Friday, 29 January 2010

Finger Millet- Wheat Flour Ukarpendi | रागीची उकडपेन्डी |


For this month’s JFI Ragi or Finger Millet has been chosen. Ragi is an extremely nutritional grain with high iron content. Finger millet is especially valuable as it contains the amino acid methionine, which is lacking in the diets of hundreds of millions of the poor who live on starchy staples such as cassava, plantain, polished rice, maize meal.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Mughlai Dum Aloo…… on a foggy day

We have been facing dense fog and chilly winter these days. Have a look at this pic which I managed to click around 10 AM ..
Mornings are gloomy with the sunshine missing. With kids back to school and S too busy again I needed something interesting to eat to cheer myself…I had picked up baby potatoes this weekend. I had been wanting to make my kind of Dum Aloo since long. The last time when I had indulged with these baby potatoes and wanted to make the Dum Aloo I could not, as I wanted to make it with an ingredient that was missing in my pantry that time and I insist using it for my Mughlai had landed making tangy baby potatoes  which were equally tasty.
So this time I ensured that I had that ingredient in my pantry well stocked before I could make this. Do not laugh friends it’s a very simple ingredient but makes the curry rich (not fattening) and enhances the creamy texture…. Magaz or the water melon seeds. The curry when completed was well spiced and  creamy.
I had not made this curry in the true DUM fashion…those who want to try this in DUM way can read my post Dum Arvi… instead I opted cooking on slow fire, this surely ensured that the potatoes imbibe all the flavours.
I would have personally loved to have this preparation with Tandoori roti…..I feel Dum preparations taste best with it…nevertheless I had it with Roti and some rice.
Do try this curry…surely a finger licking one…
300 gm baby potatoes
3 onions chopped
3 tomatoes
3 tbsp watermelon seeds (magaz)
1-1/2 tbsp poppy seeds
an inch piece of ginger
2-3 garlic pods (optional)
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric pwd
2 tsp coriander pwd
a large pinch garam masala
1-1/2 tsp chili pwd
salt to taste
oil for cooking about 2-1/2 tbsp

Par boil potatoes with some salt and turmeric, later drain the water and wash with some cold water. One can also deep fry the potatoes, choice is…..
Soak the poppy and magaz in water for about 30 mins and grind them to make a paste.
In a pan take chopped onions and saute til they turn dark brown in colour. Now add half a spoon of oil and saute further. Alternatively if one wants to indulge in higher calories can deep fry the onions till nicely brown. Cool it and grind it with a little water to a fine paste.

Wash the tomatoes and ginger. In a pan boil together the tomatoes, ginger and garlic. Remove them from the water and grind them together. Do not discard the water, it can be used later in the curry.
Heat oil and put cumin seeds and let them splutter. Now add the onion paste and saute.
Add the tomato paste and mix thoroughly. All the pastes do not need much cooking being precooked.
Now add the spices…turmeric, chili, coriander, cumin, garam masala and some salt, mix and cook for a minute.
Add the magaz-poppy paste. Mix and cook till oil separates.
Add the potatoes and mix it in the masala. Now add the water (use the one in which
 tomatoes were boiled)  and bring the curry to a boil. Cover and cook and low flame for
 20-25 mins.

Once done garnish it some fresh cream (optional), which I had … serve it with hot phulkas and rice.
It is a rich curry to be enjoyed  and the added bonus is …it’s minus the calories.

Monday, 25 January 2010

Instant Bread Dosa… preparation in a jiffy

Hi.  I wish all my Indian friends a very happy REPUBLIC DAY.
Today I am posting a very simple, tasty and healthy recipe which is good for a working mom, tired mom, unwell mom or a sometimes lazy mom like me!!! Saturday night S asked me what’s for breakfast tomorrow? I was in a dubious state after the question as I had not planned anything till then. I surely do not like spending a lot of time in the kitchen on a Sunday. That time I just left the thought for the next day…how so very convenient..kal ka kal dekhenge …
Morning I entered the kitchen around 8 and kept the milk for boiling. The first thought that came to my mind was to make sandwich but instantly I shrugged it…who was going to boil potatoes…but then the bread caught my attention again and I thought why can’t I try a Dosa with it…surely will not taste bad and plus can be made quickly…hopefully!
So the next move was to put all the ingredients that came to my mind that point of time in the mixer grinder and make a spiced paste of that, then adjust the consistency of the batter, put the non-stick pan on gas stove, heat it and then pour a ladle full  of batter, spread the dosa and wait to see how it turns out….phew…I did lot of work…and I was so tired by then…LOL. Jokes apart one can sense how much time is really needed to make these dosas ready…
To my surprise the Dosa turned out really nice, in fact no one can make out there’s bread in it!!! The semolina added to the crispiness and curds provided the adequate sourness.  I tried an onion Uttapam also with this batter and  that tasted equally good. I will surely experiment more with this dosa in future but right now I am ready to give you the approx measurements of the ingredients…

