Thursday, September 12, 2013

Multigrain Sanna Polo



What happens when a Dosa craving strikes when you dont have the fermented batter? This kind of same day unfermented type of instant dosas takes shape. Its just been a while since I made Sanna Polo, so while I thought that I would make the batter only with rice , coconut and spices, once the batter was formed and I made one dosa out of it, I regretted the little amount of rice I had soaked , because the dosas were tasting heavenly with that slight aroma of drizzled coconut oil ....The amount of batter was just too less for the three of us dosa lovers ;) , so I decided to increase the content by adding something that would not alter the taste entirely. I had this organic Buckwheat and whole wheat pancake mix in my pantry,  and quickly read the contents,  it even had soymilk solids, and some other goodies, so I decided to add just a little close to 1/2 cup of it to the batter and I must say, that not only helped with the content without altering the taste, it even helped spreading the batter thin !which I iam not able to do usually with sanna polo batter.

Ingredients:
To be ground:

1 cup well soaked drained rice
3/4 cup grated coconut
2 to 3 green or dry red chillies
Salt
1 teaspoon tamarind pulp concentrate
1 teaspoon hing
Around 1/4 to 1/2 cup water (it's important that while grinding the batter needs to be medium thick than regular dosa or pancake batter , also less water is critical in getting the rice ground to a cornmeal consistency)

To be added to ground batter:

A little less than 1/2 cup any kind of Multigrain pancake mix . Make sure nothing with maida or all purpose flour is added. That defeats the purpose of making a dish healthier.
1- 2cups assorted chopped soinach leaves. I used a combination of regular spinach leaves and mint.

How I made:

First grind coconut, chillies, salt, tamarind, hing to a fine paste. Then add rice. Grind to cornmeal consistency.
To this ground batter add pancake mix and around 1/2 cup water, stir to combine well.
Then check for seasoning. Add leaves.
Make dosas by spreading a ladle full if batter on a medium heat dosa pan, drizzle some coconut oil around edges. Cook at medium high heat, then when edges seem cooked, lower fire to low and flip the dosa and cook for another minute. Serve hot with sambar/chutney.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Methiye Sukke



One of the many advantages of having my amma cook for me after my delivery of our DS was the high nutritional food she chose carefully during those much needee times. This is one such dish which is also a typical Konkani preparation. I have to say, this dish trremondously helped me during those times. Warning: I have heard that its not recommended to take it during early pregnancy times because of the hormonal effect methi (fenugreek) can have during those times.
Iam sending this to Srivalli's side dish mela. Ingredients:Green moong: 1 cup
Methi (Fenugreek): 1/2 cup
Salt
WaterTamper:Mustard seeds: 1 tsp
Curry leaves: few sprigs
Asafoetida : a tiny pinch
Salt: a pinch to flavor oil
Oil: 2 teaspoonsGarnish:
Grated coconut: 1/2 cupMethod:Soak the moong and methi together until well soaked , its a bonus if they sprout :)In a deep bottom pan, in medium heat, add oil, and when its heated add the Tamper ingredients,  and when they finish spluttering add the soaked moong and methi and salt.  Add enough water to just cover the contents.  Bring it to boil, and then simmer until the contents are cooked all way through.  When they are cooked, check for salt,  and if there is excess water increase heat to evaporate.  Then lower fire add coconut.  Stir well. Cook for a minute on low and switch off. Serve with kanji during cold winter months or just anytime as a dry side dish with kanji :)

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Amboose Ambat (Sour gravy)



I got this recipe from my amma when I wanted to make some authentic kerala konkani style dish. I loved how the dish doesnt feel heavy since no coconut milk is added , instead sour yoghurt (hence the name Amboose which means sour in konkani) is added. I am ssending this to Srivalli's side dish mela.


Ingredients:

Taro root (mande): 1 big scraped , cleaned and cut into chunks

Winter Melon (kuvvale): 1 medium piece cut into chunks

Yoghurt: 1 cup to which around 1/2 cup water is added to dilute it. Do not use buttermilk.

Water to cook veggies

To grind:

Grated coconut (fresh, frozen or scraped): 1/2 cup

Cumin seeds: 2 teaspoons

Green chilli : 2 to 3 (according to taste)

To temper:

1 teaspoon mustard seeds
A sprig of curry leaves

Method

In a saucepan add veggies, and some water to just barely cover the pieces. Add sufficient salt and cook at medium heat until veggies are just cooked, do not overcook them, as thats not the texture we are going for in this dish.

Meanwhile, grind the ingredients under the "to grind" section until smooth.
When veggies are cooked and water is almost all absorbed (a little left is fine, but not more than that since we will be adding yoghurt later. This is a pretty thick gravy), switch off heat, add the ground mix and yoghurt to it , mix well immedietly. Switch on heat to low, if you feel its too thick, you may add a teaspoon or more water, though thick is what we are going for. Temper ingredients in 1 teaspoon oil and add it to the gravy. Mix well.

