Saturday, September 28, 2013

Lemon mini loaf with fresh mint

Trying out a lemon cake was on my mind for a long time . There was something which was not letting me do so. Finally  I tried it yesterday and it turned out to be a beauty. Absolutely light and fluffy, super moist  & slightly tangy.
Use fine granulated sugar and not powdered sugar.

 I felt the batter was slightly more for the tin so I used it for 2 cupcakes. You can use a tin of your choice ( round, square), if you don't have a mini loaf tin or even bake it in cup cake moulds. If making cup cakes, remember they'll be ready in 18-20 minutes.



Ingredients : 1 mini loaf + 2 cup cakes

 All purpose flour             3/4 cup ( 98gms)
Sugar                             1/2 cup  ( 100gms)
Oil.                                1/4cup ( 60ml)
Baking pd                       3/4 tsp.
Yogurt                            2 tbsp
Lemon juice                    2 tbsp
Lemon zest                     1 tbsp

Fresh Mint Leaves            10-12 finely chopped
Salt                                a pinch
Eggs                               2

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius .
  2. Grease and flour a mini loaf tin. Line the bottom with butter paper.
  3. Sift flour , baking powder and salt.
  4. Mix yogurt, lemon juice, zest and fresh mint leaves.
  5. Cream sugar  and eggs until pale and double in volume. I used an electric hand beater for 2 minutes at full speed I.e. 3.
  6. Now add oil in a thin stream and continue beating.
  7. Now add dry ingredients and yogurt mix alternately, beating on speed 1 all the time.
  8. Start with dry ingredients and end with the same.
  9. Pour the batter in the prepared tin and bake for 30-35 minutes.
  10. Mine took 30 minutes.
  11. Do the skewer test to check the doneness.
  12. Let the cake rest in the pan for 5 minutes.
  13. Carefully remove it and cool it completely on the wired rack before slicing it.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Sugarfree. Dates Laddus

Dates provide instant energy and revitalize the body. Dates are an excellent source of iron. They are also rich in several minerals like Potassium, Calcium, Manganese, Magnesium and copper. One can nibble on Dates anytime of the day.
These  Laddus are power packed with all the goodness of dates and contain no added sugar. They are not overtly sweet. I am sure you would enjoy them just as I do.

With the Navratris fast approaching , I thought of sharing this recipe with you as these can be had during fasts.




Ingredients : gives  12 small sized laddus

Dates                             100 gms
Milk                               1 cup ( 240ml)
Malai.                            1/8 cup (optional)
Fresh Coconut                1/ 2 cup grated
Sesame seeds                 1 tbsp
Nutmeg                          1/4 tsp( grated)
Ginger pd                       1/4 tsp
Desiccated Coconut        3 tbsp

Method :
  1. Finely chop the dates.
  2. Lightly roast the sesame seeds, keep them aside
  3. In a deep sauce pan, preferably non stick , cook dates, milk, malai and coconut.
  4. Cook on low heat , uncovered , until  the mixture dries up completely.
  5. Remove from fire.
  6. Mix in nutmeg , ginger pd and sesame seeds.
  7. Let it cool.
  8. Take a tbsp of the mixture at a time, shape it into a round.
  9. Roll it into desiccated coconut and keep it aside.
  10. Repeat the same process with the remaining mixture.
  11. Keep these Laddus in referigerator.


Friday, September 20, 2013

Moong Dal with Pineapple Green chilly & Bay Leaf

A very mildly flavoured slightly sweet dal. Tastes amazing with roti. It's perfect for those who don't like too many or too much spices in their food. The flavour of green chilly and bay leaf with the sweetness from pineapple creates magic.

It's not very hot but you can adjust the heat by increasing or decreasing the number of green chillies.

You can soak it even longer to reduce cooking time but don't  pressure cook the dal .

