Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Tawa Pulao

Tawa pulao is a famous street food from Mumbai...Tawa means a griddle and pulao is rice with various spices and veggies..In this case the spice mix used is Pav Bhaji Masala. This is a quick and flavorful rice..I had googled this recipe and found various forms of preparation..anyways I adapted Sanjeev Kapoor's recipe and has changed it to my families taste buds.

Cooked Rice- 2 cups
Onion-1/2 small one
Tomato-1 medium(chopped)
Green peas-1/4 cup
Bell peppers-1/2 cup(chopped to small cubes)
Carrot- 1/8 cup(chopped small cubes)
Green beans-1/8 cup(chopped small cubes)
Cumin seeds-1/4 tsp
Ginger garlic paste-1 tsp
Pav bhaji masala-2 tsp
Turmeric powder-1/4 tsp
Red chili powder-1/2 tsp
Oil-1 tbsp
Salt to taste
Lemon juice-1/2 tbsp
Coriander leaves/cilantro- 1 tbsp(chopped)

Method of Preparation:
1. Heat oil,add cumin,splutter.Then add onion, ginger garlic paste and cook for few mins.Till onion gets transparent.
2. Add tomatoes and cook till tomatoes is soft. Add peas,carrot and green beans and cook on low,closed till almost done.Add chili powder, turmeric powder, pav bhaji masala mix and cook for few mins..
3. Then add bell peppers and cook till it is cooked but still crunchy.
4. Then add cooked rice and stir well to combine and cook for 3 to 4 mins on high heat.Do stir in between.Take off from heat.
5. Before serving add lemon juice and coriander leaves. Mix  well and serve with raita.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Vendakkya Pulincurry/ Okra in Tamarind Sauce

During my childhood mom used to serve me three dish with rice, a gravy,curd/yogurt and a stir fry.Now pickle is never counted here as it was a regular stuff on our dinning table and papadams used to be there atleast twice a week...and ya there was no cooking and reheating process at home...Everything was cooked and served warm...Until my marriage I never had to cook a full meal alone...My hus also had a similar life...So cooking atleast 3 times a day was unavoidable...and that too hus has the habit of eating anything other than rice for dinner...Everyday cooking sambar or recipes with ground coconut was too hectic especially when my little one wants me to read a book for him...or build a tower for him...So slowly I started to find recipes with not much work related with it and this is one such preparation...This is also apt for the dull and rainy days when the beam of sunlight is fighting with clouds to just have a peep outside and when you don't want to toil in the kitchen...

Vendakkya/okra/ladys finger- 6 to 8 no(Cut head and tail and then chop to half)
Tomato-1 no(Chopped)
Turmeric powder-1/4 tsp
Red Chili powder- 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Tamarind pulp- 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves- 1 sprig
Dry Red chili-1 no
Pearl onions-3 nos(chopped to small bits)
Mustard-1 tsp
Coconut oil-1 tsp

Method of preparation:
1. Heat a wok and add okra and tomato to it along with water,turmeric and chili powder.Cook till okra is tender.
2. Then add the salt, tamarind pulp,and cook it on medium flame for 5 minutes.Check for salt, add as needed. Turn off the heat.
3. Heat oil in a pan and splutter the mustard and chili. Add the onion along with curry leaves. Fry till the onion turns golden brown.
4.  Pour this seasoning over the gravy.Give a good stir and serve with steamed rice.

1. This curry is more to watery side, so use water as much as u need.Addition of too much water and then the cooking to reduce it will result in mushy okra.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Rava Ladoo

Uff rain, wind and cold has joined hands together and is visiting this part of US very frequently...Now their visit would have been enjoyed thoroughly if all I needed to do was sit on a couch..with a cup of tea and a book...Oo a pillow would also be fine...But with a 2 year around who always wants to see the ducks, squirrels and his friends around..this visit of three friends creates a pain which most of the moms would know..:) To elevate our moods during such days..sweets are the best...and a quick to make one like this is just perfect..Now lets enjoy some....