Serve with hot rice.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Cauliflower Gyro



This dish was inspired after a recent visit to the farmer's market. After tasting the incredible Gyro at one stall I could not get it out of my mind. So I decided to make a vegetarian version in my kitchen. This can also be called a fusion gyro :) since I used a Cauliflower curry as stuffing and instead of the Tsatziki sauce, I used Guacamole on one side inside of Pita and Hummus on other side inside of Pita bread.





Cauliflower Gyro
----------

Ingredients:

Pita bread cut in half : 4 halves

For the filling: Recipe source : a friend named Sudha from an online foodie group

Cauliflower florets: 15 numbers
Onion: 1 medium chopped
Garlic: 5 podschopped fine
Garlic: 1 inch, chopped fine
Tomato : 1 med chopped fine taking out seeds
Salt
Oil to deep fry or saute Cauliflower
Mint leaves for garnish

Spices to be ground:
3 red chilli (optional)
1 teaspoon poppy seeds
5 cloves
1 inch cinnamon
2 green cardamom
2 tablespoons sliced almonds

How I made it:



First add cauliflower in salted water for 15 minutes. Then deep fry Cauliflower florets or you may even saute it brown. Set it aside. Then in a pan add two tablespoons oil, a pinch of salt, heat to medium, add onion, garlic , ginger and saute until soft and translucent. Then reduce heat to low. While the mix gets cooking, powder the ingredients under the spices to be ground section. Add this to onion mix and add a tablespoon of oil and saute for two minutes. Then add tomato, and mix for 3 to 4 min until mushy. Check for salt. Then add Cauliflower to this and mix and then garnish with mint leaves or coriander leaves.

Fill two tablespoons (depends on the size of pita bread you use) of above filling in each pita half. Add 1 tablespoon guacamole to one side (top or bottom) inside pita half, and add 1 tablespoon hummus on other side inside pita half. Toast both sides of all pita halves and serve hot :)

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Dhev Ummaan



This side dish is one of the most popular konkani temple feast dishes. You can find it along side Ghasshi, Dali Thoy , pickle, and other lipsmacking items all served to together in a particular order in even assigned spots on a large banana leaf. But temple feast or no, I just love this dish so much I could eat it with hot rice and pappad everyday :) 
Iam sending this to Srivalli's side dish mela:



here is the recipe:

Dhev Ummaan
-----------

Ingredients

1 large taro root (you can google taro to find its image) its called Mande in konkani sliced into wedges or cubed

1 medium bitter melon (bitter gourd) (karathe) sliced thin

Potato (optional) : 1 small sliced into wedges

Water : Just enough to soak the veggies to cook almost

Thick Coconut milk (I used canned):  1.5 cups

To temper

3 Green Chillies slit
1 tsp mustard seeds
1.5 teaspoons cumin seeds
4 to 5 curry leaves
Hing
Salt a pinch to season oil
Oil 2 tablespoons

Spices

1/2 teaspoon amchur powder
Salt
Hing : 1/4 teaspoon

How to make

In a deep bottom wok, heat 2 tablespoons oil, and add mustard and cumin seeds. When they start spluttering,  add the rest of the ingredients under temper.

Now add taro root, bitter melon and potato and stir to coat with all tue temper seasoning.  Then add water,  salt and cook on a medium flame until its almost cooked all the way through. Increase heat to reduce the water content to almost dry. Them lower heat, add coconut milk and stir well. Then add amchur powder, hing,stir, and check for salt. Let it cook on low heat for a minute until it thickens a bit. Switch off , drizzle with a little coconut oil if desired to get that lovely authentic aroma of the Dhev Ummaan. Serve with hot rice.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Mint Thepla with Eggplant Patiala


The one constant thing I like about foodie groups on social networking websites is awesome recipes they share. I am a member of foodie group on such a social networking website. Learned so many new stuff. Theplas (a frequently viewed dish made by many members in that group) were one of them and Eggplant patiala (from a member Sudha) is another one which is now a regular once a week at my place now :)
I am sending the side dish Eggplant Patiala to Srivalli's side dish mela:

http://cooking4allseasons.blogspot.in/2013/09/announcing-side-dish-mela-with-giveaways.html?m=1
Ingredients:Mint Thepla :Wheat flour : 2 cups
Mint leaves: a handful
Yoghurt at room temperature: Enough to make a smooth dough (beware that the mint leaves add additional moisture so adjust the amount accordingly)
Onion powder to taste
Oil for greasing the thepla while roasting
Salt to taste
Eggplant patiala:
Source: This siteAround 10 small indian variety Eggplant (can try with 1 big regular supermarket variety too I believe)
Cumin seeds : 1 teaspoon
Onion: 1 medium sized slices thin
Tomato: two finely chopped
Turmeric powder: 1/4 tsp
Ginger garlic paste : 1 tablespoon
Chilli powder : to taste
Garam masala: a pinch
Oil: sufficient to roast eggplant until brown
Oil: Two tablespoons
Salt to taste
How to make:Mint Thepla:Mix everything to create a smooth dough. Let it rest for 20 minutes. Make small balls from dough. Roll roti from it and roast it on a hot griddle with ghee (optional) , oil. Done. Serve with Eggplant Patiala or raita :)
Eggplant patiala:Roast eggplant until slightly brown. Keep aside. In same pan add two tablespoons oil and add cumin seeds and onion, saute until fragrant and pink, add turmeric powder, ginger garlic paste and saute well for a minute or two. Then add tomato , chilli powder, and salt. Stir until mushy , then add Eggplant, and cook covered until its all cooked. Check for seasoning, add pinch of garam masala. Serve hot with Thepla :)
Note: The dough might get kind of too stiff if cold yoghurt is added. In that case if its too late into mixing , add slightly lukewarm water.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Knock Out Almond Chewy Bar Cake



