Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Methi Chapathi

When you want a twist to your usual plain chapathis, you should try this. Adding methi and some spices to the chapathis makes it totally different and so flavorful.... The monotonous flat bread is gone and is replaced by something special... accompanied by a nice gravy, it makes for a special meal....
Here is how to make Methi Chapathis...

Methi Chapathi

Preparation time : 15 min Cooking time : 2 min per chapathi
Makes : 8-10
Wheat flour / Atta - 2 cups
Methi/Fenugreek leaves - 1 medium sized bunch or 2 small bunches
Garam masala - ½ tsp
Red chili powder - ½ tsp
Salt - ½ tsp, or as per taste
White sesame seeds - 2 tsp
Water as needed
Cooking Oil - 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp per chapathi

• Pick, wash and chop methi leaves finely
• Mix wheat flour, salt, chili powder, garam masala powder in a large bowl
• Add the methi leaves and mix in oil
• Slowly add water and knead into a soft dough
• Coat it with a little oil and keep aside for half an hour
• Take the dough and pinch out lemon sized balls
• Roll into thin chapathis and sprinkle methi seed on top. Roll again slightly so that the seeds stick to the rolled dough
• Heat a skillet and cook on both sides drizzling a few drops of oil on each side. Remove when small brown spots start appearing
• Repeat with the entire dough
• Serve hot with one of the below lip smacking gravy as side dish

Tips n Tricks:
• Making very big chapathis out of this is difficult because of the addition of methi - so a lemon sized ball should be enough to make a 6” chapathi

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Simple Gravy

If you want to fix up a gravy for your Jeera rice or Veg Puloa or Ghee rice etc, and do not want to go for an elaborate one with veggies and other ingredients, here’s an alternative. It is very simple to make, does not need any vegetables, other than onions and tomatoes, of course, and goes well with some rice.
Here’s how to make it...
Simple, Plain Gravy

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

Onions - 3 medium sized, chopped, divided use
Tomatoes - 2 medium sized, chopped
Green chilies - 2, slit
Garlic - 6-8 flakes
Cashew nuts - 2 Tbsp, divided use
Cooking oil - 3 tsp
Curd - 3-4 Tbsp, optional
Salt - ½ tsp or as per taste
Sugar - ¼ tsp
Ginger Garlic paste - ½ tsp
Coriander pwd - ½ tsp
Garam masala pwd - ½ tsp
Red Chili pwd - ½ tsp
Grated coconut - 2 tsp

• Heat 1 tsp of oil in a pan and sauté half of the cut onions, garlic till golden brown
• Add the cut tomatoes and cook till done
• Cool it, add to it coconut and half the cashew nuts and grind to a puree
• Heat the remaining 2 tsp oil in a another pan, and add ginger garlic paste and slit green chilies
• Add the remaining cashews, chopped onion, and stir till golden brown
• Add red chilli powder, garam masala powder and coriander powder
• Now add salt, sugar and the ground paste prepared in 3 and bring to boil
• Add water if the consistency is too thick and boil for 3-4 min, stirring intermittently.
• Switch off the flame and add the curd if using and mix well.
• Serve it with any flavored rice and enjoy

• Curd is optional – It gives a different taste with and without it
• Coconut can be omitted

Monday, March 7, 2011

Soya Manchurian

I picked up the pack of Soya chunks from the super market, and when we were home, little niece Hima asked to what it was. And D replied, it was what Chota Bheem ate and what made him that strong! And after that, for the next week I have lost count on the number of times she asked me to make ‘Chota Bheem’s food’ out of it!!! and I, incidentally was too busy at work that week and didn’t find time till the next weekend to make something out of soya chunks that she would eat.
Finally I decided to make Manchurian out of it, as D, me and Hima’s parents would love it, but for her I decided to give the fried soya chunks with just tomato sauce. And through out the cooking time I took, she has ran into the kitchen every 2 minutes asking if the ‘Chota Bheem food’ is ready!!
She ate it with delight and so we ate the Manchurian. It did come out pretty well, in a perfect consistency and taste.

Soya Manchurian

Preparation time : 20 min
Cooking time : 20-30 min
Serves : 4-5

Soya chunks - 2 cups
Milk - 2 tbsp
Crystal salt - ½ tsp
Boiling water
Oil to deep fry

For batter:
Corn flour - 2 Tbsp
Rice flour - 1 Tbsp
Maida - 2 Tbsp
Orange food color - a small pinch, optional
Red chili powder - ½ tsp
Salt - ½ tsp

