May 31, 2008

The A to Z of Soups and Salads

The Monthly Blog Patrol did quite well this hot summer month. I received 26 entries. That's why I decided to call this the A to Z. I added my own and it became 27, but I didn't email my entry to myself, so it doesn't count! In keeping with the A to Z, the entries in alphabetical order. (This round up also starts with an A to Z salad and ends with A to Z soup. Read on to find out how!)

Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen sent me the A to Z Pasta Salad from Susan's Fat Free Vegan Kitchen.

Arul of FoodNTaste dished out this lovely Carrot - Tomato Soup from Vineela's Cooking.

Arundathi of My Food Blog made this really pretty and refreshing Watermelon Gazpacho. She hunted and hunted and found a recipe at Married With Dinner.

Asha sent me this entire meal of Kanji with Cherupayar Mezhukkupuratti very early on this month. Her inspiration was this dish from Shn's Kitchen Mishmash.

Bhags of Crazy Curry sent me Sorisha's version of Tomato Shorba.

When Richa posted this soup, I was fairly certain someone would make it. Cham of Spice Club proved me right with this Carrot Orange Soup.

My dear friend Chitra who is another HUGE inspiration for recipes on my blog made this Penne And Fusilli Salad from my Macaroni Salad. She doesn't have a blog yet, but this is the picture she took of the salad.

Dee of Ammalu's Kitchen made a Spicy Bean Salad and Cucumber Soup from Ashwini's Bean Salad and Cucumber Soup recipes.

Divya Vikram of Dil Se was inspired by this creamy soup from Pearls of East. Her Asparagus Soup looks very hearty to me.

Easy Crafts of Simple Indian Food made this very Indian salad, my favourite Carrot Kosumbari, from Suma's Veggie Platter.

JZ of Tasty Treats made this lovely Hot 'n' Sour Soup from a recipe at Mansi's FunnFud. (It started raining in Gurgaon just now and I would love to have a bowl of this soup.)

Meera of Enjoy Indian Food made this Kosambari from Archy's recipe. Perfect with a simple Indian meal.

Namratha of Finger Licking Food made this wholesome Minestrone Soup from Sia's Monsoon Spice.

Nandita of Saffron Trail went on a junk food trail and then made this Green Bean and Tomato Salad from Smitten Kitchen to aid her rehab efforts.

Rajitha of Hunger Pangs sent in one of my favourite soups, Mushroom Soup, from a blog whose recipes fill my bookmarks: Cookery Corner.


Ranjani of Wake Up And Smell The Masala made this Greek Salad from Janet's recipe.

Revathi, my friend from school, sent in this Pineapple Rasam which has me confused. She has linked it to my recipe but says she made it from the recipe of another friend. (Since I am hosting this event, I have to allow this, haven't I? I mean, the guy who owns the cricket bat doesn't ever get out, does he?)

Shubha of Chuki Bhar Pyar made this very pretty Roasted Tomato and Red Pepper Soup from this recipe at Vegetarian Medley.

Sig of Live to Eat made this Salad Lyonnaise from Elise's blog which called for poached eggs. Sig cheated a wee bit (with the event's support and permission) and made her Fried Egg version.

Siri of Siri's made this (and forgot to send it to me). I remembered just now that someone had an MBP entry in their Recipe Marathon entries and tracked this down. Cucumber Kosambari from Asha's Foodie's Hope.


Srimathi of Few Minute Wonders revisits the old favourite, Tomato Soup, after inspiration from Mythreyee's recipe.

Sujatha of Spicy Khazana makes this 13 Bean Soup from the "first couple" in the Food Blogosphere, Jugalbandi.

Swetha of Our Cherished World made this light and flavourful Onion & Coriander Soup from Shilpa's blog.

TBC a.k.a. The Budding Cook sends in her "bursting with colour" Pinto Bean Salad adapted from Kalyn's Kitchen.

Trupti of Recipe Center sent me this Healthy Mix Vegetable Soup which she made from Mansi's recipe.

Vandy of Vandy's Culinary Adventures was inspired by the Recipe Factory to make this Moth beans /Matki Salad.

Last on this list is my entry, Tomato Red Pepper Saar, a tasty, flavourful, almost Konkani Saar with a twist. I'd been eyeing this recipe at Nupur's blog ever since she posted the round up titled T is for Tomato Red Pepper Saar as part of her A-Z of Indian Vegetables.

