven to 200C. Assemble the gravy and rice alternatively in an oven safe dish. The rice has to be the top-most layer. Finally sprinkle the water with the food colour if using and place the dish tightly covered with foil in the oven.
7. Cook for 20-25 minutes and turn off heat. Leave the dish in the oven for 5 minutes after switching off heat and then serve.

Serve hot with raita and papad or an omelette is good too!!!!

Jul 6, 2012

Black Forest Cake - 100th Post(The First Milestone)!!!

Hi guys!!!

Yayyyyyyy!!! I have made 100 posts and that is indeed a great feeling!!! I wanted to post this recipe today coz I am travelling to India after 1 long year and will not be on the internet for about a month. I will be back to blogging from the first week of August!!! I was putting off the Black Forest cake's recipe for a while coz I wanted it to be my 100th post :-)

My husband's birthday was in the first week of June and I had planned on 3 surprises for him. One was a surprise birthday lunch with all our friends, which he found out a day before his birthday from the groceries I had bought!!! Second was his gift. I had hidden it for a couple of days in our wardrobe and managed to keep him looking for it everywhere else, but he found it out exactly 5 minutes before midnite and spoilt that one too!!! The last surprise was the Black Forest cake I had baked. He believed when I told him that our friends were picking up the cake just before coming to lunch. And, this was the only surprise that I actually succeeded in maintaining :-)

Now coming to the cake. I had followed the recipe from Joy Of Baking. Black Forest cake has been one of my favorite birthday cakes for a while now. I was skeptical about actually trying a birthday cake at home but for my first attempt, the cake turned pretty great. I failed to take a separate pic of the whole cake. But I managed to click one slice which I will be posting below.


The Black forest cake generally has 2 or 3 layers of chocolate genoise (A very soft sponge cake) with whipped cream and cherry fillings. The cherry filling is usually prepared with soaking cherries in Kirsch. I just used the syrup that it came in and it still turned out amazing.

Now lets see the recipe.

To prepare the Cherries:
Canned cherries with syrup - 700ml jar
Sugar - 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp sugar

For the Chocolate Genoise:
Unsalted Butter - 3 tbsp
All-purpose flour - 1/2 cup
Unsweetened Cocoa powder - 1/3 cup
Eggs - 4
Sugar - 2/3 cup
Corn flour - 2 tbsp
Vanilla extract - 1 tsp

For the Whipped Cream Frosting:
Heavy whipping cream / Double cream - 600 ml
Vanilla extract - 1 tsp
Sugar - 3 tbsp

Dark chocolate - 200 gms (70% cocoa)

Procedure:

Chocolate Genoise:
1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Line a round cake tin with parchment paper and butter the sides.
2. Beat the eggs and sugar on medium speed till soft peaks form. Add the vanilla extract and beat for another minute.
3. Mix all the dry ingredients separately. Transfer the dry ingredients to the wet mixture in 3 additions and mix thoroughly.
4. Transfer this to the prepared pan and bake for about 25-30 minutes. Transfer the cake to the cooling rack when done and cut into 2 or 3 layers.

This is the picture of the Genoise I baked.



Cherry filling:
1. Drain the syrup and place the cherries in a separate bowl along with 1 tbsp of sugar. Toss well so that the sugar coats the cherries well. You can skip this step if using glazed cherries.
2. Now take the syrup in a thick bottomed vessel along with the 1/4 cup sugar and keep stirring on low heat till the sugar dissolves.
3. Switch off heat and keep the syrup ready. Chop the cherries roughly, reserving about 10-12 whole cherries for the top layer.

Whipped cream frosting:
1. Take the double cream, sugar and vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl and beat on medium speed till stiff peaks form.

Assembling the cake:
1. Brush the cake layers with the cherry syrup that you have prepared.
2. Place the lowest layer on the serving plate. Spread the entire top area with the whipped cream frosting.
3. Now spread the chopped cherries evenly above the cream frosting and place the next layer of the cake on top.
4. Spread the whipped cream entirely to cover the sides and top. (Repeat the previous step if you have more layers)
5. Shave the dark chocolate into fine strips using a chilled knife. Make sure not to touch the chocolate shavings as they melt in the body heat.
6. Now spread the chocolate shavings thoroughly to cover the top and sides of the cake. Place the whole cherries on the top layer.

The yummy Black Forest cake is ready to serve!!! This recipe makes about 12 servings.

Note:
1. This cake tastes best when chilled. You can prepare the cake the previous day and refrigerate it.
2. The cake stays fresh in the fridge for about a week.

Chocolate Banana Bread!!!

Hi guys!!!

I have tried Banana Bread quite a few times and it is a favorite to both me and my hubby. I wanted to try a variation of this simple bread and tried the Chocolate Banana bread recipe from Joy Of Baking. I love that website and have actually baked considerable number of recipes available there. This chocolate banana bread recipe in the site called for some nuts which I excluded. I added some white chocolate chips and on the whole the bread was great!!! The only problem being my impatience :-) I did not wait for the bread to cool down to make the slices. As a result I was left with oddly shaped slices (You will see what I am talking about in the pic below)

Now lets see the recipe.

Ingredients:

All-purpose flour - 1 3/4 cups
Sugar - 1 cup
Unsweetened Cocoa powder - 1/4 cup
Baking powder - 1 tsp
Baking soda - 1/4 tsp
Salt - 1/4 tsp
Eggs - 2
Unsalted butter - 1/2 cup
Bananas - 3
Vanilla extract - 1 tsp
Chocolate chips - 1/2 cup (optional)



Procedure:

1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
2. In a large bowl mash the bananas and combine the lightly beaten eggs, melted butter and vanilla extract. Gently mix these ingredients together.
3. In a separate bowl mix all the dry ingredients together. Using a rubber spatula gently fold the wet ingredients into the dry mixture and combine everything well. Do not overmix, just slightly combine to incorporate all the ingredients together.
4. Finally toss the chocolate chips in and gently mix it in. Scrape down the mixture to the loaf pan and place it in the preheated oven.
5. Bake for about 55-65 minutes or till a tooth pick inserted comes out clean. Mine took exactly 60 minutes.
6. Transfer it to a cooling rack after letting it stand in the pan for atleast 10 minutes. Let it cool completely and then slice (A lesson that I fail to learn after endless attempts!!!)

Serve with evening tea or as breakfast with milk and juice!!! This bread stays fresh for upto 3 days in room temperature.

Jul 4, 2012

Chicken Cutlets!!!

Hi guys!!!

Cutlets have been a major part of my school days snack. Our school canteen always had hot cutlets that would vanish in a few minutes after the canteen is opened for the break time. I have always loved cutlets and have tried making them at home too. For a while, my husband was asking me to prepare chicken cutlets but I was unable to do it. Mainly coz I use up the chicken for some kind of curry and preparing cutlets never occurs as a first option in my mind. But coz of his constant request I made them finally. The work is simple and it can be a great snack for tea time.

