Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Steamed Mustard Prawns


Growing up I only saw mustard seeds being used for turka or baghar for vegetables and dal. Much later when I was doing my post-graduation I got introduced to the use of mustard oil as a cooking medium at my friend’s place. Then when I got married I saw it being used extensively at my in-laws place and I have now grown to absolutely love the flavour it lends to dishes.

In fact as I grew up in an apartment complex where almost 95% of the people were from Uttar Pradesh I had quite often smelt the pungent aroma coming from various houses but I did not know what exactly caused this aroma. I liked the aroma even then.

Of late I have also started using mustard seeds in a paste form especially for fish dishes and we really love it. I have used it in a steamed dish with baby potatoes too (will post the recipe for that soon). Today I made steamed mustard prawns for lunch and served it with rice and dal…hubby was really floored!



Ingredients

¼ kg shelled and deveined medium-sized prawns,
3 tbsp mustard seeds,
1 tbsp poppy seeds,
7-8 green chillies,
2 tbsp mustard oil,
1 tsp turmeric powder,
Salt to taste

Method

Grind the mustard seeds with the poppy seeds and 2-3 green chillies to a coarse paste. Mix this with the washed prawns, turmeric powder, salt, remaining chopped green chillies and mustard oil.

Steam this for about 10-15 minutes and it is done. An extremely simple and flavoursome recipe.

Serve hot with plain rice and dal.   

Dhaniya Murg


This recipe is inspired by the dhaniya murg I saw made by one chef in a television cookery contest. I have made minor changes to his recipe for ease of execution. However, this still remains a ‘not so everyday’ dish because of the time taken and also the long list of ingredients. I made this dish when I was having some guests over and since I was running late there was no time for a photograph. I will update this post with a photograph the next time I make this dish.

Ingredients

700 grams chicken on the bone (chopped into medium-sized pieces),
1 tbsp chopped ginger,
1 tbsp chopped green chillies,
1 tsp ginger paste,
1 ½ tsp garlic paste,
1 cup beaten curd,
1 tbsp roasted and coarsely pounded coriander seeds,
1 large sliced onion,
¾ cup cream,
1 tbsp cashew paste,
Salt to taste,
1 tsp turmeric powder,
1 tsp cumin powder,
1 tbsp fine coriander powder,
1 tsp kashmiri chilli powder,
Hot red chilli powder to taste,
1 tbsp crushed kasuri methi,
1 cup of bhuna masala made by frying 1 onion, 1 tomato, 1 tsp each of ginger and garlic paste in some oil,
¾ cup chopped coriander leaves,
1 tsp garam masala powder,
1 large pinch powdered green cardamom seeds,
Oil as required

Method

Heat oil in a large vessel or kadhai, add the chopped ginger and green chillies. After a minute add the ginger garlic paste mixed in some water. Fry this well till oil separates.

Now add the washed chicken pieces and fry till slightly brown. Then add the salt, turmeric powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, kashmiri chilli powder, red chilli powder and the kasuri methi. Stir well and add water and cook till the chicken is half done.

Remove the chicken pieces and keep it aside. Continue cooking the gravy till thick, then add the curd, browned onion, bhuna masala, cashew paste, half the pounded coriander seeds, and the coriander leaves. Cook till oil appears on top of the gravy.

Now add the chicken pieces back to the gravy, add some more water and check the seasoning. Cook till done. Stir in the garam masala powder and the green cardamom seed powder. Turn off the heat and gently fold in the cream and the remaining pounded coriander seeds.

Spicy Egg and Peas Curry


Eggs are a truly versatile ingredient which I always have in my refrigerator. Versatile and very quick to make…quite a saviour when you have unannounced guests.  Eggs were the first thing I started cooking way back when I was in school. We would have our lunch break at 12.30 and we would be back home from school at about 4.30 and boy would I be hungry then! This was also the time when the pav-walla would come in our building selling pav – the soft bread quite unlike the bun. I associate the pav with Mumbai…unfortunately you don’t seem to get the same thing in Bangalore.

