Sunday, February 24, 2013

Instant Gooseberry Pickle/ Nellikai Urugai



Here is another nellikai recipe. Yes I know, I had mentioned that I am not a lover of gooseberries. But just because I don’t like them, I can’t deprive my family of it. All except me in the family love gooseberries. So, after preparing the nellikai thokku, there were a few more gooseberries left, used those to prepare this instant pickle. This is my mom’s recipe and is liked by all. This pickle can be consumed as soon as you prepare it, but its shelf life is less. It tastes best with curd rice.





What you’ll need
  1. Gooseberry – 1Cup heaped, deseeded and cut into pieces
  2. Red Chilly Powder – ½ tbsp
  3. Salt to taste
  4. Turmeric Powder – ¼ tsp
  5. Mustard Seeds – ½ tsp
  6. Oil – 2 tbsp
  7. Roast and powder
  8. Fenugreek Seeds – ¼ tsp
  9. Asafoetida – small piece

Method
  1. Heat a Kadai, dry roast the fenugreek seeds till they change colour and become red.
  2. Remove the roasted fenugreek and keep aside.
  3. Heat oil in the same kadai, add the asafoetida, once it puffs up remove and place it along with the fenugreek.
  4. Powder the fenugreek and asafoetida in a mortar and pestle. Keep aside.
  5. In the same Kadai, add mustard seeds, once they splutter add the gooseberry pieces.
  6. Add turmeric powder and salt and sauté for 5 to 6 minutes or till the gooseberry pieces become slightly soft.
  7. Remove from heat and then add the red chilly powder and the powdered fenugreek and asafoetida.
  8. Mix well.
  9. Cool and store in airtight container.


Keep refrigerated. This pickle has a short shelf life. Stays good for about a week, when refrigerated.









Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Khaman Dhokla





I am happy to post the recipe of the instant version of Dhokla here on my space. This is one of the most popular snack items in my house and I prepare it very often. But unfortunately, I have never been able to click pictures. These super soft and delicious steamed chickpea flour cakes just vanish as soon as they are out from the cooker. 

Yesterday, I was determined to somehow take pictures, I know the pictures are not very good but I did not want to hold one of my favorite recipe any more. And so here I am with the post.

I was introduced to this dish from certain North Indian Sweet Shops, which sold Chaats as well as these Dhoklas. But somehow I never relished those as they are always soaked in an overdose of sugar syrup. Then I was recommended to try out the instant Khaman Dhokla mix. Those turned out to be really delicious. And finally, I got this recipe again from my aunt and have been making it for some years now.

Now I am very confused about the name. On googling about dhokla, I came to know that Dhokla refers to the fermented rice version and Khaman refers to the instant version. This is the instant version which uses chickpea flour so I guess it is Khaman. Anyway, what's there in a name, here is the recipe:



What you’ll need
  1. Chickpea flour/Besan – 1 Cup
  2. Curd – ½ cup
  3. Water – ¼ cup
  4. Green Chilly – 1 or 2
  5. Ginger – 1 inch piece
  6. Lemon Juice – 1 tsp
  7. Oil – ½ tbsp
  8. Sugar – 1 tsp
  9. Turmeric Powder – a pinch
  10. Eno – 1 packet (5 gm)
  11. Salt to taste

For tempering
  1. Oil – 2 tsp
  2. Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp
  3. Green chilly – 1 Slit
  4. Asafoetida – a pinch
  5. Fresh Coriander Leaves for garnish

Method
  1. Grind green chilly and ginger.
  2. In a bowl, add the chickpea flour, turmeric powder, salt, sugar, green chilly, ginger paste, oil, mix well.
  3. Now add the curd and water and mix well.
  4. Heat the cooker with water for steaming. Grease a  flat cooker vessel.
  5. Add the eno fruit salt to the chickpea flour mixture mix well and pour immediately into the greased cooker vessel.
  6. Steam for 7 to 8 minutes,
  7. Remove and allow to cool.
  8. Heat a small frying pan with oil. Add mustard seeds, once they crackle add asafoetida powder and the slit green chilly.
  9. Pour this over the steamed dhokla, garnish with fresh coriander leaves.
  10. Cut into desired shapes and serve with green chutney.


