Ragda Pattis

One of the amazing things about life in the Navy is the camaraderie one forms with people from different parts of the country. I mean, I have friends from Assam, Calcutta, Pune, Punjab..name it and I know someone from that part of the state. Isn’t that absolutely awesome?

Anyway getting to the point…the other day I visited an ex-neighbour and very very good friend.She had so sweetly prepared Chaat for my kids(though i ate most of it). She’s this really cute thing and a great friend. In fact she sort of inspired me to try my hand out in the kitchen. When she lived next door she used to keep churning out these amazing and creative dishes…my son used to ask me… “What’s R aunty making today”. And not ‘what do WE have for dinner/lunch etc’! Just imagine!

She keeps a beautiful house too- designing her own curtains etc…she’s one of those people who turns everything they touch into gold..ANYWAY, there I go again…Back Back Back to the point….I just wanted to share the recipes for this Maharashtrian Fast Food recipe that she so gracefully gave me, with you.

This quick-to-prepare snack can also be converted to a snap one-dish meal .Each component is simple and delicious and the taste teases and tempts our taste buds.

These ‘chaats’ are part of the ever popular Street Food Menu one can find different versions all over India. You can make all of these items days ahead.
So all that remains to be done, is the assembling.

Ragda Pattis

Pattis
pattis

Potatoes 2, cooked and mashed
Carrot 1, boil in water for few minutes till soft
Onion 1 small, chopped
Tomato 1 chopped
Cumin powder 1tsp
Coriander powder 1 tsp
Ajwain
Salt
Bread 2 slices

Mix all the above ingredients and roll into lime-size balls. Fry these pattice(as they are called) on a flat pan with very little oil and fry both sides until they turn golden brown and crispy.

Ragda
 ragda
Chickpeas 1 cup, soak overnight

Cook this along with water, cumin seeds turmeric and a big pinch of asafetida. In a pressure cooker this should be about 5 whistles. Now grind part of this cooked mixture to rough paste and mix with the rest of the chickpeas so that it forms a thick gravy.Garnish with onions and chopped coriander leaves. That’s it!

Now for the sauces/Chutneys
chaat-chutneys
Mint Chutney

Mint leaves – 1 bunch
Coriander leaves 1 cup
Cumin seeds 1 spoon
Green chillies 2
Jaggery ½ tsp
Ginger 1-inch piece

Grind all of this to make a fine thin paste, adding a bit of water if necessary.

Tamarind Chutney

Soak tamarind and few dates overnight. Boil the tamarind in a cup of water for about 10 minutes. Cool and extract the pulp from the tamarind and strain to remove seeds and fiber. In a heavy bottomed pan cook tamarind pulp and grated dates. Add 1 tsp (depending on how sweet you want ‘em) of jaggery . Let cool. You can store this in the refrigerator for weeks.

Dahi Chutney

Mix cumin powder, sugar and salt with a bowl full of curd. Mix well to combine.

Now let’s assemble this spectacular treat….sadly don’t have any pictures of the final product because I was too busy gobbling it all up…

• Place 2 warmed patties in individual bowl; pour a tablespoon or so of hot ragda over it.bhel
• Green chutney, tamarind chutney, chopped onions and coriander, beat curd, crushed fresh cumin, salt.
• Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of the tangy tamarind chutney, 1 teaspoon of the mint chutney and 1 teaspoon of curd chutney.
• Drizzle some sev over it all.
• Garnish with coriander and chopped onion and chopped tomatoes and serve hot!

Yumilicious!!!

A Festive Challenge

Lord Ganesh
My first Indian Cooking Challenge

I’ve just finished wrapping up my recipes for this Ganesh Chaturthi based theme. Honestly I was a bit anxious wondering if I would be able to pull this one off. I started off preparing the modak , let me admit, having no idea what it was. But once I started preparing it, It struck me all of a sudden. Kozhikutta!yes that’s what it was…and a flood of memories started pouring in..
Festivals in kerela are incomplete without this delicacy and our house was no exception. Although I wasnt too much of a fan then-like most girls of my age growing up in Kerala then, I preferred the north-indian rotis and paneer or Chinese noodles, or the American burger. Anything, but our own kerala cuisine. Oh how I regret those days when I would complain seeing the ‘boring’ kerala meal set on the table. It’s only ever since I’ve moved out Kerela that I most miss and hunger for anything that passes off as malayalee!

My husband is a huge fan of these rice dumplings and when we moved in with my in-laws for a year my mom-in-law often prepared these delicious miniatures for her son when he got back from work. She however mostly used the sugar-coconut combo instead of the jaggery-coconut combination that is used for the modak filling. The only difference between the two is the tear-drop shape that so defines the modak. The Modak as well as the other sweet I prepared , the Kudaalo are typical offering sweets made for Ganesh Chatuti and are said to be Lord Ganesha’s most desired sweets. It’s not surprising; they are delicious ..You can’t stop with one!
Modak
To prepare the MODAK you need

Ingredients
Rice Flour – 1 & 1/2 cup
Water – 3 cups.
salt to taste

For the Filling

Grated coconut – 3 tbsp
Jaggary – 3 tbsp
Cardamom powder a pinch.

