Monthly Archives: June 2011

Quick Cooking – Microwave Dhokla

That’s what a Microwave is there for – to make life easier. I am always looking for ways to cut out the cooking time (and cooking itself, some days), and my MW is the partner in this crime.  Without the MW, I would have shut down the kitchen itself long back.

When I bought the MW, we received Nita Mehta’s IFB Microwave Cookbook as a compliment. The book sits on top of the Microwave all the time. I tried the Khaman Dhokla recipe from there. The dhokla was soft, nice, and absolutely easy to make. I wish I had used a larger vessel, though.

Ingredients: 

  • Besan / Gram Flour/ Chickpea Flour : 1 1/2 cups
  • Water                                                                : 1 cup
  • Oil                                                                       : 1 tbsp
  • Turmeric Powder                                         : 1/2 tsp
  • Green Chillies & Ginger paste                  : 2 tsp
  • Salt                                                                     : 1 tsp
  • Sugar                                                                 : 1 tsp
  • Cooking Soda (Soda Bi carb)                   : 1/4 tsp
  • Eno Fruit salt                                                 : 1 1/2 tsp (I used 1 sachet)
  • Lemon Juice                                                   : 2 tsp

For Tempering

  • Oil                               : 2 tbsp
  • Mustard Seeds      : 1 tsp
  • Green Chillies        : 2-3, slit into long pieces
  • White Vinegar       : 1/4 cup
  • Water                        : 3/4 cup
  • Sugar                         : 1 tbsp

Method:

  1. Sift the gram flour in a big bowl. Add water, oil, turmeric powder, salt, sugar, chilli & ginger paste. Mix to get a smooth, lump free  batter.
  2. Add the cooking soda, eno fruit salt and lemon juice. Mix thoroughly. The volume increases once you add the fruit salt. Pour this into a well greased, flat microwave proof bowl.
  3. Microwave uncovered for 6 minutes. Keep aside.
  4. In a separate microwave proof bowl, add the oil, chillies and mustard seeds. Cover this and cook for 1 1/2 minutes.
  5. Once the seeds crack, add the water, sugar and vinegar and cook uncovered for 4 minutes.
  6. Pour this over the dhokla and wait for 15- 20 minutes till the water is absorbed.
  7. Cut into square pieces and serve.

Sending this to Microwave Easy Cooking, for this month’s theme of Party Appetizers, and Susan’s popular My Legume Love Affair.

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A twist to Oats

After attending a wedding in the family, here I am this morning, staring at an empty fridge. Feasting on good food and good company for two continuous days does make you sorry to be back to normal life. But I guess, you can’t have too much of a good thing. So, back to my empty fridge and my empty stomach.

Then I remembered about the packet of Quaker Oats. Got busy with it, added a bit of this and that. Had a feeling that this is heading for a disaster, so browsed and found a quick and easy Oats Dosa recipe. Re-adjusted things according to the recipe and Voila, had a great soft dosa for breakfast!

Ingredients:

For Dosa:

  • Oats : 1 cup (Dry roasted till fragrant and powdered)
  • Semolina/Rava : 1/4 cup (Dry roasted)
  • Whole wheat flour/Atta : 1/2 cup
  • Onion : 1, chopped fine
  • Beans : 3-4, chopped very fine
  • Carrot : 2 tbsp, chopped very fine or grated
  • Green Chillies : 2, chopped very fine
  • Curry leaves : a few, chopped
  • Pepper : 1 tsp
  • Salt : to taste
  • Water : to make the batter
  • Oil : to make dosas

Method: 

  1. Mix the powdered oats, rava,salt, pepper and wholewheat flour. Whisk.
  2. Add chopped onions, beans, carrots, chillies, curry leaves and water to form a thin, pan cake like, batter. Rest the batter for 5 minutes.
  3. Pour a ladle of the batter on a hot skillet in an ‘O’ shape. The batter will flow towards the center. Add a bit of batter, if gaps form. Since the batter is thin, you cannot spread it the way we usually make dosas. Add oil around the dosa and flip and cook the other side.  I am not an expert, so I make small dosas to avoid tearing.
  4. Serve with chutney.

