March 31, 2012

Chocolate Cornets ~ Eggless

I remember a quote by Mark Twain; " My mother had a great deal of trouble with me. I think she enjoyed it."
This applies without a second thought to my mom too. I troubled her way too much. I was a brat, a spoilt one at that. Combine that with mischievous, picky and cranky. How does that mix work for you?? Gives nightmares right?? So imagine my mom who had to deal with me. She did and she loved the whole modus operandi. But in my opinion, what gave my mother the scariest nightmare when i m concerned?? That s the lazy bug in me. I remember my aunt calling me " Vazhaipazha Somberi" which literally translates to " The Banana Lazy Gal" No.. its got nothing to do with this recipe. The term only means that i m so lazy that i dont even peel my own bananas if i have to eat them.
         There were so many days when mom used to ask me to up and about by 7 in the morning. I used to nod my head with vigour the previous night. But come morning, dawn never came until 10 o clock. I remember days when i used to have a bath at 5 in the evening. Skip lunch. And then feel hungry all again in the evening. Ransack the fridge and if i find nothing in there, then bang went the fridge door with a loud thump. I must give due credits to my lil cousin who taught me to do this anyway. And mom put up with all this. Of course all moms do. But only and only when you tie the knot, do you realise that it was a life of opulence before. I realised that very quickly. Let s say as quick as you can down a glass of water. And i changed too. But that lazy bug? No.. i mean how can that change! Isnt it sinful to be not lazy. I say they must make it illegal. Especially the waking up early in the morning part. Sigh.. Cos i cant do that, i ve stopped seeing any point in me being jurisprudent. Anyway, any guesses why i m writing a micro mini autobiography? Because when i had to make these chocolate cornets, i was lazy. Believe me, Gayathri announced the challenge for april, it was still the first week of March. I had 23 days precisely to make these cornets. But no.. i chose to while away my time. Watched lots of T.V. , read about 3 books in a row and slept like a fat sow. But chocolate cornets. Nope. I did watch the video though. Too many times. So many times that i knew the recipe by heart. Somehow, i couldnt summon up the energy to make those cones and knead the dough. Finally, the time did come for me to wake up and look at the march calendar. 30 days whizzed by and no cornets yet. Heck.. nothing is going as planned. Not that i had a great plan. What mattered was i hadnt made the cornets yet. So this morning, i woke up with a flourish. I set foot in the kitchen armed with the imperative bowl and the ladle. And finally made these cornets. I must say the experience was very rewarding. I enjoyed the concentration and the focus that the cornets demanded. I loved every single minute of making them. Without much further ado, let me introduce you to these magnificently tiny yet yummy in the tummy cornets.

Prep Time: 15 mins for kneading the dough
                        1 hour for the dough to raise the first time
                        20 mins for the second raise
                       20 mins to shape the dough
                       10 mins to make the custard
                       2 hours refrigeration time for the custard
                       Under 20 mins to do the filling 
Cook Time: Under 20 mins for the cornets
                         Under 20 mins for the custard
Yields 10 to 11 cornets

( This is an elaborate recipe. You can also use any other filling instead of the chocolate custard. Maybe some strawberry jam or even some hummus. I wonder how that would taste. Will try and let you all know. If you are an egg lover, then add 2 tbsp of beaten egg to the flour instead of the oil for the dough. And use an egg wash instead of a milk wash.)

What You Need?

For The Dough:

Flour 300 g
Active dry yeast 1 and 1/2 tsp
Warm water 140 ml
Sugar 1 tbsp
Salt 1 tsp
Dry milk powder 1 tbsp
Butter 30 g or 2 tbsp softened
Baking powder 1/4 tsp
Vegetable oil 3 to 4 tbsp

For The Custard:

Vanilla custard powder 3 heaped tbsp
Milk 300 ml
Sugar 1/2 cup - 1 tbsp
Flour 1 tbsp
Cream 3 tbsp
Cocoa powder 3 tbsp
Butter 1 tbsp
Chocolate chips 3 to 4 tbsp

For The Dusting:

Bread Flour

For The Wash:

Milk 1/4 cup

For The Cone Moulds:

Any thick paper or chart paper 12X12 squares about 6
Aluminium foil

How To Make it?