So that is when I started cooking eggs in various forms and having it with pav…such a delicious combo. I should remember to tell my sis to get pav for me from Mumbai when she visits me soon…

My mother always made a coconut based poached egg curry and at my in-laws place eggs are made in a curry with potatoes and peas. Today I am posting neither of these recipes but another one I made the other day.



Ingredients

4 hard-boiled eggs,
1 cup green peas,
½ tsp turmeric powder,
½ tsp cumin powder,
Oil as required,
Salt to taste,
3 tsp roasted poppy seeds,
3 tsp cashew pieces,
¾ cup of chopped tomatoes,
1 tsp ginger,
1 tsp garlic,
2 tsp chill powder or to taste,
 A handful of coriander leaves (chopped)

Method

Shell the boiled eggs and make small slits on them. Heat oil and fry the eggs till light brown. Keep aside.

Grind the roasted poppy seeds, cashew pieces, tomatoes, ginger, garlic and chilli powder to a fine paste.

Heat oil and add the paste and fry till oil separates. In the meanwhile mix the turmeric powder and the cumin powder in a little water and add to the fried masala. Fry again till oil separates.

Add the peas, sauté for sometime. Add about 2 cups of water and cook till peas are half done. Add the eggs and salt to taste (after checking the seasoning). Cook till peas are done and gravy is thick.

Serve hot garnished with coriander leaves.

Chocolate Cake


Ingredients

¼ kg refined flour,
A pinch of salt,
3 tbsp cocoa powder,
1 tsp baking powder,
50 grams drinking chocolate or plain grated chocolate,
150 grams butter or margarine,
200 grams brown sugar,
2 eggs,
140 grams plain yoghurt,
½ tsp vanilla essence

Method

Sieve the refined flour with the salt, drinking chocolate (if using it), cocoa powder and the baking powder.

Melt the plain chocolate (if using it) in a double boiler.

Cream the butter and the brown sugar together till light and fluffy. Add the eggs and beat well together till it reaches a custard like consistency.

Now add the melted chocolate (if using it), all dry ingredients, yoghurt and vanilla essence. Mix well

Grease and flour a cake tin and pour in the batter. Preheat the oven for 10 mins at 200o C for 40 mins. Let cool and slice.

Coconut Cake


The other day I was in the mood for baking and I baked two cakes - coconut cake and chocolate cake. Chocolate cake is a recipe I have made often but I tried coconut cake for the first time.

Not for me the plethora of ready made cake mixes filling up the aisles in the super markets. If I were to use a ready made cake mix I would feel that it is not my doing…it would just be the mix taking shape. I am only happy and satisfied when I pull out my kitchen scales, measure the flour by the gram, tip the baking powder from my measuring spoon and melt the butter over the double boiler. Yes it is some amount of work…that is why I don’t bake too often.



This is the recipe I followed for coconut cake…

Ingredients

300 grams castor sugar,
200 grams desiccated coconut,
Water as required,
50 grams refined flour,
1 ½ tsp baking powder,
150 grams margarine or butter,
5 eggs,
100 grams fine semolina,
1 cup milk,
1 tsp butterscotch essence

Method

Make a syrup of one-thread consistency with the castor sugar and the water. Mix in the dessicated coconut and cook till dry. If you gets lumpy, cool it and run it once in the mixer.

Sieve the refined flour with the baking powder and keep it aside.

Melt the butter in a double boiler and cool. Once cool add the eggs and whip till light and creamy.

Now add the refined flour and baking powder mix, semolina, milk, butterscotch essence and desiccated coconut mix. Mix gently and let stand for an hour.

Grease and flour a cake tin and pour in the batter. Preheat the oven for 10 mins at 180o C for 40 mins. Let cool and slice.