Method
Stages in the life of a Modak

In a bowl mix the flour and a little water to make a smooth paste. Just ensure there are no lumps. Boil the rest of the water in a pan with salt. Once it starts boiling, dump in the rest of the flour and cook .Keep stirring so that you leave no lumps. Add 1 tsp of oil and continue stirring. Mix, making sure there are no lumps. Take off heat when it looks like it is solidifying and the mixture starts to leave the sides of the dish.

Remove and cover with a damp cloth so that it remains hot.

To prepare the filling, grate coconut and mix with jaggary. Cook in a pan to get a thick texture. Divide into required shapes.

Oh-no!!The first time I tried these, they were a complete mess, but a couple of tries later I realized it was not so complicated. I was soon doing ok.

In a small bowl pour some oil. Smear your hands with oil and take a lemon sized ball of the rice flour. Press it in the middle so that it forms a depression. While occasionally touching the oil, widen that gap and the put a bit of the filling inside. Pinch the sides as shown and then close the gap. Repeat the process for the remaining dough. Now steam it for 10 minutes.
Done!

The Kudaalu was quite interesting to prepare.
Kudaalu

For the Filling

Channa dal – 1 cup
Grated Jaggery – 1 cup
Fresh grated Coconut – 1/4 cup
Cardamom powder – 3/4 tsp
Salt to taste
Oil for deep frying

Method

Pressure cook the channa dal with just enough water to cover it.

Cook the jaggery to remove any scum. Then once the dal is well cooked, drain and cook it again along with the jaggery.

Now grind the mixture into a smooth paste. If the resultant mixture seems too liquidy, put on simmer until it dries up. Add the cardamom powder and the coconut. Take off heat and cool. Divide into equal balls.

Mix maida, salt and as much water as needed to form a thick dough (as for puri). Knead well and roll out into small circles. Place a small teaspoon of the filling in the middle and fold and cover as shown.

Deep fry in oil. Drain and store in air-tight containers.
Kudaalu

Ps: To keep the file size small the video format is in wmv. so it may play in IE only.

This recipe is also off to Festive Food Event – ‘FF’. The theme so aptly being Janmashtami & Ganesh Chaturthi

krishna ganesh logo FF

Multi-Lentil Carrot Paratha

Multi-Lentil Carrot Paratha
Preparing a healthy breakfast is such a challenge. I’m almost always out of ideas, and more often than not I turn to the super healthy Multi-lentil Carrot parathas. This is such a fabulous meal. I first tasted these when a friend sent some over but they have become a hot favourite, especially for breakfast. Serve this with some chilled thick curd and you have the perfect wholesome breakfast. This recipe makes around 6 parathas.

Ingredients for filling

1/4 cup channa dal / Bengal gram
1/4 cup toor dal
¼ cup split moong dal
1-inch piece of minced ginger
Turmeric powder-a pinch
1 green chilli minced
1 onion chopped fine
1 carrot grated finely
1 tsp ginger garlic paste
Juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 tsp ajwain /thymol seeds
2 tbsp ghee or oil

Soak the lentils for about half an hour, then pressure cook along with the ginger, turmeric and 1 cup of water. Switch off after 2 whistles. You may need to cook further to drain the excess water, if any.

Next heat some of the ghee and fry the onions, chilli and ginger-garlic paste until the onions turn opaque and seems cooked.Now add the grated carrot and the cooked lentils to this and top with the lime juice and ajwain. Mix to combine. This mixture should look like a thick mass of ball. Use your hands to divide this mixture into even sized balls. Set aside.

Ingredients for the dough

* 2 cups whole wheat flour
* 1 teaspoon salt
* Water to knead the dough
* Oil/ ghee for cooking

Combine wheat, salt and ghee. Add water gradually to form a soft, pliable dough . Knead dough until it is smooth and elastic. Add 1/2 teaspoon oil to coat the dough and knead little more.

The dough will be soft and non sticky. Set aside covered with a damp cloth for 10 minutes. Make 12- 15 lemon sized balls of the dough and roll them out into thin circles of approximately 3 inches in diameter. To prevent it from getting all sticky and messy you may occasionally toss the dough in some dry flour.
Now take each circle and add a spoonful of the mixture in the centre. Sprinkle some dry whole wheat flour on top and then form into a ball by gathering the edges up together. Remove the little excess dough which popped out when you brought them together.

Gently toss the stuffed side onto a floured rolling board and very very gently roll out the dough.

Place on hot griddle. After a few minutes when it has formed brown spots on one side, turn and cook the other side. Smear a little ghee on the edges of the paratha as it is cooking. When it looks crispy and done take off heat.
paratha
Serve warm.

This is my entry to the WYF Breakfast event. If you wish to know more about the blog and the event don’t hesitate,just CLICK HERE.

Fish Lasagna

Checking out Italian food joints is an ongoing pastime for M and I. In fact one of the first places my husband and I went out to dinner here in Goa was the wonderful Little Italy. It was such a lovely experience that I think of it even now, some 9 years later. However I wouldn’t dare go back to the place now with my kids. They’d probably break down the place and make it unforgettable for me for reasons I dread to even think of. I think kids need to be taken out to restaurants and places like that from an early age. That way they get used to it and learn to behave there.
That way they get used to it and learn to behave there.
Sadly, in my case since we spend a lot of time at my parents in Cochin we always had the option of leaving the kids at home. And take that option, we certainly did!!