I love almond flavor !! There I said it..I seriously go crazy when it comes to adding extracts or flavors to my baked goods. It's one of those urges that make me go weak in my knees (or hands specifically ;)...These days it's Almond. But iam sure it's going to be that for a long time. I was specifically looking over internet for a almond based cake and came across one which took me by surprise since it lacked the usual leavening agents..Baking soda/Baking powder that is...I should have better known that it would make a very dense cake, but late night browsing does some weird decision making skills for next day. I bookmarked the recipe even though one of the reviewers wrote "it's "almost" like chewy bar" ....zzz..whatever..zzzzz

So next day I got ready with my pans and cups and spoons and etc...it was a one bowl cake,just mix everything together and dump in pan and bake. I did just that. And lo and behold !...the cake turned out exactly like a "chewy bar" :-( ...but wait.....
After the cake cooled , .... (did I say, the whole house was smelling heavenly good with the almond flavor?? mmm) , I cut a tiny "tasting" slice for myself. It tasted like some exotic culinary perfume bursting in my mouth craving for more cake :-) BH and Bubbles loved it too :)....It was not too sweet , just the way we like it here in my home. I smeared some pie filling on top of my slice and enjoyed it with my tea :-)

Luv
MK

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Homemade Pizza dough



It's not until after you have tried some things that you realize it's value. For me though, this was not the case when it came to making pizza from scratch. I tried and tried in past, but everytime it came out like half baked bread with all the yeasty things and uncooked dough (yuck...), which went straight to trash. I used to sigh with a bit of sadness whenever I used to imagine the endless possibilities of topping I could have added if I had a good homemade pizza base....I used to get so wishful about having a pizza base fairy wave her magical wand on my hand :-P ..... Ok now I am going overboard :-)



You can imagine the excitement I felt eventually after my experiments got better and better one of these days. The obvious reasons were, with a toddler in hand, the only few precious minutes I get to experiment something new in kitchen does not give me the leisure time to make an error, because I never know when I can again get another opportunity. So it has to be almost foolproof. Else, in addition to the cranky toddler, I might have to face the hungry cranky husband who returned from office :-\ ....
So the recipes I share here are ones which have a foolproof tag in my home, since I don't make anything and everything for the sake of blogging after Bubbles was born. He rules ! :)) And he inspires :) to keep blogging . I am grateful to my better half who was the recipient of my experiments long before Bubbles was born, since that's when this blog started :-) ....

Here goes my recipe: You will need : For the dough: 1 packet (0.25 ounce) instant active yeast 3/4 cup lukewarm water 2 teaspoons honey 1.5 teaspoons salt 2 cups flour (Bread flour works best , but you can use all purpose flour too. I substituted partially with whole wheat flour) + 1/4 cup flour for dusting (use it 1 tablespoon at a time) - 2 tablespoons oil - 2 teaspoons milk/water - 3 tablespoon cornmeal/coarsely powdered soy granules/semolina Optional: Garlic powder How I made it: - Combine yeast and honey in warm water until dissolved completely. This step is as much important as the rest, so make sure it's well dissolved. Let it rest for say 10 minutes or until it gets frothy and creamy. - While the yeasts bloom, take a big mixing bowl greased well with oil combine two cups flour, salt, oil, and garlic powder. You can even add some herbs like dry basil. - Grease your hands, and add the prepared yeast mixture, mix well and combine to form a smooth dough. If it's too sticky, add 1 tbsploon remaining flour at a time or if the dough is too hard, add one teaspoon milk/water. Knead for 5 minutes to get a smooth dough. Grease your hands if needed to make kneading easier. - Cover dough with plastic wrap and also cover the bowl in plastic wrap. Place it in a warm location away from sunlight. Let it rest for atleast 30 minutes. The dough will double in size. - Prepare toppings while dough is resting. I used onion, capsicum, and loads of cheese :-) The toppings options are endless, but make sure that if you are adding meat based toppings, it is first cooked all way through before adding to pizza. Also I don't recommend adding vegetables that need a longer cooking time, if you must do, then cook them until they are tender. Next time I plan to add tofu/paneer. - Preheat oven to 400 degree F. Take dough out of plastic wrap, and push down to remove the air bubbles a little. - Grease your rolling pin, and board. Dust a little flour if needed. All this to make rolling dough process, easier. Flatten the dough , until it's around 1/2 inch thick. - I then greased my pizza pan well. Evenly sprinkled the coarsely powdered soy granules (cornmeal is the traditional thing used, but I did not have it handy). Make sure you don't skip this step. It's vital for the even cooking of your pizza, especially if you don't own a pizza stone. These little granules get heated along with the pizza pan in oven and distribute heat evenly under the dough to cook it evenly. Got the importance? :-) - Transfer the dough to pan, and with rolling pin or hands , roll it to fill it towards edges. Crimp the edges to create a border. At this point I think it's a good idea to use a fork and prick few holes in the dough , though I have not tried it. I believe it can make the dough less bread like texture and more pizza base like texture when it's pricked. - Brush with a pizza sauce, either homemade or store bought. Don't use too much sauce, though you will feel tempted to,...it can make your crust soggy. Top with shredded cheese. And then followed with other toppings and then finishing off with cheese. - Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes, then lower temperature to 375, and bake another 5 minutes. - Take out pizza pan, and slice it into your hearts desire :-) ..... Enjoy ! :-) Love, MK

