Sunday, November 30, 2008

Hakka Noodles



Who does not like the tasty and fiery hakka noodles available at every Chinese fast food joint in India. I usually use soy sauce and tomato ketchup for making noodles. This time I bought knorr's sauces from my Indian grocery store and thought of making hakka noodles on one Sunday. I have put a photo of the sauces. Here, we don't get the manchurian and schezwan sauces which are readily available in India. Back in India, I would often use these sauces for making noodles and sizzlers. Yana's restaurant in Pune served a lot mouth watering Indo-Chinese sizzlers. Kobe's was another sizzler joint. I have never known a sizzler restaurant in the Bay Area. Let me know if you are aware of any good sizzler joint in the Bay Area. Many people may think that noodles are not a healthy dinner option; but use a lot of vegetables in the dish and it turns out to be a nutritious diner. Here is the recipe.


Ingredients
1 packet hakka noodles
2 carrots thinly sliced
1/2 crown of broccoli chopped into small pieces
1 cup shredded cabbage
1/2 cup beans chopped into 1 inch pieces
1/2 cup peas and/or corn
8-9 baby corn
1 cup thinly sliced capsicum or green pepper
2 medium red onions finely chopped
1 handful mung sprouts
1 cup chopped scallions or spring onion
1 teaspoon chopped ginger
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1 1/2 teaspoon green chili sauce
1 tablespoon hot and sweet sauce
1 teaspoon soy sauce
2 tablespoon oil
pepper and salt as per taste

Method

Put the noodles in boiling water with 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook till done. Rinse the noodles in cold water immediately to stop the cooking process. Rinsing the noodles in cold water helps in keeping the noodles separate. Heat oil and add ginger, garlic and red onions. Fry for 3-4 minutes on high flame. Add sliced capsicum and fry for 4-5 minutes. Then add cabbage and stir fry for 3-4 minutes. Add the carrots, broccoli, beans and peas. Cook them uncovered stirring them continuously on high flame for 8-10 minutes. Add the soy sauce, hot and sweet sauce, chili sauce and mix well. Add the noodles, spring onions and mung sprouts and mix it well with the vegetables. Add salt and pepper as per taste. Adjust sauces as per your taste and serve hot.


Preparation time: 1 hour
Serves: 2-3

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

I usually toast the pumpkin seeds and we eat it as a snack. These seeds can also be sprinkled on salads. This is another of my grand mom's recipes. My grand mom would always ask the vegetable vendor to keep pumpkin seeds and she would purchase them when ever we went to shop for vegetables. She would say that these seeds have a lot of nutritions in them and many people are not aware about it. Check here for the nutritional value of pumpkin seeds.

Ingredients
pumpkin seeds
1 tablespoon ghee or clarified butter
pepper powder as desired
salt as per taste

Method

Wash the pumpkin seeds well and dry them on kitchen towel. Heat ghee in a pan and add the pumpkin seeds. Roast the seeds on a low flame till they are roasted as desired. Then sprinkle pepper powder and salt. Store the roasted seeds in a airtight container and it remains good for two weeks.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Onion Rava Dosa

I love onion rava dosa because of its crispiness and the mild flavor of peppercorns, coriander leaves and onion pieces embedded randomly in the dosa. I usually order it when I visit South Indian restaurants in the Sunnyvale. But we have to wait for a long time at Saravana Bhavan which we usually visit for dinner. Sometimes the wait even exceeds 40 minutes. The waiters dilli dally while getting the menus to us, then after a long wait they come to our table and take our order. Finally after an era we are served our meal. So, instead of waiting so long for one dosa at the restaurant, I made this dosa at home on the new griddle and it came out very well. This dosa does not require any fermentation like the dosas which are made of urad dal and hence be made in no time.
Previously, I would usually avoid making thin dosas..like rava dosas at home as my tava would give out lot of smoke which would activate the smoke alarm. The dosas also required a lot of oil else they would stick to the tava. But, I would always think that there is something wrong with my dosa batter. But recently when my parents visited me, my mom told me that there was nothing wrong with the batter and I was using too much oil for every dosas and there was something wrong with the tava.
I then came to know that the tava I was using was not a dosa tava and was a mexican fajita griddle. I did some research on the internet and bought this griddle from Macy's. Now I can make very thin dosas like rava dosas successfully at home.

