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Thursday, December 26, 2013

Corn Vadas / MokkaJonna Vadalu

I had so many corn recipes in mind for the third day of BM that I kept contemplating on what to cook until the last moment. However an occasion at home yesterday called for these super yummy vadas. Your's truly, you know who turned an year older yesterday. :) Back home, it was an unwritten rule that my dear mother had to cook bisibelebhath and masala vadas on my birthdays. Surprisingly, I never craved for sweet dishes on my birthdays though I had / still have a big sweet tooth. Keeping up the tradition, I cooked BBB yesterday and was looking for an alternative to vadas as I had not thought of soaking chanadal.
The first thing that came to mind were these corn vadas, suggested by one of my aunts during my last India visit. She had reiterated that they really taste good and I need to give them a try. Her recipe didn't include besan but I had to add it for binding since my batter was little on the watery side. These fritters taste similar to masala vadas and if you are going to use frozen corn and a food processor like me, the batter is a breeze. It takes only a couple of minutes,  literally to prepare the batter. A great recipe when you have impromptu guests or in a mood for a quick, savory snack.  
Ingredients: (Yield 12 vadas)
2 cups corn kernels (I used frozen corn.)
2 green chillies (I used Serrano peppers. Adjust if using other variety.)
A handful of cilantro leaves
Salt to taste
1/2 cup besan / chickpea flour
1 onion - finely chopped
Oil to fry
 
Method:
* Place the corn kernels in a bowl with 1-2 tbsp of water and boil in microwave for a minute. Drain the water.
* Add the corn, chilies, cilantro and salt to a food processor or a blender and grind them to a coarse paste without adding water. Transfer the ground paste to a bowl.
* Add besan and onion to the bowl and mix well. 
* Heat oil in a small frying pan / kadai.
* Take a small portion of the batter (about 1.5 tbsp. size) onto your left palm, slightly pat it and gently drop it into the hot oil. Repeat the step with the remaining batter. Drop as many patties as the pan could hold without overcrowding.
* Fry them on low flame, turning them around once or twice in between until they are cooked through and turn brownish.
* Remove them with a slotted spoon and serve warm. 
 
This is going to be a part of BM #35 under the theme of "Cooking with Corn". Check what other marathoners are cooking here.

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Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Makai Palak


This has been on my "to do" list for years now and the "corn" theme this week for the marathon seemed like a perfect opportunity to try it. It's a simple and quick subzi to put together, even though one may get intimidated by the list of ingredients in the recipe. It is a yummy side dish that goes well with rotis / parathas and is on the similar lines of the ever popular palak paneer.
Ingredients:
1 cup corn kernels (I used frozen corn.)
1 big bunch spinach (I got a little more than 1 cup puree)
2 - 3 green chillies (or as per taste)
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp. kasuri methi
1 big onion, chopped roughly
1 inch piece of ginger
1 tbsp. oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/8 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp amchur powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp garam masala
Salt to taste
1/2 cup milk / 1/2 cup yogurt
Preparation:
* Grind onion and ginger to a fine paste.
* Wash the spinach leaves along with the tender stems. Bring 6 - 8 cups of water to a boil in a sauce pan adding 1/2 tsp of sugar. Add the spinach and the chilies. The sugar aids in retaining the vibrant color of spinach. Blanch for a minute, drain and refresh in cold water. Drain in a colander again. Grind them along with kasuri methi to a fine paste in a food processor. 

The cooking part:
* Heat oil in a saute pan and add cumin seeds. When they start to change a few shades darker, add the onion paste and saute until light brown.
* Add turmeric, coriander powder, cumin powder, amchur and garam masala. Stir well and cook for a minute.
* Next add corn, spinach puree and salt. Cook for about 3 - 5 minutes.
* Add milk / yogurt at the end, stir and remove from heat.
* Serve hot with rotis.

Note:
Tomatoes can be added in place of amchur. Add 2 chopped tomatoes  / tomato puree after the onion paste is fried and saute until the oil gets separated.

This is going to be a part of BM #35 under the theme of "Cooking with Corn". Check what other marathoners are cooking here.

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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Corn - Capsicum Toasties

I have started to take interest in a couple of television cook shows recently and had started to record the episodes. I leisurely go through them to see if anything catches my attention. I wanted to try a couple of corn recipes that I saw on khana khazana and chose this "corn" theme for that specific reason. This simple and filling sandwich was one of them and can be a great breakfast / snack item.

Ingredients:
8 brown bread slices
1 cup boiled sweet corn kernels
1 capsicum finely chopped
2 green chilies finely chopped
1.5 cups finely grated cheese
8 black peppercorns, crushed
Method:
* Preheat the oven at 180 degree Celsius / 350 deg F. While the oven is preheating, put the slices directly on the oven rack to toast them. Or you can choose to toast them in a toaster or on stove top.
* Combine all the other remaining ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
* Remove the toasted slices from the oven and spread the mixture equally over the slices.
* Put them back in the preheated oven. Again place them directly on the rack and remove them when cheese starts to melt.