But now we are on our own in Goa and my kids behave like crazy lunatics when they go out. We ALWAYS return from what we hoped would be a nice-quiet-family-dinner, exhausted and wondering how we manage to keep our sanity ( i think!) in spite of all this. Well to cut a long story short (its quite long already isn’t it?)last weekend we agreed not to go anywhere .We stayed home and watched a really really bad movie (hangover) and I decided to try my hand at lasagna. By the way, it’s actually debatable whether insanity is preferable to having to sit through hangover, but whatever!

Since I did not have any chicken at home but instead had loads of fish stocked up in the freezer, this is a fish version of the chicken lasagna.

fish lasagna

Fish Lasagna

75 grams mushrooms
1 tsp olive oil
1 small onion chopped
1 tbsp chopped oregano
400 grams chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato puree
Salt and pepper according to taste
450 grams fish fillet
9-12 sheets pre-cooked lasagna sheets

For the topping

1 egg, beaten
125 grams paneer/cottage cheese
150 ml yogurt
50 grams grated cheese

Preheat the oven to 190 C. wipe the mushrooms, trim the stalks and chop. Heat the oil, add the onions and fry until soft.

Stir the mushrooms, oregano and the chopped tomatoes with their juice.

Blend the tomato puree with 1 tbsp of water. Stir into the pan and add the salt and pepper.

Bring the sauce to boil, and then simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.

Cut the fish into cubes (remove as many of the bones as you can). Add the fish cubes into the tomato sauce mixture, stir gently and take off heat.

Cover the base of an ovenproof dish with 2-3 sheets of lasagna verde. Top with half the fish mixture. Repeat the layers finishing with the lasagna sheets.

To make the topping, mix together the beaten egg, cottage cheese and yogurt. Pour over lasagna and sprinkle with cheese.

Cook the lasagna in the preheated oven for 40-0 minutes or until topping is golden brown and bubbling.

Serve immediately.

Of Spain and Tapas

I often think of the weekend trip I took to Spain with a good friend. It was fantastic. The architecture, the people,the cuisine..ooh the cuisine. It was divine to say the least.

Good food, socializing and conversation are an inherent part of the Spanish experience and we thoroughly enjoyed our visits to various bars in Spain where we
never encountered a dull moment. One classic dish served in bars all over Spain and which I absolutely love is the TAPAS.

Tapas have their origin ingrained into the history of Spain where the story goes that people put pieces of bread over their glass of sherry to keep the dust and flies out. This bread was often topped with ham, sausage or cheese and eventually these pieces of bread-snacks gained popularity and the rest, as they say, is history. According to another legend the credit for the origin of this popular snack goes to Castile’s king the wise Alfonso X. Apparently he owed his recovery from an illness to eating small snacks alongside his drink.But whatever the story the fact remains that tapas are delicious , economical and wholesome food. Any food is susceptible of becoming a tapa and there are innumerable varieties of this simple flexible dish- Boquerones en Escabeche, Patatas bravas, boquerones en vinagre, gallinejas, entresijos, mollejas and callos amongst other limitless varieties and combinations.

These mini-meals may be cold (such as mixed olives and cheese) or warm (such as puntillitas( fried baby squid).Today I have prepared the common, yet deliciously spicy “Patatas Bravas” or Fierce Potatoes as they are so often and rightly known as. This tomato sauce based recipe is simple ,quick and flexible. You can easily adjust the quantity of chilli according to your taste and even convert these lip-smaking miniature morsels into a whole meal.

Ingredients

FOR THE SAUCE

3 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion , chopped
3 garlic cloves , chopped
240 g can chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato purée
¼ tsp chilli powder
Sugar a pinch
chopped fresh parsley , to garnish
FOR THE POTATOEScut into even cubes evenly
2 tbsp olive oil

Preparation and cooking times
Prep 30 35 mins

In a saucepan, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until the onion is soft.. Add the tomatoes, tomato purée, chilli powder, sugar and salt and bring to a boil, stirring. Simmer for 15 minutes until soft and pulpy.
Keep this aside.

The Potatoes

Toss the potatoes with the seasoning. Roll the potatoes in the oil until well coated, Place in a roasting tin and roast in a preheated oven at 180 C for 1 hour or until crisp and golden. Alternatively you may also fry the potatoes in olive oil until crisp. I chose the baking method for obvious reasons.

Assemble

Mix the potatoes with the sauce immediately before serving to ensure that the potatoes retain their crispness. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve warm.

Enjoy with white wine.
Blazing Hot Wok

I am submitting this recipe in my maiden entry to the Regional Recipes Event hosted by blazinghotwok.

I Knead Bread

Bread- Homemade
Ah! the aroma of home baked bread! I have always shied away from baking bread the old-fashioned way, preferring to buy it from the bakery in our area. But a few days back I decided to take the plunge…and I am so very proud and glad that I did. That doesn’t mean that im gonna knead my way to all my bread requirements. All I’m saying is that it was very fulfilling in a i-didn’t-expect-it-to-turn-out-like-bread-at-all way. In fact I didn’t expect anything edible at all!
.

