Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Do you ever do this???
When you visit a blog, do you give the blog author a face? Do they have certain characteristics in your mind?
I know I do. I have a mental picture of what my blogger buddies look like.

Friday, December 01, 2006

I wanted to bake this in time for Nandita's WBB event....but got tied up with lots of other stuff going on in my life it had to wait until today.
Without further ado, let me introduce you to my Berry muffin. The basic recipe, I borrowed from here but I did play around with the quantities.

Here's how you make berry muffins:

What you need:
All purpose flour - 2 cups
Baking powder - 1.5 tsp
Salt - 1/4 tsp
Brown sugar - 3/4 cup
Sugar - 1/4 cup
Cinnamon - 2tsp
Egg - 1
Milk - 1 and 1/4 cups
Butter - 1/2 a stick
Berries - 1 and 1/4 cups (I used Frozen Triple berry mix)

Beat egg, milk and butter until smooth. Add all the other ingredients except berries and blend at low speed for about a minute. Fold in the berries. Line the muffin pan with paper cups or spray it with non-stick cooking spray. Fill each cup until it is 2/3rds full and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Tomato biriyani

Monthly Mingle - Give Thanks

We Indians as a nation have a problem with uttering the words Thank You. Before you flame me, let me explain. It is not that we don't feel is just that we have a problem putting it into words. We genuinely do feel the emotions associated with being thankful...our body language, our actions...all these show the other person that we truly appreciate what they are doing, but we still find it akward and uncomfortable to say it. Still don't agree?? Think back and tell me....honestly, how many times have you said these words to your mom, dad, sister, brother, best friend? Now, how many times have you felt thankful? There....I rest my case.
Meeta of WFLH made me sit up and think of all the people that I'd like to give thanks to.
I am thankful for having a loving husband who puts up with my idiosyncracies, who takes up diaper and feeding duties on weekends so I can have some extra sleep, who encourages me to make my dreams a reality and gives me every opportunity to do that.
Iam thankful for a wonderful family - my always supportive and understanding mother, my father who is a pillar of strength, my grandparents from whom I've known nothing but love, and my fantastic brother.
Iam thankful that I've been blessed with a beautiful daughter who has truly made me understand how such a tiny being can fill your heart with so much love.
Iam thankful to all the friends that I've made through life, who've helped in shaping different aspects of my personality. Every person that I've come in contact with has in some way knowingly or unknowingly contributed to my being.
Iam thankful that I found my way into the world of blogging. I thank each and every one of my blogger buddies who cares enough to let me know that they've read my blog and that they appreciate it. A special thank you to Meeta for choosing such a wonderful theme.
Iam thankful for my mistakes and failures because they have made me strive harder to become a better person.
Iam also thankful that I have a lovely home, food to eat, and above all that there are people who love and cherish me.
What could say thank you better than a simple meal lovingly prepared and served with a smile??? That's what I have done today...I've made some tomato rice. It is very easy to once you are done with the cooking you have plenty of time to sit and chat with your loved ones and your family is sure to love it.

What you need:
Onion - 1, chopped
Ginger - small piece, chopped
Green chilli - 2 or 3, minced
Garlic - 1 pod, chopped
Tomato - 3, chopped very fine, or pureed
Basmati rice - 1 cup
Salt - as required
Red chilli powder - as required
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Butter - 1 tbsp
Cardamom - 4 pods
Cinnamon - small piece
Cloves - 4
Black pepper corns - 4

Soak rice in water for 20 minutes. Drain and keep aside.
Powder cardamom, cinnamon, clove and peppercorns coarsely. Melt butter in a pan. Add the powdered spices, pepper, ginger, garlic, green chillies and onion. Saute until onions turn slightly brown. Now add the tomatoes, red chilli powder, turmeric powder and salt. Fry for a few minutes. Add the rice and stir well. Add 1.5 cups of water and cook in a pressure cooker until one whistle. Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves and serve hot.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Mangakari (Cut mango pickle)

Mangakari (Cut mango pickle)

Growing up in Kerala, we used to have an abundant supply of fresh mangoes in our backyard. Once we were done eating our fill of raw mangoes, kadumanga pickle, manga kootan and umpteen other dishes, the tummy would crave for the simplicity of this pickle to go with some rice and curd. It does not have a long shelf life unlike other pickles, but you don't have to worry about that 'coz you can be assured that you'll finish this long before you start thinking of how long it'll stay good for.

What you need:
Raw mango - 1
Red chilli powder - 2 tsp (adjust to taste)
Gingely oil - 6-8 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Salt - to taste
Asafoetida - a little

Peel the mango and cut it into tiny pieces. Add salt, asafoetida and chilli powder to it. Mix well. Heat the oil. Add mustard seeds. Once the seeds pop, pour the oil over the mango pieces. Mix and let it stand for a couple of hours.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Oh So Good.....From the pages of fellow bloggers to my kitchen

Meena's Gobi Manchurian is spot tastes just like something you'd get at a restaurant with the bonus that you know exactly what is going into it. I stuck to the original recipe with some very minor changes like adding half a chopped bell pepper and changing the amount of sauces used to my taste. I also skipped the green onions. The dish looked so good that it is no surprise it didn't take us long to finish it off. This recipe is definitely a keeper.

