Saturday, December 3, 2011

Applesauce + Cookies = Applesauce Cookies

So I made this big jar of applesauce a month ago when the whole blogosphere seemed to be posting apple related recipes. My confession is that I don't much like apples so for me to make something primarily with apple seemed like a waste of time, effort and materials. But then there are times when an idea just refuses to get out of your head despite all the practical reasons for not following through. So I had to had to make applesauce.  Since I have never tasted applesauce before - ya another confession ... I read a whole bunch of recipes, did not write any of them down. So in a minute I will tell you about how I made my applesauce, but for now just assume that I now have this whole bottle of applesauce in my fridge and I don't know what to do with. Well I went on a hunt for ways to use up applesauce and found this recipe for applesauce cookies on Tastes Better with Friends. I tweaked it a bit though not too much - the result floored us. I had halved the original recipe so the yield was around 20 cookies, and the two of us finished these in two days.

Well true to the spirit of the blog from where I picked up the recipe " Tastes better with friends", I am sending these cookies virtually to my dear friend 'S' and I really wish I was in India making these for her. For now enjoy these virtually 'S and you can pester 'R' to make it when her oven is not exploding ;)

Ingredients for Applesauce(Makes 450 gms or 16 Oz)
4 Apples peeled, cored and chopped
3/4 Cup Water
1/4 Cup Sugar
1/2 tsp Cinnamon Pdr
1/4 tsp All Spice
Juice of half lemon

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan, cover and cook for 15-20 minutes over medium heat. Cool & mash with a potato masher. Store refrigerated in a glass bottle.

Applesauce Cookies
1/4 Cup Butter
1/2 Cup Sugar
1/2 C Applesauce
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1 Cup All Purpose Flour
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 Cup Raisins
1/4 Cup Crystallized Ginger Pieces chopped fine (instead of nuts in the original recipe)
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Ground Cloves

1. Preheat oven to 375 F
2. Cream butter, sugar then add applesauce and blend it.
3. Sift flour with baking soda, salt, cinnamon and cloves. Add the dry ingredients to the above mixture and stir until smooth.
4. Add the raisins and ginger pieces and stir until combined. At this point, this mix was more like a thick muffin batter than a cookie dough.
5. Drop by tsp onto a greased baking sheet spacing 2 to 3 inches apart. Bake about 12 mins or lightly browned. I baked for 14 minutes.
6. At this point I should say cool completely before devouring but I love warm cookies and these were so cake like in texture I couldn't wait ....

So Ms S here they come your way ..

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Bajari No Rotlo / Bajri Roti / Millet Flatbread

Bajari or Millet Flour as it is known in English is one more of the gluten-free flour variety. During winters, we used to have these bajari rotis or flatbreads along with a bit of jaggery. The reasoning behind this given to us as children was that bajari is heat inducing so helps the body's heat retention, I do not know the truth behind this one but another reason I suspect was also that the fresh green garlic shoots used for flavoring these flatbreads are mostly available in the winter months. Of course you can substitute garlic pods for fresh green garlic but the taste changes quite a bit.
Baingan Bharta or Ringan No Oro (in gujarati) along with Bajri Rotlo is commonly served in Gujarat and is generally a part of the Kathiawadi thali. I will be posting the Baingan Bharta recipe soon till then here is how to make these easy and tasty flatbreads.

1 Cup Bajari / Millet Flour
2-3 Tbsp Fresh Green Garlic and Fresh Coriander(Cilantro) leaves ground to a paste with very little water
2-3 Thai Green chillies ground to a paste
Salt to taste
1. In a mixing bowl, take bajari flour, add salt, chili paste, green garlic and coriander paste and knead into a smooth dough.
2. Make 4-5 equal portions of the dough. Take a Ziploc bag, slit two sides and make it into a rectangle. Apply some ghee or butter or oil, sprinkle some dry bajari flour.
3. Now take a portion of the dough and put it on the Ziploc, flatten with your hands similar to Sorghum Flatbread
4. Gently ease it out of the Ziploc bag and slide it onto a hot griddle. Cook on both sides on medium high heat till brown spots appear. Apply some ghee and serve hot with baingan bharta or a piece of jaggery or with plain yogurt.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Hubby's Aloo Matar / Potatoes and Peas

My dear hubby is a good cook. He is not a fancy schmancy chef but he certainly has a few signature dishes which in his words "..are a repeatable process". You can see he has been in the IT industry for far too long ..sigh!! On days when I feel rather bored to cook something or when I am not in a mood for eating my own food(oh how I wish mom would be here on such days) my sweet hubby offers to make something for us. This time he made his signature aloo matar which is very very different from what I make but it is mighty simple and finger licking good.

