Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Simple Gongura Pachadi

This weekend I got to purchase fresh gongura/sorrel leaves after a very long period. Here is a very simple recipe for preparing tasty, flavorful and tangy pachadi.
Gongura Leaves - leaves of a small bunch or a tightly packed cup of gongura leaves
Garlic Cloves - 5 medium sized, roughly crushed
Tomato - 1 medium sized, finely chopped
Chilli Powder - 11/2 tsp
Oil - 2 tbsp
Mustard Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Cumin Seeds - 1/4 tsp
Urad Dal - 1/4 tsp
Salt - As Per Taste

Method of Preparation:
1. Wash the gongura leaves and pat them dry using a kitchen towel.
2. Heat the oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds and urad dal. Once the seeds start spluttering, reduce the heat to medium and add the crushed garlic cloves.
3. Ensure that the garlic cloves do not burn and fry for 45 seconds.
4. Add the gongura leaves and fry till the leaves wilt and become soft.
5. Add the chopped tomatoes and fry till the tomatoes turn soft and mush.
6. Add the chilli powder and salt and fry for a minute or two.
7. If the gongura leaves are tough, and do not turn into a smooth paste, then add the cooked contents to a grinder and grind for 15-30 seconds.
8. Enjoy the delicious gongura pachadi with rice.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Sprouts With Roasted Chana Dal

Here is another simple recipe using moong dal sprouts.
Boiled Moong Sprouts - 2 Cups (Add a cup of water and pressure cook for 2 whistles)
Onions - 1 small, roughly chopped
Chilli Powder - 1/2 tsp
Roasted Chana Dal/Putnala Pappu Powder - 2 tbsp
Salt - As per taste
Chopped Cilantro/Coriander Leaves - 1 tsp

For The Tempering:
Oil - 2 tsp
Mustard Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Urad Dal/Bengal Gram - 1/2 tsp
Cumin Seeds - 1/4 tsp
Curry Leaves - 3-4

Method of Preparation:
1. Heat the oil and add mustard seeds, urad dal, cumin seeds, curry leaves. Once the seeds start spluttering, add the chopped onions and fry till the onions turn transparent.
2. Add the boiled sprouts and fry for a minute or two.
3. Add the chilli powder, salt and roasted chana dal powder and mix well.
4. Fry for a minute and add the chopped cilantro/coriander leaves.
5. Serve the sprouts with roasted chana dal, either hot or warm.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Home Made Tomato Salsa (Ver1.0)

Wondering what a weird title Ver1.0 is ? Well... It is just to let you know that this is just the first version of the most loved Mexican appetizer - 'The Salsa' of the widely known combo - 'Chips & Salsa'. I have tasted various types of salsas even in the remotest places of our neighborhood, few salsas are chunky, few contain cheese, few are made fresh at the table... and the list goes on. Few other versions will roll out soon in the near future. Salsa does not require much introduction... so here goes the recipe.
Ripe Tomatoes - 2 medium sized, washed and cut into quarters
Onion - 1/4 of a medium sized onion
Green Chillies - 2-3
Garlic - 2 small cloves
Cilantro/Coriander Leaves - few sprigs
Coriander Powder - 1/4 tsp
Cumin Powder - 1/4 tsp
Salt - As per taste
Chopped Cilantro/Coriander Leaves - 1 tbsp (for garnish)

Method of Preparation:
1. Heat a vessel and add quartered tomatoes, onion, green chillies, garlic cloves, cilantro/coriander leaf sprigs along with 1/2 cup of water and cook covered for 15 minutes.
2. Let the boiled mixture cool down.
3. Add the boiled mixture to a grinder/blender along with salt, cumin powder and coriander powder. For a chunky salsa, just pulse twice or thrice and for a smooth salsa blend for 30 seconds.
4. Garnish with chopped cilantro/coriander leaves
5. Serve warm or chilled.

Tangy Spicy Lemon Rice

Lemon Rice is usually made in almost all the South Indian households. However, not many prepare lemon rice in the way I prepare :). Hence, this post !!!! I was trying to post this recipe before the day ends.. but was late by few minutes... :( ... So, there will be two posts for Aug 29th... :)

Cooked Rice - 3 Cups
Ginger Paste - 1/2 tsp
Green Chilli Paste - 3/4 tsp
Lemon Juice - 4 tbsp
Onion - 1 medium sized, finely sliced
Salt - As Per Taste
Oil - 4 tbsp
Mustard Seeds - 3/4 tsp
Cumin Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Chana Dal - 1 tbsp
Urad Dal - 1/2 tsp
Raw Peanuts - 3 tbsp
Turmeric Powder - 1/2 tsp
Curry Leaves - 5-6