Another recipe that I tried and absolutely loved is Sangeetha's Bisi Bele Baath. I have always made BBB with store bought BBB masala. Never again. Now that I know what authentic fresh ground masala does to the dish Iam not ever going to buy the ready made powder that's sold any more. The dish is a little on the spicy tone down the chillies if you aren't much of a spice lover. I love my food HOT. So to me the recipe is just perfect.
Thank you Meena and Sangeeta for sharing these wonderful recipes.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

I loved the picture associated with this fried rice recipe so much that I decided I had to try it out. However, I did not have all the ingredients that the recipe required. So I decided to improvise and make it what I had on hand. Here's what I did.....

What u need:
Basmati rice - 1 cup
Vegetables(carrot,beans,potatoes,peas)-1 cup, cut into thin long pieces
Onion - 1, chopped fine
Green bell pepper - 1/2, cut into thin strips
Green chillies - 2 or 3, minced
Red Chilli sauce - 5 tbsp
Soy sauce - 2 tbsp
Tomato ketchup - 2 tsp
Salt - as required

Cook rice in a pressure cooker with 1.5 cups of water until one whistle. Heat 3 tsp of ghee/oil. Fry the cooked rice in this until the grains are separated. Set this aside.
Heat 2 tsp of oil. Saute green chillies and onion until browned. Add bell pepper and other vegetables. Stir everything together and add 1.5 cups of water. Cook on a high flame until all the water evaporates. Add this to the rice.
Heat 2 tsp of oil. Add the red chilli sauce, tomato ketchup and soya sauce and stir for a minute until the mixture thickens slightly. Pour this on top of the rice. Add salt and stir everything together until it is thoroughly mixed.
Serve hot.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Avil laddoo, Rava laddoo, Pal therattipal and Ribbon pakoda for Diwali

Hope all of you had a wonderful Deepavali. I did.
Back home the festival of lights is all about decking up in new clothes, going to the temple, lighting firecrackers and of course the all important festival food. When I was growing up we used to look forward to the sweets and savouries that we would get to eat on that day. The firecrackers are another major highlight of the day, but I always was and still am terrified of them. Here we'd gone to the temple where there was a fireworks really felt nice and brought back a feeling of being back home. Here's a look at some of the dishes I made......
(A triple serving of sweets : Avil laddoo; Rava laddoo; Pal terattipal)
All of these sweets are really easy to make and are guaranteed to disappear almost as soon as you've made them. Here are the recipes:

Avil/Poha/Beaten rice Laddoo

What you need:
Avil - 1 cup
Sugar - 1 cup
Cashews - a little
Ghee - just enough to form laddoos ( I used about 8 tsp)

Dry fry the poha a little at a time until reddish brown. Take care not to burn it. Powder it in the mixie. Also powder the sugar. Fry cashews in a little ghee. Mix everything together. Pour hot melted ghee on top and shape into laddoos while the mixture is still warm.

Rava Laddoo

What you need:
Rava/Sooji/Semolina - 1 cup
Sugar - 1 cup
Cashew and raisins - as per taste
Ghee - enough to form laddoos ( about 10 tsp)

Fry rava until it is hot but not changed in colour. Powder it in the mixie along with the sugar. Fry cashew and raisins in a little ghee. Add the powdered mixture to it. Add hot ghee and shape into laddoos.

Pal therattipal
Well, I'll let you in on a secret. Usually pal therattipal involves a lot of stirring and hovering over a hot stove...but this version is very quick and all that you need is a microwave...and about 8 minutes of your time(depends on you microwave's power). I found the original recipe here.

What you need:
Milk powder - 1 pack
Condensed milk - 1 tin
Unsalted butter - 2 tbsp
Cardamom powder - 1/4 tsp

Mix all the ingredients in a microwave safe dish and heat for about 8 minutes....checking constantly and stirring it whenever it starts rising to the top. When it is a nice reddish brown colour, take it out and when it is warm, shape it into small balls or if you like you can just scoop it up with a spoon and serve it as is.

Now, after all those sweets, if you are craving something that's salty and spicy, here is some Pakodam....
What you need:
Gram flour - 1 cup
Rice flour - 3 cups
Salt - as per taste
Red chilli powder - as per taste
Butter - 2 tbsp
Oil - for deep frying

Mix all the ingredients together and knead to a smooth pliable dough by adding a little water at a time. The dough should be neither too watery nor too crumbly. It should roughly be the consistency of chapati dough. Heat oil. Now take a little bit of the dough and fill it into the pakoda nazhi. (I don't have a pic of the nazhi right now but will post one soon.) Squeeze the dough out in a circular pattern into the hot oil. Deep fry until golden brown on both sides. Remove with a slotted spoon so that all the excess oil gets drained out. Store in an airtight container. This pakodam stays good for several days.

