Monday, August 31, 2015

Chocolate Banana Bread


I looked for recipe to make with the ingredients I had.  One banana that had gone too soft.  No butter.  Few eggs. Some cocoa.  A few walnuts. And I found the basic recipe here that had a chocolate drizzle.  I thought I could avoid that. As well as the pastry flour bit, since I had run out of cornflour.  Put the cocoa in and threw in the nuts. I was also dying to try out an electric hand held beater which worked very well. And the banana bread turned out quite nice.  Good enough to feature here and make again.





Ingredients:  Made half the recipe that could serve 5

All purpose flour - 1 3/4  *
Sugar - 1/2 cup
Baking soda - 1 tsp
Cocoa powder - 2-3 tbsp
Baking powder - 1/2 tsp
Salt - 1/4 tsp
Refined oil - 1/4 cup and a little more for greasing the tin
Curd / yogurt - 1/4 cup
Eggs 1 + 1 egg white ( I used just the whole egg)
Vanilla - 1/2 tsp
Banana - 3 nos - mashed about 1 1/2 cup
Walnuts - 1/4 cups


Grease a tin.  Line it with parchment paper.
Preheat the oven to 180 C

In a bowl whisk the dry ingredients - flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, sugar and cocoa.
In another bowl whisk the eggs, curd, oil, vanilla.
Mash the banana and add it to the liquid ingredients and whisk well.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, add walnuts and blend well.
Pour in the batter into the prepared loaf tin.
Bake till done.

I made half the quantity and it took me 30-35 minutes till the skewer came out clean.
Recipe calls for 50 mins.  So do check.




The loaf can be given a nice chocolate drizzle, or dust some icing sugar on top.
The cake has just the right amount of sweetness, however if you want it sweeter and you are not having a dusting of icing sugar or drizzle, add a wee bit more.
*And it also called for pastry flour - that is with a bit of cornflour- I ran out of it and did not add. Not sure what the difference would be.
All in all an enjoyable cake.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Pithi Paratha

I saw Chef Kunal Kapoor make this on his programme My Yellow Table.  It looked interesting.  Seemed simple enough for me to try it.  A meal by itself with a bit of pickle, chutney or a raitha.  Mung dal or split green gram/ dal, can be a boring ingredient.  But the powdered spice powder adds a new dimension to the taste.  I did not add ghee as KK did in his preparation.  Keeping that in mind, if you are making a healthy option use oil, if you want to indulge, add the ghee.

I find most recipes for Pithi Paratha using urad dal (split black gram dal) for the filling, but I prefered to follow the recipe that used mung.



Ingredients - Makes 4-5 parathas.

Dough

Whole wheat flour - 250 gms
Ghee/oil - 1 tbsp
Salt to taste
Water to knead.

Make a dough with the above ingredients.  Knead till you get a soft but firm dough.  Just cover it with a bit of ghee to prevent drying up as it rests.  Keep aside.

Stuffing 

Moong dal - 100 gms - soaked overnight or at least for a couple of hours
Salt to taste
Ghee/ Oil - 1 tbsp
Turmeric - large pinch
Green chilies - chopped fine - to taste
Ginger - chopped fine - a small piece
Hing/Asafoetida - generous pinch

Powder- to a coarse powder

Coriander seeds - 1/2 tbsp
Jeera - 1/2 tbsp
Pepper - 1/4 tbsp
Fennel seeds / somph - 1/2 tbsp

Strain the mung dal
Heat water.
Take the dal in a pan, add the hot water, turmeric, a bit of salt.  Give it a boil.  If you want it soft cooked simmer a while, but a single boil is sufficient.
Strain the water.
Keep the dal aside.

Take oil or ghee in a pan, add hing.
  Followed by the powdered masala.
Then the chopped green chilies and ginger
Now add the blanched dal, a bit of salt
Toss till well mixed.
Remove from heat
Allow to cool

Take the rested dough.  Make about 4-5 round portions.
Take one portion.  Roll into a small circle.
Place the spiced dal mixture in the centre.  Fold dough around it.
Roll into parathas.
Toast on hot pan/tawa with ghee till brown spots appear.
Flip to other side.
Remove.

Serve with pickle, raitha, any thing.







Friday, August 14, 2015

Baked Oatmeal

This is a nice change from the regular oats porridge that you may have for breakfast. However many fruits or nuts you may add, I can assure you the baked version tastes different.  Bake it just till it sets and get a golden crust and you have something that tastes like an apple pie or bread pudding, bake it even longer and it will be like an oaty bar. Use any of the fruits and nuts available to you. The choice is yours.  But do try it.  Does not take too long to make and you can have a good breakfast.  Breaks the monotony of the regular intake of cereal.  Team it with cold coffee or a juice and make it a complete meal.

