Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Carrot Muffins

Seeing a huge number of events around the blog world, I realized how infrequent I am in participating in them..... This may be because I am not so comfortable in cooking within constraints - cook this in this month, use these ingredients, and so on. Though I make a mental note when I see some event, it slips off my mind, and I realize I haven’t participated, once the event is over!
But of late, i decided to take part in as many events as possible, seeing the effort and passion with which co-bloggers host events....
Well, coming to this "Tried and Tasted" event hosted by Champa and started here, I must confess I had forgotten totally about it till last week. Luckily, I wasn't too late this time! So noted down this Carrot Muffins' recipe from Divya's blog and tried it out with some modifications over the weekend, in a hurry. I tasted it, and felt it could have been sweeter; didn’t serve it to anyone that day since we were all heading for a wedding. I didn’t have time to click pictures as well that day and just left that part of the work for the next day.

And guess what? By the time I returned home from work next evening, there were only two of them, saved for me!! I was happy that folks at home had liked it! Took pictures of the remaining two :)
Made the following modifications to the recipe, though:
• Omitted eggs - replaced it with butter and yoghurt
• Omitted the nuts
• Added Brown sugar as well as I wanted to use up some

Carrot Muffins

Preparation time : 15 min
Cooking time : 20-25 min
Makes : 12 muffins

Grated Carrot - 2 cups
All Purpose Flour – 2 cups
Sugar – 1 ¼ cup
Brown sugar - ¼ cup
Melted Unsalted Butter – ¼ cup
Yoghurt - 1/3 cup
Vegetable oil - ¼ cup
Grated coconut - ¼ cup
Baking Powder – 1 tsp
Baking Soda – ½ tsp
Ground cinnamon - ½ tsp
Salt - ¼ teaspoon
Grated coconut - ¼ cup
Vanilla extract - 1 teaspoon

• Peel and finely grate carrots
• Preheat Oven to 180 degrees C.
• Line the Muffin tray with the Muffin Liner Paper Cups. I simply greased and dusted the muffin tray.
• In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and ground cinnamon
• Add grated carrots and coconut
• In a separate bowl whisk together the melted butter, oil, yoghurt and vanilla extract.
• Fold the wet ingredients into the flour mixture, stirring just until moistened.
• Evenly divide the batter between the prepared muffin cups and bake for 20 - 25 minutes on low rack until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Mine took exactly 25 minutes.
• Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes

Tips n Tricks:
• Do not over mix the mixture. Let it remain crumbly.

• Chopped walnuts/pecans can be added
• One beaten egg can be added to get smoother muffins, in place of butter and yoghurt
• Coconut can be replaced with crushed pineapple

Sending this to Champa's Bake-off event as well.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Black eyed beans in Peanut Masala

It gets too boring with the same side dishes for chapathis in the mornings.... the same dal, the same gojjus or palyas...... Dee hates chapathis unless there is some interesting, or new variety of side dish.
Not every time when in-laws decide the breakfast menu as chapathis that I get to try out something new for side dish... So this time, I decided the previous night itself that to cook some peanut masala based lobia gravy, and soaked the beans. Peanut based masala is not something that I make regularly, so added ingredients on a fair guess.... it did turn out to be tasty. And definitely it is full of proteins..... we enjoyed the chapathis, courtesy this gravy!
Here’s how I made it....
Black eyed beans in Peanut Masala
Preparation time : 10 min
Cooking time : 15 min, other than time taken to soak and cook the beans
Serves : 5-6

Black eyed beans / Alasande kalu / lobia - 1 cup
Onion - 2 medium sized
Garlic - 4-5 cloves
Ginger - 1” cube, grated
Green chilies - 2-3, vary depending on taste
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Cooking oil - 1Tbsp
Garam masala powder - 1 tsp
Salt - ½ tsp or as per taste
Sugar - ¼ tsp

For the masala
Tomatoes - 1 medium sized
Red chilies - 3-4, vary depending on taste
Channa dal - 2 tsp
Urad dal - 2 tsp
Peanuts - 1 Tbsp
Coconut - 2 Tbsp, grated
Coriander seeds - 2 tsp

