October 30, 2008

Carrot Halwa - A Sweet Indulgence

While I was going through my list of posts, I realized, I hadn't posted a single dessert/sweet dish. We aren't really fond of sweets, There are very few sweets that we relish, & one among them is the mother of all desserts - Carrot Halwa. Though we are introduced to world cuisine, Carrot Halwa still holds the pride of place among Indian desserts.

As with most recipes, there are various versions of this dish. Even though the process is slightly labour intensive, every tiny bit of this heavenly dessert is worth it.
Here's my version,

Preparation Time : 1 hour

Ingredients:
  • Grated carrots - 4 cups
  • Milk - 4 cups
  • Ghee/clarified butter - 1/4 cup
  • Sugar - 2 cups
  • 2 tsp - green cardamon powder
  • A handful of cashewnuts - chopped
  • A handful of raisins
Method:
  • Heat 2 tsps of ghee in a heavy bottomed pan & fry raisins & cashewnuts until golden brown. Remove & set aside
  • Add grated carrots & saute for a couple of minutes.
  • Add 4 cups of milk & stir at regular intervals.
  • Cook until milk is completely absorbed
  • Mix in ghee & sugar & stir till sugar is completely dissolved & carrots get a glaze.
  • Turn off the stove, Add in green cardamom powder & mix well
  • Garnish with chopped cashewnuts & raisins.
Serve with vanilla ice cream .. Enjoi !!!

October 24, 2008

Punjabi Kadhi-Pakode


Punjabi cuisine is as rich as its culture. Delectable Makki Di Roti & Sarson Da Saag, not to mention the paranthas with spicy pickles & yogurt, or the comforting Rajma Chawal & the tall glass of cold Lassi topped with Cream or Malai, Punjabi cuisine is truly a gastronomic delight

One such Punjabi dish we all love is the Punjabi Kadhi Pakode. Kadhi is a thick gravy of sour yogurt & chickpea flour simmered into a perfect consistency & seasoned with yummy spices. What makes the Punjabi Kadhi unique is the additon of Pakodes/fritters.

Kadhi - Chawal is such a comforting dish that once you get hooked to it, you will yearn for more.
My husband, who is ever fond of yogurt based gravies, just loves kadhi-pakode. We make this whenever we are bored of the regular Dal/Rasam/Sambar stuff ..

Here is how I made it:


Preparation Time: 30 mins

For the Kadhi:

  • Chickpea flour/Besan - 1/2 cup

  • Yogurt - preferably sour - 2 cups

  • Red chilli powder - 1 tsp

  • Turmeric - 1/2 tsp

  • Mustard seeds - 1 tsp

  • Cumin seeds - 1 tsp

  • Nigella seeds/Kallonji - 1/2 tsp

  • A pinch of Hing/Asafoetida

  • Kasuri Methi/Dry Fenugreek Leaves - 1 tbsp

  • A few curry leaves

  • 2 green chillies

  • salt as per taste

  • oil - 2 tsp

Method:

  • Mix sour yogurt & chickpea flour in a large bowl & make sure no lumps are formed

  • Heat oil in a large wok/kadhai, add mustard seeds, cumin seeds & kallonji

  • Once the seeds pop & splutter, add turmeric, red chilli powder & a pinch of hing

  • Add the chickpea flour & yogurt mixture & cook on very low heat, keep stirring often

  • Add salt & dry fenugreek leaves & mix well. Let it simmer until the mixture is of a custard like consistency. This will take about 25 mins

  • While the kadhi is simmering away to a perfect consistency, Here's how you make the fritters,

For Pakodes/Onion fritters

  • 2 onions - finely chopped

  • 1 cup chickpea flour/besan

  • 2 green chillies - finely chopped

  • 1 tsp - red chilli powder

  • 1 tsp - black pepper powder

  • A pinch of baking soda

  • Salt as per taste

  • Oil for deep frying

Method:

  • Mix all the ingrdients in a large bowl, add about 2 tbsp of water & make a batter. Make sure you add very little water as the batter should be fairy dry

  • Heat oil in a wok, To check if the temprature is right, drop a bit of batter into the oil, if it floats & sizzles on top, its time to fry the pakodes

  • Drop dollops of batter into oil & deep fry until golden brown

Dunk the pakodes into the kadhi & cook fo another 2 minutes.

Just before serving, temper with red/green chillies, a pinch of asafoetida & curry leaves. Close the lid immediately, for the flavours to infuse.

Serve with HOT steamed rice .. Enjoi !!!

October 19, 2008

Spaghetti with Sauteed Vegetables

Italian cooking is among the world's richest & most varied, with dishes perfect for every occasion. My family just loves Italian Food & Spaghetti is a family favourite. It is very nutritious, easy & can be made within minutes.


There are tons of easy ways to eat your spaghetti. The one that I want to share with all of you today is definitely one of the easiest & has a perfect assortment of sauteed vegetables. Even though its one of the 'Hurried-Up' meals at home, it is very delicious & is definitely a comfort meal. This one is a sure winner among kids too.

