Pages

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Gobi (Cauliflower) 65

Gobi (Cauliflower) 65 is a popular street food in South India. I've read various interesting stories on the reason for the addition of the number 65 to the dish, but am not sure if any of them is true. Most street vendors add red food color to achieve the bright red color that the dish is associated with and serve it hot in paper plates or newspaper squares.



What you need:
Cauliflower - 1 small , separated into medium sized florets
Oil - for deep frying

For the batter:
Corn flour - 1/2 cup
All purpose flour - 1/3 cup
Rice flour - 1/3 cup
Ginger garlic paste - 1 tsp
Tandoori masala - 1 tsp
Kashmiri chilli powder - 1 tsp
Coriander
Curry leaves
Salt
Water

For tempering:
Oil - 1 tbsp
Green chillies - 2 or 3, slit lengthwise into two
Curry leaves - a handful

Take the cauliflower in a large pan. Pour boiling water over it. Add a pinch of turmeric powder and a pinch of salt, cover and let it stand for 5 minutes. Drain off all the water and keep aside.

Mix all the ingredients for the batter into a smooth, slightly thick batter. Add in the cauliflower florets and mix well to coat all the florets with the batter evenly.

Heat oil for deep frying in a pan. Add the florets, a few at a time and fry until reddish brown. Remove on to a kitchen towel. When all the florets have been fried, fry them again in hot oil in batches, to give them an additional crispiness. Set aside.

Heat the oil for tempering. Add slit green chillies and curry leaves to it and saute over a low flame until the chillies just start to brown. Add in the fried cauliflower and mix well.
Serve with ketchup or a little bit of chaat masala sprinkled on top.


Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this BM

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Air fryer aloo tikki and aloo tikki chaat

The newest toy in my kitchen is an air fryer. I dithered over the purchase for a long time, and finally, last month, decided that I should it buy one. The husband and I have been experimenting with various dishes that we would normally use a lot of oil for,  and so far, all the experiments have been successful. Today's aloo tikki is made with minimal oil in the air fryer and it turned out nice and crisp on the outside and soft on the inside - just the way a good tikki should be.
Once the tikkis are made, they are topped with green chutney, spiced curd, sweet tamarind chutney, chopped onions and sev. This makes for a great starter or snack.

What you need:

For the tikki:
Potato - 4, boiled, peeled and mashed well
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Red chilli powder - 12/ tsp
Amchur powder - 1/2 tsp
Chaat masala - 1/2 tsp
Garam masala - 1 tsp
Salt - to taste
Corn flour - 1.5 tbsp.

Mix all the ingredients to a smooth dough. Oil your hands well and roll out small golf ball sized pieces of dough and flatten them into tikkis. Brush some oil on both sides of each tikki.
Preheat air fryer to 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 5 minutes.
Place the tikkis in a single layer in the air fryer basket. Cook at 360 degrees for 12 minutes (6 minutes on each side).
If you do not have an air fryer, you can shallow fry the tikkis in a pan, adding about a teaspoon of oil around the tikkis and cooking them until they are well browned on both sides.

For the green chutney:
Cilantro - a small bunch
Green chilli - 2
Juice of half a lemon
Salt
Grind all the ingredients to a smooth paste along with a quarter cup of water.

For the spiced curd mixture:
Yogurt/curd - 1/2 cup
Sugar - 1/4 tsp
Salt
Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
Whisk all the ingredients together till smooth.

To assemble:
Place two tikkis on a plate. Top with generous helpings of curd, green chutney, tamarind chutney, finely chopped onion and sev.
Serve immediately.


Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this BM 

Monday, December 04, 2017

Kanda Poha - a traditional Maharashtrian breakfast dish

One of the things I miss the most from my days of living in Mumbai is the street food. From vada paos to pani puris to idlis and dosas, everything was available on the streets and I used to absolutely love it. I was a frequent traveler on the infamous 'Mumbai local' while I lived there. The morning scene outside my destination station was always the same. A few local women with large steel dabbas would set up shop outside the station. Hot idlis with chutney and sambar, vada pao and kanda poha would be ladled out of these steel dabbas into paper plates. The taste of the poha that they used to serve is something that still lingers on in my mind. Though I make poha often, I feel that the one sold on the streets was so much better.


What you need:
Poha/aval/rice flakes - 1 cup, heaped
Oil - 1 tbsp.
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Urad dal - 1/2 tsp
Onion - 1 medium, chopped fine
Green chilli - 2, minced
Garlic - 2 cloves, chopped (optional)
Ginger - a small piece, julienned
Peanuts - a handful
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Juice of half a lemon
Coriander - finely chopped, for garnishing
Sugar - a little (optional)
Sev - a handful (optional)

Take the poha in a colander. Run cold water over it and wash it well. Let the water drain out completely. Wash and drain again. Let it stand for five minutes.

