December 5, 2011

Gourmet Mondays: Restaurant Review # 1

 Happy to present a new series at this blog - Gourmet Mondays. The first Monday of the month will see me post reviews on all things I do with food : eat,drink,review of books,restaurants, street food delights,new food products,food event snapshots,speciality food stores and also include snippets of information on where to buy food & baking supplies in and around Mumbai - my current hometown. These are not paid reviews, and is based on my own personal experience. If you wish to read about something more at this space, do drop me a line. Starting today, I wish to make this a monthly event, and time permitting a fortnightly one. I begin this series with a restaurant review at Vashi - Navaratna, where I recently sampled Missal Pav. Missal Pav - to all those residing outside Maharashtra(India)- is a staple breakfast / snack dish comprising two parts : a medium/soft bread (called Pav) and a tangy spicy gravy called Missal, which is usually made of dried and cooked white peas or chickpeas and is topped with a farsan (or sev / Indian Noodles) and finely cut onions and lime wedges. For most people in and around Mumbai, this is one way to get most of the dietary requirements in one go - fats, carbs, proteins. Now a debate whether this is healthy to eat everyday is beyond the scope of this review. But gorging on this once in a while didnt seem like a bad idea. And one of my sojourns took me to Hotel Navratna @ Sector 17, Vashi (New Mumbai) where I sampled this recently. Now off to the review:

One of the best Misal Pav I have eaten till date is at Hotel Saroj - Opp Joy Hospital, Chembur. Having done that, this one at Navratna was quite a dampener. Mind you, they warm the pav ONLY if you ask for it - else its generally cold as the gravy is slightly hot to the touch. The secret to this dish lies in a unique clove-induced masala powder : which lends itself to a fiery hot combo when mixed with the cooked lentils. But the clove seemed to be overpowering the taste of the Missal itself. All I could do was to gulp down this rather hot spicy with the very cold pav with water. I have had Pav bhaji and Masala dosa at this restaurant earlier, and for a Mumbai-based Udupi quality restaurant, they hadn't disappointed me. However, this day the Missal was quite a let down - both in terms of quality and texture. And the pav - forget it. I wish I just had the missal alone. All in all, it needs to pull up its socks. The restaurant itself is large (by Mumbai standards) and has split level seating (with the A/C section on top). Service is usually quick here, as its in the midst of a busy shopping complex, opp the Vashi bus depot. On a service level, the waiters are quick, but I do wish they paid more attention to the quality of food too.
Rating : (On a scale of 5)
  • Overall cleanliness : 4
  • Service (Quickness & Efficiency) : 3.5
  • Quality of meal : 2.5
  • Value for Money : 3

December 3, 2011

Roundup of Flavours of China

Very happy to present the round up of Flavours of China hosted at this space. Thanks to Nayna for this opportunity. You have an array of mouthwatering dishes to choose from. From appetisers to main course, this has been a wonderful event. Thanks to all the participants and looking forward to your participation in the events to come too. We have 20+ dishes listed here, and in the event that I have missed out anyone's entry inadvertently, please do let me know, and I shall update ASAP. Thanks again for your encouragement and supporting remarks... 

December 2, 2011

Orange Peel Gojju | Orange zest in tangy sauce

When life hands you a lemon, make a lemonade- so the saying goes, right? When it hands you oranges (which are abundant this winter), you make an Orange Peel Gojju with the peel (after devouring the deliciously juicy oranges).. and that's exactly what today's dish is. 
The first option with loads of leftover peel was to candy it, but that called for sugar - and I wasnt keen to make it today, although am planning to make it before the season ends.Orange peels contain natural oil which is utilized by the body to help keep the elasticity of veins and arteries; it will also help keep skin strong, elastic and beautiful. Add some orange peel to a bath and let your skin absorb these beneficial oils.It can aid digestion and relieve gastrointestinal problems such as acidity, heartburn, flatulence, diarrhea and the digestion of fatty foods. This gojju calls for ripe oranges with a thickish peel. Nagpur oranges work best. 
Gojju (Kannada) or Gothsu (Tamil) is a tangy tamarind based gravy - almost like a condiment like Pachadi or Raitha- that is made with tamarind and ground spices and can be made with veggies like Karela (bitter gourd),Pineapple (pineapple gojju recipe here) or even Yam. It can be refrigerated for atleast a week in a glass container. Goes amazingly well with hot steamed rice and is irresistible with Curd rice too. Enjoy the tangy flavoured gojju recipe now..
Prep time : 10 mins. Cooking time : 15 - 18 mins. Makes : Approx 150 gm
  • Orange peel - washed & diced fine - 1/2 cup
  • Tamarind - 1 big lemon size
  • Jaggery grated - quantity slightly less than tamarind
  • Salt - to taste
  • Vegetable  Oil - 2 TBSP
  • Turmeric - 1/2 tsp
  • Rasam Powder - 1 TBSP (See notes below if you are not using Rasam powder)
  • Red chilli powder - 1 tsp (adjust spice)
  • Tempering : Mustard seeds, asafoetida

