Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Chole / Chickpeas or Garbanzo Beans in a spicy gravy

It has been raining crazily here for the past few days and craving to eat hot and spicy good food in this weather.I just got bored of eating rice everyday. So I decided to make some Chole and Chapathi for dinner one day. The Chole was hot and spicy with the right amount of spices and was very flavorful. It is a great accompaniment to any flat Indian bread. We also used a little bit of Chole sandwiched in between two toasted bread slices and had it for breakfast. It is just yummm...



Ingredients:
Garbanzo beans - 11/2 cup (Raw)
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Fennel seeds - 1/2 tsp
Onion - 1/4 cup finely chopped
Tomatoes - 1/4 cup finely chopped
Garlic - 1 clove- finely minced
Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Red Chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
Cilantro - A few sprigs
Lemon Juice - 1 tbsp
Butter - 2 tbsp
Salt - To taste

Method:

  • Soak the raw garbanzo beans overnight and pressure cook them for upto 3 whistles and set it aside.
  • In a pan heat the butter. 
  • After the butter has melted add the cumin seeds and the fennel seeds. 
  • Once they start sizzling add the onions and garlic. 
  • When the onions get translucent, add the tomatoes and saute them well.
  • Now add all the dry spices- cumin powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder, red chili powder and salt.
  • Once the melted butter starts to leave from the sides, add the cooked garbanzo beans and cover and cook on low heat for 15-20 minutes. Keep stirring in between to ensure that it does not burn at the bottom.
  • When the Chole is cooked, remove from heat and after about 5-10 minutes add the lemon juice and mix well.
  • Garnish with cilantro and serve hot with Roti or Rice.Enjoy!!

Notes:
  1. If you are using canned garbanzo beans, strain all the can liquid and wash it under cold running water and then use it. Else the preservative taste will affect the taste of the Chole.
  2. Do not add the lemon juice when the Chole is still over flame. Add it after removing from flame.
P.S: Since I had some problems with my camera, I could not click good step-by step pictures of the Chole. Will post it as soon as possible.Thanks for your understanding.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Somasi / Sweet fried Dumplings

Somasi - The name sounded very funny to me when I first heard it. It was like some Samosa or something I imagined. But I was wrong. It is a sweet that they make out of dates and coconut. I learnt to make this when I was at my granny's place. It is very easy to make and tastes very delicious. These dumplings are very yummy and very rich in taste.



Ingredients:

For the filling:

Khoya - 1/2 cup
Sugar - 1/2 cup
Ghee - 4 Tbsp
Cashews - 1/4 Cup
Raisins - 1/4 Cup
Freshly grated coconut - 1/2 cup

For the Dumpling cover:


All purpose Flour - 2 cups
Fine semolina - 2 Tbsp
Salt - A pinch

Oil for frying


Method:
  • Heat 3 Tbsp of ghee in a pan and add the khoya to it. Mix it well until the khoya becomes soft.

  • Now add freshly grated coconut to this khoya.

  • Add cashews and raisins and mix well.

  • Turn off the heat once the above ingredients are added. Add the sugar when the mixture is just warm.

  • In another bowl, add the all purpose flour, semolina and salt and make it into a stiff dough.

  • Let the dough sit for 30 minutes. The filling will also cool down completely by then.
  • Take a small portion of the dough and roll it out into a small circle.Place a spoon full of the sweet filling in the center of the dough.

  • Cover the dough over it in a semi-circular shape.


  • Take a fork and use its edges to form a design over the corner of the dumplings.


  • The Somasi/ Dumpling is now ready to fry.

  • In a pan heat oil. Once the oil is hot drop the dumplings and fry until golden brown. 

  • Enjoy it hot or cold!!

Notes:
Do not add the sugar when the mixture is hot, otherwise the mixture will melt.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Okra Stir-Fry

Okra also called as Lady's Finger and one of the most liked vegetable. It is one of the most versatile vegetables that I have known. My granny would always tell us that one can solve Mathematics very well if you eat a lot of Okra . I ate a lot of them for the very same reason . I guess there must definitely be a reason behind making kids eat different vegetables. Okra is very rich in fiber content. It is also considered good for people with elevated sugar levels.
Okra is used in stews and stir-fries. This stir-fry is very easy to prepare and gets ready in minutes.



Ingredients:

Okra - Cut into small pieces - 1 1/2 cups
Oil - 1 Tbsp
Mustard seeds - 1 Tsp
Urad Dal - 1/2 Tsp
Chana Dal - 1 Tsp
Red Chilli Powder - 1/2 Tsp
Turmeric Powder - 1/2 Tsp
Salt - According to Taste

Method:

  • Wash whole okra and pat it dry. Cut them into small round pieces.


  • In a pan heat oil and add the mustard seeds, urad dal, and chana dal.Let the mustard seeds crackle and allow the dal to brown a bit.

