January 31, 2012

Southern Flavours Book Review For Cook Book Tuesdays

I ve been wanting to do this for so long. You can call me a food bibliomaniac or bibliophile. If you spot me at a book store, i can guarantee you that you ll find me nibbling along those glossy books in the Food Books aisle. I get attracted to cook books like a mouse does to cheese. My obsession to collect recipes, techniques of cooking and a jillion other things related to food is unceasing. It s no big a wonder for a person like me to grab the opportunity to review a book by Chandra Padmanabhan on south indian food delights. Southern Flavours amazed me from cover to cover. I ll tell you more about it. In the meanwhile let me make my very important announcement. ( ahem..)  From now on, the first  tuesday of a month, i ll treat you to a peek into my cook book stockpile. I ll review one book and cook from it too. Tune in every first tuesday to read from my new series Cook Book Tuesdays. And of course if you want to review a book for me as a guest on my blog, please shoot me an email at anusapraj@gmail.com.


Chandra Padmanabhan s new book Southern Flavours is truly a south indian s primrose path. The book is complete with all the nitty gritty of south indian cuisine accompanied with some mouth watering speciality dishes from states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. When that unpretentious package in green arrived, little did i know that i was going to fall in love all again with south indian cuisine. I am a south indian body, flesh and soul. I love my sambhars and poriyals. I find dunking my fingers into a bowl of curd and licking it up a headlong ecstasy. In that sense, the book made me dizzy with its classy assortments of dishes into sambhars, rasams, kootu and poriyal and some snacks. But what i really loved about the book were the basic recipes. 
                   The book is like manna from heaven for all cooks novice and accomplished, complete with recipes of rasam powder, Kuzhambu powder, sambhar powder and poriyal podi. It even has a section of suggested menus for both a la carte meals and buffets. Wow was all i could say after i read through.
              The array of rasams that the author has given for us to cook is simply splendid. I ve never had the good fortune to eat kosu carrot rasam or vendhaya rasam. She continues to dazzle us by her choice of names in the sambhar section  with  Sheela auntie s pulusu and chitra s keerai sambhar. Some of the dishes like the summa kuzhambu  in the book sent me into fits of laughter and intrigue. Her musings about each recipe makes you travel retrospect. I couldnt resist cooking from the book. The quantities mentioned are on the button and the methods are top notch. Thanks to her book, i ve now discovered the recipe to perfect paruppu urundai kuzhambu. Previously, my paruppu urundai used to harden up after a while but Chandra s version is a fail safe one which will be a winner at all times. Here s a pic of my kuzhambu. Recipe will follow soon.


The second brownie point scorer in the book is the medley of poriyals and kootus. While i was drooling over the guthi bendakai recipe, the beetroot carrot potato stir fry seemed a very simple yet hearty accompaniment to my menu for the lunch. The vendhayam poriyal and kudamilagai thayir pachadi piqued me too. 
This is my beet carrot and potato stir fry. It was a breeze to make and the combo of the veggies just took me by surprise. The  addition of black pepper almost made it exotic.


Even after three big bestsellers in her repertoire, Chandra Padmanabhan continues to enthrall us with her timeless recipes and vignettes of them. A wonderful gift for a wife to be or a bachelor who lives alone. Or for that matter for any one who wants to delve deep into the lovely choices south indian cuisine has to offer. 

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at BlogAdda.com. Participate now to get free books!

January 29, 2012

Marshmallow Brownie First Post For Gourmet 7

When we all did the curtain raiser posts for The Gourmet Seven, i was hmnmmm...... let me think of the right word. Yeah titillated. I was titillated beyond words. Stepping out of my comfort zone and cooking up some exotica was somewhat daunting yet that opportunity gave me the kicks. Today, i bring to you the first post for The Gourmet Seven as promised. We go alphabetty this month and thanks to my mom for naming me with an A. I come first and after mine come a host of posts for you from the other Gourmets. Well, i am an amateur baker and this s my first brownie. We are cooking up chocolate as this month is saturated with love in the air. This brownie recipe is very deceiving. I must tell you that even though it looks like a breeze, its a little difficult to get it right the first time. It is a finicky recipe that requires a lot of concentration and patience. This month s source happens to be BBC Food and we all thoroughly enjoyed oohing and aahing while we scoured through the website. Just looking through the options was a sheer delight. Here comes my brownie.

Prep Time: Under 30 mins
Cook Time: 25 mins
Source: Marshmallow Brownies from BBC Food ( a lil tweaked from here)
Yields 24 slices


Before you begin reading, i should remind you that brownies dont double like cakes. So dont reduce the ingredients.

What you need?

Dark cooking chocolate 150 g
Maida 3/4 cup
Castor Sugar 2 cups
Cocoa 1/4 cup
Butter 1 and 3/4 cups plus some more for greasing  softened
Eggs 5
Marshmallows 100 g

How to make it?