Before you begin the whole process, you have to make your moulds if you dont have them at home.
Take a square sheet of paper which is 12X12 cms. Now, draw a diagnol on the paper.
Start rolling the paper into a cone shape.
Staple the overlapping corners.
Now, take the tin foil and wrap it around the cone.
Fold the protruded edge of the cone on the top and staple. Pinch the edges on the sides.
Grease the molds with oil generously and set aside.

That s it. Repeat the process for all the six sheets of paper and then you are ready to roll.
Lets make the custard now.
In a pan, mix all the ingredients except the chocolate chips, butter and cream. Combine well and strain to avoid any lumps.
Heat the mixture on medium flame, stirring continuously
After about 3 mins, add the cream and incorporate well.
Now, stir again without stopping until the mixture forms a lump.
Remove from heat and add butter. Mix well.
Let it cool.
Transfer to a bowl and cover with a cling film in such a way that the cling film touches the custard. Refrigerate.

Now let s make the dough.
Combine the milk powder, sugar and yeast with the warm water. Mix well.
Set aside until the mixture froths up. Takes about 8 to 10 mins.
Now, in a large mixing add the flour, salt, baking powder and combine well until well incorporated. Now, make a well in the middle of the flour, add the yeast mixture and oil.
Mix this with a spatula until combined.
Grease your hands with a lil oil and start kneading the dough until you get a smooth elastic dough. You will have to knead for 5 mins to get this consistency.
Now, fold in the butter to the dough and start kneading. You will have a messy sticky mass once you begin but after you knead for about 6 to 7 mins, then the dough would have absorbed all the butter and you will have a smooth supple dough again.
Cover this with a clean moist kitchen towel and set aside in a warm place. Allow it to rise until doubles. Takes 1 hour. Poke a finger into the dough. If the dough rises up fast from the groove, then it means it has to rise some more.
After the dough has doubled, knock the air out and knead for about 40 secs.
Now, divide the dough into 10 equal parts and shape them into balls. Line a baking tray with tin foil and grease the foil.
Stretch each ball into a long rope and pinch the ends.
Preheat the oven at 180 C.
Roll the rope of dough on the cone mould starting from the bottom pointed edge.
Place this on the tray. Now repeat the same process for the rest of the dough. You will have 4 parts of the dough. Refrigerate this and use it up once the first batch is done.
Now, do a milk wash with a pastry brush and allow to rise for another 20 mins.
Bake for 13 to 14 mins until you get a golden crust on the top.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
Gently take them out from the moulds.
Fill a zip loc pouch with the custard and seal it into a bundle with a rubber band.
Cut a small hole at one corner at the bottom of the bag.
Place this inside the cornets and pipe in the custard.
Repeat for all the cornets.

That s it... We are done and we have with us beautiful lovelies of chocolate fillings!!
Sending this toBake Fest hosted by Kalyani

March 30, 2012

Tomato Bready~ Tangy And Spicy A guest post for Kalyani

I do not how to begin this post. I have been tongue tied ever since Kalyani asked me to do a guest post for her. Knowing that i m still at the bottom of the rung when it comes to blogging and cooking, someone asking you to do a guest post can leave you speechless. Kalyani and i share something of a sisters' chemistry. I adore the way she writes. Between myriad conversations about the lost charm of Bangalore and the wonder factor of Madhwa cuisine, we both have evolved from being co bloggers to great friends. I am so glad that i struck up the conversation with her that fateful afternoon.
                                      If you ask me how i happened to blog, i will tell point at Mr. P, my hubby. For the life of me, i cant imagine writing stuff for everyone to read . I was very happy cooking, cleaning and reading. Blogging or rather typing up stuff was not a penchant. It was P who gently coaxed me into writing. He even offered to write up posts for me. But once you begin writing or blogging, then there s no stopping i guess. You want to improve on your cooking, you want to explore new ways of cooking and you want to venture out into unfamiliar territories of cooking. That s just what happened to me. I transformed into a maniacal foodie once i began my blog. I threw quite a few people off balance when i became this maniac. Ever since i ve started writing, i ve changed as a person completely. I ve learnt to appreciate nuances of food and i ve also made some great friends. In short, i can tell blogging is therapy to me. I cant imagine a life without my blog. The eager beaver blogger in me has definitely scored some brownie points in my life.
                                 Baking and blogging go hand in hand for me. I began experimenting with baking and it is only this interest which perked up my courage to be more experimental in cooking. I started with a humble eggless chocolate cake. It was  a run of the mill attempt but that did not discourage me. Ever since that paltry cake that i baked, i ve read up so much on baking that i sometimes feel if you put me in the oven, i ll come out as one pretty nice cake. All that reading has rewarded me with some piece de resistance over these one and half years of cooking.