Friday, May 24, 2013

Happy 7th Birthday my dear Blog :-)

I have never celebrated my Blog's birthday :-P ..... So this time, I am not going to forget it, and making an almond cake for you :-)

Dear Blog,
1. You have been an inspiration and motivation for me.

2. You gave me a sense of purpose when I felt lonely and insecure a lot of times in past.

3. Just like my better half, you have been there for me through thick and thin

4. I rely on you to improve my skills, whatever it may be ;-)

5. I love the fact that you would be a source of memory for my baby when he grows up and becomes an adult, even after I am long gone .... Atleast that's what I intended from you to begin with :-)

So though I don't spend enough time with you on a regular basis, I am always thankful, that you still exist with me :-) like a friend :-) .....

Happy Birthday to you !! :-)

Love
MK ....

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Because you are you,.....Happy Birthday to our darling


Yesterday our Bubbles (from now on that's his name here) turned two. Can you believe it? Apart from feeling the rushing time in the form of first step, first word, first sentence,....he had the audacity to turn two , hmmmm , I just want to freeze the time and keep snuggling my Bubbles :) God bless you little one :)....

I baked his birthday cake this time since it was one of my goals this year. Also, not to mention, my first time frosting, decorating, etc. I must say I had fun while doing it, not to mention brainstorming myself for ideas haha :) The cake was a simple one, with no fancy filling. It was a Jungle/Spring combined theme birthday cake. I added certain flavor enhancers for added taste and moisture since I did not bake it from scratch. It tasted exactly the way I wanted, moist, and slight hints of the flavors I added. I will post the picture here, but if you need the recipe, please write to me. I wanted to post a longer one, but I am busy at moment.



Enjoy the rest of your weekend :)
MK

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Dal fry (restaurant style)



The saying, "do not underestimate the flavor of simple food" is very appropriate for this side dish. I never used to even give a second thought or even glance when I saw dal fry in buffets or menus in a restaurant. What with all the other lip smacking names like "gobi manchurian", "paneer tikka masala", etc etc vying with each other to capture your undivided attention, truth be told, one can only contemplate the fate of dal fry who looks like "plane Jane" in this context.

"Really??, how did I miss this one?"...this was my reaction after I tasted dal fry for the first time in my life after I had to take care of the leftover food  as part of a get together we had last year at our place... And the other factor was our munchkin loves dal based gravies so much , he relished this dish with gusto, though I had to refill his glass of water as it was quite spicy. Then and there I decided, Dal fry is a must try in my list of experiments to replicate restaurant style food.

So here goes my version where I have tried to get a restaurant style taste for the same:









Ingredients:

Thur (toor) dal : 1 cup
Onion medium: 1 sliced thin
Tomato: 2 sliced
Ginger and garlic paste: 1 tspn each
Green chilli : 3 nos slit open (optional, I did not add, but it's really a flavor booster in dal fry according to me)
Salt

Spices:

1tspn each of coriander powder, garam masala powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder, turmeric powder, red chilli powder
A pinch of hing

For tempering:

1 tablespoon ghee (or butter, but ghee is best for  the flavor, you can melt the same amount of butter for a minute or two until it forms ghee...or refer my previous posts for making ghee in advance)
Mustard seeds: 1 teaspoon
Cumin seeds: 1 teaspoon
Hing: a pinch
Salt to flavor the ghee

How I made it:





Soak the dal atleast an hour in warm water for faster soaking. It speeds the cooking process and gives a nice buttery texture of cooked dal.





Then in a pressure cooker on medium heat (you may use a plain sauce pan, but it will take an hour to cook the dal well), add ghee, then the tempering ingredients, followed by green chilli,onion, ginger and garlic paste. Stir well until onion turns pink, then add the tomato, spices, and salt. Reduce heat a bit, and stir until the mixture reduces to a paste consistency. It will take around two minutes to achieve that.

