Saturday, November 29, 2008

Grape Sorbet ~ FIC Purple

Food in Purple and black was a tough choice for me but nevertheless wanting to participate I kept racking my brains. Black foods that I could think of was either Banana Halwa (Don't get the variety of the banana that is required for this recipe) then there were an array of sweets that could have been made but with fever etc going around I decided to just drop my plans. Thats when I saw a Gelato recipe in her blog I felt that even I could try making it. Thanks dear. From her blog I hopped on to David's Blog. After taking a tour of the blog I zeroed on Grape Sorbet. The grapes that I used were not very deep in colour and hence the end result is a very light shade of purple. Hope this qualifies!!
David's site is one of the must to see if you plan to make ice cream's. Every pic makes you drool and have some of it. He also has good tips regarding how to make ice cream without an ice cream maker plus he also makes it a point to specify substitutions if any! I am going to keep visiting him for more recipes. Thanks David!
Coming to this, I have followed his recipe. To view it click here. Only substituions that I made was to use mild flavoured honey instead of Light corn syrup and omitted out the Rose Wine and used a hand held electric mixer. Though the temperature was quite cold for a chilled dessert, we enjoyed it. Please hop on to his blog to see really drool worthy pics. 
Thank you Harini for this challenging event. Wating for the next colour!

A Prayer

Aum Saha Naavavathu Sahanau Bhunaktu
Saha Veeryam Kara Vaavahai
Tejasvi Naavadheetamastu Maa Vidwishaavahai
Aum Shantih Shantih Shantihi

Meaning: May the Lord protect us both, may He nourish us both, may we work together with great vigor (divine strength). May we both acquire brilliance of our intellect through our studies, may we not hate each other. Let there be peace, peace, peace. courtesy Vedic Chants

A Diya, In memory of all the brave martyrs who laid down their lives in protecting several hundred innocent people.Hope the God almighty gives strength and courage to the families of those innocent victims who lost thier lives.
Let us pray together for the welfare of our country.
Jai Hind

Keerla Neeli Sukke ~ Tender Bamboo Shoots and coconut side dishM

Bamboo Shoots  are widely used in Konkani cuisine. Usually during the season when they are available it is put in large clay pots (Called Bharni) with salt so as to preserve them and enjoy throughout the year. When in season a lot of dishes are made from this. The one we get in markets in Mangalore look black from outside. Usually the outer layers are removed and then cut into disk's and preserved. The tender part of the keerlu is mostly used for Keerla neeli sukke (Keerla neeli means tender bamboo shoots) or Keerla Sannapolo (Spicy dosa that is made for lunch) or Keerla Phodi (Deep fried shoots with spicy masala). The one's that are preserved are used by washing repeatedly until it loses the salty taste. They can be added with lentils in Coconut based gravies with garlic seasoning/Koddels (Coming soon). When keerlu is added it gives a distinct taste and aroma (Or smell depends on how you like it) to the dish. 
When I first came to Shanghai I was surprised to see these available easily and in large quantities but since I was not very sure of cooking using them I never ventured to buy them. But we had tasted them in few of the Chinese dishes.When my parents came here, we went ahead and bought them and made a lot of dishes using Keerlu. My mother says that the best Keerlu that she has ever eaten were in Shanghai! Keerlu is not available so easily back in Mangalore. We don't even find the need to preserve them as they are available all round the year and that too we get very tender ones!
Coming to this dish, it is usually made with tender bamboo shoots and dried Jackfruit seeds (Bikkand). Since I did not have any Bikkand (Jackfruit is not avaible here ) I substitued it with a very small potato. This dish is mildly sweet and serves as a good side dish with rice.
Here is what's needed:
1.5 cups tender Bamboo shoots chopped fine. (To clean the bamboo shoots, add water until it is slightly above the shoots and 1 tsp of salt. The next day throw the water and add fresh water. It can be used on 3rd day after discarding the water and giving it a rinse. This is supposed to remove the bitterness of bamboo shoots if any)
3/4 cup grated Coconut
a small marble sized Tamarind
2-3 tbsp grated Jaggery (Depends on how sweet you like your dish to be)
1 small Potato peeled and chopped
Salt to taste

