Varo

Its no secret that I LOVE to bake; but did u know that I can barely make a decent cuppa tea. I usually throw my hands up at the mere mention of regular cooking- NOT because I dont enjoy it but because It almost never turns out the way its supposed to be:(

Which is why I was mighty thrilled to make the desi praline- VARO.

Many of us South Indians have had a version called Chikki. My love for these nutty sweets were stroked after my father in law started bringing home some everyday for my sis-in-law and me , almost everyday after his morning walks. Crunchy, sweet and nutty…this is without doubt a lovely sweet!

Thank you Alka for a great recipe..you can find the original recipe here.and thank you Srivalli for the Indian Cooking Challange that lets me learn new things.

Varo – Sindhi Sweet Treat (Diwali Special)
Ingredients:

Assorted Nuts (I used Almonds, Pistachios and Cashew nuts) – 1 Cup
Poppy Seeds / Khus Khus – 2 tbsp
Cardamoms – 4 -5
Sugar – 1 Cup
Ghee Clarified Butter – 1 tbsp

Method:

Slice all mixed nuts into medium sized pieces. Powder the Cardamom seeds.

Grease a flat plate or the back of a plate.

In a heavy bottomed pan, add ghee and sugar. On low heat melt the sugar without stirring too much until it turns light and then a deep brown shade. Working fast add in the nuts, poppy seeds and the cardamoms. Mix until the nuts are well coated(just a couple of seconds) and transfer the mixture to the prepared plate. Flatten using a rolling pin.
Let cool and harden.

Cut into pieces using a knife..it might be a bit hard to break but u can use the rolling pin to hammer in the knife..

Paneer Pepper Masala

I’m going to cut to the chase today..its a Paneer Pepper Masala that I have to share today. My mom made it on our recent trip home( Kochi). What do I say..It was lovely…as are most of my moms dishes…

Paneer Pepper Masala

Paneer Pepper Masala

Ingredients
Paneer( Cottage cheese) -200 gms, cubed. fried in oil and marinated in 1/4 cup curds for 10 min.
Cashew Paste – tbsp
Spinach Cooked and Ground to a paste -1/4 cup
Raw coriander and Mint Paste- 2 tbsp
Yellow or Green Capsicum – 1 chopped
Ginger paste – 1 tsp
Garlic paste – 1 tsp
Green Chillies – 2 chopped
Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
Coriander powder – 1 tsp
Freshly ground pepper – 1 tsp
Garam masala powder – 1 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
Tomato puree – 1/2 cup
Onion – 2 chopped
Fresh cream – 2 tbsp
Lemon juice – 1 tsp
Oil- 2 tbsp

Method
Heat oil. Add onion , ginger and garlic paste. Fry well.

Add the tomato puree and green chillies and cook for a while.

Add all the dry powders, salt with the marinated paneer, spinach paste, coriander mint paste, cashew paste and half a cup of water.

Cook till it is ready ( 5 minutes)

Add crushed pepper powder, lemon juice and cream.

Serve hot with rotis or rice.

Rasmalai – ICC

Question : I can eat bucketfuls of this, and yet ask for more…name it!

No….Anything is technically not the right answer..

But Rasmalai is.

I love these milky desserts and thoroughly enjoyed making them for Srivallis ICC.

So here goes a detailed fool proof way to make these Bengali sweets

Ingredients:

Milk – 3 litres (2 litres for making paneer and 1 litre for making Rasa/Milk syrup.)
Vinegar- 3 tbsps
Water-5 cup’s
Sugar- 16 tbsp (8 for Sugar Syrup and 8 for Rasa/Milk Syrup)
Saffron- 8 pieces
Pista-10 finely chopped
Maida flour- 1 tsp
Cardamon-2 (crushed)

Method:


I. Preparation of Whey Water
II. Preparation of Paneer
III. Preparation of Sugar Syrup
IV. Preparation of Milk Syrup/Rasa

Now comes the process in detail..

I. Preparation of Whey Water:

Boil Two Litres of milk and let it cool. Refrigerate the milk for 12 hours. The next day or after 12 hours, remove the thick layer of skin/ paal adai/meegada formed over the milk. Now boil the milk, when the milk boils, add vinegar. wait for a minute or two. the paneer will start floating on top and the whey water will stay on the bottom of the vessel. Now with a muslin or a cotton cloth, filter the paneer and pour 2 cups of water on it, to remove the sourness of vinegar and then tie it well and let it hang on for one hour, till the whey water drops out.

