Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Sponge Dosa | Lunchbox ideas

Kids definitely look for varieties in their lunch boxes. So I keep trying newer ideas in our day-to-day traditional dishes. I found this different recipe for dosa in a cook book first and later in many blogs. I wanted to try this for a long time and somehow didn't find an opportunity. Last week I tried this and it was fabulous. The dosa was very soft and spongy and stayed the same way after packing it for llunch box too. Just pack this with attractive side dishes. I packed with groundnut chutney


Ingredients:

Idly rice(parboiled rice) - 2 cups
Rice flakes/aval/poha - 1/4 cup
Sour butter milk - 3 – 4 cups
Cooking soda - 1/4 tsp
Oil & salt - As needed


Method:

  • Soak washed rice and aval  together in buttermilk overnight.
  • Morning,drain the excess buttermilk if any and grind to a smooth batter like our idly dosa batter(bit watery than that)
  • Mix salt(I added 2 tsp) and cooking soda and mix well.
  • Heat the tawa (I used a nonstick one) and pour a ladle full of batter and drizzle oil and don’t spread the batter,cook covered in medium flame for a minute.
  • Now super soft spongy dosa is ready to enjoy!



Notes:

If there are no holes formed in the dosa, Check the consistency of the batter, too thick batter or even too thin batter wont give you porous dosa. Try adding more cooking soda and mix well and try again.


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Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Tomato Rice | Easy lunchbox recipes

For the third week in this Blogging Marathon, I have chosen to blog about lunch box dishes for kids. I have heard from many mothers that packing lunch boxes for children is a very big challenge. Kids these days love variety and they want to feel surprised when they open their lunch boxes.


The biggest challenge in packing lunch boxes is that the recipe should be something the kid likes. And the next one is that it should be easy to make during the morning rush hour. In this post I have posted photos of how I packed tomato rice for the lunch box. Generally kids hate tomatoes. I have seen this in a lot of kids. But they enjoy the taste. So I grind tomatoes and onions to make this rice. 

I packed the tomato rice with gobi manchurian, papads and curd. I also added a boiled egg to make the lunch more interesting. The other option would be to pack this rice with lots of fryums and fried potatoes.


The recipe of gobi manchurian is given here.

Ingredients:

Jeera rice - 2 cups (200 grams)
Tomato - 150 grams
Onions - 100 grams
Ginger - 5 grams
Garlic - 5 grams
Green chillies - 2 nos (small)
Salt - to taste
Garam masala powder - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Oil - 2 tbsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Chilly powder - 1/2 tsp
Coriander leaves - few



Method:

  • Wash the rice and keep aside.
  • Grind the onions, tomatoes, green chillies, ginger, garlic into a coarse paste.
  • In a pressure cooker, add the oil. Add the ground paste and fry until the water is completely evaporated and the ground mixture becomes a thick paste.
  • Add the washed rice and throw in all the powders including salt.
  • Fry for another one or two minutes.
  • Add the required amount of water (1:2 ratio).
  • Mix well. Check for salt. Close the pressure cooker.
  • Cook for one pressure. Then bring doen the heat to minimum. Cook for another minute and switch off the stove.
  • Open the pressure cooker as soon as the pressure is released and transfer the contents to a wide mouthed bowl.
  • Garnish with coriander leaves.




Notes:


  • The tomato rice will be more flavorful if made with basmati rice.
  • To make it more attractive to kids, garnish it with fried cashewnuts.




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Paal Arisi Kanji | Dessert

Paal Arisi Kanji - This is one dessert which I make very often. This is very easy to make. This recipe comes in hand when we have unannounced guests at home.

I say this to be an easy recipe because all the ingredients - milk, cooked rice and sugar are always available at home. This tastes little different to pal payasam since the rice is not cooked in milk. And with little less sugar this recipe would be a very good appetizer.


Ingredients:

Milk - 1 litre
Cooked rice - 1 cup
Sugar - 3/4 cup
Cardamom powder - 1/2 tsp
Saffron - few strands
Ghee - 1 tbsp



Method:

  • In a wide mouthed vessel, boil the milk.
  • Once the milk starts boiling, lower the flame and add the cooked rice and sugar.
  • Stir well and boil the milk for another 10 minutes. 
  • Keep stirring so that the milk doesn't burn at the bottom of the vessel.
  • After 10-12 minutes, add the cardamom powder, ghee and saffron strands.
  • Mix well, switch off stove.


