WHOLE WHEAT AND CORIANDER NAAN




This recipe is for my sister. I tried explaining this recipe to her so many times and just grew tired :( My little sis though very smart is still not able to grasp when I say what she needs to do with the yeast when we talk over the phone. She too has a very good blog, do check her blog. It is an interesting blog overall. I am not including her blog link here since I didn’t ask her permission for this but she is sure to get mad after reading this and will post her comments here in the comments section. You can follow her link from there ;)


Coming on to the recipe, I am also a relatively newbie with rotis and naans. I make chapathis very often for lunch and sometimes naans made with whole wheat flour. I usually make naans on stove top rather than oven. I feel the naans turn out softer that way. I have used white whole wheat flour here. White whole wheat flour is good for baking, especially when mixed with yeast. This is the basic recipe I follow for making naan. I usually use milk for raising the yeast rather than adding sugar to warm water. This is healthy and the naans are also very soft when milk is added to the dough. For garlic and butter naans, I usually coat the naan with low-fat butter and sprinkle some crushed roasted garlic chips in the end.


INGREDIENTS:

1. White whole wheat flour, around 2 cups.

2. Yeast, 1-1/2 teaspoon.

3. Salt, ½ teaspoon.

4. Oil, 1 tablespoon.

5. Milk, 1 cup. (Nonfat milk too works perfect here).

5. Cilantro, ½ cup, chopped.


PREPARATION:

Warm the milk in microwave or stove top. The milk should just warm enough to the touch. Very hot liquid can kill the yeast and if cold liquid is used, the yeast will not raise. Add the yeast to the warm milk, mix it well, and lit it sit for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, milk will appear frothy. Meanwhile mix the 1-1/2 cup of flour and salt together. Add the chopped cilantro and pour the milk over the flour and start mixing. Add extra flour if the dough is too sticky and then add a teaspoon of oil and knead the dough for 10 minutes. The dough should be soft and pliable. Add another teaspoon of oil on top of the dough, cover it with a wet cloth and let it sit for 1 hour. After 1 hour, the dough should have raised about half of its original size. Punch it down and knead for another 2 minutes. Then heat a flat-bottomed pan, and start rolling the dough into flat chapathis by taking small balls of the dough. When the pan is hot (it should on high heat), put on a rolled naan into the pan. Flip it after 10 seconds once bubbles start forming on the surface. Add a teaspoon of oil and flip it again after 10 seconds. Keep flipping the naan until it is well done on both sides. Then repeat the same procedure with the other rolled out naans. Serve hot with any curry. TBXGVFEEDPSX

PEAS MASALA


This recipe is from an Aval Vikatan magazine recipe compilation. I am a big fan of this Tamil magazine. Usually a small recipe booklet comes along with the magazine and I have been collecting them whenever I buy this magazine, sometimes I buy it just to get the recipe booklet :) I was attracted to the photo of this recipe when I saw this in a vegetarian recipe booklet. I followed the recipe exactly here. Next time I am planning to add some fat-free half and half to this instead of the nuts used to thicken the gravy. I prepared this peas masala as a side dish with jeera rice and chapathis.


INGREDIENTS:

  1. Fresh or frozen green peas, 1 cup.
  2. Medium-sized onions, 2.
  3. Tomatoes, 3. Canned tomatoes works best too. If canned tomatoes are used, 1-1/2 cup is required.
  4. Ginger-garlic paste, 1 teaspoon.
  5. Cashews, around 2-3 pieces.
  6. Red chilies, 3-4.
  7. Coriander seeds, 1 tablespoon.
  8. Cardamom seeds, 2.
  9. Fennel seeds, ½ teaspoon.
  10. Cinnamon, 1 small stick.
  11. Clove, 1.
  12. Salt as per taste.
  13. Cilantro for garnishing.


PREPARATION:

Dice the onions and tomatoes finely and keep aside. Heat a pan with a tablespoon of oil and add the cinnamon stick, cardamom pods, fennel seeds, clove, and coriander seeds and let everything fry for a minute. Then add the red chilies and fry for a few seconds. Transfer everything to a plate and let it cool. Add the diced onions to the same pan and sauté for a few minutes until onions turn brown. Then add the tomatoes and ginger-garlic paste and keep sautéing until everything is blended. Switch off the stove and let it cool. Grind the mixture into a smooth paste along the almonds and fried spices. The spices can also be ground separately and added to the blended onion and tomato paste. Transfer all the contents into the pan, add a teaspoon of oil, 1 cup of water, and salt as per taste and let it cook closed for 5-10 minutes under low flame. Add the peas now, mix everything, and cook for 2 more minutes. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve hot with chapathis or rice.