Whenever i buy a bunch of cilantro, i wonder how God made such beautiful flavors. It is complete bliss to stay in a kitchen surrounded by aromas like that of cilantro, cumin or freshly baked bread. Really. I love baking bread from the scratch. And i do it on days when i feel really old. When i say old, i mean very old. I even peep into the mirror to check if my hair has grayed. I got hooked on to baking when i began watching Nigella and Rachel on TV. I used to be so absorbed, my dad used to pretend that he s swatting flies away from my mouth. Somehow, watching Nigella and Rachel always left me open mouthed and tongue tied. I used to watch one recipe, admire her totally and then used to imagine myself making that recipe. But i couldnt have been so wrong. Cos, baking comes with some strings attached. You cant bake a perfect cake or a springy bread until you ve mastered some techniques. You need plenty of patience, a lot of research on baking and the ability to handle heartbreak. For me, if a bread or a cake fails, its as good as the end of a love affair. I ll weep, cry and throw a big tantrum. I can be quite difficult at times. Especially when a bread fails me. I ve made this delicious earthy bread twice now and it s not yet failed me. Tastes heavenly with some soup and pasta. Ha… what bliss it was to sift, combine, mix and knead. Kneading the dough is therapy for me. I love the way in which a totally disoriented mass of flour comes into shape beautifully under your hands. The experience is enchanting. And to wait for the dough to rise is like watching a thriller movie. Edge of the seat experience. But do try this bread and you wont be disappointed at all. The flavors are so homely and warm, you will only want to bake it again.

Prep Time: Under 20 mins to proof the yeast and knead the dough
                        45 mins to 1 hour for the first rise
                        40 mins to 50 mins for the second rise

Cook Time: 30 mins
Yields one 9 inch long loaf
Recipe adapted from 

(It was such a titillating experience baking this bread for me. You can customise it according to your palates. Say you can add cheese, reduce the paprika or even use green chilies instead. I m yet to bake this with cheese though. You can use butter instead of olive oil. I just used olive oil as i wanted a vegan version but in the end, landed up glazing the loaf with butter. Keep an eye on the salt as the ketchup has salt added to it. You might want to add about 1/4 cup of gouda or parmesan cheese if you decide to go with it. In that case, you will require just about 1/2 tsp of salt. You can also roast fresh tomatoes and garlic in the oven, make paste and add it to the dough instead of adding pureed tomatoes. I used dabur home made tomato puree and it worked like a charm. I was being a mere lazy goose here. Feel free to make your own puree. Nothing like home made. Dont knead the dough for more than 6 mins the first time and 1 min after the second rise. The bread tends to become dense if you over knead the dough. And use a 9*5 inch loaf pan for this. Remember, the right size of loaf pan matters cos the loaf might tend to undercook if you use a smaller pan. Substitute sesame seeds with poppy seeds for another flavor totally. You can even add cumin seeds and cilantro to the dough if you want intense flavors. The rising of the dough totally depends on the weather. If its hot, then the rising will be quick. If its cold, it takes time. Alternatively, you can preheat your oven at 180 C for 5 mins. Then cover the dough with a sheet of tin foil and let it rise inside the oven. Dont forget to switch off the oven though.)

What you need?

All purpose flour 3 cups
Tomato puree 1/3 cup
Tomato Ketchup 2 tbsp
Warm water 2/3 cup
Yeast 2 and 1/4 tsp
Sugar 1 tbsp
Salt 3/4 tsp
Red paprika 1 tsp
Oregano 1 tsp
Mixed herbs seasoning 1/2 tsp
Garlic or onion flakes 1 tbsp ( optional)
Olive oil 2 tbsp

Flour for dusting 1 tbsp

For The Topping:

Sesame seeds 2 tbsp

Milk at room temperature for glazing the dough about 1 tbsp

How to make it?

