Saturday, July 28, 2007

A Year, A Century and a MeMe with a simple recipe!

Yaaaaaaaaaaay!!! Today is my 100th. post and it's been a Year since I started this Blog!!!! (ok, I admit, I was waiting so I could combine these 2 'events'!)

Unlike many of you, I was not as confident about how, if at all, I could manage to blog, post recipes and over all, keep it going! I was also not aware of blogs.. it's only when we came to California, that I had the leisure to surf without restraint and explore new avenues. It has been such an enriching experience. Though I liked to cook, I had never experimented before and never dreamt of a blog!

There were times when I was doubtful about being able to blog with office , chores , but I guess, when I love blogging as much as I do, it comes naturally! (not to sound nasty and b****y, but ... this did not make some people happy, who think this is a ridiculous idea, and have made snide remarks and maybe even hoped that my job would put a stopper to my blogging!!)


This year has also been a humbling experience. So many AWESOME bloggers! So many recipes and themes! Talk about creativity! My blogger friends, I owe you all a lot!! all the encouraging comments have worked wonders on my confidence.. THANK U ALL!!!! It is because of all of you that I will step into the second year of blogging with renewed enthusiasm. I wanted to make something fancy -shmancy today.. but that can wait, I have some maintainence work happening in the apartment and it is a bit difficult to manage a simple meal in all that mess.. I keep reminding myself that I have miles to go before I can be like my fellow bloggers who can whip up amazing dishes ! But I'm gettin' there!!
In the mean time, as summer temperatures soar, we look at something that looks cool!! Dahi wada comes to my mind (with a lot of other options!!) .. This is one of my favourites!!!

If you are familiar with the geography of Mumbai, you would know what I am talking now... I was born and brought up in Wadala, and Dadar was a stone's throw from my house.. so any shopping (school uniform, bags, shoes..... school books ~shudder~) we went to Dadar West. Now, shopping in Dadar is not like making a beeline and getting the items on the list... it usually takes about 4 hours to do a half an hour shopping! And 4 hours is a very long time to go without food in an area which has restaurants at practically every step!!

My sole aim in accompanying my Mother for shopping was to eat out.. I knew that along with my books she would want to buy some fresh vegetables and fruit, some matching blouse piece and we were also bound to meet one of her friends in the streets and spend time with her... after a couple of such sessions I had gleaned as much that if I start making a nuisance of myself after the book buying and before the matching blouse piece, she would take me to one of my favourite joints and stuff me well enough not to make any noise for at least the next 3 hours and spoil her bliss! This arrangement suited both of us!! She would take me to fixed restaurants, 'Natraj' or 'Visava', whichever was closer. The waiters there knew me and knew what I wanted, so Mom would place her order and just nod in my direction, the waiter knew... sada dosa and later dahi wada and GlodSpot, to wash it down. The salt, pepper and red chilly powder shakers would be placed on the table. With a gleam in my eyes I would attack the food in front of me and my Mother would look on.. thinking.." that has given me 3 hours to finish off till the next round.. wonder if she will ever grow up liking shopping for shopping purpose or just for the food.." Well, I have grown up and grown up with a passion or both food and shopping.. and she still isn't happy with me!!!

I often wonder how these wonderful dishes were created in the first place... who was 'that one person' who added the wadas to yogurt with a bit of garnish .. well, whoever he / she was, they were brilliant!!
YOGURT( DAHI) WADA
1 cup Urad Daal
5-6 Methi/ Fenugreek seeds
Salt to taste
Oil to deep fry
Water to soak the wadas
1/4th. Ltr. Yogurt (should not be sour)
Sugar to taste
1 inch Ginger
3 Green chillies (+/- to taste)
Red chilly powder, pepper, cilantro, chaat masala (for garnish)

Soak the Urad daal and methi / fenugreek seeds in water for 4 hours.
Grind the daal. Add salt. *Tip to make soft and light wada: mix the batter in one direction only and with a light hand. Heat Oil. Make wadas and deep fry them to a golden colour.Transfer the fried wadas in water and let them soak for 3-4 minutes.Lightly squeeze the water out .
Beat the yogurt and make it smooth.Grind together the ginger and chilly. Add this to the yogurt. Add salt and sugar. Dip the wadas in the yogurt, garnish and serve chilled!I would like to send this to Nupur for the A-Z of Vegetable series... if, she will accept this entry (no vegetables u see .. :(( )!!
And now for this MeMe!!
I was tagged byTee and Valerie Adams for this MeMe!!



