Thursday, September 27, 2012

Chickpea sundal

I had friends over for my Gauri puja last week. Traditionally, we make patolis, rice cooked with coconut milk and turmeric leaves and a simple sabji with some greens that are in season. The food is at its simplest and some women have it without salt on that day. Its supposed to be that a person who can't afford even something as basic as salt, can pray and make an offering without salt to Gauri.

I however wanted to serve my friends something more than just the patolis, so I made a quick sundal and coconut rice.

chickpea sundal

Sundal is a simple tasty snack, that's high in protein. Its made with chickpeas (kabuli chana), black chana or even peanuts. Soak, cook, season and you're done with it.

This is usually made during Navratri and served to all the people who come home to see the gollu (Navaratri decorations) in most Tamilian homes

Chickpea sundal

What you need -

1 cup kabuli chana (soaked for 6-8 hours)
1/4 cup grated fresh coconut
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp urad dal
1 red chilli broken in half
1 tbsp oil
salt to taste

What you do with it -

Drain the soaked chana and rinse it with fresh water
Cook in a pressure cooker. Don't let it over cook, for me two whistles in the pressure cooker works fine
In a pan, heat the oil, add the mustard seeds. allow it to splutter
Add the urad dal and when it turns slightly reddish, add the broken red chilli pieces
Add the salt and the chana and mix well
Take it off the heat and garnish with grated coconut

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Guest post for Suma Rowjee of Cakes and More

This is the very first time I am doing a guest post and its for the baking queen, Suma of Cakes and More...
I was really very honoured when she asked me do it, but also very nervous. She has the simplest and the most challenging bakes on her blog. I really didn't know what what I could make, that wasn't already there.

Then this recipe came to my mind - its an easy cake that is really moist and has a lovely flavour of dates. My aunt in Cambridge has this huge collection of recipes, especially related to baking. I picked this one since it seemed simple enough, though very delicious and moist, and I had all the ingredients on hand

banana date cake1

Suma is a huge inspiration for the baking that I do, especially breads. It was from her list of baking supplies in Bangalore, that I manage to get some beautiful instant yeast, that works so well. This post on GFA was especially useful and it introduced me to a store thats so close, and I didn't even know of its existence. Its on my list every time I visit Bangalore now.
I tried her no-knead bread to make a simple everyday multigrain bread and she is also the inspiration behind the stuffed aloo buns, which remind of of Bangalore so much

We met up last summer and it was fun chatting up about work, kids, cooking. Felt like I'd known her for a long time !
It thundered and poured the day I made this and it seemed like such a perfect weather for some hot tea with cake

banana date cake quarters

Thank you Suma for letting me do a post on your blog. It is such an honour.
Hop over here for the post

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Patolis for Gowri / Gauri puja

Gowri / Gauri puja is celebrated by Konkanis and Kannadigas a day before Ganesh Chaturthi. Some families keep an idol of Gowri, others worship a printed picture. Among Konkanis, this day is also called 'Vayana puja'. Young girls and married women keep decorated coconuts and offer it to the Goddess. Then these coconuts are usually given to women older than you and you seek their blessings. Ma gifted me this silver Gauri that needs to be placed over a coconut. I have been using this for my puja for the last couple of years now.

Gauri pooja

I used to help my grandfather a lot with all the preparations for the puja, and the cooking was all done by Ma. We had the whole family come over, help with the cooking, especially for Ganesh Chaturthi and really enjoy the elaborate spread
Being in a place that is not so familiar with this puja, I have started celebrating it and call some friends over. The food cooked on this day is pretty simple, compared to the spread for Ganesh Chaturthi.
The main dish cooked for this puja is Patoli (paa-toh-lee). Its steamed in turmeric leaves and has a wonderful aroma. This dish is a favourite with my friends here, since its so new and different for them.

patoli 6

My dear Ma couriers the leaves across every year, since I haven't found any turmeric leaves here. I wrap it in a damp cloth and refrigerate it till I use it. Even if the leaves, turn a little yellow, they work beautifully and still have that distinct aroma.