Preparation Time: 20-25 mins

You Will Need:
  • 500g spaghetti
  • 2 ripe tomatoes/ 1/2 cup tomato puree
  • 1 carrot - diced
  • 100g mushroom - sliced
  • 1 small bowl of sliced broccoli
  • 2 - 3 tbsp - extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp - grated cheese
  • salt as per taste

Method:

  • Cook spahetti in a large pot filled with heavily salted water, as per package instructions
  • Boil tomatoes in water, Peel off the skin & puree them using a blender
  • Heat oil in a wok, Add diced carrots, mushroom & broccoli. Saute the vegetables for about 5 minutes
  • Add pureed tomatoes & cook on low flame, until the vegetables are tender.
  • Add cooked spaghetti & salt as per taste
  • Mix well to combine, top with grated cheese & serve

Enjoi !!

October 7, 2008

Salade Mexicaine

I love salads, from the simplest to the most complex .. I was never particularly fond of them while growing up. I remember my mother's perpetual coaxing to get me to eat salads. Salads were a big No No in my menu. My love affair with salads began during my early college days when I was overzealously trying to get rid of the excess flab, amassed over years of gorging on those countless chaats, fried goodies & not to forget those pasteries . . Once I fell in love with them, there was no looking back.



I usually experiment with most vegetables & herbs & include them in my daily diet.
The one that I have for you today is a very simple mexican salad that I make quite often. Its a perfect mix of legumes & vegetables.

Preparation Time: 20 mins

You Will Need:
  • 1 cup french beans
  • 1 cup american sweet corn
  • 1 cup red kidney beans/rajma - soaked overnight or for 5-6 hours
  • 1 cup haricot beans/white kidney beans - soaked overnight or for 5-6 hours
  • 1 small red onion - finely chopped
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • Salt as per taste

Method:

  • Pressure cook french beans, kidney beans & haricot beans
  • Cook sweet corn on stove top until tender
  • Mix together all the ingredients in a large bowl
  • Add vinegar & salt as per taste
  • Toss well & serve

Can be served as an evening snack too . . . Enjoi !!!

Am sending over this recipe to Divya's Dil Se for the event Diet Foods .. & also to Sra's Place for the event My Legume Love Affair & A Recipe which is a brainchild of Susan

Thanks Divya & Sra & Susan for hosting.

October 1, 2008

Apple Dal

Apple Dal ??? This was exactly how my expression was when I saw it on Sujatha's blog. I kept wondering how Dal made out of apple would taste. Something about the recipe caught my attention, & I made a mental note of it, to be tried on a later date.


I have a huge stack of bookmarked recipes that are waiting to see the light of the day. At times I come up with a menu plan for the entire week wherein certain lunches/dinners are reserved for trying out new recipes. Somehow, I am never able to stick to the plan either because there are left overs or because my pantry is not stocked with appropriate ingredients or more so because I am plain lazy.

And, I had happily forgotten about Apple Dal too until I saw some apples lying in my refrigerator unattended. These apples we had bought several weeks ago turned out so sour that neither of us touched them again. I & Shankar relish fruits so its not everyday that there are excess fruits in my pantry that go unnoticed. It didn't take too long for me to decide that we were going to have Apple Dal for dinner

The basic recipe is from Sujatha's blog & I have tweaked the recipe here & there to suit my taste

Here's how I made it :

Preparation Time
: 30 mins

You Will Need:
  • 1 cup toor dal
  • 1 onion - finely chopped
  • 1 tomato - finely chopped
  • 1 green apple - cut into cubes
  • 2-3 green chillies - finely chopped
  • 1 tsp - mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp - cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp - oil
  • A few curry leaves
  • 2 tsp - sambar powder
  • 1 tsp - corinader powder
  • 1 tsp - red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp - kitchen king masala (optional)
  • A pinch of Turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp - Garam Masala
  • Salt as per taste
  • 2 tbsp - lemon juice

Method:

  • Pressure cook Toor dal with a pinch of turmeric & salt
  • Soak apple cubes in water mixed with lemon juice for about 15 mins
  • Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed pan & add mustard & cumin seeds
  • Once the seeds pop & splutter, add chopped green chillies & curry leaves
  • Add chopped onions & saute till they turn transparent
  • Add apple cubes & cook for 5 minutes
  • Now, add chopped tomatoes
  • Add Sambar powder, Red chilli powder, Coriander powder, Kitchen king masala, & saute till the raw smell disappears
  • Add cooked toor dal & mix well
  • The apples will be fully cooked my now & will be soft & mushy
  • Add salt as per taste & add a pinch of Garam masala
  • Give the mixture a gentle mash & mix well
  • Cook on low flame for 10 mins

Transfer to a serving bowl & Serve with HOT rice or rotis .. Enjoi !!

I loved the slightly sweet & tangy taste of apples mixed with spices .. It had all the right ingredients to tickle our taste buds. We had our Dal with HOT steamed rice, accompanied by roasted papads, Yogurt & pickle. It was one complete meal we thoroughly enjoyed . .

NOTE:

  • You could consider cooking the apples along with toor dal in a pressure cooker.
  • If you do not like biting into apples, you could mash them into a paste or just boil them separately & puree them using a blender. This will keep people guessing about the secret ingredient.
  • Addition or Deletion of spices is entirely upto you.

When are you making Apple Dal?