Sunday, January 30, 2011

Shukto- Ultimately bong!

I was looking for a good karela recipe and I chanced upon a blog - Bong Mom's Blog

I had read about this recipe sometime back and I asked Niket how does it taste. He said he did not remember it very well, but he said it was good. He likes poppy seed dishes since they induce sleep and give a sort of drugged effect.

The recipe also made me wonder how would karela taste in a mix veg? And I decided we should give it a try, food is for experimenting isn't it? I varied the recipe quite a bit, cos I didn't have the ingredients the original recipe called for. Here is my recipe-

Tempering- panch foran
Turmeric 1 tsp
Amchur - 1tsp
1 bitter gourd chopped
1 cup peas
1 cup lauki
1/2 cup grated carrot
1/2 cup capsicum
Potato – 2 chopped
mustard seeds powdered 2 tsp
vadi - 5-8 optional
Ginger garlic Paste - 1 tsp
Milk – 1/3 cup
1 chopped onion
1 chopped tomato
Mustard oil (This is one thing common to bengalis and biharis I think, we like our food cooked in mustard oil)

Heat oil in a nonstick kadhai, add tempering and add the karela and fry it till cooked (how you would make karela dry) Add haldi and amchur and salt. I think amchur adds taste to the bitterness of karela.
In a separate pan, fry the vadis and keep separate. Saute onions, add the ginger garlic paste and add the rest of the veggies. Cook till water separates from the lauki and let the veggies cook in their own water. This will take a bit of time, something like 10- 12 minutes.
Add mustard seeds powder and some water and milk and vadis at this point and let it cook till the gravy thickens. I think posto paste would add sweetness and help in a thicker gravy but I didn't have this at hand :( I served with rotis. The original recipe suggests serving with rice, I am def going to try it agai with posto :) This is a sure keeper.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Rice pulav with tutty fruity, peas and carrots

Tonight, I had an unexpected visitor- Amit! Didn't have much time to cook, especially with Yashi cranky in the evenings. Decided to make palak paneer,pulav, dal and rotis. Pulav turned out good. Sadly couldn't click pic :( Star anise and tutty fruity and carrots give it a distinct sweet flavor.

Rice pulav with tutty fruity, peas and carrots

1 1/2 cups rice picked and washed
3 cups water
Salt to taste
1 tbsp Oil or ghee as preferred
1 bay leaves
1 cardamom pod
1 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
1-2 cloves
Raisins and cashews a handful
1/4 tsp haldi optional
1 cup peas
1 large grated carrot
1/4 cup or lesser tutty fruity

Heat the oil in a pressure cooker.  Add the garam masala and let it splutter. Lower the heat and add the veggies, tutty fruity and  dry fruits. Continue to fry for 2-3 mins. Add rice and fry a little more. This will begin sticking to the bottom because we are using less oil. Add hot water (exactly double the measure of rice), add salt and pressure cook for one whistle. Wait till the pressure is gone, open cooker and turn with spatula. Serve hot.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Papaya in caramelised sugar syrup

There are times when you have a papaya that's not fully ripe. You can't eat it raw, and neither can you cook it,  it will be sweet to taste.

I found a recipe for Lechosa, or Candied papaya which is a Puerto Rican / Caribbean desert. It is a very good alternative to a baked dessert and tastes awesome! I altered the recipe I had found to suit my ease and taste (It used way too much sugar!)

1 whole papaya, peeled,deseeded and cut into 1" slices
1 cup warm water
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup sugar
1" cinnamon stick

In a large non-reactive bowl, dissolve the baking powder in the water and soak the papaya in this water for 15 mins or so. This helps in tenderizing the papaya. Rinse and wash the papaya. In a wok, add the papaya and the sugar and the cinnamon stick. Cover and simmer flame. Stir occasionally. The papaya will leave its own water and cook with the sugar.  Let the syrup thicken or caramelise. I let it caramelise (I used a non-stick pan). Take off the flame and let stand for 5-10 mins before serving.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Asmaan se gire aur khajur me atke!