 This is going to be a part of BM #35 under the theme of "Cooking with Corn". Check what other marathoners are cooking here.

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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Doodh Paak ~ Gujarati Kheer

I was looking for a Gujarati dessert that had no loads of ghee in it and came across this yummy kheer. Kheer undoubtedly happens to be one of the basic sweet dishes cooked through out India on festivities and auspicious occasions. Regardless of the name it goes by regionally or the local variations in the preparation, this is a yummy, rice and milk based dessert. I have noticed that it is also one of the most popular choice of desserts in the Indian restaurants' buffet menus here in US. It may be because it is rich and delicious and simpler to prepare.
The dish is called kheer and payasam respectively in northern and southern parts of India while Gujaratis call it as doodh pak. The basic recipe everywhere remains the same. A small quantity of rice is allowed to cook leisurely in simmering milk and then sweetened with sugar / jaggery. It is finished with a cardamom flavoring and generous garnishing of nuts for the delicious and crunchy bite they offer to the dish. It can be served warm or chilled.
Check the north Indian version kheer recipe here.

Ingredients: (2 servings)
2 cups / 1/2 litre full fat milk
1 tbsp rice (I used extra long grain rice.)
1 tbsp ghee
6 - 8 tbsp white colored rock sugar (Or adjust the quantity as needed. In absence of rock sugar, substitute with regular sugar.)
1/4 tsp cardamom powder
1/4 tsp crushed saffron (or soak a pinch of saffron strands in warm milk and use.)
1/2 cup slivered almonds / pistachios

Method:
* Mix the rice and ghee in a small bowl and keep aside.
* Heat milk preferably in a non stick sauce pan. When the milk is hot, lower the heat and simmer the milk for about 10 - 12 minutes.
Don't forget to stir the milk now and then, through out the process to avoid scorching.
* Add the rice to the milk and continue to simmer until rice is softly cooked.
* Then add the sugar, cardamom, crushed saffron and the nuts. Continue to cook for about 5 - 7  minutes.
* By the time, the saffron will add a beautiful yellowish hue to the dish and the nuts turn a little bit softer, giving a bite to it while consuming the kheer.
* Serve warm / chilled.

This is going to be a part of BM #35 under the theme of "Regional Cooking - Specific Course". Check what other marathoners are cooking here.

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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Fada Ni Khichdi ~ A bowl of comfort from Gujarat

Comforting one pot meals like khichdis/pongals are welcome in most of the Indian kitchens. They may go by different names regionally and vary in preparations depending upon the grain / bean combination used. However usually dishes like these are substantial, nutritious and wholesome. Besides they are quick and easy to put together and can be served as lunch / dinner.
I came across one such recipe at Tarla Dalal's space called fada ni khichdi / cracked wheat khichdi. It is a spicy, wholesome and tasty dish prepared using cracked wheat, moong dal and vegetables. And the good thing is it doesn't need any side dish. It can be served on it's own or a simple raita / yogurt. 

Ingredients: (4 servings)
1/2 cup cracked wheat
1/2 cup moong dal
1 potato, peeled and cubed
1 small onion, peeled and diced
1/4 cup fresh green peas / frozen
1/2 tsp ginger paste
1/2 tsp green chilli paste
1/8 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
1/2 tsp chili powder
Salt to taste
1 tbsp. minced cilantro to garnish
For tadka:
1 - 2 tbsp. ghee
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 cloves
1/2 inch cinnamon piece
a pinch of asafoetida
Method:
* Soak the cracked wheat and moong dal in water for about 15 minutes.  Drain after the soaking is done. Rinse again with water and drain.
I always cook cracked wheat in pressure cooker without soaking and it gets cooked in about 2 whistles and so I find this step unnecessary if you are using a cooker. If the cooking is happening in a sauce pan, then soaking quickens the cooking process.
* Heat ghee directly in a small pressure cooker and add cumin seeds, cloves, cinnamon and asafoetida.
* When cumin seeds start to turn a few shades darker, add ginger-chili paste, cracked wheat, moong dal and vegetables. Saute for about 4 - 5 minutes.
* Then add about 2 & 1/2 cups water, turmeric, chili powder and pepper. Cook for about 3 - 4 whistles or until the mixture is cooked to the desired consistency.
* When the valve pressure is gone, remove the lid and add salt. Mix well.
* Garnish with cilantro and serve warm with raita / yogurt.

Notes:
* The recipe also had about 1/2 cup cauliflower florets. Add any other vegetables that you prefer, to make it more substantial and healthier.
* Potatoes at my place cook under one whistle. I therefore let the cracked wheat - moong dal mixture cook for 3 - 4 whistles in the pressure cooker. I cooked potato cubes in the microwave separately. At the end I added frozen peas and cooked them for a minute.

