Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Jelly Roll / Swiss Roll - Happy New Year 2014!!

This year I did not bake anything for holidays since we were visiting our friend Denny in Seattle for Christmas. We met after about 3 and a half years. Our kids had a lot of fun playing together. We had a great time catching up and of course ate a lot of food. She made her famous Plum cake, Checkerboard cookies and Tutti Frutti Cookies. Her parents are visiting her so we were pampered with yummylicious home cooked food. That was a quick 4 days we spent there.
I wanted to make something sweet to start the New Year and so I made this Jelly Roll. It is a simple foolproof recipe for sponge cake, which is baked in a jelly roll pan and filled with jam. You could use any filling of your choice.

Makes about 10-12 pieces
Recipe Source - Family Circle cookbook 1972
Eggs - 3
All purpose flour - 1/2 cup minus 1 tbsp (see notes below)
Salt - 1/4 tsp
Sugar - 1/2 cup
Vanilla Extract - 1/2 tsp
Jam or Jelly of your choice - 1/3 cup - whisked until smooth
Also need:
1 kitchen towel bigger than the pan
Powdered sugar - 2 tbsp
Separate egg whites from yolks and place the whites in a large bowl and the yolks in a medium bowl. Allow to come to room temperature, about 30 mins. Separating the eggs is easier when they are cold. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Spread the kitchen towel on a flat surface and dust with powdered sugar all over. Grease the bottom and sides of a jelly roll pan and line with parchment paper. Whisk the egg whites in a electric hand mixer until it doubles in volume. Add 4 tbsps of sugar one tbsp at a time and continue beating until it forms stiff peaks. Set aside. Whisk the egg yolks until it is pale. Add the remaining sugar 1 tbsp at a time until it forms a thick mixture and flows in a thick ribbon when the beater is lifted. Sieve the flour and salt over the egg yolks and mix with a wooden spoon or a spatula inoh a fold pattern. Take care not to deflate the yolks. Now pour the yolk-flour mixture to the egg whites and fold to mixture until no streaks of yellow or white remains. Pour the batter carefully to the lined jelly roll pan and spread evenly. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. When done and still warm invert to the kitchen towel and remove the parchment paper. Roll the towel with the cake breadth-wise all the way through. Cool completely in the kitchen towel, about 30 mins. Unroll the towel and spread the jam over the cake. Roll again, this time without the towel. After 5 minutes, make 1 inch slices and serve. 
The recipe calls for 1/2 cup of cake flour. Since I did not have any I substituted with All purpose flour

Monday, December 30, 2013

2013 - A Flashback!

When I did a flashback post for the year 2012, I was skeptical if I would even reach this point. My resolution back then was to blog at least twice a month. I am happy that I stuck to that. 2013 was a great year and went pretty well. I went back to basics on blog front and posted many basic Indian recipes. It was well received by you readers and it made me happy. 

2013 Highlights

  • Some of the most commonly made dishes are often not considered as a candidate for the blog post. So this year I wanted to post as many common/daily recipes as possible and I am happy I could do that.
  • I took part in Vegan Thursdays initiative by Priya, who encouraged posting Vegan recipes twice a month on Thursdays. Since many dishes I cook are vegan I thoroughly enjoyed it. As a matter of fact Indian cuisine is rich in Vegan options for those who are wondering.
  • This year also saw many soups, salads and healthy foods make it to my blog. I was eating more wholesome foods for weight loss and had success. I was derailed with the onset of festival season - Diwali and Christmas. I am hoping to get back on track soon.
  • I also did Guest host few events from blogosphere to make myself more involved. 
  • I announced a Giveaway as a part of my blog's 3rd anniversary celebration. It is ongoing.. Do send in your entries by Jan 5th.

Most pinned on Pinterest

This Vegan recipe for Sesame crusted Tofu with Broccoli and Peppers is the most pinned from Krithi's Kitchen this year.

Top 3 Posts from Facebook
1. Medhu Vada - These pillowy savory Indian donuts was the highest visited post from Facebook.

2. Coconut Chutney - Basics are refreshing. This easy recipe for coconut chutney was well received. 

3. Onion Sambar - This is another simple recipe for side dish for Idli/Dosa.

I also wanted to put together the Top 5 posts on pageviews from 2013 and here it is.

1. Sundal Kulambu - Hearty, Homemade soul food.
2. Soya Chukka - Easy Healthy recipe.

3. Cauliflower Peas Masala - South Indian style - Can't believe there is a webwide hunt for "South Indian style" Cauliflower.

