July 11, 2012

Stuffed Tomato ( Barwan Tamatar )


I hope everyone is enjoying Summer. Especially in Seattle the weather is getting awesome and its going to be same for next 2 weeks. I hope we do not get rain any more. 

Tomato is such a universal ingredient. We can make tomato soup, chutney, ketchup, salsa. Its widely used in salads, Indian curries and sabzis, raitas and what not. I cannot imagine a day in my kitchen without tomato. 
Not only food, but when it comes to home gardening Tomato, I believe, must be the most grown vegetable.
Some fact about tomato:

1. If you want to store tomatoes for a week or so , buy a little unripe tomatoes so that they stay longer. If you plan to use them quickly then buy the ripest as these are richest in vitamins.

2. Botanically tomato is a fruit but its considered as vegetable.

3. A particular nutrient found in abundance in tomatoes, lycopene, has made many headlines for its disease fighting abilities. Lycopene is also acts as antioxidant.

4. Tomato is rich in Vitamin C (antioxidant), A (improves eye health) and Vitamin K (strengthens bones)
 most red tomatoes as these are richest in vitamins. Sunburns can be cured by applying the tomato juice.

5. Lycopene is also believed to be a natural sunscreen which is really amazing. 
Enough of the information, the bottom line is eat tomato and be healthy. Here is one recipe which contains around 80% of tomato in it. This sabzi looks good, tastes good and gets done in about half an hour , depending upon how much are you making ;).


Ingredients:

For stuffed tomato sabzi with 10 medium sized tomatoes

Fresh Roma Tomatoes or Any medium sized tomatoes - 10
Grated Dry Coconut - 3/4 Cup 
Cooked and mashed Potato - 1 Cup 
Indian Style Cottage Cheese (paneer) - as required
Garlic - 3-4 Cloves
Ginger - 1" piece
Red chili powder: as per taste
Salt : as per taste
Lemon Juice -as per taste
Cumin Coriander powder (dhaniya jeera) to taste
Oil, Mustard Seeds. Cumin Seeds and Curry leaves for seasoning (tadka)
2-3 tsp Oil to saute the stuffing
Fresh coriander for garnishing

Method:

1. Wash tomatoes. Open the tomatoes carefully by slicing the tomatoes from top (as if removing its head). 
Remove the kernel of the tomatoes with the help of a spoon and keep it in bowl. Sprinkle the inside of  tomatoes with salt and keep aside. Also keep the tomato heads, we will need this in step 2.


2. Blend together the coconut, ginger, garlic, tomato pulp and tomato heads (from step 1) to form a paste. 

3. Heat oil in a skillet and add to it the paste from step 2. (We can divide the paste and use only the portion that is necessary to hold the mashed potatoes, the rest we can use later) Add salt as per taste to it. Also keep in mind that we have sprinkled the tomatoes with salt. Add chili powder to taste. Saute for a minute and then add potato mixture. Mix well, cover and cook for another minute. Now the stuffing is ready.

4. Now stuff in the paneer into the tomatoes to create a little base in it. Then fill the rest of the tomato with the potato stuffing.



5. In the same skillet, heat oil again. Now add mustard seeds and once they sizzle add cumin seeds and curry leaves. Lower the heat and add the remaining paste, if any. Saute for a while and add all the spices as per taste. now add the remaining potato mixture. Add salt and lemon juice, mix, cover and let it cook for 2 minutes. Adjust spices. 



6. Now add the stuffed tomatoes and let them cook for about 10 - 15 minutes or till they become soft but not mushy at all.

7. Garnish with coriander and serve hot with parathas of any kind.




Tips:

1. Paneer is totally optional. Adding this enhances the presentation and adds a little cheesy taste to sour taste of tomato.

2. The stuffed tomatoes can be garnished with grated paneer, spring onion cuts, raisins, or even cashews.

A cute quote from one of my blogger friends (Spusht)

"Knowledge is knowing Tomato is a fruit; Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad :) 

May 12, 2012

Schezwan Fried Rice

Finally after lots of visits to the Indian store, last week I could get a bottle of Schezwan Sauce. Ohh I thought I got lucky. Haha not really, a friend of mine told me that she got one and hence I ran the other day to grab one for me. I am not sure if this is something which is also found in China but in India its popular in making of a Chinese food. One can make this at home as well but I prefer this ready made version ;).

I wanted to make Schezwan noodles but somehow my taste buds craved for the rice.


Ingredients:

Basmati or regular Rice: 2 Cups, Cooked

Vegetables that go in Chinese food like Carrots, Capsicum (red and green), cabbage, onion, broccoli florets. The quantity can vary as per liking. Some people like more veggies some do not. Some do not like broccoli, so its optional. But carrots, capsicum and onion are the must to have).
Fresh Firm Tofu : 7-8 Cubes
Garlic : 3 cloves, finely chopped
Soy Sauce: 2-3 tsp
Schezwan Sauce : 2 tbsp
Siracha, red chili sauce: as per taste
White Vinegar: 2-3 tsp
Spring onion: Greens for garnishing, whites mix with other veggies
Salt: per taste
Oil

 

Method:

1. Break the Rice lumps and separate all the grains. (For this, put some oil into the rice while cooking it and do not cook it in pressure cooker. Use either microwave or cook directly on the burner. Use rice after it cools down completely).