To be roasted
1 tbsp Urad dal
1 tsp Coriander seeds
4-5 dried Red Chilli's 

For seasoning
1 tsp Mustard seeds
7-8 Curry leaves

1) Heat 1/2 tsp Oil and add Urad dal. When it turns golden add in the Coriander seeds. Fry for a min and add the dried red Chilli's. Fry for 30 secs. Remove from flame.
2)Heat 1 tsp Oil in a kadai and add Mustard seeds. When they splutter add curry leaves and fry for a few seconds. Add chopped bamboo shoots and Potato along with suffecient water and let it cook covered. 
3) Meanwhile, grind grated coconut, Tamarind, roasted ingredients and salt to a smooth paste. 
4) When the Potato is 3/4 th boiled add grated jaggery and cook until done. Add in the ground masala and mix well. Check for salt and give it a rolling boil before switching it off. Serve hot as a side dish with rice or Dosa's.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Amma's Vegetable Bhath

This Bhath recipe is my Mother-in-law's whom I affectionately call amma. She has been making this for many years and everyone who has tasted this has fallen in love with it. It is favourite among our whole family and is made often on demand. She usually makes this for breakfast and when this is made I have it for all meals!! It is very simple to make yet flavourful. 
On the day I was to travel from Mangalore to Shanghai, amma invited my parents over for lunch and few of my friends. [My hubby was already in Shanghai and I joined him later as my papers were not done yet]. She asked me what to make and my only request was to make this bhath. My mother and she whipped up all my favs :). My flight was in the in the evening at 6 or so. So I had this for breakfast, lunch and also evening tea!! Such is my love for this. 
After coming here hubby too was reminded of this bhath and would always tell me to make "Amma's pulao". One fine day I called her up and got the recipe from her and made it. It was not as perfect as she makes it (probably it was missing her touch!) but was indeed enjoyed by both of us happily.
Here is what's needed:
1 cup Basmati Rice or any long grain rice 
2 cups  chopped vegetables like Cauliflower,Carrot, Beans, Potato
1 small green Capsicum chopped
1 medium Tomato chopped 
1 medium Onion chopped
8-10 Cashews broken (Optional)
Salt  & Sugar to taste
1/2 tsp Mustard seeds
5-8 curry leaves (I do not add as I dont get them easily here)
2 tbps Oil/ Ghee (Ghee definitely tastes better)

To grind:
2 green Cardamoms
2-3 Cloves
1 inch Cinnamon
1/2 cup fresh grated Coconut
2-3 green Chilli's
1 Bay leaf
1 star Anise
1 tsp Poppy seeds
1/3 cup Coriander leaves
3-4 Garlic cloves
1/2 tsp Coriander seeds
1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 Onion
small piece of Ginger
small piece of Tamarind

1) Cook Rice and drain it. Fluff with fork and let it cool down.
2) Meanwhile make a paste with ingredients mentioned under "To grind" with little water.
3) Heat Oil/Ghee. Add Mustard seeds and let it splutter. Add in the curry leaves if using & broken cashews fry until golden.
4) Add Onion and little salt. Saute until transparent.Add in chopped tomato. Saute for few mins and add the ground masala and continue to saute until the raw smell goes off. 
5) Add in the chopped veggies and capsicum and saute it. Sprinkle water if you notice the paste sticking to the bottom of the Pan. It usually happens to me since I add lesser Oil than actually required! Cover and cook until the veggies are done and is still crunchy to bite on.
6) Add Salt and Sugar to taste. Add in the cooked rice and mix well until the rice has nicely blended with the masala. Take care not to break the rice. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 mins. 
Serve hot with Tomato-Onion Raita.

