Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Snacky- snacky!!!

It has been a surprising winter for us in L.A.. we had lots of rain!! While others are snow bound, we L.A'ites have none of that winter wonderland, so once in a while when it rains and the temperatures dip, we make the most of it!

If there is one thing I miss here, it is the monsoon season.. the gentle pitter-patter of rain, the rumbling thunder, that brilliant flash of lightening and yes, the occasional flooding which brings life to a stand still!

The happiest days of my child hood were when it rained cats and dogs, the streets would flood and those were the days I was VERY keen on going to school!! Wild horses could not keep me away! To traipse in the water logged streets, tear pages out of the Math notebook and float boats, squeal with laughter when a bicycle went by splashing water and finally find the school gates closed! Going back home to a hot Dettol bath and warm food and then spend the day watching the rain come down with a plate of snacks and a heap of comics ... Utopia!


Of course the favourite snack was pakodas, but when you are not old enough to be trusted with handling match-sticks, you have to be content with a bag of chips and everything else that you can lay your hands on! Even as a child I was very fond of 'kela wafer' or plantain chips and loved to munch on these when curled up with a book.

So when rain lashed the window pane , the flood of memories also brought a craving for plantain chips. It was a matter of minutes , I had one large plantain which I rapidly peeled and sliced thin on the mandolin. While this was happening, heat oil in a kadhai/ wok. Once the oil is hot, deep fry the chips to a crisp. Remove onto a paper towel to absorb excess oil, lightly sprinkle and toss with salt . Grab a plateful , open the book , read and munch!!

After having munched and munched on the chips, we really did not have too much space for a proper dinner, something light and not too much fuss seemed to be the solution. Glancing thru the snacks section of Chandra Padmanabhan's Dakshin, I came across this 'Potato Dosa' , this was an instant dosa and that always is a hit with me! No fermentation!

For the Dosa:

2 Large Potatoes
1 cup Rice Flour
1/2 cup Yogurt
1-2 Green chillies minced
fistful of finely chopped Cilantro
Salt to taste
Oil to make Dosa

Cook the potatoes ( pressure cook or microwave them). Peel and mash them. Add all the remaining ingredients, mix thoroughly using sufficient water to make a regular dosa batter. Heat a tawa/ skillet. Make dosas !!! Serve hot with chutney .

Though this dosa makes a nice snack, the only difficulty I had with it was flipping it.. some broke / tore halfway, not that I am complaining!

To end on a sweet note, I made this dessert on Sunday. Basically anything that requires the oven, is frankly intimidating to me. Where the Daring Bakers turn out these WONDERFUL things, all I can do is gape! I was looking for something minimalistic and manageable. Now when I am bracing myself for an adventure like this, I like to read a few recipes which sound simple but more importantly have portions that are small too, small enough to experiment. Googling for a Caramel Custard recipe I came across Nupur's version and she made it sound like I could do it! It sounded soooooo good!

Can I? Can't I?? You see, there was this one time, my cousin and I in a fit of enthusiasm and ignorance, tried making this dessert, but that was with a ready pack with simple sounding instructions, so simple that we thought it was idiot-proof! To cut a long story short, the caramel custard looked as bad as it tasted and when set on a plate expired there with a 'glooop', needless to say, we had a hushed up funeral for it and later dug noisily into cartons of ice-cream, scraping the bottom with the wodden scoops.
So this time around, when the husband was in the office (on a weekend, mark you, it is so annoying when all problems crop up on a saturday and the boss calls you in for an hour or two), I tackled this recipe. I followed every word and every step...right down to even taking the picture the way Nupur did, I was that nervous! One wrong step and it would go 'glooop' was a warning that buzzed my ears! But... but!!!! check it out folks!!!


Yes, Yes, Yes!!! Ta-Dah!! I did it!! Jai ho!! Nupur ki jai ho!!!! This is one recipe I am going to hang on to!!! Perhaps the caramel could have been a shade darker, but as the recipe warned, there is a thin line between caramel and charcoal, I was very careful!

M loved the caramel custard!! Not too sweet, just how he likes it!! In fact this was all that was left for the photograph! I cannot wait to try it again!!

On a more serious note: Thank U all for your concern over my previous post. Looks like honesty is not the 'in' thing these days.. sadly the thief in concern has not removed my picture, she first claimed that her son was unwell, so she was busy, but since them she has had time to make a few more videos. It is sad that a woman should 'use' her small son to shield her dishonesty. Don't know what the world is coming to, I no longer feel so bad about the stolen picture, but more so for her son and the wrong ideas he will grow up with.