Now lets see the recipe.

Ingredients:
Makes about 8 medium cutlets

To Marinate:
Boneless chicken - 200 gms
Salt - as per taste
Ground pepper - 1 tsp
Chilli powder - 1/2 tsp

Potatoes - 3 medium
Ginger & garlic paste - 1 tsp
Garam masala - 1 - 1 1/2 tsp
Ground pepper - 1 tsp
Salt - as per taste
Breadcrumbs - 1 tbsp + for coating before deep-frying
Egg - 1 (for coating before deep-frying)
Maida - 1/4 cup (for coating before deep-frying)
Oil - 2 tbsp + for frying



Procedure:

1. Boil and mash the potatoes. Do not run the potatoes under cold water immediately after boiling coz this makes them too soggy.
2. Marinate the chicken with the ingredients listed for marination and set it aside for about 30 minutes.
3. Heat the 2 tbsp of oil and cook the chicken pieces on medium flame. Remove from heat when they are fully cooked and shred them into tiny pieces.
4. Combine the cooked chicken with mashed potatoes. Add the ginger garlic paste, garam masala, ground pepper and salt. Knead well.
5. Finally add 1 tbsp of the breadcrumbs and separate the mixture into small balls. Flatten them as patties and keep it ready.
6. Heat the oil on medium flame. Dip each cutlet in beaten egg, followed by maida and breadcrumbs and slowly transfer them into the hot oil. Cook until golden brown on both sides.
7. Repeat for all the cutlets.

Serve hot with ketchup!!!

Jul 2, 2012

Palak Rice!!!!

Hi guys!!!

Palak rice is a dish I used to have everytime I visited a restaurant in Mumbai. I tried to replicate the same at home and it did turn out well. This is a great way to make people eat their share of green leafy vegetables when they don't eat spinach or other greens in any other form. It is easy to prepare as well. I generally add chopped potatoes and green peas to the rice. But it can be prepared without veggies as well.

Now lets see the recipe.

Ingredients:

Basmati rice - 2 cups
Potatoes - 2
Green peas - 1/2 cup
Onion - 1
Palak / Spinach - 1 big bunch
Green chillies - 2 or 3
Garlic - 3 cloves
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Salt - as per taste
Oil - 2 tbsp



Procedure:

1. Cook the rice under pressure for 10 mins and spread it on a wide plate to cool.
2. Wash and blanch the palak. Grind this with the green chillies and keep it aside.
3. Heat the oil in a wide vessel and add the cumin seeds. When they splutter add the chopped onion and garlic and cook till they turn soft.
4. Now add the diced potatoes and green peas and saute till they are almost cooked. When these veggies are nearly cooked add the ground palak mixture and add about 1/4 cup of water and salt. Cook this for about 10 mins till the raw smell of palak leaves.
5. This is when you add the cooked rice. Mix well till the mixture is completely absorbed by the rice and then turn off heat.

Serve hot with papad and raita!!!

Venetian Carrot Cake!!!

Hi guys!!!

The other day I was watching Nigella Lawson's episode on Food Network and could not help but wonder how glowing she is even past 50. I know there would be a bunch of people who might criticize on her shape. But everybody has got to admit that she does look energetic and young for her age. I love her recipes mainly coz they are easy to prepare and she goes with all shortcuts when preparing the food. Who doesn't love that?!!

Anyways, she prepared this amazing Venetian carrot cake in that episode. Until I watched that episode even I thought Carrot cake was American too!!! This Venetian cake is prepared with ground almonds as the base and has no butter at all. The end result is an amazingly soft and moist cake. This is different from dessert cakes in a way that it is not too sweet but is a great accompaniment for tea or coffee.

Now lets see the recipe.

Ingredients:

Ground almonds / Almond meal - 2 1/2 cups
Olive oil - 1/2 cup
Grated carrots - 2 cups
Golden sultanas - 1/2 cup
Sugar - 3/4 cup
Eggs - 3
Vanilla extract - 1 tsp
Ground nutmeg - 1/2 tsp
Pine nuts - 3 tbsp
Lemon - 1/2 (the zest and juice)



Procedure:

1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Line a round cake pan with parchment paper and keep it ready.
2. Toast the pine nuts on low heat on a pan to get it golden coloured.
3. Beat the sugar and olive oil till it turns creamy and airy. Add the eggs one at a time and keep beating. Next add the vanilla extract and beat well.
4. Fold in the ground almonds, grated carrots, sultanas, lemon zest, ground nutmeg and finally the lemon juice.
5. Scrape the mixture to the prepared pan and smooth out the surface. Sprinkle the toasted pine nuts on the surface and place it in the oven.
6. Bake for 30-40 minutes or till the toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Serve warm with tea or coffee!!! This cake when wrapped in plastic wrap can be stored for 3-4 days at room temperature.

Jun 28, 2012

Carrot Rice!!!

Hi guys!!!

Coming up with lunch box ideas on days I have overslept is a real challenge. First off, I wake up in a panic mode realizing I am so close to sending off my husband to office without a homemade lunch. Secondly, my brain works so rapidly the permutations and combinations of the vegetables lying in the fridge and the possible dishes that can be prepared in the short time. I am sure if I were to start a club for women who think about what to pack for the lunch box when brushing their teeth, I can make quite some new friends :-)

So coming to the recipe. The reason I had to say so much about late wake-up panic is that I cooked this dish on one such day. When my brain was doing the hard-math it suddenly struck me that I had some carrots in the fridge and I could use them. I generally browse for recipes and try to use the best aspects of the different recipes that I come across in my dishes. But as for this carrot rice I had no time absolutely to browse for recipes. So I just went with instincts and it turned out great!!!

Now lets see the recipe.

Ingredients:

Basmati rice / Regular rice - 2 cups
Carrots - 3 medium
Onion - 1 big
Green chillies - 2
Garlic - 3 cloves
Ginger - 1/2"
Cinnamom - 1" stick
Cloves - 5
Bay leaves - 2
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Garam masala - 1 - 11/2 tsp (adjust according to taste)
Salt - as per taste
Oil - 1 tbsp



Procedure:

1. Grate the carrots and gently squeeze them between kitchen tissues to remove some moisture.
2. Cook the rice with 3 cups of water for 10 minutes under pressure and spread it on a large plate to let it cool.
3. Now heat the oil in a wide vessel and add all the whole spices and let them sizzle. Then add the chopped onion, green chillies, finely minced ginger and garlic to this. Cook till the onion turns soft.
4. Add the grated carrot to this and mix well. Let the carrot cook well. Add the garam masala and salt and stir thoroughly.
5. Finally add the cooked rice to this and mix to incorporate well and switch off heat.

Serve hot with papad and any dry subji of your choice!!!!

Jun 26, 2012

Masala Peanuts / Masala Kadalai - Microwave method!!!

Hi guys!!!

