Monthly Archives: January 2012

Paal Pidi

I have (actually – I had!) an obsession for keeping the house organized and clutter free. Nothing was to be left outside, everything was to be pushed inside the already bulging almarahs. Only the dining table and the sofa set is tolerated in the hall. That too because these cannot be shoved inside a wardrobe, else I might have tried!

The news paper left in the table for a moment, the car my son was playing with or the towel left in the chair for a second – everything goes inside the minute I see it.

But the wardrobes are messy. Really messy! I am fine as long as the mess is inside and cleaned periodically.

Like my messy wardrobe, my bookmarks folder too has grown really long and messy. I was cleaning up the list, when I came across this Paal Pidi recipe from Ramya’s space. It fitted perfectly into the ‘Something Sweet’ theme for this week’s Blogging Marathon and so here it is.

One link off the bookmark list and only a thousand more to go!

Ingredients:

  • Rice flour                                   :        1 cup (Idiyappam flour/ Puttu Podi)
  • Boiling Water, as required
  • Coconut milk                           :        1 cup (can be replaced with milk)
  • Milk                                             :        1 cup
  • Sugar                                          :        1/4 – 1/2 cup, per taste

Method:

  1. Boil water with a pinch of salt. Pour it into the rice flour little by little, mixing with a spoon as you go.
  2. Once it all comes together, kneed for a minute to get a soft dough. Its the same as the one for Ela Ada.
  3. Take a small pinch of this dough, no more big than the size of a cherry, and roll into a small ball. Repeat until the rice flour dough is used up.
  4. Steam these pidi in an idli cooker for 10 – 15 minutes, till they are cooked through. If the balls are big, it may not cook in the middle, so keep the size of the pidi small.
  5. In a wide thick bottomed pan, mix coconut milk, sugar and whole milk together and bring to a boil. Add the steamed pidi into it and and let it boil for 10-15 minutes till it thickens a bit. Taste in between and add more sugar if required.
  6. Add half a tsp of cardamom powder, if desired and serve hot or cold, decorated with nuts.
  7. You can make this with coconut milk or whole milk alone or use a combination of both.

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Scones : The Daring Baker’s Challenge Jan 2012

When someone is given 26 days for a recipe, and that too one which takes less than twenty minutes to prepare from beginning to end and requires less than five ingredients, you would expect it to be ready as soon as possible. But no, not me.

Audax Artifex was our January 2012 Daring Bakers’ host. Aud worked tirelessly to master light and fluffy scones (a/k/a biscuits) to help us create delicious and perfect batches in our own kitchens! 

I kept postponing it, thinking worriedly about the last time I made these. Hubby nearly broke his tooth and kiddo used it as paper weight and I ended up throwing them in the dust bin. They went down make a huge ‘clink’ sound, like a stone would have made.

I finally pushed my worries aside and made these sweet fruit scones this afternoon, on the day it has to go live! But the recipe was short, sweet and had crystal clear instructions that even I couldn’t mess it up! But if I had paid a bit more attention, I wouldn’t have forgotten to fold the dough to get some layers and height. But still, I am happy with the batch I made.

Even though I made it in the last minute, all of us enjoyed this treat immensely. Thanks Audax, you really rock!

Ingredients:

  • All Purpose Flour           :       1 cup
  • Baking Powder                 :       2 tsp
  • Butter,cold                        :        30 gms (2tbsp)
  • Cold Milk                            :        1/2 cup
  • Salt                                        :        1/4 tsp
For sweet version
  • Raisins                                :        1/3 cup
  • Sugar                                   :        1 tbsp

Method:

  1. Pre heat the oven at 240C.
  2. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt three times together.
  3. Cut the cold butter into small pieces and rub it into the flour till it resembles fine bread crumbs.
  4. Make a well in the center and add all of the milk in one go and mix with a spatula or flat knife to bring it all together.
  5. In a floured surface, take this dough out and kneed for 4-5 times. Fold the dough from both ends to the center and press and do it once again.
  6. Flatten the dough and cut it into squares or cut out the desired shape using a biscuit cutter.
  7. Bake for 10 minutes, keeping an eye on the scones once it reaches the 6 minute mark.
  8. Serve hot with jam and butter.
  9. Step by step pictures and the entire recipe can be viewed here.

