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Jul 26, 2011

Mysorepak / besan burfi/chickpea flour fudge

     Mysorepak is a popular sweet which originated in  the Karnataka region and is now made and available throughout India. I have always heard that its quite a task to make this rich ghee loaded dessert. But I had always wanted to try this one. So one day, I gathered all my courage and set to try it. I won't say it was the best , but it wasn't a total flop either. Judging the consistency is always a skill when you make any kind of fudge and the same goes with this one. I felt I was a little late in judging the consistency, so the fudge set immediately when I poured in the plate. It tasted good and was crunchy. I do plan to make it again sometime and still better with someone who is an expert in making this sweet. I love the popular Srikrishna sweets kind of texture and would love to make that someday.
Recipe Courtesy- Vahrehvah.com 
 
mysore pak/besan burfi
Ingredients-
Besan/chickpea flour/kadalai maavu-1 1/2 cups
Ghee- 1 cup
Oil- 1 cup (or use 2 cups ghee instead)
Sugar- 2cups
mysore pak/besan burfi
Method-
    Melt the ghee in a pan. Combine the oil in the melted ghee. Take the besan flour in a bowl and add a tablespoon of hot ghee in it and mix well. Now pass this through a sieve to ensure that there are no lumps. Keep this aside.
    Now take another pan, preferably a non stick one. Add the sugar along with 1/4 cup of water. Melt the sugar . Keep stirring till you get a one string consistency. Add a small drop of the syrup in water and see if you are able to form a ball or else place it between your fingers to check whetehr you are able to pull it into strings. Your sugar syrup is done.
     Add the besan to the sugar syrup gradually mixing it simultaneously so that no lumps form. Add a tablespoon of ghee and stir continuously. Keep adding the ghee in between when you are stirring.
     Stir till the mixture is frothy and the ghee seperates. Pour the mixture in a greased plate. When it sets, cut them into squares or desired shape.

Jul 22, 2011

Baked Veg. Lasagna- - S/S pictures

          We had tasted lasagna for the first time during our trip to Bintan where we had very little vegetarian options. But then enjoyed the vegetarian lasagna to the core. After that we had this during couple of occasions and I was looking forward to try this at home. I had got these lasagna sheets from Giants supermarket long time ago. A recipe using non vegetarian sauce was mentioned on the box and hence I was looking for a vegetarian recipe.
           I found one in Tarla Dalal 's book and the recipe seemed to be a easy one. I have made very slight modifications to the recipe.

Ingredients-

Lasagna sheets- 4-5 numbers
Thick coating white sauce- 2 cups (see recipe here.)
Vegetable sauce-
Mixed boiled vegetables- 3 cups(I used french beans, carrots and peas)
Potatoes- 2 boiled
Onion- 1 chopped
Garam masala- 1tsp
Green chillies- 2 chopped(I did not use)
Ghee/butter- 1tbsp
Tomato puree- 1/2 cup(not in the original recipe)see notes.
Salt to taste
Grated cheese- 1 cup
Butter for greasing

Notes- For tomato puree, you can use store bought one. I placed a huge tomato in boiling water for a minute, peeled off the skin and blended it to a puree.

For the vegetable sauce-
   Mash the potatoes coarsely. Heat butter and fry the onion for a minute. Microwave the vegetable for 5 minutes at 100% power. Cook till they are soft and crisp. Add this to the onions along with the puree, salt and garam masala. Cook for 2-3 minutes.


      I used oven ready lasagna sheets. So I could use them directly. Sometimes, you may need to cook the sheets in boiling water till soft and then use them in the recipe. So proceed according to the package instructions.
easy veg.lasagna recipe
In a well greased baking dish, add a ladle full of white sauce. Place a lasagna sheet on it.
easy veg.lasagna recipe
Next add the vegetable sauce on it . Pour more white sauce on it.
easy veg.lasagna recipe
     Again arrange a lasagna sheet on this and pour the vegatable sauce followed by the white sauce. Repeat this with rest of the sheets and sauces.
easy veg.lasagna recipe
Sprinkle the cheese on top.
easy veg.lasagna recipe
Bake in a preheated oven at 200c for around 45 minutes or until golden brown.
easy veg.lasagna recipe
Allow it to cool.It is super hot.
easy veg.lasagna recipe
Cut vertically with a knife and serve.
easy veg.lasagna recipe
See the layers.
easy veg.lasagna recipe

