Thursday, November 27, 2008
Sunday, November 16, 2008
In the meanwhile, I'm trying to clear my fridge. Had a bunch of carrots, so Friday evening I made this Carrot Koshimbir (salad) and the next day, finished up the remaining carrots with an Instant Carrot Pickle.
Here's how I made this Carrot Koshimbir:
1 cup shredded carrots
1 tsp coarsely pound peanuts
Salt, sugar and lemon juice to taste
Cilantro for garnish
For the tempering:
1 tsp ghee or oil
1 serrano pepper - chopped (deseeded for less heat)
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
Mix the shredded carrots, peanuts, salt, sugar and lemon juice. Make the tempering and add to the carrot mixture. Combine well. Garnish with chopped cilantro.
The sweet carrots and peanuts make a delicious and quick salad that can be eaten as a side dish or a light meal or as a filling in a tortilla wrap/ pita etc.
Here's how I made the Instant Carrot Pickle:
We shared this with our friends for a weekend brunch, along with aloo parathas and vegetable raita.
These two dishes - Carrot Koshimbir and Instant Carrot Pickle go to the JFI - Carrots event at The Cooker.
Friday, November 7, 2008
I learnt the basic rasgulla many, many moons ago from a friend in Dallas and had made it several times while living there. It never failed to impress. When I saw the Sweet Series announcement at Mythreyee's Paajaka Recipes, it suddenly dawned on me that I haven't made these rasgullas in almost six years, ever since I left Dallas. So I am thankful to her for reminding me of this dish. This time I decided to make Angoori Rasmalai, mini grape-size (angoori) rasgullas in sweet milky syrup. This is a very popular dessert at weddings...infact we had it at our wedding. Here's how I made them:
For the Rasgullas (makes about 45 angoori rasgullas):
2 cups milk
1 tbsp white vinegar
Bring the milk to a boil on medium heat. When it come to a full boil, remove from heat and add the vinegar. This causes the milk to curdle and the whey separates from the cheese. Leave this as is for about 5 mins for all the cheese to settle down. Strain this in a cheesecloth. The whey can be used to knead dough for rotis. Wash the cheese under cold running water for a minute or two to remove any trace of the vinegar. Tie the cheesecloth fairly tightly and hang it to drain for 2 hrs. Then spread out the cheese on a plate and knead it gently for about 5 mins. To ensure it becomes very smooth, use the base of your palm while kneading to gently press the cheese. When the cheese becomes very smooth, form it into balls. For making angoori rasgullas, I made garbanzo bean-size balls. Once cooked, these double in size. If making regular-size rasgullas, shape them slightly bigger.
For the sugar syrup:
2 cups water
5 tsp sugar
Add sugar to the water and bring to a boil in a pressure pan. Gently drop in the cheese balls, close the pan lid (with the whistle on) and cook for 1 whistle. Immediately take the pan off the heat and place it under cold running water. This helps to release the steam pressure. Open the lid carefully, you will see the rasgullas have doubled in size.
Since the rasgullas swell on cooking, remember to cook them in batches to ensure that they have enough room in the pan while cooking. I cooked the 45 angoori rasgullas in 2 batches in my pressure pan, using the same sugar syrup.
When making rasmalai, I always add less sugar to the water used for boiling the rasgullas, since they later get a good soaking in the milk syrup. If making plain rasgullas, the proportion of sugar to water should be equal, or slightly less if you prefer it less sweet. Also, add a pinch of cardamon pwd. to the water when making plain rasgullas.
For the milk syrup:
1.5 cups milk
5 tsp sugar
Few strands of saffron
Sliced almonds and pistas for garnish
A pinch of cardamon pwd.
Bring the milk to a boil on medium heat and then simmer it for about 1 hr. This is the most time consuming part of the recipe, since it is prefarable to keep stirring the milk as it simmers. This ensures that the cream that forms on the milk mixes evenly with the rest of the milk to slightly thicken it, rather than clumping. After simmering for 1 hr, add the sugar, saffron, cardamon pwd. Cool slightly. Add the rasgullas, garnish with almonds and pistas if desired.
