Thursday, May 29, 2014

Masal Vada / Cabbage Dhal Vada | Snacks Recipes

When it comes to deep-fried snacks, LO is just like his Dad.. Loves 'em. I made this crunchy crispy vadas for lunch the other day. It was a great combo for the Mysore Rasam (recipe coming soon) I made. I used a combination of chana dhal and split moong dhal and added cabbage in the place of regular onions. 
Inspired from here
Dhal measurements in 160 ml cup; Makes 12 vadas
Chana dhal - 1/2 cup
Moong dhal - 1/2 cup
Dry Red chillies - 2
Fennel seeds - 1 tsp
Asafoetida - 1/2 tsp
Cabbage, chopped fine - 1-1/2 cups (can substitute onions)
Green onions, chopped - a handful (optional)
Coriander leaves, chopped - a handful
Salt - to taste (see notes below)
Oil - for frying

Wash and soak the dhals together for 45 mins to an hour. Drain completely and grind coarsely with red chilli, fennel seeds and asafoetida. Mix with salt, chopped cabbage (or onions), green onions and coriander leaves. Heat oil for deep frying. Make small patties and deep fry until golden brown on the outside and cooked through in the inside.
Add salt just before frying. If not frying immediately after grinding, cover and refrigerate until use.
Linking this up to Vegan Thursdays.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal | Baby & Toddler Food Ideas

Mealtimes are always a challenge with little ones. They become more picky as they grow. Feeding my LO with a healthy balanced meal has always been a tricky task for me. But sneaking in "healthy stuff" into something he eats has been working so far. Touch wood! My LO likes, well like is too strong a word when it comes to his eating. He likes eats oatmeal when it is a little sweet. But he has never been a big fan of fruits except for bananas. So I sneaked in an apple to his breakfast bowl. That satisfies his daily fruit serving and since apple is sweet, he doesn't notice :).

Serves - 1
Rolled (old fashioned) oats - 1/2 cup
Water - 3/4 cup
Whole milk - 1/4 cup
Apple - 1 medium
Cinnamon - 1/4 tsp
Salt - a dash
Sugar - 1-2 tsp

Peel, core and chop the apples. Blend to make a puree. In a medium Microwave-proof bowl, mix the oats and water. Cook in the microwave oven for 1-1/2 minutes. Mix once and microwave again for 30 seconds. Mix the apple puree, cinnamon, salt and milk and microwave again for 30 to 60 seconds. Allow a minute or two of standby time (allowing it to rest in the microwave undisturbed). Mix in the sugar per taste and serve.
Notes: For babies less than 10 months old, use a hand blender to puree the cooked oatmeal before serving.

Linking this up to Healthy Diets: Healthy Breakfasts event of Priya hosted by Nandoos Kitchen and to Srivalli's Come Join Us for Breakfast.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Tomato Thokku / Tomato Pickle - South Indian Style

Summer reminds me of the summer vacation spent at grandma's place. While we kids will be busy having non-stop fun, grown-ups will be busy making the summer goodies. Different types of pickles, vathals (sun dried vegetables), vadams (dried ready to make fryums) are made and stocked up for the year. While the vathals and vadams are prepared to make an ample use of the sun in summer, the pickles are made for the availability of the seasonal produce. That being said the market is overflowing with tomatoes and I am making a great use of them. 
Ripe Tomato - 1/2 kg
Garlic - 10 small cloves
Fenugreek seeds - 1 tsp
Tamarind - lime sized
Dry Red Chillies - 12-15
Salt - 1-1/2 tsp or taste
Gingelly oil / Sesame oil - 1/3 cup
Mustard seeds - 2 tsp
Asafoetida / Perungayam - 1/2 tsp
Dry red chillies - 1

Soak the tamarind in a little water. Dry roast the fenugreek seeds until it slightly changes in color. Allow to cool and powder. Add the dry red chillies in a blender and pulse until almost fine. Add the soaked tamarind and make a smooth paste. In a heavy-bottom saucepan, add the chopped tomatoes, salt, ground paste and fenugreek powder. Allow to boil in medium-high heat until the mixture boils over and the tomatoes cooks through. Heat oil in a separate pan and splutter the mustard seeds, asafoetida and one dry chilli. Pour over the tomatoes and cook in medium heat. Mix occasionally and continue cooking until it comes together and the oil oozes out. Allow to cool completely and store in a dry glass container.
It is not recommended to store pickles in plastic container since the oil could react with plastic. Glass or ceramic jars work perfect.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Fettucine Avocado | Vegan Pasta Recipes

Ever wonder if you can convert something sinfully delicious to something deliciously healthy. Yes you can and I did too. Avocado to the rescue..  This is a healthier version of the classic Fettuccine Alfredo without all the not-so-good fats from the cream, butter and cheese. The creaminess and the fat in the avocado makes it a great alternative for the butter and cream in this recipe. Avocados are high in fiber and magnesium. It is true that avocado is high in fat but those are the good fats that is very good for your heart. 
Check out my recipe for Guacamole.