If I have missed out any entries, please do drop me a line. I am sorry I have been unable to visit your blogs and leave comments on your entry posts. I have to thank each of you for sending across your entries. This round up will be referred to very often by me in the coming months. Thanks Coffee, for giving me this opportunity to host one of my favourite events. Over now to dear Sia of Monsoon Spice for her edition of MBP: Street Foods.

May 30, 2008

Raspberry Raisin Ring

In my endeavour to participate in this month’s AFAM, I entertained many thoughts in my head. The simplest was to make a Raspberry trifle as the first time I’d ever tasted Raspberry was in the custard-jelly combination. I checked my pantry and I had all flavours of custard and jelly… except Raspberry. Then I thought of using raspberry jam, but then I’d have to go buy a bottle of jam for this (and these raspberry jams cost a bomb!! And we don’t even eat jam much.). All this while, I forgot that S had brought me a bag of 7-fruit blend which had dried raspberries. I realized only when I made this cake and put it in the oven. Anyway, I did find something raspberry in my pantry and I’m totally amazed at how well it blended with this cake. Nandita had sent me an assortment of flavoured teas and one of them was Raspberry, Cranberry and Elderflower. That’s the raspberry that went into this cake. This was an experiment from start to finish and while the cake didn’t turn out the way I thought it would (the batter was runnier than I expected). But on the whole, it was a yummy cake and we took some of it a dinner party that evening because I knew kids would be around (and most kids I know love jam!). The rest of the cake we took to our offices where it was gone in no time.

1/2 cup Yogurt
6 tbsp Oil
2 eggs, beaten
1 tbsp Jam
1 cup Flour
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
Pinch of salt
7 tbsp Sugar
1 Raspberry Tea Bag
2 tbsp Raisins

Whisk the yogurt with the eggs, sugar and oil. Sift together the flours, baking soda and salt.

Place the tea bag in 1/4 cup of hot water with the raisins and leave it for 2-3 minutes. Remove the tea bag and take out the raisins. Blend the tea decoction with the jam and heat it in the microwave for 1 minute.

Mix the wet and dry ingredients and the raisins and pour into a greased ring cake tin. Pour the jam into the batter and bake at 375F for 35-40 minutes.

Given the runny batter that I had, the jam and the raisins reached the bottom of the cake tin and formed a “frosting” of sorts. This was a very moist, but dense, cake. I am sending this over to Dee on the last day of this month’s AFAM: Raspberry.

May 29, 2008

Spaghetti in Bechamel Sauce

I love pasta in any form and shape and can eat it any number of times. I have some folks at work who believe that eating pasta is a sign that you are snooty and, hence, look down on rotis and rice. I am sick and tired of explaining to people that I like variety. I am even sicker of explaining to folks that I grew up eating the stuff. Somehow, people are totally unable to believe that my mother made these part of our every day meals. Long before pizza sauces and bases made their appearance in supermarkets, she dished out pizzas from scratch as Monday night dinners. And I don’t count pizza and pasta in my list of junk food. These are full meals and can be as nutritious as you want them to be.

I’ve had some spaghetti lying in the cupboard for months now and somehow never got around to making it. I love spaghetti with tomato sauce and S loves his spaghetti carbonara. In fact, he’d try and order it at every Italian restaurant. I had a lot of milk in the fridge waiting to be used up and dished this out a couple of weeks ago. I loved this dish especially for the colours. (I really wanted to add corn for the yellow, but S didn’t want corn in his spaghetti!)

150g Spaghetti
1 tsp Olive Oil
1/2 cup, Broccoli, steamed
1/4 cup Mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup, Red Capsicum, sliced
1 tbsp Butter/Olive Oil
1 tbsp Flour
1 cup Milk
1/2 tsp Parsley
1/2 tsp Basil
1 tsp Chilli flakes
1/2 tsp Garlic Paste
Salt and Pepper to Taste
1 slice Low Fat Cheese (optional)

Heat the butter in a saucepan. Add the capsicum and fry for a minute. Add the garlic paste, parsley, basil and chilli flakes and fry for another minute. Add the flour and fry without browning the flour. Add the mushrooms and fry for about 30 seconds. (Do not fry the mushrooms for too long as the water in them gets released.) Add the milk and bring the mixture to a boil while stirring continuously. If adding cheese, add it at this point and stir the sauce well. As the sauce thickens, add the salt and pepper. Add the broccoli and cook for a minute.

Boil 2 litres of water with a little salt and 1 tsp oil. Add the spaghetti to the boiling water and cook for 10 minutes.