Fact 1: My Sunsign ...



Fact 2: I believe...







Fact : 3


Fact 4: (with reference to Fact 3)
Now don't go getting the wrong idea about me.. I am fairly good at a few things... like??


Fact 5 :


and may I also mention.....
(mind you ... never had any training!!!!)



Another talent......



So all in all I am....(Fact 6)


Fact 7 : CONCLUSION:


I would like any blogger friend to take up this MeMe... I sure had fun doing it!!!!
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Friday, July 20, 2007

MBP-Preserves

Pickles, chutney podi's.. masalas!!!! Somebody stop me!!!
I swear, I had never taken any interest in anything that required preserving food... oh yes!! I participated WHOLE-HEARTED-LY in eating , but never a help where the process was concerned. My very first attempt at making any preserves was this and then, I made THIS both which proved that I could manage it! And now.. since it is also the theme for MBP.. I jumped to the chance of making.. not one, but 3 different things!
Where as I have provided links for the original recipes, so you can check out the recipes I have tried, and other awesome recipes as well , I am also copy-pasting the recipe for a quick reference
For inspiration .. my first stop was Sailu's for this awesome Podi!!! I was thrilled that it came out so well!! and the best part is, my 'coconut hating Hubby' liked it a LOT!!! Now, that!!, is saying something! we ate this Podi with Idli, then with Appey, and finally with plain rice and surprisingly (because I was not too sure if this can be substituted for a rice-podi mix!) , the podi went very well with rice too! A 100 % hit and a keeper!!!

Endu Kobbari Podi

Ingredients:
1 tsp oil/ghee for roasting the dals and coconut
1/2 cup black gram dal (minappapu)
1/2 cup bengal gram dal (senaga pappu)
8-10 dried red chillies, tear into two and de-seed (adjust to suit your spice level)
Half a coconut, dried, grated or finely sliced
8-10 garlic cloves
Salt to taste

1 Grate the dried coconut or slice it into thin pieces as shown in the picture.
2 Heat a tsp of oil in a heavy bottomed vessel and roast the dals and dry red chillis in a pan on low heat till light brown and the dals release their flavor. Remove and cool.
3 In the same vessel add the grated or sliced coconut pieces and roast on low heat for 3-4 minutes. Dont add any more oil to roast the coconut pieces.
4 Once the dals, red chillis and coconut pieces are cool, place them along with garlic cloves and salt in a blender and grind to make a powder of a crumbly consistency.
5 Store in an air tight container.
6 Serve with South Indian tiffins like dosas and idlis with a generous helping of ghee or oil.

************************************************************************************

Hmmm... I was in 2 minds of showcasing this... reason? well, Everyone seems to have made it!!! So no prizes for guessing that this recipe was taken from Manisha's : Indian Food Rocks !!!! Another reason is that it is still not ready. It should have been... especially in the HOT California sunshine...except that M, was worried that the bottle, kept on the ledge (SAFE ledge) might topple off, or worse still, some raven might want to peck at it... and so, he carefully kept the bottle 'safe, inside the apartment'!!!! I will give it another week of sunshine before I can go ahead and devour it.

No Oil Lime Pickle

Wash and dry 6 lemons thoroughly. (12 lemons if you are in India as they are much smaller than the lemons in the US.) There should be no water on the lemons or in your jar. This is very important.

Slice off the stalk. Cut the lemon into quarters and then cut each quarter into a half along the length. Then cut each resulting piece into quarters or thirds.

Fill the glass jar as you go along. Your jar will soon look like it will overflow. Don't worry. Everything will settle down and there will be tons of space in the jar.

Add 1/2 cup salt. Add 1/4 cup chilli powder. Add 1/2 cup sugar. Add 3 tsp of turmeric powder and shake the jar about to help the powders get to as many lemons as possible.

Next you need 1 tsp methi seeds. And 1 tsp black mustard seeds And 1/4 tsp asafoetida or hing powder. Roast these three ingredients on medium flame for about 4-5 minutes till there is a mouth-watering aroma in your kitchen and the methi seeds look a little tanned. They should not look sun-burnt, just nicely tanned.

