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March 27, 2012

Chow Chow Chutney Recipe | Chow Chow Thogayal Recipe

Chow chow chutney is tough to imagine, right? I mean, there's this vegetable, and I am saying I made chutney with it. It looks fine but you have no idea how it tastes. I know, I understand. But trust me when I say it was delicious. I had my moments of doubt too, but in the end, it turned out fabulous. What's more, this is a chutney recipe that uses no coconut!

Chow Chow Chutney Recipe

I like chow chow and make chow chow sambar or chow chow kootu very regularly since it's easily available in the vegetable markets here. But a chutney? Let's see how that goes.

Chow Chow Chutney (Thuvaiyal) Recipe

Chow Chow Chutney Recipe

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Makes ~2 cups chutney Serves 4-6
Adapted from: Dakshin by Chandra Padmanabhan

Ingredients:
1 medium-sized chow chow
1 tomato
1 tbsp of oil
green chilly
1 small bunch of coriander leaves (cilantro)
2 tbsp of toor dal
1 tbsp of skinned urad dal
2-3 dry red chillies
1/2 tsp of hing/asafoetida/perungaayam
Salt to taste

How to make Chow Chow Chutney:

1. Peel and grate the chow chow. Chope the tomatoes into small pieces and roughly chop up the coriander leaves.
                                     Chow Chow Chutney Recipe
Chow Chow Chutney Recipe

2. in 1/2 tbsp oil, fry both the dals along with the hing and dry red chillies.
Chow Chow Chutney Recipe

When the dals turn golden brown, remove from pan and set aside to cool.
Chow Chow Chutney Recipe

Grind the cooled dal mixture to a fine powder. MIne wasn't super fine, and that's just fine. Heh.
Chow Chow Chutney Recipe

3. In the same pan, add 1/2 tbsp more oil and add the grated chow chow, chopped tomatoes, and the green chilly.
Chow Chow Chutney Recipe

4. The chow chow will let out water and turn a duller colour. Cook until the water has evaporated and the tomatoes turn softy and mushy - around 5-6 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Chow Chow Chutney Recipe

5. Once cooled, transfer the chow chow mixture to a blender, add the coriander leaves, and blend to a paste without adding any water.
Chow Chow Chutney Recipe

Add the dal mixture and some salt and blend again scraping down the side a couple of times. Don't add any water.
Chow Chow Chutney Recipe

Done! Goes super well with plain white rice and ghee. I served it with rice and kadala kozhambu.

Chow Chow Chutney Recipe

In case you want to take a look at the book I got the recipe from, check it out on Amazon or Flipkart.

March 15, 2012

Kerala-Style Peas Masala Recipe | Green Peas Masala Recipe

I've been wanting to try Kerala Style Peas Masala for ages now. I rarely make appam or puttu and that's what this goes best with but it went beautifully with chapatis too, I must say.

Kerala-Style Peas Masala Recipe

Now, I really don't want to give you more reasons to think I am weird but in the interest of full disclosure, I want to admit that when I went to Delhi on work for a week earlier this month, I brought back fresh vegetables from the farmer's market. There, I said it. And before you ask, no, the Singapore customs didn't mind.

March 13, 2012

Using a Steamer for Rice & Indian Cooking

Mom-in-law bought a steamer for TH's sister when she was in Singapore last year. It's a simple one, around 30$ from Morries and has a timer to control how long you want to steam stuff.

When I went down to Coimbatore after that, we gave it a spin to see how well a steamer works for Indian cooking (apart from the obvious stuff which you steam cook anyway like modaks or idlis)

Using a Steamer for Indian Cooking

We wanted to try regular vegetables, rice, and dal. The steamer comes with 2 oval-shaped containers with large-ish holes at the bottom that allows steam in from the water you need to pour in at the lowest level. The holes will allow dal to fall through so you need to use another container to hold it. We put some cut and washed cauliflower and beans together to steam along with a small container of soaked toor dal to be used in rasam.

Using a Steamer for Indian Cooking

After about 20 mins, the vegetables were cooked soft ready for poriyal and the dal was ready to be mushed up a bit further and added to the rasam.

Using a Steamer for Indian Cooking

Quite thrilled with the results, and especially the low time and maintenance to cook it up, we decided to give rice a shot. Steamed rice is usually much better in texture and doesn't clump up like pressure cooked rice does.

Using a Steamer for Indian Cooking

The steamer comes with a container that fits into the bigger one nicely. Experiment was with 1 cup ponni raw rice and 2 cups water.