Now add the soaked dal along with 4 cups water. Stir again. Check salt and cover pressure cooker. I allow four whistles on my pressure cooker. Switch off heat. Wait for the pressure to completely go away. Then open lid, stir everything well, check salt.





I hope you will try this since it's easy and tasty and healthy. MK

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Canned Tuna and Coconut stir fry



Trying to incorporate healthy foods in our family of three is a challenge I always have fun with. I have been weary to try canned grocery as they are notorious for their sodium content as well as other additives. Some of them though have been a staple in my kitchen after I tried them after much scrutinisation.

I am not a purist when it comes to cooking.I am all for easy to make, semi homemade, quickie cooking too as long as it doesnt make me compromise too much on the taste, nutrition value, and ofcourse the price :-)

After a chat with one of my friends who suggested that I need to have a section on "Bachelor cooking", I decided this is the perfect dish to start this section. I will be posting such dishes from time to time.

Canned Tuna was something I loathed when my better half bought it the first time years ago. As I told you in a previous post, he has this habit of picking up something new whenever he does the grocery shopping.

I was so fascinated reading the label on it where it tells about the omega 3 goodness in the canned tuna. Not to mention, the additional good things that I found after a thorough google search.Apparently canned tuna are one of the best foods that can be stocked during an emergency. But all in vain once I opened the can....since the whiff made me trash the entire can.

Fast forward to present..... I am eager to incorporate seafood into my munchkin's diet, since it's good in terms of nutrition value. I am not good at filleting fish or have the time to clean and cook seafood from scratch. Hence I decided to put the canned tuna to test. I added flavor enhancers and maskers to not make it taste like it came out of a can and I have to say it's now a hit with my boy and his dad :-)

So here is how I made it:

Ingredients:

2 canned tunas (the one in water is best as it has less sodium)

1 medium shallot sliced

2 tablespoons thinly sliced ginger (this gives the flavor boost according to me)

Grated coconut (fresh or thawed): 1/2 cup

Salt

Oil : 2 tablespoons

Spices:

Garam masala: 2 teaspoons divided

Coriander powder: 1 tspn

Cumin powder: 1/2 tspn

Red Chilli powder (according to your tolerance)

Hing (asafoetida) powder : 1/2 teaspoon

Turmeric powder: 1/4 teaspoon





How to make:

Drain the water from the tuna can like this as shown in photo below. It's the most effective way.



Then transfer the tuna into a bowl. Add all the spices and a pinch of salt (not the amount to actually season, just a pinch for the flavors to mix), and grated coconut and mix well with a fork.





In a frying pan or saute pan on medium heat, heat oil, a pinch of salt and hing (i like to flavor my oil with salt before hand since i feel it adds flavor) add shallot, and ginger. Saute until they brown lightly. Then lower heat to medium low, add 1 teaspoon garam masala, stir well say for a minute, then add the tuna mixture. Saute while breaking the mixture so as to mix everything well with the shallot and ginger. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon garam masala, and stir well, check for salt at this point. Keepimg heat at medium low, cover pan and let it cook for a minute.Lower the heat open the cover, stir for 15 seconds. Do a taste test if you are like me (while my boy says "meetth na" meaning not enough salt, even before he tastes anything these days, as he sees me taste testing :-P ). Switch off.





This goes well with a rice and dal combo since it makes a great stir fry with immense flavor of the ginger, tuna, and spices.

Did you like this post? Let me know :-)

Happy Easter !
MK

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Easy Coconut Milk Pie (no bake)



Hello dear reader,
How was your past week? If you saw my update post, you will remember why I did not post last week. Well, things are not any better, but I have been evolving each time my baby is going through a growth spurt, it's just that it takes a bit of adjustment, and understanding , that period is the testing part.
Anyways, I am on a mission to lighten my overcrowded pantry, ... At this point I feel if I hoard anymore grocery in there (yes I am a hoarder of grocery, tch tch, not proud of it, but I admit it and vow to not do it again ,...infact I am scared to set foot in a supermarket now thinking I would be tempted to stock up again :-\ ...)....
Keeping that thought in mind, I decided to start with "getting rid of" the readymade pie crust and cans of coconut milk. I got this recipe from internet and with minor substitutions, it's easy peasy :-)
Here is what you need:
1 store bought ready to eat piecrust (I used a granola crust)
Filling:
3 cups coconut milk
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs beaten (iam guessing it can be made eggless if I add bit more of cornstarch , but I have not tried it)
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup sweetened coconut flakes
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Sliced almonds for garnish
How I made it:
Mix everything for the filling except coconut flakes and almonds in a medium saucepan.
Keep it on low fire and keep stirring until mixture starts thickening. I had to turn up the heat to medium after sometime since it was taking forever on low. But just make sure that there are no lumps, and the first sign of thickening, you turn it back to low. And keep stirring. Add the flakes at this point, stir. Switch off. Transfer to the pie crust. Chill atleast 5 hours or even overnight. Garnish with sliced almonds and Saffron.





Enjoy :)

MK

Saturday, March 23, 2013

An update.....

