Monday, March 30, 2009

Chow Chow Bhath

Chow Chow bhath is a famous Kannadiga breakfast. It is actually a combination of khara bhath and kesari bhath. Kesari Bhath in Bangalore is actually made out of rava and not out of rice as in Mangalore. After Idli sambar this is the most popular combi breakfast in Bangalore. I made Pineapple sheera for Ugadi. The next morning being a weekend I was too lazy to make something elaborate so made upma and served it with sheera to make it look special :D
Pineapple sheera is also known as pineapple pudding in Mangalore. This is one of my fav sweet. I have always had this at weddings but it would be dripping with ghee. When I made this at home I reduced the amount of ghee but still it came out very tasty. I forgot to add cashews and raisins this time but it tastes definitely better if added.

Here is how I made Pineapple sheera:
1 cup Semolina/Sooji
2 tbsp Ghee
1/2 cup chopped Pineapple
1 cup Sugar ( reduce depending on the sweetness of the sugar or taste)
2 cups water
1/2 tsp Pineapple essence
1/2 tsp Cardamom Powder
saffron strands 6-7 or yellow food colour
Cashews and Raisins to garnish
1) Heat a tbsp of ghee and fry cashews till golden brown. Remove it and add raisins to the same and fry until it turns fluffy. Remove it and keep it aside. microwave or boil the pineapple until soft.
2) Heat the remaining ghee in the same pan and fry until rava turns golden. Add 2 cups of boiled water to it and mix well. Make sure that there are no lumps. 
3) Keep stirring once the mixture turns dry add in the sugar and boiled pineapple pieces. Add
Kesar mixed in warm milk or yellow food colour and pineapple essence. Cook until dry and add in the cashews and raisins along with cardamom powder. Serve hot.

Upma: Upma is one of those breakfast items that I am not very fond of. I make it once in a while as it happens to be my hubby's fav. I cannot have plain upma. I like the one with veggies or with onion and tomato. I made this simple version of upma with tomato and onions.
What's needed:
1 cup Rava/Semolina
2 cups Water
1 medium onion and tomato chopped
2 Green chilli's sliced
1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
1/2 tsp Mustard seeds
1/4 tsp Urad dal
Salt to taste
Coriander leaves chopped for garnishing
1) Dry roast rava until slightly golden and aromatic.
2) Heat oil and add in mustard seeds. When they splutter add in the urad dal and fry until pink.  Add green chillis fry for a min.Add in the onions and fry until golden.
3) Add chopped tomato and cook until soft. Add turmeric powder and rava. Mix well and add in boiling water and salt to taste. Cook until dry.
Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve hot!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Melting moments

When I first tasted Strawberry in Mangalore I had lot of expectations from the fruit. The first bite and I was disappointed. I was wondering why people pay such heavy price to this friut which was only tangy with no hint of sweetness. After that, I never bought it until I came here. It was strawberry season then but after the first experience I was not prepared to give it a try though I loved strawberry flavoured drinks and icecreams. It was that time when I was blog hopping I came to this wonderful blog. The name of the blog promised a variety of desserts. I zeroed on strawberry icecream but unfortunately the strawberries were not available then. I bookmarked this recipe and waited for a year to try this with fresh strawberries. I could never believe that I could get creamy and good results without an Icecream maker. I made a very small batch and it got over in no time. Thank you JZ for the wonderful recipe. Now not having an ice cream maker is not a reason to refrain from making icecreams at home. Please hop on to JZ's blog for more treats.
Sending this Pinky treat over to Priya who is guest hosting FIC Event for Sunshinemom and has selected her colour for the month as Pink
I have reduced my frequency of blogging since quite some time. We have just shifted to a new house and am still in the process of getting adjusted to the new house. Here are few photos of our new home. 