Coming up with tea-time snack ideas is a toughie.. I usually have my evening tea less than an hour before I go to the gym. Which means, I cannot have snacks that will fill me up. Most of the days, I just munch on a handful of nuts or have any fruit that is lying around. But weekends are the time when I like to make every meal special. Even the evening tea time snacks. Last weekend, I dozed off in the afternoon while watching TV and woke up when my biological alarm went off screaming for my evening tea. I had to make something quick to have along with tea so I decided to prepare masala peanuts for a snack.

Traditionally, this is prepared by deep frying the masala coated peanuts in oil. Just to avoid all that deep frying I resorted to the microwave method. This snack can be prepared in less than 10 minutes and every member of the household will love it!!

Now lets see the recipe.

Ingredients:

Raw peanuts - 1 cup
Besan / Chickpea flour - 1/2 cup
Chilli powder - 1 tsp
Corriander powder - 1/2 tsp
Fennel powder - 1/2 tsp
Salt - as per taste
Asafoetida / Hing - a pinch
Oil - 1 tbsp
Water - as required



Procedure:

1. Mix the flour, masala powders, salt and oil. Mix well till the flour mixture turns crumbly. Now sprinkle water little at a time till it reaches a thick sticky consistency.
2. Now toss in the peanuts and mix thoroughly till the batter coats the peanuts evenly.
3. Spread the peanuts now in a microwave safe plate and cook in high power for 5 minutes (varies depending on the make of the oven). Try to toss and flip over the peanuts once in between to ensure even cooking.
4. Store in an air-tight container. The peanuts are soft when hot but turns crisp when cooled down.

Serve with tea or a mid-day snack!!!

Creamy Chicken Macaroni - With Green Beans & Peppers!!!

Hi guys!!!

I picked up an Italian cook book recently intending to try professional dishes more often. The recipes are simple and I am sure I am going to be trying out a lot of Italian recipes. The day I picked up the book I wanted to prepare some kind of pasta for dinner and when I was browsing through the book I realized that almost every recipe uses wine, vinegar and few other ingredients that I generally do not have in my kitchen. So I just adapted a basic chicken pasta recipe with quite a few modifications and came up with this creamy macaroni dish.

Now lets see the recipe.

Ingredients:

Macaroni - 1 cup (uncooked)
Chicken - 200 gms (boneless)
Onion - 1
Garlic - 3 cloves
Green Bell Pepper - 1
Green beans - 10-12
Butter - 3 tbsp
Italian seasoning - 1 tsp
Dried oregano - 1/2 tsp
Heavy cream - 1/2 cup
Grated cheese - 1/4 cup (Cheddar/Parmesan)
Salt - as per taste
Ground pepper - 1/2 tsp



Procedure:

1. Marinate the chicken with salt and pepper and leave it aside for about 15 minutes. Cook the macaroni as per pack instructions and keep it ready. (You can use any other type of pasta as well)
2. Heat the butter in a wide deep bottomed vessel and add the chopped onion, garlic, green beans and bell pepper. Keep mixing till they are almost cooked.
3. Now add the chicken pieces and saute till it turns white. The chicken lets out some moisture in which the beans has to be cooked by now.
4. Add the heavy cream, italian seasoning, oregano, salt and ground pepper now. Keep stirring to avoid sticking. When the mixture is hot add the grated cheese and mix till it melts.
5. Check the salt and spices and finally add the cooked macaroni. Mix thoroughly and switch off heat.

Serve hot with some tomato ketchup or just as is!!!


Jun 22, 2012

Blueberry Pancakes!!!

Hi guys!!!

Pancakes can be a very satisfying breakfast that can be whipped up in no time. I have not been much of a pancake person mainly 'coz I think it is too many calories. But once a week can not be a problem right??? I had a pack of blueberries that I bought with the intention of munching on as mid-day snack and was lying around in the fridge for a while now. So, I thought I'd try to use some of it by making pancakes.

When I was looking for recipes for pancakes, most of them called for buttermilk. Since I had no buttermilk at home I just used milk. I guess curd should also work. I have had pancakes before but this recipe resulted in soft, buttery and fluffy pancakes. Hands down the best pancakes I have ever had!!!

Now lets see the recipe.

Ingredients:
Makes 6 medium sized pancakes

All-purpose flour - 3/4 cup
Baking powder - 1 tsp
Baking soda - 1/4 tsp
Salt - a pinch
Sugar - 2 tbsp (was a bit on the sweeter side, adjust accordingly)
Butter - 2 tbsp (melted) + to butter the pan to cook every pancake
Egg - 1
Milk - 1/4 cup
Blueberries - 1 cup



Procedure:

1. Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl. Melt the butter and keep it ready. Whisk the egg lightly and keep that handy too.
2. Add the egg to the dry mixture, followed by the butter. Mix well. Add the milk in portions and mix thoroughly. A few lumps are OK.
3. The batter should be like the idli batter. That is, it should not be runny.
4. Heat the pan on medium flame and butter it thoroughly. Scoop a ladle of the batter onto the pan. Do not spread it coz it will spread when u add the blueberries.
5. Add the blueberries on top and wait for bubbles to appear on the top side.
6. Flip over carefully when you see the bubbles. This usually takes about 2-3 minutes. Cook the other side for about a minute. It cooks faster on the other side.
7. Repeat the process till you finish the batter. Transfer to the plate and serve.

Serve with maple syrup or just with a dab of butter!!!

Jun 21, 2012

Crab Meat & Prawn Masala!!!

Hi guys!!!

This is a dish I prepared quite a while ago. I had bought a pack of crab meat to prepare Crab cakes and I could not finish the entire pack. I had put it in the fridge and forgot about it for a couple of days. When I took out the prawns to prepare my usual Prawn Masala and was not very happy with the idea of preparing the same dish again, it struck me that I had some crab meat left in the fridge. I decided to combine both the ingredients and come up with a good sea food mash-up curry. It was a success 'coz we both loved it so much :-)

Now lets see the recipe.

Ingredients:

Crab meat - 200 gms
King prawns - 15
Onion - 1
Tomato - 1 big
Ginger & garlic paste - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Chilli powder - 1 tsp
Corriander powder - 1 tsp
Garam masala - 1/2 tsp
Cinnamon - 1" stick
Cloves - 5 or 6
Cardamom - 2
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Salt - as per taste
Oil - 2 tbsp



Procedure:

1. Heat oil in a kadai and add all the whole spices and let them sizzle. Now add the chopped onions, followed by ginger garlic paste and tomatoes.
2. Cook till they turn mushy and combine to form a paste and the oil starts to ooze.
3. Now add the prawns and keep mixing till it lets out all the moisture and is almost cooked.
4. Add all the masala powders except garam masala. Mix well and add salt and check the salt and spices. Now add the crab meat and mix thoruoughly.
5. When the masala has been absorbed by the meat and the curry has lost all raw smell, add the garam masala and mix well. This should take about 10 minutes. Switch off heat and serve.

