Oct 31, 2008

Soyabean paneer pulao

soya bean paneer pulao Not much time for blogging and bloghopping nowadays. I am having a great time with my family who have come for a holiday here.
I had a few posts in my drafts. So thought of posting them once in a while when I find a little time for blogging for the next few days.
I got a packet of frozen soya bean pods from supermarket. It is quite tasty and healthy to eat them as it is. But I thought to use it in the pulao and tasted good.

Soyabean pods- 15
Paneer/cottage cheese- 1cup
Rice- 2cups
Cinnamon- 1'
Bayleaves- 1
Cloves- 3
Cardamom- 3
Cumin seeds- 1tsp
Turmeric powder- 1tsp
Salt to taste

Put the pods in boiling water and remove the beans from them. Wash the rice and drain the water and keep it aside.
Heat oil in a pressure cooker pan. Add cumin seeds, bayleaves,cinnamon, cloves and cardamom. Add the cottage cheese and soya beans. Add turmeric powder and salt and mix well. Add required water and pressure cook till the rice cooks well.
Serve hot with raitha or any subji.

There are some awards which I will be writing about in my next post.
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Oct 27, 2008

Vegetable stew for idiyappam.

veg stew for idiappam I always wanted to have this when I saw them in menu cards in the Indian restaurants. But my hubby used to dismiss the dish saying that I won't like it. So this way I had never tasted until my last trip to chennai when my sister in law ordered it for a breakfast. And I simply loved it. Since then I always wanted to try this combination at home. But I never managed to buy the press for idiyappam. But finally , I found a instant idiyappam packet at the Indian stores and bought it immediately.
So I made this combination for a sunday brunch. We all loved it. It was delicious and quite filling too.
The idiyappam had to be kept in a bowl containing boiling water(salt added) and closed with a lid for few minutes. The water has to be drained. And the idiyappam is ready.

For the vegetable stew-

Mixed Vegetables - chopped in cubes- (potatoes,carrots,cauliflower,peas and french beans.)
coriander seeds- 1tbspn
Jeera- 1tsp
Cinnamon stick- 1inch
Bay leaves- 1
poppy seeds-1tsp
Dried red chillies-4
Coconut milk- 100ml
Oil- 1tsp

Cook the vegetables in boiling water adding salt and turmeric powder, till it become soft. Meanwhile, add oil in a pan. Add jeera, red chillies,coriander seeds, spices. Fry till it turns to a slight brown colour. Grind it to a smooth powder. Add this mixture/ masala to the cooked vegetables and mix well. Cook for another 5 minutes. Then add the coconut milk and keep for another 2 minutes. Don't cook for a long time after adding coconut milk.
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Oct 25, 2008

Dates cake - one of the best!!!

dates cake I think I was the only person left out in the blogging world to try out this cake. And now I know why it is so popular. It is certainly one of the best cakes I have tasted. It is so easy to make made almost with scratch, yet healthy. It involves just a little oil and that too can be avoided as Shilpa of Aayis recipe who was the first to make this one says.And the other thing is , the recipe requires only baking soda and is eggless. First I was a bit apprehensive, whether the cake will rise properly. Anyway , I decided to go ahead with the same recipe. And yes indeed, the cake rose so well and was very spongy and moist. I was amazed and yes, I am going to make the cake again. A winner recipe...Thanks to shilpa. I made it for snacks party and was a instant hit.

Dates- 25
Milk- 1 cup
Plain flour- 1 and 1/2cup
Oil- 1/2cup
Baking soda- 1tsp
Cashews- 4 broken into pieces.

Soak the dates in warm milk overnight. Remove the seeds. Add sugar and grind them into a smooth paste. Add the oil and mix well. Sieve flour and baking soda. Add the flour , 1tbspn at a time and keep mixing. Add the nuts and mix. Bake this in a preheated oven at 180c for 35 minutes. dates cakedates cake A very " Happy and Prosperous Deepavali" to all blogger friends and the readers of Creative Saga.
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Oct 23, 2008

Dahi vada - lentil dumplings in yogurt.