Another last one!!
easy veg.lasagna recipe

Jul 21, 2011

Bombay sandwich / vegetable cheese sandwich- S/S pictures

              Though I have visited Mumbai a couple of times, I have never got to taste its street food which is so popular especially the pulao and pav bhaji. I recently heard about this sandwich from a friend who makes this quite regularly at her home. I took the recipe from her and made it one day. It was a filling meal with loads of vegetables. The cheese and the 'masala'  is considered to be the key ingredient in this as told by my friend.
    There is an interesting article on "making of a Bombay sandwich" here. 

Ingredients-
Whole wheat bread- 10 slices(you can use white bread also)
Potatoes- 2 boiled and sliced into thin circles
Beetroot- 1 boiled (cooked till soft) and sliced into circles
Tomato-2 sliced into circles
Cucumber- 1 peeled and sliced into circles
Grated cheddar cheese- 2 cups
Chaat masala- 1tbsp
Tomato ketchup- 1/2 cup
Green chutney 
    Combine a few mint leaves, coriander leaves,3-4 green chillies, 2-3 garlic cloves along with some salt. Grind it in a chutney mixer along with a few drops of water till it becomes a smooth paste.

how to make bombay sandwich
Take two slices of bread. Apply green chutney on one and tomato ketchup on the other.
how to make bombay sandwich
Now place the the slices each of cucumber, tomato, potato and beetroot on one slice.
how to make bombay sandwich
Sprinkle some chaat powder on it and place a lot of grated cheese on it.
how to make bombay sandwich
 Cover this with other slice. Place this in a sandwich maker and toast well.
   Sprinkle more cheese on this before you serve. (The thought of adding so much cheese scared me!!)
how to make bombay sandwich
Serve hot with more ketchup if you prefer.

Jul 18, 2011

Vegetarianism- A Thought (Guest post)

NAME: VIYOMA R

LOCATION: MUMBAI, INDIA

CUISINE STATUS: VEGETARIAN

Not long ago, I wanted to have a taste of Non Vegetarian diet.  The Law of Economics says any “want” should be backed by “desire” and “purchasing capacity” to transform into demand. For reasons unknown, my own want didn’t get the backing of strong “desire” and hence didn’t transform to demand.
Looking back, I am happy about it, happy for having retained my Vegetarian status.  Most vegetarians are questioned about their consumption of “Dairy Products”. Cake Lovers, face additional clarifications on egg consumption. The divine subject of “Egg” whether vegetarian or not, by and large remains unanswered.  Probably its time we educate ourselves a little more on Vegetarianism.
Going by the dictionary, “Vegetarianism” is a practice of following “Plant Based Diet”.  However, when dairy products are consumed by Vegetarians, they are called “LACTO- VEGETARIANS”. Similarly those who consume Eggs are called “OVO VEGETARIANS”. Thus, vegetarian cake lovers and dairy consumers come under the LACTO-OVO category. Not that, the Vegetarian Societies are trying to endorse this practice via classifications.  But this categorization can be used as benchmarks by those who wish to adopt a vegetarian diet.  There is also a segment called SEMI VEGETARIANS where there is an allowance for poultry and fish products. Sounds to me, like a teetotaler who considers “Wine” as an exception.
A common myth on Vegetarianism is the absence of (substantial) nutritional content in it.  The statement is more relative than absolute. Soy products, Legumes and Whole grains are rich sources of protein. For calcium one can turn to dark green vegetables, such as spinach, turnip and broccoli. Nuts and Wheat gram have been considered perennial “Zinc” Lenders.
Coming to Iron Content, its bioavailability may be less but meat alternates exist in large numbers. Vegetarian foods rich in iron include lentils, oatmeal, raisins and cashews.  Your choice of Breakfast Cereals can influence the presence of Iron Content in meals. For Lacto - Ovo Vegetarians, Corn Flakes, is the easiest option.
I sense some of you thinking “these are typical examples given to keep the flag of Vegetarianism flying”. With all due respect to that, nutritional viabilities under Vegetarian Diet cannot be ignored.  It’s ironical to note that we are touching on the second stage of thought process while discussing the Health Inputs under Vegetarianism. The primary question remains “Are we serious of considering Vegetarianism an option? “

Viyoma R blogs at Vyo's world. Do check out her lovely blog  (as she quotes in her own words) 
for her random thoughts, freaky ideas ,articulate conversations..pouring in at different horizons
of time.