Ingredients For Bread Dosa
5-6 slices bread (I used wheat-germ bread)
1/2 –3/4cup yogurt
1 cup poha
3/4 cup semolina/rava
3/4 cup rice flour
7-8 green chilies
handful of chopped cilantro
an inch of ginger
salt to taste
oil for applying
a tsp of cumin seeds
Grind all the ingredients except oil and cumin to a smooth paste. Mix water, cumin seeds and  make the batter. This batter has to be made slightly thinner than the normal dosa batter. Heat the non stick tava and spread the dosa  and leave oil  on its sides. Turn the dosa and cook it from the other side too. My observation was that this dosa takes a longer time to cook on one side than the regular ones… Once done serve it with chutney of your choice. My kids had it with some butter and it’s surely filling..
Note- The spice level should be kept a little high, else it can taste very bland.
Sending this to RV and Sudeshana’s

Friday, 22 January 2010

Soybean and Carrot Pilaf

Hello Friends! Today I am not in a mood to write much. Just want to say this a very healthy pilaf which incorporates the health benefits of both Soy and the carrots. I have explained in detail the health benefits of Soybean in Soybean and Rice adai. It’s a simple to make and flavourful rice.
2 carrots grated
1 large onion chopped
3/4 cup soaked  and parboiled Soybeans
2 cups basmati rice
2 garlic pods finely chopped
mix of ghee+oil for cooking
some fresh scraped coconut for garnish
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 tsp red chili pwd
2 tsp red chili flakes
2-3 star anise
4-5 cloves
3-4 bay leaves
1 cinnamon
2 black cardamom
1/4 tsp garam masala
Soak the rice for 10 mins. Heat oil+ghee in a pressure cooker pan and add all spices except garam masala and red chili flakes. Now add the garlic followed by chili flakes. Immediately add onions and saute. Now add the Soybeans and saute for few mins. Add the grated carrots and mix. Add salt to taste, turmeric, chili pwd and rice. Mix and fry in oil for 2 mins . Now add the water and garam masala. Put the lid of the pressure cooker but do not put the weight. Cook the pilaf till the water is used and the rice is cooked completely. Serve hot with raita of your choice.
Pilaf goes to Anita’s APS-RICE event.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Mushroom-methi-matar .. A delectable curry



One can confirm from my previous posts that ever since the onset of winter I have concentrated largely on greens. Seasonal produce is what I love to cook with.

When we visit any North Indian restaurant Methi matar malai is usually seen in the menu card and I wanted to play around this combination sans the malai.

I was keen on cooking with Mushroom. Now, S is not a die hard fan of it, he kind of compromises when he  eats them. I definitely ensure to make something interesting with Mushroom so that he can eat them pleasurably.

S loves Methi (fenugreek leaves) in any preparation, that did offer me a good chance to experiment with Mushroom with Fenugreek too as one of the key ingredient.

We all know that the greens reduce largely in volume on cooking, so do the Mushrooms. That’s how the peas came into the picture..err the curry.. They helped to increase the volume of the curry and also  aided in providing more texture.

Any curried vegetable tastes good if the curry/gravy is made to perfection. I strongly believe that making a good curry is an art and I guess all my blogger pals will agree with it.

The addition of perfect blend of spices along with the basic onion-ginger-garlic combination is what I have surely learnt over the years and have been appreciated by many for my curries. At the same time I do not shy away from taking  tips from the experts for the same.

While I was roasting the  masala for this curry my friend M had come to catch up with me. She entered asking what I was making? She then commented that she could smell Methi and when she eventually entered the kitchen, she said she could smell Cinnamon/ Dalchini too.

She quickly picked up from me what all I had added to the gravy and said she was making it for sure.. as it  smelt so good.

In this preparation  since I had replaced the Malai with the Muhrooms from the Methi malai matar combo,  the curry was not rich  but surely it was delectable. It had the nice aroma of Fenugreek and the Mushrooms had absorbed all the flavors and spices very well.