  • Add the cut okra into the seasoning in the pan.

  • Now add the turmeric powder, red chilli powder and salt.

  • Mix all the ingredients well and cover and cook for 7-8 minutes.

  • Serve hot with plain rice,Sambar/Rasam rice or with Phulkas.Enjoy!!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Tagging Chain!!

 After finishing my actual exams for my course, I was in for a surprise.  Nithu had tagged me in a fun questionnaire "I'm Tagged". We can form our own questions if we want to, but I found most the questions very logical and I did not find any reason to eliminate them. So I have answered those questions. I have made slight changes to a few questions but they are not much different from the original questions.

Shobha and Shanavi's Questions :


1. Are you a vegetarian, or have you thought about being one?
-Yes, I am a vegetarian.

2. Who inspired you to cook or bake?
-My Mom and My Grandma!!

3. How do you celebrate a favorite holiday of your choice?
-We have a family lunch together and play fun games.

4. Do you prefer to celebrate New Year's Eve with friends and/or family, or prefer to ring in the New Year quietly, and privately, at home?
-I celebrate New year's eve and New Year with my family because I want all of us to remain bonded together on the auspicious start of a new and a prosperous year!!

5. If someone were to ask you to bring dessert to a party, what would you bring? Store bought, or homemade, and if you were to make homemade, what would you make?
-I take great pleasure in cooking for people myself. I rarely get food from outside. If I were to prepare a dessert by myself, I would love to make Gaajar ka Halwa or Rava Kesari! These two are my all time favorite sweets!!

6. How will you celebrate your next birthday?
-The day would start by visiting the temple and a quiet dinner with my Husband!!If I were with my family, we would all go out for dinner!!

7. Do you have a New Year's resolution-and will you be sticking to it?
-I always make a resolution to be a better person all the time.We learn from our mistakes and I would not want to repeat any of them.

Gayathri's Questions :

1. What is your take on organic food , is it a big deal for you ?
-Organic food is considered to be more health and I prefer going with it as much as I can.

2. Do you time your breakfast,lunch & dinner or eat when you are hungry ?
-I stick to specific times for food of-late and I never skip breakfast!!

3. What is your inspiration to write a food blog ?
-Cooking has been my passion since long. I have always wanted to write a cook-book as I wanted a neat printed version of all my recipes. But one day when I was watching the movie Julie and Julia, the entire concept of blogging got introduced to me and thats how I landed here!!

4. How do you get new ideas for recipes?
- I like to keep our traditional food very alive. I try to fuse our traditional cooking with a lot of veggies available here and create a new fusion cuisine. In the end, it is just a trial and error method that will create a brand new dish!!

5. Name three ingredients you consciously avoid or eliminate even when the recipe calls for it ?
-Eggs, Aji-no-moto and any dairy product (cheese/yogurt) that has animal by-products like rennet/gelatin.

6. Name three things you have to use in most recipes ?
-Butter/Oil, Cumin seeds and Cilantro.

7. How important is eating meals together as a family to you?
-Eating meals together is the only way of getting together everyday. Each one gets so busy with work and studies nowadays that the age-old concept of eating together is fading away.As far as I am concerned, I need to make sure that the family eats together at least one meal a day.

8. You do not like a particular dish at your favorite restaurant, what will you do?
-We hardly go out to restaurants to eat. But if we do go to some place and the food is bad, I would leave comments on their feed-back form or approach the restaurant manager to give him my feedback and to ensure that they serve good quality food !

Now to all the others that I am going to tag!! You can answer any set of questions or you can
pick any question from both the set and can form your own set of questions. The choice is completely yours. Please do pass on this tagging chain and keep it going!!
  1. Priya Sreeram
  2. Priya
  3. Raji
  4. Kurinji
  5. Divya Vikram
  6. Vibaa Sridharan
  7. Preetha
  8. Pushpa
  9. Sayantani
  10. Siri
  11. Subhashini
  12. Shivani

Vegetable Pulav

Vegetable Pulav is a very easy rice dish. It can be made with a lot of vegetables and the choice of vegetables is totally personal. I like to make it very colorful and vibrant using green peas, carrots and kidney beans. This is a very simple dish and mildly spiced. It tastes best served with Raita made out of cucumber, onions and curd.



Ingredients:

Cooked Basmati Rice - 1 1/2 cups
Butter - 2 Tbsp
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Cinnamon stick - 1" stick
Cloves - a few
Bay leaves - 2-3
Star Anise - 2
Mace - 2-3
Black Peppercorns - A Few
Frozen/ Fresh green peas and carrots - 1 cup
Butter beans / Kidney beans - 1 cup
Salt - To Taste


Method:

  • Take 2 Tbsp of butter in a pan and allow it to melt.

  • To this add cumin seeds,cinnamon sticks,cloves, star anise, cloves, mace, bay leaves and black peppercorns.

