Thursday, January 31, 2013

Vendakkai Moru Kuzhambu/ Okra Stew With Buttermilk

          Moru Kuzhambu or Buttermilk Stew is a very popular dish in Southern India, of course next to the 'sambar'. I do two different versions, one is this and the other one is the already posted Kerala Style More Kuzhambu which tastes completely different. Coming to today's one, it's usually prepared using lady's finger/okra or ash gourd or even with vadas/lentil fritters. The buttermilk used is slightly sour, replacing the tomatoes or tamarind which are usually used as the souring agents, but I don't like the buttermilk to be too sour. You can even use the store-bought one, it tastes really good..
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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Eggless Drommekage Fra Brovst/ Danish Dream Cake

          Drommekage Fra Brovst or Danish Dream Cake was this month's challenge for the Eggless Baking Group, thanks Meena (Chettinad Fiesta) for choosing such a lovely cake. There cannot be a better name to this cake, it was truly delicious and out of this world. Baking eggless has become easier now, and personally I like orange juice or buttermilk for replacing eggs. The cake is a basic vanilla cake, but the topping was amazing, brought the basic cake to another level. Try this, when you have a lot of people to share with, otherwise you'll end up finishing the whole thing, it was that good..
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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Chilli-Garlic Quinoa

          Last week I had cooked about a cup of quinoa, and it was just me and my daughter, we couldn't finish up the entire quantity between us, so I had some leftover cooked quinoa. I didn't want to have it in the same way, mixed with some curry or sambar, I wanted to make something different with it and I came up with this Chilli Garlic Quinoa. It's a very simple dish but tasted really good, and was given a 'A+' by my daughter. Cooking quinoa al dente, can be a little tricky, refer here, you don't want to have a mushy dish. Try this out if you like the chilli and garlic flavor..
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Monday, January 28, 2013

Matar Paneer/ Peas And Cottage Cheese Curry

          Matar Paneer, Green Peas with Indian Cottage Cheese, is a very popular side dish for naans and rotis and a very common dish on restaurant menus and parties. It's liked very much by kids as the main ingredients in this curry are peas and paneer, which is liked by most of them. I have used home made paneer and I didn't follow any particular recipe, just added what I felt would be right for this dish, it turned out very delicious and paired perfectly well with the rotis that we had with it..
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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Manathakkali Keerai Kuzhambu/ Black Nightshade Greens Gravy

          Manathakkali Keerai, also known as Black Nightshade is a variety of greens, widely used in South Indian cuisine. Like most of the greens, it has many medicinal benefits and known for treating mouth ulcers and asthma. Both the leaves and seeds are used for cooking, especially the seeds, they are preserved and known as 'manathakkali vathal', which has a good shelf-life. The green leaves when cooked has a slight bitter taste, so usually it's cooked with coconut to balance it. I tried out this gravy with coconut and tamarind, it tasted very good when mixed with rice, try it out if you can find this greens, or otherwise you can do the same gravy with regular spinach or other greens available in your region..
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Friday, January 25, 2013

How To Cook Quinoa

           Quinoa is a fairly new grain, only 3 or 4 years back I got introduced to this wonder grain (it's not a complete grain, they call it as a pseudocereal). It was not love at first 'taste', in fact it was many months later that I tasted it again and only after that I slowly started to use it in day to day cooking. I usually try to replace rice with it, it's very rich in fiber and protein and has a slightly nutty taste. Cooking quinoa correctly might be tough for first timers, so I thought I'll do a basic post about cooking it..
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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Podalangai Poriyal With Peanuts/ Snake Gourd Curry

          Podalangai/ Snake Gourd, true to its name, looks like a snake, a green and long vegetable, but sometimes you see smaller versions of it too. First of all, you should know how to prepare this vegetable for cooking. Since it's a long vegetable, cut into palm-size lengths, slice it in the middle, scoop out the inner flesh with the seeds and discard it. I remember, the first time I cooked this vegetable for my husband, he was very skeptical about me throwing away the flesh and keeping the outer thick rinds, confusing me too, later I had to clarify it with a friend. Once you discard the inner flesh, you slice it. I have added some boiled peanuts for some extra taste, this goes well as a side dish with rice and dal or sambar..
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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Idli Sambar/ Tiffin Sambar/ Vegetable Lentil Stew