If you are like me and missed the Special edition JFI-Diwali event, you do get a second chance. You can still send in your entries to Vee....just make sure you do it before the 28th...

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Aloo-Peas Paratha

What you need

For the paratha:
2 cups wheat flour
Hot water - as reqd
Salt - 1/2 tsp
Oil - 2 tbsp

For the filling:
Potato - 2(boiled,peeled and mashed)
Peas - 1/2 a cup(I used frozen)
Onion - 1 small(chopped)
Jeera powder - 1/2 tsp
Garam masala - 3/4 tsp
Oil - a little

Kneading the dough:

Mix the wheat flour, salt and oil. Add hot water a little at a time to this and knead well until the dough is soft and pliable. Take care not to add too much water.
Keep covered for atleast 3-4 hours.

Making the masala:

Heat oil in a pan. Saute onions until brown. Add jeera powder, turmeric powder, garam masala and salt. Stir for a few seconds. Add the mashed potatoes and peas. Stir and remove from heat.

Making parathas:
  • Divide the dough into several small balls.

  • Roll the ball into a small circle.
  • Place a little bit of the masala in the centre of the circle.
  • Gather the sides and close into a ball again.
  • Flatten and roll into a thick paratha.
  • Transfer parathas to a heated pan.
  • When tiny bubbles form on the top flip the paratha over and cook the other side.
  • Brush some ghee on top of the paratha and serve hot with yogurt and pickle.
(In the pic I've served parathas with a raw carrot salad)

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Butterfly effect meme

My very first tag....Iam so excited about this. Thank you Vani for tagging me.
This is a foodie meme which asks you to talk about stuff that has had a profound influence on your foodie life(in the words of who started this meme). Well, not just any kind of stuff...but specifically an ingredient, a dish/recipe, a meal, a cookbook/other written work, a food personality, and another person in your life.
Before I get down to the meme, here's some info:
A meme is an Internet phenomenon (sometimes called an Internet meme)which occurs when something relatively unknown becomes hugely popular, often quite suddenly, through the mass propagation of media content made feasible by the Internet.(source: wikipedia)
Alright, that said, let's talk....
  • Ingredient - I had a tough time deciding on this one.....there are several ingredients that I absolutely love but if I must choose just one, then it would have to be potatoes. Whether it is a spicy potato fry with ulli sambar, drenched-in-oil Mc Donalds french fries, Hard Rock Cafe's Baked potato which is a meal in itself, or the "no one can eat just one" chips...I love 'em all.
  • A dish/ recipe - No thinking twice about is nothing other than the very south indian sambar. Can you believe Iam so particular about how sambar should taste that I hardly ever touch it if I go to a restaurant??? And of course, in my opinion, my mom's sambar is the absolute best in the world....Iam always striving to recreate that in my kitchen.
  • A meal - There's a restaurant run by Arusuvai Arasu on Chennai's East Coast Road(known locally as just ECR). Usually Iam not the kind of person that orders a full thali meal in a restaurant....'coz if you've been reading carefully u know that Iam picky about my sambar....but this is one restaurant where as soon as i stepped in, I knew I'd love the food. I had their several course lunch served on a banana leaf....and the taste lingers to this day.
  • A cookbook/other written work - When I got married and moved from a small town in Kerala to the US, the extent of my cooking was limited to sambar, rasam and tomato rice. The only thing that saved us from eating those dishes day in and day out was the several Mallika Badrinath cookbooks that I carried with me.
  • A food personality - Don't know if he fits this label perfectly, but it would have to be Hemant Trivedi. All of his recipes are perfect....each and every one that I've tried out has come out delicious.
  • Another person in my life - Let's start with my husband. He has always encouraged me to experiment with food, try out new dishes....and yeah, he is the only one that's had to actually eat my "not-so-perfect" creations. And then there's mom....moms are fantastic in that they are able to whip up great tasting meals within what seems like no time at all. I always find myself comparing anything that I cook with her cooking and also strive to keep my kitchen as neat as she keeps hers.
With that said, it is now my turn to tag......and I tag Prema of My Cookbook.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Onion-tomato curry

The name is not fancy....the curry is so easy to make - the recipe - simple to follow....but the taste is fantastic....Iam still drooling just thinking about it....can't think of any words that would do justice to the taste. The recipe is adapted from a Mallika Badrinath cookbook that I have. Let's get to it without further dialogue.

What you need:
Onion - 1 large, chopped fine
Tomato - 3 large very ripe ones, chopped
Green chilli - 4(adjust to suit your palate), minced
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Urad dal - 1/2 tsp
Oil - 2 tsp
Besan(gram flour) - 1/4 cup
Cilantro - to garnish

Heat oil. Add mustard seeds and urad dal. When dal turns reddish brown and seeds pop, add the green chillies and onion. Fry till onions turn translucent. Then add the tomatoes and salt. Saute for a few minutes. Make a smooth paste of besan with water....make sure there are no lumps. Stir this into the curry....stirring all the while so no lumps are formed. If necessary add some water and cook for a few minutes until desired consistency is reached.
Garnish with freshly cut cilantro.
This tastes great with chapatis which is what I had it with for dinner last night.

