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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Tutti Frutti Cake


This festive season is never complete without a slice of Tutti Fruitti cake or a rich Fruit cake.

Tutti frutti is basically an Italian confection made with sliced fruit which has been candied or dried to preserve it. In Italian, “tutti frutti” means “all fruit, where a varied fruits like pineapple, papaya, mango, apricot, and grapefruit are used.
All of the fruits are diced fairly small and often brightly colored with various dyes to make it more visually appealing.

As far as I can remember, in my childhood days, there were some great bakeries in New Market like The Jewish confectioner "Nahoum's" and Imperial Cake shop.

Though curently there are several cake & bake shops in Kolkata, I still reminisce the drooling fruit cake, plum cake and rum balls of Nahoum's and it was a must to have them during the Christmas and New Year's time.

Here is the recipe of preparing a simple and easy Tutti Frutti Cake at home.



Ingredients:
  • Refined Flour / Maida: 250 gms
  • Eggs: 5
  • Baking powder: 2 ½ tsp
  • Sugar, powdered: 250 gms
  • White butter: 250 gms
  • Tutti frutti, Raisins and Cashew Nuts (chopped): 1 cup
  • Vanilla essence: 2 tsp


Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 390 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease a 8" round baking cake tin with butter and dust it evenly with a little flour.
  2. Sift the flour and baking powder together, sieve thrice and keep aside.
  3. In a bowl, add butter and powdered sugar and cream them together till light and fluffy.
  4. Add one egg at a time and beat till well combined. Add vanilla essence.
  5. Add the flour gradually and fold to form a smooth cake mixture. (Do not over beat and combine the flour in one direction only).
  6. Sprinkle some flour over the tutti frutti to coat them, add them to the batter and fold gently into the batter. (Keep a little tutti frutti, raisins and chopped cashew aside to sprinkle on top).
  7. Spread batter evenly in the greased baking tin and sprinkle the remaining tutti frutti on the top.
  8. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 390 degrees F (200 degrees C) for 30-45 minutes or until done. (Test by pricking the cake with a tooth pick and if it comes out clean then the cake is done).
  9. Place on a wire rack to cool for 15 mins.
  10. Slice and treat yourself or your guests with tea / coffee.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Kashmiri Dum Aloo, Indian Cooking Challenge, Nov 2010



Traditional Kashmiri cuisine is characterized by the use of curds in the gravies, which gives the dishes a creamy consistency.

In Kashmir, potato is called 'Oluv' (Singular), and potatoes are called 'Olav' (Plural). 'Dama Oluv' is a poular North Indian cusine, having its origin in Kashmir.

Better known as Kashmiri Dum Aloo, it is an all time favourite and mouth watering potato based curry recipe, prepared with whole / diced baby potatoes simmered in a rich and creamy gravy.

The credit for the mouth watering and unique taste goes to the use of exquisite spices and ingredients. Dum means anything cooked under pressure. Here the aloo / potatoes are cooked under pressure in their own juices.

Kashmiri Dum Aloo recipe is generally flavored with Kashmiri chillies and it uses typical Kashmiri spices like fennel / aniseed and ginger powder. Kashmiri Dum Aloo is particularly served with naan or roomali roti.

Srivalli choose this dish as the recipe for Indian Cooking Challenge for the month of November. She choose the recipe of Kashmiri Aloo Dum from Indian food.

Ingredients:


  • Baby potatoes / small potatoes - 1 kg (round and uniform size)

  • Cumin seeds, roasted and powdered: 1 tsp

  • Kashmiri red chillies, roasted and powdered: 3-4

  • Curd / yogurt: 2 1/2 cups (must not be sour)

  • Ginger powder: 1 tsp

  • Fennel / aniseed powder: 1 tbsp

  • Cloves, roasted and powdered: 6

  • Mustard oil: 4 tbsp

  • Garam Masala: 1 tsp

  • Mixed powders (Black cardamom, Cinnamon and Black Pepper): 1 tsp

  • Asafoetida: a pinch

  • White oil to deep fry potatoes

  • Salt to taste

  • Firm dough made from wheat flour and water Chopped coriander leaves: 1 tbsp

Method to prepare:



  1. Wash the potatoes well, peel, and prick the potatoes all over with a fork. Then soak in salted water for 15-20 mins.

  2. Heat white oil in a kadhai and fry the potatoes on medium flame on all sides till golden brown. Drain excess oil and keep aside.

  3. Make a paste of curd / yogurt, chilli powder, ginger powder and fennel powder. Add the potatoes and marinate for about an hour.

  4. Heat mustard oil in another kadhai, add the clove powder and asafoetida and mix well. Add a half cup of hot water with a little salt and bring to a boil.

  5. Slowly add the marinated potatoes and the yogurt mix and thoroughly stir to mix the spices.

  6. Cover with a lid, seal the edges with the dough for the ‘dum’ so that steam do not escape. Cook in a low flame for 10-15 mins.