          Sambar is basically a stew like preparation made with lentils and vegetables. In South India, we make many varieties of this sambar, most of the times, flavored with home made sambar powder, and the different vegetables added to the sambar giving it a unique flavor. Then we make sambars with freshly ground paste along with coconut and then this idli or tiffin sambar. The main difference between the sambars that we mix with rice and the sambars that we have with our tiffins like idlis, dosas and vadas is the former is more tangier than the latter. I make this sambar with sambar powder, but I add ground fresh spices at the end for the extra flavor, this also goes well with the Ulundu Vadais/ Black Gram Fritters that I had posted earlier..
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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Ulundu Vadai/ Black Gram Fritters/ Medhu Vadai

          Vadais or Vadas are one of the most popular snacks of South India. It's made with lentils, the most popular ones being the Ulundu Vadai made with Black Gram and the Paruppu Vadai made with Bengal Gram. And then again, they take many avatars like the thayir/curd vadai, sambar vadai, rasa vadai, vazhapoo vadai and so on. They are not only popular as a mid-day or evening snack, but also made on most of the festival days as one of the foods offered to God. They are deep fried, but then a wonderful and tasty way of including lentils in kids diet and of course there is nothing wrong in, we adults, having  a few, once in a while..
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Monday, January 21, 2013

Potato And Methi/Fenugreek Leaves Curry

          Potato and Methi/Fenugreek leaves, enough can't be said about this combination, you have to taste it. Whether it is a dry curry or a gravy one, this combination is unbeatable. The potatoes and methi compliment each other so well, you can't taste the slight bitterness of the fenugreek leaves. If you have the potatoes, boiled, peeled and diced and the fenugreek leaves, cleaned, washed and chopped, this curry can be put together in no time. It goes very well with both rotis and rice..
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Saturday, January 19, 2013

Chocolate Kalakhand

          Do I need a special occasion to make or eat sweets, definitely 'no'. But then, I don't make them that often, because my husband and daughter, not being that big fans of sweets, I end up eating most of it. Last week, I had to finish up some milk, either I had to make some paneer and freeze it or use up the milk, making some sweet with it. I decided to make kalakhand with it and made a chocolate one, it needs just four ingredients and is very easy to make too..
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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Mushroom Capsicum Masala

          This week has been very busy, had been to my mother's place, so did not do much cooking except for the pongal for the festival. Last week, I had made this Mushroom Capsicum Masala, for dinner. I had a pack of mushrooms and a capsicum but no tomatoes, so instead I used a little yogurt in the dish and flavored it with kasuri methi/dried fenugreek leaves. It turned out really very tasty, a perfect combination for rotis, naans or any type of bread..
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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Cucumber Peas Kuzhambu/Gravy

          I was cleaning my refrigerator, I had some odd vegetables, I wanted to make a Kuzhambu or gravy to go with rice and I had this cucumber which needed to be finished off that day. I have made kootus (dal and vegetable) with it, but never tried a kuzhambu with it. I tried out this gravy, adding some freshly ground masala ,and  also some fresh peas for color, the final result was really good. This curry tasted good not only with rice but would have tasted great with rotis too..
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Monday, January 14, 2013

Sakkarai Pongal / Indian Rice Pudding With Jaggery

          Today is Pongal, the harvest festival celebrated in India, similar to Thanksgiving in US. It's an important festival for farmers, so it's celebrated grandly and more traditionally in the villages. This dish Sakkarai Pongal, which goes by the name of the festival itself, is a rice pudding made with the newly harvested rice ( for people who have their own paddy fields, for others, we do it with the raw rice we have at home). Rice is cooked with moong dal, milk and jaggery and flavored with cardamom and ghee, a very tasty and rich sweet or dessert..
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Friday, January 11, 2013

Kathirikkai Podi Potta Curry / Eggplant Cooked With Spice Powder

          Kathirikkai Podi Potta Curry, this is one of my favorite curries using brinjals/eggplants. This curry comes out best when done with tender baby eggplants, which holds it shape and doesn't turn mushy when cooked. I have also done this curry with the Chinese eggplants, the long and slim ones, the curry tasted good but these brinjals turned a little too soft. It gets its flavor from the freshly ground spice powder/podi added to it and goes well with rice and dal..
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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Spicy And Tangy Methi / Fenugreek Leaves - Vendiya Keerai Thokku