Although this 6,000-year-old process hasn’t changed much since Pasteur made the commercial variety of standardized yeast possible in 1859, all our modern electrical gadgets have undoubtedly helped simplify and quicken the whole process. Still the process remains rather time-consuming and a bit tiring (all that kneading and punching is really good exercise) but it is definitely something I want to try again. The version of bread I have baked is called Twirled Herb Bread. I got the recipe from a book called ‘Breads to Go’ that I found lying in my cupboard. So here goes…

2 ½ cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
13 grams fresh yeast
1 tbsp sugar
2 tsp salt
4 cloves garlic, chopped finely
3 spring onions with greens, chopped
2 tbsp coriander leaves, chopped
4 peppercorns, crushed
15 grams butter

In a small bowl mix ¼ cup of warm ( not boiling) water with the yeast and the sugar. Stir and keep in a warm place for 15 minutes to froth. If it does not froth then discard and try again.

Sift the flours and the salt into a large mixing bowl. Pour in the frothy yeast and approximately 2 cups of water (add water gradually, you do not want a gooey paste).

Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic. Cover with a damp cloth and leave covered for about two hours until it doubles in size.Add the chopped ingredients

Punch back the swollen dough and add the minced garlic, spring onions, coriander leaves and the peppercorns. Knead well for a few minutes.

Next, divide the dough into two equal portions and roll each using your hands into cylindrical shape. Twist both the rolls to get a spiral shape. Now cover both these rolled dough’s with a damp cloth and wait until they double in size, 30 minutes or so.

Place the rolls on a greased tray and bake in a preheated oven
at 200 C for 35 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and immediately brush with melted butter. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool. Voila!!! Your very own home baked bread is ready!

Since this months theme for the Sunday Snacks Event is Bread(what a coincidence) I am submitting this recipe. The event started by Hima of snackorama is being hosted this month by priya. Her fantastic blog has more details of the event. You can click here to read more.

Healthy Combo Salad-Cabbage and Apples!

Red Cabbage and Apples-Salad
This is a baked salad that tickles your taste buds. It’s tangy, spicy, low-fat and fun to assemble.

Ingredients

900 g red cabbage, shredded
450 gms onions thinly sliced
450 gm apples peeled and thinly sliced
½ tsp seasoning( I used taco, you could try it with anything that suits your palette)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp brown sugar
Salt and pepper
Grated rind of 1 orange
1 tbsp orange juice
50 ml apple juice
2 tbsp vinegar

Preheat oven to 150 C. cover the base of a casserole with a part of the shredded cabbage.

Place a layer of the onions and the apples over the cabbage.

Sprinkle a bit of the cinnamon, sugar, the mixed spice and salt and pepper.

Drizzle a little of the orange and apple juices and a small portion of the orange rind.

Repeat all of the above until all the ingredients are used up. Pour the vinegar evenly over it all.

Cover and bake for 2 hours until cabbage is tender. Stir occasionally. Serve warm with a dollop of hung curd and freshly ground black pepper.

Ah! Rose…

Rose Laban

The word rose always conjures up images of my visit to Madras..oops Chennai a million years ago. My family had some luggage to collect (we were moving back to India from Damascus) and we ended up staying there for almost a month. I remember we stayed at some hotel with lots of palm trees. Madras is notorious for its rains, and we found ourselves in the midst of the incessant rains. I remember waking up one morning to find all our stuff floating in water INSIDE our room.i mean the entire hotel was flooded but apparently THAT was a normal occurance. Whew!! The roads were flooded…it was like nothing, NOTHING I’d ever seen before.

Anyway, since it was just my sister and I in the room most of the times we kept ordering for room service. Finally
they posted one of the waiters to stand outside our room at all times. We stayed for a few weeks and the poor guy was there the whole time. Serious! This actually happened. And more often than not we kept ordering the rose milk. It was out-of-the world! Anyway I’m a Libran (it’s actually anyone’s guess as I exhibit almost ALL traits of one) so when I realized my colour for the event was pink I could think of nothing else. I am a new blooger and this is my first Food in Colour event the brainchild of sunshinemom. The thing about these events is that it throws up such wonderful opportunities to meet fellow-bloggers and get to read and see some ABSOLUTELY stunning blogs.

This months very creative Event Zodiac hosted by Ashwini requires one to match the zodiac sign with a colour and food.

I have prepared a very refreshing Arabic yogurt drink similar to rose milk. I adapted the recipe that I got from here.

Rose Laban

2 cups of whole-milk yogurt
2 tablespoons rose water
1/2 cup water
3 teaspoons sugar
1 drop red food coloring SLUURRPPPP

In a blender mix all the ingredients except the water. Now gradually add the water and blend until it gets to the consistency of your desire.

Serve chilled.

Blame it on the Flu

Hmmm...
The fear of swine is almost palpable in Goa. It’s the new big thing…It’s the subject of conversations; it’s on everyone’s mind. It’s everywhere. After Pune and Mumbai it’s obvious that Goa is next. Given that swine flu is flu with just a low rate of mortality, I feel that this fear is needless, ok let me rephrase that, this palaver and panic everyone is making about swine flu is unnecessary. I’ve read the real dope from survivors and I’m close to believing
that this is more of an information overdose pandemic.

