April 30, 2012

Baby Corn Pulao Recipe| Rice Recipes

I can see my interest in the blog dwindling. With other things on my mind, i am not able to click much. Lets say i m not feeling very pally with the shutterbugs now. I m cooking a lot though. And what a duffer am i to miss the FBTE yesterday. Well, yesterday was a different story with a runny nose and a hoarse voice. I simply cant click. No focus. And the mind is blank. I cant summon the energy to assemble the food, adjust the lights and click. And then edit. Seems like a herculean task all of a sudden. Maybe it s the heat that s bringing about this lack of spirits.

April 27, 2012

Nutmeg Cake ~ Daring Baker Am I?

Okay, This post s going to be not so great but believe me. You wont mind because the cake was simply ..uhhh... mind blowing. Well i wanted to say it was something else but then changed my mind about it. I m really not upto writing a post today. I m sick. My eyes are watering and i dont have the guts to sit and type. Despite that, i made this nutmeg cake cos it is my first Daring Baker s Challenge.Well, i was so jumping like a mouse who found a piece of parmesan when i got acccepted. I still feel that way when i tell myself that i m a Daring Baker. The Daring Bakers’ April 2012 challenge, hosted by Jason at Daily Candor, were two Armenian standards: nazook and nutmeg cake. Nazook is a layered yeasted dough pastry with a sweet filling, and nutmeg cake is a fragrant, nutty coffee-style cake. Mighty thanks to him for introducing us to the Nazook and this heavenly nutmeg cake.

     The cake s made a lil differently but then, it s an absolute delight. Soft and syrupy, it s a perfect slice to eat in the evenings with some piping hot coffee. I enjoyed the whole process of making it and well, nothing to beat the aroma which wafted through the whole house in the afternoon while i baked it.

Prep Time: Under 30 mins
Cook Time: 30 to 40 mins

( Try and use a springform pan to bake this cake. Feel free to throw in other spices like cinnamon and cardamom with the nutmeg. Try and grate the nutmeg just before you are going to add it to the batter. Smells divine. You can bake this without the nuts too. Or you can add other nuts like pistachios and cashews too. But toast whichever ones you are adding. I ve halved the original recipe here which explains the half of a beaten egg. You can go ahead and double the ingredients and in that case, crack the egg and add the nutmeg to it. Then whisk it on high speed for about 1 min until frothy and then add the milk. Then continue with it as mentioned below.And my cake s dark cos i used some very dark brown sugar.)

What You Need?

Flour 1 cup
Butter 6 tbsp
Brown sugar firmly packed 1 cup powdered
Baking soda 1/2 tsp
Baking powder 1 tsp
Milk 1/2 cup
Half of a beaten egg ( beaten until frothy)
Nutmeg powder 3/4 tsp
Vanilla extract 1/4 tsp
Walnuts toasted 1/4 cup

How To Make It?

Combine the baking soda and the milk and keep aside.
In a mixing bowl, sieve together the baking powder, flour and sugar.
Now, add the butter to this and mix until you get a crumbly mixture in a brown color.
In another bowl, add the egg, vanilla and nutmeg powder and whisk for about a min.
Now, add the milk mixture to this egg mixture. Combine well and set aside.
Now, grease your cake pan generously.
Divide the crumbly flour mixture into half and press one half of the mixture into a crust in the cake pan. Use your knuckles to do this. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 175 C.
Now, add the egg milk mixture to the the remaining crumbled flour mixture and combine well with a whisk until there are no lumps.
You will have a very liquid batter at this stage.
Pour this batter over the crusted layer on the pan.
Add the nuts to the batter.
Bake for about 30 to 40 mins until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

Enjoy with a cup of coffee or a tall glass of iced tea.