Mix the yeast, sugar and the warm water in a bowl and set aside for 10 mins.
In the meanwhile, place the flour, salt and the spices in a large mixing bowl and combine well.
Make a well in the center and add the pureed tomato, olive oil and tomato ketchup. By now, the yeast should have proofed with a nice frothy layer on the top. Add the yeast mixture in the center.
Start combining the dough slowly until it all comes together in one mass.
Now, transfer the dough to a floured surface and start kneading the dough with your hands for about 5 to 6 mins until you get a soft elastic dough just like that of chapathi dough. Do the whole process of kneading with the heel of your palm, alternating between folding the dough and kneading. (refer notes above).
Once you get a supple and soft dough, transfer this to a bowl greased with oil and cover with a kitchen towel.
Let it rest in a warm place till the dough doubles. Mine took exactly 45 mins.
Once the dough has doubled, knock it down and knead for another min.
Grease a loaf pan generously with oil.
Shape the dough into a loaf and place it in the loaf pan.
Set aside covering with a kitchen towel again in a warm place.
Wait till the dough doubles. Takes another 40 to 50 mins again.

Towards the end of the second rise, preheat the oven to 190 C.
Once the dough doubles, glaze with milk, add the toppings that you desire and place in the oven and bake at 190 c for 20 mins.
After 20 mins, reduce the temperature to 160 C and bake for another 10 mins.
Remove from the oven and let the loaf stay in the pan for 10 mins.
Glaze the loaf with melted butter.
Now, invert onto a cooling rack and let it cool.
Once cooled, cut into slices with a serrated knife.

Enjoy with your favorite soup and a bowl of pasta.

March 28, 2012

Black And White Wednesday 7

This is for Susan who is back with the spring on her feet.

Waiting To Raise A Toast

This is off to this week s Black And White Wednesday

March 27, 2012

Mung Dal Kichdi Recipe| Easy Rice Recipes

Being a south indian, my perception of kichdi was different  until i came to Baroda. Kichdi, back at home, is a form of upma with some turmeric powder and cashews added to it. Some vermicelli at times. And lots of vegetables. But Kichdi, the northie style is a complete contrast. Can i say, that both the versions are like chalk and cheese. While kichadi back home is considered a breakfast option, here, the gooey medley loaded with oodles of ghee ( in most of the cases, that is ) is eaten as a light dinner meal or sometimes even for lunch. Like we did today. Nevertheless, the kichdi duos are my favorites and i can eat them anytime. While i devour  my south rendered kichdi with a bowl of yoghurt, i eat this rice and lentil melange with lots and lots of Kadhi and pickles.

March 26, 2012

Instant Mango Pickle Recipe| Pickle Recipes

There are too many summers when i have had my share of mangoes. When i say mangoes, i dont mean the fruit. I hate the fruits. They are way too messy, sticky and yellowy for me. I hate yellow and i hate sweet and yellow. So mango love is not my thing. But the raw ones are a different story altogether. Spring is not very popular in India. Maybe because that transition period when nature changes its moods from cool to angry is very short here. In my opinion, only february and march are spring months here. Even though i wish we had spring year round. Now that i m in Baroda, where the sun can be so cruel that you wouldnt need a stove to make dosas, i feel springs are a double whammy. We have spring in February, March and a teeny weeny bit of spring shows up again in August and September. But both the springs are characteristically different. So what is the moral of the story? Oh mother Nature! Can we have some more spring please?I mean,  I m a spring person totally. Back in Coimbatore, spring meant cropping up of watermelon stalls around the city and loads and loads of mangoes or should i say parrot beaked mangoes... And they make a brilliant sight at all those roadside vendors' abodes. Beautifully cut up in symmetries and seasoned with chili powder and masalas. Absolute spring delight. If these mangoes make an appearance on the vegetable markets, then they were sure to find their way onto our tables. But i lost out on the pleasures of eating raw mangoes that way when i entered college and later got married. But this year turns out to be a different story altogether. We have parrot beaked mangoes here in Baroda. And i bought them yesterday, like any self respecting Coimbatorean should. And made my mom s super smashing hit pickle out of it. By the way, this is truly on the go. Only thing is you need to chop the mango up. It makes a great pickle for those days when you are going away on a picnic or you just want to eat a simple meal of some curd rice and pickle. So go on and buy the mangoes and pickle them.

