Thursday, January 10, 2013

Chettinad vegetable curry

It is time for the next blogging marathon and that seems to be the only impetus to blog these days. This week, my theme revolves around cooking using a specific combination of vegetables - potato, cauliflower and green peas.
Cauliflower and fresh green peas are seen in plenty during this season in the markets here and that is the reason behind my choosing this particular combo. The recipe is adapted from Mallika Badrinath's 100 Vegetarian Curries. The original recipe uses brinjal, potato, beans and carrots. In keeping with the them, I used only cauliflower, peas and potato.

What you need
Potato - 1 medium sized, peeled and chopped into pieces
Cauliflower - a small one, separated into florets
Green peas - 1.5 cups, heaped
Oil - 2 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Curry leaves - a few
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
For the masala: (Grind to a smooth paste the following ingredients along with 1/4 cup of water)
Onion - 2
Red chilli - 5 or 6(adjust to taste)
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Fennel seeds - 1 tsp
Ginger - a one inch piece
Garlic - 4 or 5 cloves

Heat oil in your pressure cooker. Add the mustard seeds and when they pop, add the curry leaves. Reduce the flame to low and add the ground masala paste. Cook until the raw smell goes away and oil separates from the masala. Now add the chopped vegetables, turmeric powder, salt and a cup of water. Cover and cook till whistle.
When the steam has completely settled down, open and boil for a few minutes until the curry reaches a semi-liquid consistency.
Serve with roti/rice.

Do check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#24
Also check out my other blog to read about my recent trip to Mahabaleshwar.

Friday, January 04, 2013

Raisin bread

When we lived abroad, one of the things I loved to buy at the store was raisin bread. Biting into plump, juicy raisins in every mouthful was nothing short of a delight. When I saw the recipe for this bread at Suhaina's Singapore kitchen, I knew that I just had to make it. I have made very few changes and that too, only because I didn't have some of the ingredients on hand and am trying not to use maida these days. The bread is absolutely delicious and has been packed away for us to carry on our weekend outing tomorrow.

What you need:
Whole wheat flour - 2 cups
Fresh yeast - 2 tsp (Can be substituted with active dry yeast which will need to be proofed first)
Sugar - 4 tbsp
Salt - 1 tsp
Milk - 1 tbsp
Raisins - 1/2 cup soaked in 3/4 cup of water overnight
Oil - 2 tbsp
Vegetable shortening/vanaspati - 1 tbsp

Rub the sugar into the fresh yeast until it dissolves. Add the flour, salt, milk, oil and shortening. Mix well. Now add the raisins along with the water in which it soaked and knead to a smooth, pliable dough. If needed, add a little more water at this stage. Cover and set aside until it doubles in volume. Punch the dough down. Grease a loaf pan and spread the dough evenly in the pan. Cover and leave for 30 minutes.
Bake in a preheated oven at 175 degrees centigrade for 25-30 minutes.
When completely cooled, slice and dig in.
Do check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#24

Pav bhaji with a twist

 In keeping with the name of this blog, most of the time I experiment with ingredients in the kitchen. Today's dish was born in one such moment of madness. My theme for this week's blogging marathon is stuffed breads and I had kneaded dough to make bun/pav. I was wondering what to stuff it with and that's when this mad, mad idea came into my head.
Mumbai is synonymous with pav bhaji. Almost every street has a vendor who sells the lusciously red, spicy bhaji with generously buttered pav. The food stalls of Juhu beach with an array of appetising smells and sights are a gastronomical treat in themselves, and the Pav bhaji they serve are absolutely, wonderfully the best.
Do you see where all this is leading?

I decided to make bhaji and stuff that into the pav. I did warn you that it is a mad idea, didn't I? But I assure you it is excellent madness and madness that will be repeated henceforth in my home because the end product turned out to be surprisingly good.