2. Dice onion , wash broccoli florets, chop spring onion, and julienne rest of vegetables.

3. Shallow fry the tofu cubes to maintain its firmness after adding them to the rice.

4. Heat oil in a pan and add onions, garlics, Saute for few seconds and then add other vegetable. Saute for a while but make sure you main the crispness of the vegetables. The crunchiness tastes better than the softer version of the veggies.

5. Now add sauces and vinegar. Saute again.

6. Add tofu and mix delicately.

7. Now add the rice and salt and mix everything well. Adjust the sauces.

8. Cook for 2 minutes and garnish with spring onion greens.

Tips:


You can cover tofu with cornflower paste and then shallow fry, but its optional.

April 7, 2012

Wiltons Cake Decorating Class

              Its time to share what I was doing for the past whole month. Since I got busy now on weekdays (due to my job, obviously) all I am left are only weekends to write new posts. And when it gets to weekend my body joints start yelling at me and ask me not to do any work. Precisely I get too lazy. But my love towards my blog gets my hands working and I get motivated to write something.


Well for the last month I did not post any thing. And that's only because I was busy even on weekend. It was Wilton's Cake Decorating Class. Oh man it was fun learning experience. And I am going to share it here.


Many of you might have already taken this class , heard about it or are right now wondering who is Wilton....!!!  :) Well lets start with it then.


Wilton is a number one Cake Decorating company. They are the best in cake baking, cake decorating supplies and ideas. They conduct these classes in many of the local stores. The classes are programmed by Wilton and the instructor is trained and asked to follow the process that's is set by Wilton.


What will you learn ?

Basically Wilton cake decorating classes come in 4 levels. It goes from basics to advanced. First one being basic, here you will learn
  • tips to perfectly bake your cake, techniques to store cake, how to cut cake
  • how to make icing, what are different consistencies for icing and what to use when
  • make different flowers, make leaves, rose flower, using the most popular star tip and what all we can do with it, borders
  • decorating cupcakes
  • drawing pictures on your cake, writing on the cake (use of piping gel for this)
Isn't that enough for a newbie like me. The stuff you learn in basics class is not hard and can be learnt easily at home. But then who will motivate you to do this at home :) :). I know there are hand full of girls out there who can do this at home as well but it was  sheer fun for me to go there, look at other's decorations, their creations and then of course the value able tips that you get from the instructor.

How can one learn at home ?

I said this can be done at home because each class comes with a kit and a plan book. Kit is where you find all the tool you need and book is where you get to read all the instructions and then its easy...

Where are these classes conducted ?

Search for these classes in any of the local craft store. Here at my place these are conducted by Joann and Michaels.

Tips for purchasing the supplies and enrolling in the class ?

All these craft stores have a huge coupon program. Some things you should do if you want to enroll in the class and also want to save some bucks :)

  • Subscribe for the coupons on the website of these local stores.
  • Go to the store and get the booklet of the classes. Here you might come across the discounts for the classes.
  • On some special days like "Open House" the class could be at half of its price. I was luck to grab this deal.
  • You always get 40 to 50% of coupons and always always use it towards your purchases of supplies. Saves a lot.
  • Find a partner. You can share your tools and help each other during the class.
During the class ?
  • Take pictures and videos for your future reference
  • Take pictures of the cakes decorated by others on the last day. You get to learn a lot from each of them
  • Try to reach to the class at least 10 minutes ahead of time. This is to good seats. :). I never made it :(
  • Ask questions to the instructor
  • Ask questions to your friends out their
  • And Have Fun .............. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Well here are some pictures from my class....
This one is by me :)

And here are by others.......





 

March 11, 2012

Vegetarian Thai Basil Rice



I am a great fan of flavors. And when I discover something that is new to me I desperately want it to try on my own. I know this does not happen all the time but the desire is always there ;). But this time I could make it happen. I prepared this dish in a week just later after I tried it.

Have you ever wondered using basil in cooking? At least I never thought of it until in the last week when I ordered this aromatic dish, Thai Basil Rice. Basil is one of the key ingredients and a must present ingredient in the Thai kitchens.


I simply love Thai cooking, the flavours and the ease with which it is prepared. Its quick , required handful ingredients and no extra or tiring preparation, yet tastes so good. As many of you know all the dishes in Thai cuisine use lots of vegetables. This makes it healthy. To add to this we have Tofu (which is a protein power pack).


When I started eating this dish I decided that I am definitely going to try this. It had so less ingredients and just the aroma of basil. I knew this is simple to cook. I searched (Binged/Googled whatever :)) and found out the key of this rice. First, it required the Jasmine Rice, which is abundantly used in Thai cooking. And this sure makes a difference as this rice had a different texture and had  a property to stick together but was not sticky. And of course the Basil leaves. In India we worship the basil tree but never used it in cooking. Often it is used in homemade medicines but never in cooking (at least to my knowledge, (I may be wrong)). Thai basil leaves are bigger than the Indian Basil. You can get these in any Asian store both rice and leaves.