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Indo-Chinese Noodles

During our frequent trips outside Shanghai, I was exposed to authentic Chinese food. The first time we had it I was not sure if I iked it. The food was quite bland and had just two flavours that I could recognize one was of garlic and the other salt. There were no other spices. Slowly I started liking it and but with very little knowledge of the names of veggies in Chinese our food was limited to just stir fried beans, Potato, Bok-Choy (Pak-choy) and Eggplant. Noodles that I have tasted here were always in soup. The Sichuanese cuisine is the spiciest among all the Chinese cuisine that we have tried. It comes close to our Indo-Chinese Food with lots of ginger & garlic, onion and thai red chilli's. I have developed a liking for Eggplant based dishes after coming here. 
With so many varieties of noodles available here, I thought I would be able to experiment with a variety of noodles. But was disappointed that the noodles that were eggless were too thin to handle. These were perfect to be boiled with broth and had as a soup. One fo my friend here suggested that I try my hand at a variety of noodle that was coiled and eggless. This tasted almost like Hakka noodles. 
Here is what's needed:
3-4 coils of noodles or 1 packet hakka noodles
2 Capsicum sliced
a small bunch of Spring onion and green Garlic
1 Onion sliced
1 big Carrot Sliced
1/4 cup cabbage shredded
1 tsp Vinegar
1/2 tsp light Soy sauce 
Salt and Pepper powder to taste
1) Boil noodles as per the instructions on the packet. Add 1/2 of salt and oil each and cook until al dente. Drain completely and let it cool. Add a tsp of oil to prevent them from sticking to each other. Cold water wash is also beneficial.
2) Chop spring onion and garlic bulbs. Reserve few of the greens from spring onion to garnish.
3) In a Wok, Heat oil. Add spring garlic & onion. Reserve few greens from spring onion to garnish. 
4)Sauté for few seconds and add in the onions. Sauté until golden on high flame. Throw in the vegetables and sauté for 2-3 mins. Do not let them turn soft or soggy. 
5) Add in the soy sauce, salt, vinegar and pepper powder. Mix well. Add the noodles and mix well until incorporated. Adjust the seasonings as per taste. If desired a tablespoon of tomato ketchup can be added.
Garnish with spring onion tops and serve hot.
For fried rice I add cooked Long grain rice (again do not boil the rice completely else it will turn mushy) instead of noodles and chop the vegetables fine. I do not add ketchup for fried rice. Leftover rice from previous day or cooked rice refridgerated works best for this. Adding a pinch of Ajinomoto enhances the taste, I am not comfortable in using them in my cooking so leave it out.

This is my entry to Think Spice..Think Pepper event guest hosted by Divya of Dil Se. This event was started by Sunita.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Tried and Tasted ~ Chirote Payasa/ Appi Payasa

Appi payasa/ Chirote payasa is one of the dish served at Udupi Brahmin's wedding. This was never made at our house but we had tasted this in a lot of wedding's. I made this long time back but never got around posting it. 
Near our house back in Mangalore there is a small sweet shop. The owner of the shop makes sweets and snacks at home and has a very huge demand. One of the speciality is "Phenori". It is a maida based layered roti kind of which is deep fried and dunked in sugar syrup. Tastes best when had warm. I was never a fan of sweets until I came here. Since the availability is very very limited I started missing eating sweet. It was then that I decided to try learning to make most of the sweet dishes at home. While searching for the recipe to make Phenori I landed at Bhaatukli's blog. Her recipe of chirote was similar to our Phenori and with step by step instructions it made my job easy. 
When I first made Phenori all of them were polished off and I did not get time to click snaps. When I made the second batch I decided not to dunk them in sugar syrup but make Appey payasa as she has suggested in her blog. Both were a hit with us and our friend's. I am going to keep making this often. Thank you Tee for this wonderful recipe. Please click here for the recipe.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Peas Pulao

Rice items play an important part in menu planning especially when you have guests over for lunch or dinner. I usually prefer to make phulka and one rice dish so that people can have a choice. I prefer making one pot rice dish as it saves energy and time without compromising on taste. Pair it with simple raita, dal or any side dish of your choice and it is ready to go. I love to experiment with different veggies and spices. It was during one of the experiment that I landed up with this recipe. It is very simple to make yet aromatic due to the use of whole spices.
Here is what's needed:
1 cup Basmati rice
1/4 cup frozen Green peas
1 medium Onion sliced
1" Cinnamon stick
3-4 whole Peppercorns
4 green Cardamom 
1 Star anise
1 Bay leaf
1 tbsp split cashews
1 tbsp Ghee or Oil
Salt to taste
few strands of Coriander leaves finely chopped
1) Wash basmati rice until clean and soak in water for 10 mins. Drain. Slightly crush the whole spices. Defrost the green peas and keep aside.
2) Heat ghee/oil. Add roast cashews until golden. Remove and keep aside.
3) In the same pan add more ghee/oil if needed. Once heated add the whole spices. Add Onions and sauté until slightly golden. Add the drained rice and green peas. Fry for just a minute.
4) Add 2 cups of water , salt to taste and chopped coriander leaves. Give it a rolling boil and reduce the flame to medium. Cook covered until done. Fluff and serve hot.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Poori Saagu -2