What to do with the Whey Water?

Let the whey water get soured. that is leave it for a time of 1 week to get soured. after that pour it into a bottle and refrigerate it. this soured whey water will be good for one year of time. when you want to make paneer, you can use this whey water instead of vinegar/lemon juice.
(or)
Whey water can be used to prepare chapathi or Roti, which makes them super soft.

II. Preparation of Paneer:
This is an important step.
As we have tied and hanged the paneer in muslin cloth to let out the whey water, wait for atleast an hour and squeeze them very well. well. remove from the cloth and shift to a broad vessel. Now just prepare the paneer, as we knead the dough for chapathi/roti, in the same way knead the paneer, for 5 minutes atleast, till you feel it dont have much moisture content in it. now add a spoon(not more) of maida flour to the paneer and make it as small small ball’s remember the balls will become double in size after putting it and boiling it in sugar syrup. so make a medium size paneer ball’s. with 2 litres of milk you can prepare 12 or 13 paneer ball’s.
You may even use this to make Rasgullas.

III. Preparation of Sugar Syrup:
In a wide-bottomed pressure cooker, add two cups of water and eight table spoons of sugar. let it boil. Now when it boils, add the paneer ball’s one by one on to it. dont afraid of the ball’s getting broken. if you have kneaded the paneer well, it wont get broked. let it get pressure cooked for 10 minutes in slow flame or for 2 whistles.
Now let the steam get out and open the cooker and see the double-sized paneer ball’s. slightly press all the paneer balls to emit the excess sugar syrup.

IV. Preparation of Milk Syrup/Rasa:
Even before you start to prepare the sugar syrup start making milk syrup/rasa side by side. Have one litre of milk in a wide bottomed vessel and let it boil and get reduced into half of the quantity.This might take awhile. Now add eight table spoons of sugar and mix well. add saffron and crushed cardamon to it and mix well. put the paneer ball’s into the rasa/milk syrup. cool it down and refrigerate it.
Serve with chopped pistachios on top.


The recipe was from Lavis blog.

Tomato Dosa

Why is it that most of us(or is it just me?) run out of breakfast ideas.

Although I like to try out different cuisines I often find the South Indian breakfast cuisine easiest to put together. Agreed the grinding past may be a bit cumbersome , but once you have that out of the way, the next couple of days are tension free….

Take for instance this variety of dosa that I found on Shailaja’s super duper blog.

Its real simple to make, in fact it doesn’t even need fermentation…

Its got great colour( always a good thing when your target group includes children) and is healthy too…
Plus its different from the regular fare…

I served this with podi, but I’m sure any chutneys will do just great.

Tomato Dosa Recipe

Prep & Cooking: 20-30 mts, Soaking: 2-3 hrs

Serves 5-6 persons

Cuisine: South Indian

.
Ingredients:

1 1/4 cup raw rice and 2 tbsps of tur dal, soaked in water for 2-3 hrs

2 tomatoes chopped

2 tbsp grated fresh coconut (optional)

2-3 dried red chillis, de-seed and tear

1-2 tbsp grated jaggery

salt to taste

oil as required

1 Drain and grind smoothly the rice and tur dal with chopped tomatoes, dried red chillies (de-seed), grated fresh coconut, jaggery, coriander leaves, salt and little water to form a dosa-like batter.

2 Heat griddle on high flame till hot, reduce heat, pour a laddle full of dosa batter, spread the batter with the bottom of the ladle evenly making circles to form a dosa and drizzle with some oil along the edges. Cook on medium heat for 1-2 mts and increase to high flame for a few seconds and flip the other side and cook for 20-30 seconds or till done.

3 Serve hot with any podi or chutney of your choice .

This one goes to Tried & Tasted event started by Zlamushka of SpicyKitchen.

This months blog is Sailus food

ICC- April

Its white , wriggly and wonderfully different…
Yes! its that time of the month again when we don our Indian caps and put the kitchenware lying right at the back to good use.

Very good use.