Chill before serving.
These Angoori Rasmalais are off to the Milky Sweets - Spongy Texture event at Paajaka.
I am also sending these over to Aparna at My Diverse Kitchen to celebrate her first blog anniversary.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Here's how I made it, tweaking the recipe in the book a bit to suit our taste:
1 Vidalia sweet onion - chopped
1 red bell pepper - chopped
1 cup broccoli florets
1 cup cauliflower florets
1 cup carrots - sliced thick
1 can chickpeas - drained & rinsed
1 pack extra firm tofu - drained
1 can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup coconut milk (I used lite)
1 cup vegetable stock
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp ginger paste
2 tsp garam masala pwd.
1 tsp coriander pwd.
1 tsp cumin pwd
1/4 tsp turmeric pwd
1 tsp red chilli pwd, or to taste
Salt to taste
Cut the tofu into 4 slabs and dry roast it in a large non-stick skillet. I learnt this technique from Sia's Monsoon Spice and have used it in many dishes that use tofu. I love the texture it gives to the tofu. Place the slabs of tofu on the hot skillet, press gently to release the water. When they brown on one side, turn over and repeat on the other side. Remove from skillet and cube the tofu. I find that first cutting the tofu into slabs, dry roasting them, then cubing, works quicker for lazy me, rather than having to work with each cube on the skillet.
Heat oil in the same skillet. Saute the onions for about 3-5 mins, until transluscent. Add the red pepper & ginger and saute another 2-3 mins. Add the broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and vegetable stock, Cook for 5 mins on medium. Add salt, spices, diced tomato, chickpeas and tofu. Mix well. Cover and cook for 5 mins, then cook uncovered for 5 mins. Stir in the coconut milk, adjust spices. Give it one good boil.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
I also made a batch of regular nankhatais using the above recipe. For making these, simply omit the vanilla essence and cocoa pwd from the above recipe. Add 1/4 tsp cardamon pwd instead. You can top the plain nankhatai with pistas, cashews, almonds or charolis. You can also add few strands of saffron to give them a good flavor. Here are my plain and chocolate nankhatais.
These Chocolate and Plain Nankhatais go to the JFI - Diwali Festival event at Cooking 4 All Seasons. JFI is the brainchild of Indira of Mahanandi.
Oh, and before I forget, these nankhatais go very well with a cup of steaming hot chocolate.
This easy, single serving of hot chocolate is just off the box of Hershey's Cocoa pwd. Here's how I make it:
1 cup milk - microwaved for 2 mins.
2 tsp sugar
2-3 tsp cocoa pwd
A pinch of salt
1/4 tsp vanilla essence
Mix the sugar, cocoa & salt in a large drinking mug. Slowly our the hot milk, stirring gently all the time. Add the vanilla, stir and enjoy.
This easy hot chocolate is also off to the FIC - Brown event at TongueTicklers.
Monday, October 27, 2008
Usually I am not big on making Diwali faraal since I've found I end up having to eat most of it. Also, I cannot get into the spirit of Diwali here in the US...probably 'coz of having to go to work as usual on Diwali days.
The "OM' design in the above picture is a kind of permanent rangoli I picked up in Mumbai 2-3 yrs back. Its made of Fevicol I think. I have been using it every year since. Works well for lazy me. I only make it a point to draw rangoli on Laxmi Pooja day, its a special tortoise rangoli I learnt from a close family friend several years back. Hopefully I can post it in a day or 2.
The diya is the last of a big lot I had bought 2 years back for a Diwali presentation at my daughter's montessori class. Her teacher asked if I'd give the kids a little background on this festival. So N & me dressed up in traditional Indian clothes, distributed these diyas etc. I was surprised how well the kids responded, for several days after that, they'd come up to tell me how they loved the diyas, had their parents light it etc.
Coming to this year's Diwali treats, I made a batch of Rainbow Karanjis which I have posted earlier. Then we were off to Phoenix for 4 days visiting family. After coming back & catching up on all the housework, I was kinda tired & wanted to make something quick & easy, hence made these Almond, Walnut & Cashew Burfis I found on Manjula's Kitchen in You Tube. I followed her method exactly. The one thing I'd do differently next time is grind the nuts to a fine powder as against leaving them slightly coarse as I did this time.