4. Muttai Kulambu - Non-vegetarian recipes have often been the top searches in my space, though I have very few. This recipe tops the search.

5. Kathirikai Poriyal - I have never made a more perfect poriyal with Brinjal. This is a staple in our house.

Like last year, I would like to continue blogging regularly. And that is my New Year resolution!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Podi Idli | South Indian Breakfast Recipes

These cute little mini idlis are best served with sambar with a dollop of ghee. I tasted this Mini Podi Idli once in an Indian restaurant. The mini idlis were deep fried and then covered in Idli podi. As with any deep fried dish, DH enjoyed it to the fullest. So I tried to recreate the dish at home and also wanted to make it less guilty. It is a very simple dish to make and is heavenly in taste.

Serves - 2
Mini Idlis - 30 - Click here for the idli batter recipe
Gingelly oil - 2 or 3 tbsp
Idli podi - 3 or 4 tsp - per spice level

Make idlis in mini idli moulds with the idli batter. When the idlis are still hot add the gingelly oil and toss well without breaking them. Add the idli podi and toss well. Serve hot.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Eggless Chocolate Brownies | Eggless Cake Recipes

I made these wonderful egg-less chocolate brownies months ago and never really got a chance to post it. Here I am after almost half an year and I definitely want to post it before Christmas. This Christmas season I have not baked anything yet since we are visiting our friend in Seattle. If you are trying to bake something quick for the season or want to leave something out for Santa, try these.
Also checkout my Honey Brownies.

Recipe source - Nags
Serves - 16
All-purpose flour / Maida -  1 cup
Cocoa powder - 1/2 cup
Powdered sugar - 3/4 cup + 2 tbsp
Baking soda - 1 tsp
Salt - a pinch
Oil - 1/3 cup
Buttermilk - 1 cup (see notes below)
Instant coffee powder - 1/2 tsp
Vanilla Extract - 1/2 tsp
Walnuts - 1/4 cup -  chopped -optional

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease a 9x9 pan with oil and line with parchment paper with overhang in two opposite sides. Whisk the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda, salt and coffee powder together in one bowl. Mix the oil, buttermilk and vanilla in another bowl. Now pour the buttermilk to the dry ingredients slowly and mix with a wooden spoon until no flour is seen. Mix the chopped walnuts. Pour the batter into the greased baking pan and smooth the top. Bake for 25-30 mins or until the toothpick inserted comes out with crumbs (not batter). Cool the pan completely and make 16 pieces. Serve as is or topped with whipped cream, or a scoop of vanilla icecream.
Notes: You can substitute walnuts with any nuts of your choice of chocolate chips. The coffee really perks up the chocolate flavour,so don't miss it. If you do not have buttermilk, substitute it with 1 cup of milk + 1 tsp vinegar.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Tomato Coriander Chutney | Side Dish for Idli Dosa

This is one more variety of tomato chutney I make often for dosas and idlis. I love the little speckles of the coriander leaves in this tomato chutney. It gives a fresh burst of flavour in the otherwise earthy spicy chutney. Also check out my other posts on Onion Chilli Chutney, Tomato Onion Chutney, Celery Cilantro Chutney on the list of my coconut-free chutneys.
Serves - 2-3
Onion - cubed - 1 cup
Tomato  - chopped - 1-1/2 cups
Coriander leaves - from about 5-6 twigs
Dry Red chillies - 4
Oil - 2 tsp
Oil - 1 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Urad dhal - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves - a few

Heat 1 tsp of oil and fry the chillies and onion. When the onions are cooked through and starts to caramelise, remove and spread on a plate to cool. In the same pan heat another tsp of oil and fry the tomatoes with a pinch of salt. When the tomatoes turn mushy, add the coriander leaves and mix until it wilts. Remove to a plate to cool. Transfer the onions and tomato mixture to a blender and process until smooth adding required salt. In the same kadai, no need to wash, seriously, heat the oil for tempering and add the ingredients for tempering. When the mustard splutters pour over the chutney and serve as a side for hot idlis or dosas.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Cranberry Grapes Gojju | Regional Indian Cuisines

Cooking with grapes was unheard of for me until I came across this recipe by Suma. I altered the recipe to use cranberries in place of tamarind and it was so good. This gojju has a lot of complex flavours first sour from the cranberries, then the sweetness from the grapes and finally the spice kick from the chillies. Spooned over a plate of steaming rice, this gojju can really make your day.