For Tomato Coriander Chutney: 

  • Onion : 1, cut into slices
  • Tomato : 1, cut into chunks
  • Coriander leaves : 2-3 tbsp, washed and chopped
  • Red dry chillies : 1
  • Oil – 1 tsp
  • Salt : to taste

Method: 

  1. Microwave everything together for 4 – 5 minutes.
  2. Cool and grind in a blender. Serve with dosas.

This is going to be my entry for Wholesome Wholegrain Cooking, held at girlichef this month.

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Baked Vegetable Biryani

Well, this place is all about cooking by trial and error, and this one goes right into the error section!

I made this great looking, wonderfully aromatic biryani last week. The final baked biryani looked like the Moon! When I opened it, the aroma was so wonderful. My hopes were sky high, and then I gave it a gentle stir and tasted a spoonful. That’s when the balloon burst. I was expecting a great biryani and this was just an ordinary one. I needn’t have gone through the pain of making a separate masala, layering the rice, sauteing the onions separately and all that. It tasted no different from my all-in-one quick biryani.

I was out of aluminium foil, so I just covered the biryani with chapati dough. I saw this in one of the videos by Vahrehvah chef. The dough turned out to be like crisp pita chips and was yummy when I scooped the rice with it. That was really wonderful.

This one is not a disaster, just a disappointment. After all the effort that went into it, I thought it might turn out to be a bit different from what I usually make.

Still noting the recipe down, in case some one gets a better result than me!

Ingredients:

Basmati Rice : 1 cup
Mixed Vegetables : 2 Cups (Potato, Carrots, Beans, Cauliflower, Broccoli, Peas, Tomato)
Paneer : 100gms, cubed
Fried Onions : 1/2 to 3/4 cup
Yogurt : 3 to 4 tbsp
Ginger paste : 1 tsp
Coriander powder : 1 tsp
Chilli powder : 1 tsp
Cumin powder : 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder : 1/4 tsp
Coriander chopped : 1/4 cup
Mint leaves chopped : 2 tbsp
Oil : 4 tbsp
Butter : 1 tbsp
Salt : to taste
Juice  from 1/2 of a lemon

Method:

  1. Clean and soak the rice for at least half an hour. Add a spoonful of oil and required salt for the rice. Cook in 2 cups of water till the water is absorbed. Set aside.
  2. In another pan saute the Paneer,if using, till light brown. Remove and add the other vegetables and saute for 2 to 3 minutes. Turn off the heat. Add the chilli, cumin, coriander and turmeric powders, ginger paste, salt, yogurt and lemon juice and mix. Let it marinate for 15 minutes.
  3. In an oven proof dish, layer the rice. Add half of the fried onions. Add all the marinated vegetables on top of the onions. Add all the chopped coriander and mint leaves. Cover this by another layer of rice. Sprinkle the remaining onions. Add a tbsp of butter.
  4. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.

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Yum Yum Breakfast

I was looking for a baked biriyani recipe now and have finally zeroed down on the recipe. I was planning to blog about that for the Bookmarked Tuesdays event. But since its still in the oven, I decided to have a look at the entries for this week. One of the blogs had this recipe for a simple Banana Biscuit Milkshake in the archives. One look at it and I knew I had to try it.

And so here I am, having a sip of this tasty and filling yum yum milkshake.

And here is the virtual treat for you all – Simple, yet divine. There are a lot of kid friendly recipes there, I am particularly eyeing at the bright carrot idlis… hmmm…may be for the next tuesday :).

Ingredients:

Cool Milk : 1/2 – 1 cup

Banana : 1

Glucose biscuits/cookies : 4-5

Method:

  1. Blend everything together till smooth. There shouldn’t be any lumps in the milkshake.
  2. Milk needs to be adjusted according to your preferred consistency.

