Monday, September 20, 2010

Raffle results : Congrats to the winner !

Hello friends, a big thank you to those who took part in the raffle by posting comments about their favorite recipe on 'My Kitchen Treats'. I had a fun time hosting this and I am planning to host more of these raffles at 'My Kitchen Treats'

The winner of the Raffle is Bini ! Congrats Bini !! You will be receiving an e-mail from me asking for further contacts regarding your address.


I used Random.org to generate the lucky number denoting the winner.



The numbers were the collection of eligible comments that answered the question I had asked for the raffle.




The lucky number was then correlated to the name in my Notepad where I had jotted down the names of the people who participated. And Bini's number was 5. Hence she is the winner.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Loot from Goya and a Raffle

Hello readers,
As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program, I received this loot of Goya products about which I was absolutely thrilled. Though Foodbuzz Tastemaker Programs always creates an atmosphere similar to opening a Christmas gift each time the loot arrives , this time, it created an extra happiness because it was Goya. Me and V have already been using Goya products for long time, Goya canned chickpeas, Goya olives, lentils have already been a part of our lives from the time we were in US. Hence I thought this was a right occasion time to write about it.



They even send two recipe books of Mexico and Caribbean dishes which can be made with Goya products and I loved the colorful and perfect photographs of the pictures in it. I am planning to try out some of the dishes in each book.










As part of the program, I also received raffle coupons for Goya products, which I am supposed to share with my blog readers :) So here is something for you too. (PS: Contest valid for US residents only. ) I will be posting a question here and you, readers are required to post a comment as an answer to my question along with your e-mail address (don't worry, I promise to never spam your e-mail address, unless its for the purpose of letting you know if you are the winner). I will draw a winner on Sunday, the 15th of September at 12 pm EST, and post the result on the same day. I will be shipping these raffle coupons (5 booklets with 6 coupons in each book....see the pic below, where the raffle coupons are marked with arrows) to the winner.



Here is the question:
Which recipe did you like best at 'My Kitchen Treats' ? Answer to this question should only be posted as a comment. Answers in the form of e-mails send to my e-mail address will not be considered as valid.

Hope you would enjoy answering this question as much as I enjoyed hosting this raffle !!

 Luv
 Roopa

Friday, September 3, 2010

Moong Dal Payasam (Moong dal pudding)


                                                         (pic courtesy: Sri Krishna )
Happy Krishna Janmashtami to all my readers :) So how did you celebrate darling Sri Krishna's Birthday ?
Though I didn't have plans to make this dessert, by evening, my mind changed and I decided to go for it. I was surprised, at how easily it could be made and how easily it got over too :)) .......I am planning to make again sometime. I am not a big fan of payasam, so rarely make it, but after this attempt, I am motivated to make more varieties, especially because I found they are more nutritious and healthier than cakes/cookies. And I was craving for something sweet which doesn't have gluten or dairy predominantly as its ingredients as I have developed a slight intolerance towards these from past few months. I didn't use sugar in this dessert, instead I used Jaggery. I used coconut milk instead of regular milk. Since Jaggery available in the Indian stores here are cleaner than most of  the ones in India, the task to skim away the dirt while melting the Jaggery can be omitted. The cooking time mainly was that of the Moong dal which fairly cooks fast, maybe 30-40 minutes or less (didn't note the time accurately). The rest of the process can be completed in less than 20 minutes. So here goes the recipe:


 Ingredients: 2 cups
  •  Yellow Moong Dal : 1 cup
  • Water to cook dal : 2.5 cups - 3 cups
  •  Jaggery (I used the light brown color jaggery that comes in cubes) : around 4 to 5 cubes
  • Water to melt jaggery : 1/2 cup
  •  Coconut milk (I used the canned coconut milk) : 1 - 1.5 cups
  •  Raisins lightly blanched in 1 tablespoon butter/ghee (just melt butter/ghee in a saute pan and add the raisins and in low fire, just keep stirring with a spoon until all the raisins have plumped up) : 1/2 cup
  •  Garnish : powdered cardomom, grated nutmeg : 1/2 teaspoon each
Method:

  •  Cook the Moong dal in water until it reaches a very mashable state (if you like the pudding to have some moong dal bits to bite, then dont cook until its totally in the pureed stage. I like them very much cooked and mashable)
  • Melt the jaggery in the water and add it to the Moong dal which is on medium low fire, keep stirring until everything is well combined.
  • Now add the coconut milk and reduce fire to low and keep stirring.
  •  Add raisins, and the garnish. Stir to combine.
  •  Serve hot/chilled 

PS: I had mine with pappad (popadum) as that's one traditional way of having payasam which is called 'Payasam Pappadam' :)

Happy Labor Day weekend !

Luv
Roopa

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Instant Spinach Idli and Oven Roasted Pathra (Pathrodo)

Happy Onam to all my readers ! :) I was kinda busy past few days, I know, I know, it being Onam, this is not the kind of post I should be blogging about, but something is better than nothing at all right?. Moreover, today we Konkanis celebrate 'Sutthaamppunnavu', (You may refer here for the history/explanation of the same) where the men of the family who wear the sacred thread, change it for a new one and its an auspicious day for us. Its so amazing that this day falls on the Onam day, that's what I like about India, goes to show that, everybody irrespective of their origin in India, have some occasion like this which falls close together in the calender :) The women prepare 'Hittu' (which is almost same as Idli with regard to the batter, but differs the way in which they are steamed. The 'Hittu' is steamed in Jackfruit leaves folded in a special way and bind together using toothpicks/or traditionally the thin stick like thing you obtain from the fresh leaves of a coconut tree, so that the batter which is poured in it doesn't leak out. You may refer my cousin Ranji's blog for step by step pics of the same, http://rbcuisines.blogspot.com/2008/04/hittu-ugadi-special.html  . I wanted to make something similar, but not exactly Hittu, as I am in the diet mode to include more spinach/greens and and was also craving for Pathrodo which is yet another Konkani delicasy. Seeing a lot of versions of Palak pathrodo in the blogging world, I was indeed tempted to try, but didnt have whole palak with me. I decided to go with what I had in my fridge, and that is frozen chopped spinach which was hiding in the freezer for a long time. I decided to use a combination of spinach and pathrodo batter (recipe follows) to make Spinach Idlis and , boy oh boy, it indeed became a super hit with not just my hubby, but a lot of guests too. Actually I made this Spinach Idli extra tasty by adding some other flavor enhancers too :) Read the recipe to know the rest of the details :)

 Ingredients:

Note:(though the name of the recipe is Instant, there is a bit of soaking involved (maybe for 2-3 hours)
  • Any type of Spinach (chopped finely /frozen cut spinach also does the job) : 2 cups
  • Flavor enhancers : 1 cup whole mint leaves, 3-4 shallots  (See , its as simple as that :) 
  • Spices : 1 tsp Turmeric powder, 1/2 teaspoon Asafoetida (hing), 1 teaspoon Cumin seeds
  • White Rice/Brown Rice (or a mix of both) : 1.5 cups
  • 6-8 dry Red Chillies
  • Left over cooked Rice : 1 cup
  • Grated Coconut : 1 cup (available in Indian grocery stores)
  • 4 tablespoons Tamarind pulp or 1/2 teaspoon citric acid crystal or 2 teaspoons lemon extract
  •  Salt
  • Water to soak rice
Method:

  •  Soak the White/Brown rice along with Red Chillies in water until everything is properly soaked (2-3 hours)
  • Drain the water and grind this soaked rice with all the rest of the ingredients, except for Spinach and Mint, to a smooth batter by adding  little water so that the batter is not too runny, but just thick enough like Idli batter. 
           
  • Now add the Spinach and mint and mix well. Check for salt. 
                    