This is going to be a part of BM #35 under the theme of "Regional Cooking - Specific Course". Check what other marathoners are cooking here.

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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Khattu Mag


The name sounded so exotic and I had no idea what to expect when I came across this dish. I saw the recipe in a Sanjeev Kapoor's cookbook and my guess was leaning towards northeast Indian cooking. Surprisingly, it turns out to be a dish that is prepared commonly in Gujarati kitchens. A thick kadhi with a twist, if you can call it so. I found out from online that it is pronounced as "khaa-too-mug", khattu being sour and mag meaning mung beans.
It is relatively a quick and simple dish to put together, if you had soaked mung beans beforehand and if you own a pressure cooker. The soaking period is also less, just a couple of hours and not too long. It's like a typical Jain dish involving no onion-garlic and it is quite an easy preparation sans vegetables. The chickpea flour and the mung make this a protein rich side dish. In spite of it's simplicity, it was a lip-smacking dish for me considering that I am a sucker for kadhi kind of dishes. Even my picky daughter asked for a second serving and so this recipe is a keeper for me.

Ingredients: (4 servings)
1/2 cup green gram / mung beans
1.5 cups low fat sour yogurt
2 tbsp. besan / chickpea flour
Salt to taste
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp green chile paste
1 tsp sugar
Ingredients for tadka:
2 tsp oil, 1 tsp mustard seeds, 1 tsp cumin seeds, 1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds / methi seeds, 3 whole cloves, 1 inch piece of cinnamon, few curry leaves, and a pinch of asafoetida

Method:
1. Wash moong beans in two exchanges of water and drain. Soak them in 2 cups of fresh water for an hour or two. Drain the beans in a colander after the soaking period.
2. Cook the beans in a pressure cooker adding 1 to 1.5 cups of water. If you don't own a pressure cooker, add moong and about 2 cups of water in a sauce pan and cook on medium flame until moong is softly cooked. Add extra water if needed while cooking.
3. Add yogurt, besan, salt, ginger paste, chile paste, turmeric and sugar to a bowl. Whisk well to combine. Sometimes if besan is not whisked properly, then it forms lumps while cooking. To avoid that, you can add everything to a blender while grinding ginger and green chile. You will get a lump free, homogeneous mixture this way and it is lot easier than whisking besan. Add one more cup of water and whisk again.
4. Heat another nonstick pan and add oil. Add mustard seeds, cumin, fenugreek seeds, cloves and cinnamon. When mustard seeds start to pop, add curry leaves and asfoetida.
5. Then add the yogurt mixture from the step 2 and cook until the besan is cooked and the raw smell leaves, about 5 minutes.
6. Next add the cooked moong and cook for about 3 - 4 minutes. Turn off the stove
7. Serve hot with rotis.

 This is going to be a part of BM #35 under the theme of "Regional Cooking - Specific Course". Check what other marathoners are cooking here.

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Thursday, December 12, 2013

7th Blog Anniversary & Apple Turnovers

During my initial days of blogging, my brother-in-law once jokingly had asked whether I would stop blogging when I run out of recipes. It would be a wacky reason to stop blogging about food, for anyone. Cooking happens to be a continuous learning process. Considering the choices one has with Indian regional / global cuisines and the twists/variations one can lend to dishes, recipes can never be exhaustive. However, I wasn't sure about the amount of enthusiasm I would have had towards blogging after a certain period of time. It is though now proven that this blogging bug is here to stay longer. :) 

Veggie Platter - an integral part of my virtual world turned 7 this week. It is a milestone literally considering the fact that my interest in any given area (except reading) diminishes as time progresses. My love towards my virtual cooking journal had been on an increasing curve since I started. Also friends known / unknown in this virtual world kept / keep me going with their support and appreciation for my blog. Thank you all.

And coming to today's recipe - a final dessert for this week's blogging marathon. Apple turnovers. It is my take over the traditional pastry version. I had used pizza dough for a quick dessert and it tastes like a short cut apple pie.