Ingredients :  serves 3
Moong Dal.                   1/3 cup
Water                           1 1/2 cup
Bay Leaf.                      2
Green Chilly                  2
Ginger paste.                 1/2 tsp
Turmeric pd.                 1/2 tsp
Salt                               1 tsp or to taste
Tinned Pineapple slices   2 cut into small cubes.
Chopped coriander         1 tsp

Tempering:
Ghee / clarified butter    2 tsp
Bay leaf                       1 
Green chilly                  1 

Method:
  1. Wash and soak dal for 1 1/2 hours.
  2. In a deep sauce pan add dal, pineapple pieces, 1 cup water,  bay leaf, green chilly ( slit into 4 )ginger paste , salt and turmeric. 
  3. Bring it to a boil.
  4. Simmer covered until soft.
  5. Keep checking for water in between and add as needed. I used  1 1/2 cups of water.
  6. The ready dal should be thick
Tempering:
  1. Heat ghee/ clarified butter in small pan.
  2. Add bay leaf and green chilly and fry for a minute.
  3. Pour over the dal.

To serve :
  1. Taste and adjust salt.
  2. Garnish with chopped coriander and serve hot with roti. ( Indian flat bread).

My suggestion : make it a couple of hours before serving. That helps enhance the flavours more. Just before serving, heat the dal  properly and add the tempering .

Caterpillar Buns

Another twist to humble bread, the caterpillar buns. Kids are really attracted by these. You can choose a filling of your choice. I have used paneer filling. You can also spread Nutella or even butter and cinnamon with brown sugar. The choice is unlimited.
Two most important things in bread making are: Milk should be just warm, approx. 48 to 54 degrees Celsius .
Second is kneading. You have to knead it for 10. -12 minutes for the gluten to develop, which helps the buns or any bread for that matter to rise. 

Read the entire recipe carefully , including notes before you start.

This recipe was shared by a friend, Hazeena.
I have tweaked the original recipe slightly to suit my taste. The original recipe is from  here


Ingredients Paneer stuffing
Paneer grated                                400 gm.       
Bell peppers ( red and yellow)        1 cup      
Extra virgin olive oil                       2 tbsp.            
Onion ( finely chopped )                 1 cup.       
Garlic ( crushed )                           2 tsp.               
Green chilly ( finely chopped)         1.                        
Ginger ( grated )                            2 tsp.               
Chettinad spice mix                        2 tbsp.             
salt ( or to taste)                            2 tsp.                
Coriander ( chopped)                     2 tbsp.              
Ingredients For buns:                                  
All Purpose Flour ( maida)              4 cups      
Milk (warm)                                  1 1/2 cup   
Instant Yeast                                 2 tsp          
Baking Powder                              2 pinch.     
 Sugar                                           1 tsp.            
Salt                                               1 tsp.            
Oil ( EVOO or any vegetable  oil)    6 tbsp.       
Milk Powder                                  3 tbsp.      
Garlic ( crushed)                             1 tbsp            
for brushing                                   Extra oil and milk 

