Friday, December 7, 2007

Shev & Chivda

So, I am back again! I know, I know...whats new? I have been like the moon these past few months...fortnightly visit ;) I have missed so much of action in the blog sphere! The fact is, I was busy job hunting and finally I found one!!:) I will be starting from Monday which means that posting a recipe frequently is going to be even more difficult henceforth. But I hope to post at least one recipe every week and try and participate in as many blog events as possible. I am really thankful to all of you for all your nice comments on my posts.
Now onto the remaining part of my diwali faral...its late but these recipes are ones that can be enjoyed any time of the year. Enjoy!

Shev

(Shev--- in the bowl on the left hand side of the plate
Chivda---in the center of the plate)
Ingredients:
5 cups Besan (Chickpea flour)
2 tbsp Oil
1/2 tsp Black peppercorns
1/2 tsp Cloves
1/4 tsp Ajwain seeds
2 tsp Cayenne pepper (adjust to your spice level)
Salt to taste
Water to make the dough
Shev press or Chakli press (sorya)
Oil to fry
Method:
Grind together the peppercorns, cloves and ajwain to a powder. In a bowl mix together the besan, oil, ground spice powder, cayenne pepper and salt. Now make a dough out of this mixture with some water. Taste it and adjust the spices. Cover and let rest for 1/2 an hour. Next, heat vegetable oil in a kadhai. Take a small ball of dough and pass it through the shev/chakli press directly into the kadhai. Fry the shev till it turns golden brown. Do not wait till it turns dark brown as it keeps cooking even when removed from the oil. Repeat the process till all the dough is used up.

Chivda

Ingredients: (the quantities are approximate and can be changed as per liking)
2lb Super thin poha (Flattened rice)
7-8 Green chillies chopped
6-7 Curry leaves
2-3 tbsp Dalia split
1/4 cup Dry coconut shavings (khobra)
1/4 cup Peanuts (can use roasted or unroasted, peeled or unpeeled)
2-3 tsp Cayenne pepper
3 tsp Sugar
1 tsp Citric Acid (optional)

For the tadka:
3-4 tbsp Oil
1/2 tsp Mohri (mustard seeds)
1/2 tsp Jeera (Cumin seeds)
1/2 tsp Hing powder
1 tsp Halad (Turmeric)

Method:
First get all the ingredients ready. Take a huge plate and empty the packet of pohe on it. Add salt and cayenne pepper to it. To make dry coconut shavings, just take a regular peeler and run along the edge of the coconut. Now in a big kadhai (use the biggest one you have, makes life easier), heat the oil. Once heated, fry the peanuts a little. Make sure you don't leave them in too long or else they will burn and taste bitter. Same goes for all other ingredients as well. Remove the fried peanuts and add them to the poha. Next fry the coconut shavings and add to the poha. Do the same thing with the dalia split. You can also add some cashews to the chivda. Next, add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds to the oil and let them pop. Then add the hing and turmeric powder. Next, throw in the chopped chillies and fry till they become crunchy. To this add the curry leaves and fry for a minute. Now pour this tadka over the pohe. Mix together.
Now the pohe can be chewy, so to make them crunchy, just transfer them to the kadhai and keep stirring them on very low heat till they become crunchy. You can dry roast the pohe before you make the tadka but I prefer doing it this way, because I tend to burn the pohe. Another easy way to get them crunchy is to put them under the broiler for a couple of minutes, once the chivda is ready. Make sure you keep checking on them and stir them to avoid burning. Once the chivda is ready and crunchy, let it cool completely and then add the sugar and citric acid to it. Mix well. Citric acid is not a traditional addition but my hubby likes the tang it lends to the chivda and so do I. Enjoy with a cup of tea or as a snack with some curds...yum!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Diwalicha Faral

Its been a week since Diwali and I am still recuperating from all the eating!!! My weighing scale is already unhappy with my weight and yet I am amazed that I am indifferent ;) Who cares...its just once a year anyways...right? So although I am late, I would like to share my Diwali snacks with you. It was fun to share it with my friends here and I am happy to share it at least virtually with all my friends in the blog sphere. I am really sorry for not being regular in leaving comments on all the wonderful recipes being posted, but I have been caught up with something and this has made it difficult for me to go through all the blogs. Please bear with me...:)

I made Microwave Besan Ladoo, the recipe for which I have already posted here, Shev (left bowl), Shankarpalya (right bowl) and Chiwda (center).
Lets start with something sweet...since I have already posted the recipe for ladoo, i will begin with the recipe for Shankarpalya. These small sweet squares (in the right hand side bowl) are a great snack and quite addictive. There are variations to this recipe and every variation is just as yummy!