March 25, 2012

What Must You Food Blog Have?~Food Blog Tech Essentials~ New Series

When the new year s day came by this year, i realised it was that time of the year to make resolutions. Not that i m great at it. My resolutions dont last even half a day. I remember resolving to wake up at 7 in the morning everyday last year. It s a bleak memory now and i m well past the deadline. In a similar fashion, i resolved to write a blog post everyday for the whole year. But i know i ve failed terribly at that too. Sometimes, its just that i dont want to write a post. Let s say, my mind fails me when i begin typing . And sometimes, it s because i dont have a picture that speaks a thousand words. And a very few times, lets just say some other life changing issues dominate my time. In that sense, i m some 30 posts behind to reach a post everyday deadline. I m not going to do it anytime. I know it. Speaking of which, this morning, i did want to write a post. But then when i browsed through the picture folder on my computer, i couldnt find a picture that s worth posting. And i declared a holiday to my kitchen dearest today. So that meant no cooking, no pictures and no posting. But then the guilt of not sticking to the schedule seeped in like a wave of cold water on a very hot day onto me. After a lot of thought on what to write and contemplating between compiling a glossary list, i gave a thought to this series that i had been wanting to do for a very long time. I ve been getting mails about how i go about a few tech aspects in a food blog. Before i began my blog a year back, i started reading various food blogs ranging from tiny to huge. And i must say i ve picked up a lot of tidbits during the process. This series, " Food Blog Tech Essentials" is an effort to help people who have technical diificulties and modifications on blogger and is confined primarily to food blogs. I hope this helps you all in figuring out what seemed nothing but a big maze of confounded coding. At the moment, i use the blogger platform. And hence, this series will be all bout blogger. But i ll try and do wordpress sometime in the future. Today s post is about what are some columns that your food blog must have. Believe me, your layout and your blog s looks makes a lot of difference in making your blog a notable one. So join me to get a little tech savvy every sunday on this new series Food Blog Tech Essentials with this post today. Why sunday? Because it s an unofficial kitchen holiday here at my home :P

I can say that i ve modified my blog s looks n number of times these last few months. And here s what i felt all food blogs must have at the bare minimum level. I ve posted an outline of what you must have. I ll do detailed posts on every aspect from now on.

  • A food blog must have a good header with a nice tag line. Remember the header is the first thing anyone will notice. So even if you dont have a fancy looking header, atleast make sure you have a legible and neat header. I ll post some free to use headers in the future. You can also mail me if you want a new header for your blog. Just make sure you mention what your requirements are.
  • Social networking buttons with links to your profiles are an essential thing for your food blogs. You must create a platform for your readers to connect with you. 
  • Google friends connect is going away soon. So if you are not on Google plus,make sure you are on to it and  hurry up and make sure you ask all your wonderful followers to connect with you on google plus.
  • Organise all your posts with appropriate labels and make sure you put up a list of those labels in a neat list on your blog.
  • Make sure you put up subscription links to your RSS feeds on your blog.
  • If you are a part of any food blog group or a cooking community, link up the logos to the respective websites and have all of these logos on one side.
  • If you are hosting or guest hosting any event on your space, make sure you put up a prominent link with an image logo on your blog.
  • A search bar is a must. You must let your readers look up stuff at your blog. And where you place your search bar is also important.
  • A food blog must also have a personal touch. Write a short " About Me" note on a page or add one using the gadgets options.
  • No food blog is complete without a comprehensive alphabetical recipe index.
  • Some ways to spice up your food blog are adding the popular posts gadget, random post gadget etc.
  • Classification of all your posts is necessary and compiling them into separate heads and posting them under different pages is also important.
That is the list for today s post. Next sunday, i ll speak to you all on how to go about adding a connect with me gadget for your food blog. And that s not all.I intend to write a little on writing posts, using photoshop, creating pages on blogger and publishing them and making the best of a point and shoot camera for your food pics. That doesnt mean i m not cooking this week. Lots of cooking and some posting to follow. Stay tuned for some yummy recipes.