The recipe is adapted from Once Upon a Chef, who describes it as an Amish-Style Baked Oatmeal with Apples, Walnuts and Raisins.   She even says it can be made ahead of time and just re-heated before consumption.  I made it fresh for breakfast and leftovers were kept in the refrigerator and reheated.  Still tasted good.




Serves 4-5 persons

Ingredients-
Oats - 1 1/2 cups - I used instant oats
Demerara Sugar -  little more than 1/2 cup
Walnuts - 1/4 cup the more the better
Raisins - 1/4 cup
Baking powder - 1 tsp
Cinnamon powder -  1 1/2 tsp
Salt - 1/2 tsp
Milk - 1 1/2 cup
Eggs - 2
Butter - 4 tbsp + a little more for greasing - I had salted butter, so skipped the salt
Vanilla essence - 1 tsp
Apples - 1 large / 2 medium


Combine the oats, baking powder, sugar,  and salt if using
And half the quantity of nuts and raisins
Chop the apples
Melt the butter

Preheat the oven to 170C
Grease a 8-9" cake tin

Whisk the eggs add vanilla essence and milk whisk a little more.
Add this to the oatmeal mixture along with melted butter.  Mix well.

Place the chopped apples all along the bottom of the greased cake tin.
Pour the oatmeal mixture evenly over the top of the apples.
Put the remaining nuts and raisins over the top.

Bake in the oven till crust is golden brown and the oatmeal mix is set.  May take about 25-30 minutes.  If you want it more crisp and less pudding like, keep it for a few minutes longer.

Cool.  And slice.  And serve.  Can even be mixed with milk.  Serve with juice or a cup of coffee, hot or cold.  You are set for the rest of the day.




Monday, August 10, 2015

Bread and Butter Pudding

K made the bread and butter pudding yesterday.  It was delicious.  The recipe was adapted from the Panettone pudding on BBC Good Food.  She used multigrain bread and added mixed fruit, citrus peel and cinnamon. The pudding is best with old bread.  Simple to make. Quite like our Double ka Meetha without the deep frying and the ghee.  It has its share of calories.  But somehow it is light and easy to have as a end of meal dessert.



Ingredients - 
Butter - 50 gms - K used salted butter, and it only added to the taste.
Bread slices - 8 nos
Eggs - 2
Cream - 140 gms
Milk - 225 ml
Vanilla extract - 1/2 tsp
Caster Sugar - 2 tbsp
Icing sugar for dusting
Cinnamon- 1/4 tsp
Cream to serve ( optional) - did not use
Raisins/Dry fruits/ Candied orange peel - as per taste.

Grease a shallow dish with butter
Preheat oven to 160C
Cut the slices diagonally or in wedges.  Keep the crusts on
Butter one side of the bread, lightly
Arrange the slices with the buttered side facing up

In a bowl, whisk milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, cream well.
Pour over the slices arranged in the bowl.  Add the raisins.

Put the dish in a round shallow plate with hot water.
Bake for 35 minutes
The top should be golden.

Dust the top with icing sugar

Serve with cream.



Sunday, July 26, 2015

Carrot Chutney

I always seem to have carrots in the refrigerator. You can add it to any curry, sambar, vegetable rice and of course the salad.  But I have never thought of a chutney. Today, however, I had just the carrots and had run out of veggies, and when this post of the carrot chutney popped up on facebook, I checked the link and it led me to Cook,Click and Devour and the dish looked good. I liked the fact that there was no coconut.  We use a lot of coconut at home and I am always on the lookout for coconut-free dishes.  The chutney was simple to prepare and tasted amazing.  A wonderful accompanying side dish for rice, chapatis, dosa or whatever.... it is really good!



Ingredients:

Carrots - 3-4 medium - grated
Bengal gram dal (Chick pea/Channa) - 2 tbsp
Red Chilies - 1-2 
Tamarind paste- 1/2 tsp 
Asafoetida/Hing - A large pinch
Ginger - 1/4"
Oil - 2 tbsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves - few

Heat the oil in a pan
Add the hing followed by the bengal gram dal
Fry the dal a while. Just as it begins to change a shade of colour and a hint of brown
Add the grated carrot
Toss till the raw taste of carrot disappears
Put it all into a blender
Add salt to taste and the ginger
Blend to a fine paste, with a little water if necessary.