Ingredients:
2 & 3/4 cup Maida
1/2 cup Tup (Ghee) (can use home made or store bought---I used Nanak's pure ghee)
1/2 cup Water
1 cup Sugar (A little more if the sugar is not very sweet)
Tup (Ghee) to fry (Vegetable oil can also be used but taste will be little different)

Method:
Liquefy the ghee and then mix in the water and sugar in it. Heat this mixture and turn it off as soon as it comes to a boil. Let the mixture cool. Then add the maida to it to make the dough. You may require more or less. The dough should be pliable, just like you would make for chapatis. Cover the dough and let it rest for 1 hour.
Next, heat the tup or oil in a kadhai. Take a medium sized ball of the dough and roll it like a chapati. Do not roll the dough very thin, otherwise the shankarpalya will be very thin. Then take a knife or a pasta/ravioli cutter and make vertical cuts on the rolled out dough. Next, make horizontal cuts to make little squares. Drop these squares in the hot ghee and fry till they turn golden brown. Remove and drain on a paper towel. Continue till all the dough is used. Shankarpalya are ready.

Coming up : Recipe for Shev

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Happy Diwali



To all my friends in the blog sphere,

A Very Happy & Prosperous Diwali to All of you and your Families!

Have fun and I will soon be back with my Diwali treats. :)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Peach Sudharas --- AFAM & Think Spice

Who says that to satisfy your sweet tooth you have to spend hours in the kitchen and have 10 different ingredients? The recipe that I am going to share today is a classic, which my mom made often as a solution for a quick sweet dish. In the old times, Sudharas was often made as a sweet dish when there were unexpected guests for lunch or dinner. Clever, don;t you think? :) This recipe can also be modified a little as per individual choice and the best news, it has fruit in it...yay!! This is as simple as it can get and requires not more than 5-10 minutes. This was usually made in our family on 'Sankashti Chaturthi', which is a fast observed commonly in Maharashtra.
Normally, we use banana to make Sudharas (which was supposed to have been my entry for JFI-Bananas), but since our dear friend, Mansi of Fun and Food, is hosting AFAM this month and her choice for this month is 'Peaches', would I dare use any other fruit here ;) Her last comment really got me working on my entry, and I was worried that if I didn't make something with peach soon, I would see peaches coming at me all the way from California ;)) Jokes apart, I was very keen on sending something for the event and I am just glad I made it in time. And since this recipe also involves Saffron---the theme for this month's 'Think Spice' event, it is also going to Sunita of 'Sunita's World'. Lets get started...
Ingredients:
1/2 of a Jumbo white peach (you can use any)
1/2 cup Regular white sugar
1/4 cup Water
1/4 tsp Saffron
1 cardamom powdered

Method:
Peel the peach and then cut it into small cubes. In a small vessel or saucepan, mix the sugar with water and start heating it to make a syrup. For this recipe we need a simple syrup, so we just need to heat till the sugar dissolves. Once you reach that stage, throw in the peach cubes and let simmer for a while. You want the fruit to be cooked but not overcooked. Once that happens, turn off the heat and add the cardamom powder and saffron to it. Sudharas is ready to be served with hot chapati or paratha! :)

Variations:
  • Instead of peaches, use banana slices or apple or any other fruit of your choice. Get adventurous and don't be afraid of experimenting.
  • If you don't want fruit in it, just follow the rest of the recipe and instead add dry fruits to it, like cashews, raisins, etc.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Aval Sarkkarai Pongal---RCI Tamil Festivals

The clock was ticking and with the passage of each day, I was getting nervous that I still had not found a recipe for RCI-Tamil Festivals, hosted by Viji of Vcuisine. I had promised her that I would not disappoint her, and every time I saw her post her entry for the event, I knew that it was high time I did something. So I started going through a lot of websites and blogs related to Tamil cuisine. I also searched Viji's blog for some recipes and realized that a lot of them were already posted for the event. Finally, I came across a couple of recipes that I liked and which I had never tried before. The final choice was made by hubby dear, which made my work easier, or else I would have spent another week trying to decide which one to make, and then I wouldn't have made it in time (not a very good thing) ;)
The recipe that I finally made is called 'Aval Sarkkarai Pongal' and I have taken this recipe from Menu Today. Pongal is a Tamil festival that is celebrated four days and generally falls in the month of January and it marks the favorable course of the sun. We know this as Makar Sankrant. More about Pongal here and here. Traditionally, Sarkkarai Pongal is made on the second day of Pongal known as 'Surya Pongal'. The word 'Ponga' means 'boil' and so 'Pongal' means 'that which is overflowing'. This dish is offered to the Sun God as thanks giving for the plentiful harvest. Sarkkarai Pongal is normally made with newly harvested rice and moong dal. Check the recipe here. The recipe that I tried involved Aval or Poha and that got me interested in it. It is very easy and quick to make and the texture of the Poha goes so well with the combo. I made my own variations to the original recipe and I made this for Dassera as neivadyam. This is going straight to Viji for RCI-Tamil Festivals.


Ingredients:(serves 2)
1 cup Thin Poha (Flattened rice)
3/4 cup Jaggery (grated)
A few pineapple chunks (i used frozen pineapple cubes that I got from Trader's Joe)
1 tsp Tup (ghee)
Few cashews
1/4 tsp cardamom powder
1/8 tsp kesar (saffron)
Grated coconut for garnish (optional)

Method:
Wash the Poha twice and then drain the water. In a kadhai, heat the ghee and fry the cashews. Remove and keep aside. Now to this kadhai, add the jaggery (The original recipe asks to soak the jaggery in water and then use the strained water. But I skipped this step and directly added the grated jaggery to the kadhai.) Let the jaggery melt and form into a thick syrup. Once you have the syrup, add the pineapple cubes to it and cook for a few minutes. Next, add the washed and drained poha. Mix well. I mashed the poha a little with the back of the ladle. Finally add the cardamom powder, kesar and fried cashews to the mixture. Garnish with grated coconut and serve hot!

