Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Chawli Ka Salan (Black eyed beans or Lobia curry)

As a Maharashtrian, I have practically grown up on chawli or the black eyed beans. Mom makes wonderful Goan style coconut gravy based chawli curry. This time though, I wanted to try something different. I tried this recipe and it turned out to be quite good. Try it if you want to make a different recipe from the regular ingredient.

Ingredients
  • 1 bowl chawli (soaked in water for 8 hours)
  • 1 potato
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 pinch asafoetida (hing)
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 7 to 8 curry leaves
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 1 medium tomato chopped
  • salt to taste
  1. Add two cups of water to soaked chawli, turmeric powder, ginger garlic paste and salt. Pressure cook along with the potato for 15 minutes. 
  2. Meanwhile heat the oil in a kadhai, and add the onions and saute till brown. Remove the onions and make a paste of the onions and tomato in a blender.
  3. In the same oil, add the mustard seeds, curry leaves and hing. Add the tomato onion paste and saute for five minutes. Add the coriander powder, garam masala, and chilli powder and saute for two more minutes.
  4. Add the cooked chawli along with its water to the masala. Peel and chop the boiled potato and add to the curry.
  5. Bring the curry to a boil and simmer for five minutes. Garnish with finely chopped coriander.
  6. Great to serve hot with chapati or steamed rice.
Happy Cooking!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Kharwas

Had a trip down the memory lane today. I was waiting downstairs with Saee waiting for her school bus, when a man with a milk can came by yelling "Cheek!" He wasn't yelling out the name of any part of the face, he was selling what he had in his can. Cheek is the Marathi word for the colostrum laden milk that a cow yields after calving. We  add jaggery, sugar and cardamom powder and steam it to yield a lovely pudding, tasting similar to China grass, only much softer and yummier.

We had a cheek-wala who used to come deliver this milk at my mom's place. Mom would make such lovely Kharwas with it, that whenever she made it, me and my brother would compete for who gets the bigger share. Without him, and without my mom's love in it, kharwas just doesn't taste the same. For the first time in my life, I didn't enjoy having kharwas.

Yet, the recipe remains the same. So the next time you find "Cheek", buy it and make this lovely recipe. Oh! And one more thing. Remember to ask the vendor, if the milk is from the first day or the second or third day. If the milk is from the first day after calving, you need to add the same quantity of plain milk, or the kharwas will go really hard, and won't remain fit for consumption. If it is from the second or third day, you will need to add one fourth the quantity of milk. My recipe is for the second day cheek. If it is from the fourth day you may not need to add milk at all, or if you do, you may need very little.

Ingredients
  • 1 litre bovine colostrum (cheek)
  • 250 ml plain cow milk
  • about one and half cup grated jaggery
  • about one cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
  1. Add the plain milk to the colostrum.
  2. Add the jaggery and sugar and stir till it all dissolves
  3. Add the cardamom powder and mix.
  4. Place a steamer with water, on heat. Place the mixture in the steamer, and steam on high power for 20 to 25 minutes. 
  5. Open once to check if the colostrum has set. If it has set, turn off the heat, and allow the kharwas to cool down to room temperature.
  6. Place in the refrigerator to chill.
  7. Once chilled, remove and cut into several pieces.
  8. Serve as a chilled dessert.
Happy Cooking!

Chocolate and cherry cream cake

This was an amazing dessert. Finally I got whipped cream from Hypermarket. I think only my friend Sahana can appreciate what I mean by that. It was so yum! Although the heat in my city played spoilsport! The cream kept melting and I had to speed up things. Presentation-wise, it didn't look the way I wanted it to look, but taste wise it was purrr-fect!!

Ingredients
  • 1 chocolate sponge cake divided into two (you can find my sponge cake recipe on this blog here: )
  • 3 cups whipped cream
  • half tin canned cherries
  •  cherry syrup
  • chocolate shavings to garnish
  1.  Slice the sponge cake mid-way into two. Place the lower half on a serving plate.
  2. Pour some of the canned cherries' syrup on the lower half to soak it. 
  3. Use 1/3rd the whipping cream to cover the top of the lower half. Sprinkle half the chopped cherries on the whipped cream.
  4. Place the second half of chocolate cake on the first. Once again repeat the steps from 1 to 3. Garnish with chocolate shavings, decorate with more swirls of whipped cream and top it off with a few whole cherries.
  5. Serve chilled.

Happy Cooking!

Panzanella

An easy to make salad, colorful and with a plethora of flavors! Eaten on its own, it could be a dieter's ambrosia, but I had to, just had to add the heavy mayo. What's a salad without the fattening dressings yar!

Ingredients
  • 1 head of lettuce
  • 3 tomatoes chopped in large chunks (or 250 g cherry tomatoes, halved)
  • 1 zucchini chopped
  • 1/2 cup olives
  • 1 capsicum diced
  • 1 cup sundried tomatoes (I made oven dried tomatoes on my own)
  • 2 tsp crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 day old Italian bread cut into pieces (you can use sliced bread also)
  • a drizzle of olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • pasta seasoning
 Just throw all the ingredients together in a bowl, add salt and seasoning.

Chill and serve with dressing of your choice. I used mayo and honey and mustard dressing.

Note: To make oven dried tomatoes, chop the tomatoes into half, season with a little salt and garlic and place on a baking tray. Keep the temperature of the oven to the lowest setting, preferably 100 degrees, and place the baking tray in it. You will need to keep the tomatoes for around 3 hours. Keep changing the places of the tomato slices from time to time so they are all evenly cooked.



Happy Cooking!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Gnocchi with Cream Cheese Sauce

I first saw the preparation of Gnocchi (pronounced Nyo-Key) on Rachel Allen's show on TLC. Been dying to try it ever since as it looked really yummy. It didn't fail me.

While I used an egg in this recipe, I have read that you can make gnocchi without egg, though it tends to get difficult if you don't use an egg. It may just disintegrate in the water. It supposedly takes some amount of practice to get the gnocchi right without using an egg.

Also I haven't included any finite measurement for the flour. You have to trust your instinct. Too much flour, and the gnocchi becomes rubbery and hard. Too less and the gnocchi disintegrates. Also, how much flour is needed depends on the type of potato used, the weather, humidity etc. So follow my instructions and pray to the gnocchi gods to help you. I know I did!



Ingredients
For the gnocchi,
  • 2 large potatoes
  • about 1 cup flour 
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 pinch baking powder
For the cream cheese sauce
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 5 garlic pods chopped fine
  • 1 cup fresh cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 tbsp feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp paprika (chilli flakes)
  • a sprinkling of dry italian herbs
  • salt and pepper to taste
To make the gnocchi:
  1. Steam the potatoes until soft through and through.Peel them and grate them so that no lumps remain in them.
  2. Break an egg into the mashed potatoes and mix well.
  3. Add baking powder. Add flour (maida) one tablespoon at a time. The mixture should not be tacky and sticky, but not hard either. Stop adding flour when the mixture is just very very slightly sticky, but not so much that you won't be able to roll them into balls.
  4. Knead the dough well so it becomes smooth. Divide the dough into four portions.
  5. Roll each portion into a one inch thick rope. Cut the rope into 8 to 10 small pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and flatten it slightly with your hand.
  6. Dip a fork in plain flour and press it on the upper surface of the gnocchi balls to make a slight indentation. (This is just decorative, you may skip this step if you want.)
  7. Keep the rolled gnocchi onto a slightly floured surface.
  8. Boil a pan of water with one teaspoon of salt. Put the gnocchi into the water with the help of a slotted spoon.
  9. When the gnocchi rise to the surface of the boiling water, they are done. Drain them well and remove onto a baking tray.
For the cream cheese sauce:
  1. Heat olive oil in a wok. Add the minced garlic and saute for a few seconds.
  2. Add the cream and milk and bring them to a boil. Lower the heat and add both the cheeses. Stir well to get rid of any lumps.
  3. Turn off the heat and add the seasonings. Taste a little sauce, and then adjust the salt.
To assemble:
  1. Place the gnocchi onto a baking tray and pour the sauce onto them.
  2. You may add a few fried mushrooms on top for added flavor.
  3. Garnish with grated Parmesan cheese and bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees C for ten minutes or until the top is just  slightly golden brown.


Serve hot!

Vegetarian Pasta (Farfalle) with Tomato Alfredo Sauce

My sister-in-law's nephew was in town and I called him home. I asked him what did he want to eat, and his two words were.. Surprise me. His only condition was that it shouldn't be Indian and Chinese. Anything else will do.

I had been dying to try out Italian cuisine for a while, and this was a perfect opportunity. I made small portions of four different recipes, and they were an instant hit with everyone.

