Thursday, June 30, 2011

Event Announcement - Healthy Lunchbox Ideas-Paneer

Every parent will agree that packing a child's lunch box is no easy task. Variety, taste, appearance - these are just a few of the things that we have to consider before we decide what's to go into that box.
Kalyani has come up with an event called Healthy Lunch box Ideas which is a platform for us bloggers to brainstorm and come up with ways to make kids eat stuff that is good for them.
I will be guest hosting this event in July......and the theme for the month is Paneer.
So, put on your caps and whip up something that uses paneer as the main ingredient, and can be packed as a healthy lunch box/snack box eat.
Now for the rules:

The event is on from July 1st to July 31st. Any entries you post within that period can be sent in.....archived posts are accepted too, as long as you link back to this announcement, the original announcement and include the logo in the post.
A link back to Kalyani's announcement, this announcement, and the use of the logo are mandatory.
Since we are talking healthy food, let's say NO to deep fried stuff.....though stir fried/grilled food is welcome.
Only vegetarian entries, please.....though I will accept eggs in baking.
Well, that's about grab some paneer and whatever else it is that you need to create magic in the kitchen and drop me a mail at and let me know about it. Please include HLI-Paneer in the subject line.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Macaroni in creamy spinach sauce

What you need:
Macaroni - 1 cup
Spinach - 1 cup
Garlic - 8 cloves
Green chilli - 2 (adjust to taste)
Peanuts - a handful
Salt - to taste
Oil - 1 tsp
Heat oil in a pan. Saute the garlic and spinach until the leaves start to wilt. Let it cool and then grind to a coarse paste along with the peanuts.
Take the macaroni in a pressure cooker. Add 1.5 cups of water to it. Stir in the spinach puree and salt. Close the pressure cooker, but do not put on the weight. When you see steam starting to come out of the vent in full force, wait for two minutes and then turn the heat to low. Let it cook for 6-8 minutes. Switch off heat. Top with grated cheese.
Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#6 hosted by Srivalli

Monday, June 27, 2011

Eggless oats cookies

Recipe source : Nirmala's kitchen
What you need:
Oats - 1.5 cups
Whole wheat flour - 1/2 cup
Raisins - 1/4 cup
Sugar - 1/4 cup
Baking soda - 1/2 tsp
Oil - 1/2 cup

Mix all the ingredients together to a soft dough. I had to add about 2-3 tbsp more of flour to get a smooth mixture. If you find the dough too dry, add a little milk while kneading.
Pinch out small balls of dough. Shape into round cookies and bake in a preheated oven at 200 degrees for 18-20 minutes or until the cookies start to brown on the edges.
This is my 5th post for the blogging marathon and my theme for the day is eggless baking.
Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#6 hosted by Srivalli

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Masala paniyaram

Masala paniyarams make for a light breakfast or a hearty snack. They are an ideal way to use up the last few ladles of idli/dosa batter.

What you need:
Idli batter
Onion - 1, chopped fine
Green chillies - a few, minced
Carrot - 2, grated
Curry leaves and corriander leaves - some, chopped
Salt - to taste

Equipment needed:
A paniyaram pan/appakkarai/aebelskiver pan

Heat the paniyaram pan (check this post to see a picture of the pan). Put a few drops of oil in each depression. Half fill each depression with the batter. Let it cook on a medium flame until the bottom turns golden brown. Turn over and cook for a minute. Serve hot. These taste great by themselves, but you could serve with chutney or molaga podi.
This is my fourth post for BM#6 and the theme for the day is Mini bites.
Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#6 hosted by Srivalli

Friday, June 24, 2011

One bowl Cocoa bars

A while back, I won a giveaway held by Aparna. Aparna sent me a lovely book called Weeknight Desserts by Beatrice Ojakangas. It is full of simple,quick and delicious sweet treats.
This one bowl cocoa bar is from the book that she sent me. It is quick and super easy to whip up and tastes really good. My daughter who is a big fan of Cafe Coffee Day brownies said that this tastes just like that....and coming from a cake-a-holic, that is a H.U.G.E compliment.