Non vegetarian eaters can enjoy this rice with chicken and fish oil. Here is the vegetarian version :). And I am so happy with the outcome of my recipe.

 

Ingredients:

Jasmine Rice - 1,1/2 Cup
Fresh Basil Leaves - 20-25 (if they are full size) or three bunches
Tofu Cubes - 500 gms
Capsicum - 1 Cup, Julienned
Onion - 1 Cup, Julienned
Garlic - 4-5 cloves, minced
Green Chillies - 2, chopped finely
Salt - per taste
Soy Sauce - 1/2 tbsp
Oil - 2-3 tbsp
Cucumber for garnishing


The original recipe calls for using fish sauce but being a vegetarian I had to find something else. I searched a lot on Internet and found there are some vegetarian replacements available for the fish sauce. I remembered the taste of the rice and I decided to try out tamarind water :) And you know what, it worked very well .

Tamarind Juice - 1-2 tbsp

Method:

1. Rinse the rice before cooking. To cook Jasmine Rice add 2 Cup water to the rice. Add little salt. Bring it to boil and then reduce the heat to low, cover it with a lid and cook for another 15-20 minutes or till the rice is entirely cooked. Then turn off the heat and keep it covered for another 10 minutes. Keep it to cool.

2. Heat oil in a pan and shallow fry tofu till it turns a little brown. We need to do this so that the tofu cubes remain intact. Once done keep them aside.

3. Heat oil in a large skillet. Add garlic and saute a little. Then add onion for 1 minute and add capsicum. saute for another 3-4 minutes. Keep burner on high flame. Make sure the veggies are not overcooked.

4. Gently add tofu and basil leaves and stir.

5. Add Soy sauce, tamarind water and salt per as per taste.

6. Now add the jasmine rice and stir evenly.

7. Cover for 2-3 minutes. Garnish it with cucumber and serve.


Tips: 

  • @Veggie lovers - Make this more healthy by adding broccoli, carrots, snap peas..whatever veggie you like. :)
  • @Perfectionists - In the first attempt you will not get a perfect idea for the number of basil leaves to be used, which is OK. :) . Enjoy !!!!!!!!
  • @Non-vegetarians - use fish sauce and chicken.


February 25, 2012

Dal Baati (Oven Cooking)

                            Baati is a hard Indian Bread and is an authentic Rajasthani dish. Baati is usually cooked by deep frying and hence even being my favorite I could not enjoy it a lot ...(you know the age of calorie consciousness ;) ). Well a very dear friend of mine shared this oven version with me which tastes as good as the fried version but not better than that. (Nothing beats the fried versions after all) ....

Baati is super filling food. Highly nutritious as along with wheat, lots of "ghee"  there is also intake of variety of dals. Its what we call "a complete meal". Bati is a favorite of all the Marwaris and its oftenly a wedding meal for them.



Ingredients:

To make Bati:

3 Cup Wheat Flour
1 Cup of Semolina
2 tbsp Clarified Butter, Ghee
2 Tsp Carom Seeds, Ajwain
Salt to taste
1 tsp Baking powder
Water for kneading

To make Dal:
This is where you can have any type of dals and there combinations.
Typically the Dal is made using 5 dals or else just Toor and Chana Dal. I am going to explain the 5 Dal recipe

Toor Dal: 1/2 Cup
Chana Dal: 1/2 Cup
Split Moong Dal: 1/2 Cup
Masoor Dal: 1/2 Cup
Udad Dal : 1/2 Cup
Garam Masala Powder : per taste
Red Chili powder : per taste
Salt : per taste
Lemon juice : per taste
Oil, Mustard Seeds, Cumin Seeds, Asafotida (hing), Curry leaves for seasoning
Chopped Coriander for garnishing

Some people do not like a particular Dal. You can increase / decrease the quantity used as per your liking.

Method:

Baati recipes:

1. Mix wheat flour, semolina, baking powder, Clarified butter (ghee), ajwain, and salt in a bowl.

2. Using water knead the flour to make a hard dough. The dough for Bati is different than that for Rotis. This is hard and you can see cracks in it. Once done, cover it for 1 hour.


3. After an hour knead the dough again. Preheat the oven at 350 degrees. Make small batis as shownin the picture form the dough. Place the batis on the baking sheet. Spread some Ghee
on top of each baati.

4. Bake the batis for atleast 15 minutes or till they are done from inside.






Dal Recipe:

1. Mix all dals and soak for and hour or two. Then pressure cook daals till they get cooked.

2. Heat oil in a skillet. Add mustrad seeds and once they crackle add asafoetida and cumin seeds to it. Then add curry leaves.

3. Immediately add Garam Masala and red chili powder and add the cooked dals.

4. Adjust masalas as per taste and add salt.

5. While serving you can have another round of temepring. But this is optional and I particulary avoid it as it brings extra oil in the meal.

Tips:

To enjoy this, break the baati into pieces, add dal and little Ghee and enjoy till it is hot.