Instead of making the regular fusilli or macaroni, I decided I'll make the farfalle or the bow-tie pasta. They look really attractive, and as per my plan, my daughter fell for it. All of them were gone from her plate into her tummy in a jiffy! Thanks to that man who first invented pasta! Three cheers!




Ingredients
  • 3 cups  farfalle
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 tsp salt
For the tomato alfredo sauce
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 6 to 7 cloves of garlic crushed
  • 2 medium onions chopped
  • 1 cup carrot chopped
  • 5 large tomatoes chopped
  • 2 tsp pasta seasoning
  • 1 tsp paprika flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 tsp sugar
  • grated parmesan cheese to garnish
  1. Boil the water in an open saucepan with 1 tsp salt in it. Once it comes to a boil, add the farfalle and keep stirring occasionally. Boil for around 6 to 8 minutes till the pasta goes completely soft. Drain all the water and toss a teaspoon of  oil in it to make sure that the pasta doesn't stick to each other. Keep aside. 
  2. Heat the olive oil in a wok, add the bay leaf and rosemary. Add onions, garlic and carrots and saute on high heat for five minutes. Toss in the tomatoes and saute for eight to ten minutes on medium heat. Add a cup of water and bring to a boil.
  3. Add the dry spices, salt and sugar and cook for two to three minutes more. Turn off the heat and let the sauce cool down to room temperature.
  4. Blend the sauce to a thick puree in a blender. 
  5. Place the pasta in a serving bowl and pour the sauce generously on top of it. Garnish with parmesan cheese and pasta seasoning.
Happy cooking!

    !

    Friday, December 9, 2011

    Sambhar

    Ingredients
    • 1 cup toor dal
    • 3 drumsticks (soorjane ki fali / shevgyachya shenga) chopped into 2 inch long pieces
    • 50 g red pumpkin chopped with skin into 1 inch pieces
    • 1 raw banana chopped into 1 inch pieces
    • 1 potato peeled and chopped
    • 3 small onions chopped
    • 2 tomatoes chopped
    • 12 to 15 small pods of garlic, whole
    • 6 whole red chillies
    • 3 tbsp oil
    • 1 tsp mustard seeds
    • 1 small bunch curry leaves (about 20 to 25 leaves)
    • 1 tsp asafoetida (hing)
    • 1 tsp turmeric powder
    • 2 tsp red chilli powder
    • 1 tsp thick tamarind paste
    • 2 tbsp jaggery (gul)
    • 1 tbsp rasam powder
    • salt to taste
    1. Pressure cook the toor dal with 1 cup of water
    2. Pressure cook drumsticks, pumpkin, potato and banana with 1/4th cup water and 1 tsp salt
    3. Mash the cooked toor dal, and add the boiled veggies to it. Add 2 to 3 cups of water and place it on heat to boil.
    4. Add the turmeric powder, red chilli powder, tamarind paste, rasam powder, jaggery, tomatoes and salt to it. Allow the sambhar to boil.
    5. Meanwhile heat the oil, and add the mustard seeds to it. Once they begin spluttering, add the garlic pods, and onion.
    6. As the onion goes soft and translucent, add the whole red chillies, curry leaves, and asafoetida.
    7. Pour the tempering into the boiling sambhar mixture and mix well.
    8. Boil for a further five to ten minutes.
    9. Serve hot with steamed rice, dosas, appams, or idlis.
    Happy Cooking!!

    Tuesday, December 6, 2011

    Burmese Egg Curry (Jet-u Jhet)

    I first tasted Burmese Lamb curry at Madhu Mavshi's place way back in the year 2000 or so. I simply haven't gotten closure from the taste and the explosion of the flavors ever since. It was in pursuit of that taste, that I scoured the local markets for fish sauce, which I finally found in Reliance Mart at Pokharan Road No.2 in Thane.

    Here in Thane I have searched enough ingredients in enough places to tell you where you may find certain things.
    D-Mart - Near Eden Woods, Hiranandani Meadows, this is your big kirana store. You will find everything of everyday use here. No use trying to search for exotic ingredients though, you won't find them here. You won't find non-vegetarian food items here.

    Big Bazaar - (Kapurbawdi) Again a big kirana store. You may find some frozen food items, Hershey's syrups, and Maple syrup here.

    Star  Bazaar -  In Korum Mall, this is where I first found BBQ sauce. It is also the place to go to if you want basic meat cuts, salami, sausages, nalli, lamb chops, and lamb feet for paya soup. You will also find tuna fish, and dried fish. I also saw a prawns balchao ready-to-eat preparation the last time I was here. There are also some basic items in cheeses, like cheddar, mozarella, Britannia cream cheese and gouda. In the veggies section you will find iceberg lettuce, ginseng, fresh herbs like rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil, and tarragon. Celery, avocado, brocolli also have a place in their exotic veggies section. A good place to go to if you are making Italian or French recipes which do not call for other varieties of cheeses.

    Hypercity-  In Kasarwadavli. Just-too-damn-far! But man... you will find almost everything here! Right from different types of cheeses (I found Ementhal, parmesan, swiss cheese and more varieties here) to sundried tomatoes. The last time I went, I found Dijon mustard, horse-radish relish, cajun pepper etc. There are different varieties of teas too to suit your taste. In the meat section you will find different varieties of hams too, apart from the regular meat cuts. You will find just about anything and everything under the same roof at this market. I also saw a can of ready-to-use whipped cream (In chocolate and butterscotch flavor) the last time I went there. It is all slightly over-priced though.


    Reliance Mart- Pokharan road no.2. A decent store. This is where I found my oyster sauce and fish sauce. They might be stocking it in other stores too, but I haven't come across any store that has them.


    Godrej Fresh- A small store in Hiranandani Meadows at Patlipada. Once again, a little too far, although not as far as Hypercity. Small shop, few good items. I saw Rich's Whipping cream here.


    These are the hypermarkets. In the next section I will write about the small shops stocking cake essentials.


    Till then, my Burmese curry recipe.


    You will need,
    • 6 eggs
    • 2 medium onions finely chopped
    • 1 small onion thinly sliced
    • 15 cloves of garlic chopped
    • 4 large tomatoes finely chopped
    • 1 small bunch coriander
    • 1 tsp tamarind paste
    • 1 tsp sweet paprika
    • 1 tsp turmeric powder
    • 1 tsp red chilli powder
    • 1 tsp fish sauce
    • 1 cup thick coconut cream
    • 1/2  vegetable stock cube
    • vegetable oil
    • salt to taste
    Boil the eggs and shell them. Make a small slit on the side. Keep them aside.

    Separate the leaves of coriander from the stalks and mince them separately. Keep aside.

    Heat oil in a wok and throw in the sliced onions first. Once they have caramelized, remove them on kitchen towels.

    Next add the chopped garlic. Fry them till they are slightly brown and keep them aside.

    Now throw in the chopped onions, minced coriander stalks and saute well for three to four minutes till the onions are cooked.

    Add the tomatoes, dry spices, fish sauce and salt and saute for five to seven minutes till the tomatoes are completely cooked. Add 2 cups of water and bring the curry to a boil. Add the tamarind paste and vegetable stock cube and boil for two more minutes.

    Finally add the coconut cream, and stir well. Turn off the heat. Add the eggs, and the fried onions, garlic and minced coriander to garnish.



    Serve hot with steamed rice.

    Happy Cooking!

    Cafe Mocha

    Inspired by the lovely Shaheen Peerbhoy, I decided to make cafe mocha by myself. There is one big problem though. I don't have an expresso maker. Yet, I found another way to make this lovely coffee and it turned out positively yummy!

    Here's how to do it.

    You will need,

    • 2 tbsp chopped dark chocolate (or chocolate chips)
    • 2 tbsp white chocolate (or less if you like your chocolate a little bitter)
    • 1 tsp instant coffee
    • 2 tsp sugar (or less as per your  taste)
    • 200 ml milk
    • whipped cream (if you have it, I didn't!)
    Chop the chocolate into fine pieces and place them in a large cup. Microwave at high power for 60 seconds. Stir slightly with a spoon. Put the coffee, sugar and milk into the cup and microwave again at high powder for 30 to 50 seconds.

    If you have a hand blender, it's fantastic. Just attach the whipping attachment to it, and dip it into the coffee. Whip the coffee into a frenzy for a good two minutes until the coffee begins to get dizzy.

    Heat it again at high power for 10 seconds and drink hot! Top with whipped cream if you have it!

    Enjoy the yummilicious taste!

    Happy Cooking!

    Starfruit chutney

    Yum yum! We are still getting over the gorgeous smooth and sour taste of this chutney. I bought some starfruit at the local hypermarket, but unfortunately they weren't as sour as I had imagined them to be. I turned them into a hot and sour chutney which makes a great accompaniment to chapatis.