What you need:
All purpose flour - 1.5 cups
Cocoa powder - 1/2 cup
Butter - 4 oz
Vanilla extract - 1 tsp
Egg - 1
Baking soda - 1/2 tsp
Sugar - 1 cup
Buttermilk - 3/4 cup

Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl until well blended. Preheat oven to 175 degrees. Pour the batter into a greased baking pan and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool and cut into squares.
There, didn't I say this was simple?
This is my third post for BM#6 and the theme for the day is Shelf stable goodies for kids.
Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#6 hosted by Srivalli

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Sambar idli

For the second week of Blogging Marathon#6, I will be posting one theme a day. Today's theme is Regional Specials. Though there are still several Karnataka dishes that I would like to try out and post, this time, I am sticking to a popular dish from Tamilnadu.
Hotel Saravana Bhavan is famous for its 14 idli. This is nothing but 14 tiny idlis dunked in sambar. Ratna Cafe's sambar idli is something people can't stop talking about once they have tasted it. A saucepan shaped (and sized) container full of their signature sambar in which the idlis soak until you dig into them - is it any wonder people keep going back for more of it?
Today, I have for you, my version of this popular restaurant dish.
For the idli batter:
Par boiled rice - 4 cups
Urad dal - 1 cup
Methi seeds - 1 tbsp
Salt and water - as needed

Soak the rice and dal separately. Add the methi seeds to the dal while soaking. Refrigerate the dal after soaking for an hour until you are ready to grind the batter. The rice needs to be soaked for 10-12 hours. Grind the dal first along with the cold water in which it has been soaking, until it is creamy. Add the soaked rice to it little by little until you have a smooth, thick batter. Add salt and mix well. Leave this to ferment overnight.

For the sambar:
Onion - 1, chopped fine
Tomato - 1, chopped
Tuar dal - 1/2 cup, cooked with 1/2 tsp of turmeric powder and mashed
Tamarind - extract from a lemon sized ball
coconut - 1/4 cup, grated
Oil - 1 tsp
Dhania/corriander seeds - 2 tsp
Chana dal - 2 tsp
Urad dal - 2 tsp
Red chillies - 4 (adjust to taste)
Fry the last four ingredients in a tsp of oil until the dals turn reddish brown. Grind along with the grated coconut, adding sufficient water to make a smooth paste.
Heat a tsp of oil. Saute onions until pink. Add the tamarind extract, ground paste, cooked dal, salt and diced tomatoes. Let it boil until the raw smell goes away (10-15 minutes). Add water if you feel the sambar is too thick. Garnish with curry leaves and corriander leaves. Pour a tempering of mustard seeds(mustard seeds poppped in a tsp of oil) over this.

To make sambar idlis:
To make these the authentic way, you need a special, small sized idli mould. Each depression can hold about a tsp of batter. If you don't have it, the regular idli mould will work, but it looks much better if you make these small in size.
Grease the mould well and pour a tsp of batter into each depression.

Steam for 10-12 minutes until done.
Now take about 8 of these idlis in a small bowl. Pour a generous helping of hot sambar over it There should be enough sambar to cover all the idlis and then some more. Let it soak for about 5 minutes and then serve. If you find that the idlis have absorbed the sambar, pour some more sambar over it just before you serve.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#6 hosted by Srivalli
This goes to Champa who is hosting Kids' Delight -Mini bites, an event started by Srivalli.