1) Wash and remove all the fibres (strands) from underneath the peel. Chop finely into very tiny pieces. Pressure cook WITHOUT water for 2 whistles. Drain.
2) Meanwhile wash and soak tamarind in 2 cups of boiling water for 10 mins. Extract pulp and reserve. If using ready tamarind paste, use 1 1/2 TBSP of paste.
3) In a deep bottomed pan, heat oil. Splutter mustard and a generous pinch of asafoetida. Then add the cooked orange peel bits, rasam powder, red chilli powder, tamarind pulp, salt and jaggery. Mix well.  Cover and cook on medium flame for 6 - 8 minutes. Add additional water if required. 4) Taste to check spice. This gojju is slightly bitter for those who love their Karela (bitter gourd) and more than slightly bitter for those who abhor Karela :-) Do not attempt to add any more sugar / jaggery than required. It will mask the real flavour.
5) Once the gojju starts to reduce, switch off the flame and transfer to a steel / glass container. This keeps for more than a week. As this is a condiment, do not serve more than a tsp or two per serving. The bitterness can be quite overpowering for first timers (ask me :))
If you have run out of Rasam powder or do not make it at home, you can dry roast the following ingredients, cool and powder and add. This quantity is for the above Orange peel quantity only. Make fresh powder as and when required 
  • Jeera / Cumin - 1 tsp
  • Red chillies - 1 no
  • Fenugreek seeds - a pinch
  • Coriander seeds - 1 TBSP
  • Curry leaves - 2 sprigs

December 1, 2011

Tandoori Tofu Salad

Perhaps one ingredient that was new to me till very recently was Tofu, although we enjoyed the Tofu Grilled Sandwich a lot. Having tasted Paneer,I didn’t take to it too much (still don’t, in a way) ! Perhaps its texture is something I need to get used to. All said and done, today’s dish – Tandoori Tofu Salad- came away as a winner all the way. S loved it as an evening snack. And I somehow thought it would taste good when grilled. But I grilled it before using it, and the taste was much better (or I am told so). This is a quick snack you can put together for potlucks and parties too ! This goes to Pavani's Deceptively delicious-event by Valli & my own event - Global Food Festival & Sangee’s BakeFest,event by Vardhini

Prep time : 15 mins. Baking time : 12 – 15 mins. Serves : 2
  • Tofu (drained if using Store-bought) – 200 gms – cubed
  • Onions – 1 medium
  • Bell pepper – ½ - sliced
  • Salt – to taste
  • Soya sauce – ½ tsp (opt.)
  • Sugar – a pinch
  • Olive oil – 1 TBSP (+ 1 TBSP for marinade) 
  • Hung Curd – ½ cup
  • Turmeric – a dash
  • Salt – a pinch
  • Amchur  (Dry mango powder ) – ½ tsp
  • Red chilly powder – ½ tsp

     Drain the tofu on several  layers of kitchen towels to dry out any exterior moisture. Cube into bite-sized pieces
2)   In a largebowl, whisk together hung curd and rest of the ingredients . Add the tofu chunks and mix well. Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate for 10- 12 mins.
3)  When you are almost done, pre heat oven to 190C and set to grill mode.  Slightly grease a baking tray and grill the marinated tofu in a single layer for 8-10 mins till slightly brown. 
   Brush the tofu mid way with oil (basting) for better effects and flip them over to brown evenly
4) In a skillet, heat remaining oil and fry onions and bell pepper. When the pepper turns crunchy, add soya sauce, salt and sugar, grilled tofu and serve immediately.
1)      If you are not using the tofu immediately, marinate and freeze overnight without salt.
2)      You may use skewers to grill the tofu. But as these were bite sized pieces, I grilled them on a baking tray. Be sure to spray oil on them before grilling.  Soya sauce is also high in salt. So add accordingly.