Using a Steamer for Indian Cooking

Around 20-25 mins later, voila! The rice was perfectly done with a gorgeous texture.

Using a Steamer for Indian Cooking

Fluffed up with a fork, it tasted much better than pressure cooked rice.

Experiments for the day were deemed a success!

Here are some pros and cons in case you are considering a steamer for your cooking.

Pros

- most steamers are cheap and very low maintenance. You can steam/cook multiple things at the same time depending on how many tiers your steamer has. It also retains all the nutrients in the vegetable as opposed to par-boiling.

- you don't have to monitor the cooking process. once you set the timer, you can go about doing other stuff while it cooks.

- it's noise-less and non-messy, very easy to clean.

Cons

- takes up counter-space and an electric socket. while it's light enough to be stored away after use, you may not end up using it if you keep it away and this is something that would ideally be used every day in your cooking

- dals won't cook to a mush if they are not presoaked

- this depends on size but the one we got was a standard-sized one and you still can't cook enough rice for more than 2 people. also, nothing beats rice cooked in a rice cooker.

- you may not be able to use a steamer like this for all your steaming needs, like idlis. a standard mold won't fit in here and you will need a separare solution.

Overall, it's a nice gadget to have, especially if you like boiled vegetables and using simple flavours in your subzis. You end up using very little oil as well. But, make sure you have the space and the motivation to use it regularly.

Here's one from Amazon that looks great!

Note: not a paid review. just some thoughts I wanted to share on using a steamer in regular every day cooking. 

March 8, 2012

Adai Recipe | Ada Dosa | Adai Dosa Recipe (South Indian Lentil Crepes)

The plate of adai below is from my amma. She made it and the two chutneys, my uncle took the pic, and they sent it over a good few months back. I kept meaning to post the recipe but that never happened.

Adai | Ada Dosa | Lentil Crepes Recipe

Then I went back home for Christmas vacation and amma made it again because I love adai (or ada dosa as we call it) but TH is not a fan and so I have never tried making them myself.

But they are delicious and protein-packed although not really an instant option. Just like regular dosas, some prior planning and soaking needs to happen to get them going.

Adai (Ada Dosa) Recipe

Preparation time: 3 hours
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Makes ~ 15 adai


Ingredients:
1 cup of par-boiled rice or dosa/idli rice
1 cup of whole skinned urad dal / ulutham paruppu / uzhunnu parippu
1 cup of mix of toor dal (or peas dal) and channa dal
5 dry red chillies
A few curry leaves
8 shallots sliced thin (or use 1 small onion)
1/4 tsp of asafoetida powder / perungaayam
1/2 cup of grated coconut (optional)
1 tsp of salt (or to taste)
1/4 tsp of turmeric powder
Gingelly or Indian sesame oil for cooking the adai


How It's Made:

1. Soak the rice, urad dal, and the mixed dals separately in water for at least 2 hours and a maximum of 4 hours. Add the red chillies to one of the bowls and let them soak as well (or you can just add 1 tsp red chilli powder when grinding the dals).

2. Grind the urad dal first with little water. It doesn't need to be a smooth paste just more or less so. Then grind the rice, again not super smooth but just ground well.

3. Finally grind the mixed dals along with the chillies to a paste. Use adequate water to let them grind. You can add in the coconut at this stage too, if using.

4. Mix these together along with salt, asafoetida, chopped shallots, turmeric, and curry leaves torn roughly. Mix well with enough water to make a batter that's the consistency of dosa batter.

Adai | Ada Dosa | Lentil Crepes Recipe

5. Pour one ladle-ful on an oiled griddle or tawa and spread into a circle. Make sure the dosa is not too thick.

Adai | Ada Dosa | Lentil Crepes Recipe

6. Flip over after a minute or so and cook the other side until golden brown.

Adai | Ada Dosa | Lentil Crepes Recipe

7. The above is one way of doing it, just like regular dosas, but I prefer the lacy dosas that amma makes. For that, add more water to the batter and make it much "looser". You won't be able to spread them on the griddle so just pour on it starting from the outer circle, filling the gaps as you go. I hope the pictures below explain this.

Adai | Ada Dosa | Lentil Crepes Recipe

Adai | Ada Dosa | Lentil Crepes Recipe

Adai | Ada Dosa | Lentil Crepes Recipe

The batter should be loose enough to spread as you pour and cover up the gaps and you can help it along the way by fillng the gaps. This way, the crepes take much longer to cook but the patience is worth it. You end up with lacy adai with crispy edges and it's just delicious.

