Its official. I love fennel. I love its aroma and the unique flavour it infuses in to the dishes. Its sometimes the star ingredient of a dish, without actually taking all the lime light! I wanted to combine the goodness of asparagus, potatoes and cauliflower in to one amazing bowl of hearty subzi. Thus was born this unique and tasty side dish. I could eat it with rotis the whole week! I really did! It was a hit with rotis and the leftover went it to fill in to my bread,to make tasty sandwiches and the third day, I stuffed it in to puff pastry sheets. Yes, it was amazing! Go on, try it and see for yourself.
2 Small or 1 Medium Onions diced fine.
2 Cups Cauliflower Florettes.
1 Potatoe cut in to medium 1 inch bits.
1 pound Asparagus diced in into 1 inch pieces.
1/4 Tsp Turmeric.
1 Tsp Red chilli powder.
1 Tbsp Fennel powdered.
1 Tsp Tandoori Masala.
1/2 Tsp Garam Masala.
1 Tsp Salt.
1 Tsp heaped Somph/ Fennel.
2 Star Anise.
1 Mace (Optional)
TANDOORI MASALA POWDER:
4 tsp ground dhania.
3 tsp cumin ground.
4 tsp garlic powder.
2 tsp red cp.
3 tsp ginger powder.
2 tsp amchur.
1 tsp dried mint.
red food coloring.
1 tsp chilli powder.
2 Tsp Kasoori Methi.
Grind to a near smooth powder and store in an air tight container for more than 6 months.
- Microwave the cauliflower florettes, diced asparagus on HIGH for about 3 minutes.
- Boil the potatoe in a little water with salt and dice in to pieces.
- In a shallow kadai, add a tbsp of oil and when its hot enough, add the fennel, star anise and mace. When its slightly roasted add the finely chopped onions and shallow fry until pinkish brown.
- Just when the aroma was already getting to you, add the microwaved veggies – cauliflower, asparagus and the potatoes.
- Sprinkle turmeric powder, red chilli powder and salt and mix them all in well.
- Sprinkle a few drops of water and reduce the flame to medium low. Cover and cook fofr about ten minutes.
- Check to see if the veggies are well cooked, If not cook for a couple minutes more.
- Gently add the tandoori masala powder and the garam masala powder at this stage and mix it in.
- Garnish with chopped cilantro, switch off the flame and keep covered until its time to serve.
Posted in Gravies/ Sides/ Curries/ Dry Subzis. | Tagged Asparagus dry subzi, Cauliflower subzi, side dish for rotis | 3 Comments »
I have this abominable craziness to make so many sides with tomatoes – by now any reader of this blog would have guessed just how much I love them in any form! Fried and roasted to a Tomato Thokku, sauteed and ground with coconut milk in a Chettinadu Chutney, fire roasted and spiced with garlic and ginger in a Tomato Rice, or simply chopped and added to a tangy Bhujia Chat, my list goes on..and yet, when I glimpse an interesting concoction made with tomatoes in any form – I go for it! This kurma is a rehashed version of an everyday kurma, made more flavourful with the addition of shallots.
4 Large / 5 Medium Tomatoes chopped fine.
10-12 shallots peeled.
4 Dried Red Chillies.
3 Tsp Urad Dhal.
1/3 Cup Fresh Coconut.
1 Cup Water.
Salt to taste.
Mustard, urad dhal, curry leaves to season.
- Spoon out a tsp of oil in a kadai over low flame and when its hot,add the urad dhal, curry leaves, red chillies and finally the shallots.
- Saute on low flame until the urad dhal fries to a golden brown color. In the very end, add the fresh coconut and saute for a couple minutes more.
- Remove from flame and give it a quick zing in the mixer. Add a little water if necessary and puree to a smooth paste.
- Add oil to the kadai again, season with mustard, hing, urad dhal, curry leaves and to this, add the chopped tomato and saute until slightly mushy.
- Add salt, turmeric, a cup of water and allow to cook the tomatoes until mushy for about ten mins.
- Add the spiced pureed mix to the kadai, mix and add more water to adjust until it reaches a gravy consistency.
- Switch off when it comes to a boil and serve Hot with Venn Pongal, Dosai, Idlis or Phulkas.
