Saturday, May 25, 2013

Misal Pav

From the first time that Ma converted a sabji that we had for lunch into a quick-fix, healthy and delicious evening snack, I was hooked onto misal pav. A very Maharastrian dish that can easily convert itself into a full meal and is quite popular as an evening snack and street food.

misal pav

Sprouts are low on calories and high on proteins and vitamins. Usually misal is made with sprouted matki / moth beans or dried peas and potatoes. We didn't use the potatoes this time, but if you like, you can add cooked potatoes along with the sprouts.
Ma used Malvani masala that is known for it fiery taste and so the the curd / yoghurt helped bring the spice down a few notches. The misal is topped with some chivda, chopped onions, coriander leaves and lemon to get a crunchy tangy taste. You can make it more gravy if you like to dip the pav in it and slurp along.

My other favourite is left over choley topped over bread and a sprinkle of sev over it. Simply Yum.
What are your favourite combination with leftover sabjis ?

Misal Pav

What you need -

2 cloves
1 piece cinnamon
1 bay leaf
1 spoon coriander seeds
4 red chillies
1.5 cups cooked sprouts (moth beans / dried peas / mixed sprouts)
3 medium sized onions chopped into small pieces
2 tbsp grated dry coconut / kopra
1 tsp tamarind paste / pulp
1/2 tsp kolhapuri / malvani / garam masala
1 tbsp oil
salt to taste

1 onion finely chopped
3-4 tbsp coriander leaves finely chopped
1/2 lemon

Add ons
Chivda / Mixture / Sev

What you do with it -

In a pan, heat a tbsp of oil and add cloves, cinnamon, bay leaf, coriander seeds and red chillies
Add 2 chopped onions and fry for 3-4 mins
Add grated dry coconut and fry for a few mins
Allow it to cool and grind along with the tamarind paste / pulp
Fry the remaining chopped onion and add the masala
Fry until you see oil leaving the sides of the pan
Add turmeric powder, salt and the cooked matki
Add half cup water and allow it to cook up a bit
If you like it a little spicy, sprinkle 1/2 tsp garam masala / kolhapuri masala / malvani masala and stir well
Take it off the heat
Garnish with chopped onions and coriander leaves
Squeeze a lemon over it and serve with pav / bread, chivda / mixture and curd

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Lace Appams - Fluffy Rice Pancakes (no yeast)

This post is exactly a year old, so say Happy Birthday to my post that's finally seeing the light of day. I can't remember why I didn't post it for this long when it was sitting all ready in my drafts. This big lunch happened last year at my aunt's place before I left for Ahmedabad.

The weekend before I left, the entire family was invited to my aunt's place. She is an amazing cook and a perfectionist at everything. There was a huge spread including appams, vegetable stew, jumping potatoes, bhindi sasam, moog saar and bhapa dahi for desert. I was trying to bend over her shoulder to click these pictures, and I managed to get step-by-step pictures of the soft, fluffy lace appams.
Thank you K'maami for a fabulous lunch and all the recipes !

lace appams with stew and coconut milk

Appams go perfectly with the vegetable stew and as usual, my son with his sweet tooth, relished it with the narlya doodh or sweetened coconut milk
My aunt used a cast iron pan for this. There are non-stick pans available, that work well enough

Allow the pan to heat up and then drop in a spoon of oil, twirl it so it coats the pan well
Pour in a ladleful of batter in the centre of the pan...

Step 1 Lace Appam

Twirl the pan around, so that the batter moves evenly across and then settles down in the centre. If you pan does not have heat-proof handles, make sure you have something to protect your hands from the heat

Step 2 Lace Appam

Cover and allow it to cook for a minute and then take the lid off the pan

Step 3 Lace Appam

You should see the sides of the appam begin to turn slightly brown

Step 4 Lace Appam

Once the centre is cooked, gently ease the sides of the appam away from the pan using the appropriate ladle. Here its a cast iron pan, so you can use steel. For a non-stick pan, it usually comes with a thin wooden spoon

Step 5 Lace Appam

lace appams with stew and coconut milk

Serve this with some vegetable stew and sweetened coconut milk and you have a very satisfying Sunday brunch.