Serves - 3-4
Green Grapes - 1 cup - halved
Fresh Cranberries - 10 - halved
Onion- chopped - 1/2 cup
Asafoetida - a pinch
Oil - 2 tsp
Tempering: -  optional
Curry leaves - a few
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Urad dhal - 1/2 tsp
Spice mix / Gojju Pudi:
Chana dhal - 2 tbsp
Urad dhal - 1 tbsp
Coriander seeds / Dhaniya - 1 tsp
White sesame seeds - 1/2 tsp
Fenugreek seeds - a pinch
Dry Red chillis - 4
Dry Coconut powder - 2 tbsp

In a pan, dry roast chana dhal and urad dhal until they slightly change color. Add the coriander seeds, sesame seeds, fenugreek and red chillies. Continue roasting for a couple of minutes. Remove from heat and add the coconut powder. Mix well and cool. When completely cool, grind to a fine powder in a mixie. Heat oil in a kadai and add the ingredients for tempering and asafoetida. Add the onions with a pinch of salt and saute until it turns soft. Add the halved cranberries and cook for about 2 minutes. Mash them with the back of the ladle as you saute. Now add the grapes and saute for 2 minutes. Add the ground spice powder and mix. Pour 2 to 2-1/2 cups of water and mix. The gojju will be watery at this stage, check for salt and add as desired. When the curry comes to boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 12-15 minutes. Serve hot over steamed rice.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Sweet Potato Balls | Healthy Evening Snacks

Growing up evening snacks mostly meant something home-made. After a long day at school we would be so beaten and tired when we get home with tons of homework. And these homemade yummies with a cup of tea was what gears us up to get all the work done. Sure we had our occasional treats of Veg puffs, Samosas and Vegetable Cutlets which Dad gets us from our local bakery. But, made from scratch, these soul foods were made with love by grandma and kept our little tummies full until dinner. Boiled peanuts, Kaara Pori, Steamed Tapioca, Ellu Urundai & Pidi Kozhukattai and these Sweet Potato balls are a few I remember. 
Here I have used the Garnet yams aka Orange Sweet potatoes here for the color and to get a little attention from Kavin. He loved to eat it after his afternoon nap and sure did give me some energy to keep me hustling between his toys and my dinner preparations.

Sweet Potato / Yam - 1 - medium sized
Grated Coconut - 2 tbsp
Ghee - 1 tbsp
Sugar - 3 tsp

Boil 4 cups of water. Cut the ends of the sweet potato and cut in half. Place in the boiling water and cook in medium-high heat until fork-tender, about 15-20 minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water. When cool enough to handle, remove the skin and mash with a fork. Remove any lumps which are not mash-able. Mix in the grated coconut and ghee. Make lime sized balls and roll over sugar.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Chow Chow Bhath | Regional Indian Cuisines

Chow Chow bhath is a famous breakfast dish in the Indian state of Karnataka. The name may be misleading for those who know the word 'chow chow' as a vegetable. This vegetable is called by many names chow chow, chayote, seema kathirikai, seeme badhnekayi etc.,. But it sure is not a dish about that vegetable. Honestly I do not know the history behind how this dish got its name. But I knew about this dish when I was working in Bangalore. I was staying in a hostel with my friends. It was one lazy Sunday morning, when we were listening to the radio while doing some laundry and there was this program called Chow Chow Bhath. That was an interesting name for a radio program, so we asked one of our Bangalorean friends what it meant and she told us about this dish, a combo of both sweet and spicy components and that is what that program is all about.
So this Chow Chow bhath consists of Kesri Bhath and Khara Bhath aka Upma served together for breakfast.

Kesri Bhath - Check out the recipe here.

Kaara Bhath/Upma
Rava / Sooji - 1 cup
Onion - sliced thin and halved - 1 cup
Tomato - 1/2 - chopped
Chopped vegetables - approx 1-1/2 cups (I used a combination of carrots, beans and peas cut into approx same size for fast cooking)
Chilli powder - 1/2 tsp 
Curry leaves - a few
Coriander leaves - a little
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Hot Water - 3 cups
Oil - 1 tbsp
Salt - to taste
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Urad dhal - 1/2 tsp
Chana dhal - 1/2 tsp
Dry roast the rava until it is hot to touch. Remove to a plate to cool. Place the vegetables in a microwave proof bowl mixed with a tsp of water and microwave for 2-3 minutes until done. Alternatively the vegetables could be steamed. Heat oil in the same kadai and add the ingredients for tempering and curry leaves. When the mustard seeds splutter, add the chopped onions with a pinch of salt and fry until it turns soft. Add the chopped tomato and fry a little. Add the cooked vegetables with turmeric powder and chilli powder. Add the hot water and salt. Check for seasoning. When the water starts to boil add the rava and mix in medium-low heat until all the water is absorbed and the rava is cooked.
Serve the Kesri bhath and Kaara bhath together with Sambar and Chutney.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Palak Paneer | Indian Curry Recipes