Serve some spaghetti on a plate. Pour the sauce over it. Dig in.

May 28, 2008

Peerkangai Thuvayal

I found a bag of Ridge Gourd while I was shopping for groceries at the upscale GK I market. (Don't ask why I do my grocery shopping there!) I have not seen it in Delhi/Gurgaon before. I have only seen the smoother version (tori) in markets here. It is not as though I love Ridge Gourd, but when I see vegetables I don't usually, I am tempted to buy them. I made the Ridge Gourd version of Lauki Moong Dal and had some left over. I tried this thuvayal sometime back. I was so thrilled with the outcome that I know I'll make this more often.

4 medium Ridge Gourds, roughly peeled and chopped

4 Red Chillies

1 tsp Mustard

3 tsp Urad Dal

1/4 tsp Asafoetida

3 tsp Oil

1 tbsp Tamarind Paste

Salt to taste

Place the ridge gourd pieces in a microwave safe bowl. Add 2 tbsp of water and cook on high for 2 minutes. Squeeze out the water when cool.

Heat the oil and fry the red chillies, mustard, asafoetida and urad dal for a couple of minutes. Grind the chillies along with the tamarind paste and salt. Add the ridge gourd pieces and grind again. Finally, add the fried mustard and urad dal and grind lightly.

Serve this with rice and a little ghee and some papads or vadams on the side.

May 27, 2008

Potato Mushroom Cakes

I am more an "offline" person than an "online" person. I can't read e-books for the life in me. I don't think I can snuggle in bed with a laptop. A book is so much easier. That would probably explain why, despite the existence of so many food blogs, I continue to buy cookbooks with amazing regularity. There are old favourites and then there are new discoveries. While I continue to add to my collection, I fear that some of my books will wear out sooner than the others. One such book is "Favorite Vegetarian Dishes". It was a gift from my boss in the US. It is so full of recipes that call out to me. I have made several dishes after adapting the recipes to my taste from this book. Some of them are Grilled Garlic Potato Wedges, Garlic And Sage Bread, Pumpkin Soup, Middle Eastern Salad and Punjabi Kadhi Pakoda.

I made this on a winter weekend afternoon and they were gone in no time at all. I had originally intended to send this to the Potato events that were doing the rounds, but this just sat languishing in my drafts. Sia said we could post recipes throughout the year as an Ode to Potato, so I am doing just that.

2 cups Potatoes, boiled and mashed

2 tbsp Butter

2 cups Mixed Mushrooms (I used Button, Shitake and Oyster)

1 Egg, beaten

2 cloves Garlic, chopped

1 tbsp Mixed Fresh Herbs

¼ cup Bread Crumbs

2 tbsp Flour

Salt and Pepper to taste

Oil for frying

Melt the butter in a pan and add the mushrooms and garlic. Cook for about 4-5 minutes, stirring constantly. Drain any excess liquid. Stir this mixture into the potatoes and add the beaten egg and herbs. Shape the mixture into small balls and flatten each.

Meanwhile, mix the flour with a little water to make a batter. Place the bread crumbs on a plate. Heat the oil for frying. Coat each cake with the flour batter and then roll in the bread crumbs until evenly covered. Slide each cake into the hot oil and fry on each side until slightly dark brown. Drain on absorbent paper. Serve with tomato ketchup. Alternatively, you could shallow fry these cakes in a skillet. In that case, you could omit the bread crumbs and roll the cakes in plain flour (not flour batter).

These are like the western cousins of AlooTikkis and make for a great snack. I'm sending these to Mansi over at Fun and Food for Meeta's Monthly Mingle, the theme of which is Appetizers & Hors'Doeuvres.

May 26, 2008

Spinach in Coconut Milk Gravy

Necessity is the mother of invention, they say. That is how this dish was born. I started to make Palak Paneer, but I didn't have the patience to allow the spinach to cool and then puree it. Since it was necessary to make something, I made this gravy while the spinach was getting steamed and I just threw it right in. I didn't expect the dish to taste as good as it did because I didn't put in any effort at all (and it was my own invention!). But the end result was simply great. I think this will go very well with steaming hot rice as well.


2 cups Spinach, steamed and chopped
200 ml Coconut Milk
1 Onion
1-2 Green
pods of Garlic
1” piece of Ginger
1 tsp Oil
1 tsp Cumin Seeds
¼ tsp Asafoetida
Salt to taste

Grind the onion, green chillies, ginger and garlic together to a paste.

