Jul 31, 2015

Mustard microgreens and egg sandwich

I must have been six or seven when I read an Enid Blyton story where a young girl grows mustard and cress for her sandwiches. I never quite knew what that was, but when I tasted mustard microgreens, I realised they were perfect for an egg sandwich. One boiled egg, a pinch of salt, a smattering of microgreens. Divine. 

Omelette with mushrooms and microgreens

One takeaway container yields enough microgreens to stretch to at least three portions, and since I am the only consumer of the stuff, I decided to try out this Martha Stewart recipe. Yummy.
1/2 cups mushrooms, sliced
2 eggs
1 tbsp butter
Salt and pepper to taste
3-4 tbsp microgreens

Method:
Heat half the butter in a pan, and cook the mushrooms, undisturbed, until they begin to release their liquid. Add salt nd pepper, stir, and saute till golden brown. Remove, stir in microgreens and keep aside. 
Whisk eggs in a medium bowl until well combined; season with salt and pepper. Pour eggs into the pan, swirl till well distributed. Allow it to cook till one side is done. Flip over and cook for 30 seconds. Flip over again
Place mushroom filling on 1 side of omelet. Using spatula, gently fold other side of omelet over filling. Serve immediately.

Jul 30, 2015

Jhal moori

Anybody who's grown up in Calcutta will swear that jhal is the best dish you can make out of puffed rice. Make no mistake, I do love the Bambaiya bhel with its notes of tamarind and mint, but offer me a choice between that and jhal moori, and I'll pick the comforting taste of mustard oil any day. So though I am trying to go easy on milk and sugar, I pile on the MO when I snack on this dish.
1 cup puffed rice
Onions, chopped fine
Green chillies, chopped fine
Tomatoes, chopped fine
Boiled potatoes, chopped fine
Peanuts
Salt, to taste
Red chilli powder, to taste
1 tsp mustard oil, for ever cup of moori*

Method:
Roast the peanuts, cool
Add peanuts, onions, chillies, tomatoes, potatoes to the moori and mix well
Add salt and red chilli powder, mix
Add mustard oil, cover the container, and shake vigorously to mix well
Serve, preferable in a paper cone

*- you can substitute the MO with the oil floating on top of pickle

Jul 29, 2015

Thumbprint cookies

Thumbprint cookies!!! Doesn't the name itself sound magical? The first time I tried it, it was a bit of a disaster, but I think I have evolved along the cookie making line since then, and I wanted to try it out again. Worked this time.


100 gms granulated sugar
100 gms butter
50 gms rice flour
100 gms maida
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp jam

Method:
Preheat the oven to 175 degrees for 10 minutes
Cream together the sugar and butter till well incorporated. 
Sieve the flour and baking powder a few times. 
Add the flour gradually to the butter, mixing continuously, till you get a smooth dough. 
Divide into 16 or 24 pieces. Roll into a ball, press down with the back of a sketch pen to make a deep depression. 
Place on a greased baking tray and bake for 10 minutes
Meanwhile, place the jam in a double boiler and stir continuously till it melts. 
Take the cookies out of the oven. Put the molten jam in the depression, and bake for an additional 5 minutes. 
Cool on a wire rack, before storing. 


Oil free brinjal curry

Most people do not like baigan, and for a very long time, I was one of them. But even now, one of the things I have against baigan is the amount of oil it normally consumes. So I just had to try out this recipe which promised to use no oil, if only to see if it was even possible. And it was!!!!
With the mix of peanut, coconut, tamarind and curry leaves, it was almost reminiscent of a Konkan fish curry. Literally fingerlickingly good! And oil free to boot (how many more times am I going to say that?)

500 gms Brinjal*

For stuffing
1 cup peanuts
1/2 cup grated coconut
2 red chillies
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp urad dal
1 tsp haldi powder
Salt to taste

1 lime sized ball tamarind
1 sprig curry leaves

Method:
Roast the peanuts till slightly brown. 
Add jeera, dhania, red chilli, urad dal, and roast till urad dal is browned
Add coconut and roast till brown
Dry grind the mixture. Add the spices and salt and mix well
Slit the brinjal s crosswise, keeping the stems intact. Stuff with the mixture- you will not use all the masala, keep the rest aside. 
Place on a steamer and cook for 15 minutes. 
Meanwhile, heat 1/2 cup water, soak the tamarind and remove the pulp.
Boil 1/2 cup water, add the tamarind water, the ground masala, and curry leaves. Bring to boil. 
Add the brinjals, reduce flame, cover and allow it to simmer for 5 minutes. 
Serve with rotis or rice. 