Method for Paneer Stuffing:
  1. Heat oil in a non stick pan . 
  2. Add garlic and green chilli . 
  3. Stir and add onions and ginger 
  4. Sauté onions till soft and pink 
  5. Tip in bell peppers , sauté for a couple for minutes . 
  6. Add paneer , salt and Chettinad spice mix . 
  7. Sauté on medium until the mixture is completely dry 
  8. Remove from fire and mix in chopped coriander . 
  9. Keep the filling aside to cool . 
  10. Divide it into 4 equal parts.
Method for Caterpillar Buns:
  1. Warm milk. It should be just warm to touch not hot.
  2. Place flour in a large bowl.
  3. Make a well in the centre.
  4. Sprinkle salt and baking powder on the sides of flour , away from the well.
  5. Sprinkle sugar in the well.
  6. Over the sugar sprinkle yeast.
  7. Pour milk into the well.
  8. Slowly blend in the flour, till all the flour is incorporated.
  9. Tip it on a well floured counter top.
  10. Start kneading the dough.
  11. Add a little flour if the dough is sticky.
  12. You will get a beautiful dough that is soft and not sticky at all.
  13. Don't be tempted to add too much flour.  
  14. There will be a slight variation in the total amount of flour used because of the quality of the flour and weather conditions.
  15. Now knead till the dough is elastic and soft like baby's  bottom.
  16. If kneading by hand then knead for 10-12 minutes.
  17. Now   grease a large bowl and  put the ready dough into the bowl and turn the dough over so as to grease it from all sides. 
  18. Cover with a cling film and let it sit undisturbed in a warm and draft free place till it doubles in size, anywhere between an hour to hour and a half depending on the temperature of your kitchen .
  19.  To check if the dough has risen enough, push your finger , into the dough upto your second knuckle. If the indention remains when you remove your finger then it is ready else let it rise for some more time.
  20. Once the dough has doubled, turn it onto a floured surface and punch it .
  21. Add garlic .
  22. Knead for a couple of minutes to release all the trapped air and incorporate garlic properly.
  23. Divide the dough into 4 equal parts
  24. On a floured surface roll it out  one portion into a 11" long and 10" wide rectangle.
  25. As shown in the pic below spread paneer filling on 2/3 of the rectangle.
  26. Cut the remaining 1/3 into 1/4" strips as shown in the pic below.
  27. Slowly lift the edges from the farthest end from you and start rolling it.
  28. Seal the ends and very gently lift it and place it on a prepared baking tray, slightly curved in the centre . Refer to the pic above.
  29. On one end stick two cloves for eyes.
  30. Repeat with remaining  portions.
  31. Brush with oil. Cover and leave them for second prove, till they double in size.
  32. Anywhere between 30 to 45 minutes.
  33. Brush them with milk and bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 25 -35minutes till golden. Mine were ready in 30 minutes.
  34. Once done remove on a wire rack.
  35. Brush with melted butter or extra virgin olive oil for softer crust.

Note : 
  1. For the filling, you can also use spices of your choice instead of chettinad spice.
  2. if you are using active dry yeast then in warm milk mix sugar. Now sprinkle yeast and mix it lightly.
  3. Keep it in a warm place  for 10 minutes. You will see yeast would have ballooned by now.
  4. Pour the oil into the well. Now pour yeast water mixture  in the well and proceed.
  5. In this case you don't sprinkle sugar in the well.
  6. To prepare the baking tray : grease it and then over with a baking paper. Grease and dust the paper also.
  7. Alternatively place a silicon mat on the baking tray. This is what I prefer.


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Couscous

Couscous is a Morrocon staple made from semolina. What we get in the market here is American Couscous which gets ready in 5 minutes whereas the Morrocon Couscous takes much longer to cook. 

I have added Sumac which is a Lebanese condiment. It should be available in Gourmet stores.  It's completely optional. 

























Ingredients   Serves 2
Couscous.                   100gms
Water                         110 ml.
Sumac pd                   1/2 tsp ( optional)
Cumin pd                   1/2 tsp
Red chilli pd               1/2 tsp
Salt                            to taste
Pomegranate              2 tbsp 
Coriander                  1 tbsp chopped
Mint                          1 tbsp chopped 

Method : 
  1. Take couscous in a deep bowl.
  2. Pour boiling water over it. Cover the bowl with a cling film for 5 minutes.
  3. Fluff it with a fork.
  4. Sprinkle all the spices. Lightly mix with a fork.
  5. Garnish with chopped herbs and pomegranate .
  6. To serve top it with stir fried vegetables or chicken or fish or lamb. The choice is yours.
  7. I served it with stir fried vegetables.

Khatti Meethi Teekhi Karonde Mirchi Ki Chutney

Carissa Carandas, that's what Karonda is called in English. A berry rich in iron and contains a fair amount of vit C also( source Wikipedia). This is a preparation which is spicy, sweet and tangy ( as the name suggests) all in one. Pairs very well with parathas - plain as well stuffed, and also with dal rice. 

It's not so easily available , so this time when I was visiting my mom in the month of Aug., they were in season. My mom made it for us. I got to eat it after many years .  I am sharing her recipe. 



























