October 31, 2011

New Event Announcement : Flavours of China

Friends, am happy to announce that I shall be guesthosting Nayna’s event – Flavours of China – at my space all this November. Legend goes that the Cuisine of China spreads both around the world and deep into history and is marked by both variety and change. The archeologist and scholar K.C. Chang says “Chinese people are especially preoccupied with food” and “food is at the center of, or at least it accompanies or symbolizes, many social interactions.” Over the course of history, he says, "continuity vastly outweighs change." Over the centuries, as new food sources and techniques were invented, the Chinese cuisine as we know it gradually evolved. The "Silk road" is the conventional term for the routes through Central Asia linking the Iranian plateau with western China; along this trade route passed exotic foodstuffs that greatly enlarged the potential for Chinese cuisines, only some of which preserve their foreign origin in the ideogram for "foreign" that remains in their name: "it would surprise many Chinese cooks to know that some of their basic ingredients were originally foreign imports," Frances Wood observes: sesame, peas, onions, coriander from Bactria, and cucumber were all introduced into China from the West during the Han dynasty". 
THE SILK ROAD / THE SILK ROUTE
Chopsticks, which are made from all sorts of materials and which are one of the hallmarks of the Chinese table, have been used as eating utensils at least as far back as the Zhou Dynasty. Stir-fried dishes became popular during the Tang Dynasty. The stir-fry method of cooking was invented out of necessity, in order to conserve expensive and scarce fuel.

October 30, 2011

Poricha Rasam ~ Porciha Sathamudu | Spiced Lentil broth

If I were to choose one signature dish by mom that is extremely comforting, I would choose today's dish - Poricha Rasam (or Poricha Sathamudhu). For the linguistically challenged, this is rasam without tamarind, and loaded with protein and ground masala and is a super combo with hot rice, ghee and roasted papad.. I can almost smell the aroma of this Rasam as I write this post- some dishes cannot be explained in mere words : its got to be experienced at the dining table ;-) I am not a great fan of tamarind in any form. So, while I do make Mysore Rasam and Tomato Rasam regularly, today dish - Poricha Rasam - is something I ask mom to make . Yes, I have learnt it too, but there is something  about her 'kai manam (maa ka haath ke khaana) ) that makes me yearn for that special taste and flavour. And I hope to recreate that magic everytime I make this :-)  Like other rasams, this too can be made with Toor Dal, but mom and me both prefer this with soaked and cooked Moong Dal that lends itself so beautifully to the texture of this rasam. Like most South Indian recipes, each household has its own method, but this comes directly from mom's cookbook and goes straight to :
Suma's MLLA, event by SusanHealing foods – Coconuts @ Saffronstreaks, event by Siri & also Priya’s Fruit / Veggie of the month- Coconut


Woo hoo ! I am almost writing an ode to this humble yet sublime rasam - something like a heirloom recipe.Without any more prose, lets get quickly to the recipe. 

October 29, 2011

Arbi Laajawaab ~ Stir fried colocasia munchies

Arbi Laajawaab is one of the quickest snacks you can put together for unexpected guests as well as spice up your Indian Thali for any festival / get together. It can be relised both as a snack as well as a dry sabji , and this goes to Blogging Marathon Day 7 for October 2011.If you prefer, you can deep fry these lovely veggies, but I prefer to stir fry them, and didnt compromise on the taste at all. you can also bake / grill them for extra texture (something I am sure to try out next time).With just under 4 - 6 ingredients, this is a super easy and tasty snack to make. Meanwhile, check out the goodness of Arbi here. Check out my fellow marathoners here
In case you missed any of the 6 days' posts under this edition of Blogging Marathon, here goes a quick recap under the theme "Snacks in a jiffy". 
Day 1 - Mini Katori Chaat
Day 4 - Sugarfree Chilli Pine Splash

October 28, 2011

Moong Dal Seekh Kabab ~ Snacks in a jiffy ~ step by step recipe

Kababs (or Kebabs as they are already known) entice me to no end : I was introduced to the same by S. Truth be told: Till about a decade ago I always thought kababs were only non-vegetarian, and didnt care for them too much,being a vegetarian myself. But on one of my trips to Lucknow, I had what was my first Vegetarian Seekh Kebab,and I was hooked. I love it even more because most kebabs can be made in Tandoor and like today's dish - Moong Dal Seekh Kabab- without a drop of oil. The only grease I used was for basting (considering it is really negligible). I was wanting to make seekh kebabs at home, for a long time now and Blogging Marathon gave me just than chance. 