I’m not saying I’m not scared. Scared for myself. Scared for my children, my family, and my friends’ .But one is more likely to die of sheer worry than of the flu. The virus is nasty, I’ve no doubt about that and painful I’m sure. But don’t think that anti-virals like Tamilflu are preventives. Don’t just pop ‘em just because you have them. They have to be taken in exactly the first 48 hours after getting the infection, else it is pretty useless. Its side-effects may be worse than the flu itself. Especially in children.

Anyway here are a general set of guidelines:

The US recommends maintaining 6 ft distance from infected persons. Infected persons should use hankies while coughing and sneezing. These viruses can survive on normal surfaces up to 8 hrs. Pregnant women, infants and children as well as those with some major illness are at high risk. So keeping household surfaces clean is imperative.

The established protocol is: visit your GP. If s/he thinks you are an H1Ni suspect he will send you to the nearest hospital. In Goa it is either GMC or Cottage Hospital in Chicalim.
If the hospital thinks you have H1Ni, they will take a throat swab. If a sample is taken Tamilflu will be administered.
Serious cases will be quarantined immediately. Those in contact with you will also be tested.

Treatment Options: paracetamol is the most useful to alleviate symptoms. Globally two vaccines are in the pipeline and are in the final stages of testing. Hopefully they should be ready by the end of they year. In India, Union Health Minister has promised an indigenous vaccine by Jan of next year.

It is impossible to predict when this pandemic will end, and there is real danger only if the virus mutates, but examples from the past tell us that this pandemic might go on for another 6 months to a year after which the virus will circulate as any regular flu. Even if the flu scare abates, the media-enabled panic will certainly be seen again in the times to come. Don’t you think we are moving into a world where panic can be fueled for the tiniest of reasons?

I know swine flu is not a joke, but I couldn’t help telling you about something I just read. . According to the Chicago Tribune, Ilana Jackson and Jeremy Fierstien got married in surgical masks and latex gloves less than 48 hours after they learned they had swine flu. It was a wedding to remember;They didn’t dance, they didn’t walk down the aisle, nor were they able to interact with any of the guests. Rather than feel depressed about what had happened they chose to laugh about it. The guests told them to give it a few years and they’d laugh about it ‘I’m, like, give me a few weeks,’ they replied.” For those who were brave enough to show up, masks and gloves were available to anybody who was so inclined, but the bride and groom were just about the only ones wearing them. Really testing that whole “Till death do us part.” thing huh? Where do you think they’d go on their honeymoon? Mexico?

Swine Flu Wedding

An Evening in Panjim

Panjim- Vibrant Facets

Panjim- Vibrant Facets

Goa is really a lovely place to live in. My husbands work requires him to move every once in a while so he has traveled extensively in India. I, on the other hand have seen very little of my beautiful country. My dad worked with a company that required him to travel to various countries and we happily followed him around. It has only been post-marriage that I have come to see how spectacularly diverse, colourful, exuberant, exciting and loud our country is. Take Goa for instance. Anyone who has traveled here will vouch for the fact that it has its own distinct appeal. I for one am in love with the place and cant think of a better place to settle down in. Its for that very reason that we recently bought a small apartment in Goa. So last weekend we went to check it out. We also had some odd jobs to do in panjim. Panjim, the capital of Goa is a sort of shopping haven to us Vasco-da-Gama residents. It’s about 1 hr drive from where we live, but it’s always fun to visit Panjim.

To say that Panjim is really glorious is stating the obvious. The city is captivating, with its Portuguese architectural heritage and its narrow winding roads, the white-washed churches, and its fine location at the mouth of the broad Mandovi River. The river front is a lovely, green-shaded road that is best explored at leisure, enjoying the colourful buildings and many character-laden eat-outs in Panjim.

We got home pretty late, which meant that we missed the Independence-Day ball being held at our club. We however made up for it by catching up on much needed sleep after a simple, yet stunning dinner of Prawns and Pasta in Tomato sauce.I got this recipe from here.

450g tomatoes
200g pasta, you can use any kind that is on hand
3 teaspoons oil
About 20 medium sized prawns, peeled and deveined
2 spring onions, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/3 cup white wine
Salt & pepper
1/3 cup cream
2 teaspoons finely shredded fresh basil and dill, and extra whole leaves for decoration
Grated Parmesan cheese
Pasta

Cook pasta in plenty of water and a little salt, or according to directions on packet.

Remove cores from tomatoes and place tomatoes in a saucepan of boiling water for 10-15 seconds, or until skin starts to lift. Remove from saucepan and place in a bowl of cold water for 5 minutes. Peel off the skin and chop.

Fry the prawns in little oil until almost cooked (it will change colour).Keep aside.

Add the chopped spring onions and garlic to the pan with remaining oil and cook for 1-2 minutes, without browning. Add chopped tomato, wine and salt and pepper. Simmer for a few minutes until tomato is soft.

Add cream, dill and basil. Simmer for 2 minutes.

Puree this tomato mixture in a blender and return to the pan. Now add the almost cooked prawns.

Simmer until prawns are cooked through and sauce has thickened. Add cooked pasta to pan and stir to combine.

prawn&pasta in tomato sauce
Serve with Parmesan cheese.