Oh....yeah....and if u do have any leftovers(hard to believe, but I did have some) makes a great spread for a breakfast sandwich.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

I am back with another recipe featuring bell pepper. The recipe is loosely based on my memory of a dish I ate at a friend's house years ago when I was not interested in recipes, methods or ingredients. I have used ingredients that I had handy. The dish is very easy to make.....takes not more than twenty minutes including prep work.
What u need:
Bell pepper(capsicum) - 1 large, diced
Spring onions - a few(optional)
Urad dal - 1/2 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Oil - 1 tsp
Grind together without using water:
Coconut - a few spoons
Green chilli - 3
Fried gram dal(Dalia) - a handful

In a pan, heat the oil. Add urad dal and mustard seeds. When the seeds pop, add onions, bell pepper and salt. Stir, reduce heat and cook covered until the pepper softens....takes about 5-10 minutes. Add the ground mixture. Stir well. Serve hot with rice.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Navaratri to me means good food....well, isn't that what any festival/celebration is supposed to be about anyway??? As a kid, I remember dressing up in different pattu pavadais each day and going to different houses for golu and chundal. A group of about seven or eight of us would plan our route and set out armed with some empty plastic covers which would be filled to the brim with different kinds of goodies by the time we came back home.
Last Friday, I had some of my friends over and I made one seemed familiar with that name....don't know if it is a term that is used only in a particular of my friends said she had heard the name, but the dish she talked about was made with moong dal and sounded totally different. Here's how I made it:

What you need:
Channa dal - 1.5 cups
Urad dal - 1 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Oil - 1 tsp
Coconut - 1/4 cup
Green chilli - 4 (adjust to suit your palate)
Ginger - a small piece, chopped

Cook channa dal in about 6-7 cups of water. Make sure it is not overcooked. Drain the water and keep aside.
Heat oil. Add urad dal and mustard seeds. When the seeds pop, add the cooked dal, salt, asafoetida and ginger. Grind coconut and green chilli together without using any water. Alternatively, you can crush the chillies coarsely with your hand. Add this to the dal. Stir well.
If you'd like to, you can also add some lemon juice to this. I did not....

Friday, September 22, 2006

Padavalanga Thoran

What u need:
Padavalanga (Snake gourd) - 1
Coconut - 1/4 cup
Green chilli - 2 or 3
Channa dal - 2 tsp
Urad dal & mustard seeds
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp

Deseed, remove the pith and chop the snake gourd into small pieces. In a pan heat 1 tsp of oil. Add mustard seeds, urad dal and channa dal to this. When the mustard seeds pop, add the chopped gourd, turmeric powder and salt. Add some water and place on medium heat until it is cooked. Grind green chilli and coconut together without using any water. Add this to the vegetable. Stir well. Garnish with fresh curry leaves.
Serve hot with rice.

Check out other versions of this thoran by Priya and Inji

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Capsicum Rice

The flavour that bell-pepper induces to any dish that it is added to is makes even the most humble of dishes take on an exotic aroma. The combination of fragrant basmati, ghee and bell-pepper appeals to all your looks great especially when you throw in orange, yellow, red and green peppers....smells divine....tastes just as good....I could go on and on...but let's get to the recipe now:

What you need:
Diced bell pepper - 1 cup(a combination of red,green,orange and yellow can be used)
Basmati rice- 1 cup
Onion - 1 small, chopped fine
Cardamom - 3
Clove - 4
Cinnamon - a small piece
Ghee - as required
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Juice of half a lemon
Shredded coconut - 3 tsp

Cook basmati with 1.5 cups of water in the pressure cooker until one whistle. Spread this on a plate to cool.
Heat some ghee in a pan. (You can substitute this with oil if you like, but ghee gives the rice a special taste) Powder cardamom, clove and cinnamon coarsely and add this to the ghee. Add some urad dal, mustard seeds and channa dal too. When the mustard seeds pop, add the chopped onion and turmeric powder. Saute until onions are slightly browned. Add salt and bell pepper. Stir well and cook covered on medium heat until the pepper is soft but not mushy. Add shredded coconut and mix well. Now add this to the cooled rice. Also add the lemon juice. Mix well. Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves or curry leaves and fried cashew nuts.
Serve hot.

This is my entry to Sam's Jihva for Ghee & Butter

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

I was never much of a curd person until I stayed in a hostel. Don't ask me why....but that's when I realised curd was such an integral part of my life. All the times I'd fight with my mother when she asked me to finish my meal off with some curd flashed through my mind just before this realisation dawned.
This is a very simple recipe that uses only raw there's no cooking involved....the prep time is minimal.

Thair pachadi

What you need:
Thick yogurt
Green chilli

Grind coconut and green chilli using no water. Do not grind into a smooth paste....just let the mixie rip for a few seconds...not more than that.
In a large mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients together. Tamper some mustard seeds in oil and pour on top of the pachadi.
And nope, I did not forget to type in the quantity of each is totally up to you.