Posted in Gravies/ Sides/ Curries/ Dry Subzis. | 8 Comments »
I love spring. Period. Its that time of the year when barren brown trees are suddenly bursting with miniscule green buds everywhere, shrubs are already full of lovely colourful flowers and you actually hear chirping birds. From white gray roads, you see miles and miles of lush green grass everywhere. Spring in many places also brings with it showers and thunderstorms. Today was one such day. When I saw the morning sky was laden with dark clouds I immediately yearned for piping soup sprinkled liberally with garlic croutons. Rasam is one such comfort food for me – and I remembered Jeyashri`s post that I had bookmarked for a “rainy” day, and I knew that I had had had to make it right away! I loved it mixed with rice and a dollop of ghee, with chips and subji on the side. The best thing about this rasam is that it does not need Rasam Powder or tamarind!!!!
1 Medium/ 2 Small Tomatoes.
1/4 Cup Cooked Toor Dhal.
1 1/2 Cups Water.
1 Tsp Ghee.
1 Tsp Mustard Seeds.
1/4 Tsp Turmeric Powder.
A pinch of hing.
Cilantro to garnish.
ROAST IN GHEE & GRIND:
1 Tbsp Toor Dhal.
1 Tsp Black Peppercorns.
1/4 Tsp Dhania Seeds.
1/4 Tsp Jeera.
1-2 red Chillies.
- Chop the tomatoes finely and reserving a handful, grind the rest with a little water to a smooth puree and transfer to a vessel. Switch on the flame.
- Set aside the reserved chopped tomatoes.
- Roast the toor dhal, pepper, dhania seeds and red chillies in a tsp of ghee on a medium low flame. At the last minute add the jeera and switch off the flame.
- When cooled, grind with a little water to a smooth paste.
- Add the ground paste. salt, turmeric, hing and curry leaves and allow it to boil until the raw smell is gone. This should take about 10-12 minutes.
- Now mash the cooked toor dhal, dilute it with the 1 1/2 cups of water and add it to the boiling tomato mix.
- Give it a quick stir and allow it to just start boiling. When this happens switch off the flame, add the chopped tomatoes and cilantro.
- Season with mustard seeds and close the container with a plate.
- This is one of the most important steps as it locks in all the aromas and flavours until its ready to the served.
- I should be trying this version with dilute tamarind water soon to see if that enhances the flavour. I have also seen versions using dilute tamarind water,.
- Its imperative that the jeera is not added initially as it brings out a bitter burnt aftertaste in the rasam.
- Some people also add a small piece of jaggery to the boiled rasam.
Do you have a favourite version of rasam that you enjoy???? Please let us know and we`ll try it out soon!
Posted in Sambar / Rasam / Kuzhambu Varieties. | Tagged how to make rasam, how to make rasam served at weddings, Iyengar Rasam, Kalyana Rasam | 31 Comments »
Brownies are a welcome dessert treat at my home and there seems to be always room for brownies right after dinner! It`s a favourite for my older daughter to have the home smelling of chocolate brownies as she returns form school. But some how i always end up making them a little before dinner so ends up that their appetite for dinner is mysteriously lost! I have recently started slightly modifying my weekly kitchen prep plans a little based on the produce on sale at the local farmers market or at Sprouts. I had two packages of cream cheese for a buck and I thought it was really high time I try the Oreo Cheesecake that I have eyeing for quite some time and the Cream Cheese Brownies Swirls. It was very flavorful and moist and chewy yet deliriously chocolatey with the hint of sweet salty from the cream cheese swirls. Try it and there`s really no looking back!
1 1/2 Sticks of butter (3/4 Cup).
2/3 Cup Cocoa.
1 2/3 Cup Sugar.
1/4 Tsp Salt.
2 Eggs at room temperature.
1 Tsp Oil.
1 Tsp Vanilla Essence.
1 Cup All Purpose Flour.
1/3 Cup Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips ( Could be substituted for any good quality chocolate).
Cream Cheese Filling:
4 oz softened cream cheese.
4 tbsp Sugar.
1 Tsp Vanilla Essence.
The best part of this batter preparation is that its completely fool proof AND its all done in one go – one vessel over the stove, a whisk and some measuring and adding!
- Take a deep dish with a strong base, and add the 1 1/2 sticks of butter to it. Place a whisk in to the dish and allow the butter to melt slowly on low flame.
- Meanwhile butter an oven proof dish and preheat the oven to 350F/180C. I always like to line by dish with parchment and allow it to hang on either side so there is no messy clean up.
- Lay out all your ingredients in an assembly line on the counter so you can reach to them when they are needed.
- Beat the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and a little egg white until its nice and smooth. Set aside. ( I used a little egg white from the 2 whites reserved for the brownie itself).
- Measure out the 2/3 Cup of cocoa powder and slowly dunk it in to the melted butter.
