Thursday, November 29, 2007

Chakkooli (Murukku)

Chakkooli



After the oil stopped producing bubbles


Deep frying the chakkooli


Chakkooli made on the board before deep frying


Making chakkooli using the mould


The mould used to make chakkooli


The chakkooli dough

I can have this snack day and night without any limits:) I am that crazy about chakkooli. Though the initial attempts were total failure, I was determined to master it somehow as I just craved for this snack and didn't want to keep spending money to buy packets that contained limited number of chakkooli ;) .....Anyways here goes the recipe:

Ingredients

Rice Flour: 1 cup
Urad flour : 1/4 cup
Besan flour: 3 tablespoons
Butter: 2 tablespoons
Cumin seeds : 2 tablespoons
Pepper : 1 tablespoon / to taste
Water for making the chakkooli dough which is similar to chappathi dough
Salt : to taste
Oil for deep frying

Method:

Form a dough similar to a chappathi dough using all the ingredients except butter and oil. Add the butter to the dough and knead again. Heat the oil in a vessel. Fill the mould (the mould used to make idiyappam) with the dough (before filling make sure to change the bottom plate of the mould to the plate with a star shape impression. Make chakkooli using the mould on a plate. Meanwhile if the oil is heated, reduce the flame to medium before frying the chakkooli. This is to prevent the chakkooli from burning. Deep fry the chakkooli in oil. The chakkooli is done when the oil stops producing bubbles.

Tip: Its always better to make the chakkooli using all the dough as quickly as possible on the plate as the dough tends to harden and that makes it difficult to squeeze through the mould. So if you finish making the chakkooli on the board, you just need to fry it later taking your own time. So make the chakkooli on the board during the small breaks you get while frying the chakkooli.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Adai



This is a wonderful recipe I learned from my fil. I keep making it so often these days that I am sure to hear the words "Stop" soon from my hubby who is very well aware of my repetitive cooking when something comes out well:)) .......But iam trying to avoid it by making some variation when I make the adai. When I first heard about adai from my father-in-law I used to think its something we make using coconut and jagerry filling and a rice paste covering in plantain leaf. But I was wrong. It was then I realized the differences in the meaning of words used in different parts of kerala. Towards the north (Ernakulam-from where I am) adai is meant to be a sweet similar to kozhukatta, but different in shape and the way it is cooked (its covered in a plantain leaf for cooking). Towards the south (Trivandrum- from where my husband is), it is a dosa made from lentils and rice and the wonderful thing about it is , it doesnt require fermentation. It just requires the lentils and rice to be soaked in water overnight. So I am very glad that I can make it in US during winter too!

Here is the recipe:

To soak overnight (Update: One of the readers pointed out that it is enough to soak for an hour, which might also work, I would give it maybe 2 - 3 hours just to ensure that all the lentils and grains have absorbed water well) :

Thuvar dal - 1/2 cup
Channa dal - 1/2 cup
Urad dal - 2 tablespoons
Raw rice - 1/2 cup
Boiled rice or Idli rawa - 1/2 cup
Red Chilli - 7 nos or according to taste
Turmeric - a pinch
Methi seeds - one teaspoon
Grind these together the next day together with enough water to make a very smooth batter (just like dosa batter). Usually adai is not prepared like dosa (its thick and the contents are not ground to a smooth paste), but this is my fil's version and I liked this one better :) . Add salt to taste and some asafoetida powder to enhance the taste. Mix well. You may let it sit for like 15 -30 minutes or more so that the batter turns a little bit sour. Start making dosas or you can store this batter in fridge for upto a week (though in my house it doesnt last that long as it gets over long before that ;)) . I make the dosa very thin and crisp , coz thats how we like it. I also made masala dosa with this batter and it was lovely. Usually adai is served with aviyal, but I made a chutney with garlic and onion. You can serve it with any other side dish also like sambhar, chutney, pickle, dosa podi.