Rava/Semolina- 1 cup
Grated fresh coconut-1/2 cup
Sugar-3/4 cup
Ghee/clarif-2 tbsp
Cardamom seeds- from 2 pods
Cashew- few
Raisins- few

Method of Preparation:
1. Pulse the grated coconut twice to break it into small bits.
2. Fry the cashew and raisins in ghee and set aside.
3. Heat rava in a pan on medium low heat. Do stir the rava to avoid from burning.Once it turns light golden and nice aroma is filled in room turn of the heat.
4. Now mix all ingredients with rava along with slightly crushed cardamom and ghee.Take little mixture in hand and apply force with hand and roll it to lemon sized/smaller balls.
5. Set aside on plate. Continue the process for the whole mixture.Serve immediately or keep in a airtight jar. Stays well for 2 to 3 days since coconut is used.

1. If you find it difficult to roll add little more ghee to the mixture.
2. You can also use little milk to roll it. In that case shelf life will be small.
3. Adding coconut decreases the shelf life.
4. You can avopid coconut on the whole and make ladoo with rava, ghee and nuts too.
5. Add sugar according to your preference. The amount here is for medium sweetness.
6. I used fine rava and super fine sugar. If using thicker version after roasting give the rava a quick pulse to make it fine.
7. Same with sugar. Pulse it if its big crystals.
8. Making it round with just ghee is a bit tough.You need to apply force(not too much) to set it.
9. Addition of ghee can be done to make round balls.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Kaaya Mezhukupuratti/Raw plantain stir fry

Kaaya means Raw plantain in Malayalam.As a kid I have seen this growing in my grandmas backyards and I have totally enjoyed eating it in all forms..be that  in curry or stir fry or snack or chips or the ultimate in ripe form..Now here is a simple preparation with this veggie...

Raw plantain-1 no
Salt to taste
Curry leaves-1 sprig
Coconut oil-2 tsp
Mustard seeds-1 tsp
Dry red chilies-2 no

Method of Preparation:
1. To clean the plantain: First cut the ends of plantain little bit(till the light yellow flesh shows up). Then peel the skin slightly from edges with a knife. I usually don't do this as raw plantain skin is edible. But do take care to remove any skin that is dark/black. Now cut the plantain half lengthwise and then each half again into 2 lengthwise. so total of four pieces. Now cut that to small pieces. and wash it in water with a pinch of turmeric powder.
2. Heat oil in a wok. Add mustard, curry leaves and red chilies. Let it splutter.
3. Drain and add the plantain pieces to it and give a good stir. Now pour enough water to cook it. See that the cubes are just soaked in water. Don't add too much as the result would be mushy stir fry. Cook it till its soft. when it is 3/4 done add salt to it and continue cooking till water is completely dried.
4. Serve with rice and sambar.

1. Another way of cooking it with minimum ingredients is Cook the cubed plantain with water, 1 green chili,some curry leaves. Add salt when almost done and continue cooking till water is evaporated. Then drizzle about 1 to 11/2 tsp of coconut oil and give a good stir...
2. Washing with turmeric is done to avoid the blackening of plantain while cooking. If you avoid it the end result would be a slightly black stir fry. There wont be any change in taste.
3. Do wash the plantain 2 to 3 times to remove the turmeric from it.
4.Cook covered till its soft and then open and continue cooking to evaporate water, if there.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

         This time we Baking Partners group decided to bake muffins or cupcakes using pumpkin. Mainly because of fall and Halloween which is in 2 weeks...There where three recipes from which we can do one or all three...I again opted for one recipe...There where many reasons behind it...First one being that this is the first time I am baking something with pumpkin...as of the relation between me and pumpkin...we are neither friends nor enemies...Got it..right!!! I mean I neither like it nor  hate it...But baking with it was something I was reluctant to...I had seen many recipes around and have always thought that its not my kind of stuff...:)
         Now when recipe suggestion was there...I send a cupcake recipe to Swathi...She suggested to send a recipe with pumpkin...Now that was the initial shock I got...After some search I opted this as something with chocolate chip would never be terrible..So sent the recipe from Joy of baking which is  adapted from Baking from the Heart, a collaborative cookbook with Michael J Rose.
         Now that I have send a recipe...I have to check if it works..Means I have to bake it...:) Now when I told that to my hus..he also  reacted like me...Pumpkin???? Muffins....blah blah blah....Anyways I had to try it...before anyone did...So went ahead with the preparation...and the muffins were gud, soft and delicious...But the thought that it had pumpkins had effected me and my hus...so we settled by eating just 3..The rest everything was eaten by my son who just loved it..Not sure what..May be the chocolate chips that where there around which appeared each time he took a bite.
       As for the recipe...the muffins were soft and there was no trace or smell of pumpkin. Chocolate chips did bring a difference in it and there was the aroma of spices all around after baking it...yeh the muffins had loads of them too...:)..Thanks Swathi for selecting this recipe..
     Now the muffins took 3 days to get over...They were gud till then...I dint dare to bake other delicious recipes there...May be will try it later as I have almost a can of pumpkin puree...Gals will let you know once baked..:)
As for the recipe I dint make any major replacements as I had never tasted it before..and the clicks..I went crazy with the leaves and what to say...you can see them below...:)

