March 26, 2017

Cabbage Capsicum Rice

How to make Cabbage Capsicum Rice


            Here is a really no fuss, quick lunch box recipe, I had noted down from a tv show.  The flavor & color of the rice will vary slightly based on the kind/color of cabbage & capsicum used in the recipe. Check out my pictures below for an idea. It really doesn't need an accompaniment, but its totally upto you, what you serve it with. Sending this quick recipe to my fellow bloggers at CCC # 42: March Week 4.





Ingredients for about 3 servings -

Basmati rice - 1 cup, soaked for 20 mins
Water - 1.5 cups
Cabbage - 250 gms, shredded
Capsicum/bell pepper - 1, cut into strips
Onion - 1, sliced
Ginger-Garlic paste - 1 Tbsp
Krambu/Cloves - a few
Elakkai/Cardamom - 2 no:s
Pattai/Cinnamon - 1 whole
Green chillies - 3 no:s, slit
Oil - 2 tbsp
Salt to taste
fried cashews (optional) - about 6 no:s




Stove top method-

  • Heat a kadai with oil, add the cloves, cinnamon, cardamom; saute for a minute on medium low & add green chillies, onions - saute until golden brown, add ginger-garlic paste & saute on low, preferably covered (so it doesn't splatter) until the raw smell disappears.
  • Add the capsicum & cabbage on high heat, saute for about a minute. Add the drained rice, 1.5 cups of water & salt. Stir, cover and cook for about 10 minutes on medium low heat. When the rice is cooked soft, top it with fried cashews & serve with any raitha, curry, papad or just plain.



February 26, 2017

Old fashioned Banana Cream Pie

How to make an old fashioned banana cream pie


          This year, for my son's b'day; we decided to have home-made banana cream pie, instead of the usual birthday cake. It's not that weird, considering the fact that he has been asking us to pick up a banana cream pie every time we hit the grocery store for the last couple of months. So I figured, why not? Whatever makes him happy, is good enough for his birthday. This recipe is from my recipe dairy, probably noted down from a food network show. Top it with whipped cream or go all the way & drizzle some caramel sauce, and top it with shaved chocolate just for good measure.

         I made the pie crust from scratch with this recipe - Buttery & flaky pie crust and for my li'l one, who is a devoted chocolate lover I made some delicious Chocolate Brownies. If you ask him, there cannot be a celebration without something chocolatey :)










Ingredients for 8 to 10 servings:


3⁄4 cup sugar
1⁄3 cup all-purpose flour or 2.5 tbsp of corn starch
1⁄4 tsp salt
2 cups milk
3 egg yolks, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 medium firm & ripe bananas, sliced
1 (9 inch) pie shell, baked
Sweetened whipped cream or Cool Whip

Optional Toppings:

Caramel/Chocolate sauce
Chocolate shavings
Sliced bananas or berries

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • In a saucepan, combine sugar, flour, and salt; stir in milk and mix well. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and comes to a boil; boil for 2 minutes.
  •  Remove from the heat. Stir a small amount of cream mixture into egg yolks for tempering and pour the egg yolks slowly into the saucepan. 

  • Cook for 2 more minutes, stirring constantly and remove from heat. Add butter and vanilla; mix well; allow to cool slightly. 
  • Place the sliced bananas evenly in pastry shell and pour cream/custard mixture over the bananas. 
  • Bake the pie for about 12 to 15 minutes. Cool to room temperature on a wire rack. 
  • Let it chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour or two, before topping with whipped cream & serving in slices.
  • Cover loosely with foil/plastic wrap & use within 3-4 days under refrigeration.
Sharing this recipe with my friends at SriValli's CCC# 41: February -- Week 4.

February 12, 2017

Kalkandu (Rock Sugar) Pongal

How to make Kalkandu (Rock Sugar) Pongal


            The jaggery pongal is quite popular & well liked by everyone, but the kalkandu pongal is kind of like the shy cousin of the jaggery pongal. Many may not have tasted it and hence not know about this less known , but equally delicious pongal version. The recipe was duly noted in my recipe diary cos' my grandma & mom used to make this pongal occasionally. To make this pongal taste rich, I have used evaporated milk instead of regular. Sharing this divine recipe with my friends at Sri Valli's CCC# 41: February -- Week 2.