November 30, 2011

Lemon Rice | Nimbehannu Chitranna

Life has a curious way or presenting twists and turns..While I was paired with Priya of the famous blog - Now Serving for this week's bloghop, I had chosen Thai Green curry first. I even did my grocery shopping and was ready with all the veggies, but I didnt realise I would be inundated with daughter's school project. And while S is travelling and unable to pitch in, most of my waking time last week seemed to be lost on this.. I am writing this post with bleary eyes, hoping that the project would end today :-) Whew ! So in what seemed a ready challenge (I love thai Green Curry a lot, and was looking forward to making it too !), I chanced upon an old post from Priya - Lemon Rice
I am a fan of lemon rice in my family like nobody's business  : give it to me anytime, anywhere, anyday.. Mom says she used to cook extra rice over night so she could make this as a quick item for my school dabba, and after coming back home I used to ask her to make it again for evening:such is my tryst with this flavoured rice, and although some new Pulavs like the Soya Chunks Pulav does interest me, nothing pleases me as punch as does Lemon Rice. This isnt too much of a recipe, but as Priya says in her post, and also what I believe, Lemon rice is NOT lemon+rice.. Its a lot more than that - loads of love and some finely cooked rice. 
I served this with potato wafers and Katrikkai Pachadi (Eggplant raitha) and we all enjoyed it immensely. Actually,I was truly surprised that inspite of making this dish almost every week, I hadn't posted it yet. Like most family favourites, it comes with different variations. This is a quick lunchbox option for kids too - it tastes better if the rice is cooked and cooled..Of course,I have promised myself that I would make that Thai Curry soon :-) If only wishes were horses. Anyways, loved reading your posts Priya - its truly a gourmet-food-brought-home-kind-of-collection that you have, and here's to many more of them :-) Sending this to Bloghop wednesdays and Kavi's HCC - event by Smitha .
Meanwhile, if you have any Chinese dishes made during Nov 2011, do link them up to Flavours of China event @ my blog - event ends today. Don't also forget to visit my blog for a wonderful giveaway
Prep time : 10 mins. Cooking time : 10 mins. Serves : 2
  • Pre cooked rice - 1 cup (cooked and cooled)
  • Lemon juice - 2 TBSP (adjust to taste)
  • Oil -2 TBSP
  • Raw peanuts - a handful (opt.)
  • Onions - sliced - 1 no.
  • Salt - to taste
  • Green chillies, curry leaves, mustard, urad dal, channa dal
  • Turmeric : 1/4 tsp
  • Salt - to taste
Garnish : Coriander, grated coconut, roasted cashew.
Optional addons to this rice : blanched green peas, sauteed capsicum.

1) Spread the cooked rice in a large plate and fluff it up a bit. You may use normal household rice, the basmati is generally not suitable for this.
2) In a pan, heat oil and prepare the tempering. Once mustard stops spluttering and the dals brown a bit, add the salt, turmeric, peanuts and onions. Saute till onions brown slightly. 
3) Now add the rice and give it a quick stir while on low flame.
4) Take it off the flame and add in the lemon juice and switch off the flame. Add coriander, coconut and serve hot with wafers and any raitha. For me though, just plain lemon rice will do :-)

November 29, 2011

Maddur Vade, and a Karnataka Connection

This journey of BM has been personally very satisfying with the theme of Winter Delights, and I hope you have enjoyed the journey with me too:) If you have missed any of the previous 6 days posts, here is a quick recap:
Day 1 : Avarekaalu Saaru / flatbeans Sambhar
Day 2:  Low Cal Paneer Makhanwala
Day 3 : Pepper Idli steamed in Banana leaves
Day 4 : Moong Dal Masala Buns & Oregano Soup sticks
Day 5 : Sugarfree Amla Mocktail
Day 6 : Choco Almond Rocks
Now, having lived soooo long in Bengalooru (Karnataka), there must have been ample times I would have travelled along with Bangalore - Mysore route : train or bus or car. Whatever the mode, one can't miss eating savoruing the deep fried delight  - Maddur Vade. I could compose an ode to this dish describing how the crunchy snack melts in your mouth and the flavours spread all over your mouth : but all that can wait till you savour one bite of this deep fried delight. Winter gives us enough leverage to do just that - Enjoy these yummy deep fried delights with a cup of hot kapi (as the vendors would call out @ Maddur , enroute to Mysore) " Vade-Kaapi", "Vade-Kaapi", "Garamaagaram Vadai".... those sounds seem like music:till I gingerly ventured out to make these. This is generally served in leaf lined parcels (or newspaper bundles) along with Gatti Chutney (extra thick coconut chutney ground with chillies and coriander). But of the 10 odd vadais I made, there were just 3 left for snaps (God bless my kiddo - she saved 'her' vadai for me to take clicks, and not unlike Sherlock she demanded her pound of flesh - extra playtime in the evening and also that these vadais to be photographed on her pattu paavadai (silk skirt) as background.Well,I couldnt back out on either:)) 
Adapted from Lakshmi's recipe, under my mom's able direction, I made my first Maddur Vadai and was very pleased with myself. Look forward to making this often now. 
Sending this to: BM Day 7, Radhika's Winter Carnival, Priya's bookmarked recipes. Check my marathoners here.