Top: Thair pachadi; bottom left: padavalanga thoran; bottom right: olan

Monday, September 18, 2006

Dal - the quintessential Indian comfort food!!!
This is a recipe I found somewhere ages ago. Though the source has been long forgotten, the recipe itself has been filed away in my memory...only to be visited time and again with a few tweaks each time. The North Indian dal is in my opinion a tamer and milder version of the spicy South Indian sambar.

Panchratni Dal
What you need:
Equal quantities of the following:
Masoor dal
Urad dal
Tuar dal
Moong dal
Whole masoor
(I used a handful of each.....did not have whole i threw in two handfuls of masoor dal)
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Garam masala - 1 tsp
Onion - 1 small, minced
Green chilli - 2 or 3, minced
Garlic - 1 clove, chopped
Ginger - a small piece, chopped
Tomato - 1, diced
Juice of half a lime(optional)

Cook all the dals together with just enough water along with turmeric powder and salt. In the meantime, heat some oil in a pan. Add onions, green chilli, and ginger. Saute until onions are browned. Now add tomatoes and toss for a few minutes. Add this and garam masala to the cooked dal. Stir and heat for a couple of minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in the lemon juice. Garnish with freshly cut corriander leaves.
Njoy with rice or roti.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Kodappan-Kadala Koottan (Banana flower - chick peas curry)

Keralites put every single part of a banana tree to good use.....the leaves are used to serve food on....the trunk is used to make delicious thoran....the fruit, of course, is eaten raw....or in the case of plantains, also steamed.....and the flower, well, it's the flower that takes center stage here today.
Taking the florets apart, removing the stamen in the middle of the sure is hard work...but the end result is absolutely worth it.

What u need:
Kodappan(Banana flower) - 1
Chick peas(dark brown variety) - 1 handful (soaked overnight)
Tamarind concentrate - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - a little
Urad dal - 2 tsp
Red chilli - 4 or 5
Pepper corns - a few
Coconut - 3/4 cup
Tuar dal - 1/2 cup, cooked
Jaggery - a small piece
Curry leaves - to garnish

Separate the banana florets(these are seen when you remove the reddish outer covering), remove and discard the stamen in the center of each floret, chop and cook along with chick peas. Then add the tamarind concentrate, turmeric powder, salt and boil for a few minutes. If you are not using concentrate, then boil until the raw smell of tamarind is gone.
Fry red chillies, urad dal and peppercorns in some oil. Grind it along with coconut to a smooth paste. Add this ground paste to the curry. Simmer on medium heat for a few minutes. Then add the cooked dal and jaggery....stir everything together and heat for just a minute or two. Garnish with fresh curry leaves.
Serve hot with rice.

This is my entry to the Curry Mela hosted by Anthony's Bachelor Cooking

Saturday, September 09, 2006

The last two days have been frustrating to say the least. For some reason, my blog could not be viewed. I finally had to delete two of my posts and several images to get it working again. The saddest part about it is losing the comments attached to those posts.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Friday, September 01, 2006

Is it sweet???
Is it spicy???
Is it tangy???
Is it sour???
Well, whatever it is, one thing's for is delicious!!!
When Vineela announced that the theme for JFI-5 would be milk and milk products, I had no idea what I was going to make. Not because I couldn't think of anything, but 'coz there's an abundance of recipes featuring mik in our cuisine and picking and choosing just one was proving to be a major task. When I made this dish, the thought of sending this in as an entry had not yet crossed my mind. It is only when I was clicking away with my camera that a light bulb flashed inside my head.....OK...this has yogurt in it....yogurt is a milk u see those wheels in my brain turning???
Alright, let's get to the recipe now.....

Pineapple pachadi

What u need:
Pineapple - 1 cup(diced into small pieces)
Shredded coconut - 1/2 cup
Green chillies - 3 or 4(adjust to taste)
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Sour yogurt - 3/4 cup
Salt - to taste
Turmeric powder
Urad dal and mustard seeds - to tamper

Boil pineapple pieces in a pan along with turmeric powder and salt in just enough water to cover it. Grind coconut, green chillies, mustard seeds and yogurt into a smooth paste. Once the pineapple is cooked, add the ground mixture to it...heat for a few not let it boil. Tamper mustard seeds and urad dal in some coconut oil and pour on top of the pachadi.

Some memories associated with this dish:
  • Traditional sadya (feast) served on a banana leaf back home
  • My grandfather and me going and looking at the tiny pineapple blossoming in our back yard every single trying to see how much it's grown since the previous day
  • The wholesome aroma of sliced pineapple
  • The goosebumps I'd get from the sound of metal meeting the skin of the fruit...I still do
Check out Vineela's JFI round-up here

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Random thoughts - 8/30/06
Wonder why North Indian food is more popular outside India than South Indian cuisine???
Go to any major restaurant in the US and you will see that the major share of the menu(if not all of it) is hogged by nans, curries from the north....if there is anything remotely south indian listed on the menu, more than likely, it will be idli, sambar or dosa.
Now, don't get me wrong....I do love chole bature just as much as I love puttu and kadala curry(though u won't find it on the menu)....but is there a reason why one is preferred over the other outside of India?