In a pan, heat some oil. Add the mustard seeds and urad dal. When the mustard seeds pop, add green chilli, ginger and garlic. Fry well. Mix in and roast the peanuts.  Add onions and saute over a low flame until translucent. Add turmeric powder and the drained poha along with salt. Mix well. Stir in the lemon juice. Sprinkle some sugar(less than 1/4 teaspoon) over this if you would like. I feel that the sugar really adds to the taste of the final dish and that is how it is served in Maharashtra. Garnish with chopped coriander and a handful of sev.
Enjoy with a hot cup of coffee or tea.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this BM

Monday, November 27, 2017

Pizza sauce

A good pizza sauce is a vital ingredient for any good pizza. A robust sauce, few toppings and lots and lots of cheese is the way pizza has been popularized throughout the US. I usually like my pizzas with a good helping of pizza sauce and lots of vegetables, but tend to go easy on the cheese. Here is how I make my pizza sauce.


What you need:
Garlic - 3 cloves, minced
Oil - 2 tbsp.
Tomato - 5 or 6 large, juicy ones, chopped
Basil - a handful, chopped (I used fresh basil. It can be substituted with dried basil)
Italian seasoning - a few generous sprinkles
Sugar - 1/2 tsp
Salt - to taste
Red chilli flakes - to taste

Heat oil. Saute garlic in it. Then add in the rest of the ingredients. Mix well and cook covered over a low flame until the tomatoes are well cooked and mushy and the sauce reaches the desired thickness. You can choose to blend the sauce if you like it smooth. I like mine chunky and have left it as it is.
Once completely cooled, this can be refrigerated and will stay good for up to a week.
Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#82

Multigrain waffles

Waffles are my daughter's favorite weekend breakfast. She loves it topped with fresh fruit, whipped cream and honey or maple syrup.  As for me, though I like waffles, I cannot imagine starting my day with something sweet. So, though it might sound sacrilegious to most people,  I usually top my waffles up with something spicy. In the pic, I've spread some karuveppilai thokku (Curry leaves pickle) on my waffle.


What you need:
1 cup multigrain pancake/waffle flour (I used Trader Joe's Organic Waffle mix)
3/4 cup cold milk
2 tbsp. oil

Mix the ingredients to a smooth batter. Brush some oil on your waffle iron. Heat it and pour enough of the batter to cover the lower surface of the waffle iron. Close and cook. Wait for a few minutes before opening to check if the waffles are done.
Serve with toppings of your choice.

This post is the second in a series of posts on Food from the USA for the Blogging Marathon. Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#82


Eggless donuts

There was a time when a cup of coffee and a jam filled donut from a popular Donut chain here would make my day. The love for donuts continues into the present day. However, the chain store I like does not have a presence in the city I live in. I decided to try my hand at making these at home and found, to my surprise, that these are not at all difficult to make. A little kneading and deep frying later, you will be able to produce these perfect donuts which are bound to make people think that you spent hours slaving over a hot stove.


What you need:
Oil - for deep frying

For the donuts:
All purpose flour - 1 cup
Baking powder - 1/4 tsp
Butter (melted) - 2 tbsp.
Sugar - 3 tbsp.
Salt - a pinch
Vanilla essence - 1/2 tsp
Instant yeast - 1 tsp
Warm Milk - 1/4 cup

For the chocolate glaze:
Chocolate chips - 1/4 cup
Butter - 1 tbsp.
Heavy cream - 1/3 cup
Mix all the ingredients for the donuts into a smooth, pliable dough and let it rest in a warm place until doubled. Once doubled, punch it down and divide into three equal balls. Roll each out into a thick circle and cut into circles using a donut cutter. If you do not have a donut cutter, you can use a cookie cutter to cut out a large circle and then use a small bottle cap to cut out the center portion to make a donut hole. Keep the donuts under a moist towel to prevent them from drying out.

Heat oil in a large pan and deep fry the donuts over a medium flame until golden brown.

The donuts can be eaten with a plain sugar glaze or with a sprinkling of cinnamon sugar on top. You can also fill it with jam/jelly to make a jelly donut. I tried glazing the donuts with chocolate ganache.
To make the ganache, boil the cream over a low flame. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate chips. Stir in butter and keep mixing until the chocolate melts and the mixture becomes smooth and shiny.
Dip the donuts into this and set on a rack with a cookie sheet or large plate under it to catch any drips. You could also add some colorful sprinkles at this stage, while the ganache is still wet.
These taste best fresh, but will stay good for a couple of days at room temperature.

