February 25, 2010

Thakkali Kuzhambu | Thakkali Kulambu | Tomato Saar Recipe

I have been on a grand cooking spree over the past couple of weeks. The focus has mostly been South Indian recipes, especially new rasam, sambar, and kuzhambu recipes which I haven't tried before.

This Thakkalu Kuzhambu or Tomato Saar Recipe is as delicious as it is simple. I love anything tomato-flavoured and especially when it's kuzhambu with coconut ground in it, it's extra special for me. This Tomato Kulambu goes great with rice and some chips. You can add a dry vegetable curry on the side, like a betroot thoran or a beans mezhukkupuratti which would just take your meal to the next level.

So now let's check out how to make Thakkali Kuzhambu using this easy recipe from Arch.

Now onto the Tomato Saar Recipe.

Thakkali Kuzhambu | Tomato Saar Recipe
Serves 4
Recipe source: Arch

4 ripe tomatoes
3-4 green chillies
1 cup grated coconut
A few curry leaves
1 red chilli
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
A pinch of hing / asafoetida
1.5 tsp salt
2 tbsp grated jaggery

How to make Thakkali Kuzhambu:

1. Blanch the tomatoes in hot water. Peel the skin off and keep aside to cool. Reserve the water for later use.

2. Grind the green chillies, coconut, and tomatoes in a blender till smooth

3. Add the reserved water to the tomato-coconut paste and bring to boil in a pan.

4. Add salt and jaggery and cook down until desired consistency is reached. If the kuzhambu is too thick, you can add more water to begin with.

5. For tempering, heat oil in a small pan and add mustard seeds, broken red chilli, curry leaves and asafoetida.

6. Dunk the seasoning over the thakkali kuzhambu and serve with hot rice

February 22, 2010

Dates and Butter Dessert Bar

When I saw this, I knew I had to make it. I mean, look at all that butter. And dates. Dates are meant to be baked. Oh and also to be pitted and the seed replaced with a whole cashewnut before eating. These are the only two ways dates are meant to be used, really.

I did some adjustments to the quantity of ingredients based on my taste. I also think I under-cooked the bar but that's fine. One can always increase the baking time by 5-10 next time, no reason to hate the recipe for that.

Here's what we need.

1 cup dates, pitted and chopped into small pieces
2 cups all purpose flour / maida
1.5 cups butter at room temperature
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar (or just use white sugar again in case you don't have this)
4 eggs
1 cup chopped nuts of your choice (I used walnuts and about 2-3 tbsp of cashew nuts that I happened to have)
½ tsp Salt
¼ tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Vanilla Extract

Here's how to make the bars:

1. Melt butter in a pan over very low heat or in the microwave, stirring occasionally. Set aside.

2. Chop up the dates and nuts and set aside.

3. Sift flour, salt and baking powder. Add about 1/4 cup of this into the chopped dates and nuts mixture and mix (dredge) well to coat the sticky parts of the dates. Set aside.

4. Mix butter and sugar and beat lightly for 2 mins until well incorporated. Add eggs one at a time and continue beating. Finally add the vanilla extract and mix well.

5. Fold in the flour-salt-baking powder mixture to the above gently until just mixed and no lumps remain. Then add the dredged dates and flour mixture continuing to fold in gently. This will form a thick batter.

6. Pour into a greased cake or brownie pan and bake in a preheated oven at 350F/180C for 35-40 mins. The original recipe says 30 mins but mine were a bit under-baked so adjust according to your oven.

Cut and serve warm with ice cream for an indulgent treat. I stored mine in the refrigerator for 4 days.

Here's an example of a pic where the white balance is all off :D

February 12, 2010

Gooey Chocolate Melting Hearts - Easy Chocolate Recipe for Valentines Day

I've come a long way from when I made those hand-shaped baked hearts for a Valentines Day a couple of years back. As much as I think they are cute, I'd just use a heart-shaped cookie cutter if I were to make it now.

chocolate fudge cakes, heart fudge gooey cake recipe

Anyway, this recipe has been flicked almost entirely from my friend Reema's blog. I made them a while back with some minor adjustments - I didn't have 4 eggs so I used the 3 I had and then added 2 tbsp yogurt to replace the missing one - but was waiting for V-day to come nearer before I post. Although TH and I don't really celebrate Valentines day, I know many out there do in case you are looking for a quick chocolate dessert to bake, here's what you may find useful, not to mention yummy!

I have tried to give cup measurements wherever possible but for this recipe, ingredients would be easier to measure out if you have a kitchen scale.

Gooey Chocolate Melting Hearts
Adapted from here

All purpose flour / maida - 1/2 cup
Bittersweet chocolate, chopped - 125 gms / 4.5 oz
Cocoa powder - 1 heaping tbsp
Powdered sugar - 75 gms or 6 tbsp
Unsalted butter - 135 gms / 1/2 cup and a bit more
Eggs - 4 large ( I used 3 eggs and 2 tbsp yogurt)
Baking powder - 1/2 tsp
A pinch of salt
Chocolate or white chocolate chips - 4 tbsp (optional but recommended)
Ghee or butter - to grease

1. Sieve together cocoa powder, flour, salt and the baking powder. I did it about thrice so that the three are blended well.

