Saturday, October 30, 2010

Medu Vadas


Medu Vadas are crispy doughnut shaped fritters made with urad dal (split skinned black lentil). They are usually served alongside idli (South Indian savory cakes) as part of a perfect South Indian breakfast.

Ingredients

Method:

  • Soak the urad dal in enough water for about 3-4 hours. Drain it.
  • Grind drained dal to a smooth batter (thick paste). Add only spoonful of water at a time if required. Grind until the batter turns fluffy.
  • Keep this urad dal batter aside for 3-4 hours and let it ferment a bit.
  • Now add all other ingredients except the oil. Mix well.
  • Heat the oil in a kadai or wok on medium heat.
  • Wet your fingers and palm and take a small portion of batter. Shape it into a ball and then poke your thumb in the center so that a hole is formed (doughnut like structure is formed). Gently invert the vada in the oil. Make other medu vada similarly and place them in oil. Do not overcrowd the kadhai/wok to avoid sticking of vadas with each other.
  • When the medu vadas are cooked from underneath, turn them over with a slotted spoon. Vadas should be golden brown from both the sides. They should be fried on medium heat otherwise they will be golden from outside and doughy from inside.
  • Drain on an absorbent paper.
  • Serve hot with Sambhar and Coconut Chutney.

Do You Know?

In South India eating from a banana leaf is very common because it is considered hygienic and healthy. Any guest can be served on a banana leaf which is considered humble and respectful. It is considered auspicious to put a bit of sweet dish (dessert) on the banana leaf to eat before the actual meal is placed thereon.

According to tradition, one has to eat rice first, then dal, iron-rich vegetables and curd. This is the order in which food is served and consumed as well. It is even more traditional to sit on the floor on a mat and eat one’s food.

To show your appreciation after a satisfying meal, fold the banana leaf towards you (i.e. inwards) to signify that the meal was good. Folding the opposite direction (i.e. upwards /away from you) signifies that the meal was not satisfying.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Malai Kofta


Malai kofta curry is one of those dishes that look like they take a lot of time and effort to make but in truth, are easy to prepare.

Ingredients:

For Koftas:

  • 1 cup grated Cottage Cheese (paneer)
  • 1 cup Potato ( boiled and mashed)
  • ½ cup mixed Carrots and Peas blanched
  • ½ tsp Garam Masala
  • Chopped cashew nuts and Raisins
  • 1 tbsp heavy cream
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp besan (gram flour)
  • Oil for deep frying

For Gravy

Method:

  • Mash carrots and peas together. Add grated paneer, boiled potatoes, salt, garam masala, and mix well. The resulting dough should be firm. If not add 1 tbsp of besan (gram flour).
  • Divide the paneer mix into equal sized portions. Apply little oil on your palm, take one portion of paneer mix, and keep ½ tsp of nut raisin mix and little malai(or heavy cream) in the centre. Roll into a round smooth ball. Prepare all the Koftas like this.
  • Heat oil in a pan on medium heat. Fry paneer balls in the oil till brown in color (Frying few at a time).
  • Grind onion, ginger, garlic, green chilies and tomatoes in a blender to a smooth paste.
  • Heat 3-4 tbsp oil in a heavy wide pan over a medium flame (use same oil in which koftas were fried). Add bay leaf and the contents of the blender to the oil. Add red chili powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, salt and half of the garam masala powder.
  • Fry, stirring constantly, for about 7-8 minutes, or until paste (masala) turns little darker, and the oil begins to separate from the masala.
  • Add curd and cashew nut paste. (To make cashew nut paste grind cashew nut with water) and fry for 2-3 minutes more.
  • Now add 2 cups of the water to the masala to form gravy (the gravy for this dish is meant to be thick so do not add much water).
  • Bring the gravy to a boil and then reduce the flame to a simmer.
  • Gently add Koftas to the gravy and cook uncovered for 2-3 minutes. Do not overcook.
  • Mix milk and cream together, and add to the gravy. Adjust the consistency of gravy by adding more milk if required. Add chopped nuts and raisins.
  • Turn off the flame, sprinkle garam masala over the top of the dish and allow it to rest for 10 minutes.
  • Garnish with fried onion slices, chopped cilantro and cream.
  • Serve Malai Koftas with hot Khasta Paratha or Naan.