LENTIL SOUP




The inspiration for this soup is from my friend. She is an Egyptian and she made this soup for us when we were at her place for dinner. The soup she served was very tasty and thick and it reminded me of the dhal I make. I asked her the ingredients and noted them down and here is my version of my friend’s lentil soup. I didn’t add potatoes to this soup like my friend did but I included some more vegetables and used the same lentil (masoor dhal) that she used. This soup tasted more or less like a rasam or paruppu rasam :)…but this was really tasty with garlic bread. The next day we had this soup with rice and that tasted so yummy. I wanted a thin soup, so I have used just ½ cup of lentils here and it can be increased according to personal preferences.


INGREDIENTS:

1. Any type of quick-cooking lentils, masoor dhal works perfect here, ½ cup.

2. Onion, medium size, 1.

3. Canned tomatoes, ½ cup.

4. Pureed tomatoes, ½ cup.

5. Mixed vegetables, chopped into small pieces, 1 cup.

6. Cumin seeds, 1 tablespoon.

7. Coriander seeds, 1 tablespoon.

8. Salt and pepper as per taste.

9. Mixture of dry herbs, 1 tablespoon.

10. Garlic, 2 cloves.


PREPARATION:

Grind the cumin seeds and coriander seeds and keep aside. Dice the onion finely and crush the garlic coarsely. Heat a pot with some oil. Add the diced onions when the oil turns hot and sauté for a few minutes until they turn brown. Add the canned tomatoes, tomato paste along with the veggies, crushed garlic, lentils, 4 cups of water, salt and pepper and mix everything well. Once the soup comes to a boil, reduce the flame and cook closed for 20-25 minutes until the lentils are cooked. Add the ground powders and dry herbs now and switch off the stove. Ladle hot soups into bowls and serve with any crusty bread of plain rice.

LOW CALORIE CHOCOLATE CHIPS PANCAKES







I wrote this recipe from a cookbook long time back. The original recipe used buttermilk, eggs, and all purpose flour. I tried to lower the carbs and calorie a little bit from the original recipe by substituting all purpose flour with white whole flour and used nonfat yogurt instead of buttermilk. Nonfat yogurt gives a nice white color and softness to the pancakes. They were very good and sweet with the slight bitter-sweet taste from the dark chocolate chips. I also liked the taste of white whole wheat flour here than regular whole wheat flour. I used King Arthur whole wheat flour for the first time and I feel that this has the same texture as the atta flours available in Indian stores. Can anyone clarify me on this? The dark chocolate chips contain low sugar and less fat compared to the regular chocolate chips, so this was a totally healthy and delicious weekend breakfast for us alongside with some omelets.


INGREDIENTS:

1. White whole wheat flour or whole wheat flour, 2 cups.

2. Nonfat yogurt, 1 cup.

3. Water, ½ cup and more according to thickness of the batter.

4. Cinnamon powder, 1 teaspoon.

5. Honey or any artificial sweetener like agave nectar, 1 tablespoon.

6. Baking soda, ½ teaspoon.

7. Chocolate chips, ½ cup. (I have used bittersweet 60% cacao chips).


PREPARATION:

Mix all the ingredients except the chocolate chips into a smooth batter. The batter should be thin enough to pour. Heat a nonstick pan or cast iron pan and apply and thin layer of oil on the pan. Take a ladle full of the pancake batter and pour it over the hot pan. It starts spreading as soon as it is poured over the hot surface. Sprinkle the chocolate chips randomly over the pancakes. The pancakes are ready to be flipped after a minute when bubbles start forming all over the surface. Flip them over and let them cook on the other side for a minute and transfer to a plate. Enjoy hot pancakes with fresh fruits or syrup.

BASUNDI


This recipe is especially for Announcing Hearts for St Valentines Day a beautiful event conducted by Priya. When I said to my hubby that I am planning to prepare a sweet for the event, the request was for basundi. This is our favorite sweet, though a little bit time consuming but the taste is worth all the trouble…so rich and creamy with chopped nuts. This is the basic recipe for basundi. This can be changed according to taste. There are many versions of this sweet available like adding saffron, mango pulp, condensed milk etc.


