Friday, May 22, 2009

Khatti Daal

Dal is one all time favorite comfort food. It makes you remember all the childhood days when you refused dal-chawal cooked by mom, the days when the yellow mushy lentil saved you from starving, the goeey khichdi which you prepared in a jiffy when you were unwell.

Best part about cooking Dal is it is one dish which does not require too much of pampering owing to which the dish can be made pretty fast. This version of Dal was taught to me by my close friend S, who specializes in Gujrati and Bengali cooking as well. What I liked about her recipe is its easy and the tangy flavour leaves you with a lasting impression of the creamy lentil flavour.
I had Khatti Dal, Roti and Cucumber (tossed in lime juice, salt and chilly powder) for lunch and the feeling at last post-lunch was true bliss!!!

Serves: 3-4

Toor Dal - 1 C
Green Chillies - 2 (slit)
Cumin seeds - 1/2 t
Oil for frying
Curry leaves - 1 sprig
Salt - as per taste
Asafoetida - 1/10 t
Lemon juice - 1 T

Boil Dal in a pressure cooker and mash well. Add enough water to the boiled dal. Add green chillies which have a slit in them, add salt and asafoetida and bring to a boil.

Heat oil in a small pan and add cumin seeds and curry leaves. Pour this temper mixture on the dal. Give a gentle stir and add lemon juice towards the end.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Green Beans Side Dish (Green Beans Upkari)

Simple Upkari to go along with Roti.

Serves: 2-3 individuals
Preparaion time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 30 minutes

Green Beans/ Beans (chopped) - 3-4 cups
Grated coconut - 2 tablespoon
Water boiling
Mustards seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
Salt - as per taste
Green chillies - 2 (slit)

Chop the green beans into fine chops and wash them thoroughly. Heat oil in a saucepan and heat up oil and add green chillies and mustard seeds. Once they finish popping, add washed beans and add enough water and salt. Cover with a lid and allow to cook on low flame. Give a gentle stir after 10 minutes. Garnish with grated coconut. Serve as a side dish.

Black Eyed Peas Saaru (Dhavey Adsaaney Lasoon Phanna Saaru)

There are times when you want to eat light and do not want to eat anything which gives you a bloated feeling at the end of the meal. For me "Saaru" is one such dish which gives immense satisfaction as though I am part of something pure and natural. I prepared Lobhia curry yesterday and saved the water post boiling in a separate container. Today I wanted to sip something quick so what better than a Adsaaney Kale Saaru. Mom used to save all Saaru for me to eat with rice and kaaratey phodi. She used to always tell me that Saaru has lot of nutritional value in it.

Serves: 2 individuals
Recipe source: Mom

Lobhia boiled water - 2-4 C
Bedegi chillies - 1
Garlic - crushed (5 flakes)
Salt - as per taste
oil for frying

Heat the Boiled water extracted from the boiled beans on a pan. Bring to boil and add salt. Prepare a tadka of oil with crushed garlic flakes and Bedegi chillies. Pour the tadka and mix well and serve hot with garlic bread. One can also eat this with rice and fries. Saaru tastes good when served with rice.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Black Eyes Peas Garam Masala Curry (Lobhia Masaley Randayi)

Usually I am not a Roti person at all. Today for some reasons I felt like tucking in some warm roti drizzled with ghee and have some hot-gravy based curry to mesh alongwith. Last month I got Black Eyed Peas from the grocery store and almost forgot. Today I found the packet in the tiny corner of my pantry. I thought I should make something out of these pretty looking legume family. This curry is my own version turned out quite well. I have toned down the taste and aroma with less spices however one can choose to tweak it accordingly.

Serves: 3-4 individuals
Recipe source: self

Lobhia seeds - 3/4 C
Water - 4-6 C
Potato - 1 (boiled and chopped)
Coriander powder - 1 T
Onion - 1/2 c (chopped finely)
Coconut shavings - 1/2 C (ground to a paste)
Turmeric powder - 1/10 T
Salt - as per taste
Coriander leaves - 5-6 sprigs

Pre-soak Lobhia seeds in water. They pop up and grow big once soaked so even 1/2 C serves the purpose for servings of 2-3. Boil them alongwith Potato. Chop potatoes and keep aside. Grind grated coconut shavings, turmeric powder and garam masala powder along with 3-4 tablespoons of onion which are chopped.