Method of Preparation:
1. Heat Oil in a pan and add mustard seeds, once they start spluttering, add chana dal, raw peanuts, urad dal, cumin seeds, curry leaves, turmeric powder and fry till peanuts turn golden brown.
2. Add the sliced onions and fry for a minute.
3. Add the ground ginger and green chilli paste to the mixture and fry till the raw smell disappears.
4. Spread the rice in a wide bowl and add lemon juice, the prepared mixture and salt. Mix well till all the rice gets coated with the turmeric mixture.
5. Adjust the salt and lemon juice and enjoy the tangy spicy lemon rice.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Home Made Salsa Verde/Green Salsa

Chips and Salsa is one of the things that my better half loves. Whenever we are in a Mexican restaurant, once he starts munching the chips with different salsas, there is no stopping until we leave the restaurant. Such is the craze for chips and salsa and he likes tasting all the salsas the restaurant has to offer. At times we even end up paying for the extra salsa my better half keeps on asking for. Using the tomatillo also known as tomato verde, a tangy salsa can be easily prepared at home.

Green Tomatillo - 3 medium sized, washed and cut into halves
Green Chillies - 4-5, (adjust according to the spice levels)
Garlic - 3 small cloves
Coriander Leaves - 4-5 sprigs
Cumin Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Onion - 1/4 of a small onion
Salt - As per taste

Chopped Coriander Leaves -  1 tbsp(for garnish)

Method of Preparation:
1. Add all the ingredients except the salt and chopped coriander leaves to a small vessel with a lid.
2. Add a cup of water to it and let the ingredients cook for 30 -40 minutes with the lid on the vessel.
3. Let the boiled mixture cool down before you grind into a smooth paste.
4. Add the salt and garnish with chopped coriander leaves.
5. Enjoy the salsa verde or home made green salsa with corn chips of your choice.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Spicy Baked Chicken Drumsticks

Spicy baked chicken drumsticks are an instant hit with the guests who visit our home. Unlike the chicken drumsticks served in a restaurant, these baked chicken drumsticks do not need any oil at all. Hence this recipe is a very healthy option for calorie conscious individuals. 

Chicken Drumsticks - 6
Curd (preferably hung curd or thick curd) - 3 tbsp
Ginger - 1 inch
Garlic - 1 big pod or 3 medium pods
Green Chillies - 5 (As per taste)
Chilli Powder - 1/2 tsp (optional)
Coriander powder - 1/2 tsp
Cumin powder - 1/4 tsp
Chopped Coriander leaves - 1 tbsp
Salt - as per taste

Grind to Paste
Garlic+Green Chillies+Ginger+Chopped Coriander Leaves

Method of Preparation
1. Wash the drumsticks and make slits on them.
2. In a bowl add the rest of the ingredients including the ground paste and mix well. 
3. Now add this mixture to the drumsticks and mix well so that, they get a good coating of the marinade. Let the chicken rest in the marinade overnight or for 24 hours. 
4. In a preheated oven at 350F place the drumsticks on a greased baking tray and let it bake for 45 min. 
5. After 45 min, turn the drumsticks over and cook for another 30 to 45 min or until they turn golden brown.
6. Once the drumsticks are cooked, increase the oven temperature to 450F and let the chicken become crisp for 15-20 minutes.
7. Serve the spicy baked chicken drumsticks hot with onion rings.

Sending this recipe to 'Two For Tuesdays'

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Sprouts Two Ways - Kheer & Chat

One of my friends had asked for recipes using sprouts. This post goes out for you my dear friend. This is just the beginning of recipes using sprouts. Many are in store yet. Today I wanted to satisfy my sweet tooth but in a healthy way, hence made a Moong Sprouts Kheer and also dished out a Moong Sprouts Chat to go with the evening cup of tea.

Common Ingredients:
Moong Sprouts - 2 cups
Water - 1/2 cup

First Step:
Add the sprouts and water to a pressure cooker and cook for 2 whistles. Remove from heat and take out 3/4 cup for the kheer and store the rest for the chat.

Moong Sprouts Kheer:
Boiled Sprouts - 3/4 cup
Jaggery - 2 small cubes (Adjust according to taste)
Sugar - 1 tsp
Water - 3 cups
Raisins - 1 tbsp
Almonds - 10, roughly grounded
Cardamoms - 2, powdered

1. Heat a vessel and add the boiled sprouts, water and jaggery. Cook on medium heat till the jaggery dissolves.
2. Add the sugar and let it boil for 5 minutes.
3. Muddle the sprouts with the back of the spoon or a muddler.
4. Add the raisins and roughly powdered almonds and mix well.
5. Finally add the cardamom powder and cook for a minute before taking the kheer off the heat.
6. Serve the Moong Sprouts Kheer either cold or warm.