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Ela Ada

I made this the day before and when I served it to my kid, he asked me ‘Mommy, Did you make this?’. I smiled and said, yes.

Hubby came later and again the same question was repeated. ‘Did you make this, dear?’ I frowned a bit but still I said, Yes!  Half an hour later, the same question came from my friend, who is currently staying with us.

Now that’s too much! Why does every one assume that I cannot make something nice like this? Looking at my fuming face, she rephrased the question ‘Did someone else help you make this?’

Ahh…she caught me there! My cousin, seven years my senior and a good cook, lives close by. I bug her every now and then to cook some or the other thing for me.

But when she was making these, I was also there – standing next to her, handing over the ingredients and touching the pots and pans now and then. So I can also claim partial ownership here :D.

I made the mistake of buying bananas beforehand for this recipe. No, overripe bananas weren’t the problem. They got over before I started this recipe!

I stocked up everything and called my cousin and her first question was ‘Did you buy the ela (banana leaves) ? Imagine making ela ada and forgetting the ela? But she rescued me again by buying them for me.

Ingredients:

  • Idiyappam Flour (Raw rice flour)                 :             2 cups
  • Ripe Nendran Bananas                                       :             4
  • Grated Coconut                                                     :             1/2 cup
  • Jaggery                                                                     :             1 cup
  • Water

Method:

  1. Boil 3-4 cups of water with a pinch of salt. Add this water, little by little, to the rice flour and mix with a spoon. Later when you can touch with your hands kneed to get a smooth dough, which is slightly softer than chapati dough. You may not end up using all the water.
  2. Cut the banana into round pieces or mash them. Heat jaggery till it melts in a pan and filter it to remove dirt. Bring it back to a boil and add mashed or cut bananas into it. Cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the grated coconut and cook further. Try a taste test and add sugar if it is not sweet enough.
  3. Cut the banana leaves into rectangles. Keep a bowl of water to dip your fingers while handling the dough.
  4. Take a small ball of rice flour dough. Dip your finger in water and flatten the dough on the banana leaf.
  5. Add a ladle of banana filling in the center and fold the leaf. Once the dough is finished, steam this in an idli steamer for 10 – 15 minutes until the leaf changes color.
  6. Cool for sometime and serve as a healthy snack.
  7. You can check out here for step-by-step pictures.

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B & W : Lollipop

Linked to Susan’s Black and White Wednesdays.

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Sweet Potato Chapatis

I was making a new gravy for lunch today and was following the given recipe correctly. That’s when innovation struck me and pretty soon cooking disaster followed.

I have  given strict instructions to my brain not to use itself when it comes to cooking, but then who listens!  The rest of my day will be spent in thinking up convincing excuses to defend my lousy curry.

Now coming to the recipe here, this is a fail proof one. Its an excellent way to sneak in vegetables into your kids diet. This chapati was really really soft, making it excellent for lunch box. This is a sweet version, you can make a savory version by adding red chilli powder, coriander powder and some fresh or dried methi leaves.

Ingredients:

  • Sweet Potato                :           1 medium, cooked and mashed
  • Wheat Flour                 :           1 1/2 cups
  • Sugar                               :           1 tsp (optional)
  • Water                              :           as required

Method:

  1. Cook and mash the sweet potatoes. There shouldn’t be any lumps. I cooked them in microwave.
  2. Add this and the flour in a bowl and make a dough, adding water as required.
  3. You might have to add/adjust the flour to get the dough to the consistency of chapati dough.
  4. The dough will be very soft. Cover and keep aside for half an hour at least.
  5. Roll into chapatis. Try using all purpose flour instead of Atta while rolling these.
  6. Heat a tava and cook them on both sides, these puff up well too if placed directly on the flame.
  7. Soft and sweet chapatis are ready, serve with a nice side dish!