  7. When the gravy thickens and the oil begins to separate, turn off the flame.

  8. Add garam masala, roasted cumin seeds powder and the mixture of cardamom, cinnamon and black pepper powders. Turn gently with a spatula so that all the spices are mixed well.

  9. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve hot with Naan / Roomali Rotis / Chapatis.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Varo (Indian Praline with Mixed Nuts), Indian Cooking Challenge, Oct 2010

Praline is a family of confections made from nuts and sugar syrup. Originally inspired in France at the Château of Vaux-le-Vicomte by the cook of the 17th-century sugar industrialist, Marshal du Plessis-Praslin (1598–1675), early pralines were prepared with whole almonds individually coated in caramelized sugar, as against dark nougat, where a sheet of caramelized sugar covers many nuts.

Pralines have a creamy consistency, similar to fudge. They are usually prepared by combining sugar, butter and cream / buttermilk on medium-high heat, stirring constantly, till most of the water evaporates and they reach a thick texture with a brown color. They are then dropped by spoonfuls on a greased flat surface and left to cool to solidify into a crispy candy.

Alka suggested Sri for choosing Varo to be the recipe of Indian Cooking Challenge (ICC) for the month of October.


Varo is a kind of Indian praline with mixed nuts. Varo is a part of Sindhi cuisine, where Sindhi people make this as a Diwali special treat.

In West Bengal, we are used to Badam Chakti (Peanut Chikki / Brittle), which is a sweet preparation made from broken peanuts and jaggery. In Varo, sugar syrup is used instead of jaggery.

Sri chose two recipes for Varo, one is from Simply Sindhi Recipes and the second one is from Madhvi's Foolproof Recipes.

This was a new preparation for me. I tried the recipe from Simply sindhi recipes.



Ingredients:
  • Mixed Nuts (Almonds, Pistachios, Cashew nuts), sliced: 1 cup
  • Dry Coconut slices: 2 tbsp
  • Poppy Seeds / Khus Khus: 2 tsp
  • Black Cardamoms, crushed: 4 -5
  • Sugar: 1 cup
  • Clarified Butter: 1 tbsp

Method:

  1. In a heavy bottomed pan, add butter and sugar and cook in a low flame till the sugar melts.
  2. When the sugar is caramelized to a light brown color, add the sliced mixed nuts, poppy seeds and crushed cardamoms. Stir and mix well till all the nuts are coated with the caramelized sugar evenly.
  3. Pour this mixture onto the back of a greased plate / rolling board.
  4. Flatten the mixture by using a rolling pin very quickly or else the mixture will harden as soon as it removed from heat.
  5. Score lines before the mixture begins to set, as this will make it easier to break and get uniform pieces of Varo.
  6. Leave the Varo to set for some time. Break into pieces and store in air tight containers.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Punjabi Kadi with Pakora (Dahi Besan Kadi)

For the month of September, Srivalli announced a delicious dish, Punjabi Kadhi for the Indian Cooking Challenge. Thanks to Srivalli for choosing this yummy Punjabi kadi and Simran for the awesome recipe.

Kadhi / karhi is an Indian dish, specially a part of Gujarati and Punjabi cuisine, basically made up of vegetable fritters (pakodas) simmered in a spicy yogurt-based gravy containing chickpea flour (besan / gram flour) with tempering of black mustard seeds, cumin, asafoetida, dried chili peppers, fenugreek seeds, curry leaves in oil / ghee and eaten with steamed rice and roti / phulkas.

Pakoda is a common Indian snack like onion pakoda, potato pakoda, eggplant, cauliflower or chopped spinach or chilies, prepared by dipping the ingredients in batter and fried into crunchy pakodas.
Punjabi kadhi is a typical North Indian recipe made up of pakodas simmered in a thick yogurt gravy.


Ingredients:
For Pakodas:

  • Gram flour: ¾ cup
  • Onions, sliced: 2 medium
  • Red Chilli Powder: ½ tsp (as per taste)
  • Baking Powder: ½ tsp
  • Salt, to taste
  • Water, for batter
  • White oil, for deep frying pakodas

For Kadi

  • Curd / Yogurt: 1 cup
  • Chickpea flour / Besan: ½ cup
  • Onion, chopped: 1 large
  • Mustard Seeds / Sorse: 1 tsp
  • Cumin seeds / Jeera: 1 tsp
  • Carom seeds / Ajwain: ½ tsp
  • Fenugreek seeds / Methi: 1 tsp
  • Curry leaves: 5-6
  • Dry red chillies: 2 whole
  • Turmeric powder: ½ tsp
  • Red Chili powder: ½ tsp
  • Garam Masala powder - ½ tsp
  • Asafetida / Hing: a pinch
  • Oil: 2 tbsp
  • Salt, to taste

Preparation
Pakora:

  1. Take slice onions in a bowl, crush them a little to separate the slices.
  2. Add besan and all the other ingredients except water and oil to the bowl. Mix well. Slowly add water and make a batter of semi thick consistency.
  3. Heat oil in a deep bottomed kadhai. Add a little oil in the batter and mix again.
  4. Take small amount of batter coated onions, form a round shape and slowly release the balls in the hot oil.
  5. Deep fry the pakodas, turn and cook both sides until crispy and golden brown.
  6. Drain oil and take out the pakodas, put on a paper towel to soak the extra oil. Keep aside.

