Saturday, March 20, 2010

Parupu Payasam

This sweet dish is prepared in most south Indian households for festivals and other important occasions. This perfect blend of dals, jaggery and milk leaves you with the feeling of having had a meal fit for a king.

Green gram dal [moong dal] - 1 cup
Channa dal - 1/4 cup
Jaggery - 1 cup
Milk - 1/2 cup
Water - 2 cups
Ghee - 3 tbsp
Green cardamon - 2 pods, crushed well
Cashew nuts and raisins

1. Heat ghee and roast the cashew nuts and raisins. Set aside.
2. Soak both dals in water for about 1 hour. Pressure cook along with water and milk.
3. Add the crushed cardamom and jaggery and allow to boil on a low flame until well blended and slightly thick.
4. Pour the ghee, roasted cashew nuts and raisins over the payasam and serve hot.

Rajma - Punjabi Style

This is a different version than the one I have tried before. I like this one much better for its true Punjabi taste - it combines really well with rice and leaves you feeling completely nourished.

Kidney beans - 1 1/2 cup, soaked in water for at least 8 hours
Tomatoes - 3, medium
Green chili - 1
Ginger - a small piece
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Coriander powder - 2 tbsp
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Red chili powder - 1 tsp
Black pepper powder - 1/4 tsp
Salt to taste
Asafoetida - a pinch
Oil - 2 tbsp

1. Blend the tomatoes, green chili and ginger into a fine paste.
2. Heat oil in a pressure cooker, add asafoetida and cumin seeds and allow the seeds to splutter.
3. Add the blended paste and allow to boil for 2 minutes.
4. Add coriander powder, turmeric powder, red chili powder and pepper powder. Mix well.
5. Allow to cook on a low flame till the oil separates from the gravy.
6. Add the kidney beans along with the water in which it was soaked. Add salt and another cup of water.
7. Turn the heat to high, close the cooker and place the vent. Allow 3 whistles.
8. After the pressure subsides, mash few beans to make the gravy thicker.
9. Serve hot with rice.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Honey Cake

I usually work from home on Tuesdays and am usually very productive. Today was one of those off days. I was supposed to complete an online certification and my mind just did not want to cooperate. As usual it started wandering to what appeals to me the most - FOOD!

I was thinking about a cake that my cousin, Roshan and I baked at his place a really long time ago - it was a honey cake. I remember I had the recipe written on a piece of paper. I always make it a point to put such notes into the recipe book I have. I hardly needed 2 minutes to decide which was important - my work or my growling tummy!!

I pulled out my recipe book and started looking for the honey cake recipe. I almost had a heart attack when I did not find it. I was frantic and woke up my mom from her noon nap to ask if she could find it in my old books that are still in Bangalore. She was really irritated and did not comply :(

I vaguely remembered the ingredients. The base for a cake is mostly the same - flour, butter, sugar, egg and so on. This obviously had to have honey and I recalled that the cake had a strong coffee flavour the first time I ever baked it. I decided to take the risk and give it a try. I again used a pressure cooker to bake the cake. Well I can tell you that it turned out great - a very mild sweetness that lets you have loads :D

This is how you prepare the batter:
1. Add hot water to 1/2 tsp of coffee powder and set aside to cool.
2. Mix 4 tbsp of sugar and 1/2 cup of butter into a fluffy mixture.
3. Add two eggs to this and whip well.
4. Sieve 2 cups of flour and a tsp of baking powder.
5. Fold and mix the flour with the egg mixture.
6. Add 8 tbsp of honey, brewed coffee and about a pinch or two or cinnamon powder. Mix well.
7. Pour this into a greased and dusted cake tray and bake.

Enjoy the plain, hot cake or whip up some fresh cream to go along with it.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Kadai Paneer

This dish is a must have if you can't resist north Indian cuisine. I urge you to try making some yourself since it will leave you with the feeling have accomplished something great :)

Traditionally, it is served in a kadai - wok. It uses very simple ingredients and can be whipped up in a jiffy. Yet the taste leaves one imagining a large amount of time and effort gone into making the dish!!! Since the main ingredient is paneer or cottage cheese, it makes sense to have it with light, hot and soft phulkas.

You will need:
250 gms paneer, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 medium sized green capsicum, diced into 1/2 inch pieces
3 medium sized tomatoes
1/2 inch piece of ginger
1 green chili
1 tablespoon of finely chopped onions
1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
1 teaspoon of coarsely crushed coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon of red chili powder
5 tablespoon of oil
a pinch of turmeric powder
a pinch of asafoetida


Heat oil in a pan and stir fry the paneer for 2 minutes. Set aside.
In the same oil, stir fry capsicum until they are tender and crispy at the same time. Set aside.
In the remaining oil, add cumin seeds and asafoetida.
When the seeds splutter, add onions and fry well.
Add pureed tomatoes, ginger and green chili.
Add coriander powder, turmeric powder, chili powder and salt.
Allow to cook until the tomato paste expresses oil.
Add the fried paneer and capsicum.
Mix well and allow the paneer to soak up the saucy tomato, taking care to keep the capsicum crisp.