INGREDIENTS:

1. Full fat milk, 1-1/2 liter.

2. Sugar, 1/2 cup or more according to taste.

3. Ghee, 2 tablespoons.

4. Nuts like cashews, almonds, pistachios and even some dry fruits like raisins or apricots.

5. Cardamom, 2 pods.


PREPARATION:

Chop the dry fruits and nuts and fry them in ghee until the turn golden brown and keep aside. Crush the cardamom coarsely. Boil the milk in a deep-bottomed pot along with the crushed cardamom and once the milk comes to a boil reduce the flame to medium and let it simmer. Keep collecting the creamy layer, which is formed on simmering, on to a separate bowl. After sometime (around an hour later), once the milk starts to thicken, add the sugar and let it dissolve. Then add the collected cream, and fried nuts to the milk and let it simmer for 5 more minutes and switch off. Let is cool, garnish with chopped nuts and enjoy.


Another reason to celebrate with the sweet is that I recently won a contest with Foodie Blogroll for updating my profile. They sent me this cute coffee mug yesterday. I love this mug and right now it is sitting proudly on my refrigerator top :)




KEERAI PARUPPU PORIYAL/GREENS STIR FRY WITH LENTILS


This is a stir-fry my mom makes regularly. She uses greens like amaranth or drumstick leaves. This is made as a side dish with rice and any spicy gravies, particularly seafood dishes. The best combination which I like the most is meen kuzmbu, fish fry, and this stir fry made with drumstick leaves. This is also comfort food for my sister and I. Sadly I don’t get drumstick leaves here, which is my favorite, but I did get a chance to taste many different ones like Swiss Chard, collard greens, turnip greens etc. I keep all of them in my freezer and this is very easy to make any side dishes with greens in just minutes. This time I have made this dish with collard greens. Collard greens have a slight bitter taste, so I have used one small tomato. This can be omitted if any other less bitter green like spinach is used.

INGREDIENTS:
1. Collard greens, 1 bunch.
2. Small onions, 2.
3. Tomato, 1.
4. Green chilies, 1-2.
5. Ginger-garlic paste, 1 teaspoon (optional).
6. Mung dhal or green gram, ¼ cup.
7. Mustard seeds, ½ teaspoon.
8. Cumin seeds, ½ teaspoon.
9. Salt as per taste.

PREPARATION:
Precook the dhal until they are cooked but the dhal is still whole and has a bite to it. This can be done either on stove top by cooking the dhal in a pot with enough water to immerse the dhal and cooked for 10-15 or microwave for 10 minutes. Wash the greens and chop it finely. Dice the onions and tomatoes and slit the green chilies into 2. Heat a pan with some oil. When the oil turns hot, add the mustard seeds and let it splutter. Then add the cumin seeds and fry for a few seconds. Now add the diced onions and sauté for a few minutes until the onions turn translucent. Then add the chopped tomatoes, chilies, ginger-garlic paste and keep sautéing until everything is well blended. Add some salt along with the chopped greens and dhal and mix everything well. Cook closed under low flame for 5-10 minutes until the greens are wilted and all the water is absorbed. Serve hot with rice.

A tablespoon of grated coconut can be added after switching off the stove. Even around ½ teaspoon of ground cumin seeds can be added in the end.

TURKEY CHOPS KUZUMBU/GRAVY



This is a simple gravy preparation for non-vegetarian dishes made by my grandma. I recently brought a packet of Shady Brook Farms turkey chops. The very interesting point that attracted me to getting these was that the fat percentage of these chops was 0% (absolutely fat-free), so this is a heart healthy and protein-packed dish. Generally white meat turkey turns a little bit dry when overcooked, so making any gravies or adding them to briyanis is ideal instead of baking them…I learnt that the hard way :( This gravy turned out good and the turkey was not dry at all. I have used very few ingredients in this gravy trying to keep the dish as simple as possible but the taste was not simple in anyway. That’s how our mothers and grandmothers cooked right…when I was a kid I remember my mom and grandma using only fennel seeds for spicy dishes (garam masalas were used only for making briyanis back then) and whatever dishes they made tasted good with the simple ingredients they used, so I have followed the footsteps of my granny here. Dear friends, I hope you all like my healthy and tasty turkey chops kozumbu. Here goes the recipe:


INGREDIENTS:

  1. Turkey chops or small pieces of turkey, around 1 pound.
  2. Red onions, medium-sized 2.
  3. Roma tomatoes, medium-sized, 2.
  4. Ginger-garlic paste, 1 teaspoon.
  5. Turmeric powder, ¼ teaspoon.
  6. Chili powder, 2 teaspoons.
  7. Coriander powder, 4 teaspoons.
  8. Fennel seeds, ½ teaspoon.
  9. Curry leaves, 1 spring.
  10. Chopped cilantro, ½ cup.
  11. Salt as per taste.