Heat oil in a sauce pan and fry onions till they turn translucent. Add the ground paste. Add boiled potatoes and fry till get roasted. Add boiled lobhia alongwith water and bring to boil. Add coriander powder, turmeric powder, salt and ground coconut. Mix the curry well and bring to boil. Garnish with coriander leaves.

Serve hot with Rotis.

Raw Mango Drink

Sumer is in and so are the yummie food varieties. Summer takes me back the fond memories of childhood vacations spent at Ammama's place (Ammama in konkani means Grand mother). She used to cook for a mighty gathering of 25-30 folks on a daily basis. She makes the most tastiest Colombo (Colombo is a type of a Konkani Sambar) on the planet. I am a big fan and happily subscribe to her classy, tasty, appetising dishes which I believe have a special touch. She used to make "Paanak" everytime we used to go to Udupi for vacation. These used to be prepared in huge vessels known as "Kataar" (Kataar is a huge heavy bottomed utensil specially used in South India for cooking and mass food gatherings. After carefully mixing all the ingredients, the crimson-yellow drink used to get served in tall glasses. Sighhh!!! The aroma is still fresh in my mind.

I made the Mango drink based on Raaga's recipe. Thanks Raaga. I have stored the mixture in fridge and enjoy it during the quiet evenings!!

Serves: 3-4 people
Recipe source: Raaga

Raw Mango - 2 C
Water - 1 C
Pepper powder - 1/2 t
Cumin powder - 2 T
Salt - 1 t
Sugar (Jaggery: optional) - 6 t

Chop the Mango to small pieces and boil them in little quantity of water, water should be good enough to immerse the pieces. Add rest of the ingredients. Grind to a smooth paste. Serve in a glass with water in 1:3 ratio. Serve chilled with ice during summer evenings.

I stored them in a container as suggested by Raaga in the recipe. However I made ininor modifications to the recipe. So here is my version based on reference to Raaga's recipe.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Green Spinach Soup

Soups have this uncanny way of making me happy any time of the day. Quite early on I picked Anglo-Indian eating habits from my close buddy. Mom began making Vegetable soup for me of different kinds growing up. She was for once releived because I refused to eat vegetables otherwise.

I used fresh green spinach which I had got from local grocery shop. It turned out quite well. I had learnt this recipe from Aunty S from India. She used to prepare this soup for brunch and lovingly invite me to have some alongwith warm bread. I miss Aunty S a lot and I am sure she is happy to see this soup simmering in a lot in my kitchen.

Serves: 2-3 individuals
Recipe source: Aunty S

Green Spinach - 3 cups, finely chopped
Red Onions - 1/2 cup, finely chopped
Maggi Soup seasoning - 1 cube
Salt - as per taste
Herbs for seasoning
Oil - for frying

Heat oil in a sauce pan and fry onions till they turn transluscent. Add green spinach which is chopped and saute for a while. Cook them down in 1 cup of water, cover with a lid. Cook till done. You will notice that it loses its original color and turns blackish green. Add extra water for boiling now and add seasoning cube of choice and leave aside on low flame on cover.

Check after 10 minutes and give a gentle stir. Serve hot with bread greased with olive oil.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Aloo Paratha

Of late I am trying to match up my cooking as per P's taste. P loves Aloo is any form - fried, sauted, boiled, scrambled with eggs. Sometimes I am surprised how can someone love a vegetable so much. He can devour aloo fritters in minutes. So I thought of surprising P with a crisp to perfection bread of his choice - Aloo Paratha. He loved it and was surprised since the edges did not break nor did the Potato pieces oooze out while rolling. I made his day and he made mine!!!

Serves: 2-4 individuals
Source: Self


Coriander stems + leaves - 4-10 sprigs
Green chillies - 2
Garlic - 2 flakes
Ginger - 1 inch piece
Salt - as per taste
Boiled potatoes - 4 (I used Idaho potatoes)

Paratha dough:
Wheat flour - 3 C
Water - for mixing
Amchur powder - 1/2 t (optional)
Milk - 2 t

Knead the dough my mixing salt, wheat flour and water. I also added 2 t milk as per Maa's suggestion. Maa said it makes the paratha more softer. Keep the dough aside for 20 minutes.

