Friday, October 26, 2012

Dal Makhani

It was at my best friend's place that I had dal makhani for the very first time. It was love at first taste!! Since then, this is a must have when ever I eat out. The best thing is the way the flavour of the butter hits the taste buds amidst all the spices and cooked dal. It just makes me go oooooohhh!!! :)

After all these years, it was only yesterday that I got a chance to make this delicious dal at home. Mom said it was as good as the dal she had eaten in restaurants :) That surely made my day!!!

To make this extremely rich dal, here's what you will need:
Rajma (Kidney beans) - 1/2 cup
Whole black urad dal - 1/2 cup
Butter - 1/2 cup
Fresh cream - 1/4 cup
Coriander powder - 2 tbsp
Garam Masala powder - 1/2 tsp
Red chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
Kasoori methi - 1/2 tbsp
Ginger and garlic paste - 3 tbsp
Tomato, pureed - 1 cup
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste

Without further ado:
> Soak rajma and urad dal in water overnight. Pressure cook.
> Heat oil in a pan and temper cumin seeds
>Add ginger-garlic paste and tomato puree. Cover the pan with a lid and allow to boil on low flame
> After about 10 minutes, add red chilli powder, garam masala powder and coriander powder. Blend and then add butter. 
> Cover and allow to simmer for about 15 minutes. 
> Add the dal along with the water it was cooked in. Mix well and allow to simmer on a low flame. 
> Now and then, stir the mixture so that the dal is not burnt. 
> Add kasoori methi powder and fresh cream. Mix well. Cover and allow to simmer for few minutes. 

Serving suggestions: Tastes great with roti or rice. Onion rings with a hint of lemon juice enhances the taste a million times.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Baby Corn Manchurian

Who said teaching is easy?!!!  Okay, okay!! Enough of my melodrama. After a long day of disciplining, corrections and a bit of teaching, all I wish for is a few golden moments of pure silence and something to silence that constant rumble emanating from my tummy. Most days, I walk into my house asking mom my staple question "What's there to eat?" One look at her tired face is enough to melt my heart and settle for a steaming cup of tea or coffee. Today was different though. I had to have something crunchy and spicy. So there you have it - my inspiration to make baby corn manchurian.

It was irritating  to listen to that rrrrrrr....grrrrrr....rrrrrrrrr!!! But it was well worth the wait and effort. 

> Heat some oil in a pan deep frying
> Slit the baby corns into diagonal and long slices
> Make a slightly runny batter by mixing 2 tbsp of rice flour, 2 tbsp of refined flour (maida), ginger-garlic-chilli paste, salt, turmeric and water.
> Coat the sliced baby corn with this paste and deep fry in oil and set aside
> Heat a tbsp of oil in a wok. When it is hot add chopped garlic, green chilli and ginger . Saute for a few minutes.
> Add sliced onions and green pepper and saute. Ensure that their crunchiness is retained
> Then add a tsp of white vinegar, a tsp of sugar, a tsp each of soya sauce and tomato sauce. Fry on a high flame
> Toss in the fried baby corn and mix on a high flame along with a pinch of salt
> Garnish with finely chopped fresh coriander leaves and serve steaming hot with tomato ketchup!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Paneer Pulao

We spend weekend mid-mornings passively refusing to step into the kitchen to fix lunch. Obviously each one of us has a valid reason for not wanting to get into the kitchen. Well, with a mind that never ever stops dwelling on yummy food, I am always the first to lose this battle of sorts!! This Saturday was no different.

I wanted to make something that would be done in a jiffy, but taste delicious. With loads of paneer lying around in the fridge, the easiest option was to make paneer pulao. And so I did.

I fried the paneer cubes in oil and dunked them in warm water to keep them tender until I finally used them.

This is how I made the pulao:
1. Heat oil and pop a couple of cloves, cardamom and a small piece of cinnamon.
2. Temper cumin seeds.
3. Fry slit onions, ginger-garlic paste and slit green chillies. Add a cup of rice and fry until the moisture is absorbed.
4. Add chopped coriander and mint leaves, along with a handful of peas.
5. Add salt as per taste, a teaspoon of lemon extract and enough water.
6. Pressure cook the rice.
7. Allow the rice to come to room temperature and gently mix in the fried paneer.
Voila! Paneer pulao is ready within no time!!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Pasta and tomato sauce

Familiarity does breed contempt! I was so fed up with the white sauce that I always make when we have a pasta meal. I tried making the red sauce several weeks ago and was quite pleased with the tangy and spicy taste.
Been so busy with so many things and hadn't really give much thought to blogging up until now. It took quite a while to make the sauce and pasta but the result was a welcome change.

I boiled two cups of pasta (macaroni and fusilli) with a teaspoon of salt and a dash of olive oil. I drained the water and let cool water run over the pasta so it wouldn't stick together.

This is how I made the sauce:
1. Mix a tbsp of maida or cornflour in 1/4 cup of water and set aside.
2. Heal a tbsp of olive oil in a pan, add broken red chilies, cumin seeds, carom seeds, basil leaves and oregano.
3. Add chopped vegetables of choice (carrots, capsicum, beans) and saute until soft.
4. Add about 2 cups of  finely chopped tomatoes and allow it to become pulpy. Simmer for few minutes.
5. Add the maida paste along with sugar and salt. Allow the sauce to boil and come to required consistency.