Serves - 1-2
Dry Fettuccine pasta - 1/4 lb
Ripe Avocado - 1 small
Lemon juice - 1-1/2 tbsp
Extra Virgin Olive oil - 2 tbsp
Salt - a pinch
Pepper - a pinch
Cook the pasta in salted boiling water until done. Drain and reserve 1 cup of pasta water. Blend the avocado flesh, oil, lemon juice with salt and pepper. Add pasta water as needed to loosen the avocado puree. Transfer to a bowl and add the pasta. Toss well adding the pasta water as needed to loosen the sauce. Serve warm.
Notes: Add chopped parsley or basil as needed.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Kadappa Sambar | Side Dish for Idli / Dosa

Are you someone who always tries to think hard when it comes to making a side dish for Dosa? Yeah, I am one of you. But I have an idea for today so you don't have to break your head next time. A simple side dish for Dosa, this Kadappa sambar is different from the Thanjavur kadappa which is made with moong dhal and potato. With fresh ground spices and garnished with mint leaves this sambar is sure to be voted as your family's new favorite.
Recipe source - MIL;
Serves - 3-4; Preparation time - 10 mins; Cooking time - 20 mins.
Besan / Chickpea flour - 3 heaped tbsp
Water -  3 cups
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Oil - 2 tsp
Onion - 1 cup, thinly sliced
Tomato - 1/4 cup, finely chopped
Mint leaves - a handful
Coriander leaves - a handful
Make a paste:
Ginger - 1" piece
Garlic - 3 cloves
Cinnamon - 1" piece
Cloves - 3
Fennel seeds / Sombu - 1 tsp
Poppy seeds / Kasakasa - 1 tsp
Green chillies - 2-4 (based on the heat of the chillies)
Mix the besan with 1 cup water and turmeric powder, set aside. Make a smooth paste of the spices under make a paste. Heat oil in saucepan and fry the onions until soft. Add the tomatoes with a pinch of salt. When the tomatoes become soft, add the ground spice paste and cook in medium flame for a couple of minutes or the raw smell of the paste vanishes. Now add the besan water with salt. Add 2 more cups of water and mix. Allow it to come to a boil and continue cooking in medium heat for about 15-20 minutes, until the besan cooks through and the raw smell of the besan disappears. Turn the heat off and add the chopped mint and coriander leaves. Cover and rest for 10 minutes. Serve hot with dosa.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Agave Almond Clumpy Granola | Breakfast Recipes

I love oatmeal. It is a wholegrain and a great way to start your day. I top it up with the fresh fruits I have at hand and just enjoy. But for DH, ordinary oatmeal is bleh. For him I have to pep it up a little, like making it as a granola. OK, Now I am not saying he is overly excited about the oats in the new form, but he doesn't complain. Mission accomplished!
I also sneaked in a little pressed barley to the oats. In a granola, it doesn't even make a difference. You should definitely try it.
Also check out my other granola recipes, Granola with pear puree and Pumpkin Cranberry Granola.
Rolled oats / Old fashioned oats - 4 cups
Rolled (pressed) Barley - 1/2 cup (can substitute oats instead)
Raw whole Almonds - 1/2 cup - chopped roughly
Salt - a pinch
Light Olive Oil  - 1/4 cup
Agave syrup - 1/2 cup (Can substitute honey or maple syrup)
Vanilla extract - 2 tsp