* you can use any variety except the fat ones used for bharta. I used 250 gms of brinjal, and kept half the masala aside for another day. 

Savoury canapés with microgreens garnish

Having decided I was going to have microgreens for lunch, the rest of the meal sort of created itself. Savoury crackers, with 

For crackers:
1 cup maida
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste3 tbsp grated cheese

Method:
Preheat the oven to 175 degrees
Sift together the flour, salt and pepper. 
Add oil, and knead well till you get a firm dough
Roll onto a greased baking sheet, and make indentations with a sharp knife
Bake for 12-15 minutes. 
Take out of oven and let it cool on a wire rack. 


For the hung curd:
1 cup yogurt
1 tsp garlic paste
4-6 olives chopped fine
Salt to taste

Method:
Tie the curds in a muslin cloth, and hang it up so the whey escapes. Squeeze out the remaining whey. 
Add garlic paste and salt and mix really well till you get a smooth consistency. 
Add chopped olives and mix well*

For serving:
Scoop/ pipe the hung curd on the crackers, garnish with microgreens and serve. 




*- if you are having the dip without microgreens, you can experiment with the flavours- I kept it simple

Jul 28, 2015

Ragi idiyappan

The packers seem to have lost an entire carton of kitchen equipment, so I had to go shopping for things as basic as kadhais, tawas and pressure cookers. Since this is the first time I have gone utensil shopping since I started cooking seriously, I ended up picking up a whole lot of stuff I never possessed, but which I now feel I cannot do without. One of them was the sevai maker (which can double up as a chakli maker), which I had to try out at once. I could have started with the conventional seat, but thought of making a ragi sevai instead. I've adapted the recipe so it tastes like ragi puttu, and we all loved it.

2 cups ragi flour
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups water
Grated coconut to taste
1 or 2 bananas
Oil for greasing

Additional equipment- idli steamer, sevai maker

Method:
Roast the ragi flour till the raw smell goes. Add salt and mix well. 
Gradually add water, mixing and kneading throughout, till you get a consistency thicker than dosa batter but looser than roti dough*. Knead a bit more, till smooth. 
Grease the idli maker and the inside of the sevai maker with a bit of oil. 
Fill the sevai maker with the dough, and pipe it onto the idli moulds.
Cut the banana into slices and place around and above the piped dough. 
Steam for 15 minutes. 
Carefully demould the idyappams, garnish with coconut (you can mix some sugar with it), and steamed bananas and serve. 

You can also enjoy idyappams with butter and sugar. 


*- I am not mentioning quantities, because the recipes I said 2:3, but i required only 1:1

Butter cookies

I love experimenting with cookie recipes, but eventually I fall back on my old faithful recipes. This is my mother's butter cookies recipe, made even more special because for the first time ever, I used cooking butter. 


Mustard microgreens

I was introduced to Microgreens almost by accident, but from the moment I heard about them I have been quite fascinated. To someone who loves sprouts, microgreens was the logical next step, and I was doubly sold when I came to know they pack upto 4-6 times the nutritional punch of the adult vegetable.
But all things happen only when the time is right, and growing microgreens was no exception. Last week, I lined a takeaway container with wads of tissue paper, sprinkled mustard seeds, watered, covered with cling film, and kept it on on sunny window sill. I watched the seeds germinate, and push out the first leaves. A week later, I was ready to harvest. Don't they look gorgeous?


The best part was biting into one. The flavours poured into my mouth. Who needs kasaundi when you have microgreens?

Jul 27, 2015

Karela fry

Karela. The name itself strikes terror in our household, and I've virtually stopped making it. But when the hubby bought two plump karelas and some tiny onions, I had no choice but to dust out my mother in law's recipe. I must have done something right, because it got polished off.

2 karelas
6 small onions (regular onions, but smaller in size than normal)
2 tbsp cooking oil
1 1/2 tsp dhania powder
1 1/2 tsp amchur powder
1 1/2 tsp haldi powder
1 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
Salt

Method:
Wash the karelas, and scrape off the green skin. Make a vertical slit, and hollow out the seeds. 
Rub with salt inside and out, and let it stand for an hour. 
Mix the dry masalas together (do not add the salt). 
Rub out the salt covering the karelas, squeeze slightly, and stuff with the masala. 
Peel the onions, and cut them in a cross. Add salt to the masala mix, and stuff the onions
Heat oil in a kadhai, slide in he vegetables and fry till browned. 

