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!



Saturday, April 4, 2015

Jam Tarts

How I got round to making a jam tart is a long story.  We bought a papaya at the supermarket and waited for it to ripen. It did turn yellow and it looked like we had a fruit ready to eat.  That was on the outside, in the inside it was half ripe and didn't look as if it would ripen anymore.  So, it got me making a jam.
                                                  The colour is natural.  The taste was good.

And that is when I thought of making a jam tart.  I had the tart cases that C had given me.  They were rather on the larger side, and so instead of six I ended up making four tarts.


The recipe from here  is so very simple.

Plain flour - 110 gms
Unsalted butter, chilled - 50 gms ( I didn't have butter !  and so I used ghee)
Salt - pinch
Jam - as required
Icing sugar to dust ( optional)
Cream ( optional)
Cold water

Sift flour in a bowl.  Add the salt.  And the cubes of butter
Use fingers to rub in to flour so that it resembles breadcrumbs
Add a tablespoon of cold water and mix with a fork
Add a little more till it comes together like a soft smooth ball
Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes

Take out after half hour
Lightly dust a rolling surface
Roll out gently
Cut out circles, slightly larger than the tart tin ( my cases were big and I didn't quite do that)

Grease the tart cases well
Use the cut circles of flour to line the tart cases
Refrigerate again for 10 minutes

At this time preheat the oven to 180F

You can gently prick the pastry with a fork
Line pastry shells with baking paper and fill with rice, seeds or pastry beads
Bake for 10 minutes
Remove the paper with the rice/beans/weights

Fill with jam
Bake for further 8 minutes
Till brown
Remove.  Cool thoroughly.  The jam will be  hot too so make sure it has cooled.

Dust icing sugar on top or serve with a bit of cream like I did



Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Aloo Kulcha - Indian Stuffed Bread

We generally have rotis for dinner.  Sometime after our evening tea, V mentioned he wanted a different kind of roti.  Something like naan.  I have been wanting to try out the Kulcha for a long time now.  I had bookmarked the recipe from Daasana's site.  She even has a step by step account of the recipe.  I just modified it a bit.   The kulchas puffed up on the hot pan and they were crisp on the outside and soft inside.  It was very good.


Ingredients:  Makes about 8
All purpose flour - 2 cups ( you can use a part of whole wheat flour)
Baking soda - 1/4 tsp
Baking powder - 1/2 tsp
Oil - 2-3 tbsp ( if you want a rich taste - use ghee)
Curd / yogurt - 3 tbsp
Sugar- 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste - but add a little more than you would for rotis
Ajwain/Carom seeds - a large pinch
Water for making the dough
Oil while making the kulcha

Stuffing:
Potatoes - 3 large - Boiled
Green chilies - to taste - finely chopped
Red chili powder - 1/2 tsp ( optional)
Coriander powder - 1/2 tsp
Jeera / Cumin Powder - 1/4 tsp
Dry mango powder - 1/2 tsp - I used pani puri masala - it has that nice sour taste
Garam masala - 1/4 tsp - I used Chinese five spice
Coriander leaves - finely chopped - few
Ginger - 1/4 tsp - finely chopped
Salt to taste

Make the dough-
Take the flour.  Make a well in the centre
Add the oil, salt, sugar, baking powder and soda, curd, ajwain.  Mix well.
Because of the curd it will be a little moist.
Add just enough water to make a soft dough
Knead well till smooth.
Cover and keep aside for an hour or two in a warm place.

For the stuffing
Mash the boiled potatoes.
Add all the other ingredients.  Mix well and keep

Take a ball of the dough
Roll into a circle.
Take an equal quantity of the stuffing - make a round ball of that too.
Place in the middle of the rolled out dough
Bring up the sides of the dough to the centre over the stuffing
Dust a bit of flour - I also put a bit of oil on the rolling board
And roll it evenly into a nice circular shape.

Meanwhile heat a pan
Put the stuffed kulcha onto the pan
You can put some oil or ghee while making the kulcha - all to your taste
Keep flipping it over both sides till evenly done
The kulcha puffed up nicely too
Once there are enough brown spots , remove.
Serve hot preferably.
They can be stored wrapped in foil, or a  moist cloth for later

This so good, you can have it plain.  Or with a lob of butter.  With curd and pickle or a curry of your choice.