    Ingredients
    • 3 starfruit
    • 1 cup chopped coriander
    • 1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
    • 1 green chilli
    • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
    • 1/4th tsp anardana (pomegranate seeds) powder
    • salt to taste
    Bring together all the ingredients in a blender and mix them into a smooth puree. Taste and adjust seasoning accordingly.

    Serve with chapatis or paranthas.

    Happy Cooking!

    Wednesday, November 23, 2011

    Onion Tomato Chutney

    Here's a delectable chutney to go with your idlis or dosas. I made this as an accompaniment to my rawa idlis.

    Ingredients
    • 1 medium onion finely chopped
    • 2 medium tomatoes finely chopped
    • 4 to 5 pods of garlic
    • 1/2 tsp tamarind paste
    • salt to taste
    • 2 tbsp oil
    • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds (rai)
    • 1 pinch asafoetida (hing)
    • 1 tsp red chilli powder
    • 1 tsp urad dal
    • 6 to 7 curry leaves
     Heat one tbsp oil and add the garlic, onion and tomatoes to it. Saute well for five minutes.

    Cool them down, add tamarind paste and blend them to a puree. Now add the salt, red chilli powder and mix well.

    Heat the remaining oil and add the mustard seeds, hing, curry leaves and urad dal.

    Add the tempering to the tomato puree. Mix well and serve.

    Happy Cooking!

    Rawa Methi Idli

    It is Saee's Sharing & Caring Day in school. Once every month they hold this day as a means to promote sharing among kids. I, however, call it a kids' Dabba Party. The instructions are clear and specific. There has to be something homemade and healthy in the dabba. Store bought food is not allowed. Not that I intended to ever do that. This morning I thought I might make some chillas. But then what about PIC? So I decided to make something that I had never made before. Rawa Idli. Seemed to be a challenge when I have failed so many times in making a regular idli from scratch.

    However, it was so easy to make this recipe! The idlis turned out to be really soft and pillowy. You will see the pictures (Thanks to Jeejaji who brought the camera down from Indore, and to my husband, whom I woke up from deep slumber at 10 a.m. to click the pictures)

    There are many different recipes on the net. However I did some things differently. You'll know. Read on.

    Ingredients
    • 1 cup wheat (sooji) rawa
    • 1 cup curd (dahi)
    • 1/4 tsp eno fruit salt
    • 1/4 tsp soda bicarb (khane ka soda)
    • 3 to 4 tbsp water
    • 2 tsp oil
    • 1/4th tsp mustard seeds
    • 1 pinch asafoetida (hing)
    • 2 tbsp cashewnuts
    • 1/2 cup grated carrots
    • 2 tsp kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
    • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder (if you are making this for kids. Add more if you want)
    • Salt to taste
     Heat oil in a kadhai. Add the mustard seeds and once they crackle, add the cashewnuts and asafoetida. Allow the cashews to become a little brown.

    Now add the sooji rawa and roast well till it turns slightly brown. This takes about five minutes. Remove the above mixture into a bowl. Add the curd to the rawa. Put three to four tablespoonfuls of water in the kadhai and pour the water in the mixture (the water becomes slightly warm this way and the idlis become lusciously soft)

    Cover and keep aside for 30 minutes.

    Now add the carrots, methi, salt, and red chilli powder and mix well.

    Pour water in a steamer and bring it to a boil. Grease the idli moulds well with a little oil and keep them aside.

    Finally, at the last minute, add the eno fruit salt and soda bicarb. Mix only in one direction and do not overmix. A few large sweeping strokes should be enough. Spoon out the batter into the idli moulds.

    Place the idli moulds in the steamer. Cover and steam for 10 to 12 minutes. Allow the idlis to cool a little and remove and serve them with tomato onion chutney. (Recipe follows)




    Happy Cooking!

    Monday, November 21, 2011

    Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce

    Another good chicken recipe. Though technically not the kind of chicken satay served in Indo-Chinese restaurants, this tasted pretty good. The peanut sauce was delectable. Sweet, and hot with undertones of sour. Try it if you want to make a party recipe but you don't have a lot of time. Although the marination time is more, you can cook it in only ten minutes. Taste in a jiffy!

    Ingredients
    • 2 chicken breasts
    • 6 to 7 garlic pods
    • 6 red chillies
    • juice of 1 lemon
    • salt
    • 1/2 tbsp sugar
    • 1 tsp turmeric powder
    • 1 tsp cumin powder
    For the peanut sauce
    • 2 tbsp roasted peanuts
    • 3 red chillies
    • 2 garlic cloves
    • juice of 3 lemons
    • sugar to taste
    • salt to taste
     Grind the red chillies, garlic and lemon juice to a fine paste. To this add the salt, sugar, turmeric powder and cumin powder.

    Chop the chicken breasts into 3 inch long strips. Apply the above mixture to the chicken pieces and keep them aside for an hour. (If you want to marinade more then you must keep the chicken pieces in the refrigerator.)

    If you have bamboo skewers, then pierce the chicken pieces with these and cook them on a non-stick griddle foor about 3 minutes on each side. When you touch the cooked pieces, they should feel firm and elastic. If they are too firm, they have become rubbery and dry, if they are too elastic they are raw. They should be cooked to a happy median.

    Mix all the ingredients for the peanut sauce and blend them to form a smooth paste. Serve the chicken satay with this sauce.

    Happy Cooking!

    Stuffed Roast Chicken

    FINALLY!!! Finally I could debone and stuff a chicken. Feels like a dream come true. Even though in the process I might have hurt my finger a little bit, the bird looked fantastic, and I earned some brownie points as a good cook. :)

    Please do let me know if you want to learn how to de-bone a whole chicken.

    Here is my recipe

    Ingredients
    • 1 whole chicken with skin (de-boned! :-D )
    For marinating
    • 1 cup thick yoghurt
    • 2 tsp salt
    • 1 tsp turmeric
    • 3 tsp red chilli powder
    • 3 tbsp ginger garlic paste
    • 3 tsp lemon juice
    For stuffing
    • 1 cup chopped onions
    • 1 cup chopped mushrooms
    • 1/2 cup chopped carrots
    • 1 cup chopped capsicum
    • 1/2 cup garlic pods (whole)
    • 2 tsp red chilli powder
    • 1 tsp cumin powder
    • 1 tbsp coriander powder
    • 1 tsp pasta seasoning
    • 1 tbsp oil
    • salt to taste
    Mix all ingredients of the marinade and apply generously to the chicken both from outside and within the cavity. Cover the chicken with plastic wrap. Refrigerate the chicken for as long as possible (at least for 2 to 3 hours).

    Heat the oil in a wok. Add the ingredients for the stuffing and flash fry for a minute or two. Turn off the heat, and allow the stuffing to cool down.

    Remove the bird, and put the stuffing into its cavity. Truss the chicken with kitchen yarn and a needle. (I used a crochet needle to do the same. Works fine, I say, so long as you don't use the same for crocheting any more hahaha!

    Line a baking tray with aluminum foil, and spray a little olive oil on it. Place the chicken into the tray and spray a little oil on the chicken to avoid it going too dry. Place a few pods of garlic all around for their beautiful aroma.

    Place in a preheated oven at 175 degrees. Bake uncovered for 40 minutes to an hour. Baste frequently
    with oil spray. Prick the thickest part of chicken to see if it is cooked. If a  clear liquid oozes out, it has been cooked. Any more time in the oven, and your chicken will taste dry and rubbery.

    Serve hot!

    Happy cooking!

    Mori Masala (Small Sharkfish Curry)

    The best part about making Shark fish is that there is only that one central bone. There are no other bones, and the meat is really soft, fleshy and full of flavor. My mother makes this recipe in the typical Goan style. I followed a different recipe however, and the curry turned out to be really good.

    Here goes.

    Ingredients
    • 1 small sharkfish cleaned and chopped into medium sized pieces
    • 2 tbsp oil
    • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
    • 1 small onion finely chopped
    • 2 inch piece of cinnamon
    • 2 tbsp ginger garlic paste
    • 1 tbsp Kashmiri red chilli powder
    • 1 tsp cumin powder
    • 1 tbsp coriander powder
    • 1/2 tsp turmeric
    • 1/2 tsp garam masala
    • 1 small tomato finely chopped
    • 2 cups fresh coconut milk
    • salt to taste
    To marinade the fish
    • 1 tsp turmeric powder
    • 2 tsp red chilli powder
    • 1 tsp ginger garlic paste
    • 1 tsp lemon juice
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    Mix all the ingredients of the marinade and apply them to the fish. Marinade at room temperature  for 1/2 an hour to one hour.