April 26, 2012

Peanut Butter Cookies

I got immensely lucky today. Not because i went shopping. But because i found cream of tartar. No let me think. Is it the tartar? Not really. Its because i baked a decent batch of cookies today. And i baked one of my favorites. If you ask my what my favorite flavor of ice cream is, i wont tell chocolate. You see, i m a lil abnormal in that sense but still my favorite is a banana split concocted with flavors of mint, coffee and peach. I m a lil abnormal when it comes to cookies too. My favorite cookies are not stuffed with chocolate to the brim. They are full of nuts but peanut butter has a soft spot in my heart. I m in love with peanut butter all the time. Eating it from the jar directly s a vice that i have had ever since i turned 18. And this s a complete secret. Not a soul knows. Well, it s no longer that way. Now that i ve told the whole world.
        Anyway, i love cookies but buying them is so not my style. And buying them from Cookie Man is definitely not me. I hate cookie man. Any cookie from their oven puts me off instantly. I ll go from all chirpy to sour faced if you give me a cookie from cookie man. I ll tell you one more secret. The reason is i envy them. I can bake cakes, bake breads. but cookies. No. They evade me like the elusive sages in the forest who dont appear at all. So when i take a look at the row of cookies in a Cookie Man, i become jealous. So green. And then i become a sour chick from a chirpy duck. That s the end of Cookie Man story.
       Coming to today s cookie, shall i tell that i wont be jealous anymore when i see those discs of brown crispy cookies at Cookie Man. Because this batch came out from the oven as beautifully as they could. They did crack a little on the top but then they were brilliant to munch on. It s very difficult to stop with one. And i regret making a small batch. Let me just say, bake them and you will love them.

Prep Time: Under 30 mins
Cook Time: 12 mins
Makes 18 cookies

(This s truly a one bowl cookie. You can substitute regular sugar with dark brown sugar. And use olive oil or melted butter instead of canola oil. Use any vegetable oil too. Dont over bake the cookies as i did bake them for 15 mins and i burnt a whole batch. The cookies are soft when you take them out but harden as they cool. So 12 mins s the ideal baking time.)

What You Need?

Flour 1 cup
Peanut butter 1/2 cup
Milk 4 tbsp
Canola oil 3.5 tbsp
Sugar powdered 1/2 cup
Baking soda 1/2 tsp
Vanilla extract 3/4 tsp

How To Make It?

In a mixing bowl, add all the dry ingredients and combine well.
In another mixing bowl, add the peanut butter, canola oil, vanilla and the milk and combine well.
Now, add the flour mixture to the wet mixture and mix until just combined.
Set aside for five mins.
After five mins, give it a nice stir making sure that the dough comes together in one big lump.
Refrigerate the dough for about 20 mins.
Towards the end of the 20 mins, preheat the oven to 180 C.
Line a baking tray with tin foil and grease the foil generously
Using a tbsp, scoop out the dough, shape the dough into small balls and place on the tray.
Now, give it a gentle press to flatten it into discs.
Using a fork, make criss crosses on the discs.
Pop them in the oven and bake for 12 mins.
Remove once they are set and a light brown in color.
Let cool completely and then store in an air tight container.

Enjoy with a glass of cold milk or better yet, have one for breakfast. Who s to know anyway?

April 24, 2012

Butterscotch Blondies Recipe| Dessert Recipes

What do you do when your H is working 12 hours? What do you do when you are wondering when your favorite foodie program is going to begin but then there s an hour left anyway? What do you do when you are done with all your chores and you are left with paltry options like watching reruns of desperate housewives, considering that you are not one? What do you do when you have been grilled by 12 and 13 year olds on adjectives and reported speech?
          The answer is very simple. Make butterscotch blondies. And eat them before you can even properly remove them from the pan. Butterscotch is an addiction. I have many more addictions too. Like banana splits and cheese balls. Even though i go around chastising people on how cheese balls are junk and pav bhaji is not junk.

 I made these blondies yesterday and they tasted incredibly awesome. They were like those truly melt in your mouth kinds. I couldnt even wait for it to cool down before i inverted the pan. I vented my day s fury onto the pan and what i got was a blondie bisected in the shape of the Africa map. But maps aside, the blondie was irresistible. The pics are not great. Thanks to my impatience but the blondie is a sure try. Give it a shot. Please. See, now i m down to saying please and that definitely means you must make them!

Prep Time: Under 20 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins exactly
Yields about 12 medium squares

( You can add white chocolate to this and you will get something that will make you feel like a cat that s swallowed the canary. It s buttery so stop counting the calories while you swallow them and stop feeling guilty after swallowing them. It s a total breeze whipping this blondie up.What i loved about making this is that it involves no fussy whisking till fluffy yada yada..)

What You Need?

Flour 1 cup
Unsalted Butter 1/2 cup melted
Butterscotch chips 3/4 cup
Brown sugar packed 1 cup powdered
Egg 1 large
Salt a pinch
Vanilla extract 1 tsp
Butter for greasing

How To Make It?

