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Friday, January 12, 2018

Love letter - my favorite hostel snack

Like all hostels, the one I lived in when I went to college was not known for the food it served. In fact, there were some dishes that were downright unpalatable. However, given the fact that we were young and almost always ready to eat, we polished off pretty much everything that was served in the mess hall, no matter how it tasted. One of the things that I really looked forward to is a snack that the chechis in the mess made in the evening. Popularly known as "love letter", possibly due to the fact that it has something sweet rolled into it, I am not sure if this dish has a different name.


What you need:
All purpose flour - 1 cup
Water
Salt - a pinch
Mix the ingredients to a smooth batter of pourable consistency.

For the filling:
Grated fresh coconut - 1/4 cup
Sugar - 2 tbsp
Cardamom powder - a pinch
Mix the ingredients together in a small bowl.

To make:
Heat a dosa tawa. Pour a ladleful of the batter and spread it into a circle. When you see bubbles beginning to appear, flip over and cook until there are brown spots on both sides. Place some filling inside and roll tightly.
Serve hot.

Do check out what my fellow marathoners have cooked today for BM# 84.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Ellu poli - Sesame flat bread

A very happy new year to all my readers. I am starting this year with a sweet flatbread, as part of the Blogging Marathon. We usually make poli (sweet flatbread) with chana dal filling or coconut filling during festivals. I was planning to make one of those today, but a conversation about sesame laddus that I had with a friend prompted me to try my hand at a new filling. I find that the jaggery that I buy in the Indian stores here is quite hard and not very easy to grate or powder.  So I've used brown sugar instead of jaggery, which is what I had originally intended to use. By the way, I'd be grateful if anyone could share tips on how to grate or powder hard jaggery.




What you need:
For the outer covering:
Whole wheat flour - 1 cup
Salt - a pinch
Oil - 3 tsp. + 1 tbsp.
Water

Take whole wheat flour in a large mixing bowl. Add salt and 3 tsp of oil. Mix well with the tips of your fingers. Add water, a little at a time and knead into a soft, loose dough. Add the remaining tbsp. of oil and coat the dough well with it. Cover and set aside for at least an hour.

For the stuffing:
Sesame seeds - 1/2 cup (I used black)
Sweetened coconut flakes - 1/4 cup (optional)
Brown sugar - 2 tbsp. (adjust according to taste. Increase the quantity if you are not using sweetened coconut flakes)
Cardamom - 1 pod

Dry roast the sesame seeds over a low flame until a nice, nutty aroma comes out. Take care not to burn the seeds. Once cool, grind it in a mixie along with the cardamom pod to a powder. Add in the coconut flakes and brown sugar and grind everything to a smooth powder.

To make polis:
Pinch out a lemon sized ball of dough. Oil a ziploc bag and with your hands, pat the dough into a thick circle. Place a spoonful of the filling inside and close the edges to form a ball. Pat again with oiled hands into a circle, pressing with the tips of your fingers to make the circle bigger.
Heat a tawa. Fry the poli, adding ghee on both sides and flipping over until brown spots appear on both sides.
Serve with ghee on top.
Do check out what my fellow marathoners have cooked today for BM# 84.



Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Poha cutlet - an air fryer recipe

The air fryer, as I mentioned in one of my previous posts, is the latest addition to my kitchen. Ever since we bought it, we've been trying out various dishes in it. In most cases, we've been able to replicate the taste of the non-air fryer version of the dish and are overall, quite satisfied with the purchase. These cutlets are something that I've never tried before buying the air fryer and so, I do not have anything to compare it with. However, the air fryer version turned out nicely browned and crisp and tasted really good. It is kid approved as well and quite a few were polished off by the kid, despite the fact that she doesn't usually like poha.

