Friday, January 15, 2010

Indian Cooking Challenge - Moong dal Halwa

Right from the time Valli announced the theme for this month's Indian Cooking Challenge , I was planning to make it.....but I finally got around to it only today....the last day of the challenge. The fact that this is super easy to make helped in getting it ready on time.....and as always, I made some changes that made things even more easy for me.

Here is the recipe that Valli asked us to follow:
What you need:
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 fire 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.

Changes that I made:

I added the milk and sugar to the moong dal while grinding. This helped me save quite some time.

The next time I make this, I would probably add some saffron for colour.
This halwa gets cooked really fast....and it is quite important to keep stirring to avoid ending up with a lumpy mass.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Sugary plantain

I've sternly told myself at the beginning of this year that I will waste less. No, it is not a resolution.....but it is something that I hope I will be able to incorporate as a daily practice.
You see, there's this problem that I have. There is a vegetable market within a stone's throw of where I live, not to mention umpteen supermarkets that stock fresh veggies and fruits. Every time I walk past, something or the other catches my eye and I end up buying it whether I need it or not. End result is that I end up with more veggies and fruits than my three member family needs(can eat) and there's always something that lies in that forgotten corner of the fridge and by the time it sees the light of day, it is quite likely to be ( how do I put this nicely???)....inedible!!!
So, starting from now, I am only going to buy what I need and I am going to use it all up before I walk down to the market again.
Now, what has this got to do with plantains, you ask......
Well, I came back from my hometown laden with a whole lot of ripe plantains....most of which I managed to use up. Some of it,however, was in danger of being unceremoniously dumped into the dustbin. Now, we can't have that happening just after deciding that this is going to be No-Waste-Year, can we??? That's when I came up with this idea.
There's no recipe as such.
All that you have to do is take a few overripe plantains. Remove the skin and chop it up into small pieces. Add some sugar. I used three plantains and added about 6 tsp of sugar. How much sugar you use is totally up to you. Mix well. Add some ghee if you'd like to and microwave this on high for 6-8 minutes, stirring it halfway through, until some of the plantain pieces start browning. Let it cool and dig in!!!

Monday, January 11, 2010

By the book

Let's start this new year by showing off our book(s). Which book have you thumbed through so often that it is worn down, but still prized???
No, this is not another event. Aren't there enough of those already in blogosphere? But if you will, please take this up as a tag. If you are a food blogger, I'd appreciate it if you show me your most-loved cookbook. If you are a non-food blogger, tell me which is your favourite book and why. If possible, please upload a picture of the book or a write-up telling me why you like this book so much. Link back to this post of mine and leave me a comment so I can drop by and read your post.
I'll start off by showing you my most-used cookbook. It is......(drumroll please)....

.....Mallika Badrinath's 100 Vegetarian Gravies.
I know it looks really worn down, but it is the very first cookbook that I acquired.
It was passed on to me by my aunt when I was in school and has been my trusted guide ever since. The first time I used it was only after marriage, though I used to thumb through it quite often even before that. The first dish that I cooked using this book as a guide is Rajma masala and since then, I have always thought of Mallika Badrinath as my cooking guru.
I now ask my blogger buddies Sra, Valli, Lavi, Bharathy and Jayasree to show me the book that's closest to their heart - it could be a collection that you've put together from your favourite magazine or a collection of recipes your grandma/ma wrote out for short, something that you treasure. Put it up on your blog and keep this tag going.