These Almond, Walnut, Cashew Burfis are off to Vaishali's Sweet Vegan event at Holy Cow!
Another faraal item I could not resist the moment I saw it was this Rice Crispies Chiwda I found on Meera's Enjoy Indian Food.
The recipe is pretty flexible here, so I modified it slightly for the ingredients I had. Here's how I made it:
2 cups Rice Crispies cereal
2 cups puffed rice (kurmure)
handful of store-bought shev
2 tbsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
Generous pinch of asafotida
1/2 tsp turmeric pwd
3 dry red chillies - broken into 2 pieces each
handful of cashews
handful of peanuts
few curry leaves
1/2 tsp amchoor pwd
salt and sugar to taste
Heat the oil in a large pan. Temper with the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, asafotida. Add the red chillies, curry leaves, cashews, peanuts, turmeric and puffed rice. Saute on medium low till the puffed rice crispens (about 7 mins). Add the rice crispies, salt, sugar, amchoor and mix well. Cool the chiwda and store in an airtight container.
This Rice Crispies Chiwda and the above Almond, Walnut, Cashew Burfis are off to the Festival JFI event at Srivalli's Cooking 4 All Seasons.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Here's how I made it.
1 cup chopped onions
2 cups chopped peppers - I used a combination of green, red, yellow and orange ones (See note)
2 cups chopped tomatoes
1/8th cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic - minced
1.5 tsp ground fennel
1.5 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1 cup uncooked small-shaped pasta (I used star-shaped pasta, orzo is also a good choice)
Preheat oven to 400F.
Place the chopped veggies in a large mixing bowl.
In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, garlic, fennel pwd, salt, pepper and pour over the veggies. Toss to coat well.
Spread the veggies in a single layer on a nonreactive baking sheet. Roast for 15 mins. Remove from the oven, stir in the basil and return to the oven. Roast another 10 mins, stir and continue to roast for about 5 more mins.
While the veggies are roasting, cook the pasta in boiling, salted water till al dente.
Drain the pasta and mix with the veggies to serve.
We had this as a light Sunday lunch, but I think it would make a great side to a larger meal... perhaps a non-traditional dish for a traditional Thanksgiving or Christmas meal, especially if you have some vegetarian friends or family members at your table. Hence it is off to the Monthly Mingle - Sensational Sides event at Ruth's Kitchen. This event is the brain child of Meeta of What's for Lunch Honey?
Note - The original recipe also calls for zucchinis & mushrooms, but I did not have these on hand, so I replaced them with extra peppers. I would highly recommend using these as they take the dish up a whole new level. Hubby did the grocery shopping this weekend & despite having my list of items, he just bought a lot of colored peppers as they were on sale!
This weekend I made it again for breakfast using a variety of colored peppers. It came out really well, looked as good as it tasted. Here's how I made it:
1 14 oz. pack of firm tofu - drained & mashed (with a masher or fork)
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
pinch of asafotida
1/4 tsp turmeric pwd.
1 serrano pepper - chopped
About 1/2 cup finely chopped peppers (I used a mix of red, yellow & orange)
2 green onions - finely chopped
Salt & Pepper to taste
Heat the oil in a non-stick pan. Add the cumin seeds. When they start sizzling, add the asafotida, turmeric pwd. serrano peppers, colored peppers & green onions. Saute for 5 mins. Add the mashed tofu. Saute on high heat stirring occasionally for about 7 mins till the tofu dries up. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve hot with toast and tea.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
I was browsing thru my recipe books trying to decide what faraal to make this Diwali, when these rainbow karanjis caught my eye and my fancy in Kamlabai Ogle's Ruchira. I had never heard or seen such karanjis before, so I decided to make a trial batch this weekend. Here's how I made them.
