Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Cottage Cheese and Bean Enchiladas

This is my Indianized version of Enchiladas. Am not sure if it looks or tastes anything like the original, but it sure was a good meal..

ready to eat

I feel terrible when I read recipes that require ingredients that I cannot even pronounce, and most often, cannot source from any store here. I then become the 'Queen of substitution' and just add the next thing that I think would smell / look / taste like what is mentioned in the recipe..
I could call this a rajma-paneer kathi roll, its that Indianized :) but lets stick to Enchiladas for now...

I started with the recipe from Nita Mehta's book on Vegetarian Mexican cooking and then surfed across a few more sites and came up with this


The list of ingredients looks long, but it really isnt, go ahead and give it a try...

What you need

For the wheat tortillas (simply put - chapatis)

2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp oil
1/2 cup warm water

For the Filling

1 cup rajma / kidney beans (soaked overnight in water and cooked)
1 cup crumbled cottage cheese / paneer
1 tbsp oil
3-4 cloves of garlic
1 onion
1 capsicum chopped
1 tsp salt
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp chilli powder
2 tomatoes

For the sauce

1 tsp flour / maida
3 tomatoes
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp oregano
1 cup vegetable broth / water
1/2 cup cheese

For the topping

1/2 cup grated cheese
1 tomato chopped
5-6 low spice chillies
1 capsicum (I used half yellow and half green)
1 onion chopped

(For the topping, just the cheese would do, but I went ahead and added a whole lot more)

What you do with it -

For the tortilla -

Mix together the flour, salt and oil in a bowl
Add water gradually to make a pliable dough
Cover with a moist cloth and keep aside for about half an hour
Divide the dough into 8-10 parts
Roll out each using a little flour into thin chapatis
Heat a tava. Place the rolled dough onto the tava
Cook lightly on both sides
Remove from heat and keep wrapped in a foil

For the filling -

Heat the oil, add chopped garlic and capsicum
Add onions and fry for 2-3 mins
Add the cooked beans, salt, chilli powder and oregano
Add chopped tomatoes and the crumbled paneer and stir till dry

For the sauce -

Puree the tomatoes and grate the cheese
Bring the broth / water to a slow boil
Add the flour and stir well
Slowly add the puree and cheese and then the salt, oregano and sugar
Mix well on low heat till it thickens

Assemble and Bake -

Fry the prepared tortillas for a few seconds. They should not turn brown or crisp
Spread a spoon of sauce on the tortilla
Add the filling in the centre and roll in the sides
Do this with all the tortillas
Grease a oven proof dish and place the tortillas tucked side down
(Ideally a rectangular dish, so the tortillas are placed side by side, but I had only a round one)
Pour the remaining sauce on top and then top with grated cheese, chopped tomatoes, onions and slit chillies
Bake at 180 C for 20-25 mins

Monday, September 21, 2009

Recipes from the Taj - Kombdicha Rassa (Maharashtrian style Chicken Curry)

A few years back, I had to go for dinner at a place where I didnt know too many people. It was one of my dad's friend who was hosting a big dinner at his house, for a whole lot of people. I am terrible at making general polite conversation with people I dont know too well and was wondering how I would get thru the evening...

I tried to keep myself busy by flipping thru the various magazines when I saw this book there

pics 035

It was a book of Chef's recipes from the Taj group of hotels, featuring non-vegetarian recipes. The foodie in me went drooling over the recipes and pictures, but I was surprised that this book was here, considering this was a strictly vegetarian household. It happens that my dad's friend was a frequent visitor to one of Taj group hotels in Sri Lanka and they had come out with this special edition and gifted it to him

pics 034

He did eat chicken once in a way, but his wife never did and they never cooked / brought anything non-vegetarian at home...
The great thing was that the lady there asked me if I liked that book and I said its really interesting...She promptly asked me to take it, because if it was spotted by anyone from her family, they would not be too pleased seeing a book on non-vegetarian cooking in a strictly vegetarian household


This book has some really awesome recipes and I have tried quite a few...
I bought a packet of goda masala from my last trip to Bombay and have been trying a lot of Maharashtrian recipes with it... I love the flavour and this recipe used goda masala...Had this with steamed rice and a cucumber raita for lunch on Sunday...