That's it for now!! Take care you all! Keep warm and SMILE!!!

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37 comments:

  1. Hahaha!! I am in the snacking mood too in this weather. I sent the snow to you to LA!!
    Dosa looks yum, I like the instant dosas. Dessert looks great, I have been avoiding making them since new years!!:D

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  2. Loved the write up & all the snacky items Mansi! You've been busy coking, have'nt you?

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  3. your childhood story is so cute - the kela chips, the dosa and the flan all look delicious!

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  4. As you said, she must not have come up with fake stories like that.

    Great recipes Manasi. I love the chips.

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  5. That caramel custard looks so drool worthy, Manasi....

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  6. Hi Manasi! Hope you are doing well. I am blog hopping after a long time. Fab post, and you always make me laugh! I am so going to try making the chips. But then again, the motivation to make those is so low here in India. You either have your mom making it for you, or it is oh-so-easy to buy it from the store! :)

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  7. LOL loved reading about your monsoon antics- you were quite the mischief-maker, weren'nt you?!
    You make plantain chips sound too easy...I have not gotten around to making them at home yet. The potato dosa sounds delicious, but I can see how potato batter would be a challenge to hold together on a skillet as a dosa.
    Glad you tried the caramel custard recipe...it is such an old post; I have not made it in ages. It is my mother's recipe, although she used the pressure cooker (without the weight) as a steamer. I have a handi-style pressure cooker that cannot be used that way, hence the need to use the oven and a bain marie. Your outcome looks perfect!!

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  8. The custard is a triumph! I am so happy for you!

    I love plantain chips too!

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  9. Love all the snacky snacks Mansi..:) esp the potato dosa.. its looks so crispy n nice..U can send it to Dhivya ( Culinary Bazaar's) - The Potato Fe(a)st event. I am sure it wud be a snacky entry!..:)

    Cheers,

    ~ Siri

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  10. lovely dishes mansi!! love that caramel custard, its noel's fav!!

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  11. mansi, u crack me up girl:) this is one fun packed post with delicious spread. i was literally rolling on floor when i read ur caramel custard experience... ha ha ha... i am sorry, i cant stop laughing:)

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  12. Lovely, The caramel custard looks delicious. This is one of my all time favorite puddings. Had fun reading your story about the custard. I guess we have to go through the ready made packages to hit the kitchen with an authentic one. I am glad everything is back to normal. That lady putting the blame on her son, i agree with what you think.
    Archana
    http://www.archanaskitchen.com/

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  13. Wow that is what i call a meal for a rainiy day.
    The potato dosa looks so delicious

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  14. Hey Manasi, i know it was kinda' cold y'day here in LA! And wait, there's more rain on the weekend :-D. Lovely potato dosa and caramel custard. Yummy!They would totally make the most of rainy season :).

    hugs,
    musical.

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  15. All your posts are such fun reads and this one was no exception!
    The dosa looks fab. Potato in a dosa, wow!

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  16. boy, I'm thinking of travelling to LA for the sun and you need to make a trip to northern CA for the rain girl:) Let's visit each other, hehehe:)

    the caramel custard looks great!

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  17. Hi Asha!! Let it snow, let it snow!!!

    Hi Seema!! Just a bit! not too busy! but snacky stuff is right up my alley!

    Hi Alpa!! Thank U :)))

    Hi Mytheyee !! Despicable isn't it.. no need to drag a kid as a fake back up!

    Hi Jayashree!! Thank U so much!! I was very nervous when I made it.

    Hi Roopa!! Come back to blogosphere girl!! miss u !!

    Hi Nupur!! hehe , I was a bit of a monkey!! Ur recipe rocks!! I am waiting to try it again.. this time hv a friend's farewell potluck, I will probably make this!!

    Hi Cynthis!! THank U!! I'm glad I could make it!

    HI Siri!! THank U for the tip.. i will send this as my entry!

    Hi Padmaja!! its fast becoming our fav too!

    HI Sia!! hehehhee!! wen I think of my antics.. I know why my parents have WHITE hair!!

    Hi Archana!! Thanx a lot!!

    Hi HappyCook!! Thanx a lot!!

    Hi Musical!! U r in LA too aren't u?? Don't u just love the rain!!

    HiTC!! Thank U ... it makes a good reading, but let me tell ya, the parents had nightmares because of me ;)

    Hi Mansi!! Lets!! I LOOOOOVE RAIN!!!

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  18. All the dishes look cool. Potato dosa is one thing i am dead sure of trying out. thanks for sharing

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  19. tats a lovely post!!! i think snacking and soups n stews are a must in winters!! :)

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  20. Yuou have been busy. Love snacking too. Will try the dosas this weekend. looks easy.