PREPARATION:

Clean the turkey and if needed, it cut be cut into small bite-size pieces. Dice the onions and tomatoes finely. Take a pressure cooker or pressure pan and a tablespoon of oil. When the oil is hot add the fennel seeds and fry them for a few seconds. Add the diced onions and curry leaves and sauté for a few minutes until the onions turn brown. Then add the tomatoes and ginger-garlic paste and keep sautéing for a few more minutes until everything is blended. Add the powders along with the turkey and add water just enough to cover everything. Pressure cook for up to 3-4 whistles (or after 2 whistle, lower the flame and let it simmer for 15 minutes) and switch off the stove to let the pressure down. If pressure cooker is not used, the gravy can be cooked under medium flame for 15-20 minutes until the turkey is cooked. Remove the lid and let the gravy simmer for a few more minutes without covering the pan. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve hot with idlis, dosas, rice, or chapathis.

REPOSTS FOR EVENTS

Here are some of my reposts of my recipes for the events conducted by Usha and Shama.

HEALTHY INSPIRATIONS EVENT
I am sending the following recipes to Healthy Inspirations Event-Soup



1. Split peas soup

2. Tomato and fava bean soup

3. Tomato soup with barley and pasta

4. Spinach and barley soup

5. Tomato and basil soup

6. Egg drop and egg noodle soup

7. Middle Eastern lentil soup

8. Black bean soup

9. 16 beans and pasta soup and roasted red bellpepper soup

10. Kale and white bean soup

11. Lima bean soup

12. Red bean soup


FAMILY FAVORITE EVENT
This is my post for Family Favorite Event conducted by Shama. These are the recipes I made on my hubby's birthday and everything here are his favorite :)

My hubby's favorite recipes

RAGI IDLI


RAGI IDLI
This is a totally diabetic-friendly recipe. Ragi or millet flour is a complex carbohydrate grain, which has a low glycemic index, meaning it raises the blood sugars slowly than compared to simple carbs (these are usually refined products made with sugars and all purpose flour). These are whole grains too hence very ideal for people who are watching their carbs or calorie intake. I make ragi idlis when we are in the mood for something different than our regular idlis and dosas. These idlis turn very soft and fluffy with a good earthy taste but the batter has to be fresh each time. The idlis do not turn out that soft when left even for a day in the fridge. Usually I prepare the idli batter with only one cup of flour at a time. One cup of flour gives around 12 small-size idlis.

INGREDIENTS:
1. Ragi or millet flour, 2 cups.
2. Urad dhal, 1 cup.
3. Fenugreek seeds, 1 tsp.
4. Salt as per taste.

PREPARATION:
Wash the urad dhal well and soak it for half-an-hour along with the fenugreek seeds. Grind the dhal into smooth paste with a blender or grinder. When the dhal is well done, add the millet flour and blend everything together to a smooth paste until the batter is fluffy. Add salt to the batter and mix everything well. Let it sit overnight or 6-7 hours to allow fermentation to take place. When the batter has risen to 1/3rd of its size, they are ready to be steamed. Pour them into idli moulds and let it steam for 5-7 minutes. Remove the hot idlis from the moulds and serve the idlis with chutney or sambar.

FINGER FISH/FISH STICKS



Finger fish or fish fingers are the Indian take on fish sticks and these are much spicier than fish sticks. I learnt this recipe from my co-sister. This is a favorite at my in-law’s place. When the whole family get-together, there will be finger fish in the menu for lunch that day. We (my MIL, co-sister, and I) usually prepare an elaborate lunch mostly consisting of many varieties of seafood or non-vegetarian dishes and also some vegetarian dishes for my hubby. It is fun when we talk all sorts of stories, sharing laughter, and cook together. In US, I prepare them rarely since I cook only for me and mostly I go for something quick and easy when preparing nonveg. Recently an Giada De Laurentis (I just love the way she talks and cooks…everything about her is very bright!) show got my attention where she prepared baked fish sticks with salmon. I think she even added some parmesan cheese. I wanted to try that for quite sometime, so I came up with my own fish sticks version here. Here I used salmon instead of the regular king fish used in India. I have followed my co-sister’s recipe here except that I have also substituted half of the bread crumbs with oats flour and threw in some dried herbs and seasonings into the bread crumbs. Again crazy-me went ahead and baked half of the fish sticks and shallow-fried the remaining half. Both the versions were good, though the baked fish took a little bit longer to crisp and they were not as brown as the fried one though the taste of both versions were similar. The fish sticks included in this post are the baked ones.