- The cocoa laps up the butter happily and glistens.
- Continue whisking and add the 1 2/3 Cup pf Sugar, and the 1/4 tsp of salt.
- Whisk and at this stage it gets a little gritty with the sugar crystals. Keep going!
- Add the eggs one at a time and whisk them in. This stage gives the brownie batter all the body it needs. You are still on low flame so make sure you keep whisking.
- Flavour the brownie with the vanilla essence and mix it all in.
- Now measure out exactly 1 cup of flour and add it to the pot. Slowly fold the flour it to the silky batter.
- At the last stage add the 1/2 cup of chocolate chips and let them melt in.
- Pour this brownie batter in to the baking dish.
- Empty out the cream cheese filling on to the top of the brownie batter and using a butter knife cut out marbled swirls.
- Bake for about 35-40 minutes depending on the capacity of your oven. Do keep an eye on them and do not let them burn.
- Remove and allow to cool for a good hour or so before attempting to slice in to little squares.
- Makes a a great return gift for a kids birthday party!
Posted in Desserts/Chocolates | Tagged Cream Cheese Brownies, how to make brownies, Scream cheese swirl brownies | 12 Comments »
The Taco Bell Cantina Bowl is my all time favourite one bowl lunch option! It has carbs from the rice, protein from the beans, fat which are abundant in avocados, the smoothness of the green goddess dressing, tart and crunchy corn salsa, all doused with the undertones of cilantro and lemon in every bite. The original Cantina Bowl has tonnes of sodium and a total of 540 calories. By substituting ranch with thick curd, it makes it more healthier with lower fat and of course fresher. The probiotics in the curd are extremely beneficial to the body and then there is the special relationship between the beans, the cilantro rice and the dressing all tied together with douses of fresh lemon juice! Try it and life would never be the same again!
THE TACO BELL CANTINA BOWL TYPICALLY HAS:
- Bottom Layer of the herby cilantro lemon rice.
- The next layer of spice blended cooked black beans.
- A bed of crisp romaine lettuce.
- Liberal douse of citrusy fresh Green Goddess Dressing.
- A dollop of Guacamole.
- 2 Tbsp Pico De Gallo.
- A handful of lemony grilled corn.
- 1 Tbsp of sour cream( Optional).
- Garnish of tortilla chips(Optional).
HERBY CILANTRO LEMON RICE:
1 Cup Basmati or Long Grained Rice.
1/2 Onion sliced long.
1 Tbsp Chopped Garlic.
1 Tbsp chopped cilantro.
1 Tbsp chopped parsley.
1 Tbsp Lemon Juice.
- Cook the basmati/long grained rice with a few drops of oil and a few drops of lemon juice.
- In a wok, saute onion and when pink, add all the herbs – garlic, cilantro and parsley.
- Add the cooked rice and mix and finally add the lemon juice. Add salt as needed.
- Add more chopped cilantro to enhance the flavour.
- This forms the bed of the Taco Bell Cantina Bowl.
1 Cup Black Beans soaked overnight and cooked in a little salt.
1 pinch of seasoning salt.
A pinch of paprika.
A few drops of Lemon Juice.
- Combine the cooked black beans with the seasoning salt, paprika and lemon juice. Set aside.
2 Hass Avocados .
1 Small Ripe Tomato.
1 Lemon`s Juice.
1 Garlic Pod.
Cilantro to garnish.
- Split the avocados in half, remove the seed, and scoop out the flesh. Transfer to a shallow bowl.
- Immediately squeeze the lemon juice over the avocados to prevent oxidation and mix it in.
- Add the sliced jalapenos, tomatoes, salt, pepper, crushed garlic and mix it all with the back of a spatula.
- Add a dash of chopped cilantro for garnish.
PICO DE GALLO:
1 Fresh Tomato chopped very fine.
1 Onion chopped fine.
1 Jalapeno~ chopped fine.
Chopped Cilantro to garnish.
A few drops of lemon juice.
- Combine all the above ingredients in a shallow bowl. Garnish with chopped cilantro.
FIRE ROASTED CORN SALSA:
2 Cups Sweet Corn.
1/2 Cup Cilantro .
2 Japaleno Peppers.
1/4 Tsp Garlic Powder.(Optional)
Juice from 1 lemon.
- Thaw the sweet corn and pat it dry. Flavour it with salt and a little lemon juice.
- In a food processor puree the cilantro, jalapeno and lemon juice to a rough paste.