Dhideer payasam ready!!




Notes:

  • This sweet can also be garnished with cashew nuts, raisins and other nuts.



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Thursday, 13 July 2017

Layered Custard

The second recipe in line for "No bake recipes" is this layered custard. Custard preparation these days is no big deal. We get ready-made custard powder packets. We just have to boil milk with this custard powder and in minutes custard is ready. This would be a very good dessert for kids and also can be made quickly. I just made a little twist to this by adding some coloring agent and layering it.





Ingredients:

Custard powder ( Vanilla flavor) - 100 grams
Milk - 1 litre
Sugar - 350 grams
Coloring agent - Green, red
Decorative sugar crystals - few


Method:

  • Mix the custard powder in about one glass of milk and keep it aside.
  • Boil the remaining milk in a thick bottomed vessel.
  • Once the milk starts to raise in the vessel, lower the flame. Add sugar and mix well.
  • Now add the custard mixture and mix well. Keep stirring till the mixture thickens for about 5 minutes and then switch off the stove.
  • Divide the custard into 3 portions. In one portion add a little green color and in another portion add a bit of red color.
  • Now in glass cups, layer this custard and refrigerate it for about an hour.
  • Decorate it with sugar crystals just before serving.








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Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Panna Cotta Shooters

Well last month I couldn't blog my recipes due to personal problems. I had opted for 4th of July dishes in the last marathon and had prepared some recipes for the same. But unfortunately could not post it. So I am making use of some of the recipes for this week's theme - No Bake Desserts!



On July 4, 1776, the thirteen colonies claimed their independence from England, an event which eventually led to the formation of the United States. So basically the way we make tri-color dishes for our independence or republic day, we have to make dishes which represents the colors in the US flag. Now the US flag has many stars, and the prominent colors are white, red and blue. In our cuisine, we can easily make recipes with natural colors for red and white. But its very difficult to find a natural color source for blue. So the recipe here I have is with artificial coloring agent.

I adapted the recipe from here.



Ingredients:

Coconut Milk - 1 cup
Sugar - 6 tbsp
Powdered gelatin - 2 tsp
Water - 6 cups
Coloring agent - Red, blue


Method:

  • In a small cup sprinkle powdered gelatin over the cold water and let it stand until absorbed.
  • Combine the coconut milk and 2 tbsp sugar in a saucepan. Heat the mixture until just boiling.
  • Combine the remaining water and the remaining sugar. Heat the mixture until just boiling.
  • Split the water mixture into 2. Add red color in one half and blue color in the other half. Mix well and keep aside.
  • Microwave the gelatin mixture for 10-15 seconds, until melted and liquid.
  • Add this melted gelatin in all the 3 liquids - red water mixture, blue water mixture and coconut milk mixture. Allow the mixtures to cool to room temperature.
  • Arrange 6 glasses. Add 1/4th with the blue mixture. Freeze this for about 1 hour.
  • After 1 hour, remove the glasses. Now add the coconut milk mixture until the glass is filled 3/4th.
  • Refrigerate the glasses until the panna cotta mixture is set (another 1 hour).
  • Now add the red water mixture as the top layer. 


Easy and interesting dessert is ready.



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Thursday, 6 July 2017

Basundi

Starting with the next blogging marathon this week. I have opted for festival dishes for this week. Guru poornima is just around the corner and I Thought of posting some recipes connected to this festival.

I have never celebrated this festival and honestly I don't know the importance of festival. A Guru is a person who removes darkness (ignorance), holds our hand and shows us the light (knowledge) at the end of the tunnel. It is a blessing to get the grace of a guru, who guides us through the ups and downs in life.



I am starting this guru poornima celebration with a sweet - Basundi. It is a very delicious milk based dessert very popular in the north of India and is the closest cousin to condensed milk. Very rich and flavorful with the addition of elegant spices like saffron and cardamom. It will take you about an hour, but the end product would be something worth the effort.