March 23, 2012

Paruppu Vadai Or Amai Vadai ~ Ugadhi Treat

Memories of amma preparing delicious food on festivals came back flooding to me this morning. Ugadhi is very close to my heart. I look forward to Ugadhi with childish fervor. As a kid, i knew that there were no festivals for a long time after Ugadhi. And that meant, no new clothes and no treats from the kitchen. In that sense, Ugadhi meant loads of unadulterated fun. The neem flower pachadi, some almost gossamer obattus, new clothes are all symbolic of the pleasures of ushering in a new year.
    However, amma cooking for festivals is a memoir not only of ugadhi, but on so many other occasions. Lets just say, i was almost in tears this morning thinking of her. There is some profound happiness in eating a meal your mother made. You may not appreciate it fully. Or rather i had not appreciated it completely. Until i got married. Only when one begins cooking, the craving for the  luxury of eating some one else s meal dawns bright. This post is dedicated only to my mother. For bringing me up the way she did. For making me see the sunny side of life, for introducing me to wonderful books, for teaching me to accept, let go and fight back. Oh! the list is endless. But that s how a mother is i guess. I dont think any one else can teach you to do all three; accept, let go and fight better than a mom. This is for her for loving me so much so unconditionally. Now, i know what you are thinking. If you are going to tell me that you have had enough of this melodrama, then i ll stop right here. And maybe go on to a more delightful memory that i have, of my childhood.
             As an only child, i got all my demands fulfilled. Reasonable or not. That did not give me the privilege of not being told off or spanked though. Mom was a lesser martinet. And hence. So, the question of sharing or waiting for someone else to begin a meal or even share a toy never arose. On almost all the festival days, amma used to make this particular paruppu vadai or amai vadai meaning tortoise vadai. More on that later. She used to soak the dal, grind it to a coarse paste, season it and then drop those rounded discs into a pot full of hot oil. And then after a few minutes, she used to drain them beauties on to a kitchen towel. As a child, watching all this was like magic to me. I was often left wondering how some yellowish looking dough turned so beautifully golden brown and crispy. Well, the real fun part came after she removed them. I used to gobble them before she could bring another batch. I remember so many days when dad wanting to taste one would look in the bowl, and would find it, much to his chagrin, without a trace of those fritters. My dad still recounts this. But now, the charm of eating them has gone. Maybe the prospect of making them holds a greater charm.
       Coming back to the tortoise. In the initial days of my marriage, just when life was blooming for me in the kitchen, my MIL lived with us for over a month. She is a versatile woman, in the sense, her exposure is limited but her creativity and versatility go very far. When she was here, she used to make some special tidbit on sundays for Mr. P and me to nibble. One sunday afternoon, she told me she was going to make thavalai vadai. Which translates to frog fritters. The moment she uttered the word frog, i was alarmed. Seeing me bewildered, she asked me if i like thavalai vadai or aamai vadai. Now, i was truly scared stiff. All i could think was, that we were such strait laced vegetarians and that my parents had married me off to people who ate meat. And that too frogs and tortoises. I was nearly into tears. For, my love for tortoises is greater than my love for fritters. It was only after i explained my confusion to her that she explained that those were all names given to the many dal fritters that she made. And only then did i heave a sigh and tell her that i was a gargantuan addict to paruppu vadai. I even used aamai vadai when i told her that . To this date, my MIL and i burst into laughter when we recount that fateful day when we talked of tortoises and frogs.

Prep Time: 2 hours for soaking the dal
                        Under 30 mins for all else
Cook Time: Under 15 mins for a batch of 4 to 5 fritters
Yields 12 to 15  fritters

What you need?

Bengal gram or channa dal 1 cup
Dry red long chilies 10
Hing a large pinch
Onions 2 medium chopped finely
Saunf or fennel seeds 1/2 tsp
Cilantro chopped finely 1/4 cup
Salt to taste

Oil for deep frying

( I make these in too many ways. What i ve given above is the basic structure. Here are some alternatives.Sometimes, i add a tbsp of rice to the dal while i soak it. This is to get extra extra crispy fritters. You can try if you want to. I also soak 2 tbsp dal extra and set aside. I add these in the end after i ve ground the dal. The little bits of crispy fried whole chana dal tastes heavenly when you bite into them. If you are using the round red chilies, reduce them a little as they are spicier. You can even try green chilies and red chilies in an equal ratio for a change.You can even add coconut to these. And if you want a different flavour, try and add shallots instead of the regular onions. If you are making these on a festival, then feel free to omit the onions and fennel seeds. If you are not a big fan of fennel seeds, then skip them completely.Chop the onions just before you are ready to add them to the batter as they tend to turn bitter if chopped previously. You can refrigerate the batter for 20 mins before frying to avoid more absorption of oil. Gee.. i sound like a health food fanatic Duh!!)

How to make it?