The Verdict: This is a keeper recipe. The color of this dish is so enticing and the combo of jaggery and poha along with pineapple is heavenly!

Coming up: Something with Peach! :)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Kairichi Chutney (Raw Mango Chutney) & FAHC

This recipe was supposed to be posted so long ago, but just got side tracked for some reason or the other. Things have been pretty busy at my side and I am finding it difficult to post as frequently as before. A poem that I learned in school has been in my thoughts these days and I thought that I should share it with you guys. I found it online here.

Leisure

WHAT is this life if, full of care, We have no time to stand and stare?—

No time to stand beneath the boughs,
And stare as long as sheep and cows:

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass:

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night:

No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance:

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began?

A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

---W.H. Davies

Coming back to the recipe, I know that the season for raw mango is over in India, but I spotted some in the Indian store last week and I decided to post this recipe anyways, hoping that at least some of you could try it out this year.
I never really fancied eating raw mangoes or 'Kairi', as we call it in Marathi, just like that. I think I just don't have a sour tooth ;) (if that term exists)! But I loved it when my mom transformed this tangy fruit into a delicious sweet & sour chutney. This chutney was a highlight of our summer meals and it goes perfectly with rice-dal, chapatis, or parathas. My mother-in-law also makes this chutney, a little differently, but equally delicious! She also
prefers to make it the traditional way, using a 'paata-varvanta' (stone mortar and pestle), so the texture of her chutney is chunkier, which can be achieved in the food processor. I am going to post both the versions, which are lip-smackingly delicious, and I hope that you will enjoy these as much as we do in our family.

Mom's Version :

Ingredients: (the proportions are approximate)
1/2 Kairi (Raw Mango---i used the other half for the other version)
2 tsp Grated Coconut (i use frozen coconut)
1/4 tsp Dried fenugreek seeds fried in oil
3-4 tbsp Jaggery (depends on how sour the mango is)
2-3 tsp Cayenne pepper
Salt to taste

For the phodni (tadka):
1 tbsp Oil
1/4 tsp Mohri (Mustard seeds)
1/4 tsp Jeera (Cumin seeds)
1/4 tsp Hing

Method:
Peel the kairi (raw mango), and remove the seed. Chop it into small chunks and throw these into the mixer along with the rest of the ingredients. Grind till you get a paste (do not use any water while grinding). Check for taste and adjust accordingly. The chutney should be sweet & sour to taste with a little spiciness from the cayenne pepper.Remove this chutney in a bowl. In a small kadhai, heat the oil, add the mustard and cumin seeds to it. Add the hing and then pour this phodni on the chutney. Mix it and voila your chutney is ready to savor.

Now, if you think, you liked this version, wait till you see the next one... :)

My Mother-in-law's version :

Ingredients: (proportions are approximate)
1/2 Kairi
2 tsp Roasted unsalted peanuts
3-4 tbsp Jaggery (as per the sourness of the kairi)
2-3 tsp Cayenne pepper
Salt to taste

Method:
Throw in all the ingredients listed above in the food processor and pulse them together. As above, do not use any water and unlike the previous version, leave it a little chunky. Check for taste and adjust. Remove the chutney in a bowl and pour some phodni (tadka) on top. Mix it and enjoy !

Note: This chutney stays good for almost 15-20 days in the refrigerator. Alternatively, you can also freeze it, for up to 2 months.
(Picture source for 'Paata-Varvanta' : here)
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Before I sign off, I would like to remind everyone about FAHC started by V.K.N. of My Dhaba. It is a non-profit organization and their mission is to help feed hungry children one by one and to join the fight against global poverty. Read more about this here. The event will close on October 23rd. There is also a raffle arranged by Indira of Mahanandi for the benefit of this cause. Read about the details of the raffle and the prizes here.
My grandfather always believed that feeding the hungry was the most rewarding and noble act and I think the same way. So I am heading to contribute my share to the cause and I hope that you will join me too :) Please feel free to use the ChipIn Widget located on the right hand side of the page to make your contribution. Thank You.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Click : Sunshine in the Kitchen

'Click' is a theme based food photography event started by Bee & Jai of Jugalbandi. The theme for this month is 'Eggs' and this is my entry.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Grilled Cauliflower & Capsicum in Coconut Milk Gravy

Today's recipe is absolutely non-traditional and something that I have started making recently. The idea for this comes from a friend's recipe for potatoes. Casually chatting to her one day, I asked her what her dinner plans were, and she mentioned that she was making a coconut milk gravy for store-bought herb potatoes. Sounds delicious right? I was determined to try this recipe asap. I got all the ingredients required and as I was about to begin, when I had this brainwave to replace potatoes with cauliflower, since I had to use it anyway. While I was at it, I decided to throw in the one capsicum that had been lying in my refrigerator patiently waiting to be salvaged. The end result was a truly delicious and delicate gravy which both my hubby and me loved. The flavor of the coconut milk along with the cauliflower was very fresh and it broke the monotony of using red gravy and the same old masalas. In fear of boring you with my descriptions of this dish, let me move on to the recipe and I hope you will give this humble creation a try. :)

Ingredients: (serves 2)
1 small cauliflower
1 green capsicum
1/2 onion sliced lengthwise
1 small can coconut milk (lite)

To season the veggies:
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (adjust to your liking)
a little black pepper
salt to taste

To make paste:
A handful of cilantro leaves
1 garlic clove
2 green chillies (depending on your level of spiciness)

Method:
Chop the cauliflower into florets and the capsicum into medium sized pieces. In a bowl, mix the olive oil, the dried herbs, salt and pepper. Toss the cauliflower & capsicum in it.