Grind these in your coffee grinder. What? You think your coffee will smell of methi and hing from here onwards? Tch! Tch! You mean you actually grind coffee beans in your coffee grinder? Never do that. Repeat after me: Coffee grinders are for grinding spices! Well done! Now add this powdered mix to the jar. The lemons should have started oozing juice already.

Add the juice of 1 lemon. If necessary, use a dry palette knife or a dry table knife to stir the contents of the jar. See how the lemons have become limp and there is so much space in the jar?

The jar must be placed in the sun to cook slowly in its warmth.
Give it a good shake as you put it out and bring it in each day. Your pickle should be ready in about 2 months when the peel has softened and is no longer crisp.

***********************************************************************************

And my final stop was at Indira's , where I got this Sambar Powder Recipe. The reason I made this was ..M... who is a South Indian Food Addict! He can live on Sambar -Rice! And for some reason, we both were getting a bit tired of MTR Sambar Masala. Apart from the fact that I now have a coffee Spice Grinder which I use at every given opportunity!

Sambar Powder

Sambhar powder Preparation: 1 teaspoon each of cumin, coriander, fenugreek seeds, chana dal, urad dal and dry coconut- all roasted and powdered.

Can u believe how simple it is!!!! My variation to this was adding ~4 dry red chillies.

Thank U Coffee ... as usual , wonderful theme!! looking forward to the next one!!!

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Simple Daal Fry RCI -PUNJAB

pic source: Google search
Punjabi food! The very name brings back so many memories!!! Childhood memories, my very first introduction to 'different' food! Eating out was Idlis, Dosas for a very long time, but very slowly this new taste had me hooked! The spice, the taste and the nice way of camouflaging vegetables in a gravy that made it so delectable!! I ate vegetables that I would stubbornly push aside at home (barring the eggplant, which I still refuse to eat). Even the paratha was SO MUCH better than the usual 'poli' - the charm of eating out!!!
So far it was just Paratha and 'Green'bhaji.. (Alu Palak) and Chana Masala.. standard fare, no changes! Till one day..one day I wanted to pig out... I mean... eat Punjabi food, but had mouth ulcers (I can only say only this, in my defense...lalach bahut buri cheez hai... I ate!!) so saying no to the vegetables I opted for, what , in my opinion..then, was the boring Daal Fry. Oh Boy!!! was I wrong!!!!! and was I glad I did!!! Dunking the paratha in the daal and eating it was sooooooo nice!
That, this seemingly unobtrusive looking daal could taste so heavenly was a revelation to me! I, in fact was completely unaware of anything in the daal types, that tasted like this! Surprised? so was I... especially since I had grown up tasting only varan, amti and sambar!
Years later when I attended a cooking class, I learnt how to make Daal Fry, which ever since has regularly graced our dining table.
The first time I cooked (after marriage) at my new home, I made Daal Fry and Fulkas, and my little niece,S, liked the taste very much, I still remember her proclaiming that it was the best daal in the... Universe!!! My father (in Law) called up my parents and told them that they had not exaggerated when they said I could cook (you know how it is in the arranged marriage scenario!!!) !!! My Mother (in law) also appreciated the taste, that was a huge compliment coming from someone who is an amazing cook herself!! Do you now wonder why I love making daal fry so much!!??!!

Here's how I make it!
1 cup Moong Daal / Toor Daal*
1 tsp Ginger Chopped
1 Green Chilly (+/-to taste)
1 tsp Cilantro, finely chopped
1/2 Onion chopped
1/2 tomato chopped
5-6 coves Garlic (chopped)
1/4 tsp Cumin/ Jeera
1 pinch Red Chilly powder
1 pinch Pepper powder
2 pinches Amchur powder / lemon juice
1/4 tsp (or less) Turmeric
Salt to taste
1 tbsp Butter / oil/ ghee (traditionally, ghee is used)