So, I am entering this recipe for Aipi’s and Priya’s Bookmarked Tuesdays.

Sending this to Healing foods : Banana, Hearth and Soul Hop and Serve it : Chilled as well.

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Filed under Any Time Foods, Beverages, Soups and Salads, Break Fast Recipes

Spinach Rice Casserole

The weekend is here, and there I was – browsing to my heart’s content, late into the night, happy about the fact that Bebo has no school tomorrow.

Little did I know what was in store for me this morning. The entire place shook for a minute! It took me sometime to understand that it was not an earthquake, just Bebo waking me up. God! Don’t kids get the idea of weekends? Of sleeping late? Of taking it easy? Apparently not. So long story short, me and Harry were awake at 6:15 this morning.

Bebo was bright and brisk and immediately got down to his business. Kiddo was playing happily after his morning breakfast. Me and Harry, bleary eyed, were looking at each other and sighing. The joy of parenthood is pretty dull early in the mornings :))! Still, can’t complain. Bebo wakes up on week days for our sake, so its only fair that Harry gives up his sleep for Bebo’s sake on weekends ;-).

Ingredients: 

Spinach : 500 gms (one big bunch)

Onion : 1 medium, chopped

Rice : 1 cup (cooked rice)

Butter : 1- 2 tbsp

All purpose flour : 1 tbsp

Milk : 1 cup

Egg : 1

Chilli flakes : 1 -2 tsp

Garlic : 2-3 pods, crushed

Bread crumbs : made from 2 slices of bread, about 3/4 cup

Salt, Pepper : to taste

Method: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Grease a rectangular baking dish.
  2. Clean the spinach, cover and cook with a tablespoon of water for a few minutes till the spinach is wilted.
  3. In a pan, combine the butter, flour and milk. Heat, stirring continuously to get a smooth, lump free sauce. Dilute with water or stock, if the sauce is too thick. Season with salt,pepper and chilli flakes.
  4. Add the spinach, rice, chopped onion, garlic and the lightly beaten eggs to the sauce. Mix everything till combined.
  5. Transfer to the baking dish, press lightly. Add the bread crumbs all over on the top.
  6. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes till the top turns brown.

Note:

Next time, I will be sauteing the onion and garlic before using them.

You can top it with cheese, instead of bread crumbs. You can add more seasonings according to your taste.

Linked to Its a Keeper Thursdays, Friday PotluckDish it Out – Spinach & Garlic.

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Cool Cool Milkshake

Ever notice what happens to a pack of butter when you keep it outside for an hour? That’s exactly how I feel about being in Chennai during summer. I shouldn’t be complaining now, the summer is almost over – at least, the worst of it is over. It has started raining – but it rains only when you don’t want it to.

Yesterday when I was waiting for Bebo’s school bus to come, it started raining. I got completely drenched and so did two other moms who were waiting along with me. The huge umbrella I had with me was not sufficient to shield the three grown ups and four kids we had with us. Funny part was that the moment we entered home, all wet and  dripping, it stopped raining!

Want to guess when it started raining again? Yes, when Harry started from his office in his two wheeler. I can bet anything that if he was travelling by car that day, it wouldn’t have rained at that time.

And guess what I had made that day? A milkshake with ice cream! What an irony, right?

Ingredients: 

Banana – 1, sliced

Ice cream – 1-2 scoops ( I used strawberry flavor)

Milk – 1/2 -1 cup

Method: 

Blend everything together to get a milkshake of your preferred consistency. Add less milk if you want a thick milkshake.

Note:

This is just a bit of whatever I had at home put together. So adjust these according to your taste.

The main message here is that Ice cream + Milk = Yummy, any day anytime.

Linked to Serve it – ChilledKid’s Delight, for this month’s theme Cool Comforts,  Healing Foods, for this month’s theme Banana.