Sizzling Rain

rain drops

That’s exactly what we decided to do. Sizzle in the rain.

Actually it was more of an experiment.We were unpacking our bbq grill after almost 5 years (it’s a miracle it was still useable). It was packed up in Goa when we were moving to Cochin 5 years back, and well it was time to go charcoal shopping again. An added motivation was brilliant barbecues that I had recently received.

Although it was been raining lightly in Goa the last few days we decided to go ahead with or BBQ plans and since we have a pretty large balcony and a covered portion as well , the rains couldn’t play spoilsport.

M and I pondered for hours on which recipe to try and we finally narrowed down to Caribbean marinade and buffalo chilli chicken. The Caribbean marinade was a bit too bland for my taste but the buffalo chilli chicken was “Yum-o!”. The charcoal we got was however not of great quality, perhaps the pieces were too big, and whatever the reason, it took AGES to heat up. And since my husband doesn’t drink alcoholic based drinks it was left to me to finish off the remaining beer. I passed the rest of the evening between having conversations with the marinated chicken and frequent trips to the loo!!!

on the grill

Barbecues that use coal generally take 45 minutes to heat. When the red glow has disappeared and what one sees is a thick coating of gray- That is the ideal temperature for slow cooking. In fact, the meaning of barbecue is, to slow cook. It is thought that the barbecue originated in America during the late 1800’s. When less than great cuts of meat were fed to the cowboys they tenderized this meat by several hours cooking. Although it is thought that the barbecue originated in America this isn’t true n and to this day it is thought that no body actually knows who invented the barbecue. The word itself might come from the word barbacoa which is a Taino Indian word which means meat smoking equipment. In fact its origin could even go back to the Stone Age when man had no equipment to cook with, just a stone, and a man-made fire and a freshly killed animal. Whatever the occasion or origin a barbecue is undisputedly a great way of cooking food and to indulge in the outdoors.

Experts aver that marinating times can be anywhere between 15 minutes and 2 days. As a general rule, the longer you marinate the more tender and flavoursome the food will be. Although food marinates faster at room temperature than in the refrigerator, I usually allow a longer marinating time in the refrigerator to ensure that the food remains safe to eat.

Buffalo chilli chicken

1 kg skinned chicken pieces
3 spring onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 ½ cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup beer
1 ½ tablespoon vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoon Tabasco sauce or according to taste.
Score the pieces of chicken at 2 cm intervals and set aside.

In a shallow dish mix the spring onions, crushed garlic, tomato sauce, beer, vinegar, honey and Tabasco sauce. Add the chicken and toss to coat. Cover and marinate in refrigerator for 3-4 hours.

Once barbecue is heated and ready for cooking, drain the chicken and place on lightly oiled barbecue grill. Baste frequently with the reserved marinade, and turn the chicken several times, for 10-15 minutes or until chicken is tender and cooked through.Enjoy with Garlic Bread.
barbecued chicken

Note: The coking times for the chicken will depend on the size of the pieces. If you have a variety of sizes, place the larger , longer cooking pieces such as drumsticks and thighs on the barbecue first and cook for 5 minutes, before adding the smaller quicker cooking pieces such as wings and breasts.

Burger- Indian Ishtyle

Burger

“It requires a certain kind of mind to see beauty in a hamburger bun.”

There are few things that really do it for me like the good ol burger. Considering that it does involve a certain bit of work, I know that it does sound a bit strange. But once all the work is done and the burger assembled, enjoying in sitting in my terrace with a thick shake on the side is definitely the stuff dreams are made of. Sigh! The joy of a wholesome burger is just something else, delicious, all the way around. So here goes my Indian version ….makes 10-12.

First you need to prepare the potato filling or the ‘tikkis’.

Ingredients:

Potatoes – 2 large, boiled & peeled
2 slices white bread
Dried Fenugreek Leaves – 1 Tbsp (Kasoori Methi)
Roasted Peanuts – 2 Tbsp, coarsely crushed
Onion – 1/4 medium, finely chopped
Green Chilies – to taste, finely chopped
Salt – to taste
Roasted Cumin Powder – 1/2 tsp
Chaat Masala – 1 tsp
Dried Mango Powder – 1/4 tsp
Bread Crumbs – as needed for coating tikkis
Oil – for pan frying

Method:

Boil, peel and mash the potatoes.

Chop bread slices finely in a food processor, to make crumbs. They should not be ground to a paste. Slightly ‘rough texture’ of ingredients adds to the taste.

Add the Bread, Onions, Peanuts, Green Chilies and Dried Fenugreek Leaves to the potatoes. Mix to blend.

Add the Salt, Chaat Masala, Roasted Cumin Powder and Dried Mango Powder. Mix once again.

Apply a little Oil to your hands and take a portion of the potato mixture into your hands. Roll it into a ball and flatten it out gently. Make it slightly bigger so that it will be only slightly smaller than the burger bun.

Pour out some bread crumbs on a flat plate and dip and roll the ‘tikkis’ to coat completely.

Heat 2-3 tbs. of oil in a heavy bottomed frying pan. I use a non-stick pan, and fry 2-3 tikkies at a time, on medium heat, until nicely brown and crisp on both sides. You may need to add more oil for subsequent batches. They can be cooked up to this stage in advance.