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Tomato Pachadi

It was one of my friend’s Wedding Anniversary last week. I wished him on his big day. Ten minutes later his reply arrived.

Single liner which read : ‘Oh! Is it today?’

Ouch. Now I was concerned. He is not perfect, but he still deserves a better fate than being shredded into a thousand tiny-tiny pieces – which, I am sure, is what awaits any husband if they forget the wife’s birthday or the wedding anniversary.

Worried, I started mailing him – Was he fine? Was he still alive? Pat came the reply : ‘Its OK. We both forgot!’

Ah Man! What a lucky escape! But thinking over, that is what you call : A Match Made in Heaven.

Like this Pachadi and unbelievably soft Sweet Potato chapatis (will post the recipe tomm.), a match made in heaven, just for kids.

I am a big fan of sweet pachadi. I came across this recipe in Jeyashri’s Kitchen. The bright and shiny picture immediately caught my attention. This is typically served for weddings and feasts in very small quantities.

Ingredients:

  • Tomatoes                      :              4, chopped
  • Sugar                               :              1/4 – 1/2 cup (taste and adjust)
  • Water                              :              1/4 cup
  • Ghee                                :              1 tbsp
  • Dates                               :              3- 4
  • Raisins & Cashews     :               1 tbsp

Method:

  1. Add the sugar, water and chopped tomato pieces in a thick bottomed vessel and keep mixing in a medium low fire.
  2. Keep stirring continuously till it reaches the semi solid jam/pachadi state (10 – 15 min for me).
  3. Heat ghee in a separate pan, add chopped dates, raisins and chopped cashews.
  4. Add to the pachadi, mix. Serve with rice or chapati.
  5. Note : I over cooked it a bit, if you look at the original recipe, it is much more glossy and shiny. Also, I would blanch the tomatoes next time.

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Home made Chocolate

Flashback five years. Life was much simpler because the choices were limited.

Breakfast : Only cornflakes

Lunch  : Rice with Sambar and dry vegetable side dish

Dinner : Same as lunch

Fast forward to now. This morning,

Me to Hubby : ‘Idli, dosa or bread for break fast?’

Hubby : ‘Hmm…Idli….or Dosa…..or bread. Anything is fine’

Life is still fine even though the choices are more :).

Dedicating this chocolate to the bitter sweet, but thoroughly enjoyable moments of life.

I found this recipe in My Diverse Kitchen. All the ingredients were readily available. I doubled the  quantity and made these in a jiffy. The real trial was the waiting time. They tasted like dark chocolate to me and I loved them. Like Aparna says, try this with an open mind and you will be pleasantly surprised.

Note: Keep in mind that they taste are a bit like dark bitter chocolate. I love it though :)!

Ingredients:

  • Drinking Chocolate                   :          4 tbsp
  • Powdered Sugar                         :          4 tbsp
  • Cocoa                                              :          2 tbsp
  • Milk Powder                                 :          2 tbsp
  • Lemon Juice                                :           1 tsp
  • Water                                              :           as required

Method:

  1. Sift the dry ingredients twice together to remove lumps.
  2. Add the lemon juice and mix thoroughly with a spoon or a fork.
  3. Add water in teaspoonfuls, and mix until you get a crumbly mix.
  4. Kneed with your hands to get a slightly stiff dough. The dough can be refrigerated at this point to be used later.
  5. Grease the chocolate molds with oil or butter and fill it with the chocolate dough.
  6. Let it dry overnight, don’t refrigerate. Take the chocolates off the molds the next day and let it dry for another 4-5 hours.
  7. Wrap and gift or eat and enjoy!
  8. The above quantity gave me six reasonably big chocolate pieces.

