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Friday, October 30, 2009

Potato - Carrot Soup - Microwave Version

From what I am reading on other blogs, I have to assume that everybody is enjoying the 'Fall' 'season & things associated with it like 'the nips & chills in the air',' fall colors', 'farm Visits', 'pumpkins', 'Halloween'. While everyone (except those near mountains) is gungho over their pleasant autumn stuff, we Chicagoans are stuck with wintry & messy conditions. It seems as if somebody has fast forwarded the weather button from 'Summer' to 'Winter' with vengeance, forgetting that there is autumn in between. We have set a record this month for being one of the worst ten Octobers ever recorded for the area. We have been either freezing or drenching this whole month. Stepping out with out a jacket on is impossible. The temperatures were mostly in 40's (F) and for the past 10 days it is raining almost continuously. Weather is so cold and dreary that when everyone gets out of the house minding their business, I just want to spend my time cuddling up in front of the TV or reading a book and nothing else.With this 'wintry autumn' blues, I don't want even to be in the kitchen spot light for longer. Having a hot bowl of soup, simple yet filling seems more than enough for the moment. Today's recipe is for one of such soup, which has already been on our menu twice in this month. :) I should admit that the inspiration to this potato-carrot soup is actually one of my BIL s. A few years back, he was visiting his son in California and during a chat, told us that he had prepared potato soup in the microwave for lunch. He had used potato, onion & garlic. I have changed the ingredients to suit my taste and any one who wants to try this soup- can play with the ingredients . This cilantro flavored, simple, quick & easy soup is going to taste awesome anyway. The yellow colored soup with specs of green looked fabulous actually and I don't know why, my picture wants to represent the weather I have here right now. I have used a small onion, a carrot and two medium sized potatoes. Peel the skins of the veggies, chop them into big chunks and put them in a microwave safe bowl with a cup of water. Cook for about 8 - 10 minutes or till they are done. Puree the cooked vegetables adding a tbsp of cilantro leaves and a cup of milk (can even add skim mlk or omit it.) Remove and adjust the consistency of the soup by adding some more water. Add the salt and put it back in the microwave for 2-4 minutes. Serve with crushed pepper and croutons.

This is going to be a part of 1. MEC-Fresh produce hosted by me and the event creator is Srivalli. 2. WYF - Light Meal hosted by EC. Comments

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Aviyal - Microwave Easy Cooking

Before going to the recipe, I just wanted to remind that last date to submit entries for the Easy Microwave Cooking - Fresh Produce is 31st of this month. Keep sending the entries.

You have an idea about the regional cuisines of India if 1. you are an enthusiastic foodie who is interested / would try different regional cuisines. 2. you/your family members have lived through various parts of the country or you have friends who represent different states. 3. you have travelled extensively. 4. you spend whatever free time you have in front of a computer going through food related sites. 5. you keep buying/borrowing Indian cook books. And for zillion other reasons. :) There are as many regional cuisines as the number of states in the country and so, it was and still is hard for Indians to be familiar with all the regional cuisines unless for any of those things mentioned above. My mother, like most of the Indian women of her times, has never thought of a computer while cooking or has owned a cookbook till date. She cooked using the knowledge she gained from her mother, other family members & friends and from the recipes in the magazines that caught her attention and most importantly, the expertise she gained from almost 4 decades of cooking. In the process, however she gave prominence only to the regional cooking (and that is the case with many of our Mothers.) My parents who were from Andhra, settled in Karnataka and were tenants of a Tamil Iyer family when they were newly weds. My mom therefore soon learnt the cooking ways of the three states but never got a chance to know about Kerala cuisine. Growing up, I was therefore not familiar with Kerala's cuisine as much as I was with the rest of the South Indian states. Once, however I had a glass of a kheer at a Malayali classmate's home which I could not forget till now. The yellow puree was so fabulous that even a shy kid like me couldn't stop from asking for a second serving shamelessly. I was just a fourth grader then and didn't bother to ask what it was or for the recipe. So bad. :( :( I have started to pay more attention towards other blogs after I started blogging and I should say it is a kind of new experience knowing about the rich and varied Indian cuisines and culture. I had tried earlier a few from other states and it is time to turn towards the southern , coastal state of Kerala. The first time I tasted aviyal was at M's niece's wedding, a dozen years ago. I liked it but didn't bother about asking the recipe since I was not that much into cooking then. I later learned that Aviyal is usually one of the items present in a Kerala Sadhya - The feast. Aviyal- basically an assortment of vegetables in a mixture of coconut and yogurt is popular both in Kerala and Tamilnadu, because of it's proximity to the region. I followed the recipe which I got from one of M's SIL who has some Tamilnadu - Kerala background. I absolutely loved the aviyal with sweet undertones of coconut and yogurt since those two happen to be my most favorite things. However I have omitted the coconut oil seasoning part since we are not used to cooking with that oil. It is too much over powering when you are not used to coconut oil. I know how some feel about our avakai , gongura pickles. :) Ingredients I used: Beans, carrots, winter melon, plantain, potato, peas - 2 cups (Some of the other vegetables suggested were yams, cluster beans, drum sticks and even bittergourd can be used. Avoid sticky vegetables like okra) yogurt 1/2 cup (reduce the quantity if you wish. I added more since I love yogurt) 4 green chillies 1/2 c fresh coconut salt, curry leaves Cooking: . Cut the vegetables into thick, match stick size strips. Cook with little water in a microwave till done. (The original recipe had turmeric which I didn't use. If using, add turmeric to the veggies while cooking.) . Meanwhile, grind the coconut and green chillies in a blender. Add the coconut mixture, few curry leaves and salt to the cooked vegetables and cook for another 3 -4 minutes in the microwave. . The original recipe requires to add the yogurt to the vegetable mixture and heat lightly. Instead, I cooled the mixture and added the yogurt to prevent curdling. It stayed fresh, refrigerated for two days. I had them with my rotis. This is going to be a part of the Easy Microwave Cooking - Fresh Produce, guest hosted by me this month and Srivalli, being the event creator. Comments