Iyengar bakery style stuffed potato buns

These buns are fresh off the oven. I just made these, ate one.....have a plate with another one on my side.....and am typing out this recipe as I take generous bites. These are seriously so soft,so good and so tasty......just like you would get at any of the Iyengar bakeries in Bangalore. I have decided that whenever the craving for these strikes, I am making them at home, and not buying them. They are that good.
Before I tell you again how good they are, I must thank Lata for giving me this recipe, and also for being kind enough to convert the recipe from measurements in grams to cups. Thank you, Lata.
Before I start raving about how good these are AGAIN, let us get to the recipe.
What you need:
Maida/All purpose flour - 2 cups, heaped
Active dry yeast - 1 tbsp
Salt - 1 tsp
Sugar - 3 tbsp
Milk - 2/3 cups
Softened butter - 2 tbsp (heaped)
Vanaspati/Vegetable shortening - 1 tbsp
Curd/Yogurt - 1 tbsp
For the masala/stuffing:
Potato - 3 small, cooked, peeled and mashed
Carrot - 2 small, cooked and mashed
Onion - 1, chopped fine
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Oil - 1 tbsp
Garam masala - 1/4 tsp
Corriander leaves - a little, chopped fine

Heat oil in a pan. Add the onions and saute till they begin to brown. Add turmeric powder, mashed vegetables, garam masala and salt. Add 1/4 cup of water. Stir well and then heat until moisture evaporates completely and the masala comes together. Garnish with corriander leaves and keep aside.

To make buns:
Take the maida,salt and sugar(keep aside a tsp for proofing yeast)in a large mixing bowl. Add a tsp of sugar and a little lukewarm milk to the yeast. Keep it covered until it starts to bubble. Make a well in the centre of the flour and pour the yeast in. Mix in butter, vegetable shortening, milk and yogurt. Knead to a soft, pliable dough. Keep covered until it doubles in volume. This take about an hour and a half. Punch down and divide the dough into eight equal balls. Divide the prepared masala into 8 balls that are half the size of the dough balls. I had some left over masala which was tasty enough to eat on its own. Now, take one ball of dough in your hand and flatten it into a circle. The dough has enough butter in it to not stick to your hands. Place the masala ball in the centre and then pull the sides to close the masala. Flatten and smooth into a circle again. Place it in a greased baking tray with the closed side facing down.
Cover with a wet towel and set aside for 15-20 minutes for it to rise again. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 175 degrees. All my baking is done in a convection microwave oven. I do not have a preheat function in my usually I just turn it on for 10 minutes at 175 degrees and that does the trick.
Just before baking, apply an egg wash to the top of each bun. To prepare egg wash, lightly beat an egg, along with a tbsp of water and then brush it over the top of the buns. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until the top turns a nice brown and the centre, when touched, has a nice spring to it.
Eat hot off the oven, or warm up and serve later.

This is my first post for Blogging Marathon#6 week 2, under the category picnic food.
Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#6 hosted by Srivalli

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Bisi bele baath with broken wheat

The last day of Blogging Marathon #6, Week 1, sees me paired with Srivalli, and cooking a Karnataka dish from her blog. I have chosen to make Bisi Bele Baath, a signature dish of Karnataka. I have made some major changes, though, by doing away with the main ingredient - rice. I have wanted to make this dish with Broken wheat ever since I ate it that way at a restaurant.

What you need:
Broken wheat - 1 cup
Tuar dal - 1/2 cup
Tamarind - extract from a lemon sized ball
Water - 6 cups (Water +tamarind extract should total six cups)
Salt - to taste
Vegetables - 1 cup (I used potatoes,carrots,beans and green peas)
Onion - 1, chopped fine
Tomato - 1, chopped fine
Oil - 2 tsp
For masala powder:
Chana dal - 2 tsp
Urad dal - 1 tsp
Cinnamon - 4 one inch sticks
Clove - 4 or 5
Cardamom - 4
Methi seeds - 1/4 tsp
Corriander seeds - 1/4 cup
Dry red chillies - 4 or 5(adjust to taste)
Curry leaves - a few
Heat a tsp of oil. Fry the dals first and when they turn reddish brown, add in the other ingredients and fry till aromatic. Cool and then powder.
For tempering:
Oil(gingely) - 1 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Groundnuts - a handful
Heat together until the mustard seeds pop and the groundnuts start to brown.