Put the blended chutney into a dish.  
Temper with mustard and curry leaves.  

Try it - it is amazing.

Note - you can substitute the red chilies with green chilies.
Harini of Cook, Click and Devour also adds that you can add onions or fresh grated coconut too.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Methi Pakodi

This has been sitting in the draft folder for want of a better picture.  But that will take a while. Doctor's orders - as I have to be off deep fried foods for a while to recoup,  and I thought I might as well post this.  A great dish for a rainy day with a cup of steaming tea.  And the aroma of the methi leaves will just waft through the house as you make the pakodis.  The recipe is from Rak's Kitchen.



Ingredients:
Methi Leaves - 1/2 cup
Besan / Chick pea flour - 3/4 cup
Rice flour - 3 tbsp
Ginger - a small bit - finely chopped
Green chilie -2 nos -
Onion - 1/2 finely chopped
Curd - 1 tbsp - preferably sour curd
A generous pinch of cooking soda
Red chili powder - to taste ( remember you have added the green chili)
Ajwain - 1 tsp
Salt - to taste

Oil - for deep frying

Chop cleaned methi leaves finely.

Take a bowl.  Mix all the ingredients.
Add water gradually and make a thick batter.  But not too thick :-)
Add a spoon of hot oil to the batter, this will result in crisp pakodis

Heat oil in a pan
Either using a spoon or with your hand drop in a bit of batter and deep fry on medium heat till golden brown
Do not let them brown too soon, as the centre might remain uncooked

Once done, remove with a slotted spoon.
Drain the oil well.

And serve with chutney preferably.  Or a dash of pickle.
And of course with a cup of tea.



Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Konkani cuisine - Ambe Upkari - Small mango curry

I was so pleased when my neighbour gave me these small mangoes.  In konkani, we call them 'ghonto', I was not sure if they were the actual ones.  These ghonto are mangoes that do not grow large in size, and as they ripen they are mostly green with a yellow tinge.  They get a little soft and have this sweet and tangy taste.  And so I messaged my Aruna akka and got the recipe for the mango curry - Ambe Upkari.

I do not know if this is a popular dish.  I mean most people would probably shudder at the  thought of a curry made with mango.  Yes, it is unusual, but delicious.  Tastes even better when you keep it overnight.


Ingredients -
am not specifying amounts here - everything approximate - and as long as you start with less, it can be adjusted even in the finished dish.

Mangoes - the green small variety
Jaggery
Salt
Green chili - keep it less - and depends on the spiciness of the chili - maybe two for six mangoes
Rice flour or All purpose flour - 1 tbsp (optiona)

Seasoning -
Oil - 1 tbsp
Red chilies ( optional) - I did not add
Mustard
Urad or black gram dal
Curry leaves

Wash the mangoes well
Peel the skin with your fingers.  And take off as much flesh off them as possible with a little water
( with this variety, there will be flesh on the peel)
Keep the seed with the flesh in along with the pulp extracted
Add salt - this just gives it a nice balance.  So just a little
Jaggery to taste - this would depend on the sweetness of the pulp- this is not an overly sweet dish
Add a little water if too thick.

Now bring it to a boil.  Simmer
If the pulp seems a little thin, make a paste of rice flour/APF with a little water and add it
Allow the flour to cook and this will also thicken the gravy

Remove from fire.
Prepare the seasoning
Heat oil, add  red chili ( optional) mustard allow to splutter, the urad dal which can be lightly browned
Add the curry leaves.
Add the seasoning to the curry

Cool.  And refrigerate.  I like it best when it is chilled.
Tastes even better the next day

It's different.  Its tasty !


PS - if the jaggery contains impurities , dissolve in a little water and strain.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Curry Leaves Powder - Karivepaku Podi

When you order groceries online, especially items like curry leaves, you get a whole bunch of it.  And however careful you are some of it has to be discarded after a few days.  And so I thought I would preserve it especially since the particular batch that was delivered was so very fresh. I had prepared this podi years ago, but had lost the recipe.  I found the book recently.  I cannot remember who gave me the recipe but it was  hastily handwritten in one of the pages at the back of the book.  It turned out as well as it had the first time.


Pre-preparation -

Items like curry leaves and tamarind need to be washed well to remove any impurities and then allowed to dry thoroughly.  At times, after I wash the leaves and drain them onto a tissue paper, I put them on a microwave safe plate and spread them out and keep them in the microwave for a minute or so.  This ensures that no moisture is left.  Of course, if one has the patience, sun drying is a good option.

