Cook's Hideout: October 2014

October 31, 2014

Beet-Tomato Rasam

When my MIL told me about Beet rasam, I was a little skeptical. I am not a big fan of beets, I eat them once in a while without complaining, but they are not something I really crave for. So when my MIL said Beet & tomato rasam, I wasn't sure what to expect. But I asked her make it anyway just to see how it tastes. It tasted pretty good and I noted the recipe down to try it for myself later.
Beet-Tomato Rasam
I made the rasam recently with the beets I had in the fridge. Grinding cooked beets with tomatoes gives this rasam a thick consistency and the beets give a very subtle sweetness. Only the color of this rasam gives away the presence of beets, otherwise it is pretty inconspicuous. This is a great way to feed beets to kids.

October 26, 2014

Pudina Vegetable Pulao (Mint flavored Vegetable Pilaf) -- (Revisiting Old Recipe)

Blogging Marathon# 45: Week 4/ Day 3
Theme: Revisiting Old Recipes
Dish: Pudina Vegetable Pulao
One problem with blogging regularly is that I am constantly trying out new recipes to post here on the blog and don't usually find time to go back and cook old recipes. Whenever Valli has 'Revisiting recipes' theme for blogging marathon, I make sure to sign up for it so I get a chance to remake the dish and redo the photos.
Pudina Vegetable Pulao (Mint flavored Vegetable Pilaf)
This Pudina Vegetable Pulao is from my early blogging days way back from 2006 -- more than 8 years back. This was the fanciest rice dish I knew in those days and made it regularly until my pulao & biryani repertoire started growing and this simple one pot meal became a rarity in my house.

October 25, 2014

Vankaya Kurma (Eggplant Kurma) -- Revisiting Recipe

Blogging Marathon# 45: Week 4/ Day 2
Theme: Revisiting Old Recipes
Dish: Vankaya Kurma (Eggplant in Peanut-Yogurt sauce)
I am revisiting old recipes as part of this week's Blogging marathon theme and of course I had to browse through my eggplant recipes to see what needs a face lift. This also gives me a chance to make the dish again and enjoy it. My poor husband is the victim to all of my eggplant creations. I'm a eggplant lover and I'm on a mission to convert an eggplant hater to a somewhat liker. I think he's now in at the junction where he neither likes it nor dislikes it -- so hopefully he'll get to where I want him to be pretty soon.
Vankaya Kurma (Eggplant Kurma)
So browsing through the archives, I ended up on this Eggplant kurma that I posted more than 3 years ago. I am not a big fan of yogurt in curries, but I've to tell you the yogurt gives the dish tanginess and makes it absolutely delicious. I used 'labneh'-- a Turkish style thick cream sort of yogurt that is almost like Greek yogurt and I loved the results. I was skeptical if my husband would find out the presence of yogurt (which he also dislikes with a passion), but labneh didn't have the smell that Indian yogurt has and it was virtually undetectable.

October 24, 2014

Sorakaya thokku pachadi (Bottlegourd peel Chutney)

I told you about the 3 ft sorakaya/ bottle gourd from my cousin's garden last week. The skin or the peel of that gourd was so tender I didn't feel like throwing it out. Also since I knew that it was grown without any harmful pesticides -- I wanted to make a chutney/ pachadi using it.
Sorakaya thokku pachadi (Bottlegourd peel Chutney)
Peel of bottlegourd and ridgegourd (beerakaya) are often used to make chutneys. I usually throw the peel out because I'm not really sure what the vegetable went through before it came into my kitchen. But the peels are really healthy with good does of vitamins and also fiber. Finally with my cousin's organic bottle gourd I got to make this thokku pachadi (peel chutney). Had to ask my mom for the recipe, hence linking it to Valli's 'Cooking from Cookbook Challenge' event.