And this month Srivalli mail read Javvarisi/Sago/Sabudhana Murukku as this month’s ICC challenge I was skeptical as this really didn’t look like my cuppa tea..esp with warnings of possible sago explosions:)
but alls well that ends well …and here they are ,my white headed crispy snacks( honestly I’m not even sure if they are supposed to look like this)

Javvarisi/Sago/Sabudhana Murukku

Ingredients

Rice Flour(Arisi Maavu) – 2 cups
Besan flour(Kadalai Maavu) – 1/2 cup
Fried gram flour(Pottukadalai maavu) – 1/2 cup
Sago(Javvarisi) – 1/2 cup
Salt to taste
Curd – 50 gms (1/4 cup)
Chilli powder – 1/2 tsp or as per taste

Special Utensil
Murukku Achu

Directions

In the buttermilk, soak the sago for about two to three hours until it doubles in size and gets translucent. If the sago is not soaked for enough time, it might tend to burst while frying the murukkus.

In a bowl, mix all the flours together. Heat about 50 gms oil, mix it along with the flour salt and chilli powder. Slowly add the buttermilk soaked sago and knead to make a smooth dough.

In a heavy bottomed vessel, heat oil for deep frying. In the murukku achu, add enough quantity of dough. When the oil gets hot, slowly press the murukku using the achu and deep fry on both sides until it turns golden brown in color.

Cook on medium flame to ensure the muruku is cooked well.

Store in an airtight container.

Spicy Dry Prawn Masala

A few years back we were dinning at a family friends place and while serving us the prawn curry, this person started to to describe a prawn curry he had eaten sometime earlier. He said they(the prawns) sat in the gravy like big curled millipedes!

What a horrid way to describe food!!

I was so repulsed by the image that I stayed off prawns for many years since.
Its only NOW with my recent weight gain and resultant appetite, where i’ll eat ANYTHING, that Ive started to eat them again!

I’m going to share with you a typical Kerala Dry Prawn preparation that my mom makes( hoping my little anecdote has none of you cringing at the sight of prawns!)

Ingredients

Small Onions 12
Red chillies 5
Pepper 1/2 tsp
Ginger
Garlic 6 cloves
Curry leaves 10
Turmeric powder 1/4 tsp
Grind the above with a little water.

Prawns 500 gms

Wash and clean the prawns and add some water,the ground spices and salt and cook in a deep bottomed vessel for 10 min or until cooked. Once slightly dry add some coconut oil( 2 tbsp) and curry leaves and let fry for a few more minutes.
There you have it …an easy peasy prawn dish..mallu ishtyle.

Last Minute Kachori for ICC

Seriously guys, what is it about a family wedding that can throw your life so out of gear.
I went home to Kerala for just 4 days for a cousins wedding. But it was 4 days of pure frenzied madness. I can’t really pinpoint what it was that has me feeling so distraught! Was it the fact that my baby cousin actually got married ( I felt sooo OLD), or was it the awful heat of Cochin coupled with the outrageous amount of jewelry I was made to wear,
or was it the million comments I had to hear about my weight( ranging from aunts asking if I was pregnant; to cousins asking me if I had balloons hidden under my clothes. One man(may he have a thousand sleepless nights….even asked me if the Himalayas have moved to Cochin!
All my excuses of thyroid related weight gain were met with incredulous looks! Anyway I am so glad to be back home in Goa………

Kachori- Fried Indian Snack


Kachori…forgive my poori-like horrible picture (it was taken just an hour before we left) but I must tell you these fried snacks were delicious ( I know what you are thinking…NO I just had a bite..a teeny weeny bite…)My kids LOVED them and I will definitely try them with different fillings sometime later…so here’s the recipe I used…

First make the dough:
Ingredients:
All Purpose Flour/Maida – 2cups
Oil/ Ghee – 1/4cup
Salt – 1/2tsp
Water for kneading

Method:

* Mix the flour and salt, Add the oil/ghee and mix till you get a bread crumbs texture.
* Slowly add water and make a soft dough. Knead well for about 8 minutes.
* Cover and keep aside to rest for atleast half hour.

Special Tips / Notes for the dough:

* Keep the dough covered at all times, if not it will dry up and not puff up when frying. If the dough is made right wet cloth can be used if not just a towel.
* The dough could spring back for many reasons:
* Dough is too cold (If wet cloth is used)
* Dough is not soft enough.
* Not kneaded for enough time.
* Oil is less.
* Not rested enough.

