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Mar 30, 2010

Broccoli with corn and peas- Salad

           Just like soups , I had been ignoring salad from my diet for a very long time. To be more precise, salad was a rare occurence on our dinner table. But the healthy diet awareness which I have been hearing about in the blogosphere, magazines and television and my goal to lose weight has made me include them in my diet. I had definitely cut down the inclusion of too much fats in food, having more of low carb foods and more helping of pulses and vegetables. But the inclusion of raw food which contains the maximum amount of fibre was missing from the diet. But now I make it a point to have green and other veges in its raw form . For instance it could be just cucumber slices,grated carrots or beetroots, shredded cabbage or lettuce with some salt and pepper for taste.
          I admit that broccoli has never been my favourite, but I just cant ignore them when I see them in the supermarket. And I have always tried including them in the diet making some effort to shield its taste just like this one. Yesterday, after browsing  the net for a salad dressing recipe, I found one with tomato ketchup , mayo and other sauces when I decided to create my own dressing with the store bought tomato puree and the other easily available ingredients. So that was it. It definitely tasted good and this along with some lentil soup/dal constituted  my dinner yesterday.
        I am sending this salad as my entry for usha's healthy salads event.
broccoli with corn and peas salad
Ingredients-
Broccoli- 1 - florets seperated
Peas- 1/2cup
Corn -1/2 cup of kernals(frozen)

Dressing
Tomato puree- 2tbsp
Mixed herbs- 1/2tsp
Ginger garlic paste-1/2tsp
Light soya sauce- 1tbsp
Pepper cumin powder- 1tsp
Salt- 1/2tsp
Oil- 1tsp

Method-
  Microwave broccoli , peas. and corn kernal for 5 minutes till they become tender and crisp.
Combine the ingredients stated under the "dressing" and mix well.Pour this on the microwave vegetables. Mix well and microwave for a minute.
      Serve immediately.

Mar 29, 2010

Suji Pancakes -nita Mehta recipe

         We had a lovely weekend at the beach this time. It felt so good playing in the water and building sand castles , going cycling along with my son who was equally excited like his parents to be there after a long time. We thoroughly enjoyed the day and by the time we returned home we were tired and hungry. I did not feel like cooking anything elaborate and was just nonchalantly flipping through Nita Mehtas cookbook for a quick recipe when I found this easy pancakes. They were easy to make, was ready in a couple of minutes and was quite filling too.
          As Nita Mehta says this one is a instant pancake flavoured with carom seeds(ajwain) and capsicum and made with just a few drops of oil , keeping a check on your calorie intake.
suji pancakes



Ingredients-
Pancakes
Rava/Suji- 2 cups
Curd- 2 cups or more
Baking powder- 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Oil- 1tsp

Topping
Onion- 1 chopped fine
Capsicum- 1 chopped in small pieces
Tomato- 1 chopped fine
Pepper- 1tsp
Salt to taste or 1/2tsp
Ajwain/carom seeds- 1tsp
suji pancakes
Method-
Combine suji and curds to make it into a thick batter of dropping consistency. Add the baking powder and salt and mix well. Add few tablespoons of water if the batter is too thick.Leave aside for 10 minutes.
      Mix all the ingredients under the ingredients heading "topping".
Now add a few drops of oil on your non stick tawa. Rub it throughout the tava using a tissue.Place the tava on a low flame. Pour some batter on the tava making a small circle of 2" to 3" diameter. The thickness should be like that of a uttapam. Pour another spoonful of batter similarly leaving some space between the two.
     When the sides appears to be cooking, spread some toppings on the pancakes. Gently press it into the batter.After the bottom is cooked, pick it up with a spatula gently and flip to cook the other side. Pour few drops of oil along the edges if necessary. When its cooked, remove from flame and serve it hot. I served it with some pickle. My son loved them having with some tomato ketchup.
suji pancakes

I am sending these yummy savoury Indian pancakes to Priya's pancake event.