Paneer based dishes are loved very much at my home. Especially curries with paneer are hands down winners against regular curries. I believe one could tell that seeing the array of paneer dishes I have in my menu. This palak paneer is delicious and is also low-fat since I have not used cream. This recipe here sure makes a big pot of the curry. I used half of the curry to go with our chapathi for dinner and Jeera rice for lunch. I froze the remaining half of the batch in a freezer-safe container for another day when I cannot get to elaborate cooking. 

Serves - 4-6
Spinach - 5 cups (tightly packed)
Shallots/Pearl onions - 7
Garlic - 3 cloves
Ginger - 1/2" piece
Green chilli - 1 (optional)
Paneer - 150 g - cut into 1/2" cubes
Onion - finely chopped - 1 cup
Tomato puree - 1/2 cup (I used crushed tomatoes from a can)
Garam masala - 1 tsp
Chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
Milk - 3 tbsp (Can substitute cream or half and half)
Oil -  1 tsp + 2 tbsp
Salt - to taste
Heat 1 tsp of oil in a wide pan and fry the shallots, ginger, garlic and green chilli. When the garlic is half cooked add the spinach leaves and saute until it wilts and shrinks. Allow to cool and blend to a puree. In the same wide non-stick pan, spray some oil and fry the paneer cubes in medium heat. This step is optional though. Heat 2 tbsp of oil and fry the onions until it turns light brown. Add the spice powders and salt. After a couple of minutes add the tomato puree and fry until it is cooked through. Add the spinach puree and water to get the desired consistency. Allow it to boil and then simmer for 10-15 minutes. Finally add the paneer pieces with the milk and continue to simmer for 5 minutes. Serve hot with roti/naan/rice.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Buddha's Delight | Vegan Chinese Recipes

Whenever we have tofu at home, Sunday's lunch is normally chinese or thai. It would be a simple Garlic basil tofu fried rice, Thai Green Curry or Tofu Szechwan. Last week I tried this simple Buddha's Delight, a true vegetarian Chinese dish with ample fresh vegetables and tofu on a soy based sauce. Ever since I got this Cooking Light - way to Cook Vegetarian cookbook, I have been wanting to try all the recipes in it. This recipe is my third attempt from the book. I have already tried and posted the Tofu Szechwan. I also made Vegetarian Chili for dinner one day, which was truly scrumptious, but couldn't get decent pictures since it is winter, it starts getting dark here by 4 PM.
Carrots - 3 - peeled and sliced on the bias
Broccoli - 1 - cut into florets
Snow peas - a handful
Green onions / Spring onion greens - 1-1/2 cups
Ginger - grated - 1 tbsp
Garlic - 2 cloves - minced
Salt - 1/2 tsp or to taste
Oil - 2 tsp
Extra Firm Tofu - 1 block
Vegatable broth - 1 cup
Corn Starch - 1 tbsp
Soy Sauce (Low sodium) - 3 tbsp
Sesame oil - 1 tbsp
Rice wine vinegar - 1 tbsp
Sugar - 1 tsp
Press the tofu to remove excess liquid. Cut into small cubes or triangles. Mix the ingredients for the marinade the toss the tofu in it. Keep it covered in the refrigerator for 1 hour, mixing once in between. Mix the broth and corn starch in another small bowl with a whisk. Drop the broccoli florets and the carrot slices into boiling water for about 90 seconds and drain and plunge immediately into an ice bath. Let it rest for a few minutes and then drain again. Heat oil in a wide non-stick skillet. Drain the tofu and reserve the marinade. Add the tofu to the skillet and fry for about 7-10 minutes in medium-high heat until all the sides are light brown. Now add the green onions, garlic, ginger and fry for a couple of minutes. Add the snowpeas and fry for a minute followed by the broccoli and carrots. After about 5 minutes, add the sauce mixture, reserved marinade and salt. Cook in medium flame until the sauce thickens a bit. Serve hot over steamed rice.
Notes: Any vegetable can be added to this dish. Baby corns, bamboo shoots, cauliflower, water chestnuts are best additions.
Linking this up to Vegan Thursdays.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Rava Kesari / Sooji Pudding | Indian Festival Recipes