Friday, March 13, 2015

Dilkhush - Bun stuffed with sweet coconut filling

Dil Khush literally means the heart is happy.  And for me this was a favourite from college days that we could get only at one particular local bakery.  The outer bun is nice and soft and you have an inner sweet coconut filling.  You can experiment with the filling.  This one has coconut, cashew, walnut and almonds, and tutti-frutti bits.


Recipe from here

Ingredients:
A mix of water and milk - 2/3 cup
Butter - 1 1/2 tbsp ( you can use oil too)
All purpose flour - 2 cups ( I used a cup of APF and cup of multi grain flour)
Sugar - 1 tbsp
Salt - 1/4 tsp
Instant yeast - 1 tsp
Egg - 1 ( for the bun and for the glaze)

The Filling:
Coconut shredded - 1/2 cup
Tutti-frutti, raisins, nuts - 1/2 cup
Vanilla essence - few drops
Sugar - 2 tbsp
Mix all this - if you want it sweeter you can increase the sugar



Take part of the water-milk mixture.  It should be warm and not hot
Mix in a teaspoon of sugar and add the yeast, keep aside for the yeast to act
Till you get a nice frothy mixture

Add remaining warm water/milk, butter, sugar, salt and half the egg to the frothy yeast mixture.
Mix
Add the flour and knead for about 10 minutes till you get a smooth dough.
Grease another bowl.  Put the dough in the greased bowl. Cover with cling wrap.
Keep for an hour or till the dough is doubled in volume
After which the dough is knocked down and kneaded lightly for a minute
Divide the dough into two parts.
Roll into two rounds.

Take one of the rounds place on a greased parchment sheet on a baking sheet
Place the filling on it leaving about half cm on the sides.
Brush the edges with some water or milk
Then place the other round on it.  Lightly press the sides with a fork
Since the rounds I had were not really round I got a slightly not-so-round bun

Keep aside for another half hour.
Preheat the oven at 180C  ( I use the OTG at 160-170)
Just before putting in the oven brush the top with either milk or egg wash.
Make a few slits in the centre to allow the steam to escape
Bake for about 20-25 minutes till golden brown

Allow to cool on a rack
And then slice and enjoy !

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Fruity Teacake

You read it right.  Teacake as it says.  For the dry fruits are steeped in hot black tea.  I honestly didn't get the taste of tea in the final product, but nevertheless this is a good cake.  It has very little fat in it.  You will find few recipes of the teacake or tea loaf or bread as they may be called that are totally fat free, but I preferred the addition of a little fat (50 gms is  very little for a cake)  and besides the recipe from BBC Good Food had great reviews and that was encouraging.  Do not ever compare it to a plum cake.  It may have similar ingredients, but is not as rich.  It actually tastes better the next day, but by then there are only a few slices left if at all !



Ingredients:
Mixed dried berries and cherries - 300 gms
( I used a pack of dried fruit )
Hot tea - 225 ml
Orange juice - 75 ml
Orange zest
Butter - 50 gms
Light brown Sugar - 100 gms
(I didn't have brown sugar)
Egg - 1
Self raising flour - 225 gms
Demerara sugar - 4 tbsp
( I skipped this step too )

The recipe was for a 2 lb loaf tin.  I am not sure of the dimensions of my loaf tin.  I had to use a small cake tin for the extra batter.

Keep the dried fruit and zest in a bowl.  Pour hot tea, orange juice.  Cover with cling film and leave for at least 3-4 hours or overnight as I did.

Grease and line the base and sides of a loaf tin.  Preheat the oven to 180C

Beat together butter and sugar till creamy.
Beat in the egg.  Followed by the flour.
Carefully stir in the fruit mixture
Spoon mixture into the tin, and smooth over the surface with the back of a spoon
Sprinkle all over with a thick layer of demerara sugar

Bake for one hour or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
Allow to cool in tin and then turn out and slice and serve.


Friday, March 6, 2015

Lauki (Bottle Gourd) Masala

Bottle gourd can be a boring vegetable.  It is bland and has so much water content.  But I realise that this can be used to your advantage.  Add spices, various ingredients, steam, fry or whatever and it can take these  flavours and be transformed to a new dish.  I looked up a few recipes of Vah Chef and came up with this one. And the masala/gravy can be used with almost any other vegetable.