Extremely rich in protein, this recipe came to me from a book by Tarla Dalal (one of my favourite authors), and I was successful in getting even my fussy daughter to eat this (which is quite a rarity for any new dish) . Its a wonderful appetiser for parties too. See notes for more details on spicing this up.  You can parboil the Moong Dal ahead of time for guests you are expecting, and while you are making cups of tea and having light conversation, I promise you the kebabs would be ready :-) So, lets get on to the recipe !
Wikipedia tells me - The origin of kebab may lie in the short supply of cooking fuel in the Near East, which made the cooking of large foods difficult, while urban economies made it easy to obtain small cuts of meat at a butcher's shop.[4] The phrase is essentially Persian in origin and Arabic tradition has it that the dish was invented by medieval persian soldiers who used their swords to grill meat over open-field fires.[5]According to Ibn Battuta, a Moroccan traveller, in India, kebab was served in the royal houses during the Delhi Sultanate period(1206-1526 AD), and even commoners would enjoy it for breakfast withnaan.[6] The dish has been native to the Near East[4] and ancient Greece since antiquity; an early variant of kebab (Ancient Greek: ὀβελίσκος - obeliskos[7]) is attested in Greece since 8th century BCE (archaic period) in Homer's Iliad[8] and Odyssey[5] and in classical Greece, amongst others in the works of Aristophanes,[9] Xenophon[10] and Aristotle.[11] Excavations held in Akrotiri on the Greek island of Santorini by professor Christos G. Doumas, unearthed stone sets of barbecue for skewers (Ancient Greek: κρατευταί - krateutai[12]) used before the 17th century BCE. In each pair of the supports, the receptions for the spits are found in absolute equivalence, while the line of small openings in the base constitutes mechanism of supplying the coals with oxygen so that they are maintained light up during its use.[13][14][15]One of the more delicate kebabs from South Asia, made of minced goat / buffalo meat. It was supposedly made for a Nawab in Lucknow who could not eat the regular Kebabs due to weak teeth. The Galouti Kebab is part of the "Awadhi Cuisine". Along with the Lucknowi biryani and Kakori Kebab, this is one of the outstanding highlights of the great food tradition from the Awadh region in Uttar Pradesh, India. Many leading Indian hotel chains have taken to popularising the Awadhi food tradition, with the Galouti Kebab being a Pièce de résistance.The home of this kebab is Lucknow. It is most famously had at the almost iconic eatery "Tundey Miyan" at Old Lucknow.
Check out more Party idea snacks here and for more baked and healthy options, appetisers, click on..Sending this to: Suma's MLLA , event by Susan, Blogging Marathon Day 6, Manjula's appetiser event, my own event - Global Food Festival & Priya's event that she is hosting: Healthy Cooking Challenge - Healthy Bakes.


Check out my fellow marathoners here.


Prep time : 30 mins. Baking time :  12 - 14 mins. Makes : 6 kebabs (fairly large sized)


Notes: 
1) Instead of using Moong Dal, you can use an assortment of fresh veggies (finely minced and blanched). Be sure to add required quantity of besan to bind them, though. Moong dal needs to be pressure cooked with very little water. If you have any water in the pulse after cooking, drain completely before use.
2) This version of Kebabs does not have any added oil and is mildly spiced. However, you can still bast them with melted butter / ghee and add more chillies and ginger to spice them up.
3) Ensure the oven is piping hot (pre-heat). I pre-heated on broil for 250 deg C for 8 - 9 mins, and once the kebabs were in, I turned down to 220 deg C to bake for 12 - 14 mins, then switched again to broil for further 8 -9 mins once the kebabs were basted. Time and temperature would vary from oven to oven. Please check yours for more settings.
4) If using wooden skewers (like me), ensure they are long enough and that you soak them in cold water for atleast 15 mins, while your kebab mixture gets going.
5) Browned or roasted kebabs is a product of how much oil you bast them with - please adjust according to palates. You can make Palak ke kebab (spinach kebab) in a similar way, on skewers.