Fish in a Green Gravy


Like I had an aversion to fish and garam masala used together I also had an aversion to anything cooked with a paste containing coriander leaves. But, I have gotten over that and today I took one more step by cooking fish in a green gravy and was pleasantly surprised with the result. 



Here’s the recipe…

Ingredients

6 slices of fresh water fish (rohu or catla),
¾ packed cup of coriander leaves,
¼ cup mint leaves,
6-8 green chillies or to taste,
¾ cup yoghurt,
¼ cup olive oil,
Juice of 1 lemon,
2 tsp cumin powder,
2 tsp coriander powder,
¼ tsp cinnamon powder,
1 inch of ginger,
10-12 cloves of garlic,
2 whole red chillies,
Salt to taste,
½ cup of refined oil,
1 medium sized onion (chopped),

Method

Apply half the lemon juice and salt to the fish slices and let stand for half an hour.

Grind the coriander leaves, mint leaves, green chillies, ginger, garlic, yoghurt, olive oil, remaining lemon juice, cumin powder, coriander powder and cinnamon powder to a fine paste.

Heat the refined oil and add the chopped onion. When it becomes light pink in colour add the green paste, salt as required and a little water. Cook it till the oil separates. Add about a cup of water and let it boil. Now slip in the fish pieces and cook till done.

Serve hot with rice.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Banana and Strawberry Smoothie


Since strawberries are in season decided to try a banana and strawberry smoothie recipe I had noted sometime back from a food magazine. Here’s how I made this refreshing and quite filling smoothie…



Ingredients

1 ½ cup of hulled strawberries,
2 bananas,
2 tbsps oats,
2 cups low-fat yoghurt,
3 cups skimmed milk,
2 tbsp honey,
1 tsp poppy seeds,
Little grated nutmeg

Method

Blend the hulled and washed strawberries into a puree. Keep aside.

Blend all the other ingredients except the nutmeg till smooth.

Pour about ¾ of a cup of the yoghurt blend into a tall glass then spoon some of the strawberry puree. Repeat this finishing off with the yoghurt blend. Finish with a swirl of the strawberry puree and sprinkle some nutmeg on top.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Toasted Bread with Spiced Spread and Vegetables


I find breakfast to be, by far, the most difficult meal, especially trying to serve a healthy not too calorie-heavy breakfast. There are plenty of low-cal healthy opnions for breakfast in South-Indian cuisine but my problem is my husband doesn’t like South-Indian food neither does he like corn flakes or oats! And I don’t want to serve him parathas and eggs or bread and butter every day. It is true having a fussy eater as a husband is almost like a dress rehearsal to having a baby…

So I keep wracking my brains for breakfast. I served multigrain toasted bread with a spiced low-cal spread and lightly sautéed vegs and a banana and strawberry smoothie the other day and hubby quite liked it. I hope you like it too…



Ingredients

4 slices of multi-grain bread (even whole-wheat bread would do)
1 small cup fresh home-made paneer from low-fat milk,
1 tsp of red chilli flakes,
Salt to taste,
1 ½ cup of mixed chopped vegs (I used yellow and green bell pepper and baby corn)
1 tsp of olive oil,
A good sprinkling of thyme,
½ tsp of crushed black pepper corns,

Method

Mix the vegetables, olive oil, salt, pepper powder and thyme and let stand for about 10 minutes. Lightly sauté this till cooked but crisp.

Mix the fresh paneer with chilli flakes and some salt.

Toast the bread slices and apply the paneer spread. Top with the sautéed vegetables and serve immediately.

Will post the smoothie recipe tomorrow.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Aloo ki Bhujia


I started cooking when I was in my early teens and I am the kind who turns to the cookery pages in a magazine before looking at the other pages. I was also known among my friends and family as being someone with fairly decent culinary skills, so I was kind of surprised when after marriage my husband gave me feelers that I had a long way to go. What I soon realized was that he meant I still had a lot to learn about the cooking from his part of the country, the type of cooking he had grown up savouring. That of course was true…but I believe I have now come a fairly long way on that route too and now my hubby doesn’t mind me being a Mallu so much!!

