Archive for September, 2006

Besan Ladoo

Slim is not in on the fashion arena! Thank God for that. With Ghee and Butter as the theme for JFI, I can try all the recipes at the round up without a worry for those extra pounds!
In India Milk, Ghee (homemade), Butter (homemade) are considered as signs of prosperity. Households that use plenty of these ingredients are supposed to be well-off!
In fact as children my mom would make us eat ghee with Rotis and rice everyday! Whenever she would make ghee, I would take it in a small bowl and dip the Roti in the ghee and have it! Now I can’t imagine myself doing this!!
But I still love the golden brown milk proteins that settle down when Ghee is made.We call it Beri which is somewhat sour to taste. Add some sugar to it and eat it just like that.. Sweet and sour.
(Refer Indira’s procedure here for making Ghee.She has a great Knack for describing procedures for her recipes) 
After I remove the Ghee…I boil water in the pan in which the ghee is made…so that all the grease is easily removed. I use this water to make Roti or Paratha dough!The Rotis are very soft and delicious.
Back to the recipe. The festive season has already begun and  I thought of making good old Besan Ladoo for JFI-Ghee

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To make around 8-10 medium sized Ladoos you need: 2 Cups Gram Flour
1 Cup Ghee
1 ½ Cups powdered sugar
½ cup milk
8-10 golden raisins
½ tsp Cardamom powder(optional.I don’t like the taste/flavour of Cardamoms so I don’t include them in anything..but most of the people like to use it in Indian sweets.)

In a hot pan heat Ghee. Add the Gram flour and roast, stirring constantly, till its color turns brownish. Don’t worry you will know by the wonderful aroma that will fill your kitchen,even your neighbours can make out! Add the milk and keep stirring till all the liquid dries out. Remove from flame,let it cool a bit then add sugar and mix it nicely.I use a food processor for mixing the Ladoo mixture nicely. Add the cardamom.Make small medium sized round balls from the mixture. Place 1 raisin at the centre of each ball as shown in the picture. Alternatively you can add raisins to the mixture before making the round balls.

Store Besan Ladoos in airtight container

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September 27, 2006 at 10:23 pm 11 comments

Butti -Hand made Cane Basket

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                Butti-Hand made Cane Basket

Hand made Cane Basket-we call it Butti in Marathi . Rotis/Bhakris/Parathas become very soggy if stored immediately after making, in closed containers. We use this Butti ,(from the local flea market) to let off some steam from Rotis/Bhakris/Parathas and then store them.

Do you use similar baskets or do you know any other name in your language for this basket?….Please share it with everyone!

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             Pumpkin Parathas in Butti

September 23, 2006 at 11:13 am 4 comments

From China Town

    A couple of years back I visited Sydney, Australia. Just after 2-3 days of having sandwiches and fruits for lunch/dinner I craved for Indian food. We discovered a place called China Town during one of our expeditions for food! I was all excited to have Chinese food -something to remind me of food at home! The menu boasted of a range of Chinese dishes. We ordered for some Rice and some Noodles. To my utter disappointment the rice and noodles were nothing like the ones we have at home…here in India.The Chinese food served in India is more of a Indo-Chinese fusion.Basic Chinese recipes altered to suit the Indian palette,with lots of garlic and chillies and sauces!I am not complaining, I prefer it that way.I am a great fan of this Indo-Chinese food.Here’s my favourite Veg Fried Rice and Veg Hot and Sour …Indi style..my style

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For the Veg Fried Rice you need:

1 cup rice, cooked

2 cups finely chopped vegetables (Carrots, French Beans, Green Capsicums, fresh button Mushrooms, fresh green spring onions)

3-4 garlic cloves finely chopped

½ tsp ginger grated

2 tsp green chilly sauce

2 tsp Soya Sauce

¼  tsp white/black pepper powder

A pinch of Ajinomoto (Mono Sodium Glutamate) -optional

2 tsp oil for cooking

Salt as per required  Heat oil in a wok. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 min.Add the ginger and then add the spring onion whites. Sauté for a few minutes on high flame. Then add the carrots and French beans and cook for a few minutes till the carrots and beans become a little soft.Add the green capsicum, Mushrooms and spring onion greens.Cook for a few minutes.Now add some Chinese green chilly sauce, soy sauce, ajinomoto and some salt .Adjust the salt depending on the soy sauce and ajinomoto added. Add the cooked rice mix and cook for few minutes more on high flame.Serve hot.