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Aloo Paratha

My son doesn’t pronounce the letter ‘R’ in Paratha. Its ‘Payatha’ for him. Same goes for Karate – its Kayathe. This cute mispronunciation is only for some words. A Car is a Car, Traffic is Traffic and Train is a Train for him. But not Paratha and Karate! I know that its a matter of time before he picks up the right word, but I can listen forever to this cute talk :-).

It seems like yesterday that he was the cute tiny little baby in my arms and now he is already going to full day school!! Where did all the time go?

Now a days, I find it difficult to carry him for more than a few steps as he is getting too heavy for me. But I am so really clinging to this last phase of carrying him! When he comes out of the school bus, I pick him up and carry him for at least a short distance. Nothing like carrying a smiling child to make your day better. Not to forget that he kisses me when I carry him and I get to give him a biiig hug :-).

So here is the recipe for Aloo ‘Payatha’ which was my son’s lunch for the day :-)

Ingredients :

For the dough:

Wheat flour : 1 1/2 cups

Water : as required (about 1/2 to 1 cup, depending on the type of flour)

Filling:

Potatoes : 4-5 medium, cooked and mashed

Onion : 1 medium, chopped fine

Green Chillies : 3 -4, chopped very fine

Ginger Garlic Paste : 1 -2 tsp

Amchur powder : 1 tsp

Coriander powder : 1 tsp

Cumin powder : 1 tsp

Chilli Powder : 1 tsp

Turmeric Powder : 1/2 tsp

Coriander leaves : 1 -2 tbsp, finely chopped

Oil – 1 tsp

Salt : to taste

Method :

  1. Add the flour, 1 tsp salt in a big bowl and whisk together. Add water in 1/4 cupfuls and start kneading to get a soft, but not sticky, and pliable dough. Cover and keep aside for at least half an hour.
  2. Mash the cooked potatoes thoroughly. There shouldn’t be any lumps as they would tear the dough when rolling.
  3. Heat a tsp of oil in a pan, when its hot add the onions and ginger garlic paste. Saute till the onions are cooked and add the masala powders – chilli, turmeric, coriander, cumin and amchur. You needn’t add all of them, add whatever you have and then do a taste test later and adjust accordingly.
  4. Switch off the heat, add the mashed potatoes, salt, finely chopped chillies and coriander leaves. Mix thoroughly, check the seasonings and adjust according to your taste.
  5. Roll out one ball of dough into a 3” circle lightly dusting with flour if necessary.
  6. Place a big spoonful of the filling in the center. Bring up the sides of the circle around the filling and enclose it completely, pinching the dough on top.Flatten it a bit, dust with some flour, and roll into a thick circle of about 1/4 inch thickness. Be careful while doing this, as the filling will split out if you use too much of force while rolling them.
  7.  Heat a pan and cook the paratha on one side till brown spots appear. Flip and cook the other side too.You can add a dollop of ghee or butter on top of the paratha, if you want to.
  8. Serve with thick yogurt and pickle or cook up a nice gravy, if you are in the mood.

Linked to What’s Cooking Wednesday, Tasty Tuesdays, Hearth and Soul Hop, Made from Scratch Tuesdays.

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Filed under Break Fast Recipes, Flat breads

Mooli (Radish) Paratha

Another day and another paratha packed in the lunch box. When you see the empty lunch box back in the evening, the feeling of satisfaction is great.

In case you are thinking that I am talking about my four year old son’s lunch box – you are wrong. I am talking about my hubby Harry’s lunch box. He finishes off his lunch box contents and loves these parathas.

Bebo is bringing almost everything back for the past two days :-(. He did eat the purple beetroot parathas, but only when I fed him at home. Since lunch box is a new concept for him, it will take some time, I guess. Planning to wait for one more week before going into full panic mode.

I made these Mooli Parathas based on this video by VahChef. I had made this a couple of times before and hence didn’t bother to check the recipe before making these today. I thought I can rely on my wonderful memory and excellent experience.