Today I am posting about an ‘everyday’ dish. I really love ‘everyday’ dishes, the dishes which you don’t really get to sample in any restaurant, or any daawat … you only get to savour these if you land up unannounced in someone’s house or in perhaps your friend’s or colleagues lunch box. I believe these ‘everyday’ dishes are the real gems which give a cuisine its characteristic colour or flavour.

This is the recipe of ‘aloo ki bhujia’ not to be confused with the namkeen ‘aloo bhujia’. ‘Bhujia’ actually refers to a preparation method which is used with various vegetables like bhindi, ridge gourd, aloo with various combinations like peas, dill leaves, bitter gourd and bottle gourd.



Aloo ki bhujia with roti or aloo ki bhujia with dal-chawal and dhaniye ki chutney is akin to soul food for my husband something he looks forward to after a tiring day. This dish can be made using refined oil but the use of mustard oil takes this dish to an entirely different level…yes it makes it subliimme!

Ingredients

5 medium sized potatoes,
½ a small onion (sliced) – optional
2-3 red chillies (halved)
4-5 green chillies or as per taste (chopped),
A good handful of coriander leaves.
1 tbsp of mustard oil,
Salt to taste 

Method

Peel and halve the potatoes. Slice the halves longitudinally and reserve in cold water.

Heat the mustard oil till smoking and add the halved red chillies and let them turn dark brown. Now add the sliced onions (if using them) and once they turn translucent tip in the sliced potatoes and the green chillies. Sauté this for some time and add salt to taste and add water just a little more than required to cook the potatoes. 

Cook till the potatoes are done and there is just a little water remaining. Turn off the heat and fold in the chopped coriander leaves. Serve hot with rotis or dal-chawal and dhaniye ki chutney.

Some people also add a dash of turmeric powder for a different flavour.

Variation 1: With peas. Just add green peas along with the potatoes.
Variation 2: With dill leaves. Add dill leaves along with the potatoes and skip the coriander leaves.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Sunday Special Chicken Curry


As per tradition one more Sunday sees us waking up way past any decent waking up time and consequently having lunch way past 3 pm. We were in fact so hungry once lunch was ready that I almost didn’t photograph the dish. But posts without photographs are quite boring, so a photograph was clicked but after we were done with our pet-pooja. Good that I made a good quantity and the leftovers were good enough for a photograph.

Ingredients

1 kg cleaned and washed chicken on the bone (chopped in medium sized pieces),
2 tbsp vinegar (I used jamun vinegar),
1 ½ tsp black pepper powder,
½ kg onions,
1 cup shallots or Madras onions or sambar onions,
3 large tomatoes,
4 green chillies,
12 cloves of garlic,
1 ½ tsp garam masala powder,
1 tsp coriander powder,
2 tsp red chilli powder,
1 tsp of crushed ginger,
Oil as required,
1 cup of coriander leaves,
Salt to taste



Method  

Marinate the chicken in vinegar, pepper powder and salt for about half an hour.

Grind half the onions, one tomato, shallots, 2 green chillies and half the garlic to a fine paste. Add this to the marinated chicken, also add 1 tsp garam masala powder, coriander powder, red chilli powder, salt and a little water.  Cook till the chicken is tender.

Heat oil in a large pan and add the remaining sliced onions. Fry till the onions are dark pink in colour and then add the crushed ginger and the remaining garlic after crushing them, half the chopped coriander leaves and remaining sliced green chillies. Fry this till brown and then add in the chopped tomatoes and cook till tomatoes are
soft.

Now add the remaining garam masala powder and the chicken. Let it boil once and lower the flame and allow it to cook on low heat till the oil separates. Since the chicken is already cooked, do not stir it too often or the pieces will fall apart. Serve hot garnished with coriander leaves.