- Marinate it over the sweet corn kernels for about ten minutes.
- Grill it on a stove top/ grill/ oven until lightly brown.
- Adjust salt and garnish with more cilantro and a few more drops of lemon juice.
- This is one of the ingredient to garnish of the Taco Bell Cantina Bowl.
ASSEMBLING THE TACO BELL CANTINA BOWL:
The Cantina Bowl is assembled for every person in the bowl in which they would be served in. So individual portions are made as per preference and served, as follows:
- In the serving bowl layer a bed of the herb and citrus flavoured rice.
- Next, add a ladle of the seasoned black beans, over the rice.
- Drizzle a layer of chopped romaine lettuce over the beans. This provides crunch and is a surprise layer.,
- Slather a ladleful of the fresh and citrus bursting Green Goddess Dressing.
- A big dollop of Guacamole is served on top of the dressing on one side.
- Another spoonful of sour cream is served on the other side.
- These are sprinkled with the prepared Pico De Gallo.
- The entire bowl is drizzled with a handful of grilled corn.
Can anything else beat that???
Posted in Mexican Cuisine. | Tagged Cantina Bowl. make your own taco bell cantia bowl at home, copy cat recipe of Taco Bell Cantina Bowl, how to make taco bell cantina bowl, taco bell cantina bowl | 12 Comments »
“There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.”
Baking my own loaf of bread has been a revelation – lessons in patience and perfection, that comes only by practice. There are times when you have to allow things to happen on their own and all you can do is watch and wait. It`s such a basic truth of life. My bread baking has been inspired by so many blogs – The Kitchn Blog, and of course this one. Try this just once and enjoy the aroma of bread wafting in your kitchens!
3 Cups Bread Flour/ All Purpose Flour.
2 Tbsp Sugar.
1 Tsp Salt.
1 – 1 1/8 Cup Water.
2 Tbsp Olive Oil.
1/2 Tbsp Yeast.
A few notes about Yeast:
What is yeast? Why is it required to make soft fluffy airy bread loaves?
Bread wouldn’t be bread without yeast and yeast can’t work without sugars. Yeast is alive—living organisms—and living organisms need food for fuel, in this case, simple sugars. Yeast needs to feed on these sugars and multiply to create two byproducts—alcohol (ethanol) and carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide is what leavens the bread—carbon dioxide gases filter through the bread and creates beautiful air pockets and the alcohol evaporates during the process of baking.
Proofing of Yeast:
Every packet of dry active yeast is used in making many different kinds of breads, cakes, loaves etc. Since its the very basic requirement of any bread, it is important that we know that the yeast is going to work its magic and multiply, thus fermenting the dough to make it rise. Some times, the yeast is old and not active and hence will not “proof”. We need to “prove” that the yeast is good enough and active and will aid in the baking process. All one has to do is to take a bowl of lukewarm (not hot) water and add some form of sugar – sugar crystals/ honey/ agave nectar/ maple syrup which is required for the yeast to start its process of “proofing. Then add the yeast and mix it in. leave the bowl undisturbed for about 7-10 minutes. The surface of the water will slowly bubble and get frothy. Allow it to stand for the full ten minutes. If the surface is all bubbly and frothy (yes it is a little smelly!!!) then the yeast has “proofed” and can be added to the flour to make bread etc. If this does not happen, dump the water and start the process afresh.
- Measure out 1 1/8 cup of water in a glass jar and microwave for about 30 seconds. When you insert the finger in to the water it has to be just warm it should not be hot,as this would kill the yeast.
- Yeast needs a sweet medium to multiply, so next add the 2 tbsp of sugar. Now add the yeast, give it a stir and let it sit for about ten minutes.
- While the yeast is “proved”, we can get the dough ready.
- In a mixing bowl, measure out the flour and salt and sieve once. Add the olive oil and the yeast+sugar+water mixture.
- Using a spatula or a wooden ladle, mix it until you get a sticky dough. Add flour or water as needed until you get a smooth dough.
- Oil the base of the mixing bowl and place the dough in the bowl. Smear more oil on the surface and cover it up with a moist kitchen cloth.
- Keep for about 1 1/2 hours in a warm place undisturbed until the dough doubles in size.
- Punch the dough lightly and remove the air inside and fold it a couple times until its shaped as shown.
- Grease a loaf pan and place the dough inside.
- Lightly cover with a thin kitchen cloth and place inside the oven with the light switch on, or in a warm place for another 45 minutes, until the dough rises.
- Preheat the oven to 375F or 190 C and place the loaf pan in the middle rack.
