Sunday, February 27, 2011

Fried Rice

When Dee’s cousin had come home for a stay over, I asked her what she wanted me to prepare. And her reply was ‘Bhabhi, make Fried rice, mom doesn’t make it’... Hmmm... I asked her if there is any other alternative item, as I doubted if inlaws would accept the Chinese flavors for not. Though I had all the ingredients of fried rice- like sauces, ajinomoto and vinegar, I had hardly used it, except for once in noodles. And I hadn’t made this fried rice, the Chinese way even once. But she insisted that I make fried rice only and assured me that everyone will like it!
So started out making fried rice with her and to my satisfaction, it did come out well. And to our surprise, all of them, including a couple of more unexpected guests, enjoyed my fried rice and asked for a second serving! Even my in laws loved it!
So now I don’t have to hesitate trying out Chinese!
Fried Rice

Preparation time : 10 min, excluding time to prepare rice
Cooking time : 15 min
Serves : 5

Rice - 2 cups, Basmati variety
Water - 3 cups
Green chilies - 5-6, as per taste or chili sauce
Garlic - 4-5 cloves
Cooking oil - 2-3 Tbsp
Vegetables (Bens, Carrot, Capsicum) - 2 cups, chopped
Onion - 2 medium sized, chopped fine
Soya sauce - 1 Tbsp
Vinegar - 2 tsp
Ajinomoto - a pinch
Salt - 1 tsp or as per taste
Pepper powder - 1 tsp, optional (adjust as per your taste)

• Wash and soak rice for 15 minutes. Cook with 1.5 times the quantity of water, in a pressure cooker for 1-2 whistles
• Once the pressure is down, spread the cooked rice in a wide bowl and add a teaspoon of oil so that the grains do not stick
• Keep aside for 5 minutes to cool
• In a pan, heat oil and add green chilies, chopped onion, sauté till the onion is translucent
• Add the vegetables, sprinkle some salt and let it cook on medium heat
• When almost done, add soya sauce, vinegar and ajinomoto and mix well• Mix in the spread rice and add the remaining salt
• Add pepper powder if you prefer it hot
• Mix thoroughly and let the ingredients combine well with the rice.
• Serve warm with a gravy/manchurian!

Tips n Tricks:
• Making rice with a 1.5 times water, makes the grains separate and not sticky

• Spring onions can be added, but I didn’t have any

Monday, February 21, 2011

Garlic Knots

After baking my first Crescent rolls with yeast, I was super excited and wanted to try out something else. And the next one was Garlic knots that I had seen on Suma’s blog - another inspiration for baking, who lives in the same city as me - making me reassured that we can bake with ingredients in Bangalore too!So just after a couple of days after the first attempt, I made these garlic knots. And I did all the kneading myself, unlike last time when Dee had helped me. I baked them when everyone else at home had gone out and it was almost ready when they came back. Dee loved it, especially it was with garlic.It was a little harder the next day than it should have been, because I ran short of flour, and reduced the quantity to 2/3rds of everything. I guess I’d have messed with some measurement. I suggest you to follow the exact measurement to get the perfect bread.Here’s the exact recipe...These go to Champa’s Bake-off.

Garlic Knots

Preparation time : 10 min
Baking time : 15 - 20 minutes
Makes : ~15

Plain Flour/ Maida/ All Purpose Flour - 3 cups
Sugar - 1 Tbsp
Instant dry yeast - 2 ¼ tsp
Salt 1 ½ tsp
Olive oil - 2 Tbsp
Milk, lukewarm - ¼ cup
Warm water - 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp

For the glaze:
Garlic - 4 cloves, minced
butter - 3 Tbsp, melted
Italian seasoning - ½ tsp (I used Oregano and Chili flakes)

• In a large bowl, add warm water and sugar and mix
• Add in the yeast and let it proof for 10 minutes. If the yeast does not create bubbles, then it is bad
• Once the yeast proofs, add oil, salt, milk
• Mix in the flour and knead.
• This is a very sticky dough, so working with it is difficult initially. Knead for 10-12 minutes, and the stickiness will be gone. As Suma says, do not get tempted to add any more flour
• Coat it with some oil and keep in a warm place, covered with a clean kitchen towel. Allow to double - this might take 1 to 2 hours depending on the temperature.

Making the knots:
• After the dough has doubled in volume, gently punch it down to release the air bubbles
• Grease a baking tray and keep ready
• On lightly oiled kitchen platform, divide the dough into balls - the size of a chapathi ball
• Roll each one into a log with your greased palm. The length should be about 10 inches.
• Tie a knot and tuck the two ends inside as shown in the figures below
• Place it on the greased baking tray, allowing space in between for rising
• Repeat with all the balls
• Keep it the tray in a a warm place again, for the second rise. I left it for about 30 minutes
• Pre heat the oven to 190 deg C
• Brush the rolls with mixture of ingredients given under ‘For Glaze’
• Bake for 18-20 minutes, till it turns a light golden brown
• Once done, turn it on to a wire rack and let cool
• Enjoy the knots, warm or cold! Tastes great with a bowl of soup.

Tips n Tricks:
• I use my microwave in convection mode for baking. I’m still not happy with my OTG. I preheated the oven to 40 deg C and left the dough in the oven to rise, and it worked fine. It doubled in about an hour and quarter
• Use the exact measurements for better results

• I felt the knots could have had some flavoring as well, apart from the glaze. I think I’ll add some herbs next time

Monday, February 14, 2011

Green Grapes Gojju

Anu’s announcement of Lunchbots giveaway coincided with me having green grapes in bulk, and MIL asking to make some gojju out of it. And some of them were sour! So I knew my entry would be gojju with the sour grapes.
Gojju - means a dish with vegetables in mainly coconut gravy, prepared in South India, mainly Karnataka. Gojju is made with a variety of veggies, with variations. This can be had with rice or as side dish with dosas, chapathis, rottis, etc.
And now, a fruit - green grapes has replaced the veggies in the gojju, and makes it for a good twist :P
So here’s the gojju with a twist - with green grapes.

Green Grapes Gojju

Preparation time : 10 min
Cooking time : 15 min
Serves : 4

Green grapes - ½ cup, sour ones
Green chilies - 8- 10
Curry leaves - 10 - 15
Coriander leaves - a small bunch
Fenugreek seeds - ¾ tsp
Channa dal - 1 tsp
Coconut - 1 cups, grated
Cooking oil - 1 tsp
Turmeric - a small pinch
Jaggery - 1 small marble sized ball
Salt - 1 tsp, vary acc to taste

For tempering:
Cooking oil - 2 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Sesame seeds - 1 tsp
Curry leaves - 15-20

• In a pan, roast channa dal, fenugreek seeds, green chilies and curry leaves for 1-2 minutes in a tsp of oil till they become aromatic
• Allow to cool slightly and grind with grated coconut, salt and jaggery, adding water if required
• Meanwhile in the same pan, heat oil and prepare tempering with mustard seeds, sesame seeds and curry leaves
• Add the green grapes and sauté it for a minute or two till the grapes wither slightly
• Transfer the ground paste to the pan, mix and let it boil for a couple of minutes
• Adjust salt, and add water if required to maintain gravy like consistency
• Serve with rice or akki rotti or dosa, etc

Tips n Tricks:
• Choose sour grapes for better taste