I made this snack for some guests few weeks ago and it was a huge success. Its so very easy to make and less time consuming too. So it can be easily prepared for a dinner party as a side dish when you have a large number of guests . This snack is especially divine during the hot summers.I referred for the recipe here.
One can even make the vadas/dumplings and store it in refrigerator for a week. Just before use, they have to be immersed in hot water and then added to the yogurt. I used a combination of udid dal and mung dal. But it can be made using just udid dal. But addition of mung dal reduces the absorption of oil, as told by one of my friends. But I am not too sure whether that is the reason. If someone knows , you can share it with us.
dahi wada
Udid dal/black gram - 1 cup
Mung dal- 1 cup
Salt to taste
Green chillies- 2
Asafoetida- a pinch
Oil for deep frying
Yogurt- 4 cups

Spices to add before you serve -(measurement just enough to sprinkle on the vadas)
Red chilly powder
Chaat masala
roasted cumin seed powder
Tamarind chutney

Soak both the dals overnight. Next day, add green chillies and grind them to a smooth paste. Then whip the batter with a spoon for sometime. To check whether you can start with the frying, just drop a spoon of batter in a cup of water. If its is intact, you are ready for the next step. Otherwise, whip for sometime. Add little salt and asafoetida. Heat oil in a pan. Drop a spoonful of batter in the oil and fry till golden brown. Repeat the process with rest of the batter.
Take the yogurt in a large vessel and whip till it is a uniform.
Immerse the vada in water for sometime and then squueze and put them in the yogurt.
While serving, keep around 4 to 5 vadas on the serving plate. Sprinkle salt ,red chilly , cumin powder and chaat masala. Add a little tamarind chutney on the top for better taste.
dahi wadadahi wada
Some info on commercially available yogurt for those who are not aware. I found this information in Diana shaw's "The essential vegeterain cookbook, so thought of sharing with you all.
Yogurt is a type of milk which is infused with a culture of two types of bacteria,heated , then left in an incubator to curdle. When the non fat milk is used, the manufacturer may add non fat milk solids to thicken the final product, which also increases the calcium and protein content of the yogurt.
Another thing is in case you are lactose intolerant, you can still eat the yogurt because the bacteria that curdles the milk create lactase, the enzyme that help in digestion of milk solids.
Also the bacteria in yogurts labelled "with active culture"helps maintain a healthful balance of good bacteria in your intestines, which is good for your digestion overall. Check the yogurt cartons as per your requirement.

I am sending this to easycraft's Wyf party food event.
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Oct 22, 2008

Rasgulla - bengali sweets recipe

Wow, I made them at last. First time, I saw in Dhivya's blog and was amazed. Could they be really made at home? It sounded so easy ,and I thought it involved some difficult process. Then I saw many bloggers attempt rasgulla,rasmalais and chamchams. I wanted to do them from a very long time. And finally I made them for a dessert one weekend. Everyone liked it . Though it wasn't the best rasgullas I had eaten, but it was really good than I had expected. I referred this before I made them. Here's the recipe.
Milk- 1litre
Vinegar -1tbspn
Sugar- 1cup
Cardamom powder- 1tsp
saffron strands- few

Boil the milk. Add the vinegar. The milk starts curdling. Collect this chenna(curdled portion) in a strainer and wash it well. Tie it in a cheesecloth and keep it for a 1-2 hours till no water remains.squeeze the cloth to remove the water completely.Knead the chenna into a smooth dough.Kneading is quite important. It takes quite some time.You have to press the grainy chenna to a paste and keep kneading.When a smooth dough is formed,pinch a portion and shape them into a small balls.Repeat the same with rest of the dough. The ball should be smooth and without cracks.
Add sugar in 3 cups water in a big vessel(as the chenna balls double in size) and boil for 10 to 15 minutes. Add cardamom powder and saffron strands. Put the balls in it. I pressured cooked for 7 minutes and then reduced the flame and cooked for another 10 minutes.let it depressurize completely.Chill them and serve. See another method of cooking them in the notes section below.