For the onion filling:
Onions – 2 cups
Nigella Seeds (Kalongi) – 2tsp
Fennel seeds (saunf) – 2tsp
Bay leaves – 2
Green chillies – 1 1/2tsp finely chopped
Bengal gram flour (besan) – 2tbsp
Coriander (dhania) powder – 2tsp
Chili powder – 2tsp
Garam masala – 1tsp
Coriander leaves – 3tbsp, finely chopped
Oil – 2 tbsp
Salt – to taste

Method:

* Heat the oil in a pan. Add the nigella seeds, fennel seeds, bay leaves, green chillies and onions and sauté till the onions turn light brown in color.
* Add the gram flour, coriander powder, chilli powder, garam masala and salt and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes.
* Add the chopped coriander and mix well. Remove the bay leaves and discard. Allow the mixture to cool completely.
* Divide into 12 equal portions and keep aside.

Assembling the Kachoris:

* Make a small ball from the dough. Roll out into a 2 inch diameter circle. Or flatten the ball using your fingers having the center thick and sides little thin.
* Place about 1.5 tsp of the filling in the center of the rolled dough.
* Cover the filling with the dough by slowly stretching it over the filling. Seal the ends and remove excess dough. Repeat with all the balls and keep aside for 5 -7 mins.
* Then using your palm, flatten the balls by lightly pressing it, as using the rolling pin will make the filling come out. (See notes below). Keep aside covered. Repeat with the remaining dough.
* Meanwhile heat some oil for deep frying. The oil should not become smoking hot. Test to see if the temperature is right by dropping a tiny ball of dough and see if it is rising slowly to the top.
* Drop the kachoris in batches of 3-4 gently into the oil. It should rise up slowly. If you don’t want to use lot of oil, use just enough for two or three at a time and fry them.
* After it rises up (about 2 minutes), turn it over.
* Cook for about 6 to 10 minutes till the side down gets a golden brown color.
* Turn and cook the other side for another 6 minutes or till its golden brown in color.
* Remove when done, cool and store in airtight container.
* Serve with coriander chutney and tamarind chutney

Special Tips / Notes for making the Kachoris:

* You can fry 3 kachori’s at a time.
* The oil should be at a heat when you drop some dough it should come up slowly, if the dough comes up too fast the oil is too hot, if it does not come up then the oil is cold.
* It will not be crisp if the oil is too hot.

I Finally Found what Im looking for…


Here’s the other recipe I tried out from our Book Club’s January selection Climbing the Mango Tree.
I must admit that this too I found kinda bland…but i upped the spice quotient and it was simple yet delicious.

Chicken Cooked in a Yogurt-Almond Sauce (Murgh Korma)

Serves 4-6

INGREDIENTS

One 2 ½ -inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
4-5 good-sized cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
3 tablespoons blanched, slivered almonds
1 ½ cups plain (nonfat) yogurt
1 ½ teaspoons garam masala (see below for Madhur’s recipe)
1 tablespoon ground coriander
½ – 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, to taste
1 ½ teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons peanut or olive oil
2 medium onions, peeled, cut in half lengthwise, then sliced into fine half-rings
Two 2-inch sticks of cinnamon
8 whole cardamom pods
2 bay leaves
3 ¼ pounds chicken, cut into 8 pieces (see headnote)
2 tablespoons golden raisins (sultanas)
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro

DIRECTIONS

Put the ginger, garlic and ¼ cup water into a blender. Blend until you have a smooth paste. Add the almonds and another 2 tablespoons water. Blend again until you have a smooth paste.

Put the yogurt in a bowl. Whisk it lightly with a fork or whisk until smooth. Add the garam masala, ground coriander, cayenne and salt. Stir well into mix.

Put the oil into a large, preferably nonstick sauté pan and set it over medium heat. When it is hot, put in the sliced onions. Stir and fry for 10-12 minutes, turning the heat don if necessary, until the onion slices are reddish brown. Remove the onion slices with a slotted spoon, squeezing out as much of the oil as you can with the back of a second spoon, and leaving that oil back in the pan. Spread the onion slices over a paper towel-lined plate.