For the filling:
2 cups shredded coconut (I used frozen)
2 cups brown sugar or jaggery
1/2 tsp cardamom pwd
Cook the sugar and coconut on medium low heat until well mixed. Add the cardamom pwd and mix well. Allow to cool before stuffing in the karanjis.
For the covering:
1 cup fine sooji (rawa)
1 cup plain flour (maida)
About 4 heaped tsp ghee
4 tsp cornflour
Food colors - I used red, blue, yellow and green
Mix the sooji, maida and half the ghee. Divide the mix into 5 parts (more or less depending on the colors you use). Leave one part white and knead into a stiff dough with water or milk. Mix the colors in the other parts and knead those into stiff doughs too. Leave aside for 2 hrs. Then knead each piece of dough separately again. Mix the cornflour with the remianing ghee and whip till light. Roll each dough into a roti. All the rotis should be of about the same size. Take one roti, smear some cornflour-ghee mix on it, cover with another roti. Repeat with all the rotis. Then roll this stack of rotis into a tight roll. Cut this roll into 2 inch pieces. Roll each peice into a round puri, keeping the colored side down. Fill with the coconut-sugar mix. Fold over. Seal the edges together with some water. Deep fry these karanjis in moderately hot oil.
This made 8 karanjis and 2 modaks for me.
These karanjis are off to the Diwali Festival Feast at All Thingz Yummy.
I'm also sending these to the Festival JFI event at Srivalli's Cooking 4 All Seasons.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Quesadilla, the Mexican restaurant staple, is a hot favorite dinner item in our home. I have posted a bell pepper quesadilla before. This time, the quesadilla is stuffed with a mix of zucchini, corn & black beans. This is my favorite kind. Here's how I made it:
Coming to topics other than food, EC of Simple Indian Food had tagged me a while back to state six unspectacular quirks about myself. So here they are:
I am a very shy person.
I avoid driving on the freeway.
I have tried in vain to learn swimming.
I have tried in vain to bake.
I find it difficult to remember birthdates.
I don't follow stuff like chain mails etc.
Hence I had avoided this tag for a while. But I do appreciate EC thinking about me and did want to share some facts about myself. However, I don't want to force anyone to take up this tag. Hence if you read it and want to state six quirks about yourself, consider yourself tagged.
On a similar note, Kitchen Flavours has given me a Butterfly Award. It is my very first award in the food blog world and means a great deal to me. Thank you dear.
One of the rules of the award is to nominate 10 other blogs. But I follow so many beautiful, cool blogs...its hard to pick only 10. So this goes out to all the food bloggers.
Monday, October 6, 2008
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Sunday, September 28, 2008
1 cup short grain rice
About 3-4 cups thin buttermilk
For tempering - 2 tsp ghee or oil, 1/2 tsp mustard seeds, 1/2 tsp cumin seeds, 2 red chillies - broken into 2 each, 1 tsp udad dal, I tsp chana dal, handful of cashew pieces, few curry leaves
Salt to taste
Cilantro for garnish
Heat the ghee/oil. Add mustard seeds. When they splutter, add cumin seeds and the rest of the ingredients for tempering. Saute a few minutes, then add the rice, buttermilk and salt. Stir well. Cook on medium low for about 20 mins. till done.
Serve with mango pickles, chips or papad.
1 cup brown rice
1/4 cup udad dal
3/4 cup mix of green gram, masur dal, whole masur and barley (I got this mix at the grocey store)
Salt to taste
A generous pinch of asafotida
1 tsp ginger paste
1/2 tsp red chilli pwd
1 medium onion - chopped
I soaked the first three ingredients together overnight in plenty of water. Next morning, I drained about a cup of water & blended the rest in a mixer. Added Salt, asafotida, ginger, onions and cilantro.
To make the adais, heat a non-stick pan on medium, spread one ladleful of the batter starting at the center and spreading it outwards in a circle. Drizzle 1-2 drops of oil around the edges. Cook for about 3-4 mins until golden brown and crisp. Then flip over and cook similarly on the other side.
I served these adais with tomato-carrot chutney and zuke-a-mole.