  • If you want the Idlis to turn super soft, allow the batter to sit for atleast an hour (overnight is much better, but it would not become 'Instant' then right :)
  • Drop small amount of these in oiled Idli moulds and steam the batter in a Idli steamer until the steam flows freely through the vent. Now reduce the heat to lowest setting and let it steam for 15 minutes. 
  • Take the moulds out of the steamer and check if its cooked by inserting a toothpick /knife into one of the idlis, just like you do a test for checking cakes.
  • Let the moulds cool lightly, before removing the idlis from the moulds. 
  •  Enjoy these healthy snacks with a cup of tea/ or even as a morning breakfast !

**********************
For the Oven Roasted Pathrodo: Inspired by Ranji's version of Roasted Pathrodo, I made this oven Roasted Pathrodo.


 Ingredients:

  •  Collard Green leaves without the stem/Any long leaf Spinach large enough to form a loaf when stacked and rolled with the thicker stem like portion of the leaf cut off very carefully without tearing the leaf
  • Batter Ingredients : Same as the Batter mentioned above , except for the Spinach and Mint leaves (not that it would matter if the Spinach/Mint leaves are present, the more greens, the merrier your health :)I haven't tried it that way, as I just thought about it while I was drafting this.
  • A sharp knife 
Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees, grill mode. 
  • Spread a plastic cover, cut on the sides to expand. This is to prevent the staining of your counter top with the turmeric that goes into the batter :) ....that's a tip from my amma :) Start with two of the largest  leaves,spread the leaves side by side with the sides generously overlapping each other,  on the plastic cover apply batter on the leaf with your hands (you may wear a plastic cover around your hand and hold it in place by tying a rubber band/use a glove). 
  • Spread another leaf of similar/slightly smaller than the first leaf on top of these two leaves, spread the batter and then place two  more leaves on top of this leaf, with their sides overlapping and repeat this until you feel that the stacked leaves would turn to a nice thick loaf if folded and rolled. 
  • Tuck the sides of the stacked leaves together inside and fold from bottom, just like you make a burrito :) and remember to apply, batter each time you tuck and roll as the entire loaf has to contain a generous application of the batter which gives it the taste.
                                         
  •  Cut the loaf from the circular end, so that each cut is not too thin or too thick. 
             
      
  • Spread them on a well greased baking pan (preferably non-stick) and roast them for 10 minutes. Turn them over and roast for another 5 minutes.

  • Enjoy as a tea time snack :)

Love
Roopa :)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Tomato- Basil soup


I could never get enough of Tomato soup, or for that matter any soup. How about you? Soups are known for their healing goodness, and I for that matter never leave a chance when I get to have some soup :) ....I recently had Tomato Basil soup which V had bought from Shaw's when I was not in good health. We both relished it as it was freshly made. Since then I was planning to make it once my homegrown tomatoes ripened. It was just last week that they entered my soup pot. I decided to add Basil flower/stalks/leaves from my garden. It was indeed a proud moment for me to make something like this using produce from my garden :) I am sure all gardening enthusiasts would agree with me on that one.






Recently V decided to grill some chicken, as the weather was perfect. He did a great job at it , and I am proud to show off his grilling skills :) Here are some of the photos that were taken:




Coming to the recipe, its very simple and easy to make. I haven't strained any of the contents I added to the soup as I didn't want to lose any goodness that I added to it. If you have a kitchen gadget that can puree the contents of the soup, it makes it even more easy. I used a hand blender which I use a lot to puree cooked food in some dishes. Here goes the recipe:

Makes 2 full bowls (cereal bowls ) of soup :)
 Ingredients:

  1. Tomatoes  sliced in quarters : 3 medium tomatoes
  2.  Onion finely chopped : 1 medium
  3.  Garlic minced : 4 cloves
  4. Ginger minced : 1/2 teaspoon
  5.  Basil leaves chopped : 1/2 cup 
  6. Green Chilly minced : 1 long or 2 medium ones
  7.  Milk : 1/4 cup
  8.  Water: 1 cup
  9. Butter : 2 tablespoons
  10. Cornflour/Cornstarch mixed with tap water : 1 tablespoon Cornstarch mixed with 3 tablespoons of water
  11. Salt and Pepper
  12.  Grated Cheese and Basil flower stalk  for garnish