Ingredients: (Yield 8)
1 pound fresh pizza dough (Check notes)
4 apples (I used golden delicious apples since I prefer sweet ones.)
2 tbsp. apricot preserves
2 tbsp. softened butter
2 tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Method:
* Combine sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.
* Peel, core and dice apples. Combine them with apricot preserves in another bowl and mix well. Keep it aside.
* Preheat the oven to 425 deg F.
* Divide the dough into 8 portions. Spread each portion into a square of about 4 & 1/2 inches.
* Divide the apple mixture among the dough squares.
* Fold over a corner of each square and seal the edges properly to form a triangle. Wet the edges with moist fingers if needed and take care to seal the edges properly. Otherwise they will open up during baking and it would be a mess. The gooey syrup will burn and it is not a pretty sight.
* I highly recommend covering the baking sheet with aluminium foil to avoid any messy accidents. Place the turnovers over the foil lined baking tray or a greased baking pan.
* Brush tops with butter. Sprinkle sugar-cinnamon mixture over them.
* Bake for 15 - 20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.
If at all they open up and the juice starts spilling out, shift them to a cleaner side on the tray. Otherwise the juice starts to burn and stick to turnovers. Or replace a new foil sheet and place the turnovers on them.
Note:
I used this pizza dough and added 2 tbsp. of canola oil while kneading the dough. I had prepared the dough the previous evening and refrigerated it overnight. Next day morning I left it in a warm place to come to room temperature and then used it.

This is going to be a part of BM #35 under the theme of "Desserts". Check what other marathoners are cooking here.

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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Eggless Marble Cake

During this week's marathon, I thought of clearing some recipes from my "Bookmark" folder instead of wracking my brain for ideas. And this eggless marble cake comes from there. I have seen my share of marble cake versions during the past few years and Sharmi's version was pretty impressive with captivating images. The condensed milk gives this cake a beautiful sponge cake like texture. It is moist, fluffy and delicious. It is delightful to watch the swirly pattern in the cake and  my kids were completely sold.
The only problem I had was not having a right sized baking pan for this quantity of batter which resulted in not so swirly cake as I had expected. However the taste and texture of this cake are so wonderful that any blunders in appearances can be gladly excused. This recipe is definitely a keeper.
Ingredients:
1 & 1/4 cups all purpose flour / maida
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup butter
3 tbsp. condensed milk / milk powder
1 cup milk at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 tbsp. cocoa powder
2 tbsp. hot water

Method:
* Sieve flour, baking soda and baking powder together twice and keep it aside.
* Cream sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add condensed milk, milk and vanilla to the sugar-butter mixture and mix well.
* Stir in flour mixture and mix well. Vanilla flavored batter is ready now.
* Transfer 1/4th of the vanilla batter into another bowl. Add cocoa and hot water to the 1/4th batter bowl and mix well to form the chocolate batter. Keep the two batters aside.
* Preheat the oven to 350 deg F / 170 deg C. Grease a small round cake tin or a small bread loaf. Pour half the portion of vanilla batter into the pan. Then pour half the chocolate batter in 3 dollops over it as shown in the picture below. Then make swirls lightly using a fork. Don't overdo it since the batters would mix up ending in no patterns at all. Repeat the step again with the remaining batters. Pour the remaining vanilla batter over it, then pour chocolate batter in 3 dollops over it and swirl with the fork. 
Note: My loaf pan was bigger for this quantity of batter. I did not have enough batter to do the steps twice. I therefore poured the entire vanilla batter into the pan and poured 3 tbsp. of chocolate batter in 3 dollops and swirled. If you are using above measurements using a 2 lb loaf pan like me, then use only about 1/4 cup of vanilla batter to make chocolate batter instead of using 1/4th quantity of the whole vanilla batter. I had used 1/4th quantity of vanilla batter to make chocolate batter and had extra left to make a couple of chocolate cupcakes as well. 
 * Bake for 40 - 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted at the center comes out clean.
* Cool, invert and slice the cake.
This is going to be a part of BM #35 under the theme of "Desserts". Check what other marathoners are cooking here.

Comments 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Gulab Jamun (Khoya Version)


Gulab jamun is one of the popular desserts from the Indian sub continent that is usually a hit among crowd of all ages. Dough balls made with flour and milk solids / milk powder are deep fried until golden brown and then soaked in warm sugar syrup that has been flavored with aromatic cardamom / saffron. The result is super delicious, soft & spongy, melt in mouth kind gulab jamuns that one finds hard to resist.
I grew up eating gulab jamuns prepared using store bought instant packets and therefore have no qualms using a MTR / Gits packet now whenever needed. They yield super delicious, spongy gulab jamuns beside being hassle free and cost effective. However from a long time, this blogging bug had given me an itch to prepare them from scratch. And so naturally the version Pradnya posted during the A - Z marathon caught my attention. The recipe sounded very easy and besides I had khoya in my freezer. The recipe was tried and my husband who shows least tolerance towards desserts was also praising it.

Ingredients: (yield about 15 jamuns)
1 & 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup water
1/2 tsp cardamom powder
1 cup unsweetened  khoya / mawa
1/2 cup all purpose flour / maida
1/2 tsp baking powder
4 - 5 tbsp. milk (Adjust the quantity accordingly.)
Oil for deep frying (I used canola oil.)