Green gazpacho soup

 There are days when you plan your meal and there are days when you take an inventory of what is there in the fridge and find a way to use the stuff. I had some steamed capsicums left over from last night, and a cucumber, so a green gazpancho it was for me. A cold soup for a warm July lunch.


1 cucumber, peeled and cored
1 capsicum steamed
1 slice stale bread
1 large pod garlic
½ litre vegetable stock
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste

Method
Moisten the stale bread and keep aside
In a blender, mix the cucumbers, capsicum, garlic and bread, and blend to a smooth purée along with the vegetable stock.
Add the salt and pepper and mix well. Add a little stock, if required to thin out the gazpacho.
Serve chilled garnished with croutons or chopped cucumber.


Jul 26, 2015

Oats Chocolate Chip Cookies

Weekends are the time to fill the home with the glorious scents of baking. Finding my stack of chocolate chips intact, I decided to modify my basic oats cookie recipe to accommodate chocolate.
3/4 cup quick cooking oats
1/4 cup maida
1/4 cup granulated sugar*
2 tbsp butter
2-3 tbsp milk
1/4 cup chocolate chips 

Method:
Mix the oats, flour and sugar well.
Add the butter, and mix well till crumbly. 
Add milk
Incorporate the milk one spoon at a time, mixing well so you have a slightly runny batter. 
Add the chocolate chips and mix well. 
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 175 degrees. 
Grease the baking tray, and using s spoon, drop the batter on the tray at equal intervals. 
Bake for 15-20 minutes, checking to ensure it doesn't burn. 
Cool on a wire rack and store in an airtight container. 

*- if you don't have it, just whizz the equivalent quantity of regular sugar in the blender

Jul 25, 2015

Vetalai Sadam

Hubby and older one were going to have leftover biryani for dinner. Which left Mr. Fussy and myself. He wanted fried rice- I could have given it to him, but thout this was the perfect chance to try out a recipe I'd bookmarked a long time back (and the brand new kadhai). Fortune favours the bold- it was a hit.
1 cup rice (uncooked)
3 or 4 betel leaves 
1 tbsp garlic paste
1/4 tsp haldi powder
Salt to taste

For dry masala:
1 tsp sesame seeds seeds
1/4 tsp peppercorns
1 red chilli (I toned it down, 2 would be better)
1/2 tsp ginger powder

For tempering:
1 1/2 tbsp cooking oil
1/4 tsp saunf
1 inch piece cinnamon
1 sprig curry leaves

Method:
Wash and soak rice for 30 mins. Cook till 75% done, keep aside.
Dry roast sesame seeds, peppercorns and dry red chillies in a pan and grind it along with dry ginger powder to a fine powder. Set aside.
Heat oil in a pan, temper the ingredients listed under tempering. Add garlic paste and saute for few seconds. Then add turmeric powder in the oil and immediately add cooked rice, mix everything well.
Finally add chopped betel leaves, ground masala powder and salt and mix well.
Cover and cook for 5 mins or until well cooked, if needed sprinkle some water to avoid drying.





Jul 24, 2015

Tuttie fruity cake

There is nothing special about this cake. But in its very simplicity is it's charm. And it's also the first cake I've baked at the new place.
A basic sponge cake, to which I added tutti-fruity rolled in flour.


Jul 23, 2015

Oat flour Sesame Cookies


In my quest for healthy snacking options, I found a cookie recipe that didn't require butter or eggs or sugar. Even the amount of oil needed was negligible. With all those preconditions, I was worried about how it would taste, but it was lovely. And with a blob of cheese on it, it was an amazing canapé. 


1 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 tbsp maida
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tbsp poppy seeds
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp cooking oil
Water
Salt to taste

Method:
Grind the quick cooking oats as fine powder. 
Mx the oat flour, whole wheat flour, maida, baking soda, baking powder, sesame seeds and salt and mix really well. 
Add oil and water gradually and knead into a soft dough. Allow it to stand for 30 minutes. 
Preheat the oven to 175 degrees. 
Grease a baking tray. 
Roll out the dough and cut into desired shapes. Arrange on the baking tray. 
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes checking occasionally to endure it doesn't burn. 
Cool and store in an airtight container. 


Jul 22, 2015

Sprouted moong muffins

I felt like having something different for lunch, so threw together the contents of my fridge, and came up with something that was actually pretty good.