Notes- 1. You can also add rose water.
2. Instead of pressure cooking, you can just cook them in a big vessel for a longer time around 15-20 minutes.Close the vessel with a lid.Cook till they increase in size, become spongy and lighter and float on the sugar syrup.( I have tried this method, it works fine too)
3. The chenna dough balls doubles in size, so use a appropriate vessel for cooking.
4. The clear watery portion called whey left after the milk curdles can be stored and used next time you make chenna or paneer. You can use this instead of vinegar or lime to curdle the milk.

The pictures are updated when I tried them for the second time. These rasgullas are on their way to-
Priti's festive food- Diwali
Srivalli's JFI-Festival treats.
Pallavi's yummy festival feast
Mythreyee's sweet series- sweets with spongy texture

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Oct 21, 2008

My 100th post with strawberry muffins!!!

strawberry muffins I just can't believe it that I have reached my 1ooth post. It all began when I got a new microwave last year. I used to browse the net for some easy microwave recipes. After going through some blogs and trying out some recipes from them, I gradually developed interest in experimenting new dishes and learning new cusines.My hubby who has always been my greatest critic tried his best to give his suggestions and ideas on my cooking and how to improve on it. Then one fine day, I decided to blog about my cooking. Lakshmi gave me lot of ideas and tips about it. And then later , I had people visiting my blog regularly giving their sweetest comments and suggestions. I felt so happy when I saw bloggers try out my dishes. Now blogging has become an important activity along with the other chores. And my family has always supported me in their own way by giving me tips and ideas on blogging, new recipes, how to click pictures. Not only that, I have also got so many new friends because of blogging. I want to thank each and everyone for visiting my blog and leaving your kind comments and hope to get your love and support always.
strawberry muffins I made this healthy strawberry cake recently and thought it apt for my 100th post. Here's the recipe for it.
strawberry muffins Ingredients-
All purpose flour- 1 cup
Wheat flour- 1 cup
Brown sugar- 1 cup
Baking powder- 1tsp
baking soda- 1/2tsp
Non fat buttermilk- 1 cup
Strawberries- 10
Egg- 3

Chop the strawberries and mix it with buttermilk and blend it to a paste.
Beat the eggs. Add sugar and mix well. Then add the strawberry mixture.
Mix the flours with baking powder and soda. Add this flour mixture to the above strawberry egg mixture. Add slowly stirring in between.
Preheat oven to 180c. Add the batter in muffin cup placed in muffin pan. I also added the remaining batter in a cake tin. Bake at 180c. Bake muffins for 20 minutes or the knife comes out clean. Cake might take a little longer time, 30 minutes or so till the knife comes out clean.
strawberry muffins Keep visiting creative saga for delicious recipes.
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Oct 20, 2008

Oats halwa,oats kesari

oats kesari/halwa
  I am posting the recipe for oats halwa and with this, I have posted all the navratri prasadams. I had also made kesari which you must have seen in the collage. You can refer the recipe of fruit kesari which I had posted few days ago.
I had been seeing this oats halwa in many of the blogs and always thought of making it. It was in my mind for sometime. And so I prepared this for navratri. I really enjoyed navratri this time. I celeberated all the nine days by making this wonderful prasadams and following the tradition of inviting and visiting friends for haldi kum kum/tamboolam..