Ingredients:

  • Moong Dal (split green gram) - 1/2 to 3/4 cup
  • Potato - 1/2 boiled and grated
  • Onion - 1 no. (grated)
  • Kasuri methi - 1/2 TBSP
  • Salt - to taste
  • Ginger garlic paste - 1/2 TBSP
  • Dhaniya Powder (Coriander powder) - 1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder - a dash
  • Jeera Powder (cumin powder) - 1 tsp
  • Red chilli powder , Kitchen king masala, Garam Masala pwd - 1 tsp each
  • Green chillies - 2 nos (minced)
  • cornflour / corn meal - 2 TBSP - for binding
  • Oil- for basting (I used olive oil)



Method:
1) Mix all the ingredients for the kebabs (barring oil) to a smooth mixture. 


2) Meanwhile soak the wooden skewers (if using) in a glass of water (place them vertically so the entire skewer gets soaked & pre-heat oven to 250 deg C (broil mode)
3) Adjust the mixture to the required consistency - you may need a little more cornmeal than indicated t make this a completely dry mixture : it should barely stick to your hands. 4) One tip here though : you may oil your hands if required at this stage while mixing and making them into equal sized portions.


5) Once the balls are made, take the skewers out of water, and start pressing them onto the mould starting at the base of your palm and extending it towards the fingertips. If it breaks, dismantle the kebab and start all over - it is extremely painful to work around a hot oven if the kebabs break while baking. Work with the rest of the roundels till the dough is completed.


6) Once all the roundels are done, give it a resting time of 4 - 5 mins to check for any further breakages, if any.
7) Once the oven is pre-heated, place on a baking tray with the skewers stickign out so you  can bast them easily later and set to bake for 220 deg C. Bast with olive oil  / ghee according to your preference after 12 - 14 mins. Check notes above for more details.
8) Once the kebabs are done, let them rest in the oven for further 2 -4 mins to absorb the heat.
9) De-skewer them gently onto a plate, and serve hot with onion rings, green chutney, a dash of lime and tomato ketchup !


It aint get more royal than this :-) Enjoy with steaming cups of tea, and endless gossip with friends over :-D







October 27, 2011

Schezwan Dill Corn Lollipops ~ Snacks in a jiffy | Step by step recipe

Before we go to today's post, reminding all my readers on the Strawberry Desserts & Giveaway event that ends 31st October - Do rush in your yummilicious entries (archives also accepted when linked) . Also check out my 100-day Global Food Fest and link in your entries.


Day 5 of Blogging Marathon sees me dishing out one of our family favourites - Schezwan Dill Corn Lollipops. Quick to make and easy to serve, its a great dish to whip out for kiddo parties and potlucks alike ! Yes, agreed it is deep fried, but indulgence is good sometimes, or so my daughter says when she chomped it last evening after what seemed like hours playing outside..Like the Healthy Carrot Bonda, I wanted to use the paniyaram pan to fry this, but gave it a miss and deep fried it instead. You can make the lollipops way ahead of time and refrigerate it, and fry it just before serving. Let's get cracking on this.. 


Sending this to Blogging Marathon Day 5 along with Manjula's Appetiser event and my event - 100 day Global Food festival. Check out my fellow marathoners


Check out more appetisers and fried delights from my blog.




Prep time : 15 minutes, Cooking time : 10 minutes, Serves : 3


Ingredients:

  • Potato - 1 large
  • Dill leaves - 1 cup (cleaned and sorted)
  • Boiled sweet american corn - 1 cup
  • Chaat Masala - 1 tsp
  • Amchur / Dry mango powder - 1 tsp
  • Garam Masala - 1 tsp
  • Red chilli powder - 1 tsp
  • Schezwan Sauce - 1 tsp
  • Tomato ketchup - 1 TBSP
  • Salt - to taste
  • Onions chopped - 1 medium
  • Cornmeal - 1/4 cup
  • Oil - to fry
  • Maida / APF + water - for outer covering

Method:


1) Grate boiled potato. Mix chopped onion, boiled corn, chopped dill and all the dry masalas including salt , schezwan and tomato ketchup. Now add cornmealand mix well to a semi dry consistency.
2) Make into equal roundels and refrigerate for minimum 10 minutes.
3) In a small bowl, mix APF and water to a smooth slurry kind of mixture.
4) Heat the oil in a kadai (deep pan) and check if its hot enough by placing a drop of the maida covering into the hot oil.
5) Dip the roundels in the maida slurry and gently slide into the hot oil - 5 to 6 at time. Fry on medium heat till golden brown. Drain on paper towels
6) Serve with green chutney or ketchup as required.