1/2 cup sprouted moong
1/3 cup rice flour
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tsp paprika powder
1 tsp oil
Salt to taste

Method:
Mix the rice flour, paprika powder, salt and sesame seeds. Add the oil, and mix till it is crumbly. 
Add the moong, mix well. Add water gradually, incorporating it thoroughly, so you get a thick batter. 
Grease a muffin tray, pour the batter in, and level the top. 
Bake at 175 degrees for 15 minutes. 
Delicious with hot hibiscus juice. 

Jul 21, 2015

Hibiscus syrup

Cooking with flowers is always therupatic, but cooking with hibiscus is doubly so because of the rich colour, and the burst of flavours. The way the colours change is also wonderful. This time, I found a few more flowers than usual, so decided to make and bottle hibiscus syrup.
6-8 hibiscus flowers
3/4 cup sugar
4 limes
1 1/2 cup water
(The proportions are 1:2:4, juice-sugar-water, with 2 flowers for each lime)

Method:
Bring the water to boil, take off the flame. Add the hibiscus petals and let it infuse for 30 minutes. 
Squeeze in the lime juice, add sugar, and heat till the sugar dissolves. Keep heating, till the syrup reduces to 3/4th of original volume. 
Bottle in a dry glass bottle. 
To make the juice- add water or soda according to taste. 

Beet root kheer

Beetroot halwa is a dish I make quite often, but beetroot kheer is not something I've tried out before. This is adapted from a carrot kheer recipe I saw, and I love it because once the grating is done, it is simplicity personified.

1 large beetroot
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
2 cups milk
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp ghee

Method:
Grate the beetroot and keep aside. 
Heat the ghee, and sauté the beetroot till the raw smell goes. 
Add the oats and milk. Stir well, being to boil, reduce flame and allow it to simmer for 10 minutes, till the volume is reduced by 25%. 
Add the sugar, mix well. 
Serve chilled. 

Jul 20, 2015

Bread bombs

After making the bread pakoras, I had some stuffing left over and decided to make something that my mother often made for me when I was a child.


6 slices bread
1 medium potatoes
1 beetroot
1 big carrot
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp garam masala powder
Salt to taste
Oil for deep frying

Method:
Boil the potatoes. Peel, mash and keep aside. 
Peel and chop the beetroots and carrots. Steam till just cooked. Keep aside. 
Mix the potatoes, vegetables, spices, and salt. Divide into six equal parts. 
Start heating the oil. 
Cut the crusts of the bread, and moisten slightly. Put the stuffing in the middle, and fold the bread around it. Seal the edges by pressing lightly. 
Slide two balls at a time into the oil and fry till well browned and crisp. Drain on a kitchen towel and serve with ketchup or green chutney. 

Bread pakoras

There are days when the heart craves for deep fried stuff. You know it is a calorie bomb, but when the raindrops are pattering down and everything is clean and fresh, your heart overrules your mind, and ou give in to temptation.
8 slices bread
1 medium potatoes
1 beetroot
1 big carrot
1/3 cup besan
1/2 tsp haldi powder
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp garam masala powder
1 tsp oil
Salt to taste
Oil for deep frying

Method:
Boil the potatoes. Peel, mash and keep aside. 
Peel and chop the beetroots and carrots. Steam till just cooked. Keep aside. 
Mix the potatoes, vegetables, and salt. Divide into four equal parts. 
Start heating the oil. 
Mix besan, haldi powder, chilli powder, garam masala powder and salt. Add the oil and mix. Add water gradually to make a smooth paste. 
Spread the potato stuffing on the bread evenly. Cover with another slice and cut into triangles. 
Drop a bit of batter in the oil- if it immediately rises to the top, the oil is ready. 
Dip the triangles in the batter so it is coated evenly, and slide into the oil. Slide as many triangles as will fit comfortably. When one side is browned, turn over and let the other side brown. Drain on a kitchen towel and serve with ketchup or green chutney. 


Jul 18, 2015

Yam fritters

When you have a great recipe, you should stick to it, but I wanted to try something new with yam this week. I scoured the Internet for recipes, before finally deciding to make this. We did like it, but preferred the fried suran, which is what I am going to be making from now on.