Heat oil, add the cumin seeds and the asafoetida. When the cumin seeds crackle, add the onion paste and fry for 2-3 minutes. Add the coconut milk and salt and bring to a boil. Add the spinach and cook for a couple of minutes. Serve hot with rotis.

I know I'll make this every once in a while when spinach is in season. Since we've almost stopped taking rice in our lunch boxes and have left pasta for weeknight dinners, rotis with a side dish seem to be a permanent fixture on our weekday lunch menu. And I don't like spending too much time in the kitchen. So these recipes come to my rescue very often.

May 25, 2008

Ullipaya Pachadi (Onion Chutney)

I have never been a “meals” person. S is an out and out meals person. Usually when we go out, he ends up ordering a “Thali” and I order a la carte. Some south Indian restaurants here serve a “South Indian” thali, but the rice they use in Basmati. I have never been able to come to terms with that. Somehow, I cannot associate my sambar saadam and tayir saadam with basmati rice. So, of late, I have started making full meals on weekends. Every Saturday or Sunday, I cook up a storm. (I know this meal is normal everyday food for most of you, but I am Ms. Lazy!) There’s rice, sambar, rasam, a vegetable, a salad, and curds. Pickles and papads are almost always there at home. But, you see, this is my perception of a meal. Coming from Andhra Pradesh, a meal for S always includes a podi or a chutney.

In order to try and incorporate more Telugu food in my everyday cooking, I ordered “Cooking at Home with Pedatha” a few months ago. I wanted a good English book with simple everyday Andhra recipes and found this. I have made a few things from this book and am quite happy. S is happier than I. That matters more than anything else.

I made this Onion Chutney from the book, but adapted it to suit my taste. (Being married to a Telugu does nothing to my tongue or system!) I also made a few additions.

3 Onions, chopped
1 tsp Ginger Paste
2 tbsp Tamarind Paste
1 tbsp Urad Dal
2 tsp Mustard Seeds
¼ tsp Fenugreek Seeds
3-4 Red Chillies
2 Green Chillies, slit
½ cup Coriander Leaves
7-8 Curry Leaves
1 tsp Asafoetida
1 tsp Oil
Salt to Taste

For the tempering:
1 tsp Oil
¼ tsp Urad Dal
¼ tsp Mustard Seeds

Heat the oil in a pan. Add the urad dal. When it starts to brown, add the mustard and the fenugreek seeds. When the mustard splutters, add the red chillies and fry for a minute. Stir in the green chillies, coriander leaves, and asafoetida. Add the onions and ginger paste and fry for a few minutes. Grind to a coarse paste along with the tamarind paste and salt.

For the tempering, heat the oil in a frying ladle. Add the urad dal and mustard seeds. When the mustard splutters, pour the mixture on to the pachadi.

We had this as a first course in our “saapadu” by mixing this with rice and some ghee. Perfect food for licking your fingers!

May 24, 2008

Tomato Red Pepper Saar

Soups and I have had a long lasting affair. So, it is really no wonder that I picked Soups and Salads as a theme for this month's MBP. Given that summer was upon us, I thought I'd pick a cold soup or a salad as spending even a few minutes over a pot of soup didn't seem very exciting. It was something I could have done without. But then the weather changed. All of a sudden, it was a pleasure to slave in front of the stove. The storm that we've been having for this past week has given us a wonderful respite from the heat. And so, all I wanted was to get my hands around a bowl of soup and feel warm. Since S was out most of the week before last and I was out on a camping trip later, we were out of vegetables. I had just what it took to dish out Nupur's Tomato Red Pepper Saar. I know for a fact that this will be made often. The addition of onions and red pepper to my ordinary Tomato Saar took it to a different level.

I modified Nupur's recipe a wee bit and we had it with some Pulao and Egg Curry.

4 Tomatoes, chopped
1 Onion, diced
1 Red Pepper, diced
1 tsp Oil
3 pods Garlic, chopped
2 Green Chillies, sliced
100 ml Coconut Milk (about 2/3 cup)
1 tbsp Jaggery
Salt to Taste

Heat the oil and fry the onion, garlic, chillies and red pepper. After 3-4 minutes, add the tomatoes along with 1/2 a cup of water. Cook until soft. (Alternatively, you could do this in a pressure pan and pressure cook for 1 whistle.) When cool, blend in a liquidizer and strain. Add the coconut milk, jaggery and salt and bring to a boil.

