Cook's Hideout: July 2009

July 31, 2009

Palli Podi/ Peanut Chutney powder-Final Call for JFI

This recipe is from Roopa’s (@ Recipe of Choice) blog. I loved the combination of peanuts and sesame seeds and wanted to try it out. It turned out really well. Here’s the recipe:

Peanuts – 1 cup
Sesame seeds – ¼ cup
Garlic cloves – 2-3
Dry Red chilies – 1/3 cup
Hing – pinch
Dry coconut – ¼cup
Sugar – 2tsp
Tamarind paste – 2tsp
Salt – to taste

  • Dry roast peanuts and sesame seeds separately and keep aside. I use peeled peanuts, so there is no need to peel them after roasting; but otherwise peanuts need to be peeled at this stage.
  • Dry roast garlic and red chilies; let cool.
  • Once all the ingredients are cool enough to handle, take them in a blender and grind them to a coarse powder.
Goes well dosa, idli or even plain steam rice with some ghee.. yummmmmmm.

This goes to JFI: Peanuts. Final Call to send all your entries to JFI: Peanuts.
I’m planning to do the round up sometime over the weekend, so send your entries to me before the end of day today, i.e. friday.
Oh I forgot to mention about my upcoming extremely short trip to India. My sister’s getting married and we are going to be visiting friends and family. One good thing about weddings is you get to meet everyone in one place, no need to go visit them at home. It’s going to be lot of fun and hectic too. I’m looking forward to it.

Khaman Dhokla for the Indian Cooking Challenge

This is the first official challenge for Indian Cooking Challenge and Khaman Dhokla is on the menu. I remember making it couple of years with a recipe from one of my Gujarati friends. Over-confident ME never wrote it down and thought I can re-create just from my memory.. hmmm.. So when I started making it, I completely blanked out on how much citric acid to add and I probably added about 2tbsp. It was soooo sour that it was practically inedible. I’ve never made these again until now and Srivalli‘s recipe is just perfect. Even with some mishaps on my part, they turned out just perfect.

Batter: Besan – 1½ cups
Curd – ½ cup (not sour)
Water – ½ cup
Cooking soda – ½tsp

Seasoning for the batter:
Oil – 1tbsp
Turmeric – a pinch
Green chili – 2, coarsely crushed
Sugar – 1tsp
Citric Acid – ¼ tsp
Eno – 1tsp

Mustard Seeds – 1tsp
Coriander leaves – 2tbsp
Curry leaves – 6

  • Mix curd with water. Add this to the besan and mix well to make a lump less batter. Add water, as needed to get the batter to pouring consistency as in idli batter. Set aside for 1 hour for rising.
  • After 1 hour, add all the seasoning ingredients; oil, turmeric, green chili paste, sugar & citric acid.
  • Bring some water to a boil in a pressure cooker.
  • When the water starts to boil, add eno to the batter and mix gently. Sprinkle a little bit of eno on the steaming plate/ container. Pour in the batter and steam for 5-7 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow to cool for another 5-7 minutes. Then test for doneness by inserting a toothpick/ knife. Cover and let it remain on flame for another 1 minute.
  • Then remove the plate/ container from the PC. Mix 3tsp water with 1tsp oil in a small bowl. Sprinkle this over the dhoklas.
  • Finally add the tempering: heat 1tsp oil in a small saucepan, add mustard seeds and curry leaves; add to the dhoklas as soon as the seeds start to splutter. Garnish with coriander leaves.

For the Green chutney:
Coriander leaves – ½ cup
Mint leaves – ¼ cup
Cumin seeds – 1tsp
Grated coconut – 2tbsp
Lime juice – 1tbsp
Green chilies – 2
Salt & Sugar – to taste

Method: Blend all the ingredients to a smooth paste. Enjoy with the dhoklas.

