Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Palak Rice

Including greens in your diet is really healthy but I am sure most of you find it really boring. Here's a recipe that will ensure you get your dose of greens and also make it a pleasant eating experience.

Rice - 1 cup, soaked in water for 30 minutes
Spinach leaves - 1 cup
Mint leaves - a handful
Coriander leaves - a handful
Onion - 1,small
Green chilli - 1
Bay leaf - 1
Cloves - 2
Mustard seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
Cumin seeds - 1/4 teaspoon
Oil - 1 tablespoon
Salt to taste

In a vessel, bring water to boil. Add the spinach leaves and allow to simmer for 5 minutes. Drain the water. When the leaves have cooled down, blend with mint leaves, coriander leaves and green chilli.

Chop onions into fine pieces. Heat oil in a cooker pan and add mustard seeds, cloves and bay leaf. When the mustard pops, add cumin and allow to splutter. Add the onions and saute till translucent.

Add the blended paste and fry for few minutes. Drain water from the rice and transfer the rice to the pan. Fry till the moisture is absorbed. Add salt and a pinch of turmeric powder. Add 2 cups of water and place the lid and vent. Allow to cook until two whistles are heard.

Remove from fire and allow to cool. Sprinkle the rice with a few drops of lemon juice for a hint of a tangy taste.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Heaven at home

I am a BIG chocolate freak - I LOVE chocolate in any form: Cakes, chocolates, spreads, milkshakes, cookies. Believe me, I could go on and on!! This afternoon I was thinking about one of my brothers. Every time I went to his place, he'd bug me till I agreed to make chocolate sauce.And we'd have it with biscuits, rusks, bread, ice-cream and have the time of our lives! :)
Today, I came back from work with chocolate on my mind and decided to try making some at home. Without further ado, I give you the simple recipe to make some yummy homemade chocolate spread.

Oat meal digestive cookies - 3, crushed into a fine powder
Sugar - 3 tablespoons
Milk - 1/2 cup
Butter - 3 tablespoons
Cocoa powder - 5 teaspoons
Chopped alomonds, cashews and raisins - 2 tablespoons

Note: You can substitute Oat meal cookies with any plain biscuits.

1. Add butter to a pan and heat it until it melts. Add the dry fruits and allow them to roast a little.
2. Add the crushed cookies, sugar, cocoa powder and stir so that no lumps are formed.
3. Add milk and keep stirring till the mixture becomes thick.
4. Pour it on a greased plate. Allow to cool a little before using.

You can prevent the chocolate from sticking to the bottom of the pan by placing a pan of water beneath the first pan, thereby providing an indirect source of heat.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Pressure Cooker Cake

I wanted to bake a cake for my hubby's birthday this year. Since I do not own an oven I was wondering how to go about making a cake. The advertisement for Pillsbury Homemade Cake played vaguely in my mind and I recalled that it involved a pressure cooker. The key to using a pressure cooker in baking is to omit placing water at the bottom.

The ingredients are pretty usual,however, the technique of cooking is not.

Refined flour [Maida] - 1 1/2 cups
Powdered sugar - 1 cup
Plain butter or refined oil - 1/2 cup
Milk - 1/4 cup
Egg - 1
Cocoa powder - 3 heaped tablespoons
Baking powder - 1 teaspoon

Just after I opened the lid:

Sieve the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder such that no lumps are seen.
Beat the egg and set aside.
Mix the sugar and butter into a fluffy mixture and add the beaten egg to this.
Fold in the flour with the egg mixture. Add milk if the batter becomes too thick.
Grease an aluminium tray and dust with flour. Pour the batter into this tray.
Place the cooker plate [the one with holes] into the cooker, but do not add water.
Heat the pressure cooker on high flame for 2 minutes.Place the tray with batter and close the cooker. Do not place vent.
Lower the heat after 2 minutes and cook for 40 minutes.
Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before opening the lid.

I know 54 minutes is a really long time to bake a cake, especially when an oven could do it in under 5 minutes. But it was worth the effort for the cake turned out soft and really tasty.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Bread Upma

I am sure you have heard of the usual rava and semiya upma. However, bread upma is totally innovative and yummy to the core and makes for a light snack in the evening. I made this right after I got back from work and I was starving and obviously this is a no-pic post. Sorry about that.

What you will need:
Bread - Half a loaf [Quarter each slice]
Onion - 2, small, finely chopped
Tomato - 2, small, finely chopped
Oil - 1 tablespoon
Red chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Garam masala powder - a pinch
Salt to taste

For Tempering:
Urud dal - 1/2 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves - 1 sprig

This is how you make it:
-> Heat oil in a kadai and add mustard seeds. When they pop, add urud dal and curry leaves and fry till the dal turns golden brown.
-> Add the onions and fry till translucent. Add tomatoes, salt, turmeric powder, chilli powder and garam masala powder.
->Fry till the tomatoes become soft.
-> Add the bread pieces and mix well on a low flame. Serve hot with tomato sauce.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Corn Pulao

Here's a simple recipe for corn pulao. I used American sweet corn and the hint of sweetness amidst the spice was really tantalizing.