Pour the sauce over the cooked pasta and serve hot with a dollop of melted cheese on the top.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Plain Cake with Chocolate Icing

Happy Birthday to my dearest sister! :)
But, are we really happy? That thrilling feeling is missing and we seem to be moving around as if in a daze. It is so weird!! I thought we were all grown up now and can handle mom being out of town for a couple of days. Alas, no! We miss her big time and can't wait for tomorrow. The real icing on the cake which turned out so well would have been mom being here with us on my sister's special day.

So bored of baking the same old chocolate cake. Being a special day, the cake ought to be special too. Something I have never tried before. In fact, scared to try and see it fail. There has to be a first time for everything. So here is my first cake, complete with layers and icing.

For the cake:
(Split ingredients in two portions to make two cakes)
Refined flour: 1 cup
Whole wheat flour: 1 cup
Baking powder: 1 1/2 tsp
Cooking soda: 1/2 tsp
Eggs: 2
Sugar: 2 cups
Butter: 1 cup

To make one cake, sift half cup of refined flour, half cup of whole wheat flour, 3/4th tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp cooking soda and set aside.
Grease a cake tin and dust it with flour.
In a mixing bowl, combine 1 cup sugar and 1/2 cup butter to form a fluffy mixture. Beat in one egg until frothy.
Add the flour mixture a little at a time and fold it in along with the egg mixture.
Pour the cake mixture into the greased tin. Bake it.

I used a pressure cooker. For instructions on baking in a pressure cooker click here.

For the chocolate icing:
Icing sugar: 1/2 cup (I powdered 1/2 cup of granulated sugar and added 1/2 tsp of corn flour)
Cocoa powder: 2 tbsp
Butter: 2 tbsp
Water: 2 tbsp

Warm water and set aside.
Sift icing sugar and cocoa powder. 
Melt 2 tbsp of butter in a mixing bowl and remove from fire.
Add the sugar and cocoa mixture a little at a time and mix well. Add a little water if too thick.
Leave in the refrigerator until the cakes have cooled down completely.

Spread a thick layer of icing on the one side of a cake. Place the other cake over this one such that the icing forms the middle layer between the two cake layers. Spread the remaining icing on the top surface and sides of  the cake. 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Corn Kofta Curry

I have always loved kofta dishes, especially malai kofta. We had a big packet of corn at home and were quite bored of the usual boiled corn. My sister suggested we should try something new. Since we were all at home when she made this happy suggestion, I looked in the many recipe books I have and came across a recipe for Corn Kofta Curry. It looked simple enough to make and with loads of encouragement (or should I call it greed? ;) ) from my sister I got down to making the amazingly delicious dish which we enjoyed with hot phulkas.

To make the kofta: 
Pressure cook 2 cups of corn and 2 big potatoes. When cool, mash them coarsely.
Add 1/2 cup of gram flour, a tsp of green chilli and ginger paste, salt, 1/2 tsp of pepper and cumin powder, 1/4 tsp of turmeric powder and a tbsp of curd.
Mix well and make lemon sized balls and deep fry in oil until the koftas turn golden brown.

To make the gravy:
Grind 3 onions into a coarse paste. Heat oil in a pan and fry the ground onion along with a 1/2 tbsp of ginger-garlic paste.
Then add 2 tsp of coriander powder, 1/2 tsp of cumin powder, 1/4 tsp of garam masala, 1 tsp of red chilli powder, 1/4 tsp of sugar along with a tsp of butter. Fry well and then add tomato paste. Fry until the oil leaves the sides of the pan.
Add salt and enough water. Boil for few minutes and then pour in a tbsp of cashew paste. Allow to simmer.

In a serving bowl, arrange the fried koftas and pour the gravy over it. Garnish with beaten fresh cream and finely chopped coriander leaves. Serve piping hot with rotis.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Methi Pulav

With most of us working and rushing to reach our respective workplace on time, it is no wonder that we want easy to cook food. I came across this in one of my recipe books and tried it out this week. It is extremely easy to make and tastes delicious. Best part: no need for any grinding!!
I could hardly wait for lunch break in order to have a spoonful of rice to check how it had turned out. It was well worth the wait!! I enjoyed a simple and yummy lunch of methi Pulav with salted curds.

Methi leaves - 2 cups, washed well and strained
Rice - 1 cup
Water - 2 cups
Onion - 2 big, sliced
Carrots - 2, diced
Sambhar powder - 1 tbsp
Garam masala powder - 1/4 tsp
Garlic paste - 1 tbsp
Cloves - 3
Cinnamon - 1'' piece
Green chillies - 2, chopped finely
Lemon juice - 2 tbsp
Oil - 2 tbsp

1. Heat oil in a pressure cooker pan. Pop cloves and cinnamon. Fry chillies, garlic and onion until golden brown
2. Add carrots and whole methi leaves. Fry until the moisture is absorbed. [Do not chop the leaves, else the rice will turn out bitter]
3. Add sambhar powder and garam masala powder. Fry for few minutes.
4. Add rice and fry for 2 minutes. Add salt and water. Close the lid and pressure cook for 10 minutes.
5. After cooking add lemon juice and mix well. Serve hot with onion raitha.