Ingredients

Curry leaves - 1/2 cup to be  sautéed in a little oil
Dry coconut - 1/4- 1/2 cup

Dry roast -
Coriander seeds - 1 cup ( I reduced this a bit)
Red gram dal (Tuvar) - 1/2 cup
Black gram dal ( Urad) - 1/2 cup
Bengal gram dal (Channa) - 1/2 cup
Red chilies - 20 - you can reduce this if you do not want it too spicy
Cumin seeds - jeera - 2 tsp
Tamarind - a  little - maybe size of half a lime
Garlic - 1-2 big sized pods - I did not use

Salt to taste

First grind the dry roasted ingredients together.  And then add the curry leaves and coconut and make it a fine - some prefer a not so fine - powder.

Have it with some hot rice and ghee/oil

It can also be used to spice up a curry

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Besan Toast

If you like bread pakodi, this is probably a healthier alternative.  Easy to make for a quick snack especially if you have a few slices of leftover bread.  And with a few chopped tomatoes, onions and capsicum it adds a lovely new taste altogether.  Recipe from Indian Vegetarian Kitchen.  Try it, add your twist to it.  You cannot go wrong. 


Ingredients:

Bread Slices - 4 nos
Chick pea flour ( besan) - 1/2 cup
Salt to taste
Water to make a batter
Cumin seeds or powder ( optional ) - 1/4 tsp
Oil for shallow frying

Finely chop the following -

Onion - 1 medium 
Tomatoes - 1/2 
Coriander leaves
Capsicum 1 tbsp
Ginger - 1/2 tsp
Green chilies - 1 nos ( or red chili powder)

Mix all the ingredients to make a thin batter - like that of a pancake/dosa
Let it not be thick


Cut the bread slices diagonally 
Meanwhile heat a pan and smear with oil
Give a quick dip of the bread in the batter.  Do not keep it too long, it will crumble
And place on the medium hot pan.  Allow to brown slowly
You can place the chopped tomatoes and onions if they did not stick to the bread on top
When underside is brown gently turn over and brown the other side.

Ensure that the pan is too hot.  The batter needs to be cooked.

Have it hot with tomato sauce.  

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Urulai Vadhakkal - Baby Potato - Chettinad Style

I saw this dish at Latha Raja's blog.   With baby potatoes.  I mean you can only think of Alu Dum or a fry, but this one looked a bit different.  I modified it a wee bit, but the star of the recipe is that spice powder.  It is so flavourful.   I plan to make some of that powder and keep it stored in a bottle and try it with other vegetables.  But on the other hand, I think the flavour is most intense only when it is freshly made.....


Ingredients ( for 4) - I made half this recipe

Baby Potatoes - around 15-20
Onions - 2 - slice fine
Tomatoes - 2 nos ( I used purée
Oil - 2 tbsps approx
Ginger - 1" finely chopped
Garlic pods - 3
Red chilie powder - to taste
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Pepper corns - 8-10  make a coarse powder
Salt to taste

Spice powder - dry roast and powder
Cinnamon - 1"
Cardamom - 2
Cloves - 2-3
Coriander seeds - 1 tsp 
Red chili - 1
Bay leaf - a small bit

Seasoning
Oil
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Curry leaves - few

Boil baby potatoes until just cooked.  Peel
The original recipe said sprinkle some salt, turmeric and chili powder, toss in some oil and spread them on a tray with foil and bake at 200C for 40 mins
However, I put in a tbsp oil in a pan and sautéed them with the above ingredients till they turned nicely brown.
Remove and keep

While the potatoes are getting done, roast the ingredients for spice powder and keep it ready

In a deep pan, heat some oil, sauté half the finely slice onion till they brown and crisp.  Keep aside
And then add the mustard seeds, allow them to splutter, and the curry leaves and dry chili 
And the rest of the sliced onions, ginger garlic.  Sauté till onions are transparent
Add the spice powder and stir for a while
Now add chopped tomatoes or the purée as I did and some salt
Remember the potatoes also have some salt.
Cook till it becomes a mushy paste
Add the potatoes and allow them to be coated with the paste
And lastly the coarse pepper powder.

Mix gently 
Serve on a dish and garnish with the brown crisp onion slices.

The flavour of the spice powder will linger well after the potatoes are gone.
If you do not have baby potatoes use large size but cut them in medium chunks and use. 
Enjoy!



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