Sunday, February 17, 2013

Vendhaya Keerai Sambar/ Fenugreek Leaves Sambar




Fenugreek Leaves or Methi leaves are one of my favorite greens. I can’t resist a fresh bunch of methi greens. I have grown them in small pots at home a couple of times. They grow very easily and the satisfaction of using something that’s grown by you is immeasurable.
Methi can be used in a variety of dishes like chapathis, gravies, and even rice. You can check some of the recipes using fenugreek leaves Methi Thepla, Methi Malai Matar, Methi Paneer Pulao, Aloo, Paneer and Methi Parathas.

Today’s recipe is one which I learnt from my grandmother. You won’t feel any kind of bitterness which is generally attributed to these greens. A perfect accompaniment with rice and a mild stir fry of your choice. Also goes well with idly and dosa.

Want to share a funny incident that happened while clicking the pics for this recipe. I had roasted a few pappads to use in the background as this sambar tastes great with it. After roasting the them I went to set up everything for taking the pictures. When I went for the pappads, I couldn’t find them anywhere. I could see bits and pieces of pappad lying there and there. I guessed it was the work of my kids. When I went looking for them, both were sitting in one corner of the house munching the pappads with an innocent smile on their faces. Finally, had to click the pics without the papads.



Serves – 4
What you’ll need
  1. Fresh Methi Leaves – 2 cups
  2. Tuar Dal – 5 heaped tbsp
  3. Tomato – 1
  4. Tamarind – gooseberry size ball*
  5. Green Chilly – 1
  6. Sambar Powder – 2 tbsp
  7. Turmeric Powder – ¼ tsp
  8. Jaggery – 1 tsp
  9. Salt to taste
  10. Oil – 1 tsp
  11. Mustard Seeds

Method
  1. Wash dal and pressure cook it for 3 whistles. On cooling, mash and keep aside.
  2. Soak the tamarind in 1 cup of hot water and extract the juice.
  3. Wash the methi leaves well. Roughly chop the leaves. *
  4. Heat a Kadai with oil, add mustard seeds, once they splutter add the roughly chopped methi leaves.
  5. Fry till the leaves are wilted. Now add the chopped tomatoes and slit green chilly and Sambar Powder.
  6. Saute till the tomatoes turn mushy.
  7. Add the tamarind extract, and another cup of water.
  8. Add turmeric powder, salt and jiggery.
  9. Let his boil till the raw smell of the tamarind and sambar powder disappears and the sambar has slightly thickened.
  10. Now add the mashed dal, add water if required. Check seasoning. Let it simmer for few minutes.
  11. Remove from heat, serve hot with rice and any stir fry and some papads.



Note:
  1. Chop the methi leaves just before adding to the kadai, else the leaves may turn bitter.
  2. Use of tamarind depends on the kind of tamarind you use, Very old and dark colored tamarind are very sour and you require only a small quantity, new tamarind may not be and you may require a little more. Use according to your discretion.
  3. There is no need to add curry leaves or coriander leaves for this sambar.


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Eggless Thumbprint Cookies





Couple of day’s back I started searching the net for some recipes to post for Valentine’s day. After going through many recipes from various sites, I zeroed in on one: The Eggless Chocolate Pudding. It was my long time wish to try one. I finally made it the day before with the intention of posting today. The pudding looked really delicious all chocolatey, perfectly set. I loved the fact that it de moulded beautifully. I was all set having clicked some satisfying pictures. My daughter came from school and I offered the pudding to her. She loved the looks of it. She tasted a spoonful with relish. And after tasting it her expression changed and she refused to eat anymore. Then I tasted it and I too did not find it to my expectation. It was kind of bitter and not as light as I was expecting it to be, though it was very smooth. My daughter declared that this recipe should not be posted. I agreed. And my search for Valentine ’s Day recipe started all over again.



Finally, I found the recipe for these thumbprint cookies in a book, which I had noted long back. These are traditionally no Valentine’s Day treats, but I wanted to post something simple, sweet and delicious and these perfectly fit the bill. These cookies get their name from the indents made on the cookies with the thumb. The indents are traditionally filled with jam or fruit preserves. Of course the filling is our choice. So I filled few of them with my favourite Nutella and few with my daughter’s favourite jam and left few as it is without any filling for my MIL. If you have the time and paitience, pipe out the nutella or jam with the help of a piping bag with a nice nozzle and I’m sure they will look much prettier than mine.

The original recipe called for all purpose flour, I have replaced it with whole wheat flour.