February 6, 2012

Refreshing Pear-Berry Smoothie...Aha.....(and my 1st day at work)

                          Today was my first day at work and it was the day of orientation.From tomorrow I will be starting my work and will be part of a team. It feels good to be back in the industry. I am not sure how often will I get to write a post, but I want to be consistent and continue my blogging and I will be posting at least once a week.  The day of orientation was full of information about the company. What, who, where, how and everything one would like to know about the company. It was exciting, all day long presentations, videos etc etc....

Last Saturday I got a pack of Pears from Costco and you know how many of them come in a pack. :O..... Well many times the calculation of the fruits needed in a week is right but there is always a week when it goes wrong :(...And yes this was the week. Since the pears were getting little juicy I thought I should try a smoothie of it. You know...yogurt and fruits...Well then I remembered that I had some frozen berries and I thought it would be great to add some flavor and color to the pear smoothie. So I added some berries to this. No sugar is needed as both the fruits add enough sweetness. Isn't that great....:)



Well this I would say is the simplest version of the smoothie but its first of a kind for me :).

Ingredients:

To make a glass of smoothie

Take 1 whole pear and cut into cubes.
Take 4-5 berries, frozen
Take 1 tbsp of Curd

Method:

Blend in all the ingredients in a blender and enjoy :). Add ice cubes if you like. Also you can add the small pieces of pear in the smoothie.

Looks Refreshing.....Isn't it ??? :)

 

February 1, 2012

Coriander / Cilantro Paratha (Kothmir Ni Rotli)

                          Its been 2 and half years to my marriage. Besides family I still miss and remember so many other things from my family and my home. There is this endless list that goes on and on when I become nostalgic and kinda emotional ...you know. But these emotions do not bring tears but bring smile on my face. After marriage you walk with a huge responsibility in your new home and before marriage it was rather a very care free wandering. It's the way the tradition is and life is and every woman sails in the same boat and with age things have to change :)..... (but why sometimes I ask my self)......Wellllll there is no answer to this.... :)

The point is I wanted to mention few of my favorite things which I remember a lot (you can call me materialistic , but yeah I have attachment to them :D ) ...

1) The big terrace which always gave a peaceful sight of the sunset

2) The most comfy Sofa ever in the living room. And the king like treatment received in front of the TV sets, lying on those sofas and mom bringing some garama garam stuff to eat. (That's really wonderful) :)

3)  Our bedroom which was shared by me, my sister and my brother. The unusual thing about this room was its color (total green) and its makeover actually (from an attic to a room and a way to it).

4) A biiiig place for Rangoli.. Every diwali I missed it, drawing rangolis with my elder sister. It used to be a total tiring but full of fun experience, I swear.

5) And lastly  "Mummy ke haath ka khana" :( . I miss that a lot. I have tried to copy many of her recipes here. But still I could not have that taste in some of the dishes. There are some favorite dishes which are always on the menu list whenever we visit her. DahiVada, Tomato Omelet, "chakolya" , Dudhi Kofta, Daal Bati, Simple Daal and Rotli, "Matki", Pepper rice and many more...

The Coriander Paratha recipe also belongs to the same list. Absolute simple, healthy and really yummy. I am sure everyone will like this, unless he/she doesn't like Coriander at all. If you have dough ready at you home this will be done in no time. The roti tastes great with simle "kadhi". I will be posting the recipe for this. But you can find it online.

The only steps to make the stuffing are to chop the corriander and add few ingredients to it.



Ingredients:

For Stuffing:

Fresh Corriander - Chopped
Roasted Peanuts - Crushed
Gram Flour (Besan)
Salt - per taste
Red Chili Powder - per taste

I am not giving the quantity here as its way easy to make this. Wear you thinking hats and try it out. The stuffing is also shown in the pictures which can give you a brief idea.

For Dough:

To make 5-6 parathas use 1 Cup of wheat flour

Salt - per taste
Oil 1 tsp
Water

 To spread on top of roti:

Ghee (Clarified butter)
Fresh Lime Juice




Method:

1. In a bowl take the wheat flour, add salt and oil to it. With the help of water knead the dough as usual. Set aside for atleast 15 minutes.

2. Prepare stuffing my mixing all ingredients listed in another bowl.

3. Take a ball of dough and roll it to make abut3 inch diameter of roti. Place the stuffing in the middle and get the edges together and close it to make a ball again.

4. Roll this into a roti of about 6 inches diameter. Take wheat flour to prevent sticking of the roti to the surface.

5. Cook the roti on a griddle, from both sides.

6.Then place it on a direct flame or heat.

7. Cook a little till  a few tiny black spots appear. Now the roti is done and place it in a plate.

8. Make a few pinches with the fingers to the roti. Spread Ghee and some lime juice over it.


Steps 5 and 6 are shown in here. The Stuffing is shown on the right side

Tips:

This  roti can be most enjoyed with a kadhi.