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Potato and Green Gram Dal

Weekend. Hearty lunch outside. Happy state of mind. Long drive, hubby’s favorite. That’s when I hinted a wish for shopping. Hubby looked worried and scared, kiddo clutched his tummy and pretended stomach ache.

They offered to drop me and my friend at the Mall, if we can spare them the agony of shopping. I gladly accepted the offer, happy to escape their repeated “Are you done now? Can we go home?” question.

And so, hubby dropped us and drove back home. Without taking the house keys and his mobile from me.

I received the SOS call he made from our neighbor’s place. I assured him that I am rushing back home, I just had one more shop to visit. Three hours and five bags full of purchase later, we reached home. Thank god for the friends and relatives living near by to feed and engage my family!

So now whenever my hubby drops me somewhere, kiddo anxiously checks with his dad,”Do you have the keys and mobile with you?” while I look outside, with a defensive look which says ‘Guys won’t understand the relation between women and shopping’.

This is a recipe from one of my neighbors. The flavor in this curry comes from the green chillies, ginger and garlic. No curry powders and no masalas. Its simple and really flavorsome. You can try substituting the green gram with sprouts and potatoes with sweet potatoes.

Ingredients:

  • Potatoes                                      :               3 – 4, medium
  • Whole Green Gram                 :                1/2 cup
  • Onion                                            :               1 medium, sliced
  • Tomato                                        :                1 medium (optional)
  • Green Chillies                            :                3 – 4, per taste
  • Ginger                                           :                1 – 2 ” piece, chopped fine
  • Garlic                                            :                 5-6 pods, chopped fine
  • Salt
  • Oil

Method:

  1. Cook or pressure cook the potatoes and whole green gram using separators for 2 or 3 whistles.
  2. Slice the onions and roughly cut the tomatoes. Finely chop the chillies, ginger and garlic.
  3. Heat two teaspoons of oil and when its hot, add the onions, green chillies, ginger and garlic.
  4. When the onions becomes pink, add the tomatoes, if using. Saute for 3-4 minutes till the tomatoes get cooked.
  5. Add the cooked green gram and a cup of water. Cut the cooked potatoes into cubes and add.
  6. Add salt, cook for 5-10 minutes, mashing the potato pieces a bit with the ladle in case the gravy is not thick.
  7. Serve with chapatis. Perfect!
  8. You can use sprouted green grams and sweet potatoes too in this curry.

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Fruit Cake

Breakfast, back at my home, has always been idli and dosa. Varieties and new recipes do come in every now and then, but nothing has come even close to challenging the position of dosa and idli.

The only time there was a serious competition was when my mother bought the oven. What followed was a cake festival.  The three of us would hang around the oven sniffing and compelling the cake to complete baking just by looking at it.

I still remember my mother munching on a piece of fruit cake and commenting, ‘Mmm..very nice. We can have this for breakfast instead of the same old idli and dosa’.

The oven may have won the battle, but the war was won by idli ultimately. After a fervent baking session, the oven was shoved aside to a corner and the idli cooker resumed its usual place.

When I saw this boiled fruit cake in Joy of Baking, it reminded me of the cake amma used to make. So I too started the nostalgic process of adding the raisins and tutti fruities to the batter, while Shreyas hang around saying, ‘Mmm.. smells nice’.

Ingredients:

  • Sugar                                        :              1 cup (Brown, if possible)
  • Hot water                                :             1 cup
  • Butter                                       :              1/4 cup (50 gms)
  • Mixed Spice                           :              1 tsp (or ground cinnamon + ground cloves)
  • Ground Ginger                      :              1 tsp
  • Eggs                                           :              2
  • All purpose flour                 :              1 1/2 cups
  • Baking soda                            :              1 tsp
  • Vanilla Extract                     :              1 tsp
  • Raisins                                      :             1 cup (about 100 gms)
  • Candied Fruit                         :             3/4 cup (about 120 gms)

Method:

  1. Pre heat the oven to 180 C. Grease a 9″ long loaf pan.
  2. In a large pan, add the hot water, butter, raisins, ground ginger,sugar and mixed spice powder. You can include half a teaspoon of salt too, if you want to. Bring this to a boil, and let it cook for 5 minutes. Take off the heat, let it cool.
  3. Beat the eggs and add it to the boiled fruit. Make sure that its cool, else the eggs might get cooked! Mix.
  4. Add the flour, baking soda, vanilla extract and candied fruit. Mix. Pour the batter into the greased pan.
  5. Bake for 45 – 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center comes free of crumbs.