The peas were placed elegantly in this trio. It’s  a perfect side dish for every day cooking and is worth enough to charm your guests. My children loved every bit and I did not see S fussing at all,  in fact I just heard…it’s very nice.smile_regular



200 gm Mushroom chopped
a large handful of fenugreek/Methi chopped
a cup of peas boiled

To grind together
2 large onions roughly chopped
2 tomatoes
4-5 garlic pods
1/2 inch piece ginger
a small piece cinnamon
2-3 cardamom
1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
5  tsp desiccated dry coconut

1/2 tsp turmeric
2-3 tsp red chili pwd
3 tsp coriander pwd
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp cumin pwd


Heat about 6-7 tbsp oil. Fry the chopped fenugreek leaves till crisp and keep aside.

Frying  Methi helps reduce the bitterness to a great extent plus adds a nice texture.

In the same oil add the ground paste and sauté  it till the oil separates.

Now add all the spices except the garam masala and sauté  for  a minute.

Add the mushrooms and salt and cook till done.

Add  the peas and fried Methi and mix properly, check the consistency, if required add a little water.

Just before turning the flame off add the garam masala and mix.

At the end, garnish with some fresh cream and serve with Naan or Paratha.


Monday, 18 January 2010

Chana Masala Version II (chickpeas/garbanzo gravy)


As I have mentioned  in my first version of Chana Masala, I make this preparation in several ways to break the monotony and obviously to enjoy the health benefits. I am very happy to post the second version, an authentic Punjabi version. This recipe is very close to my heart and I am surely disclosing some secrets of my kitchen here…. Have I aroused your interest now in reading this post?
As we all know any preparation when it is made by two different people using the same ingredients has a different taste. In this recipe some ingredients that I have used are used by everyone but some are surely new.
I personally like my Chana cooked very soft , made in low oil and with a perfect balance of spices. I like it slightly tangy, medium spicy and enjoy eating it with rice. And yes, I surely enjoy the crunch of raw onions with this combo.
It was a while ago that I had cooked the Chana last,  S reminded me that I had not cooked it in ages… so this ever obedient wife soaked the Chana for weekend…I thought suits me fine, I do not have to stand in the kitchen for a long time on a holiday. smile_wink
I let the Chana soak overnight and then started cooking it in the morning. I have used Kachari to tenderise the Chana naturally. I had heard about Kachari in Sanjeev Kapoor’s show and since then I was in hunt of this ingredient. Ideally it is used to tenderise the meat but can be used for Chana too as it takes a lot of time for them to get cooked otherwise. Kachari is a fruit and in dried form is powdered and used.
The other variation which I have done is boiled the Chana with a few ingredients which adds a flavor, deepens the color, increases the nutrient value and aids in digestion of these ‘Sholay’ sorry Chhole… the method for that
So lets hit the complete list of ingredients
2-1/2 cups of Kabuli chana (approx 4 handfuls)
2 potatoes cubed (optional)
1 small stick cinnamon
2 Black cardamom
1 tsp tea leaves
9-10 dry amla
1/4 tsp kachari (alternately, you can also use soda bi carb)
for gravy….
3 onions (make a paste)
3 tomatoes (pureed)
7-8 garlic pods
1-1/2 inch piece ginger
oil for cooking
Spices used…
3-4 bay leaves
1 tsp white pepper pwd
2 tsp red chili pwd
1 tsp turmeric
3-4 tsp coriander pwd
2 tsp roasted  and powdered Cumin
1 tsp roasted and powdered Ajwain / Carom Seeds
3-4 tbsp Anardana pwd*
1/4 tsp garam masala (optional) I did not add
Wash the chickpeas and soak it in overnight with 1/4 tsp Kachari powder  and then boil it in the same water ( to retain nutrients) with  this mix  and  also add salt to taste.
This mix contains tea leaves which helps to deepen the colour, dry Indian gooseberry (Amla), cinnamon stick and Black cardamom. Tie all ingredients in a cloth (make a potli) and put it  along with the  chickpeas in a pressure cooker, remove the potli after cooking. Amla adds it’s flavor, helps in digestion and is the richest source of Vit C. One can notice the difference in colour after cooking. See below..
Grind the onions. Heat oil and add bay leaves followed by the onion paste and saute till it gets a light brown colour. One can see how the onion changes colour on cooking.
Add crushed ginger garlic paste followed by the tomato puree. Cook till the oil separates and then add all the spices and salt to taste. I must tell my friends that the Anardana (dry pomegranate seeds) used here impart tanginess and it’s taste is very different from Amchoor. It imparts  that perfect tanginess which is subtle and surely add that authentic punjabi flavour, people who have used this will agree to me on this and if you have not used it till now please do not wait, use it!
Add the potatoes, mix, cover and cook till done.
Add this to cooked chickpeas and add some water, boil on simmer flame for another 10 minutes.
Serve this with Poori / Paratha / Rice / Kulcha / Naan.
Sending this as my entry to EC’s MLLA-19 the brainchild of Susan   
SWLEventLogo2.jpg picture by arundhuti
to Arundhuti’s Gourmet affair as this was made with lot of love on S’s demand.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Baked Fusilli in Marinara and Healthy-Spinachy Bechamel Sauce