January 27, 2012

Alepak Poha - Ginger flavored Beaten Rice Snack

After you get married there is a lot of change in the food that is being made in the in-laws family. In fact you get surprised to see some of the food items which you used to have for breakfasts are eaten as main courses and some of the main courses are cooked for breakfasts. That's really funny :) and  it takes time to get used to it. I am sure the girls who are married must have come across some food items which you do not like at all but still you had to prepare those. There are definitely some on my list and Alepak Poha ( Ginger flavored beaten rice ) is one from that list. It is because I am huge fan of the regular "kanda poha"  and this version will never ever beat it.
But again your taste buds get used to such dishes and after a while you start liking them...Isn't it?
Yes even I started liking this version of Poha and its not that bad. It has lots of ginger in it which makes it good for digestion.

Ginger is known to be taken when there are problems related to the digestive system such as indigestion, gas pains, diarrhea and stomach cramping. People in US also drink Gingerale when there is similar problem.

Ingredients:

Serves 2-3

Beaten Rice - 3 Cups
Grated Ginger - 3 tbsp
Jaggery (gud) - 2 tbsp, grated
Grated fresh coconut - 2 tbsp
Crushed Roasted Peanuts - 2 tbsp
Green Chili paste - 2 tsp
Fresh lime juice - per taste
Curry Leaves - few
Mustard seeds, Cumin seeds and oil for seasoning
Hing or Asafoetida - pinch
Salt - per taste



Method:

1. Wash poha / beaten rice in drainer/siever, drain the excess water c completely, leave it for 10 minutes. Use minimal water as possible.

2. Heat oil in a pan, add Mustard seeds, hing, curry leaves, green chili paste and grated ginger. Mix well for 30 seconds.

3.Add poha and mix well. Now add Jaggery and mix again. Cover for 2-3 minutes.

4. Add salt, peanuts crush, coconut and lime juice. Mix everything. Cover again for 4-5 minutes.

5. Adjust the jaggery, salt.

6. Serve.

January 25, 2012

Masala Bhindi (Okra / lady finger)

I just love bhindi in any form. 'Regular, Bharva, Masala, Tava, Dahi, fried'. This is the first bhindi recipe on my blog. I will eventually add all other recipes. This recipe is one of the favorites at home. The best thing about bhindi is it gets cooked in microwave within minutes. We also get rid of that stickiness if we cook it in microwave.


Ingredients:

Serves 3-4

Bhindi/Okra - 250-300 gms
Onion - 1/2 Cup , cut into slits
Punjabi Garam Masala / Kitchen King Masala or regular Garam Masala : 2-3 tsp
Cumin Coriander Powder : 1-2 tsp
Salt and Red Chili powder to taste
Pinch of sugar
Oil
Mustard Seeds, Cumin seeds for seasoning

For Puree:
Tomato - 1 Medium size
Ginger - 1/2" piece
Cloves - 2-3 Garlic
Onion - 1/4 cup

Method:

1. Wash and dry the bhindis and take off the head of all bhindis. Also cut the bhindi into 1" pieces. Place it in a bowl and put about 3 tsp oil on them. Make sure oil spreads all over the bhindi. Now microwave it for about 6-8 minutes or till it gets cooked.

2. Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds, cumin seeds. When they sizzle add slitted onion. Saute onion till it gets transparent.

3. Meanwhile grind all the ingredients listed under puree and make a paste. Add as little water as possible.

4. Now add this puree, all the masala powders, salt and mix well. Let the puree cook for 4-5 minutes.

5. Now check if the bhindi is cooked and if done add this to the puree. Mix well, cover and let this cook for another 10 minutes.

Tips:

Try this out with Punjabi Garam Masala or Kitchen King. These masalas are ready made masalas and you can find them in any Indian Store.

January 24, 2012

Sabudana Vada (Tapioca pearls fried tikkis)

This year we, I mean the Seattle, had a record snow. Schools were closed, roads were slippery, going anywhere was just risky. But snow in Seattle is like a rainbow in a rain. It lasts only for a while but makes the green world look entirely different and beautiful.

The point is there was no chance we can go for grocery and the question was what to do. No green veggies at home and got bored potatoes. Daals and pulses do not appeal the taste buds in cold winters.
When I ran out of all the options, there was this Sabudana Vada which I know how to make and does not need any special ingredient.


Ingredients:


Serves 2 or makes 12 - 15 Vadas

Tapioca pearls (Sabudana) - 1 Cup
Peanuts - roasted and crushed - Handful
Green Chili paste - per taste
Potato - 1 Small, Boiled and Smashed - (optional)
Lime juice - per taste
Salt - per taste
Sugar - per taste
Coriander - 2 tbsp, chopped
Cumin seeds - 2 tsp
Oil - for frying
Milk - 1-2 tbsp
Coriander + Cumin seeds powder - 2 - 3 tsp

Method:

1. Soak sabudana  in only enough water for 3-4 hours. There should not be any excess amount of water.

2. Now add crushed peanuts, salt, sugar, coriander + cumin seeds powder to the sabudana and mix.

3. Heat 3 tbsp oil in a large shallow skillet and then add cumin seeds to it. Once they sizzle add green chili paste and mix immediately.

4. Quickly add the sabudana mixture to this and mix for 2-3 minutes. Add 1 tbsp of milk, lime juice as per taste and mix again. Lid it and let it cook for 5-6 minutes on lower to medium flame.





5. Open the lid and mix the sabudana again. Adjust salt, sugar, and lime juice. Its hard to adjust the green chili now and hence you should be careful when you add it in the first place.