Kadhi:

  1. Blend yogurt, besan and water with a pinch of turmeric powder, salt and red chilli powder to make a thin batter / buttermilk (lassi) mixture consistency. Keep it aside for half an hour before starting to make kadi.
  2. Heat oil in a kadhai, add the dry spices (mustard seeds, cumin seeds, carom seeds and fenugreek seeds) and let them splutter. Add curry leaves and dry red chilli to tadka (frying mixture).
  3. Add chopped onions and sauté them until light brown. Add the turmeric powder, garam masala, red chilli powder, salt and sauté a little more.
  4. Add the yogurt / besan (kadhi mixture) to the tadka. Keep stirring the gravy, as it may stick to the bottom. First keep it on a medium flame, bring it to a boil, reduce flame and simmer on low flame for 20-30 mins.
  5. Keep stirring occasionally, check if the gravy is thick enough (add little water if required) and release the pakodas in the kadhi.
  6. Boil for 2-3 mins more and turn off gas. Garnish with chopped coriander, serve hot with steamed rice or chapati.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Plagiarism of another kind


These days plagiarism is so common, that if you come across any site with your pictures and copied recipes, you feel angry. You may even write to the website / blog author for disciplinary actions but on second thought you feel, are those sites really worth of a second look and we seem to only add to their blog traffic.

When I started my blog, I did not know much about plagiarism and related actions to be taken. But as time went by, I came across several sites where my pictures and posts are copied verbatim without giving due credit to my blog.

Initially I did not know what to do, and wrote to those sites, some have removed the copied posts and pictures and some sites still carry them. It seems these people do not have enough decency to acknowledge your hard work and Plagiarism has become a daily affair to them, what we call in Bengali "Jol Bhaat" (meaning a simple case like water and rice).

So these days, if I see my pictures in some other blogs & website, I really do not care anymore.

But imagine, if you see your picture being published in a leading newspaper (that too a leading Bengali Newspaper, Ananda Bazar Patrika) without your consent and giving due credit, I bet you will get flustered and angry.


original picture

Last Saturday’s 28-Aug-2010 edition of “Utsav” (A supplement of ABP), carried an article on “Posto”, titled “Emon Gotimoi Ghorsoyar rannaghore aar dwitwiyoti nei” by Goutam Chakraborty. My picture of Aloo Jhinge Posto was published in that article as a "Posto" dish.


The picture has been modified in such a way that the recipe name and my blog’s name was removed from the picture to look like an altogether different picture.

I have already written to the Editor of the leading Daily and awaiting clarification from their end.

So my fellow bloggers, besides keeping a tab on blogs and websites, start keeping a track on your local newspaper, maybe you'll find yourself in my position in coming days....

You can check the following links too...

Plagiarism - Once Again

Caught in the Act

Plagiarism - Be Aware!!!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Kara Sev - Indian Cooking Challenge, June 2010


Kara Sev was chosen by Srivalli as the Indian Cooking Challenge recipe for June. It's one of my favourite snack. There was a bhujiya shop near my school, where they used to sell varieties of bhujiya, ganthiya, chanachur, etc. While waiting for the bus, I used to watch the karigaar preparing these sev.

It was intriguing, as the person used a deft hand in pressing down the thick besan mixture on a big ladle with holes directly over oil, frying the sev in hot oil and immediately taking them out.

Thanks to Srivalli, finally I had the chance of preparing these savoury and crunchy sev. If the ladle (with holes) is not available, one can use the murukku press. Kara sev is quite easy and require very less time to prepare. I chose the first recipe as stated by Srivalli.



Ingredients:
  • Gram flour (Besan): 2 1/2 cup
  • Rice Flour (Chalguri): 1 cup
  • Chilli powder: 1/2 tsp
  • Coarsely ground black pepper: 1 tsp
  • Crushed garlic (optional): 2 pods
  • Ghee: 2 1/2 tsp
  • Cooking Soda: a small pinch
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil, to fry

Procedure:

  1. Take a bowl, sieve gram flour and rice flour together, mix well and make a pit (hole in the middle).
  2. Add chilli powder, pepper powder, salt, crushed garlic, ghee and cooking soda and mix thoroughly with hands (It should resemble bread crumbs).
  3. Divide the dough into 4 portions. Take one portion of this mixture, sprinkle water, knead like puri dough.
  4. Heat oil in a kadai, use a ladle with lot of holes (Kara Sevai ladle / sev maker). Put some dough on the ladle and rub directly into oil (It will look like split string).
  5. Deep fry in oil till the sev are well cooked and golden brown on all sides.
  6. Drain excess oil, cool and store in an airtight container.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Peyaji


Peyaji is an all time favourite snack. Peyaji / Onion fritters are usually served as an evening snack, perfect accompaniment with tea / coffee in a rainy afternoon, generally served with “muri” (puffed rice) and kancha lonka (green chilli).
This post was long due, here is the recipe for Peyaji. Enjoy these crispy fritters as the weather is just perfect.