1 medium yam/ suran
1/3 cup besan
1/2 tsp haldi powder
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp garam masala powder
1 tsp oil
Salt to taste
Oil for deep frying

Method:
Wash the yam, clean it well, peel off the skin and cut into slices that resemble fillets. This is the tricky part, because yam itches- wear gloves or cost your palms with oil. 
Boil 2 cups water with a little salt. When it comes to a boil, add yam slices, and cook on a low flame for 5 minutes till 75% cooked- you should be able to prick with a fork, but it shouldn't break apart. 
Drain, dip in cold water and keep aside. 
Start heating the oil. 
Mix besan, haldi powder, chilli powder, garam masala powder and salt. Add the oil and mix. Add water gradually to make a smooth paste
Drop a bit of batter in the oil- if it immediately rises to the top, the oil is ready. 
Dip the fillets in the batter so it is coated evenly, and slide into the oil. Slide as many pieces as will fit comfortably. When one side is browned, turn over and let the other side brown. Drain on a kitchen towel and serve with ketchup or green chutney. 

Jul 17, 2015

Brinjal in peanut gravy

I love brinjal, and though my love is not shared by my family, I never tire of trying out new recipes. I got this one from a site which caters to recipes with little or no oil, but since my steamer is still missing, I ended up frying it. As far as I'm concerned, with peanuts and brinjal, you can't go too wrong. This recipe is proof of it.
Baby baingan - 12  nos
For stuffing:
1 cup peanuts
1/2 cup grated coconut
2 red chillies
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp urad dal
A few curry leaves
1 tsp haldi powder
1 tsp amchur powder
Salt to taste
1 tbsp cooking oil

Method:
Roast the peanuts till slightly brown. 
Add jeera, dhania, red chilli, urad dal, and roast till urad dal is browned
Add coconut and roast till brown
Dry grind he mixture. Add the spices and salt and mix well
Slit the brinjal s crosswise, keeping the stems intact. Stuff with the mixture.
Heat the oil, add curry leaves, and stuffed brinjal and saute for 5 minutes. 
Add the remaining masala, and sufficient water to cover the brinjals. Being to boil, cover, reduce the flame and allow it to simmer for 5 minutes. 
Serve hot with roti or rice. 

Jul 16, 2015

Kiwi spinach smoothie.

The day I was waiting for finally arrived, and I had a copy of Go Set a Watchman in my hands. I would have liked to shut off the world and read, but life intruded as always. The kids needed to be fed, and I was in no mood to rustle up anything time consuming. A quick survey of the fridge yielded the ingredients to make this lovely green smoothie.
(Makes 3 glasses)
2 kiwi fruits
1 bunch spinach leaves
2 cups water

Method:
Wash the spinach leaves well, chop roughly. 
Peel the kiwi fruits, and cut into eighths. 
Blend the spinach and kiwi fruit with sufficient water till you get a really smooth consistency. 
Strain and serve (I did not strain because I didn't want to lose the fiber). 

Jul 15, 2015

Sprouted moong dhokala

Sprouted moong is a perennial favourite of mine. When I was young, I would consume enormous quantities of it, and I still can. But with age, the tongue gets more demanding, and I need to sprinkle salt on it now. I also love experimenting with dishes that have it as a primary ingredient, and this dhokla was particularly good. 
1 cup sprouted moong
1/2 cups spinach
1/4 cups grated carrot
1 tsp ginger- green chilli paste
2 tbsp besan
A pinch of hing
Salt to taste
1/4 tsp haldi powder
1 packet Eno fruit salt

For tempering:
1 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp urad dal
1 tsp mustard seed
1 tsp sesame seeds

Method:
Grind the moong sprouts, spinach and carrot till you get an even but slightly coarse consistency 
Mix in the ginger green chilli paste, salt, hing, besan, haldi powder. 
Grease a flat plate and keep aside
Add Eno fruit salt to the mixture, and while the fizzing is still taking place, spread the mixture on the plate
Steam in a pressure cooker with the whistle removed for 12 minutes. 
Cut after allowing to cool
Heat the oil, add mustard seeds, and after it stops spluttering, add urad dal and sesame seeds. Pour over the dhokla, garnish with grated carrot and serve. 

Cabbage bake

My mother used to make this dish quite often during the winters, but given hoe easy it is, I don't make it as often as I could. But when I do make it, I spread it over a few days, because it tastes much nicer after one day.

1 cup cabbage, chopped fine
2 cup onion, cut lengthwise
1 cup besan
Salt to taste
1 tsp red chill powder
1 tsp garam masala powder
2 tsp oil
For tempering:
2 tsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds

Method:
Mix the cabbage and onions well. Sprinkle the besan, salt, chilli powder and haram masala, mix well, adding water if necessary, so the whole thing sticks together. 
Heat the oil, splutter the mustard seeds, and pour over a baking dish. Spread the oil across the surface, sprinkle sesame seeds. 
Pour the batter over the tempering, and bake at 250 degrees for 20 minutes. 
Allow it to cool before serving. 