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Handvo

I was wondering whether ‘Blogging Block’ or ‘Blogging Break’ camouflages the word ‘laziness’ better. We have entered 2012 and when the entire world is taking new resolutions to get more things done, I prefer to pull the blanket over my head and ask my husband to keep the milk inside the fridge and go when he leaves for work.

I tried blaming my thyroid glands for my laziness (and my bulk too). Didn’t work, thyroid is good, in fact a bit too fine. So now I have only my laziness to blame. Hubby suggested working out.

Now, the very mention of the word ‘exercise’ does to me things that’s supposed to happen after an hour of exercising – my heart beat raises, my body breaks into a sweat and I feel tired!

So this year, my friend has taken the New Year Resolution for me. A leaner, meaner me is the target. Armed with work out DVDs, we have started the exercise routine, which is telling each other every night ‘From tomorrow morning, we are going to workout’.

Ten days have gone by into 2012, but I am happy to announce that we are strictly following this routine. Now doing the actual work out, lets talk about that in 2013!

Its time for Radhika’s Blog Hop Wednesday again and this time I am paired with the talented Pradnya of  The Pumpkin Farm. Her blog is a repository of interesting recipes and I found myself picking and choosing a lot of recipes before landing on the Handvo recipe. Since it sounded interesting, I tried it out and loved the result. It tasted very similar to adai dosa that we make in the South.

Ingredients:

  • Idli Rice                         :     2 cups
  • Toor Dal                         :    1 cup
  • Bottle gourd                 :    2 cups, peeled and  grated
  • Sour Curd                      :    1 cup, beaten
  • Green Chillies              :     2-3, per taste
  • Ginger                             :    1 ½ inch
  • Sesame Seeds               :    2 tsp (optional)
  • Eno  Fruit Salt              :    1 tsp (Eno 1 packet)
  • Turmeric Powder       :    1 tsp
  • Salt to taste

Tempering

  • White Sesame seeds   :   1 tsp
  • Mustard Seeds              :   1 tsp
  • Curry Leaves                 :   2 sprigs
  • Asafoetida                      :  a pinch o
  • Oil                                       :   1 tbsp

Method:

  1. Soak the rice and dal together for 4-5 hours or overnight. Drain the water off, add the chillies and ginger to the rice. Grind to an idli batter consistency adding the sour curd.
  2. Add the grated bottle gourd, salt, turmeric powder, sesame seeds and let it sit in the fridge overnight or until required.
  3. Once the batter is fermented, heat a thick, flat bottomed kadai that is not very deep (I used a non stick pan with lid). Heat oil and add the mustard seeds, sesame seeds, asafoetida and curry leaves.
  4. Add eno fruit salt to the batter ( I used only half the batter, since my pan was small), mix well and pour the batter in the pan. Cover and cook for 8-10 minutes.
  5. Once the bottom is cooked (thick brown layer) and the top is kind of set, flip over using a wooden spoon or even take a plate, if required. This is a step that needs attention, else you will end up serving your handvo on the floor!
  6. Once you have flipped it over. cover and cook for another 8-10 minutes or until its cooked.
  7. Serve with coriander chutney, ketch up or curd.
  8. I made some dosas too, with the rest of the batter (morning emergency!). They tasted good with chutney and sambar. This tastes very similar to our Adai Dosa.

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I have posted some Black and White photos with the theme Street Vendors here. Please check them out, if you are interested.

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