Nutrition-Packed Dal


Sometimes you don’t want to go the whole hog and cook a complete meal but also want to ensure your family gets a nutritious meal, for times like this you can try this nutrition-packed dal which you can serve with just rotis and chutney or achaar and it will be a complete meal. This dal also uses masoor and moong dal instead of arhar (tuvar or toor) dal which is heavier and more difficult to digest.

Here is the recipe…

Ingredients

1 ½ cup of masoor dal.
½ cup of moong dal,
100 grams paneer diced,
1 cup of green peas,
2 bay leaves,
2 medium sized tomatoes (chopped),
1 big onion (sliced),
4 finely sliced green chillies,
1 inch of ginger chopped fine,
1 tsp coriander powder,
A pinch of sugar,
1 tbsp ghee,
1 tbsp oil,
½ tsp garam masala,
¼ tsp cumin seeds,
1 pinch of asafoetida,
1 whole red chill,
Salt to taste

Method

Roast the moong dal lightly till it turns slightly brown. Wash both the dals and cook them together till soft. Mash them well.

Heat some oil on a non-stick tawa and fry the paneer cubes lightly till they turn light brown (you can also use the paneer cubes without frying them).

Heat 1 tbsp oil, add the sliced onions and green chilles and fry till golden brown. Then add the chopped tomatoes and green peas and sauté for sometime. Now add the ginger, garam masala powder, sugar, bay leaves and coriander powder. Fry this well till the peas are cooked.

Fold in the dal and the fried paneer cubes, salt to taste and water as required. Simmer till done.

Heat the ghee and add the cumin seeds, asafoetida and red chilli. Once the cumin seeds pop pour over the dal. Serve hot with rotis.



I served it with ragi and wheat rotis, spinach spiked with fennel and ginger, pumpkin sabzi (made by my mother) and ginger-flavoured buttermilk.

Gujia – Holi Special


“You don’t know what is gujia?” screeched my friend in surprise…something like that advertisement of yesteryears “Yeh PSPO nahin janta!”. This was at least about 6 to 7 years ago. It was then decided that whenever gujias were made next at her place and if we were in the same city I would get a sampling. That has still not happened and I am not sure if she remembers it now too…

Gujia
Gujia


From what she explained I understood that it is very similar to the karanji made in Maharashtrian homes during diwali the major difference being the filling. Karanjis are stuffed with dry coconut, nuts, poppy seeds and nuts whereas for gujias the primary ingredient in the filling is khoya or mawa.

A couple of days back was Holi and we were invited to a friend’s place for Holi, so I decided to try this recipe for the first time. A bunch of guinea pigs what more invitation would I require to try out a new recipe…

I used the following proportions and recipe…however since I had never seen gujias the first feedback I got was that they were very big and had too much of filling, so I could have actually made a bigger batch using the same proportions…I actually landed up with some extra dough which I used up by making puris.

And much against my husband’s and friend Maneesha’s advice I baked a batch of the initial four I made, they were definitely more healthy being low-cal but they didn’t have the golden colour nor the traditional taste so I deep fried the rest of the lot trying to turn a deaf ear to the voices in my head screeching ‘high-calorie’, ‘artery-clogging’, ‘sinful’ so on and so forth.

Ingredients

½ kg refined flour,
200 grams ghee,
A pinch of salt,
Water for kneading,
300 grams khoya or mawa,
150 grams desiccated coconut,
1 ½ cup of sugar,
1 tsp of powdered green cardamom seeds,
2 ½ tbsp lightly roasted poppy seeds,
25 grams charoli or chironji,
2 tbsps of raisins,
Oil for deep frying

Method

Rub the ghee into the flour and sprinkle a pinch of salt. Knead it using water into a tough dough. Keep it covered.