Next, line a baking pan/cookie sheet with foil and spread the veggies on it. Place under the broiler until they turn golden brown and crisp.

While the veggies are getting grilled, make a paste of the cilantro leaves, garlic and green chillies. Then, take a pan and heat a little olive oil in it. Throw in the onions and fry them till they turn translucent. Add the cilantro paste to the onions and fry till the oil separates. Mix in the coconut milk and bring to a boil. Then add the grilled cauliflower and capsicum to it and let cook for a few minutes. Check for taste. Serve hot with chapati or rice.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Daanyachi Chutney (Peanut Chutney)

As promised in my last post, I am posting the recipe for a family favorite---daanyachi chutney. This is a dry chutney and can spice up almost any meal or snack. There are two versions that I am going to post along with the numerous ways to enjoy it. So here goes...

Ingredients: (this is my mom's version)
1cup Roasted and skinned peanuts
1 clove garlic
2 tsp Cayenne pepper (adjust according to taste)
Salt to taste

Method:
Grind together the peanuts, garlic, cayenne pepper and salt in a mixer or food processor. Pulse the mixture to avoid too much oil coming out of the peanuts. Check for taste and adjust accordingly. Daanyachi chutney is ready!

My mother-in-law's version:
Skip the garlic and instead add 1 tsp of Jeera (Cumin seeds). Rest of the ingredients and method remain the same.

The two methods can also be combined and this chutney can be made by adding both garlic and cumin seeds.

Ways to enjoy this chutney :
  • Apply some tup (ghee) to a hot poli (chapati) from the griddle and sprinle some daanyachi chutney on it. Roll it up and sink your teeth in. I always had this when my mom used to make polis at home.
  • Mix the chutney with some dahi (plain yogurt) and eat it with chapati or bhakri. Alternatively, you can also add some finely chopped onion and some tadka to it. This is how my hubby loves it and this is a great side dish.
  • Spread some unsalted butter (especially the home made white butter) or tup (ghee) on a toasted slice of bread, and sprinkle this chutney on top. You have a spicy and tasty toast/sandwich.
  • Mix in a little chutney in Dahi-Bhakri, or Curd rice. It gives a nice kick to the dish.
I hope you all enjoy this extremely simple and delicious chutney recipe.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

WBB : Breakfast from Leftover Bhakri (Jowar roti)

I cannot believe this...more than 10 days since my last post! Time sure flies. There were so many things to attend to, the last few days, that I just could not manage to write anything new. My family had started wondering whether I had lost interest in blogging ;) What a scary thought ! :))
Anyhoo, coming back to today's post...the recipe that I am sharing today is really simple and fast to make. We call it 'Dahi- Bhakri' which is nothing but crumbled Jowar roti mixed with plain yogurt and some tadka. Whenever there is leftover Bhakri, the breakfast for next morning is always 'Dahi Bhakri'. When I was in school, a lot of times, my mom used to make this for me as an after-school snack and I used to love it! I even remember, that once, my mom was not at home and my dad offered to make this snack for me. I was so skeptical at this idea, as I had rarely seen my dad in the kitchen. But he, very lovingly made it the way he used to have it as a kid, and boy, was I impressed! To this day, I cherish that afternoon and the taste of his 'dahi bhakri' still lingers on my tongue.
This can also be served for lunch or dinner as a side dish. This is my entry for WBB#15 : Leftovers, hosted by Nandita of Saffron Trail.

Ingredients: (serves 2)
2-3 Leftover Bhakris (Jowar)
4-5 tbsp Plain Yogurt
1/4 cup Milk
2 tbsp Daanyacha koot (Roasted peanut powder)
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
Salt

For the phodni (tadka):
1 tbsp oil
1/4 tsp Mohri (mustard seeds)
1/4 tsp Jeera (cumin seeds)
1/4 tsp Hing (Asafoetida)
2 Dried red chillies
1 Big clove of garlic chopped

Method:
Tear the bhakris and then crumble them until you have tiny pieces of the bhakri. This can be easily done in the food processor too. To the crumbled bhakris, add salt, peanut powder and cayenne pepper if using. Now, in a small kadhai, heat the oil. Then add the mustard seeds and once they start popping, add the cumin seeds. Next add the hing and then the red chillies. Fry for a minute and then add the chopped garlic cloves. Fry till they turn golden. Make sure that you don't fry them too much, or else the garlic will become bitter. Pour this phodni (tadka) over the Bhakri mixture. Mix in the yogurt and milk. Mix well. You can adjust the quantity of milk and yogurt to your liking. Garnish with chopped cilantro. Enjoy!