Put the cinnamon, cardamom and bay leaves into the same pan over medium heat. Stir once or twice. A minute later, put in the chicken pieces, only as many as the pan can hold easily in a single layer. Brown the chicken lightly on both sides, removing them to a bowl when done. Do all the chicken pieces this way. Add the golden raisins. Stir a few times and then add the paste from the blender. Stir and fry for two minutes. Now put the contents of the bowl with the chicken, including all the accumulated juices, the contents of the yogurt bowl and the fried onions. Stir to mix and bring to a simmer, still on medium heat. Cover, turn the heat to low, and cook gently for 25-30 minutes, stirring gently now and then, until the chicken pieces are tender. Sprinkle with the chopped cilantro and serve.


To Make Punjabi Garam Masala used in Madhur Jaffrey’s recipe:

Put in a spice grinder
1 tbsp of cardamom seeds
1 tsp of whole black peppercorns
1 tsp of whole black cumin seeds
1 tsp of cloves
1/3 of a nutmeg
2″ stick of cinnamon

Grind finely and store in an air tight jar. This makes about 3 tbsp of Garam Masala

BTW ..WHAT was Lady Gaga wearing at the Grammy’s??????????????????Definitely Out-of-this-world!!!!!

Irresistible Spinach and an Award

Ever since I laid my eyes on Sias blog I was hooked. It’s got some witty write-ups and absolutely gorgeous pictures.
And the recipes.Man! the recipes! I have tried a few with stupendous success and wish to share with you one such.

But wait!!

Before that I would like to thank…with all my heart…Sumi for bestowing me with the following award…..and since I have already spilt the beans on 7 unknown facts about me ..all I need to do now is pass on this to 7 other wonderful bloggers…

The rules of the award goes like this:

Copy the award to your blog.
* Thank the person giving the award.
* Place a link to their blog.
* Name seven things people don’t know about you.
* Nominate 7 bloggers.
* Place a link to those bloggers.
* Leave a comment to those bloggers letting them know about the award.

Meeso of For the Love of Food
Sapna of Sapnascuisine
Saee Koranne-Khandekar of myjhola
Ranjani of wakeupandsmellthemasala
Shaz of Testwithskewer
Deepa of Foodlyrics
Holly of phenomenon..
These are awesome blogs..Go check them out..

Anyway BACK to my recipe here’s a list of ingredients you will need.This easily serves 6 .

3 bunches Palak/Spinach, chopped
1 cup Milk
3 Onions, finely chopped
5 Potatoes
4 slices of Bread
1/4 cup Green Peas
1 inch Cinnamon
2-3 Green Cardamom
3 Green Chillies
1 inch Ginger, minced
1 tsp Chilli Powder
1/2 tsp Turmaric Powder
1/2 tbsp Amchur/Dry Mango Powder
1 tbsp Garam Masala
2 tbsp Cashew nuts,ground into a paste
2 tbsp Butter/Oil/Ghee
2-3 tbsp of Gram Flour
Salt to taste
Oil for deep frying

Method:
For Koftas:

Pressure cook potatoes,peel and mash thoroughly.
Soak bread in water, squeeze and add to the potatoes.
Mix with 2 tbsp of the finely cut onion, chillies, cooked green peas, coriander leaves, garam masala, salt, amchur powder, cashew paste and small amount of finely chopped palak.
Mix well and prepare small balls.
Make a paste of the gram flour and water.
Dip these balls in the gram flour paste and deep fry in hot oil.

Keep aside.

Now the Gravy:

Heat a tsp of oil in a pan and fry the palak with a little sugar added to it(this apparently is to retain the green colour)

Sprinkle little water if necessary.Cook until soft.
Once cool grind to a smooth paste.
Heat butter in a pan and add cinnamon, cloves and cardamom.
After 1 minutes add the chopped onions and fry till it turns transparent.
To this add ginger, ground palak with milk, salt, chilli powder, amchur, turmaric, and garam masala.
Mix well and cook it till the gravy thickens in a medium flame.
Add Koftas just prior to serving.

Moong Dal Halwa for ICC

I should have atleast looked online for some pics of this delicious Indian Sweet; to tell you the truth I had NO idea what this was even supposed to look like or even heard of it until Srivalli announced this months ICC recipe.

I followed the recipe using milk instead of Khoya but I guess I should have fried the dal for a lot longer as it looks drier as compared to the pics on Google…also I reduced the ghee a bit…maybe that’s why…

But still I have only this to say…IT WAS JUST MELT-IN-YOUR-MOUTH-DELICIOUS!!!!!!