Starting December with a Sweet note! DH asked for this sweet himself. You may say "So? big deal". Actually he is not a big fan of sweets but he asked me to make this sweet on my birthday. I was happy to make it because, firstly he asked for it, secondly, I get to satisfy my sweet tooth :D. I was making this one when MIL was on phone wishing me on my birthday. She asked what I was making and I replied "Rava Kesari". "Good, that is our family's traditional sweet made during celebrations" said she. No wonder he asked me to make it. It is an easy to make sweet which gets done is less than 30 minutes, which is pretty amazing for an Indian Sweet. What do you say? Rava Kesari, anyone?
Serves - 4
Rava - 1 cup
Sugar - 1 cup
Orange food color - a pinch
Cashews - 6 - halved
Ghee - 4 tbsp + 2 tsp
Water - 3 cups
Heat 1 tsp of ghee in a non-stick kadai and fry the cashews. Remove and set aside. Add another tsp of ghee and roast the rava until it is warm to the touch. Remove and spread on a plate to cool. Heat 2 cups of water in the same pan covered. Heat 1 cup of water separately in a saucepan and keep it covered. When the water in the kadai starts to boil, reduce the heat to medium, add the roasted cooled rava and mix with a wooden spoon until most of the water is absorbed. If the rava is cooked through it would appear clear. If it still appears like white grains add the other cup of water in 1/4 cup increments and cook until the rava is cooked through. When it is done, add the sugar and food color. The mixture would thin out a little and may form lumps after adding sugar. Continue stirring until there are no lumps. Add ghee little by little and continue to cook in medium heat. When all the ghee is used up add the fried cashews. Remove from heat and serve warm.
Notes: You can substitute yellow food color instead of orange.
Linking these up to Kid's Delight - Festival Treats;
Kids delight[4]

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Pumpkin Cranberry Granola | Healthy Breakfast Recipes

After the success of my Pear Granola recipe, I have been making granola at home quite often with fresh fruit purees and Kavin's leftover store-bought fruit puree baby foods. Every time I try with a different nuts and sweetener combination. 
When most people love and wait eagerly for the spring season, somehow my favorite one is the autumn or the fall season. I love orange, orange everywhere starting with the falling leaves, persimmons, sweet potatoes and of course pumpkins. This pumpkin cranberry granola is another one on the line celebrating the fall season.
Serves - 6
Rolled Oats - 3 cups
Roasted Pepitas - 1/2 cup
Cranberries - 1/2 cup
Cinnamon (ground) - 1 tsp
Ginger (ground) - 1/2 tsp
Salt - 1/2 tsp
Pumpkin puree - 2/3 cup
Olive Oil - 2 tbsp
Maple Syrup - 1/4 cup
Brown Sugar - 2 tbsp (optional)
Preheat the oven to 300 F/150 C. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix the pumpkin puree, cinnamon, ginger, salt, oil, maple syrup and brown sugar (if using). Pour over the oats and mix well. Spread on the baking sheet and bake for 50 minutes. Pull out the baking sheet every 10 minutes and mix the oats with spoon to allow even cooking. In the last 10 minutes, fold in the pepitas and cranberries. When done, allow to cool in the baking sheet. The oats crisp up when cooled. Serve for breakfast with yogurt or milk.
Linking these up for Vegan Thursdays!

Celebrating 3 years of blogging with an Event and a Giveaway!

Time flies. How true? This December I am completing 3 years of blogging. Though it may sound like cliche, I never thought I could make it this far. This blog has been my hobby and companion whenever I wanted to spend time usefully or just laze away. It has grown with me through my pregnancy, childbirth and my kid's first birthday. This blog has given me many friends and quite a few memories. I am celebrating this moment and always thankful for everyone in my life.
Happiness is meant to be shared, right! I am sharing in the form of a giveaway. One lucky winner will be selected at the end of the event to receive a cookbook "Dakshin - Vegetarian Cuisine from South India" by Chandra Padmanabhan. 
And now for the event details. I believe everyone will be in a holiday mood and baking away tons of cookies and cakes. To be a part of my event, just link them up. 