Other requirements:

Grate the following into fine long strips-

Carrot -1,
Cabbage- 1,
Cucumber- 1

Tomato Rings
Onions rings
Salad leaves
Butter, Mayonnaise and cheese spread, as per requirement

Now to assemble the burger, split each bun. On one side spread a little butter and top with a bit of the grated veggies. Place a tomato slice and then the tikki. Over this place the salad leaf. Now on the other side of the bun, apply equally the cheese spread and mayo. Close and press the bun gently. Secure with a toothpick. Repeat for the remaining buns…..

Enjoy with fries or onion rings and a shake. BLISS!

Tried and Tested – Baked Chickpeas

Baked Chickpeas

Its Tried and Tested time again. One great thing about these blog events is that we get to see such spectacular blogs and amazing fellow-bloggers. One such blog is yasmeens health nut and this months blog is Gangas A Life Time of Cooking . It’s really a must-see blog with a mind-blowing variety of recipes and some stunning pictures as well. I chose to make the chickpeas salad for 3 reasons. One, I did have a jar full of them eyeing me the last few weeks and the second reason being that it is a family favourite pulse. The third reason was that it involved baking, and anything that involves heating up the oven is good by my book. The end result was a spicy, crispy, nutritious any-time snack that my family gobbled up in one sitting.

1 can chickpeas(cooked)
1 – 2 Tblspn olive oil
sea salt
black pepper
2 tspn cumin seed
1 tspn sambar powder or other spicy mix

Method

Soak chickpeas for a few hours beforehand. Dont soak them for longer than 12 hours, or in the fridge for 24, because they will begin to ferment – you can tell by the smell. They must still smell fresh, and give them a rinse under running water before you cook them.

Rinse the chickpeas, drain them and dry them well.

Place in a bowl with olive oil, sea salt, black pepper, cumin seed and sambar powder. Mix until well coated.

Empty the mixture into a baking dish Cook in a preheated 200C oven for 20 – 30 minutes until crispy and golden on the outside.

Relish!!

The vada with a hole

vada
Just when I though that the rain gods had bid adieu to Goa, the sky was darkened with clouds and rain was bucketing down. Needless to say there was a flurry of activity at home-clothes hurriedly taken off the clothesline, son dragged back into the house, doors closing, then opening, son running out to play in the rain again, Violent screams as I slip while trying to get my son to come indoors yet again. And finally bolting the door and making it fortress-like. Whew!!! After all that, it was time to actually enjoy the rains-from INSIDE. A perfect combination would have to be hot vada and tea.

Ulundu vada

Ingredients:
Urad dhal – 1 cup
Big Onion finely chopped-1 medium size
Green Chilli finely chopped-1 medium size
Ginger finely chopped-half inch
Curry leaves finely chopped-3 or 4
Baking soda – 2 pinches
Salt to taste
Oil for frying

Method:
Soak urad dhal in water 4 or 5 hours or even overnight.

Grind the soaked urad dhal into a very fine paste .when you take the batter in your fingers you should not feel the grains (while grinding, add water to the batter very gradually). The batter should be thick and not flow freely from the spoon when you pour it down.

Combine the chopped Onion, Green Chilli, Ginger, Curry leaves and Salt together. Add this to the batter and mix well.

Lastly add baking soda to the batter and mix well. This should be done just before frying.

In a frying pan, heat the oil. To prepare the vada dip your hands in water..
Take the batter of the size of a small ball in your palm and pat it to form a circle.
Dip your index finger in water and make a hole in the patted batter in the center.

Fry the patted batter in oil till golden brown on both sides.

Serve hot with tomato sauce or any chutney.

The Scream

1893_Edvard Munch The ScreamI often wonder if Munch painted ‘The Scream’ after witnessing the plight of a mother. I’m pretty sure that’s what inspired him. The last week was crazy, to say the least. Birthdays, dinners, kids rebelling; at one point I though I was doing all this for a reality show! I mean, it just had to be that. I dropped my son off at his squash class came home, had some essential grocery shopping to do which was basically a grab-and-run foray into the market. Got back, went to pick and drop off my son at his taekwando class. I then had to take my by-now-wailing miserably younger son to the park and then finally pick up my older son. Just when I thought the ordeal was at its end my car broke down. CAN YOU IMAGINE!!!i walked back in a daze, waiting for the director to say CUT any moment now. The traumatic cumulative day rendered me too sweaty and exhausted and emotionally fragile to properly make enjoy the dinner I had prepared but the unanimous verdict was that it was GREAT! Anyway here’s how I made the simple but appetizing Pasta with tomato sauce.
Make and Go - Pasta
Pasta (any kind) 2 big cups
Tomatoes- 5 grind coarsely
Big onions- 2 chopped finely
Garlic- 4 cloves, crushed
Sugar 1 tsp
Spices and herbs- basil, oregano and chilli flakes
Any seasoning mix, I used taco seasoning mix.
Grated cheese- ¼ cup
Butter 2 tbsp, softened

Cook the pasta in enough water as per packing instructions. Drain and keep aside. In a saucepan, heat the butter and sauté the onions and garlic. Add the sugar and fry a bit longer until it browns a bit. Now add the ground tomatoes, the spices and the seasoning mix. Fry it well and add most of the grated cheese. Mix once more and then add the pasta. Stir well to coat the pasta and garnish with tomato sauce or cheese spread. Add remaining grated cheese and bake at 180 C for 8 minutes or until cheese melts.

