Thursday, March 25, 2010

Corn Cheddar Delight and away for a month!

The beginning of spring and the last remaining shreds of winter - bright sunshine mixed with the still slightly cold temperatures - the ideal weather conditions for something hot and spicy.

If you, like me, are among those who love to eat good yummy savoury food, but shy away from the fried stuff - this one is bull's eye - without a single drop of oil or butter and easy to make as well! This is what my husband named AMBLE - Assemble, Mix, Bake - Lets Eat!

I shall be away on a vacation for the next 4 weeks - hope to experience some really nice new food and more importantly, food for thought for further recipes :-). Shall miss this space, but will be back soon! Until then, happy cooking. 



Ingredients

1/2 cup - corn, boiled and roughly crushed
20 grams - roasted peanuts, chopped into small pieces
1/2 tsp - red chilli flakes (adjust according to your taste)
25 gram - cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 cup - all purpose flour
4 tbsp - low fat yogurt
1/2 tsp - bicarbonate of soda
1/4 tsp - pepper powder (adjust according to your taste)
1/4 tsp - dried mint leaves, finely crushed
1/4 tsp - cumin seeds
salt to taste

Method
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degree C and line a baking tray.
  2. Add all the ingredients in a bowl and mix lightly. Spoon the mixture on the tray and spread them slightly.
  3. Place the tray in the center of the preheated oven and bake for approx 10 - 12 minutes.
  4. Serve hot with a dip/chutney of your choice.


Enjoy!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Chocolate Hazelnut Cream Biscuits

...and back after a rather long period of time to my favourite - chocolate!

Apart form being a big fan of chocolate, I am a big biscuit lover. My normal breakfast is a couple of biscuits with a glass of milk, and I love trying out all varieties of biscuits. And what I love even more than normal biscuits are cream filled ones - but am sometimes put off by the amount of butter and cream used (as in the original idea for this recipe which I got from a magazine - dont remember which one). So, here is a recipe with no butter, and very little cream. 



These were made for a group of children - and were a big hit with them. 


Ingredients

115 grams - all purpose flour
2 tbsp - cocoa powder sweetened
5 tbsp - sunflower oil
3 tbsp - sugar
4 tbsp - low fat milk

For the filling 

120 gram - plain chocolate, roughly chopped
2 tsp - cream
4 tbsp - hazelnuts, finely crushed
a few tsp of cocoa powder (sweetened), to sprinkle on the cookies (optional)

Method
  1. Preheat the oven to 150 degree C and line a baking tray.
  2. Mix together the flour and cocoa powder in a bowl.
  3. In another bowl, mix together the oil, milk and sugar.
  4. Add the liquid mixture to the flour mixture and mix to form a dough.
  5. Roll out the dough and cut into rounds with the help of a cookie cutter and place on the baking tray.
  6. Place the tray in the centre of the preheated oven and bake until done (sorry, I didn't note down the exact baking time)
  7. Let the cookies cool on the baking tray for a couple of minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  8. Meanwhile, place the chocolate and cream on a double boiler and mix until the chocolate melts completely.
  9. Add finely crushed hazelnuts and mix well.
  10. Scoop up approx 1 tbsp of chcolate mixture and roll them into balls and flatten them gently and sandwich the biscuits with the chocolate cream. (this step has to be done a little quickly so that its easy to make the sandwich, without breaking the biscuits)
  11. Sprinkle the cocoa powder and serve.



    Enjoy!

    Friday, March 19, 2010

    Gugni Chaat

    Another street food recipe from the streets of Kolkata...I am not sure about its origins, but as long as it tastes good and I get to eat a lot of it - I'm happy!

    This is one of the few street food varieties served hot - and therefore also a favourite especially in winter. 



    Whats more - the Gugni chaat is a healthy street food - almost a contradiction in terms - without a single drop of oil / butter / ghee - and lots of proteins and some vitamins to boot.