Gring the filling mix except potatoes. Smash potatoes alongwith the mixture and make equal portions of wheat flour and potato mixture.

Roll out Parathas by placing each potato mixture in the wheat flour portion and roll out a round paratha. Fry on a griddle alongwith ghee.

Serve hot with Curd or pickle.

Iced Ghirardelli Cocoa

We both are self-confessed and helpless chocolate addicts. Sometimes when we go to departmental stores for grocery, I have to literally dissuade husband from shopping for Godiva's and Ghirardelli Cocoa powder's. But heart-to-heart we both love our beverage's topped with liberal helpings of cocoa and chocolate bits. Yesterday evening, hubby wanted to have something warm as it was raining very heavily in our county.

He promtly asked me to make some Ghirardelli Cocoa. He suggested some tips which helped me sharpen the taste of the sinful beverage. Compared to other chocolate mix, Ghirardelli had a very creamy and smooth texture. So we both prefer this taste for out Iced Cocoa drinks. End result was pretty impressive!!! I recommend this drink to anyone who is a chocoholic and Ghirardelli afficionado...!!

Serves: 2 individuals

Milk - 2 Cup (preferably cold milk)
Ghirardelli Chocolate Hot Cocoa - 2 teaspoon
Sugar - 5 teaspoon ~ as per taste
Instant Coffee powder - 1 teaspoon
Ice Cubes - 4

Thaw 1 Cup of milk in microwave with 1 teaspoon of Ghirardelli Chocolate Hot Cocoa. Give it a good stir after done. Blend the microwaved milk with cold milk alongwith coffee powder, sugar and ice cubes. Serve with crackers or you could have it plain as a evening beverage.

Note: I used Ghirardelli Premium Hot Cocoa which you get at any departmental store/grocery store in US. If not available, one can use regular hot chocolate powders. One could also add a dash of cinnamon for that extra zing and punch.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Welcome Spring!!!!

(SOPT IT: Spot a chipmunk couple hidden in the photo :)))

Finally!!!! Spring has arrived!!! Its bright and sunny!!!
Birds and flowers coming in from everywhere!!!
There is chirp, rustling and a little bit of zing!!!
Spring is "IN" my friend!!

Jalapeno Cheese and French Wine

"The Grand essentials of happiness are: something to do, something to love, and something to hope for" goes Allan K. Chalmers.

There are times when we all get busy with the day to day affairs. From cooking breakfast to cleaning, work, lunch, shopping, errands to run, office duties, conference calls, meetings, hurry curry dinners. Stop!!! Are you taking your me-time for yourself and your loved ones!!! Today P and I enjoyed our sweet me-time with some exotic french wine and yummy Jalapeno Jack Cheese picked by P himself. The taste was amazing. We threw in some crackers for extra punch and the evening was some. Aptly accompanied with some soft numbers to be concluded as a "wonderful evening".

Strawberry Jelly

I am honestly not much of a dessert person. But of late after coming to US, thanks to P I have started liking sweets, that could be partly because P has introduced me to various kinds of sweets and desserts which I had never tasted before. So I decided to try my hand at Jellies and brough a packet of Jelly powder from nearby grocery store. But much to amazement it was quite an easy task and I think it turnd quite well. P added another zing to it with some fruits and the end result was simply superb.

Serves: 2 individuals
Recipe: A typical Jello recipe
Jelly powder - 1 packet
Water - 2 Cups, one cup boiled and one cup cold water

Boil a cup of water. Once boiled. add to the serving bowl and add the powder and stir well. If not continuously stirred, lumps would form. Keep stirring for 3 minutes and add cold water (1Cup) after that. Mix well. Allow to settle. Refrigerate for 4-5 hours and your jelly is set.

Serve with fruits and enjoy!!!

Vegetable Noodles

There are some days when you are just down with a flu and you want some yummie spicy dish to pep you up and add some punch to your already dead taste buds. DH and I are down with flu, stuffy nose and little bit of fever. Both of us wanted something spicy and nice. I checked the pantry and it was stocked up with vegetables - mushrooms, french beans, spring onions. What better dish than Chinese noodles. This one is ideal for any bachelor cooking coz its easy to make and has a nice punchy flavour to it. DH loved the final taste and wanted some for his lunch box as well. Needless to say I am beaming with happiness!!!