Do You Know?

Orange pumpkin/ Kaddoo is perfect for thickening gravies that have become too thin. You can freeze boiled and mashed pumpkin in an ice cube tray. That way it is readily available when you need it. Just add a few cubes to a too-thin curry (depending upon the quantity of the gravy) and cook for 5 minutes. Always taste your curry before serving as pumpkin can alter the flavor of the dish. You may need to adjust spices a bit to get the perfect taste.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Paneer Butter Masala

Paneer Butter Masala is a very popular Punjabi dish. Gravy is made by using butter, onions, tomatoes and cashew paste.

This dish goes very well with all types of Indian breads like Parathas, Naan or Poori.

Ingredients:

Method:

  • Heat the oil in a pan and sauté the paneer pieces till golden brown. Now take 1 cup hot water, add a pinch of salt and immerse the paneer cubes in it for 10-12 minutes. Then remove the pieces, drain them on a tissue paper and keep aside.
  • Heat 4 tbsp of butter in a pan, add the bay leaf and the cloves, and then add the onion paste and sauté till light-brown.
  • Add ginger garlic paste and sauté for 2 minutes.
  • Add tomato puree, chili powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder, garam masala and salt followed by the cashew paste and fry for 4-5 minutes. Add one cup of water.
  • Once the gravy starts boiling, add the paneer pieces and reduce the heat. Add kasuri methi, sugar and lemon juice. Let it simmer on medium heat till you get the desired curry consistency.
  • Remove from heat and stir in remaining butter and fresh cream.
  • Garnish with coriander leaves.
  • Serve with any Indian Flat Bread of your choice like Lachcha Paratha or simply Jeera Rice.

Do You Know?

Butter is a dairy product made by churning fresh or fermented cream or milk. It consists of butterfat, water and milk proteins.

Butter’s pleasant flavor is made up of many volatiles and nonvolatile compounds. It gives a distinctive flavor to all kinds of prepared foods and helps in the uniform distribution of flavorings.

Lecithin present in the butter helps in stabilizing fat emulsions, leading to the uniformity of texture, aroma and flavor in baked foods.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Kadhai Paneer

Very healthy and nutritious dish, as it consumes very less fat and no cream. Cottage cheese and capsicum are cooked in a sauce of tomatoes and onion; and Kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves) gives it an irresistible flavor.

Serve it with hot Poori, Paratha or Naan.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound Cottage Cheese cut into medium pieces
  • 2 Capsicum cut into long pieces
  • 2 medium Onions chopped
  • 4 medium Tomatoes chopped
  • 2 green chilies
  • 1 " long piece Ginger
  • 1 tsp Red Chili Powder
  • ½ tsp Turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp Coriander powder
  • 1 tsp Garam Masala
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 4 Cloves
  • 1 small piece of Cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp Kasuri Methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
  • 4 tbsp Clarified Butter (Ghee)/Cooking Oil
  • Few Ginger juliennes
  • Finely chopped Coriander leaves

Method:

  • Grind onions, tomatoes, ginger and green chilies to make a puree.
  • Heat Ghee (clarified butter)/oil in a kadhai (or wok). Stir fry paneer for about 2 minutes. Take them out (before paneer starts changing color) and keep aside for later use.
  • Now stir-fry bell pepper until they are little tender. Do not overcook the bell pepper. Take them out and keep aside for later use.
  • In the same ghee/oil now add bay leaf, cloves, cinnamon.
  • Stir in onion tomato puree along with red chili powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, and salt.
  • Continue cooking it on medium flame till ghee/oil begins to separate. Add ½ cup of water. When gravy comes to boil add paneer and capsicum and kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves). Let it simmer for about 2-3 minutes on low medium heat.
  • Take out in a serving dish. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.
  • Serve hot with Naan or Pooris or Paranthas.

Do You Know?