Ingredients
2 cups rava or semolina
1 cup maida or all purpose flour
1 cup rice atta or rice flour
1 medium onion
3 tablespoon chopped cilantro or coriander leaves
1 teaspoon pepper corns
1/4 cup curds (optional)
2 green chilies
1/2 teaspoon salt


Method
Finely chop the green chillies and the onion. Mix it with the rava, maida, curds (optional), pepper corns, salt and rice flour. Add lots of water to make a very liquidish batter. The batter should be as thin as buttermilk. Keep the batter aside for around 1 hour. The rava will absorb some water, so add more water if needed to made a thin batter.

Heat a oiled tava(griddle) and spread a very thin layer of the batter on the tava. Cover and cook the dosa. As the dosa is very thin, traditionally, it is not flipped and cooked on the other side. However, I like it to be cooked on both sides, so I flip it and cook it uncovered for around 20 seconds on the second side. Serve immediately with sambar and chutney.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Bhindi Sabzi/ Bhendi Upkari

Bhindi upkari is another konkani side dish which goes well with daal or spicy sambar/rasam. Upkari in Konkani means a simple side dish served with rice. Select small and tender okra instead of large okras with lots of seeds. In my native place people use fresh okra from vines which grow in the backyard to prepare this side dish. The fresh okra makes a great deal of difference in enhancing the taste of the sabzi. I find similar kind of okra at the Mountain View farmer's market. Here is the recipe.

Ingredients
1 pound okra
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon coconut oil
2 tablespoon grated coconut
2-3 dried red chilies
1/2 teaspoon urad dal or black skinnedlentils
salt for taste
Method

Cut the tops and bottom of the okra and cut it into 2 centimeter round slices. Heat oil in a pan and and mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds start to splutter, add urad dal and fry till the urad dal is pink. Break the red chili into 2-3 pieces add red chilies to the seasoning. Fry for half a minute and add okra. Cover and cooked till the okra is cooked. Season with salt as per taste and grated coconut. Serve with rice.


Preparation time: 30 minutes
Serves: 2-3

Monday, November 24, 2008

Sarson Ka Saag / Mustard Green Gravy

Sarson ka saag is a very popular recipe from Punjab region in India. Sarson Ka Saag is usually served with Makai Ki Roti or Corn flat bread. Mustard greens are in season now. I usually buy the organic mustard greens from safeway. A great way to consume saag or mustard greens is making sarson ka saag recipe. It is a very easy recipe and can be stored for days. I boil a lot of mustard and spinach enough for two meals. I then freeze the portion enough for one meal for future use. Later, I just defreeze the boiled saag and season it whenever required. I do the same for the organic spinach we buy from costco. Read about the nutritive value of mustard greens here.

Ingredients
4 cups mustard leaves
2 cup palak or spinach leaves
1/2 teaspoon garam masala (optional)
3-4 green chilies
1 medium onion chopped
3 tablespoon tomato paste or 2 chopped tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon chopped ginger
1/4 teaspoon red chili powder (if desired or as per taste)
2 1/2 tablespoon corn flour (yellow color, not the white corn flour)
4 tablespoon crumbled paneer or cottage cheese ()
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 tablespoon butter
salt for taste

Method

Wash and boil the mustard greens, green chili, ginger and spinach with very little or no water till soft. Put the boiled ingredients in a blender and give it a pulse or two to make a coarse puree. Alternatively they can be mashed using a masher. Heat butter in a pan and add cumin seeds. Add onion and fry it till light brown. Add the tomato paste or chopped tomato and fry till the tomato is soft. Add the blended green puree. Add turmeric powder, garam masala, paneer, corn flour salt and chili powder for taste. Heat the saag and stir it to remove all the lumps. Cook until the cornflour is cooked and blended well in the saagl. Serve it hot with roti.




Preparation time: 40 minutes
Serves: 3-4

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Coriander-Mint Chutney

Coriander mint chutney is also called sandwich chutney in India as it is usually used for making sandwiches. This chutney can be had with dhokla or dosa too. You can omit the mint if you don't have it on hand or if you are not a great fan. I usually buy fresh mint from the Indian grocery store and dry it in the hot sun. Then I store it in a air tight container. This stays good for 1-2 months.