And guess what? I combined a bit of the two methods in the video and ended up with a filling lacking in flavor a bit. I realized this after I made the first batch for my hubby’s lunch box. It wasn’t bad – just that it could have been much better if I had paid a bit more attention. So lesson learnt : Read the recipe before cooking, don’t rely on my pathetic memory :D.

Ingredients :

Radish : 4, peeled and grated

Amchur powder : 1 tsp

Coriander powder : 1 tsp

Cumin powder : 1 tsp

Chilli Powder : 1 tsp

Coriander leaves : 1 -2 tbsp, finely chopped

Salt : to taste

Wheat flour : 1 1/2 cups

Water : as required (about 1/2 to 1 cup, depending on the type of flour)

Method:

  1. In a big bowl, add the wheat flour, a spoonful of salt and whisk together. Add water in 1/4 cupfuls and start kneading to get a soft, but not sticky, and pliable dough. Cover and keep it aside for at least half an hour.
  2. In a pan, heat a tsp of oil (optional) and add the radish and the amchur, salt, coriander, chilli and cumin powders. Let it cook for 5 – 8 minutes till the radish is done and is dry. Add the chopped coriander leaves to it.
  3. Roll out one ball of dough into a 3” circle lightly dusting flour if necessary.
  4. Place a big spoonful of the radish filling in the center. Bring up the sides of the circle around the filling and enclose it completely, pinching the dough on top.
  5. Flatten it a bit, dust with some flour, and roll into a thick circle of about 1/4 inch thickness. Be careful while doing this, as the filling will split out if you use too much of force while rolling them.
  6.  Heat a pan and cook the paratha on one side till brown spots appear. Flip and cook the other side too.
  7. You can add a dollop of ghee or butter on top of the paratha, if you want to.

Note:

In case you want to mess up like me, you can mix the radish and the masala powders together and then squeeze out the water before sauteing.

Linked to Friday Potluck at EKat’s kitchen and to Bookmarked Recipes – Every Tuesday (Volume 45) event of Aipi and Priya.

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Purple Parantha

 Bebo finished off his paneer chapatis I had packed yesterday. But he brought the entire curd rice back. “I don’t like curd rice, I like only curd”, he tells me. At home, I use various methods including coaxing, bribing and black mailing him to eat his curd rice. For the summer, we need that rice mixed with yogurt to cool our body down. So changing tracks today and send him off with beetroot paranthas with a cup of yogurt to go with it.  He was pretty excited about the purple paranthas.

I had book marked this recipe for Beetroot Paranths from Tanya Mehta’s book, Paranthas and Rice for Kids, a long time back. So finally making these. I was worried that these will taste sweet and won’t be suitable for adults, but these were just fine. They had a beautiful color and they tasted perfect – not sweet at all.

These are essentially beetroot and soya paranthas. Since I didn’t have any soya at home, I used whole wheat flour itself. So here is my adapted version of  Beetroot Paranthas.

Ingredients:

Beetroot : 1 small, boiled and grated – about 1/2 cup

Whole wheat flour/Atta: 1 1/2 cups

Coriander : 2 -3 tbsp, chopped fine

Chat Masala : a pinch (I used Chana Masala)

Salt : 1 tsp

Milk : as required

Method: 

  1. Mix everything together in a big bowl. Add milk as required. Kneed and make a smooth dough.
  2. Divide the dough into 5 or 6 equal parts and roll each one of them into 6″ round circles,
  3. Heat a tawa and cook these like normal chapatis.
  4. Add half a teaspoon of ghee on both sides while cooking to keep them soft.
  5. Serve with yogurt.

Note:

The original recipe had only 1/2 cup atta and had 1 cup of soya flour (you can grind soya chunks to get soya flour. 1/4 tsp cumin powder was also in the list. I didn’t have any, so didn’t use it.

