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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Hearty Potato Soup

I picked a theme as part of the blogging marathon # 61 this week that is based on 'Taste of home - Top 100 recipes of 2015'. I wanted to go with the baking theme for all the three days until I landed on this soup recipe. The person who contributed this recipe seems to have grown on a farm in Holland and mentions that the original recipe uses bacon and heavy cream. Though she has come up with probably a humble version of it, this filling and everyday kinda soup doesn't compromise in the flavor department. I think this is the first soup recipe where I didn't need to do any tweaking to suit our tastes and the other adult at home really enjoyed this hearty,  piping hot soup.  

2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 carrot, chopped 
2 celery ribs, chopped
2 & 1/2 cups water
1 small onion, chopped
2 tbsp. butter / olive oil
2 tbsp. all purpose flour
1 cup milk + extra if needed
Salt & pepper to taste
* Cook potatoes, carrots and celery in water until tender. Scoop out the cooked vegetables using a slotted spoon and keep them aside. And reserve the liquid too.
* Saute onion in butter until tender. Stir in the flour, salt and pepper gradually adding milk. If the mixture becomes lumpy at any point, just pass through a fine sieve. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook until it thickens. Gently stir in the cooked vegetables. Add the reserved liquid as needed to reach the desired consistency. (I had to add extra liquid here.)


Friday, February 5, 2016

Parsnip Chutney

Parsnip is a root vegetable that looks like the white version of carrot and is closely related to the latter. However a parsnip has a unique and strong flavor/smell just like the other root vegetables such as kohlrabi and radish which come with their distinct flavors. A parsnip is usually cooked before consuming though it can be eaten raw as well. I thought of using it in a Andhra style chutney today and here is the recipe for it. I used green chillies today though usually I prefer red chillies in these kind of chutneys.

2 cups peeled and grated parsnip
1 to 2 tbsp. oil
2 tsp. split chickpeas / chana dal
2 tsp. black gram / urad dal
1 tsp. coriander seeds / dhaniya
A pinch of fenugreek seeds / methi seeds
4 green chillies / 6 dried red chillies
1/8 tsp. turmeric powder
1 tsp salt or to taste
1 tsp. sized tamarind ball
For seasoning:
1 tsp. oil
1 tsp. mustard seeds
1 tsp. black gram / urad dal 
A pinch of asafoetida powder 
Few curry leaves 

* Heat oil in a pan and add split chickpeas, black gram, mustard seeds and coriander seeds in that order. When dals start to turn reddish, add fenugreek seeds and chillies. Sauté until fenugreek seeds start to turn darker and add the grated parsnip, turmeric powder, salt and tamarind. On low heat, cook covered until parsnip is cooked tender, about 10 minutes.
* Let the mixture cool and grind coarsely.
* Heat oil in a small pan for the seasoning. Add black gram, mustard seeds, asafoetida and curry leaves. When black gram starts to turn reddish, turn off the stove and add it to chutney. Mix well and serve.
* Refrigerate any leftover chutney.

This goes to Blogging marathon #61 under the theme 'Root Vegetables'. Check the link to see what other marathoners are cooking.


Thursday, February 4, 2016

Chamagadda Koora

Here is a version of taro root curry from Andhra. Though the fried version is more popular, this is another way taro roots are cooked in our household. It is slightly on the sticky side compared to the fried version but tastes good with a balance of flavors.

2 cups cooked, peeled and roughly chopped taro root / chama gadda
1 tbsp. oil
1 tsp.mustard seeds
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 tsp. split chick peas / chana dal
1 tsp. black gram / urad dal
1 stalk of curry leaves
1/8 tsp. turmeric powder
2 pinches of asafoetida powder
Salt to taste
Chili powder to taste
Juice from 1 lime / lemon

* Rinse and scrub the taro roots thoroughly. Cook them adding water in a sauce pan or in a pressure cooker until tender.
* Let them cool a bit and then peel the skin off the roots. Chop them roughly and keep them aside.
* Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds, cumin, split chickpeas and black gram. When the dals start to turn reddish, add turmeric, curry leaves and asafoetida and stir. Next add the cooked taro cubes, salt and chili powder. Gently mash the taro roots and mix. Check the taste and adjust the seasonings if any needed. Cook for a couple of minutes more on low flame. Finally add the lemon juice and turn off the stove. Stir once more.
* Serve hot with rice.

This goes to Blogging marathon #61 under the theme 'Root Vegetables'. Check the link to see what other marathoners are cooking.