Moong Sprouts Chaat:
Boiled Sprouts - 11/4 cup
Onions - 2 tbsp, finely chopped
Lemon juice - 2tbsp
Cumin - 1/4 tsp, roughly grounded
Chopped Green Chillies or Red chilli flakes - as per taste
Salt - as per taste
Chopped Mint Leaves - 1 tsp

1. Add the boiled sprouts to a bowl. Mix in the chopped onions, chilli flakes or chopped chillies, lemon juice, cumin powder, chopped mint leaves.
2. Mix well and add the salt just before serving.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Big Thank You To All!!!

There are 4 more days to go before my blog completes one month and my blog has already crossed 2000 hits till date. Wanted to take this opportunity to thank each one of you for the encouragement shown.

Beetroot Paratha

Aloo paratha is my all time favorite, however today I wanted to see how a beetroot paratha would turn out. Surprisingly, the results were pretty good. Beetroot paratha with garlicky tomato chutney and raitha was our lunch today. The only hard thing in the whole preparation was the grating of beetroot :)

Ingredients For The Dough:
Whole Wheat Flour - 2 cups
Salt - 1/4 tsp
Milk - 1 to 11/2 cups 
Oil - 1 tsp

Ingredients For The Filling:
Beetroot - 1, medium sized, finely grated
Chilli Powder - 1 tsp
Roasted Chana Dal/Putnala pappu Powder - 2 tbsp
Cumin Seeds - 1/4 tsp
Oil - 1 tbsp
Salt - As per taste

Method of Preparation:
1. Add salt to the wheat flour along with milk and knead into a soft dough. Finally add a tsp of oil and knead the dough once again. Cover the dough using a bowl or a wet towel. Let it rest for a minimum of an hour.
2. Heat oil in a non stick pan and add cumin seeds. Once the seeds splutter, add the grated beetroot to it and fry.
3. Cook covered for 3-5 minutes, mixing in between.
4. Add the salt and chilli powder and mix well. Fry for a minute and turn off the heat.
5. Add the roasted chana dal/putnala pappu powder and mix well.
6. Let this mixture cool down before you make small lemon sized balls out of it.
7. Dust the rolling platform with dry flour and take a lemon sized portion of the dough, roll it into a small round chapathi(approximately 3 to 4 inches in diameter) using a rolling pin
8. Place a ball of the beetroot mixture in the center of the rolled chapathi and seal the edges of the chapathi, by pulling the edges onto the stuffing ball. Shape the stuffed dough into a flattened round.
9. Dust the rolling platform with dry flour and roll out a paratha with a rolling pin. 
10. Heat a non stick pan and transfer the rolled paratha onto it.
11. Wait till small bubbles appear on the paratha, before you turn it around.
12. Turn the paratha around and apply little oil on it. Repeat the step after you turn the paratha again.
13. Once the paratha is nicely cooked through, take it off from the pan. 
14. Serve hot beetroot parathas with raitha and pickle.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Garlicky Tomato Chutney

There are a lot of recipes to prepare a tangy spicy aromatic tomato chutney. Thanks to my friend Kusuma, I got this recipe to a tasty tomato chutney with garlic flavor.

(Serves 4-5 people)
Tomatoes - 3 medium sized
Garlic Cloves - 3 large sized
Urad/Bengal Gram - 3 tsp
Red Chillies - 4-5
Tamarind - very little(depending on how sour the tomatoes are)
Oil - 1 tsp
Salt - As per taste

For the Tempering:
Oil - 1 tbsp
Mustard Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Cumin Seeds - 1/4 tsp
Curry Leaves - few

Method of Preparation:
1. Add the tomatoes and tamarind to a small vessel along with half cup of water and let it boil covered for 5-10 minutes(Until the skin of the tomatoes comes off easily).
2. Meanwhile, heat a tsp of oil and fry the garlic and chillies for a minute or two and remove them. In the same oil add the urad dal and fry for 2-3 minutes and keep aside.
3. Peel the skin of the boiled tomatoes and discard.
4. Grind the roasted garlic, chillies and urad dal. Add the water used for boiling the tomatoes and grind to a smooth paste.
5. Now add the boiled tomatoes and tamarind to the ground mixture and grind to a fine paste.
6. Heat oil in a vessel and add mustard seed, cumin seeds and curry leaves. Once the seeds start spluttering, add the ground chutney along with salt and mix well. Fry till the chutney becomes a little thick.
7. Serve the garlicky tomato chutney with hot rice or rotis.

Use green chillies instead of red chillies.

This is my entry to the event being hosted by Padmajha - 'Healing Foods -Tomato' and Siri's 'Healing foods

Also Sending it to 'Two For Tuesdays'

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Indian Masala Chai/Tea

Having spent my childhood in Uttar Pradesh, hot chai/tea is my favorite hot drink. It is hard to find individuals who do not drink chai in the northern states of India. There are various chai masalas available in today's market that can be used to flavor the chai or you always have the evergreen elaichi/cardamom and adrak/ginger tea. However, there are a few other simple combinations that enhance the flavor of the tea by a great extent. Here are few of the ones that I personally prefer.