Ingredients

  • Onion (Peyaj): 2
  • Besan (Bengal gram flour): 1 cup
  • Plain Flour (Maida): 1 cup
  • Green Chillies, chopped: 2
  • Red chilli powder: a pinch
  • Baking Soda: a pinch
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil for deep frying

Method:

  1. Peel, halve and finely slice the onions and chop green chillies.
  2. Take a mixing bowl, take the sliced onions, chopped chillies & salt and mix thoroughly.
  3. Add a pinch of baking soda, red chilli powder, maida & besan and mix well.
  4. Add a little water and mix thoroughly so that the onions are coated with the besan and stick to each other (add more water if required but avoid excess water).
  5. Heat oil in a deep bottomed kadhai; add few drops of heated oil in the besan mixture and again mix well.
  6. Scoop some of the onion-besan mixture and release in the oil (be careful not to crowd the pan or else the pakodas will stick to one another and will remain uncooked inside).
  7. Fry the onion fritters in medium heat, turn and cook till crisp and golden brown on both sides.
  8. Drain out excess oil. Repeat until all the batter is used up.
  9. Place the onion fritters in a serving plate with ketchup and serve hot with tea /coffee.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Gol Gappe - Indian Cooking Challenge, May' 2010


Gol Gappe, a popular street snack / chaat is known by different names in different regions, the most popular ones being Panipuri (Western India), Gupchup (Orissa, Jharkhand, Bihar) and Phuchka (West Bengal). It generally comprises of a round & fried crisp puri, filled with a mixture of potato, onion & chickpeas dipped in tamarind water

The name Gol gappe (as known in Northern India) refers to the fact that crisp sphere (Gol) is placed in the mouth and eaten (Gappa) at one time, without biting. Pani means water in Hindi and Puri is the name of a type of Indian bread, prepared by frying dough in oil.

Gol gappes are served in varied ways across different locations. They are dipped in various types of flavoured water, like imli ka pani (tamarind in water), nimbu ka pani (lemon juice in water), pudine ka pani (mint in water) and even khajur ka pani (dates mixed in water) and served by folding a saal leaf in triangular cup sized plate made from dry saal leaves or pre-made small bowl of saal leaves.

Here in Kolkata, Gol gappe it is better known as “Phuchka” and you are sure to have your favourite Phuchkawala in every para / locality.
Phuchka, the very mention of which makes me reminisce my childhood years. I still relish those memories, customers holding the small plate and standing around the phuchkawala’s cart. He starts making one golgappa at a time and serving one to each individual.

He even remembered each customer's preferences & choice like choice of fillings, tamarind water’s consistency, etc. Even now, I don’t know how the phuchkawala kept the count of how many phuchkas were served even during serving an entire crowd.

I still remember, on my way back home from school, how I used to order my Phuchka Kaku to prepare that special filling of boiled potato, sprouts & masalas with extra red chili powder; the crisp phuchkas dipped in an earthern pot of spicy tamarind water (tentul-er jol) and served in a small plate made of saal leaves and finishing in a gulp, heavenly…Even as I am writing, my mouth is drooling with those thoughts…
Moreover it was fun when we were in a group and would compete amongst ourselves who will eat the most number of phuchkas.

Over the years, gol gappe / pani puri / phuchka which was a roadside treat, have found a place in the menu of restaurants, malls and even wedding ceremonies. These days there are several innovative ways of serving them, like in plates and the tamarind water in cups. They are even served with curd, chopped onions with sev sprinkled on top.

Thanks to Srivalli for choosing Golgappa as the Indian Cooking Challenge recipe for May’ 2010.
A little effort of preparing Golgappa myself at home was a wonderful and fun experience.

Here is the recipe of Pani Puri / Gol Gappe

For making Gol Gappe
  • Sooji / Semolina: 1/2 cup
  • Maida / Plain Refined Flour: 1/2 tbsp
  • Cooking Soda: 1/2 tsp
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil for frying

For Spicy Pani / Spicy Water

  • Chopped Mint Leaves: 1 1/2 cups
  • Chopped Coriander Leaves: 1 tbsp
  • Tamarind: 1/3 cup
  • Ginger: 1"
  • Green Chillies: 4 - 5
  • Ground Cumin Seed (roasted): 1 tsp
  • Kala Namak/ Black Salt: 1 1/2 tsp
  • Salt to taste

For Filling

Potato Filling
Boiled Potato, finely chopped /mashed and mixed with salt and red chilli.