4 Small - Medium Boiled Potatoes
3/4 C Peas / Matar
1 Tbsp Hunts Tomato Paste
1/4 tsp Cumin seeds
1/4 tsp Turmeric
1/2 tsp Corriander Powder
1/2 tsp Red Chilli Powder / Cayenne Pepper
1 Tbsp Oil
Salt to taste
1. Peel the potatoes and cut them lengthwise.
2. In a saute pan, heat oil, add cumin and let the seeds sizzle and give out a good aroma. Add the potatoes and stir till well coated with the oil cumin mixture.
3. Now add peas, salt, turmeric, corriander powder, red chilli powder and mix well. Stir well and cook for a few minutes till the peas are nearly done.
4. Now add a tablespoon of the hunts tomato paste and cook for a few more minutes till tomato paste is well mixed. Taste and adjust seasoning.
5.Serve hot and gloat ;)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

My Favourite Breakfast

I am not too much of a breakfast person - all I prefer in the mornings is a good big cuppa chai and a couple of my favourite Parle-G biscuits. That said, I still do have some favourite breakfast items and almost on top of my list is a delicacy which I have been extremely fond of since my childhood days. The white steaming fluffy white cloud like idlis in my opinion are one of the best things we can have for breakfast. There are enough and more recipes for Idlis in the blogosphere so I am not going to put a recipe for this one. This will just be a simple photo post with Idli, Molgapodhi, Sambhar and Tomato Onion Chutney a feast for breakfast.

Baingan Bharta / Ringan No Oro / Smoked Eggplant with Onions, Tomatoes and Fresh Garlic

Ages ago when we were children growing up in an India when cable television and cartoon network were not so prolific and Doordarshan channel was our only source of entertainment there was a children's program called "Baingan Raja" where the eggplant being the king's favourite veggie was elected as the king of the vegetable kingdom. I have much forgotten the story but what lingers on in my memory is that how as a child I could not relate to Eggplant being the king of any kingdom as it along with bitter gourd was one of the least of my favorites. Now the roles are reversed and if not baingan then karela surely should be treated as a king of vegetables ;). My hubby is already grinding his teeth ...grr...he dislikes both these veggies, but this is my blog and sometimes it is about my favorites. So yes today I am going to share one of my favorite eggplant recipe and one that is common to western as well as northern parts of India and is known by various names - Baingan Bharta, Ringan No Oro which translates in English as Smoked Eggplant with Onions, Tomatoes and Fresh Garlic.

1 Big Eggplant
1 Big Red Onion, finely chopped
1 Bunch Scallions / Spring Onions, white and green parts separated and finely chopped
2 Tomatoes, finely chopped
2 Tbsp Green Chilli, Ginger and Fresh Green Garlic paste
1/2 Cup Green Peas boiled, if using frozen thawed and microwaved for 3-4 mins
1/8 tsp Hing / Asafoetida
1/4 tsp Mustard Seeds
1 tsp Amchur Powder
1 tsp Garam Masala Powder
1-2 tsp Corriander Powder
1-2 tsp Red Chilli Powder * Adjust to taste
1/4 tsp Turmeric
Salt to taste
1 Tbsp Oil
1 Sprig Curry Leaves
1. Wash and wipe the eggplant. Now coat it with some oil, place it in a baking tray and broil till the skin turns black and starts to peel. Time to remove the eggplant from the oven and switch of the oven. I prefer doing this on a gas flame but since I have an electric stove I have to use the oven.
2. Place an inverted baking tray, remove the eggplant with tongs and place it on this. Now place a baking tray on top of the eggplant and press it down with some heavy weight object. This will remove the juices from the eggplant. As per traditional Indian cuisine, the juices of the eggplant are supposed to be heat intensive and by removing the juices and seeds the supposed heat is removed from the eggplant. Peel the eggplant and separate the pulp.
3. In a heavy bottomed pan, add a Tbsp of oil, let it heat then add mustard seeds, hing and curry leaves. Now add the onions and white part of spring onion saute till they change color to pinkish brown, Now add the pounded green chilli, ginger and garlic paste, saute for a couple of minutes before adding the eggplant pulp. Saute for additional 3-4 minutes till nicely mixed.
4. Add all the spices and then add tomatoes. Allow to cook till tomatoes are cooked through and the whole looks like a homogenous mass.
5. Now add green peas and cook for additional 3-4 minutes. By now the bharta should start leaving the sides of the kadhai. Garnish with the green parts of spring onions. Optionally add a little lemon juice and serve with Bajri No Rotlo or phulkas.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Collard Greens with Mung Beans