Tastes great when served hot with steamed rice or rotis!!!

Aloo Methi Masala!!!

Hi guys!!!

Aloo methi masala is a dry subji that goes well with rotis. My husband generally does not like dry subjis but he absolutely loves this one. Why wouldn't he??!! Its made with potatoes!!! This is a very easy dish and can be prepared on days when time is less yet you do not wanna compromise on a tasty meal.

Generally this dish is prepared with fresh methi leaves. Due to the difficulty in finding fresh leaves, I had to resort to Kasoori methi. The dish was still good.

Now lets see the recipe.

Ingredients:

Potatoes - 3 large
Onion - 1
Garlic - 3 cloves
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Chilli powder - 1 tsp
Corriander powder - 1 tsp
Fennel powder - 1/2 tsp
Garam masala - 1 tsp
Kasoori methi - 2 tbsp
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Salt - as per taste
Oil - 1 tbsp



Procedure:

1. Boil the potatoes and dice them into small cubes and set aside.
2. Heat the oil in a kadai and add the cumin seeds and let them splutter. Then add the chopped onion and garlic and cook till it turns soft.
3. Now add all the masala powders, kasoori methi, salt and sprinkle some water and mix well.
4. Add the cubed potatoes and mix thoroughly. Sprinkle some water to enable even coating of the masala.
5. Cook for about 5 mins and switch off heat.

Serve hot with rotis!!!

Jun 20, 2012

Prawn Pulao!!!

Hi guys!!!

It was a while since I cooked a dish using prawns and it did not occur to me until my husband mentioned it when we were shopping our groceries. The next day I decided to prepare something with prawns for lunch. I long wanted to try prawn pulao and I thought I will give it a go. The recipe is very simple yet the pulao turns out to be a great lunch!!!

Now lets see the recipe.

Ingredients:

Basmati Rice - 2 cups
King Prawns - 15 -20
Onion - 1
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Fennel powder - 1/2 tsp
Bay leaves - 2
Cinnamon - 1/2" stick
Cloves - 5
Cardamom - 2
Corriander & Mint leaves - a buunch
Salt - as per taste
Oil / Ghee - 1 tbsp

To grind:
Ginger - 1/2"
Garlic - 3 cloves
Green chillies - 2
Whole black pepper - 1/2 tsp



Procedure:

1. Grind the ingredients under "to grind" into a coarse paste and keep it ready.
2. Heat the oil in a pressure cooker and add all the whole spices and let it sizzle. Next add the onions and the ground paste.
3. Immediately add the cleaned prawns and keep mixing well on medium heat till the prawn is cooked.
4. Add the turmeric and fennel powders, salt and 3 cups of water. Finally add the rice and the corriander and mint leaves.
5. Cook this under pressure for 10 minutes and turn off heat.

Serve hot with raita!!!

Jun 14, 2012

Channa Masala / Chick Peas Curry!!!

Hi guys!!!

Channa Masala is one of the most popular Indian curries. And there are about a hundreds of recipes for this very dish available. I have myself tried quite a few recipes until I finally landed on this easy method. This can be a great combination for rotis, puris and for pulaos. I mostly prepare this for puris and occasionally for chapathis too. The recipe is really simple and takes less than 30 minutes to prepare (Ofcourse you have to have the pre-soaked channa ready!!)

Now lets take a look at the recipe.

Ingredients:

Channa / Chick peas - 1 cup
Onion - 1
Tomatoes - 1 or 2
Ginger - 1/2"
Garlic - 3 cloves
Chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
Garam masala - 1/2 tsp
Kasoori methi - a pinch
Salt - as per taste
Oil - 1 tbsp



Procedure:

1. Soak the chick peas overnight or atleast for 6 hours. Then pressure cook this for about 10 minutes under pressure and keep it ready.
2. Grind the onion, tomatoes, ginger and garlic into a coarse paste.
3. Heat the oil in a kadai and add this ground paste and cook on medium heat. Keep stirring till the raw smell of the ginger leaves.
4. Now add the masala powders, kasoori methi and salt. Also add some water to get the required consistency of the curry.
5. Let this cook for about 5 minutes and then add the previously cooked chick peas to the curry.
6. Mix well and let this cook for about 10 minutes till the curry thickens and switch off heat.

Serve hot with rotis/puris!!!

Sweet Chilli Chicken Noodles!!!!

Hi guys!!!

Chinese cuisine is the second most experimented in my kitchen. Italian is the first coz both of us love Italian food. I tend to prepare noodles with some quick and easy Chinese sauce for dinner when I am in no mood to peel and chop endlessly. Inspite of the simple work involved, the chinese recipes always turn out good and satisfyingly tasty.

I have been trying out sweet chilli chinese dishes for a while now. You will find a similar Sweet Chilli Prawn dish in my blog. This recipe is also similar except that this one is a bit more watery and is used to cook the noodles along with the gravy prepared.

Lets see the recipe now.

Ingredients:

Noodles - 3 blocks medium egg noodles
Onion - 1
Bell pepper - 1
Garlic - 4 cloves
Soy sauce - 1 tsp
Sweet chilli sauce - 2 tbsp
Sugar - 1/2 tsp
Chicken - 200 gms
Pepper powder - 1 tsp
Salt - as per taste
Water - 1/3 cup
Olive oil / Sesame oil - 1 tbsp



Procedure:

1. Cook the noodles as per instructions and keep aside.
2. Heat the oil in a wide oak and add the chopped onion, bell pepper and garlic cloves. When they turn soft, add soy sauce, sugar, salt and sweet chilli sauce.
3. Now add the chicken pieces and keep mixing them well till the chicken is cooked.
4. Next add the water and check the salt level and toss in the cooked noodles and pepper powder and mix well. Cook till the water is absorbed well and turn off heat.

This dish does not require any sides but will sure taste great with any dry Chinese starters!!!

Jun 13, 2012

Homemade Mutton Soup!!!

Hi guys!!!

This mutton soup is actually a part of any chettinad dish you want to prepare with lamb meat. I am used to having this soup from my childhood days everytime my mom used to cook mutton at home. Whenever you wanna prepare a chettinad mutton dish, it is usual to cook the meat with some spices before cooking the actual dish. The stock that is left from this pressure cooking is this amazing soup. Just like any other chettinad soup this is very spicy too. You can use the bones if using in cooking in the soup coz they add extra flavor to the soup.

Now lets see the recipe.



Ingredients:

Lamb meat - 200 gms
Onion - 1
Tomato - 1
Green chillies - 1
Ginger - 1/2"
Garlic - 3 cloves
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Pepper powder - 1 tsp
Salt - as per taste

Procedure:

1. Clean and dice the meat into bite size pieces.
2. Add all the ingredients together to a pressure cooker and add about 3 cups of water. Pressure cook on high heat upto a whistle and then simmer for about 15 minutes.
3. When the pressure is off, add some chopped corriander leaves. Stir well and serve.

