Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Sundal Kulambu / Channa Kuzhambu | Indian Curry Recipes

I made this Sundal Kulambu for a cozy lazy lunch one day. I am proud to say this kulambu-rice combo does not need any side dish but papads would be a lovely pair if needed. This is my MIL's recipe handwritten for my DH when he first came to US. There are a handful of recipes, all his favorite foods which she had chosen to write. I have tried quite a few of them and this sundal kuzhambu is one of those few for which I got a thumbs up from him with "Just like Mom's!" That means something, right?! The others? The feedback was "Hmm..Good.. But not quite like Mom's". I am still working on those recipes :)
Sundal / Dried chickpeas (garbanzo) - 2/3 cup - soaked overnight and cooked OR use 1 can of garbanzo beans - Click here to see how it is done
Tamarind - size of a lemon
Onion - chopped - 1 cup
Garlic - 3 cloves - halved
Olive oil / Canola oil - 2 tsp
Gingelly Oil - 1 tsp
Thalippu Vadagam/Badaga - 1/2 tsp
Salt - to taste
Make a paste:
Grated Coconut - 2 tbsp (heaped)
Coriander powder - 2 tsp (heaped)
Chilli powder - 1/2 tsp (Use 1 tsp if using Kashmiri chiili powder)
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Soak dried chickpeas in plenty of water overnight. Drain the water and pressure cook for 3 whistles adding three times water and 1/2 tsp of salt. Drain and set aside. If using canned beans, drain and wash the beans to remove extra salt. Soak the tamarind in warm water and extract 2 cups of juice. Grind the ingredients under make a paste into a smooth paste, adding water as required.
In a kadai, heat oil and saute the onions and garlic until the onion turns soft. Add the cooked beans and saute for a couple of minutes. Add the tamarind juice, ground paste, salt and 1 cup of water. Check for salt and spice and allow it to boil in med-high heat. When it comes to a rolling boil, reduce the heat to simmer and allow it to cook for another 45 minutes uncovered. Yes, you read it right. The kulambu has to cook for 45 minutes for the flavors to meld and to be "finger-licking-good". But stir it once every 10 minutes to make sure the coconut doesn't stick to the bottom. After 45 minutes heat gingelly oil (kind of a mandatory item here) in a small pan and splutter the vadagam. Pour over the Kuzhambu and serve hot with rice. Enjoy!
1. The sundal can be replaced by black eyed peas, white navy beans, mochai etc.,.
2. Do not try to reduce the simmering time by increasing the heat and reducing cooking time. It is quite not of the same taste. Trust me!
Linking this up to Taste of the Tropics - Tamarind event by Mirielle; Favorite Recipes event; Walk through Memory Lane.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Mushroom Asparagus (crustless) Mini Quiche

Do you want something quick for a busy mornings and do not want to stand near the stove cooking some dosas or oatmeal. Then these mini quiches are for you. These simple to make (bake) dish has all the goodness you need for the morning to keep you going until lunch. Eggs for protein, Milk and Cheese for Calcium and Mushroom and Asparagus adds up to your daily serving of vegetables for the day. Score!
Serves - 4
Eggs - 6
Low fat Milk - 1 1/2 cups (360 ml)
Mushroom - 6 oz pkt
Asparagus - about 6 to 8 spears
Salt - 1/2 tsp or to taste
Pepper - 1/2 tsp or to taste
Grated Cheddar cheese (reduced fat) - 1/3 cup or as needed
Preheat the oven to 350F / 175 C. Spray a 12 cup muffin tin with oil.
Slice the mushrooms and saute in a pan with little oil until all the water evaporates. Drain on a paper towel. Saute the asparagus similarly until it is almost cooked. Whisk together the eggs, milk, cheese, salt and pepper. Add the vegetables and mix well. Pour carefully into the greased muffin tins until full. Bake for 30 mins or until the knife inserted into the center comes clean. Cool in the muffin pan for 15 mins. Remove carefully with a spoon and place in a plate lined with kitchen towel until cooled completely. Transfer to a ziptop bag and pop into the top shelf of the refrigerated and pull out as desired. Reheat in the Microwave for about one minute or as desired.
Alternate layering:
Divide the cheese into two and layer the bottom of the cups with half of the grated cheese. Layer the vegetables above the cheese. Now pour the eggs-milk mixture into all the pans until full. Now sprinkle the remaining (reserved) cheese over the pan equally. Bake like the method above.