1. Simple Fennel/Saunf Chai/Tea:
    Add a teaspoon of roughly crushed fennel/saunf to the tea while it is boiling and enjoy a refreshing fennel flavored cup of tea.

2. Light Masala Chai/Tea:
    Add roughly crushed clove, cardamom and an inch of cinnamon to the tea while it is boiling and enjoy a light masala flavored chai.

3. Refreshing Masala Chai/Tea:
    Add few leaves of fresh mint, crushed ginger and roughly powdered saunf/fennel to your tea while it is boiling and enjoy.

There are a lot of permutations and combinations that can be applied to the spices to come up with a great chai masala. These are just a few of my current favorites.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Spicy Fried Rice Using Leftover Rice

Leftover rice or rice stored in refrigerator is the best choice for making any type of Chinese fried rice. Since, the grains of rice separate easily when the rice is cold, it is better to use rice stored in refrigerator than fresh cooked rice.

Cooked Rice - 2 cup
Chopped Vegetables - 1 cup (carrots, beans, broccoli, lima beans, spring onions, etc)
Vinegar - 1/2 tsp
Soya Sauce - 2 tbsp
Chilli Flakes - 1 1/2 tsp
Finely Chopped Garlic - 2 large pods
Salt - as per taste
Oil - 1 tbsp

Method of Preparation:
1. Heat oil in a pan and add the chopped garlic along with chopped vegetables and fry on high heat for 3-4 minutes.
2. Add Soya sauce, chilli flakes, vinegar and fry for a minute.
3. Add the rice and mix well, since the soya sauce already has salt in it, be cautious while adding salt.
4. Mix for 3-5 minutes and serve hot.

This is my entry to the event being hosted by Padmajha - 'Vegan / Vegetarian  dish using leftovers'

Friday, August 20, 2010

Groundnut Rasam

Not many would be aware of this simple yet tasty dish from my native place in India. As per my knowledge, this dish is native to Rayalaseema in Andhra Pradesh, India. Groundnut is widely grown in rayalaseema and finds its place in most of the local recipes. This is a tangy spicy dish which goes very well with hot rice.

Roasted Groundnut seeds - 1 cup(remove the skin of the groundnuts)
Dry Red Chillies - 5-6(Adjust according to taste)
Tamarind - Lemon Sized(Soak in hot water for 15 min)
Cumin Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Onions - 1, medium sized, roughly chopped
Turmeric Powder - 1/4 tsp
Salt - As per taste

For the Tempering:
Oil - 1 tbsp
Mustard Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Cumin Seeds - 1/4 tsp
Curry Leaves - 5-6

Method of Preparation:
1. Dry roast the red chillies and cumin seeds.
2. Grind the groundnut along with the roasted chillies and cumin seeds, then add the soaked tamarind along with the water and make a smooth paste. Add more water if needed.
3. Heat oil in a vessel and add mustard seeds, cumin seeds and curry leaves. Once the seeds start spluttering add the chopped onions and fry till the onions turn translucent.
4. Add turmeric powder, salt and the ground groundnut paste along with 1/2 cup of water.
5. Let the rasam boil until the raw smell disappears.
5. Serve groundnut rasam with hot rice.

This is my entry to the event 'Side dishes From India(Other than Dals/Subzis)', being hosted by Suma.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Home Made Vanilla Fruit Custard

Fruit custard is probably one thing which everyone has enjoyed at home. Usually branded custard powders are used, however custard can be made at home without the store bought custard powder. Here is a simple recipe for home made vanilla fruit custard.

Milk - 4 cups(approximately 1 liter)
Corn Flour - 2 tbsp
Vanilla Essence - few drops
Turmeric powder/Food Color - a pinch
Sugar - 5 tbsp(adjust according to taste)
Fruits - Any available fruits, diced into bite size pieces

Method of Preparation:
1. Heat the milk in a heavy bottomed vessel till it starts boiling.
2. Mix the cornflour with 1/4 cup milk and add a pinch of turmeric powder/food color to it.
3. Add sugar and vanilla essence to the milk and mix.
4. Now add the cornflour mixture and mix well, keep stirring while you add the cornflour mixture. Boil for 5 minutes and turn off the heat when milk starts thickening.
5. Let the mixture cool down and reach room temperature before placing it in the refrigerator.
6. Let it chill for few hours and add fruits of your choice, mix well and enjoy.

This is my entry to the event 'Cold Desserts'

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Fish in Banana Leaf

Cooking fish in banana leaf is very common in kerala, India. However I have been thinking of trying it for a long time now. Getting fresh banana leaves here in USA, is very hard. Hence, I got frozen banana leaves from a Mexican Grocery Store. Though one can never compare cooking in a fresh banana leaf and a frozen leaf, this is the best I could do with the available ingredients. Check in the frozen section at Indian or Mexican Grocery stores for the frozen banana leaves. I used a frozen Cod fillet for this recipe, you can use any of the available fish.