Method:
* Add sugar and water to a sauce pan and bring it to a boil, stirring in between on medium flame. When the sugar melts, simmer for about five minutes and turn off the stove. No need to make sugar syrup of any thread consistency here. Add cardamom powder to the sugar solution and mix well. Or you can add few saffron strands instead.
* Sieve flour and baking powder together.
* If the khoya is frozen / granular, just pop it in the microwave for few seconds and crumble it.
* Now combine the flour mixture and khoya in a mixing bowl. Gradually add milk to the flour - khoya mixture, one tbsp at a time and knead it into a smooth dough. The final dough should be such that it wouldn't stick to hands. Cover and let it rest for five minutes.
* Knead the dough one more time and prepare about 15 - 20 small balls out of it. Take care that the balls are smooth without any cracks.
* Heat oil in a frying pan. Add a small piece of dough to the oil to check whether the oil is ready for frying. If the dough piece sizzles and comes to surface immediately, then frying can be started.
* Add the dough balls to the hot oil, as many as the pan can fit without overcrowding. Fry on low flame until the dough balls are cooked through and turn golden brown through out.
* Remove the fried jamuns with a slotted spoon and drop them in the sugar syrup prepared earlier.
* Let them soak for at least 30 minutes before serving. Longer soaking would result in juicy and soft jamuns.
* Serve jamuns in small dessert cups with a little sugar syrup. Though jamuns taste good on their own, vanilla ice cream or rabri can be served along.

This is going to be a part of BM #35 under the theme of "Desserts". Check what other marathoners are cooking here.

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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Veggie Pizza



I was contemplating to go with a dessert pizza for the final post until I realized that kids were least interested in the option and I would end up eating the whole pie by myself. And so I pulled back from the sweet version and stuck to one of the favorite pizzas at home - a vegetable based one. This hearty, filling pizza uses a whole wheat based crust but you can go with any crust of your choice. Also you can go with your choice of quick cooking vegetables for the toppings.
I was preferring a crispy crust and so first baked the crust for about 7 minutes and spread the sauce and toppings later and baked again for 17 minutes.

Ingredients:
2 tsp active dry yeast
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup luke warm water
1 & 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
3/4 cup all purpose flour
2 Tbsp olive oil  / canola oil / vegetable oil + extra for greasing
6 - 8 Tbsp pizza sauce
8 oz / 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Vegetables for topping - I used seeded & sliced capsicum, thinly sliced red onion, olives, diced zucchini, diced and sliced tomato

Method:
1. Preparation of pizza dough:
* Combine water, yeast, salt and sugar in a mixing bowl. Stir just until everything is dissolved. Cover and set aside the mixture for about 5 minutes at room temperature. The mixture would usually bubble and foamy by the time.
Stir in both flours and the oil. Work dough back and forth with the heels of your hands on a floured work space. Knead until smooth and elastic for about 8-10 minutes. If the dough is dry while kneading, add extra water in 1 Tbsp increments. 
* Grease a bowl and place the dough in the prepared bowl. Turn the dough so that all sides are coated with oil. Cover and place in a warm spot to rise until doubled in size, about 2 hours.

2. Assembling and Baking:
* Preheat the oven to 450 deg F.
* Grease a large baking sheet or a pizza tray.
* Punch down the dough and knead briefly. Place the dough on the baking sheet and dimple the dough with fingertips until its a flattened circle. Then pull and press it until it forms about 14 inch circle or 12 by 7 inch wide rectangle, of about 1/8 inch thickness. (I used half the dough here.)
* Spread the sauce evenly over the crust, leaving a 1/2 inch border at it's edge. Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the sauce and top with vegetables. Sprinkle with 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper or red pepper flakes if desired.
* Bake until the cheese has melted and just started to brown, about 17 minutes. 
* Remove and transfer the pizza onto a wire rack to slightly cool before slicing it.

This is my Day 3 post under "Pizza" theme and check this page for other marathoners who are doing BM #35.

Comments

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Lemony Zucchini - Almond Pizza

I had noted down this recipe from a cook book that I had borrowed from my local library some time ago since the ingredients that went into making this pizza sounded interesting. This blogging marathon seemed like a perfect opportunity to try it and today I did. A different version than the regular tomato based one and it was like eating a cheese pizza with potent lemony flavor.  

Ingredients:
1 pound pizza dough (Check recipe here.)
1 zucchini, shredded
1 tsp salt
1 tsp lemon / lime zest
1/2 cup / 2 oz grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp sliced almonds 

Method:
* Toss the zucchini with the salt in a colander and drain for about 30 minutes. Squeeze the shredded zucchini to remove as much as liquid as possible. Add the lemon / lime zest to it and mix well. 
* Preheat the oven to 450 deg F. Grease the pizza tray or baking sheet that is going to be used.
* Place the dough at the center of the tray. Form the dough into a flat thick circle by dimpling with fingertips. Then shape it into a 14 inch circle / 12x7 inch rectangle. (I used half pound dough and made a small sized one.)
* Spread the zucchini - lime mixture evenly over the prepared crust, leaving an 1/2 inch border at its edge.
* Top with the cheese and sliced almonds.
* Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for about 16 - 18 minutes.