Heat 2 tsp of oil in a pressure cooker. Saute the onions till they turn pink. Now add tomatoes and fry till mushy. Stir in the diced vegetables and turmeric powder. Mix well and heat for about 2-3 minutes. Add the broken wheat and mix again. After a minute, stir in the tuar dal,tamarind extract, water,salt, and powdered masala. Cook until two whistles and then reduce the heat to minimum and cook for a further ten minutes. Once the steam has settled down, pour the tempering over the cooked bisi bele and mix well.
The bisi bele will be very watery when you open the cooker, but you will find that it thickens as it cools down.
Serve with raita and papad.
Do take a look at what my fellow marathoners are up to.
This goes to Kalyani who is hosting MMK-One Pot Meals.

Mysore masala dosa

Paper thin, crisp dosas with hot potato masala and a spicy red chutney for filling......that doesn't even begin to describe the explosion of taste that you experience when you bite into the Mysore Masala dosa.

What you need:
For the batter:
Idli rice - 4 cups
Whole urad dal - 1 cup
Fenugreek seeds/methi - 1 tbsp, heaped
Salt to taste

Soak the rice and dal separately. Add the methi to the urad dal while soaking. Most people add methi to the rice, but I find that it gets ground better if it is soaked with the dal, as dal is ground for a longer time. After an hour of soaking, refrigerate the dal until you are ready to grind. This makes the urad dal batter very creamy. The rice has to be soaked for atleast 8-10 hours.
Grind the urad dal along with the cold water until it turns soft and creamy. This takes roughly 25-30 minutes.Add the soaked rice to this. Add water only if necessary. Add salt and grind well.....another 15-20 minutes.
Let this ferment overnight.

For the red chutney:(Recipe from Ramya's Mane Adige)

Urad dal - 2 tsp
Chana dal - 2 tsp
Red chilli - 4 (adjust to taste)
Coconut - 1/4 cup
Salt - to taste
Heat a teaspoon of oil. Fry the dals and red chillies till reddish brown. Once it cools, grind it along with the coconut and salt to a smooth paste, adding as little water as possible.

For the masala:

Potato - 3, medium sized, cooked, peeled and mashed well
Onion - 2, chopped fine
Green chilli - 2, minced
Ginger - a one inch piece, julienned
Curry leaves - few, chopped fine
Corrinader leaves - to garnish
Urad dal - 1/2 tsp
Chana dal - 1/2 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Oil - 1 tsp
Salt - to taste
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp

Heat oil. Add chana dal, urad dal and mustard seeds. When the seeds pop, add green chillies, curry leaves,ginger and onions. Fry well on low flame till the onions start to brown. Add the mashed potatoes,turmeric powder and salt. Stir well and mix in a cup of water. Let this boil until the mixture thickens and all the moisture is absorbed. Switch off heat. Garnish with corriander leaves and squeeze some lemon juice over this. Mix well.

To make dosa:
Spread batter in a thin circle on a tava. Drizzle some oil over it. This dosa is cooked only on one not turn it over.

When the bottom starts to turn brown, spread some red chutney over half of the dosa and put some masala over it.

Fold the other half over this and serve hot off the tava with coconut chutney and sambar.

Do check out what my fellow marathoners are up to.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Mangalore bonda - Golibaje

The first time I had mangalore bondas is at Matsya, a restaurant in T.Nagar, Chennai. These small, light and fluffy deep fried balls of flour disappeared almost as soon as they arrived at our table and since then, I have never missed a chance to order these when I visit that restaurant.
Blogging Marathon 6 gave me a chance to try my hand at making this snack at home. The recipe is from Ramya's Mane Adige. Thank you, Ramya, for helping me recreate a restaurant favourite at home.

What you need:
Maida - 1 cup, heaped
Curd - 1/2 cup
Salt - to taste
Green chillies - 2, minced
Corriander - a little, finely chopped
Ginger - a small piece, julienned
Cooking soda - 1/4 tsp
Oil - for deep frying

Mix all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Don't add all the curd at one go. Add it little by little and keep mixing until you get a dough that is of dropping consistency. I added a few more teaspoons of curd in addition to the half cup listed above to get the right consistency. The batter will be sticky. So dip your hands in some water and pinch out small gooseberry sized balls of dough and gently slide them into hot oil. Deep fry until brown on both sides.
Enjoy with coconut chutney or ketchup.