November 28, 2011

Choco Almond Rocks

November 27, 2011

Amla Mocktail | Sugarfree Healthy Vit C drink for Winters

November 26, 2011

Moongdal Masala Buns & Oregano Soup Sticks | Step by step recipe

Before we go on to today's post, a friendly reminder to link all your Chinese dishes to the Flavours of China event that ends Nov 30th. Also dont forget to link your global recipes to the Global Food Fest too ! Up for grabs is also a wonderful giveaway on my 200th post, so do rush in..
Some memories stick to you like a Post-it note :-) I remember by dear dear grandpa who used to get these super hot and freshly baked Potato Buns once a week, from the bakery by the time we got from school, and sis n me used to gobble them up like hunger was our prime concern :-) Many years later, i discovered that these things could be baked at home too ! I have adapted my recipe from Aipi's recipe as I gingerly tread into the realm of yeast-based baking : Now each one of us has our tryst with this ingredient called yeast. Yes, baking with it is quite addictive, but you want the result to be exactly to the the way you remember it or seeing it. As I was making it with APF (and was too sceptical about using whoewheat), I have replaced most of the filling of potato with dry cooked moong dal (to know the right dal consistency, check recipe on Moong Dal Seekh Kebab) - it needs to be cooked al dente, but dry. It was very light and filling too. Although here, I was a tad disappointed coz the colour of the buns didnt brown as much as I thought they would, but the verdict from all at home was tres bien (wonderful), and mom who is not too much of a bakery food fan pronounced the Moong dal Masala Buns perfect. 

The next time I make this (which I am sure to), I would increase the sugar a tad more and also may be do the milk wash more diligently, but till then, this is one snack that would never go out of fashion and I am sure you would also like it.. Feel free to play around the ingredients to suit your palate.I used the remaining dough after making the buns to make Oregano soup sticks which went very well with Cauliflower Soup.

November 25, 2011

Pepper Idli steamed in Banana leaf

Pepper,Ginger ,Cardamom, Cinnamon are some of the foods recommended by Ayurveda for the winter months. So, when I was left with a lot of Idli batter this week, I picked my brains to make something new and then remembered having this Idli at my husband's aunt's place soon after our wedding ! Although i generally make Oothappams or Paddu (Kuzhi paniyaarams) with left over Idli batter, hubby voted against both of them this week :(((
But thankfully this dish - Pepper Idli steamed in Banana leaves- was very well recieved, and I was happy to add another super healthy breakfast to the menu. It helps if you have ready batter at hand. But if you want to start from scratch, you can make the Idli batter as outlined in this recipe. You could as I did,tone down the pepper or not add it at all for the children, but the aroma of freshly ground pepper and cumin along with the soaked dal is sure to pep you up for the entire day! The addition of cooked but firm channa dal is optional, and I did so 'coz I dont prefer the idlis looking very dull or dark, but you can also add a handful of chopped fresh coconut to add a slight crunch along with curry leaves / coriander. If you dont have banana leaves, you could use the normal Idli Moulds just like Poha Idli. But steaming them with Banana leaves is something magical - both the aroma and the taste improve manifold with the pepper steaming in those leaves:-) 
Serving options for this dish : choose from over 10 chutney varieties here or Molagapudi (Fiery lentil spice powder). This dish goes to Day 3 of BM along with Simona's MLLA. Check my fellow Marathoners here