Hey readers, I have been dealing with a cranky toddler, whose new sleep schedule is making me go bananas,... Hence the delay in blogging,... It's taking over my blogging time you know, and I am like a zombie during daytime with groggy eyes, and been very quite except when I have to pressurize my son to doing things like eating, and sleeping....But I am still trying out recipes, and cooking, so it won't take too long alright ? Meanwhile feel free to browse my oldies :-) .... And is there something you want to me blog about in particular with regard to food? Please let me know through the comment section :-)

Ciao !
MK

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Making Ghee (Clarified Butter)



There is something about motherhood that forces you to cook something you would otherwise keep at bay. That "was" Ghee for me. I am not a big fan of butter or ghee, yogurt, milk. But that does not mean I would want the same for my baby, though I can surely empathize with people who have the same dislikes in terms of food as me. But as any mother would do, I too don't sit back and hope he should follow in my footsteps in terms of such things, infact I too coax, trick, and try other ways to make him healthier. I am sure most parents agree with me :-)

Ghee is also popularly known as Clarified butter. It's the liquid that's left after all milk solids that eventually collect at the bottom as sediments turn a golden hue (got that description from a facebook group friend who offered several other tips which I would be sharing here)



The method I used here is not traditional way which I am not that familiar with. Though my mother used to often make it, I used to pinch my nose and stay as far away from the "aroma". I didn't even bother knowing how it was made, let alone get a whiff !

So, though I am still not into ghee, for the sake of my bub, I made this the "easy" way :-) , and that's with store bought unsalted butter.

It's pretty easy , the steps are self explanatory from the pictures I have posted in collage form, but I will describe it for your convenience :-)

Ingredients

4 sticks unsalted butter (need not be at room temperature)

Optional ingredients: (I haven't used these, but got tips from experienced people who advised that it will enhance flavor, fragrance, and shelf life)

Salt (tiny pinch), Drumstick tree leaves, Curry leaves

Note: make sure everything from vessel, spoon, to leaves don't have even minute trace of moisture before starting to make ghee, else ghee will turn bad.

How I made it :

Keep a vessel at medium high and let it heat to vaporise any trace of water. Then lower heat to low (I kept mine between gas setting 1 and 2 the entire time while making ghee)

If you want, cut the butter in chunks for faster melting, and then add it to the vessel. Now wait until the butter melts completely and starts foaming.
You will here crackling sounds which indicates the milk solids in the butter heating up. The foam at this stage will be all over the top. Just wait patiently as this will take a while, (it took almost 20 minutes with very occasional stirring) but eventually it will thin out and you will notice the foam separating. If you use a spoon to slowly separate the foam, you will be able to see the yellow liquid (ghee) floating and the milk solids collected at the bottom. Do not at any stage, rush the cooking by increasing the heat. I learned that the hard way after I burnt the milk solids and it lend a bitter, unpleasant after taste and even smell, the first time I made ghee.

As you can see from the first collage here, the bubbles slowly reduce and the yellow liquid completely separates from the golden colored milk solids collected at the bottom. Wait until most of the foam is gone. It took another 10 minutes for me.



At this point, when you are just about to switch off the flame, add a tiny pinch of salt, the leaves, and then switch off flame. Let the ghee cool just a bit. Then pour it through a filter into a clean, well dry bottle (refer my second collage).



I apologize for the shaky pictures, as I was trying to be smart, clicking pictures with a cranky bub. Wrong move from my part I say :-\ please don't ever do that, I would never do it again, it's like my heart was pounding, but I so wanted to get it over with.

So once you finished straining the ghee, wait for it to cool completely before putting the lid and storing away in a cool place (not in the refrigerator). It will get hard and solidify as it cools, but that's normal.



You may use this ghee to make sweets, or in hot steaming rice , side dishes to enhance the smell, and taste. Also it's found to have medicinal properties that it's been used with ayurvedic medicine. I can personally vouch for that during my childhood days ;-)

Did you like this post? Please let me know your views, so that next time I can write a better one :-) , or if you love it, please tell me that too, you know I just love hearing from you :-) !
MK :-)

Monday, March 11, 2013

Adzuki Beans (Red Chori) dumpling



Hello dear reader :-)
How was your weekend? We had awesome weather here, especially yesterday. Got bub's haircut done two days back. Now he looks all ready for spring :-) ...on a side note: I can't stop kissing his chubby hands :-)



So coming to this recipe, it's something I made up along the way while trying innovative ways to finish a plethora of legumes lying around in my pantry just begging me to pick them up, each time I scavenge there to pick something quicker to cook, such as a can of coconut milk for eg.

So in an effort to do something about it, I soaked these Adzuki beans, as the first step in any legumes cooking, which needs soaking. I was confident I could come up with something as my Mung Bean pancakes were a success.

The next day, I drained and saved the water in which the beans were soaked. Then I grinded coconut first , added the beans next, and ground everything to a smooth batter with not too much water, as the beans itself gives out water while grinding and it does not get clumpy unlike ground rice.