Grease a 12 inch square pan with butter or line with parchment paper.
In a double boiler, heat the chocolate till shiny and melted.
Gently stir in the butter and incorporate well into the chocolate. Keep aside to cool.
Now, in a large mixing bowl, add the flour, sugar and cocoa. Combine well.
Preheat the oven to 190 C.
Now, beat the eggs till they are light. Say for about 4 to 5 mins. Keep aside.
Mix in the chocolate mixture with the flour.
Add the beaten eggs to this and start mixing well until well incorporated.
Now, fold in the marshmallows into the mixture.
Transfer this to the greased tin and bake at 190 C for about 20 mins or till the centre is squidgy.
Serve with ice cream or just cut out a slice and pop it in your mouth!!

Check out what the other gourmets are doing. Read more on Gourmet Seven

P.S. I burnt the marshmallows a little but it only added to the taste. Seemed like marshmallows roasted on a bonfire!!
P.P.S I did not line the tin with a foil. Big big mistake. Thats the reason why i did not tap the brownie out. I was in a hurry while i took the pics and hence only one click.


January 28, 2012

Mint Chutney For Dosas

I know its a paltry post when its a recipe for a chutney. But unfortunately for you guys, i am on a chutney high this week and i m cooking from that wonder woman Malliga Badrinath s books. This recipe is a mix between her version and mine. I hate coconut. Weird na? Being a south indian, i m almost obliged to be in love with coconut. But no, coconut and i dont share a sizzling chemistry. No we dont even share a chemistry let alone sizzling. So i m almost maniacal in searching for chutneys without coconut in them. Both for the cholestrol and the rotten chemistry reasons. If you do share a rotten chemistry with something let me know ok?



January 27, 2012

Celebrating Streetfoods- My first event extended deadline

A very happy new year to all my blogger friends, followers and readers who have brought me this far. This is my 100th post and its a new year.I cant believe i ve written a 100 posts on my blog. This blog has become my baby. I can say that it is this blog that has augmented to my cooking repertoire. I would never have gone on to cook up so many dishes that i did. A 100 posts definitely calls for a celebration and what better way to celebrate other than to start an event. This is my first event. I wanted to do something fun for a change. Enough of counting the calories, scrimping on the oil and ghee and thinking healthy all the while. Lets indulge ourselves a little. Shall we?? You guessed right. My event is all about street foods. Only you have to recreate them in your kitchen. So what are street foods?? According to the Wikipedia, Street food is ready-to-eat food or drink sold in a street or other public place, such as a market or fair, by a hawker or vendor, often from a portable stall.According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, 2.5 billion people eat street food every day.(That surely is a lot of people!!). 


Okie folks. Now for some excitement. Due to requests from all you lovely people out there, i m extending the deadline to Feb 20th. So bring it on beautiful chefs and cook up some street delights till the 20th feb!!

                                             My event is all about cooking street foods in our own kitchens nice, clean and hygienic. You can make any dish that reminds you of eating on the streets. For me its always gol gappe and tikki poori on the streets of Bangalore. You can make anything from chaat in our style or sandwiches famous on the Mumbai Roadsides or even Dim Sums from the oriental.
Okay!! Now the exciting part. At the end of this event, i shall choose one winner for the giveaway of the book Street Foods by Sanjeev Kapoor. Read on for the rules of the event. 

Rules for Participation:

  1. You have to cook up a dish that s only a streetfood. Restaurant menus dont count. 
  2. The dish can be from any part of the world. It can be gol gappe from our own India or dim sums from the oriental. You can even whip up something from your imagination.
  3. We are looking at new ideas. So no archived entries please. A maximum of 3 entries is accepted. 
  4. The event runs from 1st January till Feb 20th All entries posted must be linked back to the announcement page on this blog. Usage of the logo is mandatory as it helps spreading the word.
  5. You must follow me on google connect publicly and like my FB page to participate in the event and be eligible for the giveaway. The giveaway is currently for only Indian residents. No worries. You can still participate if you have an Indian shipping address. The winner of the giveaway shall be chosen by random.org.
  6. No meat and alcohol is allowed. Eggs are of course allowed. 
  7. Link up your recipes using the linky tool below Send in your entries to anusapraj@gmail.com with Street Foods as the subject line with the following details. Non bloggers can participate too.
  • Your Name:
  • Blog Name:
  • The link to your recipe
  • A click of your recipe ( restricted to 400 pixels




Looking forward to an overflowing inbox with all your recipes. I hope you all have fun while cooking up for this event. 


January 26, 2012

Chettinad Style Tomato Chutney

Even though i feel that having dosa for dinner is a breeze in the kitchen, i am forced to grapple with the mystery of what to make with the dosa. No matter how many books you read, how many online recipe journals you riff through or for that matter ask your mom, aunts and extended aunts, the task of making something to go with the dosa is something like an unsolved murder mystery. If you dont have chutney or sambhar in an array of colours, the very idea of eating dosa for a meal can be a kill joy. I can probably say that my hunt for chutney recipes will be eternal considering P is married to dosas. On one such hunts, i happened to buy the Malliga Badrinath book on chutneys and i am indebted to her for giving us one of these legacies.


Prep Time: Under 10 mins
Cook Time: Under 20 mins
Source: Mrs Malliga Badrinath
Serves 2 to 3

What you need?