This post is the first in a series of posts on Food from the USA for the Blogging Marathon. Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#82



Monday, November 06, 2017

The best eggless whole wheat banana walnut bread

If, like me, you buy bananas every time you go to the grocery store and end up with a few over ripe ones, this is a great way to use them up. This is a fail-proof recipe that yields the perfect loaf every single time. You can use whole wheat flour, all purpose flour or a combination of the two. The bananas make the loaf naturally sweet. So you don't have to add a lot of sugar into the batter. Every time I make this, the kitchen smells wonderful and it gets over in no time at all.






















What you need:

Whole wheat flour - 1.5 cups (Can be substituted with APF or a combination of APF & WWF)
Butter - 1/2 cup, melted (Can be substituted with oil)
Brown Sugar - 3/4 cup
Baking soda - 1 tsp
Salt - 1/4 tsp
Bananas - 3 (very ripe ones, mashed with a fork)
Powdered cinnamon - 1 tsp
Vanilla extract - 1 tsp
Chopped walnuts - 1/4 cup
Raisins - a handful (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Beat in the mashed bananas, cinnamon and vanilla extract. Add flour, baking soda and salt. Mix well. Gently stir in the walnuts and raisins.
Pour the batter into a greased loaf tin and bake for 50-60 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely and then slice using a serrated knife.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#82

Eggless whole wheat strawberry cake

One of our favorite activities to do together as a family is strawberry picking. We love to drive down to the farm early in the morning and pick and taste strawberries. We usually come back with more strawberries than we can eat. So for a few days it is strawberry milkshakes and various kinds of bakes using these berries. I also freeze a good amount of strawberries and use them in fall and winter, and that brings a little bit of sunshine to the otherwise cold days.


What you need:

Whole wheat flour - 1 cup
All purpose flour - 1/4 cup
Baking powder - 1 tsp
Baking soda - 1/2 tsp
Salt - 1/4 tsp
Sugar - 3/4 cup + 1 tbsp.
Butter -  1/2 cup, softened at room temperature
Vanilla extract - 1 tsp
Milk - 1/2 cup
Vinegar - 1 tbsp
Strawberries - 1/2 cup, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and line with parchment paper, a 9 inch cake tin. Sieve the flours, baking powder and baking soda together.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Mix in the dry ingredients, milk, vinegar
and vanilla extract. Mix well and pour into the prepared pan. Top with the chopped strawberries. Sprinkle a tablespoon of sugar over the strawberries. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#82

Whole wheat cranberry tea cake

Fall is one of the most spectacularly beautiful seasons where I live. Every time I see the vibrant red and yellow hues in nature, I am awed. Of course, it is a precursor to the cold, dreary winter that is to come, but while it lasts, I love the crisp, cool air and the many sights and smells of autumn. Cranberries usually make an appearance in the markets around this time and I have used dried cranberries (also known as craisins) to make an eggless tea cake. Despite using no egg and no butter, this cake has a beautiful texture and is perfect with a hot cup of coffee/tea.

What you need:

Whole wheat flour - 1 cup
All purpose flour - 1/4 cup
Sugar - 3/4 cup *
Oil - 1/2 cup
Baking powder - 1 tsp
Baking soda - 1/2 tsp
Vanilla extract - 1 tsp
White vinegar - 1 tbsp.
Milk - 1 cup
Dried cranberries - 1/2 cup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a large mixing bowl, add the oil and milk. Whisk the sugar into this. Add in flour, baking powder and baking soda. Mix well. Add vanilla extract and white vinegar. Whisk quickly. Gently mix in the cranberries. Pour into a greased loaf tin and bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.
Cool completely and use a serrated knife to cut into slices.

