Sunday, January 30, 2011

Please Vote For Me

Hello Friends,
I'm very happy to let you all know that my Eggless Pineapple Cake has made it in the TOP 5 of the January 2011 Contest on Manjulas Kitchen.
If you think my entry deserves to win the first place, please cast your precious vote and spread the word around to make this possible.

Please follow this link, to vote for me -

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Tortilla Samosas

On a wintery or a gloomy rainy day, deep fried Indian snacks are my go to comfort foods. Though onion/ chilli pakodas (fritters) top the list, the second thing that comes to mind is Samosas, which has undoubtedly gained a lot of popularity in the world. While making samosas from scratch at home is quite a lengthy and tedious process, making these from flour tortillas is pretty easy and can be made relatively quickly. Moreover, if you have any leftover dry curry, you can easily transform it into delicious samosas in a jiffy. In this recipe, I have used leftover potato masala that I made for masala dosas, but you can use any curry of your choice  -  from mutter paneer to chicken tikka masala, anything will work great. Just make sure you heat the curry to allow it to thicken a little or maybe add some boiled mashed potato to it so it becomes little dry and the samosas don't break open while deep frying. These samosas came out pretty good  and it was very comforting to have them on a snowy wintery Saturday afternoon.

Ingredients -
Potato Masala
All purpose flour
oil for deep frying

Method -
1. Cut the tortilla through the center to create two semi circular halves as shown in the picture. Take some all purpose flour in a small bowl and add some water to it form a thick paste. This will act as glue to seal the edges of the samosas.

2. Take each half of the tortilla and form a cone. Seal the edge with all purpose flour paste.

3. Stuff the cone with some potato masala or curry of your choice. Seal the edges with the paste and set them aside.

4. Heat oil in a pan and deep fry the samosas on both sides till they turn golden brown.
5. Serve hot with condiment of your choice.

I'm sending this to Tamanna's Comfort Food Event and Radhika's Deep Fried Snacks event.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

School Bus Cake, Cupcakes and Cookies

I'm really surprised how quickly time has passed by. It seems like only yesterday we got our little bundle of joy home from the hospital. My little angel turned two a couple of months back. We threw a small birthday party for her at home. Since she loves the song "The Wheels On The Bus Go Round and Round", I made a bus cake for her. They also celebrated her birthday at her Daycare. Keeping the same theme in mind, I made some bus themed cupcakes and little bus cookies for her friends at the Daycare. I think the cake turned out pretty good though I missed out on a few details :(.
The inspiration for the cake, cupcakes and the cookies comes from different places on the web. I have included some of the links below.  I had lot of fun making these and I am very happy to share this with all of you.

I used 1 Betty Crocker yellow cake mix to bake two 9x5 cakes in the loaf pan. I used Wilton Butter cream frosting and icing colors to make the yellow, black and red frosting. The wheels on the bus were made from mini chocolate donuts and M&Ms were used for the headlights and other details. Mini Nilla wafers cookies were used for the faces of the bus driver and the kids while black licorice flavored Twizzlers were used to represent the front bumper of the bus. I forgot the stop sign but you could use a Mini Nilla wafer  topped with red and white icing for the stop sign.

These cute bus themed cupcakes were very easy to decorate. Once again I used a Betty Crocker yellow cake mix and baked 24 cupcakes. I frosted the lower half of the cupcake green for the grass and the upper half was frosted in blue butter cream to form the sky. Then, all you need is a vanilla wafer cookie to cut out the bus shape and a mini M&M to create the stop sign.

The bus themed no bake cookies were only a decorating project. I used plain graham crackers, yellow, black and white butter cream frosting and M&M candies to decorate these adorable cookies. I used one graham cracker square, with one rectangular (quarter of entire graham cracker) for the front and used royal icing to stick the 2 pieces together. Then I decorated the bus as shown in the pictures.