• Soak the beans in enough water overnight
• Cook it in a pressure cooker for just 1 whistle, or till cooked soft
• Boil tomatoes. Tomatoes can also be boiled along with the beans in the cooker
• Meanwhile, dry roast red chilies, dals, peanuts, coriander seeds till aromatic
• Allow to cool slightly and grind it with tomatoes, adding water used to cook beans
• Slit green chilies, and chop onions into medium sized pieces
• In a heavy bottomed pan, heat oil and add cumin seeds, crushed garlic, ginger, slit green chilies
• Add the chopped onions and sauté till they turn translucent
• Now add the ground paste and cook for a few minutes till the raw smell of onion is gone.
• Add garam masala, salt, sugar and mix well
• Now add the cooked beans and bring to boil for a few minutes. Adjust the consistency with suitable amount of water. The beans should absorb the flavors and taste of the masala.
• Garnish with chopped coriander
• Serve with chapathis or rotis or rice

Tips n Tricks:
• If the gravy turns out to be too thin, then, just take out a tablespoon of the cooked beans, and grind it to a coarse paste and add it back to the gravy. This way, you get the right consistency and a creamy texture, without compromising on the taste

I'm sending this to MLLA 24, started by Susan and hosted by Diana here.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Halasinakai (Raw Jackfruit) Palya

This is a South Karnataka specialty. Raw jackfruit being seasonal and rare to find in market makes this a special dish. This being jackfruit season, there are many vegetable shops selling raw jackfruits in the market.We get a couple of raw jack fruits once or twice a year and make a few rare dishes with it. I agree it is cumbersome to peel and chop it... but I bet it is worth the effort. It has a unique flavor and taste, different from other veggies.
Halasinakai Palya

Preparation time : 15 min
Cooking time : 20 min
Serves : 4-5

Raw jackfruit - 1 small sized
Coconut - ½ cup, grated
Green chilies - 5-6, depending on taste
Curry leaves - 2 sprigs
Coriander leaves - 1 Tbsp, chopped
Cooking oil - 1 Tbsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Chana dal - 2 tsp
Urad dal - 2 tsp
Asafetida - a pinch, powdered
Turmeric - a pinch
Tamarind - a small marble sized ball
Salt - ½ Tsp or as per taste

Chopped raw jackfruit

• Roughly peel the outer skin of raw jackfruit and chop into pieces
• In a pressure cooker, cook it till soft, with a little water. It takes about 3-4 whistles and let the pressure come down
• Meanwhile, coarsely grind coconut, green chilies, coriander and asafetida without adding any water
• In a thick bottomed pan, heat oil, add mustard, allow to splutter
• Turn the heat low, add channa dal and urad dal and stir
• Add curry leaves and turmeric and stir for half a minute till all the ingredients are properly roasted.
• Drain the cooked raw jackfruit and add it to the pan. Add tamarind pulp, salt and the ground mixture and mix well
• Sauté well for about 5 minutes till the raw smell is gone
• Serve it with rice or as a side dish for chapathis/rotis

Tips n Tricks:
• When cutting the jackfruit, smear your hands and the knife with oil liberally. This avoids the knife getting stuck in the sticky jackfruit