    The spice-mix used for the gugni chaat is the same as that for Jhaalmuri- so there are obvious synergy effects - but a clear danger of addiction as well :-)





    Ingredients

    1 cup - whole yellow peas (peela matar), soaked overnight (for more details, see here)
    1 - tomato, finely chopped
    1 - potato, boiled and chopped
    2 tbsp - coriander leaves
    1/2 tbsp - ginger, finely chopped
    1 - green chilli, finely chopped (adjust according to your taste)
    1/2 lemon sized ball - tamarind, soaked in a little water (adjust according to your taste)
    1 cup - water
    4 - 5 tbsp - murimasala, for recipe see here
    1/2 tsp - rock salt
    salt to taste

    To garnish

    1/2 tbsp - ginger, finely chopped
    1 - green chilli, finely chopped
    1 tbsp - coriander leaves, finely chopped
    1/4 cup - onions, finely chopped
    lemon juice, according to your taste

    Method 
    1. Pressure cook soaked peas in sufficient water for 5 whistles or until done. Strain the water and keep aside.
    2. Extract pulp of the tamarind and strain to remove fibre.
    3. In a non stick pan, add cooked peas, tamarind pulp and the rest of the ingredients and simmer till all the water evaporates. (approx 5 - 8 minutes)
    4. Garnish and serve hot.


    Sending this to Mirch Masala My Legume love affair MLLA 21, brain child of Susan of The Well-Seasoned Cook

    Enjoy!

    Tuesday, March 16, 2010

    Spicy Pineapple Salsa

    Thanks a ton for all the lovely comments for the Papad Parathas- and here is the pineapple salsa that went along with them.

    As I have mentioned in a previous post see here, pineapple is one of my favourite fruits. Much more commonly used in desserts, I decided to do something different with pineapples this time.

    This salsa was made especially spicy for my husband, who is a chilli-freak - and I had some tears and sniffles when I ate it - so unless you are a seasoned chilli eater (pun intended!) reduce the amount of spices from the ones mentioned here.


    Ingredients

    1/2 cup - pineapple slices, chopped
    1/4 tsp - dried lemon grass
    1/3 cup - onions, finely chopped
    3/4 tsp - garlic, finely chopped
    1/2 tsp - red chilli flakes
    1 tsp - sunflower oil
    1/3 cup - water
    1 tbsp - jaggery, (gud), roughly chopped, adjust according to your taste
    1 - star anise
    1 - bayleaf
    2 pieces of cloves
    a generous pinch of nutmeg powder
    a pinch of citric acid
    salt and pepper, according to taste

    Method
    1. Heat oil in a non-stick pan and add the onions, garlic and bayleaf and cook for a couple of minutes on a medium heat.
    2. Add the rest of the ingredients and cook for 4-5 minutes and serve.

    Thursday, March 11, 2010

    Papad Parathas

    Papads or Poppadums are a favourite Indian meal accompaniment - and are eaten either before meals as an appetizer, or with meals (especially with rice) as a savoury spicy side or even after meals as a sort of a mouth-cleaner and mouth freshener, which is what the original purpose was.

    In many parts of India and in many families (including mine!), papad eating is almost an obsession and a must-have with every meal. Papads come in almost as many varieties as there are spices - plus the variations on dough, thickness and amount of moisture remaining.

    And they can be preapred in various ways - fried or roasted or even boiled and put into a gravy - and just plain or with any number of toppings - oil, ghee, onions, chilli, cumin, coriander leaves, lemon juice and so on.

    Here is a rather unconventional papad based recipe. We had these Parathas with a spicy pinepapple salsa (recipe in the next post).My husband is a big papad fan, and was absolutely thrilled by the recipe.



    Ingredients

    For Papad Churi
    2 - papad, roasted
    2 tsp - sunflower oil
    1/2 tsp - cumin powder
    1 tsp -  red chilli powder (adjust according to your taste)
    1/2 tsp - chaat masala powder



    Crush the roasted papads into fine pieces with hand, add the oil and the spices and mix well.