Monday, January 17, 2011

Kokum Kadhi/ Sol Kadhi

I believe I have mentioned in some of my earlier posts that though I grew up in Mumbai, India, our family is basically from Goa. So naturally the food that I grew up eating had a lot of Goan/ Konkani influence. As a kid, however, I didn't quite appreciate the rich coconut based gravies that my mom prepared. But now, sometimes I do miss the authentic Goan dishes from my mom's kitchen especially when I am feeling nostalgic and missing my mom and home.
However, one item that I have always loved even as a kid is the kokum kadhi which is made with coconut milk. I love this kadhi and truly believe any Goan meal is incomplete without a small serving of this kadhi-bhaat (kadhi-rice) at the end of the meal. It not only tastes delicious but also aids in digestion. The 2 key ingredients are fresh coconut and kokum also called as Aamsol in konkani and marathi. Basically, it is a sour fruit, the outer cover of which is dried in the sun to get this aamsol or kokum. My mom made this kadhi pretty much every day. However, these days we have all become very health conscious and have made a rule to make this only on special occasions or with some special dishes such as chicken curry, fried fish etc.

Ingredients -
1 cup fresh grated coconut
2 cloves garlic
1-2 green chillies
5-6 kokum pieces
2 cups water
salt to taste
1 tbsp chopped cilantro

Method -
1. Blend the fresh grated coconut, garlic, green chillies along with some water into the blender. Use about a cup of water by adding little at a time making sure the ingredients are blended well.
2. In a bowl, take some kokums and pour few tbsps of hot water over it. This helps the kokum to soften a little and release nice color and tangy flavor.
3. In the same bowl, strain the blended coconut mixture through a strainer.
4. Take the leftover coconut from the strainer and blend it again with another cup of water in the blender. This allows to extract all the flavor from the coconut.
5. Repeat step 3 by straining the mixture again through the strainer.
6. Add salt to the kadhi and garnish with some chopped cilantro.
7. Serve with hot plain rice.

I'm sending this to Denny's Flavors of Goa event.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Zucchini Bread

A very Happy New Year to all you wonderful people. I hope 2011 brings a lot of joy, peace and happiness in everyones's lives!!!
I have made a few resolutions this year and since this blog is an important part of my life I plan to be a more sincere blogger this year! Baking is one hobby that gives me immense pleasure and I'm very happy to share this beautiful loaf of Zucchini Bread as my first post of 2011.
Bread baking is a skill and each time I bake a yeast bread from scratch at home, I see myself getting better at this art. It is very satisfying to bake my own bread and I just love the aroma of fresh bread as it is baking in the oven.  I baked this Zucchini Bread last summer when I had bought some fresh zucchinis from a nearby Farmers market. I followed the recipe from my "The Cook's Encyclopedia of Baking" book.
This turned out to be more like an Italian bread - slightly hard on the outside and soft on the inside. We ate more than half of the loaf just by dipping it in some pesto and the remaining half was used to prepare roasted red pepper sandwiches. I smeared the bread with a generous coating of veggie cream cheese and piled some store bought roasted red peppers to make delicious sandwiches.
You can get innovative with the recipe by adding some minced garlic or red pepper flakes or even try adding any herbs of your choice. The bread was absolutely delicious and I highly recommend giving it a try!

Makes 1 Loaf
Ingredients -
1 pound zucchini, grated
1 tbsp minced garlic (optional)
2 tbsps salt
1 package active dry yeast
11/4 cups lukewarm water
31/2 cups flour
olive oil, for brushing

Method -
1. In a colander, alternate layers of grated zucchini and salt. Leave for 30 minutes, then squeeze out the moisture with your hands.
2. Combine the yeast with 1/4 cup of lukewarm water, stir and leave for 15 minutes to dissolve the yeast.
3. Place the zucchini, yeast and flour in a bowl. Stir together and add just enough of the remaining water to make a rough dough.
4. Transfer to a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with a plastic bag, and leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 11/2 hours.
5. Grease a baking sheet. Punch down the risen dough with your fist and knead into a tapered cylinder. Place on the baking sheet, cover, and leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 45 minutes.
6. Preheat the oven to 425F. Brush with olive oil and bake until golden, 40-45 minutes. Cool on a rack.