Lentil Filling

  • Cooked Kabuli Channa / Peas: 1 cup
  • Salt to taste
  • Chili powder: 1/2 tsp
  • Turmeric powder: ½ tsp
  • Garam masala powder: 1/4 tsp

Cook the channa or peas till tender. Then drain and cook with the masala till aroma comes out.

For Red Tamarind Chutney

  • Tamarind: 1 cup
  • Jaggery: 1/2 cup
  • Sugar: 2 tbsp
  • Red chilli powder: 1/2 tsp
  • Dry Roasted cumin powder: 1 tsp
  • Kali Mirch / Black pepper powder: 1/4 tsp.
  • Cloves: 2
  • Warm water: 2 cups
  • Oil: 1 tsp
  • Salt to tast

Method to prepare:

For Gol Gappe / Puri:

  1. In a bowl, take semolina, plain flour & cooking soda; add salt and 2 tbsp of oil; mix and knead well to make a stiff dough (A bit stiffer than normal) .
  2. Cover it with a wet muslin cloth and let it rest for 15 mins.
  3. Pinch out very small balls and roll them into small circles and put the rolled out circles back under the muslin cloth for some time before frying.
  4. Heat oil in a thick bottomed pan / kadhai, release the rolled out dough, press the puffed puri a little with the back of a slotted spoon and deep fry the puris till golden brown (If rolled evenly, the puris will puff up as soon as they are released in the oil).
  5. Drain oil and take the puris out from the pan / kadhai and put them on kitchen paper towel to get rid of the extra oil.

Notes: Allow the puris to cool properly before storing them in an airtight container or else they will become soggy.

Spicy Tamarind water / Pani

  1. Extract pulp from the tamarind. Add mint leaves, coriander, ginger, chillies and dry roasted cumin seed to the tamarind pulp. Add little water and blend to a smooth paste.
  2. Add salt and black rock salt to taste. Add water as required. Put it in the fridge to cool down.

Red Tamarind Chutney

  1. In a pan, dry roast the cumin seeds and cloves and pound them into a coarse powder.
  2. Extract the pulp from tamarind. To the tamarind pulp, add jaggery, sugar, red chilli powder, black pepper powder, roasted powder of cumin & cloves and salt.
  3. Put the mixture in a pan and heat for 5 minutes on medium heat. Remove from heat and let it cool down.
  4. Add warm water and adjust consistency, if the chutney becomes too thick.
  5. Once the chutney cools thoroughly, blend in a blender to form a smooth paste.

Assembling & serving the Golgappe / Pani Puri / Phuchka

  1. Poke a small hole in the center of the Gole Gappe and add a little portion of the filling (Remember not to stuff too much, or else the puri may break).
  2. Add a little of the red tamarind chutney, dip the golgappa in the spicy water and gulp it down.

Notes: Alternatively you can mix small quantity of tamarind chutney & spicy water and pour over the stuffed puris and gulp down.


I like to experiment with the fillings. The whole idea of preparing this kind of chaat at home is that, you can mix your choice of ingredients or add anything which suits you best.
I used a filling of boiled potatoes & kabuli chana, mixed with chopped coriander leaves, grated coconut and masalas.
I added some home made dhokla, sprinkled chopped onions & sev on top and served with home made curd, spicy tamarind water and red tamarind chutney so that everybody can take their pick.
Enjoy!!!!!!!!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Rasmalai - Indian Cooking Challenge (Apr 2010)


Srivalli selected Rasmalai as our next challenge for the month of April 2010 in Indian Cooking Challenge.

Rasmalai is a delicious dessert consisting of sugary balls of cottage cheese (chhana in Bengali) soaked in sweetened and thickened milk, flavored with cardamom, saffron and garnished with dry fruits. It tastes best, when served chilled.

The original recipe was provided by Lavi. As always, I followed the recipe as stated by Srivalli and the Rasmalai turned out perfect.

Here is the recipe



Ingredients:
  • Milk: 3 litres (2 ltr for making paneer and 1 ltr for making rasa / milk syrup)
  • Maida (plain flour): 1 tsp
  • Vinegar: 3 tbsp
  • Water: 5 cups
  • Sugar: 16 tbsp (8 for sugar syrup and 8 for rasa / milk syrup)
  • Saffron: 3-4 strands
  • Pista: 10 finely chopped
  • Cardamon, crushed: 2 -3

Method:

  1. Boil 2 litres of milk and let it cool thoroughly and rfrigerate the milk for 12 hours. Remove the thick layer of skin formed over the milk the next day (after 12 hours).
  2. Boil the milk, when the milk starts to boil, add vinegar. The milk will curdle and paneer will start floating on top and the whey water will stay on the bottom of the vessel. Place a muslin / cotton cloth over a bowl, filter the paneer.
  3. Pour 2 cups of water (to remove the sourness of vinegar), tie it well and let it hang for one hour until the paneer is completely drained of whey water.
  4. Remove the paneer from the muslin, knead well for 5-10 minutes. Add maida to the paneer and make small balls.
  5. In a pressure cooker, add 3 cups of water and sugar, bring it boil, add the paneer balls one by one and close the lid, simmer and let it cook for 15 minutes (until the balls become double in size). Press the paneer balls gently to drain the excess sugar syrup.
  6. Prepare the thick and creamy milk syrup by boiling the milk and reducing to half of the original quantity. Add sugar, saffron strands and crushed cardamom to the milk and mix thoroughly.
  7. Slowly release the paneer balls to the milk syrup. Pour the rasmalai in a serving bowl, cool and refrigerate. Garnish with pistas and serve chilled.


Friday, April 23, 2010

Sagu Biyyam Murukku / Sago Murukku - ICC for Mar' 2010


Sago /Sabudhana Murukku (a tasty savory snack prepared with sago, rice flour, besan flour and fried gram flour) was chosen by Srivalli for Indian Cooking Challenge for the month of March.

As Sri already challenged us to prepare murukku before, this was a little easy, though I have never prepared murukku with sago before. Stated below is the recipe by Srivalli.

Ingredients
  • Rice flour: 2 cups
  • Besan flour: 1/2 cup
  • Fried gram flour: 1/2 cup
  • Sago: 1/2 cup
  • Oil: 50 gms
  • Salt to taste
  • Curd: 50 gms (half of half cup)
  • Chilli powder: 1/2 tsp or as per taste
  • Oil for frying murukku

Special Utensil: Muruku Achu

Method

  1. Soak sago in buttermilk for 3 hrs (please ensure that you soak the sago well or else sago may burst while frying the murukkus).
  2. Mix all the flour together, add salt and chilli powder. Heat 50 gms oil and mix to the flour.
  3. Gradually add the buttermilk soaked sago and knead to a chapati dough consistency.
  4. Heat oil in a kadhai for deep frying. Add the dough in the muruku achu. When the oil is hot, press down the dough directly in the oil as murukus.
  5. Cook the murukkus on medium flame. Drain oil and store the murukkus in airtight container.

A few points to remember: Ensure that the sago soaked in buttermilk is soft or else it will burst while frying the murukus and also to cook on medium flame to ensure even cooking.

I didn’t make the usual round shape. The murukkus turned out real crispy, a perfect accompaniment for evening tea / coffee.


A little late in posting due to machine problem....Better late than never...

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Plagiarism - Once Again

Another case of plagiarism. As these days, I am not very regular in posting and also cannot check the site regularly. But surely this is not the post I intended to write about. Just today, I happen to update some posts, found a comment left by an anonymous visitor that my post on Calcutta Chicken Roll has been copied in a Pakistani recipe site, pakistanifoodrecipes.com launched on Monday, June 22, 2009.

My post on Calcutta Chicken Roll (post on Mar 8 2009), has been copied verbatim in the site with the post name as Calcutta Kati Roll – Kolkata Chicken Roll


Even the picture has been copied. Though they have carefully erased the mark on the picture, one can still understand that it’s my picture. My site name has been written but no credit / linking has been provided.


After some more browsing, I found 2 more of my posts have been copied:

The picture of Stuffed Dahi Was even shows my site name. Though in the post, my site name is mentioned but no linking is provided.

I happen to check some more pictures and came across posts copied from Srivalli's site, Cooking 4 all Seasons and another site, Tasty Indian Food.

I have left a message at the site. I have asked them to either credit with my site link or remove these posts altogether.

Some days back Ivy’s work was copied, check her post on Plagiarism.

Fellow bloggers, pl check if any of your posts have been copied in this site.
Hope these people stop copying our work once and for all.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Khasta Kachori, ICC for Jan' 2010


The Indian Cooking Challenge for Jan 2010 is Khasta Kachori, an all time favouroite savoury snack. Srivalli came up with this snack after discussing with Medhaa who suggested to prepare tasty Kachoris and provided authentic recipe combining that of her aunt and Tarla Dalal.

Kachoris are a speciality in Northern and Western India (including Punjab, Rajasthan, Gujarat, and Uttar Pradesh), but even then they occupy heart of every Indian. Kachoris are often served with a chutney, made from tamarind, mint / coriander and sometimes accompanied with a curry made of spicy potatoes and chickpeas (chana / chhole)....

Sri stated three different fillings: Moong Dal Filling, Peas Filling and Onion Filling. I prepared kachori with all the filling and all of them were perfect. The dough is same for all the fillings.
You can catch the step by step procedures below. I could manage to take the photos with the green peas filling only...