Mar 25, 2010

Chocolate candy cake- kids birthday cake

chocolate candy cake
           It was my son's birthday last week. I bake so many cakes for my family and friends and I was secretly willing to bake one on my son's birthday too. Baking wasn't a problem , but I was scared of decorating it as I usually dont frost my cakes. I have frosted  a few before just for fun , but this time, I would be having guests at home for the birthday party. But one of my very good friends and my hubby encouraged me to go ahead with the baking telling me that I would learn that way. Well, then the rest is history.
      Due to lack of time, I used Betty crocker's chocolate mix for the cake. And I had to spend a couple of hours for decoration and my hubby gave me lot of ideas on how to do it. The decoration is not that great, but the guests loved the cake especially the kids who were overjoyed to see lot of candies on the cake.Some even asked me to make something like this for their birthdays. I was really happy with the outcome and am inspired to do many more in future and also take up a proper training on frosting cakes.

chocolate candy cake
Ingredients-
Betty Crockers chocolate cake mix- 1 packet
Eggs- 3
Vegetable oil- 1/2 cup
Water- 1+3/4 cup

Method-
Combine  all the ingredients and mix them well with a hand blender. Pour the batter in 2 8" greased cake pan. Bake the cake in a preheated oven at 150c for 30 minutes. Cool the cake properly before frosting.

Frosting the cake- You can see the picture above on how the cake was decorated.
I used chocolate cream cheese frosting . The recipe is as stated below-
Ingredients
Philadelphia Cream cheese- 1 pkg -8oz
Unsalted butter- p pkg- 4oz
Icing sugar- 3-4 cups
Cocoa powder- 3tbsp


Method-

Combine all the ingredients and beat with a hand blender until thick. Store in refrigerator till you use.
Apply the cream cheese frosting between the two cakes and then on the top and sides covering the whole cake. Place the cake in refrigerator for 30 minutes and then decorate with candies and chocolates as per your choice.

I am sending this cake along with my perfect chocolate cake recipe to Divya's best  chocolate cake event.

For the MEC- celeberating bloggers event hosted my Jayashree this month , an event started by Srivalli, I am sending two of my previous entries. Both the entries are from Jayashree's blog.
1. Microwaved kasi Halwa
2. Microwavi aka Tandoori Aloo

Reminder- I am hosting an event called cooking with pasta in creative saga. I hope you send me in your entries soon. Many thanks to the bloggers who have already send me their entries and will be happy to receive more from you.See details here.

Mar 17, 2010

Nombu adai- The savoury version

You must have already gone through my previous post where I had posted the sweet version - that is the adais made with jaggery or vella adai. Today I will be posting the savoury version which is called as uppu adai(uppu is for salt in tamil) or kara adai(which means savoury adais. Click here for complete details about nombu.

savoury nombu adaiIngredients-
Rice flour- 2cups
Black eyed beans/chawli- 1/4cup
Mustard seeds-1tsp
udid dal-1tsp
Green chillies- 2 chopped fine
Curry leaves- few leaves chopped
Coriander- a small stem chopped fine(optional)
Salt-to taste- Around 2tsp
Sesame oil- 1tsp

Method-
Soak the beans in hot water for 2 hours. Roast the rice flour for around 5 minutes. Keep it aside. Heat oil in a pan. Add the mustard seeds, udid dal, curry leaves and green chillies.Mix well. Next add the beans along with coriander if adding along with salt. Now add around 2 to 3 cups of water. Bring it to a boil. Then add the rice flour and stir to mix well into a thick mass. Now allow it to cool reasonably( till you are able to bear the heat). Make a small ball with the dough. Flatten it on a plastic sheet or banana leaf. Repeat this process with rest of the dough. Steam the savoury rice flour discs for around 10 minutes.
Serve with butter or thalagam.

Mar 15, 2010

Nombu adai - the sweet version(how to perform karadayan nombu)

Nombu adai is a special sweet dish made with rice flour for karadayan nombu or Savitri nombu when married women pray for the well being and long life of her husband . You can read more about this here.
I have always wanted to post this one every year. But the process of making this adai is a bit time consuming , though simple and the ritual has to be done on time, I never managed to click pictures. But this time I wanted to post a detailed procedure of the pooja as well as the recipe as I am sure this might be useful to the Tamil readers.
How to perform the nombu-
1. You have to know the exact time about when the pooja should be performed.
2. Some prefer to observe fast or just have fruits , no rice until the pooja is done.
3. Prepare the adais before the pooja.
4. Now decorate your pooja area with kolams/ rangoli and flowers.
5. Also keep a thali ready with the sacred yellow thread with a small piece of turmeric tied in between,betel leaves, betel nut, fruits and flowers.
6. Offer the neivedyam to the goddess by sprinkling water around the prasadams and perform an arthi and pray for the well being of your better half.
7. Tie the yellow thread around the goddess. Then tie one around your neck.
8. You can break the fast by having the adais.