Preheat the oven to 175 C. Grease a square cake tray 8X8 dimensions generously and keep aside.
In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light.
Now, add the egg and whisk till light. Maybe for about 2 mins.
Add the vanilla next and combine till well incorporated.
In another mixing bowl, sieve together the salt and the flour.
Add the flour to the egg mixture and combine well making sure there are no lumps.
Add the magic ingredient next~ butterscotch chips.Mix gently making sure that there are chips all over the mixture. We dont want ceratin parts of the blondie with concentrated levels of butter scotch, do we?
Transfer this mixture to the cake pan. The mixture will be a lil stiff so even it out gently using the back of a spoon.
Drop once gently on to the kitchen surface.
Pop the tray into the oven and bake for 30 mins or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
Let it cool completely before you even attempt inverting the tray or you will have a part of the world map with you like me.

Chop them up into squares and indulge yourself.
Sending this to I Love BakingBake Fest 6 by Vardhini and  Cook Eat Delicious~ Picnic Desserts

April 23, 2012

Paneer Tawa Masala | Easy Paneer Recipes

I was going through my blog last night and i realised that the whole of April, i ve not posted a single decent recipe that s worth my name. Now, that s a thing to be ashamed about. I could see my commitment to the blog fading. And that s because of the weather. Its scorching hot here and i simply cant bring myself to cook something extensive. Let alone bake. The very thought of spending a hot afternoon with my oven is alarming. And i feel the heat as i write the post.
      After having concluded that i ve after all not been civil to my blog, i decided that i must do something about it. And quickly too. And then there are these bunch of recipes that i ve tagged and retagged but have not made. The fun which lasts as you go on tagging fizzles out when you plan on trying one of them. I mean, it s easier to read about chopped onions but doing the very act is you know a lil tearful and a lil smelly. See what i mean?

     I m out of my lazy phase. And to celebrate that, i made paneer tawa masala, a recipe that i tagged 3 months back but got around to making it only today. Oh the curry was simply brilliant. It was divine to dunk a piece of phulka into the gravy along with a chunk of paneer. A party recipe that you can indulge in again and again. Something that s sans all the cashews and grinding but flavorsome and filling.

Recipe For Paneer Tawa Masala
( Learn how to make Paneer Tawa Masala, spicy curry with marinated cottage cheese cubes)

Prep Time: 45 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Serves 2
Allergy Info: Gluten free
Course: Accompaniment
Cuisine: North Indian


Paneer 1.5 cups cubed
Onion chopped finely 1 large
Tomato puree 1/2 cup
Oil 4 tbsp
Fresh cream 1 tbsp
Garlic paste 1 tbsp
Green chilies minced 1 tsp
Turmeric powder 1/2 tsp


Shah jeera or caraway seeds 1/8 tsp
Cumin seeds 1/2 tsp
Ajwain or bishop s weed 1/2 tsp
Kasoori methi or dried fenugreek leaves 1 tbsp crushed

Spice Powders:

Coriander powder 1 tsp
Chili powder 1/2 tsp
Punjabi garam masala 1/2 tsp
Chaat masala 1 tsp


Coriander leaves chopped finely 2 tbsp


In a mixing bowl, add the chaat masala, kasoori methi, chili powder and the turmeric powder and combine well.
Add the paneer cubes to the this and mix well ensuring the paneer is coated well with the mixture. Keep aside for 30 mins.
Heat 1.5 tbsp oil in a kadai.
Add the cumin seeds and ajwain.
Once they crackle, add the onions and saute till light brown.
Now, add the garlic paste, green chilies and coriander powder and saute for a minute.
Add the tomato puree next and combine well.
Cook till oil separates from the mixture.
At this stage, add the cream,caraway seeds, punjabi garam masala and salt and mix well. Saute on  medium flame for about 2 mins.
Add about 1/2 cup of water to this mixture and mix well.
Bring to a boil. Switch off the flame and keep aside.
Now, heat another pan with the remaining oil and shallow fry the paneer cubes till light brown on all sides. Takes about 8 to 10 mins on medium low flame.
Now, add the gravy to the paneer and combine well.
If the gravy is thick, dilute with a lil water and cook for about 5 mins until it begins boiling.
Once it begins boiling, switch off the flame and garnish with coriander leaves.