Makes about 16 cookies
What you’ll need
  1. Wheat Flour – 1 cup
  2. Sugar – 1/3 cup
  3. Unsalted Butter – ½ cup
  4. Vanilla Essence – 1 tsp
  5. Milk – 1 Tbsp (if required)
  6. Nutella/ Jam or any other fruit preserve as required

Method
  1. Pre heat oven to 180C . Line the baking tray with butter paper.
  2. Powder the sugar.
  3. In a wide bowl, add butter and sugar and beat till light and fluffy.
  4. Add Vanilla essence and mix well.
  5. Now add the flour and blend. It will form a crumbly mix. Do not knead like chapathi dough.
  6. Just bring together everything into a ball. If the mixture is very dry add as tbsp of milk.
  7. Bring together gently.
  8. At this point refrigerate the dough for an hour if it is not manageable else form equal sized balls and flatter slightly. (As I was able to easily form the balls and shape them, I did not refrigerate)
  9. Place on the lined baking tray and make and indentation with your thumb in the center or use the back of a small scoop.
  10. Repeat the same with remaining dough and place them on the baking tray leaving enough space between the balls.
  11. Bake for 15 minutes.
  12. Remove from oven and slightly press the indents if they have risen.
  13. Let the cookies cool and then spoon in your favourite filling. I filled some with nutella and some with jam and left a few empty.


Enjoy!



Sunday, February 10, 2013

Nellikai/Amala Chutney/Thokku/ Gooseberry Spread





Everybody knows about the goodness of gooseberries/nellikai/amla. They are rich source of Vitamin C and are known for their numerous health benefits.

Knowing and speaking of the health benefits sounds very good, but I am not a big fan of these. Neither do I like them raw nor the pickle. The only form I eat them is in the dried candied form.

But that was until I tasted this version of gooseberry chutney. Recently my aunt prepared this chutney and got it for me, not knowing that I am averse to gooseberries. I did not have the heart to not taste something which my aunt had got with so much love. I did a taste check and I loved it. Tasted yum with curd rice. It was a super hit with all the elders in the family; of course kids did not taste it as it was very spicy.

The next I had it as a spread with bread. I also had it for lunch mixed with some hot white rice and a spoon of sesame oil and it tasted just awesome. These are some of the other ways this chutney/ thokku can be had. Try this and tell me how you had it.



Makes approx 1 Kg of chutney
What you'll need
  1. Gooseberry/Nellikai/Amla – 1 kg, 8 cups, ground in mixie without adding water
  2. Green Chilies – 200 gms
  3. Sesame oil – 1 cup
  4. Mustard seeds – 1 tbsp
  5. Fenugreek Seeds – 1 tbsp
  6. Asafoetida – 2 big pinches
  7. Turmeric Powder – ¾ tsp
  8. Salt as required (approx ½ cup) (add more if required)

Method
  1. Wash and pat dry the gooseberries and green chilies.
  2. Cut the gooseberries and grind them without adding water. It is ok if one or two pieces remain.
  3. Also grind the green chilies.
  4. Mix the ground gooseberries, chilies and salt and keep aside.
  5. Powder the mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds. No need to roast.
  6. Heat a Kadai with oil, lower the flame and add the asafoetida and turmeric powder.
  7. Remove from flame and add the ground gooseberries, chilies and mix well.



Store in air tight glass containers and keep refrigerated.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Varathu Aracha Kuzhambu




Here is another very flavorful Kuzhambu from my SIL’s mother’s kitchen. A regular in their house, it has become our family favorite too. The aroma and flavor of the roasted and ground coconut and spices makes this kuzhambu really special. A perfect accompaniment with plain rice and a simple stir fry and few pappads. It also pairs very well with idly and dosa.

I have used Pumpkin and ashgourd in this recipe; you can also use drumstick and lady’s finger. If using lady’s finger, saut√© lightly and then use. Off to the recipe:

Serves - 3 to 4

What you'll need
  1. Pumpkin – 1 cup, cubed
  2. Ashgourd – 1 cup, cubed
  3. Tamarind – a small gooseberry sized ball
  4. Turmeric Powder – ¼ tsp
  5. Salt to taste

Roast and Grind
  1. Urad Dal – ½ tbsp
  2. Bengal Gram Dal/Channa Dal – ¼ tbsp
  3. Fenugreek Seeds – ¼ tsp
  4. Dried Red Chillies – 2 or 3
  5. Fresh Scraped Coconut – 1 cup, tightly packed
  6. Oil – 1 tbsp
  7. Curry Leaves – few