Banana leaf - 1
Fish Pieces/Fillet - 2
Fresh Curry Leaves - 3-4, finely chopped
Oil - 1 tsp

For the Marinade:
Chilli Powder - 1 tsp
Onion - 1 small, roughly chopped
Ginger - 1 inch piece
Garlic - 2 pods
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric - 1/4 tsp
Lime/Lemon - 1/2 squeezed
Salt - as per taste

Method of Preparation:
1. If using a frozen banana leaf, wash it with cold water and pat it dry using a kitchen towel and leave it at room temperature for around an hour.
2. Grind all the ingredients for the marinade into a smooth paste.
3. Apply the marinade to the fish pieces evenly and let them rest in the refrigerator for around 2 hours.
4. Fold the banana leaf into half, so that you have double layer of the leaf to work with.
5. Place the fish pieces in the center, sprinkle the chopped curry leaves on them and then fold the leaf edges to form a parcel with the fish pieces in the middle.
6. Heat a pan/tawa, add a teaspoon of oil and place the fish pieces wrapped in banana leaf on it.
7. If using small pieces of fish, turn the fish parcel around in 3-4 minutes and if working with large fish pieces, turn it around in 4-5 minutes. Let the fish cook for 3 minutes and switch off the heat. let the fish rest on the hot tawa for a while.
8. Enjoy the fish in a banana leaf while it is still warm.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Besan Halwa

Its been long since I made any sweet and today I wanted to try this simple recipe which does not need loads of ghee and sugar. Tomorrow my better half is returning from a business trip and thought of making this for him. So today I tried it out and the result was pretty good!!

Besan/Senagapindi/Gram flour - 1 cup
Milk - 3 cups
Sugar - 8 tsp (adjust according to taste)
Ghee/Oil/Clarified butter - 2tbsp
Cardamom pods - 2, finely powdered
Almonds - 5-6, sliced finely

Method of Preparation:
1. Heat a non stick pan and add ghee/oil. Add the gram flour/senagapindi/besan to the pan and keep stirring continuously for 6-7 minutes on medium to high heat.
2. Once the flour turns golden brown and starts emanating a pleasant smell, add the milk and sugar. Stir continuously ensuring that no lumps are formed.
3. Once the mixture starts thickening, add cardamom/elaichi powder.
4. After the mixture reaches a halwa consistency, turn off the heat and garnish with sliced almonds.
5. Enjoy the besan halwa, while it is still warm.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Various Ways of Enjoying Green Tea

Not many people like having green tea, since there is not much flavor in it. This post is especially for such people.
Try combining green tea with different spices and see the difference for yourself.

1. Cardamom Green Tea - 
   Add a crushed cardamom to your cup of green tea and see the difference. Not only is your green tea flavorful but you also get the benefits of cardamom along with your cup of tea.

2. Clove Green Tea - 
  Add a whole clove or a crushed clove to your green tea and see the difference.

3. Fennel/Saunf Green Tea - 
  Slightly grind few saunf/fennel seeds and add them to your green tea.

4. Mint Green Tea - 
  Add few leaves of fresh pudina/mint to your green tea.

Personally, cardamom green tea is my favorite. Hope, this post encourages you to try a cup of green tea!!!

All You Need to Know About Green Tea!!!

Green tea best known for its various health benefits is a great alternative to the regular tea. Originated in China, green tea is widely recommended for anti-aging benefits, weight loss, etc. Among all the available varieties of tea, such as white tea, black tea, oolong tea, green tea, etc, green tea is the one which is the least processed and hence has huge benefits.

Calories in Green Tea
Green tea contains zero calories, however the addition of sweeteners increases the calorie count. Consumption of green tea increases the metabolic rate. Consuming 3 to 4 cups of green tea a day increases the metabolic rate by 4%. Green tea consists of chemicals known as polyphenols and catechin which not only have anti-oxidant properties but also act as boosters of metabolism.

Benefits of Green Tea
 - Aids in weight loss
 - slows down the aging process
 - aids in the prevention of cancer
 - fights against allergy causing agents

If you are looking for ways to reduce weight, then drink around 3 to 5 cups of green tea a day. This helps you  get rid of 70 calories in a day.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Lime Mint Cooler

This is one drink that is very close to my heart. Back in India, when I was working in Chennai, me and my teammate used to have this in a juice shop on the premises of our company. We used to work late hours till midnight, so had the flexibility of coming at around 9.30 A.M in the morning and by that time the breakfast section at the food court used to be closed. Then our only option was having a sandwich. We used to wash down the sandwich with a chilled lime mint cooler. For almost three months, we had this drink almost everyday. This is a very simple drink with the most refreshing taste.