November 24, 2011

Avarekaalu Saaru | Flatbeans Sambhar | Anapakaya Pulusu

Winter Season and Avarekaayi - a yummy combination. For those from Karnataka, this beans needs no introduction : its available in plenty throughout the winter months. and is very much sought after through the year.. Upma, Akki Rotti, Saaru, Kootu, Nippattu, Hithakidha Avare - all made of Avarekaayi - these dishes are a Kannada cuisine connoisuer's delight. It is called Mochai in Tamil, papdi liva in Hindi, anapakaya in Telugu (esp in the Rayalaseema region). Also going by the name of hyacinth bean, I do wish I have more access to this bean this season as Winter is almost upon us, and this Avarekaayi Saaru is one of my heirloom recipes and mom is expert in making this. This can be had either with hot steamed rice or with Ragi Sankati (Mudde in Kannada). But whatever you do, don't forget to add ghee - it takes the taste of this simply fabulous sambhar to greater heights.. Am sending this to BM Day 2 - Winter Foods, Winter Carnival by Radhika, MLLA # 40 & Sreevalli's No onion No garlic event and Kavi's HCC Lunch event.  This sambhar can be made with or wthout onions-garlic too, which I have done so. Check out my fellow marathoners here

November 23, 2011

Low cal Paneer Makhanwala | Low cal cottage cheese in spicy onion gravy

Low fat Paneer Makhanwala ?? That's the message I read on hubby's face as I planned my dinner menu last night. I have my husband's nephew who orders either Paneer Makhanwala or Paneer Butter Masala everytime with Butter Kulcha everytime he goes out : so much so that they have stopped asking him what he wants to eat. Today's dish is a take on the same - and adapted from here, I chose to make it as low fat and low cal as possible. We enjoyed it Butter Kulcha, and my daughter now says I need to make Paneer dishes twice a week instead of only Sundays... Mission accomplished : I had satisfied my fussiest eater :-) 

This dish goes to :
Radhika's Winter Carnival 
Day 1 of Blogging Marathon - Winter Foods for Nov'11. 
Only Curries - event by Pari, hosted by Kamalika
Kavi's HCC - event by Smitha 

Do check out my fellow marathoners here
Check out other side dishes for Roti here.

November 22, 2011

Invitation to join an exciting series:"Magic Mingle"

Inviting like-minded bloggers to come together and create a dish using two / three ingredients once every month. This event is tentatively titled Magic Mingle.. Once we have a sizeable number (10 friends minimum ), I am planning to launch this from next Jan. The idea is to create a dish (across cuisines / course) using 2 or 3 ingredients that is picked out of a magic box randomly every month. 

I had already written to several of my blogger friends individually, and we already have a group of 20 friends waiting to start this exciting culinary journey. So, if you want to hop on to this bandwagon, do read on....

November 21, 2011

Poha Chiwda

Somethings never go out of fashion in food - like Poha Chiwda. I remember VB bakery back in Bangalore where there was this Chiwda made of Nylon Poha (the thinner variety) and also a unique almond biscuit (almost like a thin reed wrapped in butter paper and sealed like a chocolate was a family favourite. Dad used to get this, especially during winters and I remember my sis "N" munching these after school or while studying late into the night (she was always the studious one - not me ;))..

 Making this Poha Chiwda this week brought back that nostalgia. The crunch of the chiwda once it breaks in your mouth along with the roasted peanuts and having this with a cup of hot green tea- super bliss ! I would have preferred to use the patla poha (thin poha), but as I didnt have it, I used the normal Poha. And yes, I did deep fry it in batches (should have roasted them, but I was willing to let go of my senses a teeny weeny bit, and I didnt regret it at all !!) and the result was super good ! 

Sending this to : Radhika's Winter Carnival

November 18, 2011

Palak Paratha with Moong Raita - combo Meal | Spinach Indian flat bread with green gram sprouts in yoghurt |Step by step recipe

Winters and parathas - an ubiqutous combination ! While its not yet officially winter here where I live, the warmth that certain foods bring - you wish they had it all year ( I fondly wish I could have Alu Paratha with pickle right now) .. Today's post is a combo meal - Palak Parathas with Moong Raitha-  and highly nutritious too. Combo meals are my fav- and this can be rustled up for any part of the day - breakfast / lunch / dinner and is a great meal for kiddies mealbox too :-) The goodness of Spinach is something that Popeye (the cartoon) brought to the West, but Ayurveda has always been a proponent of fresh greens in all saatvic foods. 