Method:

  •  In a deep vessel on medium high heat, add butter. When butter melts, add the Green Chilly and stir fast
  •  Add the Garlic and Ginger , give it a good stir , and follow it with adding Onion. Reduce fire to medium and stir until the Onion turns pale and very lightly brown, don't allow it to caramelize :)
  •  Now add the Tomatoes and stir well for a minute. Add the Basil Leaves. Add some salt , give it another stir and turn heat to medium low, cover the vessel and let it cook for two minutes or until everything in it turns mushy. 
  • Allow the contents to cool. Puree the contents. Then transfer them back to the vessel on medium low fire, when bubbles start appearing, add 1 cup water and give it a stir, cover the vessel and let it come to a boil. 
  •  Reduce the fire to the lowest setting, and check for salt.Stir after checking for salt
  • Now add Milk and stir for a minute. Then switch off the fire. Add the Basil flower stalk and cover the pot/vessel. Leave like this for a minute so that flavors mix. 
  • Serve with some grated cheese on top along with crackers or a grilled sandwich :) yummmm :)
  • Done :)
Luv,
Roopa :)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Vegetable Hakka Noodles with Tandoori Chicken Broiled/Baked in Oven


On our recent visit to the Asian grocery store, we purchased authentic Chinese noodles which is inexpensive and worth buying as you get a lot for $1. Me and V love Maggi noodles, but compared to these Chinese noodles, they turn out to be more costly. We had purchased these before too, and I had found out a very tasty way to utilize these noodles, ie, by making Vegetable Hakka Noodles. The Hakka noodles I am referring to here is Indo-Chinese. I like Indo-Chinese food and my favorites are Gobi Manchurian, and Sweet Corn soup.


 The Veg Hakka Noodles I am going to write here about is a very simple recipe, and can be made fast. I hope you try it sometime :)  I have eyeballed the serving of ingredients, hence I haven't mentioned the same.

 Here is the recipe:

Ingredients:


  •  Noodles 
  • Water to cook the noodles
  • Onion chopped finely
  • Vegetables : Thinly sliced cabbage, carrot, green beans, corn, peas. You may partially cook them and set aside to reduce the cooking time later.
  • Green chilly slit and cut into julienne
  • Ginger-Garlic paste/crushed
  • Sauces : Tomato ketchup, Soy sauce/Worcestershire sauce, Green chilly sauce (available in Indian grocery store), Fish sauce (optional, I use it when I want a Thai flavor, but it can be completely omitted) 
  •  Spices : Red chilly powder, White/Black Pepper powder
  •  Lemon juice/Citric acid crystals
  • Salt 
  • Oil ( I used sesame oil)

Method:

  • Lightly crush the noodles if you are like me and V whole like the noodles slightly crushed in dishes. Else don't bother
  • Cook the noodles in boiling water with a teaspoon of oil, as per the instruction on the packet or until it is soft to touch. Strain the noodles and keep them aside

  • Keep a frying pan on medium high heat and add 3 tablespoons of oil. 
  • When the oil is hot, add Green Chilly and Ginger-Garlic Paste and saute for a minute. 
  • Add Onion, and the rest of the vegetables. Add some salt. Increase the heat to high
  • Stir well and stir quiet fast, until the veggies are almost cooked, but still crunchy. 
  •  Add the spices and again stir well to combine.
  •  Reduce the heat to medium. Add the drained noodles, Sauces, and Lemon juice/citric acid crystals in the same order. 
  • Turn up the heat to medium high and stir well, and fast to combine everything for about two minutes. 
  •  Check for salt. 
  • Serve with tomato ketchup/tandoori chicken baked in oven (recipe follows) ;-)
Tandoori Chicken made in oven
We sometimes buy Halal Chicken during our grocery shopping. It has been a while since I posted about any non-vegetarian dish. I thought this was a good opportunity to post about it. Though I didn't have the Tandoori masala, I made my own by combining whatever spices I had in my pantry. We both thoroughly enjoyed the outcome of this dish. Here goes the recipe which I partially referred from here :

Note: It is best if you have enough time (at least 3 hours, to make it easier,you may marinate it overnight if you wish to prepare it ahead of time) to make this because here the marination of chicken is very important to get the full flavor.