Ingredients:

Bottle gourd pieces - 2 cups

Peanuts - 2-3 tbsp
Til / Sesame seeds - 1 tbsp
Dry coconut / copra- 1-2 tbsp
Onions - 1 large
Tomato - 2 **
Ginger - garlic paste - 1 tsp
Oil - 2 tbsp
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Kashmiri Chili powder - 1-2  tsp ( or normal chili powder)
Garam masala - 1/4 tsp *
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Coriander leaves for garnish
Salt to taste


Roast the peanuts and when done, add the til for just a few seconds.
Cool add the copra and blend to a fine powder.

Sauté onion in a little oil.  When tender add the tomatoes and saute till mushy
Grind to a fine paste

Heat a pan, add the rest of the oil.
And the cumin seeds.  Allow to brown a bit
Followed by the ginger garlic paste. 
Add the chopped bottle gourd pieces and turmeric.  Cook till just soft.

Add the ground paste, powder, salt, chili powder.
Add water till required consistency of gravy is attained.
Simmer till the spices blend 
Add the garam masala powder.
Mix

Remove and garnish with chopped coriander leaves.
Serve.
You can have it with  any rice or wheat product.

* I added Chinese five spice powder instead of garam masala .  It adds a special flavour.  It has these five spices, black pepper, fennel, Star anise, cloves and cinnamon.
**You can also add some tomato pulp if you want the gravy to be more tart/sour

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Chocolate Swirl Buns

If you like baked products that use chocolate, this one is for you.  I only messed up the rolling part and would have had more swirls if I had paid more attention to the details.  But the taste was not compromised.  I had run out of the dry yeast that I had bought in the UK.  You know how it is with the best before date that the products have. It said BBE Dec 2014.  I used it in January 2015 and sure enough the yeast was ineffective.  I then got this Indian dry yeast and I am glad it worked well.

This recipe from Smitten Kitten, and though she uses her stand mixer, I did the kneading manually.  That worked too :-)



Ingredients - makes 12 ( I used half the recipe and made six)

The Dough
Milk ( I used skim) 1/2 cup
Granulated sugar - 1/4 cup
All Purpose Flour - 2 cups 
Salt - 1/2 tsp
Dry Yeast - 2 1/2 tsp
Egg - 1 large
Unsalted butter - 3 tbsp plus more to grease the bowl and muffin tin and filling
* egg and butter at room temperature

Filling
Unsalted butter - 3 tbsp
Granulated sugar - 1/4 cup
Semi sweet chocolate- 225 gms
Salt - pinch
Ground cinnamon - 3/4 tsp ( optional) 

Egg wash - optional
I had used only part of the egg, so I beat the balance with a little milk

Make the dough
Warm milk.  Mix the sugar.  Add the yeast.  Let it stand for about 5 minutes till it becomes foamy and bubbly
In a bowl, whisk the egg and remaining sugar and then mix in the yeast mixture

Combine flour and salt.
Add the egg-yeast mixture.  Knead the dough gently
Add the butter and continue to knead  for about 10 minutes.  
The dough will be sticky, but not a reason for worry.
Grease a bowl with butter, place the dough in it. Cover with cling film.  
Keep for an hour or till the dough doubles in size.

Prepare the filling.
Chop the chocolate, pulse it in a mixer with salt, sugar and cinnamon.  The chocolate is finely chopped and part of it will be powdered.
Keep the butter ready

Grease a muffin tray and keep ready

Making of the bun
Once the dough has risen.  Turn on to a well floured surface
Deflate gently.  Rest for another 5 minutes
Roll it into a large rectangle.  
Short side should be 11 to 12 inches ( for six buns it can be much less)
And roll the other side as long as you can

Now spread the butter over the dough surface
And then spread the chocolate mixture

This is where I went wrong !
Tightly roll the dough over the filling from the short end all the way to the other short end.  You will get more swirls this way
Cut 1" segments and place in the greased muffin tray
Cover and keep for another 30 minutes

Meanwhile pre-heat oven to 180 degrees
You can brush the buns with egg wash or avoid it altogether
Bake for about 15-20 minutes till puffed and golden.  Keep on cooling rack.