Preheat the oven to 275 F/140 C. Line a large baking sheet with aluminium foil. Pulse 1 cup of oats in blender until fine. Mix the oats, barley (if using), oats flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Whisk the wet ingredients separately. Pour the wet ingredients over the oats and mix well. Spread in the baking sheet and bake in the upper rack of the oven for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and mix once. Do not over mix as it may disintegrate the beautiful clumps which are forming. Just scrape the bottom of the foil all over. Pop in the oven again for 10 minutes. Remove and sprinkle the nuts. Place in the oven again for 10 minutes. Now, turn the oven off and leave the oven door ajar for an hour or two. When completely cooled, transfer to an air-tight container. Keeps well for weeks, if it lasts that long for you.
Notes: Play around with the flavours. Cinnamon, Cardamom, Ginger are nice alternatives or additions to the vanilla. You could add about 1/2 cup of your favorite dried fruits.
Careful though, if you have little kids running around, you may want to make this granola during their naptime since we do not want the curious little ones anywhere near the hot oven with door open.
Linking this up to Healthy Diets: Healthy Breakfasts event of Priya hosted by Nandoos Kitchen and to Srivalli's Come Join Us for Breakfast.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mint Coriander Pulao | Indian Rice Recipes

Can something simple be so flavorful? Yes it can. You too will say so when you try this Mint Coriander Pulao for your meal today. With the arrival of Spring the market is beaming with fresh bunches of herbs and I never fail to pick up the mint leaves when I see them fresh. My sister told me about this pulao she tasted in a potluck. I was quite skeptical about the taste when I heard the method when the rice was fully dependent on the herbs with no flavor base like tomatoes or cream. Boy! Was I wrong. The mint and cilantro rendered a super aromatic rice and made for a satisfying weekday lunch.
Serves - 2-3
Rice - 1-1/2 cups (160 ml cup)
Mint leaves - 2 cups, packed
Cilantro/Coriander leaves - 1 cup, tightly packed
Onion - 1 cup, chopped
Ginger Garlic paste - 1 tsp
Oil - 2 tsp
Ghee - 1 tsp
Bay leaf - 1
Cloves - 3
Cinnamon - 1" piece
Salt - to taste 

Wash and soak the rice for 15 mins and drain. Heat 1/2 tsp of ghee in a pan and fry the rice until it is warm. Transfer to a plate to cool. Heat oil in a pressure cooker and add the whole garam masala and fry for a minute. Add the chopped onions and fry until soft. Add the ginger garlic paste and fry for about 2 mins in medium heat. Add the roughly chopped mint and coriander leaves and sauté until it wilts. Add the rice, salt and about 2-3/4 cups of water. Cover and pressure cook for 2 whistles (or cook in a covered pot for 15-20 minutes until the rice is done). When done fluff it with a fork and serve hot.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Rhubarb Crisp | Desserts Recipes

The perks of being a food blogger is being introduced to new things through fellow bloggers. One such thing is Rhubarb. Rhubarb is a vegetable which looks similar to the celery stalk. It is sour and used mostly in pies, crisps and jams. For me, raw rhubarb tasted like the Indian gooseberry which I love. I had made this rhubarb crisp a few weeks ago and I totally forgot it was lying in the drafts. A scrumptious dessert which is delicious, elegant and great for entertaining.
Recipe from here
Serves - 3
Rhubarb - 1/2 lb ~ 2 cups(5 stalks)
Brown sugar - 1/4 cup
Cornstarch - 1 tbsp
Salt - a pinch
Lemon juice - 1/2 tsp
Lemon zest - from half a lemon
All-purpose flour - 1/4 cup
Brown Sugar - 1/4 cup
Rolled oats - 1/4 cup
Cinnamon - 1/4 tsp
Nutmeg - a pinch
Salt - a pinch
Butter - 2 tbsp (cold)

Preheat the oven to 350 F/180 C. Prepare three 6 oz oven-proof containers. Chop the rhubarb to 1/4 inch slices. Mix the sugar, corn starch, salt, lemon juice and zest with the cut rhubarb pieces and set aside. Pulse the ingredients for topping a couple of times in the blender. Add the cold butter cut into pieces and pulse twice. Equally distribute the rhubarb filling into the 3 cups, and top the flour mixture to fill the cups. The cups may look like it is going to spillover, but don't worry, it will settle as it bakes. Bake in the preheated oven for about 35-40 minutes until the top is slightly brown and the filling starts to bubble.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Bakery Style Kharaa Buns / Savory Onion Dill Buns | Snack Recipes

Tea times in India are filled with chatter, chai and a snack. The snack part is mostly from the local bakery. Samosa, Vegetable Puffs & Vegetable Cutlets are the most commonly sought after snacks. But every place has its specialties. When we visit my aunt in Bangalore the snacks are different. It is native to that place, viz Kodubale, Obbittu and these Khara buns. These buns have been in my to-do list for a while now and I set out to make these when my LO was taking his nap. These Khara buns are to die for. These are like savory and spicy pillows of heaven. 