October 26, 2011

Happy Diwali, and wishing you all a very prosperous year ahead !

With gleam of Diyas
And the Echo of the Chants
May Happiness and Contentment Fill Your life
Wishing you a very happy and prosperous Diwali!



Sugarfree Chilli Pine Splash ~ Super summer cooler

Like I mentioned in my post on Sugarfree Ginger Mocktail, hubby has an eclectic eye for mocktails . Today too, is one of his creations and I happily got clicking as the drink was getting ready.. Contrast to the rest of the country (and probably the world too, barring Australia/NZ), Mumbai experiences a very hot , dry & humid October - almost more severe than the main summery months of Mar/May. This cooler too is sugar free, and yes doesn't contain any honey too - the 'kick' (not literally) to this drink comes from the bombastic combo of chillies (jalapenos) and pineapple , but you can also play around with most seasonal fruits to make this more interesting. Addition of sugar / honey is optional, although ensure you have loads of ice and very fresh fruits - to make this a very refreshing drink. You may also serve at your place for guests /potlucks  and i can assure you it would be a super hit !


Sending this to Blogging Marathon Day 4 and also Susan's BWW


Prep time : 5 - 8 minutes. No cooking ! Serves : 2 adults


Ingredients:

  • Pineapple chunks - 2 cups - I used fresh. If using canned,drain and use.
  • Apple - 1 medium (peeled and cubed)
  • Ripe Guava - 1/2 no
  • Green chilli - 1 no OR jalapeno (red n firm) - 2 small
  • Ginger - 1/2 inch
  • Black salt - 1 tsp
  • White pepper - a dash
  • Ice - 1 cup (crushed ice, preferred)
  • Fresh mint leaves - few - optional



Method:
1) First puree pineapple, apple with half the ice quantity.
2) De-seed and finely shred the chillies into small bits.
3) Add the chillies, salt, white pepper, ginger and rest of the ice to the fruit puree and pulse for 3 - 5 minutes. Add extra water as required (you may not need any) and run the juicer.
4) Strain the mocktail and add a few sprigs of fresh mint (if using) and serve immediately in tall glasses.



October 25, 2011

Gajar - Lauki Halwa (no-ghee version) - a step by step recipe | Diwali Sweet recipe

I was honestly tired of making Gajar Halwa - although its a family favourite, it was nearing its expiry date in terms of being the first choice for festivals / quick desserts for unexpected guests / luncheons / potluck parties. As a family, we are also quite conscious about how much oil and sugar we consume . So, when I saw a nice fresh lauki (bottle gourd) peeking from the pantry, I quickly rustled up this Gajar and Lauki Halwa (adapted from my bookmark here) for the Diwali festival, where we had some friends dropping in. And voila ! It was guilt free too (to an extent) as I didnt use ghee at all, but some mawa (unsweetened solidified milk fudge). For sweet lovers, i would recommend they up the sugar a bit more , but for my family and those who dropped in -  it was the perfect taste. Hope you would also make this dish for your family and enjoy the mild sweetness with a hint of sugar and saffron and crunchy fried nuts to complete that divine experience.  I served this with a Mixed Bhajia platter to the guests for a quick evening snack, and the combo was enthusiastically received :-)


Sending this quick dish to:  
Blogging Marathon (Day 3), Radhika's Diwali eventKhushi's My Diwali My WayAnu's Diwali - festival of lights, Krithi and Denny's Serve It Festival Potluck, Pari’s Only Sweets & Desserts hosted by Gayathri & also to Priya & Aipi's Tuesday's bookmarked recipes.