Wikipedia tells me: "Spinach is thought to have originated in ancient Persia (modern Iran and neighboring countries). Arab traders carried spinach into India, and then the plant was introduced into ancient China, where it was known as "Persian vegetable" (bōsī cài; 波斯菜; present:菠菜). The earliest available record of the spinach plant was recorded in Chinese, stating it was introduced into China via Nepal (probably in 647 AD)"

And there is moong sprouts. What more can be said about this wonderfood - rich in riboflavin, moong sprouts is a powerhouse of vitamins and minerals. Light on the tummy yet packed with nutrition,today's post-like my other combo meal Palak Paneer Parathapacks in Spinach and Moong for a super healthy combo meal. Read on for the recipe.

Sending this to my event HLI Spinach, hosted by Monika, Radhika's Winter Carnival, Priya's CWS Moong , Kavi's HCC - event by Smitha & Krithi's Breakfast Club#17

November 16, 2011

Vazhaipoo Paruppu Usuli with Moong Dal ~ Banana blossom dry curry with split green gram

Firstly, thanks to all my blogger friends for their wonderful wishes on my 200th post and giveaway ! Another 15 days to go for the giveaway to end..

the 9th edition of Blog hop Wednesdays is here. I am paired with Rudra, who blogs @ Mom's Corner. I especially enjoyed browsing through the Recipe index, and finally zeroed down to her version of Vazhaipoo Paruppu usuli. This is a classic Tamilnadu treat, and Rudra has also explained quite well on how to clean and obtain cookworthy banana blossoms in her post itself. But the twist to this I have given is to use moong dal instead of Toor Dal / channa dal that is generally used and also the method I used to make this an almost zero oil  dish, and this goes very well with Vathal Kuzhambu or even Onion Sambhar. I loved this with Poricha Rasam (another of my comfort foods), and it was a very comforting lunch we had for Sunday. I hope you would also enjoy this version of Vazhaipoo Paruppu Usuli (loosely transalated as Banana Blossom stir fry with lentils). 

This dish goes to the following events: 
Check out other moong dal recipes here and dry curries / stir fry hereLet's now get to the recipe..

November 15, 2011

How to make home made ghee from butter | Step by step method

A very vivid childhood memory is of the butter man (vennaikaaran) pushing his loaded TVS 50 with bags of what was then pure coimbatore butter. Paati (my maternal grandmom) had made it a practice to use home made ghee made from butter - its grainy texture, the aroma when melted and poured on to hot pappu saadam (dal rice) is a memory that I cherish every single day. So, we didnt quite use store-bought ghee anytime at all, and the same was with hubby too. Soon after I married and moved cities, one of the first things on my agenda was to source readymade butter. Once, when I, in my gullible state asked for butter the storekeeper pushed me a packet of amul table butter. I asked him if he had anything else. He thought I was looking for low fat(?) butter and showed me Nutralite. I told him this wasnt the one I was looking for, but white butter. Exasperated that he was, he showed me margarine or dalda : which I promptly said I didnt need. 

So for 3 - 5 months, although we lived on store bought ghee (which we both detested), it was only when MIL came visiting us that she showed me where to get Coimbatore butter, filter coffee powder, sundaikaai (sun dried turkey berries) and the rest that goes into a Tamil household kitchen. And trust me, since that time, today when I walk into that store every month, the store keeper keeps out a packet of Coimbatore butter and Filter Coffee Powder first even without asking... may be he now reads me as a quasi tamil shopper :-) Anyways, todays post is not actually a recipe, but a step by step method on how to make Ghee out of butter. You can also hoard cream from boiled milk, churn it after fermenting to make ghee, but I find that as we use very low fat milk, there isnt too much cream on top, and the process is not worth it. This post today will give you that golden coloured liquid - almost like ambrosia to the senses - while its hot and an aroma after its stored. Please remember to store the ghee or any oil for that matter in a glass / stainless steel container rather than plastic to prevent it from getting rancid. The plastic canisters sold these days to store oil is just not the thing you want to have ...