INGREDIENTS:

1. Fish fingers, around 10. I cut from 3 medium-size salmon fillets.

2. Chili powder, 1 teaspoon.

3. Turmeric powder, ½ teaspoon.

4. Corn flour, ¼ cup.

5. Ground oats, ½ cup.

6. Bread crumbs, ½ cup.

7. Any type of seasoning mixture like Italian and any fish seasoning, 1/2 tablespoon.

8. Any mixture of dried herbs, 1 teaspoon.

9. Ginger-garlic paste, 1 teaspoon.

10. Salt as per taste.


PREPARATION:

Clean the fish and cut into even thin fingers. Add the chili powder, turmeric powder, and salt and let them marinade for around half an hour. Mix the seasonings, dried herbs, salt, bread crumbs, and oats flour in a plate. Take the corn flour in a bowl, add a pinch of salt and some water, and mix it into a smooth paste. To fry the fish, heat a shallow pan with around ½ cup of oil. Take the fish fingers and dip them into the corn flour batter. Then coat them with the bread crumbs mixtures and shallow fry the fish until they turn golden brown on each side. Cooking around 4-5 fish fingers at a time is ideal. To cook the fish in the oven, arrange the fish fingers on a greased baking sheet leaving sufficient space in between and bake them at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Serve hot finger fish with your favorite sauce.

Variation: For a much spicier version, a teaspoon of chili powder can be added in the corn flour batter.

DUM ALOO



I adapted this recipe from Manjula's Kitchen. She has a great collection of recipe videos at her site, and everything is really good. I modified the recipe a little by adding onions and tomatoes along with garlic and also substituted the regular powder with whole spices. This version was also tasted great. It went well with chapathis. I even added some fat-free half and half to make the gravy richer. This is a low-fat recipe since I shallow fried the onions instead of deep frying and used fat-free yogurt and half and half. I know that this is not the traditional way of preparing dum aloo, but this one is sure a winner. I cut the potatoes into small pieces for fast and even cooking since I used very less oil and cooked them in a nonstick pan.

INGREDIENTS:
TO ROAST AND GRIND:
1. Sesame seeds, 1 tablespoon.
2. Fennel seeds, ½ teaspoon.
3. Coriander seeds, 1 tablespoon.
4. Dried coconut powder, 1 teaspoon.
5. Dried red chilies, 1-2.

OTHER INGREDIENTS:
1. Medium-size potatoes, 2.
2. Medium size red onion, 1.
3. Tomato, small, 1.
4. Green chilies, 1-2. (I have used mild Korean peppers).
5. Ginger-garlic paste, 1 teaspoon.
6. Besan, 1 tablespoon.
7. Paprika powder, 1 tablespoon.
8. Garam masala, 1 teaspoon.
9. Yogurt, 1 tablespoon.
10. Fresh cream or half and half, ¼ cup. (I have used fat-free half and half here)
11. Salt as per taste.
12. Lemon juice, 1 tablespoon.

PREPARATION:
Peel the potatoes and dice them into small bite-size pieces. The potato cubes can be deep-fried or shallow-fried until they are brown and tender. Drain the potatoes into a paper towel and let it cool. Roast all the ingredients given under roast and grind and let it cool. Grind it to a smooth paste by adding some water. In the same pan used for roasting, add the besan powder and keep frying it for 5 minutes under low flame until it loses its raw smell and transfer the besan to a plate. Take the blended contents into a bowl and add yogurt, besan, cream, salt, paprika powder, garam masala and mix everything well. Dice the onions, tomatoes, and green chilies finely. Heat the same pan used for roasting and add the diced onions and fry them for a few minutes until they are brown. Then add the diced tomatoes, green chilies, and ginger-garlic paste and keep sautéing until everything is well blended. Now add 1 cup of water, the paste, mix everything well and cook closed for 5 minutes under medium flame. After 5 minutes, add the fried potatoes along with chopped cilantro and let everything cook for a few more minutes until the desired consistency is reached. Serve hot dum aloo with any types of breads or chapathis.

BREAD BAJJI




With another batch of snow in our area on Tuesday, we were at home the whole week and my husband was working from home. I made these bajjis for evening snacks to go with tea. I think most of my friends were preparing fried foods during the storm. When I was speaking with Viki over the phone, she too mentioned about preparing plantain bajjis last evening. There is definitely something comforting about eating fried foods during winter. Coming on to the recipe, I make these bajjis all the time when we have friends over. It takes just a couple of minutes to prepare and join in the chatting. These fritters do turn out very crispy compared to regular bajjis made with veggies.