Check out my fellow marathoners here

See other Indian Sweets here


Prep time : 10 mins. Cooking time : 15 mins. Serves : 4


Ingredients: 

  • Carrots - 2 large
  • Lauki / bottle gourd - 1 medium
  • Mawa / condensed unsweetened milk fudge - 2 TBSP
  • Sugar - 3 TBSP
  • Condensed Milk - 3 TBSP
  • Milk - 1/4 cup
  • Saffron - a few strands
  • Cardamom - 1 no.
  • Almonds / raisins / Cashew for garnish



Method:


1) Wash, peel and grate carrots and bottle gourd finely. Place the veggies in a deep bottomed vessel. Add the milk and pressure cook for 3 whistles. Cool and drain all the water from cooked veggies.
2) Powder the sugar with cardamom in a spice grinder.
3) In a thick non stick pan, add the boiled veggies and half the mawa and stir continuously on a slow flame. 
4) When the halwa reduces by 1/4 or 1/3, add the powdered sugar and stir again on a low- medium flame. Once the sugar melts and the oil (from the mawa) begins to separate, add the remaining mawa and give it a vigorous stir for 5 - 7 mins (get those arm muscles moving :-)). 
5) Now add the saffron and the nuts (if you wish, you may lightly fry the raisins in just a drop of ghee) and serve warm. This halwa goes very well with a plate of mixed hot bhajias



October 24, 2011

Low fat mini Beetroot burgers - Snacks in a jiffy | Step by Step Recipe

How to manage guests who drop in unannounced on the same day your pantry needs a bad facelift and your energies also do? Well, that was exactly my predicament this last week, when I was just back from what was intended as a vacation, and some of our family friends came over on Sat evening. While all I had was a cup of beetroot curry to be used up and some boiled potatoes . So, it was to be - Low Fat Mini Beetroot Burgers ! And boy, did they vanish before I could say "cheese" (yup ! had some kids too in the guest party, and they loved it so much that one of the mothers told me that this was the first time her son had beets, and that too without a whimper).. I was tickled pink when she asked me for the recipe to make it at her place. Do play around the ingredients as you want, as I said the more the merrier. I used various chutneys - chundho (tangy mango chutney) and homemade green chutney along with the tomato ketchup and yes, it was low low fat version too, coz there was absolutely no butter used. And the low fat cheese slices were used up for the kids' version only ;-) 


Sending this to Blogging Marathon's Day 2 of Snacks in a jiffy, Harini's event of dressing up leftovers, and my event - Global Food Festival. Check out my fellow marathoners here.


Check out other healthy snacks here. For more appetisers, click here


Prep time : 10 mins ( assuming the curry is ready or you have steamed the veggies)
Cook time : 10 - 15 mins.
Makes : 6 mini burgers


Ingredients:

  • Mini burger buns (called cocktail buns) - 6 nos
  • Corn meal - 2 TBSP (divided use)
  • Chundho / Tangy Mango chutney - 2 TBSP
    Tomato Ketchup - 1 tsp
    Low fat cheese slices - 1 or 2 (opt)

For the patties:

  • Beetroot curry (or 1 large beetroot peeled, boiled and grated)
  • Salt - to taste
  • Potatoes - 2 medium (peeled, boiled and grated)
  • Chaat Masala - 1 tsp
  • Red chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Garam Masala - 1 tsp
  • Green chillies - 1 or 2 (chopped fine)
  • oil - 1 TBSP and spray as per use while pan tossing the patties.

Method:
1) Mix the boiled and grated veggies (please feel free to add in more as you wish). Add chopped onions too if you wish (I had run out of onions, so didnt add). If using a curry (like me), toss the beet curry in 1 TBSP oil before using and mashing up.
2) Add the dry masala powders, turmeric, salt (if you are using a leftover curry for the patties base, do tread carefully on the salt). Add chillies and mix well. Add 1 TBSP of cornmeal to give this a nice texture and also absorb the extra water if any.
3) Make into equal roundels and flatten lightly into patties. Roll them in the corn meal. 
4) Heat a tava / skillet to medium heat. Place the beet patties in the skillet and spray cooking oil (very minimally) and let the patties slightly brown on both sides.
5) Meanwhile halve the burger buns horizontally and spread the chutneys  liberally.
6) Once the patties are done to a nice golden brown, arrange them one by one within each burger. Place half of the cheese slice (opt.) and secure with a tooth pick ! Serve with tomato ketchup or just as it is !