My world view of the greens was limited to Spinach, Fenugreek and Mustard leaves (sarson) and may be a couple of others. All of which I happen to love. The greens here in the grocery store always caught my eye and beckoned to me but I was always reluctant or hesitant as to what will I make with them? This time the collard greens looked so fresh that I just couldn't stop myself from reaching out and plonking them in my shopping cart much to the consternation of my hubby whose mute question was "What in the world are you going to do with that?" I ignored it and brought these home. Next began a war for space in my usually packed refrigerator. The bunch of collard greens was occupying a third of my veggie drawer and after a couple of days of jostling for space with other veggies, my husband finally asked me "What are you going to make with that broom?" Broom did I just hear you say broom to such beautiful greens, well it is blasphemy and so went the war of words. Finally I got to thinking of what I would make with these, the internet search was not too helpful as most of these were relegating the greens to a secondary side dish whereas wanted them to be a star. Finally I decided to try and use collard greens instead of spinach in the traditional manner in which our very famous Sindhi Sai Bhaji is made. Well this seemed like a win-win since hubby likes Sai Bhaji ok not just likes "loves". Trust me this turned out to be so beautiful. The only thing I changed from the traditional recipe was instead of chana dal (split chickpeas) I used mung dal since it is quicker cooking. For more on lentils see Food Subs. Do not be daunted by the list of ingredients, this dish has just a unique flavor and surprisingly with not as many spices as one expects from an Indian main course dish.

1 Bunch Collard Greens *It actually had 4 separate bunches so it was really a big one
1/4 Cup Yellow Mung Dal
1 Small Potato peeled and cubed
1 Small Onion peeled and diced small
1/2 Zucchini or any other squash, cubed same size as potatoes
1 Carrot peeled and cubed
4 Medium Tomatoes small diced
1 - 2" piece Ginger Root chopped fine
6-7 Thai Green Chillies * Adjust heat according to your own taste buds
a pinch of Asafoetida
1/2 tsp Turmeric
Salt to taste
2-3 Tbsp Kasuri Methi Dried or a handful if using fresh leaves
1 Tbsp Oil
1. Wash and soak mung dal in water for 15-20 minutes till you finish all the prep work. Wash and chop the collard greens.
2. In a pressure cooker, add a tablespoon of oil let it heat then add the ginger, green chillies and asafoetida. Stir for 30 seconds, then add the onions, potato, squash and carrot. Stir fry for 1-2 minutes.
3. Now add half of the collard greens, then add the mung dal follow with the rest of the collard greens.
4. Add chopped tomatoes, turmeric and kasuri methi do NOT mix.
5. Close the pressure cooker and cook for 2-3 whistles.
6. Switch of the gas and allow to cool completely before opening the pressure cooker. If you are in a hurry you can use the cold water treatment but be very careful.
7. After you open the pressure cooker, take a whisk or a handheld immersion blender and mash the veges. At this point it is very very easy to mash them. Add salt and switch on the heat and reheat till it starts bubbling.
8. Enjoy with soft warm rotis or with Garlic Rice or Plain Rice.

1. You can use Chana Dal instead of Mung Dal. It requires a longer soaking time than the mung dal
2. You can also use a small bunch of dill leaves, it takes the taste to the next level
3. Some people also enjoy adding a tempering of almost browned garlic on top of the cooked greens.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Mini Cake Doughnuts - Two Ways

I brought a mini doughnut pan purely for its cuteness value. It looked so cute that I had to have one. I bought it home and then had it stacked away with all my other baking pans. Now me and my friend R love doughnuts. we have spent many of our lunch breaks walking down to a donut chain called Mad Over Doughnuts in Mumbai to ogle at and share a donut and coffee for lunch yeah you heard me LUNCH or at other times just like that. So when my dear R, sent me a one liner telling me about a new job offer for her, I decided to remove my doughnut pan and bake donuts for her. So what if  I can share them only virtually's the thought that counts right.