    Heat the oil in a wok, and add the mustard seeds. Now add the onions  and cook well till they are evenly browned. Add the ginger garlic paste and dry masalas and saute for 3  minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes and 1 cup water. Cook till the water evaporates and oil leaves the masala. Now add the coconut milk, and one cup of water and bring the curry to a boil. Add the pieces of fish and cook for four to five minutes. Adjust salt according to taste.

    Serve hot with steamed rice.

    Happy Cooking!

    Tuesday, November 15, 2011

    Pumpkin Raita

    Before I began Project Indian Cooking, I hadn't eaten a lot of pumpkin. It was a vegetable primarily consumed as a small component of udipi-hotel-bought sambhar. Thanks to this blog, I have developed a taste for this fantastic vegetable. Pumpkin raita is a result of my never-ending thirst for making different recipes from the same basic ingredients. For the first time since I started this blog, pumpkin raita is the only recipe which garnered a sincere compliment from my mother-in-law.

    The ingredients are simple and available in every household. Yet you never thought of pumpkin in a raita form. Atleast, I never did. It was a pleasant, and quite a delicious surprise for all of us.

    Ingredients
    • 250 g pumpkin
    • 1 cup curd
    • 3 tsp red chilli powder
    • 3 tsp vegetable oil
    • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
    • 1 tsp cumin seeds
    • 2 green chillies chopped
    • 1 tsp methi dana
    • 2 tsp urad dal
    • 1/4th tsp asafoetida (hing)
    • 1 tsp sugar
    • salt to taste
    Wash and peel the pumpkin. Chop into large pieces. Allow the threads to remain, discard only the seeds. Boil the pumpkin pieces in a cup of water till they become soft.

    Mash the tender pumpkin pieces with a fork. Do not make them very pulpy, allow them to remain a little chunky. Add yoghurt, salt, sugar and red chilli powder to the pumpkin. Mix them all up well.

    Make the tempering. Heat oil in a wok, and add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, methi dana, urad dal, green chillies and hing. Turn off the heat, and add the turmeric powder.

    Pour the tempering into the pumpkin curd mixture and mix well. Place a cover on top of the bowl and keep it for 30 minutes.

    Serve cold with chapati or parathas.

    Happy Cooking!

    Sunday, November 13, 2011

    Shengdanyachi Amti

    Ingredients
    • 2 cups roasted and peeled peanuts 
    • 3 green chillies
    • 1 tsp coriander (dhania) powder
    • 1 tsp cumin (jeera) powder
    • 2 tsp jaggery (gudh)
    • salt to taste
    • 3 kokums
    • 3 tsp ghee
    • 1 tsp cumin seeds
    • chopped coriander to garnish
    Grind together the peanuts, chillies, coriander and cumin powder, jaggery, and salt to a coarse powder.

    Heat the ghee in a pan. Add the cumin seeds and the coarse peanut mixture. Add 2 cups of water, and kokum. Boil for 2 minutes and simmer for 2 more minutes.

    Serve hot with samo rice.

    Happy Cooking!

    Untitled Chicken Kebabs

    After a long hiatus, I am back with a new recipe. This recipe is my own creation. A thing materialized out of a challenge to feed my sister-in-laws family something non-vegetarian. It was a sort of untold test, to see whether I really can cook. I hope I passed with flying colors.

    :-)

    Unfortunately though, I do not have any pictures. My usually-unforgetful-hubby has forgotten the camera in Indore. So unless I get the camera on my trip back to Indore in December, there will be no pictures.

    Please think of a cool-sounding name for my recipe!

    Ingredients
    • 700 g tender chicken breasts chopped into large-ish chunks
    • 1 cup curd
    • 1/2 cup blanched almonds (Badam, soaked in warm water for an hour and peeled)
    • 3 tbsp ginger and garlic paste
    • 1 tsp lemon juice
    • 3 tsp red chilli powder
    • salt to taste
    • oil for frying or grilling
    Wash the chicken breast pieces. Make a paste of the almonds. Mix all the ingredients for the marinade  in a separate bowl. Do a taste check for seasoning.

    Add the chicken pieces to the marinade and keep the chicken covered in room temperature for about an hour.

    Here is what I did. I heated oil in a shallow frying pan, and shallow fried the pieces for about three minutes on each side. Any more, and you will have rubbery pieces of chicken. Any less, and you will have undercooked chicken. Press the cooked chicken surface with your spatula. If it feels firm and yet slightly springy, it is done.This process is slightly messy in that it leaves black residue in your frying pan. Remove it from time to time, or it will stick to your frying pan, and become difficult to clean later.

    Remove the chicken pieces on to a plate and serve with green chutney.

    Alternatively you can grill the chicken pieces for about  5 minutes on each side, basting with oil regularly to prevent them from getting dry. Serve them with the green chutney.

    Happy Cooking!

    Saturday, October 15, 2011

    Prawns Koliwada

    I love prawns. But they seem to have given my little daughter a mild allergic reaction. My brother was allergic to it too. In his case he would simply eat them and take an antihistaminic later.

    Saee got the reaction for the first time, and there didn't seem to be any mosquitoes in the room, so logically I thought it must be the prawns. My doctors mind began ticking in the middle of the night thinking what I should do. Calamine on the skin and antihistaminic syrup later, my Saee was sleeping like a baby. She is a baby!

    Ingredients
    • 200 g prawns shelled and de-veined
    • 3 tsp Kashmiri red chilli powder (gives a lovely color while not being too hot)
    • 1 tsp turmeric powder
    • 2 tsp ginger garlic paste
    • juice of one lemon
    • salt to taste
    • 4 tbsp plain flour
    • oil for deep frying
    1. My idea of de-veining the prawns is to run a small sharp knife all along its back right to the tail and then just lift the vein up. Most people in India  just pull out the vein, but there's a chance of breaking some part of the vein within. 
    2. Wash the prawns two to three times in fresh water.
    3. Add the red chilli powder, turmeric powder, ginger garlic paste, lemon juice and salt. Mix well.
    4. Marinate for at least half an hour. If you are going to marinate more, keep the fish in the refrigerator.
    5. Heat the oil in a deep wok. Roll each prawn in plain flour and fry for two to three minutes.
    6. Eat hot!
    Happy Cooking!



    Thursday, October 13, 2011

    Tawa Bhindi

    I had been looking for low fat, low cal recipes online. Honest. I don't know how I stumbled upon this recipe and forgot all about my endeavor. In any case, here is a recipe loaded with calories, that you can make for yourself as a change, or as party food.

    Here I have used bhindi and potatoes. But you can use a number of assorted vegetables, and called it tawa sabzi. You can use cauliflower florets, mushrooms, baby potatoes, or carrots. You can arrange them separately on the tawa, and saute them with a little gravy and serve them as your guests want. That is... if you have that big a tawa.

    Ingredients
    • 250 g bhindi (okra)
    • 2 medium potatoes peeled and chopped into large pieces
    • 1 cup finely chopped onions
    • 6 cloves of garlic
    • 1 inch piece of ginger
    • 2 tomatoes finely chopped
    • 7 to 8 curry leaves
    • 1/2 cup curd
    • 1 tsp cumin powder
    • 1 tsp coriander powder
    • 1 tsp red chilli powder
    • 1/2 tsp amchur (dry mango) powder
    • 1 tsp garam masala (preferably pav bhaji masala)
    • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
    • 1 tsp cumin seeds
    • one pinch asafoetida
    • oil for deep frying
    • 3 tsp oil
    • salt

    1. Wash and chop the bhindi (okra). Cut off the head and tail and chop the okra into one inch large pieces


    2. Grind together the onion, garlic and ginger into a fine paste.

    3. Make a puree of the tomatoes and keep aside.






    4. Heat oil in a wok and deep fry the bhindi and potatoes till they turn golden brown. Remove from oil and drain on kitchen towels. Sprinkle a little salt on the fried vegetables.

    5. Remove all but 3 tsp of oil from the wok. Add the cumin seeds and asafoetida to the oil and wait till they change color.

    6. Add the curry leaves. Now add the onion, ginger and garlic paste and saute for three minutes or till the oil separates.

    7. Now add the tomato paste, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, cumin and coriander powders, amchur, and garam masala and saute for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

    8. Whip the curd so it becomes smooth and free of lumps. Once the oil has begun separating from the tomato gravy, add the curd and 1/2 cup of water. Add salt and bring the gravy to a boil.

    9. Add the vegetables to the gravy or keep them separate and combine the veggies and gravy together at the dinner table.



    Serve hot with chapatis, or parathas.


    Happy Cooking!

    Tuesday, October 11, 2011

    Hotchpotch

    This dessert is an example of how you can turn a disaster into something good. I wanted to bake a cake for my mom's birthday. Blast the electricity! There was load shedding throughout the day everyday. When I finally made the cake, I had only a small window, and had to rush things up. So I scrambled the few things I had, together for the sponge cake, without measuring the ingredients (a cardinal sin in the rulebook of cake making) and pushed the batter in the oven. Then I crossed my fingers and hoped that if I really want the cake to turn good, everything in the universe will conspire to help me achieve that end. - (borrowed from the alchemist!)