sweet nombu adaiIngredients-
Rice flour- 2 cups
Jaggery- 1 to 1 1/2 cup
Cardamom powder- 1/2tsp
Black eyed beans/chawli- 1/3 cup
Ghee- 1tsp(optional)

sweet nombu adaiMethod-
Soak the black eyed beans for around 2 hours.
Roast the rice flour in a pan for about 5 minutes. The colour should not change, but it becomes slightly coarse (rough). Keep it aside.
Now add around 3 cups of water in a pan. Add the jaggery to it. The jaggery should dissolve. Allow this to boil for 2-3 minutes. Add the soaked beans. Then add the roasted rice flour and mix well to form a thick mass. Adjust the quantity of water so that the dough is neither dry nor very loose and watery. Add ghee if you want to smoothen the dough further.
Now make a small ball with the dough on your palms. Place it on a plastic sheet or banana leaf and flatten it to a disc shape making a small hole in the centre. Repeat this with rest of the dough.
Now steam cook these discs for about 10 minutes.
Remove from flame.
This tastes nice with butter. I also serve them with Thalagam.

I also made savoury version of the adai called as kara adai which I will be posting in my next post.

Mar 11, 2010

Vegetable and pasta soup

Before we go to the recipe , I wanted to tell you all about the lovely weekend we had. We had been to the Singapore's Peranakan museum where they were exhibiting a special section on Ramayan. We got to see some traditional dance performances and then there was some art and craft workshop for the kids too. Both parents and kids could spend a quality time there. I have updated my art blog with the pictures of the weekend event. So please do have a look at the pictures and other details here.
Now coming back to the recipe for today, its a healthy combination of vegetables, beans and pasta mixed with suitable spices. Soups have become essential part of our diet nowadays especially when I am trying to lose some weight. I try to avoid carbohydrates and fats for dinner thats when soups seems to be a good option. I have been trying to experiment with new ingredients and combinations to make the soup more healthy and filling. Addition of pasta made the soup really filling and I did not feel the need to have anything else for dinner.
This soup is my entry for "cooking with pasta "event going on in this blog. Please do send your paste entries soon. For details, click here.

veg pasta soup
Ingredients-
Broccoli- 3-4 florets
Carrots- a small piece- chopped into rings
Spinach- 1/2 cup finely chopped
Onion- 1 small- finely chopped
Garlic - 2 cloves crushed
Ginger- a small piece crushed
Pasta- Any variety- 1/2 cup
Black eyed beans- 1/4 cup soaked overnight
Tomato puree- 2tbsp
Dark soya sauce- 1tsp
Salt to taste
Cumin pepper powder- 1tsp
Cornflour- 1/2tsp
Oil- 1tsp

Method-
Heat a teaspoon of oil in a pan. Add the chopped onions followed by crushed garlic and ginger. Saute for sometime. Then add the other chopped vegetables along with pasta and beans. Add the pepper cumin and pepper powder and a little salt. Add 2 glasses of water and cook till the vegetables are soft and pasta is cooked. Now add the tomato puree and soya sauce. Mix well.
Dissolve the corn flour in a small amount of water and add this to the soup. Stir for a few minutes till the soup thickens a little.
Serve hot with some toasted bread.

Mar 10, 2010

Visit to Peranakan museum - wonderful experience

Last weekend we visited the Peranakan musuem of Singapore where they are exhibiting a special section on Ramayan -revisited as they call it. It was a wonderful experience and we had a good time there. It was enjoyable for us as well as for the kids. There were volunteers who were telling stories of different episodes of Ramayan to kids and to the keen tourists interested in the ancient Indian mythology.

There was a Javanese dance performed by Indonesians in which they beautifully performed the Abduction of Sita.

Then there was a Kathakali performance which was so enchanting and was enjoyed by one and all. Kids had a great time as they also had lot of activities to do. In the picture below, my son learns to make a elephant using clay.

Still patient...going on.. Final touches..


Here it is ..ready!!!
Here are the other pretty clay model exhibits...pretty aren't they???


And then we moved towards sand painting...He puts the coloured sand on the readymade floral design...what enthusiasm!!!
This is the finished product..
You can have a look at the museum website for the location and timing if you are interested to visit the place.