Jul 14, 2015

Hibiscus brittle

Once you start cooking with flowers, it is hard not to get addicted. And hibiscus flowers are one of the best to cook with because of the almost magical way the colours change when you add the lime juice.
So when I saw two juicy hibiscus flowers while taking the dog for a walk, I had to make myself some brittle. The flavour is quite incredible. 

4 hibiscus flowers
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/2 lime

Method:
Bring the water to boil. Add the hibiscus petals, and let it infuse for 15-20 minutes. 
Squeeze in the lime juice and watch it change colour to a deep red. 
Return the water to the fire, add sugar. Stir till add the sugar is dissolved, and keep heating till you get a two string consistency. 
Pour onto a greased surface and let it cool. Break into pieces, and use. 
I used it to sweeten my oats, but you can use it anywhere.  

Kadhai Mushroom

Ever since I made the kadhai paneer last week, I've been wanting to make kadhai mushroom. I adapted this from the same recipe.
200 gms mushroom
2 onions chopped fine
2 tomatoes chopped fine
1 green capsicum chopped fine
1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
1 tsp jeera powder
2 tsp dhania powder
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 tbsp red chilli sauce
1/2 tsp nutmeg powder
Salt to taste
2 tbsp cooking oil

Method:
Wash the mushrooms well, then cut them vertically. 
Heat 1 tbsp oil, sauté the mushrooms till lightly browned. Keep aside.
In the same pan, add rest of the oil, add chopped onions, and saute till transparent. Add ginger garlic paste, and spices, and saute till the raw smell goes. Add tomatoes and sauté till mushy.
Allow the masala to cool, then grind it till you get a fine paste.
In the pan, add 1 tsp oil and sauté the capsicum. Add the ground masala, salt to taste and mix well. Add the sauted mushrooms, and mix well. Add water, bring to boil, simmer for 2 minutes and serve. 

Jul 13, 2015

Vegan savoury cookies

LI am not a vegan, nor am ever likely to be, but I do have friends who are vegan- for ethical or health reasons- and once in awhile, I like trying out vegan dishes. This savoury cookie was one of them. No butter, no oil, no sugar. But pretty high on taste.
1 cup peanuts, roasted and cooled
1 cup desiccated coconut
1 cup wholewheat flour/ atta
1 small onion minced
1 tsp rock salt
1 tsp black pepper powder
1/2 tsp inactive yeast*

Method:
Grind together the peanuts and onions, with a little water, if necessary, to get a fine paste. 
Add yeast, pepper powder, coconut and salt, grind together. 
Add the flour, knead well. 
Make small balls, and flatten them. Place on a baking tray lightly dusted with flour. 
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. 
Sprinkle salt or sesame seeds on the cookies, and bake for 15 minutes. 
Can be stored for upto a week. 

*- make it inactive by heating slightly


Kiwi Smoothie

Back to my love affair with smoothies.
1 kiwi fruit
1 glass milk
2-3 leaves mint
Sugar to taste- I omitted 

Method:
Peel the kiwi fruit and cut it into chunks. Blend with milk, and sugar till you get a smooth consistency. 
Muddle the mint leaves in a glass with a tablespoon of the mix. Add rest of the mix, and serve. 

Jul 12, 2015

Pan fried Chicken with Betel leaves

I was looking for recipes that use betel leaves when I came across this pan fried chicken dish made by the Murshidabad Muslims of Bengal. Though I wasn't sure how it would turn out, I wanted to give it a try and it was finger lickingly good. You couldn't taste the betel leaves at all, but the flavour was so unusual it left you gasping for more. 

500 gms chicken
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt to taste
1/3 cup onion chopped fine
1/4 cup capsicum chopped five
1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
1 tsp red chilli powder
2 tbsp oil
1 tbsp ghee

Method:
Marinate the chicken with lime juice and salt one hour. 
Heat the oil and ghee. Add chopped onions and sauté till they turn transparent. 
Add chopped capsicum, ginger garlic paste, and red chilli powder. Sauté for 2-3 minutes. 
Add the chicken, stir well, lower the flame, cover and let it cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally so sll sides get evenly browned. 
Meanwhile, make a paste of the betel leaves (add a tablespoon of curds if required), and mix with curds and 1 tsp salt, and keep aside. 
Add curds- betel leaves paste to the chicken. Mix well and cook for 2-3 minutes till the gravy is thickened. 
Serve hot with rotis. 

