Friday, July 31, 2015

CELERY SOUP


Nothing better than having a bowl of hot soup in winter. I prefer home made soups to the packed ones as they are fresh and without any preservatives. Today I have tried out celery soup.
Celery is a great choice if you are watching your weight. One large stalk contains only 10 calories! So start adding celery in your salads, soups and stir-fries. You can even snack on a piece of celery with any kind of dip.

Ingredients:
Celery ..... 2 cups (chopped)
Onion .... 1 (half cup - sliced)
Potato .... 1 (1 cup - chopped)
Cream ....  3-4 tbsps
Olive oil ... 1 tbsp
Salt ..... to taste
Black pepper .. freshly ground
Celery leaves ... for garnishing.

Method:
1. Clean the celery stalks and wipe them with a kitchen towel.
2. Chop the celery, potato and onion.
3.In a pan add 1 tbsp olive oil and the onion slices and saute for a minute.
4. Tip in the potato and celery. Add salt to taste.
5. Add about 3-4 cups of vegetable stock or water and bring to a boil.
6. Simmer until the vegetables are cooked. Let them cool.
7. Blend the soup using a hand blender or in a mixie.
8. Pour it back into the pan. Check the consistency and add milk or water to dilute according to your liking.
9. Stir in the cream and season with freshly ground black pepper.
10. Pour it into the serving bowl and garnish with celery leaves and a drizzle of olive oil.


Thursday, July 30, 2015

PURPLE CAULIFLOWER SERVED WITH QUINOA AND SAFFRON SAUCE



I saw this vibrant purple cauliflower in a store and couldn't stop myself from picking it up. Now it was a difficult task how to cook this exotic vegetable retaining its beautiful colour. Indian curries need to be cooked with a lot of spices and that might change the colour. So I decided to make a simple stir-fry with pine nuts and serve with quinoa and a rich saffron sauce for the topping.

Ingredients:
Purple cauliflower .. 1 head (about 200 gms)
Pine nuts ............ handful
Quinoa .............. 1 cup
Salt ................ as needed
Olive oil ........ 2-3 tbsps
Black / white pepper .. 2-3 pinches.

For saffron Sauce

Ingredients:
Shallots .... 6 - 10
White wine .. 1/2 cup
Cream ....... 2 tbsps
Saffron ... 1 pinch
Butter ..... 2 tbsps (use cold butter cut into pieces)
Lemon juice .. 1 tbsp
Honey ......... 1 tbsp (optional)
Paprika ....... 1 pinch
Salt ............ as needed

1. Peel the shallots and chop them very finely.
2. Take a small pan and put the wine and shallots. Bring them to boil on medium temperature and cook for about 2 minutes.
3. Turn the gas to low and now add the saffron and cream. Mix it well.
4. Now add the cold butter pieces one by one. Add one and whisk it until it melts before you add another chunk.
5. Keeping it on low flame add the lemon juice, honey, salt and paprika.

 If you want a smooth texture you may strain it and discard the shallots.


Method:
1. Wash the quinoa and soak it for at least one hour.
2. For one cup quinoa add 3 cups of water and cook adding a little salt.
3. Cut the cauliflower into small florets.
4. Boil water with salt and tip in the cauliflowers just for one boil. Drain and set aside.
5. In a sauce pan heat the olive oil and add the pine nuts. When they are lightly fried, add the cauliflower and saute.
6. Add salt to taste and simmer it for a few minutes turning it a couple of times. It should remain slightly crunchy and not overdone.
7. Sprinkle the freshly ground black or white pepper.
8. Spoon the cooked quinoa in a greased mould. press it and upturn it in a serving platter.
9. Top it with the cauliflower and spoon as much saffron sauce as you like before serving.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

BEGUN POSTO / BABY BRINJALS WITH POPPY SEEDS PASTE / BENGALI STYLE BRINJAL- EGGPLANT - AUBERGINE CURRY



This is a traditional Bengali style brinjal / eggplant / aubergine curry cooked with poppy seeds / khus khus  paste. This is very mild and requires very few ingredients. Yet it has such a nice creamy texture and is so flavourful.