Rolled oats- 1cup
Sugar- 1/2 cup
Milk- 1/2 cup
Ghee - 1tbspn

Grind the oats to a coarse powder. Heat ghee in a pan. Add the oats and saute till it becomes a light brown in colour. Add sugar and milk, water if required till everything mixes to a thick mass. Roast cashews in ghee. Mix it into the halwa.
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Oct 19, 2008

Broken wheat halwa.

cracked/broken wheat halwa/lapsi/gothambu
This was another prasadam I made for navratri. I usually make kheer or payasam with broken wheat. But this time , I decided to make halwa/sheera with it. And it was another hit during navaratri. It tasted great, easy to make and is prepared in no time. My son loved it too.

Broken wheat- 1cup
Milk- 1cup
Sugar- 1cup
Ghee- 1tbsp
Cashews- 4

Wash the wheat and add milk and a little water if required. Pressure cook for few minutes. Heat ghee in a pan. Roast the cashews. Add the cooked wheat and sugar and keep stirring till it becomes a thick mass.
Serve hot.
Mahimaa's kitchen has passed the "Arte Y Pico award" to creative saga. Thanks a lot.It means a lot to me.
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Oct 16, 2008

Kadalai parappu/channa dal payasam recipe- lentil coconut milk pudding

This is another favourite at my home ,recently made it as a prasad/offering for navratri. I love this payasam as this is bit different from the other payasam varieties. The taste is quite delicious and is different as we use jaggery and coconut mik. So here's the recipe.

Chana dal/kadala parappu - 1/2 cup
Jaggery- 1cup
Coconut milk- 1cup
Cardamom powder-1tsp
cashews roasted in ghee for garnishing.

Cook the chana dal in pressure cooker till it becomes soft, but take care it does not get mashed.
 Heat half cup of water. Add jaggery. Cook till it dissolves.
Then add the cooked channa dal and keep stirring till it mixes well for 10 minutes.
Add the cardamom powder.
Then add the coconut milk. Stir for another 3-4 minutes. Do not let it boil.
Garnish with roasted cashews.
Chill and serve. You can serve it hot too!

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Oct 12, 2008

Chundal/sundal recipes for navaratri.

As you must have seen in my last post about navratri, I said I will be posting the recipes for them. So today , I will posting the recipe for chundal.
Chundal is a popular prasadam/offering for navratri in the south. Any kind of pulses can be used. The basic recipe is the same. You can make with chick peas, bengal gram, green gram, groundnuts. This time during navaratri , I made with chana dal, Black chick peas, kabuli chana and green peas.

Any pulses/lentils- 1 cup(see list below)
Grated coconut- 1/2cup
Coriander - finely chopped

You can use chickpeas(white or black),dried peas, rajma, karamani(cowpeas).
I have also made a chundal with channa dal with a slightly different procedure.

Mustard- 1tsp
udid dal-1tsp
channa dal- 1tsp
Red chillies- 4 to 5
Curry leaves- few pinched
Gingelly oil- 2tsp
Salt to taste

Wash and Soak the pulses overnight till it softens(becomes tender).
Drain the water if any. Wash again.
Pour around 1 1/2 glass of water.
Cook them in pressure cooker till it becomes soft.(around 8 whistles, depends on your cooker)Take care it does not get mashed.
Drain the water completely.
Heat oil in a pan.
Add mustard, udid dal , channa dal and red chillies.Add curry leaves. Add the cooked pulses and salt and mix well.
Add grated coconut.Mix well.
Saute for another 4-5 minutes.(You can even cover and cook for 2-3 minutes, but take care ir does not burn at the bottom.
Garnish with coriander.

Chick pea/kabuli channa/kondakadalai chundal
For channa dal /kadala parappu chundal,
Soak the dal only for 2 hours.
Cook in a preesure cook only till soft.(just one whistle) Take care it does not turn mushy.
Heat oil in a pan.
Add mustard seeds and udid dal.
When it crackles, add hing and curry leaves.