All purpose flour-  1/2 cups
Baking soda- 1 tsp
Ground cinnamon- 1 tsp
Ground ginger- 1/4 tsp
Ground cloves-1/4 tsp
Freshly ground nutmeg- 1/4 tsp
Salt- 1/2 tsp
Unsalted butter- 1/2 cup room temperature
Granulated white sugar-1 cup
Eggs-2 large
Pure vanilla  extract-1  tsp
Canned pumpkin  puree-3/4 cup solid packed
Semisweet chocolate chips-1 cup

Method of Preparation:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C). Place rack in the middle of the oven. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.
2. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, ground spices, and salt.
3. In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
4. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract. Mix well.
5. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and pumpkin puree, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Fold in the chocolate chips.
6. Fill the muffin cups evenly with the batter using two spoons or an ice cream scoop.
7. Place in the oven and bake for about 18 - 20 minutes, or until firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center of one of the muffins comes out clean.
8. Place on a wire rack to cool.

1. I halved the recipe and got 8 muffins.
2. Used small chocolate chips.So reduced the amount of it.
3. The muffins took about 20- 22 mins to bake. The tops turned brown at about 18 mins. so covered them with foil.
4. According to Joy of Baking: The batter can be baked in a 9-inch (23 cm) loaf pan. Butter or spray the loaf pan with a non stick vegetable spray. Bake the loaf in a 350 degree F (177 degree C) oven for about 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.
5.I used store bought pumpkin puree.
6. To make pumpkin puree at home(Joy of baking): First cut the pumpkin in half lengthwise, remove all the seeds and stringy fibers, and then place cut-side down on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) for approximately 45 minutes to 1 1/4 hours (depending on size) or until easily pierced with a knife. Scoop out the pulp and puree in a food processor until smooth.To extract all the liquid, so strain the pumpkin through a cheesecloth lined strainer and then cool the puree before using.

Done by:

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Pav Bhaji Masala powder

Yellow, red and green....
Everywhere there's a color seen...
With winds hushing and ducks quacking...
A day that's dawning....
With stories, hopes and dreams...
You repel...
Winds compel..
Fighting through the day....
Then a small meltdown and you give away...
But still the hope stays....
And there comes a day of beauty again...

Its Fall again...

The recipe below has nothing to do with the above craziness....:)
Today the post is about pav bhaji masala powder. Until 2 years back I used to buy all the masala powders from stores...Even now I do but things that I really need. After coming to the place I live currently I dont find real gud stuffs for the money that I pay, so initially I started to avoid such stuffs...then later I felt that if avoiding is what I am going to do then I will have to do that in many cases...so that was not possible..Then I started to make masala powders as and when needed...I still do that..This is a masala powder  tried from Veg Inspirations...It was very flavorful and made a whole lot of differences in the recipe by adding the fresh aroma of spices...

Black cardamoms -5 nos
Coriander Seeds -1/4 cup
Cumin seeds -1/8 cup
Whole black pepper -1/8 cup
Fennel Seeds -1 and 1/2 tbsp
Dry red chilies -10 nos
Cinnamon -1 inch pieces 9 nos.
Dry mango powder/Amchur - 2 tbsp

Method of Preparation:

1. Dry roast all ingredients except amchur powder for few minutes  on low heat until nice aroma is released from spices.
2. Add amchur powder and roast another minute.Turn off heat and cool completely. Then grind to fine powder. Cool and store in dry bottles.
3. They can be used to make pav bhaji masala/ Tawa pulao or in any Indian curries with these kind of spices.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Cranberry Chutney..My twist..