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Benne Biscuit

If you’re living in Bangalore or around, I’m sure you’d be very much aware of this famous ‘Benne biscuit’ from Iyengar’s bakery. Benne biscuit actually means ‘Butter cookies’, but strangely, the recipe does not contain any butter at all! It is so called, since it is as smooth and melting as butter.
This was one of the cookies mom used to bake the most! (Yep, unlike me, she used to be a regular baker; of late she had stopped, and with this she’s again back into baking, thankfully!). Our holidays start and she’d bake a couple of varieties of cookies and this used to be one of them most often; whenever some cousin of mine would be traveling, she’ll immediately bake a batch or two of these and deliver it to their home, which they’d carry with them and then after a couple of days call up mom to say it was good and got over! Some kids come home, these benne biscuits are ready; For Navaratri, these are ‘bombe bagana’ for one day! It used to be that famous at home back then. And it used to be the simplest thing to ever bake.
Unfortunately, though I used to make them at mom’s place before wedding, when I tried to make them myself they had turned out to be kindof disaster! I say kindof because my FIL still liked it and ate them, though I was not a bit satisfied with it. May be because of the proportions, I guessed. This time, I again made mom do it with her old, recently repaired oven, and observed the proportions carefully. She skeptically made them since she had not baked for a few years, but well, they came out awesome! And both of us were glad!BTW, the only mistake I could figure out I had done was that I had added more oil, and mom used considerably lesser. So that made the difference I guess.
Here’s how to make them....
Benne Biscuit
Preparation time : 15 min
Cooking time : 15 - 20 min
Makes : ~20

Maida - 2 cups (All purpose Flour)
Cooking oil - ¾ - 1 cup
Castor Sugar - 1 ½ cups (finely powdered sugar)
Cooking soda - ½ tsp (or Baking powder - ¾ tsp)
Salt - a small pinch

• Grease a baking tray with a little butter and keep aside till the dough is ready
• In a bowl mix flour, soda and salt well
• Mix in castor sugar evenly
• Add the oil little by little, ensuring the mixture is just crumbly and not into binding consistency
• Make small balls of marble size, of the dough with the help of your palms and smoothen it
• Place these on the greased tray, leaving enough space for expansion
• Place the tray in the preheated oven and bake at 190ºC for 15-18 minutes. Check after about 12 minutes and adjust the time, not to over bake or under bake.
• Let it stand in the oven for 10-15 minutes before serving hot and melting cookies
• Allow it to cool completely and then store away the rest in a tight container

Tips n Tricks:
• Do not use too much oil to make the dough smooth. Let it be crumbly and you can still easily shape it with palm
• Do not forget to preheat the oven

• Using butter gives a crisp texture, whereas using only coil gives smooth and melting cookies.
• Using vanaspathi /dalda give the exact taste as in Bakery, but since it is not so healthy, we prefer to replace it with oil

I'm finally sending an entry to Champa's Bake-off event...

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Rice-gruel Soup

I generally cook rice in a pressure cooker. Sometimes, when cooking for some special dishes, I cook soaked rice in a vessel and drain off the water. I feel bad to simply drain off the water, as it’ll be rich in starch....
So made this soup instantly out of the gruel. It was tasty and almost like veg-corn soup. Folks at home did enjoy it. And Dee clicked these beautiful clicks for me :)
Here’s how I made it....
Rice gruel soup
Preparation time : 10 min
Cooking time : 5 min
Serves : 5-6

Rice gruel / akki ganji / water drained from cooking rice - 4 cups
Chopped vegetables - 1 Tbsp (beans, carrot, spring onion, corn kernels, etc)
Butter - 1 tsp
Black pepper - 1 tsp
Salt - ½ tsp or as per taste
Water - Acc to consistency
Fresh cream - 1 Tbsp or Milk - ½ cup (optional)
Chopped coriander leaves for garnishing

• Heat butter in a pan and add the veggies
• Sauté till they are slightly done
• Add the rice gruel and bring to a gentle boil
• Add milk, salt and pepper powder
• Adjust consistency by adding a little water. Let it boil for a couple of minutes more
• Put off the heat and add fresh cream (optional) and stir well
• Serve hot, garnished with some chopped coriander leaves

Tips n Tricks:
• If the soup turns out to be too thin, mix some cornflour in milk and add it and boil it for some time

• Skip the milk and add a spoon of lemon juice

Monday, June 7, 2010

Quick Tondekai Palya/ Ivy gourd instant subzi

Aren’t there days when there are vegetables in the fridge waiting to get cooked, and even you feel like eating a vegetable based meal, but do not have the time to pick, clean, chop, cook etc, etc? Well, especially if you’re working and having a long and hectic week, then this is a common scenario. And those little vegetables, though tasty take a longer time with chopping. And if you’re not making anything worthy, then the guilt starts pricking too!