I basically followed the recipe that came with my pan and varied it only to add a couple of spoons of maple syrup to one part and a 1/4 tsp of vanilla essence to the other batch.

1 1/4 Cups All Purpose Flour *original recipe called for Cake flour, since I didn't have any ...
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup buttermilk * I used 2-3 Tbsp Plain Yogurt diluted with water
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 1/2 Tablespoons butter, melted
1-2 Tbsp Maple Syrup * See method below
1/4 tsp Vanilla Extract * See method below
1. Preheat oven to 425 F. Spray mini doughnut pan with cooking spray or oil.
2. In a bowl, mix all dry ingredients together and stir with a whisk.
3. In another bowl, add all wet ingredients, whisk till egg and buttermilk have blended. Now add butter and whisk it nicely.
4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk well. Do not overbeat.
5. Now divide the batter in two bowls, to one add maple syrup and to the other add vanilla essence.
6. Take a ziplock bag and fill the contents of the vanilla batter to the bag, snip a small hole and fill in the each donut cavity about 1/2 full. Bake for 4-6 minutes till the top of the doughnut springs back to touch.
7. Since I wasn't very happy with the color on top, I flipped the donuts on the other side and slipped the pan back into the oven for 2 minutes. This is strictly optional.
8. Now remove the donuts and fill in the maple batter bake for 4-6 mins.
9. For Sugar Glazed donuts - in another ziplock bag, fill in 2/3 C Sugar and dunk a few minis at a time, shake the bag till well coated, remove and repeat till all vanilla donuts a dozen of them are coated with sugar
10. For the maple glaze, in a bowl mix 1/2 C powdered sugar, 2-3 Tbsp Maple Syrup and mix well, glaze each donut and set it on a serving platter.
11. Enjoy with coffee - our choice Black with no Sugar added.

A special note for R: Remember NSE cafeteria?? Instant black coffee and "Are you girls insane looks?" of the cafeteria guys ;)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Zucchini Pancakes

This has to be the fastest that a recipe I have made has made it to my blog almost instantaneously after I made it. OK well it's been a few hours since breakfast but whatever ...
I love pancakes I can have them for breakfast, for lunch or for dinner doesn't matter - but my dear hubby is not so very fond of them. He challenged me to come up with a savory version of the pancakes for him and I am proud to say this one here has won his approval :). As for me I think this sure is a good way of getting some veggies in early in the morning.

Ingredients (For 6-7 pancakes)
2/3 Cup Bisquick Pancake Mix
1/2 Zucchini, washed and grated
1/2 Yellow Onion, peeled and grated
1 Thai Green Chilly, thinly sliced
Salt & Pepper
A dash of Italian Seasoning
A dash of Red Pepper Flakes
2/3 Cup Water
6-7 tsp Olive Oil

1. In a mixing bowl, measure of the bisquick, add salt, pepper, seasoning and red chilli flakes and mix them together.
2. Add grated zucchini, onions and thai green chilli. Now add 2/3 Cup water and mix it well.
3. Adjust the liquid till you get the perfect pancake batter. Optionally you could use eggs instead of water.
4. Heat a skillet on medium high, pour out a ladleful of the pancake batter, add a little olive oil and cook on both sides like pancake.
5. Serve hot with a dollop of sour cream or just plain ol' ketchup.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Roasted Tomatillo & Hot Pepper Salsa

I have decided to explore nature's bounty and expand the horizon's for my taste buds or unwillingly, grudgingly also those of my hubby's :). Every regular grocery trip I have decided to pick-up atleast one vegetable that I have not used in my kitchen before. Last week I picked up tomatillos. I have always been fascinated by the way they look like green tomatoes but with a papery husk. I used to shy away because I didn't know what to do with them ... then I had Salsa Verde and that was the turning point. So armed with tomatillos and some really hot peppers I set out to make salsa
6 Tomatillos husks removed, washed and halved
1-2  Red Fresno Pepper (These are super hot)
1 Jalapeno Pepper
4 cloves garlic peeled
Cilantro a big handful
1 Small Red Onion or a quarter of a big one chopped fine
Cumin Powder
Corriander Powder

1 In a baking sheet pan, place the cut half of tomatillos, chilli peppers and 2 cloves garlic and roast them at 400 F for 10-15 mins till the outside of tomatillos has charred and inside is soft to touch.
2. Let cool for 5 mins, then put all the ingredients in a blender and pulse.
3. Transfer to a serving bowl serve warm or let cool some more and serve with chips.