Ingredients for 6 to 8 servings:

uncooked rice - 1 cup
Pasiparuppu/Moong dal - 1 tbsp
Kalkandu/Rock sugar - 1.5 cups
Evaporated milk or regular milk - 1 cup + 2 tbsp
Elakkai podi/Cardamom powder - 1/4 tsp
Nutmeg powder - 1/8 tsp
Ghee - 3 tbsp
Saffron - a pinch
Raisins - 1 tbsp or more
Cashewnut - 2 tbsp


Pressure cooker method:

  • In a pressure cooker, cook (until soft & mushy) the rice & dal together with 1 tbsp of ghee, and excess water. (ex: if you normally add 2.5 cups of water for 1 cup of rice; add 3 cups of water instead).
  • Soak the saffron in 2 tbsp of warm milk.
  • When the rice is cooked, add the kalkandu/rock sugar to it, stir to let it melt in the heat. Add the milk & stir on low heat, taking care not to burn it.
  • Add cardamom and nutmeg powder. Add the soaked saffron to the pongal.
  • In a separate pan, melt ghee & fry the cashewnuts & raisins. Toss them into the pongal & serve hot or cold.


January 29, 2017

Poosanikai/Pumpkin Chutney

How to make Poosanikai/Pumpkin Chutney


          I bet we all get tired of the same old chutney varieties. I also like to incorporate  vegetables other than onions & tomatoes into my chutneys. So here's one version of the pumpkin chutney, which tastes more like poosanikai paruppu thuvayal, if you know what paruppu thuvayal  (dal chutney) tastes like. That recipe is for another post, cos' I have a story to go with it. This recipe is from one of Mallika Badrinath's cookbook's - Chutney Varieties; and is being shared with my groupies at - CCC# 40: January -- Week 4.






Ingredients for about 2 to 4 servings:

Chopped yellow Pumpkin/Poosanikai - 2 cups
Dry red chillies- 4 no:
Oil - 3 tsps
Kadalai paruppu/Bengal gram dal- 1.5 tbps
Thuvaram paruppu/Toor dal - 1.5 tbps
Salt to taste
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
Urad dal - 1/4 tsp


Stove top Method:

  1. Heat a tsp of oil in a pan & fry the red chillies, toor dal, bengal gram dal until it turns golden brown & crisp.
  2. Transfer the roasted ingredients to a plate.
  3. Heat the pan again with a tsp of oil, add the chopped pumpkin pieces & roast for a few seconds & sprinkling some water, cover & cook until soft.
  4. Powder the roasted ingredients from step one with salt & then add the roasted pumpkin pieces. Grind to a coarse chutney.
  5. Heat a tsp of oil, add the mustard seeds, when mustard splutters add urad dal & curry leaves, fry for a few seconds, until crisp. Season the chutney with this & serve with idli, dosa or rice.









January 15, 2017

Kathirikai Rasavangi (eggplants cooked with toor dal & tamarind)

How to make Kathirikai/Brinjal Rasavangi


The "Samaithu Paar" books by S. Meenakshi Ammal were the first cookbooks my mom bought for me, to take with me into my newly wedded life. At that time, I had no clue how important these books were going to be for me, when I was all alone & far away from mom with no clue on how to cook. Boy! Some of the recipes truly saved my day during my first year of marriage. Especially, when I found that my hubby had been cooking for a few years and was a more experienced & better cook than me. Through trial & error, the recipes in the book taught me how to cook some traditional/homestyle recipes. Rest assured, you will be seeing quite a few recipes from this series throughout the year in my space. Sharing this healthy homestyle recipe with my friends at Valli's CCC# 40: January -- Week 2. The ingredients in this recipe reminds me of this delicious Paavakkai Pitlay, somehow.  





Ingredients:

350 gms of tender eggplants/kathirikai, sliced
3/4th cup Toor dal/Red gram dal - pressure cooked until soft
1 lime sized ball of tamarind, juice extracted
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
salt to taste
2 tbsp, oil

To roast & grind:

2 tbsp Kadalai paruppu/Bengal gram
3 tbsp coriander seed
6 dried red chillies
4 tbsp grated coconut
1 tbsp, oil

For tempering:

1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp ulutham paruppu/black gram dal
1/8th tsp asafoetida powder
a sprig of curry leaves
2 red chillies
1 tbsp, oil





Stove top method:


  • Using a thick bottom pan, roast the bengal gram dal, coriander seeds, red chillies and grated coconut using a little oil, until crisp & aromatic. Let cool & powder finely & keep aside.
  • Cut the eggplant into slices. Heat oil and saute the eggplant in it for 4 or 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until its almost cooked.
  •  Add the tamarind water to the eggplants and add enough additional water to cover. Add salt to taste and the turmeric powder, and bring to a simmer until the eggplant is tender.
  • Add the cooked toor dal and add the spice powder previously prepared, mix well & bring to a rolling boil. Remove the pan from the heat.
  • In another pan, heat some oil and add the mustard seeds. Allow them to pop, then add the urad dal and asafoetida powder. As the urad dal turns golden add the curry leaves, remove from the heat and add to the rasavangi. 
  • Serve hot with steamed rice.

