Thursday, February 26, 2015

Lilva Kachori / Broad Beans Kachuri | Indian Snack Recipes

I saw these Kachoris my friend Praks had posted in her FB page. Being a foodie, I did not wait long to ask her for the recipe. She was more than happy to share the recipe and added proudly that this is her family recipe. She is from Gujarat and the shape of the kachoris they make are like modaks and is different from the flattened kachoris from the other parts of India. I tried making them in both ways just for fun. Did I say that these were the fastest disappearing snack I made. My little one loved it to the core and asked if there was any leftover "Cat-turi" the next day.

Makes 12 kachoris
For the filling:
Tuvar - 1 cup (fresh/frozen)
Green chilli - 1
Ginger - 1" piecec
Garlic cloves - 3
Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
Sugar - 1/2 tsp
Coriander leaves - a fistful
Grated coconut - 1 tbsp
Lemon juice - 2 tsp
Oil - 1 tsp + more for deep frying

For the outer covering:
Wheat (atta) flour - 1 cup
Maida / All purpose flour - 1 cup
Salt - 1/4 tsp
Oil - 2 tbsp
Water - 2/3 cup (more or less)

Thaw the beans if using frozen. Pulse the green chilli, ginger and garlic in the small jar of the mixie once. Add the beans and pulse until coarse. Heat oil in a pan and add the ground beans mixture and cumin powder. Cook in medium heat sprinkling little water. When the mixture is almost cooked (shouldn't be mashed) add sugar, coriander leaves and salt. Remove from heat and add coconut and lemon juice. Mix well and allow to cool completely. I made the filling earlier in the day and refrigerated until evening.
Mix the flours, salt and oil. Add water little by little and make smooth, stiff dough. Make 12 equal sized balls of the dough. Also divide the filling into 12 portions. 
When ready to fry the kachoris, heat oil for deep frying. Roll one dough ball into a 3 inch disc. Place one ball of the filling and bring the corners of the flattened disc together and pinch to make a covered ball. You could pinch of excess dough if desired. This is how the kachoris are made in gujarat. If you want the flattened kachoris after covering the filling roll it ever so slightly to form a thick disc. Do not apply too much pressure while rolling out which may cause the outer covering to tear and expose the filling.
When the oil is hot, reduce the heat to medium and gently slide the kachoris to the oil. Cook in medium heat, flipping over once or twice until the kachoris are golden brown. Serve hot with ketchup or mint/tamarind chutney.
It is important to make the dough stiff but pliable. Loose dough will absorb more oil which is not desirable. 
Fry the kachoris in medium heat slowly until the kachoris turn light brown. The oil should not be in high heat because it will cause the outer covering to brown faster and the insides will be under-cooked. 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Kozhi Kuzhambu / Chicken Curry | South Indian Curry Recipes

If you are looking for something cozy yet spicy to make today, this south Indian style chicken curry recipe is a perfect one for your Sunday lunch with rice. Before now, cooking non-vegetarian at home wasn't a frequent event since DH is a pure vegetarian. Now that I have my LO to give me company to eat chicken at home I find myself cooking it more often. So expect more chicken recipes in this space.

Serves - 2-3
Chicken - 1/2 kg 
Small Onions / Pearl onions - 8, halved OR Onion, chopped - 1 cup
Tomato, small - 2, chopped
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp (optional)
Oil - 2 tbsp
Water - 2-3 cups
Fresh ground pepper - 1/4 tsp (optional)
Spice paste:
Cumin seeds / Jeera - 1/2 tsp
Fennel seeds / Sombu - 1 tsp
Poppy seeds / kasa kasa - 1 tsp
Cinnamon / Pattai - 1" piece - 2 nos
Cloves / Krambu - 5
Coriander seeds - 3 tsp
Dry red chillies - 5-6
Ginger, peeled - 1" piece
Garlic cloves - 3
Pearl onions - 4
Coconut, grated - 1/3 cup (about 5 tbsp)
Oil - 2 tsp