(Serves 1)
Mint/Pudina leaves - 5 or 6
Lime/Lemon - 1 whole
Sugar - 1 tbsp(adjust according to taste)
Water - 1 glass
Ice cubes - few

Method of Preparation:
1. Take a blender, add the mint leaves, squeeze the lemon/lime, add sugar and water.
2. Blend for a minute. If required, strain the juice.
3. Serve lime mint cooler in tall glasses with ice.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Adraki Aloo Moong

This is one of the recipes which me and my mom prefer, when we are running short on time. With very minimal preparation time, this is the perfect dish which you can pair with rotis.

Potatoes - 2 medium sized, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
Tomatoes - 1 medium sized, roughly chopped
Moong Dal/Split Yellow Dal - 3 tbsp
Grated ginger - 1 tbsp
Chilli powder - 1 tbsp (adjust according to taste)
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Coriander Powder - 1 tbsp
Garam Masala - a pinch
Salt - As per taste

For the Tempering:
Oil - 11/2 tbsp
Cumin Seeds - 1/4 tsp

Method of Preparation:
1. Heat a pressure cooker and add the oil and cumin seeds. Once the seeds splutter add the moong dal and fry for 3 minutes.
2. Add the turmeric powder, grated ginger and fry for a minute. Add the diced potatoes and fry for a minute.
3. Add coriander powder, chilli powder and fry for 2 minutes.
4. Add the chopped tomatoes mix and add 2 cups of water.
5. Lastly add garam masala, salt and mix well.
5. Cover the pressure cooker lid and cook for 2-3 whistles. Ensure that the potatoes don't become paste.
6. Serve hot with rotis.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Chana Zor Garam

Looks like it is going to rain today, so I wanted to have a snack along with a cup of hot tea. Previously I had heard a lot about chana zor garam, but never really attempted to make it. So, today I took time to find more about this popular street side Indian snack. I found many versions of this popular snack and finally decided on doing it in an oven unlike the traditional method of deep frying. Here goes the recipe of chana zor garam along with a famous Hindi song related to it!!

Black Chana/Chickpeas/Garbanzo beans - 1 cup(Can even use kabuli chana)
Oil - 11/2 tsp
Chilli Powder/Paprika - 1/4 tsp
Lemon juice - 1/4 tsp
Onion - 2 tbsp, finely chopped
Cumin Powder - a pinch
Salt - As per taste

Method of Preparation:
1. Soak the chana overnight. Drain the water and place the chana on a kitchen towel to remove the excess water. Ensure that the chana is dry.
2. Preheat the oven to 425 F. Line a baking sheet with aluminium foil.
3. Add oil and a little bit of salt to the chana, mix well.
4. Spread the chana on the baking sheet and bake for 7-10 minutes, depending on the chana you use. I baked for 7 minutes.
5. Take out the baking tray mix the chana once and place it in the oven for another 4-7 minutes. The chana should be crispy from outside and soft inside.
6. Meanwhile, in a bowl add the chopped onions, salt, chilli powder, cumin powder, lemon juice and mix well.
7. Now add the baked chana to this mix and toss well and enjoy your Chana Zor Garam

1. You can deep fry the chana instead of baking
2. You can use green chillies instead of chilli powder
3. You can even add chopped tomatoes and coriander leaves
4. You can omit the onions

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Very Berry Smoothie

With various fruits in season, I am experimenting a lot with smoothies. Today's very berry smoothie is a very simple recipe that is extremely delicious too. This one is worth giving a try!! Couldn't really do a good job with the pictures though, as I had to use a mobile phone camera.

Blueberries - 1 cup
Raspberries - 1/2 cup
Yogurt - 3 tbsp
Sugar/honey - 1 tsp (adjust as per taste)

Method of Preparation:
Add all the ingredients to a blender and blend into a smooth puree. If using frozen fruits, you need not add ice, else add crushed ice and serve.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Cooking using a Foil - Jeera Aloo Gobi

Instant curry/rice pouches which can be popped into a microwave oven or hot water for couple of minutes are an instant hit among those individuals who do not have time to cook at home. However, the taste of those is far from the authentic taste of home made food. So, here is a very simple way of turning home made curries into instant curry pouches. All you need is a sheet of aluminium foil to start with. I used 9X11 sized foil.

Make a Pouch of the Foil:

1. Fold the foil into half.
2. Seal the bottom edge by folding a 1/4 inch of the foil, fold it once again.
3. Seal the edges on the side by folding a 1/4 inch, fold it one again

The resultant pouch should look something like this.

Once your pouch is ready, the rest of the steps are pretty simple. 