I skipped the seasoning that evening, but will make it as a traditional saar the next time. Thanks Nupur for a simple and fantastic recipe.

Today is the last day for this month's MBP: Soups and Salads. If you haven't already sent in your entries, now is the time to do so.

May 23, 2008

Methi Mutter Malai

Everyone who has been following this blog with any regularity would know by now that I have a weakness for colourful things. I like my dishes to look like they were inspired by a rainbow. And if I can’t manage them in one dish, then I try to get my plate to look multi-coloured by making dishes in contrasting colours. This craze extends beyond food. (No, I don’t dress like a rainbow everyday.) I just love shopping for vegetables in winter when every fruit and vegetable shop in sight is bursting with colour. I think I end up buying more fruits and vegetables just because they appeal to me visually.

I bought a lot of greens last winter and tried to use them in a variety of ways. I spent many weekends cleaning mounds of fenugreek and spinach. One day, I cleaned two bunches of fenugreek and then attacked the bag of peas. I was wondering how to pair the two and I remembered the Methi Mutter Malai that I’d eaten in Hyderabad. I decided to make it the very next day. The other dish that I regularly ordered there was methi Chaman Hariyali. I hope to find the recipe for that someday.

This dish turned out to be very good and I can’t wait for the leafy greens to come back into season.

2 cups Fenugreek Leaves, washed and chopped
½ tsp Cumin Seeds
½ cup Green Peas, cooked/boiled
½ cup Milk
2 tbsp Cream
¼ tsp Sugar (optional)
1 tbsp Oil
Salt to taste

To be ground to a paste:

1 Onion
2 Green Chillies
½” piece Ginger
2 cloves Garlic
2 tbsp Cashews
1 tsp Poppy Seeds

Heat the oil in a pan and add the cumin seeds. When they crackle, add the fenugreek leaves and fry for a couple of minutes. Add the paste and fry for 2-3 minutes. Add the milk, cream, sugar, salt and green peas. Cook for 3-4 minutes. Serve with rotis.

No one's taking any rest on the 7th day and the Recipe Marathon is going strong:

Lakshmi: Mint Rice

Srivalli: Lunch Box Series

Arundathi: wontons

Dhivya: Beet Hummus

Ranji: Papdi Pizza

Siri: Egg Puffs

Swati: Dimsums

Divya Vikram: Reva Kesari

May 22, 2008

Vegetable Focaccia

My father-in-law gifted me a book called "Everyday Light Meals". I have no idea why he picked out a book that has less than 10% devoted to meatless meals. It has 4 main sections: Poultry Meals, Beef Meals, Pork Meals and Seafood Meals. The section on Meatless Meals is almost an afterthought. But it is a gift and while I may never have picked such a book up for myself, it is not like I am going to return it. I might as well make good use of what I can.

I leaf through the Meatless Meals section quite often and one night I decided to make this Vegetable Focaccia. We wanted pizza but didn't have any cheese at home. This seemed like a great way to have pizza with no cheese. I modified the recipe as I didn't have all the ingredients on hand that night.

1 cup Flour

1 cup Wheat Flour

1 tbsp Fresh Yeast

1 tsp Salt

1 cup Water, warm

1 tbsp Olive Oil

For the topping:

3 Tomatoes, chopped

1/4 cup Mushrooms, sliced

1/4 cup Capsicum, chopped

1/4 cup Olives, sliced

1/4 cup Onion, chopped

3 tbsp Olive Oil

2 tsp Red Wine Vinegar

3/4 tsp Salt

1 tsp Garlic Paste

1/4 tsp Oregano

2 tsp Cornmeal

1/4 tsp Pepper

For the dough:

Take a huge mixing bowl and place the oil and salt in it. Add the water and mix well. Add the yeast and mix well. Add the flours and knead into a dough. Place the dough in a greased vessel and cover it with a damp muslin cloth. Set aside for 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine all the ingredients for the topping and keep aside.

To Proceed:

Grease a pizza plate. Spread the dough over the plate and prick all over with a fork. Bake at 475F for 5 minutes (or until browned). Top with the vegetable mixture and bake for another 10 minutes.

We had this with some red wine and were very satisfied with our "guilt free" pizza dinner. This vegetable focaccia is also off to Anupama's Sandwich festival.