Jul 9, 2015

Jasmine tea

I do so love my daily cuppa, and it's ever more pleasant if it is homemade jasmine tea.

Jasmine syrup to taste
1 tea bag
Water

Method:
Boil the water and dip the tea bag till you get the desired strength. You can use green tea or a mild black tea- Earl Grey is best. 
Add jasmine syrup to taste, breathe in the aroma and relax. 

Kadhai Paneer

I've been craving to have a really spicy dinner, but without freaking out my kids. This Kadhai paneer scored on both fronts.


200 gms paneer
2 onions chopped fine
2 tomatoes chopped fine
1 green capsicum chopped fine
1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
1 tsp jeera powder
2 tsp dhania powder
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 tbsp red chilli sauce
Salt to taste
2 tbsp cooking oil

Method:
Heat oil, add chopped onions, and saute till transparent. Add ginger garlic paste, and spices, and saute till the raw smell goes. Add tomatoes and sauté till mushy.
Allow the masala to cool, then grind it till you get a fine paste.
In the pan, add 1 tsp oil and sauté the capsicum. Add cut paneer and toss around for a minute. 
Add the masala, salt to taste and enough water to attain the desired consistency.
Bring to boil, simmer for 2 minutes and serve. 

Jul 7, 2015

Rice pakore

When the kids come home from school they don't want lunch, but a little sustenance they need. Leftovers to the rescue.


1-2 cup leftover rice
1/4 cup besan
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp jeera powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
Salt to taste
Cooking oil

Method:
Mix the besan, chilli powder, jeera powder, salt and soda. Add 1/2 tsp cooking oil, and make a paste with minimum water. 
Add the cooked rice, and mix well. 
Heat the oil, and put a drop of batter- if it rises immediately to the surface, the oil is ready. 
Roll and flatten the batter into patties. Fry till cooked on both sides. 
Serve hot with tomato ketchup. 

Ami kozakottai

This is a recipe that is normally made with leftover dough during Ganesh Chaturti. I made it for lunch and loved it.

3/4 cup rice flour
Salt to taste 
1 cup water 

1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1 sprig curry leaves
A pinch of hing
Cooking oil

Method:
Bring the water to boil. Add salt and let it dissolve. Reduce the flame. 
Carefully add the rice flour, stirring continuously so no lumps are formed. Cook till the mixture comes together and starts leaving the side of the vessel. 
Cool. Knead it for a minute or two. Roll into marble sized balls (I got about 25). 
Grease a steaming plate and place the balls on it. Steam for 7 to 10 minutes. 
Heat about 1 tbsp oil. Add mustard seeds, and when they stop spluttering, add hing and curry leaves. 
Add the steamed balls and toss around for a minute. 
Serve hot. 


Jul 6, 2015

Hibiscus tea

I saw a recipe for hibiscus tea, and rued the fact that my plant had got infected by a fungus and was no longer flowering. But after shifting here, I see a profusion of hibiscus flowers, and gathering courage, I plucked a couple to make tea. It was so lovely, I'm sure many more flowers will disappear!
2 hibiscus flowers
1/2 inch piece cinnamon
2 tsp palm sugar*
1 lime

Method:
Boil 2 cups of water. 
Tear the petals into inch square pieces. Pour the boiling water over the petals and cinnamon stick. 
Allow it to infuse for 20-30 minutes. 
Squeeze in the lime, and watch the colour turn from pale pink to deep red. 

Add sugar and mix well. 
Can be had hot, or cold. 



*- to taste. Can use honey or regular sugar too. 

Jasmine syrup

The advantage of having a plethora of blooms is that you can really indulge in your passion for cooking with flowers. Jasmine syrup is something I encountered last year, and finally got to make today!