Ingredients
Split (Yellow) Moong dhal – 1 cup
Ghee – 1/2 cup
Sugar – 3/4 cups to 1 cup (as per required sweetness)
Milk – 1/2 cup (Notes from Lataji – instead of water for the sugar, this gives the khoya added taste, Simran’s recipe asked for water)
Cashews/ raisins roasted in ghee for garnish.

Method to Prepare:

Soak 1 cup moong dal overnight. Next morning, grind to a paste.

Heat a heavy Kadai, take initially only 1/2 of the ghee and heat it.

Add the dhal and stir continuously, not allowing lumps to form. This part is very tricky as the dhal cooks really fast, irrespective of the ghee.

Keep the heat at the lowest and keep stirring even after the dhal becomes thick.

Add the rest of the ghee intermittently and cook the dhal until aromatic and the ghee starts oozing out.

Meanwhile mix the sugar with water/ milk in a pan and bring to a boil. Add this slowly to the cooking dhal.

Keep the fir low at all times and break lumps if formed while adding the sugar and water/ milk mix.

Cook until the ghee surfaces.

Garnish with cashews and raisins.

Notes :

* Use a thick bottom pan or better nonstick pan
* Don’t leave the halwa unattended. The dal can stick and it can go from just done to burnt in a second so keep stirring as much as possible. You should remember to keep stirring to prevent dhal from sticking irrespective of the ghee added.
* You aren’t looking for the halwa to get too thick when you turn off the heat. It was thicken as it cools.
* Cook until ghee surfaces on the sides and the halwa attains a very nice shine.
* Initially, it may appear that all the ghee is being used up. But as the dhal cooks the ghee separates. So the ghee measure is sufficient.
* In both recipes depending on how you got the moong dal paste, you may require slightly more ghee to get the texture
* Though original recipe didn’t call for roasting the dhal before soaking, Lataji felt roasting it a bit gives more fragrance.

Also a special Thank You to Lathaji and Simran’s Mom for recipe inputs.

ICC-Chegodilu

I came this (picture me holding my thumb and index finger REAL close) to NOT doing this months ICC challenge….
It seemed too difficult

I don’t have a kitchen no more…
The navy has decided we don’t need to live in ugly kitchens anymore so they are REBUILDING the kitchen..i mean just breaking down the whole thing. Its such a pain in the ..er…neck. But i guess its also overdue( the work i mean, not the pain) ..Its been like 60 years since these navy houses have been largely untouched by any form of maintainable.

So the entire kitchen, has been shifted to one of the bed rooms. I feel like i am living in a refuge camp. On second thoughts i think they are probably better off.

Hence, making these Andhra-specialty snacks seemed like Mission Impossible.

And when i did manage to make the dough it seemed like a gonner- too brittle.

Thankfully after a few SOS mails to srivalli i did manage to salvage the situation.

My final verdict is that they were worth all the effort….a great tea time savory….thanks Srivalli for a great selection.


Chegodilu / Chekodilu – Recipe 1

Ingredients Needed:

Rice Flour – 1 cup
Water – 1 cup
Split Yellow Moong dal / Pesara pappu / Mung Dal / Pasiparuppu – 1 1/2 – 2 tblsp
Cumin Seeds – 1 tsp
Sesame Seeds – 1 tsp
Chili powder – 1 tsp
Ghee or oil – 1 tblsp
Salt to taste
Oil for deep frying

Method to prepare:

Making the dough:

Soak moong dal in water for half hour to 1 hour.

In a deep bottom pan, boil water, then add salt, ghee and moong dal. Bring it to boil, simmer and slowly add the rice flour. Using a rolling pin or the ladle, mix the flour with water by stirring it well. When the flour is mixed and done, turn off the heat immediately. Cover with lid and keep aside for 10 to 15 mins.

Once the dough is cool, add chilli powder, sesame seeds, cumin seeds and mix well. Knead till you get a smooth dough. Adjust the salt and spice depending on your preference.

Frying the Chokodi:

Heat a pan with oil, enough to fry 3 -4 at time, if you conscious of not using too much oil. Simmer once it gets hot. The temperature should not be smoking hot.