Running strong on Day 6 is the Recipe Marathon. The recipes for today are:

Arundathi: Raspberry and Blueberry
Srivalli: Onion chapathis Lakshmi: Kashayam
Divya: Cauliflower-Peas Poriyal
Ranji: Simple Jhovan
Swati: Mint Coriander Chutney
Bhags: Baked Chapathi
Dhivs: Vegetable Chips
Siri: Tomato Coconut Chutney

May 21, 2008

Pizza Style Sandwich

Thank God I overcame my fear of yeast last year. I have been baking bread, pizza and rolls regularly since then. Each time I make a yeast bread, I wonder why I hadn't started earlier. Pizzas have become weeknight regulars at our place. The weather ensures that my dough rises to the occasion. I baked a pizza a couple of weeks ago and had some sauce leftover. (Lightning does not strike liars, does it?) No, I didn't have sauce leftover. I kept aside some sauce so I could make sandwiches for breakfast later on.

4 slices Brown Bread

1 tbsp Butter(optional)

2 slices Low Fat Cheese

For the sauce:

1 Onion, sliced

2 medium Tomatoes, chopped finely

1 Capsicum, sliced (I used small portions of green, red and yellow capsicum)

2 tsp Chilli Flakes

1/8 cup Sweet Corn

1/8 cup Paneer, cubed

3 pods Garlic, finely chopped

1 tbsp Tomato Ketchup

1 tsp Sugar

1 tsp Oregano

1 tsp Fresh Parsley, finely chopped

1 tsp Fresh Basil, finely chopped

1/2 tsp Pepper

1/2 tsp Olive Oil

Salt to Taste

For the sauce:

In a pan, heat the oil and add the garlic and onions. Fry for a minute or two. Add the capsicum, paneer, and corn and fry for 2-3 minutes. Add the parsley, basil, oregano, chilli flakes, salt, sugar and pepper and fry for another minute. Add the tomatoes and fry for 2-3 minutes. Add the ketchup and cook the mixture for a couple of minutes.

To proceed:

Place a slice of cheese on a slice of bread. Place 2-3 tbsp of the sauce over it. Cover this with another bread slice. Repeat with the other 2 bread slices as well. If using butter, apply some butter to both sides of the sandwich (outer sides) and grill in a sandwich maker.

This is great at breakfast time as long as you are able to eat pizza in the morning. (My brother and I can eat pizza at any meal and as many times.) Else, you can have it as a snack or a light meal.

This is off to Anupama's Sandwich festival.

This is Day 5 of the Recipe Marathon and my fellow bloggers have posted:

Siri: Hash Brown Melts
Lakshmi: Mango Fool

Arundathi: Bell Peppery curry

Srivalli: Andhra Mutton Pepper Fry

Dhivs: Fried Herb Mozarella

Swati: Aloo n Gobhi

Divya: Carrot rice

Ranji: Banana Chips

Bhags: triangularly yours

May 20, 2008

Vegetable Dosa

I have been advised by many people to keep dosa batter ready at all times. I try to do this every once in a while, but I'm not sure I'm anywhere close to having it in there all the time. And I don't ferment my dosa batter because I love the taste of dosas made out of freshly ground batter. (I am told I am breaking a cardinal rule here, but then that's just me!)

Sometimes the batter lying in the fridge does get sour. And by day 4 or 5, it is ready for uttapam style dosas. I add vegetables to the batter to make this a meal by itself (OK, almost!)

1 cup Dosa batter

1 Carrot, grated

1/4 cup Beans, finely chopped

1 Onion, finely chopped

1 tsp Ginger Paste

1 tsp Chilli Paste

2 tbsp Coriander Leaves, chopped

Salt to taste

Steam the beans and carrots or cook in a microwave for 2 mins with a little water. Add this mixture to the dosa batter. Add the onions, chilli paste, ginger paste, coriander leaves and a little salt. Mix well.

Heat a griddle (tawa) and smear a little oil on it. Simmer the flame and pour a ladleful of the batter in the centre of the tawa and spread it a little to form a circle. Add a little oil on the sides and centre, usually not more than 1 small spoonful per dosa. After a couple of minutes, carefully turn the dosa over and allow the other side to cook a little. Serve hot with some chutney or molagapodi.

I'd made this for Srivalli's Dosa Mela, but couldn't post it then thanks to some constraints. Since it has been in my drafts forever, I decided now might be a good time to share this easy recipe with all of you.

Day 4 of the Recipe Marathon saw the following posts:

Srivalli: Kasara Kaya Vepudu

Lakshmi: How to set Curd.