Tomatoes 3 large chopped finely 
Onion 1 large chopped finely
Coriander a small bunch or about 1/ 2 cup chopped finely 
Garlic cloves 4 minced well
Dry red chilies 2
Tamarind the size of a marble soaked in warm water
Salt to taste
Oil 1 and 1/2 tbsp ( sesame oil)

To Temper:

Mustard seeds 1 tsp
Hing a large pinch
Sesame oil 1 tsp
Curry leaves a sprig

How to make it?

Heat a kadai with the oil.
Add the garlic and chillies and saute till garlic browns.
Now, add the onions and saute till it turns pink.
At this stage, add the tomatoes and saute till oil seperates.
Add the tamarind to this and saute for a min.
Let the mixture cool.
Once cool, add the coriander leaves and salt.
Blend to a smooth paste in a blender.
Temper with mustard seeds, hing and curry leaves.

Enjoy it with dosas or idlies. If you ask me, i d say soft fluffy idlies are the best bet with this.

January 25, 2012

Zucchini Koki

Koki is a traditional sindhi flatbread that is usually made with wheat flour and veggies.It s one such dish that can be eaten as breakfast, lunch or dinner. I however, tweaked the traditional recipe and made it at home. And it was such a winner.


I ve been meaning to make something out of zucchini for quite sometime now because i m very fond of the vegetable. It makes an excellent stuffing for sandwiches and quesadillas or so i have discovered but because of sheer laziness, i made kokis with zucchini. Find out how.

Prep Time: Under 20 mins
Cook Time: Under 10 mins
Source: Loosely adapted from Tarla Dalal s Parathas
Yields 6 kokis

What you need?

Whole wheat flour 1 and 1/2 cups
Tomato 1 medium size chopped finely 
Onion 1 small chopped finely 
Zucchini  peeled and grated 1/2 cup
Cumin seeds dry roasted and powdered 1 tsp
Cilantro chopped finely 3 tbsp
Salt 3/4 tsp
Water for kneading 
Oil for cooking the parathas
Flour for dusting

How to make it?

In a large mixing bowl, place the wheat flour, cumin powder and salt  and combine well.
Next, add the veggies and combine well.
Now, start kneading the dough by adding water little by little lets say by the tbsp.
This is because zucchini and tomato have some water content already so if you add more water then you wont be able to bind the dough into a pliable solid mass.
Knead the dough until you get a solid mass that can be rolled out into parathas.
Divide the dough into six equal balls and roll out each ball into round discs.
Dust them with flour generously while rolling and roll them a little thick.
Heat a tawa and place one round on the tawa.
Drizzle oil on the sides and make holes on the surface of the koki with a fork as you cook.
Cook on both sides until golden brown.

Serve hot with a dollop of butter, pickle and curd.

Note: If you dont have zucchini, then you can even use cucumber but make sure you keep an eye on the water cos cucumber is more watery.



BWW 6

All Food And No Wine Makes Life Dull 

My entry to this weeks Black n White Wednesday by Susan

January 24, 2012

Paruppu Thogayal

When its winters and its biting cold i mean the cold in which you can almost get killed, you only want to eat hot comfort foods. As a child, i remember eating rasam, rice and ghee in winters in the night. I was a very chubby child mind you! As always, i dint quite appreciate the comfort in that one bowl of rasam and rice which amma fed until i grew up and became someone s wife. Only when you slog all day in kitchen can you fully value amma s love and warmth. Eating rasam and rice on cold winter nights only holds memories of amma for me. Just as i remember rasam and rice, i m almost forced to drool when i think of the paruppu thogayal my aunt used to make for such days. She used to make a tangy gojju ( in kannada of course) alongside this and we used to transform into gluttons whenever she made this. I miss amma and my chikki ( that s what i fondly call my chikamma) not only for their comforting food but also for their company and support. I miss their physical presence even though we have myriad phone calls in which we swap almost everything from the day s menu to the latest on the internet( my mom happens to be a very internet savvy woman. Sometimes she amazes me with the information she delivers). This paruppu thogayal always takes me on a walk down the memory lane.


Prep Time: Under 15 mins
Cook Time: Nil
Source: Amma and chikamma
Serves 2 to 3

What you need?

Channa dal 3 tbsp
Urad dal 1 tbsp
Grated coconut 3 tbsp ( fresh works like a charm)
Dry red chilies 2 to 3 if using the long ones and 1 if using the round ones
Tamarind the size of a marble soaked in hot water for 5 mins
Salt to taste
Sesame oil 1/4 tsp

For tempering:

Mustard seeds 1 tsp 
Urad dal 1 tsp
Sesame oil 1 tbsp
Hing a large pinch
Curry leaves a sprig

How to make it?

Heat a kadai with 1/4 tsp oil.
Add the dals and chillies and saute till the dals are a light brown in colour.
Keep aside and let it cool.
Once cool, add all the other ingredients and blend in a mixture to a coarse paste adding water little by little.
Transfer to a serving bowl and temper with mustard seeds, urad dal , curry leaves and hing in sesame oil.


Serve hot with steamed rice.