What you need -

3 cups raw rice
1 cup boiled rice / 1 cup cooked rice
1/2 tsp soda bicarbonate
1 coconut milk (third extract) / 1/2 can thick coconut milk thinned down with 1/2 cup water
1 tsp salt

What you do with it -

Soak the raw rice and boiled rice (if using) for 3-4 hours
Drain the water from the rice. If using cooked rice, add it to the drained rice and then grind it well, to a smooth consistency, adding little water, as required
Transfer the batter to a large container and ferment overnight
The batter should have risen by morning. Add coconut milk, salt and soda bicarbonate and mix well
The consistency of the batter should be like the dosa batter, not too thick, but thin enough to pour
Heat the appachatti / pan for the appams and when it is hot enough, lower the heat
Add a tsp of oil and twirl the pan so that the oil coats it completely
Pour a ladle of batter into the pan and twirl the pan again. Ensure that you use a cloth or oven mitts while holding the pan
The remaining batter will settle in the centre
Cover the pan for a minute or two and then take off the lid
Once the edges start to turn slightly brown, use an appropriate ladle to ease the appam out of the pan
Serve hot with stew / sweetened coconut milk

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Akki Roti / Rice flour pancakes

Its always a luxury for me to have someone take care of my son and though I enjoy cooking, its nice to have someone else cook for me and make me that cup of tea when I wake up ! These simple pleasures are something I really cherish when I am in Ma's place.

A couple of weeks left before I head back to the daily grind and heat back in Ahmedabad, so I am really enjoying all the pampering and the good weather here. Its been raining almost every evening and it has cooled down a lot.

akki roti 2

This morning, we had akki roti with garlic chutney for breakfast. Akki roti is made either plain like this one, which resembles the wheat flour phulkas, or with some spices, onions and herbs. My sister-in-law makes some amazing akki rotis in a deep curved pan, which is something I have never managed. the dough almost always sticks to the pan, remains undercoked or gets burnt. That one I still have to crack.

Ma's version is simpler, like little rotis and something that I can roll out. Rice flour is essentially gluten free and a good substitute to wheat flour if you are on a gluten-free diet. These rotis are popular in Karnataka and Maharashtra. Ma made this with a roasted garlic and coconut chutney that is a nice spicy accompaniment to these humble rotis.

akki roti

Akki Roti / Rice flour pancakes

What you need -

1 cup rice flour
1 cup water
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp oil

What you do with it -

Add the oil and salt to the pot of water and bring it to a boil
Once the water starts boiling, add the rice flour to the water
Mix the flour into the water using a wooden ladle
The colour will turn into a transparent white
Turn off the heat and cover it with a lid
When it is still hot (as hot as you can handle), knead it using your hands to make a smooth dough
Line the kitchen table / platform with a sheet of baking paper or plastic, like a milk cover
Take a small ball of dough and roll it over the plastic / baking sheet
Don't use any oil to roll it or roast it
Heat a tava / griddle and place the rolled dough over it
Allow it to brown slightly and flip it over
Allow to brown slightly on the other side and take it off the heat
The dough can't be kept for too long, but you can roll it out and store it for a couple of hours and then roast it

Monday, May 13, 2013

Mocha Brownies

I am so glad to be in Bangalore at this time of the year. The showers have started now and its cooled down so much.
Blogging has helped me gain more confidence with my baking and since that's something I started after I moved to Ahmedabad, most friends and family here have seen and read about it more than they got to actually taste it

mocha brownies1

I was meeting up with my best friend from college and decided to bake some brownies for her
Working in my own kitchen with familiar equipments and ingredients is always much easier. Getting familiar with the new oven here and then not finding the right pan size were a little bit of a challenge, considering I had lined up a lot of things to do, including baking these brownies before I met her for lunch.

I decided on this recipe for mocha brownies by Michael Smith from Foodnetwork. I normally have cocoa powder, chocolate bars, butter stocked almost always at home. Here, I realised we had run out of cocoa and the only bar of chocolate was this bar of Bournville. It all came together finally and the feedback was good, so it was all worth it!

mocha brownies

A hot mug of coffee and some mocha brownies is perfect for this weather. I baked another batch of egg free, low fat brownies from Madhuram's blog again the next day. That's coming up soon..