Dhivs: aromatic bread

Arundathi: two lovely dipping sauces
Swati: Neelam ji ki Teekhi aur Meethi Methi wali Kaddu ki Sabzi

Divya: Moong Dal Sundal

Ranji: Methi Dosa

Bhags: comfort food with 'seven' veggies

Siri: Moroccan Spaghetti

May 19, 2008

Raw Jackfruit Curry

I have always liked raw jackfruit a lot more than the ripe one. So when someone goes gaga over ripe jackfruit, as they did at the JFI last May, I cannot relate to that feeling at all. I also prefer breadfruit to jackfruit. Both were not easily available when I was growing up. Yet, I managed to rank them in my order of preferences. It was not like there was ever a situation when I had to pick one over the other. No, I’ve never been asked, “Would you like this or that?” Outside of the fritters, that always manage to make me go weak in my knees, I have not attempted making anything with jackfruit or breadfruit. I have eaten sukke, an amchi dish, but that’s it. I remember having eaten other dishes, but I am unable to recall them. Chips made out of raw jackfruit, I eat regularly. My colleague recently brought back a big bag from Kerala and we devoured them.

I have this lady in my team: D. She HATES cooking and on days when her cook doesn’t turn up, she’s really one big mess. But I find her lunch the best on days when her cook doesn’t turn up. That’s because D is a wonderful cook. I always tell her, “If this is how you cook when you HATE cooking, I wonder how you’d cook if you actually loved it.” She brought this dish in her lunch box a couple of times last month and I was tempted to try. Since raw jackfruit is sold precut, she finds it easy to prepare. I took the ease to a different level altogether by making it in a pressure cooker. I also added asafoetida to the preparation because I didn’t want to fly back to Gurgaon after work on my own. I’m not too sure of my landing skills yet.

250g Raw Jackfruit pieces
2 Onions, sliced
1 Tomato, chopped
¼ tsp Ginger Paste
¼ tsp Turmeric Powder
1 tsp Chilli Powder
1 tsp Coriander Powder
1 tsp Garam Masala
1 tbsp Oil
¼ tsp Asafoetida
1 tsp Cumin Seeds
Salt to taste

Heat oil in a pressure pan and add the cumin seeds. When they crackle, add the asafoetida and the onions and fry for 2-3 minutes. Add the turmeric powder, chilli powder, coriander powder and ginger paste. Fry the entire mixture for 2-3 minutes. Add the raw jackfruit pieces and the salt and fry for another 2-3 minutes. Add a little water and pressure cook for 1 whistle. When done, add the garam masala and cook for a minute before serving.

This pairs very well with rotis and I know I’m going to make this very often. One more of the tasty and quick recipes, so hard to resist. And with this post, I have reached a mini milestone on this blog. This is my 250th post.

On Day 3 of the Recipe Marathon, these recipes have been put up:

Srivalli: Majjiga Mirapakaya/Dahi Mirchi

Ranji: A Blueberry Muffin

Lakshmi: Onion Kulchas

Dhivya: Spicy Rotis

Arundathi: Grape Jam

Swati: stuffed bell pepper with makhani gravy

Divya: Sour Cream Corn Cranberry Muffins

Bhags: Vegetable stock

Siri: Middle Eastern Appetizer

May 18, 2008

Chickpeas Sundal

Memories of sundal usually involve Navaratri or the beach. Earlier I never made festival food at any time outside of that festival, but now I make it whenever I wish. With a little planning, this requires almost no effort and is a great dish to make when you’re rushed. Makes for a great breakfast or lunch by itself, though it can also be served as a side dish.

1 cup Chick Peas, soaked overnight
1 tsp Oil
7-8 Curry Leaves
1/4 tsp Mustard Seeds
1/4 tsp Urad Dal
1/4 tsp Chana Dal
1 tsp Green Chilli Paste
1/4 tsp Ginger Paste
1 Red Chilli
1/4 tsp Asafoetida
1 tsp Dry Mango Powder (Amchur) or 2 tbsp Chopped Raw Mango
1 tbsp Coconut, scraped
Salt to taste

Pressure cook the soaked chickpeas with salt for 4-5 whistles. Drain when done.

In a kadhai, heat oil. Add the urad and chana dals, mustard seeds and asafoetida. When the mustard splutters, add the curry leaves, ginger and chilli pastes, and the red chilli. Fry for a minute. Add the cooked chickpeas, dry mango powder or raw mango bits, and a little salt. Cover and cook 4-5 minutes. Garnish with the scraped coconut and enjoy.