Note:
You can leave the bones if using in the soup. If using the cooked meat for other dishes just leave behind a few chunks in the soup.

Jun 12, 2012

Dried Fruits & Nut Cake!!!

Hi guys!!!

I am big fan of the Christmas Fruit cake. This Dried fruits and nut cake that I am talking about is almost like the christmas cake. It is healthy in so many ways. First off, no butter is used. Secondly, very minimal quantity of flour is used. Best of all, it is loaded with dried fruits and nuts!!! Although I munch on nuts to ease my mid-afternoon hunger pangs, I find it really difficult to get my husband to eat dried fruits or nuts as it is. So, this cake was indeed a great solution. He loved the cake and we enjoyed the cake throughout the week. It actually tasted better a couple of days after it was baked!!!

Now lets see the recipe.

Ingredients:

All-purpose flour - 3/4 cup
Firmly packed brown sugar - 3/4 cup
Eggs - 3
Vanilla extract - 1 tsp
Baking powder - 1 tsp
Baking soda - 1/4 tsp
Salt - 1/4 tsp
Coarsely chopped nuts - 3 cups
(I used hazelnuts, walnuts, cashews, almonds and pistachios)
Diced dried fruits - 3 cups
(Dates - 2 cups + Other dried fruits - 1 cup(I used dried apricots, figs, cherries,cranberries and raisins))



Procedure:

1. Preheat the oven to 150C. Grease a cake pan and keep it ready.
2. In a large mixing bowl add the flour, baking powder, soda, salt, sugar and mix well. Next add the chopped nuts and dried fruits and mix well with using your hands.
3. In a separate bowl beat the eggs and vanilla until they turn light coloured and fluffy.
4. Now add this egg mixture to the fruit and nut mixture and mix well with a rubber spatula till the ingredients are combined well.
5. Scrape down the contents to the prepared pan and bake for about 60-75 minutes.
6. Remove from oven when the cake pulls away from the sides of the pan. Mine was ready at around 65 minutes.

Slice and serve with tea or have it for breakfast. This could be a great power-packed start for the day!!!!

Jun 11, 2012

Malai Kofta Curry - With Ricotta Cheese!!!

Hi guys!!!

Malai Kofta curry is a not-so-spicy curry that goes well with rotis and pulao. Generally this dish is prepared with soft paneer. Homemade paneer is ideal. But I am not that patient in preparing paneer at home. And the idea of using huge quantities of milk to end up with so little paneer just breaks my heart. I usually prepare my paneer dishes with store-bought paneer which is good. But it is not soft enough to prepare the malai koftas. So I decided to use the closest substitute - Ricotta Cheese!!!

I was not sure if this delicate cheese was going to hold its shape when frying the koftas but they just turned out amazing. We had this with Garlic Butter Naan and the combination was simply great :-) Now for the koftas, you can add in some boiled veggies to have something to bite-in or just prepare it without veggies like I did and it will still taste wonderful!!

Now lets see the recipe.



Ingredients:

For koftas:
Makes 6 koftas

Ricotta cheese - 250 gms
Green chillies - 2
Ginger & garlic paste - 1 tsp
Garam masala - 1 tsp
Cashews - 10 (broken)
Boiled veggies - 1/3 cup (optional)
Salt - as per taste
All-purpose flour / Maida - to roll the koftas before frying.
Oil - for frying the koftas.

For curry:

Onion - 2
Tomatoes - 2
Ginger - 1/2"
Garlic - 3 cloves
Chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
Garam masala - 1 tsp
Milk - 1/2 cup
Fresh cream - 1/4 cup (optional)
Salt - as per taste
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Oil - 2 tbsp

Procedure:

1. Take the Maida in a small plate and keep it handy. Mix all the ingredients except oil under "for koftas" and divide them into 6 balls. The koftas will be absolutely sticky at this time.
2. Heat the oil in a deep pan on medium heat. When the oil is ready, just the roll the koftas well in the maida and carefully drop them in the hot oil one by one. Fry them till golden brown and place them on paper towels to drain excess oil.
3. Grind the chopped onions. tomatoes, ginger and garlic into a paste. Now heat the oil in a kadai and add the cumin seeds and let it sizzle.
4. Now add the ground paste and cook for a few minutes till the raw smell of ginger leaves. Now add the masala powders, salt, milk and enough water to achieve the consistency of the curry. Let this cook for about 10 minutes. If using cream this is when you add it.
5. Slowly add the koftas in the curry one after the other. Remove the koftas after about a minute 'coz these cheese balls drink up the entire curry.
6. Transfer the curry to the serving bowl and add the soaked koftas finally before serving.

Serve hot with naan, roti or pulao!!!

Garlic Butter Naan!!!

Hi guys!!!

Naan is a very popular Indian flat bread which is very commonly seen in most supermarkets abroad these days. During our weekly visit to the supermarket, I would look at the perfectly puffed up Naans and think that I should try making it at home. But it took really long for me to actually give it a go. The added advantage of making naans is that the dough does not require a lot of raising time thus making it a part of a quick but elegant meal!!!

Now lets see the recipe.

Ingredients:
Yields 5 naans

All-purpose flour / Maida - 2 1/2 cups
Yeast - 1 tsp
Warm water - 1/2 cup
Sugar - 1 tsp
Salt - 1 tsp
Garlic - 4 cloves
Oil - 1 tbsp
Butter - as required



Procedure:

1. Add the yeast and sugar to the warm water and let it sit covered for about 10 minutes or till it turns frothy.
2. Now take the flour and salt in a wide vessel and start adding this yeast water little by little and mix it into a soft elastic dough. the dough has to be sticky now.
3. Finally add the oil and mix well. Keep this covered in a warm place for about an hour.
4. When the dough has risen, divide it into 5 equal sized portions. Preheat the oven to 240C in the broil mode.
5. Generously dust the counter with flour and start spreading the balls into tear shaped naans. Sprinkle the finely chopped garlic cloves over the entire naan.
6. Place the naan on a baking tray with foil and place it directly under the heat source. Cook it for about 2-3 minutes till brown spots appear and it starts to fluff up.
7. Now flip over the naan and cook for another minute and take it out of the oven and immediately spread the butter. Repeat the same with every naan.

Serve hot with any spicy veg or non-veg curry!!!

Jun 7, 2012

Kashmiri Pulao!!!

Hi guys!!!

For almost a week before my husband's birthday I was browsing through recipes for a lunch that I was planning for all our friends. I wanted it to be vegetarian and something different. After having gone through hundreds of ideas, I loved the Kashmiri pulao recipe. I have not been able to accept the idea of sweet ingredients in spicy dishes. I do not like the Curd rice in Saravana Bhavan just coz of the raisins they add in it. Well, but that has completely changed after I tasted this Kashmiri pulao. This is a very simple pulao with raisins and grapes added in it. I was a bit skeptical in the beginning but gave it a shot. It was heavenly!!!!