  • Allow all these dry spices to roast in the butter for 3-5 minutes. Then add 1 cup of green peas and carrots and add salt to taste. Cook  for 5-7 minutes.

  • Add the kidney beans/ butter beans and allow it to cook for 5 more minutes.

  • Once the vegetables are cooked, add them into the bowl of cooked Basmati rice.

  • Mix the vegetables well with the cooked rice. Serve hot!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Arachivitta Kuzhambu / Potato Sambar

Arachivitta Kuzhambu/Sambar is a hot favorite in my home. It is also prepared with many other vegetables and tastes the best with Idlis, Dosas and with plain White Rice. It involves grinding of a simple masala for the Sambar which gives the Sambar a fresh taste and a nice rich flavor.




Ingredients:

Potatoes - 2 Medium Sized
Tamarind paste - 1 Tsp
Toor Dal - 1/2 Cup
Turmeric powder - A Pinch
Asafoetida - A Pinch
Salt - To taste


For the Masala:

Cumin Seeds - 1/2 Tsp
Mustard Seeds - 1/2 Tsp
Dry Red Chillies - 3-4
Urad Dal - 1 Tsp
Chana Dal - 1 Tsp
Coriander seeds - 1 1/2 Tbsp
Freshly Grated Coconut - 1 Cup


For the Seasoning:

Ghee/Clarified Butter - 1 Tbsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 Tsp
Curry Leaves - A Few
Cilantro - A Few to garnish

Method:
  • Peel and cut the potatoes into bite sized pieces.

  • In a pan add 1/2 cup of Toor Dal, a pinch of turmeric and a pinch of salt and add water .



  • Add the cubed potatoes to the dal and pressure cook the dal for upto 3 whistles.

  • In another pan, add a few drops of oil. Add cumin seeds, mustard seeds, Urad Dal, Chana Dal, Dry Red Chillies and Coriander seeds.

  • Dry roast this spice mixture until aroma from the spices start to get released.

  • Now add freshly grated coconut to this spice mixture.

  • Dry roast the coconut with the spice mixture for about 3-5 minutes until the coconut gets roasted.


  • Grind the mixture into a paste by adding a little water. Let the paste be a little coarse.


  • Take 1 tsp of tamarind paste and dissolve it in 1 cup of warm water.

  • Take a pan and add tamarind water. Add asafoetida and salt to the tamarind water.Be careful with the salt as we have already added some salt while boiling the dal.


  • Let the tamarind water come to a boil. Then add the ground paste to this water and mix it well.

  • Allow this mixture to come to a boil. Then add the boiled Dal and potatoes to this and mix it well. Allow this Sambar to boil well for about 10 minutes.

For the seasoning:
  • Take 1 tbsp of ghee and add 1 tsp of mustard seeds to it.Once the mustard seeds pop up add curry leaves. Mix the seasoning well and turn off from heat.

  • Add this mixture to the Sambar.

  • Garnish the Sambar with finely chopped cilantro.

  • Serve hot with Idlis, Dosas or with White Rice.


Notes:

  • You can also use vegetables like shallots, drumsticks, chayote, green beans or white pumpkin to prepare this dish.
  • If you are using tamarind instead of tamarind paste, then you can take tamarind about the size of a lime.
  • You can use Oil also to do the seasoning. Ghee gives it a much richer taste.
  • Adding salt while boiling the dal is optional. You may choose to skip the addition as per your preference.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Kovakkai Poriyal / Ivy Gourd Stir-Fry

Kovakkai is called Ivy-Gourd in English and Tindora in Hindi. They are like the teeny-weeny versions of cucumbers. I found them at the local Asian Grocery store the other day and was very excited to find them after a really very long time. The stir-fry or the dry curry is very easy to make and requires just the basic ingredients. It goes very well with Roti or rice.



Ingredients:

Ivy Gourd - Sliced - 2 Cups
Oil - 2 - 3Tsp
Mustard seeds - 1 Tsp
Urad Dal - 1 Tsp
Chana Dal - 1 Tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 Tsp
Chili Powder - 1/2 Tsp
Salt - To Taste
Cilantro - To Garnish

Method:
  • Wash the Ivy Gourd well and cut them into long and thin slices.

  • Take a wok, add 2-3 tsp of oil. Once the oil is hot add mustard seeds.

  • Add Urad Dal and Chana Dal as the mustard seeds pop up.


  • Now add the sliced Ivy Gourd to the seasoning.

  • Mix the Ivy Gourd well with the seasoning.


  • Add salt according to taste. 

  • Then add the turmeric powder and Chilli powder. 


  • Mix well and cover and cook for 8-10 minutes.
  • Keep stirring in-between so that vegetable does not burn at the bottom of the pan.

  • Once the Ivy-Gourd turns pale  and soft and is easily breakable with a spoon, the stir-fry is done.Serve hot and Enjoy !!