Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Potato Bonda (evening snack)



When the clock strikes 5:00 pm, and when its raining heavily outside, my thoughts would start wandering about a quick snack which could add spice to the atmosphere apart from the regular tea or coffee. I would then decide that it is time I prepared a snack with my husband's favorite vegetable: The old and gold potato :) ....And I would rush to the kitchen to start preparing the snack before he comes from office. I would owe a thanks to my mom who taught me how to prepare this as it was also my first successfull venture in cooking where frying is involved. So here Iam sharing with you her recipe for Bonda.

Ingredients:
------------------

Potato: 2 large nos
Onion: 2 medium sized nos
Green chilli (minced): 4 - 5 green chillies
Ginger: 1 small piece minced
Garlic: 4 segments minced
Curry leaves finely chopped: 4 or 5 curry leaves
Oil
Salt

For the batter:

Gram flour (besan flour or kadalappodi in malayalam): 2 cups

Salt (a little)

Asafoetida powder (hing): a pinch

Water : required to make thick batter


Masala Powder:

Coriander powder: 1 teaspoon
Chilli powder: 1/2 teaspoon
Garam masala powder (optional): 1 /2 teaspoon

Pepper powder (for those who like it spicy) : 1/4 teaspoon

Asafoetida powder (hing): 1/4 teaspoon


Tadka:

Mustard seeds: 1 teaspoon
Urad dal (optional): 1/4 teaspoon
Cumin seeds: 1 teaspoon

Method:
-----------

1. Cook the potatoes and let it cool. Mash the potatoes once cooled.
2. Chop the onions finely.
3. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a kadai. Add the tadka items one by one until all have spluttered.
4. Add curry leaves, green chilli , ginger, and garlic. Saute them well for about 30 seconds, until the raw taste is gone.
5. Add the chopped onions and saute again until the onions turn light brown. Add the masala powders at this stage one by one, mixing uniformly at each stage. Add salt after the masala powders are added. Mix well.
6. Add the mashed potatoes and mix well again. Take off the fire and wait till the contents cool.
7. Meanwhile prepare the batter by mixing the batter ingredients. You may first sieve the gram flour before adding water, to avoid lumps in batter.
8. **Heat oil for deep frying bonda. Test the temperature by dropping a very small piece of the potato mix in the oil. If the piece starts spluttering instantaneously, it means that the oil is ready for frying.

(** Always be careful while you are handling hot oil. Once the oil has attained the required temperature for frying, lower the fire to medium heat and then start frying)

8. Make small balls out of the potato mix once it is cooled. Coat these with the batter prepared. Fry these in oil, until the outer cover of the bonda turns golden brown. Put the bondas in a paper napkin on a plate so that the excess oil is absorbed.

9. Serve it with tomato ketchup or coconut chutney.


Friday, September 22, 2006

Vegetable Cutlet

I am a big fan of vegetable cutlet. It also has my childhood memories linked with it. The first time I had cutlet was at Indian Coffee house. And I could never forget the taste associated with it. It was like, whenever I used to travel with my dad and mom, when we pass Indian Coffee house, I used to start hinting that I was hungry, infact I was trying to get a bite of the cutlet there :) ....Even in recent years, before I got married, my dad took me there one day and that day I became a bit emotional as I realized that soon I would be leaving my house after marriage.... My husband too likes this snack. I had prepared it for his birthday recently and it became an instant hit. So here I am sharing with you my favorite recipe.

Ingredients:
----------------

Potato: 3 nos
Beetroot: 1 large
Onion: 2 nos
Carrot: 2 nos
Beans chopped finely: 1/2 cup
Green Peas: 1 cup
Garlic: 4 segments
Ginger: a small piece
*Tomato sauce (Optional): 2 tablespoons
(You may use finely chopped tomatoes instead of the sauce)
Oil
Salt

For tadka:
------------

Mustard seeds: 1 teaspoon
Cumin seeds: 1 teaspoon
Finely chopped curry leaves: 1/4 cup
Finely minced green chilli: 1/4 cup

Masala powder:

-----------------

Coriander powder: 1 1/2 teaspoon

Turmeric powder: a pinch

Chilli powder (if you want more spicy taste): 1/2 teaspoon

Crushed pepper (if you want more spicy taste): 1/4 teaspoon

*Cinnamon powder: 1/2 teaspoon

(You may also use garam masala powder that you get in stores to get a different flavor which is also good)

For the batter and coating:

1. Powdered Bread crumbs for making the powdered coating around each cutlet

2. Maida or all purpose flour mixed with water to make a batter with consistency that is a little loose than the batter made for frying bajjis.