The recipe is very simple and straightforward. It does not take a lot of time to prepare and goes well with any spicy curry. Now lets see the recipe.

Ingredients:

Basmati Rice - 2 cups
Green peas - 1/2 cup
Onion - 1 big
Green chillies - 2 or 3
Cashews - 15
Raisins -  a fistful
Grapes (Green and Black seedless) - 1/2 cup
Pomegranate seeds - 1/4 cup
Cinnamon - 1/2" stick
Cloves - 5
Bay leaves - 2
Ghee - 2 tbsp
Heavy cream - 2 tbsp
Salt  - as per taste



Procedure:

1. Cook the basmati rice for 10 minutes under pressure. Spread the cooked rice on a wide plate and let it cool.
2. Cook the green peas and keep it handy. Heat the ghee in a wide vessel and add all the whole spices, cashews and raisins.
3. When they sizzle add the chopped onions, green chillies and the cooked green peas. Next add the cooked rice along with required amount of salt and mix well.
4. Finally add the heavy cream and mix thoroughly. Add the fruits at the end and serve.

Tastes best with any spicy curry!!!

Kadai Bhindi Masala!!!

Hi guys!!!

I am back after yet another break :-) It was a long weekend here in the UK with the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebration. The weekend also was special coz it was my hubby's birthday. I baked a Black Forest cake, the recipe of which will be posted soon. With the long weekend coming to an end I fell sick with a really bad cold and fever. I am better now and am back with all the recipes I had cooked over this weekend and some time earlier!!!!

I love Okra whereas my husband hates them. Yes I am not exaggerating. He hates them. I can make him eat these gorgeous green beauties only if I deep fry them like pakoras. For a change I wanted to try a north indian style curry with okra and landed on this recipe. I found this in Vah Chef's site and decided to give it a try. I absolutely loved this curry and my husband had it without complaining. So it is indeed a success!!!!

Now lets see the recipe.

Ingredients:
Serves 2 people

Okra / Ladies finger - 250 gms
Onion - 1 big
Tomato - 1 big
Bell pepper - 1
Ginger & garlic paste - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Chilli powder - 1 tsp
Corriander powder - 1 tsp
Garam masala - 1/2 tsp
Salt - as per taste
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Corriander seeds - 1 tsp
Oil - 3 tbsp



Procedure:

1. Clean, dry and cut the okra in bite size pieces.
2. Heat the oil in a kadai and fry the okra pieces and set aside. Now in the same oil add the cumin seeds and crush the corriander seeds in it.
3. When they sizzle add the chopped onions, followed by ginger garlic paste and chopped tomatoes. Keep mixing them till they combine to form a paste.
4. Now add all the masala powders, salt and about 1/2 cup of water. Then add the chopped bell peppers and close the kadai and cook for about 10 minutes till the raw smell of the masala goes away.
5. Finally add the fried okra pieces and simmer for about 5 minutes and switch off heat.

Serve hot with rotis!!!

May 31, 2012

Lamb Seekh Kabab!!!

Hi guys!!!

I have always been a fan of kababs. That always seemed like a perfect starter to me. For the first time I prepared kababs at home. I used minced lamb. The same recipe can be used when using minced chicken as well. My husband does not like lamb/mutton much. It is very difficult to get him to eat something that has mutton in it. On the other hand, I love mutton. Be it biryani or any other curry, I love to use mutton in it. But it has been almost a less frequented ingredient 'coz it seems like a truck-load of work to prepare a dish just for me. Anyways, now and then I try to prepare something in mutton and look like a sad puppy when we sit down to eat and succeed in getting him to eat it too :-)

The Seekh kabab is an easy to prepare starter dish. It can be a great appetizer when hosting parties or having friends over. Now lets see the recipe.

Ingredients:

Minced meat - 1/2 kg
Egg - 1
Onion - 1
Green chillies - 2
Ginger & garlic paste - 1 tsp
Gram flour (Besan) - 2 tbsp
Chilli powder - 1 tsp
Garam masala - 1 tsp
Corriander powder - 1 tsp
Pepper powder - 1/2 tsp
Salt - 1 tsp
Lemon juice - 2 tsp



Procedure:

1. Mix all the ingredients and cover and refrigerate for an hour. This helps in binding so that the meat does not fall off the skewer.
2. Preheat oven to 220C.
3. Soak the bamboo skewers in water for about half hour. Now divide the meat mixture into equal sized balls.
4. Roll the balls around the skewer and stretch it out.
5. Cook this in the preheated oven for around 15 minutes or till the meat is thoroughly cooked.

Serve hot with mint chutney or just ketchup!!!!

May 30, 2012

Gobi Masala / Cauliflower Curry!!!!

Hi guys!!!

Aloo Gobi Masala is a curry that I frequently prepare. But I do opt to exclude the aloo from the curry at times and land at this amazing gobi masala. This is a great accompaniment for rotis and is a very fulfilling dish too. Both me and my husband love this curry.  Cauliflower is the second most often used vegetable in my kitchen. Aloo is the winner by the way :-)

This is just like any other north indian curry I prepare. Just the right proportion of the masala powders is what matters. You can either pre-cook the cauliflower to shorten the process or just cook it when preparing the curry. I prefer the second option.

Now lets see the recipe.

Ingredients:

Cauliflower - 1 small
Onion - 1 big
Tomato - 1 big
Ginger & garlic paste - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Chilli powder - 1 tsp
Corriander powder - 1 tsp
Garam masala - 1/2 tsp
Amchur powder - 1/2 tsp (optional)
Kasoori methi - 1 tsp (optional)
Salt - as per taste
Oil - 2 tbsp
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp



Procedure:

1. Heat the oil and add the cumin seeds. When they start to sizzle add the chopped onions, followed by ginger garlic paste and tomato.
2. Cook this for a couple of minutes till all the ingredients combine to form a paste. Now add all the masala powders, salt, kasoori methi if using and mix well.
3. Now add the cauliflower chunks and 1/2 cup of water and close and cook for about 15 minutes.
4. Keep stirring in between to avoid sticking to the bottom of the pan. When the gobi is all cooked and the masala is well blended, switch off heat.

Serve hot with rotis or pulao.

May 28, 2012

Cranberries & Pistachio Biscottis!!!

Hi guys!!!

Monday hits hard on people who have to return to work. It does seem hard for me as well. My weekends usually start as early as Friday afternoon with my husband coming home for lunch. Then it is 2 days of fun. Either visiting places or just watching one movie after another and lying around lazily all day :-) This weekend was awesome. The weather was great. With clear blue skies, breeze and sunlight till 10 pm... Ahhh!!!! I love such days. In all these 11 months in the UK this is the first time I am seeing consecutive bright and clear days. So we did not waste a single day. Saturday flew by with us visiting a very scenic castle nearby with friends. Sunday was fantastic. We had a barbecue lunch along with a few other friends and it was just awesome!!! After all that fun, I am like the kindergarten kid who cries all the way to school on Monday morning..