    The world didn't. My cake looked horrible. Lumpy and flat. It tasted good though, and it seemed a shame to throw it away altogether. So to salvage the cake (and my dignity) I decided to turn it into a different dessert. And because it is a hotchpotch of all things I found, I am calling it Hotchpotch!

    This is what I did. I didn't have pictures though. :-(

    Ingredients
    • Sponge cake
    • Mango ice-cream
    • Strawberry sauce
    • Kellogg's honey loops (or any other breakfast cereal)
    1. Cut the cake into cubes.
    2. Place the cubes in a tall glass.
    3. Pour strawberry sauce over the cake.
    4. Scoop the ice cream into the glass on top of the cake. 
    5. Pour another drizzle of strawberry sauce on the mango ice cream.
    6. If the glass is REALLY tall, repeat the steps from 1 to 5.
    7. Finally add the honey loops or any other crispy cereal and serve!
    Happy Cooking!

    Bharli Vangi - Stuffed aubergines

    Suddenly I have developed some confidence in my cooking abilities. It was a tremendous ego boost when my mom told me that my bakarwadis taste professional. To top it off hubbs said that I have turned a better cook than my mom and his mom. That IS an overstatement, but it feels nice that you are appreciated by the ones you love. :-)

    The recipe I am posting today is an amalgamation of two styles of cooking. One is my mother's style and one is my mother-in-law's style. I have developed a slightly different way of cooking this recipe, and hubbs loves it. It is up to others to test the recipe and give me feedback about what they think.

    Ingredients
    • 250 g aubergines
    • 1 cup chopped onions
    • 3 tbsp oil
    • 4 cloves of garlic
    • 1 inch ginger chopped
    • 1/2 cup fresh grated coconut
    • 1/2 tsp garam masala
    • 1/2 cup roasted peanuts
    • 2 tsp sesame seeds
    • 2 tsp tamarind paste
    • 1 tsp red chilli powder (or as per taste)
    • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
    • 2 tbsp jaggery
    • salt to season
    Wash and make vertical cross slits in the aubergines at the base. Place them in water for an hour or two. This opens up the aubergines and it becomes easier to stuff them.

    Heat a wok, and pour 1 tbsp oil in it. Add 2/3 of the onions and saute till they turn brown. Add the garam masala, garlic, ginger and saute for two more minutes.

    Add the fresh grated coconut, and saute for 2 minutes.

    Turn off the heat and allow the sauteed ingredients to cool.

    Place them in a blender, with turmeric, red chilli powder, tamarind paste, peanuts, sesame seeds, and salt and blend them to a paste.

    Stuff this mixture into the aubergines, like this.


    Heat the remaining oil in a wok, and toss in the remaining chopped onions.

    Once the onions change their color somewhat add the stuffed aubergines and the remaining mixture. Mix well.

    Cover with a plate, and pour water on top of the plate. Lower the heat to a medium and cook till the aubergines become soft. Add the water on top of the plate to the curry, and cook till it boils.

    Add the jaggery and boil the curry for five more minutes.

    Serve hot with chapatis or bhakris.

    Agreed. The picture sucks. The light sucks.  Couldn't keep my hand still :-(

     Happy Cooking!

    Thursday, October 6, 2011

    Diwali Faral - Fried Poha Chivda

    There are many who like the dry roasted chivda variety. And then there are some like my dear hubby who like the fried poha variety. And he likes it so much that he invented an altogether different way of eating chivda so he can have chivda in every meal. Chapati chivda!

    :-D

    Ingredients
    • 500 g beaten rice flakes (Jada poha)
    • Dry coconut (sukka khobra)
    • 1 cup peanuts
    • 3 green chillies
    • 8 to 10 curry leaves
    • 1 tsp turmeric powder
    • 1/2 tsp asafoetida (hing)
    • salt to taste
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1/4th tsp citric acid crystals
    • A whole lot of oil
    1. Soak the dry coconut in water for an hour. It becomes soft. You can now use your peeler to make very thin slices of the coconut. Then spread them out under a fan on kitchen towels to dry them again.
    2. Soak the groundnuts in a water with a little salt. Once soaked, remove them on kitchen towels and dry them again under fan for an hour or two.
    3. Heat the oil and fry the poha. It spreads around in the oil if you add it directly. By the time you remove the poha it becomes brown. The best way is to use a frying vessel or a spoon, into which you add a handful of poha and dip it into the oil and remove it in five seconds. Drain on kitchen towels spread out on a newspaper. Fry all the poha in this manner.
    4. Remove all extra oil to keep only 1/2 cup oil in the wok. Add the curry leaves to the oil and fry them till they turn crisp. Remove them and spread them on the poha.
    5. Chop the chillies and fry them till the edges turn a little brown. Add to the poha.
    6. Fry the coconut slices till they turn slightly brown. Add to the poha.
    7. Fry the peanuts till they look evenly browned. Add to the poha.
    8. Turn off the heat under the oil and add the asafoetida and turmeric.
    9. Pour this on top of the poha.
    10. Add the salt according to taste.
    11. Grind together the sugar and citric acid and add to the poha.
    12. Do not mix vigorously. Instead just add the whole mixture to a plastic bag and shuffle it a few times. 
    13. Keep it in the plastic bag and keep the plastic bag in an airtight container to store it.

    Happy Cooking!

    Diwali Faral - Chakli

    Now comes the part  where you actually  make the chakalis. I have read in many places that chaklis don't often turn out well. Sometimes they are too hard, or they turn soft the next day, or they fall apart in the oil while frying. Needless to say that I was very very VERY apprehensive.

    Think about it, it was about 2 and half kilos of various ingredients I was using. Think about the wastage if they turned out horribly wrong. What if the taste wasn't right? I was praying to God, and crossing my fingers all the time I was making the recipe. I decided  to stick to one recipe and follow everything by the word.

    They turned out quite well. They didn't break. I made them day before yesterday and I am posting the recipe today, so I can safely say that they didn't go soft. They are still very crisp. So just follow my recipe in toto and there shouldn't be any reason for the chakalis to go wrong.

    Ingredients
    • 2 cups chakli bhajani (the previous post has the recipe for that or you can buy it from the market)
    • 2 cups water
    • 3 tsp oil (not more than that)
    • salt to taste
    • 5 tsp red chilli powder (or more if you want it spicier)
    • 3 tsp turmeric powder
    • 3 tsp chaat masala
    1. Boil the water in a vessel. Add the oil and the spices to the water itself.
    2. Once it has begun boiling, add the bhajni flour to the water and remove from heat.
    3. Stir vigorously till all the water has been incorporated by the flour.
    4. Allow the mixture to cool till you can handle it well.
    5. Knead well into a firm dough. Do not add any more water or oil. It has to be a firm dough. Taste a little at this point to be sure of the seasoning. Keep the salt a little less than you would like, for once it gets fried it tastes saltier than it tasted in the dough stage.
    6. Put the dough in a chakli maker. Use the star attachment for making the chaklis.
    7. Grease a plastic sheet with a little oil.
    8. Squeeze a length of the dough through the chakli maker onto the greased plastic sheet, and roll with a light touch in the shape of a jalebi.
    9. Deep fry them in oil over low heat. Keep the heat as low as possible. When you first dip your raw chakli into the oil it will bubble up furiously. When the bubbles have slowed down considerably and the color of the chakli changes to slightly golden brown, remove them from the oil with a perforated spoon.
    10. Drain the chaklis on kitchen towels.
    11. Cool them completely. Only then place them in an airtight container. 


    Happy C@@king! (okay, that is not caaking, those are meant to be o's in the shape of chaklis :-(  )

    Diwali Faral - Chakli (Bhajani)

    Whew! It was difficult to make this chakali. I had decided when I started this blogs that I won't be taking shortcuts. I need to know the very basics of everything. Hats off! To all the women of yore who would do this regularly. They didn't have electric grinders either. They would grind all their grain on the stone grinders and must have had to spend considerable time just sweating over it! Gawd!

    Yet, I loved the whole process. It gave me immense satisfaction to say the least, especially when my husband and my daughter ate my chaklis with gusto. I am however going to post this recipe in two parts. Here I am only going to outline the recipe for bhajni. If you are going for the  store bought bhajni then just go for the next post.

    You do not have to go to the lengths I did. Just go and get bhajani peeth (Bhajani Flour) from any of your local shop. I am sure they will stock this now that Diwali is coming close. If you are as adventurous as I am, and prepared to face swollen hands the next day, by all means, go right ahead. Follow my recipe.

