Thursday, June 28, 2012

Broccoli Soup

I had had a Broccoli soup in a European restaurant in Bangalore and had loved it with the flavors of Italian herbs complimenting the broccoli. Wanted to recreate that when i found some fresh Broccoli here and this is what it is.... It was pretty close to the original, sans the extra salt that i had added first time! Next time on, it came out pretty well, with the right salt.

A simple, easy to make soup, to compliment some bread for a light dinner… Just cooking for two of us now, I prefer to do some simple stuff on some days and an elaborate meal on others!

It is pretty cool here, for me who came from a tropical climate, though it is summer now. I wonder how it will be in actual winter! Summer or winter, soups are making a regular appearance in my menu these days, and this is one such.

Broccoli Soup

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

Broccoli – 1 cup, chopped
Butter  - 1 tsp
Black pepper powder  - 1 tsp
Salt                  - ½ tsp or as per taste - go easy on this
Water              - 2 cups, change acc to consistency
Corn flour - 2 tsp
Milk - ¼ cup
Fresh cream    - 1 Tbsp (optional)
Thyme – ½ tsp / or any other herb of your choice

  • Clean and chop Broccoli into large chunks
  • Heat butter in a pan and add chopped broccoli
  • Add water and bring to boil and cook till they are cooked soft
  • Let it cool for a few minutes
  • Puree it adding the water used for cooking the broccoli if necessary, to make a fine paste
  • Strain the puree to the same pan
  • Add salt and thyme and let it boil for 2-3 minutes.
  • Mix corn flour with half a cup of cold milk/water without lumps and add it to the boiling soup
  • Add enough water so that a right consistency of soup is maintained – neither too thick nor too thin
  • Let it boil for a couple of minutes more.
  • Put off the heat and add fresh cream and stir well
  • Add pepper powder and serve hot

  • A small onion can also be added to give a different flavor

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Eggless Custard Powder Cake

This was back home, before coming here. When it was decided that we’d be traveling here, Hima, my little niece was obviously upset, that atte-mava would not be around for a loooong time, almost as long as ‘hundred days’ in her terms! And one of her concerns was that no one would make cakes for her! She is so used to baking with me, that most of the times, she’d sit with me when I bake, helping ever so obediently to sift the flour, which is her favorite, getting things from fridge and keeping them back, and then peeping through the oven glass and screaming that the cake is becoming ‘bigger’. And asking me to turn off the oven and get her a slice as the cake has become big enough and it is time to take it out!

It had been quite a long time since I had baked anything at all, because of the house painting and weddings that followed. And when everything was settled, I promised her that I’d bake her a custard cake and she was eagerly waiting for it, esp because it had two of her favorites – cake and custard combined. And when I set about it, I found that my measuring jar – yes, the only one I have, was missing! In all the mess, one of us had misplaced it and we didn’t find it… By the time I searched for the rest of the things like pan, rack, etc, I was drained out of energy and called it quits.

I told Hima, that the measuring jar, ‘the blue colored glass with markings on it’ is not there and that atte cannot bake without it that day. She was visible upset, but suddenly went off into the other room, and sat silently doing something. I and D continued to search for it, just because we had promised her, and finally found it.

By this time, the little angel, came running to me with her creation -  another plastic glass, on which she had made some markings and written some numbers!!! And she said, ‘Atte, you can use this now, and make me a cake’!!! I was truly bowled over with her creation! 

And now though tired, I couldn’t say no to baking her the promised cake… and it did come out good, for which she waited till past her bed time and happily ate a couple of pieces before sleeping.

Recipe Source: Divya’s CookBook

Eggless Custard Powder Cake

Preparation time       : 10 min
Baking time                : 45 min to 1 hr 

All Purpose flour - 1 ½ cups
Vanilla flavoured Custard Powder - ¾ cup [or Cornflour]
Baking powder - 2 ¼ tsp
Sugar - ¾ cup
Vanilla extract -  ½ tsp
Butter – ¾ cup, room temperature
Raising -  a handful
Milk - 1 cup

  • Grease and dust an 8” round pan with flour. I’ve used a ring mould
  • Preheat the oven to 180 deg C
  • Mix all the dry ingredients and raisins in a large bowl using a wooden spoon.
  • Mix milk and the butter and beat with the spoon till creamy
  • Mix in the dry ingredients and beat until you get a smooth batter.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake at 180C (350F) for about 45 min to an hr or till the cake is done and a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.
  • Cool on a rack and slice after cool.