Recipe:
Resting time for the dough: 1/2 hour - 1 hour approx
Frying time for the Kachoris: 20 mins for each batch approx
Soaking time for the filling: 1 hour approx
Cooking time for the filling: 15 minutes approx
Yields - 15

For the Dough
Ingredients:
  • All purpose flour / Maida: 2 cups
  • White Oil / Ghee: 1/4 cup
  • Salt: 1/2 tsp
  • Water for kneading

Method:

  1. Mix the flour and salt, add oil / ghee and mix till you get a bread crumbs texture.
  2. Slowly add water and knead thoroughly to make a soft and smooth dough. Knead well for about 8 minutes.
  3. Cover with a moist cloth and keep aside to rest for atleast half hour (or else it will dry up and not puff up when frying)

Fillings:

Khasta Kachori - Moong Dal Kachori
Ingredients:

  • Split Moong Dal (yellow): 1/2 cup
  • Cumin Seeds / Jeera: 1 tsp
  • Hing / Asafoetida: a pinch
  • Curry Leaves, finely chopped: 2 tsp
  • Green Chilli & Ginger paste: 1 tsp
  • Sauf / Fennel seeds powder: 1 tsp
  • Garam Masala: 1/2 tsp
  • Red Chilli powder: 1/2 tsp
  • Mango powder / Amchur: 1 tsp
  • Oil: 1 tsp
  • Salt to taste

Method:

  1. Wash and Soak dal in water for 1 - 4 hours. Drain water and grind the dal to a coarsely mixture.
  2. Heat oil in a pan. Add the hing and cumin seeds. Once the seeds splutter, add the curry leaves and then add the dal.
  3. Lower the heat and keep stirring for 5 minutes till the dal stops sticking to the pan.
  4. Cook for another 10 minutes on low till the dal turns slightly brown. Add all the masalas.
  5. Cook for few minutes till the aroma of the spices hit you. Add Salt.
  6. Remove from heat and keep aside to cool.

Special Tips / Notes for the filling:

  • The fillings have to be really dry if not when rolling they will ooze out when rolling.
  • Adjust the masalas as per your taste.
  • If you try to press out using a rolling pin, the filling may come out and make holes in the kachori. So it will have to be just pressed out using your palm.
  • Fry the kachoris on medium low to get a crisp outer layer.

Mattar Ki Kachori from Tarla Dalal:
Green Peas filling - Ingredients:

  • Green peas, shelled: 2 cups
  • Green chillies, chopped: 1 tsp
  • Ginger, grated: 1 tsp
  • Nigella seeds / Kalonji: 1/2 tsp
  • Fennel seeds / Saunf: 2 tsp Bay Leaves: 2
  • Red Chilli powder: 1 gtsp
  • Garam Masala: 1 tsp
  • Coriander leaves finely chopped: 4 tbsp
  • Oil: 2
  • Salt to taste

Method:

  1. Coarsely grind the green peas,green chillies and ginger in a blender without using any water. Keep aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a pan,add the nigella seeds, fennel seeds, bay leaves and ground green pea mixture and saute over a very slow flame for 8 to 10 minutes.
  3. Add the chilli powder, garam masala, coriander and salt and saute for 2 more minutes.
  4. Remove the bay leaves and discard. Divide into 12 equal portions.

Pyaz ki Kachori
Onion filling - Ingredients:

  • 2 cups onions, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon nigella seeds (kalonji)
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds (saunf)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1½ teaspoons green chillies, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Bengal gram flour (besan)
  • 2 teaspoons coriander (dhania) powder
  • 2 teaspoons chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 3 tablespoons chopped coriander
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • Salt to taste

Method:

  1. Heat the oil in a pan. Add the nigella seeds, fennel seeds, bay leaves, green chillies and onions and sauté till the onions turn light brown in colour.
  2. Add the gram flour, coriander powder, chilli powder, garam masala and salt and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Add the chopped coriander and mix well. Remove the bay leaves and discard. Allow the mixture to cool completely. Divide into 12 equal portions and keep aside.





Method to make Kachoris:

  1. Make a small ball from the dough. Roll out into a 2 inch diameter circle or flatten the ball using your fingers having the center thick and sides little thin. Place about 1.5 tsp of the filling in the center of the rolled dough.
  2. Cover the filling with the dough by slowly stretching it over the filling. Seal the ends and remove excess dough. Repeat with all the balls and keep aside for 5 -7 mins.
  3. Flatten the balls by lightly pressing it with your palm. Cover and keep aside. Repeat with the remaining dough.
  4. Heat oil for deep frying. (The oil should not become smoking hot. Test to see if the temperature is right by dropping a tiny ball of dough and see if it is rising slowly to the top).
  5. Drop the kachoris in batches of 3-4 gently into the oil. It should rise up slowly. After they rise up, turn them over. Cook till the side down gets a golden brown color.
  6. Turn again and cook the other side till the kachoris are golden brown in color. (The whole process requires 18-20 mins atleast). Remove from fire and soak the excess oil in a tissue paper. Cool and store in an airtight container.
  7. Serve with coriander chutney and tamarind chutney. Enjoy!!!!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Penne Pasta with Chicken and Red Pesto Sauce


As I mentioned earlier, my kid loves pasta and I try to search new recipes besides cooking pasta with white sauce and tomato & garlic sauce including pasta salad.