Serve hot with rotis or Butter Nan.
Sending this to Healthy Diet~ Veg Side Dishes by Priya

April 22, 2012

Spice Up Your Blog~ FBTE 5

Hi.. It s sunday and boy! i m so glad to be back to blogging. Somehow, for reasons unknown, i simply dint feel upto blogging the whole of last week. So, i thought i ll give my brain a rest and now, i m back in action. Today, lets talk about spicing up your blog a lil bit.
    Now, we all like a little bit of spice on our blogs. I hope you all agree. I mean, no one gets hooked on to posts that are monotonous. A picture speaks a thousand words. No other statement could agree better with blogs. I am going to do this in 2 or 3 posts starting from today. All of them will be short but i promise, you will have a great blog if you play along a lil.
        What are the possible ways in which you can spice up your blog? The whole process can be seen in two ways. One- to add nice gadgets like popular posts and recent posts. The other one would be to do the gadgets and then, with a lil tweaking, adding a nice header, a drop down menu and stuff like that. The second one is a fantastic option because you can even try and get a professional layout for your blogs. So, while you are reading this, have a look at my space. You can see that i ve added drop down menus and recent posts gadgets to my blog. Now, i ll take you through some elements that can make your blog look a great deal super!!

What can be added to hook your readers??

  • Google offers various gadgets like popular posts, recent posts and recent comments. There are also gadgets available on the net which allow you to have stuff like feed burner counts and pageviews counts. I ll do a post on popular posts with thumbnails and recent posts in detail next week.
  • The most important thing when coming to adding stuff to your blog is not to overdo it. There s no written rule that you have a popular post, recent post and a random post gadget. When you have too much, then its distracting. We are looking at elegance.
  • Looking beyond gadgets, a food blog has to be readable and if you want to improve your readership, then oh please!! keep an eye on your basic background colors. Somehow, blogs in white or gray or  lighter shade backgrounds look very elegant and professional. No offense to bloggers who do it the other way. But planning a color scheme is difficult for dark backgrounds. So white and gray are the best bets. And photos look terrific too.
  • Choose a readable font. There s no point in blogging a great recipe if its not readable. If you want your readers to catch on to your space, then make sure they can read your posts without effort. Choose a nice size and a professional looking font for your posts. In fact fonts play a vital role in almost all aspects.
  • A pages tab is a super nice way to make your blog look professional. So add the pages tab gadget if you havent added it yet.
  • A drop down menu involves a lot of coding but believe me, it makes your blog look amazing. Will do a detailed post on that too soon..
  • Before you add a gadget, think from your readers shoes. Will this gadget be of any use to me? Will i like seeing this on someone s space? Stuff like that you know. As much as i agree that it s your blog, there are people reading your space and so keep them in mind.
  • Connect with your readers. Give them insights on who you are and what you do when you dont don the apron. Write a nice about me page. It gives a personal touch to any blog.
  • And then there s the header. A header makes all the difference. Oh there s the favicon too which can create a niche for yourself. I ll try and post a few free to use headers soon. If you want me to do a header for you, shoot me an email. I ll also take you through some photoshop techniques when i do the posts on headers.
So, that s it for today. Beginning next sunday, lets begin work on spicing. No new recipes this week for me. Only tried and tested ones. Like i made this decadence and then some Mint centered chocolates. Too much chocolate for a not so chocolatey person. But still, Mr. P enjoyed it and his wide grin is worth any effort. Any new cooking on your front?? Let me know! And come back next sunday...

April 21, 2012

Mint Chocolates~ Homemade

A post on my space is way overdue. Thanks to the weather, juggling between shopping and spring cleaning and socialising like there s no tomorrow. It s been a heck of a week punctuated with eating out too often. And hence, there has been no chance to cook. Lunch was only simple meals and breakfast was breakfast as usual. So amidst all this mayhem, i really couldnt find the time to make some thing that can be called a part of a filling meal. But that dint stop me from making chocolates at home.

         Ever since i bought that pretty little glossy book on chocolates by Nita Mehta, i ve been dying on and off to make them chocolates. Now, todays batch or rather day before yesterdays batch was made on a whim. I realised that planning to make them was only going to remain planning and never materialise into some yummy chocolates. So, the other day, even when the temperature was hovering a lil above 39 C, i couldnt stop myself from entering into the kitchen and chopping up the chocolate. Let me tell you, once you make chocolates at home, your conception of chocolates and cocoa will change manifold. Such is the beauty of the whole process and then the chocolate itself.

       After flipping through Nita Mehta s book, for like maybe the 100th time, i zeroed in on 2 recipes. Mint filled chocolates and marble chocolates. Because i think mint is exotic and because i was bored with marble due to the extensive gorging on the marble cake that i made sometime before, i settled on mint chocolates. Also, i couldnt wait to try the mint essence that i had finally managed to discover after much huffing and puffing in Baroda. It will be a totally crass understatement if i say the chocolates were fantastic. Like one of my students said, they were out of the world. But the biggest compliment came when a friend said i could wrap them and sell them. I m not a chocolate person. No, not even a tiny one. But then even i couldnt resist these and they were terrific. I made a baby batch for i am still in the beginner league of making chocolates at home. But then there were calls for more and some more. So give it a shot and it actually doesnt take much effort or time.