Notes:

  • Ash gourd can be used instead of eggplant. Use 2.5 cups chopped ash gourd, cook it in plain water and add the tamarind water to the cooked gourd.
  • Dried beans can also be cooked and used with either Eggplant or Ash Gourd Rasavangi.



January 1, 2017

Twisty Pesto Cheese Straws


How to make Twisty Pesto Cheese Straws


            Here's a quick & scrumptious recipe for your next party. I am glad I took the time to finally make these crispy, flaky, cheesy hors d'oeuvres from a Good Food magazine clipping (Dec 2013). I would love to customize this to the Indian palate, by adding a spicy alternative to pesto, next time. You can also easily turn this into something sweet for the young ones. The best part of it, is that its crisp on the outside, yet so soft when you bite into it. Kids just love these. Sharing this final recipe of the year, with my friends over at CCC# 39: December -- Week 5







Ingredients:


(makes around 25 pcs)
5-6 oz, cream cheese
2 tbsp basil pesto sauce
1 lb/490g sheet puff pastry (2 sheets of frozen pastry sheets)
a little flour, for dusting
1 egg, beaten



  • Heat oven to 400°F. Tip the cream cheese and pesto into a bowl and mix well.
  • Unroll the pastry on a lightly floured surface and cut in half lengthways. Spread the pesto mix over one half, place the other piece of pastry on top to create a sandwich, then cut in half lengthways to create 2 long rectangles. Divide each rectangle into short strips, about 1cm thick. Twist each pastry strip and place on a baking tray lined with parchment.
  • Brush with egg and bake for 20 mins until risen and golden brown.




December 11, 2016

Dal Pancharathan / Five Lentil Curried Dal

How to make Dal Pancharathan / Five Lentil Curried Dal



                  Here's a delightful five lentil dal all the way from Rajasthan. This is also a no onion-no garlic recipe if you are looking for one. The main flavors in this dal are from the tomatoes & the aromatic spices. Serve it with phulkas, rice or just serve it as a soup, that is sure you fill you up in a healthy way. 



Soaking time: 3 hours
Serves: 4-6 people

Ingredients:

Masoor Dal - 1/4 cup
Moong Dal - 1/4 cup
Toor Dal - 1/4 cup
Channa Dal - 1/4 cup
Whole Urad dal - 1/4 cup
Chopped tomatoes - 3 no:s
Salt to taste
Garam masala powder - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Chili powder - 1/4 to 1/2 tsp


For seasoning:

Ghee - 2 tbsp
Jeera - 1 tsp
Elaichi/Cardamom pods - 3 no:s
Dry red chilli - 1 no:
Lavang/Cloves - 4 no:s
Asafoetida powder - 1/2 tsp
Slit green chilli - 2 nos:
Julienned ginger - 2 inch piece

For garnishing:

Chopped coriander leaves
Julienned ginger



Stove top method:

  • Wash & soak the dals for a minimum of 3 hours, preferably in the refrigerator; or soak overnight. Pressure cook for about 10 whistles or until cooked soft.
  • Heat a kadai with ghee, add the broken red chilli, jeera, elaichi, cloves & fry until crisp & aromatic. Add the asafoetida, green chilli & ginger - saute for a few seconds. 
  • Add tomatoes, salt, chilli powder, turmeric powder & cook until the tomatoes are starting to get mushy & ghee floats on top.
  • Add garam masala powder, cooked dal mixture and some water for consistency. Let it simmer for a few minutes on low heat.
  • Serve hot with a lavish sprinkle of chopped coriander leaves & julienned ginger.

Sharing this quick recipe I had noted down in my recipe diary from a tv show, with my fellow bloggers at CCC# 39: Dec -- Week 2


November 28, 2016

Eggless Lime Shortbread Trees

How to bake Lime Shortbread Trees (eggless)






Prep 1 hour 15 minutes
Bake 12-15 minutes per batch
Cool 10 minutes per batch
Makes 30 cookies

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup butter, softened
½ cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons finely shredded lime peel
¼ teaspoon salt
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup powdered sugar
Milk - as needed
Green food colouring (optional)
Small decorative candies




METHOD

1. In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add the ½ cup powdered sugar, the lime peel, and salt. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in flour until dough just comes together. Divide dough in half. If necessary, cover and chill dough for 30 minutes or until it is easy to handle.

