Saturday, July 31, 2010

Pop Corn at Home

The word pop corn brings to mind the microwaveable packets which we pop into the microwave and have instant pop corn ready. However, it is very simple to make pop corn at home, from scratch. All you need is dried corn kernels, which are readily available in packets in most of the grocery stores, Indian stores and Mexican stores.

1/4 cup cooking oil(just enough to cover the bottom of the vessel)
3/4 cup corn kernels
Salt - 1/4 tsp
Chilli Powder - 1/8 tsp

Method of Preparation:
1. Heat the oil on high heat in a big non stick vessel or a heavy bottomed pan.
2. Add the corn kernels and just shake the vessel once, this ensures that all the corn evenly settles in the pan.
3. Cover the pan with a lid in such a way that the steam escapes when the corn starts popping.
4. Once the corn starts popping, reduce the heat to a little over medium.
5. Once the corn stops popping, remove the vessel from heat.
6. Add the salt and chilli powder to the pop corn and toss it.

1. Add a little turmeric powder to the oil, which imparts yellow color to the pop corn.
2. You can also add pepper powder instead of chilli powder.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Jhatpat Moong Dal

Today when I opened the fridge, there were not many options that I could put to use. Then I noticed couple of tomatoes and green chillies, which looked at me enthusiastically. I obliged their request and decided to make a quick dal using moong/pesara pappu/split yellow dal.

Moong dal/Pesara Pappu/Split Yello Dal - 1 cup
Tomatoes- 1, cut into 4 quarters
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Salt - As per taste
Coriander Leaves - few sprigs, finely chopped

For the Tempering:
Onion - 1 medium sized, roughly chopped
Tomato - 1/2, roughly chopped
Green chillies - 4, roughly chopped
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1/4 tsp
Urad dal/bengal gram - 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves - 4-5
Oil - 2 tbsp

Method of Preparation:
1. Wash the moong dal and add it to a pressure cooker. Also add the turmeric powder, salt, chopped tomatoes and 3 cups of water.
2. Pressure cook the moong dal till done.
3. Open the pressure cooker and slightly mash the dal with the back of the spatula/serving spoon.
4. Heat oil in a small vessel and add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, urad dal and curry leaves. Once the mustard seeds start spluttering, add the chopped onions and chillies. Fry for 3-4 minutes or till onions become transparent. Then add the chopped tomatoes and fry for 5 minutes.
5. Add the tempering to the dal and mix well. Finally garnish with chopped coriander leaves.
6. Serve hot with rice or rotis.

Visit to Hampshire Baba Temple

We have been thinking of visiting this temple from a long time. Finally, we decided to drive 31 miles from our place to visit the holy shrine of baba. The drive was a pleasant one, with plantations of soya bean and corn on either sides of the road, it was as if an artist had painted the earth green.

The temple building was originally a church. The exteriors of the temple are very simple, on first glance, any one would mistake it for a church, if it  was not for the board stating 'Shirdi Sai Temple'. Once you enter the temple, you will find a number of excellent paintings depicting baba and his devotees on the walls. The temple even offer an online service known as - 'send a prayer', using which any one can send a prayer, which will then be placed at the feet of baba.

Sai Baba Temple, Hampshire, Illinois

Some thoughts on sanitization

Sanitization is defined as - 'to make sanitary, as in cleaning or disinfecting'. Yesterday I was watching a segment related to sanitization in Rachel Ray show and even after the show was over, I kept thinking about it over and over again...
Here are some excerpts from the show...
- The germs in our mouth get transferred onto the toothbrush we use to brush our teeth. On a toothbrush, when tested, there were around 1700 colonies of germs.
- A kitchen counter top when tested, had around 1200 colonies of germs on it
- A telephone had far more number of germs on it...

My first reaction was... how gross !!! Then came the shocking revelation that, whenever we flush the toilets, without closing the lid, the germs can shoot upto 20 feet into the air and land on the surrounding areas. Which means that few of the germs in the toilet find their way onto the things in our bathrooms/restrooms.

Now every time I flush the toilet, i make it a point to close the lid. However, it made me wonder how much sanitization ensures that we are free from germs and I even thought to this extent that... are these really facts which can be believed or were they just used to promote certain sanitization products?? I couldn't really reach a conclusion.... Any useful suggestions on how to effectively sanitize?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

A Simple Pulav With Tomato Raitha

One pot meals are my favorite when I am running short on time. Today we are planning to visit the temple, hence  decided to make a simple pulav with carrot and lima beans and a tomato raitha to go with it. If you are wondering where you can find lima beans, check out the freezer sections in Walmart or Meijer and for people who cannot do that, substitute the lima beans with chopped beans. I got the recipe for raitha from my Indu pinni(pinni means aunt in my mother tongue, Telugu). I have learnt a lot of simple and tasty dishes from her.