It’s a Sticky Situation…

DoughnutsDoughnuts

I’ve made baked version of these doughnuts (which I shall post sometime later) and they were good but not as soft. I usually prefer the baked ones for the obvious reason that they are healthy…well, not healthy, but healthier . This time round I made them the fried way. I made two batches, one using baking powder and one batch using yeast. The baking powder batch had more of a cake-like texture but was easier to make. The yeast ones were soft and yumm but oh-so-sticky to prepare. I guess the trick is to add the flour little by little until the dough is manageable.

Raised Doughnuts

1 tbsp active dry yeast
¼ cup warm, not boiling water
¾ cup milk
½ cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1 egg
¼ cup butter
4 cups flour

In a bowl dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Stir in the milk, ¼ cup sugar, salt, egg butter and just 2 cups of the flour. Beat until the dough is smooth. Now mix in enough of the remaining flour until you feel the dough is easy to manage.

Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for about 5 minutes and then place in greased bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm place for about 1 1/2 hours. Then punch down risen dough and let rise once again until almost double, probably another hour or less.

Roll out the dough; at this point too you may need to add some more flour. It should be about 3/8 inch thick. Cut dough with a floured dough-cutter/ anything that’s circular and a small bottle cap for the inner hole. Let it rose on the board until double and very light (half an hour). Leave it uncovered.

Heat oil and drop the doughnuts into the hot oil. Turn as they rise to the surface. Fry until golden brown on both sides. Drain and roll the warm doughnuts in sugar or if desired frost with chocolate sauce.

Custard Biscuits

Custard Biscuits

Spend the whole of yesterday perambulating between the kitchen, the television and my computer with equal laziness. Not that it was a day wasted. Watched Twilight- Robert Pattison is AWESOME. I’m not a psychotic fan scratching my neck open for blood but he does have the most beautiful eyes!
I also managed to bake these super easy custard biscuits.

This is one biscuit recipe that you can NEVER go wrong with. It’s completely no-fuss and a definitely safe tea-time eat. The measurements given make maybe 3 dozen biscuits so perhaps you could half them if you want.

3 cups self-raising flour
2 cups sugar
1 cup custard powder
3 eggs, beaten
250 grams butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp vanilla essence

In a large mixing bowl , combine all the dry ingredients.
Make a well in the center and pour in the vanilla, the beaten eggs and the melted butter. Mix well using a wooden spoon, but if you prefer it the old-fashioned way do what I did-use your hands.
Knead it into a ball until all the flour and custard is blended in. If you feel the dough is still too dry, you may add a little bit of milk to make the dough soft.
Roll into small balls and press. Bake at 160 C for around 20 minutes.

Note: It is always advisable to test the baking time. Roll out one cookie and check how long it takes to bake until golden. Remember cookies harden as they cool. So let cookies cool for around 5 minutes before you check for crispiness.
Happy Baking!

Nutty Banana Cake

Nutty Banana Cake
3 dozen bananas! That’s how many I had at home. I brought some and my husband got some more and we got even more in our monthly ration (thanks to the navy). I had to do something with at least few of those bananas- and fast.

I had a long day, what with my youngest son’s birthday fast approaching so I wanted to bake something that was easy to make and appealing to everyone. Then I remembered the Banana Cake recipe my mother had given me. The resulting cake was super moist, fluffy, sweet and tender. It’s a good cake for almost any occasion –a birthday, dinner or anytime you have some extra bananas languishing in your kitchen.
This is a rather large cake so you might need 2 9-inch pans, esp if you intend to frost the cake.

2 ½ cups flour
1 2/3 cups sugar
1 ¼ tsp baking soda
1 ¼ tsp baking powder
¾ cup buttermilk
2/3 cup butter
2/3 cup eggs( 3 eggs)
1 tsp salt
1 ¼ ripe bananas, mashed well
½ cup finely chopped nuts

banananut

Preheat your oven to 350 C. In a large mixing bowl, add all the ingredients together and beat on low speed for 1 minute and the beat on high speed for 3 minutes. Pour mixture into a prepared baking pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the cake springs back when lightly pressed and pulls away from the sides of the pan

Golden Cake

Soft & Fluffy

Soft & Fluffy


My mother has been baking these cakes for a long long time. In fact I remember eating this even when I was in her womb..ok ok, maybe I am exaggerating a bit too much, but the point is if there is ANYTHING you want to try from this blog THIS IS IT (well I do hope I haven’t said this very same thing about anything else) have I? But really,I beseech you to try it. It’s outrageously effortless and tastes just DIVINE! Oh, do try it, you’ll thank me. I promise.

Golden Cake

2 ¼ cup flour
1 ½ cup table sugar
3 ½ tsp baking powder
½ cup + 1 tbsp butter, softened
1 cup milk, at room temperature
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence

This is super super easy, and the texture is just WOW. In a large mixing bowl add all the ingredients together and beat half a minute on slow speed and then 3 minutes on high. Pour into a prepared (greased and floured) cake tin and bake at 190 C for 35 minutes or until a fork/skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

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