    Ingredients
    • 500 g rice 
    • 250 g  split chickpeas (chana dal)
    • 250 g split black gram (urad dal)
    • 250 g sago (sabudana)
    • 200 g split green gram (moong dal)
    • 100 g split yellow lentils (toor dal)
    • 30 g coriander seeds (dhania seeds)
    • 30 g cumin seeds (jeera)
    • 3 tbsp sesame seeds (til)
    The grains drying in the sun in my window

      1.  Wash all the grains separately to remove the fine powder coating on them. Dry them individually under the sun if possible. If not you can dry them under ceiling fans as well. Dry them completely.
      2. Dry roast the grains separately. Keep them separate. Put the coriander seeds and cumin seeds and sesame seeds on any of the hot grain, so they get just warmed. You don't have to roast them.
      3. If you have an electric grinder (gharghanti), then first grind the split chickpeas. Then grind the sago. Then grind everything else in any order.
      4. If you have to go to your flour mill, then you can combine all ingredients except sago and chana dal, and ask for them to be ground first. 
      5. Do not, under any circumstance, attempt to powder them in your blender. You will not get a fine enough flour for the chakalis.
      The various grains required. Also the caption next to the grains Live, Work, Play is my husband's idea.

       Happy Cooking!

        Tuesday, October 4, 2011

        Diwali Faral - Besan Ladoo

        Diwali equals besan ladoo for me. I love these, and only these laddus. The credit for this recipe goes to my mom. I called her up and asked her how to do it right before I made them. She, after all, makes the best besan laddoos in the whole world.

        So THANKS MOM!!!

        :D She always complains that I never give her due credit!

        What many people seem to think since I started this blog is that I am some sort of a master chef. Guys, you couldn't be more wrong! I am no chef! These recipes I have posted because most of them have been made by me for the very very first time. I have been lucky so far that they turned out not bad. Follow the steps I have told you and you can make it just as easily as I did. Promise!

        I just follow what the masterchefs say in their books, or in their recipes. That's all.

        In this case, I just followed what my mom said to the T and got really really good laddoos.

        Ingredients
        • 500 g gram flour (besan)
        • 250 g clarified butter (cow ghee)
        • 1 tsp cardamom powder
        • 200 g powdered sugar
        • nuts or raisins to garnish (optional)
        1. Heat ghee in a heavy bottomed pan
        2. Add all the gram flour to it. Keep the heat to low.
        3. Stir it well. 
        4. Keep stirring.
        5. Yup, more stirring.
        6. I know you are tired, but that's what you gotta do, stir stir stir your boat...!
        7. Have about forty five minutes elapsed? Hmm...
        8. Your house will be fragrant with gram flour flavored air freshener! Haha :-P
        9. The color of the gram flour will have changed color somewhat.
        10. Now is the time to add the cardamom powder.
        11. Add the sugar and stir some more. Okay not forty-five minutes this time, just a few minutes till it all amalgamates.
        12. Cool the mixture for ten minutes.
        13. Now apply a little ghee to your hands and start rolling little balls out of the mixture. If the fall flat, don't worry, just let them cool down completely and roll them again. And again, if they still fall somewhat flat. (Like mine did!) 
        14. Eventually they will learn to hold  their shape.
        And they will look like theeeeeeeeeees



        Happy Cooking!

        Monday, October 3, 2011

        Diwali Faral - Bakarwadi

        I had never in my wildest imaginations ever thought that I'd make bakarwadis. These crispy and savory spring rolls are a specialty of Chitale's. Others make it  well too, but Chitale are the masters of bakarwadi. I have always loved these lovely Indian spring rolls, but I thought that making them would be completely out of my ability.

        And then I made them. On a whim. I thought, what the hell! What's the most that could go wrong? That they will turn out bad, and nobody will want to eat them. Fear of failure should never be a criterion for not trying something new. That's what my husband tells me all the time. Never fear failure.

        So I let go of my inhibitions, and decided to find some good recipes on the net. The best one I found was on the blogspot called chakali. There are some things that I omitted and some things that I added.

        I also bought chitale's bakarwadi and incorporated whatever ingredients were listed (and some more of course!)

        The only problem was having to fry them in the sweltering heat. I had to close the window because one  crow was audacious enough to dip into my fried bakarwadis and sample one of them. Ugh!

        Try it.. Really! Do not be afraid of failure..


        Ingredients
        • 2 cups plain flour (maida)
        • 3 tbsp gram flour (besan)
        • 1/2 tsp carom seeds (ajwain / owa)
        • salt to taste
        • 1 and 1/2 tbsp oil
        • water
        for the filling
        • 1/2 cup gram flour (besan)
        • 1 tbsp fennel seeds (saunf)
        • 1 tsp sesame seeds (til)
        • 1/2 tsp poppy seeds (khus khus)
        • 3 tbsp grated dry coconut (sukka khobra)
        • 2 tsp cumin powder (jeera powder)
        • 3 tsp coriander powder (dhana powder)
        • 1/2 tsp dry ginger powder (sunth powder)
        • 2 tsp red chilli powder
        • 1/2 tsp garam masala
        • 1 pinch hing (asafoetida)
        • 3 tsp powdered sugar
        • salt to taste
        • 2 tsp oil
        • a little water
        1. First make the dough. Mix the plain flour and gram flour with carom seeds and salt. Make a heap of the flours and make a deep well in the center. Add hot oil in the center and mix it all up. Now add water slowly to make a firm dough.
        2. Next, heat a wok and dry roast the fennel seeds, sesame seeds, poppy seeds and dry coconut together for two to three minutes. Grind to a course mixture.
        3. Dry roast  the gram flour till you get a distinct aroma. Now add cumin powder, coriander powder, red chilli powder, garam masala, sunth powder, hing, and the above mixture. Add 2 tsp of oil to the mixture, salt and sugar and bring it off the heat.
        4. Now add the sugar to the mixture and cool it for some time.
        5. Make five balls of the dough and roll each ball into a thin chapati. Spread some of the above mixture on to the chapati.
        6. Roll the chapati starting from one edge. Roll it completely into a tight roll. If the roll is loose, the filling will come out during  frying.
        7. Apply a little water to the other edge of the dough and seal it shut. Seal the two ends shut. Press the roll a little so it becomes a little flat and ovoid in shape rather than round.
        8. Cut the roll into one inch pieces.
        9. Heat the oil for deep frying, and fry the bakarwadis on low heat. You have to fry on low heat for about five to ten minutes, till they are nice and golden brown.
        10. Drain them on kitchen towels.
        11. Keep away from crows and other similarly audacious birds!
        12. Store them in an airtight container.
         Happy Cooking!

        Sunday, October 2, 2011

        Stuffed Mackerels (Bangde)

        Here is one very easy and yet extremely delicious recipe. Never mind how many times you go to a restaurant to have fish, this is an essentially home-cooking recipe from the beautiful land of Goa.

        I guess it would suffice if I only said that Saee ate one and half fish by herself.






        Ingredients

        • 5 Mackerels (Bangda fish)
        • 1 and 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
        • 2 tsp dry red chilli powder
        • 2 tsp lemon juice
        • 1 cup fresh grated coconut
        • 1/2 cup finely chopped coriander
        • 3 green chillies chopped
        • 3 cloves of garlic
        • 1/2 lemon sized ball of tamarind
        • 1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
        • 2 tbsp rice flour
        • 4 tbsp semolina
        • oil to shallow fry
        • salt to season

        Beautiful, ain't they?

        1. ) Clean the fish and remove the side fins and scales. (A tip: Scale fish while keeping them immersed in water. This prevents the scales from flying everywhere.)


        2. ) Use a thin and very sharp knife to make a deep slit down the backbone of the fish. Cut as close to the bones as possible. Don't handle the fish roughly, or you will damage the  meat. Be very gentle.





        3.) Make shallow cuts in the skin of the fish. About three to four slits at a distance of 2 cms from each other.


        4. ) Like this. Now marinate the fish with turmeric powder, dry red chilli powder, salt and lemon juice. Make sure the marinade is applied within the slit.

        5.) Make the stuffing. Grind  together the coconut, coriander, green chillies, garlic, tamarind, cumin seeds with a little water. Add a little more salt than you would normally.


        6. ) Stuff the ground mixture into the slit and cavity of the fish.

        7.) Mix the semolina and rice flour.

        8. ) Roll the fish in the semolina and rice flour till the fish is well coated.

        9. ) Heat a skillet and add oil upto 1/2 an inch the depth of the skillet. When the oil is hot, fry the fish for 4 to 5 mins on either side. The skin should have turned crispy.


        This is what you get finally. Amazing isn't it? Tastes amazing too!

        Serve hot, garnished with onion rings and lemon wedges.

        Happy Cooking!