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Aloo Pudina Baath (Potato mint rice)

Being a vegetarian, Iam often asked, "So what is it that you eat...just vegetables???". Well, not exactly....I also eat roots and leaves. Hey, that was just my attempt at humour :-))
Anyways, take a look at what I've does have leaves in a root vegetable...potato.

Mint plays a major role in Indian cuisine. It is recognised by Ayurveda practitioners to have several health benefits and has been used for ages in treating muscle and joint pains.
I love it for its aroma....there's nothing that compares to the crisp, refreshing scent of fresh mint leaves.
The recipe itself is very simple as far as the making goes....

What you need:
Mint leaves - 1 small bunch
Potato - 1, peeled and chopped
Ginger - a small piece
Garlic - 1 clove
Green chillies - 2 or 3(adjust to your taste)
Coconut - 1/4 cup
Rice - 1 cup
Lemon juice(optional)

Cook rice and keep aside. Grind mint, coconut, green chillies, ginger and garlic to a smooth paste. Heat some oil in a pan. Add diced potatoes and stir on medium heat until potatoes are golden brown. Now add the ground paste and salt. Stir for a minute or two until moisture is absorbed. Now add the cooked rice. Mix everything together until the rice is completely coated with the mixture. Add a few drops of lemon juice. Stir and serve hot.

This is my entry to Kalyn's Weekend Herb Blogging hosted this week by Genie of The Inadvertent Gardener.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Today has been a rainy day. Right from the time I woke up in the morning, the downpour has been relentless.
What better way to enjoy the rain than with a hot cup of tea and some steaming hot and crunchy parippu vada!!!

What you need:
Tuar dal - 1 cup
Red chillies - 2 or 3
Onion - 1 small
Curry leaves - a few
Oil - for deep frying.

Soak tuar dal in water for 30 - 45 minutes. Drain and grind coarsely along with red chillies. Add as little water as you possibly can while grinding. Do not make the batter very smooth. You may notice some whole dal in the batter. That is only makes the vada tastier and that much more crunchy. Add the minced onion,curry leaves,salt and asafoetida to the batter. Mix well.
Heat oil. Take a little bit of the batter. Flatten with your hand. Fry it in the hot oil until brown and crisp. You can fry 5 or 6 vadas at a time depending on the size of your container. Repeat this until all the batter is used up.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Of mangoes and more

The word mango immediately turns my brain to reminiscence mode. I am taken back to the terrace of my childhood, my brother and cousins on the sunshade, and on top of the chimney, reaching out and plucking tender, green mangoes. My grandma and mother used to warn us of dire consequences....."You'll fall down and break your leg","Your stomach is going to hurt"....but all this fell on deaf ears.
One of us would have invariably smuggled up some chilli powder and salt. Biting into the crunchy green mango coated with spice....this was happiness in its purest form.
The only thing that could beat this taste was throwing stones at the neighbour's mango tree and jumping over the wall to fetch the loot before he found out.( bad). Don't know why...but mangoes always tasted better when there was some adventure involved in getting them.
Mangoes also meant amazing of my all time favourites in thokku. It's real easy to make and lip-smacking good!!!

What you need:
Raw mango - 2
Oil - 1/3 cup(Preferably gingely oil)
Mustard seeds(optional)
Red chilli powder - 1 and 1/4 tsp (adjust to suit your palate)
Salt - to taste
Jaggery - a little (optional)

Peel and grate the mangoes. Alternatively, you can slice them into thin pieces. Heat oil and add mustard seeds. When the seeds pop, add the grated mango, red chilli powder and salt. Reduce the heat and let it cook, stirring occasionally until the oil leaves the sides of the vessel and the mangoes are done. Add jaggery. Stir and cook for a few more minutes.
Enjoy with your favourite foods.
I love to eat this with literally everything that I make - rice, roti, idli, dosa.....

Monday, August 14, 2006

Tri-colour rotini pasta a la desi style

A couple of days ago I bought a box of tri-coloured rotini. The orange, green and cream spirals looked real pretty and were pretty much calling out to me to pick them up and take them home. Well, today I decided to spice up the pasta with some very Indian ingredients.

