Cook's Hideout: September 2009

September 30, 2009

Muruku for Indian Cooking Challenge

We are making crunchy fried Murukus for this edition of Indian Cooking Challenge. These are probably the most time consuming, yet the tastiest muruku’s I’ve ever made.
I made a couple of changes to Srivalli’s recipe, not to the recipe, but the way I prepped my ingredients. After consulting with my mom: I soaked the rice the night before and shade dried it for half an hour before I grind it into a powder. I then used a sieve to sift the ground flour to get only the fine flour and blend and sifted it couple of times. According to my mom, the more you soak the rice the smoother & softer is the flour. Apart from that I followed the recipe to the T. Here is the recipe verbatim from Srivalli.

Raw Rice - 4 cups
Urad Dal - 1 cup
Water - app 1/2 cup or more

For Seasoning:
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Sesame seeds- 1 tsp
Asafetida/ Hing - 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Butter - 75 gms (I used 4tbsp butter)

  • Wash and drain the rice. Shade dry the Rice for 1/2 hr. (I soaked the rice overnight and shade dried in the morning for 30minutes to 1hour.)
  • Dry roast the Urad dal to light brown. Allow it to cool.
  • First grind rice into a fine flour, keep it aside. Then grind the urad dal to fine powder. (I sifted both the flours couple of times and used the finer flour for murukus)
  • In a wide vessel, take both the flours along with salt. Mix well. Add cumin, Sesame seeds to the flour, mix well.
  • Whether you use Asafetida powder or the solid ones, you got to mix it in water, make sure it is dissolved before adding to the flour. If its not dissolved properly, when deep frying the muruku, there are chances for the hing to burst our due to air bubbles. Mix in the hing to the flour and finally add the butter.
  • Gather everything well and you will get more of a crumbling mixture. Now slowly add water and knead dough which is little softer than the puri dough.
  • Heat a kadai with oil enough to deep fry. Once the oil is hot enough, simmer to low flame.
  • Take the Muruku Aachu, wash and wipe it clean. Then divide the dough into equal balls. Fill the Muruku maker with the dough. You can either press it directly over the flames or press over a paper and gently slide it down the hot oil. But since the quantity mentioned here is less, you can press it directly over the kadai. Cook over medium flame, using a slotted spoon, turn it over to other side to ensure both sides turn golden colour. You will know by seeing the colour that it’s cooked. Remove to a kitchen paper and store it in a air tight container. This normally stays good for weeks, provided you forget about these which hardly happen!


September 28, 2009

Cheese giveaway @ Veggie Belly

Sala @ Veggie Belly is giving away Alouette Cheese to 3 lucky winners. Head over to her site and check it out.


September 27, 2009

Moroccan Vegetable Tagine

First some Wiki Gyan: “Tagines in Moroccan cuisine are slow-cooked stews braised at low temperatures, resulting in tender meat with aromatic vegetables and sauce. They are traditionally cooked in the tagine pot, whose cover has a knob-like handle at its top to facilitate removal. While simmering, the cover can be lifted off without the aid of a mitten, enabling the cook to inspect the main ingredients, add vegetables, move things around, or add additional braising liquid”.

I would love to buy one of those cute looking Tagines, but I’m not sure if I’m going to use it that often to be spending money on it. Well anyway I used by saucepot to make this delicious vegetable tagine that tasted awesome the next day after all the flavors had a chance to marry.
Recipe is adapted from vegetarian times. I changed it a little bit since I didn’t have some of the ingredients on hand. Also the recipe uses the oven to cook the vegetables, but I used the good ol’ stove as I was pressed for time. It took about 30-40 minutes to make this very filling and nutritious dish.

Recipe adapted from Vegetarian Times
Onion - 1 small, chopped
Sweet potato - 1 medium, peeled and cubed
Carrot - 1 medium, peeled and chopped
Green Beans - 1 cup, chopped (I used frozen green beans)
Broccoli - chopped into florets, about 2 cups
Chickpeas - 1 16 oz. can, drained and rinsed
Tomato puree - 1 cup
Garlic - 2 cloves, minced
Ginger - 1" piece, minced
Vegetable Stock - 1 cup
Cinnamon stick - 1" piece
Ground cumin - 1tsp
Ground Coriander - 1tsp
Sweet paprika - 1tsp
Cayenne pepper - 1/2 tsp
Salt & Pepper - to taste

  • Heat 2tbsp oil in a large sauce pot; add onions, garlic and ginger and cinnamon stick; cook until the onions start to soften, about 5 minutes.
  • Add ground cumin, coriander, paprika, salt and pepper. Saute till the spices are fragrant, about 1 minute.
  • Add all the veggies, cover and cook till they are slightly tender, about 6-8 minutes.
  • Add tomatoes & stock, bring to a boil; lower the heat and simmer until the veggies are completely tender, but not mushy; about 8-10 minutes.
  • Just 5 minutes before the stew is done, add the chickpeas. Stir in chopped parsley before serving.

I served this hearty stew with whole wheat couscous for a complete wholesome dinner.
Only 5 more days left for A.W.E.D-Morocco, rush in your entries before the end of day Friday, Oct 2nd.

