Saturday, October 31, 2015

Rice Kheer / Pressure Cooker Pal Payasam | Indian Festival Recipes

Payasam is an easy go-to sweet made for a small celebration, surprise guests, quick neivedyam and what-not. But is there a way to make it easier. Why, yes there is.. Pressure cooker to the rescue. Place everything in the cooker and cook for 3 whistles and you are done. I have tried making the simple paal payasam with rice. Soon I am planning to experiment with semiya and sago. I will keep this page updated as how it turns out.

Serves - 4-6
Whole Milk  - 2 cups + 1/2 cups
Rice - 1/4 cups
Sugar - 1/4 cups
Cardamom powder - a pinch
Ghee - 1 tsp
Cashews - 1 tsp
Sultanas/ Golden raisins - a few

Place the rice, sugar and 2 cups of milk in a pressure cooker and cook for 3 whistles. Meanwhile fry the cashews and sultanas in ghee. When the pressure is released, add cardamom powder, fried cashews, mix and simmer with 1/2 cup of milk for 10 minutes or until desired consistency is reached. 
Serve warm or chilled.
Notes: The amount of sugar here yields a moderately sweet payasam, if you like yours sweeter add 2 more tablespoons of sugar.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Zucchini Raitha

Nothing can beat raitha as a side for the ubiquitous briyani. Raitha (pronounced rye-tha and not raw-ee-tha) is a goto accompaniment for the briyani. The most common vegetables used in raitha are red onions, cucumber or carrot. This Zucchini variant is just an inspiration from a friend's salad recipe and I loved it. This is a great low-calorie dressing too for simple salad for lunch. A simple raitha to cool your body with a serving of veggie, how awesome is that! 

Inspired from here
Serves - 2-3
Yogurt, greek or Desi curds - 1 cup
Zucchini - 1
Lemon juice -  about 1 tsp
Mint leaves - a fistful
Salt - to taste
Pepper - to taste

Whisk the yogurt until smooth. Peel and grate the zucchini in a grater with the large teeth. Finely chop the mint leaves. Mix all three and chill in the fridge until ready to serve. Just before serving, add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with any spicy rice dish, like the Mushroom Briyani.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Mushroom Briyani (Easy version) | Rice Recipes

With this Fall season here (hot one day, warm the other and pretty chill the next day), the wind has been little chilly but not quite like fall. What better than some warm food to keep yourself cozy and ready for all the excitement the Fall season has to bring. This recipe here is a simple and flavorful briyani for a simple weekday lunch. Paired with Zucchini raitha (recipe follows) it is a satisfying meal.
Briyani generally means lot of preparations with fresh ground spices and layering of the rice and masala. But this recipe here is a simple one with garam masala powder. This garam masala powder (made by my friend's mom) is home-made with red chillies added to it. If you are using a garam masala powder that is store-bought or does not have chillies in it add red chilli powder to taste. 

Serves - 2-3
Basmati Rice (I used brown rice) - 1 cup (standard 240 ml cup)
Mushroom - 8 oz ~ 250 g
Onion, thinly sliced - 1 cup
Ginger Garlic paste, freshly ground - 1-1/2 tbsp
Garam masala - 1 tsp (see notes)
Chilli powder - 1/2 tsp (optional, see notes)
Oil - 1 tbsp
Mint leaves - a fistful
Bay leaf - 1

Wash and soak the rice for 30 mins (15 minutes for white rice). Clean and cut the mushrooms in thick slices. 
Heat a saucepan / pressure cooker and heat the oil. Add the bay leaf followed by the onions. Saute in medium-high heat until the onions take a shade of golden brown. Add the freshly ground ginger garlic paste and fry in medium heat for about 3 minutes. Now add the garam masala powder and chilli powder (if using) and fry for a minute. Add 1-1/2 cups of water (2 cups for white rice) with required amount of salt and torn mint leaves. Drain the water from the rice and add the rice to the pressure cooker. Pressure cook for 5-6 whistles (2 whistles for white rice). When the pressure is released, open and fluff with fork. Serve hot with Zucchini Raitha.
The Garam masala powder I used was pretty spicy with the red chillies ground along with it. So I did not add red chilli powder. If your garam masala powder is not spicy, add chilli powder to taste. 
If you feel the amount of mushrooms is a little too much you could always reduce to your preference. I prefer a meaty briyani.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Cinnamon Palm Sugar Granola | Breakfast Recipes

Ever since my granola fever, I had been making batches of granola quite frequently. My major use of granola is a quick to reach item for the mid-afternoon (sweet) snack crave. I did not have an idea of doing a blog post on this particular variety, but when some of my friends asked for the pictures/recipe for this when I posted on FB, I couldn't help but click some pictures and do a write-up.
I have used palm sugar as the sweetener and have made my own palm sugar syrup. Since it is an unrefined sugar, you would have to filter the syrup for impurities before use. If you could not get palm sugar, the closest alternative would be molasses (1/2 cup) but honey/maple syrup/agave can also be used.

Makes 4 cups of granola
Rolled oats - 3 cups + 1 cup
Quinoa, uncooked - 1/2 cup
Pecans, raw, chopped - 1/2 cup
Palm sugar - 1/2 cup, tightly packed
Oil - 1/4 cup (any light tasting oil would work)
Salt - 1/2 tsp
Cinnamon - 1 tbsp
Vanilla - 1 tsp (optional)
Pumpkin seeds - 1/4 cup

To make palm sugar syrup:
Take a heaping 1/2 cup of palm sugar with 2 tbsp of water and heat until warm. Filter through a fine mesh sieve and cool. This can be made in advance and stored in a closed glass jar in the fridge.
Preheat the oven to 275 F/ 140 C. Pulse 1 cup of oats in blender for a couple of times. Mix rolled oats, ground oats, cinnamon, quinoa, nuts, oil, palm sugar syrup, vanilla, salt and pumpkin seeds. Line a baking sheet with foil, spread mixture and bake 25 minutes. Mix and bake again for 10 minutes. Repeat the mixing after 10 minutes. 
Turn the oven off and place the door ajar and allow the granola to cool inside the oven. After an hour, remove the granola pan and cool completely. Store in airtight container.
If using roasted nuts and/or pumpkin seeds add them at the final 10 minutes of baking.