6. Add coriander and this makes the Sabudana Khichdi.

7. To make sabudana vadas we will add the boiled and smashed potatoes to this mixture. This will keep the vadas intact and help in binding.

8. Take a little mixture in hand and make tikkis of it.

9. Heat oil in a pan and then fry the tikkis. Serve with tomato ketchup, or a simple dahi (yogurt) raita.

10. To make this raita, add generous amount of sugar and little salt to plain yogurt. Mix it well to get dropping consistency. Add a seasoning of oil , mustard seeds and cumin seeds to it. Mix and serve with sabudana vadas.

Tips:

Another simple way to make vadas is to skip the khichdi step. Add green chili paste and lime

This year's Snowman :) :)




January 20, 2012

Vegetable Hakka Noodles (Sauted Spaghetti) with Schezwan Sauce

This Christmas we had  a potluck at our home. The special thing for this potluck was the Chinese theme :). Everyone made some kind of Chinese noodle, rice or Manchurian. The Hakka Noodles made by one of our friend was really amazing. Here is the same version oh Hakka Noodles made using not the Chinese noodles but the Spaghetti which is a Italian pasta variety. You can buy this in any American grocery store. This is a really quick snack or even a full meal.


Ingredients:

Serves 4-5

Spaghetti Pasta  - 1 pack or 16 oz
Carrots - 1 Cup, Julienned
Capsicum - 1 Cup, Julienned
Cabbage - 1 Cup, Julienned
Spring Onion - 1 Bunch
Soya Sauce - 1 tbsp
Schezwan Sauce - 1 tbsp (optional)
Red Chili Sauce - per taste
Vinegar - 4 tsp
Salt - per taste
Oil - 4-5 tbsp

Method:

1. Bring 4-6 quarts of water to a boil. Add salt to taste, if desired.

2. Add the spaghetti to the boiling water. Cook for about 6 minutes of till the noodles cook.

3. Once the spaghetti  cooks, drain out the excess water and rinse it again with the cold water. This prevents sticking of the noodles to each other.

4. Heat oil in a wok or in a shallow pan. Saute carrots, capsicums and cabbage in order. Keep them a little crunchy and do not overcook.

5. Add soya sauce, red chili sauce. Mix schezwan sauce with the vinegar and add this to the veggies. Add salt. Mix well.

6. Now add the noodles and quickly mix everything.

7. Adjust the sauces and salt and sprinkle the chopped green onion . Use 2 forks if you don't have proper tools. Mix and serve.

Tips:

  • Schezwan sauce is optional. It is not present in authentic Hakka Noodles.
  • Use any other noodles instead  of Spaghetti.

January 19, 2012

My First Homemade Pizza


Making pizza at home is a fun process. Though a little lengthy than what we are used to (order it online ;) ) its totally worth it. All the extra cheese, extra toppings and sauce are free of cost. !!! :)

Well I referred the VahReVah chefs recipe for the pizza base. This one is enough and works out well.
Pizzas made in pizza shops are prepared in very high heat and using pizza stone. Well we can heat up the home oven to its max but 350 - 400 worked for me. And that said you can always buy pizza stone if you are going to prepare it frequently. Otherwise a round large round baking sheet is good. 


Ingredients:

Serves 4-6

For Pizza base:

All Purpose Flour - 7 Cup
Active Yeast - 7 gms (Small packet, you can get this in any retail grocery store)
Salt as per taste
Water - 250 ml
Olive oil - 5 tsp
Sugar - 1/2 tsp
Salt - 1 tsp

For Tomato Sauce:

Tomato - 3 Cups, Puree
Onion - 1/2 Cup, Very finely Chopped
Tomato Ketchup - 1/2 Cup
Garlic - 2 Cloves, Minced
Red Chili powder or chili flakes - per taste
Oregano Italian Spice - per taste
Dry Italian Parsley - per taste
Salt - per taste
2 tbsp Oil

For Toppings:

I am strictly vegetarian and hence I have not listed any non-vegetarian toppings which are limitless.

Capsicum slits
Onion Slits
Sliced Tomatoes
Oregano
Parsley
Mozzarella Cheese - Grated
Salt as per taste
(can add other toppings like canned jalapeno and olives)

Method:

For Pizza Dough :

1. Take warm water. Sprinkle in yeast, sugar,salt. Cover it and let it stand for 10 minutes. This process actually activates yeast. make sure water is not hot otherwise yeast may die.
2. Mix in yeast mixture into remaining flour, add Olive oil and knead it for 3-4 minutes till soft dough.

3. Place the dough in the shallow vessel and cover it with a thin wet cloth. Let it rest for 1-2 hours.

4. If you check it now you can see the dough has risen and its time to knead it again. Make it rest for another 1 or 2 hours.

For Pizza Sauce:
Heat oil in a skillet add minced garlic to it. When the garlic turns a little brown, add finely chopper onions to it. Saute for 3 minutes. Now add tomato puree and let it cook another for 2 minutes. Add tomato ketchup, red chili powder (or chili flakes), oregano, parsley, salt and little sugar to it.

