March 30, 2011

South Indian Dahi Vada - Thayir Vadai - Curd Vada Recipe

Learn how to make South Indian style Dahi Vada or Thayir Vadai Recipe using this easy recipe. 
I was terribly jet-lagged all of last week. I couldn't keep my eyes open beyond 8pm and was up and about by 4:30 which is super duper rare for me because I am just not a morning person. I have to say I secretly enjoyed my energy at 5 in the morning the past few days. 

South Indian Dahi Vada - Thayir Vadai - Curd Vada Recipe
Spongy vadas soaked in spiced and tempered thayir or yogurt

On Saturday morning, I had this weird craving for medhu vada / uzhunnu vada. I have made this in the past so you can find the medhu vada recipe here

- I made the batter in my Ultra wet grinder and this makes all the difference in your  medhu vada. I was amazed how crisp the vadas were outside and soft inside. I was also able to get the doughnut shape (although not perfect), you just need to resist the temptation to add too much water to the urad dal while its grinding. This is harder to control in a mixie I guess. 

- I added whole peppercorn like the ones you get in restaurants. TH doesn't like biting into them but I didn't have an option because we were out of green chillies. I also added ginger more liberally than last time. 

South Indian Dahi Vada - Thayir Vadai - Curd Vada Recipe

Perfect, pillowy, and soft. 

But today's recipe is all about dunking these deep fried awesomes into a bowl of flavoured curd, letting them soak for a while and then sinking your teeth in the resulting goodness. We did this with the few remaining vadas and actually enjoyed it more than the vadas by themselves. 

South Indian Thayir Vadai Recipe
Serves 2

Ingredients:
1 cup thick curd
1/4 cup water
Chopped coriander leaves
1/2 tsp paprika or Kashmiri red chilli powder
1/2 tsp roasted jeera powder
Salt to taste

How to make Dahi Vada:

1. Dunk the vadas into a bowl of warm water, soak for 10 seconds, take them out and squeeze out the excess water. This will ensure that the vadas are softer once soaked in the curd. 

2. Beat the curd with some water, the jeera powder, and salt. Add the vadas in and leave in the fridge for atleast 4 hours or overnight. 

3. Before serving, garnish with some chopped coriander leaves and chilli powder / paprika. Kara boondi also makes an excellent garnish but sadly, I didn't have any. 

South Indian Dahi Vada - Thayir Vadai - Curd Vada Recipe

Notes:

1. The Dahi Vada made in Northern parts of India is slightly different from this. The spices used to flavour the dahi are different and they usually serve it with dates chutney and mint chutney, the same kinds used for chaat. That tastes great, but is different from this.

2. In some versions, ground coconut is added to the curd. Although I was tempted to try this, I didn't have any coconut in the fridge (remember, I was away for 3 weeks!). Maybe next time.

March 26, 2011

Food in the US

Remember the last time I went on a trip I shared some of the food we ate? Its right here in case you missed it - Food in Egypt

This time, I was gone for almost 3 weeks which means more meals. Not all of them were clicked, of course, and if this seems like a lot of food, that's because it is!

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First meal during this trip - chicken salad in a spinach-cheese bagel.

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During lunch at Fog Harbor in Pier 39 with Sakshi. Bread rolls and chilled butter. 

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Clam Chowder in a sourdough bread bowl from the same place. 

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The main course that we shared. Its freshly grilled fish, some yogurt dip and wild rice with steamed vegetables. 

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Cashew chicken at Cheesecake Factory - very blegh. 

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Prawn something-something, again from Cheesecake Factory - much better than the chicken.

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The cheesecake! Go there for the cheesecake!

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Frozen TV dinner from Trader Joe's. Paneer butter masala and spinach rice. Was way too creamy and rich for my taste. Couldn't even finish this small portion.

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Sushi with a Korean and a Chinese at Sushi House in the Bay Area

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Amazing vegan food at Whole Foods in Orange County. 

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Mexican brunch at El Torito in LA. Amazing value for money, was stuffed to the brim!

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Anu's Kadai Paneer. Yum.

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Mindblowing paan ice cream from Nirvanaah. Also tasted their English Toffee and Malai Kulfi flavours.

Now for some phone pics - excuse the quality.

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Jalapeno Poppers from Jack in the Box. Thanks Mahimaa!

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Junk food from Ontario Mills outlet mall. Pizza by the slice, roasted potatoes and cheese sticks. 

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More yummy junk food - Sinful Cinnabon!

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My absolutely favourite FAVOURITE thing of the entire trip - Yogurtland! Maybe its for the best that I don't live in the US, I would just go here every day!

I have missed taking pictures of quite a few meals, especially the ones I had in the many Google Cafes on campus, the Indian meal I had at the food blogger's meet, Korean BBQ which was very delicious, breakfast at Posh Bagel, etc etc. Maybe next time :)

PS: All pictures in this post are unedited.