Method:

1. Cook the potatoes, peel the skin. Mash the potatoes.

2. Chope the beetroot into very small pieces. (You may make this work easier by first cooking the beetroot and then chopping it later, so that it makes the chopping easy).

3. Finely chop the onions and carrots. Cook carrots, green peas and beans until tender. Mash the garlic and grate the ginger.

4. In a kadai, heat 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the tadka ingredients one by one, until they splutter properly. Then add mashed garlic and ginger. Stir again. Add chopped onion and stir uniformly. Add the masala powders one by one. stir uniformly after adding each powder. Add the tomato sauce at the end and stir properly. Add carrot, beans, and peas and stir. Then add beetroot and stir again. Add salt. When the vegetables get properly mixed with the masala in the kadai, add the mashed potatoes and again mix thoroughly.

5. Take the kadai off the fire and wait till it cools.

6. Meanwhile spread some oil on a tawa ( a little more oil than is normally used while making dosas). Make small balls of the curry mix and flatten it and smooth the edges. Coat each curry ball in maida, and make sure they are not absorbing a lot of water when dipped, else there is a chance that the cutlet will break while trying to roast it in oil. So for that purpose, after dipping in the maida mix, shake of the excess water and immedietly put the balls in the dish containing the powdered bread crumbs. Coat the balls with the crumbs on both sides. The bread crumbs gives the crunchy taste to the cutlet.

7. Roast the cutlet in the oil in the tawa, add a little drop of oil on each side of the cutlet while roasting. This method of roasting cutlet consumed less oil than if we were to deep fry them. Roast the cutlet until all the sides becomes reddish brown (the reddish brown color comes because of the beetroot). Check if the coating on the cutlet is fully cooked and crunchy.

8. Arrange the cutlets in a plate and serve it along with mint chutney or tomato sauce.




Thursday, September 21, 2006

Channa Masala




Channa or chickpeas is a common pulse used in gravy items prepared in India. Its powdered form (Besan flour or gram flour or Chickpea flour) is used as a batter for frying , also in other recipes such as Kheer, Dosa, etc... . Though it is not a recommended thing for people who have gastric troubles, it still is a favorite item in Indian dishes. In southern part of India (especially Kerala), people prepare channa masala (kadala curry), along with a speciality dish called Puttu. I will include the recipe for Puttu another time. Here, Iam including an easy to make channa masala.

Ingredients:

Channa or chickpeas: 1 glass
Tomato: 2 nos
Onion: 2 nos
Tomato sauce (optional): 2 tablespoons
Ginger: 1/4 cup
Garlic: 4 segements

Grated coconut (optional): 1/2 cup
Salt
Oil

Masala powder:

1. Coriander powder: 2 teaspoons
2. Crushed pepper: 1/2 teaspoon
3. Red chilli flakes or chilli powder: 1 teaspoon
4. Cinnamon powder: 1/2 teaspoon

For the tadka:

1. Cumin seeds: 1 teaspoon
2. Fenugreek seeds (green jeera): 1 teaspoon
2. Slitted green chilli: 2 or 3 nos
3. Mustard seeds (optional): 1 teaspoon
4. Curry leaves : a few
5. Coriander leaves: for garnishing

Method:

1. Wash and soak the channa overnight (12 hours). Cook the channa in pressure
cooker, for 3 whistles.
2. Cut the tomatoes, and onions into very small pieces.
3. Grate ginger and crush the garlic. It helps the curry to absorb the flavor of ginger
and garlic if they are crushed and mashed.
4. In a kadai, heat 3 tablespoons of oil. Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, fenugreek
seeds and saute them until they splutter properly. Then add the slitted green chilli,
curry leaves garlic and ginger. Saute them until their raw taste is gone, say for 20
seconds. Add chopped onions and saute until onions turn light brown. Then add
the tomatoes and again saute until it forms a paste with onion and tomato. Add the
masala powders one by one, make sure that you stir the mixture uniformly, each
time you add a masala powder.
5. Add tomato sauce and stir uniformly. Then add a little salt and again stir. Towards
the end add the channa and stir. Pour some of the water in which you cooked the
channa, into the kadai to cover the channa. Add more water if you need more
gravy. Accordingly add salt. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and grated coconut and mix it. Serve with roti,
or rice.



Saturday, September 16, 2006

Rava Kesari

Rava Kesari is a sweet which I learned to make after marriage. When I was a kid, I used to get confused between Rava Kesari and Ksheera. Though I like Ksheera more than Rava Kesari, I find that this is easy to prepare for my husband who has a sweet tooth ;-) So here is the recipe which I found quite simple, yet sweet.