    For the dough
    1 cup - whole wheat flour
    water to knead
    a pinch of salt
    a little ghee to brush the dough
    a little ghee to roast the parathas


    Method 

    1. Add the flour and salt in a pan, add water and knead into a soft but managable dough. Brush the dough with a little ghee and knead again for a minute. Cover with a moist muslin cloth and keep aside for half an hour.
    2. Divide the dough into 4 parts and shape each into a ball and slightly flatten them. Add the papad churi in the center and seal the ball.Roll these balls into parathas.
    3. Roast the paratha on both sides on a non stick pan, brushing a little ghee on each sides until brown spots appear on the surface.
    4. Serve hot. We had these parathas with a spicy pineapple salsa.
    Makes 4


    The Crunchy taste even after roasting the Parathas adds a special zing !


    The rather unusal combination of papad n pineapple turned out to be a big hit.


    This goes to Srilekha's  EFM Parathas and Gravies/Curries Series 


    Enjoy!

    Monday, March 8, 2010

    Caramelised Walnut and Raisin Muffins

    The name says it all! This recipe was made especially for a friend visiting us who is a big fan of everything sweet and everything baked, and loves to try out new variants on old recipes. He is also a big nut-freak, so here is this nutty crunchy munchie sweetie recipe for him...

    Ingredients 


    1 1/2 cup - all purpose flour
    1/2 cup - oat flakes
    1/3 cup - raisins
    6 1/2 tbsp - muscovado sugar (adjust according to your taste)
    8 tbsp - sunflower oil
    12 tbsp - low fat milk
    5 tbsp - low fat yogurt
    1/2 tsp - bicarbonate of soda
    1 tsp - baking powder
    1/4 tsp - clove powder
    a generous pinch of nutmeg powder


    To caramelise  


    1 1/4 tbsp - muscovado sugar
    1/2 cup - walnuts, roughly chopped




    Add 1 1/4 tbsp of sugar and the walnuts in a pan and cook, stirring continously,  until the sugar melts completely and coats the walnuts. (approx 2-3 minutes on a high flame)


    Method
    1. Preheat the oven to 180 degree C and line the muffin tray with 10 papaer cases.
    2. Add the flour, oat flakes, raisins, caramelised walnuts, soda, baking powder, clove powder and nutmeg powder in a bowl and mix well.
    3. In another bowl, add the oil, yogurt, milk and sugar and mix well.
    4. Whisk in the liquid mixture to the flour mixture and mix lightly.
    5. Spoon the mixture into the paper cases and place the muffin tray in the center of the preheated oven and bake for approx 10 - 15 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center of the muffin comes out clean.
    6. Let the muffins cool in the muffin tray for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. 
    Makes 10 muffins



    Enjoy!

    Wednesday, March 3, 2010

    Vegetable Chutney Pulao

    As mentioned in the previous post , I usually always have coriander or coriander-mint chutney at home and use it in a variety of dishes.

    I had some leftover rice from the previous day - and was alone for lunch. And, as is sometimes the case, not in too much of a mood to spend a long time in the kitchen. The solution was pretty obvious but also pretty yummy, as well as pretty pretty!

    This is a simple, quick to make recipe - and a good alternative to instant noodles and other such like quick meals - which I generally have a habit of eating when in a hurry and alone. 



    Ingredients 

    1 medium size - onion, finely chopped
    1/4 cup - red bell pepper, finely chopped
    1/3 cup - corn
    1 clove of garlic
    1 - green chilli, finely chopped (adjust according to your taste)
    2 1/2 cup - boiled rice ( I used kala jeera rice)
    a few curry leaves
    1/2 tsp - cumin seeds
    1/2 tsp - garam masala
    1 tsp - sunflower oil/ghee
    salt to taste
    coriander to garnish

    Method 
    1. Heat oil in a non stick pan, add the cumin seeds  and when the seeds splutter add the curry leaves, green chilli, garlic and onion and saute for 3-4 minutes. Add the bell pepper and cook again for a couple of minutes.
    2. Add the corn and the chutney and cook again for a minute. Now add the boiled rice and  the rest of the ingredients and cook for a couple of minutes.
    3. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with raita/yogurt. 


    This goes to Mahimaa's Cooking Basics Event


    Enjoy!