September 23, 2009

Green Chole with Coconut milk

First let me thank all of you for your wishes and blessings for my little prince on his birthday. He had a great time with cupcake party in his day care and a small carrot cake at home with his dad and me.
Coming to the recipe, I know it is a strange name for a dish. But I didn’t want to say Swiss Chard-Spinach Chole, so I shrunk it to just Green Chole. This curry has all of my favorite ingredients: Chole (chickpeas/ garbanzo beans), Swiss chard (which I’m not sure why I don’t use more often), of course Spinach and Coconut milk. It’s a very simple curry dish, but is packed with nutrition and deliciousness.

I love using coconut milk in curries and dals. It gives any dish a slightly sweetish, mellow flavor and creamy texture. I always keep couple of cans of coconut milk, both low-fat and regular and coconut milk powder in my fridge. For dals and curries that only need a little bit, I use the milk powder instead of opening the whole can. I use the cans for making coconut milk based gravies and sauces.

Chole – 1 16oz. can, drained and rinsed thoroughly or dry beans, soaked and cooked
Swiss Chard – 1 bunch, washed and chopped finely (about 4 cups)
Spinach – ½ bunch, washed and finely chopped (about 2-3 cups)
Onion – 1 medium, chopped
Green chili – 1 (optional)
Garlic – 2 cloves, minced
Coconut milk – ½ cup (I mixed 3tsp coconut milk powder in ½ cup water)
Chole masala – 1tsp
Ground Cumin – 1tsp
Red chili powder – ½ tsp
Cumin seeds – ½ tsp
Salt – to taste
  • Heat 2tsp oil in a sauté pan; add cumin seeds and after they splutter add onions and garlic; sauté until onions turn translucent.
  • Add all the powders & salt; sauté for 30 seconds.
  • Add chopped greens and chole, cover and cook till the greens are completely wilted, about 7-8 minutes.
  • Add coconut milk and ½ cup of water; cook uncovered for another 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat; serve with rice or roti.

September 22, 2009

He turns 2 today….

My son turns 2 today. I can’t believe how fast time flies. It wasn’t until I saw my niece who’s 15 days old, that I realized that my son now is a little boy and not a baby anymore.
He has a mind of his own now. He says "nooooo" to pretty much everything and give him a minute; he can turn a living room into land mine with toys and other stuff everywhere. He loves to remove the battery covers from the back of all remotes, don’t ask me how and why he knows this—ask his dad!!! He sings his rhymes in tune, though most of the lyrics are still gibberish. He draws, but nothing is usually within the lines, it’s all over the paper.

It’s so much fun to watch him grow. He gets his share of time-outs on the high chair or in a corner and it breaks my heart when he starts to cry; but I play tough for those 2, very long, minutes.. Happy Birthday to you Dhruva and many many many more to come.

September 17, 2009

Spicy Thai Fried Rice with Sugar Snap Peas

Fried rice is my go-to dish on days when I’m dog tired to cook anything and also when I’m trying to clean out the fridge. This is one such recipe and it tasted pretty good.

Basmati Rice – 1½ cups, soaked in water for at least 15 mins
Lemon Grass – 2 tbsp finely chopped (from fleshy mid section of about 2 stalks)
Sugar snap peas – 1½ cups, finely chopped (I used frozen) Green beans can be substituted
Green Peas – 1 cup
Baby Corn – 14 oz. can, drained and rinsed
Shallot – 1, medium chopped
Green Chilies – 4, thinly sliced
Ginger – 1” piece, grated
Garlic – 1 clove, minced
Thai Red Chili Sauce – 2tbsp
Soy sauce – 1tbsp
Asian chili sauce – 2tsp (optional, I used Sriracha chili sauce)
Salt – to taste

  • Cook rice and let it cool completely.
  • Heat 2tbsp peanut oil in a large sauté pan; add shallots, ginger, garlic and lemon grass and sauté till nice and fragrant about 2-3 minutes.
  • Add sugar snap peas and baby corn; cover and cook till they are tender about 5-7 minutes.
  • Now add Thai red chili sauce, hot sauce and soy sauce; stir fry for a minute.
  • Add thawed peas and stir fry for couple of minutes until heated through.
  • Finally add the cooked rice and stir fry for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add scrambled egg or baked tofu to make it a complete meal.


September 13, 2009

Moroccan Lentil Salad… errrr Soup

So I start out making a salad and it ends up becoming a soup, is that weird or did it ever happen to you too?? I borrowed this North African cookbook from the library and have bookmarked a few recipes to make for the A.W.E.D-Morocco event currently going on my blog.
I wanted to make this simple and easy sounding Lentil salad, I pressure cooked the lentils and must have put too much water while cooking that it became a soup but it tasted pretty good, so I decided to post it anyway. I used sprouted whole masoor dal, but any kind of lentils would be good in this recipe.
I'm giving recipe as is from the cookbook, I pressure cooked the lentils in about 3 cups of water and it was too watery. I'm not sure if the proportion given here is correct or not. I'm going to try soon and update the recipe.