Ingredients
1 cup chopped coriander or cilantro leaves. (I love to have a dense flavor of coriander leaves, so I usually add 15-20 strands of the leaf. )
1 tablespoon dried mint leaves or 10-12 fresh mint leaves
small piece of tamarind (size of 2 green peas) or1/8 the teaspoon tamarind concentrate
2-3 green chilies or as per taste
3 tablespoon grated coconut
1/4 teaspoon jeera or cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon chopped ginger
1-2 cloves of garlic (optional, I don't use garlic only if I am going to serve the chutney with dosas)
1/2 teaspoon sugar
salt for taste

Method

Wash and chop the mint and coriander coarsely. Grind all the ingredients into a very smooth paste. Serve with dhoklas, dosas or sandwiches. If this is not being used immediately, store it in the fridge. This chutney can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 1-2 days.

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Serves: 5-6

Set Dosa



Set Dosa is also called "musti polo" which literally translates to "fist dosa". The contents are measured by the "fist" and not by "cup" and hence the name. This was one of my favorite tiffin snack during my school and college days. My friends also loved this dosa a lot. This dosa has a unique flavor due to the methi/fenugreek seeds. i don't use boiled or raw rice for this dosa; I use the normal rice which is served with sambar or dal. I served this with coriander-mint chutney. Here is the recipe for set dosa.

Ingredients
3 cups rice
1 cup urad dal or split and husked black lentil
1 teaspoon methi/ fenugreek seeds
2 tablespoon jaggery or gur
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
oil for frying

Method

Wash and soak urad dal i plenty of water. Wash rice and methi seeds and soak it separately. Soak both urad dala nd rice for around 4-5 hours. Now grind half of the urad dal finely adding very little water. Then add half of the rice and jaggery to the ground urad dal and grind it as finely as possible. Now repeat the same steps to grind the rest of the urad dal and rice. Add turmeric powder and salt and mix the batter well using your hand. Keep the batter in a warm place for 8-10 hours. The batter will ferment and rise at least 1/4th to 1/8th more than the previous volume. Add water as desired to make it as thick as idli but little thicker than pancake batter. Oil a tava or griddle and heat it. Add a ladle full of the dosa batter and spread it evenly in form of a circle. Cook covered and then flip the dosa to the other side. Now cook uncovered on the other side. Remove the dosa from the griddle and serve it hot with dosa chutney or mint chutney.



Saturday, November 15, 2008

Cluster beans sabzi / Gawar Sabzi / Mitkesanga Upkari



My husband loves gavar . We get very nice quality gawar during the summer and fall season. I make both curry and sabzi out of this vegetable. This vegetable needs to be pressure cooked as it takes quite some time to cook in a pan. Read more about gawar here.


Ingredients

400 gm gawar
2 tablespoon grated coconut
1 teaspoon red chili powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/4 teaspoon asafoetida
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 tablespoon oil
salt for taste

Method

Cut both sides of the gawar and chop it into one inch pieces. Add oil in the pressure cooker and add mustard seeds and asafoetida. When the mustard seeds splutter, add all the powders and fry for a minute. Add gawar, salt and 2 cups water. Pressure cook for 2-3 whistles. Garnish with grated coconut and enjoy the gawar sabzi.


Preparation time: 35 minutes
Serves: 3-4

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Carrot Milkshake

Carrot Milkshake is one of my favorite comfort foods. It is low calorie drink and makes a great late morning/afternoon drink when my hunger pangs are at their peak :) The cardamom imparts a wonderful flavor to this drink and it gives the milkshake a distinctive flavor of Gajar Halwa; of course without the guilt of consuming many hundreds of calories. I usually use reduced fat or fat free milk for this milkshake, but whole milk can also be used. This milkshake is a great treat for children who are fussy about drinking milk. I am sending this to roundup organized by Suma and Siri.

Ingredients
1 carrot
1 cup milk (cold or warm as desired)
3-4 cardamom pods
2 almonds soaked in water for 5-6 hours (optional)
1 tablespoon cream (optional/ if you want a richer taste)
1/2 teaspoon honey or 1 teaspoon sugar or as per taste

Method
Trim the ends of the carrot and peel it. Chop it roughly into 4-5 pieces and boil it in very little water till the carrot is soft. I sometimes cook it in the microwave for around 3-4 minutes in 3-4 tablespoon water. Peel the cardamom pods to separate the seeds. Put all the ingredients in the blender and blend well. Serve immediately.