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Tomato - Capsicum Chutney - Microwave Version

Any one who follows my blog regularly can figure out our family's love for chutneys/pickles as I keep posting recipes for them quite often. I should say today's chutney is quite apart from my earlier chutney posts. I had coupled tomato and capsicum to come up with this tangy chutney which I had never done before. Bringing vegetables together to make chutney is not novel nor the ingredients used but what makes it unique is the use of microwave to prepare this. Prior to this, I had always used the skillet & stove method to prepare these Indian spicy chutneys but never a microwave. I am very happy with today's result as it was done in a jiffy and thought of sharing this success. Ingredients used: 2 Tomatoes 1 Small, Green capsicum Salt to taste For tadka/popu: 1 tbsp oil, 1 tsp chanadal, 2 tsp urad dal, 1 tsp mustard seeds, 6-8 red chillies, 1/4 tsp turmeric powder, a pinch asafoetida powder & a tsp of tamarind (optional) Method: . Remove the centre core and seeds from the capsicum and chop it. Also chop the tomatoes. . Add the oil, chana dal, urad dal and mustard seeds to a microwave safe bowl and heat for a couple of minutes. Stir once in between. The dals would have turned red by this time.Then add the turmeric powder, asafoetida powder and red chillies and again heat it for about 30 seconds. . Remove the bowl. Add the chopped capsicum, tomatoes and tamarind if using and stir once. Then cook them till the vegetables are tender. It would take around 6-8 minutes. Stir once or twice in between. Remove and let the contents of the bowl cool. . Put all the ingredients in a blender and grind it into a coarser paste adding enough salt . Collect the chutney in a bowl after done. Serve along with rice or any breakfast items.

This goes to Microwave Easy Cooking - Fresh Produce guest hosted by me and the event creator is Srivalli. This also goes to Spicy Fiery Chutneys hosted by Srivalli. Post a Comment

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Aloo Methi Matar - Microwave Version

I came up with this recipe one night when I almost had run out of vegetables, which I must say is a rare occurrence at my home. I go shopping when my refrigerator is half full. :) I was left with some potatoes and sprouted peas in the refrigerator and did not have even onions or tomatoes. I was making subzi for rotis and cooked potatoes & peas together. The curry looked simple and so I checked my pantry and added some kasuri methi & coriander powder to it. To make the gravy a little richer, I added some milk. Surprisingly, I had a good side dish that day which my family enjoyed and hence have made that later several times.
Today for the Microwave Easy Cooking event, I made this dish in the MW and also used tomato, onion and fresh methi.