1. This one is super delicious but super hot. Feel free to reduce the number of chillies or substitute milder ones.
2. I believe this will make an awesome marinate for fish like tilapia fillets for a smoking hot grilled fish.

Monday, November 14, 2011


What is gooey, creamy, cheesy,spicy and absolutely irresistible? Ya you guessed it's Queso pronounced kay-so  aka Chili con Queso or cheese with spices. I serve it with tortilla chips, pita chips or fresh veggie sticks and even some Indian appetizers. Did I hear you say it's versatile - you bet it is.

8Oz Velveeta, grated
4Oz Cream Cheese
1 Can Rotel Original Tomatoes with Chillies
2 pods Garlic, peeled and chopped fine
1-2 Jalapeno Peppers, diced fine
1 tsp Black Pepper crushed

Note: This is an ideal recipe for a slow cooker, since I don't own one I made it on the stove-top, if you have one by all means use it :)
Oh! The cream-cheese shied away from posing :(
1. In a heavy bottomed pan, add grated velveeta, cream cheese and set it on medium-high till melted.
2. Now add the can of Rotel tomatoes, diced jalapenos, garlic and mix well.
3. Mix thoroughly and lower the heat and let it bubble for a few minutes. Add crushed black pepper. Mix well.
4. Serve warm with chips of your choice.

1. In case, of leftovers, you can reheat in a microwave and again use it as a dip or
2. Dilute with milk and use as a sauce for mac n cheese or pasta ;)
I like making penne pasta, coating it with diluted queso, adding mushrooms and broccoli and baking them till there is a nice golden layer. Yummy !!!!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Butterscotch Cookies

Butterscotch has been one of the earliest flavors - the times when ice-cream options were limited to Vanilla, Chocolate and Butterscotch. I used to be almost torn between chocolate and butterscotch and more often than not chocolate would win out. The same happened when I decided to bake cookies for the spirited trick or treaters but instead of chocolate butterscotch chips won out and the little tricksters were treated to some delicious butterscotch cookies.
Oh well a big bad monster stole a cookie ;)

1/2 Cup Butter softened or cut into pieces
1/4 - 1/3 Cup Sugar * I baked 2 batches, used 1/4 C for the first I felt they needed a tad bit more so upped to 1/3 Cup for the next batch
1 Cup All Purpose Flour
1/3 Cup Butterscotch Chips
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/4 tsp Salt * Alternatively use salted butter
1 Tbsp Milk * May or may not be needed

1. Cream butter and sugar till smooth in texture. Add vanilla extract and salt and stir them together.
2. Slowly incorporate flour into the mixture. The dough should resemble bread crumbs at this point.
3. Add the butterscotch chips and try to form a dough. If it does not come together add a little milk.
4. Roll into a log, wrap with cling wrap or wax paper and refrigerate for 15-20 mins till firm.
5. Preheat oven to 350 F
6. On an un-greased cookie sheet, slice and arrange the cookies from the log. It made 24 cookies for me each time. These spread beautifully so leave some space between each cookie.
7. Sprinkle some plain sugar or any colored sugar on top of the cookies and bake for 10-12 minutes a little longer if you like me like crisp cookies.
8. The wonderful aroma that comes out of your kitchen will tempt you to eat one as soon as it comes out of the oven, but trust me let them be for 10 minutes and then gobble them up. 
No one can eat just one !!!!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Maple Roasted Almonds with Sea-salt

Fall is slowly turning to winter and my love for all things nutty is re-kindling. Just as I was thinking of another seasoning for nuts I thought of maple syrup and oh la la ..a wonderful snack was born. Take a cup full of Almonds, set them to roast at 350 F for 5-8 mins. Remove toss with a 1/3 to 1/2 cup of Maple Syrup and coat well. Put it back in the oven for another 5-8 mins of till the syrup is well absorbed. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with Sea-salt.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Fruitcake Cookies

I had been dreaming of making these cookies ever since I came across them in Ina Garten's book. These are really really rich cookies, do not spread much but taste oh so yummy !!!. These remind me of the very famous biscuits from Karachi Bakery in Hyderabad. As usual, I made some tweaks, used what I had on hand and used flax-seed meal instead of the one egg called for. For the original recipe please see Ina's recipe. Here's my version of this fruit and nut treat.