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For Veg Hot and sour you need:

1 small cabbage diced. 2 Carrots sliced (in thin rounds)

1 medium sized green Capsicum cut into thin strips

2-3 sprigs green onions (bulbs as well as greens)

½ tsp ginger grated

2 tsp green chilly sauce

2 tsp Soya Sauce

1 tbsp hot and sweet tomato sauce (or just add some red chilli powder to tomato ketchup)

2 tsp cornflour

½ cup water

¼ tsp white/black pepper powder

¼ tsp sugar

Salt as per taste.

2 tsp oil

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Heat oil in a wok. Add the ginger and chopped onions (white part).Sauté for few minutes.Add the carrots and then add the cabbage.Cook for a few minutes then add the capsicum.When the veggies are just cooked add the sauces, salt and sugar.Add some water to the veggies.In a small bowl mix the cornflour with little water.Add it to the veggies and mix nicely.Cook till the gravy becomes little thick and saucy.Sprinkle pepper powder. Serve hot with Veg Fried Rice.

September 21, 2006 at 10:09 pm 3 comments

Pumpkin Parathas

Pumpkin-truly Pumps up your Kins! J  

With loads of Vitamins ,Minerals, Carotenes this orange fleshy vegetable (I am calling this as a vegetable – that’s what it is regarded as in India) is rich in fibre and low in calories and Cholesterol. So many benefits and yet I am surprised this vegetable doesn’t enjoy the popularity it should. I know many people who will say ‘Pumpkin..yuck!’. Bhopla (in Marathi) or Kaddu (in Hindi) is looked down upon by many people. In fact Pumpkins are quite versatile and can be added to many recipes like soups, curries, Sambar,Puris,cakes,pies -the list is endless.

Each and every part of this plump vegetable is edible, tasty and nutritious- The flesh , the seeds and the skin too!(We make a delicious chutney from the skin)

I am really glad Meeta has chosen this all rounder vegetable for this month’s FMR.

So here’s Pumpkins Parathas for Meetas FMR

 

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Ingredients

3 Cups Whole wheat flour

1 cup grated Pumpkin (we call it Lal Bhopla here, the flat round variety)

2 tsp chopped fresh green coriander leaves

2 tsp sesame seeds

1 tsp ajowain seeds

2 tsp green chilli paste

1 tsp turmeric powder

2 tsp lime juice (optional)

Salt as per taste

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl.Pumpkin contains lots of water, so knead the dough in it. Use more water if required and knead into a soft pliable dough.Don’t keep the dough for long.

Immediately make small lime size balls of the dough.Roll out each ball on a flat surface with a rolling pin into a circle. Dust some wheat flour if required.On a hot griddle/tava, cook each paratha on both sides applying little oil on both sides.

Serve hot with curds(yoghurt) or some achaar,Chutney.

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September 19, 2006 at 10:49 pm 20 comments

Marble cake with Cranberries

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Some very good reasons prompted me to make this cake:

#- I found dried Orange flavoured Cranberries in the supermarket here. I had never tasted Cranberries before. Many people here don’t even know what are Cranberries. I was one of them! But I am very experimentive with my cooking and hence grabbed the packets of Dried Cranberries as soon as I saw them. ( that too at an offer I couldn’t resist1 pk. Free with the other! J 

#- My niece turns three this week and came down from Mumbai to visit us this weekend. I wanted to bake a cake for her b’day – celebrating in advance. Kids generally like Chocolate flavoured cakes.

#-I had baked a plain Marble cake 2 years ago with one of my very good friend, Deepa’s recipe. My hubby kept on asking me to bake it again (that’s his way of appreciating my food!) But I never got around making it till now!

 Dried Cranberries, Chocolate Flavour and hubby’s request all put into one I baked – Marble cake with Cranberries.

(I have lost Deepa’s Marble Cake recipe which I scribbled on a piece of paper. So I just added the ingredients in proportions I faintly recalled J)

250 gm Maida (All purpose flour)

250 gm powdered sugar

250 gm butter (I used Amul)

4 eggs

½ tsp baking powder

3-4 drops Vanilla essence

2 tsp Cocoa powder

1tbsp Milk

¾ cup dried Orange flavoured Cranberries

Sieve Maida and baking powder together. Keep it aside. In a bowl cream the sugar and butter. Beat it in one direction using a cake spatula till light and fluffy. Beat eggs (just 1 spin in the mixer).Add some beaten eggs to the sugar-butter mixture and mix properly. Repeat till all the beaten eggs are mixed properly with the sugar butter mixture. Fold in some sieved Maida and baking powder mix. Repeat for the rest of the Maida. Add milk. The mixture should be of dropping consistency. Adjust the amount of milk accordingly.Add Vanilla essence and mix properly.Add the dried Cranberries and mix. Divide the mixture into two. Keep one portion as it is. To the other half add Cocoa powder and mix well. Grease a round (any shape will do) baking pan, dust it with Maida.Alternatively put 1 spoon of the Vanilla and Cocoa mixture in the pan.Bake it in a preheated oven at 180oC for about 35-40 minutes or till a knife inserted in the cake comes out clean.Cool on a wire rack.