        Kid-friendly Quick Egg Frankies

        It's Sunday morning, and that day of the week when all of us want that much needed break. Sadly, for mommies, there are some things that never end. One of them is cooking food. If you do like cooking, then it's as much fun as pursuing any hobby on your day off.

        Yet, on a Sunday, you want to make something that's quick and still doesn't compromise on the taste. Novel, yet has to go down the tummy of rebellious little taste buds. Here is one which doesn't go wrong with my daughter, ever!

        Plus if you have left over chapatis, this is a perfect way to use them without sounding like a leftover. Instead of chapatis you can even use paranthas, or tortillas. If you are a vegetarian, skip the eggs. Of course, then you can't call it an egg frankie, you can simply called a veg frankie.


        Ingredients

        Can you see them in there?

        • 3 eggs
        • 3 leftover chapatis/ tortillas
        • 2 cups finely shredded cabbage
        • 1 cup finely julienned green capsicum
        • 1 cup thinly sliced onions
        • any other vegetables of your choice (carrots, jalapenos if you have them)
        • chat masala
        • green chutney
        • barbeque sauce
        • 1 tsp oil
        • 3 tsp butter
        • salt
        • pepper
         Prepare the veggies first. Heat one tsp olive oil in a wok and flash fry the veggies individually for about ten seconds each. Not more, as you still want to retain their crunch. By flash frying I mean saute them on the highest heat. The cabbage remains slightly raw, but gets a burnt brown edge, the taste of which is simply indescribable. Season each vegetable with a little salt, and season the cabbage with a little pepper as well. Don't overdo this, you want the children to eat it.



         Now heat a skillet. Add a teaspoon of butter and watch it melt. Now beat an egg in a bowl with a little salt and pepper. Pour the beaten egg onto the skillet. Place the chapati on top of the egg. Fry till the egg turns golden brown and flip the egg and chapati, so that the chapati is now on the skillet with the egg on top. Fry for a few seconds and remove on a plate.


        Place each veggie on top of the egg side, as per your child's taste, add the chat masala, barbecue sauce and mint chutney. Roll the chapati  and cover with a tissue paper (trust me, it gets messy while eating!)



        Serve hot with tomato ketchup.

        Happy Sunday Cooking!

        Friday, September 30, 2011

        Bhindi Achari

        When you are too bored of eating the same bhindi recipe, try this easy recipe with a twist. Tastes good, and gets ready in a jiffy.

        Ingredients
        • 3 cups chopped bhindi (okra)
        • 1 small onion finely chopped
        • 3 tsp oil
        • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
        • 1/2 tsp turmeric seeds
        • 2 tsp dry red chilli powder
        • 1 tsp garam masala
        • 2 tsp pickle gravy (any)
        • salt to taste
        1. Heat the oil and add the mustard seeds
        2. Once they begin to splutter add the onions. Saute till they are browned evenly.
        3. Add the chopped okra, and all the dried spices.
        4. Mix it all well and cover and cook for ten minutes, stirring occasionally.
        5. Once the okra has cooked, add pickle gravy (the masala in the pickle, not the pickled  ingredients)
        6. Add the salt. Add very little in beginning, taste and then adjust accordingly.
        7. Serve hot with chapati or parantha.

        Happy Cooking!

        Kids-friendly Mini Pizzas

        Ah, the feeling, when everything goes exactly as it should! When the pizza base is soft as a cushion, when the sauce is just right! I am about to float...

        This time there is a change. I have taken pics at almost every step, to show you exactly how to make the pizza base.

         Gloating! And how!

        I won't blabber much, just write the recipe.


        Ingredients
        For the base
        • 3 cups flour
        • 5 g yeast 
        • 3 tsp olive oil
        • 1 tsp salt
        • 1 tsp sugar
        • 130 ml warm water
        For the sauce

        • 2 large tomatoes finely chopped
        • 2 tbsp tomato ketchup
        • 2 tsp olive oil
        • 2 cloves of garlic
        • 4 basil leaves
        • 2 large sprigs of thyme
        • 1 tsp dried oregano
        • 1 tsp red chilli powder (more if you are making for grown ups)
        • salt to taste
        Toppings

        • as per your choice
        • large quantities of mozarella cheese

        This is how much of the base ingredients you will require. Roughly. That is one cup flour. You will need 3 cups. And that is not wine in the wine glass, it's olive oil!



         2. Warm the water. Do not make it hot otherwise you will end up killing the yeast. You should be able to comfortably dip your finger in the water for more than 5 seconds. Add the yeast, and sugar to the water. Keep aside for ten minutes. The above picture is an examply of how frothy it gets. Looks like the foam on top of a latte, doesn't it?
          
         3. Add the above frothy mixture to the flour. This is EXACTLY how sticky it gets. Says who that kneading dough is therapeutic? Bread doughs get irritatingly messy. But that's just it... the stickier the better. Try and manipulate it somehow kneading to and fro, squishing between your fingers, picking it up and  throwing it down, for a good fifteen minutes. Anything to release the gluten!


        4. Rub a little olive oil into a bowl and place the dough in it. Pat a little olive oil on top of the dough. This is how much the dough will be initially. Cover with a damp cloth and leave it for one hour (or more depending upon the heat  and draught.) The point is, it should double in size.

        This is where you cross your fingers and pray that you have done everything right.

         5. And this is where your prayer gets answered! Look, look! It doubled up, yay! Now the disappointing part. Poke your finger in the dough and deflate it and knead it flat again. Sadly, this must be done to redistribute the air through the dough. Let it sit for 45 more minutes.

        Meanwhile make the sauce.

        1.  Heat the oil. Add garlic and let them brown.
        2. Throw in the chopped tomatoes.
        3. Toss in the herbs and red chilli powder
        4. Add ketchup.
        5. Add salt.
        6. Cook for five minutes till tomatoes are soft.
        7. Remove the thyme twigs, and puree the sauce. It is ready.
        Assemble everything.

        1. Your dough will have risen again. Knead it again to make it flat. 
        2. Dust your work area with dry flour.
        3. Make a small ball of dough and place it in the dusted work area. Push the dough apart with your fingers (greased) till the dough becomes flat and round, with raised edges. 
        4. Place the dough in a tray. 
        5. Spoon a little sauce on top of the base.
        6. Add the toppings. (I used tomatoes, capsicum, mushrooms and onions)
        7. Top it off with grated mozarella cheese.
        8. Push it on the top rack of your oven or microwave.
        9. Grill for ten minutes till the edges turn golden brown.



        Yum! This is what you get!

         
        Too good to be true, man! Simply amazing! Saee ate them with gusto. Thank God!

        Happy Cooking!

        Thursday, September 29, 2011

        Onion Rice

        Coming to think of it, whenever you sample some really good Indian food, and ask what's in it, the answer will definitely have onion and garlic. Of course, there are many recipes without onion and garlic which I equally love. One of them is Rishi chi Bhaaji. This recipe is made on the second day of Ganesh Chaturthi which is called Rishi Panchami. I absolutely love this recipe and can eat bowlfuls of it just like a stew. It is a classic example of how simple food can taste absolutely exotic.

        Yet, there is no substitute for onions and garlic. Used a lot, they overpower the flavors of other ingredients, but used in the correct quantity, they yield that subtle sweet and pungent taste which is so unmistakeable in Indian curries.

        This recipe, like most of my recipes is very very simple. I saw a lot of recipes using a plethora of ingredients, but I wanted something which could be quick and easy, and yet bursting full with flavor. So this is my version of onion rice, which I can say is a variant of the usual jeera rice.

        Ingredients
        • 1 cup basmati rice washed 
        • 2 small onions sliced
        • 4 pods garlic chopped
        • 1 tsp cumin seeds
        • 1 inch piece of cinnamon
        • 1/2 tsp pepper powder
        • 3 tsp vegetable oil (I use sunflower oil, because it is non-fattening as compared to peanut oil, and the difference is visible)
        • salt to taste
        1. Heat the oil in a wok, and add cumin seeds and cinnamon. 
        2. Once they begin to change color, add the garlic. 
        3. Allow the garlic  to brown a little and add the onions. Saute the onions well for about four minutes till they turn a lovely golden brown color. This really brings out the sweetness of the onions. 
        4. Now drain the rice and add to the onions. Saute for a minute and add one and half cups of water. 
        5. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil.
        6. Lower the heat and allow to simmer for five to ten minutes till all the water is soaked up. 
        7. Serve hot. (I have garnished mine with fried potato wedges. So much for dieting!) Skip the potato garnish, and use brown rice to make a recipe which is low in fat and high in dietary fiber.


        Happy Cooking!

        Wednesday, September 28, 2011

        Kid-Friendly Potato Peas and Cheese Surprise!