Aloo Paratha



Stuffed parathas (no matter what the stuffing is) has been both me and my husband's favorites. Aloo stuffing is something I never could make properly. This time during my India visit, my husband's uncle had learned few tricks of the trade in cooking from his wife and taught me the same. I should mention a special thanks to chaachi (uncle's wife) who was the person to teach uncle. I was so amazed as I never was spilling any of the stuffing and making a mess while making the parathas and parathas came out so well. These are the tips I learned:

Cooked potatoes should be mashed really well. It should form a paste (dont add water)

The balls made from the dough should be quite larger (a little smaller than a rubber ball) than the normal ones we make for chappathi.

After making the balls, before adding the stuffing, using both your palms and fingers start flattening the dough after generously rolling in the wheat flour. While flattening the ball , do it in a way so that it forms a slight depression in the middle. Dont flatten it too much,just flatten it slightly so that the edges can cover the potato filling which is to be kept.

After keeping the stuffing, bring all edges towards the top and though there is no correct way to close these, the final mission is to actually seal the edges by gathering the edges on the top. Dont use water to seal.
After sealing the edes, the ball should now look like a "Chinese Momo dumpling" (the shape ofcourse) . Now generously roll the ball in the flour and again slowly flatten it using your fingers, but this time make sure not to create the depression, the mission is to gently spread the potato stuffing evenly. Just flatten it a bit and then roll it using a rolling pin. Generously dip in flour in between. (I didnt have to dip it in flour much as it was really easy to roll than the regular chappatthi!! ) . I then realized that aloo paratha is not a rocket science dish to make. Its easy to make. Just try it out and let me know too! I didnt click the step by step pics. I will post the same another time I make aloo paratha.

Note: I had used 2 1/2 cups wheat flour, 1 medium sized potato, 1/2 medium sized onion, minced green chilli, salt.

Nankhatai


Hi dear friends,
I have been meaning to make nankhatai from long time. By the way, I was always disappointed with preparing other versions of cookies which contains egg. I did a bit of research and what I learned is as follows:

The cookie doesnt become as crisp or crunchy because of the following culprits: egg-white, more of liquid in the recipe, butter melted and added when it is warm.

The cookie usually hardens after it is cooled

When you see the edges getting slightly browned remove it from the oven and keep it for cooling on a cool surface. Even if the surface of the cookie feels uncooked, it usually hardens when it is cools down.

Do not melt butter in microwave and add it immedietly to the recipe. Let the butter come to room temperature and then mash it with a spoon to soften it.

I hope these tips are useful. I jotted it from my personal experience. I havent been successful in making a cookie whose recipe calls for eggs. So "Nankhatai" is the first cookie which was my success at cookie making. There was one thing which I didnt like about the cookie I made and that is the strong flavor of butter that was in the cookie as I am not fond of the flavor of butter in anything. But I guess the rest of you might like it. I got the recipe from Trupti's version of nankhatai .
One more update: I did not bake it for 20-25 minutes as the recipe calls for. I took the cookie out of the oven as soon as the edges started turning golden brown. I allowed the cookies to cool and it hardened and became the right texture. Also I kept the oven for preheating just 10 minutes before I made the cookie balls from the dough and also I kept the oven temperature at 350 F instead of the 375 F . Oven temprature is something which varies depending on the oven at your home. Mine had caused so many burns on the previously experimented cookies. So this time I decreased the temprature.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Glad to see my kitchen after a long long time

Hi dear friends, I was in India for two months. Now I am back and so happy to see my husband and my kitchen after a long long time:) For people like me who are so fond of cooking, there are no words to describe the happiness I get in just seeing my kitchen after a long time, maybe Iam becoming very nostalgic here, but yes I have been that way, having an emotional attachment towards anything I have been using for a long time, even a keychain which I used to have from my working days in India.......
I am very greatful to everyone who were visiting my blog to see any updates. I am sorry I could not respond back to your comments during my absense. I have replied to all your comments now and I hope I would be able to post more treats from my kitchen soon. Once again "Thanks a lot friends !! "

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