This recipe is from Panchratna at Taj Residency, Nashik by chef Ratnakar Prabhu

What you need

200 gm chicken
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
1/2 tsp green chilli paste
100 gm dry coconut / kopra
1 tsp coriander seeds
2 red chillies
1/2 tsp sesame seeds
2 tbsp oil
1 small onion
pinch of turmeric powder
1 tbsp chilli powder
1 tbsp yoghurt
whole garam masala - 2 cardamoms, 1 piece cinnamon, 3 cloves and a bay leaf
1 tsp goda masala
1 tsp coriander leaves
1.5 cups water

What you do with it -

Cut the chicken into pieces and wash well
Chop onion into small pieces
Marinate chicken pieces with half of the ginger-garlic and green-chilli paste
Keep aside for at least 30 mins
Heat oil and add the whole garam masala (not powdered), remaining ginger-garlic and green chilli paste and onions
Fry till onions are brown

Add marinated chicken pieces, salt, chilli powder, turmeric, goda masala
Stir till the pieces are coated with the powders
Add the water and saute till its cooked

Grate the dry coconut. Roast coconut, coriander seeds, red chilli and sesame seeds and grind to a paste with as little water as needed

When the chicken is cooked, add yoghurt, ground masala and sprinkle some goda masala
Garnish with coriander leaves.
Serve with steamed rice

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Tambde Duddhya Doddak (Red Pumpkin Dosa)

Breakfasts were always important at my mom's place, but somehow after I got married, it took a back seat. Early working hours, managing all alone, packing lunch, all this seemed to take a toll on my breakfasts.
Bread was what I could manage, if at all. I was never a cereal person. I'd rather skip breakfasts that have cereals ! After about 2 years of completely messing up with my system - No breakfasts, just mugs of coffee at work and eating at wrong hours and I was suffering from terrible acidity. After that I got more serious about breakfasts, and now over the years, getting older and wiser(!) I realised how important breakfasts are...
So please guys, if you aren't eating breakfasts, time for you to seriously consider starting on them

Doddak (Thick dosa) was made very often for breakfast at Ma's place. I had almost forgotten about it till I saw this post for taushe doddak on Vani's blog. I made it every week after that. I then remembered Ma making this red pumpkin doddak. It had a sweetish taste and was one of the few sweet things I really enjoyed.

This one was what my son had with some jaggery syrup smeared on top..he can eat anything with jaggery syrup !

duddhya doddak

And this is my spiced up version...

spiced doddak

What you need -

2 cups grated red pumpkin
1 cup grated coconut
2 tsp grated jaggery
1/2 tsp salt
1.5 cup semolina / rava /sooji
3/4 - 1 cup water

What you do with it -

Mix all the ingredients, except semolina, water and oil
Keep aside for about 10 mins. The salt added to this will make it a little watery
Add semolina to this and add water just enough to make a thick batter. It should way thicker than what we make for a regular dosa batter
You may not need to use all the water - it needs to be a really thick batter
Heat the tava and smear a little oil on it
This batter cant be poured out, so spoon the batter onto the tava, maybe 2-3 spoon fuls
Spread as much as you can and then cover and allow to cook for 2-3 mins on medium heat
Flip over and cook for another minute or so
Serve hot with jaggery syrup / honey / butter

If you are like me and dont like the sweetish taste too much, add a few cumin seeds, chopped green chillies and chooped coriander. The sweet / spicy taste, I think, is way better !