This is my first post for Blogging Marathon #82 under the theme Fall fruit desserts.
 Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#82

Friday, July 28, 2017

Karadaiyan nombu adai

Karadaiyan nombu is a festival celebrated by Tamil Iyers around the world. The story behind it is an interesting one. Savitri was a very brave and intelligent princess. Since most kings were intimidated by her valor and intelligence, her father was unable to find a groom for her. He asked her to find a groom for herself and thus she set off to find a partner. She found herself the perfect partner - Satyavan - in a remote jungle. However, she was warned by the sage Narada that Satyavan would only live for a year after their wedding. She decided to marry Satyavan despite the warning. They lived in the jungle for a year. The pre-ordained day of his death arrived. Savitri fasted all day. She offered karadai to God, and asked that her husband should be with her always. Yama, the God of death arrived and took Satyavan's soul away with him. Savitri followed him. Pleased with her love for her husband, Yama said that though he could not release Satyavan from the clutches of death, he would grant her 3 wishes. The clever Savitri asks that her father should be blessed with a hundred sons, that her blind father-in-law should regain his eyesight and that she and Satyavan should be blessed with a hundred sons. Pleased with her intelligence, Yama grants her boons and brings Satyavan back to life.
Iyer women and girls continue the tradition of offering karadai while praying for the long lives of their husbands or in the case of unmarried girls, for good husbands. A yellow thread with a flower strung on it is tied around the neck and the adai with a blob of butter is offered to God. This festival usually falls in March (the end of the Tamil month of Masi and the beginning of Panguni). In our family, we offer sweet and salt adai as neivedyam along with butter. This is usually eaten as dinner on the day of the vratam.


What you need:
For vella adai/sweet adai
Rice flour - 1 cup (double roasted)
Jaggery - 1 cup, powdered
Cardamom powder - 1/4 tsp
Karamani/cow peas - 2 tbsp., soaked in water overnight & cooked
Water - 2.5 cups

Heat water in a thick bottomed pan. Add jaggery to it and heat until the jaggery melts completely. At this point, if there are impurities in the jiggery, you can filter it out. Lower the flame. Add cardamom powder, cooked cow peas and the rice flour, stirring continuously and briskly so that no lumps are formed. Keep stirring until the water is completely absorbed and the mixture thickens to a dough. Keep aside to cool. Once it is cool enough to handle, make small lemon sized balls and flatten them into thick discs with a hole in the center. Place this in a steamer/idli pan in a single layer and steam for 10-12 minutes or until the adai looks glossy.

For uppu adai/salt adai
Rice flour - 1 cup (double roasted)
Oil - 1 tbsp.
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Urad dal - 1/2 tsp
Asafoetida - a generous pinch
Grated coconut - 1/4 cup
Water - 2.5 cups
Salt - to taste

Heat oil in a pan. Add the mustard and urad and roast until the seeds pop. Add water, asafetida, salt and grated coconut. When the water starts to boil, add the rice flour, stirring briskly and continuously. Cook till moisture is absorbed and mixture thickens to a dough. When cool enough to touch, make lemon sized balls, flatten them into thick discs with a hole in the center and steam in a single layer for 10-12 minutes or until shiny.

This is my second post for Week 4 of Blogging Marathon #78 under the theme Festival foods.
Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this BM# 78

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Akkaravadisal - a traditional sweet treat

Akkaravadisal is a traditional Iyengar offering to the Gods. I have heard some of my friends speak longingly and in great detail of this dish. Though I have never tasted this dish or seen it made by anyone I know, the fervor with my friends spoke of it made me feel that I was missing out on something akin to the eighth wonder of the world. A little bit of Google-ing and some phone calls later, I came up with this recipe which is an adaptation of several recipes that can be found online. I felt that the dish is similar to sweet pongal, except for the fact that the rice is cooked in milk. This gives it a delicate creaminess that makes it appealing both in looks and taste. The basic recipe is very simple. Rice is cooked in milk and then jaggery syrup is added to this. Add-ons like cashews, raisins and cardamom can be mixed in, based on availability and personal preferences.


What you need:
Rice - 1 cup
Yellow moong dal - 1 tbsp. (optional)
Water - 1/2 cup
Milk - 4 cups (Preferably full fat)

Jaggery - 2 cups, powdered/grated
Cardamom - 2
Ghee - 1 tbsp.
Cashew - a few

Wash the rice and dal (if using) well and soak in half a cup of water for at least 30 minutes. Transfer this to a large pressure cooker. Coarsely crush cardamom. Add it to the rice along with the milk and cook on a medium flame for two whistles.
In the meantime, take the jaggery in a pan. Add 1/4 cup of water to it and heat over a low flame until the jaggery dissolves completely. If there are impurities in the jaggery, you can strain it out at this point. Set aside.
When the pressure settles, mash the rice well. Add the melted jaggery to this and mix well.
Heat ghee in a pan and toast the cashews in it till reddish brown. Mix this into the akkaravadisal.
The mixture should be semi solid in nature. It thickens up quite a bit on cooling. While serving, if you find that it is too thick, you can loosen it up by adding some warm milk.

This is my first post for Week 4 of Blogging Marathon #78 under the theme Festival foods.
Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this BM# 78