October 23, 2011

Mini Katori Chaat ~ Snacks in a jiffy

 I am sure the Diwali preps are already done at your place, and the sweets and savouries have been made, the house spruced up as we are all set to welcome Lakshmi the Goddess of wealth, into our homes this week :-) And there would be guests - both announced and unannounced - who would drop in from time to time, especially in the festive season. The following 7 days would feature a series of snacks that can be made in a jiffy (well, not instant, but quick) that you can put together with most ingredients that are at home. This is part of Blogging Marathon # 9 , week 2 for October 2011, and am sure you would enjoy this series as much as I love to present it to you. Before we go further, would take this opportunity to wish all my readers and their families a very happy and Safe Diwali ! Wishing you every prosperity and good health this festive season :-) 


Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#9


Today's snack - Mini Katori Chaat - can be put together in less than 20 mins (including 10 minutes of cook time). You can use these to surprise your guests as well as for kids' birthday parties / potluck for any parties. you can use any chutney of ur choice, and I used homemade mint-coriander chutney (jain style) along with date chutney and we enjoyed the taste a lot. Also, I have used baked canapes here - feel free to use any base of your choice. This topping is so versatile, you can also use it as a topping for mini pizzas ;-) 


Do check out other Chaat / Street food options here.


Prep time : 15 mins. Cooking time : 10 mins. Makes : 25 single serve chaat cups.
Ingredients:

  • Canapes / Katori - 25  nos.
  • Homemade Green (Mint - Coriander) chutney - 2 TBSP
  • Onion - chopped - 1 no
  • Date Chutney - 1 TBSP
  • Tomatoes - 1 no - finely chopped
  • Salt - to taste
  • Chaat Masala - 1 tsp
  • Black pepper powder - a dash
  • Amchur powder - 1 tsp
  • Boiled and grated potato - 1 no.
  • Boiled corn - 1/4 cup              
  • Coriander and mint leaves - for garnish
  • Sev (Ompudi) - for garnish (opt.)



Method:
1) Boil, peel and grate potatoes. Blanch corn in salted water for 10 mins. 
2) Meanwhile, chop onions and tomatoes finely.
3) Just before serving : mix onions, tomatoes, boiled corn, grated and mashed potatoes, salt, amchur, chaat masala, pepper powder well.
3) In baked canape, line with the mint and date chutneys. add a tsp of the above mixture. Top again with a dot of green / date chutney. Sprinkle coriander / mint leaves and sev (ompodi) if using and serve immediately.



October 22, 2011

Mor Kali - a lovely guestpost by Priya Mahadevan (Guest Post Series # 3)

Priya Mahadevan - my guest blogger of this series - needs no introduction. Her popular blog - Now Serving intrigues me quite a bit, as it would to most of you there , with a veritable spread of international cuisine adapted to her family's palate. Her extensive menu also features very popular South Indian dishes, and today's dish - Mor Kali (yoghurt based dish) is my family's favourite too: So much so that my grandmom told me that a good housewife should know to make Mor Kali and Athirasam (another south Indian sweet delight) with equal fervour as both look easy, but can go horribly wrong if you miss out the proportion. Without taking too much of your mind space, lets move on to Priya's delicious recipe preceeded by a brief intro of how she perceives Indian cuisine, while managing three demanding kids with gusto ! Thank you Priya for your write up as well as the recipe !! Over to Priya's recipe and post in the following lines..