For Manchurian sauce:
Cooking oil - 1 tbsp
Onion - 3 medium sized
Capsicum - 1, slit into 1” thin strips
Garlic - 4-5 cloves
Green chilies - 8- 10 (I didn’t have chili sauce, so used chilies)
Ajinomoto - 1 pinch, optional
Salt - ½ tsp, vary acc to taste
Vinegar - 1 Tbsp
Soya sauce - 1 Tbsp
Tomato ketchup - 2 Tbsp
Pepper powder - 1 tsp, optional (adjust as per your taste)
Corn flour - about 1 Tbsp, based on the required consistency

• In a big vessel, bring water to boil and when boiling, add crystal salt and milk
• Dump the soya chunks into the vessel, cover and keep aside for 10 minutes
• After 10 mintes, repeat the process in another vessel of boiling water for 10 more minutes. Check if they are soft, by breaking up one.
• Drain the soya chunks and squeeze out the excess water. If needed, pat dry on a clean kitchen towel

For sauce:
• Meanwhile in a wide pan, heat 1 Tbsp oil and add chopped onion, garlic and green chilies
• When done, add capsicum and sauté for a few seconds - don’t over cook the capsicum, retain the crunchiness
• Add salt, sauces, ajinomoto if using and stir
• Mix corn flour in water without lumps and add to the pan - adjust the consistency to your preference

Frying the soya chunks:
• In a skillet, heat oil for deep frying
• Ina small bowl, mix the flours, salt and chili powder for batter and add water to make into a thin paste. It should be of running consistency - not too thick not too thin
• Take the softened and drained soya chunks, dip it in the batter and deep fry in oil, 6-8 at a time on medium flame till golden brown
• When done, keep on a kitchen towel to drain excess oil
• Repeat with the rest of the chunks
• When done, add these to the prepared sauce, heat slightly again
• Adjust salt and pepper as per taste and optionally garnish with some more sautéed onions or chopped scallions and serve hot
• Goes well with fried rice as an accompaniment, or as a starter as is

Tips n Tricks:
• The batter, if too thick makes the Manchurian balls hard, and if too thin, doesn’t get the crisp texture and may absorb more oil
• The quantity of sauces used can be varied as per your taste - no hard and fast rule on the exact measures
• Adding milk while soaking the soya chunks eliminates the odor in it

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Homemade Granola

When colleagues started going ‘healthy way’ and started having granola for breakfast regularly, I too was tempted with it. If not for breakfast, I can at least have it for snaks between meals. (err.. I am a foodie, as you know by now and I need a good breakfast to start my day). But every time I saw the pack in the counter in the super market, I would not be convinced to buy it one because of the rate and another because I wasn’t sure if I’d finish it, after buying one!
After searching through some blogs I realized that I don’t have to follow a ‘recipe’ to make granola, just the basics were needed. Since I had a pack of corn flakes to be used up and also a newly bought pack of flax seeds that I had to use, and also brown sugar that was not used from a long time, I set out to make it, and of course it was a breeze to prepare it, absolutely no preparation time, except that the 40 min of baking needs about 4-5 stirs in between.
I didn’t make it in very large quantity, but thought whatever I made would last for at least a week. But then I was surprised when all of it vanished just the second day! Of course I had taken a small jar for mom, who also liked it.
I can say it was much better than the one readily available and works out cheaper too... I’m looking forward to doubling the quantity and making again....
Homemade Granola

Preparation time
: 5 min
Baking Time : 40-45 min

Oats - 2 cups
Corn flakes - 1 cups
Flax seeds - ¼ cup
Almonds - ¼ cup, chopped
Cashews - ¼ cup
Raisins- ¼ cup
Honey - 2-3 Tbsp
Brown Sugar - 2 Tbsp
Butter - 3 tsp
Salt - a pinch

• Slightly toast the flax seeds and keep aside
• Chop the almonds into smaller pieces and keep aside
• Slightly crush the corn flakes, if you feel the flakes are too big
• Preheat the oven to 120 deg C (~250 deg F)
• In a large bowl, mix the oats, corn flakes, toasted flax seeds, chopped almonds
• In a small bowl, melt butter and mix honey and salt
• Add the wet mixture into the large bowl with dry ingredients
• Mix in the brown sugar
• Mix thoroughly so that the oats mixture is evenly coated with honey mixture
• Spread it evenly on a large baking tray and bake for 40-45 minutes
• Stir it every 10 minutes for baking to be even
• Once done, take it out and mix in the raising
• Cool completely and store it in a jar
• Enjoy the granola as is or with warm or old milk

Tips n Tricks:
• Use of toasted flax seeds makes it healthy and adds an extra crunch that I loved
• Use of brown sugar also added a nice texture to the granola that I didn’t find in the store bought
• Adjust the sweeteners as per your personal taste

• Any combination of dry fruits can be added - I had only the ones I have used. Using walnut instead of cashews makes it healthier
• Vegetable oil can be used instead or butter

Sending the Granola to Champa's Bake off.