For Tempering
  1. Coconut Oil/any refined oil – 2 tsp
  2. Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp



Method
  1. Soak the tamarind in one cup of water for 10 minutes.
  2. Squeeze and extract the pulp from the tamarind.
  3. Add another cup of water to it.
  4. Add the chopped vegetables, salt and turmeric powder.
  5. Bring to boil, cover and cook till the vegetables are cooked.
  6. In the meanwhile, heat a kadai with a ½ tbsp of oil, and roast the urad dal, channa dal, fenugreek seeds and red chillies, finally add the scraped coconut and roast.
  7. Add the remaining oil and roast till the coconut turn light brown.
  8. Add the curry leaves, mix well and remove from flame.
  9. Grind this into a smooth paste adding about ¼ to ½ cup of water.
  10. Once the vegetables are cooked, add this ground paste to it and mix well. Add more water if necessary and adjust seasoning..
  11. Simmer till the gravy starts to froth, do not allow boiling. Remove from heat and garnish with some more curry leaves.
  12. Heat a small frying pan with 2 tsps of oil, and add mustard seeds. Once it splutters pour it over the kuzhambu.




Delicious Kuzhambu is ready. Serve with plain rice and stir fry of your choice.

Note:
  1. Don't reduce the amount of coconut as it is one of the main ingredients.
  2. The gravy tends to thicken a bit on cooling.


Monday, February 4, 2013

Eggless Pineapple Cupcake



From the moment, we Groovies decided on cupcakes for this month, I was very excited and eager to bake and post my first cake on this space. But somehow, things did not work the way I wanted it to. The baking of these cupcakes got postponed until yesterday evening and I had to hurriedly take a few pictures, saving the cupcakes from my kids, who just could not wait to grab one. So pictures are not very great. Hope to update with better pictures sometime.

Some of my friends might know that I recently got an OTG oven. It is one the best appliances I own. Ever since I got it, I have been baked many cakes, and I can’t get enough of it. I am yet to try my hands on breads and cookies. I am also a novice at frosting. After the birthday cake I made for my daughter, this is the second attempt at frosting and am yet to learn to make that classic swirl with perfection.

So here is my first cupcake post. My kids and the whole family simply loved these delicious cupcakes with a tiny bits of pineapple bite here and there. Do try them, they will not let you down.

Makes about six big cupcakes


What you’ll need
  1. Whole Wheat Flour – ½ cup
  2. All Purpose Flour – ½ cup
  3. Yoghurt – ¾ cup
  4. Sugar – ½ cup
  5. Baking Powder – ½ tsp
  6. Baking Soda – ½ tsp
  7. Salt – a pinch
  8. Sunflower oil – 1/3 cup
  9. Tinned Pineapple – 2 rings, finely chopped
  10. Pineapple Essence – ½ tsp

For the Frosting
  1. Butter – 2 heaped tbsp
  2. Sugar - 4 to 5 tbsp
  3. Pineapple Essence – ½ tsp





Method
  1. Preheat oven to 180C for 10 mins.
  2. Grease or line the muffin tray and set aside.
  3. Sift the flours, salt, baking powder and baking soda, twice and keep aside.
  4. Whisk together sugar and curds until sugar is dissolved.
  5. Next whisk in the oil and essence until well blended.
  6. Now gently fold in the sifted flours, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Do not over beat.
  7. Finally add the chopped pineapple pieces and mix lightly.
  8. Fill in the muffin liners upto ½. Tap gently 2 to 3 times to deflate and air bubbles.
  9. Bake in preheated oven for about 20 to 25 minutes. Mine were done in 20 minutes.
  10. For the Frosting
  11. Beat butter using a hand mixer until light and fluffy for about 4 to 5 minutes.
  12. Now add the sugar little by little until well blended and stiff.
  13. Add the essence and blend again for few seconds.
  14. Transfer into piping bags and pipe out the swirls or apply the frosting with the help of a flat knife or spatula.




You can decorate with finely chopped canned pineapples.

Note:
  1. You can use only APF too.
  2. Make sure the yoghurt is at room temperature for the cake.
  3. Also, make sure that the butter used for frosting is soft, if you try to frost with hard butter, you will never get the right consistency for the frosting.

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