(Onion and tomato ketchup give a thicker consistency to the sauce. Make sure the sauce is thick so that when you spread it over the base it wont make it soggy).

For Toppings:
When using onion and capsicum I prefer to cut them in long slits and saute then in oil a little before using them. If you decide do saute onions and capsicum, make sure to remove excess water from the sauteed veggies before using them. We can use raw veggies as well.

Other toppings are tomatoes, jalapeno, olives and many more which you know :) .


For Pizza:
  1. I usually make two pizzas of large size from this amount of dough. Knead the risen dough again and take half the dough on a flour greased surface (or kitchen top). Roll it a little and then with hands spread it into a large size pizza base. Make use of the flour if your hands stick to the dough in this process.
  2. Make some tiny holes all over the base with the help of fork. Add pizza sauce evenly over the base or as required, add the toppings, and generously add the grated cheese. Sprinkle fresh or dried parsley and oregano as per taste.
  3. Bake in a hot (350C) oven. Check in between . The pizza base rises while baking. The pizza is ready when the cheese has melted and it turns brown. remove the pizza from the oven and with the help of pizza cutter, cut the pizza into desired number of pieces.
Tips: 
  • In my first attempt I got a lot of ideas about how the pizza preparation process should go. So do not worry if the pizza does not come out as expected. It takes one or two tries and you will get to it. :).
  • The borders of the base taste very plain. To add some taste to it apply the garlic paste. (Garlic + Butter + little salt)
  • Have you tried the artisan pizza from Dominoes which is made of Spinach and feta cheese. I love this pizza and this combination is due in my to do list.
  • The pizza base dough can remain in t refrigerators for few days.

January 18, 2012

Hawaii !!! - Truly a Heaven on Earth

Maui (Hawaii) what a place to be :)............ Pacific is at its best here...Beautiful beaches, fresh air, lush green trees, and those giant humpback whales :) ....Memorable !!!

My blogger Friends, recently I had been to Maui island in Hawaii and it was one of the most amazing trips of mine. I needed to relax after completion of my Master (which is really very hectic :)) and me and my hubby always wanted to visit Hawaii. This was the perfect time.

Maui is one of the 8 islands of Hawaii. People who want to relax in peace and want to play in grounds of Nature, this is the perfect island.

Things which are must dos in Maui are:

1. Snorkeling (at Molokini Crater) - Snorkeling was really amazing experience.Initially I was a little afraid as I am not a good swimmer.But with all the gears it becomes a lot easier What a world it is down there, once you insert your face inside you get disconnected with the outside world.... :) . Corals and fishes which I always watched in television , I was experiencing them !!!!!

2. Sunrise from Halaekela - You drive to the top of Halaekela mountain (10000 ft). Clouds are under you feet and you see the Sun rising above the clouds. :) Color formations are simply magical. The color changes on the surface of the Halaekela mountain are incredible. Be prepared for the cold here as we were not :(.

3. Road to Hana - I enjoy rainforests and wild trees. Road to Hana is around 35 miles long and has got some 600 curves (It is not straight at all). Hats off to US government for constructing such roads. On this road you will come across different villages, view of pacific ocean, water falls, locally made banana bread and coconut icecream stalls. You are covered with greenery all over.

4. Golf Courses -  I don't know anything about Golf but I always love to watch the golf courses. Hawaii is world renowned for its golf courses. We got an opportunity to view some of the luxurious once. Kapalua is one of them. Imagine the view of ocean n one side, and the lush green mountains on the other. Its party for players while they are playing :)

5. Beaches, beaches, beaches-  Plenty of beaches. You can just park anywhere in West Maui. The entire road is along the coastline. There are some beautiful beaches in South Maui as well like Big beach and Wailea. There are some black sand beaches. It was fun everywhere. :)

Here are  some of the beautiful sights of Maui.
Sunrise At Halaekela

All Types of Tides and Waves

Breathtaking Views

The curviest and scenic Road To Hana

One of the beaches I loved - This one is called as Big Beach

Looks beautiful , right?

This one is the Kapalua Golf course. There are plenty of others.

 Cheers !!!!

January 17, 2012

Back with loooottttts of excitement and Magic Squares :)

Hellooooooooooooooooo Everyone... How are you all doing ? Its been a long long time for me since my last post. I was busy with my Masters and a good news is that I have finished everything and I am a graduate now :B. Another great achievement is I got a job in one of the biggest software companies and I am extremely happy to share this with you all.... :)


Well I am sure you all had a great 2011 year and I wish all of you a fantastic year ahead.
May the year of 2012 bring variety of food to you life, spice up your days and sweeten your moments.

Since this is my first post after the long gap I though I should start it with some sweet.
While I was at Kansas State University for one of my semester I got to know new people and yes new recipes. One of my friends their shared me the recipe of Magic Squares which truly are magical :). I tried these couple of days back and guess what everyone liked it a lot. I enjoy making such sweets which take little time and are different than the traditional once.


Ingredients:

1 1/2 cup melted Butter
2 Cup graham crackers crumps
14 oz Sweet Condensed Milk
Semisweet mini chocolate chips as per requirement
Butterscotch chips as per requirement
Shredded dry coconut as per requirement
Coarsely crushed Nuts (I used almonds) as per requirement



Method:


1) Preheat oven to 350°F.