These adais are off to the WBB: Grains in my Breakfast event at Aparna's My Diverse Kitchen.
The WBB event is the brainchild of Nandita of Saffron Trail.
And also to the JFI - Whole Grains event at Suganya's Tasty Palettes.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
2 tsp oil ( I use olive oil)
1/2 cup onion chopped
1/2 cup green bell pepper chopped
1 clove garlic - minced
1 can red kidney beans - drained & rinsed
1 can cannelini beans - drained & rinsed
1 can diced tomatoes - undrained
1 small can tomato sauce
2 tsp cumin pwd
2 tsp coriander pwd
2 tsp red chilli pwd
2 bay leaves
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup macaroni - uncooked
Heat the oil. Saute onions, bell peppers. Add all the other ingredients, plus 1 cup water. Stir gently. Simmer uncovered for about 15 mins, stirring occasionally until the macaroni is cooked. Garnish with shredded cheese (I used cheddar) and green onions.
This makes great comfort food for cold, wet nights.
This chilli is off to the My Legume Love Affair Event being hosted by Lucy. This event is the brainchild of The Well-Seasoned Cook.
This curry uses whole masur and is a good variation for the usual varan/amti. I generally do not sprout the masur, merely soak it for 2-3 hrs, then pressure cook for 3 whistles. If not pre-soaking, the masur can be roasted and pressure-cooked too.
2 cups cooked masur lentils
2 tsp Maharashtrian Goda Masala
1 tsp cumin pwd.
1 tsp coriander pwd.
1/2 tsp red chilli pwd.
2 tbsp jaggery/gul
5-6 pieces of amsul
For tempering - oil, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, asafotida, turmeric pwd, curry leaves
For garnish - cilantro, shredded coconut
Heat the oil. Add mustard seeds, when they splutter, add the cumin seeds, asafotida, curry leaves and turmeric pwd. Then add the cooked masur and enough water to get desired consistency. Add the salt, masalas, jaggery and amsul. Mix well and bring to a boil. Garnish with chopped cilantro and shredded coconut.
Note - Amsul is a souring agent like tamarind/lemon juice/amchoor and is available in the Indian grocery stores.
2 cups sprouted, boiled mung beans
1 red potato - diced
1 tsp ginger paste
2 tsp Maharashtrian Goda Masala (Garam Masala or Sambar Masala will also work)
1 tsp cumin pwd
1 tsp coriander pwd
1 tsp red chilli pwd
2 tblsp jaggery
1/2 tsp tamarind paste
2 tsp oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
Pinch of asafotida
1/2 tsp turmeric pwd
5-6 curry leaves
Salt to taste
Cilantro and shredded coconut for garnish
Heat oil and add mustard seeds, when they splutter, add cumin seeds, asafotida, curry leaves turmeric pwd. Add the ginger paste, potatoes and 1/2 cup water. Cover and cook for 5-10 mins. until potatoes are cooked. Then add the mung beans, masalas and salt. Mix well. Add enough water to get desired consistency. Boil once. Garnish with chopped cilantro and shredded coconut before serving.
Note - Sprout the mung beans by soaking overnight, drain the water in the morning and put the mung beans in a colander. Cover with a lid & leave for about 12 - 15 hrs. to sprout. I boil the sprouted mung beans in the pressure cooker for 1 whistle.
I usually add some onions and garlic paste to the curry too. However, this time I made it on Thursday, when I avoid these, hence this is the "onion/garlic-less version". If using these, add after the tempering and saute till onions are transculent.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
This recipe is from an old issue of the Eating Well magazine that I was browsing at the Dr.'s office a while back. It caught my eye since I love Thai red curry as well as spinach & tofu and this combines all of them in a quick and easy way. I immediately made a copy and have made this curry several times.
For the sauce, you need:
1 cup lite coconut milk
2 tsp red curry paste (or to taste)
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp salt (or to taste)
Whisk all the ingredients together.