  • The cake tasted very good the day I made. The next day it felt a bit dry, but still tasty.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Eerulli / Onion Chutney

Being so used to coconut based dishes as we are, it was a bit of a challenge for me to cook everything without coconut in the initial days here. This was specially true in case of chutneys. I hadn’t found coconut even in the nearby Indian store here and I was left with no option but to try out non coconut chutneys.

This is quite an old recipe, basically my moms, which was one of my regulars when I was in Korea way back. Paired with akki rotti, it was a hit then with my friends too. So here again, my akki rotti was paired with this simple onion chutney, which takes very few ingredients, but is awesome for rotti, dosas and even for rice mixed with a spoon of oil. One of my favorites!

Eerulli Chutney / Onion Chutney

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

Onions             - 2 medium sized, chopped roughly
Red chillies      - 5-6
Cooking oil      - 2-3 Tsp
Mustard seeds            - 1 tsp
Salt                  - ½ tsp or as per taste

  • In a thick bottomed pan, heat one ysp of oil and roast the red chilies
  • When done, transfer it to a blender/mixie jar and sauté chopped onions in the same pan till translucent.
  • Allow the onions to cool and when cool, grind it with the red chiles to a thick paste without adding any water
  • Hear the remaining oil in the same pan and add mustard seeds
  • When they splutter, add the ground paste and sauté till all the water content evaporates
  • Tastes awesome with rottis, dosas and rice
  • You may add a small piece of tamarind, but I prefer mine without
  • This chutney stays in fridge for over a week if sautéed well
  • Making this in a non stick pan takes very little oil

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Akki Rotti

Akki rotti always tastes the best when made by patting the dough on the kadai directly after cooling it. We call it BaNLe-rotti, translating to rotti made on kadai. Mom makes wonderful rottis which are so smooth and yet crisp. Adding a lot of onions, veggies is a secret to wonderful rottis.

Here in Sweden, in the initial days, when we had not yet discovered places around, we had to shop only in the neighborhood supermarkets and carrots and onions were some of the most common veggies that would make their way home with us. And with limited options to cook a full meal, some of the meals would be like this one, with a couple of rottis and a chutney.

Here’s how you make akki-rotti:

Akki Rotti

Preparation time       : 15 min
Cooking time             : ~3 min per rotti
Serves                         :  4

Rice flour        - 2 cups
Onions             - 1 cup, finely chopped
Carrot - 1 cup, grated
Beans / greens            /spring onions - 1 cup, finely chopped; any combination or all of them
Coconut - ¼ cup, grated, optional
Cumin seeds    - 1 tsp, optional
Cooking oil      - 2-3 Tbsp
Ginger             - 1 tsp, grated
Green chilies   - 2-3, optional
Coriander        - 2 Tbsp, finely chopped
Salt                  - ½ tsp or as per taste

  • In a wide pan, add rice flour, cumin seeds, chopped coriander and curry leaves, green chilies, grated ginger, salt and finely chopped or grated vegetables and mix
  • Add water and mix to a soft dough. Do not make the dough too watery, neither too tight. The consistency should be soft enough to pat it with fingers easily, without sticking
  • Take a skillet, preferably non stick, or otherwise a well seasoned one, and smear a teaspoon of oil on the inside, till about ¾ths from the centre
  • Take a ball of the dough (for a medium sized kadai take a small orange sized ball) and place on the centre
  • Pat it with your fingers, and spread it evenly till the ¾ths, where oil was already smeared
  • Make sure that the rotti thus patted is evenly spread. Try to pat it thin.
  • Smear another half a teaspoon of oil over it
  • Place the kadai on medium high flame and cover with a lid/plate
  • After half a minute, remove the plate and let it crisp for another half a minute as per your choice
  • Once done, the rotti comes out of the skillet very easily with hardly any effort to remove it manually
  • Cool the skillet and repeat the same for the other rotties (See tips below)
  • Serve hot with a chutney