Ingredients for Pulav:
Rice - 2 cups
Carrot - 1, cut into small pieces
Fresh or frozen lima beans - 1/2 cup
Potato - 1 medium or 2 small, cut into small pieces
Ginger Garlic Paste - 1 tbsp
Green Chillies - 3 to 4, slit length wise(depending on the spice levels)
Cloves - 4
Cardamom - 1
Bay leaf - 1
Cinnamon - 1 inch stick
Fennel(saunf) - 1/4 tsp
Star Anise - 1
Water - 4 cups
Oil - 2 tbsp
Salt - As per taste

Method of Preparation:
1. Wash the rice, drain the water and add 4 cups of water to it.
2. Heat the oil in a vessel and add the whole spices(cloves, bay leaf, cardamom, cinnamon and fennel) to it.   Once the spices start emanating fragrant aroma, add the ginger garlic paste to it. Fry on medium heat for 2 minutes or until the ginger garlic paste gets cooked.
3. Now add the diced vegetables, slit chillies and the lima beans. Cook for 5-7 minutes.
4. Add the soaked rice along with the water to the vessel.
5. Add required amount of salt to the rice, cover the vessel and cook the rice on a low to medium heat.
6. Turn off the heat, once the rice is done.
7. Alternatively, you can even cook it directly in a rice cooker. Just add the fried vegetable content to the soaked rice and place it in the rice cooker.
8. Serve the pulav with tomato raitha.

Ingredients for Tomato Raitha:
Thick Curd - 11/2 cups
Tomatoes - 2 medium sized, finely chopped
Onions - 1, finely chopped
Chillies - 1, chopped
Salt - As per taste
Turmeric - 1/4 tsp
Oil - 1tbsp
Mustard  seeds - 1/2 tsp
Cumin(Jeera) seeds - 1/4 tsp
Bengal Gram(Urad dal) seeds - 1/4 tsp
Curry Leaves - 4 to 5
Fresh Coriander leaves - few sprigs, chopped finely

Method of Preparation:
1. Heat oil in a vessel and add mustard, cumin, bengal gram seeds. Once the seeds splutter add the curry leaves.
2. Add the chopped onions and chillies to the vessel and cook on a medium heat.
3. Once the onions become transparent add the chopped tomatoes to them.
4. Cook until the tomatoes turn mushy and the water released from them evaporates. Turn off the heat.
5. In another bowl add the curd, the cooked tomato mixture, required amount of salt and chopped coriander leaves. Mix well.
5. This raitha can also be served with rotis or parathas.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Eggless Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies and Coffee is the perfect pairing for my dearest husband... This is the first ever cookie I have baked. I was scared about the outcome... however, surprisingly, they turned out well and gained appreciation from my better half. Here is the recipe to make these yummy cookies.

(makes around 7 to 8 cookies)
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup rolled oats or a 34g packet of Quaker instant oatmeal(Cinnamon & Spice flavor)
1/4 cup brown sugar(add a little more, if using rolled oats instead of the flavored one)
1/4 cup finely shredded coconut
1/8 cup Raisins
1/4 tsp salt(not required if using cinnamon & spice Quaker oatmeal)
1/4 tsp cinnamon powder(not required if using cinnamon & spice Quaker oatmeal)
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp honey
1/2 tablespoon boiling water
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
Preparation Method:
Combine the flour, coconut, raisins and oats in a bowl. In another small bowl, add the sugar, honey and butter. Place the bowl on low heat and stir until the butter melts. Once everything mixes into a smooth mixture, remove from heat and add it to the bowl containing the dry ingredients. Take a small bowl and combine the baking powder with the hot water. Mix them and add it to the flour mixture. Mix all the ingredients and knead into a soft dough. Preheat the oven to 325 F. Make small portions of the dough into balls and flatten them a little. Place the prepared cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 13 minutes or until golden brown.

Finally I Did It!!!!

The day that I have been dreaming of is finally here... I have my own blog.
Welcome to my world - 'Sujana's World'!!!
A place where you can find loads of recipes along with the reviews of restaurants, books, places, etc.

The movie 'Julie & Julia', has been a major source of inspiration, behind this blog. I was so fascinated by the character 'Julie' in the movie. As soon as I finished watching the movie, I told my husband that even I wish to take up a challenge like Julie and start a blog, where I wish to post a recipe daily for 365 days. Its a humongous task... which I wish to achieve... This is my first step towards that...


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