Vegetable like tindora take a great deal of time since it takes a lot of time to chop them into fine pieces as they like at home; and the hands get sticky too while chopping this vegetable, which makes the preparation part clumsy. Mom recently told me this simple recipe with ivy gourd / tindora / tondekai, that requires no chopping into fine pieces. It’s a very quick preparation to, unlike the usual palya... That made it my instant choice to prepare with the ivy gourd lying in the fridge....
Quick Tondekai Palya

Preparation time : 5 min
Cooking time : 10 min
Serves : 4

Ivy gourd - ~250 gms
Coconut - 2 Tbsp, grated
Dry red chilies - 5-6, depending on taste
Curry leaves - 2 sprigs
Cooking oil - 1 Tbsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Asafetida - a pinch, powdered
Turmeric - a pinch
Salt - ½ tsp or as per taste

• Wash and chop ivy gourd into halves
• Meanwhile, coarsely grind coconut, red chilies and asafetida without adding any water
• Add the ivy gourd and pulse the mixie for a couple of times. Ensure that the mixture is coarse and not ground smooth
• In a thick bottomed pan, heat oil, add mustard, allow to splutter
• Add curry leaves and turmeric
• Add the ground mixture and salt and mix well
• Sauté well for about 5-6 minutes till the raw smell is gone
• Serve it with rice or as a side dish for chapathis/rotis

Tips n Tricks:
• Ensure that the mixture is coarse and not ground smooth

• The same can be made with green chilies too

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Pesarattu - Moong dal dosa

If you’re from Andhra or have visited Andhra anytime, then you know this awesome dosa for sure! You can’t miss this in any of the hotels..... a hot an crispy dosa topped with finely copped onions served with chutney.... it has all the goodness and appetizing flavor of moong dal.
Well, Dee who was in Hyderabad for a couple of years before marriage had this in his wish list from a long time. I too have tried this pesarattu when I’d been to Hyderabad. Being an avid fan of dosas of any kind, I had fallen for this one as well...
And recently when I saw this recipe in some blog, I couldn’t resist from making it at home. As I browsed through, there were two prominent versions - one with whole moong dal and the other with split moong dal. I was confused as to which would be the best, and so tried out both the versions. And well, both of them were just slightly different and both tasted great.
Here’s the recipe....
Preparation time : 10 min
Cooking time : 2 min for each dosa
Serves : 4-5

For batter:
Moong dal (split//whole) - 4 cups
Dosa Rice - 1cup
Curry leaves - 1 small bunch
Green chilies - 2-3, depending on taste (optional)
Ginger - 1" cube
Coriander leaves - a small bunch
Salt - 1 tsp or as per taste
Other ingredients:
Cumin seeds - 2-3 tsp
Onion - 2-3 medium sized
Green chilies - 2-3, depending on taste (optional)
Cooking oil - for smearing on dosa

• Wash and soak rice and dal in enough water for 3-4 hours or overnight (I generally soak it overnight)
• Next morning, grind the soaked rice and dal with some water and other ingredients mentioned in the ‘For batter’ section in a wet grinder / mixer
• Add water if necessary and grind the batter to a medium fine paste
• Transfer the batter to a vessel
• Add cumin seeds and mix well
• Chop onions and green chilies finely
• Heat a non stick griddle/tawa
• Now take a ladle of the batter and spread it on the tawa like normal dosa. Pour the batter in the middle of the tawa and quickly smear it with the back of the ladle to spread it as thin as possible
• Immediately spread a couple of spoons of the chopped onion and chili roughly evenly on the spread dosa
• Smear a teaspoon of oil and cover it with a plate/lid
• After half a minute, open the lid
• Allow it to crisp if you like it that way
• Take it out of the tawa, roll it so that the onion pieces do not fall off and serve straight to the plate
• Enjoy the bisi-bisi pesarattu dosa with coconut-ginger chutney

Tips n Tricks:
• Ensure that the mixture is thin enough for easy spreading on the tawa
• Do not compromise on the onion topping. It is that which makes this dosa even special