Kadhai is a kind of thick, circular deep vessel, which is used in Indian cooking. Originally made of cast iron, they are nowadays made of a number of metals, but mostly in aluminium alloy.

Kadhai cooking is quick and no water is used in this style of cooking. The main ingredients cook in the natural juices released by the vegetables or meat in the dish, which is constantly stirred until cooked.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Phool Gobhi Ke Pakode (Cauliflower Fritters)


This perfect evening snack is easy to prepare. Cauliflower florets are dipped in spiced Gram Flour batter and deep fried.

Ingredients:

  • 1 small phool gobhi (Cauliflower)
  • 1 cup besan (Gram Flour)
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • 1 tsp ginger garlic paste
  • ½ tsp green chili paste
  • 1 tsp amchoor powder
  • ½ cumin seeds
  • ¼ tsp ENO
  • Salt to taste
  • Cooking oil for deep frying

Method:

  • Remove florets of cauliflower and keep in a bowl. Sprinkle ½ tsp red chili powder, ½ tsp amchoor powder and little salt over florets. Mix well.
  • In another bowl take besan (gram flour), red chili powder, ginger garlic paste, green chili paste, amchoor powder, cumin seeds and salt. Mix little water and make a thick paste (batter). Besan paste (batter) should be thick enough to wrap the gobhi florets completely. If besan paste is thin, besan will not stay on the florets and pakoras will not become crispy. Keep the batter aside for 15 minutes.
  • Heat the oil for deep frying in a kadhai or wok on a medium flame.
  • When the oil is ready for frying, dip one cauliflower floret in the gram flour batter and coat well on all sides. Put it into the oil and fry till golden all over turning occasionally.
  • Remove and drain on paper towel. Fry remaining batter coated florets in the same way.
  • Now press each gobhi pakoda with potato masher slightly so that it becomes little flat. Do not bother about the outer gram flour coating which will burst open at few places.
  • Add these pressed pakodas again in hot oil and fry till golden brown and crispy.
  • Remove and drain on paper towel.
  • Sprinkle Chat masala on Pakodas and serve with chutney of your choice.

Do You Know?

Cauliflower may turn yellow in alkaline water. For whiter cauliflower, add a tablespoon of milk or lemon juice to the water. Do not cook cauliflower in aluminum or iron pot. The chemical compounds in cauliflower will react with the aluminum and turn the vegetable yellow. While in an iron pot, it will turn a brown or blue-green color.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Vrat Ke Chawal Ki Kheer (Samo Rice Pudding)

This rich and creamy Vrat Ke Chawal ki kheer (Samo rice pudding) is made with milk, flavored with cardamom and rose water, and topped with almonds and raisins.

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup Samo Rice / Bhagar/ Vrat Ke Chawal
  • 4 cups full cream milk
  • 1 tsp cardamom powder
  • Few strands of saffron
  • ¼ cup blanched and slivered almonds
  • Few raisins
  • ½ cup sugar (adjust according to taste)
  • 1 tsp Kewra water or Rose water

Method:

  • Wash and soak Vrat ke Chawal (samo seeds) for 30 minutes.
  • In a large saucepan boil milk, add the drained samo rice and simmer till the kheer is creamy.
  • Add sugar, almonds and raisins. Stir and simmer for another 2-3 minutes. Turn off the fire. Allow the kheer to cool down.
  • Sprinkle cardamom powder, saffron and Rose water.
  • Chill in refrigerator and serve.

Do You Know?

Samo Rice or Bhagar or Jungle Rice , a seed of a grass namely Echinochloa Colonum grows amongst the rice paddy as it requires damp and moisture laden soil. With digestible fibers, high nutritional content and excellent nourishment, bhagar is immensely popular amongst the Indian majority. Prepared in different styles across various states, it forms a heavy and a filling meal.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Sookha Aloo Tamatar (Dry Potato Curry)


Potatoes are cooked in spiced tomato puree.