I am gonna quit whining about the start of the week and get to the recipe. I love the recipes in Joy of Baking website. I had bookmarked the cranberries pistachio biscotti recipe a while ago and totally forgot about it. Last week, I was going through my bookmarks and found the link again. I got into baking immediately. I loved the fact that these biscottis require no butter in the making. It is just the eggs that bind the whole thing together. The taste was incredible. The only hard part was breaking open the pistachios and chopping them. When my husband was having the last biscotti he asked, "Will there be a box of these on the dining table tomorrow when I get back from work??" I could not help but laugh.

So off to the recipe now.



Ingredients:

All-purpose flour - 1 3/4 cup
Sugar - 2/3 cups
Eggs - 2
Baking powder - 1 tsp
Vanilla extract - 1 tsp
Salt - 1/4 tsp
Dried cranberries - 1/2 cup
Unsalted pistachios - 1/2 cup

Procedure:

1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
2. Beat the eggs and sugar on medium speed till pale and fluffy. It takes about 3 minutes.
3. Now add the vanilla extract and beat for another minute.
4. In a spearate bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and salt. To this add the egg mixture and beat till it is properly combined.
5. Finally add the cranberries and pistachios and fold in gently.
6. Transfer this mixture to a well-floured counter and roll it into a log about a foot long. Place this on a baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for about 25 minutes.
7. Now take it out and let it cool for about 10-15 minutes. Dial down the oven temperature to 165C. Meanwhile, when the log cools down cut this into 1/2 inch thick cookies.
8. Bake the slices for about 10 minutes and then turn over and bake for another 10 minutes. This ensures that the cookie is crisp on both sides.

Serve hot with coffee or tea!!!

May 23, 2012

Shredded Fish Stir-Fry / Meen Puttu!!!!

Hi guys!!!

This is one of my favorite dishes prepared with fish. In most South Indian non-veg restaurants this dish is prepared with Shark fish. Actually the dish is called Sura (Tamil name for Shark fish) Puttu!!! I love the Sura puttu from Ponnusamy hotel :-) My mom used to prepare this with Vaalameen (I dont know the English name). That fish has awful lot of bones and it takes forever to finish eating it. The fish kuzhambu prepared with Vaalameen is awesome. But I do not have the patience to sit and pick out the bones. So, my mom prepares this yummy puttu with it and makes my job (I mean eating!!) easier..

My husband loves fish. So, I had to prepare this dish to impress him right??!!! The first time I used Salmon. It did taste good but did not match the taste of my mom's preparation. So I started playing around with the type of fish I used to cook. Finally I landed on Cod fillets. They were amazing!!! The recipe is super simple and the dish is super delicious.

Now lets see the recipe.

Ingredients:

Cod fillets - 300 gms
Onion - 1 big
Green chillies - 2
Garlic - 3 cloves
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp + 1/2 tsp (for boiling the fish)
Chilli powder - 1 tsp
Corriander powder - 1/2 tsp
Fennel powder - 1/2 tsp
Salt - as per taste
Oil - 2 tbsp
Curry leaves - a bunch



Procedure:

1. Clean the fish fillets and cut them into a few pieces. Boil this in enough water along with 1/2 tsp turmeric powder and a pinch of salt. Let it boil till the fish is completely cooked.
2. Drain the water and shred the cooked fish and keep aside.
3. Now heat the oil in a kadai and add the mustard and cumin seeds. When they sizzle add the curry leaves. Give it a quick toss and add chopped onions, garlic and chillies.
4. Add all the masala powders, salt and the shredded fish and keep mixing till the masala is well absorbed by the fish bits. Cook for about 5 minutes and switch off heat.

Serve hot with rice and curry. This dish tastes best with fish kuzhambu!!!

May 22, 2012

Ghee Rice!!!

Hi guys!!!

Ghee rice is a very easy dish. This is a dish I prepare as a substitute for Biryani. It tastes great with any spicy curry and is almost equivalent to the flavorful biryani. Infact, the Kerala layered biryanis use this ghee rice for the rice layers altering with the curry.

Ghee rice can be used to prepare a satisfying lunch when you have a spicy curry dish to accompany. I prepared this a while ago with Pepper chicken curry and Tandoori chicken. It was a super duper meal indeed!!
The recipe is very simple. Just like preparing normal white rice, but you just add in a few whole spices and ghee.

Now lets see the recipe.



Ingredients:

Basmati rice - 2 cups
Ghee - 2 tbsp
Cashews - 10
Onion - 1
Bay leaves - 2
Cardamom - 3
Cinnamon - 1" stick
Cloves - 5
Star Anise - 2
Salt - 1 tsp

Procedure:

1. Heat the ghee in a pressure cooker and add all the whole spices and cashews and let them sizzle for a while.
2. Add the chopped onions and saute till it turns soft.
3. Next add the basmati rice and fry for a couple of minutes till you get a nice aroma.
4. Now add 3 cups of water and salt and close the lid. Let it cook under pressure for 10 minutes.

Serve hot with a spicy curry of your choice!!!

May 21, 2012

Rooh-Afza Lassi!!!

Hi guys!!!

Ever since I bought a bottle of Rooh-afza I have tried to use it in any way possible. I liked it best when I used it to make lassi. Lassi itself is a great drink for summer and after I added rooh-afza it tasted even more refreshing.
It is usual for me to feel hungry around 3.30 in the afternoon and I dig our snacks shelf and for a minute lose calorie-consciousness and eat whatever I find :-) But I have made sure that I do not do that so often these days. Especially since the temperatures have started rising I am more thirsty than hungry. So I try to prepare something to drink and its mostly lassi. Again 'coz its very simple to prepare!!!

Lets see the recipe.



Ingredients:

Curd - 1 cup
Sugar - 2 tbsp (as per taste)
Rooh-afza - 2 tbsp
Cardamom - 4 pods

Procedure:

Just blend all the ingredients together and serve chilled in tall glasses :-)

Not much of a recipe but a great tasting drink!!!!


Chettinad Chicken Soup / Chettinad Kozhi Rasam!!!

Hi guys!!!

The first thing that pops in my head about soups has nothing to do with the creamy variety that we all associate with soups these days. I remember my mom used to bring me and my sister a glass of hot soup when she is cooking mutton at home. It was more or less the meat stock flavored with salt and pepper and it used to taste really good. She also used to prepare them when anyone at home had cold and it worked like a charm. Also, when dad used to take us to Chettinad restaurants we rarely ordered soups. But when we did, we enjoy every single bit of it. The chettinad soups are unique and burst with flavor. I am an ardent fan of chettinad cooking mainly 'coz I love the spices that we use in them.