I'm sending this to Champa's Bake Off Event

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Indian Cooking Challenge - Kashmiri Dum Aloo

I was almost ready to give this ICC Challenge a miss as I could not find baby potatoes in any nearby store. I think the use of baby potatoes makes this dish extra special and authentic. Fortunately, I found these at Trader Joes today and made this traditional Kashmiri dish this evening. It turned out pretty well. I made a few changes to the original recipe which I have noted below.

Ingredients -
For the Marinade -

12 -13 baby potatoes / even small potatoes
3- 4 nos Kashmiri red chiles - roasted and powdered (I used - 1 tsp kashmiri chilli powder)
2 1/2 cups Fresh yoghurt (must not be sour)
1 tsp Ginger powder (I used - 1 tsp minced ginger)
1 tbsp Fennel/aniseed powder
1/2 tsp Cardamom powder

For the Masala -
4 tbsps Mustard oil (I used - regular Canola oil)
6 cloves roasted and powdered
A pinch of asafoetida
Vegetable/ canola/ sunflower cooking oil to deep fry potatoes
1 tsp Cumin seeds, roasted gently and ground into a powder
1 tsp Garam masala
Salt to taste
A cup of firm dough made from flour and water

Method -
1. Wash the potatoes well and poke all over with a fork. Then soak in water for 20 minutes. You can mix a tsp of salt to the water you are going soak the potatoes.
2. Heat a pan with oil for deep frying, Then reduce to medium flame and roast all the potatoes till golden in colour. Drain on a kitchen towel and keep aside
3. In a bowl, add yogurt, chili powder, ginger, cardamom and fennel powders and mix well into a paste. Then add the potatoes to this paste and keep it aside.
4. Heat the mustard/ regular canola oil in another pan, add the clove powder and asafetida and mix well.
5. Then add a half cup of hot water and salt to taste and bring to a boil.
6. To this mix, add in the potato-yoghurt mix, stir thoroughly and cover.
7. To do the dum, seal the edges of the pan's cover with the dough to ensure no steam can escape. Put on the stove, cook on a low flame for 10-15 minutes.
8. Turn off the flame, remove the cover and add the cumin powder and garam masala powder, and cover again quickly. Leave for 5 minutes.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Plantain Vadai/ Plantain Fritters

This place has been dead for a while. Life has been very hectic and busy and it has been a real challenge to find some time to post new recipes. But I love blogging and I'm going to try posting atleast a few recipes every month from now on.
It has been snowning all day today and I was in a mood to have some hot and spicy deep fried snack. I love dal vadais/ fritters and always try experimenting adding new veggies to the vadais. I had couple of plantains in my refrigerator that had to be used up. The key here is to use slightly ripe plantains which give these vadais a nice sweet flavor. These vadais tasted heavenly!

Ingredients -
1/2 cup channa dal
2 plantains/ raw bananas
3-4 dried red chillies
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
3-4 green chillies
10-12 curry leaves finely chopped (optional)
1 tbsp finely chopped ginger
1 cup finely chopped onions
1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
salt to taste
oil for deep frying

Method -
1. Soak channa dal in water overnight or for 4-5 hrs.
2. Cook the plantains/ raw bananas in a pressure cooker.
3. Drain all the water from the dal and grind the dal along with the dried red chillies and cumin seeds into a coarse paste in the food processor/ blender.
4. Peel the skin off the plantains and mash them making sure there are no lumps.
5. In a bowl, take the dal mixture and add the mashed plantains, onions, green chillies, curry leaves, cilantro, ginger and salt and mix well.
6. Heat oil in a pan or kadhai.
7. Make small flat patties of the mixture and deep fry in the hot oil on both sides till they turn golden brown and crisp.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Indian Cooking Challenge - Punjabi Kadhi Pakoda