I came across the recipe for pesto and decided to try it out. I combined tomatoes with fresh basil leaves to prepare red pesto sauce.

This is an easy pasta recipe with penne pasta, shredded chicken & red pesto sauce and can be served in the main course with a tossed salad. You can also serve pesto on the pasta of your choice, use it as a dip and you can even serve it over fresh boiled vegetables.

Pesto (a paste of basil, garlic, pine nuts and cheese) is prepared in a marble mortar with a wooden pestle. Fresh basil leaves are washed, dried, placed in the mortar with garlic and coarse salt, and crushed to a creamy consistency. The pine nuts are added and crushed together with grated cheese and olive oil.

This sauce can be kep in a tight jar / air-tight plastic container for later use.

Click here to get the recipe of Penne Pasta with Chicken and Red Pesto Sauce.....

Friday, January 15, 2010

Moong Dal Halwa, ICC Challenge for Dec' 2009


Moong dal ka halwa / Moong daal ka seera is a traditional Rajasthani (Marwari) / North Indian delicacy, made from split yellow lentils (moong dal). It is relished during the winter months and special occasions (Holi and Diwali) including wedding & other celebrations.
I first had this delicious halwa in the afternoon buffets in Angeethi, a terrace restaurant in the style of an authentic North Indian dhaba in Museum Road, off church Street, Bangalore.
As I never had this halwa before, I was curious to know the recipe. After coming back home, I searched my recipe books and found one. I prepared moong dal halwa for the first time and it was simply great though a little calorie laden. (By the time I finished preparing the sweet dish, my right hand was aching from stirring the halwa).

So when Srivalli decided this recipe for ICC – December challenge, I had the opportunity to prepare this halwa once again. She stated 2 recipes, I chose her second recipe (moong dal with milk), though I first sauted / dry roasted the dal (I used a 200 gms cup measure and other ingredients accordingly) & soaked overnight and also used crushed black cardamom while serving.
Both the recipes are stated below:

Moong Dal Halwa
Soaking Time : Overnight
Preparation Time : 15 minutes
Cooking Time : 30 - 45 mins

Recipe with moong dal and milk

Ingredients:
  • Split Moong dal (yellow lentils): 1 cup / 200 gms
  • Ghee: 1/2 cup
  • Sugar: 3/4 cups to 1 cup (as required) / 150-200 gms
  • Milk: 1/2 cup
  • Cashews / raisins (roasted in ghee) for garnishing

Method:

  1. Soak moong dal overnight. Next morning, grind to a paste.
  2. Heat a heavy / deep bottomed kadai, take only 1/2 of the ghee and heat it.
  3. Add the dal and stir continuously (ensure that no lumps are formed as the dal cooks really fast, irrespective of the ghee).
  4. Keep the heat at the lowest and keep stirring even after the dal becomes thick.
  5. Add the rest of the ghee intermittently, cook the dal until aromatic and the ghee starts oozing out.
  6. Meanwhile mix the sugar with water/ milk in a pan and bring to a boil. Add this slowly to the cooking dal.
  7. Keep the fire low at all times and break lumps if formed while adding the sugar and water / milk mix.
  8. Cook until the ghee surfaces. Garnish with cashews and raisins.

Recipe with moong dal and khoya

Ingredients:

  • Split (Yellow) Moong dal: 1 cup
  • Sugar: 3/4 cup - 1 cup (as required)
  • Clarified Butter / Ghee: 1/2 cup
  • Khoya: 1/2 cup
  • Cashew nuts and raisins for garnishing

You can make any quantity with this as long as you keep this ratio constant : equal amounts of dal and sugar, half the ghee and khoya.

Method:

  1. Lightly roast the 1 cup of moong dal, wash, soak overnight and be ground to a fine paste adding very little water.
  2. Take a thick bottom pan, heat 1/2 cup ghee and fry the moong dal paste till it turns brownish and releases the ghee. Add sugar and khoya.
  3. Stir fry until both the sugar and khoya are well absorbed. Turn off the heat, then mix in cashew nuts and raisins.

Also special thank you wish to Lathaji and Simran’s Mom for the recipe inputs.


Notes :
  1. Use a thick bottom pan /nonstick pan.
  2. Don't leave the halwa unattended. The dal can stick to the pan and get burnt, keep stirring continuously to prevent dhal from sticking irrespective of the ghee added. (The halwa will thicken as it cools).
  3. Cook until ghee surfaces on the sides and the halwa attains a very nice shine.
  4. Initially, it may appear that all the ghee is being used up. But as the dal cooks the ghee separates. So the ghee measure is sufficient.
  5. In both recipes depending on how you got the moong dal paste, you may require slightly more ghee to get the texture.

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