March 22, 2011

Simple Indian Potato / Aloo Roast Recipe

Simple Indian-style potato roast recipe using basic spices already available in your kitchen. 
Confession: The Husband doesn't cook often or even at all, but he makes the best basic potato roast ever. I didn't mention this to him the first few times he made this but when I once asked him what he adds to it, he was like "are you asking me for my secret recipe so you can put it in your blog??" Ahem. Maybe.

Indian Potato Roast Recipe

So here it is. Its simple of course, the man doesn't believe in complicating food, especially when he is cooking! But you will love this. It gets done in 12-15 mins and is such a comfort food that when I was down with fever last month, TH made this and rasam for me after he got back from work! Ah.. yum.

If you love Indian potato recipes, I also suggest checking out this simple potato masala for poori, or how about some honey sesame potatoes for a different twist to your meals?


Basic Indian Potato Roast Recipe
Serves: 2

Ingredients:
2 medium-sized russet potatoes
1 medium-sized onion
1/4 tsp mustard seeds/kaduku
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp coriander powder/malli podi/dhania podi
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp or 2 flakes minced garlic 
1 tbsp oil
Salt to taste

How to Make Indian-Style Potato Roast:

1. Cut the potatoes into small cubes. Chop the onions into similar-sized pieces as the potato. 

2. Heat oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds. When they pop, add the chopped onions and saute until lightly browned. 

3. Add the coriander powder, chilli powder, turmeric powder and garlic and fry for a minute. Add the potatoes, mix well and sprinkle some water. 

4. Cook partially closed until the potatoes are cooked and soft. Add salt. Make sure you mix every 2-3 mins to distribute the heat and avoid the potatoes from burning from the bottom. 

Indian Potato Roast Recipe

Serve hot with steamed rice and rasam

My Notes:

1. TH doesn't like jeera much so he doesn't add it. If you feel the recipe is incomplete without it, then you should add them in. 

2. I've tried squeezing half a lemon over this when its still hot but didn't like the taste much. It still rocks the plain way that TH makes it.

March 17, 2011

Green Mint Chutney & Cheese Sandwiches - Quick & Easy Snack Recipes

Learn how to make mint and cheese sandwiches using this easy recipe.

Picnic food is fun to make, especially if you are not really going on a picnic but just pretending to on a rainy, weary weeknight. These green chutney and cheese sandwiches are just the thing if you are looking for a quick and easy snack or meal.

About once a month, TH and I have sandwiches for dinner. It's just one of those inexplicable things we do. One of our favourites is always the sandwiches with pudina chutney.

Green Mint Chutney & Cheese Sandwiches - Quick & Easy Snack Recipes

Since I got a mint plant for my balcony, there's no dearth of fresh mint and I love using fresh herbs in my cooking. Well, don't we all?

This is a quick sandwich recipe that works great for a picnic, tiffin box, or even brunch or tea party. It tastes great and is filling too!

You may also like:
Guacamole cheese sandwiches
Vegetable sandwich Bombay-style
Avocado feta smash sandwich
Avocado egg salad sandwich

Mint Chutney and Cheese Sandwiches (Pudina Chutney Sandwich Recipe)
Makes 4 
Serves 2

Ingredients:
8 slices of bread of your choice
4 slices of cheese
For the Mint Chutney:
A bunch of fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup freshly grated coconut
1 green chilli
1/2 tsp minced garlic (optional)
A pinch of dry ginger powder or 1/2" piece of fresh ginger
Salt to taste

Grind all ingredients together with very little water to a smooth paste.

To assemble and toast the sandwiches: Spread a generous amount of the mint chutney on one side of the bread slice. Top with a slice of cheese and toast in a sandwich maker until done. You can also toast in a pan on the stovetop with a pat of butter until both sides are golden brown and the cheese has melted.

Green Mint Chutney & Cheese Sandwiches - Quick & Easy Snack Recipes

Serve mint chutney cheese sandwiches hot with ketchup.

March 15, 2011

Green Mor Kozhambu-Mor Kuzhambu Recipe-Buttermilk Curry Recipe

Mor Kozhambu / Moru Kachiyathu is my go-to kozhambu recipe when I am in a hurry or I have spent too much time making the side dishes. Its quick, easy, and delicious and both of us like it. 

green mor kozhambu recipe

There's a small twist to this recipe - I added fresh coriander leaves to the coconut paste. The flavour is distinct and very enjoyable. A great idea if you have coriander-indifferent people in the house.

March 7, 2011

Eggless Almond Cardamom Cookies Recipe

Here's a quick and easy cardamom cookie recipe that's eggless and tastes a lot like nan khatais. The flavour of the cardamom complements brilliantly with the buttery cookies and the almond flakes generously thrown in. Before I baked these gorgeous banana oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, these almond cookies were my favourite to bake for friends while visiting them or as a hostess gift.

