Thursday, December 31, 2009

Chutney Sandwich and a Very Happy 2010





My Wish for You in 2010

May peace break into your home and may thieves come to steal your debts.

May the pockets of your jeans become a magnet for $100 bills.

May love stick to your face like Vaseline and may laughter assault your lips!

May happiness slap you across the face and may your tears be that of joy

May the problems you had, forget your home address!

In simple words ............

May 2010 be the best year of your life!!!


First of all wishing all my fellow bloggers and visitors a very happy, prosperous and safe year 2010. Above is the forward sent to me by my dear aunt Sam Akka and I thought of sharing it with you all. I have been a "happily busy" during the last few days and having a gala time with family and friends. I do have many traditional dishes like pathrado, ambat and koddel in my kitty and hopefully will find a few free moments to post those :)) Mean while I thought of posting my mom's chutney sandwich recipe. It is a recipe she picked up during our stay in Bombay. Bombay is very famous for its fast food and sandwich is one of the popular ones. This is my all time favorite breakfast and has been my favorite tiffin snacks at school and college. My mom makes fresh home made butter every few days and it really enhances the taste of the sandwich. Here is a photo of freshly prepared butter.



Coriander Chutney:

Ingredients
4 peas size ginger root
6-7 lasun or garlic cloves
1/2 cup grated coconut
2 handful coriander leaves (more the better!)
4 pea size piece of tamarind
1 teaspoon jeera
1-2 green chilies or as per taste
1 teaspoon sugar
salt for taste

Method
The above ingredients may be altered to suit one's taste buds ! Grind all the ingredients into a fine & thick paste with very little water.

For the Sandwich:
Take two slices of sandwich bread. Apple butter on one side of the bread slices. Apply chutney on one slice and arrange sliced of tomato, cucumber and potato slices(optional) on the bread.



Place the other slice of bread on the first slice and cut the sandwich into two triangles. Serve immediately to avoid getting soggy.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Coriander Lassi

Last few days were spent in preparations for traveling and I am enjoying the amazing weather in Bangalore now. I am still recovering from the jet lag induced due to the 13 1/2 hour time difference in California and Bangalore time zones. Currently, I have said ta ta to my kitchen and having a great time with my parents and sister. I have few ideas in mind to try the traditional dishes with vegetables and locally available ingredients...but that will have to wait for a few days now.. I guess :)) I had a few drafts and thought of posting this lassi. I try to use a lot of coriander in my dishes as it is beneficial for overall health. We make this lassi at home during summers as my husband is a great fan of it. It is very soothing during the summer season, but due to the cold weather, we do not make this in winters. But I guess we can make it year round in India. Mint leaves can also be used to substitute coriander. I usually have this with khakra to satisfy late morning hunger pangs.

Ingredients
1/4 cup curd or 1 cup buttermilk
1/8 teaspoon jeera or cumin powder
salt for taste
3 tablespoon coriander leaves
1/8 teaspoon chaat masala powder or jal jeera powder or samahan powder


Method
Blend all the ingredients in a blender. Add ice cubes if desired.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Paneer Tandoori with Green Masala



I made tandoori paneer a few weeks back for dinner. Lately we have been eating lot of the regular panner dishes with the red- onion + tomato+adrak+lasun masala, so last week I made this green paneer tandoori for a change. The concept is not new to me as I occasionally bake fish or mushrooms coated with this paste.

In the past few weeks I am caught up with work, vacationing and engaged in doing shopping and packing for my upcoming India trip. I have been keeping a close track of posts by my blogger friends but I have not found much time on hand to write and post any of my drafts. In fact I was lucky to see my to do posts in my drafts folder in the nick of time and posted this recipe just few minutes before the event deadline :P. This recipe goes to the JFI:Paneer event. Enjoy the tandoori paneer with basmati rice.


Ingredients
500 gm paneer or Indian cottage cheese
vegetables (I used onions, tomatoes, capsicum)
handful of coriander leaves or as per taste
10-15 mint leaves or as per taste
250 gm curd or yogurt or 150 gm cakka or hung curd
2-3 green chilies or as per taste
1 teaspoon jal jeera powder or chaat masala powder (optional..if you are not using this add a pinch of black pepper to the marinate)
1 tablespoon chopped ginger
1/2 medium sized onion
1/4 teaspoon garam masala
3 tablespoon oil
salt for taste

Method
If yogurt or curd is used, hang it in a muslin cloth for about an hour to allow the water to drain and to obtain curd of thicker consistency. Chop the vegetables andpaneer into 2 inch pieces. Grind all the ingredients except the curd, vegetables and paneer into a smooth paste. Mix in the hung curd or cakka well with the ground paste. Apply to the vegetables and let it marinate for about 1 hour.



Line the vegetables on a greased pan or on skewers. Bake in a pre-heated oven for around 30-40 minutes at 450 degrees. I baked the paneer for around 20 minutes and the vegetables for longer time.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Wishing you and family a very happy and wonderful Thanksgiving!