Arundati of Escapades, is hosting this month's Weekend Breakfast Blogging # 22, the theme of which is Mango Madness. WBB is the brainchild of Nandita of Saffron Trail and since I make sundal for breakfast, this is off to Arundati this month.
My friends in the recipe marathon have posted for Day 2:
Lakshmi: Coconut Dosa
Srivalli: Sambhar Powder
Dhivya: Peas Pulao
Arundathi: Pierogies
Divya Vikram: Vegetable Puffs
Siri: Kosambari

May 17, 2008

Masala Lauki Chana Dal

I have stopped counting the number of people who tell me they can’t stand Lauki/Ghia/Bottle Gourd/Sorekkai. I really don’t know why. It is not even like bitter gourd that has such a distinct bitter taste. I’ve always found that Bottle Gourd has almost no distinct taste of its own and, as a result, blends in beautifully with just about anything. I experimented with this last week and was so pleased with the results. I am going to be making this more often this summer. It is quick, it is tasty, it is healthy. Do you need any more reasons to try this recipe?

One of the reasons I was able to make this in a jiffy was the inclusion of Aashirwad Multipurpose Cooking Paste. I discovered it many years ago in Hyderabad and rediscovered it a couple of months ago. According to ITC, “The Multi-Purpose Cooking paste is the latest offering from the ‘Aashirvaad’ brand. The ‘Aashirvaad’ Multi-Purpose cooking paste is positioned as a kitchen aide. The product, ‘Bhuna hua taiyaar masala’, is a fried paste of onions, tomatoes, ginger and garlic shallow fried in refined sunflower oil. It is a basic paste used for most north Indian dishes. It is suitable for all tomato-based dishes.” At just Rs. 10 per packet, it is a big hit in my kitchen.

2 cups Bottle Gourd, peeled and cubed
1 Packet (100g) Aashirwad Multipurpose Cooking Paste
¼ cup Chana Dal, washed
1 tsp Chilli Powder
¼ tsp Turmeric Powder
1 tsp Pav Bhaji Masala
1 tsp Oil
¼ tsp Cumin Seeds
Salt to taste

Heat the oil in a pressure pan and add the cumin seeds. When they crackle, add the cooking paste and fry for a minute. Add the chilli powder, turmeric powder and pav bhaji masala and fry for another minute. Add the bottle gourd pieces, chana dal, salt and a little water. Pressure cook for 2-3 whistles.

That’s all it takes to get a mouthwatering side dish ready. It feels like zero effort, but tastes quite the opposite. Try it and let me know if you like it. If there are any bottle gourd haters out there, let me know if this doesn't change your opinion of the vegetable and I shall do some more R&D.

This recipe is part of a recipe marathon and my fellow runners have come up with these dishes for Day 1:

Bhags: Tomato Shorba.

Dhivs: Bhindi Jaipuri

Swati: Dum Ka Murg Zafrani

Divya Vikram: Peas Kurma

Srivalli: Chicken Semi Gravy.

Lakshmi: Sour Cream Cake

Arundathi: Kuwaiti Tea

Siri: Baked Cauliflower

May 16, 2008

Cucumber Kosumbari

Simple recipes are keepers. Much as I can bring myself to cook elaborate meals every once in a while (read once in a blue moon), I prefer keeping things simple. A few days ago, I decided to make a simple Iyengar meal of Ash Gourd Sambar, rice and Seppankizhangu Karumadhu. I wanted to make Vellarikkai Pachadi, but decided to make this instead. Simple and devoid of fuss.

2 medium Cucumbers, grated or cubed

1/4 cup Moong Dal, washed
2 tbsp scraped Coconut
1 tsp Green Chilli-Ginger paste
Salt to Taste
Coriander leaves for garnish

For the tempering:

1 tsp Oil or Ghee
1/4 tsp Mustard Seeds
1/4 tsp Asafoetida
7-8 Curry Leaves

Place the washed moong dal in a large bowl. Add the chilli-ginger paste, cucumber, salt, and scraped coconut and mix well. In a small kadhai, heat the oil or ghee, add the mustard seeds and asafoetida, and when the mustard splutters, add the curry leaves. Add this to the cucumber mixture.

While you read this, I’m away in the Himalayas again, but blogger will keep you updated even when I’m climbing a rock or kayaking in the waters. So, don’t forget to send in your entries for this month’s MBP. The theme is Soups and Salads.