Monday, September 14, 2009

Kela Sukke (Raw banana in a coconut masala)

I was never too fussy with my veggies even as a child. I liked most of what I ate and it was a rule at home, that we couldn't waste anything. We had to finish what we were served on our plates.
A friend once noticed that my brother and I had always managed to finish what we had on our plates (or leaves) when we once sat together at a traditional Kannada wedding lunch ('madhuve oota'). I am hoping its the good childhood habit that surfaced more than the greed !!

Kela sukke

Raw bananas were not made that often at my mom's place, but TH's family seemed to use it and like it a lot. Pakodas, dry curries, kuzhambu, lots of different things are made from raw bananas at their place. I have started using it quite a bit too now and this is one of my favourites...
Sukke in konkani means 'dry', here its more like a thick gravy.
This goes best with some hot rice and dal

Recipe adapted from Rasachandrika, an excellent book on Saraswat cooking

What you need -

3 medium sized raw bananas
1/2 cup grated coconut
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
4-6 red chillies
a handful of chana dal / bengal gram
1 small ball of tamarind
1.5 tsp salt
1 tbsp grated jaggery
1.5 tsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp urad dal / black gram dal
1/4 tsp fenugreek / methi seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
a few curry leaves

What you do with it -

Soak the chana dal in water for 4-5 hours
Scrape the skin off the bananas and cut it into broad and long pieces
Keep the pieces dipped in water to prevent them from darkening
Cook the soaked chana dal in a vessel with enough water to cover the dal
Once its cooked, add the banana pieces, salt and jaggery
Allow the banana pieces to cook well
Fry the coriander seeds, urad dal and methi seeds in a tsp of oil
Grind the grated coconut, turmeric powder, chillies and tamarind to a coarse paste
Add the fried ingredients and grind to a paste
Add the masala to the cooked bananas and bring to a boil on a low flame
Heat 1/2 tsp oil in a small pan and add mustard seeds and curry leaves and pour over the banana curry

Friday, September 4, 2009

Thai style Noodles

On one of the quieter tree-lined streets in Bangalore, there was this really beautiful restaurant called 'Spiga'. It was a really pretty house and the informal atmosphere made the whole experience so much nicer.
They had an interesting menu, with a few options from various cuisines
I am a big fan of Thai food and invariably ordered that when I went there and it was simply perfect every single time

The street is now busier and is more like a high-fashion street with all Indian and global designers having a showroom there and Spiga has closed down
The good news is that they have opened their restaurant in another area in bangalore, the bad news is that I dont live there anymore *sob*

Thai style noodles

In memory of all the lip-smacking food i have had at Spiga, I made this Thai style noodles for dinner last night.
I found brocolli and coloured peppers here and I knew I had to make this. I made a little red curry paste, added peanuts, got the veggies together and made a little red curry out of it. Added a bit of soy sauce, sugar, chillies and noodles and it tasted real good, almost as good as the one from Spiga...

Thai 2

What you need -

1/2 cup peanuts
2 tsps soy sauce
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup brocolli florets
2 coloured capsicums
1 onion
1/2 cup chopped spring onions
chilli flakes
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt

(You can add tofu or mushrooms to this)

For the paste -

4 red chillies
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
5 cloves of garlic
1/2 inch piece ginger
1/2 tsp lemon rind
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 onion

What you do with it -

Roast the peanuts and crush them into small pieces
Chop the peppers lengthwise. Wash and keep aside
Chop the onion into large pieces lengthwise

Cook the noodles as per the instructions
I dropped it in how water with a little salt, for about 5 mins
Drain water. Add a tsp of oil and spread it in a large plate to avoid it getting all sticky

Soak the chillies in warm water for about 10 mins
Put thru a blender all the other ingredients under 'For the paste'
Add half the roasted peanuts and blend one more time

In a large deep pan, add the paste and fry, adding a little oil
Add sugar and salt
Add the onions, capsicums and brocolli
Add the soy sauce and stir on high heat
Lower the heat and add the coconut milk
Cover and allow to cook for 6-7 mins

To serve, place the noodles in a plate and spoon the curry over it
Garnish with roasted peanuts and spring onions


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