Thanksgiving special at my home:
Vegetable Pot Pie
Pumpkin and Corn Soup
Butternut Squash Soup


Monday, November 23, 2009

Pav Bhaji

Pav Bhaji is a very popular street food served especially in the western part of India. I am reposting this post from one of my archives and sending it for the RCI MUMBAI event orgamized by Lakshmi event and Lakshmi. Read more about pav bhaji here.

Ingredients

For Bhaji:
4 medium sized potatoes
1/2 capsicum
1 carrot
1/2 beetroot
1/2 cup peas
1/2 cup finely chopped french beans
1 medium onion
3/4 cup tomato paste or 3 tomatoes
1 1/2 teaspoon pav bhaji masala (I used Badshah Bombay Pav Bhaji Masala)
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 green chilies
1/2 teaspoon ginger paste
1 teaspoon garlic paste
1 teaspoon jeera or cumin seeds
4 pinches asafoetida or heeng

1 teaspoon chili powder or as per taste
1 tablespoon butter
salt as per taste
oil


Garnishing
1 medium onion
2 tablespoon pomegranate seeds (optional)
chopped coriander leaves or cilantro
lemon
1 teaspoon butter

For Pav
pav slices
butter for frying

Method
Boil the potato till soft. Finely chop the vegetables(carrots, beans, beetroot, peas) and boil them with very little water. Chop onion very finely. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a pan and add cumin seeds. Add heeng, garlic paste and ginger. Add onions, chopped capsicum and finely chopped green chilies. Fry till the onions are light brown. Add tomato paste or chopped tomatoes and fry till the tomato is cooked. Add pav bhaji masala, garam masala, turmeric powder and chili powder. Fry for a minute and add all the vegetables. Cook uncovered till the vegetables are well coated with the masala. Peel and mash the boiled potatoes and add to the bhaji. Add water as per desired consistency. Stir and cook well till. Mash the bhaji with a masher. Add salt for taste and mix in butter.

Fry the pav on both sides with butter on a tava. To serve, garnish the bhaji with finely chopped onions and coriander leaves. Serve with a lemon wedge on the side.


Preparation time: 1 hour
Serves: 3-4

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Italian Bread




Few weeks back, it was a cold rainy day when we visited this nice, cozy Italian restaurant in downtown Palo Alto (Bay Area). We had given up on a hike in the hills earlier because of the extreme cold weather. We searched for Italian restaurants around on the GPS and found one called Bella Luna and decided to try out this restaurant. Both of us were cold and hungry, and the soft, warm and sweet smelling bread they served looked like heaven. They serve this comforting bread with garlic and olive oil dip. It was only 6 pm, so we had our dinner leisurely. That's when I decided I should try baking Italian bread at home. Italian bread is such a versatile dish- it can be made into bruschetta, served with soup or any other entree. Or it can be served in a simpler way, like with just some cracked pepper, salt and olive oil. I tried making this bread with both white flour and also using whole wheat flour or roti atta. Both the version turned out to be very tasty. The best part is that it doesn't take much time to make this bread. The dough can be made prior and stored in the freezer and can be baked whenever needed. The online recipe called for water, but I used milk to knead the dough. I am so excited with the success of this recipe that I am planning to bake different breads like olive bread, garlic, jalapeno bread and spice bread with this basic dough.

Ingredients
2-2 1/2 cups flour. All purpose flour or maida can be used. I used 50% whole wheat flour and 50% all purpose flour
1 packet rapid rise yeast
3 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
warm milk or water

Method
Combine yeast, salt and flour and mix well. Add olive oil and warm milk and made a smooth dough. Add rest of the flour and knead for 8-10 minutes till a smooth dough is obtained. Cover with a cloth towel and keep aside for 15 minutes or till the dough doubles in size. Knead again for 4-5 minutes. Grease the bread pan with olive oil and pat the bread dough inside the pan.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or till light brown on the bottom at 400 degrees. Glaze the top with olive oil as soon as the bread is removed from the oven.


Garlic-Olive Oil dip:

Ingredients:

1/4 cup olive oil
5-6 garlic cloves very finely chopped
sea salt
pepper

Method:
Mix all the ingredients together and leave aside for 5-10 minutes to allow the flavor of garlic to infuse into the olive oil. Serve with warm Italian bread.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Peanut Chutney / Moongfali Chutney

Peanut chutney is another of my mom's speciality dishes. This chutney is heavily influenced by Maharashtrian cuisine and it uses peanuts as its main ingredient instead of coconut. It is ready within minutes when one doesn't want to spend time grating coconuts. It goes well with spicy dosas (Indian crepes), rava idli, rava upma and I specifically love to have this with sabudana khichdi. I am re-posting this post sending this recipe to My Legume Love Affair hosted by Sra and Susan.