Heat 1 tsp of oil in a small pan and add the first 7 ingredients of the spice paste. When it is slightly toasted, remove from heat and allow to cool in a plate. Crush the peeled ginger, garlic and pearl onions with a rolling pin or the bottom of a cup. Add another tsp of oil and fry the crushed ginger, garlic and pearl onions for a minute. Add the coconut and fry in medium heat until it is slightly toasted. Remove from heat to cool. Make a fine paste of the above 2 mixtures together adding water. 
Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a cast-iron skillet (I love the cast iron for this recipe) and add the chicken pieces brown them all over, about a couple of minutes. The chicken may not have been cooked through but it is ok, it will cook in the curry. Remove to a plate. In the same pan add the remaining oil and the mustard seeds. When they pop, add the chopped onion and fry until it is translucent. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook until they are mushy. Add the ground paste with 2 cups of water. Add salt as needed with pepper (if using) and bring it to a boil. Add the chicken pieces and cook in medium heat for 15-20 minutes until the chicken is tender and the kuzhambu is thick. Serve over rice or as a side for idli/dosa.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Puli Kuzhambu / Pumpkin Tamarind Curry | South Indian Curry Recipes

It was tough deciding which recipe I wanted to post next. Most of the recipes I had in draft was either baked (I had been posting 3 baked recipes in a row the past week) or more of a combination recipes which had to be posted one after the other. But since I had been planning to post a special chicken curry for the weekend, I think this would be a nice one to post for a midweek. 
Psst.. the combination recipes I talked about earlier.. here are a few coming up.. well over a couple of days.. Achari Murgh with Kashmiri Pulao; Mushroom Briyani with Zucchini Raitha; Kollu Thogayal with Kollu Rasam.

Pearl onions - 10
Garlic cloves - 15
Tomato, ripe - 2
Pumpkin / Parangikai, cubed - 1 cup
Tamarind - size of a lemon
Water - 2 cups
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Sambar powder - 3 tsp
Fenugreek seeds - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves - a few
Gingelly oil - 3 tbsp
Salt - to taste
Peel and halve the pearl onions. Peel the garlic cloves. Soak the tamarind in warm water for 30 minutes and extract 2 cups of juice. Heat oil in a kadai and splutter the fenugreek seeds and curry leaves. Add the onion and garlic cloves and fry until softened. Add the cubed pumpkin and fry for a couple of minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes with a pinch of salt and cook until it is pulpy. Now sprinkle the turmeric powder, sambar powder and mix well. Add the tamarind juice and water and check for seasoning. Bring it to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes stirring occasionally. Serve hot with rice and pappads.
The pumpkin here can be replaced by bitter gourd or brinjals.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Oven Roasted Winter Vegetables

Is it still Winter or is Spring already here? The Sun is playing hide-and-seek every other day. Past weekend was pretty warm here in Northern California and the forecast says so for the next few days. Nevertheless, if it is still cold in where you live or just so, you could make these easy oven roasted winter vegetables. It is a versatile dish which can be a side for rice or quinoa or can easily be converted as a main course with just a cup of yogurt.
Serves - 4
Carrots, medium - 3
Butternut squash - 1/3 of a medium sized one
Red Potato - 1
Sweet Potato - 1
Red bell pepper - 1
Green bell pepper - 1
Eggplant - 1/2 of a large one
Zucchini - 1
Garlic, crushed - 3 cloves
Extra Virgin Olive oil - 3-4 Tbsp
Salt - 3/4 tsp
Black Pepper, freshly ground - 1/2 tsp
Dried Italian seasoning - 1 tsp
Rosemary, fresh - 1 Tbsp
Preheat the oven to 425 F. Line a baking sheet with foil and grease with a little oil. Cut the vegetables, carrots, potato, sweet potato, eggplant, butternut squash into half an inch cubes roughly. Cut the bell peppers into half and inch discs and the zucchini into half moons. Place the cut vegetables in a mixing bowl and add the other ingredients. Mix well with your fingers to coat the seasoning all over the vegetables. Spread in the baking sheet in a single layer and bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, tossing the vegetables once midway. Serve hot as a side or a snack.
Notes: I used about 7 cups of raw cut vegetables.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Red Velvet Cake in a Mug | Microwave Dessert Recipes

Valentine's day is sure around the corner. The supermarkets are filled with red roses and everywhere I see are heart-shaped something, balloons, cookies, cakes and even sandwiches. I was really not planning to make anything red and had different plans altogether. But since it didn't pan out as expected (which I hope to try again soon), I got into the ubiquitous dessert of the season - Red Velvet Cake. 
When it comes to baking cake or cookies, I normally don't make a big batch unless I am having guests. It is just the three of us, so I keep it simple and small. I decided to make the cake in a mug. This recipe here makes one mug, so repeat for any number of servings you are making. 
So what are your plans for the special day? 