1 cup jasmine flowers
1 cup sugar
2 cups water

Method:
Wash the flowers well and keep aside. 
Boil the water, add sugar and stir till dissolved completely. 
Add jasmine flowers and let it seep for 2 hours. 
Strain out the flowers and bottle

To use, add water to taste, or use in hot/ cold tea

Jul 5, 2015

Betel leaf fritters/ paan ke pakore

Once you discover the taste of betel leaves, it is hard not to experiment with it. While making kadhi, I decided to make a few pakore with betel leaves, and they disappeared in no time at all. Definitely something I'm making again.
2 betel leaves- pick the young and tender ones
1/2 cup besan
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp jeera powder
1 tsp rice flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
Salt to taste
Cooking oil

Method:
Mix the besan, chilli powder, jeera powder, salt and soda. Add 1/2 tsp cooking oil, and make a paste with sufficient water. 
Tear each leaf into quarters. 
Heat the oil, and put a drop of batter- if it rises immediately to the surface, the oil is ready. 
Coat the leaves with batter and drop into the oil. Fry till cooked on both sides. 
Serve with tomato ketchup. 

Jul 4, 2015

Karupillai tohayal/ curry leaves chutney

We have a virtual forest of curry leaf plants in the backyard, and I asked my mother what I could do with them. After expressing her jealousy in no uncertain terms, she gave me this traditional recipe.

1 cup curry leaves (tight packed)
2 tbsp urad dal
1 tsp mustard seeds
2 red chillis
3 pods garlic 
2 lemon sized ball tamarind
1 tsp cooking oil

Method:
Heat the oil, add mustard seeds and wait till they stop spluttering. 
Add garlic, chilli and urad dal and sauté till it turns brown
Add curry leaves and fry lightly (you can skip this if you like the taste of raw curry leaves)
Grind with tamarind, salt and a little water. 
Serve with dosa or use as a sandwich spread. 

Jul 3, 2015

Tortilla de patatas- Spanish omelette

I got this recipe at the back of a cozy mystery about an English restauranter who serves up Spanish inspired seafood.  Since  I'd been salivating throughout the book, I had to try it out, but with a few modifications.

2 large potatoes
1 large onion
6 eggs
1 cup oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp dry parsley

Method:
Wash and peel the potatoes, and chop it very fine. 
Heat the oil, and on a low flame, cook the potatoes till soft. 
Add the onions and fry some more. 
Meanwhile, whip the eggs with salt, pepper and parsley till frosty. 
Pour over the potatoes and mix well. 
Cover and let it cook on a low flame. When crisp, turn it over and cook the other side. 
Cut into wedges and serve. 

The recipe was a little greasy. Next time, I will boil the potatoes, and shallow fry the omelette. 

Pasta in mushroom sauce

When you are doing all the cooking yourself, the family tends to have a more varied diet. Pasta often make sn appearance twice a week, and mushrooms grave the table at least once. And spices too- I've consumed more nutmeg in the last month than I did in the year before!!!!
This pasta tasted much better than it looked. 
300 gms pasta
1 packet mushrooms
1 large onion, sliced long 
1 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp ground pepper
2 tbdp cornflour
1/2 cup chicken stock (I substituted with water)
Salt to taste

Method:
Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the pack. Drain and keep aside. 
Heat the butter, sauté the onions till brown. 
Meanwhile wash mushrooms well and slice longitudinally. 
Add mushroom to the onions and sauté on a low flame till browned. 
Add cornflour, salt, pepper and nutmeg and stir till mushrooms are well coated. Sauté till browned. 
Add stock, and allow it to simmer for 10 minutes. 
Add the pasta, mix well. Serve hot. 


Sausage stir fry

The chicken sausages we got are slightly bland, so I spiced them up as a stir fry. Yummy.
100 gms chicken sausages
1/2 onion, chopped fine
1/2 capsicum chopped fine
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp red chill sauce

Method:
Heat the butter and sauté the onions and capsicum till the onions turn transparent. Add sausages (cut into bite sized pieces), and sauté till browned. 
Add chill sauce. Turn off the flame and mix well. Serve as a cocktail snack or as an accompaniment. 

Jul 2, 2015

Chickpea chaat


A light and healthy snack for all those in between times.

2 cup boiled chickpeas 
1/2 onion
1/4 capsicum
1 small tomato
Salt, red chilli powder to taste

Method:
Chop all the vegetables fine. 
Mix the chickpeas and vegetables
Add salt and red chilli powder and mix well. 

Jul 1, 2015

Watermelon juice

This year, I didn't get watermelons even once, so when I saw them in offer at an online grocer, I added one to the cart. Half we ate, the rest we juiced.
1/2 large watermelon
1 cup water
1/2 lime juice
A dash of Tabasco
A pinch of salt

Method:
Remove the rind of the watermelon, remove seeds and cut into chunks. 
Juice with 1 cup water till well blended. Strain (I partially strained)
Add lime juice, salt and Tabasco. Mix well. Serve chilled.