Linking these beautiful mini quiches to Let's Cook - Healthy Breakfast; Mission - Breakfast; Breakfast Club.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Celery Cilantro Chutney with a Surprise! | Side dish for Idli Dosa

These lovely little celery stalks are just for salads or snack. That is what I thought too until I tried this yummy chutney. This is a great side dish for Idli/Dosa or can even be used as a spread for a toast. Adding cilantro/coriander leaves gives a lovely green color and a fresh taste. What is the surprise you could ask? There is and it is walnuts. A handful of toasted walnuts in this chutney makes it creamy and a powerhouse of omega-3 acids. Check out the original recipe here.
Celery - 2 cups
Onion - 1 cup
Tomato - 1/2 cup
Walnuts - 1/2 cup
Green chilli -  2 or 3
Ginger - 1/2 inch piece
Garlic pods - 2
Cilantro - 1/2 of a small bunch
Oil - 1 tbsp
Salt - to taste
For Tempering:
Oil - 1 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Toast the chopped walnuts for about 3 minutes. Allow to cool and crush in a blender/mixie until coarse. Heat oil in a pan and add the celery, onion, ginger, garlic, green chilli. Saute until the onions and celery are almost cooked. Add the tomato with a little salt and cook until it turns mushy. Remove from heat and add the chopped cilantro. The cilantro will wilt in the residual heat. Allow the mixture to cool and grind in the mixie until smooth. Now add the crushed walnuts and salt and pulse for a couple of times. Heat oil in a small pan and splutter the mustard seeds. Pour over the chutney and serve with hot idlis.
Linking this to Bon Vivant #11 - Healthy Appetite; New "U" 2013; Winter Foods - 30 min challenge;

Monday, January 7, 2013

Know Your Sweetness - Brown Sugar - Roundup

2012 ended on a sweet note! Here is the beautiful array of entries I received for Know your Sweetness - Brown Sugar. I would like to thank Jagruti again for this opportunity. I received 23 lovely entries ranging from Cakes, Cookies and Muffins. Now for the colorful roundup.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Paal Kozhukattai / Thengai Paal Kozhukattai for Two Years of Blogging | Indian Sweet Recipes

Happy New Year everyone! For me 2013 is not the only reason to celebrate. This is Kavin's first new year and also my humble blog just turned 2 in December. Nothing is more special when it comes to celebrating with a sweet which is close to your heart. I celebrated our new year with this delicious Paal Kozhukattai. This is my favorite sweet and grandma makes it every time we visit her. True, it is quite an elaborate process but the end result makes all the effort feel lighter.
Idly rice/Parboiled rice - 1 cup (wash and soak for 2 hours)
Sugar - 1/2 cup (or more if desired)
First Coconut Milk - 1 cup
Second and Third Coconut milk - 1-1/2 cups
Water - 2 cups
Oil - 1 tbsp + more for greasing
Cardamom powder - a pinch
Make coconut milk with one large coconut. Gently scrape the white flesh of the coconut and grind in a blender with little more than 1 cup of water. Extract the milk and set aside. This is the "first" milk. Return the coconut to the blender and add another cup of water and repeat. This is the "second" milk. Repeat for "third" milk.
After 2 hours of soaking, grind the rice to a smooth watery batter with a pinch a salt. A blender works fine for 1 cup of rice. Go for a wet grinder if using more rice. In a non-stick pan add oil and the ground rice batter. Keep stirring with a wooden spoon in medium heat until most of the water is evaporated and it comes to a big mass. Now divide this dough into four parts and work in batches. Keep the dough covered at all times to avoid drying. Grease oil in your palms and fingers and pinch the dough (about the size of blueberry/ small gooseberry) and make small oblong kolkattais. Keep the rolled kolkattais covered until all the dough is finished.
Boil water in a heavy bottomed pan with a pinch of salt. Reduce the heat to medium and add the kozhukattais in batches in two minutes interval. After about 4-5 minutes when all the balls are added gently stir from the corner. Stirring from the center may break the balls. At this stage the balls may stick to each other, that is perfectly normal. Dissolve the sugar in the combination of second and third milk and add to the boiling water. Allow the kolkattais to cook in medium high heat stirring once in a while until it is cooked (the kozhukattais will be shiny and soft but wont break) and the mixture thickened. At this stage the balls will no longer be sticking to each other. Finally add the first milk and cardamom powder and allow it to boil for 3-4 mins and remove from heat. Allow to cool a bit and serve warm.
1. If you are pressed for time use canned coconut milk.
2. To make first milk, mix canned coconut milk and water in 1:1 ratio.
3. To make second and third (combination) milk use coconut milk and water in 1:2 ratio.
Linking these up to Walk Through Memory Lane event by Gayathri.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Guest Hosting "Taste of the Tropics" - Tamarind

Happy New Year to All! May this year bring happy and joyful happenings in all your life. I am guest hosting Chef Mirielle's "Taste of the Tropics" event this month. And the theme for this month is Tamarind. Hailing from a tropical region myself I was very much interested when I saw this event. I was delighted when she told me that there is an open slot in January. 
Tamarind, literally meaning "dates of India" is native to Africa. The fruit pulp is the edible part of the plant and widely used in cuisines across Asia. The pulp has a acidic and sour taste with a mild sweetness. The tartaric acid present in the tamarind is a powerful anti-oxidant. The pulp also has digestive and laxative properties.
Guidelines for linking:
1. Link up any recipe that uses tamarind.  
2. Both vegetarian and non-vegetarian recipes are allowed.
3. Link back to this announcement page and also the Chef Mirielle's page here.
4. New entries are appreciated, however if you are sending archived entries, please re-post as latest (with a date in January 2013) and update with both the links to the announcement page and logo.
5. Usage of links and logo is mandatory.
6. Last date for submission of your entries is January 31, 2013.
7. To submit your entries, just link your entries using the linky tool below.
8. Non-bloggers also can send their entries with a picture to the below email-id.