Poori saagu is a an all time favourite at our place. Though I had tasted this many times in Bangalore I had never made it on my own. Last year I had got the recipe from Asha's Blog. The other day whle I was just blog hopping I landed at Supriya's blog and saw her version of Poori Saagu. The picture of the dish was mouth watering and instantly I decided that I was going to make this for breakfast :D. I have made some changes in the recipe. Both the recipe's are keepers and do try them if you love saagu. They taste great with puri and also with Phulka or chapathi. Here is the recipe that I followed.
What's needed:
1-1/2 cups chopped vegetables (green beans, carrots, potatoes, cauliflower and peas)
1 medium Onion chopped 
1 medium ripe Tomato chopped
1/2 tsp Mustard seeds
1 tbsp Oil
5-6 Curry leaves (I left out as I did not have it)
a pinch of Asafoetida
Coriander leaves for garnish (I grinded it)
Salt to taste

To grind together:
1 tsp Cumin seeds
2 tsp Coriander seeds ( I used 1 tsp)
¾ cup grated coconut
2 tsp poppy seeds (I did not have so used 1 tbsp of cashews soaked for 5 mins in warm water)
2 Tbsp whole split peas (hurgadle, putani)
5-6 green chillies
3 garlic pods
small piece of Tamarind
Salt to taste
In addition to this I used:
a small piece of Cinnamon, Star anise, 2 Cloves ,4 Peppercorns and small bunch of Coriander leaves.
1) Grind all the ingredients under "To grind together"  with suffecient water to a smooth paste.
2) Pressure cook or microwave the vegetables with little salt until done. 
3) Heat oil in a kadai. Add mustard seeds. When they splutter add the curry leaves, asafoetida and chopped onions. Sauté the onion till transparent. Add in the chopped tomato and cook until mushy.
4) Add the ground masala and fry until the raw smell goes off. Add the boiled vegetables and salt to taste. Add water to bring it to desired consistency. Give it a rolling boil and switch off.
Serve hot with Puri or phulka's.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Kaali tori Bendi

Kaali tori means Black Toor (Pigeon pea) not the dal but the whole. There are two varieties of pigeon pea the white and black. These cannot be used directly as we use the split pigeon pea or dal. These must be soaked well in advance(overnight) and then pressure cooked until soft. Takes about 3-4 whistles in my Prestige Cooker. The whole Toor tastes slightly different from split ones. We use the split dal for dosa or daalithoy and the whole ones are used in masala gravies. I normally avoid using coconut in my daily cooking but once in a while we do indulge.
Kaali tori bendi is signature dish of my mhaav (Elder aunt). She adds green jackfruit when in season and it is had with steaming hot boiled rice. It tastes equally good even with rice noodles or dosa.

Here is what's needed:
1 cup black Pigeon pea
a small piece of peeled and chopped Potato/ Elephant foot Yam (Suran)(Optional)
1/2 cup grated Coconut
5-6 fried Red chilli
a small marble sized Tamarind
Salt to taste

For seasoning
6-8 Garlic pods

1) Soak the Pigeon peas overnight and pressure cook along with potato or suran if using until done.
2) Grind grated coconut,red chillis, tamarind and salt with water to smooth paste.
3) Add the ground masala to the boiled peas and give it a rolling boil before switiching it off.
4) Prepare seasoning. Slightly crush the garlic. Heat oil and add the crushed garlic to it and fry until golden. Make sure that each of the garlic is crushed else it may start spluttering. Pour the seasoning over the gravy. Mix and keep covered. The gravy tastes better as time passes by. While serving re-heat and serve hot.
P.S: People who do not prefer garlic can substitute it in the seasoning with mustard seeds and curry leaf. When garlic seasoning is used it is called bendi/koddel and if mustard & curry leaf is used it is called ghashi.