July 29, 2009

Cooking from Asha’s for Tried & Tasted

I’m one of those bloggers who waits for Asha’s Wednesday’s posts on Foodie’s Hope. She makes her posts funny and informative; she cooks almost any cuisine but keeps them simple and easy to make. Following are some of the recipes I tried from her blog for Tried & Tasted: Foodie’s Hope event being hosted by Ashwini @ Ashwini's Spicy Cuisine.

Sorekai Bele Saaru: Yummy combination of sorakaya/ bottle gourd and toor dal. My son absolutely loved it.
Brown rice & Mixed lentil Adai: Addition of brown rice makes this already healthy dish even healthier.

Hurikadale (Dalia) Chutney: I usually make peanut chutney, but this is very tasty too.


July 28, 2009

Kakarakaya Masala Kura (Bitter Gourd in Peanut Gravy)

Kakarakaya/ Karela/ Bitter gourd is one vegetable that I really enjoy cooking and eating too. I usually microwave the chopped gourd with lemon size tamarind, pinch of turmeric and some water until almost tender, about 5 minutes. Drain completely, rinse and completely squeeze out the liquid. This takes care of the bitterness, to be honest, I enjoy a little bitterness in the karela and don't worry to much about taking it out.
I have been thinking of using peanuts in the gravy and wasn't sure how it was going to turn out, but the curry turned out pretty good and tasted even better for lunch the next day.

Kakarakaya/ Karela/ Bitter Gourd - 4 medium, lightly scrubbed and cut into half moons.
Onion - 1 small, chopped
Tomato - 1 small, chopped
Ginger+Garlic paste - 1tsp
Peanuts, roasted - 1/4 cup
Red chili powder - 1/2 tsp (or more to taste)
Tamarind paste - 1tbsp
Jaggery - 2tbsp
Salt - to taste
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Dry red chili - 2
Curry Leaves - 6

  • Cook kakarakaya as described above. Keep aside.
  • Heat 1tsp oil in a saute pan; add onions and stir fry till lightly browned. Add g+g paste and tomatoes; cook till tomatoes turn mushy. Remove and let cool.
  • Heat 1tbsp oil to the same pan; add mustard seeds and cumin seeds, once the seeds start spluttering, add curry leavs and red chilies. Saute for a minute.
  • Then add half cooked kakarakaya; cover and cook for 5 minutes.
  • In the meantime, blend peanuts along with sauted onions, tamarind paste and jaggery with 1/2 cup of water.
  • Add peanut mixture to kakarakaya along with red chili powder and salt. Cover and simmer for 10-12 minutes or until all the flavors mingle.
Enjoy with steamed rice.

This is my entry to JFI: Peanuts. Remember to send in your entries before end of day on July 31st. I'll try to have the round up done on the weekend.


July 27, 2009

Soda Bread Scones

I don’t make elaborate breakfasts. Breakfast to me is something quick and easy, nothing fancy and not more than one dish to clean (which happens to be the dish I ate in). But this weekend, I made an exception and decided to make something special for us.

I made some Soda Bread Scones and we had them with some vegan butter and homemade mango-raspberry jam. I found the recipe in Vegetarian times magazine. It has vegan with no-fat what-so-ever and is quick and easy to make too.

Recipe adapted from Vegetarian Times
Whole wheat flour – 2½ cups
Baking soda – ½ tsp
Ground Cinnamon – 1tsp
Salt – ½ tsp
Soy milk – ¾ cup (and a little more if needed)
Maple syrup – 3tbsp
Raisins – ¾ cup
Raw sugar like turbinado – 8tsp (optional) (I used demerera sugar)

  • Preheat oven to 450°F. Spray baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
  • In a large bowl, whisk in flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt.
  • In a measuring cup, mix in soy milk, maple syrup and raisins.
  • Stir the soy milk mixture into the flour mixture until soft dough is formed. Add more milk if needed.
  • Transfer to a floured surface and shape into 8” round. Cut the round into 8 wedges.
  • Transfer to prepared baking sheet; and sprinkle each wedge with 1 tsp of sugar, if using. Bake 20 minutes or until browned.