Basmathi rice - 1 cup, soaked in water for 30 minutes before cooking
Corn - 1 cup
Onion - 1 medium sized, slit into thin long pieces
Tomato - 1, blanched and pureed
Garlic - 2 cloves, crushed
Ginger - 1/2 inch, crushed
Red chili powder - 1.5 tsp
Coriander powder - 1/2 tsp
Cloves - 2
Cinnamon - 1 inch piece
Bay leaf - 1
Oil and salt

Heat a tablespoon of oil in a cooker pan. Add the cloves, cinnamon stick and bay leaf. When the cloves pop, add onion, ginger and garlic. Saute till the onions are translucent. Add tomato puree along with salt, chili powder and coriander powder. Fry for 5 minutes on a medium flame.

Add the corn and allow to cook for few minutes. In the meantime drain the water from the rice. Add the rice to the cooker pan along with 2.5 cups of water. Slip a heavy tawa underneath the pan. Place the lid and allow to cook. In under 30 mintues, you will have heavenly smelling and steaming hot corn pulao. When slightly cool, mix in a teaspoon of lemon juice and garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Aval Dosai

This is a simple yet delicious recipe for people who love dosas in any and every form. This batter will yield neither quick nor crispy dosas. But I can assure you that they are absolutely yummy with coriander chutney.

This is what you will need:
Rice - 1 cup
Aval [Puffed Rice] - 1 cup
Salt to taste

And, here's how to prepare the batter:
Wash the rice well and soak in plenty of water for an hour. When you are really pressed for time, 20 minutes of soaking will do.
Repeat the cleaning and soaking routine with the puffed rice as well. Take care to soak them separately because puffed rice grinds faster.
Drain and preserve the water from the soaked rice. You can use a mixer to grind the rice to a very smooth paste. Use a bit of the preserved water if the batter turns out to be very thick.
Finally, drain the water from the puffed rice, add it to the rice batter and grind.
Add salt and mix well.

Note: When you feel the batter in between your fingers, it should not feel grainy.

You can also spice up the batter with finely chopped onions, coriander leaves and green chilies. Ohhhhh, I am already drooling. I guess I know what to make for dinner this weekend. :)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Cabbage baffle

Have you ever made cabbage curry and seen it wither before it has been cooked? Today is the second time it has happened to me. A kilogram of cabbage reduced to just a small bowl of curry!!The first time it happened, I figured I had added salt too early in the cooking process. This morning I was really careful to add salt only after the cabbage was nicely done. Imagine my horror when the cabbage again withered and I was left with only a small bowl of curry. I mentioned this to my mom in our chat session and she tells me that while picking cabbages I need to make sure the leaves are densly packed and the cabbage feels heavy. Damn! I always thought the ones that feel fluffy are the fresh and best ones. Better late than never I suppose.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Chance Penne

Few days back, while chatting with my best friend, she mentioned pasta and that is when I decided on a Saturday night soup-pasta dinner. Little did I imagine that Zeus would try to spoil it all. Little did he know that come rain, come shine, my hubby and I do grocery/vegetable shopping over the weekends [he he he he :D].

We went out to the local super market and got all that I'd need to make pasta. I was very pleased with myself, until I realized that the spark plug in the bike had soaked through and the bike wouldn't start. Such things do happen so I took a rickshaw home.

I finally put the penne to boil and started chopping veggies. But things were not meant to go smoothly. Yes, the power went out!grrrr. I wanted to chuck the saucepan. No,I wasn't going to give up on a pasta dinner. I was considering using torch light and candles to get through, when the lights came back on. I guess when you want something badly, things just fall into place. Well, atleast a stomach full of yummy home made pasta makes you think such stuff!

Home made Penne with White Sauce

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Sambhar without tamarind

I understand anyone will get bored eating the same food everyday. Imagine getting borrrrred cooking the same food day in, day out! My husband loves sambhar and I being a novice knew just about two sambhar recipes. Using different vegetables was the utmost variation I could manage.
I was always under the impression that tamarind extract is a must in any kind of sambhar. That is probably why I was skeptical when my mother-in-law [amma in all future blogs] told me about this simple variation, during one of my rantings about having to cook the same stuff everyday.


Onion - 1, chopped into medium sized pieces
Tomatoes - 2, one finely chopped and one blanched and pureed
Thoor dal - 1 big cup
Sambhar powder - 1 heaped tablespoon
Mustard seeds - 1/4 teaspoon
Urad dal - 1/4 teaspoon
Salt - as required
Turmeric powder - a pinch
Curry leaves - few
Oil - 1 tablespoon

Here's how you make the sambhar. Pressure cook the thoor dal along with turmeric powder and enough water. Heat the oil in a kadai and temper mustard and urud dal. Add the curry leaves just as the urud dal turns golden brown. Add the onions and fry till translucent. Add the chopped and pureed tomatoes. Allow to cook for few minutes. Add salt and sambhar powder. Fry for 15-20 secs and add the boiled thoor dal. Pour a small cup of water and allow to boil for 5 minutes. Sambhar without tamarind is ready!!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Just the beginning

For quite sometime now, I have been thinking about setting up my blog - food blog if you can call it that. What with work, MBA exams and home-making, I haven't really gotten down to it. Finally, here I am, all set to blog away.
I have always taken good food for granted, having been blessed with a mom who can cook amazing stuff! Married life has taught me that even a simple meal takes a litre of effort, a pinch of interest and a dash of creativity. I will mainly use my blog to share recipes that I have tried & loved. I might also post stuff that I think are worth sharing.
I keep asking my mom or mom-in-law for recipes that just end up in a book on the kitchen shelf. This morning I vowed to spend my weekends making yummy stuff, recipes and photos of which will be posted here :)