Ingredients:

Method:

  • Heat oil in a pan, add the cumin seeds to it. When the seeds stop spluttering, add chopped tomatoes, ginger paste, green chili paste and fry for a minute.
  • Add diced potatoes, black pepper, Rock salt and stir fry for 2-3 minutes so that potatoes are mixed properly with the spices.
  • Simmer covered on low flame until potatoes are done.
  • Garnish with mint leaves and serve hot with Kuttu Ki Poori and Raita.

Do You Know?

Potatoes should be stored in cool and dry place. They can be kept at room temperature for up to two weeks. If potatoes are purchased in a plastic bag, remove them from the bag and place them in a basket or other such type of container so that they will have proper air circulation.

Do not store potatoes in the refrigerator because the cold temperature will convert the starches into sugar and the potato will become sweet and turn dark when cooked.

Do not store them with onions, the gas given off by onions accelerates the decay of potatoes.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Water Chestnut Flour Rolls (Singhara Rolls)


Prepare Pancakes from Water Chestnut Flour (Singhare ka Atta) and fill these with potato mixture to make Rolls. Filling can be prepared from cottage cheese also.

Ingredients:

For Pancakes:

Filling for Rolls:


Method:

  • Make a thin batter of Water Chestnut Flour (little thinner than dosa batter), keep it aside for 30 minutes.
  • Take a pan and heat 1 tbsp oil. Add cumin seeds and curry leaves, when they stop spluttering add chopped potato, red chili powder, chopped green chili, chopped cilantro and Rock salt. Fry for 2-3 minutes and remove from heat. Stuffing is ready. Keep it aside for later use.
  • Take a griddle (tava) or a flat non sticking pan, grease it and then heat it over medium flame for about a minute.
  • Now take ¼ cup of batter and spread it on the pan in a circular shape. Pour ghee/oil in the form of trail along the outer edges of the pancake.
  • Flip when the underside is cooked. Apply the ghee/oil in the same way again. Wait until this side is also cooked.
  • Remove when well done on both sides. Place pancake in a plate and keep filling in the centre and roll it. Singhara Roll is ready.
  • Serve hot with chutney.

Note: You can eat the pancake with Aloo ki Sabji just like that without making rolls.

Do You Know?

Seventh Durga is Kalratri. She makes her devotees fearless. Being auspicious she is called "Shubhamkari."
A popular legend associated with the celebration of Navratri Festival is the story of Lord Rama, who wanted to rescue his wife Sita, from the demon king Ravana. To free her from the clutches of the demon king, Lord Rama worshipped Goddess Durga in her nine different forms, for nine days, so that he gets all the strength and power to kill Ravana. All the nine days became Navratri and hence, celebrated every year.

On the tenth day, Rama killed Ravana and that day is called Vijayadashmi or Dussehra.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Pudina Paneer

Paneer is cooked in the sauce of mint, green chilies and ginger.

Ingredients:

Method:

  • Grind cashew nuts, mint leaves, green chilies, and ginger to a paste in grinder.
  • Heat oil in a pan over medium heat; add paneer pieces and sauté until light brown.
  • After sautéing take out paneer pieces from pan and add cumin seeds in the same oil. When seeds stop spluttering, add ginger, chili, mint paste and fry till oil starts separating.
  • Add paneer pieces and Rock salt to this, mix well. Cover the pan and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  • Squeeze in lemon.
  • Garnish with melted butter or ghee and ginger juliennes.
  • Serve hot with Kuttu ki Poori and Sookhi Aloo ki Sabji
Do You Know?

On the sixth day, the goddess Durga is worshipped as Katyayani. Seated on her vehicle lion, Katyayani has three eyes and eight hands.
The
Chhatarpur Temple, formally known as Adya Katyayani temple, which is dedicated to Goddess Katyayni, is located at Chhatarpur, on the southwestern outskirts of the city of Delhi, India. It is the second largest temple complex in India.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Fruit Cream


Lots of fruit and nuts are mixed in cream which is prepared by mixing fresh paneer (cottage cheese), yogurt and cream of coconut.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup fresh homemade cottage cheese (make Paneer at home)
  • 1 cup yogurt (smoothly churned)
  • 2 tbsp cream of coconut
  • Milk according to requirement
  • 3-4 tablespoons sugar (more or less depending on taste)
  • ½ tsp rose water
  • 2-3 cups of fruits cut into small pieces (banana, apple, pineapple, strawberry)
  • Nuts, Resins and Seeds

Method:

  • Combine cottage cheese, sugar, rose water in blender.
  • Take out in a bowl. Mix cream of coconut and yogurt.
  • Adjust the consistence by adding milk.
  • Mix fruits and nuts.
  • Garnish with some more fruits and nuts.
  • Serve chilled

Do You Know?

