Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Eggless dates and almond cake

If anybody had told me that I would be baking a cake 5 years ago, I would have just laughed at them. I was such a novice that I did'nt even know what preheat meant leave alone baking a cake. Even though I have an oven at home, I did not dare to bake anything because I did know if the temperatures were mentioned in centigrade or Fahrenheit.   Funny is'nt it? However, after reading so many eggless cake recipes and after doing a lot of research on ovens, I decided to go ahead and bake this cake.



Even after the batter was put into oven for baking, I was so nervous that I did not allow my little one in the kitchen. I kept peeking into the oven time and again. My joy knew no bounds when the aroma of the cake wafted from the oven. And my heart swelled with pride when I saw the cake rise. When I had to check if the cake was done, I inserted the tooth pick so deep into the cake that it broke. So much for my nervousness.

In the end, I managed to bake the cake. It came out so fantastic that the whole cake was over the same day. For a long time I couldn't believe that I had managed to bake a cake of my own. The recipe is actually from here. It is extremely simple. And the video tutorial gave me the much needed motivation. The Original recipe used walnuts. I have used almonds since I did not have walnuts on hand. I hope you enjoy baking this cake as much as I did.



Eggless dates and almond cake recipe:
Preparation time- 30mins+ Soaking time
Baking time- 35 to 40 mins

Ingredients:
Dates-20
Water- 1/4 cup
Almonds- 1/4 cup, blanched peeled and chopped.
condensed milk- 1 can/ 13/4 cup
Unsalted butter- 1stick/ 8tbspn
Baking soda- 11/2 tspn
Baking powder- 1tsp
All purpose flour or maida- 11/4 cup

Method:
  • Soak dates in warm water for 1/2 an hour to soften
  • Sift the maida, baking powder and baking soda to a bowl
  • Grind the soaked dates to a fine paste by adding as little water as possible
  • Melt the butter in a pan and add the butter to the maida, baking powder and baking soda mixture.
  • Add the dates paste and condensed milk and mix well.
  • Fold in the chopped almonds and mix again.
  • Grease a baking pan and pour the batter in it.
  • Bake in a pre- heated oven (180 centigrade) for 35-40 mins or till a tooth pick inserted comes out clean.
  • Once done, take the cake out and allow it to stand for 5 mins before taking it out of the pan.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Spinach, paneer and vegetable paratha






I made this paratha four days back for lunch. This nutritious powder packed and tasty parathas are family favourite. You can add any vegetable of your choice for the filling and I can assure you it will come out as tasty. A nourishing and a wholesome dish which can be had either for breakfast, lunch or dinner.




Spinach, paneer and vegetable paratha recipe:
Preparation time: 30mins
cooking time-20mins
Makes- 6 parathas.

Ingredients:
For the outer covering:
Spincah- 1 bunch
Wheat flour- 2 cups
oil- 2 tspn
salt- 1/2 tspn
For the filling:
Carrots- 2, grated
Cabbage-1/4, grated
Cauliflower- 5-6 florets, grated
Paneer- 1/2 cup crumbled
Garam masala- 1/4 tspn
Green Chilli- 1, chopped fine
Paprika Powder- 1/4 tspn
Salt- to taste
Oil- 2 tspn
Jeera- 1/2 tspn
Turmeric- 1/4tsp
Other ingredients:
Oil/ ghee to shallow fry the parathas.

Method:
For the filling:
  • Mix the grated carrot and cabbage together. Add salt and keep aside for 10mins.
  • Squeeze out the water from the carrot and cabbage and keep aside.
  • Heat oil in a wok and add the cumin seeds.
  • Once they sputter add the turmeric powder and chopped green chilli and sauté for a min.
  • Add the grated vegetables and fry for 2 more mins.
  • Add the crumbled paneer and fry for some more time.
  • Add the salt, red chilli powder and garam masala powder and fry for 2 more mins.
  • Remove from the stove and cool completely.


For the dough:

  • Pressure cook the spinach for one whistle. Cool and blend the spinach to a fine paste.
  • Mix the wheat flour, salt and oil. Add the spinach puree and knead the mixture to a soft pliable dough.
  • Divide the dough into 6 equal portions and keep aside.