      India is a place of different regions with varied culture.Same way we have different spices. Each part of India has various spices and we are so much in love with these spices that thinking about food without it is very tough for us. Our taste buds are very much programmed to them that anything bland doesn't appeal to it...Same is every persons situation from any part of the world, everyone has their set of spices...
     Similarly we are very adaptive to the changes in situations by customizing it to our needs.Since we are speaking of food...just look around we will see 1000s of food stuffs that people have changed or altered to make them more closer to Indian food stuffs...I am no different from that...Its not because the recipe by itself is bad, but just because our taste buds are more used to this taste and demand for those...
    Today's recipe is cranberry chutney...Now this is again tweaked to make our taste buds happy..:)
Yes the Indian style cranberry chutney...Ok don't think about a list of spices...Its just 1 or 2 and no much cooking...Its simply too good...with taste that makes each part of your tongue dance...

Cranberries-1 cup
Water-1/2 cup
Cumin powder-1 tsp
Salt to taste
Ginger-2 tbsp(finely chopped)
Red chili flakes-1 to 2 tbsp(add according to heat needed)
Brown sugar/Jaggery-7 to 8 tbsp(This was just mildly sweet, add more or less acc to ur taste)
Cloves-5 nos

Method of Preparation:
1. Add water and cranberries in a pan and boil till it pops and breaks. About 4 mins.
2. Mash slightly the popped berries and then add the cumin powder,cloves, salt and chili flakes.Reduce the heat to low. Boil till the water is reduced to 1/4 cup.
3. Now add the brown sugar/jaggery and continue cooking. Add the ginger pieces at this stage. Mix well.
4. Continue cooking for 4 minutes till the mixture turns slightly thick.Turn off heat, cool and store in a dry jar.Have with chips, breads,rice,anything and everything.

1. I din't wanted to cook ginger, so added it in the last step. The ginger had the crunch, still was mixed with the cranberry nicely.
2. Add jaggery/brown sugar by checking for sweetness. Don't add too much. Recommended to add 1 tbsp at a time. Mix and check.The chutney was thick,  slightly sweet, tart and spicy.
3. If you want it slightly runny stop cooking when desired stage is attained.
4. With above mentioned quantity I got about the amount of chutney pictured.
5. To make roasted cumin powder : Heat a pan and add 2 tsp of cumin to it. Roast it on medium heat till nice aroma spreads. Now crush this using a mortar and pestle to fine powder.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Baked Cauliflower

I hate to cook food when I have only 2 or 3 veggies in bulk and have to use them. If I am happy and in a mood I go crazy with that stuff else it would be the same old story...Now this mood to cook  something new comes to me very rarely and when it comes I am totally into it..What about you guys?
Here is a recipe that came that way...Wanted something that was not oily...That would burst with flavors and not much work(first priority)...:)..Just wanted to say one more thing...I don't cook my regular and crazy meals using tsps and tbsp...so the measurements are approximate..

Cauliflower-1/4 piece
Ginger garlic paste-1/2 tbsp
Kashmiri Chili powder-2 tsp
Turmeric powder-1 tsp
Mint leaves-2 tbsp(chopped)
Coriander leaves- 2 tbsp(chopped)
Olive oil-1 tbsp
Yogurt-11/2 tbsp
Salt to taste

Method of Preparation:
1. Cut the cauliflower to florets and wash them in warm water.Drain and set aside.
2. In a bowl mix all other ingredients to a smooth paste. Add the cauliflower into it and mix well till all the paste mixes with the cauliflower.Set aside for 30 mins.
3. Heat a oven at 350F. Line a baking tray with foil and spray non stick oil. Drop the cauliflower into it and bake for 1 hour approx. Do  take the pan and give it a stir after 30 mins.Bake it till its soft and lightly browned.
4. Serve warm.



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