My Dad's Version:
Instead of adding roasted peanut powder, add daanyachi chutney (peanut chutney), which is a dry chutney. I will post the recipe for this chutney in my next post.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Chiroti/Chirote --- RCI Karnataka

Since the time I have started blogging, I have realized even more, that two states share more than just a border. The cities/villages that are closer to the borders have a lot of things common culture wise and food wise. This post of mine explores one such sweet that is a favorite in two states, that are close to my heart.
Chiroti as it is known in Karnataka, or Chirote as it is known in Maharashtra, is a flaky, unleavened pastry that is very traditional in both cuisines. No wedding in Karnataka is complete without the traditional Chiroti served with Almond Milk or Badami Halu. In Maharashtra, it is generally made as one of the Pancha-Pakwanna (5 sweets) on festival days. Making Chiroti can get a little tedious if you are making a large batch all by yourself. So when these delightful Chirotis have to be made on a large scale, all the ladies of the family get together and make them. Talk about Division of Labor ;) Of course, there are easier methods too, which none other than our very own Asha has described here; but I am going to describe the detailed and slightly complicated version...why not, after all, its my mom who made them...I just was taking notes and clicking pictures ;) So this post is really on behalf of my mom and she would like to send this entry for RCI-- Karnataka, hosted by Asha and brainchild of Lakshmi.


Ingredients: (makes about 15)
1/3 cup Maida (All Purpose Flour)
1/3 cup Fine Rawa (Sooji)--use the fine variety as the coarse one does not blend in well.
2 tbsp Oil approx. (Vegetable/Canola)
Water to make the dough
Rice flour to dust
2 tbsp tup (ghee) beaten till fluffy and creamy (unsalted butter can also be used)
Tup (Ghee) to fry (Vegetable/Canola oil can aslo be used but it won't give the same flavor as ghee, what we call 'khamanga pana') :)

For the syrup:
1 cup sugar
Water enough to soak the sugar
Few saffron strands
2-3 tsps Lemon juice

Method:
Mix the maida and rawa together and add the oil to it. Mix together. You know the oil is sufficient when the maida-rawa mixture becomes crumbly, ie. when you hold the mixture in your hand it should stick together. Then add water and make a dough like you make for chapatis. The dough should be pliable. Keep aside, covered, for 3 hours at least. The longer it sits, the better.
After 3 hours, take the dough and divide into small balls (size can vary). Now, divide each ball further into 3 more balls. The idea is to make 3 chapatis out of these and layer them on top of each other. Roll out a thin chapati ,without applying a lot of pressure, out of each ball.

Take one chapati, brush some beaten tup (ghee) on the surface...

...dust some rice flour over it and then put another chapati over it.

Apply the beaten ghee on this chapati and dust with the rice flour and place the third chapati on top. Repeat the process of applying ghee and flour. Now roll this layered chapati to make a roll like this,

Do not pat the roll and flatten it with your hand. Instead, pick it up with both hands and pull very gently from each end a little to flatten it. If you pat it to flatten it, the air gets pressed and your Chiroti will not be fluffy.

Now cut this roll into small pieces like this.

Make the sugar syrup before you begin to fry the Chiroti. Take the sugar and add water just enough to soak the sugar. Put it over the heat and let it come to a 2 string consistency. Turn off the heat and add the saffron and lemon juice. Keep aside.
Heat the ghee. Take each small piece and roll out gently without applying too much pressure. The layered edges should be intact.

Once the ghee is hot enough, drop in the rolled out chirotis and fry.

Hold each piece vertical in the hot ghee for a minute, so that it fluffs up.

Then leave it to turn golden brown.

Remove from the ghee and drop into the sugar syrup,

Coat it well with the syrup and place it in a strainer. Tilt the strainer slightly so that the excess syrup will flow down. Let them cool and then store in an airtight container at room temperature. These last for 7-10 days.

Here is a look at the final product....

Variations:
Instead of dunking them in the sugar syrup, you can also dust them with white powdered sugar while they are still hot. See here.

You can serve these with some Almond Milk. See here, and here.

These can even be stored plain without dipping them in the sugar syrup, which last for about 15 days and can be consumed with any dry chutney.

Finally, the Unsweetened Chiroti can be transformed into a delicious kheer/payasa, which is my favorite and the recipe of which, comes from my grandmother's Karnataka roots.

Chiroti Payasa:
Heat about a cup of milk. Add sugar according to your liking. Crumble the unsweetened Chirote into the milk once it comes to a boil. Let it come to a boil again and then remove from the heat. Add saffron. Garnish with chopped almonds. Let it sit for a while and then serve. The longer it sits, the thicker it will get and the better it will taste :)

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Set Dosey -- RCI Karnataka & JFI

I finally did it! 'Two birds in one stone'...:) Ok, before you guys think I have gone crazy, let me explain. Last week I decided to make dosas for the weekend as it was a really long time since I made them at home; the sole reason being, that everytime I used to forget to soak the rice and dal. But not this time...I was determined to have dosas over the weekend. But, instead of the regular dosas, I decided to make Set Dosey. At that time, I had no plan for posting this recipe for a particular event, but I had taken some pictures, just so that I would be able to post it sometime later. Then, on Monday morning, I was generally going through the link that Asha had provided for RCI Karnataka, and while reading through the information, I realized that 'Set Dosey' comes from Karnataka and that this would be a perfect entry for RCI ! And before I could pat myself on the back for such a brilliant discovery, it struck me that this was also a great entry for JFI -- Rice, hosted by Sharmi. This was really a proud moment for me...such brilliance is rare ! ;)) And so I achieved the impossible and 'Two Birds in one Stone'. :))) (How I wish blogger had some smileys....would have made a better impact!)