To Proceed:

  • Roll out one portion of the dough into a circle of 4" diameter. Place one tbsp of the filling in the center. Wet the edges of the dough with water and bring together all the sides in the center and seal tightly.
  • Roll out again into a circle of 6-7" diameter, using flour to dust the parathas.
  • Cook on a hot girdle using little oil/ ghee , until brown spots appear.
  • Repeat with the remaining dough portions and filling to make the remaining parathas. 
  • Serve hot with yogurt.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Brown rice Achaari Khichdi

I first heard about this dish from my baby sis. She had told me that a restaurant near her university made the best achaari Khichdi. Since pongal and khichdis are my favorite, I decided to try this 3 days back. It came out very well and even my fussy husband liked it. 

This rice dish is a fusion of regular pongal and pulao. This khichdi is a breeze to prepare and extremely nutritious too. I decided to substitute brown rice with white rice just for that aroma and extra nutrition. This rice dish along with some papads and curds can make a very satisfying one pot meal. 



Brown rice Achaari Khichdi recipe:
Preparation time- 20 mins
Cooking time- 15 mins
Serves- 4

Ingredients:

Rice-1 cup
Moong Dal(Split Yellow Gram)- 1/3 cup, roasted
Chopped Mixed Vegetables(Carrot,Peas,Beans,Potatoes)- 1 cup
Onion-1 chopped fine
Tomato-2 small, chopped fine
Green chilli- 1 to 2
Ginger - 1 inch
Turmeric powder- 1/2 tsp
Garam Masala powder- 1/4 tspn
Paprika powder- 1/2 tspn
Cumin seeds/ Jeera- 1 tsp
Salt- to taste
Oil/ ghee- 1-2 tbspn
Any Pickle- 1 tsp (Optional)
Coriander Leaves chopped-1/2 cup



Method:

  • Soak the rice and moong dal for atleast half an hour. Drain and keep aside
  • Chop the ginger and 1 chilli and crush them to a paste
  • Heat ghee in a pressure cooker and fry till brown.
  • Add the onion and fry till they are translucent .
  • Add the crushed ginger-chilli paste and fry for a min more
  • Add tomatoes and fry till they are mushy
  • Add salt,turmeric and garam masala powder and  the pickle and mix well.
  • Add the rice-dal,vegetables and saute for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add 2 and a quarter cups of water. Cover the cooker and place the weight and cook on low flame for 10-15mins
  • When done, Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve hot with plain yogurt or Raita.
I am sending this achaari khichdi to Akila's festive rice event

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Cabbage sesame and peanut salad

A crisp and fresh tasting salad with peanut and sesame dressing. The lime and green chillies are key to giving the peanut dressing a characterstic zesty flavour. The salad is so delicious, that it can make a cabbage heater to eat cabbage without complaints. While this salad is great on it's own, it can be served as a light dinner salad as well. 



Cabbage peanut and sesame salad recipe:
Preparation time: 20 mins
Cooking time: nil
Serves-4

Ingredients:

Cabbage: 1/2 large head, chopped into bite sized pieces
Peanuts: 1/2 cup- roasted
Sesame seeds- 1 tbspn, Roasted
Green chillies- 1 or 2
Olive oil- 1-2 tsp
Coriander leanves- to garnish
Salt- to taste
Lime juice of 1/2 lime

Method:
  • Grind the peanuts, salt and green chillies to a coarse powder and keep aside.
  • Take the cabbage in a large bowl and add the ground mixture, sesame seeds, and olive oil and toss.
  • Add the coriander leaves and lime juice and toss again.
  • Check for salt and serve immediately.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Tumbida banekayi/ Stuffed egg plant curry


Tumbida Badanekayi aka stuffed egg plant curry is my mother's signature recipe. There are several recipes for this curry but this recipe is very easy to prepare if the  Vangi bhat powder or palyada pudi  is handy.The infusion of the poppy seeds in the curry lends the emulsion and a mild sweet flavour to the curry. This version of stuffed egg-plant has a robust and spicy flavour. But at the same time, it is very soothing to the palate.



Tumbida badanekayi recipe:
Preparation time- 15 mins
Cooking time- 15 mins
Serves-4

Ingredients:
Fresh and tender egg-plants- 8-10
Poppy seeds- 1 tbsp, roasted and powdered (optional)
Oil- 2tbsp
Salt to taste

Method:
  • Wash the egg plants, wipe them dry and keep aside
  • Mix the Vangi baht powder along with poppy seed powder and salt and keep it aside.
  • Chop off the stem and make two perpendicular slits ( plus mark) on the egg plant and stuff the egg plant with the stuffing mixture.