Mocha Brownies
Adapted from

What you need -

1 cup flour / maida
2 tbsp instant coffee powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter
1 bar of Cadburys Bournville dark chocolate
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

What you do with it -

Line a baking tin (8x8) with parchment paper and grease it lightly
In a bowl, add the flour, instant coffee powder, baking powder and salt
Break the chocolate bar into small piece and place it in a bowl
Add the butter to the chocolate pieces
Pre-heat the oven to 180 C
Place a large pan of water over the heat and allow the water to boil
Place the small bowl with the chocolate and butter above the large one, so the base is just touching the water
Stir the chocolate and butter till it become a smooth mixture
Take it off the heat and add the brown sugar. It may get a little thick and that's really alright
Whisk in the eggs and vanilla extract
Add the flour mixture and stir into a smooth batter
Add in the walnut pieces and stir it once or twice
Pour out the batter to the greased pan and bake at 180 for about 40 mins
Allow to cool completely and then cut into 2" squares

Monday, May 6, 2013

Pan fried masala prawns

Our everyday food is easy to make, fuss free vegetarian food, with some special and elaborate dishes thrown in for the weekend meals. I gave up eating meat many years back and do prefer vegetarian, but there are occasions when I give in to my cravings for sea food.

panfried prawns

This is something Ma made for me last week. A really simple recipe that tastes absolutely delicious, with the ingredients that are used in our everyday cooking. In Mangalorean Konkani cuisine, this masala is a pretty standard one. It is a nice balance of heat, tanginess and the flavour of garlic.

masala fried prawns1

This makes for a lip-smacking appetizer. Serve it with a sprinkle of lemon juice and some onion slices.

Pan fried masala prawns

What you need -

25-30 prawns (shelled, deveined and cleaned)
8-10 red chillies (ideally byadgi for its colour)
6-8 cloves of peeled garlic
small ball of tamarind / 1 tsp tamarind paste
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 - 1 tsp salt

What you do with it -

Clean the prawns well once it has been shelled and deveined
Apply turmeric powder and salt on the prawns and set aside for at least 10 mins
Grind the tamarind, red chillies and garlic to a smooth paste, adding a tsp or two of water (keep the water to a minimum)
Mix this with the prawns well and allow to marinate in a sealed box in the refrigerator for at least an hour
Heat a shallow pan and add about 3 tbsp of oil
Pour out the semolina and rice flour in a flat plate and combine
Dip each of the prawns in this semolina-flour mix, so that its coated well
Once the oil is hot, place the 3-4 prawns in it, and fry on a low flame for 2 mins
Turn over and allow it to crisp on the other side as well
Take it off the heat and drain on an absorbent paper
Sprinkle some lemon juice over it and serve hot with onions slices

Friday, May 3, 2013

Vegan Coffee Panna Cotta

Its vacation time for my son and we are in Bangalore. No early morning alarms that shake you out of your sleep, no cooking for the lunch box, no crazy Ahmedabad heat...just plain lazing around, meeting friends and cousins and checking out the new restaurants in Bangalore over the next few weeks.

Remember this post on Grape and raisin focaccia that I had posted last month as part of the Groovy Gourmets ? This time around, we had to make panna cotta. I had tried making panna cotta maybe a couple of years back. It was the first time and a huge hit. The next few times the gelatin really let me down.

coffee panna cotta

I've always been fascinated with desserts set in a jar and I found this one, which is actually a candle holder in Ma's collection, so I used that as a mould for the panna cotta. I set the rest in some ramekins. Its always nice to serve this as individual servings, in little ramekins.

Panna cotta is an Italian dessert with milk, cream, sugar and some flavours set with gelatin.
My mother is lactose intolerant and anything with milk and cream is a big no-no. She loves coffee and so I decided on a coffee flavoured dairy-free panna cotta. I was very apprehensive how this would turn out since it was my first time with a no cream panna cotta. I used soy milk and coconut milk and also substituted the gelatin with its vegetarian counter part agar agar. The agar agar set it beautifully and my panna cotta turned vegan !

vegan coffee panna cotta

The coffee flavour was mild and with no real cream, it made for a light dessert. I garnished it with some grated dark chocolate.

Vegan Coffee Panna cotta

What you need -

500 ml unflavoured soy milk
200 ml thick coconut milk
8 gm agar agar
1.5 tbsp instant coffee powder
3 tbsp sugar

What you do with it -

Pour out the soy milk and coconut milk in a pan and simmer it on a low flame
Add the sugar and stir it in well
Dissolve the coffee powder in two tbsp of the soy milk and then pout it into the pan
Soak the agar agar in water for at least 10 mins. This packet of agar agar was more like a little mat, which turned into strands when soaked
Rinse the water three times and strain the agar agar
Add this to the pan and mix well on a low flame till it dissolves completely
Turn off the heat
Strain and pour into moulds
Allow it to set in the refrigerator for at least 2-3 hours
Serve cold, garnished with some chocolate


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