Karnataka is a state with a lot of diversity in culture and food. The cuisine of North Karnataka is a lot different than that found in south Karnataka. More about this beautiful state here.
What comes to my mind when I think of Karnataka?--- First of all its my dad's birth place. He was born in Bijapur, which is famous for the 'Gol Gumbaz', and the only place where I saw brown colored ice being sold on hand carts! :) How shocked was I to see this and imagine the quality of the water...but this was a long time back, when I was still in school... haven't been there since then. Apart from the water experience, its a beautiful place to visit. Foodwise, I associate Karnataka with Dharwadi pedhe (yum!), Kardantu, Mandige, Kunda, Mysore Pak, Mysore Masala Dosa, Chitranna...well, the list is quite long but I just love their cuisine :).
Coming to the recipe, I was first introduced to Set Dosey in Mysore, where I was vacationing with my family and they were the best that I have eaten till date. I also found some really good Set Dosey in one of Pune's popular Udupi Restaurant, 'Wadeshwar'. Set Dosey, are different from the regular dosey, due to their small size and their thickness. Also,
in addition to the usual Rice and Urad dal, the batter also has Thick Pohe (Flattened Rice). These dosas are generally served as a pair, hence the name. I have also seen some restaurants serving them in stacks of 3 or 5 just like Pancakes. I am not sure but I vaguely remember these dosas being served with a vegetable curry, but I just paired mine off with Sambhar and green coconut chutney, called 'Kaayi Chutney (green)'. On researching further, I found that there are numerous versions of the recipe. The recipe that I have, was taken from a neighbor back in India, who got this from another friend. This time I used Brown rice for the batter and did not use any oil while making the dosas (thanks to my Non-Stick Tawa), which made these dosas even more healthy ! Enjoy! :)
As mentioned earlier, this recipe is going to both Asha & Sharmi for the RCI event and JFI event respectively.

Ingredients: (makes about 15 dosey)
3 katoris Brown Rice or Regular White Rice
1 katori Thick Pohe
1/4 katori Urad Dal
1 tsp Methi dana (Fenugreek seeds)
Salt
A pinch of sugar (not in the original recipe but I add it because I like it)

Method:
Soak the rice, dal, pohe and methi seeds in water, separately, for at least 6-7 hours. The methi seeds can be soaked along with the urad dal. Once soaked, grind each of them separately and then mix together. The batter should be ground finely. Season with salt and leave it to ferment (preferably overnight). Normally, this takes about 12- 16 hours here in the US. To help the fermentation, preheat the oven a little and then switch it off. Then keep the batter in the oven, covered and with a big plate below to take care of any spills that might occur once the batter has fermented.

Once the batter is ready, heat a non-stick tawa (griddle) and then pour a ladle full of batter on it. Do not spread it as you would while making regular dosa. This dosa is supposed to be thick and small in size. If not using a non stick tawa, coat the tawa with a little oil before you pour the batter and then sprinkle a little oil on the sides of the dosa. Cover it with a plate and let cook for a few minutes. Make sure that the tawa is not too hot otherwise you will end up with dosas that are brown but not cooked through. Once cooked through, flip it and cook a little on the other side (I have read that these are generally cooked only on one side, so its optional to flip and cook them). Once the dosa is nice and golden brown, remove from the tawa and serve hot with chutney and sambhar.

For the Kaayi chutney:
Grind together some grated coconut (I use frozen), cilantro, 1-2 green chillies, and dalia split. I also add some cumin seeds to this.Heat some oil and then add 1/4 tsp urad dal to it. Once it starts turning reddish, add some mustard seeds. When the mustard seed start crackling adda little hing. To this, add a few curry leaves (kadhi patta) and fry for a minute. Pour this over the ground chutney and add some salt to it. Also add a little yogurt to it. Mix well and serve.

(I will post the recipe for Sambhar along with the recipe for sambhar masala in another post later)

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Microwave Besan Ladoo

When Srivalli announced the 'Microwave Easy Cooking' Event, I was thrilled, not because I had a hoard of microwave recipes but just because this would give me a chance to try microwave cooking. Till date, I have mostly used my microwave to reheat food, occasionally, to cook potatoes, and then at times to defrost things and soften butter & ice cream. Somehow, the idea of cooking rice in a microwave never really appealed to me and I just love rice made in the pressure cooker, so that was out of question. I did hear a lot of people raving about how the 'Microwave' makes things so easy, but I still had my reservations. I was really looking forward to send in an entry for this month's MEC--Sweets, but I got busy and before I knew, it was the 25th, the last day for the event :( But then, dear Srivalli extended this date and so without wasting any more time, I got busy with my entry--- Microwave Besan Ladoo.