Recipe adapted from Vegetarian Table: North Africa by Kitty Morse
Lentils – 1 cup
Onion – 1 medium, chopped
Tomato – 2 medium, seeded and diced (I used canned diced fire roasted tomatoes)
Garlic – 2 cloves
Coriander leaves – ¼ cup, chopped
Turmeric – ¼ tsp
Ground cloves – ¼ tsp
Ground cumin – 2tsp
Paprika – 1tsp
Cayenne – ¼ tsp

  • Rinse and clean the lentils.
  • Combine lentils, 5 cups of veggie stock or water, onion, tomatoes, turmeric, tomatoes, garlic and ground cloves in a pot. Bring the mixture to the boil; lower the heat to low and simmer for 20-25 minutes until all the water is absorbed and lentils are completely cooked. Turn off the heat.
  • Add ground cumin, paprika, cayenne and salt and mix well. Serve hot or warm.
This is a very flavorful dish with all the different spices. I served the soup with some store-bought pocket-less pitas for us and some whole-wheat couscous for my son. It tasted even better for lunch the next day, very filling too.

September 09, 2009

Tomato & Cheese Tart

Why does summer go so fast and winter seems to linger foreveeeeer??? But I’m not complaining, I like fall (and even spring), get to see the gorgeous changing colors. I hope we can take some time and visit some scenic place with beautiful fall colors. Are you reading this Mr. H??
Anyway coming to the recipe, I watched Ina Garten make it on FoodTv in the afternoon and I made it for our evening snack that same day. This is probably the first time ever that I made a recipe so quick after watching the show. The only change I made was the type of cheeses used, Ina used parmesan & feta; I used asiago & mozzarella. For the original recipe, click here.

Recipe adapted from Ina Garten’s Back to Basics
Ingredients (makes 4 5” tarts):
Puff pastry sheet – 1, thawed according to pkg instructions
Onion – 1 large, thinly sliced
Garlic – 2-3 cloves
Thyme, fresh – 1 tsp
Tomato – 1 medium, cut into thick slices
Asiago cheese – ¼ cup, grated
Mozzarella cheese – 2 tbsp, grated
Salt & Pepper – to taste

  • Preheat oven to 425°F.
  • Heat 1tbsp oil in a skillet; add onions and garlic and sauté on medium flame until lightly caramelized.
  • Add thyme, salt and pepper and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • In the meantime, open the puff pastry on lighly floured surface and roll it into 11”x11” square (approximately). Using a 5” round plate (I used a small steel plate) as your reference, cut the pastry into 4 circles with a sharp knife. Place the circles on a parchment covered baking sheet; then score a ¼” border around each pastry circle, this will create the slightly raised edge to the tart once baked.
  • Prick the pastry inside the scored line with a fork and sprinkle 1tbsp asiago cheese in the inner circle.
  • Place ¼ of the onion mixture in the center (inner circle), sprinkle mozzarella cheese and place a slice of tomato in the center of each tart. Sprinkle the tomato with salt and pepper. Finally using a peeler, make big shards of asiago cheese on top of the tomato.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. Serve hot or warm.


September 06, 2009

Quick Weekday Breakfast: Swiss Oats

I don't like making elaborate breakfasts on a weekday morning. The maximum I can do is toast some bread and make peanut butter & jelly sandwich or a nutella sandwich (which is my absolute favorite). So 90% of the time, our breakfast consists of bread in some form or the other. On the other 10%, I take a small bottle of soymilk with me to work to have it with cereal (I have a ziplock bag with cereal always at work for breakfast or snack time).
When I saw this recipe on Zonya Health Bite on PBS, I wanted to make it right away, its so easy that there is zero cooking or microwaving time. The effort you put into it is EATING it. I'm going to make it sound a little bit more complicated than it really is, just so I can feel better posting this r.e.c.i.p.e. :-D (Its like filling some extra pages in your exams, so your teacher thinks you have answered the question right!!!!!!)

Ingredients (1 Serving):
Old Fashioned Oats - 1/2 cup
Soy milk (any milk would work just fine) - 2/3 cup
Honey or Maple sugar - to taste
Ground Cinnamon - pinch
Dried fruit/ Nuts
  • Night Before: Mix oats and all the other ingredients in a small bowl. I mix them in the same container I'm going to take to work (less clean up). Cover and refrigerate.
  • In the Morning: All you do is take the oats out of the fridge, add fresh fruits (berries or bananas) in summer or dried fruits and nuts in winter. Mix well and take to work. By the time you are ready to eat, oats are cold but not tooth-aching so and the fruit release their sweet juices and its almost like having a dessert for breakfast.
  • All this should technically take less than 10 minutes total, 5 minutes each at night and in the morning, but the end result is soooo yummm..
Soaking the oats overnight makes them soft and delicious almost similar to cooked oats but without the gloppiness and of course the cooking time. Do try these uncooked oats recipe, I'm sure you'll fall in love with them.

PS: I have updated the A.W.E.D: Morocco announcement with the logo. Please check it out and don't forget to send your entries by Oct 2nd.


Related Posts Widget for Blogs by LinkWithin
Blogging tips