Sending this for Priya’s Bookmarked Recipes Every Tuesday and Torviewtoronto’s Food Palatte Series – Purple.                                         

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A New Day, A New Way

A lot of people I know, have been waiting for this day to come in my life. I have been dreading this day for years. Every one is wondering how I am going to handle this – Yes, my son has started going for full time school! And No, his school is not near by our home. He has to travel in the school bus – at 7 AM. Everyday.

To get my son ready by 7,  we have to get up at least by 6 AM. Gasp! For me 6 AM means midnight. So now you know why there is so much of concern (and jubilation too) by friends and family about this day.

Well, to be honest, I am not worried about my beauty sleep (though I will miss it for sure!). I am more worried for my child who has to travel over an hour to reach his school. More importantly, I am worried about his food intake. Its no fun making him eat break fast at 6:30 AM :-(. This is the first time that he is taking lunch to the school (previous school was half day and he would come home for lunch). Hoping that the lunch box becomes his buddy!

For today, I have packed him some soft paneer filled chapati for lunch. My mom used to make this for dinner at home. I ran the pizza cutter over the chapatis to give 8 small pizza-like triangles, to make it easy for him. He doesn’t like to touch the food with his hands – ‘Hands diiiirty, Mommy’ is what he tells me. He wipes his fingers clean after every single mouthful of food. So keeping the tissue is as important as packing the chapati :)).

Ingredients:

Chapati:

Wheat Flour : 2 cups

Salt : to taste

Oil : 1 tbsp (optional)

Water : to make the dough

Filling:

Paneer /Cottage cheese : 1/2 cup, crumbled

Coriander leaves : 2 big handfuls

Green Chillies : 1 or 2

Cumin/Jeera : 1/2 tsp

Salt : to taste

Method:

  1. In a big bowl, add the wheat flour and salt and mix nicely. Add the oil and 1/2 cup water and start making a dough.
  2. Keep adding water in 1/4 cupfuls and kneed, till you get a soft, yet firm dough. The dough should be smooth and pliable.
  3. Keep it covered for at least half an hour. The more it sits, the softer the chapati will be.
  4. For the filling, grind the coriander leaves, chillies, salt and jeera in a mixie/blender for 10 sec. Do not add water and do not grind for a long time – it shouldn’t form a paste, just crushed together.
  5. If you are ultra lazy like me, you can add the paneer too to this mix. Else you can crumble it separately and then add the coriander – chilli mix. Mix everything together thoroughly.
  6. Roll the chapati into a small circle, of say, the size of your palm. Take a big spoonful of the filling and keep it in the center.
  7. Seal and close the edges by bringing them to the center,but over the paneer filling. This forms a ball with the filling in the center.
  8. Rest the ball for a minute or two and dust in flour and roll into a big circle. For me, the filling starts coming out if I make it really big, so I just stop with a smaller size before the dough starts tearing.
  9. Heat a tawa and when its hot, add half a teaspoonful of ghee or butter. Cook the chapati till light brown spots appear on one side. Turn over and cook the other side.
  10. Cook the rest of the chapatis the same way and serve with dal or yogurt.

Simple dal to go with the Roti

Ingredients:

Moong Dal/ Spit green gram : 1/2 cup

Carrot : 1, cut into small cubes

Fresh Green Peas : one handful

Ghee or oil : 1 tsp

Jeera : 1/2 tsp

Asafoetida : a pinch

Red chilli powder : 1/2 tsp

Turmeric Powder : 1/4 tsp

Salt : to taste

Method:

  1. Pressure cook the dal, carrot and peas together for 4-5 whisles.
  2. For seasoning, heat a teaspoon of oil or ghee in a kadai. Add 1/2 tsp jeera and a pinch of asafoetida to it.
  3. Add the dal to it. Add salt, chilli powder and turmeric powder. Bring it to a boil and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Serve with rotis.

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Filed under Break Fast Recipes, Flat breads