Adai | Ada Dosa | Lentil Crepes Recipe

We usually serve adai with 2 types of chutneys (as shows in the first picture) or some random curry that takes amma's fancy (like in the above picture.

Traditionally, Tamilians serve adai with aviyal. In fact, most restaurants serve adai-avial as a combination like puttu and kadala. I don't think that's done in Kerala though, correct me if I am wrong.

Oh boy, I am craving ada dosa now. Too bad I have to go bury my face in some unhealthy snacks at work instead!

March 6, 2012

One-Bowl Chocolate Truffle Cake Recipe - Basic One-Bowl Chocolate Cake Recipe

While the 5-min chocolate mug cake is great to satisfy instant chocolate cravings and is often quoted as the most dangerous chocolate cake recipe, sometimes you want the "real" deal. And you want it fast. I had one of those nights the other ...err... night.

One-Bowl Everyday Chocolate Truffle Cake Recipe

I turned to Piece of Cake, the awesome book SJ recommended to me that gave inspiration to my Orange Cake Recipe. All the recipes are one-bowl, easy, and fuss-free and therefore perfect to whip up quickly even on a weeknight.

I made this super fuss-free chocolate truffle cake in the night and took pictures of the final pieces the next day morning. You don't even need to bring the butter to room temperature and you can easily make this eggless too. Oh and btw, these were used as the base for the Cake Pops I made for the first time.

One-Bowl Everyday Chocolate Truffle Cake Recipe


One-Bowl Chocolate Truffle Cake Recipe

Adapted from: Piece of Cake by Camilla V Saulsbury
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
Makes one 8" cake

Ingredients:
1/2 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips or chopped chocolate chunks
6 tbsp of unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 tsp of instant coffee powder
1.25 cups of plain flour
3/4 cup of sugar
1/2 tsp of baking soda
1/4 tsp of salt
2 eggs, preferably at room temperature
3/4 cup of milk
1 tsp of vanilla extract

How I Made It:

1. Pre-heat oven to 350F / 180C. Grease an 8" metal baking pan with butter. Add 1 tbsp flour to this and spread across by tilting the pan all around. Tap out the extra flour. Or, just use PAM baking spray.

2. This is a one-bowl chocolate cake so start with a large enough microwave-safe bowl for melting the chocolate and butter if you can. Add the chopped chocolate or chips along with the butter to the bowl.

One-Bowl Everyday Chocolate Cake Recipe

3. Microwave on medium heat for a minute and increase to 2 mins if you need to. The mixture should look like below, just about melted. Add the instant coffee powder.

One-Bowl Everyday Chocolate Cake Recipe

4. Use a whisk and combine the ingredients. Although they look solid, the butter and chocolate will soften pretty quickly so make sure you start with one minute.

Note: if you are using a regular pan over the stove and not the MW, then wait for the pan to cool down after this step before proceeding.

One-Bowl Everyday Chocolate Cake Recipe

5. Add the eggs, flour, salt, sugar, milk, baking soda and vanilla to the chocolate mixture.

One-Bowl Everyday Chocolate Cake Recipe

Combine together gently with a whisk. I used my electric beater's whisk for this and then proceeded to the next step. This step is optional - I do it so that flour won't fly into my face when I turn the electric mixer on.

One-Bowl Everyday Chocolate Cake Recipe

6. Now, using an electric mixer, beat the batter on medium speed (if you can adjust, otherwise it's fine) for a minute. Scrape down sides and beat for another 30 seconds. Take care not to overbeat.

One-Bowl Everyday Chocolate Cake Recipe

7. Pour into the greased tray and bake for 25-30 mins...

One-Bowl Everyday Chocolate Cake Recipe

... until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out with dry crumbs.

One-Bowl Everyday Chocolate Cake Recipe

That's it! Invert onto a cake tray or just a regular plate after about 10 mins. Slice and serve as soon as it's cool enough to handle.

Notes:

- The book suggests chocolate ganache to be slathered on this cake but I used some toffee sauce I had lying around in the fridge (and I wonder why I don't lose weight!). If you serve it unfrosted, the cake won't be too sweet so adjust the sugar quantity if you'd like.

- You can easily make this eggless by substituting 1 egg with 1 tbsp flaxseed + 3 tbsp warm water beaten together. You can also substitute 1 egg with 1/4 cup plain yogurt. The texture will different slightly but should turn out delicious nevertheless.