Ingredients: 
Karonde                                                250 gms 
Green chilly large ( chopped coarsely)      3  
oil                                                         1 1/2 tsp 
fennel seeds ( saunf)                              1/2 tsp 
fenugreek seeds ( methi)                         1/4 tsp 
red chilly pd                                           1/4 tsp 
turmeric pd                                            1/4 tsp 
coriander pd                                           1/2 tsp 
salt                                                        1tsp or to taste     
sugar                                                     5 tbsp 
water                                                     1/4 cup 

Method :
  1. Wash Karonde . Cut them into two lengthwise. Remove the seed.
  2. Heat oil in a pan.
  3. Add fennel seeds and fenugreek seeds.
  4. Once they brown slightly, add  green chillies.
  5. Stir fry for half a minute.
  6. Add red chilly pd, turmeric pd. , coriander pd. and salt.
  7. Tip in the Karonde  and water. Give it a stir.
  8. Cover and cook on low till Karonde are done. Will take a few minutes.
  9. Now add sugar. 
  10. Once sugar melts, taste and adjust salt and sugar as per your liking.
  11. Remove from fire.
  12. Once completely cool, transfer into an air tight container.
  13. Keep referigerated.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Orange Ginger Tea

I had this refreshing and energizing tea recently during  my trip to Dubai. My sister -in-law Anna prepared it for my husband who had slight cold. I was little apprehensive before trying it but one sip and I was transported to another world. It was so aromatic and divine. This concoction is not only tasty but very good for cold and soar throat also. Enjoy it whenever you want !!
The water should be around 80 degrees Celsius. So what I do is bring the water to a boil and then let it cool for a minute before pouring it over the rest of the ingredients.
Honey can be adjusted according to taste.
If using it for cold , you can increase the quantity of turmeric pd.



































Ingredients : 

Water                 2 cups
Orange                4 slices
Ginger paste        1 1/2 tsp
Turmeric pd        1/8 tsp
Mint leaves          8-10
Cloves                2 
Honey                2 tsp or to taste 

Method: 
Place everything other than water and honey in a kettle.
Boil water and let it cool for a minutes.
Now pour it into the kettle  and let the tea brew for five minutes.
Pour it into cups and stir in honey.
Serve immediately.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Tomato Chutney for Dosa and Idly

A wonderful accompaniment for dosas and idlies.  What I like best about this chutney is that it freezes well. So I make it in large quantity and freeze it in portion sizes to be used later.



























Ingredients :
Tomatoes finely chopped         4 
oil                                          2 tsp 
mustard seeds                         1/2 tsp 
cumin seeds                            1/2 tsp 
green chilly                             1 
dry red chillies                         3 
curry leaves                            2 sprigs of 
Channa dal                             1 tbsp 
garlic chopped                        4 cloves 
coriander powder                    1 tsp 
tamarind pulp                         1 tbsp 
Salt                                        to taste 
Jaggery                                   1/2 tsp 

Tempering:
mustard seeds                         1/4tsp 
white urad dal                         1/4 tsp 
whole red chilly                      1 broken into pieces
curry leaves                            Few 

Method:
  1. Heat oil, add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, green chillies, red chillies, curry leaves , Channa dal, garlic, coriander pd, tamarind pulp,and salt, jaggery.
  2. Stir and add chopped tomatoes. 
  3. Cover and cook for ten min.
  4. Cool and grind to a paste without water.

Tempering:
  1. Heat 1/2 tsp oil, add mustard seeds, urad dal, whole red chilly and curry leaves. 
  2. Add to tomato chutney.
  3. Mix well .
  4. Taste and adjust salt.
  5. Serve with dosa or idly.

Snake gourd in Chickpea flour ( Besan)

A tasty and quick to make side dish.



