November 14, 2011

Butter Kulcha ~ Indian flat bread - stove top method | Step by Step Recipe

Making Kulcha and other Indian breads that we often enjoyed at restaurants often eluded me at home. While I thought it was next to impossible to make them without an oven, I never ventured towards it quite so confidently. Till one day my little one asked me why I could not make kulchas (one of her fav breads) to go with our weekly schedule of Sunday Paneer Dishes. I knew I had to learn it fast, and Radhika's recipe helped me quite a bit, as did Nithya's. I combined both the methods not fully sure how the output would be... But the Butter Kulcha turned out to be super soft and delicious to go with Paneer Matar. I was quite let down by the bad light in the pictures, for my SLR gave way, and I had to make do with a P&S in low light (evening fading light). But the taste more than made up for it.. Am planning to make this again and update this post with better pictures :-) 
Check notes for more tips on this dish.

Sending this to Radhika's Winter Mela, PJ's Back to Basics - breads, event by Jaya. Now off to the recipe..

November 12, 2011

Peas Noodles with Schezwan Tom Yum Soup (Combo Meal)

I was talking to someone the other day, and the topic veered to comfort foods. While my first choice would be Rasam with Rice, the 2nd and more obvious choice was Maggi Noodles. While there is a bit of summer still lurking around Mumbai, the evenings have a slight nip in the air, which makes you crave for hot comforting foods. While I try best not to deep fry, the entire day's chores leaves me with very less energy for baking on a regular basis- enter Maggi to the rescue. While today, I wanted to make this a whole meal by itself, I also made Peas Noodles with Schezwan Tom Yum Soup (without cornflour / MSG) with carrots and veggies, and boy , did we enjoy the wholesome meal. This is also a healthy lunch option as well. You can play around the ingredients a bit and spice it according to your palate. The warmth from the soup and the homemade noodles is sure to soothe your senses. And kiddo, who doesnt take to new food immediately loved the 'indianised' version of this Tom yum Soup and pronounced it as 'tres bien' (very good).. Now, what more could I want? Lets get to the recipe...
Sending this to:
Check out other healthy combo meals here

Prep time : 15 mins. Cooking time : 10 - 20 mins. Serves :2
Instant Noodles :
  • Maggi Instant Noodles - 1 packet
  • Garam Masala - 1/2 tsp
  • Green peas - frozen
Schezwan Tom yum Soup:
  • Tomatoes - 4 large
  • Carrots - 1/2 large - juilenned
  • Vegetable Stock - 1.5 cups
  • Spring Onion - 1/4 cup (chopped)
  • Onions - 1 large (diced fine)
  • Ginger / garlic grated - 1 tsp
  • baby mushrooms - 2 or 4 chopped (opt.)
  • Lemon juice - 1 tsp
  • Salt - to taste
  • Olive oil - 1 TBSP
  • Sugar - 1/2 tsp
  • Schezwan paste - 1/2 tsp
  • White pepper powder - 1/2 tsp
Instant Noodles: 
Boil peas with a pinch of salt. If using frozen, thaw them in boiling water for 10 mins with a pinch of salt. Prepare the Maggi Noodles according to pack instructions. Add in the boiled peas, garam masala and saute for few mintues till done.
Serve with Schezwan Tom yum Soup (recipe below)
Schezwan Tom yum Soup:
1) Blanch tomatoes in hot water for 5 - 10 mins. Cool, peel and puree into thick paste. Strain and keep ready.
2) In a large wok, add olive oil. Saute ginger and garlic. Add half of the spring onions, schezwan paste, mushrooms and saute well. Add onions, carrot juilennes and saute again. Adjust salt and add the strained tomato puree, vegetable stock and cook covered for 8 - 10 mins till carrots are 95% done.
3) Check for salt. Add 1 tsp of sugar if desired and the white pepper powder, lemon juice and mix well.
4) Garnish with the rest of the spring onions and serve hot with Peas Noodles (recipe on top)

November 10, 2011

Microwave Pineapple Kesari : Guest Post by Premalatha Aravindhan

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but in the case of a blogger friend whose blog  goes by the name of Prema’s Thaligai, it speaks a million words.. I am floored by the sheer length and breadth of Prema's blog - a very popular one indeed, and her dishes and pictures just speak to you- be it the icing that she uses for her cakes or the traditional recipes that she dishes out with amazing regularity, I am sure you will agree as I do, that its indeed a feast to the eyes. Happy to present Prema as our guest blogger on this monthly featured guest blogger series, and I am sure that her recipe for me - Microwave Pineapple Kesari - will sweep you off your feet with its visual and aesthetic delight. Thank you Prema, for taking off time and presenting this lovely recipe !