Then I let the batter sit for a while, after which I added some shredded cabbage and spinach for crunch and taste. Mixed until everything got incorporated. Checked for salt. And made dumplings using the Idli steamer. It was a hit with my dears at home who were after me to make more "illi" (as bub calls it )

Ingredients

Adzuki beans (red chori) : 1 cup
Water to soak beans
Shredded Coconut : 2/3 cup
Cumin seeds: 1 tablespoon
Dry red chilli/chilli powder : as pet your taste
Hing : two teaspoons
Salt

Shredded cabbage/Spinach or both : optional

How I made:

Soak the beans overnight, or until all beans are well soaked. Drain water and reserve.

First grind the coconut, chilli, and cumin along with a few tablespoons of water sufficient enough for the motor to run and grind it to a smooth paste, it's ok if a tiny bit of chunky piece is left, but not too much

Note: It's critical to grind the coconut alone first (not along with beans) to get the soft chewy texture of the dumpling.

Then add the beans and grind well, you may even do it in batches. Just make sure the beans is really ground well, (it's important that the beans are well soaked just for this purpose to get a good ground batter, else be prepared to bite into unsavory stone like bits of not-so-well-soaked beans)

Now add hing, check for salt. Let the batter sit for say just 30 minutes (for getting soft chewy dumplings).

Then add cabbage and spinach.Check for salt. Drop tablespoons full into Idli moulds and steam for 20 minutes. Now, when you open the lid, you might feel the batter is still not cooked, but if the top feels just ever so lightly hard, it's indication to the doneness. This is because, as it cools outside the steamer, it hardens, but not that hard, it gets chewy but still soft and did I forget to say "yummmm" :-)



Have a wonderful week ! :-)
MK

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Shrikhand



I don't know why I never tried making this "sweet"y ;-) before ? Oh I remember now,...a wrong (read "nothing like what it's supposed to taste") one at the right time made me biased against this immensely flavorful , yet open to various modifications to make it a healthy treat without losing it's charm, dessert. The saying "first impression matters" was all true when it came to my view of shrikhand. With an intriguing name, that I came across a magazine during high school, I always wanted to taste it. The only not so appeasing thing to me about it during that time was the main ingredient in it - yogurt that is, you see I am not a big fan of dairy if it does not have any masking flavors, it's the smell and taste that is a turn off, ....my mom had a hard time making me eat ghee/butter/milk during childhood, and the fact that my tastebuds were advanced (probably in today's percentile crazy world, I probably would have measured the 90 th percentile for tastebuds , if there is such a thing as tastebud percentile :-P )....and the above mentioned "wrong thing at right time" scenario didn't do any good. Fast forward to present, when I tasted it just few months back. I was hooked ;-) lol....Thanks to hub's sweet tooth ! To sweeten the deal, bub too loved it :-)


Hence I decided to try it to make it healthier than their sugar rich store bought counterpart. However I did notice that if you skimp too much on the sugar part, it ends up tasting like just plain yogurt, which was not my goal. So I added sugar according to my taste. It might differ from yours, so I am not mentioning the measurement here. In fact I didn't measure anything, and I didn't need to. It's that easy, and versatile, after the initial yogurt processing step.



How I made it:

Shrikhand is a dessert made with hung yogurt. As you can see from the picture, it's the creamy , spreadable yogurt that's left after all water is strained from yogurt.
- I used a cheesecloth, dumped the entire container of yoghurt in the cheesecloth that was positioned carefully atop another vessel so as to avoid any messes.

-Then I carefully gathered up the edges of the cheesecloth and tied one of it's edges around the gathered cloth
- Then I hung it from the tap to put it under pressure just like making paneer.
- I let it strain overnight, but no more as then it will cause the yogurt to turn sour.

It looks like paneer (cottage cheese), but nothing like that otherwise in terms of texture or taste. So once this hung yogurt is obtained, the next step is to whip it well with everything that goes into it...
-I whipped it with some powdered sugar and a bit of granulated sugar, a teaspoon of sour cream if desired, nuts, fresh or canned fruits like mango, pineapple, cherry, saffron, cardamom powder. I also added a generous tablespoon of pure vanilla extract :-) ....like I said you can add your own twist to it.

But don't by any chance ruin this by whipping with a blender or any machine. Your hands would serve the purpose here if you catch my drift.



- Once everything is whipped, refrigerate atleast two hours.

This last step alone, in my opinion, is what causes magic and transforms yogurt to Shrikhand :-) ,....you ask me why? Coz otherwise it tastes like plain flavored yogurt. I was initially disappointed that all my anticipation and efforts went in vain before I refrigerated it. So that's why I am telling you again, "Refrigerate it" :-)

One thing I learned which would better equip me next time : Make more of it ! :-) seriously readers I tell you , this one is a keeper in my make once a week recipe. I can't tell you how glad I was to see my bub having it without spitting out the nuts I added in it. He licked the spoon clean, and to think all those active cultures in the yogurt went inside his tummy made me giddy happy :-)



So did I inspire you enough to give it a try?

Well here is another one ;-) ....