I was using a Toshiba laptop. I bought it from Creative Infotech, Manipal Centre, Bangalore in March 2009.They said they had given us a deal, but it wasn't really so. They did not give me the Windows serial number (Not that it bothered me, since I use Ubuntu, thanks to Niket!) But I am facing a problem while selling it.

Sometime by the end of its first year, I called the sales guys to check if i can extend the warranty further. They said the warranty was renewable only while buying it and not later. WTF, I thought.
Some days after that, the hinge which connects the screen to the keyboard broke. I called the toshiba customer care and they gave me a Koramangala service center no and a Ticket no.
inTarvo Technologies Limited#6/A,AVS Compound,Ejipura, 80 Ft Road,Koramangala Bangalore – 560 034.080-41312700

I called these guys- Intarvo technologies. (their bloody site never loads) We carried the laptop to their centre, They checked, took an advance of 5k and sent us back saying they would call me when the parts arrived.

These guys were so unprofessional. They did not give me any ref no, every time I called them I would have to tell them about the history. And they never called me, i called them every week for 3 months and they still had not got the parts from Toshiba. Stinky. In the end, the customer lost. Parts werent received and I asked for a refund after this long a wait. The refund was given immediately after exchanging few emails.

After all this drama, and after our anger subsided a bit (it took a few months) I took the laptop to a small repair shop in jayanagar 4th block called web nirnaya. This guy repaired it and at lesser cost too. He was quite prompt in service and called me to inform abt the cost involved, got a go ahead and then called me after the work was done.

Toshiba definitely lost one customer for its bad service.

I would also like to question Sachin Tendulkar, who is such a perfectionist, about his agreeing to do their ads. It is spoiling his image.

I would also ask Toshiba to learn the art of customer service from this small repair shop. What's in a bloody name?

Read more complains here
And i said khajur me atke- read on!

posted from Bloggeroid

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Eggless pancakes with warm strawberry topping

I am constantly thinking of how to cook and bake eggless because niket's parents are vegetarians. I read somewhere that soy milk can be a good sub for eggs. Today I subbed soy flour with eggs in betty crocker pancakes and result was good.
Ingredients- (for 4-5 tbsps)
Betty crocker pancake mix 4 tbsps
Soy flour 2 tbsps
Milk 1/2 cup
water 3 tbsps
Oil for pancakes

Mix all ingredients together. Heat a non stick pan, grease it with enough oil to help you flip the pancakes. Pour 2 tbsps batter in pan, wait till it cooks on top and bubbles are formed. Turn over and cook till brown. Cook all pancakes.

To serve, make warm fuit topping. I used strawberries and black grapes.
4-5 large strawberries
1/2 cup seedless black grapes

Wash fruits, slice them and add 1/4 cup water. Cook for 3-5 mins. Mash it with a spatula or spoon. When you see the mixture thickening add a spoonful of honey (or more depending on how sweet you want it). Remove from heat and cool.

Serve this on top of pancakes. Also serve honey separately if you like it that way.

Last time I made apples and green grapes jam, Chandan said some color is needed. Ah, i thought, these artists. So you even want color in food, huh. I was having strawberries and grapes for breakfast with my bowl of cereal and I thought, OK man, here is your color!

custard sewiyan

Strawberry custard is something you cannot relish on its own because of the artificial flavor in it. It tasted much better like this!

1/4 cup bambino roasted sewaiyan
3/4 l milk
2 heaped tbsps custard powder (I have used Vanilla flavor here)
Sugar to taste

Mix sewaiyan in milk and cook till it is cooked but the milk hasn't thickened yet. Make custard mix with half cup lukewarm milk and add to sewaiyan. Add sugar while the pudding is still hot. Serve when cool.

healthy oats pongal

1/3 cup moong dal
2/3 cup oats
2 cups water

pressure cook all this together for 3 whistles.
1/2 cup jaggery in 1 cup water
take jaggery in a heavy bottomed pan and mix with water. heat and mix well till it dissolves. mix the oats mixture with the jaggery mixture and mix so that no lumps are formed. Keep on heating till it thickens and doesnt stick to pan. If it gets too thick add some water.