Ingredients
1 cup roasted peanuts
1
teaspoon chana dal
1 tablespoon grated coconut (optional)
1 teaspoon oil
small piece of tamarind (size of 2 peas )
3-4 tablespoon coriander leaves
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
pinch of asafoetida
5-6 curry leaves
2-3 thai green chilies/ 1/2 Jalapeno or as per taste
salt for taste

Method
Fry the chana dal on low flame till light brown. Roast the peanuts till crisp and brown on all sides.
Grind all ingredients except mustard, oil, curry leaves and asafoetida into a fine paste with as little water as possible. Season the chutney with mustard, curry leaves, asafoetida.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Val Usal / Valachi Usal / Field Beans Curry



Vaal or Bitter field beans are apart of the Maharashtrian staple diet. These beans taste like Soy beans but have a little bitter taste. I find these at Cash & Carry in Sunnyvale but I have not seen these at my other regular grocery stores. When I bought it the first time I used the field beans without removing the skin. The curry was good but the beans had a leathery texture. Then my mother told me that these beans were to be used after being skinned. The skinning process is a little tedious but worth the trouble for the fabulous tasting usal.

Soaking the vaal beans in warm water for 12-14 hours makes them absorb water and puff up. I change the water every 5-6 hours. Drain the water and put them in a muslin cloth. Cover the beans with the edges of the muslin cloth and keep it in a warm place for another 12-14 hours. The Vaal will have small sprouts. It is very similar to sprouting moong gram. Once the vaal beans have sprouted, keep the vaal bean between the index finder and the thumb and press them to separate the skin. This procedure needs to be done with every bean. The best time to do this procedure is while watching TV. The whole family can be involved in this procedure and if you have kids they will have a lot of fun skinning the beans.


Usal is a Maharashtrian or Konkan dish which is made with a variety of lentils including moong. It is similar to the Konkani Usli but has a addition of spices like turmeric, cumin and coriander. Usal gets its sweetish taste from the jaggery. The sour flavor comes from the kokum which is commonly used in the coastal areas. I use byadgi chili powder which imparts a deep red color to the dish without imparting a very spicy flavor. Kashmiri chili powder can also be used as an alternative. Here is the recipe for making vaal usal. I am reposting it and sending it for the RCI MUMBAI event orgamized by Lakshmi event and Lakshmi.

Ingredients
2 cups skinned vaal beans
4-5 kokum peels or 1/4 teaspoon tamarind paste
1 medium red onion
1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
2 pinches asafoetida
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 teaspoon crushed jaggery
1/2 teaspoon goda masala (optional)
1 teaspoon byadgi or kashmiri chili powder or as per taste
5 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves or cilantro
1 tablespoon oil
salt for taste

Method
Soak the kokum pieces in water for 3-4 hours or overnight. Peel and finely chop the onion. Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds, cumin seeds and asafoetida. Add chopped onion and fry it till onion is brown. Add the vaal beans and add 2 cups of water. Cover and cook till the vaal is soft. Crush the kokum with your fingers to extract all the juice from the kokum. Add coriander powder, turmeric powder, chili powder, kokum juice or tamarind paste, jaggery, goda masala, coriander leaves and salt for taste to the vaal. Mix well and cook uncovered for 5 minutes and serve hot with roti.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Solkadi





Solkadi is a drink made with kokum.
To know more about kokum click here. Kokum is also called bhirand or amsul. It is abundantly available near the western region of Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra. Fresh kokum is used when in season. The fruit is dried with salt and preserved for using all year round. The fruit is dried and the dried kokum skin is used to impart tangy sour flavor to dishes like daal and kadi. Dry kokum skin is usually soaked preferably overnight or for 6-8 hours before use.


The kokum fruit also has medicinal properties and is considered good for digestion. Solkadi is made up of two words- sol which means skin in Konkani (pronounced as "sole" or as "sol" as in "solution"), and Kadi, which is liquidish soup, and can be had with rice or simply like soup. This drink is famous all over the Konkan region in India which has an abundance of coconuts and kokum. This is a cool and refreshing drink to have during the hot summers, with lunch or dinner. Solkadi is served with fried fish, or spicy fish or chicken curry.

The recipe uses coconut milk, which can be easily found in Indian stores in the US or can be prepared using the following recipe.
I am reposting it and sending it for the
RCI MUMBAI event orgamized by Lakshmi event and Lakshmi.

Ingredients:

around 10 dried Kokum skin
250 ml coconut milk (for thick consistency solkadi. you may use 150 ml for a thinner consistency)
1-2 green chili
salt to taste
2 tablespoon chopped coriander or cilantro
1 clove of garlic (optional)

Method:

Soak kokum in 1 cup water for 8-9 hours. Squeeze the soaked kokum to extract maximum juice. Gring coconut milk, green chili, garlic, salt till well blended. Add this mixture to the kokum juice and mix well. Serve with chopped coriander leaves. To get more flavor of the cilantro, I added 4-5 cilantro leaves while griding the coconut mixture and used the rest to garnish the solkadi. Serve chilled as a side dish with rice or roti.