Cauliflower Florets - 11/2 cup
Potato - 1 medium sized, peeled and diced into cubes
Oil - 11/2 tbsp

Dry Masala:
Cumin Powder - 1 tsp
Chilli Powder - 1 tbsp
Turmeric Powder - 1/4 tsp
Coriander Powder - 1 tsp
Garam Masala - 1/4 tsp
Salt - According to Taste

Method of Preparation:
1. Mix all the dry masala ingredients together.
2. Take the cauliflower florets and potato cubes in a bowl, add 1/2 tbsp of oil and mix them well.
3. Sprinkle the dry masala mix on the cauliflower and potatoes. Mix them well either using hand/spoon or by tossing them.
4. Pour the remaining 1 tbsp oil on the mixture and mix well.
5. Transfer the contents from the bowl to the pouch using a spoon or hand.
6. Seal the open edge in such a way that no steam escapes, when cooking.

Method of Cooking
1. You can either use a oven or a tava or any pan to cook.
2. If using a tava or any pan, place the sealed pouch on the tava and place it on a slightly higher than medium flame. After 8 to 10 minutes flip the pouch onto the other side and leave it for another 5 to 7 minutes. Switch of the heat and let the pouch stay on the hot tava for a couple of minutes.
3. If using oven, pop the pouch into a preheated oven at 400F for 15-20 minutes and let it rest for a couple of minutes before removing from the oven.
4. Be cautious while opening the pouch, the hot steam might burn your fingers.
Jeer Aloo Gobi, cooked on tava

Note: You can make the pouches ahead for different curries and freeze them, so that you can heat them when needed, for a piping hot home made meal.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

All You Need to Know About Peaches!!!

Peaches, were the favorite fruit of emperors and kings of China, where it was originated. As per the Chinese writings, peaches are in existence since tenth century BC.

Nutritional Information:
 - Peaches do not have any traces of sodium and are a good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Iron and Potassium
 - A medium sized peach has got less than a gram of fat
 - Peach flesh along with the skin is a good source of fiber
 - A medium sized peach is a low calorie snack, containing around 40 calories

Health Benefits:
 - Peaches comprise of more than 80 percent of water along with a good amount of dietary fiber, thus making them a good choice for those trying to lose weight.
 - Peaches are very good source of Phytochemicals. The phytochemicals are very beneficial in the prevention of cancer, tumor growth and heart diseases and also act as antioxidants.
 - Peaches have found to beneficial for individuals suffering from dry cough, high blood pressure, poor digestion, asthma, bronchitis, anemia, etc

According to a study in China, men and women who ate peaches more than twice a week had a less chance of developing mouth cancers when compared to those who didn't eat peaches.

Purchase, Storage and Handling of Peaches:
 - Do not buy peaches if they have any bruises
 - Look for peaches which have true red color with very little yellow and ones which feel soft and have sweet smell. If they have a lot of aroma, then they are ready to be eaten.
 - If the peaches are not ripe, store them in a paper bag, taking care not to pile them, as they can easily get bruised. Once they turn ripe and start emanating sweet sell you can store them in refrigerator for almost a week, depending on the degree of ripeness.

Peach Ice Tea

With the constant raise in temperatures, I was thinking of a cold refreshing drink without loads of calories. I decided to go with a refreshing ice tea. Since, peaches are in season and widely available, I tried a peach ice tea. The result was pretty amazing drink, which required very few ingredients.

Fresh/frozen peaches - 2 medium sized.
Tea bags - 2
Water - 3 glasses
Honey/Sugar - 1 tbsp (optional)

Method of Preparation:
1. Add the tea bags to 3 glasses of lukewarm water and let it sit for 30 minutes.
2. If working with fresh peaches, remove the skin and roughly chop into quarters. If using frozen peaches, thaw them and use. Keep aside few slices of peaches and add the rest of chopped peaches to a blender and blend to a smooth puree.
3. Remove the tea bags after 30 minutes and discard them.
4. Add the peach puree to the tea and strain the whole mixture. Place the strained tea in the refrigerator and chill it for a couple of hours.
5. Add sugar/honey if required and pour the peach tea into tall glasses filled with ice cubes.
6. Garnish with chopped pieces of peach and serve chilled.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Chayote/Bangalore Vankaya Tomato Curry

Chayote is referred by quite a few names, few of them being, chow-chow, seema vankaya, pear squash. Chayote is a very good source of Vitamin C and Amino acids. In US, you can easily get chayotes in the grocery stores, especially in the Mexican grocery stores. Try this simple recipe and I am sure you will fall in love with Chayote!!