8-10 Pitted Dates chopped very fine
1/4 Cup Tutti Fruti (Crystallized candied fruit, usually papaya bits colored red, orange, green)
1/4 Cup Raisins + Dried Cherries
1/4 Cup Salted Cashews chopped in pieces
3-4 Crystallized Ginger pieces chopped very fine
1 Tbsp Honey
Juice of 1 Lemon
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 Tbsp Sherry / Wine (Optional)
1/4 tsp Cinnamon Powder
1/4 tsp Nutmeg Powder
1/2 tsp Dried Orange Peel Powder ( can substitute with Orange Zest)
1/3 Cup Sugar
1/3 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Cup Butter at room temperature
2 & 2/3 Cups All-purpose Flour
1 Tbsp Flax-seed Meal mixed with 3 Tbsp Water

1. Mix together all the dried fruits and nuts, honey, lemon juice and vanilla extract and Sherry / wine if using. Add cinnamon pdr, nutmeg pdr and dried orange peel powder and some salt. Cover the bowl with cling wrap and leave it aside overnight or atleast for 4-5 hours.
2. Cream butter and sugar till smooth. Add in the flax-seed meal mixed in water and then slowly add flour and mix till just combined. Do not OVERMIX as it will result in hard cookies.
3. Now mix in the fruit-mixture from step 1 along with any liquid residue and mix lightly till incorporated.
4. Divide the dough into two and roll them out in the shape of logs about 1&a/2 inch in diameter and approximately 18 inches in length. Wrap with cling-wrap or wax paper and refrigerate for 3-4 hours
5. Pre-heat oven to 350 F
6. Slice the cookies from the log, set on ungreased baking tray and bake for 15-20 mins until lightly golden.
7. Wait to cool and serve with coffee or tea or gobble them up just like that. I betcha u can't eat just one ;)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Sindhi Methi Machi / Fish in Fenugreek Gravy

Fenugreek leaves as a herb are not very popular in the US, however they are used a lot in Indian cooking. The slightly bitter flavor of the leaves enhances or brings out flavors in many different curries. The leaves in the dried form are often sold as Kasuri Methi at the Indian grocers. Fenugreek or Methi as we call it in Hindi is the predominant flavor used for this fish preparation. This is also one of the very popular fish dishes from Sindh, it is very versatile and can be prepared with any kind of fish.

1 bunch Fresh Fenugreek leaves, chopped fine
1/2 bunch Cilantro, chopped fine
2 Med. Onions finely chopped
3 Tomatoes, finely diced
12 pods Garlic pounded to a paste or chopped fine
3 Catfish Fillets / Medium Promfret Sliced
Juice of one lime
1 tsp Turmeric
2 tsp Corriander Powder
1 tsp Red Chilli Powder
1 tsp All Purpose Flour
1 tsp Cumin Seeds
2 -3 Tbsp Oil
Salt to taste
1. Clean the fish, add salt, turmeric and lemon juice leave it cover with plastic wrap aside for 10-15 minutes.
2. Shallow fry the fish until done and keep aside.
3. For the gravy, heat a little oil, add cumin seeds and wait for them to splutter, add chopped onions and fry until they begin to brown.
4. Add the washed and chopped greens and cook till methi starts to brown.
5. Add garlic and all spices and cook for a minute or two. Then add all purpose flour, stir and cook for a couple of minutes, then add chopped tomatoes. Cook for about 10-12 minutes till tomatoes are cooked through.
6. Now add the fried fish and mix slowly. Add more water for the gravy as required. Let it simmer for a while and then switch off the heat.
7. Serve with Rotis or Rice :)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Gokul Pithe

I am huge fan of Bengali sweets. Most of the times when we speak of Bengali sweets visions of soft pillowy rasagullas and sandesh pop up in front of our eyes. So when I came across a very different kind of bengali sweet at the Bong Mom's Cookbook, I immediately bookmarked it for my next sweet preparation round. This Navratri I made Gokul Pithe as an offering to Goddess Amba. We enjoyed this immensely.
I halved the recipe as I did not want to make so many of them. For the original recipe head over to Bong Mom's Cookbook, she has lovely pics. I forgot to click step-by-step ones happens to me when I am dealing with sugar syrup :)

For the filling
6 Oz Khoya (Milk Solids)
1 Cup Freshly Grated Coconut
1 Cup Sugar
a generous pinch crushed cardamom powder
a generous pinch saffron