Tofu & veggies:
1 14 oz. pack of extra-firm tofu
2 cups chopped spinach
1 medium red bell pepper sliced
1 tsp lemon juice
Drain the tofu and place between a few sheets of paper towels. Keep a weight on it (like a can of beans etc.). After about 10 mins., slice the tofu into bite-size pieces. Then pan-fry the tofu to golden brown, without oil, using this technique from Monsoon Spice. Add the bell pepper and saute till it is slightly cooked,but still has some crunch, about 5 mins. Add spinach and thai curry sauce. Boil once. Add the lemon juice.
Serve over brown rice.
Per the magazine, one 3/4 cup serving has 20% of the daily calcium requirement. Not bad, hence its going to the Calcium Rich Foods event at Sangeeth's Art of Cooking Indian Food.
I usually make these and freeze them. They come in handy for a quick snack/unexpected guests. There are several varieties of spring roll wraps available. In our area, Uwajimaya is a good place for it. This time I made these spring rolls using Azumaya square wraps.
Azumaya square wraps
1 cup shredded cabbage1/4 cup shredded carrots
1/4 cup finely chopped onions
1/4 cup sprouted mung beans
1/4 cup boiled spaghetti noddles, crushed
2 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp ginger paste
2 tsp oil, plus oil to fry
Heat the 2 tsp of oil in a non-stick wok, add the onions and saute for 5 mins on medium to medium high heat. Add the ginger, cabbage and carrots. Saute another 5-7 mins. Add the mung beans, noodles, salt, pepper and soy sauce. Cook another 3-5 mins. Take off heat. The filling is ready, it is pretty dry.
To prepare the rolls, fill the center of each wrap with a spoonful of the mixture. Bring the opposite points together and press down. Roll from one end to the other. Use a little water to stick the end. Prepare all the rolls. Keep them covered with a moist cloth. Deep fry in hot oil.I just happenned to have the spaghetti on hand. This is a good way to use up the small pieces of noodles that remain at the bottom of the box. You can also add green/red/orange bell peppers to the filling. I keep the filling pretty bland and serve with a spicy dipping sauce. But in the above picture, I've used Maggi Hot & Sweet and Maggi Chatpat Tomato ketchups.
These spring roll appetizers are off to the WYF event at EC's Simple Indian Food.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Now comes the fun part. To turn this salad into an appetizer/starter/snack,simply fill it in Tostito scoops, sprinkle with some chaat masala & top with sev. These go off in no time folks. Its a quick and easy item to put together when you have unexpected company...you can add/subtract any of the veggies depending on whats on hand. Oh and before I forget...I got this idea from Saffron Hut. This blog, though no longer active, will always hold a special place in my heart. Its the first one I visited and discovered this amazing world of food blogs. Every post on it is a gem.
Corn Tostitos Appetizer
This Corn Salad and the Corn Tostitos Appetizer are off the EC's WYF - Soups/Salads/Starters event at Simple Indian Food.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
The availability of frozen cooked squash here makes this a breeze to prepare. I've heard from my cousin, who is an ophthalmologist, that lal bhopla (orange squash) is very good for eyesight, hence I try to cook it once every week, sometimes in a curry (using fresh lal bhopla) or in raita (lal bhoplayache bharit using frozen cooked squash) and ofcourse these puris for N.
Here's how I make them:
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
3 tbsp frozen cooked squash (thaw overnight in the fridge or for 2-3 hrs on the counter)
2 tsp sugar
pinch of salt
Make a slightly stiff dough with the above, using 1-2 drops of oil. Keep for 1/2 hr. Roll out into puris. I've used a star-shaped cookie cutter to make the puris in the above picture. Deep fry in hot oil. Drain on a paper towel. The addition of sugar makes these puris slightly sweetish but not overly so.
Hope you folks like these simple puris.
These puris are my contribution to the Kids Lunchbox event at Cooking Up Something Nice.
I am editing this post after my trip to India Dec. 2008. I found out that these squash puris are called 'Gharges' in Marathi. They are made pretty much the same as above, except jaggery is used instead of sugar. The jaggery and squash are cooked together and then the wheat flour is mixed into them. I made a batch of these gharges for N's lunch box after my return and she loved them just as much. I'll end this post with a picture of these gharges.