Ingredients:



  •  1 whole Chicken cut into small pieces (we had bought Halal chicken which we told the butcher to cut into small pieces). Making big slits in bigger pieces helps set the marinade inside.
  • Baking tray coated with oil (best to use a non-stick baking tray instead of lining the tray with foil as the chicken would stick to the foil and make a mess while trying to turn over
  • Marinade : 
  1. Yoghurt : 1/2 cup
  2. Tandoori Masala powder: 1 tspn each of red chilly powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, garam masala powder, amchoor powder (dry mango powder (optional))
  3. Finely chopped Mint leaves                                      
  • Salt

Method: 
  •  Marinate the Chicken in the above Marinade along with salt for atleast 3 hours or even overnight
  • Preheat  oven to 450 degree F and set your oven to the Bake mode (my toaster oven has a Bake mode, Broil mode, Toast mode, and a Keep warm mode).
  •  Once preheated, transfer the marinated Chicken pieces to the oiled Baking tray and keep it in the oven.
  •  Close the door of the oven and let it initially bake for 15 minutes. 
  • After 15 minutes, turn to the Broil mode and Broil for 10 minutes.
  • After this, take out the baking tray out of the oven, and drain any oil/liquid that oozed out of the Chicken on to the tray. 
  •  Turn over the Chicken pieces to cook the other side
  •  Turn the oven to Bake mode and bake for 10 minutes. 
  • After that, turn oven to broil mode and broil for 5 minutes.
  • By now the Chicken pieces would have changed to a nice tandoori color. To make it further brighten, take the tray out and drain any liquid/oil from the tray and turn over the chicken pieces.
  • Transfer back to the oven and broil for another 5 minutes. 
  • Tandoori Chicken baked/broiled in oven is now ready to be served.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Lemon Balm Tea along with Aloo Poha


We had an excess of potatoes after buying a bag of them without knowing there was stock in our pantry. I wanted to finish off the old stock of potatoes. One other reason was on our recent visit to the Indian store we bought Sago (Tapioca, Sabudana) and Beaten rice (Flattened rice, Poha). I was looking forward to make a Sabudana Khichdi or Aloo Poha, both requiring use of Potatoes. I made Aloo Poha first and then the Khichdi on two separate days. To go along with Aloo Poha I made Lemon Balm Tea with my homegrown Lemon Balm. I referred Padma's blog to get the basic idea of using Poha in recipes like Aloo Poha. I had only used Poha in dishes like Phovu Kalleylolo which I posted long time back. I had some idea that a basic potato curry goes into making Aloo Poha, but didnt know how to include the Poha. Padma has written in easy to understand words that the Poha must be soaked in water and immediately drained and kept aside until they look plump enough. That worked for me. So here goes the recipe:

Serves 4 :

Ingredients for Aloo Poha:

  •  Potato (cooked or raw) cut in small cubes: 1 big
  • Onion chopped: 1 big
  •  Poha (Flattened Rice, Beaten Rice) available in Indian grocery shops : 2 cups 

  • Seasoning: 2 tspns oil, 1 tspn mustard seeds,1 tspn cumin seed, 1 tspn red chilly powder, 1/2 tspn turmeric powder, 1 tspn dry mango powder (Amchur powder), 1 slit green chilly (optional), 1 tspn Urad dal , 1/2 -1 tspn Hing (Asafoetida), 1 tspn cumin powder, 1 tspn coriander powder


  • Salt to taste
  • Grated coconut (fresh/frozen): 1/2 cup (Indian grocery store)

How to make Aloo Poha:
 
  • Add the two cups of Poha in a big strainer or a colander with tiny holes so that it doesn't drain the Poha out when it is washed in water. Run water for 30 seconds on the Poha while mixing it with your hands so that the water wets the Poha evenly. Set aside the strainer or colander with the Poha so that all the water is drained off and the Poha gets time to become a little plump. 