        Okay the name is a little dramatic, I admit. For a lack of any good cutlet recipes, or should I say, different cutlet recipes, I came up with my own. It isn't fancy, neither does it take too much time. Just the idea that when you bite into the cutlet, through the soft potatoes and peas shell... Surprise! Say cheese?

        The cutlet is children-friendly, though you can notch up the spiciness quotient to make it an ideal snack for a small tea-party too. Though you may better watch it. Since it is a kid-friendly cutlet, I have incorporated chunks of cheese. Cheese, as we all know isn't adults-friendly, especially women and it tends to, shall we say 'show' in all the wrong places! Damn. Why are all good things in life so sinful.

        Anyway, read up. Make it, and let me know how it turned out.

        Ingredients
        • 2 medium sized potatoes, boiled
        • 1/2 cup peas, boiled
        • 10 rectangular chunks of processed cheese (big sized  for kids, microscopic for us!)
        • 2 tbsp cornflour + 2 tbsp for coating
        • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
        • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder (more if grown-ups are going to eat it)
        • 2 tsp roasted sesame seeds
        • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
        • 1 tsp dry mango powder (amchur)
        • salt to taste
        • 1/2 tsp sugar (trust me!)
        • 1/2 cup semolina for coating
        • oil for shallow frying
        1. Mash the boiled potatoes well. This is first and foremost a necessity if you want to make good tikkis. The potatoes must be mashed till atleast most of of the large chunks are gone. 
        2. Add the peas, cornflour, dry spices, sesame seeds, salt and sugar.  Mix it well. (although bread slices are preferred, I didn't have any, so I used cornstarch. Works just as well.)
        3. Divide the above mixture into ten equal portions. 
        4. Grease your hands with a little oil. Roll the potato and peas mixture into a ball. Make a deep long indentation in the center using your index finger. 
        5. Place a cheese stick in this indentation.
        6. Roll the edges of the potato mixture over the cheese and shape into a rectangular block. (this makes it easy to fry.)
        7. Prepare all the ten cutlets in this manner and set them aside.
        8. Heat a skillet and pour just enough oil to shallow fry.
        9. Make a thin paste of cornflour in water.
        10. Roll each cutlet in the cornflour paste, then into the semolina and place in the skillet to shallow fry.
        11. These are delicate things, so do NOT attempt to pick them up and roll them over. They are rectangular remember? So just nudge them on to their adjacent side once the base has cooked to a crisp and brown purrrfection!
        12. Fry on all sides.
        13. Dip them in ketchup, and pop them in your mouth and feel ecstasy as the cheese melts like so much yummy molten lava!
        I admit that the pic is not very good. But I made these in the evening and the light these days is really fickle. (Plus I need to get my eyes checked, but I am not going to say that, am I?)


         Happy Cooking!

        Monday, September 19, 2011

        Bottle Gourd and Red Lentil Curry

        It's Monday again, and the time of the week when no onion or garlic ever find their way into the food. However, food without onion and garlic can be just as delicious. This is one of those recipes.

        Ingredients
        • 2 cups peeled and chopped bottle gourd (doodhi)
        • 1 cup red lentils, washed
        • 1 tsp turmeric powder
        • 3 tsp oil
        • 1 tsp cumin seeds
        • 1 tsp chopped ginger
        • 4 dry red chillies
        • 1 pinch asafoetida (hing)
        • 1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds (methi dana)
        • 1 tsp coriander powder
        • 1 tsp dry mango powder (amchoor)
        • 1 tsp red chilli powder
        • salt to taste
        • chopped coriander, to garnish
        Pressure cook the bottle gourd and red lentils with 1 cup water, salt and turmeric powder.

        Open the pressure cooker after the steam has escaped and keep the cooked bottle gourd and lentils aside.

        Heat the oil in a wok, and add the cumin seeds. Once they begin changing color, add the fenugreek seeds, red chillies, and one pinch of asafoetida. Add the ginger, and pour the cooked dal into this tempering.

        Add coriander powder, red chilli powder, dry mango powder. Bring the curry to a boil. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

        Garnish with chopped coriander and serve hot!



        Happy Cooking!

        Thursday, September 15, 2011

        Wangyache Kaap

        This is a brilliant side dish made from aubergines. A perfect way to complement your regular chapati bhaaji, or pulao rice. The beauty of the dish is in its simplicity.

        Ingredients
        • 1 large aubergine (brinjal)
        • 3 to 4 tsp red chilli powder
        • 2 tsp turmeric powder
        • 2 tsp cumin powder
        • 3 tsp coriander powder
        • salt to taste
        • juice of 1 lemon
        • semolina for rolling
        • oil for shallow frying.
        Cut the aubergine into 1/4th inch diskettes. Apply all the dry spices, lemon and salt to the diskettes and marinate them for about an hour.

        Roll each diskette and shallow fry them on both sides till they are golden brown.

        Serve hot!

        Happy Cooking!

        Ukadiche Modak

        Ganesh Chaturthi means a lot of things to a lot of people. Fun, festivities and relatives and friends coming together to pay obeisance to the God of good times. To me, it means one of my most favorite and loved recipes of all time... Ukadiche modak.

        These were made by mom, though. Yet, even when I make them, this is the exact procedure I follow.

        Sorry Naina for posting this recipe so late!  :-(

        Ingredients
        For the covering
        • 250 g rice flour
        • 250 ml water
        • 1/2 tsp salt
        • 1 tsp vegetable oil
        For the filling
        • one large coconut grated
        • equal quantity of jaggery (as the coconut)
        • 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
        Others
        • a steamer
        • a few turmeric leaves 
        Boil the water and add salt and oil to it. Once it has begun boiling add the rice flour to it and mix well. Remove from the heat and let it sit for some time till the dough cools down. Once it cools, knead well to make a smooth dough. Cover with a damp muslin cloth and set aside.

        In a large wok, heat the coconut and jaggery together. Add the cardamom powder. Cook well till not only the jaggery as dissolved but the coconut emits a nice roasted aroma. Let the mixture cool.

        Now make a large lemon sized ball of the dough and make a deep depression in the center of the ball. Put a teaspoon of stuffing in the center of the depression and shape the dough like a dimsum. Make all the modaks in this manner and cover them with a damp muslin cloth.

        Start the steamer. Place turmeric leaves on the steamer tray. Dip each modak in cold water (this is a trick I learned from my mom, and it makes for really soft modaks) and place on the turmeric leaves. Cover the steamer and steam for about ten to fifteen minutes. Remove from the steamer.

        (Tip: If you want to re-heat modaks, and make them soft again, just dip them in water and steam them for 3 minutes or dip them in water and microwave on high power for a minute.)

        I do not have any pictures though. :-(

        Happy Cooking!


        Serve hot or cold. They taste amazing either way.

        Besan Kachori

        This time they puffed up. Each and every last one of them. And they were so crispy and crunchy, they were just right. Too bad, though. My husband's not going to come home tonight. He will just have to eat them tomorrow, re-heated in a microwave. Too bad.

        Ingredients

        For the covering

        • 2 cups plain flour (maida)
        • 1/2 cup semolina (rawa)
        • 1/2 tsp baking powder
        • 1/2 tsp soda bicarb
        • salt to taste
        • 3 tbsp hot clarified butter (ghee) or vegetable shortening (dalda)
        • water  
        For the stuffing
        • 2 cups gram flour (besan)
        • 1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
        • 1 tsp fennel seeds (saunf)
        • 2 tsp coriander powder (dhania powder)
        • 1 tsp dry mango powder (amchur)
        • 2 tsp red chilli powder
        • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
        • 3 tsp oil
        • a pinch of asafoetida (hing)
        • 1 tsp sugar
        First make the dough. Mix the plain flour and semolina with baking powder, soda bicarb and salt. Pile it up into a heap and make a deep well in the center. Pour hot ghee in this well and mix it all up. The flour should now look like bread crumbs.Mix water slowly to form a dough. The dough should be soft. Cover the dough with a damp muslin cloth and set it aside.

        Now make the stuffing. Roast the cumin and fennel seeds and grind them to a powder. Roast gram flour till all its raw smell disappears. Now add all the dry spices except hing. Heat oil in a separate wok and add hing to it. Pour this oil into the besan and spice mixture. Add salt and sugar and a little water to make it moist.Just a little sprinkle of water should be enough.

        Cool the stuffing mixture and divide into small portions. Make balls of each portion. Make equal number of dough balls.

        Heat oil in a deep wok for deep frying. Now roll a dough ball into a thin diskette. Place the stuffing ball in the center of the diskette. Bring up the edges together and press them together firmly. Now press the ball slightly and roll it again carefully into a diskette about 5 mm in thickness.

        Deep fry the kachoris till they are golden brown. Fry on medium heat for five to seven minutes so that the kachoris become crunchy or "khasta".


        Happy Cooking!