2. Preheat oven to 180C.

3. Place the chopped chocolate and butter in a bowl. Get another bowl that's about double the size of the first one, fill 1/4 of the way with water and bring to boil. Once the water boils, lower fire, set the first bowl in the water without touching the sides and keep stirring the choc-butter mixture until it melts.

If all of that was just too much, place the butter and chocolate in a microwave-able bowl and give it 30 second turns in the microwave, stirring well after each 30 seconds. Set aside.

4. Beat the eggs lightly with the yogurt (if you are opting for 3 eggs + yogurt) and then add the powdered sugar. Mix well until well incorporated. I used my wooden spoon for this.

5. Next, add the cooled chocolate-butter mixture and stir well to incorporate. Again, no need to beat, just mix in well.

6. Bring out the flour mixture now. Gently fold into the above mixture and mix in just enough to remove to any lumps and until you get a smooth batter.

7. Grease your heart-shaped moulds with butter or ghee. I used butter because that's my greasant (greaser?) of choice. Add the batter 3/4 of the way and top off with some chocolate chips.

8. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 8 mins. I found that for the first batch, I had to bake them for close to 10 mins before they were done. For ones after that, 8 mins was just right.

The hearts will be a bit flaky outside and soft inside. Make sure you cool well before serving. Refrigerating and using the next day is even better! Just warm up slightly before eating.

February 10, 2010

Lemon Rasam Recipe | South Indian Rasam Recipe with Lemon

My mom only follows one kind of rasam recipe. Its watery, peppery, has no dal, and is ready in 7 mins flat. After getting married to a Tam Brahm I realized there are close to a gazillion different types of rasam and then some more. If dal or paruppu is added to rasam back home then we explicitly call it paruppu rasam and it resembles sambar, although taste-wise, it's quite different.

Anyway, long story short, now I am introduced to the world of rasam where every single variety has a unique taste not just on the ingredients used but also depending on who makes it. Isn't that mindbogglingly amazing? 

Let's just say yes and move on shall we. 

Lemon Rasam Recipe | South Indian Rasam Recipe with Lemon
Ingredients for lemon rasam

Lemon rasam is interesting to me for two reasons. Lemon or lime totally rocks. Although I would still choose a molten chocolate cake over a lemon pie for dessert, as a fruit, I respect lemon. It really packs a lot of stuff in its small yellow self. Another reason why this lemon rasam calls out to me is addition of fresh ginger. Gotta love that. 

February 8, 2010

Seppankizhangu Varuval | Cheppankizhangu (Arbi) Fry Recipe

I am not going to go yap yap yap through this recipe. The pictures will do the talking.

Oh just one thing. If you are like me and used to turn down cheppankizhangu because its too "slimy" then this dish will make you rethink. Well, its fried, that's a no-brainer but apart from that, it also brings out the unique flavour this tuber has.

What you need to make the Seppankizhangu Fry (apart from a mother-in-law who cooks this for you and waits patiently while you click pictures at every step)

500gm cheppankizhangu / arbi/ colocasia / chembu
5 tbsp (more or less) rice flour
1 tbsp besan / kadala maavu / gram flour (optional - you can also use rava / semolina instead)
2 tsp red chilli powder
A generous pinch of turmeric powder
A generous pinch of asafoetida / perungaayam / hing
Salt to taste
Oil to deep fry

Let's get started. Here's how to make the Seppankizhangu Varuval:

1. Wash and boil the Cheppankizhangu in enough water to cover it for about 10-12 mins until it is cooked but not mushy. Its better not to pressure cook to avoid over-cooking.

2. Cool. Yes, you also need a little patience to make this dish. That's why my mom-in-law made it while I just watched her, snacking on murukku and clicking pictues like its going out of fashion.

3. Once cooled, peel and cut into small, bite-sized pieces that are of the same size more or less. This is so that when you fry the stuff, it gets cooked uniformly.

4. Throw in the rice flour, besan if using, chilli powder, salt, hing and turmeric and toss until well coated. Set aside for 10-15 mins while you heat up the oil for deep drying.

5. Once the oil is hot enough, fry a few pieces at a time until golden brown.

If there's any left after your initial snacking, you can serve with rice and mor kozhambu / moru kachiyathu. I'm told its a good combination.

February 4, 2010

Nan On Tawa or Tawa Naan Recipe - Step by Step

Naan or Nan is TH's favourite bread. That and palak paneer are his absolute favourite dishes to order in a restaurant. I recently got the book Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day from the library and got totally smitten by it.  I don't have most of the stuff that they have mentioned as requirements, like pizza peel and oven thermometer and baking stone and even a proper oven to do broiler method of baking in but this, this Tawa Nan I could try.

The dough is the master Boule recipe mentioned in popular book Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day. I halved the recipe since I only wanted to use it for Nan the first time around.

Check out all bread recipes in Edible Garden. I have taught myself to bake pretty well over the years, even if I say so myself.

Let's look at the step by step pictures to prepare tawa nan at home:

Here's what we need first - 3/4 tbsp of active dry yeast. 

Nan On Tawa or Tawa Naan Recipe - Step by Step