There are two ways one can make this


Method 1 : The class method
Pressure cook the moong daal. Grind garlic, chillies and cumin.
To the hot daal add chopped onion, tomato and ginger.
Add salt, turmeric, red chilly powder and amchur.
Heat 1 tbsp Ghee / butter, add the paste (ginger-garlic and chillies).
Add this to the daal, mix well, cook thoroughly.Garnish with cilantro and serve.
Method 2:
Pressure cook the daal, mash and keep aside.
Heat Butter/ ghee/ oil . Add cumin seeds.
Add the ginger, garlic and saute for half a minute. Add the chilly.
Next add the onion and saute till they are light brown.
Add the tomatoes and cook till soft and mushy. I add the turmeric at this stage (no particular reason, but my logic- if you can call it that- is I cannot see the onions turn colour if turmeric is added in the initial stage).
Add the mushy daal, if it is too thick, add 1/2 a glass of water. Add the pepper pwd., red chilly pwd. , salt, amchur pwd and bring it to a rolling boil. If using lemon juice, add after switching off the stove.Garnish with cilantro and serve with plain rice / jeera rice/ roti/ paratha/ naan!



*you can use either Moong daal or Toor daal. Moong daal is lighter to digest where as Toor Daal is acidic in nature and can cause a bit of a problem.


This will go to Richa as my contribution for RCI-Punjab. Thank You Richa!!!!

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Saturday, July 14, 2007

White Corn Pulav (A-Z Of Vegetables)




Do you ever get the feeling that you eat rice ALL the time? Every meal? I do... M is a rice lover. Whereas I like to eat Rice as well as Roti /Parathas /Naans /Puri /Bread.....

But since I ma the 'only' customer for the bread items, it is not frequently made. So I usually end up making Rice with some variation or spices....

With the 'W' of Nupur's A-Z of Vegetables coming up.. considering my options (Wadi, whole Wheat, Wheat... naaaaaaah.... I could just see M wrinkling his nose and launching into how much he dislikes roti or any cousin of a roti!) I finally pounced upon a packet of frozen white corn at Trader Joe's.

A favourite way of eating corn is of course the 'bhutta', on the beach.. huddled under the umbrella if it is raining... biting off the roasted kernels smeared with lemon juice and salt-red chilly powder!!! And then again you have corn soup... corn cutlets.... corn tortillas... makke di roti..
My first idea was to make cutlets/ patties .. but after a long day at work, I decided to make an easy meal... White Corn Pulav and Daal Fry (damn right! Daal Fry for RCI!!!!)
This is a VERY simple Pulav.. quick and easy to make and good to eat!!

All you need is:


1 1/2 cups rice (basmati)

1 Med. onion chopped lengthwise

1 cup White Corn

2 tbsp Oil

1 tsp Jeera/ Cumin

1 tsp Ginger Garlic paste

1 Green Chilly (+/- to taste)

Salt to taste

*Pulav Masala ( I used Shan Pilau masala)

3 cups Water

Cilantro to Garnish

Prep: Wash the Basmati rice in 2-3 changes of water. Drain All water and keep aside for 20 mins. Slice the onion Lengthwise, chop the chilly. Cook the corn as per instructions ( I used the microwave)

Heat oil in a pan, add the cumin, next add the ginger-garlic paste (be careful at this stage, as the paste will sputter a lot, keep a lid close at hand) , add the chilly.

Next add the onions and saute for a few mins. Add the rice and mix well (so that each grain is coated with oil) add the pulav masala. Add water and cover and cook till it is 75% done. At this stage, add the corn, add salt and mix well, but not with vigour, that will break the rice... . Cover and cook till fully cooked
* Shan masala has a the badi elaichi(big cardamom) and clove , cinnamon pieces and is not in the powder form.

M hates all the ingredients (*) - they make his ears smoke or so he says!!! So I add minimal masala to any Pulav, in this case it was 1 big elaichi, 1 half a centimeter pieces of cinnamon, 1 clove and 2 peppercorns.

This in fact made the pulav even tastier (in my opinion). There was no overwhelming flavour that spoilt the taste of biting into the juicy and ever so slightly sweet corn .

Corn Pulav with Daal Fry

This is my entry for the W, of the A-Z of Vegetables at Nupur's One Hot Stove!


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Thursday, July 12, 2007

Give it a thought !!!

I got this e-mail today... reading it, I felt I could relate to it, like so many of you... I just had to share it with all you wonderful women!!!

Married or Engaged or Future Married Guys: Give it a serious thought!!!