Roast the khoya on a low flame till it turns light brown in colour, then fold in the dessicated coconut, sugar, roasted poppy seeds, charoli and raisins. Mix well till the sugar dissolves and switch off the gas. Sprinkle and mix in the cardamom powder.

Divide the dough and the filling into equal number of portions. Roll the dough ball into a small puri (it shouldn’t be too thick nor too thin). Place one portion on the filling on one semi-circle. Wet your finger with some water and apply to the edge of the entire disc. Lift the other semi-circle to cover the other half and for a covered semi-circle. Press the edges and then using your thumb and index finger roll the edges in a pinching motion to form a rope like edge. This was not as difficult as I thought it would be. In case you find it difficult you can use the moulds available in the market for making the gujias.

Heat the oil and then lower the heat. Slip in the gujias in the hot oil and fry on low flame till golden brown. Drain on absorbent paper and store in an airtight container after it is completely cool.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Fish Shaami Kabab


Being a Mallu, the first time I heard of fish shaami kabab from my husband I was not too comfortable. Shaami kabab = garam masala and fish with garam masala was a definite no-no. Then once my mother-in-law served it to us on one of our annual -visits home and was I bowled!!! My mother-in-law is a fabulous cook and an absolute expert on the cuisine from eastern Uttar Pradesh. It’s sad that I get to spend very little time with her learning from her :-(.

About the fish kababs, what I have realized is - these kababs turn out good only if you use fresh water fish rather than sea fish. I tried it once with seer fish and the result was far from desirable. Today I made it with catla fish…took me a long time deboning it so it is always better to use fresh water fish with minimal bones; fish like cat fish or pungus are good options.

This is my mother-in-law’s recipe which I have tweaked a bit for my convenience but with no impact on the taste. 

                                         Fish Shaami Kabab

Ingredients

250 grams deboned and deskinned cooked fresh water fish,
2 ½ tbsp channa dal,
2 tsps red chilli powder,
1 ½ tsp garlic paste,
1 ½ tsp ginger paste,
1 ½ tsp garam masala powder,
1 ¼ tbsp roasted powdered poppy seeds,
1 ¼ tbsp roasted powdered cumin seeds,
Juice of half a lemon,
Salt to taste
1 small chopped onion,
10-12 raisins,
6-8 mint leaves,
4 chopped green chillies,
1 tbsp oil,
Oil for shallow frying the kababs

Method

Soak the channa dal for two hours and cook till soft. Drain and grind to a fine paste. Blend this with the deboned and deskinned fish, chilli powder, garlic paste, ginger paste, garam masala powder, powdered roasted poppy seeds, powdered roasted cumin seeds, salt and lemon juice to get a dough like consistency.

Heat 1 tbsp oil and sauté the onion, raisins, mint leaves and green chillies. Add some salt to taste. This will be the filling for the kabab.

Divide the fish dough and the filling into equal number of portions. Take one portion of the dough and flatten it on your palm, make a depression in the centre and place one portion of the filling in the depression and cover it up and form a flat cake. Make all kababs in the same manner.

Heat oil in a non-stick tawa and shallow fry the kababs till golden brown on both sides.

This is generally served with parathas but it can also be had as a starter.
To make mince meat shaami kababs, just substitute the fish with the mince meat. You can also make vegetarian shaami kababs by using soy nuggets, raw banana or whole masoor and follow the same method.