What you need:
Rice flakes/poha/aval - 1 cup
Gram flour/Besan - 1/3 cup
Green chilli - 2, minced
Ginger - a small piece, julienned
Red chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
Garam masala - 1/2 tsp
Curd - as required
Salt
Coriander - 1 tbsp, chopped fine
Groundnuts - 1/4 cup, coarsely ground

Take the rice flakes in a fine mesh colander and run cold water over it. Leave this aside to drain. I used thin poha, which only needed to be washed. If you use thick poha you may need to soak it for a few minutes and then drain it.
In a pan, dry roast the gram flour over a low flame until it turns aromatic.
Mix all the ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Add curd, a teaspoon at a time and mix, until you have a stiff dough. Make small balls out of this dough and flatten them using your hands to shape. I used a round cookie cutter to get even cutlets.
Preheat air fryer to 350 degrees Fahrenheit for  5 minutes. Brush some oil over the cutlets and place them in a single layer in the air fryer. Fry for five minutes, then turn them over, brush some more oil and fry for another five minutes. Remove from the air fryer when they are brown and crisp. Timing may vary depending on your appliance. Do keep watch afterthe eight minute mark.
Serve hot with ketchup or chutney.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this BM
This also goes to  Valli's Kid’s Delight event, guest hosted by PJ themed on Quick / Innovative Breakfast

 

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Vegetable semiya upma

As a child, upma was one of the dishes that I hated the most. It is only when I started cooking that I realized that the reason upma makes an appearance at most breakfast tables is that it is one of the easiest things to cook. Chances of messing it up are minimal, though not completely impossible. Adding a bunch of colorful vegetables makes it look appealing, in addition to making it a healthy way to start your day.
The problem with vermicelli upma is that as it cools, it tends to clump together, making it unappealing. To make it appealing to kids and adults alike, what I do is cook it in lots of boiling water, drain it and then run some cold water over it to stop it from cooking further and to make sure that the strands of vermicelli stay separate without clumping together.


What you need:
Vermicelli - 1 cup
Onion - 1 small, chopped fine
Green chilli - 2, minced
Ginger - a small piece, julienned
Curry leaves - a few
Oil - 1 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Urad dal - 1/2 tsp
Mixed vegetables, chopped very fine - 1/2 cup (I used capsicum, green beans, frozen peas, frozen corn and carrots. You can add or subtract to this list, as per your taste)
Salt - to taste

Heat 5 cups of water in a large saucepan. Add the vermicelli to it and bring to a boil. Boil for a few minutes until the vermicelli is cooked. Drain on to a colander and run cold water over the vermicelli. Drain out all excess water completely. Set aside.
Heat a spoon of oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds and urad. When the seeds pop, add chopped chillies, ginger and curry leaves. Saute for a few seconds and then add chopped onions and saute till translucent. Lower the flame, add in the remaining vegetables, just enough salt for the vegetables and cover and cook for a few minutes. The vegetables should still retain their crunch. Add in the cooked vermicelli, some more salt for the vermicelli and mix well. Garnish with chopped spring onion greens or chopped coriander.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this BM
This also goes to  Valli's Kid’s Delight event, guest hosted by PJ themed on Quick / Innovative Breakfast


Monday, December 18, 2017

Whipped cream cheese spread

I usually do some prep work over the weekend to make life on weekdays easier. One of the things I make is this whipped cream cheese spread.  Served with toasted bagels, this makes for a quick and tasty breakfast.


The ingredients I use vary from time to time, based on what vegetables I have on hand. The veggies that I use most commonly are onions, spring onions (the white and green parts can be used), bell peppers of different colors, and carrots.
The recipe, if you can call it that, is pretty simple. Take whipped cream cheese in a small mixing bowl. Add in the vegetables of your choice. Chop the vegetables as finely as you can to make it easy to spread. Add a dash of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Mix well. This stays good in the refrigerator for up to two days. It goes really well with bagels and can also be used as a sandwich spread.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this BM
This also goes to This is for Valli's Kid’s Delight event, guest hosted by PJ themed on Quick / Innovative Breakfast

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