Ingredients:
Baby brinjals .... 200 gms
Onion .................... 1 (sliced )
Green chilli ......... 1 - 2 
Poppy seeds / khus khus ........ 2-3 tbsps
Turmeric powder .. 1/4 tsp
Red chilli powder .. 1/4 tsp
Salt ............ to taste 
Sugar .......... 1 tsp (skip if you don't like )
Mustard oil .....  3 tbsps (or use half with normal cooking oil )
Coriander leaves .. to garnish



Method:
1. Wash the baby brinjals and make slits. Put them in salt water until use to avoid them from turning black
2. Soak the poppy seeds preferably for few hours. Make a smooth paste with poppy seeds and green chillies.
3. In a pan heat oil and saute the sliced onion until translucent.
4. Tip in the brinjals and stir fry until they are half done.
5. Add the ground poppy seed and chilli paste. Also add turmeric powder, red chilli powder and salt to taste and a little sugar if you like.
6. Stir carefully and add about one cup water and simmer to cook.
7. If you want a dry version you just sprinkle a little water and cover the lid. Check again after a minute or two and repeat the same if they are not done. This depends on the size of the brinjals you are using. Tiny ones get cooked very fast.
Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with rotis or rice.

Note: Tempering is optional. If you like then temper the curry with just nigella seeds or panch phoran. Some people also add a little yogurt for tanginess. 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

BROCCOFLOWER AND PINE NUT SOUP



Broccoflower is a cross between broccoli and cauliflower.  It is low in calories and the taste is similar to broccoli. Try out this delicious and creamy soup made with this vegetable. You can also saute it and serve as a side dish with grilled meats and sea food.


Ingredients:
Broccoflower ... 1 head (400 gms)
Onion ............. 1
Pine nuts ...... handful (lightly roasted)
Basil leaves ..... 1/2 cup
Cream .............  1/4 cup
Vegetable stock ... 3- 4 cups (optional - you can use water instead)
Olive oil ..... 1 tbsp
Freshly ground black pepper .. as needed
Salt ..... to taste

Method:
1. Cut the broccoflower into small florets and put them in boiling water for a minute. This cleans the vegetable and brings out the dirt or insects hidden inside.
2. Heat a pan and add olive oil. Do not bring it to a smoking point as it looses it's nutritious value.
3. Tip in the sliced onion and saute until translucent.
4. Now add the roasted pine nuts, basil leaves, broccoflower and vegetable stock or water.
5. Season with salt and a little pepper.
6. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the flowers are cooked. You may also pressure cook it to save time.
7. Allow it to cool and blend it using a hand blender or in a mixie.
8. Pour the soup back into the pan. Add the cream and check the salt.
9. Adjust the thickness of the soup as per your liking. You can also add a little milk if you want to make it thinner.
10. Pour into individual serving bowls and garnish with cream and freshly ground pepper.

This quantity serves 2-3 people.

The recipe is adapted from here 

Monday, July 27, 2015

MINI MASALA UTTAPAMS



Whenever we make dosa batter there is always enough left for the next day. I like to make use of it in various different ways. Today I made mini uttapams by adding tadka of onion and sambar powder. These mini uttapams are perfect to serve in your evening tea party or kids party.

Ingredients:
Dosa batter .... 2-3 cups
( If you don't have left over batter make it fresh. Soak 1/2 cup urad dal and 1 and 1/2 cups raw rice for 5-6 hours. Grind to make a smooth batter of pouring consistency. Mix them well adding a little salt and allow it to ferment overnight or 8-10 hours )

Ingredients for Tadka /Tempering :
Onion .... 1 cup finely minced
Green chilli .. 1 finely minced (optional)
Coriander leaves .. 1/4 cup (finely chopped)
Mustard seeds ... 1 tbsp
Asafoetida .... a pinch
Sambar powder or Podi ... 1 tbsp
Turmeric powder ... 1/8 tsp
Salt ........ to taste
Oil .... 2 tbsps and extra for making uttapams


Method:
1. Take a pan and heat oil. Add the mustard seeds and when they crackle add the asafoetida and finely minced onion and green chillies.
2. Saute until translucent. Tip in the sambar powder, salt, turmeric powder and saute on low flame.
3. Add the coriander leaves and switch off the flame. Allow it to cool.
4. Mix it in the dosa batter.
5. Pour a small ladle full on the griddle to make the uttapams.
6. Spoon a little oil and flip both sides until done.
Serve with coconut chutney.

Friday, July 24, 2015

TINGMOS / TING MOMOS / TIBETAN STEAMED BUNS



This month in our baking group , " We Knead To Bake " we’re making a savoury Tibetan yeasted bread called Tingmos or Ting Momos (also called Te Momos by the Sherpas), which are not baked but steam cooked. If you’ve never heard of Tingmos before, they’re a steamed bread that is usually used by Tibetans to soak up everything from soup to curries and even spicy pickles/ sauces.