INGREDIENTS:

1. Any types of soft or hard loaves, may be around 2-3 slices if regular bread slices are used. (I used a whole wheat baguette here).

2. Besan or kadala maavu1 cup.

3. Rice flour, 1 tablespoon.

4. Chili powder, ½ teaspoon.

5. Salt as per taste.

6. Baking soda, a pinch, (optional).

7. Red food color, a pinch (optional) although I have not used it here.


PREPARATION:

Mix the flours, chili powder, salt, color, and baking soda. Add some water and mix it to a thick batter. The batter should be thick enough to coat the bread slices evenly. A drop of oil can be added to the batter to make the bajjis crispier. Cut the bread slices evenly. Heat a pot with around 1 cup of oil. When the oil is hot enough, dip the bread slices into the batter and gently put them into the oil. To check the temperature of oil, add a drop of the batter into the oil. If the oil is hot enough the batter will puff up and rise to top. Add a couple of bajjis at one time and when the fritters turn golden-brown, remove them from the oil, and drain them on a paper towel. Serve hot with chutneys or ketchup.


Variation: Some ginger-garlic paste can also be added to the batter.

TOMATO AND DILL RICE



This recipe is a variation of my regular tomato rice with added dill leaves. I started using dill leaves after reading so many dill recipes from the blogs. My first attempt with dill leaves did not go that well, I added it in a simple dhal and we found that the flavor of the leaves was too overpowering in the dish. Since then I had not used these leaves. Recently my friend made a different dish for us with dill. She made stuffed cabbage rolls for us and the stuffing that my friend used was like our regular tomato rice with dill leaves. We have been hooked on to this dish since then. I have been making the rice without stuffing them into cabbage leaves..that’s too tedious for me :( Dear friends, if any if you like dill leaves in pulav or rice varieties, then this dish is for you! Go ahead and try this dish, this combination is simply awesome.

As I was searching for the nutritional value of these leaves, I found some interesting facts about them in www.lifestyle.iloveindia.com which I wanted to share here:
• It helps in the secretion of bile and digestive juices, which further aid easy digestion. It helps stimulates the appetite as well.
• Dill provides great relief to those suffering from diarrhea, dysentery and menstrual disorders.
•• Dill shares similarity with garlic, in preventing bacterial overgrowth. The volatile oil of dill shows bacateriostatic effects.
• The herb is rich in calcium, which lowers the bone loss, particularly after menopause and in some conditions like rheumatoid arthritis.
• Dill helps in increasing the amount of urination and thereby, aids the body in getting rid of toxic elements.

These pretty leaves are healthy too, so here goes the recipe!

INGREDIENTS:
1. Cooked brown rice, 1 cup.
2. Ripe Roma tomatoes, medium-size, 3.
3. Red onions, medium-size, 2.
4. Fresh dill leaves, 1 small bunch.
5. Ginger-garlic paste, 1teaspoon.
6. Green chilies, 1-2.
7. Chili powder, ½ teaspoon.
8. Coriander powder, 1 teaspoon.
9. Turmeric powder, ¼ teaspoon.
10. Mustard seeds, ½ teaspoon.
11. Fennel seeds, ¼ teaspoon.
12. Curry leaves and cilantro for garnishing.
13. Salt as per taste.

PREPARATION:
Cook the rice separately and let it cool. The rice should not be mushy. Wash the dill leaves and dice the leaves finely. Dice the onion and tomatoes and slit the green chilies into 2. Heat a pan with 2 teaspoons of oil. When the oil is hot enough, add the mustard seeds and let it splutter. Then add the fennel seeds and fry for 2 seconds. Add the onions and curry leaves and sauté for a few minutes until the onions turn translucent. Now add the ginger-garlic paste, tomatoes, chopped dill leaves, and green chilies and sauté for a few more minutes until everything is blended. Add the chili powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder, and salt and mix well. Cook closed under low flame for 5 minutes until the raw smell of the spices goes. Now add chopped cilantro and rice and mix everything. If needed, 1 tablespoon of ghee can also be added. Let it sit under low flame and switch off the stove. Serve hot with raita or any spicy side dish.

Variation: A teaspoon of garam masala can also be added along with the other powders while cooking.