Soak the dal for 2 hours in about 2 cups of water.
Once done, drain them completely. Just let it sit in a colander for about 10 mins and then you should be good to go.
Now, add the dry red chilies, salt and hing to the dal and grind to a coarse paste without adding any water. Do this in a blender and make sure you give a stir to the paste every few grinds. 
Once done, add the chopped onions, coriander and check for seasoning. 
Mix well.
Heat oil in a kadai. While the oil is heating up, divide the batter into equal portions of 12 and make small round discs of them. Keep them ready on a plate.

When the oil becomes hot, gently drop three to four discs one by one along the sides of the kadai into the oil.
Exercise some caution here and make sure your hands are dry and you dont drop them quickly or else the oil splatters and you will be left with nasty blisters on your hands. Try and learn from my mistakes :)

Turn down the flame to the lowest and fry the discs till golden brown on both sides.
They float up to the top when they are done but you may have to fry them for a little more time to get that golden brown.
Remove from the oil and drain on a kitchen towel.
Repeat the process with all the other discs.

Enjoy with a festive lunch or make them when you feel bored of the regular stir fries and curries and have them with rasam and rice. Or better yet, have them with your evening tea.

March 22, 2012

Cooking For Kids~ Zucchini/ Cucumber Round Up

Well. well.... it seems like a round up day today. No dont worry. I shall post today s recipe too in a little while. But before that i must say thanks to Kalyani of Sizzling Tastebuds for giving me an opportunity to host the event. More for having some confidence in me that i do this thing just right. :) I must say she has a very kid friendly approach to food and hence Cooking for Kids. I was delighted to guest host this and seven lovely entries came my way. Many thanks to everyone who sent in their entries. Here s the round up








Thank you everyone for your wonderful entries :) and it was a delight hosting and cooking zucchini.

Street Foods Round Up

 My apologies first. For posting this round up so late. March has been busy for me. In fact busy is an understatement. It s been a long run or rather a marathon. Exams, guest, exams and some more guests. And to top it off, linky tools did not make life easy on the blog either. They went from being free to paid subscription and that change caused a lot of mayhem in my events. I lost the collection database but thankfully, i had a back up on my lappie. Thank God my brain functions at least a little. Pardon me again for doing this round up without the pictures. I dont have pics of all your wonderful entries and if i decide to collect it from all of you, then i know i m never going to post the round up. I received 56 beautiful entries from all of you and that s an overwhelming response for my first event. Pav bhaji, ragda pattice and pani puri topped the list. And that did not come as a surprise because i know they are all unanimously loved. Or should i say universally loved.  I know i ve not done enough justice on this round up. But please do excuse me and bear with me. I ve announced the give away winner here. Congrats to Priya of Priya s easy and tasty recipes on winning the give away for her yummy raw banana fritters. And thank you everyone for being so understanding and tolerant about the delay in posting the roundup. And thanks a million for all those smashing entries you sent my way.


Hoping to see many more entries for my new event Summer Spirits running from march till end of may.

March 21, 2012

Pull Apart Rolls

After a month long exam prep and revision with the children, i heaved a sigh today. A relieved sigh i must say. The exams are finally over and i m actually on vacation. To be honest, i ve not even fretted half as this much for my own papers. Gosh.. it s tough to teach any kid who s not more than twelve years old. Believe me on this please and have some mercy on me too... Kids have a talent for doing all the wrong things at the right time. It s always a crisis when the exams begin. Like for example, my neighbour s kid managed to lose his english note book and the paper is tomorrow. Fantastic timing aint it? Now, i hope you all understand why i feel as though i ve visited a very expensive spa and got myself a very expensive pedicure. That s precisely the way i feel now that the exams are over. Sigh...
To celebrate the finish of such a dreaded phase, i decided to loosen up a bit and make something really yummy. You know, like not thinking of the butter and the cheese and the everything. When i m driven by that kind of force, it s very difficult to stop me. I had a huge collection of recipes already waiting to be tried. Some tagged in a few books. Some book marked. So for once, i dint actually google. I flipped through a hundred page journal. And then i found these pull apart rolls.
Rolls that called out to me. I even heard a voice in my head which questioned me very angrily as to why i did not get such good ideas before. I mean for pity s sake, the recipe has been living in my cupboard for the last 18 months. That s a pretty long time. No wonder i heard voices. Shh... dont tell any one. Anyway, today was for indulging. No looking back on the indulgence too.. Pull apart rolls with all the sinful ingredients and that s it. I bake it and we eat it. Oh no baby!! we are not into that calorie counting and recording phase today. If yo are on that phase, (seriously are you?? think again if you are) then i must tell you to stop reading here. Because, like i said, once you begin on swell ideas such as making pull apart rolls, then you cant stop. By the way, this is my first lick at using whole wheat flour in baking. And i neednt have worried at all. They came out beautifully.