Check out previous guest posts in this series - here and here 
___________________________________________________________________________________
First, I’d like to thank Kalyani for her gracious invitation to do a guest post for her – I am both flattered and honored to do it.  have lived out of India for 18 years now. The first 8 years were wonderful and I did not feel too homesick because we lived among a large and vibrant Indian community which celebrated most every festival of India and we very happily participated in these festivities. Every weekend we got an occasion to cook for a potluck, wear our saris and lehengas, feel the motivation and enthusiasm to be a part of all the fun. For the last almost 10 years, we have lived in a small town called Charlottesville, an hour and half away from DC and an hour from Richmond – Does not seem like a very big commute, but on a weekly basis with 3 kids, wearing the several hats that most moms in the US do, it is next to impossible to consider commuting back and forth to a big city – thus we settled to a quiet and sober life with everyday being the same, a sad apology for an Indian association, fragmented by divisions which I always believed every Indian shed when they moved to another country – Not south Indian or North Indian, but just Indian – There is also a big difference in the mindset and attitude of Indians in the mid-west – who are warm, welcoming, and inclusive – Whereas in the east coast, no body could give a fig! Given this situation, the best thing that happened to me was blogging – I get my cultural fix as I hop from one blog to another enjoying the virtual treats and visual eye candy J
But I have learned to safeguard our traditions and culture for the sake of my children and also for my pleasure and that of my husband. If we don’t we may just as well give it all up and forget about our roots. I cannot allow that to happen—We are approaching Deepavali and its a popular festival that we get to celebrate with family – I am planning the countdown for Deepavali, much like I used to starting a month ahead of the date when I was growing up in India – we could not sleep for the excitement of the morn – The loud burst of crackers, the garland crackers (oosi sarams) the oil baths, the sambrani, , the new clothes, the bakshanams, the lakshmi pooja, the wonderful smells of food all the way down the street, the visits to the neighbors for sweets and savory exchanges, the matinee shows, the evening gala with flowerpots and rockets – Ah those were some memories – I still can see my parents sitting in their chairs in the Verandah as they watched us go gingerly to light the sparklers over the flower pots!
I want to leave behind a legacy of our rich culture and traditions for my children so that they may pass it on either in entirety or at least in a somewhat diluted form. I hope that sooner than later, I will be back in India for good to reclaim those wonderful occasions and relive them with my husband, children and my brothers and sisters families. While food is something I have adapted to suit my needs in this country, my primary focus now is on ensuring that the food on the table is healthy & well balanced with our dietary needs – That hardly means that it is not exciting or for that matter inedible – On the contrary, I am happy to have been able to produce healthy and delicious meals for my family and the friends who visit us on occasion. I have experimented a lot in fusion foods, trying different spices and herbs in different cuisines to check out compatibility and more often than not, I find that they are incredibly adaptive of other cuisines too.But I do think certain things need to remain traditional, authentic and true to the cuisine it belongs to. So for this I would post I would like to make a very traditional south Indian and not so commonly written about yogurt based dish called More Kali Wishing you all a wonderful, safe Deepavali – May Goddess Lakshmi’ s blessings be abundant in each of your homes  - xoxo priya. Let's get on to the recipe, now !
More Kali Mor Kazhi as it is referred to is a simple yet subtle and at times challenging to make dish for the novice – hence after all these years, I have the confidence to blog it J More means buttermilk in Tamil and you cook rice flour in buttermilk adding some flavors to it to describe the dish simply.It is a good breakfast and/or tiffin or palaharam dinners that we often enjoyed in my mom’s home – My father was crazy about it and my love for it has tripled in my adult years! 
Ingredients
  • 1.5 cups of thick buttermilk
  • ½ cup of rice flour
  • ¼ tsp each of mustard seeds & urad dal
  • A pinch of asafetida
  • 1tbsp of more molagai (available in India stores, this is dried chilies soaked in salty buttermilk and dried out and sold as such)
  • Curry leaves
  • 2-3tsp of olive oil
  • salt – if required
 Preparation
  1. Mix the buttermilk and rice flour in a smooth thick consistency, making sure there are no knots in the batter – this can be done either with a whisk or in a blender like I did
  2. In a saucepan, heat oil and splutter mustard seeds along with the asafetida
  3. Add the more (buttermilk) molagai (chili) and brown it all around before adding the urad dal
  4. Now slowly pour the batter into the saucepan, stirring as you pour
  5. Once all the batter has been poured, keep stirring constantly
  6. The batter will start to thicken and you stir until it comes clean off the sides and rolls onto the ladle –
  7. This takes anywhere from 3-5 minutes depending on the strength of the flame
  8. The cooked rice flour will lot less white that you first started
  9. When it cools slightly, you should be able to roll it up in your hand without being sticky
  10. Garnish with curry leaves and serve
  11. Perfect as is with the spice from the more molagai, but if you are “I need a side” person, some cilantro chutney would be good :-)
Cheers and thanks again Kalyani for inviting me to do this guest post!