Prep Time: Under 30 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins to make the sauce 
             20 mins to melt the chocolate
             10 mins to set the shells
             2 hours to set the finished batch of chocolates
Yields 12 chocolates

( Choosing the right mold for your chocolates are very important. You wouldnt need a very deep one for these chocolates though. Try buying one of those silicone molds. They are pricey but the shapes are beautiful, tapping the chocolates out is a breeze and is no fuss when it comes to cleaning. You must give it the said time to set. When, melting the chocolate, make sure the pan in which you melt it s completely moisture free and that it fits exactly over the deeper pan. If you have steam coming out, then your chocolates may not be great. For more details on melting chocolate read this)

What You Need?

For The Chocolate:

Cooking chocolate dark 150g chopped coarsely
Molds of your choice

For The Filling:

Polo mint sweets 12
Sugar 5 tbsp
Corn flour 1/2 tsp
Fresh Cream 2 tbsp
Mint essence 1/4 tsp
Green food coloring the liquid ones a small drop(optional)


Chocolate mold of your choice
Double boiler or a pan which will fit into a larger vessel perfectly but having gap between the bottoms of both.

How To Make It?

Making The Sauce:

Combine the polo sweets and sugar and blend to a fine powder in a blender.Sieve and set aside.
In a mixing bowl, add the mint sauce, cream, food color and the powdered sugar mixture and combine well.
Heat a heavy bottomed pan and pour this into the pan.
Stir continously for about a min on medium flame until you get a semi solid consistency.Dont cook for more than a min as the sauce hardens as it cools down. We dont want mint brittle here. So be easy on the sauce.
Set aside to cool.

Making The Chocolates:

Fill a large pan to half with water and bring to boil.
Place a pan over the pan of water and make sure that steam doesnt escape from the sides.
Now, add the chopped chocolate to the pan and wait for it to begin to melt.
Once it begins melting, start stirring the chocolate with a dry wooden ladle until its completely melted and the chocolate is shiny in texture. Let it cool for about 4 to 5 mins.

Making the shells:

Spoon a tbsp of chocolate into each of the grooves in your mould.
Drop the mould gently on to the kitchen surface.
Now, invert the mould into the pan in which you melted the chocolate. All the excess chocolate comes out and you will have the sides of your grooves coated in chocolate. Now put the mold into the freezer for about 10 mins until set.
In the meanwhile, place the chocolate over the hot water.
(in my opinion, this is the time when the curious cat in you wants to open the fridge every second minute to check if it s done. But resist the urge and just think about the chocolates)

Filling The Chocolates:

After 10 mins, take the mould out and set on a kitchen surface.
Spoon about 1 tsp of the filling into each groove.
Once you ve filled all the grooves with the filling, pour the melted chocolates in the mold till it overflows.
Gently drop the mold on the surface.
This is to make sure that the chocolate coats the filling completely and the chocolate s sealed. It looks very ugly if you have some filling peeping out.
Now, put this in the fridge to set.
Takes about 1 hour to 1 hour and 45 mins.Mine took exactly 1 hour and 20 mins.
If you tap the chocolate on the top and if it s hard, then you know it s done.
Now, gently tap the chocolates onto a clean surface.
Transfer to a clean air tight container and keep refrigerated.

You can even wrap them up as small gifts!!

April 16, 2012

Carrot Kosambari Recipe ( Shredded Carrot Salad)| Salad Recipes

I ve been wanting to post some easy peasy recipes that may look like you slogged out in the kitchen but in fact, it dint take 10 mins to put together. The kosambari or the koshimbir is an eternal part of any festive meal in India across most of the cuisines. In madhwa tradition, we have 2 kosambaris for any auspicious meal.    
           The concept of a traditional thali has never failed to intrigue and amaze me at the same time. If you observe keenly, it can be made out that the whole thali is such a balance of indulgence and health. While the koshimbirs are indian salads traditionally made with soaked and uncooked lentils combined with carrots or coconuts and lemon juice ocassionally, the poriyals or the subzis are always one boiled vegetable stir fried and the other a root veggie that s roasted or any veggie that s shallow fried.Brilliant thought. While the shallow fries are for the young and the bubbly, the stir fries are a boon to the old people who have difficulties in digesting the food.