What I think of the dish:
This is an easy snack to whip up and it tastes really, really good. These can be quite addictive and it is difficult to stop eating them once you get started. The bondas turned out to be very light and crisp and were not too oily despite being deep fried.
Do take a look at what my fellow marathoners are up to.
This goes to Champa who is hosting Kids' Delight -Mini bites, an event started by Srivalli.

Akki rotti - Rice flour rotis

I have eaten akki rotti exactly twice before this - once at Mahamudra, a restaurant in Chennai (read my review here) and then during a recent trip to Coorg when I had to specifically ask the cook to make this Coorgi speciality for me. If I hadn't asked, I am sure I would have ended up eating something inane like toast and butter, which the cook served anyway because there were many other people who were interested in eating just that.

Making akki rotti at home is not a very difficult task, though making it in a kadai is time consuming mainly because you have to let the kadai cool each time before you make the next one. I slightly quickened this process by running cold water over the kadai after making each rotti. It still was a time consuming process and I think patting it out on a plastic sheet and then cooking it on a tawa would have considerably speeded things up.
The source of this recipe is a friend who was helpful to the extent of showing me what consistency the dough should be and gave me a list of all the ingredients I could add. Thank you R.
I have also been guided by the akki rotti recipe at Ruchii, the pics on which blog helped me understand what the final product should look like.

What you need:
Rice flour - 2 cups
Water - 2 cups
Salt - to taste
Carrots - 2, grated
Asafoetida - a little
Sprouted green gram - a handful
Onion - 1 large, finely chopped
Corriander - some, chopped fine
Green chillies - 2 or 3, minced

Take all the ingredients except water in a large bowl. Mix well.
Bring water to a rolling boil. Add it little by little to the flour and mix well with a spatula until it becomes a smooth dough. Even though I boiled 2 cups of water, I used only about a cup and a quarter. The amount of water used will depend on the quality of the flour. Cover and keep aside until it becomes warm enough to handle. Mix in 2 tsp of oil and knead well.
Pinch out a ball of dough. Pat it onto the kadai, spreading it thin with your hands. Drizzle a little oil over it and then cook covered on medium heat until done. You will know that it is done when the under side becomes crisp and brown, and the top turns from white to a creamish colour.
Serve hot, as it tends to turn hard when it cools down.

I served it with a spicy tomato chutney.
Do take a look at what my fellow marathoners are up to.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Mysore Rasam

Much as I love a good, tangy rasam, I don't find myself making it often. I usually make it only when one of us falls ill. This time round, I made rasam just because I wanted to (The fact that I have chosen to showcase dishes from Karnataka for the blogging marathon does have a small bearing on this)and not as a cure for illness.
The recipe is from Mallika Badrinath's Classic Lunch Recipes.

What you need:
Tuar dal - 1/2 cup
Tamarind - a lemon sized ball soaked in water
Corriander seeds/dhania - 2 tsp
Black peppercorns - 10
Red chillies - 3
Cumin seeds/jeera - 1 tsp
Garlic - 8 pods
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Salt - to taste
Jaggery - a small piece
Curry leaves - a few

Add cumin,dhania,peppercorns, broken red chillies,garlic and turmeric powder to the dal. Add just enough water to cover it and cook until one whistle.
Let it cool. Drain off excess water(don't throw it away.....keep it aside) and grind the cooked dal to a coarse paste.
Add enough water to the soaked tamarind to make about 2.5 cups of thin tamarind extract. Add the ground dal, water in which dal was cooked,salt and jaggery to this. Crush the curry leaves with your hands and mix it in. Let it boil for about 10-12 minutes until the flavours are well blended.
Serve hot with rice.
Do take a look at what my fellow marathoners are up to.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Maddur vade - a deep fried crunchy snack

For the longest time ever, I was firm on the fact that I would NEVER make maddur vade. Why? Because I had always thought of it as Madura vada.....which literally translates into sweet vada....and the idea of making a vada that is sweet somehow never appealed to me. All this was before I learned that it is actually Maddur vade, and that Maddur is the name of a place in Karnataka and that it is famous for these vadas. A google search threw up several recipes. I narrowed down on this recipe at Chitra Amma's Kitchen.