Coconut cream is thicker than coconut milk. It has paste like consistency, with mild non-sweet taste.

Coconut cream can be made by simmering 1 part shredded coconut with one part water or milk until frothy, then straining the mixture through a cheesecloth, squeezing out as much liquid as possible; this is coconut milk. The coconut milk is refrigerated and allowed to set. Coconut cream is the thick non-liquid part that separates and rises to the top of the coconut milk.

Cream of coconut is coconut cream that has been sweetened for use in desserts and beverages like the Pina colada.

Kachche Kele (Plantain) Ke Cutlets

Boiled Green Plantain is mixed with Sabudana (Pearl Sago) and peanuts to prepare stir fried Plantain cutlets.You can use raw banana also in place of plantain in this recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 2 green plantain/raw bananas/ Kachche Kele
  • 2 potato medium sized boiled and mashed
  • ¼ cup sago
  • ¼ cup peanuts roasted and crushed
  • 1 tbsp ginger grated
  • 1 tbsp green chili chopped fine
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • ¼ cup coriander leaves chopped finely
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp black pepper powder
  • Rock Salt to taste
  • Oil to Stir fry

Method:

  • Soak sago in ½ cup of water for 2 hours. Drain off excess of water after that and then keep aside for later use.
  • Cut each plantain/raw banana in two pieces. Dip these pieces in a bowl of salted water for some time. Boil them in a pan in 4 cups of water until pieces are just tender but not mushy. Drain and keep aside to cool a little. Peel off the plantain/raw banana pieces and then mash with potato masher.
  • Now in a big bowl, mix mashed banana, mashed potato, soaked sago and crushed peanuts along with other ingredients except the oil for frying.
  • Make small balls of the mixture. Flatten them and give them desired shape.
  • Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a frying pan and stir fry these until golden brown and crispy.
  • Serve hot with chili chutney.

Do You Know?

On the fifth day, the form of Goddess worshipped, is called Skand Mata.

She is the daughter of Himalaya. After observing penance she got married to Shiva.

She is the mother of Kumara or Skanda or Kartikeya, who was chosen by gods as their commander in the war against the demons.

Skanda Mata is a deity of fire.

Vehicle or vahanam of Skanda mata is a lion (Simha vahini).She has three eyes and four hands. She is white and seated on a lotus. Skanda is seated in her lap.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Vrat Ke Chawal (Samo Seeds) Pulao


Today is the fourth day of Navratri and I made Samo Seeds Pulao, and Makhane Ki Kheer.

Here is the simple recipe of Vrat Ke Chawal (Samo Seeds) Pulao.


Ingredients

Method

  • Wash and soak Samo Seeds for 2 hours. Drain and keep aside.
  • Heat the ghee in a pan over medium flame. Add cumin seeds, bay leaf, cloves and whole red chili to the ghee.
  • When cumin seeds stop spluttering, add potato, capsicum, chopped green chilies and Vrat Ka Chawal.
  • Stir-fry a little; add rock salt, black pepper powder, chopped cilantro and 3 cups of water
  • Cover the pan and let it simmer on low flame till the Samo Seeds are done (you can cook in pressure cooker also).
  • Garnish with green coriander
  • Serve hot with yogurt Raita.

Do You Know?

Maa Kushmanda, is the form of the goddess which is worshipped on the fourth day. It is believed that Kushmanda is the creator of the entire Universe and she has created the entire Universe by her laugh.

She resides in solar systems. She shines brightly in all the ten directions like Sun. She has eight hands. Seven types of weapons are shining in her seven hands. Rosary is in her right hand. She seems brilliant riding on Lion.