Have a great weekend :-)
MK

Monday, February 25, 2013

Banana Flower stir fry


Hey dear readers, how was your weekend? Here it snowed a bit, weatherwise (is there even a word like that??...but you got the meaning right? ;-)
Me and Bub have not been keeping well from last month. In other words or in my Hub's words, it's a case of "Ping Pong ball". Meaning, we have been transferring our stuffy nose and coughs for a while now. Just when I thought Bub was over his cold, I just transferred mine (which I caught from him apparently)....hmm, well yesterday was the worse of the lot , and hopefully this will go away in another few days...
Hub has this way of shopping groceries where he picks up some unique product which both of us have no clue about, and would curiously wait to see what I make out of it. He leaves the R & D part of the product to me. There were successful ones that have since been a staple , and some others that still intrigues us and they eventually either rots in refrigerator making their way to the trash can, or gets bumps and bruises by being used as a pretend play toy by Bub when I run out of ideas :-P
One of the successful ones is the Swiss Chard, they were pretty easy to figure out, and have been a staple ever since. Some that got the fag end of the deal from me includes Belgian Endives ,.... after I used it, the taste was not something I could adjust even on a parched and hungry day. It might have something to do with the way I cooked or the seasoning I added (or the lack of it in both cases :-\ ...Either ways, it's never made a re entry again, lol. Do you have a mystery ingredient that made it or didn't make it ? I would love to hear all about it :-)



All this talk about unique and mystery ingredients has nothing to do with today's post about Banana Flower, since it's something I grew up seeing, tasting, playing etc....But to those who have never seen, heard or used it, it can very well be a mystery ingredient and the chances of it ending up in trash due to insufficient knowledge of handling/cooking it is relatively high :-).....So my intention here is to give a step step pictorial representation, from handling it, to cooking it to delicate perfection :-) (yes you read it right, "delicate perfection", meaning it doesn't need any roasting or super high flame to roast it , unlike what the pic of a Banana Flower might make you believe....read on so that you might not end up tossing it away just yet :-) ....

"Banana Flower" is the dark magenta colored conical thing that you can see on a Banana plant. You may refer wikipedia for all kinda scientific information and terms that might describe it to you. But I was not satisfied or even understood half of the scientific jargons.on wiki this time. Hence I googled further and found this website extremely well explaining it in simple words. It's basically the male bud characterized by it's red/magenta color and conical shape.

It would be incomplete and unfair if I didn't mention that I could not have done the preparation , cooking etc without Bub "helping" me :-) ,you can see his hands doing some serious scrubbing in one of the pics, while playing with the petals in another :-)
How to prepare the Banana Flower for cooking:
Note: This process can stain your hands and maybe clothes, so take precautions accordingly. Also it's quite labor intensive, so it's not for a time pressed day.



Start by peeling of one petal at a time. You will see a neatly arranged layer of finger shaped flowers. Pluck them together away with care. You basically don't use the purple petals, only the finger shaped flowers , that has to undergo some more preparation. Keep peeling the petal, and the flowers. What you will notice is that the petals , flowers, and thereby the cone gets lighter and lighter in color. Continue until the petals can no longer be peeled away. Do not discard of what remains of the cone (cut the stalk at the base of the cone at this point, it's not used for cooking like the petals). The cone can be chopped into smaller bits to be used in the stir fry.



Remember I mentioned that the flowers too gets lighter in color? They also get too delicate to dissect with hands. Why I mentioned the dissect part is because, there is a stalk inside each one of those flowers, that needs to be discarded, else can completely spoil the dish. It's distinguished from the rest of the stalks by a round nub like tip (you can see that I marked this stalk in the pic) . Just pluck them out and away from the flower. Do this for all the dark colored flowers. The ones inside the lighter ones are tender and don't matter when it's cooked.
Once this is done, the preparation part is as good as over, ....just mince the prepared flowers. Add the flowers and the chopped cone in lots of water. Swirl with your hands to separate any debris. Discard the water. Do this three times to get rid of dirt and maybe a bit of the sticky sap like residue.


How to make stir fry:
You need these ingredients:
Grated coconut: 1/2 cup
Garlic minced : 1 tablespoon
A pinch of turmeric, hing, and salt to flavor oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
2 tablespoons oil
Salt



In a pan heat oil, and reduce flame to medium. Splutter mustard seeds, a pinch of chilli powder, and hing (asafoetida), and pinch of salt to flavor the oil. Add the minced ingredients, and a pinch.of turmeric. You may also add a teaspoon of minced garlic for extra taste :-) .Cover and cook until it's lost the raw flavor (it tastes extremely starchy while raw, think raw potato), and after cooking, tastes less starchy, yes that's all I can come up with to describe it's taste.It tastes great with grated coconut.
So once it's all cooked, add grated coconut, mix well, then cover and let it cook another minute for the flavors to infuse. Check for salt. And it's ready to serve with hot rice, and dal.
Hope this post has inspired you to try this vegetable. And it's less a mystery than before ? :-)
Happy experimenting !
MK

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