  

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Tomato Dosa/ Thakkali Dosa

I was intrigued by this reddish dosa that I have been seeing online for some time now.  But I didn't want to experiment till someone told me it was a hot favourite at Hotel Sangeetha in Chennai. I wouldn't call it instant, but definitely one that doesn't require too much of planning since there is no need for overnight fermentation. The dosa has a nice tangy taste . I couldn't make it as thin as the regular dosa,  but despite that they can be made crisp.  Thakkali Dosa is definitely going to be a regular item on the menu for sure. Recipe from Subbu's Kitchen.


Ingredients:

Rice (raw) - 1 cup
Tomatoes - ripe - 4 medium
Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp - optional
Chili powder - 1/2 tsp  ( I used Kashmiri Mirch, so added a little more since it isn't spicy)
Salt - to taste
Corriander leaves - few - chopped

Oil for the dosa and for tempering.

Tempering -
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Black gram dal ( urad-split) - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves - few

Wash and Soak rice for three hours
Drain, and grind with cut tomatoes with a little water to a smooth paste
The batter is not as thick as the regular dosa and not as thin as a rava dosa
Add salt, chili and cumin powder ( I did not add cumin powder )

Take some hot oil, add the mustard, allow it to splutter, add the cumin and then the curry leaves.
This is to be added to the batter.
Add chopped coriander leaves
The batter is now ready

Heat a dosa pan.  Take a ladleful of the batter and spread it over the pan.  Add a little oil.  Wait till it browns and then turn over.

Serve with chutney and pickle. You can even have it plain. 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Fiery Rice Salad

This is a Mary Berry salad that I watched on BBC Food.  It actually calls for Red Rice.  I replaced it with a wild rice that my sis in law Cindy sent to me.  Wild Rice is not actually a rice.  It is a water-grass seed that is abundant in the cold water of Minnesota and Canada.  It is a high source of protein.  It has a very nutty taste and bite.  Whereas the Camargue Red Rice that is the original ingredient in the recipe is a short grain rice grown in the coast of France. This also has an earthy, nutty flavour.  I am not sure which Indian product can be an ideal replacement for either the red rice or the wild rice.  But there must be options which I will definitely explore.


Adapted from Mary Berry's Recipe

Wild Rice - 1 cup
Carrots - 2 large - coarsely grated
Spring Onion - 2 nos - finely diced
Coriander leaves - finely chopped - generous amount
Salt to taste

Dressing

Vinegar - 1 tbsp
Lime juice - of half a lime
Honey - 1 tsp
Chilies green - 1 ( to taste) finely chopped
Olive oil / Refined Oil - 1 tbsp
Salt and Pepper - to taste

Cooking of Wild Rice
Take four measures of water to one measure of rice. In a thick bottomed vessel
Bring to boil and then simmer for about 20 - 25 mins
Check the rice.  It should be tender but not mushy.  The grain should have a bite.
Drain any excess water

Now to the drained rice, add the carrot, and half the coriander.
Put all the ingredients of the dressing in a jar and mix well.
Add to the rice.  Check for salt.
And garnish with more coriander.

The salad is a meal in itself.  And its different !  

Friday, January 16, 2015

Khubani ka Meetha

This is a lovely dessert from Hyderabad.  Made with dried apricots.  With very little effort.  A favourite at weddings.  Especially on a cold day, you should have this with a little cream.  Or maybe some custard, or even a dollop of ice cream.  We had it just plain.  And slightly chilled.   Recipe from Vah Chef.


Ingredients:
Dried Apricots
Sugar to taste
Cream/ Custard/ Ice cream.

Soak the apricots for a few hours in water.
They will plump up and you can then cut them into half and pit them.
Keep the pit/stone aside.  And the water in which the apricots were soaked.

The stones can be split and the seed inside should be removed and kept.
They will be added to the dish.

Now take the sugar in a pan..  This would depend on how sweet the fruit is.
One can always adjust the sugar later.
Add the water in which the fruit was soaked.
Keep on fire till the sugar dissolves.
Add the sliced apricot to it.

It will start to thicken a bit.  At this stage you can mash the fruit lightly.
It is a matter of preference, but always better to keep a bit of fruit rather than make it a puree
Add the seeds now.  Keep on flame for another five minutes or so.

The whole process will not take more than 15-20 minutes from time of ccoking.

Keep aside.
Spoon into bowls and serve with cream/custard/ice cream.  Or eat it plain as I did.

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