2. Preheat oven to 160°C/325°F. On a large ungreased cookie sheet, place the dough; place a sheet of wax paper on top & roll half of the dough into a 13x4-inch rectangle. Do not roll the dough thin or cookies will crumble easily.

3. Score with a long knife (in the shape of multiple X's ) to make medium sized tall triangles. Remove dough scraps. Make small triangles from the dough scraps & place them at the bottom of the trees as trunks. Repeat the process until all of the dough is used up. 
                                                                                OR
 Use X'mas tree cookie cutter, after rolling out the dough into the cookie sheet. Remove dough scraps. Roll dough & repeat the process until all of the dough is turned into trees. 

4. Bake about 12 minutes or until edges just begin to brown. While still hot, re-cut trees with the long sharp knife. Cool on cookie sheet for 10 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool.

5. For icing, in a small bowl stir together the 1 cup powdered sugar and enough milk, 1 to 2 teaspoons at a time, to make an icing of spreading consistency. Remember the 10 second rule - If you score the icing with a knife, the line should be covered up within 10 seconds. If it's too runny, add more powdered sugar. If desired, divide the icing into 2 bowls & tint some of the icing with green food colouring. Spread icing on cookies; decorate with small candies. 

To Make Ahead and Store: Layer unfrosted cookies between sheets of waxed paper in an airtight container; cover. Store at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw cookies, if frozen. Ice cookies as directed.

Notes:

  • It may seem strange to roll the cookie dough directly on the sheet, but in this case, doing so helps you create extra-tender cookies. 

This recipe is from 'Better Homes and Gardens Very Merry Cookies' cookbook. Linking this with my friends at Sri Valli's CCC# 38: November -- Week 4.

November 13, 2016

Kathrikai Podi Kari (Stir fried eggplant with lentils & spices)

How to make Kathrikai Podi Kari


                    This no onion-no garlic recipe is from my recipe diary, duly noted down from a tv show years ago. You can skip the microwave cooking & do it completely in your skillet. I find that the microwave cooking cuts down on the amount of oil used, & yet providing the same results for a dry curry. The coarseness of the ground spices can be your preference. I prefer the crunchiness of the lentils in a bite; some of you may like it better with finely ground spices. However you choose to make it, the spices definitely make it special. Sharing this recipe with my fellow bloggers at CCC# 38: November -- Week 2.








Ingredients:


Kathrikai/Eggplant - 250 gms, sliced
Salt - to taste
Oil - 2 tbsp
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp


Ingredients for frying & powdering:

Perungayam/Asafoetida - a big pinch
Ulutham paruppu/Urad dal - 1/2 tbsp
Kadalai paruppu/Channa dal - 1/2 tbsp
Dry red chillies - 2 no:s
Grated coconut - 3 tbsp



Microwave + Stove top method:

  • Slice the brinjals & let them sit in a container with water, until you are ready to cook them.
  • Arrange the sliced eggplants on a wide plate, sprinkle salt & turmeric powder on them; cover with a wet paper towel/cloth & microwave on high for about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the cloth, take another plate of the same size - holding it tight on top of the hot plate; flip it quickly so the eggplants are transferred to the new plate, sprinkle a little more salt & turmeric powder on top, cover with a wet cloth/paper towel & microwave again for 5 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, heat a pan on (low-medium heat) with a little oil, add the ingredients listed for frying in the same order & roast them in oil until aromatic & crisp. Let cool, powder & set aside.
  • Heat the pan with the remaining oil, add the semi-cooked brinjal slices from the microwave, add required salt, turmeric powder, the ground powder & stir fry until well roasted.
  • Serve warm with a meal platter. Goes well with Sambhar rice, Rasam rice.



October 23, 2016

Deepavali Recipes

Deepavali/Diwali Sweets & Savories



Here is a consolidated list of some of the most favorite sweets and savories made during Deepavali.



Click on the links below for the complete step by step recipes with pictorials:

Paal Kozhukattai

Khajoor ka Halwa

Moong dal flour Ladoo

Susiyam / Sugiyam

Cashew Wheat Appam

Coconut Burfi/Candied Coconut Bars

Sweet Somasi (Karjikai)

Mullu Murukku

Masala Karasev

Mysore Pak

Carrot Halwa



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