For the coating
1/2 Cup All Purpose Flour
1/2 Cup Milk
pinch salt
Water as needed
pinch of baking soda
1 tsp ghee
a generous pinch saffron

For sugar syrup
2 Cups Sugar
1&1/2 Cups Water

a generous pinch crushed cardamom powder
a generous pinch saffron

1. In a saucepan, mix sugar, water, cardamom and saffron and bring to a boil till you reach a one string consistency.
2. In a heavy bottomed wok, on low heat, mix together coconut and sugar and stir till the sugar dissolves and coconut starts to turn golden brown. Now add khoya and cardamom and saffron and stir the mixture till it starts to leave the sides. 
3. Take a small amount and try to shape it into a disc, if it is sticky then return to heat and cook a bit more else it is done and you can set it aside.
4. Take a spoonful of the mix and shape it into a round flat disc approx 1.5 inch in diameter and thickness of a coin. Shape and keep aside.
5. In a kadhai add oil for deep frying on medium high heat.
6. In a mixing bowl, mix together the ingredients for coating adding enough water to make a thick cake-like batter.
7. Now coat the discs on both sides and dunk in hot oil, fry till golden on both sides. Remove with slotted spoon and add to the sugar syrup.
8. Remove from sugar syrup when they become a little soft. Enjoy

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Chana Dal Vada / Paruppu Vadai / Mixed Lentil Fritters

My mom-in-law makes these amazing chana dal vadas. These are a common occurrence during festival times and are also offered as Naivedya to the Gods. I am sure this tradition would have come from all the priests tired of eating only sweets for Naivedya but whatever the origins these vadas are to die for.

1 Cup Chana Dal
2-3 Tbsp Tuvar Dal
2 Tbsp Rice
1 Tbsp Udad Dal
8-10 Dry Red Chillies * Mix of Kashmiri and Byadagi varieties
Generous pinch Asafoetida
1-2 Twigs Curry Leaves
1/2 Cup Chopped Cilantro
3-4 Green Chillies
1 Onion Chopped * Optional
Oil for deep frying

1. Pick clean the lentils and wash in 3-4 changes of water. Soak for 3-4 hours
2.Coarsely grind the lentils along with curry leaves, green chillies, red chillies using as little water as possible. It is alright if a few pieces of lentil are not ground completely.
3. To this add salt, asafoetida and chopped cilantro and chopped onion if using.
4.  Heat oil in a wok for deep frying. Turn the heat to medium high.
5. Make small flat rounds and put them in oil and fry them on both sides till golden and crisp.
6. Serve hot.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Pav Bhaji

Pav Bhaji is a sinfully delicious street food famous in Bombay. I think I just love the concept so much that I have never met a Pav Bhaji I don't like. I have been making Pav Bhaji at home for all of dogs years ..I think it was one of the first foods that me and my sis took over making in the kitchen from the adults. So here goes my version of the famous Pav Bhaji

2-3 Cups Cabbage
1/2  Cup French Beans
3-4 Potatoes
2 Cups Cauliflower
1 Carrot
2 Capsicum / Green Pepper
3 Onions
4-5 Tomatoes
1 Cup Green Peas
2 inch piece Ginger
12 -14 Pods Garlic
3-4 Green Chillies * Optional
1tsp Cumin Seeds
A pinch of Asfoetida
2-3 tsp Corriander Powder
1 tsp Amchur Powder
1 tsp Garam Masala
2-3 Tbsp Pav Bhaji Masala * I use Badshah brand
2-3 tsp Red Chilli Powder
2-3 Tbsp Butter
1. Chop Cabbage, cauliflower, peel and cut potatoes in big chunks, peel and cut carrot, string and cut french beans. Rinse in running cold water.
2. In a pressure cooker, cook cauliflower, cabbage, carrot, potatoes, french beans with water and let it whistle for 3-4 times
3. In the meantime, chop onions, capsicum, tomatoes. Grind together ginger, garlic and green chillies.
4. In a wok, add 1 Tbsp Butter, add cumin seeds after they sputter add onions and saute till translucent. Now add capsicum saute for another few minutes. Now add ginger, green chilli and garlic paste and stir. Add tomatoes and cook till the tomatoes have wilted.
5. Add salt, spices and now add all the pressure cooked vegetables. Mix together and let the whole mixture come to a boil. Add the defrosted green peas.
6. Using a potato masher, mash the vegetables till they are all blended together as one red gravy and only a few green peas are visible.
7. Adjust the spices adding more of anything, add a dollop of butter and garnish with cut onions, lemon wedges and cilantro.
8. Enjoy hot with warm Pav slathered with butter and coated with chaat masala.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Homemade Pav / Dinner Rolls