The Tingmo is a sort of a cousin to the Chinese steamed buns called Mantou and is also popular in the Indian state of Sikkim whch has a geographical border with Tibet. You can also generally find it on the menu at most Tibetan eateries all over India, along with Momos. Chinese steamed buns, Momos and Tingmos all probably have a common origin.

 I think the traditional version of this bread actually doesn’t use yeast but only baking powder as a leavening agent. However, the ones with yeast come out nice and fluffy. This recipe is adapted from Rick Stein’s cookbook “India”,. Rick Stein describes Tingmos as “spongy, slightly gelatinous little steamed Tibetan buns, pleasingly savoury with ginger, garlic, coriander and tomato. They are Divine when dunked into a rich curry or the very yummy Tibetan red chilli sauce”.


Ingredients:

For the Dough:
All purpose flour .. 1 and 1/2 cups
Baking powder ...... 3/4 tsp
Instant yeast ........... 1 tsp
Salt ....................... 1/2 tsp
Sugar .................... 1 tsp  (optional)
Warm water ........ 1/2 cup or as needed.

For the Filling:
Ginger ..... 1 tsp or more (grated or finely minced)
Garlic paste ... 1 tsp
Salt .... as needed
Fresh coriander .. 2 tbsps (finely chopped)
Spring onion .... 1/4 cup (finely chopped with greens)
Oil ...... 1- 2 tbsps


Method:



In a large bowl take the flour. Mix baking powder, yeast, salt and sugar. Make a well in the middle. Add enough warm water to make a nice smooth dough.






Knead it well for about 2 minutes and set it aside covering the bowl for about 1 hour or until it rises to double.






Take the risen dough and roll it into a rectangular shape about 5 mm thick







Brush the surface with oil. Spread the garlic paste and ginger.
Sprinkle a little salt in the spring onion and leave for a minute. Squeeze out the water that has come because of adding salt. Mix the coriander leaves. Now spread this on the rolled out dough.




Start rolling the bread carefully and tightly into a cylindrical shape like a Swiss roll.






Cut them into equal sized pieces using a knife or dough cutter.







Line the bamboo steamer with a butter paper. Place the bread rolls upright leaving enough space ( 2 -3 inches) between each one as they expand on steaming.Cover and let them aside for 15 minutes before you start steaming to allow them to rise again.





Place the bamboo steamer in a big vessel containing water and steam the tingmos for about 15 to 20 minutes.






Tingmos will be double the size after steaming. Remove them and serve hot. These can be served with any chilli sauce or a nice spicy gravy







Note: If you don't like the raw flavour of garlic you can saute the ginger garlic before using it for spreading. I prefer not to do it as there is not much difference once the buns are steamed.  This recipe makes about 7-8 tingmos depending on the size you prefer.

(Adapted from Rick Stein’s India)

We Knead To Bake # 29 hosted by My Diverse Kitchen


SAFFRON SAUCE



This is a very rich and aromatic sauce made with saffron. It can be used as a topping for grilled fish, meats and many other dishes.



Ingredients:
Shallots .... 6 - 10
White wine .. 1/2 cup
Cream ....... 2 tbsps
Saffron ... 1 pinch
Butter ..... 2 tbsps (use cold butter cut into pieces)
Lemon juice .. 1 tbsp
Honey ......... 1 tbsp (optional)
Paprika ....... 1 pinch
Salt ............ as needed

Method:
1. Peel the shallots and chop them very finely.
2. Take a small pan and put the wine and shallots. Bring them to boil on medium temperature and cook for about 2 minutes.
3. Turn the gas to low and now add the saffron and cream. Mix it well.
4. Now add the cold butter pieces one by one. Add one and whisk it until it melts before you add another chunk.
5. Keeping it on low flame add the lemon juice, honey, salt and paprika.

Note: The sauce is now ready for use. If you want a smooth texture you may strain it and discard the shallots.


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

SANDHYALA BASAR / BASAR JI KHATAIRN / SINDHI ONION PICKLE


This is a traditional Sindhi onion pickle made without oil. Unlike other pickles this has just a few ingredients and it is very easy to make. This pickle and the carrot pickle (sandhyala gajroon) are must in all the Sindhi weddings and are made in large quantities to be served with the meals. But for regular use it is better to make in smaller quantity and consume fast as the shelf life of this is not much. Since there is no oil content it gets fungus easily. It is better to refrigerate it after it is ready.