MUTTAI MASALA KUZUMBU/ EGG GRAVY



The big snow storm was over just 2 days back and it seems there is another snowfall expected tomorrow...not again! This has changed our travel plans. My hubby had planned a surprise trip to California for me but our flights have been canceled due to bad weather conditions :( This has been quite a harsh winter. Most of the roads have not yet been cleared from the previous storm and to top that, there will be some more accumulation tomorrow...sigh! Coming on to the recipe, this is a simple side dish that I make when I am preparing chapathis. Here the eggs are broken into the gravy and poached, which adds a nice flavor to the entire dish, a total delicacy for egg lovers like my hubby. I have also used tomato sauce instead of tomatoes. This makes the gravy more thicker and richer. Garam masala can also be used here if needed.


INGREDIENTS:

1. Eggs, 3.

2. Onions, medium-sized, 2.

3. Puréed tomatoes/canned tomato sauce ½ cup.

4. Green chilies, 1-2.

5. Ginger-garlic paste, 1 teaspoon.

6. Chili power, 1 teaspoon.

7. Coriander powder, 2 teaspoon.

8. Turmeric powder, ¼ teaspoon.

9. Fennel seeds, ¼ teaspoon.

10. Curry leaves, a sprig.

11. Chopped cilantro for garnishing.

12. Salt as per taste.


PREPARATION:

Dice the onions very finely and slit the green chilies into two. Heat a pan with some oil, add the fennel seeds and fry them for a few seconds. Then add the diced onions and curry leaves and sauté everything until the onions turn brown. Add the tomato sauce, green chilies, and ginger-garlic paste and keep sautéing until everything is well blended. Add the powders along with some salt and keep cooking under low flame until good smell comes from the mixture. A tablespoon of oil can also be added at this stage. Add 2 cups of water now and mix everything well. When the water comes to a boil, break the eggs into the mixture one by one and cook closed under medium flame for 10 minutes. The contents should not be mixed after the eggs are broken. Once the eggs are cooked, garnish the dish with chopped cilantro and serve the egg masala with rice, chapathis, idlis, or dosais.

PACHAI PARUPPU/MOONG DHAL PAYASAM

The blizzard of 2010 is over. This was how all the news channels described the snowstorm. Our area recorded around 29 inches of snow. There was nothing to do since Friday except to watch news all day. Luckily we had our friend and her kid staying with for the weekend, so we had a good time staying at home. This is how our apartment complex looked after 26 inches of snow.


Coming on to this recipe, I made this for our wedding anniversary. January and February are special months for us since our birthdays and wedding anniversaries fall during these months. I prepared a variety of dishes ranging from cinnamon rolls (this was my first attempt) to the usual chocolate cake I make. The cinnamon rolls were the top sellers. I used white whole wheat flour and I used chopped walnuts and dry fruits for the filling. Then I used a honey butter glaze on top. It was rich and delicious yet a little bit on the healthier side. Here are some of the pictures of dishes I made for our birthdays. The lunch menu I made for my hubby’s birthday consists of egg briyani, gobi Manchurian, raita, and plain rice and rasam with chocolate cake.

Today I am posting the recipe for the payasam. This is very traditional dessert recipe and an easy one. I used the microwave to cook the dhal and I have used agave nectar instead of sugar. When preparing this payasam for kids, I would recommend going for the full fat and full sugar version with jaggery and desi ghee. I have also used a lot of nuts and dry fruits to make it richer. Nuts pack a powerful nutritional punch and a delicious way to increase your good cholesterol (HDL) levels and they are filling too. I used a darker version of agave nectar and the taste of agave nectar in this paysam was almost like the regular ones with jaggery.

INGREDIENTS:
1. Split moong dhal, 1 cup.
2. Agave nectar/brown sugar/any sugar substitute, 1 cup.
3. Cardamom pods, 2.
4. Ghee/butter 1 tablespoon (I have used Promise Activ Butter here).
5. Dry fruits, raisins, and mixed nuts like cashews, pistachio etc chopped, around ½ cup.
6. Whole milk or condensed milk, 1 cup.

PREPARATION:
Crush the cardamom pods coarsely. Wash the dhal well and transfer it to a microwave-safe dish. Add enough water to cover the dhal, add the cardamom powder, and microwave it on high for 15-20 minutes until the lentils are cooked and soft. Meanwhile, heat a small pan with the butter or ghee and fry the dry fruits and nuts until good aroma comes from the mixture. Pour this over the cooked dhal, add the sugar or sweetener, and milk. Mix everything well and microwave for 5 more minutes. Some water can be added for the desired consistency, add extra ghee if needed and enjoy hot or cold.