Notes:
1. I had some leftover pizza dough when I baked the cheese pizza and I made use of it for this pizza. The original recipe uses a semolina based dough for the crust. I haven't tried it but here is the recipe for anyone who is interested. 
List of ingredients:
3/4 cup luke warm water
1.5 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 & 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup semolina flour
2 Tbsp olive oil + 1 tbsp for greasing the bowl.
Preparation of pizza dough:
* Combine water, yeast, salt and sugar in a mixing bowl. Stir just until everything is dissolved. Cover and set aside the mixture for about 5 minutes at room temperature. The mixture would usually bubble and foam by the time.
Stir in both flours and the oil. Transfer the mixture to a floured work space and work dough back and forth with the heels of your hands. Knead until smooth and elastic for about 8-10 minutes. If the dough is dry while kneading, add extra water in 1 Tbsp increments. I find that this recipe needs an extra tbsp of water.
* Grease a bowl and place the dough in the prepared bowl. Turn the dough so that all sides are coated with oil. Cover and place in a warm spot to rise until doubled in size, about 1.5 to 2 hours.

2. The original recipe uses a lemon that is cooked in water for about 25 minutes and drained. Then the inside pulp is removed, the rind is shredded and used in the recipe. I followed this method and found the flavor to be very potent. I like the lemon flavor to be subtle in any recipe and so I think lemon zest suits better here.

This is my Day 2 post under "Pizza" theme and check this page for other marathoners who are doing BM #35.

Comments

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Five Cheese Pizza

I chose to go with pizza theme for this week's blogging marathon and the first one in the series is going to be a cheese flavored one. The kind my daughter / any kid in general goes gaga over. Over the years, I have tried a few dough bases for the pizzas and this particular one that I copied from a cookbook is fat-free and no-nonsense kind and I absolutely love it.
The following ingredients are for a pound dough and yield a 14 inch pizza. I usually divide the dough to make 2 small ones - one especially loaded with cheese for my daughter. I could not take pictures when I made the pizzas with the following cheese measurements. I took pictures the day I made when my daughter was hovering around asking me for a cheese pizza. She preferred less quantity of cheese on that particular day and so you don't see a lot of cheese in the images. :)
(I prepare the dough by hands since it is a small quantity and bake on a baking sheet and so that is what mentioned below.)

Ingredients:
1.5 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup luke warm water (105 - 115 deg F)
1 cup bread flour
1 cup all purpose flour
6 - 8 Tbsp pizza sauce
12 - 14 oz / about 2 cups shredded cheese (I used Italian five cheese blend - Mozzarella, Asiago, Parmesan, Provolone and Romano.)

Method:
1. Preparation of pizza dough:
* Combine water, yeast, salt and sugar in a mixing bowl. Stir just until everything is dissolved. Cover and set aside the mixture for about 5 minutes at room temperature. The mixture would usually bubble and foam by the time.
* Stir in both flours with a wooden spoon. You can either work the dough in the mixing bowl or transfer the mixture to a floured work space. Work dough back and forth with the heels of your hands. Knead until smooth and elastic for about 8 minutes. If the dough is dry while kneading, add extra water in 1 Tbsp increments. I find that this recipe needs an extra tbsp of water.
* Grease a bowl and place the dough in the prepared bowl. Turn the dough so that all sides are coated with oil. Cover and place in a warm spot to rise until doubled in size, about 2 hours.

2. Assembling and Baking:
* Punch down the dough and knead briefly.
* Preheat the oven to 425 deg F.
* Grease a large baking sheet or a pizza tray.
* Place the dough on the baking sheet and dimple the dough with fingertips until its a flattened circle. Then pull and press it until it forms about14 inch circle or 12 by 7 inch wide rectangle, of about 1/8 inch thickness. Instead of a big pizza, I made two 6-7 inch pizzas.
* Spread the sauce evenly over the crust, leaving a 1/2 inch border at it's edge.
* Sprinkle the cheeses evenly over the sauce.
* Bake until the cheese has melted and just started to brown, about 15 - 17 minutes.
* Remove and transfer the pizza onto a wire rack to slightly cool before slicing it.

Notes:
1. Yeast usually doesn't foam either when the yeast is expired or the water is not at right temperature. However sometimes I have noticed that the mixture wouldn't bubble and foam even though yeast is fresh and water is at right temperature. In that case, allow the dough to rest for extra time to rise.
2. The above ingredients make 1 pound dough. And so a pound of store bought fresh or thawed frozen dough can be used instead.
3. If using your own combination of cheeses, use firm / semi hard cheeses and avoid soft cheeses like ricotta.

Check the page for other marathoners who are doing BM #35.