Mar 8, 2010

Savoury vegetable cake

I was intending to bake a savoury version of a cake for a very long time. As I always try to make my cakes healthy and of low calories, I wanted my savoury cake to be the same so that we could have a healthy guilt free and delicious snack. And therefore I have incorporated the multigrain atta which contains barley, ragi, soya along with a large proportion of wheat flour. I have found this atta really ideal for baking purposes . The cake has a lovely spongy texture.
And then the addition of vegetables of your choice makes it more healthier. You could use corn , red and yellow bell peppers, mushrooms, peas etc. I am sure the kids would love it as well as the grown ups too!!!
I am sending this to Kids delight at spicing your life as the theme this time is Snacks.

savoury veg cakeIngredients-
Pilsbury multigrain atta- 2 cups
Eggs-2
Oil- 1/4 cup
Milk- 1/4cup
Brown sugar- 1/4cup
Salt- 2tsp or to your taste
Baking powder- 4tsp
Baking soda-a pinch
Pepper cumin powder- 1tsp
Dried red chillies crushed- 3-4
Mixed herbs- 1tsp
Butter- 1/2tsp
Capsicum- 1small(chopped to small pieces)
Carrot- 1 (Chopped to tiny cubes)

savoury veg cakeMethod-
Heat the butter in a pan. Add the chopped vegetables and saute till they become tender, but remains crisp. Keep it aside.
Now beat the eggs and combine with sugar followed by milk and them oil. Combine the other dry ingredients together (flour. baking powder, Soda, Cumin pepper powder, mixed herbs, Salt, red chilly flakes) Mix the wet and dry ingredients together till you get a uniform batter. Now fold in the sauteed vegetables.
Pour this in a greased and floured cake pan. Bake the cake in a preheated oven at 160c for 35 minutes.
Slice the cake and serve warm with tomato ketchup or chilly sauce. You can store the cake in refrigerator for 2-3 days. Microwave for 20 seconds before serving.

Mar 4, 2010

Pasta with broccoli and mushrooms and an event

Macaroni/pasta would be one of the snacks served by mom when we came from school. We used to be so hungry and our plate would be empty in minutes. How we use to just love this!!! The preperation was so simple, and indianized, pasta mixed with onions and tomatoes with a tempering of mustard and cumin seeds , something like upma.
After a few years, mom learnt making the white sauce along with lots of butter, cheese and flour and I just fell in love with this one and liked it more than the traditional version.
After having only these two lovely versions for a long time, I explored the other possibilities of pasta making. I started using an assortment of vegetables such as broccoli, mushrooms,zucchini, even squash to name a few .Baking pasta with lots of cheese and white sauce was another option .
Then there are so many varieties of them which go well with a specific combination of sauces and herbs. You could use bechamel sauce or white sauce or the popular tomato sauce or the pesto.Some goes well in soups while come in salads.
Then the other ingredients which could go into your pasta are nuts such as walnuts, or herbs such mint, cilantro,parsley olives, basil , different variety of cheeses , saffron or even lentils. The list is just vast and unending.
So its just like pizza , you choose what goes into your pasta.

Cooking with pasta- An event
So then how do you make your pasta? Why dont we have a food blog event on this? Send me your pasta entries in whatever way you use them- maybe a one pot dish or salad or soups or on your pizza or some traditional method, on stove top, in a microwave or your convectional oven or some indianized version .. Its just your creation and imagination on how you present it.

About pasta- Courtesy - wikipedia
Pasta
(Italian pasta, from Latin pasta "dough, pastry cake", from Greek παστά (pasta) "barley porridge"[1]) is a generic term for foods made from an unleavened dough of wheat or buckwheatflour and water, sometimes with other ingredients such as eggs and vegetable extracts. Pastas include noodles in various lengths, widths and shapes, and varieties that are filled with other ingredients like ravioli and tortellini. The word pasta is also used to refer to dishes in which pasta products are a primary ingredient. It is usually served with sauce. There are hundreds of different shapes of pasta with at least locally recognized names.[2] Examples include spaghettirods), macaroni (tubes or cylinders), fusilli (swirls), and lasagne (sheets). Two other noodles, gnocchi and spätzle, are sometimes considered pasta. They are both traditional in parts of Italy.Pasta is categorized in two basic styles: dried and fresh. Dried pasta made without eggs can be stored for up to two years under ideal conditions, while fresh pasta will keep for a couple of days in the refrigerator.[3] Pasta is generally cooked by boiling
.
Rules for participation
1. Cook any vegetarian dish using pasta. Eggs not allowed.
2. Send me your dish before 6th of april 2010'.