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Serves: 1

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Paneer Wrap

This Sunday was a little hectic with all shopping and work we had to do. It was raining all Saturday and we stayed at home all day. Hence, our Sunday was spent in doing laundry and trips to Costco and Indian Grocery Store. It was already late at night when we were done with all the work. It was at that time I remembered about the onion naan we had in the freezer and decided to make paneer wraps. The paneer wraps turned out to be very yummy and filling and here is the recipe.

To make Basmati rice:
1/2 cup basmati rice
1 1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 onion
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
Wash the basmati rice and keep it aside. Add the remaining oil in a pan and heat it. Add cumin seeds. Slice the onion and fry it in oil till brown. Boil the water. Add basmati rice to the onion and stir well Add salt and hot water and cook covered till the rice is soft.

Ingredients for the filling
Flattened bread or naans (I used onion naans)
1 cup cubed paneer
1 teaspoon chili powder or as per taste
1 medium onion
2 medium tomatoes
1/2 capsicum
1/4 teaspoon garam masala powder
1/4 teaspoon pav bhaji masala (I use Badshah Bombay Pav Bhaji Masala)
2 tablespoon tomato ketchup
1/4 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon amchur or dry mango powder
1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
3 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves or cilantro
1 tablespoon oil
salt for taste

Method
Puree the tomatoes. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a pan. Chop the capsicum and put it in the pan. Stir it and cook for 5-8 minutes. Add the tomato puree and cook uncovered for 10-12 minutes till the tomato is soft and the masala does not smell raw anymore. Add tomato ketchup, garam masala, coriander powder, cumin powder, amchur, pav bhaji masala, sugar, chili powder and salt for taste. Cook for 2-3 minutes to get the gravy to absorb all the masala flavor. Add the chopped paneer and mix well with the masala. Garnish with coriander leaves.

Method to make wraps
Heat the naan on a tava or in microwave. I simply put the naan in the microwave for 30 seconds. Put 1-2 tablespoons of cooked rice and desired amount of paneer curry and fold it into a wrap. I use a toothpick to keep the wrap in place. Serve sizzling hot.

Preparation time: 35 minutes

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Konkani Crab Curry / Kurle Randayi




Crab curry is one of my favorite curry. We lived in Bhopal for 8 years and we would get any crab here as there was no sea nearby. So whenever we visited Bombay, Goa, Bhatkal or Bangalore during holidays, our relatives would usually make fish, prawn or crab recipes knowing that fresh seafood was not available in Bhopal. It would be a real treat to have cheerful meal and chat with all the relatives whom we would be meeting after long time.

I got crab from Whole foods last week and prepared Crab curry. They cleaned the crab for me and cut it into small pieces. I usually don't buy whole crab as it is a messy procedure to clean it. The crab smell lingers in my kitchen and on my fingers and my husband hates the fishy smell. The crab curry should be prepared at least 3-4 hours before serving as the crab needs time to absorb all the flavors. I also serve it with boiled rice or "Ukdo Tandla Sheeet" in Konkani. Here is the crab curry recipe.

Ingredients
1 crab cleaned and cut
2 tablespoon finely chopped ginger
2 medium red onions
1 1/2 cups coconut
3/4 teaspoon tamarind paste
1-2 green chilies
3-4 red byadgi chili
coconut oil or any other oil

Method

If the crab legs are big and hard then they can be beaten with a pestle or better following the ancient way like me- with a clean stone which I keep handy for crushing garlic, ginger or other spices. Roast the red chilies in 1/4 teaspoon oil for 5-10 mintes on low flame. Grind coconut, red chili and tamarind into a very fine paste. Keep the masala aside. Finely chop 1 1/2 onion and green chili. Crush the ginger, onion and green chili with your fingers or with the back of a spoon or cup. Add the coconut masala and the crab pieces. Cook covered on a low to medium flame to get the curry to a boil. Finely chop the remaining half onion and fry it in coconut oil on a low flame till it is pinkish-brown. Garnish the curry with the fried onion and serve it with hot rice.