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!



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

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