January 23, 2012

Tawa Pulao Recipe| Leftover Rice Recipes

Eating on the streets is therapeutic for me. I allow myself that one indulgence once in a while without bringing my chimera interfere with my eating. I am obsessed about cleanliness. For me, a dirty person is despicable. I loathe dirty finger nails dipping into a matka of pani with a piece of poori. But once, only once, i allow myself that luxury of binge eating street food. I eat loads of it. Without a care in the world. Without thinking about the dirty finger nails and unclean plates. And to top off the bug in my ears, i bought Street Foods by Tarla Dalal. This recipe is straight out of it but i tweaked it a little. But trust me, its a blue ribbon for any potluck or dinner party or a casual brunch with friends.


Recipe For Tawa Pulao
( Learn how to make Tawa Pulao, a popular Indian street food with leftover rice, veggies and pav bhaji masala)

Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 15 mins
Serves 2 
Allergy Info: Vegan*, Gluten free, Soy free, Nut free
Course: Mains
Cuisine: Indian ( Leftovers, Street food)
Serving Suggestions: Mixed Vegetable Raita and papad

Ingredients

Cooked rice the long grain variety 2 and 1/2 cups ( I used basmati and leftover works wonderfully well)
Bell peppers chopped finely 1 cup ( i used a combo of red and green)
Tomatoes 2 medium sized chopped finely 
Onion 1 large chopped finely 
Boiled green  peas 1/2 cup
Green chilies 3 chopped finely
Cloves 6 
Cinnamon 1/2 inch piece
Ginger garlic paste 1 and 1/2 tsp
Pav bhaji masala 1 tsp
Chili powder 2 tsp
Turmeric powder 1/2 tsp
Butter 2 tbsp
Salt to taste

For Garnish:

Cilantro chopped finely 1/4 cup
Lemon wedges 2 to 3

Note:

1. You may also add other finely chopped veggies like cabbage and carrot to this recipe.
2. To make a vegan version, skip the butter and use vegetable oil.
3.You can also make this the traditional pulao by adding uncooked soaked basmati once the tomato mixture is done and cook in a electric rice cooker or a pressure cooker for 2 whistles.

Directions

You have to make this only in butter. Otherwise its ruinous!!
Heat a kadai with the butter.
Add the cloves and cinnamon. Saute for a min.
Now, add the chilies and onion. Saute till onions become pink.
Next, add the ginger garlic paste and saute for about a min.
At this stage, add the bell peppers and peas and saute till the moisture leaves.
Now, add the tomatoes and a little salt. Psst.. adding salt helps cook faster.
Now, add all the spice powders and combine well.
Cook till oil seperates.
Add the rice and salt and combine gently till the mixture and the rice is mixed well.

Garnish with cilantro and serve hot with a lemon wedge and some raitha.


January 22, 2012

Chivda

As i write this post today, my mind is teeming with those small little blessings we all have in our pockets but dont bother to count them once in a while. More on that in my other blog.  For now, i m going to ramble a little about my love for Chivda. There s a place called  Jagadamba Chivda in Baroda. They make the best crunchiest chivda on the surface of the earth. But there s one thing that i dont like about there. Oil... Loads of it. You can find in a bowl of chivda, a well of oil. And that s simply not admissible. I love chivda but i m never or will never be in love with wells of oil. I made my own chivda at home. Less oil but still the same crunch. And i had bowls of them. Before the TV, reading a book, sitting in the balcony with my chivda in a bone china bowl. I like my bone china bowls you see. I have a fantasy to cook in bone china someday when i m rich enough. Bone china is ridiculously expensive. ( Smirk)
                         Before i begin, i must tell you that you should be prepared to work your hands aplenty.This chivda needs time and some patience.


Prep Time: Under 20 mins
Cook Time: Under 30 mins
Yields about 1/4 kg 

What you need?

Nylon poha 2 cups
Peanuts 1/2 cup
Dalia or broken roasted chickpeas 1/3 cup
Curry leaves 1/4 cup
Green chilies 3 to 4 chopped finely
Cashews broken 3 tbsp
Coconut 1/4 cup
Salt 2 to 3 tsp
Sugar 1 tsp
Hing 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder 1 tsp
Oil 2 to 3 tbsp

How to make it?

Roast the peanuts in the microwave for about 2 to 3 mins on high. Take care not to burn them.
Next, add the dalia and roast for a minute on high.
Keep aside.
Heat a non stick pan with oil. If you want less oil more crunch, use a non stick. Lets think about the cleaning later ok?
Add the green chilies, curry leaves, cashews and coconut. Saute till the green chilies shrivel up. Takes about 2 to 3 mins. Do it on a low flame cos the cashews brown quickly. You can also roast the cashews seperately.
Now, add the turmeric powder and hing.
Add the poha and salt next. Combine well. Now comes the tricky part.
Simmer the flame and keep sauteeing once in a while like every 5 mins until the mixture crisps up.
Takes about 15 mins depending on the poha.
Once done, add the sugar and combine well.
Transfer to an airtight container and enjoy with a nice hot cup of chai. 
Perfect snack for the winters. Healthy, crunchy and guilt free. Not that i care. As if!!