Rules for the event:
1. Link up all your holiday baking viz. cakes, cupcakes, muffins, scones, cookies. Eggs, no eggs anything is fine.
2. The recipe post should be linked back to this announcement page.
3. Send in any number of new entries posted from now until Jan 5th, 2014. 
4. Any one can participate, but only entries from US and India are eligible for the giveaway.
5. Non-blogger are also eligible for the giveaway, just send me your recipes with picture of the bake to krithiskitchen[at]gmail[dot]com.
6. Like my Facebook Page Krithi's Kitchen and follow me through Google Friend Connect.
7. After linking your entries leave a comment here.
8. Winner will be announced in the 2nd week of January.
Come on people, don your baking caps and link up some scrumptious entries.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Murungakeerai Adai / Lentil Moringa Pancakes | Idli Dosa Recipes

Back home in India we had a drumstick tree in our backyard. Well, pretty much every tree in there, Mango, lime, coconut, jamun yielding a bounty of organic produce. We also had curry leaves, tulsi, hibiscus plants. The memory of eating drumstick leaves was almost forgotten, until I spotted this little pack of drumstick leaves in my Indian produce shopping last time. I picked up one thinking of making these adais which DH hearts and is a part of MIL's recipe book to him. I tweaked the recipe a little and arrived at this tasty dosa variety.
Measurements in rice cooker cup - 160 ml; Makes 16 adais
Idli Rice - 3 cups
Toor dhal - 1 cup
Chana dhal - 1/4 cup
Murunga keerai / Drumstick leaves / Moringa - 1 cup - loosely packed
Dry Red chillies - 10 (see notes below)
Black Peppercorns - 1 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1-1/2 tsp
Asafoetida - 1/2 tsp
Grated Coconut - 1/2 cup - loosely packed
Salt - to taste
Wash and soak the rice and dhals together in plenty of water for 4 hours. Soak the dry red chillies in a separate bowl filled with water. Clean the murunga keerai, reserve only the leaves and discard the stems and twigs. Wash to remove any dirt. In the wet grinder, add one cup of the soaked rice-dhal mixture with chillies, peppercorns, cumin, asafoetida and coconut. Grind well, and add the rest of rice after 2 minutes. Grind coarsely into a rava like texture. Remove from the grinder and mix the salt and drumstick leaves. Heat a dosa tawa and pour about 1/2 cup of the batter and make dosas. Spray some oil and flip when the edges turn red. Cook for another minute and half and remove. Serve hot.
Linking this to Taste of the Tropics - Chilis.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Keerai Kootu / Spinach Moong Dhal Stew | South Indian Curry Recipes

Keerai kootu is a simple, earthy and healthy side for a spicy kulambu. Packed with protein and plenty of nutrients this spinach moong dhal stew is a perfect combo for chapathis also. I buy this big bag of Spinach from Costco and I love to include spinach in our meals in many forms. Spinach Chickpea pulao, Spinach chutney, Spinach Pesto and Paneer Spinach Pinwheels to name a few.

Serves - 4
Spinach - 5 cups - tightly packed - chopped
Yellow Moong Dhal - 2 tbsps - heaped
Onion - 1/4 cup - chopped fine
Dry red chillies - 3
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Urad dhal - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves - a few
Turmeric powder - a pinch
Salt - to taste
Wash the moong dhal and boil in 1 cup of water with a pinch of salt. Cook until the dhal still holds the shape but completely mashed when pressed between the finger tips. Set aside with the cooked water. In a kadai, heat oil and temper the mustard seeds, urad dhal, curry leaves and dry red chillies. When the mustard splutters, add the chopped onion and saute until transparent. Add the spinach and mix until it wilts. Continue cooking until the spinach is completely cooked. Add salt to taste, turmeric powder and the cooked dhal with water. Mix well and allow it to come to a boil. Remove from heat and serve as a side for rice or roti.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Manga Vathal Kulambu / Dry Mango Tamarind Curry | South Indian Curry Recipes

Packing stuff to bring from India when on vacation is always an exciting thing. Apart from nice Indian dresses for us, I also pack things we do not get here. Grandma's onion pickle, MIL's home made fryums and aunt's multi-purpose spice powder. This time MIL also asked me if I want to take the manga vathal (sundried mango pieces). I was not sure what to do with that, until DH insisted me to pack that to make vathal kulambu. Apparently, he loves manga vathal kulambu very much. I bought 2 packets and still have a little left after making this vathal kulambu few times.