- The measurement method used in this book is the scoop-and-sweep method. For measuring flour, scoop it into the measuring cup with a spoon and sweep the excess off the top making sure the cup is full but not packed. Don't scoop using the measuring cup itself or tap it when measuring since that will result in more flour going into the cake, making it harder.

- It's ok for the melted chocolate to be warm but don't let it boil on the stove top. Just melt it gently and that's enough. Also, if you are using the stove top, make sure you cool down the chocolate mixture before proceeding.

- The book Piece of Cake is awesome! I have tried 3 recipes so far, all with great success. Will do a detailed review soon but meanwhile, if you are looking for a great baking book to get next, I would recommend this for sure.

One-Bowl Everyday Chocolate Cake Recipe
Chocolate Truffle Cake with Warm Toffee Sauce
Enjoy!


  

March 4, 2012

Kadhi Pakora Recipe | Khadi Pakoda Recipe Punjabi-Style

I like dumplings in gravies. Its nice to have a curry base and have these cute balls floating in it. This goes for anything, actually, and Punjabi Khadi Pakora has been in my head since forever. I had bookmarked the recipe on many sites but finally ended up making an adapted version from Nita Mehta's Punjabi Recipes book, the same one I made the Paneer Peas Curry from.


Since a lot of you may feel this is a bit of work, I took step-by-step pictures. Its not that difficult actually. The recipe has two distinct sections - making the khadi and making the pakoras. Let's make the pakoras first.

Take 1.5 cups of besan in a bowl.

Add 1 finely chopped onion of medium size.


Then add 1 finely chopped potato. I used my chopper that I used in the Gobi Paratha Recipe to chop the onion and potato so fine but you can do it by hand too, just takes longer.

Throw in 1 tsp red chilly powder, 1 tsp jeera, salt and a pinch of hing.

Next comes baking powder. This helps to make the pakoras crisp. You can avoid this but use it if you have it.


Almost done. Add in 1 cup water.


And mix well to get a batter of dropping consistency. Make sure the batter is not too lose.


I used my spanking new paniyaram chatti / aebleskiver pan to fry the pakoras. You can also deep fry them in a kadai by dropping them in using a spoon.


Excuse the super bright pic! Its my kitchen light :D So, the paniyaram chatti is nice to use for mainly two reasons. You use very little oil in the process, especially if the chatti is non stick and also, the pakoras come out very uniformly shaped.

See, nicely browned and very pretty. Set them aside on a kitchen napkin.

Now for the khadi.

Take 2 cups of curd / plain yogurt in a bowl.


Add 1/3 cup besan to the curd.



Throw in 1/2 tsp turmeric powder, 1 tsp red chilly powder and salt. Mix well.


Add 1 cup water to this mixture.

Mix well and get ready to temper this.

For tempering, heat 2 tsp oil in a kadai. Add 1 tsp jeera and 1 red chilly torn into pieces.


When the jeera splutters and turns brown, lower the fire to sim and add the curd mixture. Mix well for about 5 mins until the khadi thickens. Adjust salt. Set aside.

Add the pakoras to the khadi just before serving. Garnish with coriander leaves and some red chilly powder.

Here's the recipe again, all in one place.

Punjabi Khadi Pakora Recipe
Source: Nita Mehta's Punjabi Recipes
Serves: 4 as a side
Preparation time: 45 mins

For the Khadi:
2 cups curd / plain yogurt
1 cup water
1/3 cup besan / kadala maavu / gram flour
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp red chilly powder

For tempering:
1 red chilly, broken into half
1 tsp jeera
2 tsp oil
Salt

For the Pakoras:
1.5 cups besan / kadala maavu / gram flour
1 onion, finely chopped
1 potato, finaly chopped
1 tsp red chilly powder
1 tsp jeera
A pinch of hing
1/2 tsp baking powder
Salt
1 cup water

How to Make Punjabi Kadhi Pakora:

1. Mix the ingredients for the pakoras to form a batter. The consistency should be that of bajjis, not too loose.

2. Deep fry the pakoras in hot oil or use a paniyaram chatti / aebleskiver pan. This should help reduce the usage of oil and give you uniformly shaped pakoras.
Set aside.

3. Beat the curd well. Add besan and other ingredients and beat well.

4. Heat oil and add the jeera and halved red chilly. When the jeera splutters and turns brown, lower heat to minimum and add the curd mixture. Bring to boil stirring continuously. After 5 mins, remove from fire.

5. When you are ready to serve the kadhi, add the dumplings, mix once through and serve.

Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve with chapatis / roti.