Note: Alternately, you can also microwave the poha at 600 power and keep turning the mixture every 1 min till it crisps up. You will consume lesser oil for this.

Sending this to Radhika s Lets Cook Rice 


January 21, 2012

Oven Baked Tomato Soup

You remember me talking about my hubby s fancy soup only dinners? Well this was made just for one of those. And if you are curious, then let me tell you, that dinner concept has been long forgotten. We are on a fruit only diet now. I really really need some sympathy from you folks. I mean a girl wants to cook but the boy doesnt want to eat. Imagine that.


I know its not a great picture. I simply was not in the mood to click away that day. Lets just say the shutterbug dint bite me enough.

Prep Time: Under 20 mins
Cook Time: Under 20 mins
Source: loosely adapted from Vardhini
Serves 2

What you need?

4 large ripe tomatoes
1 small carrot peeled and chopped into small cubes
Milk ( i always use high fat. i told you i love my cheese, milk, butter, curd and ice cream) 1/2 cup
Vegetable stock 1 cup
Olive oil 2 tbsp
Garlic cloves 3 to 4
Onion small one not that hideously large onion out of which you already have scallions coming 1 chopped coarsely
Pepper 1 tsp
Salt to taste

For Garnish:

Cream 1 tbsp

How to make it?

Chop up the tomatoes roughly and place them on a baking sheet. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Drizzle 1 tsp olive oil on the tomatoes. Sprinkle pepper and salt. Bake for about 10 mins. Keep an eye on the oven after that as the tomatoes tend to burn quickly if they are ripe. Keep aside.
Heat a soup pan or whatever pan that you have. Who knows as long as they can have some soup? Now, add the remaining olive oil.
Saute the onions and garlic just till they are soft.Takes about 2 mins. This is a soup and not a curry so dont overdo the sauteeing.
Now, add the diced carrots and saute for 2 to 3 mins.
Add the roasted tomatoes and saute for about a min.
Toss in some salt and pepper. Combine well.
Add the stock and cook for 4 to 5 mins.
Let it cool. Blend to a puree in a blender.
Transfer to the same pan.
Add the milk to this and simmer for about 3 mins.
Dont boil the soup as the flavours vanish away.
Serve hot garnished with cream and croutons. I dint have any handy.


January 20, 2012

Jawarisi Vadai| Sago Fritters

Sago is an everybody s favourite here. Little translucent pearls. Make them into kichdi, upma, kheer or these crispy fritters, anyone will love them. I m not very fond of sago kheer. But anything else which has sago and i m jumping forward to grab a bite. I made these fritters long ago. I dont even remember when. That long ago. But it came out so well that i thought it will be a regular on our palate. But then , hubby launched into this crazy low carb fruits and fibres only diet. Imagine!! How can someone live like that?? Duh.... So sago fritters was forgotten. Then, when i was clearing up the picture folder on my lappie, i discovered these fritters and i thought, oh my god!! I ve not posted this.... I think that is prejudice.


Prep Time: 1 to 2 hours
Cook Time: Under 20 mins
Yields 10 to 15 fritters


What you need?

Sago or sabudhana or jawarisi 1/2 cup
Rice flour 1/2 cup
Green chillies 4 to 5 chopped finely
Peanuts roasted 2 tbsp crushed roughly
Sour curd 1/4 and a lil more
Salt to taste
Grated coconut 2 tbsp( optional)

Oil for deep frying 2 cups

How to make it?

Add all the ingredients except the oil in a mixing bowl.
Start adding the curd and knead in to a dough. You just have to add enough curd to bind the mixture into a dough like mass.
Let it rest for an hour or till the sago becomes soft. Different varieties of sago take different times to soften. So adjust accordingly.
You will find that the dough is crumbly now. The sago absorbs all the curd so the mixture becomes crumbly.
Add a little water if you feel the dough is too loose to bring back the dough like consistency.
Make small equal size balls of the dough and flatten them to little discs.
Heat up the oil in a kadai.
Drop the discs in the oil and fry on low flame until both sides turn golden brown.
Drain on a kitchen towel.

Serve hot with ketchup or mint chutney.



January 18, 2012

Black And White Wednesdays 5

I ve been shooting for 5 weeks wednesday in a row. Well i missed one. So please be a sweetheart and ignore that!(wink) Here comes my entry for this week.


Candied Ginger For Some Sweet Hunger Pangs 
This goes to Susan s BWW event

Mixed Veggie Manchurian

I love chinese. You say c of chinese and my eyes will light up. I m a person who has eaten a zillion steamed rice and jade sauce for lunch while i was in college. I can see all those rolling eyes :) I m crazy about eating chinese food. And then i discovered that my blog my food blog did not even have one chinese recipe. I mean how shameless can that be? I ve gobbled plate after plate of fried rice and manchurian all these years and the recipe is not on my blog!! That s when i woke up. Somehow, i m very provoked to pick up that bag of mushrooms in the refrigerator aisle at the supermarket. Hubby hates it but still i feel a compelling desire to pick it up as though some one s passing me a trophy. Then i come home and fret realising maybe for the nth time that Hubby hates them. I bought the trophy this time too when i went to supermarket. I bought some baby corns too so i dint fret that much huh... Plus i had a nice flowery cauliflower. This trio always spells chinese to me. Indo chinese rather. What ever that comes out of these vegetable is only and only divine. So was this mixed veggie manchurian.