Recently, my husband and I have started a soup-only dinner plan. It all started with me arguing with him that it is really difficult to lose weight with just following diet and doing no workout at all. To prove me wrong, he started a very light dinner option and resorted soups. And the lazy person I am, hate to cook just for me so I decided to follow the same :-) Although we were sticking to the canned soups, I really wanted to try the chettinad chicken soup at home. And when I woke up with congestion in my head and blocked nose I thought it was time to scare the cold away with this spicy soup :-) My ears turned red when I was having the soup. But I am relieved of my cold!!!

Like I said, its a spicy soup and you can play around with the spices to alter that to suit your taste. Now lets see the recipe.

Ingredients:

To pressure cook:
Chicken pieces - 200 gms
(pieces with bones preferred)
Shallots / Pearl onions - 10
Tomato - 1
Ginger - 1/2 inch
Garlic - 3 or 4 cloves
Chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Salt - 1/2 tsp
Water - 5 cups

To grind:
Peppercorns - 1 tsp
Jeera / Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Fennel seeds - 1/2 tsp
Corriander seeds - 1 tsp
Cinnamon - 1" stick
Dry red chillies - 3

To season:
Oil - 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Curry leaves - a bunch



Procedure:

1. Add all the ingredients under "to pressure cook" in a cooker and let it cook under pressure for 15 minutes.
2. Grind the ingredients listed "to grind" into a fine powder and keep aside.
3. When the pressure is released remove the weight and on low flame let the soup boil. Now add the ground masala powder and let it boil for another 5 minutes.
4. Prepare the tadka by adding the ingredients under "to season" to the heated oil. Pour this tadka to the boiling soup and switch off heat. Add corriander leaves when the soup is boiling. (I was out of corriander so omitted it).

Transfer to serving bowls and enjoy this STEAMING HOT soup!!!!!!



Mixed Vegetable Curry!!!

Hi guys!!!

I believe Mixed veg curry would be one frequently prepared curry in most homes. I sure prepare it quite often. The curry is a great delight when had with rotis or pulao. Cutting the veggies for this curry is sure a tad bit tedious but after that it is just a breeze :-)

I prepare chapathi for dinner almost everyday. Which means I do have a set of curries that are prepared quite often. Some of them 'coz they are easy to prepare and a few others 'coz my husband just loves them. Infact there are a few dishes that brighten up his face when he sees them on the plate. The mixed veg curry is one such dish. He is ever so ready and happy to have chapathis with this curry!!!

Now lets see the recipe.

Ingredients:

Chopped mixed vegetables - 300 gms
(I used potatoes, beans, carrots, cauliflower and peas)
Onion - 1 big
Tomatoes - 1 big
Ginger & garlic paste - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Chilli powder - 1 tsp
Corriander powder - 1 tsp
Amchur powder - 1/4 tsp
(Dried Mango powder)
Kitchen king masala or Garam masala - 1 tsp
Salt - as per taste
Oil - 2 tbsp
Curd - 1/4 cup



Procedure:

1. Heat oil in a pressure cooker and add the chopped onions and saute till they turn soft.
2. Next add the ginger garlic paste and give it a good stir and toss in the tomatoes. Mix well till they combine together and become mushy.
3. Now add the chopped veggies and stir well. Now add all the masala powders and salt. Add about 11/2 cups of water and close the lid.
4. Cook under pressure for about 10 minutes. When the pressure is released add the curd and mix well.

Serve hot with rotis or pulao!!!

May 18, 2012

Mac & Cheese - with Frankfurters(Chicken Sausages)!!!!

Hi guys!!!

Mac & Cheese is a very popular dish in the US. I have always wanted to try it at home and with the variety of cream cheeses available here it was indeed a piece-of-cake to prepare. I try different versions of pasta at home and picked up a pack of macaroni long back and left it in the pantry. I finally prepared this easy version of mac and cheese a few weeks back.The recipe is very simple 'coz most of the work is done by the oven :-)

Lets see the recipe.

Ingredients:

Macaroni - 2 cups
Philadelphia cream cheese - 200 gms
Milk - 1/4 cup (approx)
Pepper powder - 1 tsp
Salt - 1/2 tsp
Frankfurters(Chicken sausages) - 5
Olive oil - 1 tbsp
Breadcrumbs - 2 tbsp (optinal)
Cheddar cheese - 1/4 cup (optional)



Procedure:

1. Cook the macaroni as per package instructions. Strain the water and set aside.
2. Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease a baking dish or pyrex bowl and keep it ready.
3. Mix the cream cheese, milk, salt and pepper in a separate dish. Heat the oil in a pan and shallow fry the sausages and keep them ready too.
4. Add the cooked sausages to the cheese mixture. Finally add the cooked macaroni to this and transfer the whole content to the baking dish.
5. Grate the cheddar on the top and toss the breadcrumbs too. This is totally optional. Pop the dish onto the oven and cook for 15 minutes.

Serve hot with just ketchup or plainly as it is!!!

May 17, 2012

Tandoori Chicken!!!

Hi guys!!!

The very mention of Tandoori chicken reminds me of a small restaurant in Malad (Mumbai) where my dad took our entire family when they all came to set me up in an apartment when I joined work. He told us that was the best place for tandoori chicken. And yes he was right. Every single bit of it was delicious!!! I have had tandoori chicken in so many places and it has always been one of my favorites. This is one dish that cannot go wrong. Just clean the chicken and marinate it with the spices and grill/bake and just enjoy!!!

The best part of this recipe is it has very little or no oil at all. I just used about 1 tbsp of olive oil along with the marinade. The dish turned out perfect and my husband was so excited and has asked me to prepare this on a regular basis :-) Tandoori chicken is a healthy option when cooking chicken. A healthy option that is not tasteless and bland. It is loaded with spices and flavor-rich!!!!

I have used chicken thighs 'coz I feel that is the most apt portion of the chicken that suits the dish.Now lets see the recipe.

Ingredients:

Chicken thighs (Skinless) - 4
Curd - 1/4 cup
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Chilli powder - 2 tsp
Corriander powder - 1 tsp
Fennel powder - 1/2 tsp
Ginger & garlic paste - 1 tsp
Cayenne pepper sauce - 1/2 tsp
(Can use any hot sauce of your choice)
Pepper powder - 1/2 tsp
Salt - as per taste
Olive oil - 1 tbsp (optional)



Procedure:

1. Clean the chicken thighs and make incisions roughly all over the fleshy portion.
2. Prepare a marinade with all the other ingredients and rub the chicken pieces with it. Let the marinade sit in the refrigerator for atleast 8 hours. Overnight works best.
3. Take the chicken out of the fridge about 30 minutes before the cooking time to bring it to room temperature.
4. Preheat the oven to 200C and place the chicken pieces on a baking sheet lined with foil and pop it in when ready. Cook for 25-30 minutes until you see the top browning.

Serve hot with a simple Indian green salad or mint chutney!!!
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