What you need:
For the bun/pav:
Whole wheat flour - 2 cups
Yeast - 1 tbsp
Salt - 1 tsp
Vegetable shortening/vanaspati - 3 tbsp (can be substituted with butter)
Milk - 2/3 cup
Curd - 1 tbsp
Water - 1/3 cup(start with a little less and then add only as much as needed to make a dough)

If using active dry yeast, proof it by dissolving it in 1/4 cup of water to which 1/2 tsp sugar has been added and let it stand covered until frothy. I used active yeast.
Take the flour in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center. Add all the ingredients except water and mix well.  If needed, add water, little by little and knead to a smooth, pliable dough. Cover and set aside until it doubles in volume.

For the stuffing:
Potato - 1, peeled and chopped into large chunks
Carrot - 1, chopped coarsely
Green peas - a handful
Onion - 1, chopped fine
Tomato - 1, chopped fine
Green chilli - 3, minced
Ginger garlic paste - 1 tsp
Pav bhaji masala - 2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Oil - 2 tsp
Chopped corriander leaves

Microwave the potato, carrot and green peas with just enough water to cover them until cooked. Mash well with a potato masher and keep aside.
Heat oil in a pan. Add cumin seeds. When they start to sizzle, add the green chillies, ginger garlic paste and onions and saute till onions are lightly browned. Add turmeric powder, salt and chopped tomatoes. Cook till most of the moisture from the tomatoes evaporates. Add the mashed vegetables, pav bhaji masala and chopped corriander leaves. Continue to stir on a low flame until all the moisture evaporates and the bhaji thickens.

To make the stuffed buns:
Preheat oven to 175 degrees centigrade.
Divide the dough into 8 parts. Roll them into balls. Pat out into a thick circle using your palm and fingers. Place a little bit of the filling inside it, close it again and smoothen. Keep it covered under a wet cloth for 20 minutes. Brush some milk over each bun and sprinkle some sesame seeds over them. Bake for 18-20 minutes until the top is well browned.

Do check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#24

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Tofu stuffed whole wheat kulcha

This virtual world where I can write what I please, where I can interact with people whom I have come to know and like is my sanctuary. I would like to begin my first post of this year with a heartfelt wish for all my virtual friends.
May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness.
I hope you read some fine books, kiss someone who thinks you're wonderful, 
and don't forget to make some art - write or draw or sing or live as only you can.
And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.
I begin this year with a post for the Blogging Marathon, brain child of Srivalli and well loved by a group of marathoners who've journeyed together through several marathons. The theme I have chosen for this week is stuffed breads and today, I have for you a healthy tofu stuffed whole wheat kulcha.
What you need:
For the kulcha:
Whole wheat flour - 3 cups
Salt - 3/4 tsp
Oil - 2 tsp
Yeast - 1.5 tsp
Warm water

If you are using active dry yeast, proof it  by dissolving it in 1/4 glass of tepid water to which a tsp of sugar has been added and leave covered until frothy. I used fresh yeast. When using fresh yeast, you need to take it in a bowl, add half a teaspoon of sugar to it and rub it with the back of a spoon until it dissolves and turns into a liquid.
Take the flour, salt and yeast in a mixing bowl. Add water little by little and knead to form a smooth pliable dough. Coat with oil, cover and set aside in a warm place until it doubles in volume.

For the filling:
Tofu - 1 cup, crumbled
Onion - 1 medium, chopped very fine
Oil - 2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Garam masala - 1 tsp, heaped
Corriander - 1/2 cup, finely chopped
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp

Heat oil in a pan. Add the cumin seeds. When they start to sizzle, add the onions and saute on a low flame until pink and translucent. Stir in the turmeric powder, garam masala, salt, crumbled tofu and chopped corriander leaves. Mix well and heat till moisture evaporates.

To make kulchas:
Pinch out a large, lemon sized ball of dough. Roll into a small, thick circle. Place a heaped tablespoon of filling in it and close to form a ball again.
Dust with flour and roll this out into a thick, large circle. Cook on a hot tawa, drizzling oil/ghee over it, flipping over once or twice until both sides are evenly cooked with brown spots on them.

Serve hot with any curry of your choice, pickle and raita.
Do check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#24