Darbari Dal (Revisitng Recipe)

Blogging Marathon# 45: Week 4/ Day 1
Theme: Revisiting Old Recipes
Dish: Darbari Dal
We are starting our final week of blogging marathon today and I picked a seemingly easy theme, Revisiting Old recipes. But it was quite a tough task picking just 3 dishes to revisit from my archives. This blog has been around for more than 8 years and there are ton of dishes that need some TLC. So after browsing through the blog for a very very long time I decided on 3 dishes that I wanted to remake and take some new pics.
Darbari Dal

October 19, 2014

Almond Butter-Chocolate Chip Muffins

Blogging Marathon# 45: Week 3/ Day 3
Theme: Kid's Delight -- Nuts & Legumes for Kid's Lunchbox
Dish: Almond Chocolate Chip Muffins
For the 3rd and final day of this week's BM, I made Almond butter-Chocolate chip muffins. I saw the recipe for hazelnut butter-cranberry muffins lot time back in Vegetarian times magazine. I wanted to make them ever since, finally got a chance to make these for this week. 
Almond Butter-Chocolate Chip Muffins
I always have almond butter in the fridge and use it quite often to spread on my morning toast and add it to Indian curries to make them creamy. So I used it instead of hazelnut butter in these muffins. Also since I was baking for the kids I added chocolate chips instead of cranberries. These muffins also use half all purpose flour and half spelt flour making them more fiber and whole-grain rich.

October 18, 2014

Lentil Bolognese

Blogging Marathon# 45: Week 3/ Day 2
Theme: Kid's Delight -- Nuts & Legumes for Kid's Lunchbox
Dish: Lentil Bolognese
My kids love Pasta and I feel they would rather prefer me packing pasta in their lunchbox than rice. So I'm always in the look out for new pasta dishes that they would like. My son likes tomato based sauces and I usually keep good quality store bought tomato sauce in hand for quick meals.
As I was looking for recipes with legumes I found this lentil bolognese recipe and I was surprised that I never thought of making this vegetarian bolognese before.
Lentil Bolognese
Bolognese sauce is a meat based sauce originating from Bologna in Italy. It is a slow cooked sauce and is used to dress flat pasta shapes like pappardelle or fettuccine or with short tube shapes like penne or rigatoni.

October 17, 2014

Sorakaya Palu posina Kura (Bottlegourd curry with milk)

Continuing with my 'Cleaning my fridge' series that I started last week, I am cooking with the bottlegourd/ sorakaya today. My cousin brought her super long bottlegourd from her garden recently, it was longer than my almost 3ft daughter. I wish I took a picture of both of them together because I had to cut into 3 pieces to share with my sister and cousin. Anyway the 3rd of the bottle gourd I had left in the fridge went into this simple to make curry.
My mom used to make this milk based bottle gourd curry quite often, I'm not sure if I really liked it back then. Now I crave for it once in a while, but I rarely make it because of my dairy-hating husband doesn't like the milky taste.
\Sorakaya Palu posina Kura (Bottlegourd curry with milk)
So I waited and made this dish when he was away on travel. It is super simple to make, slightly sweet and you can definitely make it more spicy and less sweet. It is great to eat with steamed rice or even roti.

Peanut & Vegetable Rice

Blogging Marathon# 45: Week 3/ Day 1
Theme: Kid's Delight -- Nuts & Legumes for Kid's Lunchbox
Dish: Kashmiri Tikka Masala
We are starting our 3rd week of Blogging marathon today and my theme for this week is 'Nuts & Legumes for Kid's Lunchboxes' for Kid's Delight event being hosted this month by Valli. Valli wants all of us to rake our brians and come up with dishes made with nuts and legumes that are kid friendly and can be packed in their lunchboxes.
I think I speak for most of the moms out there that it is a real challenge to pack lunches for the kids, but the biggest challenge is to have the kids eat them. It gets even tougher when you have picky kids. My son is picky and he has a lot of self imposed restrictions on his own diet (like I don't carrots, I don't like cabbage and on and on and.....) So I find it really hard to find dishes that he would eat in school when packed for lunch.
Peanut & Vegetable Rice
Both the kids love peanuts and I add them to most of the rice dishes I make. They like snacking on roasted peanuts, so I keep unsalted roasted peanuts stocked in the pantry all the time. This is one of the dishes I make for them often -- it has both ground peanuts in the spice powder and whole peanuts in the rice.