These breakfast beauties are off to Vaishali’s IAVW: Britain and to Madhuram’s Whole Grain Baking event. Soymilk can be substituted with buttermilk to make non-vegan scones.

Notes: Leftover scones can be wrapped in aluminum foil and kept in the refrigerator for upto 3 days. Microwave for about 30secs and enjoy the scone while still warm.

Mango-Raspberry Jam: I made this jam when we had an abundance of mangoes and raspberries and I had no clue what to do with both the fruit before they go bad. Then I decided to make a jam with both and I’m glad I did. I got a total of 4 medium size bottles of jam that we have been enjoying thoroughly ever since. I bought sugar with pectin from Sweden and I used in this jam.

  • Microwave chopped Mango and Raspberry until almost cooked, about 6-8 minutes. I microwaved Mango for about 5 minutes before adding the raspberries.
  • Add the fruits to a saucepan along with Sugar. Cook until sugar melts and starts to thicken, about 25-30 minutes.
  • Store in a air-tight jar in the refrigerator. I sterilize my jars following DK's canning 101 tutorial to the T.

July 23, 2009

Vanilla Ice Cream Layered with Strawberry: Guilty Pleasure

OK.. let me start by saying this is not for people who are on diet or for the extremely health conscious. I am both of the above most of the time, but for this one time I said to self "to heck with icicle like ice cream, let me enjoy real creamy, loaded with calories ice cream for once. I'll skip my dinner......... lunch.... and even that evening snack."
I usually make eggless ice cream with half and half and I found that it has a crystalline texture, it satisfies your sweet tooth for sure, but I was missing the creamy, decadent and rich taste of real ice cream (basically I missed fat from the ice cream, 'cos higher the fat content, the richer and creamier the result). So I decided to go ahead and indulge in this sinfully delicious treat. I followed the recipe from Cuisinart's recipe booklet.
Yet another reason to indulge in ice cream is because July is National Ice Cream Month. Three great bloggers Savor the Thyme, Tangled Noodle & Scotty Snacks are hosting Ice Cream Social event and asking all of us to send in our home made or favorite ice-cream shop ice creams.

Whole Milk - 2 1/3 cups
Heavy Cream - 2 1/3 cups
Vanilla Bean - 1 whole bean (I used the vanilla powder I bought from Sweden)
Eggs - 3 large whole & 4 large yolks
Sugar - 1 1/8
Pure vanilla extract - 2tsp
Strawberry Puree - 2 cups (recipe follows)

  • Combine milk and heavy cream in a medium saucepan. Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise, scrape the seeds with the edge of a blunt knife. Stir the seeds and bean pod into the milk/cream mixture.
  • Bring the mixture to a slow boil over medium heat, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Combine eggs and egg yolks and sugar in a medium bowl. Use a hand mixer on medium speed to beat until the mixture is thick, smooth and pale yellow in color, about 2 minutes.
  • Remove the vanilla bean from milk/cream mixture and discard.
  • Now temper the eggs with the hot milk/cream mixture. Measure out 1 cup of hot liquid, and with the mixture on low speed, add this hot liquid to the egg mixture in a slow, steady stream.
  • When thoroughly combines, pour the mixture back into the saucepan with the rest of the milk/cream mixture and stir to combine.
  • Cook, stirring constantly, over medium-low heat until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon.
  • Transfer to a bowl, stir in vanilla and let cool a little bit. Then cover with a plastic wrap directly on the custard to avoid skin formation, and chill completely.
  • Then follow the ice cream machine instructions and make your batch of extremely decadent vanilla ice cream.
  • Now to make Strawberry layered Cake, simple spread a layer of vanilla ice cream in a freezer safe bowl followed by a thin layer of strawberry puree; repeat the layers with the remaining ice cream and puree. Cover and freeze for at least an hour to set.
Strawberry Puree: Puree 2 cups of hulled & chopped strawberries with 1/2 to 3/4 cup (or more depending on the sweetness of your fruit) of sugar. Bring this mixture to a slow simmer until slightly thick. Chill thoroughly before using in the ice cream.