April 15, 2012

Organising Your Blog ~ FBTE 4

It s another sunday. I cant believe i m writing the fourth post on the FBTE series. The temptations to tweak and redesign one s blog is too much to resist. As i have mentioned before, i almost tweak my blog on a bimonthly basis. Call that joblessness. Mr.P knows what i m doing if the jangling and clattering from the kitchen is conspicuously absent. He knows that i m doing something with my blog. Either i m writing a post or doing something with the tags and codes thingies. It s addictive and i cant help it.

    Today is not about a tweak. It s about something that a food blog must essentially have in order to get some spice value added to it. The work is time consuming. And it s a pain doing the copy pasting. But the results are very rewarding and it makes a great impact on your readers. In the sense that it gives your readers an idea of what your blog contains without any sweat. A rule of thumb for any blogger. You are not writing for yourself. You are writing for the world. So you have to make the whole concept catchy. As promised, i m here to share my two pence on Alphabetical recipe index for a food blog and event promotions for your blog.
     First things first. Lets be done with the uphill climb of drafting an alphabetical recipe index.

Why You Need An Alphabetical Recipe Index?

Basically your readers must know what your blog contains. And in the case of a food blog, it becomes mighty important because there are too many of them out there and you have to have something that s catchy and yet less time consuming.

How To Go About An Alphabetical Recipe Index?

Now, this is definitely no picnic. Drafting an index will take you some time and needs plenty of patience. I ll tell you how i did it. And no, there s no easier way other than this. I m telling you this after 5 days of constant googling before i began my list.

Step 1

Go to dashboard- edit posts( old interface)/ post list( new interface)

Step 2:

At the top right corner at the far end, change the number of posts to display to the number of posts that you have written.

Step 3:

Now, in the case of old interface, you have an option called view to the left of each post title. Right click on view next to a post title and open the post in a new tab.

Step 4:

Once the post opens up, go to the address bar of the post and copy the link address.

Step 5:

Paste the link address on to a word document. Repeat the same process by beginning from the top and stick to an order.

Step 6:

Once you reach the finish copying all the links of your posts, go to the word document and edit the name of the link to the way you wish it to appear. Make sure you name the recipe in such a way that your readers get to know the name of the recipe instantly.

Step 7:

Once you are done with editting the names of the links, use the sort option in MS Word and sort the titles alphabetically.

Step 8:

We are done with all the cumbersome steps now. Once the sorting is done, insert letters before each set of posts beginning with that particular alphabet. For an idea, have a look here.

Step 9:

That s it. We are almost done. Now, copy the whole document.
Go to blogger- dashboard- (posting- edit pages- create a new page)old interface/ ( dashboard- post list icon- pages- new page)new interface.

Step 10:

Paste the copied document on to the new page and format accordingly. And hit publish.

Assuming that you have a pages gadget already installed on your blog. If you dont have one, add the gadget on the layout page.

Thats it. We are done with the compilation. Depending on your number of posts, this may take longer or shorter. After adding all posts links, make it a point to update the list as and when you publish a new post.

Now, the easy aspects of food blogging.

If you are hosting an event or guest hosting an event on your blog, then tell it out to the world.

Use the image gadget and link up the logo of your event to the event announcement page. There s an event gadget too on blogger but i dont find it very useful for a food blog.And make sure you place the gadget on a conspicuous place on your blog. A picture speaks a thousand words. So instead of using a marquee or text links, make the best of the image gadget and promote your events. Also, there are many sites out there which have a tab on food blog events. Leave a comment with the link to your event and its details on such pages so that many people get to know about it. More importantly, use the social networks to promote your events.

That s it for this sunday. In the meanwhile, what s news on your cooking front?? I  tried a delectable lentil stew and some sweet and tangy pine apple rasam today. Recipe coming soon this week. Stay tuned.

April 13, 2012

Vegetable Biriyani~ Tamil Style

As far as i know, there are 100 s of versions for biriyani out there. Each one claiming authenticity of course. The options are many but not all biriyanis linger on your taste buds long after you eat them.While the biriyani is a classic meat dish, i must say, the culinary adventurers have turned out some yummy vegetarian biriyani versions too. But biriyani s biriyani at the end of the day. Complete with all the aromas, spices and flavors. I must say the dish is a flavor medley and quite easy to put together. But the easiness ends right after you put the ingredients together. A great deal of thought goes into getting the spice levels right. And the flavors are a totally different story altogether. I ve never stopped being amazed at the turn out of different tastes in the same biriyani made by different people.