Prep Time: Under 20 mins
Cook Time: Under 30 mins
Serves 3 

What you need?

Now dont be alarmed looking at the ingredient list. Trust me you wont even realise when what got tossed in.

Cauliflower florets cleaned and parboiled 1and 1/2 cups
Mushrooms washed and quartered 10 to 15
Baby corn 10 to 12 slit length wise

For Coating 

Maida 1 cup
Cornflour 2 tbsp
Ginger garlic paste 1 tsp
Red chili powder 1 tsp
White pepper powder 1 tsp 
Oil 1 tbsp vegetable or sesame oil
Salt to taste
Water for mixing the batter say about 1 and 1/2 cups

For Deep Frying

Oil 2 to 3 cups

For the Sauce:

Tomato ketchup 1/2 cup
Chili garlic sauce or chili sauce 2 tbsp
Soy sauce 2 tbsp
Garlic cloves 6 minced finely 
Ginger 1/2inch bit crushed well
Spring onions 3 to 4 stalks chopped finely 
Onion 1 medium chopped finely 
Green chilies 3 chopped finely 
Sugar 1 tsp
Ajinomotto 1/4tsp
Green bell pepper 1 medium chopped finely 
Corn flour 1 tbsp dissolved completely in 1/2 cup water
Salt to taste
Sesame oil 2 tbsp

For Garnish

Spring Onions 1 tbsp chopped finely 

How to make it?

Whenever i want to post a step by step pic, my camera chooses to ditch me royally. It died i mean its battery died just when i was making this. Duh!
In a large mixing bowl, place all the ingredients for coating the veggies. Add water and start mixing the batter to the consistency of dosa batter. It should not be too runny. Adjust salt and water accordingly.
Add all the veggies to this batter and mix well. Keep aside.
Now, heat a pan with the sesame oil. 
Add the garlic, green chilies, ginger, spring onions and onions and saute till the onions turn a light brown.
Now, add the bell peppers and saute till the skin wilts.
Add all the sauces next and combine well. Cook for about 2 mins on medium flame. You can mix all the sauces together and toss them in. 
Now, add the sugar and ajinomotto and mix well.
Add the cornflour mixture. The cornflour would have settled down if you had let it rest sometime. So give it a nice stir before adding to the mixture.
Add salt. Be careful about the salt as all the sauces contain a lil salt.
Now, simmer till the sauce thickens. Keep aside.
Heat a kadai with oil.
Drop the coated veggies in the oil once the oil is as hot as it would be for making pooris.
Fry them in medium flame till they are golden brown.
Drain them on a kitchen towel.
Add them to the sauce before serving and combine well. Serve immediately garnished with onion rings and spring onions. If the sauce turns cold while you fry the veggies, heat up the sauce once again before you add the fried veggies.


Relish it with your favourite pulao or parathas or fried rice.
We had it with Subz polo. Sounds new? Stay tuned for the recipe!!

January 17, 2012

The Gourmet Seven- Here We Come!!!!

Whoever said blogging is only for writing! Seriously!! If someone asks me i would say blogging is for making great new friends. When people of like minds and like interests start conversing with each other, only good stuff materialises out of those little chit chats. When women talk, its not always lazy gossip.  One fine afternoon, when us seven like minded Bursting With Excitement women folk talked, THE GOURMET SEVEN was born.We wanted to explore. To look up those recipes we would never bother with otherwise. To cook from those online recipe journals which have a zillion exotic menus. To whip up a few fancy restaurant style meals at home. To learn to substitute ingredients. Veganise a recipe.( Yes! Thats just a word that i invented!!) Vegetarianise a meat dish. To learn the different kinds of cheese, chocolate and sugar. That is what GOURMET SEVEN all about. So who are these Gourmets??



Radhika Of Tickling Palates
Veena Of Veg Nation
Anamika of Taste Junction
Kaveri Of Palakkad Chamayal
Vardhini Of Zesty Palette
Sangee Vijay Of Spicy Treats
Anusha Of Tomato Blues

What can you expect from the gourmets?? Every month, we choose a common recipe journal available easily to all of us. After that? We ll cook up a plethora. Everything from pasta to payasam, pita bread to parathas, Iranian pilafs and bakalavas, alfajores and nankatais. We ll bake, cook, stir fry, deep fry, shallow fry, broil, toss, saute, blanch, steam and do everything that is connected to food making. When do we post? Every month first week. So get ready for the drools as we saunter up the delish trail.
                 
 We are celebrating with chocolate recipes from BBC Food for the month of February as it is Valentines.
Stay tuned for more............

January 16, 2012

Sakkarai Pongal Tweaked a Lil!