Ingredients
---------------

Semolina or Rava: 2 cups
Milk: 3 cups
Sugar: 2 cups
Ghee : 2 tablespoons
Saffron(optional): 4-5 strands
Cashewnut: 3 or 4 nos

Method:
-----------

1. In a pan, heat 2 tablespoons of ghee, and add rava to it. Turn the flame to
medium and stir rava until the rava completly mixes with the ghee. Be careful to
avoid burning of rava (the rava turns dark brown when it burns). Wait until
the rava turns golden brown. Remove the pan from fire and let it cool down.

2. In another vessel, start boiling milk. When milk starts boiling, add the rava from
the pan and broken cashewnuts and saffron
and keep stiring until it is partially
cooked. Then add sugar and continue stirring until the mixture starts
to solidify. Its like making uppumavu (in malayalam) or uppittu (in kannada),
with respect to the consistency of the dish.

3. When the expected consistency is attained, turn off the flame and transfer the
contents to a flat plate with edges. With a spoon, even the surface of the rava
kesari. Allow it to cool and cut into desired shapes.


Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Pepper Chicken




I learnt to cook chicken from my husband who taught me how to marinate chicken. His speciality in cooking is by using pressure cooker and his theory of cooking is "put all vegetables or non-veg in the cooker along with the masalas and let it cook for 3 whistles" . He is an expert in pressure cooker cooking. On the other side, I am always running away from pressure cooker which has whistles. It just scares the life out of me to hear the sound of the whistle and also because of all the reasons associated with the pressure cooker bursting because of the pressure. Anyways, I have somehow managed to overcome that fear when I want to cook my husband's favorite chicken curry, "Pepper Chicken". (Its a bit spicy though).

Ingredients:
------------------
Chicken thighs or breasts

For marination:

1. *Soy sauce or curd or lemon extract: enough to completly coat the chicken pieces(*If you are using Soy sauce, accordingly reduce the amount of salt being added)

2. Crushed Pepper or powder: 2 tablespoons

3. Chilli Powder: 2 teaspoons

4. Coriander powder: 2 teaspoons

5. Turmeric powder: 1/4 teaspoon

6. Cinnamon powder (optional): a pinch

7. Wheat or Maida or Rice Flour: for making a thick gravy

8. Salt

For sauting with chicken:

1. Onion: 2 nos
2. Tomato: 2 nos
3. Grated ginger or paste: 2 teaspoons
4. Crushed garlic or paste: 3 teaspoons
5. Capscicum: 2 nos
6. Peanuts or Cashew (optional): a few
6. Coriander leaves for garnishing
7. Curry leaves: a few
8. Pepper powder: 1 teaspoon
9. Chilli powder: 1 teaspoon
10. Coriander powder: 1 teaspoon
11. Oil
12. Salt

Method:
----------
Clean the chicken pieces properly. Its a nice practice to clean it by soaking them in a mixture of water and turmeric. Clean all the cutleries used to handle chicken pieces before and after using them to prevent any contamination by poisenous bacteria.

1. With the help of a knife, make small slits in the chicken pieces before cutting them. This
helps the process of marination.
2. Cut the chicken pieces to bite size
3. Marinate chicken for one hour with the ingredients in the marinate section above
4. Meanwhile prepare the ingredients to be sauted by chopping the vegetables and arranging
the rest of the items.
5. Take a skillet or similar vessel and add 3 tablespoons of oil. Add ginger, garlic, and onions
and saute them until onions turn golden brown. Then add the rest of the sauting ingredients
except for pepper powder and add 2 cups of water and turn the heat to high and close the
vessel with the lid and wait until the water starts boiling.
6. At this point, add the marinated chicken pieces, along with the marinate in the marinating
vessel. Add water to cover the chicken pieces and stir to combine the
ingredients evenly. Close the vessel and wait until the ingredients start simmering.
7. Add the pepper powder when the ingredients start simmering and reduce flame to medium.
Stir uniformly. Cook until chicken pieces becomes tender and the insides of the chicken are
no longer pink.
8. Garnish with coriander leaves. Serve along with rice or chappathi.