2) Make crumps of graham crackers and melt the butter in microwave.

3) In a rectangular baking pan, mix graham wafer crumbs and melted butter. Press evenly and firmly over the bottom.

4) Pour some part of condensed milk evenly over the base.

5) Sprinkle the chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, coconut, and almonds evenly in layers on top of the base layer. Pour the remaining condensed milk on evenly on top.

6) Bake for about 15-20 minutes but keep an eye.

7) When the coconut turns brown take the pan out. Make the cuts with a knife but do not take out the pieces of it.

8) Cover it with a cloth or paper and let it cool entirely. Then cut into squares and store them in a container or you can even refrigerate.


Tips:

  • You can press the foil paper on the baking pan and then put the base layer so that the magic squares do not stick to the pan.
This recipe enters the
 Choclate Mela event
Kid’s Delights : for this month’s theme ‘Something Sweet’

Semi-dry version of Methi Mutter Malai


This is a different version of methi mutter malai which does not have gravy and is semi-dry. I learnt it from showmethecurry site. The peculiar thing about this version is the use of red dry chillies. The taste definitely differs than the traditional sweet methi mutter malai.

Ingredients:

Serves 4

2 Cups Frozen Sweet Peas
1 bunch fresh Fenugreek Leaves (or Dried Leaves aka Kasuri Methi)
Cream or Milk as per taste or enough to reach the consistency
1 tbsp Oil
1/2 tsp Cumin Seeds
2-3 Whole Dry Red Chilies
1 tbsp minced Ginger
1/3 Cup chopped Onion
1/2 Cup chopped Tomato
1/4 tsp Turmeric Powder
1 tsp Coriander Powder
1 tsp Garam Masala
Red Chili Powder as per taste
Salt as per taste

Method:

1. Wash Fenugreek Leaves well, chop finely and boil it for a while. Add 1 tsp salt to it while boiling.
Boil it for 5 minutes. This helps in removing the bitter smell from the leaves.

2. Heat oil in a medium skillet.

3. Add cumin seeds and allow them to sizzle. Immediately add dry red chillies and turmeric powder.

4. Stir and add copped onion to it. Saute till the onion turn transparent. Add ginger and mix.
While the onions are cooking microwave the frozen peas for 5 minutes.

5. Add chopped tomatoes, mix and cook for 5 minutes.

6. Now add green peas, coriander powder, garam masala, red chili powder and salt. Mix well, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in between.

7. Drain the Fenugreek Leaves and add it to the peas.

8. Cover and cook until peas and Fenugreek Leaves are cooked (3-6 minutes). Adjust masalas and salt.

9. Add in cream or milk, mix well and bring to a boil. Cook until the milk is evaporated.

Tips:

If you are using kasuri methi, make sure to break it down by rubbing in between hands and then keeping it to boil.

January 16, 2012

Til Vadi - Sesame Seeds Squares

Makar Sankranti is a festival which is celebrated in many different ways in all parts of India. In Maharashtra (the state from where I come) it is celebrated by exchanging the sweets made out of Sesame seeds. "Take sweet, be sweet and talk sweet" is what people greet each other while exchanging these sweets. In Marathi it is called as "Tilgul ghya god bola".

At my home we make a "Tilvadi"  which is made out of Sesame seeds and Jaggery. This year I tried my hands on this vadi which is really easy to make. The vadis can come out perfect given that you follow all the steps correctly.

Happy Makar Sankranti to all and enjoy this recipe.


Ingredients:

2 Cup Sesame Seeds (Til)
1/4  Cup coarsely crushed roasted Peanuts
1 1/2 Cup of Jaggery (Gud)
2 tbsp Clarified Butter (Ghee)
Grated Dry Unsweetened Coconut as per requirement




Method:

1. Heat a skillet and roast the Sesame seeds till they turn crisp, little brown and you get a nice aroma. Let them cool and then grind them coarsely (do not make it fine). Meanwhile prepare a shallow plate (thali) or a kitchen top surface by greasing it with some clarified butter. We will use this to spread the vadi mixture.

2. Heat the same skillet again, add the clarified butter (ghee). Once the butter melts add the jaggery (Gud)  to it. When Jaggery melts and when the bubbles start to pop up, remove the skillet from above the burner and add the sesame seeds and crushed peanuts to the jaggery syrup.

3. Mix everything fast.

4. Spread the mixture evenly onto the plate and garnish it by sprinkling the  dry shredded coconut. To spread everything evenly use your hands or a bowl with flat surface to apply pressure on the hot mixture.

5. Now make the vadis by cutting the mixture into diamond shapes. Let it cool before you take out the vadis.

Tips:
  • The color of the vadi depends on the Jaggery used. Prefer the darker jaggery. Also the Jaggery should be not too sticky and not dry at all.
  • Make sure the Jaggery syrup is not too liquidish before you add mixture. It should be thick enough to glue up everything in one whole piece.
  • Jaggery and Clarified butter, both can be found in any indian store.