I am sending away this Pulao over to Srivalli who is hosting Rice mela. I am also sending Nucchi~ Coconut riceUndi ~ Steamed Rice Balls over to participate in the mela. Thanks srivalli for this wonderful event.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Nutritious Black Channa Pulao

Pulao's are one pot dishes that come to rescue when one is not very keen to cook elaborate meal yet want something delicious and tasty. I am always on the look out for easy to make rice dishes as we both love rice items. Hubby dear had gifted me few cookbooks long time back. But then since I was working I would make those which I knew very well and was confident of the results. Very occasionally I would try new recipes from cookbooks. 
After coming here the scenario changed. I founda  lot of time for myself and also to pursue my hobbies. Though I miss being at work it with friends I am loving this role of being a homemaker too, where there are no deadlines!! 
Coming back to this dish I have made it from Nita Mehta's "Different ways with Chawal". There are lot of recipes in this book but I was particularly drawn towards this nutritious pulao. I have always had channa with coconut based gravies or as a side dish like this. When I told amma that I am making this for dinner even she was skeptical and replied pulao with only channa!! I prepared a backup plan of maggi if it turns out a disaster! But I was quite pleased with the result and hubby too gave a thumbs up. Unexpectedly we did have a guest at home for lunch and even the guest loved it. I did not make any major changes to the recipe so jotting down here her recipe. 
Here is what's needed:
1 cup Rice - soaked for 1 hour
2 tbsp Oil
3/4 tsp Jeera (Cumin seeds)
1 Onion sliced
1/2 tsp Ginger paste - 1/2 tsp Garlic paste (I used 1 tsp Ginger garlic paste)
1/2 -1 tsp Garam masala powder
1/2 tsp Red Chilli powder
1/2 tsp Kitchen King masala (my addition,hence optional)
Salt to taste
2 tsp Lemon juice
a few coriander leaves with stalk

Soak together:
1/2 cup black Channa
1  Cinnamon
2-3 Cloves
2 cups Water
1/2 tsp salt (I skipped adding salt as I was told by amma that Channa does not cook well if salt is added at the first stage)

1) Soak Channa's overnight with all the ingredients given under "Soak together" and pressure cook to give 1 whistle, Keep on low flame for 20 mins. Reserve stock.
2) Strain Channa's. Measure stock and add enough water to make it upto 2 cups (double the volume of the rice).
3) Heat Oil in a heavy bottomed pan. Add Jeera. When it turns golden add the sliced Onion, Stir fry till they turn transparent.
4) Add Ginger Garlic paste and fry for a min. 
5) Add in cooked Channa, Lemon juice, salt, Garam masala, Kitchen King masala (if using), red Chilli powder. Fry for 2 minutes. Add Rice. Mix. Add coriander leaves.
6) Add the measured stock and water mixture. Boil.
7) Cover with towel napkin and then with a well fitting lid. cook on low flame until done.
8) Fluff with fork to let the steam escape so that rice grains do not stick to each other. Serve hot with raita!

I am sending away this Pulao over to Srivalli who is hosting Rice mela.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A 50th Post with Celebration

Its been a quiet time on my blog for a while now. With posts being added once in a while. First I was caught up with the fever bug and then the body ache and weakness followed. This left me with no mood to cook and even if I did there was very little interest in me to blog about it. Meanwhile we also did a few changes to the blog like a new header, font settings etc..(Thanks to my hubby) Still a lot of them to come soon. I wanted the blog to have a different look and then it was my 50th post too. So decided to make a sweet post about the humble sheera.
Sheera till date happens to be my most favourite sweet. Amma makes sheera using slightly big rava than the normal Semolina and it tastes great. When I was in my sixth std one sunday afternoon I told amma that I wanted to eat sheera. Amma was a working woman and sunday afternoon was the only time she used to get some rest. So she said she will make it for me some other time and also that there was no sufficient sugar at home to make a sweet. But I was not convinced and told her that I would make sheera not only for me but for the whole family. I mentally took note of the recipe that she told me and went ahead to kitchen emerging out every now and then to ask her where the ingredients were. After some time she came in to the Kitchen to check as to what I was doing, she was horrified to see the amount of sheera I had done. She said it was impossible to come up with so much amount with the measures she had given me. Only then did I realise that she mentioned small cup and I used a bigger one and not only that I had also added less sugar than required and  ended up making lot of sheera that did not taste like one due to the lack of sugar. Then she came to my rescue, sent my brother to shop to get extra sugar (I used up all the sugar!!!) and some how made it taste like sheera. The sheera was eaten not only by my family but also by all my uncles and cousin's who stayed quite close to our house ;) After that till the time I got married I have never attempted making sheera!!!
Even now I feel that I cannot come up with decent sheera. I know it is one of the easiest sweet to make yet I am not satisfied the way I make it.. Practice I guess!!!
This Sheera was not made by me but my hubby when I was not keeping well. He followed Nupur's recipe and the only modification that he made was while adding extra sugar as the sugar that we use here is not very sweet at all. Thanks Nupur :) we loved it 