Manga Vathal / Dried Mango pieces - 1/4 cup - about 6-7 pieces
Gingelly oil - 1/4 cup
Fenugreek seeds / Vendhayam - 1/2 tsp
Pearl onions / Sambar onions - 20 - peeled whole
Garlic - pods from 2 heads - approx 25 cloves
Curry leaves - a few
Chilli powder - 1 tsp
Coriander powder / dhaniya - 2 tsps heaped
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Tamarind - size of a small lime - soaked in water and juice extracted - about 2 cups
Water - 2 cups
Hot water - 1/2 cup

Soak the dried mango pieces in hot water. Heat oil in a kadai and add the fenugreek seeds and curry leaves. After about half a minute add the peeled whole pearl onions and garlic cloves. Cook in medium-high heat until the onions are three-fourth cooked. Add the spice powders and fry for a minute. Add the tamarind extract, salt and the water from the mango pieces. When it comes to a boil add the mango pieces. Reduce the heat and simmer for a good 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and serve hot over steamed rice. Keerai kootu or pappad are best combos.
Notes: This kulambu can be stored for upto a week in the fridge, if it lasts that long for you. Remember to use clean, dry spoon every time.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Carrot Mutta Podimas / Carrot Eggs Stir Fry

How do you increase your protein intake? Eat eggs if you can. How do you give protein to the one who doesn't eat eggs (read as don't want to)? Sneak up with something they eat. Again this method doesn't even work the slightest in DH. He can smell eggs even from a mile away. This is for the little one who I am training to eat eggs. He likes the taste but just can't stand the texture. There are only a few ways he can eat eggs, like this poriyal here mixed with rasam or curd rice. Or like in this kulambu mixed with rice.
Serves - 3
Carrots - 4 - medium sized (shredded)
Eggs - 2
Oil - 2 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Urad dhal - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves - a few
Garam masala - 3/4 tsp (Can substitute curry powder)
Heat oil in a skillet and splutter the mustard seeds, urad dhal and curry leaves. Add the grated carrots and fry in medium heat until it is cooked through. Add the garam masala, salt and saute for a minute. Crack open the eggs into the skillet and mix with the carrots. Continue cooking by stirring the mixture around until the eggs are scrambled and cooked. Serve as a side or as a filling for a sandwich. Also goes good as a stuffing for a khatti roll.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Chocolate Banana Marble Bread - Eggless | Muffins and Quick Bread Recipes

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade... When it gives you bananas, make banana bread. I had quite a few ripe bananas sitting on the countertop with no takers. When it comes to banana bread, the hubby approved recipe is already on my space. He wouldn't allow me to change it. But I wanted to use these bananas to make a banana bread. I also wanted to make a quickbread with the "marble" effect ever since I saw in the blogosphere months ago. It is just that I never got into making it, I never got the chance to try something new. I know, I know being a food blogger is all about trying new things. But with a toddler the daily activities itself become overwhelming sometimes with all the extra tidying up. This time we were visiting one of our family friends and I dared to make the much needed venturing to create the marbled bread, undoubtedly I manage to squeeze in this when the home was in pin-drop silence (read as kid sleeping).
Recipe Adapted from here
Makes - 1 loaf - 12 slices
All purpose flour - 1-1/2 cups (Substitute Whole wheat flour for a healthier version)
Salt - 1/2 tsp
Baking Powder - 1/4 tsp
Baking Soda - 3/4 tsp
Ground Cinnamon - 1/4 tsp (optional)
Oil - 2 tbsp (see notes below)
Brown Sugar - 1/2 cup (You can substitute any granular sweetener of your choice)
Low fat milk - 1/2 cup
Vanilla extract - 1 tsp
Mashed Bananas - 1 cup - approx 3 medium sized bananas
Cocoa powder - 3 tbsp
Hot water - 3 tbsp

Preheat the oven to 350 F/ 180 C. Grease and line a loaf pan with parchment paper. Mix the dry ingredients (the first 5) with a whisk. In another mixing bowl, whisk together the oil, sugar, milk and vanilla until the sugar is dissolved completely. Add the mashed bananas and mix well. Add the flour mixture little by little and incorporate into the wet mixture using the whisk. Do not overmix. Mixing just until most of the flour mixture is absorbed is fine. Now divide the batter into, well not accurately, just eyeballing would be fine. In a small bowl mix the cocoa powder and hot water until smooth. Add that to one part of the batter and mix. Now, in the batter. In the prepared loaf tin, add 2 tablespoon measures of the batters alternatively to form a checker board pattern. For a visual guide check out this link. After all the batter is used up, use a knife, back of a spoon or the back of a wooden spatula to make swirls in the batter. A simple "S" pattern all over would be suffice. Bake for about 50-55 minutes. Allow to cool in the wire rack for a couple of hours. Serve warm or chilled.
You could use melted butter or any oil you prefer. 
Linking it up to Srivalli's Cake Mela; Flavours of USA & Canada; Vardhini's Bake Fest #25.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Pumpkin Spice Latte / Pumpkin Spiced Instant Coffee