What u need:

Tri colour rotini - half a box
Onion - 1 small, chopped fine
Tomato - 1, diced
Green chillies - minced
Mixed vegetables - a handful(I used frozen)
Red chilli powder - 1/4 tsp
Garam masala - 1/4 tsp
Salt - as per taste
Italian seasoning - a little
Olive oil - 2 tsp

Cook the pasta in plenty of boiling water for about 10 minutes. Drain and keep aside.
Heat the oil in a pan. Add the seasoning and stir for a minute. Then add the green chillies,and onion. Saute until onions turn brown. Then add the tomatoes,red chilli powder, garam masala and salt. Stir for a few minutes. Add veggies and stir until moisture evaporates.
Now add the cooked pasta. Toss until everything is mixed well. Serve with Pasta sauce.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

I was all set to make Pushpa's banana butter cake but just when I had all the ingredients laid out in front of me, I couldn't find my loaf pan. I searched all over the place, but for the life of me I couldn't remember where I'd put it. I must have put it away somewhere safe during one of my cleaning and rearranging sprees!!! Yeah, well, it is safe from me, I guess :-))
Well, now that I had peeled and mashed the bananas, I had to use them. So, with a few tweaks...throwing in some extra's what I came up with:

Banana Raisin muffins

You'll need:

All purpose flour - 2 cups
Egg - 1
Oil - 1/4 cup
Brown sugar - 1/4 cup
Baking soda - 1 tsp
Baking powder - 1 tsp
Freshly ground cinnamon - a little(optional)
Very,very ripe bananas - 3
Raisins - a large handful

Preheat oven to 350 degree Farenheit. Peel bananas and mash them with an electric hand blender until smooth. Add the egg,sugar and oil to this and blend well. Now add cinnamon powder, flour,baking soda, and baking powder and mix until smooth. Stir in the raisins.
Line muffin pan with paper liners or grease it really well with oil or non-stick cooking spray. Fill each muffin cup until it is two-thirds full. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Sabudana kichdi

Sabudana is used in the South mainly in the form of crispies which can be fried in oil and then eaten with rice. This is the only form in which I'd come across it before. However, post marriage, my SIL's husband who is from Gujarat told me about this Khichdi. Now, I haven't eaten this anywhere else. I prepare it based on the instructions that he gave me along with a few variations that I like. So I have no idea if this is how the "authentic" version tastes.

What you need:

Sabu dana/Sago - 1 cup
Green chillies - 2-3,minced
Onion - 1 small, chopped
Potato - 1 small, peeled,cooked and chopped
Ginger - a small piece
Asafoetida - a little(optional)
Peanuts - a handful
Curry leaves, jeera,mustard seeds -for seasoning

Soak sago in water for about 10-15 min. Drain water and keep aside.
Roast peanuts without any oil and powder them.

Heat some oil in a pan. Add jeera and mustard seeds,fry for a few seconds. Then throw in the green chillies,sliced ginger,onion and curry leaves. Stir for a minute or two. Now add asafoetida. Stir well. And then add sabudana and salt. Keep stirring well or it will turn into a glutinous lumpy mass. When the sago looks glossy and transparent, add the peanut powder, mix well and remove from heat.
Serve hot!!!

This is my entry to Nandita's Weekend Breakfast Blogging event.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Hubby decided to play chef a couple of days back.....and he asked me what I wanted for dinner. Not one to miss out on an opportunity like this, I gushed, Ashwini's masale bhaat.
I printed the recipe out for him and took my baby out for a stroll. When I came back, the first thing that hit me is the wonderful aroma of a blend of spices. The rice itself was delicious and had just the right amount of all the ingredients. A few minor variations from Ashwini's recipe include adding a chopped onion, and using brinjals.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Look what I found at the local farmers market today.....

I was so happy and excited to see a bag of freshly plucked chundakka (iam not sure what it is called in english)....back home it was my task to pluck chundakka from the plant in our backyard for sambar or to soak in curd and then dry in the sun so it could be fried and used in various dishes. I have never seen it here before.....and it feels like its been ages since I had it.
I will be posting some recipes soon.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Random thought -8/3/06

I am my own worst critic. Everyone else may tell me I've done something well, but a lot of times I'll be like....Yeah, but if I'd done it a certain other way it may have been just a teeny bit better.

Monday, July 31, 2006


The real health value of this "yellow jewel" is said to have been recognised by the Chinese who declared it a sacred crop. It is said to have medicinal properties and oozes protein, and several vitamins and minerals including the all important Vitamin B complex.
What am I talking about????
Well, if you guessed soya bean, you guessed right.

Soya chunks - 2 handfuls.
Onion - 1, chopped fine
Tomato - 1, chopped
Green chilli - per taste, chopped
Curry leaves - 1 sprig
Red chilli powder - as per taste
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Mustard seeds, urad dal, channa dal - to tamper

Soak soya chunks in some hot water with salt added to it. After 5-10 min,squeeze the chunks. Rinse in cold water and squeeze again.
Heat some oil in a pan. Tamper mustard,urad and channa dal. Add curry leaves and green chillies and stir for a few seconds. Saute onion until translucent. Add tomato, cook for a minute or two. Then throw in the soya chunks,turmeric powder,red chilli powder and salt. Stir well and cook for a few more minutes.
Serve hot with roti or rice.
You can also just eat it as it is....which is what I ended up doing.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

FMR - Comfort Foods - Ulli Sambar

Sunday morning....iam still in bed....debating whether to wake up or snuggle deeper ....the aroma of "ulli sambar" seeping in through the space under the door and filling my room makes the decision for me. Iam up in a jiffy.
Revathi's FMR-comfort food event immediately brought this fond memory to mind. Sunday brunch was almost always the same while I was growing up. Ulli(pearl onion/shallot) sambar and spicy potato fry. Amma always made this on Sunday because all of us loved it and this way, we'd all be home at the same time to savour it.