          I am a big fan of Fenugreek Leaves/Methi/Vendiya Keerai, love its slight bitter taste and awesome flavor. Whenever I get them, even if I don't use them up immediately, I clean, wash, chop and store them in the freezer, it keeps well for at least 2 weeks. It tastes great in sambars, dals, curries and especially pairs very well with potatoes and paneer. I also make this Thokku with it, the bitterness of the leaves is balanced with the tangy tomatoes and the spicy chilly powder. Can have this as a side dish for rotis, mix it with rice or even as a sandwich spread, tastes simply divine..
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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Jeera Aloo / Potato with Cumin

          As I had mentioned in my previous posts, we love baby potatoes so much, especially my daughter, so whenever I see it, I grab a bag, they are so cute and irresistible. Though I've made many dishes with it, this Jeera Aloo is the most easiest one, if you have the potatoes boiled and peeled, then the dish can be done in under 10 minutes. Jeera/Cumin pairs so well with potatoes, the dish is so delicious, so simple to make, yet looks so rich, a great combo with both rice and bread..
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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Bhindi Do Pyaza / Okra And Onion Stir Fry

         By now, everybody who has been following my blog, knows, how much my family loves okra. They can have this slimy vegetable in any form, in sambars, kurmas, raitas, curries, name it, they can have it. Personally  my first choice was in sambars, that is, until I tasted this curry, Bhindi Do Pyaza. Bhindi is another name for okra/vendikkai, and the dish literally translates to, 'okra cooked with double the amount of onions'. Even while making the curry I never had an idea that this dish was going to be so tasty, the flavors from the onion seeds, ginger and yogurt was simply superb, an awesome side dish for rotis or naans..
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Monday, January 7, 2013

Cauliflower Fritters

          Will you believe me, if I tell you, that after moving to India, for the past six months I haven't done any deep frying at home, that too being a food blogger. Something kept me away from doing deep frying, I didn't do anything even during the festivals, but of course, occasionally I did snack on some deep fried foods. But last weekend I finally did it, I made these Cauliflower Fritters. They are so simple to make and yet so tempting and delicious, my daughter simply loves them. You can serve them as appetizers, or even have it as a side dish with some rice dish, you'll definitely love it..
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Sunday, January 6, 2013

Green Beans Curry With Roasted Chana Dal

           There are very few curries or dishes that I do with green beans, the most common being the simple beans poriyal. This time when I got it, I wanted to try out something different from the regular. This curry again is a very easy one, with a slight variation, I added some roasted chana dal/dalia/pottu kadalai and pepper powder. This gave the curry a nice different flavor and goes very well with both rice and rotis..
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Friday, January 4, 2013

Moong Dal / Green Gram And Paneer Curry

          Ever since I started using this moong dal /green gram with skin, I have become a huge fan of it, it's not only more healthy ( extra fiber from the skin) but also very tasty. I had used it in the cabbage pongal and now in this curry along with homemade paneer/ cottage cheese.  Adding paneer made this dish even more tasty and I also added some capsicum and kasuri methi for some extra flavor. We had it with pav / buns, you can even have it with some plain toast too..
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Thursday, January 3, 2013

Potato Peas Curry/ Aloo Matar

          Aloo Matar/ Potato Peas Curry, the most common dish on a restaurant or party menu, can be both a dry curry or a gravy one and also there are so many versions of it. Today's curry is a gravy, gets it flavors from the fresh ginger and coriander powder added to it. It's very easy to make, can use both fresh or dry green peas, but personally I prefer using fresh or frozen green peas for this curry. Makes a wonderful combination with rotis or pooris or even with some light rice pilaf..
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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Eggless Cauldron Cakes

          Happy New Year ! let's all hope that the year 2013 will be better than the previous one and also, that we'll hear and see relatively better things in the coming years. It's once again the time to reveal the challenge for the Eggless Baking Group, I am a little late with my post, since I was down with fever for the past few days. I would have gladly skipped it, if not for the challenge chosen, 'Eggless Cauldron Cakes'. Guess who was even more excited than me, my daughter, she and I are one among those millions of Harry Potter fans out there. The eggless baking part was easier, the real challenge for me was shaping those handles. Somehow, the chocolate chips that I got here didn't work, it wouldn't melt properly. The original recipe is from Pastry Affair, I replaced the marshmallow frosting with cream cheese one and this time I used buttermilk as the replacement for egg. It was great fun baking it, I think the next time I'll make the handles with melted dark chocolate (local Indian make, that doesn't melt in Indian room temperature), anyways, with or without handles the cakes tasted great..
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