- Spray a couple squirts of water on the sides of the oven. This step is optional but helps keep the outside of the loaves moist and supple so that the bread can spring for as long as possible. Once the outside of the loaf begins to dry out it hardens, preventing further spring. Then the crust begins to form.
- Bake for about 35-40 minutes or until the top of the loaf sounds hollow and the crust is a beautiful golden brown.
- Cool for about 30 minutes before slicing.
STORING HOME BAKED BREAD:
- I have always found that baking bread at home is extremely therepautic and energising, but when it comes to storing home made bread for even 3-4 days, its a challenge.
- Many people recommend placing it the sliced side down on to a cutting board.
- Some suggest a bread box, but I have not found it too helpful.
- I did see an online bread storage bag like this one: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0000VLGIY/ref=s9_psimh_gw_p79_d1_i2?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=1WFPVF7AATRM6RSP6ZM4&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=1389517282&pf_rd_i=507846 but did not read very many good reviews.
- I have this time around, sliced my bread, but fashioned them as a loaf, moved them to a plastic grocery bag, and then stored it in an air tight rubbermaid container, to keep fresh for at least 4 days. I am not a fan of mold at all.
- How do you store your bread??
Posted in Cakes & Baking! | Tagged How to make bread at home, how to make white bread from scratch, white bread | 29 Comments »
There are always people who dont like mushrooms and then there are us – the people who love mushrooms for their taste, texture and versatility. I always have a brown bag of mushrooms ready in my refrigerator. My all time favorite mushroom dish is the Restaurant Style Mushroom Butter Masala which I love to pair with simple Jeera Pulav or Peas Pulav. But on days when I really feel like eating spicy food, I resort to this Chettinad Mushroom Biriyani or sometimes the Hyderabadi Biriyani. My sister wanted me to try this from Divya`s post and I readily obliged.It`s a simpler version of the Hyderabadi Biriyani and definitely a lot more forgiving in the prep work, but very very delicious to say the least. I savour this biriyani with simple Cucumber Raita. I made this Biriyani with brown basmati rice and added Seitan instead of soya nuggets for added protien!
2 Cups Brown Basmati Rice.
1 Pound Mushrooms Cremini/ Bella or White.
2 Onions sliced long and thin.
1/2 Cup Coconut Milk.
1 Packet of Seitan.(optional or you could substitute with Soya Chunks, or Tempeh)
1/2 Cup Fresh Curd.
2 Tsp Ginger Garlic Paste – Fresh.
1 Tsp Red Chilli Powder.
1 Tsp Dhania Powder.
1 Tsp Garam Masala Powder.
A pinch of haldi Powder.
1/2 Cup Mint Leaves.
1/2 Cup Cilantro chopped.
WHOLE SPICES FOR SEASONING:
2 Tbsp Ghee/Butter/Oil.
1 Inch Cinnamon.
1/2 Tsp Cardamom Powder or 2 Cardamom Pods.
2 Star Anise.
1 Tsp ShahJeera.
1 Tsp Jeera.
- Wash the basmati rice and soak it in 3 cups water for about 30 minutes.
- In a kadai, add a spoon of oil and shallow fry the onions until they are completely brown. I have a Calphalon Sear Pan so I can sear all the onions without a drop of oil.
- Now we work on the marinade – Add the seitan and the mushroom on to a bowl and add all the ingredients under “Marinade” and finally add half of the yummy pan fried onions. Save hte rest for later.
- Cover the bowl with a cling wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, take a wide mouthed non stick pan and add 2 tbsp of ghee. Now season it with all the ingredients under “Seasonings” and give it a second to fry in the oil.
- Add the marinated mushroom+Seitan mixture in to the pan and saute on a medium low flame until you see the mushroom getting cooked, sweaty and start shrinking. This should take about 5-6 minutes.
- Now add the coconut milk to the pan and cook for another 3-4 minutes.
- Now add ONLY the rice that has been soaking but SAVE the water in which it was soaked.
- Ahh you threw it out, never mind, just get fresh 3 cups of water!!!!
- Add in the required salt and then the 1 Tsp of Garam Masala.
- Add the 3 cups of water and cover and cook undisturbed for about 15 minutes or until the grains of rice are cooked fluffy and to perfection.
- Garnish with fried onions and serve with a side of thick Cucumber Raita.
Posted in Rice Varieties. | Tagged Chettinad Mushroom Biriyani, how to make biriyani, how to make mushroom biriyani, Mushroom Biriyani | 11 Comments »