Serves - 1
All purpose flour - 3 tbsp
Cocoa powder, unsweetened - 2 tbsp
Powdered sugar - 2 tbsp
Baking powder - 1/4 tsp
Salt - a pinch
Oil - 1 tbsp
Buttermilk - 1 tbsp
Beet juice - 1 tbsp (see notes below)
White chocolate chips - 1 tbsp
Sieve the dry ingredients into a bowl. In a microwave proof cup, mix the buttermilk, beet juice and oil. Add the sieved dry ingredients and mix well to a thick paste. Sprinkle the chocolate chips and mix a little. Microwave for 1 minute. If the batter still sticky microwave for an additional 10 seconds. Allow a minute or two of standing time. Serve warm.
The cake should be cooked in microwave mode, not convection mode.
This recipe can be easily doubled. Mix in individual microwave oven proof mugs.
Beet juice renders just the deep red color and you wouldn't be able to taste it at all. Although if you are skeptical about beet juice, add a few drops of red coloring and add 1 more tbsp of buttermilk/water. 
How to Make it Vegan: 
Substitute buttermilk for any non-dairy milk for a vegan version.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Cinnamon French Toast | Breakfast Recipes

Grandma used to make these little egg-y bread surprises for our evening snacks when we were in school. Two types were on the menu, one the regular sweet ones and another savory one spiced with chilli powder. My sister prefers the savory one but I had an inclination over the sweet ones because I am well known as the one with the sweet tooth. My grandma was also famous for making (inventing) creative snacks with bread. I am yet to try her Bread Bonda and hope to do sometime soon. 
Fast forward to today, Saturday mornings are usually french toast or pancake mornings. My little one and I share a plate to eat these direct from the pan french toasts. He loves to watch me cook and as always adds a "Yummy yummy" to whatever I am making. "Yummy yummy circle dosa", "Yummy yummy star dosa" or "Yummy yummy bread bread" in this case.

Serves - 3
Bread - 6-8 slices
Eggs - 3
Sugar - 1/4 cup
Whole Milk - 1/2 cup
Vanilla - 1/2 tsp
Ground cinnamon - 1 tsp, heaped
Salt - a dash
Butter, melted - 1 tbsp
Powdered sugar - as needed to sprinkle on top

Whisk the melted (cooled) butter and eggs until frothy. Add the sugar and milk. Whisk until smooth. Add the salt, cinnamon and vanilla. Place a non-stick pan (or seasoned cast iron pan) in medium heat. Dip the bread slices for about 4 seconds each side and place in the heated pan. Cook in medium heat for about 3-4 minutes on each side. Remove to a plate and serve with berries and powdered sugar.
It is important to cook these toasts in medium heat, because high heat causes the sugar to burn quickly. Also do not disturb the bread slices for 3 minutes to achieve nice caramelization. 

Monday, February 9, 2015

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies | Cookie Recipes

It is Valentine's day week and it is all things CHOCOLATE!! This chocolate crinkle cookies will surely fit your mood if you are a cookie person. Sure, it is not something like a dessert for two, but is a simple and easy thing to make for your loved ones. It is a goodie which you can send to your kids' school.. (Psst.. It is nut-free). 