Preparation time: 10 minutes excluding soaking time
Serves: 2-3

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Beetroot Chutney


This is a very simple chutney and a great way to use the nutritious beetroot leaves. I got amazingly fresh beetroot from the farmer's market. I used the tender and fresh leaves to make this chutney. It goes well with roti and rice.

Ingredients
1 cup beetroot leaves (washed and coarsely chopped)
1 medium onion
1 teaspoon urad dal or split and skinned black lentil
1/2 teaspoon chana dal or bengal gram split
2 roasted red chilies
pea size tamarind
1 tablespoon oil
salt for taste

Method
Put oil in a pan and add the chana dal and urad dal. Roast till light brown. Roast the red chili till crisp. Add finely chopped onion and fry till light brown. Add the beetroot leaves and cook till soft. Grind the leaves with rest of the ingredients into a smooth paste. Serve immediately.

Custard

Everyone at my home are very passionate about fruits so it was a great idea to end our dinner with a healthy fruit custard. Every week we return home from the farmer's market with bagful of organic apples, mangoes, blueberries, oranges, grapes, pomegranates (which are in season now), guavas and many more. This egg-less custard with fruits is a very healthy way to increase the daily intake of fruits especially for kids. It also does not require much effort to make this colorful dessert. As kids, both I and my sister N loved to eating custard with strawberry jelly . My husband is also a great fan of this dessert. So I make an extra batch and store it in the refrigerator for the next day. Fat free milk can be used to make it a healthier recipe. I am re-posting this recipe and sending it to the CFK-Veggies and Fruits event and Food for 7 stages of Life – Kids (4-14 yrs) event.

Ingredients

3 tablespoon mango custard powder or any other flavor
3/4 liter milk (I used low fat milk)
7 tablespoon sugar or as per taste
2 cups of fruits ( pick from pomegranate,
chopped mango, chopped apple, grapes, sliced banana, strawberry, chopped chikoo, blueberries, sweet limes, oranges)

Method
Dissolve the custard powder in 1/4 liter of cold milk. Boil the rest of the 1/2 liter milk. Dissolve the sugar in the hot milk. Add the cold milk into the hot milk and stir it well. Get it to boil while continuously stirring it to avoid lumps. If there are any lumps, blend the custard in the blender to make it smooth. Chill the custard in the refrigerator.

To serve, put the custard in a bowl and top it with fruits. Sponge cake and jelly can be added to the custard. The custard can be topped with nuts like walnuts, almonds, cashewnuts and raisins too or served with a dollop of ice cream.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Udupi Sambar / Lentils with Vegetables

Udupi cuisine strictly includes vegetarian recipes as it is part of temple cuisine. The cuisine in this part of the region revolves around fresh vegetables, leaves, pulses and fruits. The rich soil and abundant rainfall in the region helps to support variety of vegetables, grains and fruit crops. The commonly grown vegetables include beans, pumpkin, gourds, ivy gourds, raw bananas, raw jackfruit. Different leaves used are Valli (Malabar Spinach), colocasia, turmeric leaves, banana leaves, curry leaves, coriander leaves, brahmi leaves and many others. Variety of fruits like mango, pineapple, jackfruit, grapes and banana are used to prepare desserts like halwas and main course dishes like sassam. The vegetable is used to its fullest--even skins of ridge gourds, bottle gourds are used to prepare chutney and the skin of raw banana is used to prepare "Upkari" or sabzi. Coconut is used in abundance to prepare chutneys, curries, sweets and in salads like koshimbiris. Mangalorean and Konkani cuisine is also derives lot from Udipi cuisine, but it also includes seafood and meat dishes which contain onion and garlic and are a strict no-no in Udupi cuisine.
Udupi sambar is another kind of sambar which we make at home. I use Madras onions or shallots in this recipe. Onions can be skipped if it is not desired in the sambar. This recipe calls for making the sambar masala from scratch. It has a very different taste and texture than the other sambar recipe which I posted earlier. It goes well with rice, dosa or idli. I am reposting this recipe for the WYF:Specialty food event.