Prep Time: 1 hr and 20 mins including the rising time for the dough
Cooking Time: 35 mins
Yields 11 rolls.

(You can use all purpose flour completely instead of the whole wheat flour. These are very versatile in the sense, you can use any filling you desire. You want a healthy version, you can add mixed veggies with a dash of garam masala. Or you can even try potatoes with a hint of ginger, chilies and lime juice.I ve used gouda cheese cos gouda is the in thing in my pantry at the moment. You can use parmesan, cheddar or even feta but mozarella, i wont recommend.  I used a square borosil oven safe glass bake and serve. Feel free to use any shape loaf pan. Just keep in mind that the rolls need some space to spread out. Remember to grease the pan well. I dint and i had to use a knife to pry them out. Let them cool completely. Then invert and cut them into pieces.)

What you need?

For The Dough:

Whole wheat flour 3/4 cup
All purpose flour 3/4
Yeast 1.5 tsp
Sugar 1 tbsp
Salt 1/2 tsp
Olive oil 2 tbsp+ 1 tsp
Warm water 1/2 cup+2 tbsp
Some milk for coating the rolls.

For The Fillings:

Cottage Cheese and Bell Pepper Filling:

Paneer crumbled 1/2 cup
Bell pepper one small chopped finely
Onion chopped finely 2 tbsp
Tomato Ketchup 2 tbsp
Chili sauce 1 tbsp
Cilantro chopped finely 2 tbsp
Powdered sugar or castor sugar 1/2 tsp

Spicy Garlic Herb Filling:

Butter unsalted 3 tbsp at room temperature
Garlic grated 2 tbsp
Gouda cheese grated 2 tbsp
Red paprika 1/2 tsp
Italian seasoning 3/4 tsp
Cilantro chopped finely 2 tbsp

How To Make It?

Let s proof the yeast first. Add the yeast and the sugar to the warm water and set aside for 10 mins.
In the meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, add the flours and the salt and combine well.
You can see that the yeast is frothy on the top once proofed.
Now make a well in the middle of the flour and add the yeast mixture.
Next, add the olive oil.

Now, start mixing the dough until it comes together as one mass without crumbling.
Knead the dough for anoth 3 mins. The dough must be soft and slightly springy to touch.
Take a bowl in which you can see if the dough has doubled and coat it with 1 tsp olive oil.
Coat the dough with oil and place it in the oiled bowl covering it with a clean kitchen towel.
Place this in a warm place and allow the dough to rise. Takes about 1 hour.
Meanwhile,make the filling.
For the paneer filling, place all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. That s it and you are done. See easy right? No sauteeing no frying :)
Now, the garlic filling.
Beat the butter for about 2 mins until smooth.
Now, add all the ingredients to the butter and mix well.
Set aside.
Grease a loaf pan with butter and keep ready.
At this stage, all you can do is  wait or you can go finish up that growing mound of dishes. You can even play farmville on facebook. Better yet, read a book or catch up with a friend on the phone. I, however watched one whole episode of Nigella s Feast. You can do that too. :)
Once the dough has risen, knock down the air.
Divide the dough into two parts.
Transfer one part to a clean floured surface and using a rolling pin, start rolling the dough to a thin rectangle sheet say about 12 to 13 inches long. Dont worry about the math too much and dont worry about the breadth too.
Now, take the garlic filling and spread evenly on the rolled out dough.
Once you are done with this stage, start rolling the dough and seal when you reach the end.
Cut the dough into 5 or 6 equal parts. ( i told you, just give the math a rest)
Place them in the greased loaf pan.
Now, repeat the same with the other part of the dough with the paneer filling.
Let the rolled up pieces rest for 20 mins in a warm place until they rise.
Towards the end of these 20 mins, preheat the oven to 180 C.
Now,just coat the rolls with some milk on the top. You can even add sesame seeds to them as a topping.
Place the pan in the oven and bake for 30 to 35 mins.
You will see the beautiful golden crust once its done.
Take it out and cool on a cooling rack.
Then, cut them into pieces and store in an airtight container.

Enjoy with a nice hot cup of tea or, this is summer so may be some watermelon cooler would work great