July 20, 2009

Pumpkin & Whole Masoor dal Sprouts Stew

I’ve never tried sprouting whole masoor dal and when I saw Indira’s(@ Mahanandi) post, I wanted to give it a try. After about 2 days of soaking/draining/rinsing & sprinkling, I had beautiful sprouts.
The recipe for this sweet & tangy sambar type stew is from my dear friend V. Her original recipe used brown chickpeas and was little liquidy, I made it more like a stew. Simple with very few ingredients, but very very tasty. It gets better as it sits.

Whole Masoor dal sprouts – 2 cups
Pumpkin – 3 cups, chopped
Tamarind Paste – 2tbsp
Jaggery (or light brown sugar) – 2tsp (or per taste)
Sambar powder (home-made or store-bought) – 2tsp (or to taste)
Salt – to taste

For tadka:
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Cumin seeds – 1tsp
Curry leaves – 6-12
Hing – pinch

  • Add 4 cups of water to sprouts; bring them to a boil, then reduce the flame and simmer until they are 3/4th cooked through, about 5-10 minutes.
  • In the meantime, microwave pumpkin pieces with a pinch of turmeric and salt until tender (but not falling apart), about 6-8 minutes.
  • Heat 2tsp oil in a pan, add the tadka ingredients and once the seeds start to splutter add the pumpkin & sprouts. Cook for 2 minutes.
  • Then add tamarind, jaggery, sambar powder, salt and 1cup water (or more if you want a more sambar like consistency). Cover and simmer till it reaches desired consistency.
Enjoy with steamed rice (or with rotis).

This lentil stew is off to MLLA-13 (My Legume Love Affair event) being guest hosted this month by lovely Sunshinemom (@ Tum Yum treats). MLLA is the brainchild of Susan @ Well Seasoned Cook.


July 16, 2009

Brown Rice Salad with Asian dressing

I’m a big fan of grocery shopping. I get so excited and giddy going to a well stocked grocery, be it a road-side farmers market or a high-end grocery chain. So when I heard about the new Whole Foods that opened in Bergen Mall in NJ, I absolutely had to go there. My colleague was singing praises about their freshly made bread and muffins and also about their food bars with salads, pastas and also Indian dishes.
I dragged my husband this past weekend and he was quite impressed with the size of the store and also the variety of food that we found there. I especially like their bulk bin section, I can take a bag of everything they have in bulk bins, if it is not for the limited storage that I have at home (I shouldn’t say that, I have pretty big pantry, but it’s so packed that I don’t have place for anything new. I need to work on re-organizing and cleaning up before summer ends).

Well anyway we ended up buying new stuff like raspberry sugar, baked tofu (in oriental & Italian flavors), tofutti (I can never find this in my regular grocery store) and some Israeli couscous from the bulk bin. We also bought dinner from the food bar: 3 types of salad-Brown rice salad with edamame, Quinoa salad with cranberries & Kamut salad; some Indian dishes-naan, samosa, palak paneer, aloo-chole etc. It is a little pricey ($7.99 per pound), but everything is freshly made and tasted better than OK (I said OK, ‘cos some of the dishes were cold and dried out; they tasted pretty good but not up to the mark of Whole Foods).
I wanted to try the brown rice salad at home and it turned out better than its inspiration dish (I think). Quick & easy to make with practically no cooking required; healthy, filled with double dose of soy protein, whats not to like about this dish?