Ingredients
1/2 cup toor dal
1/2 teaspoon tamarind concentrate
1 green chili
1 tomato
1 cup chopped vegetables (potato (is a must at my home), lady's finger (okra), eggplant (brinjal), drumstick, cauliflower, ivy gourd (tendli), carrot, beans, pumpkin (squash), ash gourd, bottle gourd, peas -- use just one vegetable or combination of which ever vegetable is available on hand )
15-20 shallots or small red onions (washed and peeled)
1 teaspoon jaggery
3 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves

Ground Paste:
1/2 cup grated coconut
1 1/2 teaspoon urad dal
1 teaspoon chana dal
1 teaspoon fenugreek or methi seeds
3 tablespoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon tuemeric powder
1/4 teaspoon jeera or cumin seeds
7-8 byadgi red chilies or as per taste
3-4 pepper corns

Seasoning:
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
pinch of asafoetida
around 15 curry leaves
coconut oil or any other oil
salt for taste

Method
Fry methi seeds till it is pink. Then fry tor dal and chana dal till it is crisp and light pink in color. Then fry coriander seeds, cumin, pepper corns and red chilies. Add 6 curry leaves and fry till they are crisp. Add the grated coconut and fry on low flame till crisp. Fry all the ingredients on a low or medium flame so that they don't burn. Cool the ingredients and then grind them with little water into a smooth paste.
Boil the toor dal, mash it and keep it aside.
Add 2 tablespoon oil in a pan and add slit green chili. Fry for a minute and then add the onions. Fry for 5-6 minutes and add chopped tomato and vegetables. Fry for 5 minutes and add the tamarind concentrate and jaggery. Add 2 cups of water and cook the vegetables till soft.
Mix the toor dal, the masala paste and the vegetables in a vessel and add desired quantity of water. Salt it as per taste. Get the sambar to a boil. Season the sambar with oil, mustard seeds, asafoetida and curry leaves. Garnish with coriander leaves. Serve hot with rice, dosa or idli.



Thursday, November 5, 2009

Beetroot Kurma and Ridge Gourd Tamboli


I saw this kurma recipe on Keerthana's blog. It is perfect recipe to go with cold Ridge Gourd tamboli which is also another recipe I tried from her blog. I told my mom about these recipes and she also wanted to try them. I find such recipes more healthier than the coconut laden traditional curries. I made this kurma from the fresh beets I bought from the farmer's market and it really enhanced the taste of the kurma. Click Here to see the recipe for the beetroot kurma from Keerthana's blog.


Ridge Gourd Kadhi, Beetroot Kurma, Beetroot Leaf Chutney

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Alambe Phodi / Mushroom Fritters

Latest addition to our local farmer's market is a stall which sells different varieties of mushrooms. I bought button mushrooms from them this week and made fritters (called phodi in Konkani). It does not involve deep frying, though one can always deep fry it as frying always is enchanting to the taste buds. One can also have these as a appetizer.

I remember watching a show on Travel channel where they reviewed the country's most popular Deep Fry eateries. Here is a site which gives a list of Deep Fried Paradises in US. The strangest of them all was one called Chipshop. Here is a description of the shop in their own words. " In 2001, a British-born cook named Chris Sell established CHIPSHOP in Brooklyn, NY. His goal was to bring British comfort food to the city of New York. Although CHIPSHOP is famous for its fish and chips, it is also famous for its willingness to fry anything. From pizza to chocolate bars, you name it, and CHIPSHOP will fry it.". Interesting!!


Coming back to my humble mushroom fritters, these can be made in in a short period of time. If there are unexpected visitors for lunch or dinner and if you want to add an additional side dish, phodis or fritters are a very useful addition.

Ingredients
10-15 mushrooms
Rava or sooji for coating
red chili powder for taste
salt
oil for frying

Method
Wipe the mushrooms and cut off part of the woody stem. Cut each mushroom into thin slices. Apply salt and chili powder and keep aside for 20 minutes. Grease a tava with oil and heat it. Roll the mushroom slices in the rava or sooji and place on the tava. Cook covered till golden brown on one side. Then flip the mushroom slices to the other side. Cook uncovered till golden brown on the other side. Serve hot.


Sunday, November 1, 2009

Microwaved Pear with Dryfruits



I saw a baked pear recipe on the food network long time ago. I was not familiar with baking fruits and never tried it. This week when we visited the farmers market, I heard a lady asking a farmer if the pears he was selling were good for baking. He said yes and I remembered the recipe which I had seen on the food network channel. I microwaved the pears with the apricots, raisins and walnuts and it turned to be a very delicious dessert. It takes just around 10 minutes to make this pear dessert.


Ingredients

2 pears
3 walnuts
2 apricots
16 raisins
2 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
1/2 teaspoon sugar
vanilla extract

Method
Cut the pear into half. De-core it and place it on a microwave safe plate. Fill the core with chopped walnuts, apricots and raisins. Mix cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle it on the pears. Add a drop of vanilla extract into the core of each pear. Top it with honey as per the level of sweetness desired.


Microwave it for 8-10 minutes or till the pears are soft. Let it stay for 5 minutes before serving. The pears can also be baked in the oven at 300 degrees for around 15-20 minutes.



Saturday, October 31, 2009

Bhangda Ghashi / Konkani Fish Curry / Manglorean Fish Curry


We make two types of fish curry at home. This is the one which uses coriander and fenugreek and other one uses ginger as the spices. Ghashi is a typical Konkani curry with coriander and fenugreek added to the coconut masala to form the base gravy. Fish or any vegetables can then be added to this gravy. This curry tastes better with time and it is a good idea to prepare this curry 2-3 hours before serving. 