Friday, November 14, 2008

Duddhya Upkari ~ Pumpkin Stir-fry

Pumpkin was not one of the vegetables that I loved eating growing up. Until one day I had the upkari made with this at our Venkataramana temple feast. From then on I have been eating this vegetable regularly and love it too. We usually use Pumpkin while making Valval, Sambar etc. When I had been to market here in Shanghai, I was actually surprised to see Pumpkin :) From then on this has been a regular veggie in our kitchen. 
This stir-fry is rather easy to make and goes well with steaming hot rice and Dal. Easy to fix during weekday dinner's.

Here is what's needed:
2 cups of Pumpkin chopped into bite sized pieces
2-3 Green Chilli
4 to 5 Curry leaves
2-3 tbsp grated Coconut (Decrease if you do not like it very sweet)
1/2 tsp Mustard seeds
1/4 tsp Urad Dal 
a generous pinch of Asafoetida
Salt to taste
1-2 tsp Oil

1) Heat Oil. Add Mustard seeds when they splutter add in the Urad dal and fry until pink.Add Curry leaves and the Green chilli and fry for a min.
2)Add in the Pumpkin pieces, enough water for it to cook along with Salt and Jaggery to taste. Cook covered until 3/4 done.
3) Add Asafoetida and grated Coconut and mix well. Cook until done.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Narayan Katar/ Nankhatai

Narayan Katar a simple butter biscuit was my favourite since childhood. I had tried making them 2-3 years back with my mhvae's (Aunts) oven. We loved it so much that the whole batch was polished in no seconds. It had been quite a while since we made this. When I got an oven I wanted to try this first as I had some experience in making them. This time I followed Shilpa's recipe to make Nankhatai's. I followed the recipe to T and there is no doubt that the result was perfect! Thanks Shilpa for such a detailed and yet simple recipe. We loved it. Please click here to view her recipe!
Now I plan to haunt all the blog's around to find some easy to make cookies with low fat ofcourse!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Batate Bhajjun Upkari ~ Potato Fry

Last week we had quite bad weather. It was drizzling all day long, fog covered which made the day gloomy and the cold winds outside made it difficult for me to step outside the cozy house. Slowly all the veggies disappeared from the fridge leaving behind very few options for cooking. On one such night I made this Potato Fry. This makes an excellent side dish with Rasam & Rice or Dalithoy & Rice. This is originally Archanakka's (My cousin) mother-in-law's recipe which was passed on to me by my sister during our weekend chat. If you are the one who loves Potato like us then this is the recipe for you.

Here is What's needed:
2 Big Potato's cubed
4-5 small Garlic cloves chopped
1/2 - 1 tsp Red Chilli Powder (Increase if you would like it to be spicy ;) )
1/4 tsp Turmeric powder
a generous pinch of Asafoetida
Salt to taste
1) In a vessel boil 3-4 cups of water. When it boils well add in the cubed Potato's and switch off the flame. Cover for 5 mins. Drain all the water using a Colander. Let the Potato's cool.
2) Meanwhile, In a Kadai (preferably non-stick) take 1-2 tbsp Oil. Before it heats add chopped Garlic, Red Chilli powder, Turmeric powder & Asafoetida. Fry for a min and add in the drained Potato's. Add Salt. Do not add water. Cook covered if needed. Keep mixing at regular intervals to prevent it from sticking to the bottom. Fry until at least 2 sides turn golden brown. Serve hot!