Chayote - 1(Peeled, deseeded and finely chopped)
Onion - 1/4, finely chopped
Tomato - 1 medium sized, finely chopped
Garlic cloves - 2, finely chopped
Chilli Powder - 1 tbsp
Turmeric Powder - 1/4 tsp
Salt - As per taste

For the Tempering:
Oil - 1 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1/4 tsp
Urad dal - 1/2 tsp

Method of Preparation:
1. Heat oil in a vessel and add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds and urad dal. Once the seeds start spluttering, add the chopped onions and fry them for 3 minutes.
2. Add the chopped chayote, turmeric powder, 1/4tsp salt, mix and cook covered for 3 minutes.
3. Add the chopped garlic and cook covered for a minute.
4. Add the chopped tomatoes, chilli powder and cook covered for 3-5 minutes, if needed, sprinkle some water. Adjust the salt.
5. Serve with rotis or warm rice.
One of my friend suggested that adding a spoon or two of groundnut powder enhances the taste of the curry.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Apple Dates Milkshake

If you are looking for a quick energy boosting drink, you should definitely try this. This is a drink that does not need lot of ingredients. All you need is a small apple, few dates and milk.
Apple - 1 medium sized, chopped into small pieces
Dates - 5-6
Milk - 1 cup
Almonds - 2, finely sliced(optional)

Method of Preparation:
1. Chop the dates roughly and soak them in hot milk for 20 minutes.
2. Add the chopped apples, the soaked dates along with the milk they are soaked in and the remaining chilled milk to a blender.
3. Blend to a smooth puree.
4. Serve the milkshake in tall glasses and garnish with finely sliced almonds.
Add a banana along with the ingredients and blend, this enhances the taste of the drink and fills your stomach too.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Turnip Greens With Dal

Turnip greens are pretty tough leaves, unlike spinach or fenugreek leaves. I tried cooking the greens with tuvar dal/toor dal/ kandi pappu and the outcome was pretty good.
Turnip Greens - 1 bunch(washed cleanly and finely chopped)
Toor dal/kandi pappu - 1/2 cup

Grind to Powder:
Roasted Chana Dal/putnala pappu - 1/4 cup
Garlic - 1 clove, chopped
Chilli powder - 1 tbsp
Salt - 1/2 tsp

For the Tempering:
Oil - 2tbsp
Onion - 1 medium, roughly chopped
Mustard Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Cumin Seeds - 1/4 tsp
Urad dal - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves - 4-5

Method of Preparation:
1. Pressure cook the washed dal and chopped greens with 3 glasses of water.
2. Heat oil in a vessel and add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, urad dal and curry leaves. Once the seeds start spluttering, add the chopped onions and fry till they turn translucent.
3. Add the pressure cooked dal and greens along with the water, if any, remains in the cooker.
4. If not much water is left in the cooker, add a cup of water to the vessel.
5. Add the ground powder and adjust the salt.
6. Cook covered  for 5-10 minutes.
7. Serve the turnip greens dal warm, with rice or rotis.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Beans Talimpu

Fresh tender beans talimpu with hot rice is a perfect combination. There are a lot of ways in which beans talimpu can be made. Today I made using roasted chana dal/putnala pappu, the same way my mom makes at home.

Beans - 1 pound (appx 1/2 kilo) (chopped and steamed)
Onions - 1 medium sized, roughly chopped
Shredded coconut - 2 tbsp(preferably fresh)
Grind to Powder:
Roasted Chana Dal/Putnala Pappu - 1/2 cup
Chilli Powder - 1 tbsp
Garlic - 1, roughly chopped
Salt - 1/2 tsp
For the Tempering:
Oil - 2 tbsp
Mustard Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Cumin Seeds - 1/4 tsp
Urad dal - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves - 4-5

Method of Preparation:
1. Heat oil in a pan and mustard seeds, cumin seeds, urad dal, curry leaves. Once the seeds splutter add the onions and fry till the onions become translucent.
2. Add the steamed beans and some salt. Cook for 5 minutes
3. Add the shredded coconut and the roasted chana dal powder, mix well, adjust the salt and cook for 5 more minutes.
4. Serve the beans talimpu with warm rice or rotis.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Frozen Blueberry Yogurt

Frozen yogurt stalls can be seen in most of the malls. When the mercury is rising, frozen yogurt is a great alternative to a calorie laden ice cream. Blueberries and yogurt are a match made in heaven. Here is a simple recipe for frozen blueberry yogurt.

Blueberries - 1/2 cup
Thick Yogurt - 1/2 cup
Sugar - 2 tbsp (adjust according to taste)

Method of Preparation:
1. Add the blueberries, yogurt and sugar to a mixer/blender and make a smooth puree.
2. Add the puree to a container with a tight lid and put it in the freezer.
3. Once the mixture becomes semi solid, cut it into pieces, add it to a mixer/blender and puree it again.
4. repeat the 2nd and 3rd step twice(This ensures that no crystals are formed in the frozen yogurt)
5. Finally let the mixture solidify for a couple of hours.
6. Do not let the yogurt harden like a normal ice cube.
7. Serve the frozen blueberry yogurt chilled.

This is my entry to the event 'Cold Desserts'


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