      Today s version s somewhat authentic. I m still a lil apprehensive to claim total authenticity. But the recipe s a close chuddy buddy s version. Ok... not chuddy buddy. But lets say salwar kameez buddies. And she s an amazing cook. No biriyani entices me as much as her version does.I can eat her version day in and day out. I wouldnt mind. I must admit that i missed the biriyani bus before. I really dint know what stopped me from making it. Such a duffer i turned out to be. I regret all those biriyani less occassions that have passed me by. But from now on, it s biriyani that ll rule the roost if its a party or some cozy clique dinner. Oh.. why .. on earth did God not bestow me the intelligence to make biriyani before!!

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

( This version s like any other south indian dish. Versatile. You can add mushrooms, soy chunks. Anything. But no not paneer. That s a recipe for disaster. For a slight variation, you can try and cook the whole biriyani in coconut milk first, second and third press. Garnishing with roasted cashews enhances the flavor. The biriyani tastes best when eaten with plain onion raitha. And potato crisps are also a great choice to go with it.Feel free to cook the biriyani in ghee too for a rich taste.)

What You Need?

Basmati or biriyani rice 1 cup heaped
Mixed veggies ( carrots, cauliflower, peas, potatoes) 2 cups cleaned, peeled and cubed.
Tomatoes 2 medium chopped coarsely
Onions 2 large chopped finely
Garlic cloves 6 grated
Cloves 3
Marathi moggu 1
Cinnamon 1" piece
Bay leaf 1
Cardamom 1
Oil  3 tbsp
Salt to taste

To grind to a paste:

Grated coconut 1/4 cup
Chopped coriander leaves 1/2 cup
Green chilies 9
Ginger 1/2 " bit
Garlic cloves 8

How To Make It?

Soak the rice in 1.5 cups of water for 15 mins.
In the meanwhile, heat a wide heavy bottomed pan and saute the chilies and garlic that are meant for the paste. Saute until aromatic and let cool.
In the same pan,heat the 3 tbsp oil and add all the spices first.
Saute for about 30 secs.
Add the onions and the grated garlic next and saute till onions are light brown.
Now, add all the veggies and the tomatoes and saute for about 2 to 3  mins. Reduce the flame to the lowest.
In the meanwhile, grind together the coconut, chilies, garlic, coriander and ginger to a fine paste adding water little by little as necessary.
Once done, add this paste to the veggies.
Saute for another 2 mins on medium flame.
Reduce the flame to lowest and cook covered for about 5 mins.
Now add in the rice along with the water and salt.
Mix well.
Cook until done on the pan itself or transfer to a pressure cooker and pressure cook without the pressure valve for 15 mins on a low flame.
Alternatively, you can also transfer the entire contents to an electric rice cooker and cook till done.

Serve hot with some raitha.

We relished our biriyani with mint raita followed by some cool fortified curd rice

April 12, 2012

Stuffed Buns

Having lived in a hostel for 5 years, i must say i had become quite an expert in discovering alternatives for boring food. Well boring is an understatement. Can i say drab? I m not sure whether even that fits the bill. Food was not food. That was all i can say. And the most gruelling meal time was dinner. Rice, some sambhar and some chutney. Rice, some curry and some raitha. Rice, sambhar and some chutney. That was how the menu was. And i am a person who cant eat the same thing twice in a month. Call me pampered. But i simply cant bring myself to eat the same thing again and again like a cow who chews her cud. I m fond of food. And i m more fond of variety in food. I am a person who eats a 3 course lunch, a healthy breakfast and some delicious dinner. Not rice definitely for me for dinner.

   What do you think kept me alive on all those nights when it was chickpea and eggplant sambhar for dinner? Or worse yet bottle gourd chutney? The matron feels compelled to make chutney out of anything that grows on a plant. I said feels because she s still that way. I lived on food from sandwich joints and iyengar bakeries that dot the landscape of Bangalore. When i had company, it was a ballyhoo of a dinner. But when i was alone, it was always a sandwich from Oven Fresh or stuffed buns from Iyengar Bakery.
     I can still remember the fragrance of freshly baked goodies wafting through the lane as i walked by towards the bus stand. I ve been found standing undecided in front of the bakery. The potpourri of baked goodies always muddled me. I was always thinking whether to buy that crunchy paneer puffs or some soft and spicy stuffed buns. The buns always won hands down. No matter what i picked up, my packet always had 2 of these. They would last me the next morning in case they decided to make concrete for breakfast. Oh.. concrete is upma which you have to pry with a spoon before you put some into your mouth.
      Then things changed. Mr. P my knight in shining armor arrived and whisked me off to Baroda. I began baking. And from the time i began baking, there has been this incessant itch to recreate those sinfully soft and spicy buns. Stuffed with boiled potatoes and roasted peanuts. They had varieties too. Paneer and capsicum. Mixed veggies. All of them were favorites. Finally, i got around to baking them yesterday and i must say, it was an incredible experience baking them. The aroma of those buns lingered long after i stored them.