    Coriander Chutney

    As I mentioned in one of my post, coriander and mint are a hard-to-top combination. I generally have either a coriander chutney or a coriander mint chutney in my refrigerator - it is a very handy recipe either as a dip with snacks, or as a add-on to a wide variety of sauces and curries, or even as a condiment with rice or bread.

    The chutney can be kept frozen for a couple of weeks (without the lemon juice and salt - and add the salt and lemon juice after defrosting). I do it in normal ice trays, giving small handy blocks - and I can defrost as many as I need. So you can easily make a larger portion and you are fixed and ever-ready for the next couple of weeks!


    Ingredients 

    1 cup - coriander leaves, chopped
    (optionally add 1/2 cup mint leaves, chopped)
    2 - green chillies, chopped (adjust according to your taste)
    2 inch piece - ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
    1/4 tsp - cumin seeds
    1 tsp - lemon juice
    salt to taste

    Method 
    1. Put all the ingredients in a grinder and make a paste using as little water as possible.

    Enjoy!

    Monday, March 1, 2010

    Thandai

    Holi is the Indian festival of colours, marking the end of winter and the beginning of spring. It is the favourite festival of the year for kids across large parts of India - they play around throwing water and coloured powder on each other.

    It is also the time (as any other time of the year) for lots of special recipes - and moms are on overdrive the few days before Holi.

    The temperatures are on the rise, and the ideal drink of the season is something which can be drunk cool - but has enough "hot" ingredients in case the weather remains inclement. This ideal mix is the Thandai - the very name signifies "cool".

    Thandai can be drunk either fresh, or as a syrup which one can mix any time with milk - this is the syrup variant, which has the advantage that it can be stored for a couple of weeks upto a couple of months (highly unlikely that you actually reach the couple of months stage, as it is also very yummy!)

    Special thanks to my mother-in-law for this very special recipe and to all of you out there - a very happy Holi!





    Ingredients 


    1/4 cup - almonds, soaked overnight


    to be soaked together overnight


    1 tbsp heaped - poppy seeds, khuskhus
    1 tbsp heaped - dried melon seeds, magaj


    to be ground together and soaked overnight in 1/4 th cup water


    1/2 tbsp - green cardamom
    1/2 tbsp - whole black pepper
    1 tbsp - fennel seeds, saunf


    2 cups - sugar
    2 cups - muscovado sugar( since I ran out of sugar so I used muscovado)
    1 1/4 cup - water 
    2 tbsp - rose petal spread, gulkand
    25-30 strands - saffron
    1 tsp - rose water, gulabjal
    a generous pinch of cardamom powder
    a generous pinch of pepper powder


    Method 

    1. Blanch the almonds. Grind together the blanched almonds, poppy seeds and melon seeds using very little water. Sieve/press through a muslin cloth and extract all the liquid and keep aside. ( you can use the residue in any gravy)
    2. Add the 2 tbsp of rose petal spread to the ground cardamom-pepper-fennel mixture and mix well. Sieve/press through a muslin cloth and extract all the liquid and keep aside. Discard the residue.
    3. Mix both the extracted liquids and keep aside. ( I got approx 1 cup of extracted liquid)
    4. Add the 4 cups of sugar and 1 1/4th cup of water in a deep sauce pan and cook until the sugar dissolves. Bring to boil and simmer for a couple of minutes. Remove from the heat and let it cool for a minute and then add the extracted liquid to it.
    5. Retransfer to the heat and boil on a high flame for a minute and then further simmer for 5-7 minutes, stirring continously. (be careful at this stage as it may splutter) 
    6. Remove from the heat and cool till warm and then add the saffron strands, cardamom powder, pepper powder and rose water and mix well.
    7. If sugar crystals are formed in the thandai while cooling down, add 1/2 - 3/4 cup of boiling water and mix well. 
    8. When the thandai completely cools down and has no sugar crystals then transfer to a sterilised bottle.


    Add 2 tsp of thandai syrup in a cup of  milk and mix well. Garnish with almonds and pistachio and serve chilled. 




    Enjoy!

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