                                           Mutton Shaami Kabab

Peshawari Murgh


I made this recipe a couple of weeks back and it turned out really yum…so much so that now when I am posting about it I wish I had some of it left somewhere in the back of my fridge so I could tuck into some right now. Perhaps I will be making it again soon enough…



Ingredients

½ kg chicken on the bone (you can also use boneless chicken),
1 medium sized onion sliced,
3 tbsp oil

Marinade 1

1 tsp chill powder,
1 tsp coriander powder,
1 tsp pepper powder,
½ tsp cumin powder,
¼ tsp powdered roasted fenugreek seeds,
¼ tsp powdered fennel seeds,
3 slightly crushed green cardamoms,
3 slightly crushed cloves,
1 inch piece cinnamon,
1 tsp lemon juice,
Salt to taste

Marinade 2

Paste of:
1 medium onion,
1 ½ inch ginger,
¼ cup coriander leaves with stalks,
Green chillies as per taste,
½ cup well-beaten curds,
1 tsp turmeric powder,
Salt to taste

Method

Wash and marinate the chicken in Marinade 1 for about half an hour. Then add the second marinade, mix well and let it marinate for at least 2 hours in the refrigerator (I left it overnight).

Put the chicken with all the marinade in a big pan and cook covered till done and the masala almost coats the chicken pieces. Meanwhile heat the oil and fry the sliced onion till golden brown. Drain the onions and keep aside. Now slowly fold in the oil used to fry the onions into the chicken and bhuno till the colour turns to a rich colour. Finally fold in the fried onions.

Goes well with parathas.

Moong Dal and Tomato Soup


I am trying these days to make dinner as light as possible, so most days it is either salad or soup. Today it was moong dal and tomato soup. Here is the recipe…



Ingredients

400 grams tomatoes,
½ cup moong dal,
3-4 cups of water,
Salt to taste,
1 ½ tsps of olive oil,
½ a small onion (chopped)
½ cup skimmed milk,              
Pepper crushed as per taste,
A pinch of sugar

Method

Pressure cook the tomatoes with the moong dal and water. Let cool. Blend and strain.

Heat the olive oil and add the chopped onion, sauté till it softens. Now pour in the strained soup and let it boil for 2 minutes. Add the sugar, salt to taste, crushed pepper and skimmed milk. Boil for one more minute. Serve hot or warm as per preference.

Green Pea Peel Soup


Sometime back I had heard that some portion of succulent green pea peels were used by some people to make a sabzi. I used them in a soup. 



Ingredients

8 cups of succulent green pea peels,
1 small chopped onion,
1 tbsp of olive oil,
2 cups of skimmed milk,
Salt to taste,
Powdered black peppercorns,
1 tbsp of green peas

Method

Wash the green pea peels well.

Heat the olive oil in a pressure cooker and add the chopped onion and sauté till it softens. Add the green peas and the green pea peels, sauté for some time and add the skimmed milk and about 3 cups of water. Cook on high heat till you get one whistle.

Let cool naturally and grind it in the mixer. Strain out the soup and discard the residue.

Boil the soup and add salt and pepper. Serve warm.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Firni


This is an extremely simple desert, very basic and subtle in taste and extremely simple to make too. However I had messed this up the first time I made it when I had just started cooking while at college. It had turned out all lumpy…but I have come a long way since those days.

I made firni this weekend as my hubby is very fond of sweets and every lunch is followed by the question ‘Aur meethe main kya’. I have established this rule ‘no sweets or rice at night’ so I don’t have this question thrown at me post dinner.


Ingredients

1 litre milk,
1 cup good quality rice,
1 cup sugar or as per taste,
½ tsp powdered cardamom seeds or 1 tsp rose water,
Chopped pistachios

Method

Soak the rice in 2 cups of milk for about 4 hours. Grind the rice to a fine paste with the milk used for soaking.

Heat the remaining milk with the sugar. Once it boils gently fold in the rice paste. Be extremely careful at this stage as this is when the lumps form. Keep stirring it in one direction as you pour the paste with one hand. Cook for about 10 minutes stirring continuously. Switch off the heat and add the powdered cardamom seeds or the rose water.

Pour into individual serving bowls and garnish with chopped pistachios. Let cool and then refrigerate. This tastes best when served cold in earthen bowls.