Prep Time: 20 mins to mix and knead the dough
             10 mins for preparing the stuffing 
             1 to 1.5 hours for the first rise
             20 mins for the second rise
Cook Time: Under 20 mins for the stuffing
             15 mins to bake the buns        
Yields 8 buns

( These buns make a great starter. They taste amazing with a bowl of soup. Or makes a good snack after school too. You can make the whole thing with only wheat flour. But then, you will need a lil more fluid. May be 1/4 cup more of either milk or water. Or make the whole thing with maida. But reduce the fluid accordingly. Feel free to make any kind of stuffing. Maybe some chickpeas and other lentils. Or even cottage cheese and onions. Or even spiced up scrambled eggs and cheese.It s ok if the veggies for the stuffing s under cooked. They ll get cooked during the baking.I baked 4 at a time because of a small baking tray. You can bake all of them at once too.In case you eat eggs, you can coat the buns before baking with beaten egg white.)

What You Need?

For The Dough:

Maida 1 cup
Whole wheat flour 1/2 cup
Yeast 1.5 tbsp
Sugar 1 tbsp
Salt 1 tsp
Milk 1/4 cup
Warm water 1/4 cup
Turmeric powder 1/4 tsp
Chili powder 1/2 tsp
Oil 2 tbsp
Coriander leaves chopped finely 1/2 cup

For The Filling:

Potato 1 large peeled and cubed
Capsicum 1 chopped finely
Beans chopped finely 2 tbsp
Carrot grated 2 tbsp
Onion 1 large chopped finely
Oil 2 tbsp
Red chili powder 3/4 tsp
Coriander cumin powder 1 tsp
Salt to taste

Flour for dusting
Milk for milk wash

Sesame seeds for topping 3 to 4 tbsp

How To Make It?

In a bowl, mix together the yeast, water and sugar. Keep aside for 10 mins until frothy.
Now, in a mixing bowl, add the flours, turmeric powder, chili powder, coriander leaves and salt. Combine well with a whisk.
Make a well in the middle of the flour and add the oil.
Once the yeast is proofed, add the milk to the yeast mixture and add this to the flour.
Combine until well incorporated.
Transfer to a floured surface and start kneading until you get a smooth supple dough.
Coat the dough with some oil on all the sides and place in a greased bowl in which you can make out if the dough has doubled.
Cover with a damp and clean kitchen towel and set aside until doubled.
In the meanwhile, lets make the filling.
In a pan, heat the oil. Add the onions and saute till pink.
Now add all the spice powders and mix well.
Saute on a low flame for 30 secs.
Add all the veggies, combine well and cook for 10 mins.
Add salt and mix well.
Set aside.
Once the dough has doubled, remove the bowl and punch the dough to flatten. Now, knead the dough for 2 mins.
Divide the dough into 8 equal portions and shape them into small balls.
Transfer each ball into a floured surface and flatten a little using a rolling pin just like how you would do for rotis. But no thinly. Make a thick round.
Place 1.5 tbsp of filling in the middle of the flattened dough ball.
Bring together the sides, seal and pinch the dough.
Repeat for the entire dough.
Now brush the top with milk.
Spread the sesame seeds on a tray and roll the top of the stuffed balls gently on the sesame seeds.
Line a tray with tin foil and grease it generously.
Place the dough balls on the tray 4 at a time.
Cover with a dampl kitchen towel and allow to rise until doubled.Takes about 30 to 45 mins.
Towards the end of the second rise, preheat the oven to 200 c.
Once the dough has risen the second time, bake in the oven for about 12 to 15 mins.
Keep an eye after 12 mins or you will get a burnt bottom on all the buns.
Remove from the oven and let cool on a cooling rack.

Serve with ketchup as an evening snack or have it with a bowl of soup.
Sending these to I Love Baking and Vardhini s Bake Fest hosted by Sumee