some cashews and raisins
1 tsp ghee
heat ghee and fry the cashews. add the raisins till they plump up. add to pongal. add remaining ghee n mix. cool and serve.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Watermelon rind veggie

There is an interesting fact about watermelon rind! It is rich in citrulline and is said to have the same chemicals as found in Viagra!
Read here- Webmd

The taste is much like cucumber or zucchini.
Here's my recipe for natural viagra in your diet (The sad thing is Niket is allergic to watermelon :( )

rind of 1 watermelon, thick green skin peeled and cubed
(you can remove the red part too, i just let it be)
1 onion
ginger garlic paste
sesame seeds for tempering (I think nigella would be good too)
oil for cooking
salt to taste
1 tsp each of turmeric, coriander and all spice for seasoning

Heat oil, add tempering. Let it splutter. Add onions and cook till done. Add cubed rind, salt and powdered spices and cook covered. Check for doneness. It should be done in 15 mins.

Serve hot with rice or chapatis.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Custard for breakfast

Custard with crunchy muesli is a good breakfast. Add a lot of fruits and your bowl of dessert becomes a bowl full of nutrition!

Custard recipe-
Make as per instructions on pack. I use Brown and Polson! I made this out of half a litre of milk.

To serve- (serves 4)
1 banana
1 apple
handful of grapes and raisins
1 cup muesli divided into 4 portions.

Wash and chop fruits. Add to custard and mix well. Serve in bowls and add muesli on top.

Friday, January 14, 2011

brown rice pongal

Another thing that I tried today, since it was Makar sankranti is pongal total south indian style! The recipe-

Brown rice pongal

1/2 cup brown rice
1/4 cup moong dal

Roast the moong dal and when color changes, add the cleaned and washed brown rice. add one cup water and pressure cook for one whistle. let cooker stand till cool. by this time it is half cooked.

1 litre milk
bring it to a boil, add the pressure cooked rice and dal. cook till mixture thickens and it gets a darker color with the thickening of milk. take it off from gas.

Now all you need is-
some cashews and raisins, added some chironji too
1 tbsp ghee
jaggery as per taste

Split and crush cashews, fry in some ghee, wash the raisins. add to pongal along with jaggery. heat and add the remaining ghee. your pongal is ready!

Banana bread eggless

Today Yashi completed 4 months and it was a Friday. I have been itching to experiment with a few things. I tried two new things today. One is an eggless banana cake. The recipe is here-

Name: banana bread eggless
1 large banana
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup sugar
1.5 cups flour including soya flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
raisins and nuts
sift the dry ingredients together. keep aside. cream the sour cream and sugar together. mash the banana and mix all this with the flour mix. add milk and mix with hand. do not overmix.
use non stick spray on ur glass dish and pour the batter in it.
microwave on high for 10 mins. now check for doneness. if done, then bake in oven at 180 deg for 8 mins or till top browns.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

grape jam

I had some grapes in the fridge, which i couldn't eat because I have a bad throat.. It was hard to resist the temptation, so I decided to use them up and make some jam..
It turned out good!

Time taken- 20 mins
1 cup grapes
3/4 cup water

Wash grapes (Cleanliness is next to godliness!) Mix with water and cook in microwave on full power for 8 mins. Keep in a deep bowl else mixture will boil over!

Let it cool and blend it for a minute in a blender. Turn it into a heavy bottomed pan, mix 1/4 cup honey (if grapes are sour and you like extra sweetness, u can increase this to 1/2, if you don't have honey, sub it with sugar!)

Simmer on gas and let it cook for 10 odd minutes. You can see the mixture thickening. take a spoonful and check it on a chilled plate or spoon (keep a spoon in the freezer when you put the mixture on gas)

You can add some lemon juice or vanilla, or enjoy it just as it is! Tasted awesome with parathas :)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

kadeema/ squash veggie

flaxseed/teesi chutney and squash/kadima veggie
This is a totally Bihari recipe. My MIL asked me to make this veggie on the occasion of Sankranti.