The sky is a riot of colours here. Flecked with colorful kites, the sky looks like a magnified kaleidoscope to me. The mood is festive here with anybody and everybody wanting to see whose kites fly high in the sky. Its uttarayan in Gujarat. That time of the year when it seems as though everything is colours and hues. And it s pongal for us in Tamil Nadu. I did not fly kites. No, i believe we harm those poor birds which fly around so spiritedly by flying kites. So we only celebrated pongal and had a nice time watching those glittery kites flying by.
I m sure a lot of people make pongal and everyone has their own recipe. This is my version and is completely borrowed from my mom. She makes it this way and her pongal is the only version i love. For me, good pongal standards are my mom's.


Prep Time: Under 20 mins
Cook Time: Under 30 mins
Source: Amma
Serves 5 to 6 

What you need?

Raw rice ponni new one preferably 1 cup
Moong dal 1/2 cup
Jaggery grated 2 and 1/4 cups
Milkmaid 3/4 cup diluted with 2 tbsp hot water
Cardamom powdered 1 tsp
Cashews roasted in ghee 15
Raisins roasted in ghee a handful
Ghee 1/2 cup

How to make it?

Wash the rice thoroughly and keep aside.
Heat a kadai with 1/2 tsp of ghee. Add moong dal and saute till aromatic.
Now, in a vessel, add moong dal and the washed rice.
Add about 3 to 4 cups water and pressure cook for about 4 to 5 whistles or until soft and mushy. My rice was old so i had to add more water say i added 4 cups. But 3 will do if your rice is new.
Once cooked, add the grated jaggery and cardamom and mix while the rice is hot. Mash the mixture as you mix in the jaggery. 
Add the milkmaid to the mixture and mix well.
Next, add the ghee to this and combine well. Now, dont count the calories. Go on and be a lil generous with the ghee. You dont make it too often do you?
Garnish with cashews and raisins.
Place in the pressure cooker and steam without the pressure valve for 2 to 3 mins.
Serve hot.

Note: A lot of people add milk to their pongal but i like adding milkmaid. I believe the extra richness in my mom s pongal comes due to this plus i like licking the tin off!! 


January 15, 2012

Carrot Pulao

It is Pongal here. But i m posting a pulao. How off key can i get? If you have ever experienced that " Will burst out soon if i dont shout this out to the world" feeling after you cooked something which became a sell out success then you will understand my off key post. I recently went on a shopping spree. Stocked my cookbook library to the end of the racks. Dad sponsored. So a zillion thanks to him. I fell in love head over heels immediately with a few books that i bought and one of them was Malliga Badrinath s Rice recipes. As always, i had the urge to try every one of them in book but this one pushed me to the point of saturation. The book also made me think of  Lets Cook: Rice by Radhika. I mean not that we dont eat rice at all. In fact its the other way round. Our day does not end without a spoon of hot steaming white rice with a little sambhar in our mouths. But an event on our favourite ingredient only excited me more.


I had rice leftover from the last night. And plenty of carrots in the fridge. Which led to carrot pulao. When someone says carrots, all i can think of is the colour. The rich vibrant orange carrots makes it a delight to any kid. So off this goes to Kids Delight- Colourful Palette and Kalyani s Cooking With Leftovers Hosted By Veena

Prep Time: Under 20 mins
Cook Time: Under 20 mins 
Source: Mrs. Malliga Badrinath s Rice recipes
Serves 3 

What you need?

Cooked rice 2 cups
Onion 2 medium chopped finely
Carrots 4 medium peeled and grated
Cloves 3
Cinnamon 1 inch piece
Ghee or oil 2 tbsp
Salt for taste

To Grind Together:

Coriander seeds 1 tbsp
Grated coconut 3 tbsp
Dry red chilies 3

For Garnish:

Cilantro chopped finely 2 tbsp
Cashews roasted in ghee 10 nos.

How to make it?

Dry roast the coriander seeds and dry chilies in a kadai. Add coconut in the end and fry till light brown.
Let it cool and make a powder out of it. Keep aside.
Now, heat a kadai with oil.
Add cinnamon and cloves.
Add onions and saute till pink.
Next, add the grated carrot and saute till moisture goes away.
Add the ground powder next and combine well.
In a large mixing bowl, place the rice, salt and add the carrot mixture to this rice.
Combine well.
Garnish with cilantro and cashews and combine.
Serve with  Tomato Raitha and Minty Raitha


Note: I ve tweaked the recipe a lil to suit our palette. You can also use peanuts for garnish

This goes to Magic Mingle 1 , Lets Cook RiceKalyani s Kitchen Chronicles Leftover cooking hosted by Veena and Kids Delight Colourful Palette By SriValli hosted by Veena







January 11, 2012

Cabbage Fritters For Blog Hop Version 2

I cant believe time has flown by so quickly. Its 6 months since i started blogging and i ve met some wonderful gourmets across the globe thru blogging and Radhika s Blog Hop. We ve had a wonderful hop in the first version and now we are in the second. This week i ve been paired with Archana of the Mad Scientist s Kitchen. Hopping through her blog was a complete hoopla for me. Some unique recipes find a place in her blog. Her Kokum Sherbet and Pumpkin Salad caught my attention. Bookmarked them. I picked the Cabbage Fritters for the blog hop and oh my !!! What a sensation it was. We loved every bit of it. Thanks to Archana. I ve tweaked the recipe a little to suit our taste but the idea of using cabbage itself is very novel.