The market is brimming with pumpkins and the food blog world is abuzz with pumpkin recipes. I am a little late this year with my pumpkin recipe for the season. I wanted to make and post my favorite pumpkin recipes of the fall. Pumpkin Spice Latte.. Now this here is not a traditional recipe since I have used instant coffee powder instead of espresso. But I like it that way. If you are a fan of Pumpkin Spice Latte like I am you would love this.
Previous Years' Pumpkin Recipes - Pumpkin Pasties; Pumpkin Cranberry Scones.
For the Pumpkin Spiced Syrup
Pumpkin Puree - 1/2 cup
Water - 1 cup (reduce to 3/4 cup if using home made pumpkin puree)
Brown Sugar (packed) - 1/3 cup
Ground Cinnamon - 2 tsp
Ground Dry Ginger - 1 tsp
Ground Cloves - 1 tsp (use 1/2 tsp if grinding fresh at home)
Ground Nutmeg - 1/2 tsp (use little shy of 1/2 tsp if grinding fresh at home)

For Pumpkin Spice Latte with Instant Coffee Powder
Makes - 2 servings
Milk - 1-1/3 cups (See Notes below)
Pumpkin Spiced Syrup - 2/3 cup
Instant Coffee powder - 3/4 tsp (this is for 2 servings. Adjust according to desired coffee strength)
Mix all the ingredients for the syrup in a saucepan and heat in medium flame. When it starts bubbling, remove from heat and allow to cool.
Heat milk until warm and mix with pumpkin spiced syrup and coffee powder. Mix well until the coffee is distributed well. Serve hot topped with milk foam or whipped cream.
I tried to sweeten the syrup with agave but I personally loved the syrup with good ol' sugar. You could make latte immediately after the syrup is done.  But I personally liked it after 2 days when all the spices meld and give a wonderful flavour. The Pumpkin spice syrup can be stored for upto a week in the refrigerator.
I used low fat milk. Whole milk or half and half or a combination of both can be used. No sugar/sweetener is needed for the latte since the sugar in the syrup should be good. 
Linking it hot to Flavours of USA & Canada.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Coriander Rice / Kothamalli Sadham | Indian Rice Recipes

I would always try to clean up my fridge before I go for produce shopping. I confess, I am not a "meal planner" who carefully drafts out every single meal of the week. I have a visibility and plan for two days max. After that I plan for the next two days with the leftover produce. I was going through the vegetables rack and found this little bunch of coriander leaves (cilantro) lying around hidden. I was out of most vegetables and there was nothing I could pair 'em with, so I planned for coriander rice for me and Kavin for lunch. It was done in a jiffy and tasted so good that I shared some with my neighbor. Good things are meant to be shared right?!

Serves - 3; Cooking Time - 30 minutes
Rice - 1-1/2 cups (rice cooker cup)
Cilantro / Coriander leaves - 1 big bunch
Pearl onions / Sambar onions - 10 - peeled and quartered
Salt - to taste
Sesame Oil / Gingelly Oil - 1 tsp + 2 tbsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Urad dhal - 1 tsp
Curry leaves - a few
For the Spice powder:
Coriander Seeds - 1 tbsp
Chana dhal - 1 tsp
Urad dhal - 1 tsp
Cumin Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Red chillies - 4
Wash and soak rice in water for 15 minutes. Cook with 2-3/4 cups of water until done and the grains are not sticky. Remove from heat and spread on a plate to cool. Heat 1 tsp of oil and roast the ingredients for spice powder until light brown. Allow to cool and make a fine powder. Puree the coriander leaves with a couple of tablespoons of water. Heat remaining oil in a kadai and splutter the mustard seeds, urad dhal and curry leaves. Add the onions and fry until soft followed by the ground spice powder. After half a minute add the coriander leaves puree and salt. Cook in medium flame until the paste cooks and becomes shiny. Add the cooked cooled rice little by little and mix well with a fork. Serve hot with any curry, raitha or better yet a simple pappad.
Linking this up to Taste of the Tropics - Chilis; PJ's Herbs & Flowers - Season 2.