Have a wonderful Gauri puja and Ganesh Chaturthi

Here's a step-by-step on making these patolis

Clean the turmeric leaves, wipe and place them in a plate. Grease the leaf with a little oil

patoli 1

Using your fingers, spread the maida paste over the leaf. It should not be too thin or too thick

patoli 2

Place a spoonful of the coconut-jaggery mixture on one side. You can do this vertically or horizontally

patoli 3

Fold the leaf in half (length-wise or width-wise, depending on how you placed the filling)

patoli 4

Place in a steamer and steam for 8-10 mins

patoli 5

Once done, gently lift one half of the leaf and serve with ghee

patoli 6

What you need -
(15 patolis)

15 turmeric leaves

For the filling
1.5 cups freshly grated coconut
3/4 cup grated jaggery (less or more depending on how sweet the jaggery is)
1/2 tsp powdered cardamom

For the paste
1 cup maida (rice flour can be used instead of maida, but maida is an easier option)
1.25 cups water approx

What you do with it -

In a non stick pan, add the jaggery and coconut and stir it over low heat till the moisture is all gone. Mine took about 15 mins on a really low flame
You can make this a day in advance
Mix the maida with the water, adding a little at a time, so you get a consistency of a dosa batter, not too thick, not too thin
Clean the leaves, wipe them and grease with a little oil
Spread the maida paste with you fingers over the leaves, keeping it as smooth as possible. This again should not be too thick
Place a spoonful of the coconut mixture on one side
Fold the leaves and steam it for about 8-10 mins
Gently open the leaf and enjoy your patoli with some ghee

Monday, September 10, 2012

Chilli garlic mushrooms

We've had a really rainy weekend in Ahmedabad. Its cooled down a lot and for a change I am not complaining about the weather here.
We love our Indianised Chinese food and I miss the quick service home deliveries that we had back in Bangalore. There aren't too many Chinese restaurants here and the few that are there, are terribly crowded over the weekend

noodles and chilli garlic mushrooms

I had this packet of Waitrose brand of noodles that I picked from a Hypercity store here. It costs 3 times more than the regular ones I buy, but they are so so good !
The ones that I usually buy are a little thicker and there's always that chance of it getting overcooked and sticky. But these were really good - needed to just drop them in hot water for 3-4 minutes and they were done. Not thick, not sticky, just fail-proof perfect noodles.

chilli garlic mushrooms

For the noodles, I stir fried some onions, broccoli and baby corn in some garlic and ginger. Added a little vinegar, soy sauce, some salt and pepper and they were done.
Kept the noodles simple and made this really nice chilli garlic mushrooms to go with it

Chilli garlic mushrooms

What you need -

15 button mushrooms
1 large onion
3-4 cloves garlic
1/2" piece ginger
2 dry red chillies
1 green chilli
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tsp oyster sauce (optional)
1 tsp vinegar
salt and crushed pepper
spring onions for garnish

What you do with it -

Scrub and wash the mushrooms. Cut in quarters
In a small bowl, add half a tsp of soy sauce, 1 garlic crushed, salt and pepper
Pour this over the mushrooms and set aside
Chop the onions in to large quarters and separate the layers
Clean and chop the green part of the spring onions
Chop the remaining garlic and ginger into tiny pieces
In a wok, heat a little sesame oil and saute the mushrooms. Don't let it overcook, it should remain firm
Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside on a paper towel
Break the red chillies into two halves and deseed them
Slit the green chilli lengthwise
In the same oil, add the red chillies and the green chilli
Add the ginger and garlic and stir, so they don't burn
Add the onion and then the vinegar and soy sauce
Add the mushrooms and adjust the salt and pepper to taste
If you like it dry, take it off at this stage
If you want it with with some sauce, add a tsp of cornflour in water and mix well and pour over this
Allow to thicken a little, adjusting the water and seasoning
Take it off the heat and serve immediately with the noodles