I havent participated in the last two ICC challenges bcoz of my sudden trip to India. So I had decided to participate in this month's ICC Challenge no matter what! In fact when Srivalli chose Simran's Punjabi Kadhi Pakoda for September challenge, I browsed through the recipe and thought I would make it within a couple of days following her announcement and posting of the recipe. However, life has been very hectic both at home and at work and I havent been cooking a lot these days. I just got done making this delicious kadhi pakoda and I'm posting this just in time. Though, I make buttermilk kadhi very often, my version is more like the Maharashtrian/ Gujarati kadhi where ginger, curry leaves and green chillies are mainly used for flavoring the kadhi. Besides, I have never added any pakodas to the kadhi so that was something I had never tried making before. I just tasted the kadhi and it tasted awesome. However we will be having it for lunch tomorrow.
I made a few changes to the original recipe. I replaced the yogurt with buttermilk, added some finely chopped fenugreek/ methi leaves to the onion pakodas and reduced the amounts of certain ingredients called out in the original recipe.

Ingredients -
For Pakodas -
1/2 cup besan / chickpea Flour
1 medium onion sliced
1/4 cup finely chopped fenugreek/ methi leaves
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp red chilli powder Water
Oil for deep frying

For Kadhi -
11/2 cups buttermilk
21/2 cups water
1/4 cup besan/ chickpea flour
3/4 tsp mustard seeds
3/4 tsp cumin seeds
3/4 tsp ajwain/ carom Seeds
3/4 tsp methi / fenugreek seeds
1 large onion finely chopped
1 pinch turmeric powder
Red Chili powder - 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp amchur/ dried mango powder

Method -
1. Slice onions lenghtwise. Take the chickpea flour, salt, red chill powder and chopped fenugreek/ methi leaves in a bowl. Add some water to it to make a batter of a semi thick consistency.
2. Heat some oil in a pan/ kadhai for deep frying. When it is hot, dip onions in the batter and gently drop into the hot oil. Deep fry until crispy.
3. Drain and keep aside.
4. For the kadhi, take some buttermilk in a bowl and add enough water to it. Now add chickpea flour, salt, sugar, turmeric powder, red chilli powder and mix well to make a very thin batter.
5. Heat a tbsp of oil in a pan. When the oil in hot, add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, carom seeds and methi/ fenugreek seeds. Let them splutter for a few seconds.
6. Add the finely chopped onions and fry till they turn light brown.
7. Pour in the buttermilk batter and bring to a boil, reduce the heat and let simmer for at least half an hour. Keep stirring occasionally.
8. When you feel it is pretty thick, add the reserved pakodas and bring to boil. Add garam masala and amchur powder to the gravy just before taking it off the stove.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Beetroot Chutney

I have made chutneys with veggies like ridge gourd, eggplant, onions and tomatoes in the past, but tried beetroot chutney for the first time. I came across this recipe on Tarla Dalal's website and tried it out with a few changes. The ingredients used in this chutney are similar to our traditional coconut chutney with the addition of grated beetroot which makes this chutney very healthy. The beetroot also gives it a beautiful dark red color. This chutney tasted awesome with the Nachni/ Ragi Dosa I made for dinner last sunday. (Nachni Dosa recipe to follow).

Ingredients -
1 cup shredded beetroot
1 small sliced onion
1 tbsp oil
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp urad dal
1 big garlic clove
1 tbsp chopped ginger
3-4 dried red chillies
5 curry leaves
4 tbsps fresh grated coconut
2 tbsps crushed peanuts
2-3 tbsps chopped cilantro

For the Tempering/ Tadka -
1 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp urad dal
1 pinch hing/ asafoetida
3-4 curry leaves

Method -
1. Heat some oil in a pan. Add cumin seeds and urad dal and fry for sometime.
2. Add curry leaves, dried red chillies, garlic and ginger and saute for sometime.
3. To this add sliced onions and cook them for some time. Then add grated beetroot and cook for some more time. Add fresh grated coconut and crushed peanuts and cook for couple of mins.
4. Allow this cooked beetroot to cool completely. Grind it into a fine paste in your blender. Take it out in a bowl and add some chopped cilantro.
5. Heat some oil in another pan. Add mustard seeds into the hot oil. When they splutter, add urad dal, asafoetida/ hing and curry leaves.
6. Pour this tempering on the chutney.