Serves: 2-3 individuals
Recipe source: Ashwini

Mushrooms - 6-10 of them sliced
French beans(green beans) - 8-10 (1 inch chops)
Spring onions - 2-3 shoots - finely chopped
Noodles - 1 packet
Stir fry sauce - 1 T
Soya sauce - 4-6 drops
Salt - As per taste

Boil around 3 cups of water. Once boiled, put off the stove and add noodles to it and add a drop of oil abd mix well. Drain after 3 minutes and add cold water and keep aside.
Fry spring onions, beans and mushrooms in oil for around 5-10 minutes till they are well cooked. Add soya sauce and stir fry sauce. Mix well after adding salt. Now add the cooked noodles and give a gentle stir. Do not stir much after adding noodles because the dish can turn soggy and the noodles will get a mashed look. Serve hot with stir fry curry or gobi manchurian.

Neer Dosa (Paan Polo/ Paan Pole)

Neer Dosa or Paan Pole is a staple dish and one of my personal favorites. Neer in Kannada stands for water. The dosa batter has a watery consistency owing to which the name - Neer Dosa. In Konkanis, we flip the final shape of the dosa which takes the form of a leaf, hence the name - Paan Pole. Good quality rice forms the basis of a good batter, that along with the amount of coconut (grated) added.

I liked this Dosa for the simple reason that it does not require fermentation. So weatherman goes right or wrong with predictions the breakfast is safe and intact.

Yield : 20-25 dosa's

Rice (uncooked) - 2 Cups
Grated coconut - 1/2 to 3/4 Cup
Water for consistency
Salt as per taste
Oil/ Ghee for frying

Soak rice after multiple wash for 4-5 hours. Once ready, grind coconut to a fine paste along with rice. Add enough water and salt to make a smooth paste which is like milk but thinner than regular dosa batter. If the batter is right the dosa comes out well. If the batter is not okaye or if coconut gets added wee bit more, the dosa tends to get sticky. So if you desire Dosa's for breakfast, soak rice the previous day and grind the batter at night and keep it in warm oven or microwave. Take a ladle full of batter and pour on a heated frying pan; unlike other dosa batter Neer Dosa batter tends to spurt on the pan after it comes into contact with heat since it has a watery consistency. Do not bother about shape as the Dosa batter spreads on its own and takes its shape. Slather ghee on the edges of Dosa, once the Dosa is entirely fried, fold it once and fold again till it forms the shape of a leaf (as shown in picture). Hence the name Paan Polo, serve hot with chutney of choice.

Suggestion: Unlike conventional Dosa batter this batter does not require fermentation. So the rice quality and time for which the rice is soaked determines the quality of your dosa.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Maida Dosa (Maida Phanna Polo)

A simple Dosa made of All Purpose Flour (Maida) with seasoning and one of my personal favorite. The seasoning and crushed green chillies with few spoons of grated coconut adds the extra flavor. This is a favorite Dosa among my cousins and extended family. I would not be surprised if there are many fans of this humble Dosa.

~ Maida Phanna Polo ~
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Yield: 8-10 Dosas

All purpose refined flour - 2 cups
Green Chillies - 2
Grated coconut - 1/4 cup

For Seasoning -
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves - 1 sprig
Oil/ Ghee
Hot water for consistency

Contraption needed - Cast Iron Pan

Crush the green chillies, salt and grated coconut in a pestle and mortar along with salt. Once completely crushed to a paste, add the flour and mix well. Take care to avoid any lumps. Use a whisker to get a smooth consistency. Heat little oil in a small frying pan, season with mustard seeds and once they splutter add curry leaves. Pour this seasoning on the whisked batter. Mix well to get a thick paste (almost like buttermilk consistency).
Slather some oil/ghee  on a hot cast iron pan. Pour a laddle of dosa mix and spread as much as you can. Fry till cripsy and light brown on both sides. Serve with Pitti Chutney or Pickle.

Note: Use hot water for good results while mixing the batter. For a crispy Dosa, use Cast Iron Pan for frying.