  • Use at least two skillets if you have to make this for 2 to 4 people. Use one, by the time it is cooking pat on the other. When the second one is cooking, cool the first one and reuse. This way, time can be managed well
  • To cool the skillet keep it under running cold water, inverted. Do not wet the inside, only outside should get wet and cool
  • Any sized kadai can be used. The small, iron skillet used for making tempering is the best. Vary the size of the dough taken and the cooking time based on the size

If you are pressed for time and cannot afford to cool the pans and pat each rotti, then, here’s an alternative:
  • Use a thick polythene sheet and cut it into a circle of desired size (size that fits on you tawa), or use a plantain leaf
  • Smear the sheet with oil and pat the dough on it.
  • Heat the tawa and invert the sheet over and after a few seconds remove and let cook on the tawa on both sides. Meanwhile pat another one and keep ready before removing the first one
  • This is easier in preparation, saves time and also consumes less resource like heat and water. However, you’ll be compromising a great deal on the taste. I do not say it tastes bad, but the one made on skillet cannot be compared for sure.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Stuffed Capsicum Masala

I’m back! And with a bang now :)

Sorry folks, for having absconded for this long…. Well a lot of things happened and now here I am in Sweden, with D relocated here on work! I’ve taken a break from work and I’m a full time home maker… for now!

Well, life is full of contrasts, they say…. So true in my case as well! In contrast to the super busy life I had back in Bangalore, here I am, so relaxed and free, with all the time I ever needed! Just enjoying this break to the fullest… and I’m sure there will be a lot more posts coming up here as well!
Coming to this one, it was something I made back in Bangalore, recipe from a book written by mom’s friend. Makes a wonderful side dish to rotis/phulkas. The potatoes complement the capsicum beautifully well… Do try it out and let me know how you like it….

Preparation time       : 20 min
Cooking time             : 20 min
Serves                         :  4

Green Capsicums        - 8 small ones
Potatoes          - 2-3 medium, boiled and peeled
Onions             - 3 medium sized, chopped fine
Tomatoes        - 2 medium sized, chopped fine
Green chilies   - 2, slit
Garlic              - 6-8 flakes
Cooking oil      - 2 Tbsp, split use
Salt                  - ½ tsp or as per taste
Ginger Garlic paste     - ½ tsp
Coriander pwd                       - ½ tsp
Garam masala pwd    - ½ tsp
Red Chili pwd              - ½ tsp

For Filling:
  • Boil potatoes and peel them after cool enough to handle
  • Mash it roughly and keep aside
  • Heat 2 Tsp oil in a pan, and add ginger garlic paste and slit green chilies
  • Add the cut onions and sauté till golden brown
  • Add the cut tomatoes and cook till done
  • Add red chilli powder, garam masala powder and coriander powder and salt and mix well
  • Switch off the flame and allow the mixture to cool slightly.
  • Chop off the top part of the capsicums, making them into shallow cups
  • In a wide vessel, bring enough water to a boil
  • Add the capsicum cups and close the vessel with a plate
  • Switch off the flame and let the capsicum cook slightly in the boiling water for a couple of minutes
  • Remove carefully from water, drain out the water and allow the capsicum to cool enough to handle with hands

  • When both the capsicums and filling are cool enough, take a capsicum and fill it with the prepared filling till the top
  • Repeat with all the capsicums and keep aside
  • In a wide pan, heat the remaining oil and place the filled capsicums one beside the other. Make sure to maintain a low flame.
  • Add the remaining filling if any to the pan
  • Cook covered on low flame till the capsicums are tender. You may need to rotate the capsicums in between for uniform cooking
  • Serve it with rotis/phulkas/chapathis.

  • Do not overcook the capsicum in boiling water, let it be slightly crispy