This goes to Priya's 'Healing Foods - Beetroot' event, originally started by Siri.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Doodhi Methi Muthiya/ Bottle Gourd Fenugreek Dumplings

I have been away from the blog world for over a month now. I was in India for a few weeks for my brother's wedding. The wedding went really well and we had a blast. Also enjoyed wearing my beautiful sarees and jewellery for all the wedding ceremonies. The only sad part is I did not get to spend enough time with my bro and my lovely SIL :-(. Well, will do that when I go back to India next year.
Since I got back from India, there has not been much activity in my kitchen. This Doodhi Methi Muthia has been in my archives for a while and so I finally decided to post this today.

Muthiya is a very popular Gujarati dish which can be served as a snack or as a meal by itself. It's named after the way it's made with the "gripping" action of the fist ("muthi" in gujarati). This dish can be served either steamed or fried after steaming. Of course, my preference is the latter version. My mom would make these very often at home. She mostly made doodhi muthiya, but these can be made with methi, cabbage, zucchini or also a combination of veggies of your choice. She typically made these by adding a mixture of handva flour (flour of different lentils) and chickpea flour. However, the other day when I made these doodhi methi muthiya, I added some sooji/ semolina in addition to the handva and besan flour and they really came out very light and yummy. The handva flour is optional and can either be left out or substituted with some whole wheat flour. I served these with some yogurt but they can also be served with some cilantro chutney.

I usually make a big batch of these and store the steamed muthias in an airtight container in the freezer. When ready to serve, just thaw the muthias and flavor it with nice aromatic vaghar/ tadka. They stay fresh in the freezer for up to 2-3 weeks.

Ingredients -
For the muthias -

4 cups grated bottle gourd (doodhi / lauki)
½ cup chopped methi/ fenugreek leaves
½ cup chopped cilantro
1 medium size onion, grated
1 cup handva flour/ wheat flour (You may need to add more)
1/2 cup semolina
1/2 -1  cup gram flour/ besan
2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp garam masala powder
1 tbsp red chilli powder
2 tbsps cumin -coriander powder
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsps fennel seeds
3-4  tbsps ginger-green chilli paste
1-2 tbsps finely minced garlic
3- 4 tbsps lime/ lemon juice  
6 tbsps oil
1/2 tsp soda bi-carb
1/2 tsp hing/ asafoetida
2 -3 tbsps sugar
salt to taste

For the Tempering and Garnish -
4-5 tbsps oil
2 cloves
3-4 small pieces cinnamon
3 dried red chillies
7-8 curry leaves
2 tsps mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 tbsps sesame seeds
1/2 tsp hing/ asafoetida
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup fresh grated coconut

Method -
Muthias -
1. Squeeze all the water out of the grated bottle gourd and keep it aside to knead the dough if required.
2. In a bowl, combine all the ingredients for the muthia and form a soft dough adding the water squeezed out of the grated bottle gourd if required.
3. Form long cylindrical muthias of the dough. Grease your palms with some oil to avoid the dough from sticking to your palms.
4. Steam the muthias for 15- 20 mins. Insert a toothpick in the center of the muthias to check if they are done. If it comes out clean, the muthias are cooked.
5. Let the muthias cool and then cut them into thick slices.

Tempering/ Tadka -
1. Heat some oil in a pan. Add the mustard seeds. When they crackle, add the cumin seeds.
2. Add the cloves, cinnamon, dried red chillies, curry leaves and fry for sometime.
3. Then add hing/ asafoetida and sesame seeds
2. Add the sliced muthias and fry for 10- 15 minutes till they are slightly brown in color and crisp.
3. Garnish with coriander and coconut.
4. Serve hot with yogurt or cilantro chutney.

I'm sending this to Nayna's 'Flavors Of Gujarat' event.