October 14, 2014

Belgium Waffles for #Food of the World (Vegan Recipe)

This month we are visiting Belgium for Food of the World event. Belgium is best known for its chocolate (one of the world's best), waffles and beer. I wanted to make a vegetarian dish from Belgium, but didn't find time to do my research. So I ended up making Belgian waffles for breakfast this past weekend.
Belgium Waffles (Vegan recipe)
But contrary to what I thought, waffles in Belgium are not really breakfast food, they are more popular as casual snack food -- usually bought from a bakery or a street stand. The waffles that North Americans think of as Belgian waffle is actually known as Gaufre de Bruxelles or "the Brussels waffle' in Belgium.

October 12, 2014

Kashmiri Paneer Tikka Masala (Vegetarian recipe)

Blogging Marathon# 45: Week 2/ Day 3
Theme: North Indian Side dishes
Dish: Kashmiri Tikka Masala
After making Lucknowi dal and Punjabi Kadhi Pakora for the first 2 days of North Indian side dishes, for the final day this week's BM, I made a spicy Kashmiri Paneer Tikka masala. I actually made all of the dishes on the same day and they can all be served together as part of a North Indian meal/ thali along with simple jeera rice or roti.
Kashmiri Paneer Tikka Masala
My mom bought a jar of Kashmiri Tikka masala from her Kashmir trip and I used it in this curry. But the tikka masala can also be made at home. I'm including the recipe for tikka masala from 660 curries here.

October 11, 2014

Punjabi Kadhi Pakora

Blogging Marathon# 45: Week 2/ Day 2
Theme: North Indian Side dishes
Dish: Punjabi Kadhi Pakora
For the second day of BM# 45 under 'North Indian side dishes', I made Punjabi Kadhi Pakora. Kadhi is the North Indian version of South Indian Majjiga pulusu (in Telugu) or Mor kuzhambu (in Tamil). The flavors are slightly different, but essentially it is a buttermilk based dish that is thickened with besan/ chickpea flour or ground chana/ chickpeas.
Punjabi Kadhi Pakora

Sprouts & Spring Onion Curry

The weather is getting cold and days are short in our neck of woods. It is time to take out the fall/ winter clothes out, I feel like I put them in just yesterday. Hmmmm I wonder why summer or warm weather is so short lived. But it is what it is, so let's move on.
Sprouts & Spring Onion Curry
As part of fall cleaning the house, I've decided not to buy any groceries until I completely finish everything I have in the refrigerator. I am planning to cook all the dishes for the CCChallenge with the ingredients that I have in the fridge right now. This way I get to use the ingredients and get to try new recipes from cookbooks/ bookmarks. I have marked the ingredients I want to use up before buying more. These are just the perishable goods in the fridge, I have a well stocked pantry that I will start cleaning later.

October 10, 2014

Poppy & Sesame Seeds Crackers

For this month's Home Baker's Challenge, Priya gave us some crispy and crunchy savory cracker recipes. I took the whole summer off from this event and thought I can get back into track with these simple to make savory crackers.
To be honest, I am not much of a snack person. But if I really have to choose, I would probably prefer sweet snacks like cookies, cupcakes more than savory snacks. So when I saw this month's challenge, I wasn't sure if I was going to participate. Also September was a very very busy month for me with the schools opening, both my kids birthdays and the month long mega marathon.
Poppy & Sesame Seeds Crackers

Lucknowi Dal

Blogging Marathon# 45: Week 2/ Day 1
Theme: North Indian Side dishes
Dish: Lucknowi Dal
We are starting our second week of Blogging Marathon# 45 today. My theme for this week is 'North Indian Side Dishes' and I have 3 delicious sides planned for the next 3 days.
First up is Lucknowi Dal. Dal is a quintessential dish on almost all Indian menus. Dal/ lentils are one of the best sources of protein for vegetarians and I always plan at least protein based dish for all my meals.
As I was looking for some North Indian dal recipes, I found this interesting and different dal on Farrukh's blog. It is a no-onion, no-tomato recipe, but has one very unusual ingredient in it, Milk. I was initially skeptical how this dal would taste, but it tasted really good. I didn't really taste the milk, but it added a nice creaminess to the dish. My kids and even my husband really liked this dal. I will be making this dal often especially when I'm running out of tomatoes and onions.
Lucknowi Dal