This is my absolutely favorite type of ladoo and I had heard a lot of friends say that these come out excellent in the microwave. So this was the obvious choice for me. I must confess that making Besan ladoo in the microwave was really easy and quick, plus I did not have to keep stirring vigorously, till my arm started paining. Thanks Srivalli for this event!

Ingredients: (makes about 6-7 ladoos)
1 cup Besan (Chickpea flour)
6-7 tbsp Tup (Ghee) (or as required)
3/4 cup Sugar (Powdered or the regular fine variety that is found in the US)
Cardamom powder (2-3 pods)
A handful of raisins
Microwave safe bowl

Method:
Mix the besan and tup (ghee) in a microwave safe bowl. Heat on high for 5 minutes (time may vary slightly for different microwave ovens). Stir after a minute and continue heating. Keep checking and stirring after a minute. At the end of 5 minutes, the mixture will be a nice reddish brown and will have a nice aroma to it.The mixture should not look too dry, otherwise the ladoos will not hold up their shape. Let it cool completely.


Once cooled, add the sugar, cardamom powder and raisins. Mix well and then make small round ladoos out of it. If you realize that the ghee is not sufficient once you start making the ladoos, just heat some ghee and add to the mixture. Enjoy!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Ukadpendi --- Wheat Flour Meal

A few days ago, I had mentioned in my MeMe, that my blog was a secret and that my family did not know about it. Well, I finally spilled the beans...yay!! :)
Actually, it was a pretty funny incident...my sister who is an avid blog reader, somehow stumbled upon my blog one day. She called me up immediately and asked me if I had seen this particular blog. Now, I was smiling to myself and trying hard to act innocent...she was so amazed by the fact, that a lot of the recipes were exactly the same as mom's recipes and that the blogger had the same background as me :)) Finally, I could not contain myself any longer and I finally confessed to her. She was so happy and proud and couldn't believe how she did not realize it was me ;) She immediately showed my blog to my mom and dad and they were both very happy and proud. Well, thats that...a very memorable incident for me. :) Now on to the recipe...

Ukadpendi is yet another childhood favorite. Now, this was always a special treat for me as my dad did not like it and so, whenever he was out of town, touring, my mom, sister and me would have at least one meal of Ukadpendi. This one dish meal goes perfectly as breakfast, lunch or dinner, and made with wheat flour makes it pretty healthy too. This is also a good meal when you are alone for lunch/dinner. So here goes...

Ingredients: (serves 2)
1 cup Kanik (Wheat Flour/Atta)
1/2 an onion chopped
3/4 cup beaten yoghurt/buttermilk
About 2 cups of hot water (you may not need to use all the water)
A little more than 1 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp Mohri (Mustard seeds)
1/2 tsp Jeere (Cumin seeds)
1/4 tsp Hinga (Asafoetida)
1/2 tsp Halad (Turmeric)
2-3 Dried red chillies
1 tsp Cayenne pepper (or to taste)
Salt
Cilantro to garnish

Method:
First, dry roast the wheat flour in a pan till it turns reddish brown. Keep stirring otherwise you will end up with burnt flour. Your nose will tell you when its ready. Keep aside. While you are doing this, start heating some water in another vessel.
Next, heat the oil in a kadhai. Add the Mohri, Jeere, Hinga and Halad to make a phodni (tadka). Next throw in the dried red chillies. Fry for a minute and then add the chopped onions. Sautee till they turn translucent. Now add the roasted wheat flour to the kadhai. Mix and then add the beaten yoghurt/buttermilk. Mix well and then add about 1 cup of the hot water (just as you would while making upma). Mix it. The wheat flour will start cooking and get fluffy. If required add more water. Add salt and cayenne pepper to taste. Cover and cook for a few minutes. Uncover and garnish with chopped cilantro. Serve hot.

My Bag of Awards

I am back! I had the most amazing time with my mom, though I wish I had some more time with her...I was in no mood to do anything after she left and was feeling quite lost. I am getting back into my routine now and so I decided to start off by expressing my gratitude to all my blogger friends for their concern when I just disappeared from the scene suddenly. A big thanks also to my friends who have found me worthy of some of the awards that are making the rounds these days. I really feel privileged. 4 months back, I wouldn't have imagined that I would be having so many friends and that my blog and me would get this much appreciation. Thanks to everyone...each one of you deserves this award.
So, here I proudly display, my bag of awards... :)

Thanks to Padma, Archana, & Athika for this award,


Thanks also to Archana, Laavanya, Srivalli & Richa for this award,

The Power of Schmooze Award is for bloggers who "effortlessly weave their way in and out of the blogosphere, leaving friendly trails and smiles, happily making new friends along the way. They don't limit their visits to only the rich and successful, but spend some time to say hello to new blogs as well. They are the ones who engage others in meaningful conversations, refusing to let it end at a mere hello - all the while fostering a sense of closeness and friendship."