Ingredients
1 bhangda fish
3/4 cup grated coconut (I used frozen sliced coconut)
2-3 byadgi chili (or as desired)
4 fenugreek seeds
1 medium onion
1 green chili
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
2 pea size piece of tamarind or 1/4 teaspoon tamarind concentrate
1 teaspoon coconut oil
salt for taste

Method
Clean the fish and cut into around an inch slices. Toast the coriander seeds and fenugreek seeds for 2-4 minutes till a little crisp. Grind it into a smooth paste with coconut, chili and tamarind. Chop the onion and green chili finely. Press it well with your fingers mixing in 1/2 teaspoon salt. Mix the coconut masala and cook it on a low-medium flame till the masala comes to a boil. Mix in the fish pieces and cook uncovered for another 5-8 minutes or till the fish is cooked. Sprinkle coconut oil all over the curry and switch off the gas. Keep it covered for 5-10 minutes so that the flavor of the coconut oil is infused into the curry. Serve hot with rice.

Preparation time: 45 minutes
Serves: 1-2

Friday, October 30, 2009

Parsi Lemongrass Tea


This is the recipe shared by one of my sister N's school friend's mom. My sister had this tea at her friend's place and then it became a regular at our home. Lemon grass (called takka-tan in Konkani) was widely available in Pune and many vegetable vendors sold it. My mom would dry the grass and preserve it for the winters to make lemon grass tea as a remedy for cough and cold. I found lemon grass at a local farmer's market some time ago and I washed and dried it and stored it in the freezer in a ziplock bag. It stays good for a year I use it mostly to make tea during the cold and flu season. This recipe goes to the event hosted by RCI Celebrating Parsi Cuisine and
Lakshmi .

Ingredients
1-2 strands of lemon grass
1-2 mint leaves
1 teaspoon black tea (I use brook bond Red label tea)
1/2 teaspoon sugar or as per taste
3 tablespoon milk
3/4 cup water

Method
Put the lemon grass and mint in water and get it to a boil. Add the tea leaves and cover the vessel with a lid. This helps to infuse the tea flavor in the water. Strain the tea into a cup. Add sugar and hot milk. Serve immediately.


Masoor Dal Khichdi / Masoor Ni Khichri


Khichdi means "mixture" of rice, lentils and vegetables. It is a quick way of making a healthy meal. Read more about Khichdi here. Here is red masoor dal and rice khichdi and this recipe goes to the event hosted by RCI Celebrating Parsi Cuisine and Lakshmi .

Ingredients
1/2 cup basmati rice or other rice
1/2 cup masoor dal or moong dal
1 teaspoon jeera or cumin seeds
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
4-5 cloves
1/2 cup vegetables (potatoes, carrot, peas, beans, cauliflower)
1/2 teaspoon whole pepper corns
4-5 pieces of dalchini or cinnamon
piece of bay leaf
1
thinly sliced medium onion
coriander leaves or cilantro for garnishing
1 tablespoon oil
salt for taste

Method

Wash the rice and dal thoroughly. Drain the water and keep aside.


Heat oil in a pan and add cumin seeds, cloves, pepper corns, cinnamon and bay leaf. Fry for a minute. Add onions and fry the onions till golden brown. Add vegetables and fry for 4-5 minutes till the vegetables are slightly caramelized on all sides. Mix in turmeric powder and chili powder. Add the rice and dal and mix well. Boil 2 1/4 cups of water and add to the rice. Add salt as per taste. Cook till well done. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with curd or raita.

Preparation time: 30 minutes
Serves: 2

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Alu Baigan / Potato Eggplant stir fry



Time just flies.. Diwali, Dushera are over and now we are looking forward to the festivals here..Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. I was was thinking about other recipes to make with the eggplant lying in my refrigerator and the potatoes lying in my pantry. Potatoes and eggplant is a simple combination but yet very tasty and delish. When we were residing in North India, my mom picked up many recipes and techniques from the North India cuisine. My most favorite sabzi's were gilki (which is a squash like vegetable..similar to zucchini ) sabzi, lauki sabzi, tamtar sabzi..and the list goes on. The other day when I was thinking which way to cook potatoes and eggplant, I decided to make this vegetable. It is spicy with lots of goodness of garlic and ginger. I forgot to take a photo of this dish when I made it and remembered only when we had eaten all of it. I will add a photo when I try it the next time. It goes well with roti and curd.

Ingredients

2 cups cubed eggplant or brinjal
1 cup cubed potato
2 medium tomatoes
1 teaspoon ginger-garlic paste
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon garam masala powder
1 medium onion (chopped)
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon chili powder or as per taste
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 tablespoon oil
salt for taste

Method
Heat oil in a pan and add oil. When the oil heats, add cumin seeds and turmeric. Then add the ginger garlic paste and fry till the raw smell goes away. Add chopped onion and fry till golden brown. Add tomato and fry till the tomatoes are soft. Add coriander powder, chili powder and garam masala powder and mix well. Add the cubed eggplant and potatoes. Add 1/8th cup water and cook covered on medium flame till the potato and eggplant are well cooked. Add salt for taste. Serve hot with roti.



Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Healthy Butternut Squash Soup

My hubby surprised me with dinner at California Cafe on my birthday. It was a nice cozy restaurant and the seafood there was fabulous. We also had butternut squash soup which left a great impression on both of us. It was a very simple recipe with saffron, nutmeg and cinnamon. Butternut squash is rich in beta carotene and eating orange and yellow colored vegetables offers protection against cold and flu.

Today, while the cold winds have been roaring outside, we got butternut squash from Safeway on the way back home and I recreated this soup. It takes around 40 minutes to make this and it is a perfect recipe for the cold winter. The verdict- creamy texture, great flavor, yummy and it goes on the once-to-be-tried-every-week list.



Butternut squash

Ingredients
3 cups roughly cubed butter nut squash
1/8th teaspoon cinnamon powder or as desired
1/4 cup tangerine juice or mandarin orange juice or canned tangerine or mandarin orange( I used canned tangerine )
8-10 strands of saffron
2 pinches of nutmeg powder
3 tablespoon thick cream (I used 5 tablespoon reduced fat milk)
2 tablespoon butter
pepper and salt for garnishing

Method
Heat butter in a pan and caramelize the butternut squash till it is light brown on all sides. Don't let it loose its orange colour while caramelizing otherwise the soup may turn brown in color. I cooked it covered it on medium flame for 20 minutes with occasional stirring. Cool it for 10 minutes. Grind it into a smooth paste with the tangerine juice or canned tangerines or mandarin oranges, nutmeg powder, cinnamon powder, salt and pepper. Add salt carefully as the butternut squash is very flavorful. Add saffron and get the ground paste to a boil. Add thick cream and cook for another 5 minutes. Serve hot.



Friday, October 23, 2009

Banana Flower Stir Fry / Bondi Upkari



I find this vegetable most of the times when I visit my local Indian grocery store. This stir fry is a very interesting combination of coconut and the banana flower. Banana flower is considered to be a little heaty for the body so I mostly make it in the winters and the cold season. We never used a lot of it in India, but I tried to make this like any other Upkari's or Sabzi's I make. It tastes great with rice and a spicy curry like Sambar.

Ingredients
1 banana flower
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/4 cup grated coconut
3 tablespoon gur or jaggery or sugar
2 dried red chilies
salt for taste


Method
Remove and discard the first few layer of petals (i remove at least 3-4 layer of petals) covering the banana flower and use the flowering buds found inside the petals. The petals are discarded as they are very fibrous in nature. Chop the rest of the flower into very fine pieces. Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds. When the mustard splutters, add the red chili and fry for a minute. Add the chopped banana flower and a cup of water. Cook covered for at least 30 minutes or till it is soft. Add gur or sugar and salt and cook for another 5 minutes. Garnish with grated coconut and serve hot.



Zucchini Spice Bread




This is the first time I participated in Taste and Create event, a challenging event hosted by Nicole of For the Love of Food. In this event two bloggers are paired against each other. Each of the paired bloggers has to select and make a dish from the other's blog and send the entry to the event. I feel that it is an amazing way to get to know other bloggers and expand one's horizon in the world of recipes. I was paired with Stephanie from Iron Stef . I short listed many of her recipes including Zucchini Spice Bread, banana bread , bruschettas, potato chips in microwave, Falafel. I loved the falafel recipe as it is on my soon-to-do-list but when I saw the zucchini spice bread I fell in love with it instantly. Both I and my husband love zucchini and I try to use it in soups and sabzi's. I also saw a Zucchini bread recipe in her blog, but choose the spice bread as it made use of plenty of spices. I used half quantity of whole wheat flour and half all purpose flour. I didn't have walnuts on hand, so I used cashew nuts and black raisins. Half way through the baking process the whole house was filled with the sweet aroma of spices. The bread was delicious and we had it for tea. Check out the recipe here.



Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Bruschetta




What do you do when you feel like eating something special without taking a lot of effort to make it? This weekend I made bruschetta for late evening snack. Bruschetta pronounced as "brus╦łketta" is usually served as an appetizer along with soup. It is a beautiful dish which has all the three favorite Italian colors- White, Green and Red. It makes a tasty tangy and cheezzy snack to make without spending much time. The toppings may vary-one can experiment with different kinds of vegetables like pepper, beans; different meats and cheeses can be substituted as per one's taste. I have even seen fruit bruschetta's recipes made using peaches, apples and various cheeses in some of the television shows. My version includes cilantro which I love a lot and use to make the basil flavor a little milder. I am sending this recipe to WYF: Light Meal event announcement. I served it with coffee, but it can also be served with
minestrone soup.