 Without much ado, lets proceed to hear Prema, in her own words.....

" Hi everyone. My name is Premalatha Aravindhan from Prema's Thaligai and I’m the baker, recipe developer and photographer for my blog -  a little bit of everything. My home town is Thanjavur,tamilnadu, India.Currently living in Singapore.I have done Master in Computer Applications. At present, I'm a home maker and a proud mom On my blog I mostly share Indian traditional recipes n baked goods.I love baking  and try to surprise my family with different treats. When my  blogger friend Kalyani asked me to be her guest I agreed instantly. I love her blog, her easy and yummy recipes."

Today I’m going to share with you an easy Recipe - Pineapple Kesari – Microwave  Method : How to Prepare Pineapple Kesari in Microwave:

November 9, 2011

Couscous Salad

When Rosanne Cash said "The key to change... is to let go of fear," I am sure she was talking about experimenting with new food too - Letting go of old habits, embracing the new, doing something totally new, like experimenting with Couscous !! When the blogging bug bit me, I had headed to the nearest hypermart and picked this packet of rather expensive Couscous some weeks ago, but somehow couldnt get to eat it - it wasnt that I had tasted it and didnt like it : guess it was the fear of the unknown. Like cooking mushrooms at home, when I dont eat it - but I still include it for hubby and daughter. Like, working with a new set of ingredients for today's Couscous Salad. It was supremely healthy & filling, and a much needed break from the usual stuff we have for lunch and was crunchy from the chilled veggies and the warm oil.. I liked it quite a bit, and was wondering if I could make this a weekly ritual..those questions always seem to haunt you, once you have tried it, right? just like bungee jumping or driving your first car, or even marriage, perhaps !! he he he :-)
Anyways, the verdict : Would I make it again? yes, definitely. And while most people prefer it bland, I would definitely spice it up a bit more with chopped sweet peppers, steamed veggies and may be even a spoon of mashed up lentil for a complete meal. The warm olive oil combined with the cold and crunchy veggies and fruits is sure to warm you up during the winters. 

November 7, 2011

My 200th post- Rasmalai : a sweet tribute, and a giveaway !

Let me be honest - I had almost lost track of the number of the blog posts till a casual conversation over dinner - with a good friend of mine & S -@ Delhi last fortnight asked me how my blog was going - and I said it was good , and that I might have crossed about 150 posts..he gently corrected me and said as he keenly followed my blog, I was on my 181st post--wow ! that was some news, I thought, and then got to work on celebrating what is my blog's 200th post - a milestone that I had dreamt of, when I started this blog about 11 months ago ! Like Anna Pavlova said "To follow, without halt, one aim: There's the secret of success."

I briefly halt though to thank all my readers, well wishers, family and very importantly course my blogger friends , without whose constant encouragement,this would have remained a wish,a hope. Thanks also goes to husband, kiddo and mom for grinning and bearing me as I fussed over the snaps first before serving them food (ok, kidding!) . A special thanks is in order for hubby for, amongst other things, handling my tantrums while shopping out for that particular muffin mould, not to mention cartloads of books brought online and borrowed, and most importantly, gifting me a new laptop so I could work uninterrupted. Just seems like yesterday, when I was all hesitant to step out to the blogosphere : I wasn't even sure I would post once a week, forget running events, contests or even participating in Blogging Marathons and Blog hops events !! And it seems like a breeze now... although , like Robert Frost says , " ...and miles to go before I sleep,..."! Thanks to all out there for your support and encouragement:-)

And for you, dear friends this is a small way of thanking you with a giveaway at the end of this post :-)

November 6, 2011

Roundup of CEDD Strawberry event and winner of giveaway

Happy to announce the roundup and winner of the CEDD - Strawberry Desserts event that I hosted this October. Thanks to Raven for this opportunity. Although I personally love strawberries, it was completely out of season to make any dishes out of the fresh fruit. I loathe the synthetic store bought crushes. I was very tempted to make ice cream out of strawberry essence, Diwali and other personal agendas took centre stage the entire last month. However, I have 14 yummy recipes sent across my dearest friends that I  present to you on the roundup ... Thank you so much and appreciate the effort. 

And the winner of the giveaway is Suma from Veggie Platter !! Congratulations Suma. Please check your email on how the prize is to be redeemed :-)

Hope you and other readers also would participate in my Ongoing events - Flavours of China and Global Food Festival with equal or better fervour :-)


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