What you need:
Rava/sooji/semolina - 1/2 cup
Maida - 1 tbsp
Rice flour - 3 tbsp
Onion - 2, medium sized
Salt - to taste
Green chillies - 2 or 3 (adjust to taste)
Curry leaves - a few
Corriander leaves - a little
Hot oil - 1 tbsp
Oil - for deep frying

Coarsely grind the chillies, curry leaves and corriander in the mixie. Do not grind it too fine. The aim is only to crush these ingredients a little. Alternately, you could chop them really fine.
Transfer this to a large mixing bowl, and add the onions,rava,maida, rice flour and salt. Mix well. Pour hot oil over this and blend with a spoon.
Sprinkle water little by little and knead to a firm, soft dough. Take care to not add too much water.
Heat oil in a kadai. Pinch out small balls of the dough. Flatten slightly between your palms and deep fry until brown on both sides.
I made these slightly smaller and thicker than the pictures in the original recipe indicate. This was done intentionally, as I thought smaller vadas would appeal to the little girl and her friend.
What I think of the dish:
This is a great snack. I just wish I hadn't waited this long to try it out. The quantities given here make 12 vades and these got polished off in almost no time at all. This is something I will be making again.....and again.....and again. The vada tastes wonderful by itself, though it can also be eaten with ketchup or chutney.
Thank you Dibs for sharing this recipe.

This goes to Champa who is hosting Kids' delight - mini bites, an event started by Srivalli.

Do take a look at my fellow marathoners to see what they are up to.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Ragi mudde - Karnataka special

I am running yet another Blogging Marathon, an initiative of Srivalli that is immensely popular and currently in its sixth edition.
The theme that I have chosen for this week is Regional Specials.....and I will be focusing on recipes from the state of Karnataka.
When I moved from Chennai to Bangalore two months back, I was looking forward to eating all the lovely stuff that I had seen on several blogs - ragi mudde, akki rotti and the like. However, I soon found that these could not be found in restaurants. I have seen akki rotti in some restaurant menus, but most of the time they say that it is not available. When I went on a short vacation to Coorg, I specifically looked for a place that would serve typical Coorgi meals. Imagine my horror when I found that they served puri bhaji for breakfast instead of the umpteen Karnataka dishes they could have chosen from. The next day I asked them to make akki rotis and the cook looked at me as if he thought I was crazy. He did make it for me, though, and it was quite good. It would have been infinitely better if he had served it with the red chutney which I've read about in some blogs instead of the coconut chutney I had to make do with.
Anyway, the point of this whole rant is that I have decided that I want to eat good Kannadiga food and if the hotels won't serve it, I have to cook it myself, don't I? And that is exactly what you will see me doing for the next seven days. Most of these dishes, I have not tasted before or seen - so the methods I use may not be authentic and the final product may not look as it is supposed to. Do feel free to point me in the right direction.
Nothing says Karnataka to me as loudly as Ragi mudde......and this is the first dish I have made for the marathon. Ragi mudde is nothing but ragi cooked in lightly salted water until it turns thick enough to be rolled into a ball. The source of this recipe is my maid Sunita. She and I communicate in a manner that will sound very weird to an onlooker. She speaks Kannada while I talk to her in a mixture of Tamil, Hindi and sign language.
What you need:
Ragi flour - 1 cup
Water - 1 cup + 1.5 cups
Rice - a fistful, cooked in plenty of water (I used matta rice)
Salt - 1/4 tsp
Butter - 1 teaspoon heaped
Take a cup of ragi flour in a large vessel. I wasn't sure how much I was going to like eating what to my mind was a sticky ball of I made sure I used the smallest glass I have at home.

Add a cup of water to this and mix until it forms a smooth mixture with no lumps.