So, on with the recipe....

You'll need:

Pearl onions - 1 cup, peeled
Tamarind paste - 1 tsp or to taste
Salt, turmeric powder
Tuar dal - 3/4 cup, cooked.

Fry in a little oil:
Red chillies - 4 or 5(adjust according to your taste)
Dhania - 2 tsp
Channa dal - 1.5 tsp
Curry leaves - 1 sprig
Methi seeds - 1/2 tsp
While frying add the methi seeds last, after everything else is fried well and stir for just a few seconds. If you brown the methi seeds too much, it will give the sambar a bitter taste.
After frying all this, grind it along with 1 cup of fresh grated coconut.

Now, heat a little oil. Fry the pearl onions for a minute or two. Add tamarind paste, enough water, turmeric powder and salt. Boil until onions turn soft. Then add the ground mixture and boil for a few minutes. Now add cooked tuar dal. Stir well...let it all simmer together for just about a minute or so. Garnish with fresh curry leaves. Heat some oil. Tamper mustard seeds and urad dal. Pour this on top of the sambar.
Serve piping hot with rice and a side of potato fry.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Monthly Mingle - Strawberry milk shake

Plump....bright red.....sweet smelling......perfectly ripe.....bursting with flavour.......I could go on and on about the luscious strawberry.
What better way to cool off at the end of a hot day(and I do mean hot - it's over 90 degrees out there today) than with a chilled glass of freshly made stawberry milk shake?

Cold milk - 1 glass ( I use full fat)
Strawberries - 3 or 4
Sugar - 3 tsp or to taste

Put all the ingredients in the blender and run at high speed for a minute or two. Pour into a glass. Put on some music.....lounge in your sofa......pick up your favourite book...take a sip of the deliciously frothy pink shake.....ahhhhhhhhhh this is bliss.

Iam taking a chilled glass of this to Meeta's Monthly Mingle

Thursday, July 06, 2006

One of my favourite beans....rajma. I tasted it for the first time when I visited Delhi as a kid....and have been in love with it ever since.
This is a very simple yet tasty dish that goes well with chapatis, parathas or rice.

Rajma - 1 cup
Onion - 1 large, chopped finely
Green chillies - as per taste
Ginger - small piece, minced
Garlic - 1 clove, minced
Tomatoes - 3 or 4, chopped fine ( alternatlively, you can also puree it)
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Red chilli powder - 1 tsp or as per taste
Garam masala - 1 tsp
Salt - as reqd.

Soak the rajma in plenty of water overnight. Pressure cook with a little salt.
Heat some oil. Add a tsp of jeera and fry for a few seconds. Now add ginger, green chillies and garlic. Fry for a minute or two. Add onions and fry till golden. Then add the chopped tomatoes. Fry till it softens. Add turmeric powder, red chilli powder and salt. Now add the cooked rajma, and if required, some more water. Add garam masala and stir once in a while until the curry thickens to your desired consistency. Garnish with freshly chopped corriander leaves.

Monday, July 03, 2006

What's cooking tonight???

Coconut & Cashew Sevai/Idiappam and coconut chutney

I was browsing through some other food blogs and I found this on a lot of them....and I decided that this is something I have to write about too.

5 items in my freezer:
  • Puff pastry sheets( nothing quicker and tastier when there's a surprise guest in the evening)
  • Frozen mixed veggies
  • Frozen drumstick
  • Texas toast
  • Sweet peas

5 items in my closet:
  • Clothes, clothes and more clothes
  • A bag of clothes I've been meaning to donate to Goodwill but still haven't gotten around to
  • Books
  • Bedsheets
  • Pillow cases
5 items in my car:
  • Registration
  • Maps
  • Car seat
  • Cds
  • Air freshener
5 items in my purse:
  • Drivers license
  • Credit card
  • Debit card
  • Insurance card
  • Pen

Thursday, June 29, 2006

I made avial for a potluck yesterday...and that took me back down memory lane.....back to a time when sadya inevitably meant avial, ishtu, olan, kaya varuthathu and ada pradaman. I never was much of a sadya-lover mainly because it meant huge crowds of people I didn't even know, but now, there are days when I long for a traditional meal served on a banana leaf.

Veggies(drumstick,carrot,potato,plantain,yam) - 2 cups
Turmeric powder - 3/4 tsp
Salt - as per taste
Sour curd - 1 cup
Shredded coconut - 1/2 cup
Green chillies - 5-6 or as per taste
Coconut oil - a little
Curry leaves - 1-2 sprigs
Cut the vegetables into thin, long pieces. Add salt, turmeric powder, and boil until they are well cooked, but still slightly crunchy. Grind coconut, and green chillies along with curd. Add this ground mixture to the vegetables and heat for a minute or two.....take care not to let it boil.
Remove from heat. Pour a few spoonfuls of coconut oil on top and garnish with curry leaves.