Ingredients:
Small onions - 200 gms
White mustard seeds ... 1 tbsp
Turmeric powder ........ 1 tsp
Red chilli powder ...... 1 tsp
Vinegar ................... 2-3 tbsps
Crushed garlic ........ few cloves (use green garlic during the season)
Water ................... 2 cups or more to the level of the onions. (use boiled and cooled water)
Salt ......................... as needed

Method:
1. Peel the small onions and slit them (criss-cross) from the larger side half way through.
2. Grind the white mustard seeds coarsely.
3. Take a sterilized jar and mix all the ingredients.
4. Cover it and allow the pickle to mature giving the bottle a shake everyday.
5. In about 5-6 days the pickle should be ready for consumption.


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

POHA SCHEZWAN FRIED RICE STYLE / BEATEN RICE - FLATTENED RICE CHINESE STYLE.


Sometimes we get tired of eating the usual dishes and it is always fun to create something new. I made the poha like schezwan fried rice adding veggies and chilli sauce for a change. They really tasted yummy. It made a light and filling one pot meal.

Ingredients:
Poha .... 2 cups 
Broccoli ... 2 tbsps (cut into small pieces)
Capsicum .. 2 tbsps .. (diced) 
Carrot ....... 1/4 cup (diced)
Baby corn ... 2 (cut into small pieces)
Spring onion ... 1 sprig with bulb. (chopped)
Garlic ........... 1 tbsp
Soya sauce ... 1 tbsp
Chilli sauce ... 2 tbsps
Salt ........ to taste
Oil ...... 3 tbsps 


Method:
1. Take the poha in a strainer and run under the tap once just to soak them lightly. Spread them in a plate.
2. In a wok heat the oil and add the garlic and saute.
3. Tip in the vegetables and stir fry adding the salt.
4. When they are done add the sauces and mix.
5. Next add the spring onions and stir in the soaked poha.
6. Stir everything carefully to avoid making it mushy.

Note: Adjust the spice level according to your preference.. You can add the chilli sauce accordingly.

Friday, July 10, 2015

ACARAJE / BRAZILIAN BLACK EYED BEAN FRITTERS



Acaraje - (pronounced as Aka-raa-zhe) is a traditional dish from the state of Bahia, a north-eastern state of Brazil. It is a very popular street food. The origin of this dish is Nigeria and it was taken to Brazil by the slaves of the West African coast. In Nigeria it is known as Akara.
The most common way of eating acarajé is splitting it in half, pouring vatapá and/or caruru, a salad made out of green and red tomatoes, fried shrimps and homemade hot pepper sauce. A vegetarian version is typically served with hot peppers and green tomatoes.
 

Acaraje 


Ingredients:
Black eyed beans ... 250 grms
Onion ... 1
Salt ... to taste
Oil .. for frying.
(traditionally these are fried in palm oil)

Method:
1. Soak the beans overnight.
2. Wash them crushing with hands to remove the husk / skin of the beans. This is really a tedious job.
3. Grind the beans and onion together in a food processor.
4. Add salt and stir well with a wooden spoon until the volume doubles and looks light and fluffy.
5. Heat the oil in a deep pan.
6. Using 2 serving spoons or ladles take a big lump of the ground beans in one spoon pass the other spoon around it a couple of times to get a smooth and even texture.
7. Drop them into hot oil. Fry until golden brown adjusting the heat in between.
8. Remove them on a paper towel.

Vatapa

Ingredients:
Bread slices .. 1 -2
Coconut milk ... 300 ml
Peanuts .... 50 gms
Cashewnuts ... 50 gms
Ginger ........... 1 small piece
Garlic ............ 3-4 cloves
Onion ............ 1
Salt .............. to taste
Dry shrimps .... optional
Palm oil ... 1-2 tbsps as needed

Method:
1. Soak the bread in coconut milk for 2-3 hours.
2. In a food processor blend all the ingredients except palm oil.
3. In a pan heat the palm oil and add the ground paste.
4. Saute for 2-3 minutes and simmer for 10 - 15 minutes stirring few times until it thickens.
5. If it is thin you can add a little flour mixed with water and cook further to thicken.

Camarao Frito

Shrimps sauteed in palm oil. You can add onion or any vegetables if you like.

Hot chilli sauce

Prepare by grinding fresh red chillies and garlic together. Cook it for 5 minutes in oil adding salt and vinegar.