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Savoury muffins

When I was little, I never liked chocolate, desserts or basically anything sweet. Ice-creams were about as far as I could go. I know some of you may think I'm crazy, but hey, that's me. My Ma loves chocolate and all the sweet treats I got as a kid went straight to her.
Even now, though I have started eating more chocolate-y desserts, I really can't handle too much of it. I almost always need something salty / spicy to kill the sweet taste in my mouth ! TH and my son can have a dessert for dinner, thats how much they like it, so all the sweet stuff is made for them.

savoury muffins with a sweet chili sauce

When I came across these savoury muffins a while back, it obviously had me very interested. Baking in those muffin pans and not having a sweet taste in your mouth. Bingo ! I have tried various combination, and its an easily adaptable recipe, you can put in whatever you think works well.
I like the crunchiness of corn and so I almost always land up using it in these savoury muffins. Cheese with capsicum or spring onions make a nice combination. This time I had a small piece of cottage cheese which also went in. Makes for a nice breakfast.

savoury muffins

Savoury muffins
(I used a mini muffin pan and this recipe makes about 24 mini muffins)

What you need -

1.5 cups maida / APF
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup milk
2 tbsp butter
1 egg (Can be avoided - use a little more milk instead)
1/2 cup sweet corn kernels
4-5 spring onion stalks
1/4 cup chopped cottage cheese / paneer
salt and ground pepper
1 tsp red chilli flakes
1/4 cup grated cheese

What you do with it -

Pre heat the oven to 180 C / 350 F
Sieve the flour with the baking powder and set aside
Add the egg into the milk and whisk
Allow the butter to come down to room temperature and then add to the milk
Add the corn kernels and chopped spring onions
Add the chopped paneer pieces, salt, pepper and red chilli flakes
Add baking soda to the flour and then combine all the wet ingredients
Mix to combine. Add a little more milk if the dough is too thick
Pour into muffin moulds (I used a mini muffins pan)
Bake for about 15 mins. Allow to cool for 5 mins and serve
I served these with a sweet chilli sauce

Monday, September 3, 2012

Buttermilk pancakes with chocolate chips

Blogging has helped me in more ways than I can can list out. But I realised that its helped develop my son's foodie taste buds and expanded his food vocabulary.
For a couple of years now, anything with dal would be sambar and all side dishes were bhajis.
Ever since I made these lamingtons, he's been fascinated with the name and now insists on knowing the name of everything he eats. He loves anything sweet and the latest is Nutella, which he has been eating with everything including dosas. Waffles feature as breakfast at least 2-3 times a month and he loves them.

chocolate chip buttermilk pancakes

Thanks to SJ, I made pancakes from Joy the Baker's blog for our Sunday breakfast. I had tried making pancakes once earlier and I don't remember him liking it much. But these had chocolate chips in it and he loved them. He had it for breakfast and dinner and again for breakfast this morning

I used home made buttermilk - the whey from making butter at home. Followed the recipe straight from Joy's blog. Its really fast, easy and super tasty with some maple syrup. I guess pancakes should be smaller and thicker. Mine spread out a bit too much. These look like chocolate chip dosas !!

buttermilk pancakes

Buttermilk chocolate chip Pancakes
Recipe Source - Joy the Baker

What you need -

1/2 cup APF / maida
1/2 cup wheat flour
1 cup buttermilk (I used home made buttermilk)
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1/2 vanilla bean scraped / 1 tsp vanilla essence
1 egg
2 tbsp butter melted

What you do with it -

Mix the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon powder and sugar
If using the vanilla bean, scrape it out and mix with the flours and sugar
Beat the egg into the buttermilk. If using vanilla essence, add it to the the buttermilk
Add the dry flours, along with the chocolate chips into the liquid and then add the butter
Mix well to make a thick batter
Heat a griddle pan / tava, with a little butter. Pour a ladle full of the batter on the tava and swirl it around a bit
Updated: Here's how you need to make it. Put 2 tbsp of batter and allow the it to bubble up. Then flip and cook till golden brown.
Serve hot with maple syrup


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