October 18, 2011

Kesar Malai Pista Kulfi ~ Frozen Milk fudge with Saffron and Pistachio | Diwali special



Kulfi is something I eat very rarely. Somehow the sting of the harsh frozen dessert doesnt appeal to my tooth - I avoid ice creams also for the same reason. But mom and S to an extent like kulfi - in fact at a local restaurant in Mumbai, I saw kulfi served as roundels (frozen, demoulded and cut into 1/2 inch roundels).. I was sceptic at first, thinking the food would have been adulterated. And then as i popped a piece of it into my mouth, I realised that the reason was simple - cuttting it into roundels (just before serving) allows air to permeate around the frozen dessert making it more palatable. It was also a challenge coz I was making this for the first time, and wanted it to be perfect. I was paired with Deepali this Blog Hop, and noticed that she has an interesting array of dishes...


Adapated from Deepali's recipe , and with 5 very simple easy ingredients, I started on my journey to make my first kulfi.. 


Wikipedia tells me :  
Kulfi or Qulfi (Hindi-Urdu: क़ुल्फ़ी or قلفی) is a popular frozen milk-based dessert from the Indian Subcontinent. It is often described as "traditional Indian Subcontinent ice-cream".[1][2] It is popular throughout neighboring countries in South AsiaBurma (Myanmar), and even the Middle East. It has similarities to ice cream (as popularly understood) in appearance and taste, but is denser and creamier.[1][3]It comes in various flavours, including cream (malai), raspberryrosemangocardamom (elaichi), saffron (kesar or zafran), and pistachio, the more traditional flavours, as well as newer variations like apple, orange, strawberry, peanut, and avocado. Unlike Western ice creams, kulfi is not whipped, resulting in a solid, dense frozen dessert similar to traditional custard based ice-cream. Thus, it is sometimes considered a distinct category of frozen dairy-based dessert.[3] Due to its density, kulfi takes a longer time to melt than Western ice-cream. 
Hope you would also make this at home and enjoy it.. The only modification I have made from the original recipe is to reduce the condensed milk by more than 3/4 (as I was trying it out for the first time) and also adding a few strands of saffron and some sugar :-) Now, off to the recipe, shall we ?

Sending this to :






Last 6 editions of Bloghop Wednesdays saw me dishing out: 


  1. Herby Cheese Pizza , with an Indian twist
  2. Sugarfree Dates n Almond Muffins , and its eggless too :-)
  3. Baked Samosa for Blog Hop Wednesdays
  4. Aama Vadai ~ Paruppu Vadai ~ Spiced lentil fritters ~ Dal Vada - a step by step recipe
  5. Sugarfree Fruit Ginger Mocktail
  6. Bharwa Bhindi (Jain Style) ~ Stuffed Lady's finger - a picto tutorial


Prep time : 35 mins. Chilling time : 12 hours or overnight. Makes : 3 medium sized cones.



Ingredients:

  • Cow milk - 1/2 litre (500 ml) 
  • Condensed milk - 2 TBSP
  • Sugar - 3 TBSP
  • Saffron - a few strands
  • Elaichi (Cardamom) - 1 no.
  • Pistachio - a handful

Method:
1) Boil milk on very low flame for 25 - 30 mins stirring continuously till it reduces to half and a light cream forms on top. You may use full cream milk for best results, but I am still watching my waistline. 
2) Meanwhile, soak saffron strands in warm milk.
3) Powder sugar and cardamom to a fine powder. Then add half the pistachios and pulse just once to get a chunky coarse powder.
4) When the milk is reduced, add the condensed milk. Stir for 2 mins. Now add powderred sugar + pistachio mixture, saffron strands (along with the soaked milk) into the milk and stir for 3 -4 more mins. 
5) Cool completely. 
6) Pour into Kulfi moulds. Freeze for 12 - 14 hours (I opted for freezing them overnight as the refrigerator is operated minimally then). 
7) Unscrew the Kulfi moulds and with a sharp knife, run it along the inside edges to free up the trapped air. 
8) Unmould and serve immediately. yummy Indian frozen dessert is ready to serve.



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