  • Heat oil in a pan and place all the stuffed egg plants one by one in the pan.
  • Sprinke the remaining stuffing mixture on the egg plants and add some water.
  • Cover the pan with a plate containing water and cook for 10-15 mons till done.

  • Serve hot with rice or rotis.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Kaashti Mathura Aloo

I found this recipe from Taranga magazine (kannada weekly). I tried this recipe once and fell in love with the dish. The utter simplicity with which the curry is prepared is mind blowing. 

Kaashti Mathura aloo is a simple everyday curry but with a slight twist. The twist comes from the addition of dry ginger powder. The ginger powder lends it's mild fruity flavour to the potatoes making the curry absolutely delectable. A simple potato roast, stir fried to a golden brown and mildly spiced. Truly, this curry is a lip smacking comfort food.


Kaashti Mathura Aloo recipe:
Preparation time- 10mins
Cooking time- 10 mins.
Serves:2

Ingredients:

6 Baby Potatoes or 2 large potatoes : boiled, peeled and cubed
Green chilli- 1 chopped
Dry Ginger powdre- 1/4 tspn
Paprika powder- 1/2tsp
Turmeric- 1/4tspn
Suger- 1/4- 1/2tspn
Jeera/ cumin seeds- 1/2 tspn
Hing- a pinch
Coriander to garnish
Oil- 1tbsp

Method:
  • Heat oil in a wok and add the cumin seeds. 
  • Once they pop add the hing, turmeric, paprika powder, sugar and ginger powder,  and saute for a few secs
  • Add the Green chillies and salt and saute for few secs more. Add the boiled potatoes and fry till the potatoes are evenly browned and covered with spices. 
  • Take off the heat and garnish the curry with coriander leaves and serve hot.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Sabsige soppu saaru

This recipe is for all the expecting or nursing mothers. In fact, I myself had this green like a cow during my postnatal days. Sabsige soppu aka dill leaves is  excellent for lactating mothers as it increases breast milk and reduces colic in babies. This herb is a rich source of calcium which is vital in reducing bone loss which occurs during nursing and menopause. 
Dill leaves when combined with toor dal, is a match made in heaven. Though a simple rasam, it has a sweet flavour and buttery texture which makes this dish absolutely finger licking.


Sabsige soppu saaru recipe:
Preparation time- 10 mins
Cooking time 20 mins
Serves-4

Ingredients:
Sabsige soppu/Dill leaves 1 big bunch, chopped fine.
Toor dal- 1 small cup
Coconut- 2 tbsp
cumin seeds/Jeera- 1 tspn
Rasam powder- 2tspn
Tamarind- 1 small lime sized
Jeggery- 1/2 tspn
Salt- to taste
Seasoning ingredients:
Mustard- 1/2 tsp
Jeera-1/2 tspn
Hing- a Pinch
Curry leaves- 1 sprig
Oil/Ghee- 2tspn

Method:
  • Pressure cook dal and dill leaves till till done. Cool and keep aside.
  • Grind 2tbsps of the dal , coconut and jeera to a fine paste and add the ground paste to the boiled dal.
  • Add required amount of water to the dal and boil the mixture on low flame for a few mins.
  • Add the tamarind pulp, jaggery, salt and rasam powder and boil for a few more mins.
  • For the seasoning, heat oil/ghee in a separate pan and add the mustard seeds.
  • Once the mustard pops add the jeera and fry for a few seconds
  • Add the curry leaves and hing  and fry till the curry leaves are crisp .
  • Add the seasoning to the boiling rasam.
  • Boil the mixture for a min more.
  • Serve hot with rice.



Monday, September 13, 2010

Gowri Ganesha celebrations



Hello everyone. Hope everybody had a good festival. The past few days have been hectic enough to keep me away from the blogging world. My days were filled with so much of fun and excitement that I can't believe that the festivities are over.