Ingredients
loaf of Italian bread or French bread or garlic bread
2 tomatoes
powdered parmesan cheese
olive oil
chopped coriander leaves or parsley as per one's choice
chopped basil
pepper and salt for taste

Method

De-seed the tomatoes and dice them. Slice the bread loaf into 1/2 inch pieces. Drizzle olive oil on the bread. Sprinkle the diced tomatoes, parsley or coriander leaves, basil and cheese on the bread. Sprinkle salt and pepper for taste. Bake the bread till the cheese melts on the bread. Serve immediately to avoid a soggy bruschetta.

Serve hot with minestrone soup.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Happy Diwali 2009


Hope this Diwali fills your year with joy, peace and prosperity and continues to brighten the rest of your life. Wishing you all a Very Happy Diwali.

My Diwali Nivedya thali (offering during puja)
Chole, Poori, Sheera, Chooda, Nariyal Barfi

Other Diwali Treats:

Bottle Gourd Barfi
Dudhpak

Narla Khadi / Coconut Khadi / Coconut Barfi / Nariyal Barfi / Coconut Fudge


My grandmom was an expert cook and sweets and snacks were her speciality. She would always make special items when we would visit her during the holidays. She also made various kinds of khadi's (burfi's)- rava, coconut, cashew nut, only milk burfi, banana and wheat khadi. This is one of her recipes passed on by my mom to me. This year I decided to leave behind all the rules of healthy diet and decided to make this coconut burfi. Though this takes a little longer than wheat and rava burfi, it is far more superior in taste that the other two. The verdict- the burfi just melts in mouth with the sweet and nutty flavor of the coconut.


Ingredients
2 cups grated coconut
1 cup besan or chick pea flour
1 1/2 cup whole milk (I used 1 cup whole milk and 1 cup milk powder as I had some on hand)
4 cups sugar
10-15 cardamom
1 cup ghee

Method
Roast the besan on low heat till it gives out a sweet smell. Let it cool down. Mix the grated coconut, milk, sugar and ghee.

Cook on a low flame till it leaves from the sides and almost solidifies. I take a pea sized sample of it and check if it solidifies upon cooling.

Pour immediately on a plate greased well with solid ghee (if liquid ghee is applied to the plate then the burfi sticks to the plate). Flatten it with the back of a glass so that it is smooth on the top. Cut into squares when hot. Cool it down and then separate the squares. Store in air tight container.


The above measurement makes around 75 burfi's.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Chooda / Chuda / Chiwda



Chooda is one of the popularly made festival food at my home. My mom would start making Diwali goodies a week before the festival. She would make Phenori, chooda, tukudi (shankarpali), chakkuli (chakli), churmundo (rava laddu), sev, fried masala peanuts and khadi (barfi). Every time my mom started to make a new delicacy I and my sister would wait eagerly wait for the first batch to devour. Narakchaturdasi and Lakshmi puja are the most important days for us. We worship water and then take oil bath. The legend behind this is that when Lord Krishna killed the demon Narakasura, he took oil bath after returning home and then worshiped Goddess Lakshmi. To mark this event everyone has bath before sunrise and take oil bath. In India people also burst crackers early in the morning to mark this event. But here in US with all the work deadlines placed right after Diwali (read 19th Oct), I could make Chooda and Khadi for Diwali this year. Here is the recipe for the chooda and it goes to Priya's event Diwali 2009. and Sunday Snacks - Festive snacks of Navratri & Diwali .


Ingredients

3 cups thick pova or beaten rice
1/2 cup groundnuts or peanuts
1 cup putana dal or dalia or split and roasted bengal gram
15-20 broken cashew nuts
15-20 curry leaves
3 tablespoon mustard seeds
1/2 cup coriander seeds
3 tablespoons jeera or cumin seeds
2 tablespoon saunf or fennel seed
1/4 cup red chili powder or as desired (I used byadgi chilli powder)
2 tablespoon turmeric powder
1/4 cup sugar
salt for taste

Method
Roast the coriander seeds, cumin seeds and fennel seeds till crisp and grind it into a fine powder. Mix in sugar, salt, turmeric and chili powder as per taste and mix it with the ground spice powder. I just mix it in grinder and give it a pulse or two so that all the powders are integrated well.
Fry the pova, ground nuts and dalia in a fryer. I have a steel fryer in which I put the pova or dalia and dip it in a pan of hot oil. In this way the pova does not spill into the pan and is easy to remove from the oil. Optionally fried dry coconut slices or copra slices can also be added. As soon as one batch of pova, dalia or peanuts is fried, add a teaspoon of masala powder and mix well. The masala powder mixes well when the ingredients are hot. Let the oil cool a little bit and then fry the curry leaves ( the curry leaves will burn if fried on high heat). Add 2-3 tablespoon oil and fry the mustard till it starts to splutter. Mix the mustard and curry leaves well with the chooda. Store in airtight container.