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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Instant Rice Rava Idlis / Biyyapu Rava Idli

I was looking forward to try another instant idli for the last entry of this marathon. My husband loves idlis and so I thought of trying a new dish to surprise him. However I almost has to give up on the idli idea when I couldn't come up with anything new until last nightThe idea of rice rava idli came today morning when I noticed a rice rava packet in my pantry while preparing breakfast. I prepared the idlis and packed them for my husband's lunch without telling him beforehand. He remembered to tell me that they were very good when he returned home and so I consider this experiment as a hit. According to him, these idlis were way better than rava idlis.

Ingredients: (Make 8 idlis)
1 cup rice rava
1 cup yogurt
Salt to taste
2 tsp oil
1 tsp chana dal
1 tsp urad dal / skinned black gram
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 green chilli finely minced
2 tbsp grated carrot
1 tbsp fresh / frozen peas
1 tbsp corn kernels
2 tbsp finely minced cilantro
2 tbsp finely minced curry leaves
1/2 to 3/4 tsp Eno's fruit salt

Method:
1. Heat oil in a pan. Add chana dal, urad dal, cumin seeds and mustard seeds. When dal starts turning reddish, add green chillies and curry leaves. Saute for about 15 - 20 seconds and add rice rava. Roast the rava for a couple of minutes and remove from heat. Transfer the contents to a mixing bowl and let cool. If in a hurry, transfer the contents to a wide plate and spread to cool faster.
2. Add salt, vegetables, cilantro and yogurt to the rava mixture. Mix well, cover and let it rest for 10 minutes.
3. After the resting period, add Eno's fruit salt to it and mix well. If the mixture seems too thick, add a few tbsp of water and mix well.
4. Grease the idli moulds and fill them with batter. Steam them until done.
5. Serve them with chutney / sambhar. I served them with saagu.

This is going to be my contribution to "Instant Idlis / Dosas". Check what other marathoners are cooking at BM #34.

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Monday, November 25, 2013

Rava-Semiya Idli / Semolina-Vermicelli Idli



My BM's theme of instant idlis / dosas this week had brought out those forgotten recipes, tucked away somewhere in my memory folder when I was scouting for recipes that haven't been featured yet at my blog. These rava-semiya idlis being one of those dishes that I used to prepare in my initial days of cooking. Later on, I stopped making them for no reason. It has been a long time, over a dozen of years to be precise that I had made them. And thanks to BM, I tried them again this week. These grease free, delicious idlis are a quick alternative to the traditional rice-urad dal version which need grinding and fermentation. 

Ingredients: (Make 12 - 13 idlis)
1 cup semolina (Pre-roasted variety can be used to save time.)
1/2 cup vermicelli (Pre-roasted variety can be used to save time.)
3 cups yogurt
Salt to taste
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp chana dal
1 tsp urad dal / skinned black gram
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 carrot (optional)
2 tbsp finely minced cilantro
2 tbsp finely minced curry leaves
1 tsp Eno's fruit salt
 Method:
1. If not using already roasted semolina and vermicelli, roast them individually. Roast vermicelli until it starts turning reddish and semolina until it starts to change color. Let cool.
2. Combine semolina, vermicelli and salt to a container. Add yogurt and mix well. Cover and let it rest for 10 minutes.
3. In the mean time,  prepare the tadka. Heat oil and add chana dal, urad dal and mustard seeds. When dal starts turning reddish, remove from heat and let them cool.
4. Peel and finely grate carrot.
5. After the resting period, add carrot, cilantro, curry leaves, tadka from step 3 to the yogurt mixture in step 2. Add Eno's fruit salt to it and mix well. If the mixture seems too thick, add a little water and mix well.
6. Grease the idli moulds and fill them with batter. Steam them until done.
7. Serve them with chutney / sambhar.

This is going to be my contribution to "Instant Idlis / Dosas". Check what other marathoners are cooking at BM #34.

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Sunday, November 24, 2013

Instant Dosas ~ Mixed Flour Dosas

 

A quick and healthy option over soak, grind and ferment kind traditional dosas. You can whip up a delicious and filling breakfast on last minute even without any planning when it comes to instant kind of dosas. You can take away or add any flours / vegetables you have on hand and those you think can work in this recipe.