October 05, 2014

Carrot Poli (Bobbatlu/ Puran Poli with Carrot Halwa Filling)

Blogging Marathon# 45: Week 1/ Day 3
Theme: Diwal Festival Specials
Dish: Carrot Poli (Bobbatlu/ Puran Poli with Carrot Halwa Filling) 
For today's Diwali special, I have a recipe that I bookmarked ages ago from Harini's blog. These carrot polis have tempted me the minute I saw them, but it took me more than 2 years to make them. But it's better late than never -- right??
Carrot Poli (Bobbatlu/ Puran Poli with Carrot Halwa Filling)
My husband is a big carrot halwa fan. My MIL makes the most delicious carrot halwa with fresh khoya and the red gajar that is available during winter in India. I'm just too lazy to take up projects like carrot halwa because a) the expectations are way too high and I don't want to disappoint the eaters b) too lazy to grate the carrot. My sister used to grate the carrots for my mom back home, so that is one job I don't really enjoy doing.

October 04, 2014

Chocolate Peda using Ricotta Cheese

Blogging Marathon# 45: Week 1/ Day 2
Theme: Diwal Festival Specials
Dish: Chocolate Peda using Ricotta Cheese 
After posting a very traditional Diwali treat yesterday, today I have a dessert that is a delicious variation to the more traditional peda/ milk fudge. Adding chocolate and using ricotta cheese make this quite a fusion of western and Indian cooking.
Chocolate Peda using Ricotta Cheese
Chocolate burfi and peda have been around for a very long time and my husband happens to love these chocolate variations. Making pedas in the traditional way means hovering around the stove for hours together to boil the milk until it gets to the creamy, thick consistency. What kills me is the amount of peda that is finally made -- it is miniscule when compared to the quantity of milk that goes into it. I completely understand that the peda made the long way tastes MUCH better than these short cut ones, but I neither have the time nor the patience to make it. So I'll leave that to make when I have absolutely nothing else to do or to the more patient people.

October 03, 2014

Kobbari Paramannam (Coconut Rice Pudding -- Vegan recipe)

Happy Dasara to All
Here's a simple and slightly different Parvannam/ paramannam to offer to god during this festival season. Traditionally paravannam is made using dairy milk, but this is made with coconut milk. To enhance the coconut flavor, grated coconut is also added.
Kobbari Paramannam (Coconut Rice Pudding -- Vegan recipe)
I saw this dish being made on a Telugu cooking show and wanted to try it during the Navratri season. It uses jaggery instead of sugar making this a refined food free dish that is perfect for this festival season.

Mullu Murukku (Rice & Lentil Muruku)

Blogging Marathon# 45: Week 1/ Day 1
Theme: Diwal Festival Specials
Dish: Muruku
After the mega marathon last month, we are back to our regular BM schedule with 3 day blogging each week this month. For the first week, my theme is 'Festival Special -- Diwali'. Since Diwali is right around the corner (October 23, 2014), I thought I will post some specials that I would make for the festival.
Mullu Murukku (Rice & Lentil Muruku)
For the first day, I made crispy and crunchy murukkus that are made using rice and lentil flour. I found this recipe on DK's Chef in you blog and her clicks really pulled me to make them.

October 01, 2014

A-Z International

A-Z International Dishes: Cooking from countries around the world 1 Letter at a time.
It has been an amazing culinary journey around the world and I had so much fun researching for dishes from all the different countries and making them at home. We visited 26 different countries without passports and I thoroughly enjoyed each and every one of the dishes I made. I have to thank my family for being such a sport and being open to trying out new cuisines -- without them this marathon would not have been possible. Also big thanks to Valli for being the awesome organizer that she is. Finally thanks to my BM group for all their inspiration and support.
Here's a pictorial recap of all the dishes I tried this month.


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