Jul 16, 2011

Minty potato raita/aloo raitha/pachadi

           I try to make it a point to include salads /raw vegetables in our diet. Mostly it is carrots and cucumbers. But once in a while I  make raitas or yogurt based salads. I had tasted potato salads at some parties along with starters and chaats and I had always loved the taste and wanted to make them at home. Mints and potato was a interesting combination. I served this with some pulao. But I love raitas with rotis too.
minty potato raita
Ingredients-
Potato-2 big
Curd/yogurt-2 cups
Mint leaves- few leaves chopped fine
Red chilly powder-1/2tsp
Salt to taste
Chat powder-1tsp

Method-
    Cook the potatoes in pressure cooker till they turn very soft. Cut them to small pieces and place it in a bowl. Add the mint leaves along with red chilly powder and salt. Beat the curd with a spatula. Pour the curd in the potato mixture. Combine everything together. Sprinkle some chaat powder when you serve.

Jul 13, 2011

~Devil's food cake~

        I was looking for a nice chocolate cake recipe to bake on my hubby's birthday and I had bookmarked so many of them and finally shortlisted  two of them- one was this and the other was a chocolate mud cake. Finally I settled on devil's food cake after a lot of confusion as both of them looked just awesome. Anyway,I will make the mud cake next time!!According to wiki, the devil's cake is a moist ,airy rich chocolate layer cake. Usually cocoa powder is used instead of melted chocolate and is always paired with a chocolate frosting. It also generally uses bicarbonate of soda.
        I found the recipe in small cake book I had randomly picked up when I had gone to buy some books for my kid. The cake recipes in it are amazing and so very doable.
       The cake was definitely good. I make so many varieties of cake, but the chocolate ones are always a instant hit especially with my kid. He just loves them so much. I do plan to make many of them, but I do need a excuse for it...right??!!

Recipe source- Classic esssential cakes( Periplus mini cookbooks.)
devil's food cake
Ingredients-
Plain flour/maida- 1 cup
Self raising flour- 1 cup
Bicarbonate of soda- 1tsp
Cocoa powder- 2/3 cup
Castor sugar- 1 1/4 cup(I used fine granulated sugar)
Butter- 125g
Milk-1 cup
Sour cream- 1cup(I used buttermilk- see notes)
Eggs- 3 lightly beaten

    Notes - Unfortunately, I did not find sour cream in the super market on that particular day. I then browsed for a substitute and found that buttermilk is the best substitute for this. But the sour cream does not only give a nice texture , but also a certain tang to the cake. So I added a tsp of vinegar to a cup of milk and let it stand for 10 minutes till it curdled and used this as a sour cream substitute.

devil's food cake
Method-
  Preheat oven at 180c. Brush a deep 20cm round cake pan with oill or melted butter. Sift flours,soda, and cocoa powder into a large mixing bowl. Add sugar,butter, milk and sour cream(buttermilk here). Beat for 1 minute at medium speed untill combined.
       Add eggs ,increase speed to high and beat for 4 minutes until smooth and creamy. Pour into prepared tin and bake for 1 hour or a skewer comes out clean when inserted in the center. Remove cake from oven and leave it in the tin till it cools completely. Turn it on a wire rack.
devil's food cake
Icing- Chocolate buttercream frosting.
Ingredients-
Semi sweet dark chocolate squares- 3 squares each weighing 1 oz.
Butter- 125 gm( at room temperature.)
Icing sugar- 3 cups

Method-
    Melt the chocolate squares in a microwave. Cut the butter in small squares and add it to the melted chocolate. Keep stirring this to form a uniform suspension. Now add the icing sugar slowly to the above mixture mixing it simultaneously till it forms a thick paste. Add a few drops of milk if the frosting is too thick.
   Store in refrigerator till use. Cut the cake horizontally in the center with a serrated knife. Apply some frosting on the top.Place the other half on the top. Apply the frosting all over the cake. Decorate as you wish.