  • Meanwhile heat a skillet on medium fire and add the oil. Add to it all the seasoning, stir well while after each addition. Add onion and saute until it turns translucent. 


  • Reduce fire to medium low and add the Potato cubes and stir well to coat the seasoning on all the pieces. Add salt and cover the skillet and wait until the Potatoes are cooked well. 

After the potatoes are cooked :
 

                                                    I like my potatoes slightly roasted :)

  • Once the Potatoes are cooked, add the Poha and Coconut and roasted Peanuts to the skillet and mix it well with the rest of the mixture in the skillet. Check for salt once the Poha warms up. 

  • Best served when its hot/warm. Can be eaten for breakfast/snack with tea/coffee. 

Now coming to the Lemon Balm Tea, I suddenly remembered that I never mentioned about my happiest gardening days of this year :) ....yes I have to say this time I am kind of very excited and satisfied with the gardening I did. Most of the seeds sprouted and even yielded their fruits/leaves/flowers :) ...what more could a novice gardener like me ask for ?
  In the beginning of February, I got ready with my plans for gardening this spring/summer. I planned much ahead as to what I would grow this year : 1 vegetable, 1 flower, 3 herbs. What I didn't  realize was like always during the excitement of seeing the seed packets at Home Depot/Lowes/Shaws/Sears I ended up planting an additional vegetable and  herb. The additional herb is the Lemon Balm. I should say now that I don't regret my splurge :) .....The Lemon Balm is growing happily :) . I never thought it had so many good properties which I found in this website.


 Let me give you a glimpse of  the seeds I planted this summer. Yes, I like to grow my plants from seeds, at least I try that first rather than going for the cutting straight away. This didn't work for me in the case of the Indian type mint plant , where I had to grow it from cuttings, which a generous friend offered to me. Thank you Sapna :) . Thanks to you, they are growing well.

The herbs : Mint , Basil, Lemon Balm,Lavender :








The vegetables : Tomato, Cherry tomato, Green Chilly, Taro Leaves:











The flower plant: Impatiens




Coming back to the Lemon Balm Tea, I got inspiration to make it after me and V recently bought mugs just for the two of us :) . The mug you see here is mine. I never drank tea/coffee from such a big cup before :-D ,  it feels nice, kind of cozy and comfy :) I am sipping tea from it as I write this post :) you get the pic ;-)


Okay, back to the topic, I decided to add some leaves from the Lemon Balm plant as my Lemongrass stalk got over. I found the tea refreshing. You may prepare it without milk and sugar, but I have not tried it that way. Hence this recipe includes with milk and sugar and ginger :) :


 Ingredients to make Lemon Balm Tea: Serves 1

  •  Lemon Balm leaves : 2-3 leaves
  •  Milk : 1/2 cup
  • Water: 1/2 cup
  • Indian black tea leaves (Orange pekoe grading) of any brand (available at Indian grocery stores) : 1 tspn
  • Sugar : 1 tspn
  • Crushed Ginger : 1 tspn
  • Tea masala (available at Indian grocery stores or make your own) : 1/2 tspn (optional)
How to make Lemon Balm Tea:


  1. In a vessel on medium high heat, add milk and water. Add all the other ingredients, except sugar. Stir once in a while
  2. When the mixture comes to a rolling boil, lower the fire to low and give it a good stir. Keep a close eye on the tea and wait until the color from the tea develops (darkens) to your desire. Do not keep like this for too long (more than 2 minutes) as it tends to make the tea taste bitter.
  3.  Switch off the heat. Add the sugar to the tea cup. Strain the tea into the cup. Give it a good stir with a spoon. 
  4. Enjoy with the above spicy Aloo Poha  :)

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