—Here is a girl, who is as much educated as you are.......

—Who is earning almost as much as you do..

—One, who has dreams and aspirations just as you have because she is as human as you are..

—One, who has never entered the kitchen in her life just like you or your Sister haven't, as she was busy in studies and competing in a system that gives no special concession to girls for their culinary achievements..

—One, who has lived and loved her parents & brothers & sisters, almost as much as you do for 20-25 years of her life..

—One, who has bravely agreed to leave behind all that, her home, people who love her, to adopt your home, your family, your ways and even your family name ..

—One, who is somehow expected to be a master-chef from day #1, while you sleep oblivious to her predicament in her new circumstances, environment..

— One, who is expected to make the tea, first thing in the morning and cook food at the end of the day, even if she is as tired as you are, maybe more, and yet never ever expected to complain; to be a servant, a cook, a mother, a wife, even if she doesn't want to; and is learning just like you are as to what you want from her; and is clumsy and sloppy at times and knows that you won't like it if she is too demanding, or if she learns faster than you..


—One, who has her own set of friends, and that includes boys and even men at her workplace too, those, who she knows from school days and yet is willing to put all that on the back-burners to avoid your irrational jealousy, unnecessary competition and your inherent insecurities..
Yes, she can drink and dance just as well as you can, but won't, simply because you won't like it, even though you say otherwise ..

—One, who can be late from work once in a while when deadlines, just like yours, are to be met..

—One, who is doing her level best and wants to make this most important relationship in her entire life a grand success, if you just help her some and trust her..

—One, who just wants one thing from you, as you are the only one she knows in your entire house - your support, your sensitivities and most importantly - your understanding, or love, if you may call it. .

— But not many guys understand this...Well... Give it a thought now!! —


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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Seeded Garlic Bread

This has been on my mind for a long time now!! We like garlic bread a lot.. well, I like it a lot, M is ... ummm, OK, its nice!! types.. we usually picked up a box of frozen garlic bread and used it.. but it was always on the back of my mind to make this at home. The advantages being 1) cost effective 2) I can make variations to it 3) Quantity!!! and most importantly...4) making it on my own and blogging !! Blogging has become such an obsession with me!!

I am sure many of you are familiar with VideoJug , which has a section on Food and Drink. That is where I first saw the procedure for making Garlic bread and thought to myself..."hey... that's so easy!! I must make that!!"
So the next time in the store I made a bee line towards the bakery aisle.. the progress was a bit slow I agree, you see one has to first pass rows of delightful looking , moist , yummy , tempting and drool worthy cakes!!! M generally prods me in the small of my back with the shopping cart to make me move from , lets say 'cake A' to 'cake B......' ! So after a brief struggle of NOT grabbing cakes and muffins, we moved on to the breads...... here M breathed a sigh of relief... my attention had snapped back to the main objective, buying a baguette! I was all hawk eyed and going thru the various varieties of bread, and finally pounced on a seeded baguette... again after a brief internal struggle of wanting to try the french bread, sourdough... and some other varieties.
Back home, I set about with my customary zeal to make the Garlic bread..
It is as simple as the pictures on this post!!!!
Here's what u need..
The original recipe calls for :

1 Baguette ( plain one)
1 stick of butter (around 6 tbsp)
5 cloves Garlic
3 Tbsp Parsley (chopped)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Aluminium foil to wrap
My addition/ Variation :
Seeded Baguette
Dash of Oregano
I used Dry parsley
Pre heat the oven to 325 deg. F
Prepare the Butter. Crush / grate the garlic, add it to the butter along with the parsley, oregano, salt and pepper. Mix well.
The Baguette, I have used a seeded baguette
Place the baguette onto the chopping board and cut across diagonally, into 2-3 cm slices, without cutting completely through the bread.

Create a gap between the slices, add a dollop of the garlic butter, and smooth it down. Finally spread any remaining butter over the top of the baguette.

Wrap the baguette in the aluminium foil , seal at both ends and pop it into the oven .
Bake on each side for 10 mins.

Once baked, remove from foil, cut thru and serve!!!

I was a bit of a miser with the butter, so you can see that it has not reached at the very bottom of the slice... don't do what I did!!! All said and done (all miserly acts)... it tasted wonderful!!!!

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