Jul 11, 2011

How to make white sauce?(Step by step pictures)

     Basic white sauce is called as bechemel sauce  and it has many other different variations.In the recipe, I have stated the method I follow for making this one. Though cheese is only optional, I love the taste of it. I generally use it for pasta. But it can be used on lasagne and boiled vegetables especially works great with boiled cauliflower. Check out the recipes in Creative saga where I have used white sauce.
1. pasta using white sauce
2. Baked vegetables

See notes below for variation.
Recipe source- Tarla dalal's cook book

Ingredients-
Butter- 1tbsps
Plain flour/maida- 1tbsp
Milk- 2 teacups
Salt as required
White Pepper as required
Grated cheese- 4-5 tbsps (optional)

Method-
   Melt butter in a pan.
Melt butter
Add the flour.Mix well. Keep stirring for a few minutes without browning it. (the floury smell should disappear)
add flour
  Switch off the flame. Add milk slowly, mixing the flour simultaneously. No lumps should be formed. It should be uniform suspension.
add milk
        Now add the cheese , salt and pepper and keep mixing well. Add salt carefully as required when you are using salted butter and cheese.
add salt ,cheese and pepper
Keep stirring till the sauce thickens.
white sauce/bechemel
       Below is a picture where I have added the sauce to boiled pasta along with some steamed vegetables.
white sauce in pasta

Notes - The ingredients mentioned above is for thin pouring sauce. For thick coating sauce to be used in casserole dishes, use 2tbsp of butter , 2tbsp flour and 2 teacups milk.

Jul 10, 2011

Soya chunks pulao

            One pot meals such as pulao is something quite frequent at my place. I make it quite often with different combinations of vegetables or paneer  and a tasty meal is ready in no time.A carrot or beetroot raita is enough to go along with it.. Its a complete meal especially when you add something nutritious such as soya chunks or paneer or even tofu. Even my kid enjoys it.
soya chunks pulao
Ingredients-
Basmati rice- 2 cups
Small soya chunks- 1 cup
Peas- 1/2 cup
Oil-1tbsp(You can use butter or vanaspati also)
Cumin seeds- 1tsp
Bayleaves-1
Cinnamon- 1 stick
Cloves- 4-5
Cardamom pods- 3-4
Onions-1 sliced
Ginger garlic paste- 1tsp
Salt to taste

Method-
       Clean the rice with water and keep aside for around 20 minutes.Heat oil in a pressure cooker pan. Add the cumin seeds along with whole spices. Saute for a minute. Add the onion and ginger garlic paste. Saute till the onions turns translucent. Add the Soya chunks and peas and mix well. Now add the rice followed by salt. Mix everything properly. Add around 3-4 cups of water.Now cook in the pressure cooker. One or two whistles should be sufficient.The cooked rice should be soft , yet the grains should be seperate.
        Serve hot with raita.

Jul 8, 2011

Home made garam masala

     I usually buy a variety of garam masalas (Indian spices) and use them alternatively for a different taste.For instance , I like to use subji masala ,goda masala or kitchen king masala for different dry vegetable curries or maybe tandoori masala for paneer or tofu based gravies. And lately I have started making my own garam masala adding my touch and it really goes well with many dishes. Somehow I love the taste and flavour of home made garam masalas rather than the store bought ones. So here goes my recipe.
how to make garam masala at home

Ingredients-
Bay leaves-  5 to 6 leaves (tear to small pieces with a pair of scissors)
Cinnamon- 2-3 sticks (Break to small pieces
Cardamom pods- 1tbsp (Green and black)
Star anise- 2-3 numbers(break into smaller sized pieces.)
Whole peppercorns- 1tsp
Cumin seeds-1tsp
Fennel seeds- 1tsp
Coriander seeds-1tbsp
Cloves-1tsp

Method-
   Combine everything together and grind it to a fine powder in a mixer.
In case the ingredients are not freshly bought,and you have been storing it for quite sometime in your kitchen pantry, then toast them lightly in a pan before grinding them.