Prep Time: Under 30 mins
Cook Time: Under 20 mins
Source: Archana of the Mad Scientist s Kitchen
Serves 2


What you need?

Cabbage chopped thinly and long 1and 1/2 cups

For the coating:

Besan 6 tbsp
Rice flour 2 tsp
Red chilli powder 1 tsp
I couldnt resist them at all!!
Jeera powder 1/2 tsp
Dhania powder 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder 1/2 tsp
Water 1/2 cup
Oil 1 tsp
Salt to taste

Oil for deep frying

How to make it?

In a large mixing bowl, place all the dry ingredients together and combine well.
Add the cabbage to this and combine again.
Let it rest for about 20 mins. Archana recommends resting it for an hour at least. But i dint have the patience.
After 20 mins, add water to the mixture gradually and start binding.
The batter must be a little water than the usual chapathi dough. It should not be runny. Check for seasoning at this stage and adjust accordingly.
Now heat oil in a wok. Make sure the oil is not smoking hot. Heat up the oil just like you would for making Pooris.
Now , drop the coated cabbage in the oil in little lumps. Fry them till golden brown by turning every now and then on a low medium flame.
Enjoy with a cuppa hot tea and a magazine. Trust me, it was sheer bliss.


Note: I dint use the cooked dal Archana used. I was not very confident about that .
And they turn soft after they cool down. They taste best when fried just before eating and eaten hot.

And this goes to Blog Hop Wednesdays version 2New Year New Dish


BWW4

I missed 2 wednesdays in a row. That s not admissible to me. I love wednesdays cos it signifies the near of weekends plus i get to take more pics for Susan s Black and White Wednesdays. I am back again and this is my picture for this week.


Nuts over Peanuts

January 10, 2012

Vegan Chocolate Fruit Cake

You can see that my blog does not evidently have Vegan written over it. I am a person who loves her ghee, butter, eggs and milk. Now vegans. No offence. But when its winter, you want to bake. You go shopping and forget butter and eggs. That s when vegan comes into play. That s typically what happened to me some days back. I baked this way before christmas on one of those days when i really desperately needed to shove a huge chunk of chocolate cake into my mouth. That craving is evil. I opened the fridge only to find that my egg tray was long overdue to be refilled and my stock of butter, the unsalted one of course had depleted over the past weeks due to my wicked indulgences. I scoured the internet for vegan recipes. No i searched for cake recipes without eggs and butter. I came across this one and instantly struck a chord with it. This is originally a cupcake recipe but because the lazy bug bit me, i dint want to go to the trouble of finding that muffin pan in the kitchen, i just baked in an oval mould. Who cares?? As long as you can randomly cut a chunk and pop it into your mouth.


Prep Time: Under 20 mins
Cook Time: 60 mins
Source: Adapted from Allrecipes.com
Serves- No dont ask me that question. Because i served my own self with half the cake.


What you need?

Flour 2 cups
Sugar white or brown 1 cup powdered ( i used brown. I just like using brown cos it has a nice exotic ring to it)
Cocoa powder 1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp
Vegetable oil or canola oil 1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp
Water 1 cup
Soy milk at room temperature 1/2 cup( psst... i used normal cow s milk high fat. I dont care. I told you before.)
Baking powder 1 tbsp ( yes.. that much because no eggs and no butter either. Baking is a science. You have to understand that baking powder makes the cake spongy and soft)
Vanilla custard powder 1 tsp ( optional) I just dont happen to like vanilla extract. Feel free to use the extract if you want to
Salt a pinch

For the toppings:

Chocolate chips any variety ( Toss in whichever you like. I like white chocolate buttons!!) 1/4 cup
Dried Cranberries and raisins dusted with flour 1/2 cup
Orange zest grated 1 tsp( optional)

How to make it?

Place all the dry ingredients except the sugar in a large mixing bowl.


Now, combine well.


Next, powder the sugar in a blender and add to the dry mixture and incorporate into the dry mixture.




Preheat the oven at 175 C.Now, add the wet ingredients one by one starting with the oil. I added the custard powder at this stage. I forgot to do it before. But if you are going to use the custard, then add it when you are combining the sugar.



Now, using a hand whisker start mixing the batter in the same direction until you get a free flowing lumpless 
batter. Takes about 6 to 7 mins to mix the batter.Add the dried fruit at this stage and incorporate into the batter.


Pour the batter into a cake mould or muffin mould. Drop the chocolate chips on the batter. I loved the pattern they made on my batter. Cute as buttons. :) I seriously recommend taking a lick out of that batter. Come on, go ahead and taste that yumminess.


Bake at 175 c for 45 mins to 60 mins until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Mine took 60 mins. Keep an eye after 45 mins. 

My cake had risen beautifully with a cracked surface cos of all the chocolate buttons. Really soft and spongy. Who ever said that cakes come soft only with eggs and butter??? 

The kids who come in to study with me loved it every crumb and bit. I was awarded with hugs and kisses. What more can one want??? :) 
Sending this to Sravs Event CC- Chocolate