Makes 3 dozen cookies
Recipe slightly adapted from here
Preparation time - 10 mins; Setting time - 2 hrs; Baking time - 10 mins
All purpose flour / Maida - 1-1/4 cups
Cocoa powder - 2 tbsp
Baking powder - 1-1/2 tsp
Salt - 1/2 tsp
Butter - 1/4 cup, cubed
Semisweet chocolate, chips or chopped - 2/3 cup (4 oz by weight)
Instant coffee powder - 1-1/2 tsp
Sugar - 3/4 cup
Pure Vanilla extract - 1 tsp
Eggs - 2 (room temperature)
For rolling:
Granulated sugar - 1/4 cup
Powdered sugar - 1/2 cup

Whisk the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt well. In a microwave proof bowl, place the butter and chocolate chips and melt in the microwave oven in 20 second increments, whisking well with a fork in the intervals. When completely melted, add the instant coffee powder and mix. Allow to cool. When it cools down, add the sugar, eggs and vanilla and mix until completely incorporated. Add the flour mixture little by little until no streak of flour remains and the cookie dough comes together. Cover with a tight fitting lid or plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours. 
When the time is up, preheat the oven to 375 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Scoop tablespoonfuls of dough and roll into balls. Coat the balls with granulated sugar and then coat in powdered sugar. Place about 12 cookie balls in the baking sheet and bake for 8-9 minutes. The cookies will be soft when removed from oven but will harden as it cools. Cool completely on a cooling rack. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Thai Curry Fried Rice | Rice Recipes

I have been spending quite a lot of time in Pinterest lately. Pinterest is a whole world of ideas and inspiration and is definitely addictive. It was one of those days when I was flipping through the pins and I stumbled upon a simple Thai curry rice recipe. I made a mental note on the idea and forgot about it. Fast forward few weeks, I was cleaning up my fridge door when I found this poor bottle Thai curry paste leftover after making Thai Style Mushroom Tofu Soup which was about to touch its expiration date. Without further thoughts I made this rice dish the same day for our lunch.

Serves - 2-3
Rice - 1 cup (or) Leftover cooked rice (white or brown) - 3 cups
Shallots / Pearl onions - 1/4 cup, thinly sliced in rounds
Garlic - 2 cloves
Carrots - 2, medium, chopped
Beans - 10, chopped
Broccoli - 1/2 a floret
Tofu - 1/3 of a block (5 oz), crumbled
Thai Green Curry paste - 2 tbsp (store bought or home-made)
Soy Sauce - 3 tbsp
Water - 1/4 cup
Light olive oil (or) any light tasting oil - 2-3 Tbsp
Salt - to taste

Cook the rice with 2 cups of water. When done, spread in a plate to cool completely. Blanch the carrots, beans and broccoli for 4 minutes. Drain and plunge in ice water. After 5 minutes, drain excess water in a colander. Heat a cast iron skillet with oil and add thinly sliced shallots and minced garlic. Fry until the onions take a light shade of brown. Add the green curry paste, soy sauce and water. Fry in medium heat until most of the water evaporates. Add the cooked cooled rice and mix. Add the vegetables to the rice. Mix in low heat until completely mixed through. Check for seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed. Serve hot garnished with green onions.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Mint Pista Pesto Pasta | Vegan Pasta Recipes

Things have been crazy since the start of the year and I am trying to make some time for myself between daily routines, additional items on to-do list and a two and a half year old who is keeping me more busy. I want to spend more time with him because in a few weeks he will be starting school and will be busy in his own world. Blogging had been put in the back burner for that reason. But there is something about this little space which keeps my mind engaged and excited to connect with the world and I don't want to stay away for a long time. 
Today's recipe is a simple one to write and also to make. I love to make fresh mint pesto whenever I make pasta and have fresh mint at hand. I reserve some cooked pasta and toss with fresh ground pesto to make a light refreshing lunch.

Cooked pasta - 1-1/2 cups
Mint leaves - a handful
Pistachios - 20, roasted and shelled
Red pepper flakes - a dash or two
Salt - a dash (optional)
Extra virgin olive oil - 3 tbsp

Pulse the pistachios in a blender a couple of times. Add the mint leaves, red pepper flakes and salt. Pulse again until the nuts becomes coarse. Add the olive oil and blend again. Toss with cooked hot pasta and serve immediately.
You could add about 2 Tbsp of parmesan cheese and skip the salt altogether.