Grease your fingers with oil and pinch out a small lemon size ball and roll between your palms to form a thick rope. Bring the two ends to together and press to form a rope. Ensure the ends are firmed pressed as not to give out during frying.

Continue with the rest of the dough until you are done with the entire batch. You can either cover it with a plate or a cloth to prevent the dough from getting dried.

Check if the oil is in the correct temperature, by dropping a tiny bit into the oil. Then gently slide the rings or the chakodis in batches of 4 -5. The flame has to be on high until the chakodis come up to the surface, then lower the flame to medium and cook till you get a golden colour on the chakodis.

When the chakodis are golden all over, using a slotted ladle, remove to a kitchen towel and cool. Store in an air tight container for longer shelf life.

Notes: Remember to turn the heat to medium to high and high to medium for getting the chakodis to golden colour and also to be cooked evenly. Only this way you get crispy chakodis. These should not be cooked on low flame as they will absorb more oil and can turn soggy also at times.

Variation: Instead of Cumin and Sesame seeds, 1 tsp of Ajwain or Omam can be used along with chili powder.

Can Diamonds Make you Fat??

YES!! When they look like this…

Diamond Cuts- Diwali Sweet

I just love these ‘Diamond Cuts’ as they are called back in my hometown Kerala. Although my mom never made them, I’ve had these goodies at homes of various friends and relatives and I’m always filled with longing when I think of these ‘precious sweets’. I used the recipe that I found on a college-mates blog but made it using whole wheat flour instead. They were ALMOST as good as the real thing. ALMOST. Nevertheless, my boy’s finished the whole lot almost immediately. I guess it was a case of Diamonds being a boy’s best friend.

Ingredients for Diamond Cuts:

* 2 cups whole wheat flour
* 2 1/2 tbsp beaten egg
* A generous pinch of salt
* Enough Water to knead into a pliable dough
* Seeds from 2 cardamoms, crushed
* Oil for deep frying

Directions:

Mix the flour, egg and salt; add water in very little by little and knead well until you get soft dough .Add in the crushed cardamom. Once the dough is ready, cover it with a damp cloth for 15 minutes.
Roll out the dough and cut into a diamond shape.
Diamond Cuts
Fry in hot oil until it puffs and and turns a goldenish colour.
Dust liberally with icing sugar or use sugar syrup as mentioned in the original recipe..actually i was rather pressed for time so took the easier way out…

Diamond Cuts
These Diamonds go to the Sweet Series” event going on at Mom’s Recipies.

Indian Cooking Challenge

The World is Flat…But I am Round….
muruku

Technically its still the 30th so here’s my entry to the ICC. Presenting to you the crispy rice and urad dal based favourite ‘Southie’ snack- Muruku. Although my family eats a whole lot of these, I’ve never ventured into making these circular savory snacks for the simple reason its just so much simpler to just hop into the store next door , buy and eat the. I do not stand corrected. I STILL feel they are quite complicated to make at home – am not gonna try powdering the rice at home again!! Whew! but the twirling out part was definitely fun and I got the hang of it pretty soon. The recipe was great but remember these are extremely addictive; M, my boys and I wolfed down the entire lot in one sitting!
Anyway without much ado here the recipe

Jantikalu or Muruku!

Preparation Time : 20 – 30 mins
Cooking Time : 20 – 30 mins
Makes : app 250 kg of Muruku
Cuisine: Andhra & Tamil Nadu

Utensils needed:
Muruku /Chakli Press.
Kadai

Ingredients Needed:

Raw Rice – 4 cups
Urad Dal – 1 cup
Water – app 1/2 cup or more

For Seasoning

Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Sesame seeds- 1 tsp
Asafetida/ Hing – 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Butter – 75 gms

Method

Wash and drain the rice. Shade dry the Rice for 1/2 hr. Dry roast the Urad dal to light brown. Allow it to cool.
If you are using more quantity, you can get it ground in rice mil, else use your mixie to grind both Rice and Urad dal.

First grind rice into a fine flour, keep it aside. then grind the urad dal to fine powder.

In a wide vessel, take both the flours along with salt. Mix well. Add cumin, Sesame seeds to the flour, mix well.

Whether you use Asafetida powder or the solid ones, you got to mix it in water, make sure it is dissolved before adding to the flour. If its not dissolved properly, when deep frying the muruku, there are chances for the hing to burst our due to air bubbles.