CHICKPEAS STIR FRY



We have preparing for another major snowstorm tomorrow. It seems that this one is going to a record-breaking storm and the snow is expected to be around 17-27 inches! We finished our weekly grocery purchase and are well stocked for the week. Wow, it had been a very long day, so I am posting a very simple and easy dish today. Coming on to the recipe, I tasted this dish at my friend’s place. This was a simple dish with a few ingredients but the taste so good, a nice idea of using chickpeas as a side dish with rice instead of the regular masala gravies or sundals. This goes very well with rasam, any spicy gravies, and curd rice.


INGREDIENTS:

1. Cooked chickpeas or any other beans, 1 cup.

2. Onion, small, 2.

3. Green chilies, 1-2 depending on the spice preference.

4. Ginger-garlic paste, 1 teaspoon.

5. Mustard seeds, ½ teaspoon.

6. Cumin seeds, 1 teaspoon.

7. Turmeric powder, ½ powder.

8. Curry leaves and chopped cilantro for seasoning.

9. Salt as per taste.


PREPARATION:

Pressure cook the chickpeas and let it cool. Dice the onion finely and chop the green chilies into small circle. Heat a pan with some oil. When the oil is hot enough add the mustard seeds and let it splutter. Then add the cumin seeds and fry for a few seconds. Add the diced onions, chilies, and curry leaves and sauté for a few minutes until the onions turn brown. Then add the salt, turmeric powder, and ginger-garlic paste and keep sautéing until good smell comes from the mixture. Drain the water from the chickpeas and add it the mixture and mix everything well. Let it cook under low flame for 5 minutes, garnish with chopped cilantro, and serve with rice or chapathis.

SOYA MANCHURIAN

This is my first attempt at making soya Manchurian. I tried it both baking and deep frying the nuggets before adding them to the sauces. Both ways tasted really good and crispy but the soya nuggets did absorb a lot of oil while deep frying. I drained on them a on a paper towel to soak up all the oil before adding the veggies. This is a dry Manchurian dish and to make this into a gravy, half cup of water mixed with 1 teaspoon of corn flour can be added and cooked for a few minutes and the nuggets can be added after that.

INGREDIENTS:
1. Soya nuggets, 1 cup.
2. Red onion, 1.
3. Bell peppers (any color), ¼ of each color or a whole one.
4. All purpose flour, around ½ cup.
5. Corn flour, 2 tablespoons.
6. Rice flour, 1 tablespoon.
7. Chili powder, 2 teaspoons.
8. Salt as per taste.
9. Ginger-garlic paste, 1 teaspoon.
10. Garlic, 2 cloves.
11. Aji-No-Moto or MSG, 1 teaspoon, (optional).
12. Soy sauce, 2 tablespoons.
13. Tomato-garlic sauce or ketchup, 1 tablespoon.
14. Spring onions, 1 bunch.

PREPARATION:
Take a cup of soy nuggets and put them in boiling water for 2 minutes until the nuggets are puffed up. Let them sit for 5 minutes, then rinse them well, and drain them. Mix the corn flour, all purpose flour, rice flour, 1 teaspoon of chili powder, ginger-garlic paste, salt, and Aji-No-Moto along with some water into a smooth paste for dipping the nuggets. The batter should be thick enough to coat the nuggets. If needed, a pinch of food color can also be added to the batter. Deep fry the nuggets or bake them by placing them on a well-greased baking dish and bake them at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes until the nuggets turn crispy.

Meanwhile cut the green bell peppers and red onions into the long, thin strips and chop the garlic into very small pieces. Heat a pan with some oil. When the oil is hot enough, add the cut bell peppers, onions and crushed garlic and let them sauté for a minute. Then add 1 teaspoon of chili powder, salt, and tomato sauce and mix everything well and sauté for 5 more minutes under low flame and switch off the stove. Then add the baked or fried soya nuggets into the mixture and mix everything well. Garnish with spring onions on top and serve hot with rice or rotis.

COCONUT, LEMON, AND CURD QUINOA






This week I also tried quinoa as a rice substitute. Quinoa is the super-grain packed with protein. It contains all 9 essential amino acids that are required by the body as building blocks for muscles.It has magnesium, fiber, manganese and copper and a very ideal rice substitute because of its light texture. I tried making a couple of rice dishes like lemon rice, coconut rice, and curd rice with quinoa. Everything turned out pretty good, I really loved the quinoa curd rice very much. If you love the quinoa in soups or salads, then you are sure to love these dishes. I am not posting the recipes of the rice dishes. You can prepare your version of any variety rice by substituting the rice with quinoa.