I did not add grated coconut here.(but you can)
Garnish with coriander.
 I just squeezed in some lemon juice for a different taste. See more chundal recipes in this blog
Masoor dal chundal
Sweet payar chundal
Karamani chundal

(Pictures for this post will be updated soon.)
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Oct 9, 2008

Navratri prasadams- varieties to make for the nine day festival

"Happy Vijaydashmi to all blogger friends and the readers of Creative saga." Navratri, a very popular hindu festival, is celebrated for nine nights, the 10th day being Vijaydashmi or dusshera. Therefore its a ten day festival. All the states have their own way of celebrating this festival of "Shakti" in her nine forms. You can read it in detail here.
In Gujarat, the dandia (form of dance)is very popular during this festival. In the north of India, the ladies worship young girls(kanya, considered as devi). On the 8th or 9th day of navratri, the girls are invited and they are given prasads(offering) of puri and chole along with some goodies. Bengal celebrate this festival in a very grand manner as "Durga pooja".
Down south, "bomma golu" or doll house is the main attraction of the festival. Ladies are invited home and are given tamboolam or Haldi kumkum(manjal kumkumam). Chundal or sundal is the main offering during navratri. It is made with different pulses. Or any form of offering is made everyday for 9 days.
So here is a list and a collage photo of the prasadams I made during the last nine days.
Click on the name for detailed recipe..
Other Prasadam ideas-
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Oct 6, 2008

Pulikachal and puliyodharai

Puliyodharai is often made as prasadam/offering to god in most of the temples in Tamilnadu. I remember having hot puliyodharai after some pooja in a temple in my village. It tasted just superb in the cold midnight.
I have always loved puliyodharai but never tried making on my own as I thought it was a long process. I always used the readymade MTR puliyogarai packets or the grand sweets pulikachal mix.
But recently, I tried making it and found the process so easy that now this is a regular thing in my home. I made this on fourth day of navrathri along with sundal (will be posting later) when I had some guests at home. It tasted great. So this is how I made.

Tamarind- lemon size lump
Red chillies- 10
Groundnut- 2tbspn
Chana dal/bengal gram- 1tbspn
Jaggery- 1/2tbspn
Curry leaves- few
Mustard- 1tsp
turmeric powder- 1tsp
Asafoetida - a pinch
Salt- 2-3 tsp
Sesame oil- 2tsp

To grind-
 Coriander seeds- 1tbsp
Pepper- 1/2tsp
Channa dal- 1tsp
Red chillies- 6 to 7
Roast all the ingredients and grind them to a fine powder.

Rice - 2 cups
Sesame oil- 1tbsp

Roast and grind the powder as mentioned above.
Soak the tamarind in 2-3 glasses of hot water.squeeze out the pulp and discard the rest of the tamarind. It should be very watery like rasam.
Heat oil in a pan. Fry mustard seeds, groundnuts,channa dal,chillies ,asafoetida and curry leaves.
Pour tamarind water carefully. Add the turmeric powder and jaggery. Cook in low flame till it thickens.It will take 30 minutes.
Add the ground powder. Mix and allow to cook for few minutes. Stir till it forms a thick paste.
You can store it for even a week or two.

For Puliyodharai-
Cook rice in a pressure cooker. The grains should be seperate.Add a tablespoon of hot sesame oil with the pulikachal as required. Mix and serve.
Serve with curd and appalams/papad. I love this combo.
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Oct 1, 2008

Vanilla Apple cake-SSB challenge

vanilla apple cake When I saw that this month's challenge in sweet and simple bakes was a cake too, I was a bit disappointed. I was hoping it would be something different,other than cakes. Then I noticed that , I had all the ingredients and thought of baking it anyway. And I was glad that I did. I enjoyed placing the apple slices on the cake batter and sprinkling with lots of cinnamon and brown sugar. It was fun baking this one and was slightly different than the other cakes I had baked. And the taste was awesome. We loved the taste of cinnamon on it and biting into the softened apple pieces was simply superb.
vanilla apple cake Thanks Rosie and Maria for a beautiful recipe this time too!!!An absolute winner!!! I did not make major changes to the original recipe. I just used brown sugar in place of demerara sugar.
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