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Gajar Ka Doodh / Carrot Milk

The first time I came across this recipe at Sailu's, I dismissed it thinking as another version of carrot kheer. Thanks to my mother, I have drunk my share of gajar ka kheer growing up, still love it and still prepare it. I happened to notice it again recently under the wiki list of Indian beverages and set out to find what it really is. It turns out it is not actually a kheer but a milk based beverage, on the lines of badam milk aka the almond milk. Not the one used as a substitute for dairy milk but the Indian style flavored beverage based on almonds.
The recipe sounds like almost the kheer at the first glance, going by the ingredients and the method of preparation. However the consistency and the flavor of this milk are way different than the kheer. In fact this delightful surprise tasted almost similar as badam milk, as I mentioned above. It may not be every day choice of drink considering that it takes longer than to whip up a milkshake or to prepare tea / coffee. However it would be a wonderful addition to a brunch or when serving a gathering.  

Ingredients: (2 servings)
3 cups full fat milk
1 clove
1" cinnamon piece
10 cashews and/or almonds
2 small carrots, peeled and cubed (about 1/2 cup carrot cubes)
2 tbsp. khoya / condensed milk
Sugar to taste
1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
Crushed nuts to garnish (optional)
* Heat milk in a sturdy bottomed or a non-stick sauce pan. Bring the milk to a boil and add clove and cinnamon. Lower the heat and let it simmer for about 10 - 15 minutes. Keep stirring the milk intermittently to avoid scorching.
* Soak cashews and/or almonds in hot water for about 10 to 15 minutes.
* In the meanwhile, steam or microwave the carrots until tender, adding little water. Nuts can also be added along with carrots instead of soaking them in water.
* Grind carrots and nuts together into a fine puree along with the water used to cook them. Add extra water / milk if needed to facilitate grinding.
* Add the ground carrot puree, khoya/condensed milk, sugar and cardamom to the boiling milk. Let it simmer for another five minutes and turn off the stove.
* Discard the clove and cinnamon bark before serving. 
* This can be served hot or chilled. Garnish with nuts if using, before serving.

This goes to Blogging marathon #61 under the theme 'Root Vegetables'. Check the link to see what other marathoners are cooking.


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Mohana Payasam & Veggie Platter Turns 9

Recently I was talking over the phone with my brother in law who is in India and our conversation slowly drifted towards my blog. Usually, the topic of my food blog is the last thing on my mind when I am conversing with family who are thousands of miles away, that too with the male members of the family. My brother in law was almost shocked when I mentioned that I had over 1100 recipes on my blog. The reaction was not a surprising one considering that he had seen me as a new bride not knowing the way around the kitchen. Looking back, I am equally surprised considering that this blog was supposed to be a chronicle of family recipes and the passion to pursue it had continued over the past nine years. It had last longer than any other hobbies of mine. Touch wood. 
I am lazy when it comes to celebrating my own personal milestones and so, this blog birthday announcement is also coming late by almost two months. Here is a yummy and easy kheer with an unusual name that I happened to see in a Telugu magazine as part of the celebration. Chickpea flour is the star ingredient of this kheer, which is an unusual choice when one thinks about Indian style puddings. I wasn't even certain that this creamy kheer would taste delicious until I tasted it.

1/4 cup chickpea flour / besan
1/2 cup water
2 to 2.5 cups full fat milk
1/4 cup powdered jaggery
1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
2 tbsp. ghee
1 tbsp. each - cashews and raisins
A pinch of saffron strands

* Heat a tbsp. of ghee in a pan and toast the cashews until they turn golden brown and the cashews turn plump. Transfer them to small bowl using a slotted spoon. To the same ghee, add besan and toast it on low flame, continuously stirring until you smell the aroma. Remove and let it cool.

* Add the saffron strands to a tbsp. of warm milk in a small bowl and keep aside.
* Heat the milk and bring to room temperature.
* Add water and about 1/2 cup milk to besan and whisk well to form a lump free mixture, preferably in a non stick pan. If you notice any lumps, pass it through a fine sieve. 
* Put the mixture on low flame and cook continuously stirring, for about 10 minutes. If the mixture becomes too thick to stir, add extra milk as needed. Turn off the stove and add the saffron soaked milk, cardamom and jaggery. Stir until jaggery melts.
* Add the remaining milk, toasted cashews and raisins and stir to combine.

1. I actually added the whole quantity of milk at the beginning along with the besan and added jaggery at the end. Sometimes the jaggery may curdle the hot milk and so I mentioned to add cold milk at the end.
2. The color of the kheer depends upon the jaggery used. The jaggery I used was pale yellow in color and so the kheer ended up being creamish colored one.

This goes to Blogging marathon #60 under the theme 'Bookmarked Recipes'. Check the link to see what other marathoners are cooking.