Onion Pakoda











An all time favorite evening snack of mine. I used to love the sound of the oil spluttering when my mom used to put the onion dipped in batter into hot oil. It would always remain a sweet memory of my childhood, when me and my brother would eagerly wait in our room in the evening and pretend to be studying for some test in school, when mom would be preparing this snack. But my mom would satisfy our taste buds in between by bringing samples of the snacks in between. So here is the recipe which my mom passed on to me after my marriage:

Ingredients:

Onions: 2 nos
Gram Flour (Kadalapodi): 2 cups
Chilli powder: 2 teaspoons
Pepper powder: 1/4 teaspoon
Hing (Asafoetida): 1/4 teaspoon
Coriander powder: 1 teaspoon
Salt
Oil for frying

Method:

  1. Cut onions into desired shape.
  2. Make a thick batter (which is thick enough to foam a coat on the onions) of gram flour, chilli powder, pepper powder, hing, coriander powder, and salt.
  3. Heat oil in a kadai. Test the temperature by dropping a small drop of the gram flour batter in the oil. If the batter starts spluttering, then the temperature is right.
  4. Add the cut onions one by one and ensure that each onion is covered with a thick coating of the flour batter. Make more batter if the batter is not enough to coat the onions. If the batter becomes too watery or thin, add more flour. Make sure the spices added should also be proportionate to the flour added.
  5. With the help of a tablespoon, put the onions covered with batter in the heated oil. Fry for 2 minutes or until the onion gets cooked inside.
  6. Serve it with tomato sauce, pickle or green chutney

Curd Rice



Curd rice or Thairu sadam is an all time favorite of a South Indian. Its also good for health as curd is something that is light on stomach. I learnt to prepare curd rice from my father-in-law who is an expert in cooking. He had once packed curd rice for me on my bus trip to Bangalore and I ate it happily in the bus. After marriage, I learnt that my husband likes curd with anything and everything! So I went ahead to prepare curd rice for him which he loved. So here is my recipe for curd rice.

Ingredients:

Rice: 1 cup
Curd or buttermilk: 2 cups

For the tadka:

Oil: 2 tablespoons
Mustard seeds: 1 tablespoon
Cumin seeds: 1 tablespoon
Ginger (grated): 1 tablespoon
Urad dal: 1 teaspoon
Red chilli: 4 nos
Curry leaves
Pomegrenate seeds (optional) for garnishing
Dry grapes (optional) for garnishing
Coriander leaves for garnishing
Salt

Method:
----------


  1. Cook rice with a teaspoon of oil. After it is cooked, wait till it cools.
  2. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a vessel for tadka, and then add the tadka ingredients one by one. Let them splutter. Saute until they turn golden brown.
  3. Mix the cooked rice with curd uniformly and add the tadka at the end to the rice. Mix it well. Add salt at the end.
  4. Serve it with mango pickle or fried chilli or papad.




Tamarind Rice or Puliyogre


Hello everyone, I am blogging after a long time...yes and this time, its with some of the recipies which I love to make most of the time for my husband. Let me start with Tamarind Rice or Puliyogre which is easy and quick to make (especially if you have cooked rice ready). I made Puliyogre for one of our family friends, who are from Bangalore, when they had come to our place. Though Iam not a Bangalorean, I like the Rice items prepared in Bangalore households. Here is recipe for Tamarind Rice or otherwise called as Puliyogre in Bangalore:

Ingredients
---------------

Rice (preferably white rice) - 2 cups

For the puliyogre mix:

Tamarind extract (can be made by putting a small ball of tamarind, which you get in stores, in warm water until it becomes soft. Then you can make a paste consistency using your hand) : 1/2 Cup (can increase or decrease
depending on the tangy taste you want)

Cumin seeds (jeera): 2 teaspoons

Grated Jaggery: 1 tablespoon

Coriander powder (malli podi): 2 teaspoons

Cinnamon powder (optional): 1 teaspoon

Hing (asafoetida powder): 1/4 teaspoon

Red Chilli: 4 nos

Oil: 2 tablespoon

In a pan, fry the above items in oil for 2 minutes to remove the raw taste. Remove from fire and when it cools down, grind the mixture.

For the tadka:

Oil: 2 tablespoons
Turmeric powder: a pinch
Mustard seeds: 2 teaspoons
Urad dal: 1 teaspoon
Channa dal: 2 teaspoons
Peanuts: 2 tablespoons
Green chilli (optional): 2 nos
Curry leaves to garnish
Salt to taste

Method
------------
  1. Cook rice with a teaspoon of oil. Wait till it cools.
  2. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a sauce pan. Add the ingredients for tadka (refer above) one by one and saute them until they turn brown or in other words lose their raw taste.
  3. Add the puliyogre mix (refer above), to the sauce pan and heat for another minute.
  4. Add the rice when it is cool and mix it very well with the ingredients in the sauce pan. But make sure that while mixing, the rice should not become a paste.
  5. Serve with coconut chutney. Can be also eaten as an evening snack.

Different version:

Mango rice: You may use amchur powder or dry mango powder instead of tamarind extract to
make Mango rice.












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