But before that, here's a riddle: I am sleepy but can't sleep. Once I manage to sleep, I can't bring myself to get up. What is happening to you if this is how you feel?

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While you think about that, here's a super delicious, ridiculously simple and eggless cookie recipe. The cardamom lends an amazing flavour and the family I baked this for loved it!

Eggless Almond Cardamom Cookies Recipe
Makes 30 medium-sized cookies
Adapted from: Manjula's Kitchen

Ingredients:
1.5 cups whole wheat flour / atta
3/4 cup sugar (powder coarsely if using regular white sugar)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sliced almonds
3/4 tsp green cardamom seed coarsely powdered
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
About 2-3 tablespoons of milk (only if you need it)

How to Make Almond Cardamom Cookies:

1. Pre-heat oven to 360F / 180C

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2. In a bowl, mix the flour, sugar, salt, sliced almonds and cardamom powder well.


eggless cardamom almond cookies recipe

3. Next add soft butter (and milk if needed) to the flour mixture to make dough. Dough should be very soft.

eggless cardamom almond cookies recipe

4. Divide the dough into about 32 equal parts and make them into balls. Press each ball between your palms lightly; every piece should be about 1/2” in thickness. Place the dough balls on an non-greased cookie sheet or parchment paper about an inch apart.

eggless cardamom almond cookies recipe

5. Bake the cookies for about 18 minutes or until cookies are lightly gold brown. After they become lightly golden brown remove the cookie sheet from the oven. Let the cookies cool down for two to three minutes before taking them off the cookie sheet.

eggless cardamom almond cookies recipe

Notes:

- make sure that the butter is completely soft and at room temperature, otherwise you will get crumbly dough when you mix and end up adding more milk than necessary, which will make the baked cookies more crackly and hard.

- I made 1.5 times the original recipe and got only 30 medium-sized cookies, as opposed to 36 - the number mentioned in Manjula's post.

- You can lessen the amount of sugar a bit if you'd like, they will still turn out sweet enough I feel. That will make them perfect with coffee/tea.

The flavour of the cardamom is amazing so don't hold back on them

These are absolutely delicious and the flavour of cardamom makes it extra special. Do yourself a favour and bake these now!

March 1, 2011

Kerala-Style Parippu Curry - Parippu Curry for Onam Sadya

This Kerala Parippu Curry is an essential part of any Kerala sadya or Onam Sadya that you may have. It goes great with all sorts of Kerala side dishes like thoran and mezhukkupuratti. Ever had a Kerala sadya? If you have, then this parippu (dal) is the first thing you would mix with rice and ghee. Kerala-style parippu curry is predictably cooked with a spiced coconut mixture and forms an integral part of any Onam sadya.

Kerala Parippu Curry-Parippu for Onam Sadya

For Kerala-style parippu curry, split yellow lentils (moong dal -herupayar), is used rather than toor dal. Moong dal is also a very important ingredient in Ayurveda based cooking and is said to have a better effect on our health than most other kinds of lentils. Serve this parippu curry steaming hot with rice and ghee and you don't even need a side dish other than, maybe, a pickle.

Kerala Parippu Curry-Parippu for Onam Sadya
Find more Kerala Sadya Recipes here.

KERALA PARIPPU CURRY FOR SADYA

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Serves 4

INGREDIENTS:
1/2 cup of moong dal or cherupayar (split yellow gram)
A pinch of turmeric powder
Grind Together:
1/3 cup of grated coconut
1/2 tsp of cumin or jeera seeds (jeerakam)
2 of shallots (ulli)
2-3 of green chillies
For Tempering:
2 tsp of coconut oil
1/4 tsp of black mustard seeds
2-3 shallots, sliced
1 red chilli, torn into pieces
1 strand of curry leaves

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Roast the dal in a dry skillet until it turns a light golden brown. I generally do this in bulk and store moong dal this way to prevent bugs. It also makes the dal much more fragrant after cooking.

2. Grind the coconut with the rest of the ingredients and some water into a smooth paste.

3. Pressure cook the moong dal with 4 cups water and a generous pinch of turmeric. Once done, mash well to a smooth paste. Keeping the flame on low, add the ground coconut mixture and some salt to the dal. Cook until well blended - about 5-8 mins.

4. Heat oil for tempering and add the ingredients in the order given. Once the mustard seeds have popped and the red chilly starts to glisten a deep red, remove from fire and dunk everything into the dal mixture. Mix well.

Kerala Parippu Curry-Parippu for Onam Sadya

Notes:
- Best served hot with rice and ghee
- Note that you don't add hing or kaya to Kerala-style Parippu Curry. It alters the flavours too much