Ingredients:

Whole Milk or 2% -  3 liters
Sugar - 3/4 to 1 cup sugar ( add more if you like it sweeter)
Saffron - a few threads
Cardamom - 5 pods powdered finely
Cashew nut or Pistachios or Almonds - a few sliced



Method:


  • Place the wide mouth pan on medium high. Add the milk and allow it to come to a boil. Turn to low and allow for the cream layer ( pal aadai) to form.
  • When it starts to form remove it and place in a bowl.  Remember to stir so that the milk does not scotch.
  • Keep adding more of the cream to the bowl and soon the bowl will be filled with thick cream.
  • The milk would have reduced, thickened and the color of the thickened milk will appear to be an ivory color with a pinkish ting.
  • Then add the collected cream to the reduced milk. Add sugar, cardamom and saffron. Garnish with nuts of your choice. Allow to cool, place in the fridge until it is chilled and serve it cold on a hot summers day.





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Friday, 26 May 2017

Kothamalli Chadham

Next in picnic hampers is a rice based recipe. As I said I love to go on long drives and sometimes I pack some mixed rice for lunch or dinner. I do this mainly because it is easy to eat with a spoon and we don't have to think of washing our hands and so on. If it is rotis or some other snacks, then we have to use our hands and I would be very uncomfortable to use my hands without washing / cleaning them because most of the times I would be driving. 


This coriander rice or kothamalli chadham can also be packed for kids lunch boxes. Just add some fried cashews or fried groundnuts to make it more interesting. This is an easy no onion no garlic recipe. I often make this rice when there is a bunch of coriander leaves ready to go bad (rot). I usually make this rice with normal raw rice, but if made with basmati rice or jeera rice, then this might qualify for a rich pulao also!




Ingredients:

Raw rice – 1 cup
Coriander leaves – 1 bunch
Green chilli – 4
Thin coconut milk – 1 & 1/4 cup
Salt  - as needed 

To temper:

Ghee / Oil – 1 tbsp
Cardamom – 2
Cinnamon – 2 small pieces
Bay leaf - 1
Cumin seeds / Jeera – 1 tsp



Method:

  • Cut off the root part of coriander leaves and wash it. Grind it with green chillies with little water to a smooth paste.. I used 4 small chillies, so if its big reduce to 3.
  • Heat a small pressure cooker with ghee. Temper with the items given under “To temper” table in order.
  • Add the ground coriander, chilli paste. Fry in medium flame until water evaporates. Add the thin coconut milk.
  • Wash the rice and add to this. Add salt, mix well and boil until the rice is half done.
  • Keep the flame in low and cook for 12-14 minutes. Or you can give 2 whistles in medium flame. Once the pressure releases by itself, open to fluff the rice.
Enjoy with raita ans fryums!!!


Notes:

You can add ginger garlic paste along with the coriander paste. Or grind 2 garlic and one small piece of ginger along with the coriander leaves.
You can skip coconut milk, but it gives rich flavour and taste to this simple recipe.

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Thursday, 25 May 2017

Beef Cutlet

The second recipe for picnic hampers is beef cutlet. This is a little sinful snack fried in oil and made with meat and potatoes. But for people who like meat and fried items, this would be ideal for picnics. This crunchy and crispy meat treat is a specialty from kerala. It is a good finger food or starter or snack for Indian parties and festivals. In christian marriages in kerala, Appam or Bread and Stew with cutlets is a popular combination. 


Ingredients:

Beef - 250 grams
Ginger-garlic paste - 1 tbsp
Oil - 1 tbsp
Big onion - 1
Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
Pepper powder - 1 tsp
Chilly powder - 1 tsp
Coriander powder - 1/2 tsp
Potato (boiled) - 1
Garam masala powder - 1 tsp
Salt - to taste
Bread crumbs - to roll the cutlets
Egg white - 2 eggs
Oil - for deep frying


Method:

  • Chop the beef into small pieces. Wash and clean well.
  • Mix salt, turmeric powder, coriander powder, chilly powder with the cleaned beef and marinate it for 30 minutes.
  • Cook the beef in pressure cooker for about 3 whistles or until they are softly cooked.
  • Once cool, take only the beef pieces (without the water) and add them to a mixer. Just pulse the beef pieces. Be careful not to grind them.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a non-stick pan, add ginger and garlic paste. Saute for 1 minute.
  • Add chopped onion saute until golden brown.
  • Add pepper powder and garam masala powder. Saute for another 1 minute.
  • Add the minced beef. Switch off the stove.
  • Once cool, add the mashed potatoes. Check for salt and mix everything together and evenly. The beef mixture is ready.
  • In  a plate spread the bread crumbs and keep it ready.
  • Beat the egg whites and keep it ready.
  • Take a small portion of cutlet mix in your palm; make a small flat round shape.
  • Dip it into beaten egg white.
  • When egg whites well coated, place it into bread crumbs and cover/roll well.keep aside.
  • Do the processes until all cutlets mix complete.
  • Heat oil in a frying pan. When it’s hot enough for frying, place the shaped cutlets one by one.




  • Fry until crispy and golden. Remove from heat.
  • Serve hot and crispy with some tomato sauce or pudina chutney!!


Notes:

You can alternately buy and use minced beef. Directly add these to the sauted onions and cook in low heat. Do not add water. The water from the minced beef would be enough for cooking.




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Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Uzhundhu Kozhukattai

This week for the Blogging Marathon I have selected Picnic hampers. I love to go on one-day picnics. Who doesn't love right? That too I love to go on a long drive, park the car somewhere and have packed snacks or packed lunches... yummmm. And of course we do this often. Travelling to our hometown has become one such picnic hobby for me.

The first recipe I would like to present as a picnic hamper is these uzhundhu kozhakkattai. These are steamed rice dumplings which have urad dal as the filling. Very healthy snack item since these are steamed and urad dal gives a lot of strength. So all the more ideal for picnic. Yeah these kozhukkattais are usually made during vinayaka or ganesh chathurthi in southern India.


Ingredients:

For the filling:

Urad dal - 1/2 cup
Green chillies - 4
Grated coconut - 1/2 cup
Salt - as needed
Mustard - 1 tsp
Asafoetida - 1/4 tsp
Oil - 1 tsp
Curry leaves - 1 sprig

For the outer covering:

Idiyappam flour - 1 cup
Water - 1 &1/3 cup,or as needed
Sesame oil - 1 tsp
Salt - to taste



Method:

  • Boil water with oil and salt. Take the flour in a broad vessel. Add the boiling water little by little and mix with the help of a ladle.
  • Let it cool for about 5 min, it may be warm, still knead with your hands to make a smooth dough.The consistency should be like our chapatti dough...non sticky. Keep covered till you use to prevent drying. Make equal size balls out of it.
  • Soak the urad dal for an hour. In a mixer, grind green chilies with salt and half the asafoetida and lastly add well drained urad dal and run the mixer only twice or thrice (Use juice/inch option) to a coarse consistency. Take care that Urad dal should not be ground smooth.
  • In a greased idly plate, steam this mixture in idly pot for 5-8 minutes. Cool down and crumble it.
  • In a broad pan/kadai, heat the oil and season with mustard, asafoetida and curry leaves. Then add the steamed mixture and fry in medium flame till the mixture becomes dry..(3 min)
  • Lastly add grated coconut and fry for a minute.This mixture should be fluffy.. 
  • Take each rice flour ball. Flatten it into a small round shape. 
  • Place 1 spoon of filling in the centre. Fold the dough and seal it. You can make any shape as you like.
  • Steam the kozhukkatais in a idli cooker for about 10 minutes until the rice flour dough is well cooked and looks shiny.



Notes:

  • Adding coconut is optional, but it enhances the taste very well
  • Keep the dough always closed and try to finish making the kozhukattais as soon as possible as keeping for long time may lead to cracking/dry kozhukattais
  • Grease your hands generously with oil each time you make kozhukattai, to get it smooth.



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Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Layered Banana Custard

Another sweet for the mother's day special is the layered banana custard. Since we always have a stock of bananas at home, I keep trying to find out some sweets or alternate recipes to finish off the bananas. I am not sure if this recipe is my own invention or if I found this out in any blog. Anyways I have been making this recipe often now.