Heat the remaining water in a thick bottomed kadai. Add salt and the cooked rice (along with any excess water in which it was cooked) to this. Let it come to a rolling boil. Lower the heat and add the ragi mixture to this, stirring continuously so that it does not form any lumps. You will see the mixture thickening almost immediately. Stir well and then cover and cook for about 5 minutes. Remove the lid and now it is time for some vigorous stirring. Add a blob of butter and start stirring the mixture until it thickens and starts to leave the sides of the pan. On low heat this takes about 10-12 minutes. Let it cool until it becomes warm to the touch. Roll into orange sized balls.

I ate this dunked in sambar

while my daughter ate hers with vegetables on the side.

Tasted good both ways.
What I think of the dish:
Like I said in the beginning, though I have heard quite a bit about ragi mudde, I have neither seen it nor tasted it before. I wasn't very sure about how appetising this was going to be. Now that I have made it, I can tell you that it tasted really good and was comfortably filling too. The texture is velvety smooth and easy on the palate. Kids are sure to love it because they have very little work to do in terms of chewing. The smell of ragi being cooked is something that I have always loved; and the nutty, earthy aroma is even more pronounced in this dish as it is cooked for such a long time.
I can easily see this replacing rice at least once a week for lunch.
Note: Sunita had asked me to add a fistful or raw rice to the water and to let it boil until the rice was cooked. As I used matta rice which takes a long time to cook, I pressure cooked it first and then added it to the water.
The end product is quite stickly. So it is best to wet your hands before shaping the mixture into balls.
Do check out the blogging marathon page to see what my fellow marathoners are cooking.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Bangalore Iyengar bakery Kara biscuit - Indian Cooking Challenge

When Valli announced the Indian Cooking Challenge for this month, I was thrilled. I had already seen this recipe at Champa's and written a mental note to myself to try it out. One of the things I like most about living in Bangalore is the abundance of Iyengar bakeries and the small eats that they serve. Kara biscuits are the husband's favourite, while I am partial to the potato buns.

What you need:
Maida/all purpose flour - 2 cups
Butter(at room temperature) - 1/3 cup
Salt - 1 tsp
Sugar - 4 tsp
Green chillies - 4
Coriander - a fistful, chopped fine
Curry leaves - a fistful, chopped fine
Curd/yogurt - 7 tbsp

Mix the flour and salt together in a bowl. Cream the butter and sugar well. Add the curd and continue beating. Add in all the other ingredients and gently continue mixing. The original recipe only calls for 2 or at the most 3 tbsp of curd. However, this gave me a very, very crumbly mixture which could not be rolled out. So I kept adding curd, 1 tbsp at a time and trying to roll out the dough. This could be done only after adding 7 tbsp of curd.
Roll out the dough into a 1/4 inch thick circle.
Cut it into desired shape using a cookie cutter. I shaped some into diamonds and some into hearts.
Bake at 150 degrees for 20 - 25 minutes or until the biscuits start to brown at the bottom.
What I think of the biscuits:
Everyone else who has tried this for the ICC is singing praises of these biscuits. So I am sure I must have done something wrong, though I can't figure out what it is. Maybe it is all that extra curd or all that extra baking time.
While I have a really nice tasting biscuit, I could never serve it to anybody and tell them that it is supposed to be a biscuit because it just doesn't have the crispness or the texture that you associate with a biscuit. It was kind of soft when I took it out of the oven and even after cooling, baking for another five minutes and then heating in microwave mode for 2 minutes, the inside remained chewy and soft, though the outside turned brown. As far as the taste and the aroma goes, though, this one scores big. I just wish I could have got the right texture.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Green peas curry

Green peas curry is the perfect accompaniment to the kerala parotta I blogged about. The memories of thattukada parotta drenched in a generous helping of green peas curry is something that can make ravenously hungry at any time of the day.
So, let us get down to making my version(based on memories) of this curry, shall we?