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I had three little helpers with me aged :3 yrs, 16 months and 10 months!They could hardly wait to cut the cake. So there was no chance of a photograph before the cake was cut!My little niece has cut this cake and mami’s(aunty’s) Marble Cake with Cranberries was a hit with her.

Have to bake it again next weekend for my dear hubby since he could get only a piece of it-indication that the cake came out really well!

 

September 17, 2006 at 2:11 pm 2 comments

CapsiCups (Stuffed green Bell peppers)

Fresh Green Capsicums ( green Bell Peppers) or any veggies for that matter are quite difficult to resist, the way they are stacked neatly in the vegetable markets here. I also like the freedom these veggie vendors give you for selecting the veggies on your own. That’s the reason I dislike buying veggies in the malls …prepacked in polythene bags.

I picked up some fresh, firm, crisp, greenest (I know there’s no word like that, but I am using the superlative to let you know  how much freedom the vendor gave me to choose the best he had!) baby capsicums (again I could choose the size that I wanted from the range of sizes he had)

I like adding capsicums to any recipe for the color it gives to that recipe. Be it Red, Yellow or Green (these are the only colors available here) the recipe looks great. That these peppers are rich in Vitamin C is an added advantage. I also like its crunchy texture so am always careful not to overcook them.

Here’s a simple and nutritious recipe for green Baby capsicums, stuffed with whichever veggies I had in my stock!

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You need:

8-10 green Baby capsicums (green bell peppers)

2 large potatoes boiled and mashed

½ cup Carrots finely chopped

½ cup French beans finely chopped

½ cup Sweet Corn kernels boiled

(You can add any other veggies like peas, onions etc.Adjust the amount of veggies according to the size and number of capsicums.)

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½  tsp coriander powder

½  tsp cumene powder

¼ tsp turmeric powder

½ tsp cumene seeds

½ tsp Garam Masala powder

½ tsp dry red chilli powder

½ tsp amchur powder(dry mango powder)

salt as per taste.

1 tsp oil

Cut the capsicum tops and remove the seeds inside. Blanch them in boiling water for 5-6 minutes (don’t overcook them.) and drain them. Keep aside.

In a pan heat oil, add cumene seeds. Add the carrots and sauté for 1 minute.Then add the French beans, sauté and cook covered for few minutes or till the veggies are just done. Add the boiled corn kernels and cook for a few minutes more.Add the mashed potatoes and mix nicely. Now add the masalas- turmeric powder, coriander powder, cumene powder,red chilli powder and Garam masala .Add salt and mix nicely.Lastly add the amchur powder, mix and remove from steam and cool the mixture.

Stuff the blanched capsicums with this mixture.

Arrange the capsicums in a greased baking dish and bake at 190oC for about 10 mins.

Serve hot.

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September 14, 2006 at 4:57 pm 6 comments

Paneer Bhurji (Scrambled Paneer curry)

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                        I stayed in a hostel for almost 5 years for my higher studies. On Sundays the ‘Mess’ would be open only for lunch. Dinner-we had to manage on our own. Some times I would carry out my culinary experiments on my roomie (She had to do the dishesJ ). We also frequented a nearby restaurant, which served good food and was easy on the pocket too! The restaurant was particularly famous for one dish…..Paneer Bhurji. I can’t forget the taste to date! I still can’t match the taste even if the ingredients are identical! I attribute this to the ‘Conscious Cooking’ we do at home.

So here’s Paneer Bhurji….for old time’s sake

A very healthy ,quick recipe, requires only a few ingredients and very less efforts…very filling too.