Keeping with the tradition, I would like to pass on these awards, in no particular order, to,
Suganya of Tasty Palettes
Swapna of Swad
Hima of SnackORama
Jyothi of Andhra Spicy
Viji of Vcuisine
Roopa of My Chow Chow Bhath
Priyanka of Lajawaab
Manasi of A Cook @ Heart
TC of The Cooker
Asha of Foodie's Hope
Coffee of The Spice Cafe
Seec of En Samayal Arai
Sharmi of Neivedyam
Lata of La Gourmet Chef
Bhags of Crazy Curry
Thanks again for the honor !
I was going to include a recipe in this post, but that might make it too long, so I will post the recipe separately later in the day. Have a great day!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Tomato Rice with Soya Chunks

Its been really busy the last couple of days as my mom is here for a really short time. I am trying to spend as much time as possible with her and trying to get some traditional recipes too :) I am really sorry if I am not able to comment on all the posts, but will be back with some great recipes next week, some that my mom made. In the mean time, I would like to repost this rice recipe for the JFI event, hosted by Sharmi, and who very sweetly allowed me to send this as an entry although it was already posted before. Thanks Sharmi!

Yesterday was a lazy day for me...for some reason I was just not in the mood for elaborate cooking, so I turned towards one of my favourite comfort foods, 'Tomato Rice'. This easy to make rice is my mom's recipe. She used to make this very often and used to add this special ingredient which I really grew to love-- 'Soya chunks'
or 'Nutrinuggets' as we used to call them. They are healthy, full of protein and go very well with rice. This rice recipe soon became a favorite with my friends too. Every time we had a sleepover and we were cooking together, 'Tomato Rice with Soya chunks' would always be on the menu. After I got married, I introduced it to my husband, and now he is also a big fan.
I normally use Nutrela for this recipe. Sometimes I find that people are not comfortable with the whole chunks in the rice. Simple solution would be to soak them, and then chop them into little pieces before adding them to the rice. Alternatively, you can use readymade Soy Granules. This is an extremely tasty and filling dish. Pair it off with some 'Boondi Raita' and you have a quick and satisfying meal for those lazy weekdays or weekends, where you just want to sit back and relax!

Ingredients: (serves 2)
Basmati rice 1 1/4 cups
Onion chopped into slices 1 medium sized
Chopped Tomato 1 big or 2 small
Garlic clove finely chopped 1
Chopped Cilantro couple of sprigs
Green chilli slit into half lengthwise 1
Soya chunks soaked in water for at least 25- 30 mins
Black peppercorns 3-4
Garam Masala 1 tsp
Cayenne Pepper 1 tsp
Salt as per taste
Oil 1 tbsp
Water 2 1/2 cups

Method:

Soak the Soya chunks in water for at least 20 -25 minutes. Wash the rice and keep aside. In a pressure cooker pan, heat the oil. Once the oil is ready, add the black peppercorns to it. Fry for a minute or so and then add the chopped onions. Fry till they turn translucent and then add the chopped garlic. Next go in the chopped tomatoes and cilantro. Once the tomatoes are cooked a little, mix in the washed rice. Fry the rice till it turns slightly pinkish in colour. Make sure to keep stirring, or else it will burn. Now add water to this. To make such kind of rice/pulav, always add water exactly double the quantity of rice. This way, you will always have well cooked rice without it getting mushy due to extra water. Now add the soya chunks, salt, cayenne pepper and garam masala (You can finely mince the soya chunks and add if you don't like the texture). Throw in the green chilli halves. Mix well and put on the pressure cooker lid. Cook for 2 whistles. Enjoy hot with a raita of your choice!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Malai Kulfi

Whenever I have people over for dinner, the biggest question for me is what to make as dessert. There are always some who don't like sweet as much, some who like sweet but only specific things, and some who are totally averse to it. But when it comes to ice cream or kulfi, people generally tend to melt ;) So this time when I had some friends over for dinner, I decided to make some Malai Kulfi, just the way my mom makes it. Now, I make this from scratch, ie, I boil and reduce the milk instead of using ready made condensed milk. I feel that I can control the amount of sugar this way. It does take a little extra effort but the result is so amazing that you will not regret it one bit. :)


Ingredients:(serves 4)
1.89 L Whole milk (3.25%)--small can
1/2 pint Heavy cream
1 cup Sugar
1 tsp Cardamom powder
3 tbsp Corn starch

Method:
In a heavy bottomed pan, pour the milk and add to it the heavy cream. Mix the corn starch in a little milk and add it to the rest of the milk. Start heating the milk on medium high heat. Make sure to keep stirring the milk frequently. Once the milk comes to a boil, reduce the heat and continue heating it till it reduces to a little more than half the quantity. Keep stirring to avoid the milk from burning at the bottom of the pan. At this point, add the sugar, mix and continue reducing the milk. Once it is reduced to 1/4th of the original quantity and thick like Rabdi, turn off the heat and add the cardamom powder.
You can also add some Kesar (saffron) to the mixture. Mix well and then let it cool.
Then pass the entire milk through a blender or blend it with a hand mixer. Pour it into a freezer safe Plastic (do not use glass container) container or a Kulfi Stand and freeze till it sets. Once it has set, remove it and blend it again. If there are any ice crystals add a little more corn starch to the mixture and blend. Freeze it again and serve chilled with some dry fruits on top.