Mix in the hing to the flour and finally add the butter. Gather everything well and you will get more of a crumbling mixture. Now slowly add water and knead a dough which is little more softer than the puri dough.

Heat a frying pan with oil enough to deep fry. Once the oil is hot enough, simmer to low flame.

Take the Muruku Aachu, wash and wipe it clean. Then divide the dough into equal balls. Fill the Muruku maker with the dough. You can either press it directly over the flames or press over a paper and gently slide it down the hot oil. But since the quantity mentioned here is less, you can press it directly over the kadai.

Cook over medium flame, using a slotted spoon, turn it over to other side to ensure both sides turn golden colour. You will know by seeing the colour that its cooked. Remove to a kitchen paper and store it in a air tight container.

This normally stays good for weeks, provided you forget about these which hardly happens!

Ladoos and the Alphabet

Rava ladoo
Took a quick trip to mallu-land yesterday. No, no didn’t travel there but I certainly felt like I was there. Yesterday was Vidyarambam a Hindu ritual we follow that symbolizes a Child’s initiation into the world of letters. Although M is not too hot on these rituals and traditions I wanted to get this one done.

riceIt involves getting the child to write the words Om Hari Shri Ganapathaye Namaha, the first alphabets a child writes before a lifetime of words. The child is made to write these words alphabet by alphabet on a plate of rice and then write these words again on his or her tongue using a piece of gold.

GoldSince M cannot write Malayalam to save his life and I figured it was probably easier to go to the nearest Malayalee temple than to teach him. We’ve been to this temple only once or twice but I love going there because it makes me feel like I’m home in Kerala.
bikes
Everyone in the temple – the worshippers, the pundits everyone speaks in Malayalam and even people waiting in the cars parked nearby play Malayalam music.Check out some of the garlanded two-wheelers that were part of the vehicle puja. ooohh I miss home so much I’m gonna cry…
anyway lets pep things up a bit this holiday season and make what most of you probably already know –Rava Ladoo.

Rava(semolina) 2 cups
Sugar 2 cups
Coconut 1 cup
Ghee 1 cup
Milk, a bit if you want
Cardamom powdered ¼ tsp
Raisins

Fry the rava and powder it along with the sugar, coconut and the cardamoms. Add the ghee gradually and mix. Add the raisins , if using.Sprinkle some milk if you need to. Roll into lemon sized balls. Enjoy this festive goody.

This treat will also find its way to FIL- Ghee and to the Dussehra, Dhanteras & Deepavali Event

Paneer Burji

“How do you manage to remain so waif-like?” I once asked a friend. I mean, she was stunning, and slim and a mother of one. “You Mallus eat way too much rice”, she said… “I hardly ever eat rice”. I opened my mouth to disagree, but couldn’t say anything, and no, not because my mouth was stuffed with food, but because I had nothing to say. I just had to agree with her.

Come to think of it, most of our meals are rice based; Idlis, Dosas, Appam, Puttu..the list is ENORMOUS. And the quantity of rice we consume for lunch can almost feed a small nation.

At my parents place the only non-rice meal we have is at dinner. “What shall I make with the chapattis?” is a common refrain as my mom always runs short of side-dish ideas for chapattis. Its almost always dal or paneer,so a Paneer Burji is what I’m posting today esp for the Side Dish Event , hosted by Viki’s Kitchen…and I’m excitedly waiting for the round-up so I can expand my repertoire of side-dishes.

side dish-paneer burji
This is similar to scrambled eggs and tastes just as good.
Paneer – 1 cup crumbled
Onions – ½ cup chopped finely
Tomatoes – ½ cup chopped
Ginger – 1” piece chopped
Green chili – 1, chopped
Cumin seeds 1 tsp
Turmeric powder – one pinch
Chili powder – ½ tsp
Oil and salt

Preparation:

• .
• Heat oil in a deep bottomed pan; add the cumin seeds, chopped onions and the ginger garlic paste fry till brown.
• Add the chillies and tomatoes and fry till they are soft and pulpy.
• Add turmeric powder, chilli powder, salt and little water so that all the masalas are well combined.
• Add crumbled paneer and fry for 5 minutes till the paneer blends into the masala.
• Garnish with chopped coriander and serve hot.

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.

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!!

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