Our recipe-

3 cups Squash (peel if you prefer, I keep the peel. Remember to clean it well if not peeling, remove seeds and chop)
Pinch of Hing (Asafoetida)
1/2 tsp Methi (Fenugreek) seeds
1/4 tsp turmeric powder, coriander powder
Salt to taste

In a pressure cooker, heat oil. Add the Hing, Methi seeds and then add squash, powdered spices and salt. Mix well. Pressure cook for one whistle. Do not overcook else it will lose all shape (It would still taste good).
Use green chillies if you like it spicy. 
(I added one boiled potato, onion and tomato as well, you can omit)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Gobhi/ Cauliflower stems with zucchini/cucumber sabzi

When I was staying at 28E in Mayur Vihar, Delhi, we had an old lady who used to help us with the house work. She also used to cook for us. One day, we asked her to make gobhi aloo. I told her to discard the stems (I use the small leaves but used to discard the stems totally). She told me the danthal (stems) are fresh and can be used. I was doubtful and I asked her to throw it all away. She said she would take it home! Another day, when the gobhi was fresh, she told me she would add them and we wouldn't even know the difference. It was true. After this incident, I try to use the stalks of as many veggies as possible. Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower. They add the much needed fibre to your meal.

3/4 cup Stems of 1 cauliflower chopped finely (Add the chopped leaves too.If you feel the stems are hard, peel the outer covering)
1 cucumber / zucchini chopped (peel if you prefer, I don't)
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp amchoor (dried mango powder)
1/2 tsp garam masala powder
1 tbsp oil
1 onion, 1 tomato chopped
1/2 cup water


Heat oil in a pressure cooker and add cumin seeds. When they change color, add onions and fry till the edges turn pink. Add tomato and cook till done. Now add the gobi stems and cucumber/ zucchini. Add salt and all spices except garam masala / all spice and amchoor. Mix well and cook covered for 2-3 mins. Add amchoor and garam masala and mix again. Add about 1/2 a cup of water. Pressure cook for one whistle. If you have the patience, you can cook covered on low heat and make stir fry. 

    Tuesday, January 4, 2011

    aloo dum- my style

    With yashi falling sick on the 1st Jan, all our day was spent running around to visit docs. It has been long since I sat infront of the comp to write some stuff. I have been longing to add recipes to my blog, and to write some phone reviews and some book reviews. Now that she is sleeping, I can write a bit before tiredness overtakes my excitement to blog!

    Now before that happens, I want to add the aloo dum recipe I tried that night we had unexpected visitors- Manoj and Vikram. Vikram is a picky eater and I didnt want to make something very experimental and decided to stick with aloo dum, since my cook was postponing making it everyday.

    The price of onions are skyrocketing and I decided to use not more than 2 onions. Similar was the case with tomatoes!Now you can imagine the dilemma- how can aloo dum be tasty without onions and tomatoes!! But my experiment was successful! Here is the recipe-

    Small potatoes, boiled and peeled and poked with a fork
    Soak them in warm salt water for half an hour. If you are pressed for time, like I was, boil them in salt water fr 5 mins.

    Heat oil, add jeera and some khara garam masala (tej patta, elaichi and laung)
    Add potatoes. Puree the tomatoes. Most people like to fry the potatoes separately, but that makes the dum very oily, yuck.

    Add ginger garlic and chilly paste to your taste. Add haldi, dhaniya and some powdered garam masala.

    Crush some cashew and almond to powder and add. I didnt have the time to blend them, else soaked poppy seeds and this powder blended into a paste like consistency will make the gravy rick and thick! I will try this next time.

    Fry for a bit and then add water. Let the dum cook for a bit, simmer on gas for 15 mins or so and let the potatoes absorb the gravy. Add enough water. (Sorry I don't have measures, i follow the rule of my thumb!)

    Aloo dum is ready! Garnish with coriander leaves etc. Serve with pulav or rotis.