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  21. I miss the monsoon too, we have PLENTY of rain here in Seattle, but it is not the same... :) all the dishes look delicious, the caramel custard has turned out perfect! :)

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  22. excellent write up lady ..yummy yummy chips

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  23. Hi Mansi! You have a wonderful blog. I like your writing style and of course your recipes. Keep up the good work.

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  24. Oh, thank you for this post. Plantains are so wonderful as a snack, main course and dessert. Their versatility is endless. I haven't eaten plantains in about 2 weeks, so it's time again! Thanks for the reminder.

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  25. Hi Manasi,
    Ashwini Here
    The dessert looks really yummy.
    I have one question though,for you and Nupur both,about bian Marie.
    I don't have it ,so how can I use my normal pressure cooker(pressure pan type) to cook it?Could any one of you please let me know if you have any idea.
    BTW Nupur,I am big fan of your blog as well:-)
    you both,keep up the great blogging:-)

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  26. Hi Manasi,
    Ashwini Here
    The dessert looks really yummy.
    I have one question though,for you and Nupur both,about bian Marie.
    I don't have it ,so how can I use my normal pressure cooker(pressure pan type) to cook it?Could any one of you please let me know if you have any idea.
    BTW Nupur,I am big fan of your blog as well:-)
    you both,keep up the great blogging:-)

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  27. Manasi, your description of a monsoon-day from school is like my daughter hopes for now, a snow day from school! If only I could get her to have plantain chips instead of popcorn ;)

    Your caramel custard looks positively scrumptious. I am surprised you had any left at all :)

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  28. You are hilarious Manasi. Loved the Monsoon story. I was exactly like that too. I loved to hold my umbrella upside down so that I would entirely get wet :D. Then the hot bath and hot food...heaven :).
    The spread looks great dear..

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  29. Hi Manasi,

    The chips look great! May I ask what mandoline you own - I am thinking of buying one online and cant seem to pick a brand. Any advice?

    Thanks and happy cooking :-)
    --aparna

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  30. Hi Manasi,

    The chips look great! May I ask what mandoline you own - I am thinking of buying one online and cant seem to pick a brand. Any advice?

    Thanks and happy cooking :-)
    --aparna

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  31. Hi Easycrafts! Thank U!! I hope u like the dosa!

    Hi Superchef! Snacking is my FAV part ;)!

    Hi Vimi! Thanx, hope u like th edosa!

    Hi Sig! Thank u dear!! I was so thrilled when the caramel custard turned out well!

    Hi Deepa, Thank U!!

    Hi Uma!! ThankU for ur kind words!!

    Hi White on rice couple! U r right! there are so many possiblilities! i need to explore some more too!

    Hi Ashwini!! I did what nupur did! use a cake tin to pour the caramel and custard in & use a bigger pan to fill 1/3 with boiling water and immerse the cake tin in it! ther are ways of using a pressure cooker ( without the whistle) but I havent tried it :(

    Hi Linda!! Ah! so ur li'll princess loves days off from school too! hehehe!!! hope she likes chips as well!

    Hi Aparna! I got my mandolin from India ( its Anjali brand, usually comes as a 5in1 thing) I use only 2 options, the grater and the slicer. Please look at this link : http://www.nextag.com/Home-Garden--zzkitchen+mandolinz2700400zB6z5---html for any info. the prices range from $19 to extravagant $150 or so! But if u have anyone coming from India, ask them to send one, it is so much cheaper!!

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  32. Hi Shilpa!! hehehe, holding the umbrella upside down!! LOL!! ur funny!

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  33. Wow...the chips look delicious!!! First time here....really liked your recipes.

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  34. So you like rain Manasi? That's why you like SFO? :) The goodies are too good. The caramel is in perfect shape. Viji

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  35. I am finally back at your blog... and I've read up all the posts since my last visit. Blogspot doesn't work for me 90% of the time, blogger does... so I can post, but can't view any site that says blogspot.com... including my own.

    Your rain stories reminded me of my childhood... yeah... utopia all right!!

    Hugs girl... lovely recipes and wonderful stories that accompany them.

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  36. My favourite snack too... would surely love to have it on a rainy day. Thanks for the instant dosa recipe.. have noted it down and surely would try it sometime.and ur dessert.......that looks perfect and delicious...

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  37. Hey thats a dosa which i never saw before and the caramel custard pudding looks yummo :) Loved your blog :) I also loved the writing on your post for the Potato event :)

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