Since Gowri Ganesha festival is a Prominent festival in our house hold, I celebrate this festival with all the rites and austerities. Even though I am away from India, it does not stop me from celebrating the festival in the ritualistic shodhashopachara. Oh yes. There are a lot of tiny hiccups. For instance, I can't buy flowers and leaves which are required for the pooja like the way we do in India. I have to search for the flowers and leaves and pluck them. This is just one such case. There is a lot of work involved. But then, these small things have made the festival even more special to me. It has thought me to value my roots and my culture even more.
On the food front, I had made Kadubus and chick pea Usali for Ganesha. Holige, rice Kheer and Kosambari for Gowri. I even made Jaggery flavoured rice, lemon rice and curd rice as offerings . Unfortunately, I could not take any pictures as I was completely pressed for time. Hence I cannot post any recipes right now. I promise I will do so the next time. All the running about has left me a little tired. However, I feel more content and satisfied than ever.



Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Vangi bhat powder

Vangi bhat powder aka palyada pudi is an indispensable spice mix in my kitchen. This powder is so versatile that it can be used in curries, dals, as stuffings etc. For me this powder is a real life saver when I am pressed for time.

The recipe for Vangi Bhat powder uses a combination of lentils , spices, red chillies, and dry coconut. The lentils and spices are roasted on low fire till all the flavors are released and then ground to a coarse powder. This unique blend of spices is aromatic, healthy and easy to make. All in all a wholesome spice mix.



Vangi bhat powder recipe:
Preparation time: 15 mins
Cooking time:20 mins
shelf life- 3months

Ingredients:

Channa dal=1 cup
Urad dal- 1 cup
Coriander seeds- 1/2 cup
Kashmiri Red chillies- 10-15
Dry coconut grated-3/4th cup
Cinnamon-2" piece
Cloves-3
Oil-1tspn

Method:
  • Heat1tsp of oil in a wok and fry the cinnamon and cloves for a min and keep aside.
  • In the same wok, add the channa dal, urad dal and coriander seeds and roast till the dals are brown and their aromas are released. Remove and keep aside.
  • Heat another tsp of oil in the same wok and add the torn red chillies and fry till the chillies are crisp. Remove from fire and cool.
  • Roast the coconut for 1/2 min and keep aside.
  • Mix the dals, coriander seeds, red chillies, cinnamon and cloves and roast for another min. Remove from the fire and cool.
  • Grind the roasted mixture first. Then add the coconut and grind to a coarse powder.
  • Store in an air tight container.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Vegetable Pulao

This recipe is very close to my heart for two reasons. One- it was the one of the first north Indian recipes I learnt after marriage. Two- My husband was very impressed after he had tasted the pulao. :) This recipe uses very few ingredients and yet brings out the flavor of the rice beautifully. The tart sweetness of the vegetables combined with the mild aroma of the spices makes this pulao a comforting one dish meal.


Vegetable Pulao recipe:
Preparation time: 20mins
Cooking time: 20 mins
Serves:4

Ingredients:
Basmati rice- 2cups. Washed and soaked for 30mins
Mixed vegetables like carrot, beans, peas, cauliflower- 11/2 cup chopped
Capsicum- 1med- cut into strips
Onion- 1 big, cut into strips
Ginger garlic paste- 11/2 tspn
Jeera/cumin-1tsp
Green chilli-2 slit
Bay leaves-2
Garam Masala- 1/4 tspn
Salt to taste
Lime juice of  1/4 to 1/2 a lemon
Oil-2 tbsp
Ghee-1 tbsp
Coriander to garnish.
For the masala powder:
cloves-3


cardamom-2
Cinnamon- 11/2"
Pepper corn- 4-5


Method:
  • Heat oil ina pressure cooker and add the cumin seeds and bay leaves
  • Once the seeds sputter add the masala powder and stir.
  • Add the  onion and fry till the onions turn pink.
  • Add the ginger- Garlic paste and the green chillies and stir for a min more.
  • Add the chopped vegetables and saute till the vegetables are soft.
  • Drain and add the rice and stir gently for a min.
  • Add the garam masala and salt and stir for a min more.
  • Add 31/4 cups of water and allow the water to boil.
  • Once the water is boiled well, cover the cooker and place the weight.
  • Cook for 10-15 mins on a low flame and take off the fire.
  • Allow the cooker to cool by itself (15mins) and then unlock the cooker.
  • Heat ghee in a separate pan. Add the capsicum strips and and sauté for 2 mins.
  • Add the fried capsicum, lime juice, coriander and mix.
  • Check for salt and serve hot with curds or raita.
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