Brown Rice – 1 cup
Carrot – 2 medium, grated
Edamame, shelled – ¾ cup (thawed if frozen)
Red Pepper – 1 small, finely diced
Green onions – 4, both greens and whites chopped
Baked Tofu – 1 pkg, diced into ½“ cubes (I used store-bought baked Oriental style tofu; if you have time marinate and bake your own tofu)

For Dressing:
Ginger - 1tbsp, finely grated (I use my handy-dandy zester)
Garlic - 1 clove, finely minced
Rice Vinegar – 2tbsp
Soy sauce – 1tbsp
Honey – 1tbsp
Sriracha (or any other hot sauce) – 1 tsp (or more to taste)
Toasted Sesame oil – 1tsp
Canola oil – 1 tbsp (optional)
Salt & pepper – to taste

  • Cook brown rice with 2 cups of water. Let cool completely.
  • In the mean time make the dressing by whisking all the ingredients together.
  • When rice is cool enough, add all the veggies, tofu and dressing. Season with salt and pepper.
Let it sit for at least 30 minutes for all the flavors to mingle, but it tasted pretty good right away. Leftovers tasted much better the next day for lunch. This is my entry to No Croutons required: Grains event being hosted by Lisa @ Food & Spice.

July 13, 2009

Broken Wheat Upma with Veggies & Peanut Chutney

Growing up I was not a big fan of upmas, especially the one with sooji & godhuma rava (dalia). I would eat them grudgingly but never really liked them. As an adult, I slowly developed a taste to these upmas, may be because they are so quick & easy to make and can be dressed up or down as per occasion. I like the one made with Godhuma rawa more than any other and usually try to keep stock of it in the fridge (so it doesn’t turn rancid).
It is also my go-to ingredient when I have to make something quick for my son’s lunch and he seems to like it (or so I think, 'cos he can't really say "I don't like it" yet).

Godhuma Rava (Broken wheat/ Dalia) – 1 cup
Onion – 1 small, chopped fine(I used a medium sized shallot)
Mixed veggies – 1 cup (I used chopped potato with frozen mixed veggies with carrots, string beans, peas & corn)
Tomato – 1, chopped
Chili powder – ½ tsp
Lemon juice – 1 tbsp
Salt – to taste

For Tadka:
Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
Cumin seeds – ½ tsp
Curry leaves – 6

  • Heat 1 tbsp oil in a sauce pan; add the tadka ingredients and after the seeds pop add the chopped onion and sauté till translucent.
  • Then add mixed veggies (thawed if frozen) and tomato; cover and cook till veggies are cooked and tomato is mushy. Season with salt and chili powder.
  • Add rava and sauté for couple of minutes. To this add 2½ cups of water; bring the mixture to a boil on medium-high heat. Turn the flame to low; cover and simmer till all the liquid is absorbed and the rawa is completely cooked.
  • Stir in lemon juice and enjoy with either peanut chutney or raitha or any pickle.

This is my entry to CFK: Healthy Lunch Boxes being hosted by Neha @ Easy n Tasty Recipes. Cooking for Kids is the brainchild of Sharmi @ Neivedyam.

Peanut Chutney: This is my favorite chutney and I make it all the time. Great for idlis, dosas, upma or pongal.
Peanuts – 1 cup
Dhalia (Putnala pappu) – ¼ cup
Grated coconut – ¼ cup (I use dry, but fresh coconut will make the chutney taste much better)
Tamarind paste – 1 tbsp
Garlic cloves – 2
Green chilies – 2
Coriander leaves – ¼ cup

For tadka:
Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
Cumin seeds – ½ tsp
Dry Red chili – 1
Curry leaves – 6-8

  • Grind all the ingredients from Peanuts to Coriander with salt and ½ - 1 cup water into a smooth paste. Remove into a bowl.
  • Heat 1tsp oil in a small saucepan; add the tadka ingredients and once the seeds start spluttering add to the chutney; mix and serve.
This is my entry to JFI: Peanuts. Remember to send in your entries before July 31st.