Ingredients: serves 3-4

Snake Gourd           500 gms
Oil                          2 tbsp
Mustard seeds         1 tsp
Red Chilly pd          1tsp
Turmeric pd           1/2 tsp
Coriander pd          1 1/2 tsp
Ginger paste           1 tsp
Chickpea flour        2 tbsp
Salt                        to taste
Raw mango pd       1/4 tsp

Method :
  1. Wash and scrape snake gourds.
  2. Cut them into two lengthwise and remove pith.  Now cut them into small pieces.
  3. Keep them on a colander for an hour to drain off excess water.
  4. Heat oil in a pan. Crackle mustard seeds.
  5. Add whole red chilly pd, turmeric pd, coriander pd, salt , ginger paste( in this order). Mix properly.
  6. Sieve chickpea flour over these spices.
  7. Mix well and add chopped snake gourd.
  8. Stir, cover and cook  on low heat till snake gourd is done.
  9. Stir a couple of times in between.
  10. Once  snake gourd is done, remove the lid and stir fry for a minute on medium flame so that it dries out completely.
  11. Mix in raw mango pd.
  12. Remove from fire.
  13. Taste and adjust salt.
  14. Serve with an Indian bread of your choice.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Low Fat Kacche Kele (Raw banana ) ke Kofte

Kofta Curry is usually quite rich.  Here is a low fat version. Instead of frying the koftas I have simply pan fried them using just a tbsp of oil. Trust me the koftas tasted as good as the fried ones. Even in the gravy I have used Makhana ( Lotus Seeds) Powder instead of Cashewnuts. 
You can grind makhanas to get Makhana powder. Whenever I buy makhanas, I sort out the small , hard ones. Grind them and refrigerate the powder for future use.


































Ingredients:

For Kofta  : gives 10
Raw banana   boiled               1                 
Medium potatoes  boiled         2
Green chilli finely chopped     1/2        
Red chilli powder.                 1/2tsp      
Coriander     chopped            1 tbsp        
Raw mango powder.              1/4 tsp     
Salt  or to taste                      3/4 tsp   
Bread crumbs.                        4 tbsp.        
Garam masala                         A large pinch.     
oil  (for pan frying)                1 tbsp.                   

For gravy
 Oil                                       1 tbsp                      
Asafoetida                             A pinch                   
Green chilli, finely chopped    1/2.                        
Cumin                                   1/2 tsp                  
Garlic crushed                        1/2 tsp.                 
Onion,finely chopped             1/2 cup                  
Tomato purée,    home made  1 cup.                        
Ginger paste.                         1 tsp.                         
Red chilli powder.                 1 tsp.                                      
 Turmeric powder                  1/4 tsp.                  
Coriander powder                  1 tsp.                           
Water                                   1/2 cup                     
Milk                                      1/2 cup                     
Salt or to taste                      1 1/2 tsp                   
Sugar                                    1 tsp                            
Makhana Powder                   1 tbsp.                         
Garam masala.                       A large  pinch      

Method
For Kofta :
  1. Peel and grate boiled raw banana and potatoes . 
  2. Add all other ingredients mentioned under kofta except oil. Mix well 
  3. Taste and adjust seasoning
  4. Divide into 10 equal portions. 
  5. Wet your hands and shape them into balls.
  6. Press with your fingers to flatten them slightly . 
  7. Pan fry them  on a heavy bottom non stick pan, until golden on both sides.
  8. Keep them on a kitchen towel to remove excess oil . 

For gravy 
  1. Heat oil in a pan .Add asafoetida and cumin .   
  2. Once cumin becomes brown add green chilli garlic and onions 
  3. Sauté onions until light golden and soft . Sprinkle some water if needed 
  4. Tip in tomato purée and ginger paste . Mix well , cover and cook till oil separates.
  5. Mid way add red chilli  pd,turmeric pd  and coriander powder . 
  6. Once oil separates add Makhana pd, salt  and  sugar.
  7. Add water and milk .Bring it to a boil.
  8. Simmer for 5 minutes.
  9. Remove from fire. Add garam masala.
  10. Taste and  adjust salt and sugar.

To serve : 
  1. Place the koftas in a shallow glass dish.
  2. Micro on high for 1 minute.
  3. Pour boiling hot gravy over the koftas.
  4. Garnish with chopped coriander .
  5. Serve immediately with  an Indian bread of your choice.