For Paneer Bhurji

250 gms soft Paneer

1 medium sized onion chopped

2 medium sized tomatoes chopped

2 medium sized green capsicums chopped

1 tsp Pav Bhaji Masala

1tsp red chilli powder

¼ tsp turmeric powder

Salt as per taste

For the tadka (tempering)

½ tsp mustard seeds

½ tsp Cumene seeds

2tsp oil

Mash the paneer with your hands. In a pan heat oil. Temper with mustard seeds and then cumene seeds. Add the chopped onion and fry till the onion becomes translucent.Add the chopped tomatoes and fry till they turn mushy . Now add turmeric, Pav Bhaji masala and red chilli powder.Add the chopped capsicum and cook covered for 1-2 minutes.Do not overcook the capsicum.Let it be a little crunchy. Add salt and the mashed paneer and mix nicely. Cook for few minutes. Serve hot or cold.                                   Paneer Bhurji can be served with Parathas or Rotis

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tip.jpgFor variation stuff the Paneer Bhurji in a bun or a bread roll and top it with some ketchup….a healthy snack for your kids!

 

September 10, 2006 at 3:07 pm 5 comments

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                         ‘Red or Yellow Mama ?’-Helping Mama in the Kitchen

September 9, 2006 at 11:21 am 3 comments

Green Tomato Chutney

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    Green unripe firm tomatoes

For a working mother like me, Chutneys, Aachars, Raitas are like little ‘Culinary Elves’…..I won’t call them accompaniments. Many times they are my Main dish. In the mad rush, every morning to get to work on time, getting my son ready and many other chores, Chutneys and Raitas are very very handy…some quick chutney or a Raita along with some Rotis or Plain Rice that’s lunch for me many times.

Chutneys, Raitas, Achaars, and Papads have a special place in Indian Cuisine. Along with taste they also add color to your plate.

Here’s a quick and easy recipe for Khatti-Meethi Green Tomato Chutney.

 For the Green Tomato Chutney you will need:

4 Green unripe firm tomatoes.

1 tbsp roasted groundnuts powdered

4-5 green chillies chopped (depending on how spicy you want it)

1tsp cumene seeds

1tsp sugar

Salt as per taste

1tsp oil.

 

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That’s all! J 

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Green Tomato chutney tastes great with anything…Rotis, Parathas,Rice ,Idli, Dosa..

 

 tip.jpg Powder some roasted peanuts and store. Use this powder for curries, raitas etc……saves time.

September 7, 2006 at 2:15 pm 10 comments

Matki Bhaat (Moth Bean Rice)

         I love sprouts and I try to include them in our diet as far as possible. Sprouting increases the Vitamin content (especially Vitamin C) of  food. My grandmother says, sprouting not only increases the food value but also helps ease digestion.

Given an option ,I would sprout most of the pulses and grains we use!I even make a cereal for my son from Ragi, Wheat and Moong sprouts. He loves the taste and I am happy that he gets all his proteins and Vitamins!

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Matki also called as Moth bean or Turkish Gram is popularly used in Indian cooking to make curries, salads, rice etc.It is quite easy to sprout matki .Clean and Wash the beans and soak Matki in water overnight (6-8 hours). Remove the water from the soaked Matki and tie it in a damp cotton cloth (I use a bag made from muslin cloth) till the seeds germinate (2-3 days depending on the weather). If the weather is too cold try and keep the tied Matki in a warm place. Now-a-days Sprouters or Sproutmakers are also available to make sprouts. I prefer the traditional way.

These crunchy Matki sprouts taste good even raw. Add a dash of lime juice, pepper and little salt -A perfect healthy snack!

Coming to Matki Bhaat. It is a very simple recipe where Rice combines with Matki sprout to enhance its flavour and nutritive value.

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                    That’s Matki Rice Aeroplane for my son!

For Matki Bhaat you need: (Serves 4)

1 cup Rice

1 cup Matki sprouts

1 medium sized onion chopped

1 green chili slit length wise

5-6 peppercorns

4-5 cloves

1 tsp cumene seeds

Salt as per taste

1tsp oil

1tsp butter

Wash and drain the rice and keep aside. In a pan heat 1 tsp oil and 1 tsp butter. Add the Cumene seeds, peppercorns and cloves. Add the slit green chili and then add the chopped onion. Fry for a few minutes till the onion becomes translucent .Add the Matki sprout and fry for 2 minutes. Then add the rice, stir nicely and remove from heat. In a rice cooker add two cups of water and salt. Add the rice- matki mixture to it once the water starts boiling. Cover and cook till the indicator turns to warm. You can cook Matki Rice in a pressure cooker also. Take care that you don’t overcook it. The grains should separate and not stick to each other.

Serve hot with curds or Raita.

Delicious and healthy Matki Bhaat - I perefer it without any accompaniments , only topped with a spoonful of ghee!

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September 5, 2006 at 12:00 pm 9 comments

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