How to assemble:

1. Make a slit in the acaraje. ( I prefer it sliced into halves )
2. Using a butter knife spread a little chilli sauce.
3. Spoon in the vatapa and finally the sauteed shrimps.
4.You can also add some chopped onions and tomatoes with vinagrette dressing for a tangy flavour.



In Brazil, most street vendors who serve acarajé are women, easily recognizable by their all-white cotton dresses and headscarves and caps. The image of these women, often simply called Baianas, frequently appears in artwork from the region of Bahia.

Recipe Source - Tudo Gostoso


Sunday, July 5, 2015

MANGO GINGER THOKKU / MAMIDI ALLAM THOKKU / GRATED MANGO GINGER PICKLE



Mango ginger, also known as Curcuma Amada / Amba Haldi / Aam Adrak is a plant from ginger family closely related to turmeric. It resembles ginger but has a raw mango taste. In South India it is mostly used to make pickles. ( Mamidi Allam - Telugu ) (Mangai Inji - Tamil)

Ingredients:
Mango ginger - 1 cup (grated)
Turmeric powder ... 1/8 tsp
Red chilli powder ... 1/2 tsp (add more if you like)
Salt ........... to taste
Jaggery ....... 1 tbsp (grated)
Tamarind juice ... 2 - 3  tbsps (to your liking)
Oil ......... 6-7 tbsps

Grind coarsely:
Mustard seeds .. 1/2 tsp
Methi /fenugreek seeds ...... 1/4 tsp
Cumin seeds ............. 1/2 tsp

For tempering:
Mustard seeds ... 1/2 tsp
Asafoetida ....... 2-3 pinches.

Method:
1. Wash the ginger and wipe it dry with a kitchen napkin. Grate it. I have grated it with the skin as it has lot of health benefits.
2. In a saucepan heat oil and add the tempering ingredients.
3. When the mustard seeds crackle tip in the grated ginger and saute.
4. Add salt, ground spices, tamarind pulp and grated jaggery.
5. Continue to stir until the jaggery melts.
6. Now add the turmeric and chilli powder.
7. Stir until the oil separates.
8. Let it cool. Store it in a sterilized jar in the refrigerator.

Note: I have made it sweet and sour. If you like you may skip the jaggery and make it only spicy and tangy. 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

FEIJOADA / TRADITIONAL BRAZILIAN BLACK BEAN STEW WITH MEATS



Feijoada, pronounced as (fay-zhwa-dah) is a traditional dish of Brazil... black bean stew cooked with meats and sausages. It is slow cooked in the clay pots. There is not much tempering in it except black pepper, a little local liquor called pinga / cachaca (pronounced - ka-sha-sa) and orange juice are added towards the end. This stew is served with plain rice and accompaniments like couve, ripe banana fritters, fried pork chops, farofa, and orange slices. In the state of Bahia vegetables are also added to the stew along with the meats. Wednesday and Saturday are the feijoada days and almost all the restaurants in Brazil serve this dish for lunch only. You cannot find it on any other days.

Ingredients:
Black beans ... 250 gms
Dried beef ... 25 gms
Pork ribs .... 100 gms
Pork loin ... 100 gms
Sausages .... 100 gms
Pork trotters .100 gms
Pig tail ....... 50 gms
Pig ears ..... 50 gms
Bacon ...... 50 gms
Onions ..... 1
Bay leaves .. 3-4
Garlic ...... 6 cloves
Spring onions ... 1/4 cup
Pinga / cachaca ..... 10 ml (this is Brazilian country liquor .. you may substitute it with vodka)
Salt ..... as needed
Oil ... 4-5 tbsps




Accompaniments:
Plain rice
Orange .. 1 sliced
Banana fritters (batter-fried ripe bananas)
Farofa
Fried pork chops
Couvi mantega  (Brazilian greens sauteed with garlic)

Method:
1. In a saucepan heat a little oil and fry the bacon and sausage slices separately. Set aside.
2. Now take a big pot for cooking and tip in the fried bacon along with the meats mentioned in the ingredients list. Sausages will be added later as they get cooked fast.
3. Next add the soaked black beans and sufficient water to cook.
4. In a saucepan heat oil and fry the onion and garlic to a light brown colour. Add this to the cooking meats.
5. Tip in the bay leaves and spring onions. Add a little salt and allow it to simmer for 1 and 1/2 to 2 hours or until the meats and beans are done. Add the sausage slices when it is 3/4 ths done.
6. Finally add the juice of half an orange and the pinga or cachaca . Add the black pepper and salt if needed.
7. Simmer for a minute.
Serve with plain rice and all the accompaniments.