Jul 7, 2011

How to make Tamilian's Curry powder / podi

            I got the idea of making this in big batches when a friend of mine gave a big bottle of this curry powder before she left for her native. I found it so useful when I made brinjal , okra and many other dry curries. Initially I used to skip adding the powder/podi to the dry curries especially when I am in a hurry or too lazy to do it the same day I make the curries. But then when I started making it in big batches I find myself adding this to a variety of dishes, sometimes even to a bland kootu(gravies) to enhance the taste. So this is how I make it.
tamilian curry podi/powder
Ingredients-
Channa dal-1/4 cup
Tuvar dal- 1/4 cup
Udid dal- 1tbsp
Coriander Seeds-1tbsp
Sesame seeds-1tbsp (optional)
Dried red chillies- 8-10 numbers

Method-
    Dry roast all the ingredients together in a pan. The dals should turn a golden brown.Cool and grind this to a a very fine powder. I store it in a air tight container and used it when required.

Jul 5, 2011

Spicy buns /masala buns (using wheat flour)

        I made this with the left over dough after I made the red bean buns. I actually wanted to have these spicy buns with my tea one afternoon. As I already had the risen dough, I just added some spice powders to make the savoury buns.They tasted great with some hot tea.
spicy masala buns
  Ingredients

Whole wheat flour/atta- 3 cups(more for dusting)
Maida/All purpose flour- 1 cup
Yeast-1tbsp
Warm water- 3/4 cup
Sugar-1tsp
Salt-1/2tsp
Yogurt- 1/2 cup
Honey- 1/4 cup
Oil-1tbsp
Turmeric powder-1tsp
Red chilly powder-1tsp
Kasuri methi- 1tsp

buns tea time snacks
Method-
       Mix the yeast in warm water and allow it to froth for 10 minutes. Then add the sugar and salt followed by the all purpose flour and 2 cups of atta. Use a whisk to mix everything together. Then add the yogurt and honey. Mix well. Now use your palms to knead the dough. Use rest of the wheat flour to form a smooth, loose and non sticky pliable dough. Add oil in the end and ensure the dough is coated with oil. Cover the dough with a kitchen towel. Allow it to rise for 2-3 hours till the volume is almost doubled.
        Punch the dough.Add the turmeric powder, red chilly powder and kasuri methi to it. Knead the dough well so that the spices mix well with the dough. Use more flour if you find the dough very sticky. Pinch a lemon sized piece from the dough. Make a smooth ball with it. Repeat the same with rest of the dough. Allow it to rise for 30 -40 minutes. Brush some melted butter mixed in equal quantity of milk on  the risen dough. (You can use egg wash for brushing too.)
         Bake for 180c  for 20 minutes. It should appear brown on surface and should sound hollow when you tap the bun. However the buns are quite dense and chewy because of the use of whole wheat flour.

Jul 1, 2011

Raw mango rice/maangai saadam

       A friend of mine used to make this and I have been wanting to make it too ever since she told me about this recipe. Infact I have been bookmarking so many recipes with  raw mangoes and finally when I laid my hands on a huge raw mango, I was quite confused on what to make. I settled on making the tangy rice and reserved some to make the instant pickle which many call it as kalyanam oorgai(pickles served during tamil weddings). I will post it the next time I make it as I did not photograph it this time.
     Well, this rice was quite similar to puliyodharai because of the tanginess and was mildly sweet too. You can add a little sugar or still better jaggery, if the raw mango you use is very sour.
maamidikaya pulihora/raw mango rice/maangai saadam
Ingredients-
Raw mango(green)- 1 cup grated
Cooked rice- 3 cups(any variety, basmati will also do)
Mustard seeds-1tsp
Sesame oil- 1tsp
Udid dal-1tsp
Channa dal- 2tsp
Dried red chillies- 4-5
Turmeric powder- 1tsp
Asafoetida /hing- 1/4tsp
Salt to taste
Curry leaves- few

Method-
       Heat the oil in a pan. Add the mustard seeds, udid dal and channa dal along with curry leaves, red chilles and asafoetida. Saute for a minute. Then add the grated raw mango. Saute for another 10 minutes taking care that it does not stick to your pan. Add the turmeric powder and salt and mix.
Now add the cooked rice and mix everything together properly. (The rice should be cooked well , but each grain should be seperate.)Serve warm.

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