Recipe from The Chef and Her Kitchen
Makes 12 buns;
Maida/All purpose flour - 3-1/4 cups + more for kneading
Salt - 1 tsp
Water - 3/4 cup
Milk - 1/2 cup
Yeast, Active dry - 1 pkt (2-1/4 tsp)
Sugar 1-1/2 tbsp
Cooking oil - 2 tbsp + more for greasing
For the savory addition:
Oil - 1 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Onion - 1 cup (finely chopped)
Coriander leaves, loosely packed - 1 cup
Dill leaves, loosely packed - 1 cup
Green chillies, coarsely ground - 1 tbsp
Salt - 1/4 tsp
For brushing on top:
Milk - 2 tbsp
Butter - 1 tbsp
Warm up the water and milk for about 60-80 secs in a microwave-proof bowl. Your finger should be able to feel the warm, but it should not be too hot. Add the sugar, yeast and mix well. Set aside for the yeast to bloom, about 10 minutes. 
In a pan, heat 1 tsp of oil and pop the cumin seeds, followed by the onions and the ground chillies. Saute until the onions are completely cooked. Add the chopped dill leaves and coriander leaves and salt. Mix well and remove from heat to cool.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk the flour (3-1/4 cups) and salt together. Add the yeast mixture, oil and knead to form a dough. If the dough is too sticky sprinkle flour as needed while kneading. Remember, the dough should not be too stiff because it means the yeast needs moisture to grow. When the dough comes together, knead for a good 10 minutes. Add the cooled onion mixture and continue kneading for another 10 minutes adding flour as needed. It would be the best 20 minutes spent to let off steam. At this stage the dough should be smooth and not sticky (see the collage pictures above).
Preheat your oven to warm mode/the lowest temperature setting for 2 minutes and turn it off. Take another large bowl and grease the bottom and sides of the bowl completely. Apply oil all over the dough and place it in the oiled bowl and cover with a wet cloth. Place inside the warmed oven for about an hour or hour-and-a-half.  The dough would have doubled in size by now. Punch down the dough and make 12 equal-sized balls. Line two baking sheets with aluminium foil and grease with oil. Place the balls, 6 on each sheet and cover with wet cloth. Allow it to rise again for about 45 minutes. 
Meanwhile preheat the oven to 425 F / 220 C. When the 45 minutes of rising is up brush the top with milk and place the baking sheets inside the oven. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 F / 180 C. Bake for about 18-22 minutes until the tops are golden brown. Remove from the oven and immediately brush with butter. Butter is what give the beautiful shine to the buns.
Serve warm as an accompaniment to tea/coffee.
You can do any filling you want. Replace the onion filling with a potato-pea mixture or add shredded coconut with sugar for a sweet bun. Play around with the flavours and relish.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Murungakeerai Rasam / Drumstick Leaves Soup | Rasam Recipes

I never fail to pick up the fresh bunch of greens whenever I spot them. Apart from the big bag of spinach from Costco in my fridge, my freezer always would have a packet of frozen methi leaves. In my last week's trip to the farmer's market I picked up this super fresh bunch of drumstick leaves / Murunga keerai, planning to make Murungakeerai Adai, DH's favorite. With the other half of the bunch I made these super fragrant Murunga keerai Rasam.
Drumstick leaves / Murungakeerai - 2 cups
Toor dhal - a fistful
Tomato - 1 small
Tamarind - size of half a lime
Rasam powder - 1 tsp or as needed
Coconut milk - 2 tbsp (optional)
Salt - to taste
Oil - 1 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp 
Red chilli - 1
Soak tamarind in water and extract juice. Wash and pressure cook toor dhal with 1 cup of water for 3 whistles. Meanwhile in a large saucepan, cook the drumstick leaves with 1 cup of water until it is soft. Add the tamarind juice with 1 cup of water and allow to boil for 3 minutes. Add rasam powder, salt and the mashed dhal with the water. Allow to heat up for a couple of minutes. Check for salt and add coconut milk. Remove from heat and transfer rasam to the serving bowl. Heat oil and splutter the mustard seeds and red chilli. Pour over the rasam and serve hot with steamed rice or just bowl it for a warm soup.