There are very few yeasty breads commonly baked in India. One such bread a legacy of the Portuguese is Pao or as over the years of colloquial usage has become converted to the marathi word Pav. The story also goes that the dough for these rolls was kneaded by feet instead of hands and hence the name Pav, but I am not so sure of this ... Pav is one popular accompaniment to the famous street food or should I say street foods of Bombay Vada Pav and Pav Bhaji. In Bombay where I am from, we used to have the Pav wala come every evening selling freshly baked laadi pav.  On days when we were having Pav Bhaji for dinner he would be told a day in advance to bring in X number of Pav for us. Fond memories !! I wanted to eat Pav Bhaji and decided to try my hand at baking Pav at home. I took the experiment one step further and made it using half wheat flour (chapati flour). They turned out super yummy.

1&1/2 Cup WholeWheat Flour
2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 Tbsp Sugar
1 Pkt Fast Rise Yeast (Hannaford Brand)
1&1/2 tsp Salt
2-3 Tbsp Olive Oil
2-3 Tbsp Whole Wheat or A.p flour for kneading and shaping dough
250 ml Warm Water to knead the dough * More or less may be needed
1. Proof yeast as per package directions and set aside. Approx 15 mins or till yeast froths up
2. In a mixing bowl, combine whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, salt and add 1 Tbsp Olive oil. Now add the frothy yeast mixture and start kneading the dough adding as much warm water as needed.
3. Now knead knead and knead for 15 mins. The dough should no longer stick to the surface in clumps.
4. Grease a mixing bowl with a tbsp of olive oil, shape the dough into a round ball put it into this bowl and cover the bowl with a plastic wrap.

5. The dough is ready for its first rise. Set it aside for 1 to 2 hours or till it doubles in volume.

6. Remove plastic wrap and punch down the dough. Form 15 -16 round balls and set them an inch apart on a greased baking pan.

7. Cover with plastic wrap and leave for second rise approx 1 hour or till the rolls double in volume.

8. Preheat oven to 390 F.
9. Brush the tops of the rolls with milk and slip the tray into the oven. Bake for 12-15 mins till golden brown in color.

9. Enjoy warm with butter or as we did with Pav -Bhaji.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Colorful Roasted Peppers with Balsamic Vinegar, Olive Oil, Garlic and Herbs

I just can't resist the temptation of buying beautiful colorful peppers when I visit the grocery stores or farmers markets or wherever it is that I am doing my regular shopping. On one such trip I picked up a few colorful ones. I had so many thoughts on how I would like to use them and I wasn't even thinking about roasting them, as I pulled out my tray of garlic bread from the oven, it just stuck me to roast the peppers. Roast them I did  and then I julienned them and marinated them in a mixture of olive oil, balsamic vinegar infused with herbs and fennel seeds. Aren't these beautiful?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Rice Flour Roti / Sindhi Chapri

Rice flour rotis are made with specific vegetable or meat dishes at Sindhi homes. Both varieties the Wild Rice or Red Rice flour as well as the White Rice flour is used to make these rotis. I have made them with White Rice Flour commonly available at most grocery stores. These are gluten-free and a good option to regular chapatis.
1 Cup White Rice Flour
1.5 Cups Hot Water
1 -2 Chopped Green Chillies
2-3 Tbsp Chopped Corriander / Cilantro leaves
Mixing Bowl
Ziploc bag - 2 sides cut to form a rectangle
Griddle / Tava
1. In a mixing bowl add rice flour, salt, chilli and corriander leaves.
2. Heat water in a pan but take it off heat just before it reaches boiling point.
3. Slowly add water to the other ingredients. Note save almost half cup water in the pan, this may or may not be needed depending on how much the flour absorbs.
4. Set aside for 5 mins till the mixture is cool to handle.
5. Then knead it into a soft dough, adding more hot water if needed.
6. Take a small portion of the dough and place it on the cut ziploc bag. Lightly with the palm of your hand and fingers shape it into a flat round disc.
7. Gently lift and transfer to a hot griddle on a med-high heat.
8. Flip to the other side after 3 -4 minutes or till soft brown spots start appearing on the underside.
9. Cook on the other side for another 3-4 minutes, flip to check and serve hot.