Ingredients: (yields 10 dosas)
1/2 cup rice flour
1/4 cup urad flour / black gram flour
1/4 cup oat flour
1/4 cup garbanzo flour / besan
2 tbsp soy flour
Salt to taste
1/4 cup grated carrot
1/4 cup grated bottle gourd / lauki
1 - 2 green chillies finely minced
1/2 tsp grated ginger
2 tbsp finely minced cilantro
Water to make the batter (about 1 & 3/4 cups)
Oil to make dosas
For tadka:
2 tsp oil, 1 tsp chana dal, 1 tsp urad dal, 1 tsp cumin seeds and few pinches of asafoetida

Method:
* Heat oil in a pan for the tadka and add chana dal, urad dal and cumin seeds. When dals start turning reddish, add the asafoetida and turn off the stove.
* Combine all the ingredients except oil and water in a mixing bowl. Gradually add water and make a lump-free batter with a spreadable consistency. Add the tadka to the batter and mix well. Take care that the batter doesn't turn too watery. In case if it does, add some extra flour.
* Heat a griddle or a shallow pan. Take a ladleful of batter and pour at the centre of the pan. Spread lightly with the back of the ladle and spread about 1/2 tsp of oil around it.
* Cook until dosa turns golden brown through out on the bottom side and flip it. Spread 1/4 tsp of oil again if needed and cook until the other side cooks too.
* Repeat the procedure with the remaining batter.

This is going to be my contribution to "Instant Idlis / Dosas" theme. Check what other marathoners are cooking at BM #34.

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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Pita Sandwich

Though a "sandwich" sounded great for a mess free kids' lunch box theme, I had to give up since my kids are mostly the nutella / cheese sandwich eating kind. And when I was thinking about other sandwiches, this pita one did not even cross my mind since it is one of the most mundane things that keep happening in my kitchen. When I discussed about this theme with my daughter, she was in fact eating this very pita sandwich and said 'mom, this one". :)

Trust me, this is a mess free sandwich provided the ingredients used to stuff the pita are cut into big pieces. It is one of my daughter's favorite food and so I thought of including this in this theme. I however would want to make clear that this is a tailored recipe to suit my daughter's taste. Whatever she likes go into this - Shredded lettuce, purple cabbage slivers, carrot slivers, tomato pieces, cucumber cut into half moons, olives, cheddar cheese with ketchup. I usually prefer the tomatoes cut at the ends than the middle portion, to keep out the seeds / juice from preventing the pitas turn soggy. Similarly I would prefer to remove seeds from the cucumbers and squeeze out some ketchup in the middle of the vegetable stuffing. Instead of grated cheese, I slice the cheese slices into long thin strips for making it non-messy.Warm the pita pockets in the microwave for about 10 -15 seconds if needed before stuffing.

This is going to be my contribution to "Mess-Free Kids' Snack / Lunch Dishes". Check what other marathoners are cooking at BM #34.

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Monday, November 18, 2013

Kuzhi Paniyaram / Guntha Ponganalu

 

Soft and spongy ponganalu / paniyaram can be a perfect mess-free lunch / snack item for kids since they don't even need a side dish. They happen to be one of my son's favorite lunch box item since his kindergarten days. When he was young, I just used to pack them, cut in halves along with a fork and the box used to come empty. Of course now he is older and I pack a side dish too.
I follow my mother's recipe usually but previously during one of the marathons I had come across this recipe. I was intrigued to see idli rice and sago in the recipe and had tried it immediately. Trust me, this recipe is a keeper. I was so glad that I thought of giving this recipe a try. It yields soft, flavorful and very tasty paniyarams.

Ingredients:
1 cup idli rice
1/2 cup raw rice (I used extra long grain rice)
1/4 cup sago / sabudana
1/4 cup skinned black gram / urad dal
1 tsp fenugreek seeds / methi seeds
Salt to taste
2 onions - peeled and finely chopped
2 tbsp minced coriander leaves
For seasoning / tadka:
2 tsp oil, 1 tsp mustard seeds, 1 tbsp chana dal, 1 tbsp urad dal, few minced curry leaves and 2 minced green chillies if not serving kids

Method:
* Soak rices, uard dal, sago and fenugreek seeds in sufficient quantity of water for 4 - 5 hours.
* After the soaking period, discard the water, wash the mixture with fresh batch of water. Grind them fine using water as needed to form a thick batter. The batter should not be runny. Add salt and mix well. Allow it to ferment overnight in a warm place or about 8 - 10 hours.
* When ready to prepare paniyarams, heat oil in a small pan. Add mustard seeds, urad and chana dals to the oil. When dals start turning reddish, add the minced curry leaves and green chillies if using.
* Add this tadka, minced onion and cilantro to the fermented batter and mix well.
 

* Heat the ponganalu skillet and add a few drops of oil in each mould. Then fill them with batter.
* Cover the ponganalu skillet with a lid. Turn down the heat and cook for about 5 minutes or till the ponganalu batter doesn't appear raw.
* Then flip them, add a drop or two of oil and cook till the other side lightly browns as well.
* Repeat the process with the remaining batter. Serve warm paniyarams with chutney.  
They store well in refrigerator for 2- 3 days. And they freeze well too for a handy breakfast on a busy work day.

This is going to be my contribution to "Mess-Free Kids' Snack / Lunch Dishes". Check what other marathoners are cooking at BM #34.

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