What you need:
Fresh green peas - 1 cup
Onion - 1 large, chopped into large chunks
Tomato - 2, diced
Coconut milk - 1/2 cup
Red chilli - 3 or 4
Cardamom - 4 pods
Dhania seeds - 3 tsp, heaped
Oil(preferably coconut oil) - 2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp

Add half a cup of water to the peas and microwave for 8 minutes or till tender. If you do not have fresh peas, soak dry peas overnight and pressure cook it. Keep aside.
Heat 1 tsp of oil in a pan. Add red chillies, cardamom and dhania. Heat on low flame until well roasted. Add the diced onions and fry till pink. Stir in the tomatoes and heat till they become mushy. Let this cool. Once completely cool, grind to a smooth paste.
Now, heat a tsp of oil. Add half a tsp of mustard seeds and some curry leaves to it. When the seeds pop, reduce the heat and add the ground paste along with a cup of water and the cooked peas. Stir well. Add salt and turmeric powder. Let it boil for 5-8 minutes. Add coconut milk and heat for a minute or two. Switch off heat just before it starts boiling. If you do not want to add coconut milk, you can add about 1/4 cup of fresh coconut to the ingredients that you grind together.
Serve hot.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Kerala style porotta - Step by step pictorial is not a spelling mistake. We are not talking about a paratha here. Nor is it called barotta. If you want to say it mallu ishtyle, please say In some parts of Kerala, it also goes by the name parotta.
A parotta is a layered flatbread usually made with maida and lo.....ts of time and patience. If you plan on visiting Kerala, please do try this out from a thattukada. A thattukada is God's own country's version of a fast food joint. It is simply a food cart on wheels and the food served is fresh, hot, made to order and always long you don't really ask questions to find out where the water is from and how well the plates are washed.
As long as I lived with my parents, I didn't visit a thattukada......simply because thattukadas operate only at night, and at that time, you don't see girls/women standing around these places and eating. So, even though we had one very close to our home and I was always tempted by the tantalizing smells, I have never gone there. The place would always be crowded with mundu(dhoti) clad "gentle"men. This changed when I moved to a different town for my higher studies and started living in a hostel. One of the first things I did is visit a thattukada at night. The sense of freedom and daring I experienced is something that cannot be described with mere words. To date, the best parotta and peas curry I have had is at these thattukadas.
I tried recreating a healthier version of parotta using multi grain flour instead of maida, and the result was good, though I missed the camaraderie of my hostel mates and the luxury of having someone else make this for me.

What you need:
Multi grain flour - 2 cups, heaped (Can be substituted with maida(APF)/whole wheat flour)
Oil - 3tbsp+1tsp+1tbsp

Mix together the maida and salt. Add water little by little and knead into a smooth, pliable dough. Add 3 tbsp of oil and knead well. Rub one tsp of oil all over the dough to prevent it from drying out. Cover and let it stand for atleast an hour.
Take 1 tbsp of oil in a flat/shallow plate.
Pinch out a ball of dough. Flatten it slightly between your palms and then roll it out. Do not dredge in flour while rolling. Instead,dip your fingers in the oil and spread it over the rolled dough and continue rolling it out. The idea is to S-T-R-E-T-C-H the dough as much as you can and make it as thin as you can. It doesn't have to be a perfect circle at this point.

If you look at the pic above, you will see that the counter top is visible through the rolled out dough. That is how thin you have to roll it out.
Next, we start folding the dough into pleats from one end to the other. It is similar to making pleats on a sari.The picture will explain how it is done.

After the pleats are made, start rolling the pleated dough into a ball, starting from one end.

Once rolled, keep it covered until all the dough is rolled up similarly.
When I had rolled up all the dough into balls, I kept them on the plate in which I'd taken oil so that the oil wouldn't be wasted, plus, my dough wouldn't dry out.

Now, take one ball at a time and flatten it out into a thick circle.

Heat a tawa. Cook both sides of the parotta on it, until it develops brown spots on both the sides.
Once you have cooked a few parottas, hold them between your hands and crush sideways. Do this gently, as our aim is only to separate the layers, not to break the parotta into pieces.

Serve hot with peas curry.