Hi friends.
The word Italian brings in the thought of Pizza, pasta, risotto, wine….and Cheese to my mind. Ritu Dalmia who is a famous Italian Chef and her show Italian Khana is never complete without the description of the famous Italian wines. Now I am surely not a person who has any knowledge and inclination for wine but I surely have an interest for the cuisine so I do watch the show for the food and the humour.
Today I take you to the world of baking with a very tasty and healthy Italian recipe. Italian cuisine has become very popular amongst the young and the old so how can my family be spared. We were planning to enjoy an Italian buffet in a place called Fresco but our plans have got delayed and postponed. I had not baked for a while and the upcoming baker in me was asking me to bake and I surely wanted to cook Italian for my elder one as he is quite fond of Italian cuisine. So one of these days I made this recipe to please everyone and the baker in me.
The journey of cooking this was satisfying as the baked dish surely smelled good. My elder one who kept asking me questions through out his eating…which sauce is this, what have you put in that, which cheese have you put in that? The not so confident me kept answering his questions and then at the end I asked him, why are you asking me so many questions? It’s very nice Mummy, that’s why,  is what I heard. So I was all collar’s up at the end!!!!
Now that I have boasted so much about the recipe and myself let me tell you the ingredients and the method..
2 cups boiled Fusilli (the screw shaped pasta, I used made Durum wheat pasta)
100 gm grated cheese
for Marinara sauce……
1 large onion chopped
3 garlic pods
1/2 inch piece ginger
2 tomatoes chopped
5-6 tbsp tomato puree
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp freshly crushed pepper
1/2 tsp chili flakes
salt to taste
evoo for cooking
for spinachy- bechamel sauce (white sauce)…
25 leaves of spinach blanched
7-8 spoons of whole wheat flour
about a cup of milk
1/2 cup of water
salt to taste
freshly crushed pepper
4 tbsp home made butter
Boil the Fusilli in 6-7 cups of water with some salt and a few drops of oil.
For the Marinara sauce..
First take the onions in the pan and then pour EVOO over it, this avoids overheating of the oil and it losing it’s valuable properties. Saute the onions and add crushed or finely chopped ginger-garlic. Cook till the raw smell disappears.
Now add the tomatoes, salt and sugar.
Once the tomatoes are cooked add the tomato puree and the herbs. Mix and switch off the flame.
 For Spinachy- Bechamel sauce
In a pan take the butter and add the wheat flour. Roast for a minute but do not let the colour change. Mix the water and milk and add this to the wheat flour stirring continuously so that no lumps are formed. This process has to be done fast so I could not take the pics. Unlike the white sauce made with APF this sauce does not thicken a lot on cooling so one must keep that in mind while making the sauce and checking it’s consistency. Season with salt and black pepper.
Blanch the spinach leaves.
Grind the leaves and add it in the bechamel sauce.
Now we start the layering.
Grease a baking dish. Spread the first layer ..that’s the marinara sauce.
Above the marinara sauce spread the second layer..that’s of fusilli.
Now comes the third layer …spinachy white sauce/ spinachy bechamel sauce.
Finally the cheese..spread the layer of processed cheese or cheese of your choice.
Bake the dish at 200C for about 15 mins or till the top layer melts.

SWLEventLogo2.jpg picture by arundhuti
Sending this healthy and tasty preparation to Arundhuti’s Gourmet affair as this was made and served with loads of love to my family & to CFK-Creative food for picky fussy eaters hosted by Sara’s corner and the brainchild of Sharmi, as I found this a very healthy way of adding spinach and other veggies to their diet.
Cooking for Kids - Healthy Breakfast n Dinner


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