I guess this recipe can be made with other fruits also. I usually make this recipe in batches of 6 to 10 cups and refrigerate it. It stays good for about a week. This will be an ideal dessert for parties also and easy to make. Do try it out.



Ingredients:

Banana - 10
Honey - 3 tbsp
Custard powder - 50 grams
Milk - 500 ml
Sugar - 30 grams
Vanilla essence - 2 tbsp
Condensed Milk - 50 ml
Grated Coconut -  5 tbsp
Dry fruits - 5 tbsp



Method:

  • Chop the bananas finely. Soak them in honey and keep it aside.
  • Mix the custard powder, sugar and milk. Stir well such that the sugar and custard powder is dissolved. Add the vanilla essence also.
  • Boil the milk mixture until it thickens and forms a nice custard.
  • Takes glass bowls. First add a layer of the prepared custard.
  • Next layer add the soaked bananas.
  • Next layer add a spoon of condensed milk.
  • Top it up with grated coconut and dry fruits.


Rich banana custard is ready!! Refrigerate and serve chilled!!





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Monday, 22 May 2017

Rasgulla

The second sweet recipe for this weeks marathon is rasgulla - the spongy white balls famous from our very own Kolkatta. Of course this one is also favourite with my mother.

The dessert is known as Rosogolla or Roshogolla in Bengali and Rasagola in Odia. Rasgulla is derived from the words ras ("juice") and gulla ("ball").Other names for the dish include Roshgulla (Sylheti), Rasagulla, Rossogolla, Roshogolla, Rasagola, Rasagolla, and Rasbhari or Rasbari (source: wikipedia)



The spongy white rasgulla is believed to have been introduced in present-day West Bengal in 1868 by a Kolkata-based confectioner named Nobin Chandra Das. Das started making rasgulla by processing the mixture of chhena and semolina in boiling sugar syrup in contrast to the mixture sans semolina in the original rasgulla in his sweet shop located at Sutanuti (present-day Baghbazar). His descendants claim that his recipe was an original, but according to another theory, he modified the traditional Odisha rasgulla recipe to produce this less perishable variant.

I am not a big fan of rasgullas but everyone at home likes it. I just read some blogs and tried it out. The result was awesome… 


Ingredients


Milk (full cream) - 1 Litre
Lemon juice - 2 tbsp
Sugar - 2 cups
Water - 3 &1/2 cups
Elachi powder- 1 pinch
Ice cubes - 12 
Nuts (optional) - For garnish




Method:

  • Heat the milk,when it start to boil,simmer the flame, add the lemon juice slowly as you stir.
  • Switch off the flame once the whey water clearly separates.
  • Add  the Ice cubes and mix well. 
  • Take a metal strainer,lined with a cheese cloth/muslin cloth (I used my dupatta). Pour the curdled milk in it.
  • Wash it well in the running water under the tap to remove the lemon smell and sourness.
  • Let the water drain and hang this chenna for 30 minutes.  I just slightly squeezed the excess water.
  • After 1/2 hour,take out the chenna in a bowl.I will be now more like a crumble look wise.
  • Now knead this for 7-10 minutes gently to make it like a soft and smooth dough.
  • Make smooth equal sized small balls. I made some 20 balls.
  • Take sugar,cardamom powder and water in a pressure cooker and boil it.
  • After the sugar gets dissolved completely and the syrup boils, add the balls made carefully one by one.
  • Cover the pressure cooker and cook it till you get one whistle in medium flame. After a whistle, keep for another 5 minutes in low flame.
  • Put off the flame and let the pressure gets released by itself,then open the lid to see the rasgullas – by now it would have doubled in size. If you think the sugar syrup is too thin and not sweet enough, boil again in low flame until you get desired thickness of the syrup.



Note: 


  • ice cubes are added to stop the curdling at that instant. It prevents the chenna to become hard and helps for soft texture.
  • The kneading part is very important,knead smooth and soft with patience.
  • Do not squeeze the water manually forcefully, you can do little gently but not more.
  • Do not cook in high flame in pressure cooker. It will break the rasgullas.

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