3. You dont have to post me your entry through e-mail. Just leave a comment in the comment section of this post. Leave a link to your recipe.I will include it in the round up.

4. If non-bloggers are interested in paricipating in this event. Then you can send me your recipe along with the picture at creativesaga@gmail.com. I will publish your recipe as well as include it in the round up.

5.You can send unlimited entries.
6.You can send the entry from your archives. Just repost it in a new post and send me the link.
7. Use the logo for the event for spreading the word.



I am sure to come up with a lot of pasta dishes in my future posts and hope the same from you. Until then check out this one!!!

broccoli and mushroom pastaIngredients-

Pasta (any type)- 1 cup
Onion- 1 sliced fine
Crushed garlic- a teaspoon
Broccoli- a cup of florets
Mushroom- a cup chopped lenghtwise
Pasta/pizza sauce- 2tbsp (Store bought) or refer here to make the pizza sauce
Pepper cumin powder- 1tsp
Salt to taste
Grated cheese- 1 tbsp (optional)
Butter- 1tsp

Method-
Boil the pasta in some water till it turns soft. Drain the water and wash them under running water to avoid sticking. Melt a teaspoon of butter in a pan. Add the crushed garlic along with onions and saute for few seconds. Now add the chopped broccoli and mushroom along with the salt and pepper cumin powder. Saute and cook till crisp and soft. Now add the cooked pasta. Mix well and add the pasta sauce. Mix well and cook for few more minutes. Add the cheese and mix wel before serving.

Mar 2, 2010

Veggie pizza with paneer, mushrooms and bell pepper

Its completely an individual's choice of about what goes on the pizza. But one has to be careful that the ingredients does not make the crust soggy. If you use some vegetables, then just saute them with some olive oil till it gets slightly tender as well as retains its crispiness. Or you can use toppings which does not need any cooking such as olives and sun dried tomatoes. Distribute the toppings at regular intervals on the crust . Its better to use 2 or 3 toppings, but even a single ingredient tastes great.
Then you can use the homemade pizza sauce. I tried this last time and you can find the recipe here. But this time, I used the store brought pizza/pasta sauce which tasted equally good.
And now when you add the cheese, use it in grated or shredded form. Place a handful of cheese evenly on the crust beneath the toppings.
Here in singapore, the vegeterians do not have much choice of pizza toppings. But I really miss the ones we get in India.I have tasted pizza with paneer toppings in India and I was really craving for that kind of Indian pizza. So I used paneer and then mushrooms just because I had them in my pantry and bellpeppers because my hubby loves it on the pizza. And then , I did not want to use red chilly flakes as my kid was going to have them too. So I added some pepper and cumin powder for the mild spiciness.
I just noticed Lavi's event called global kadai where she wants us to indianise the pizza. So I think my pizza qualifies for the event. So this one goes to her. This event was started by Cilantro.

veg pizza-indian styleIngredients-
Pizza base- Number as required
Pizza sauce - I used store bought Sauce, but you can make from here.
Garlic- 1 small clove crushed
Mozerella cheese- 1 cup grated
Paneer- 10-15 small cubes
Bell pepper- 1 chopped lengthwise
Onion- 1 sliced
Mushroom- 7 to 8 chopped lengthwise
Salt - 1tsp
Cumin pepper powder- 1tsp
Olive oil- 1/2tsp

=Method-
Heat oil in a pan. Add the chopped onions along with crushed garlic and saute well. Add the paneer cubes, chopped bell pepper and mushrooms and mix well. Add the salt and cumin pepper powder. Saute till the bell peppers turns a little tender.
Place a base on the baking dish or baking tray. Spread some pizza sauce(contains tomato puree,
onion, garlic with herbs such as basil and oregano.) on the base.Place the grated mozarella cheese all over the base. Now place the cooked vegetables uniformly over the base.
Bake in a preheated oven at 180c till the cheese melts and the crusts turns a golden colour, that is around 10-15 minutes. Serve immediately.

veg pizza-indian style

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