July 06, 2009

Sprouted Moong dal & Swiss Chard Sauté

My latest obsession is sprouting. I’ve started to sprout at least two legumes every weekend. This weekend it was masoor dal (whole red lentils) & moong beans. After sprouting, if not using right away, I keep them in an air tight container and they keep well for up to a week.

Moong dal sprouts – 2 cups
Swiss chard – 1 bunch, chopped fine

For masala paste:
Grated fresh coconut – ½ cup
Garlic - 2 cloves
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Green chilies - 3 (or more to taste)

For Tadka:
Chana Dal - ½ tsp
Urad dal - ½ tsp
Mustard seeds - ½ tsp
Cumin seeds - ½ tsp
Dry red chilies - 2
Curry leaves - 6

  • Grind the ingredients for masala into a smooth paste with little water.
  • Add 4 cups of water to the sprouts and bring to a boil; simmer until they turn tender, takes about 5-8 minutes. Drain and keep aside.
  • Heat 2 tsp oil in a large saute pan; Add the tadka ingredients and once the seeds start spluttering, add the chopped chard. Cover and cook till the chard is slightly wilted, about 3-4 minutes.
  • Add the ground paste,salt and the sprouts. Cover and cook till the raw smell of garlic vanishes and chard is completely cooked, should take another 5-8 minutes.
Serve with steamed rice or roti. Very healthy and delicious.

July 03, 2009

CFK-Leafy Greens Round up

First off a big thanks to Sharmi (@ Neivedyam) for giving this opportunity to host Cooking for Kids event. Huge thanks to all the participants. Round up is filled with healthy yet nutritious dishes made from wide variety of leafy greens, some very commonly used like spinach & methi and some not so commonly used like radish greens, drum stick greens and watercress. All the dishes are on my to-make list, check out what you want to make. Entries are arranged in Alphabetical order.

Anu @ My Scrawls: Aloo-Palak Subzi (Potato Spinach Curry)
Deepti S @ Dips Kitchen sent 2 entries: Cole Slaw and Palak Pakoda
Divya @ Dil Se: Spinach Rice
HB @ Dew drop in the Kitchen: Mint & Coriander Rice
Indrani @ Appyayan sent 2 entries: Stir fried WaterCress/ Radish Greens & Spinach with Mixed vegetables (Palak Shak-er Charchari).

Muskaan @ A2Z Vegetarian Cuisine: Methi nu Muthiya Dhokla
Nivedita @ Nivedita's Kitchen: Sai Bhaji
Parita @ Parita's World: Baked Methi Corn Cutlets
Preeti @ Khaugiri: Palak Shorba (Spinach Soup)
Priya N @ Priya's Vegetarian Recipes: Spinach & Carrot Rice
Renu @ Renu's Kitchen: Low fat baked Methi Muthiya
Sadhana @ A2Z Vegetarian Cuisine: Cabbage Celery Soup with Coconut Milk
Shabeena @ Shabs Cuisine: Palak Dal
Sharmi (Creator of CFK) @ Neivedyam: Methi Pachadi
Sree @ Taste Spell: Spinach Rice w/ Beetroot raitha
Vidhas @ Appetizing Recipes sends in 2 entries: Palak Roti & Green Buttermilk
Vidya @ Humming in the Kitchen: DrumStick leaves Molagoottal

Finally your's truly's entries: Kanda Bachali Kura (Suran & Malabar Spinach Curry), Pasta in Spinach Sauce, Palakura PesaraPappu (Spinach Dal) & Kohlrabi Greens Curry.

Update 7/04: Sorry for missing your entry Aquadaze.
Aquadaze @ Served with Love: Microwave Palak Paneer
Let me know if I missed your entry. I'll include it in the round up.

Wish you all a very Happy Independence Day. Hope you are enjoying your 3 day long weekend. Have fun and stay cool.
Dont forget to send in your entries to JFI: Peanuts.


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