Rajma


This is one bean which has really confounded me with its reluctance to cook. I once bought a one-kg pack of the maroonish-black beans and they absolutely refused to cook inspite of being properly pre-soaked overnight and cooked in the pressure cooker for as many as 15 whistles. I have now grown to trust only the light brown ones with little maroon streaks and the small maroon ones. The small maroon ones are not so easily available and are sold as Kashmiri rajma and they are by far the most delicious in taste (I have used these today and have also used them in the photograph for illustration).

Now for the recipe… I have learnt this recipe from my dear friend Maneesha and use this recipe most often when I make rajma.



Ingredients

1 cup Kashmiri rajma,
1 large onion (chopped),
1 large tomato (chopped),
1 ½ tsp ginger paste,
1 ½ tsp garlic paste,
1 tsp red chilli powder (or as per preference),
1 tsp coriander powder,
½ tsp turmeric powder,
1 tsp cumin powder,
Salt to taste,
2 tbsps oil,
A big pinch of kasuri methi,
¼ - ½ tsp garam masala powder (I use home-made garam masala powder, but you can easily use the one available in the market)

Method

Soak the rajma overnight after washing. It is always better to wash pulses before soaking as many of the nutrients from the pulses ooze out into the water they are soaked in. If they are already washed, you can use the water used to soak them to cook them as well.

Pressure cook the rajma with salt and water for three whistles on high heat. Turn off the heat and let the steam release on its own.

In the meanwhile heat the oil in a small pan and add the chopped onion. Fry till the onions turn pink. Now add the ginger and garlic paste with all the powdered spices except the garam masala powder. Fry this well till the oil separates, then add the chopped tomatoes and cook till tomatoes soften. Let this cool and grind it to a fine paste. Alternatively you can also use it as is (today I did not grind it).

Add this masala (either ground or whole) to the cooker, mix well and taste for salt. Pressure cook this again for about 3 whistles on high heat. Let it cool naturally. Once you open the cooker check it for consistency it should be like a thick gravy, if it is a bit thin cook it again and you can also crush some of the beans with the back of a ladle against the wall of the cooker. Once you get the desired consistency switch off the heat. Sprinkle the garam masala powder and the crushed kasuri methi.

Goes well with plain rice, rotis or parathas. Serve this with onion and lemon wedges.

My First Post – A Sweet Beginning – Tutti Fruti Cake


This is my first post. My hubby has been egging me on since a very long time to start blogging…so I have finally started … and what better than a food blog for a foodie and when better than when I am on a sabbatical from work.

I have named this blog ‘Everyday and Not So Everyday’ as I will be posting everyday recipes which I make every other day, which I have seen my mother and mother-in-law making every day as well as ‘not so everyday’ recipes for which you will have to perhaps run down to the grocery store or the gourmet store for ingredients.

My first post is a recipe for Tutti Fruti Cake.



I had noted this recipe in a diary long ago when we didn’t even have an oven at home and it was noted with a hope that some day I would own an oven. So some days back I fished out this recipe from a yellowing crumbling page and absolutely delighted my hubby and father with the outcome. So here goes the recipe…

Ingredients

400 grams refined flour,
200 grams ground sugar,
100 grams tutti fruiti (easily available in grocery stores)
100 grams mawa or khoya,
5 eggs,
50 grams milk powder,
40 grams custard powder (vanilla flavour),
5 grams powdered green cardamom seeds + nutmeg + mace,
10 grams baking powder,
A few drops butterscotch essence,
240 grams softened margarine or butter

Method

Blend the softened margarine, ground sugar, milk powder and custard powder in a blender. Gradually add the eggs, mawa and baking powder and blend again.

Take the refined flour in a big mixing bowl and fold in the wet ingredients and beat well together till well blended. Lastly, fold in the tutti fruiti, nutmeg + green cardamom seeds + mace powder and butter scotch essence.

Grease and flour a cake tin and pour in the batter. Preheat the oven for 10 mins at 190o C for 40 to 45 mins. Let cool and slice.