Ingredients needed to serve 2:
2 Potatoes (aloo) - peeled & cubed
1 cup fenugreek leaves (methi), washed & roughly chopped
1/4 cup fresh/frozen peas (matar)
Onion & tomato - one each, chopped
Milk - 1/4 to 1/2 cup
Salt to taste
Chili powder - 1 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Sugar - 1/2 tsp (optional)
For tadka: 2 tsp oil canola/peanut oil, 1 tsp cumin seeds, 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
Method:Add oil and cumin seeds to the microwave safe bowl and heat it in the microwave for a couple of minutes. When the cumin seeds start to sizzle, remove the bowl & add the onion and turmeric to it. Stir once and heat for about 4 minutes or until onion turns translucent. Then add the tomato and cook for about 2 minutes.
Then add the potato, fenugreek leaves, peas & a little water to the bowl and cook till potatoes are done. Stir in between.
Then add the salt, chili powder, coriander powder and sugar if using to the bowl and mix well. Then finally add the milk and put it back in the microwave for a couple minutes more.
Remove and serve with rotis.

Recipe for home made coriander powder:
I feel a simple combo of coriander & chili powders is enough sometimes instead of the over powering 'concoction of spices'.
If you have run out of store bought coriander powder or want to prepare it at home, it is very simple and the recipe follows.
Dry roast the coriander seeds in a microwave or on low flame if using stove top. Remove from the heat when the seeds start to change a few shades darker and release aroma. Cool and grind it into a fine powder. Store it in an airtight container.

This is going to be a part of the Microwave Easy Cooking - Fresh Produce, guest hosted by me and the event creator is Srivalli.Also sending this to Think Spice - Think Coriander Seeds, guest hosted by priya & the event creator is Sunitha.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Rajma - Aloo / Kidney Beans & Potato Curry

I am reposting this for Jihva - Rajma, guest hosted by Divya and the event creator is Indira. Irrespective of eating habits, beans are an integral part of Indian cooking. The protein rich beans are used to create a wide array of delicious dishes ranging from enchanting breakfasts to delectable dals / sambhars (Indian stews), scrumptious subjis (Curries), delightful desserts and many more. Today on VeggiePlatter, it's time for the gorgeous, red kidney beans to shine. This beans have been used to create a palate pleasing curry which goes well with rotis / pooris.

Ingredients: Rajma / kidney beans - 1 cup or substitute with canned beans. Chopped potato, onion and tomato - 1 cup each ( or two of each vegetable) Grated ginger & cumin seeds - 1 tsp each Cumin powder & coriander powder - 1/2 tsp each (optional) Chillie powder - 1 tsp Salt to taste Oil - 2 Tbsp Chopped cilantro for garnishing

Cooking Part: Wash and soak dry kidney beans in water overnight or 8-10 hours. Drain the water. Cook the beans with sufficient water in a pressure cooker till done.Throw away the water used to cook the beans. Alternatively cook in a sauce pan on stove top till the beans are soft but not mushy. Turn off the stove. If using canned beans, skip the cooking part.

Heat oil in a wok / deep pan. Add cumin seeds and fresh ginger to it. When they start to brown, add the onion and turmeric powder. Saute till onion turns translucent and then add potato & tomato to it. Cook till potatoes are done. Add a cup of water if needed. Add the cooked beans, chillie powder, salt, coriander powder and cumin powder to the onion - potato mixture. Taste and adjust the quantities of the spices if neccessary and also add some water if the curry is too thick. Let it simmer for 10 - 15 minutes on low to medium flame. Turn off the stove. Garnish with cilantro.

Originally published on May, 24 2007 as 'R' entry for Nupur's A - Z of Indian vegetable series. Comments

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Masoor Dal Sambhar

I opt for masoor dal when I need to cook a quick meal. This orange hued dal which turns yellow on cooking is one of the fastest cooking bean. It neither needs prior soaking nor a pressure cooker (to speed up the cooking process) as in the case of other beans. Besides those quick fix meals which are done in about 20 minutes, I reserve this dal even to those ocassions when I am feeling lethargic but still need a substantial meal. I usually prepare a sambhar or simple yet delicious dal tadka using masoor dal.

Though toordal is the commonly used bean to prepare sambhar, some other beans such as masoordal works well too. Sambhar - the signature South Indian vegetable - lentil stew gets its flavor and oomph from sambhar powder - the spice mixture used in the dish.
Coming to sambhar powder, there is no standard recipe as such. Probably, there are as many variations as the number of households in the region. Even in our families, everyone doesn't follow the same recipe for the sambhar powder. Each have their own cherished recipe which they follow and enjoy. The recipe which I am giving is from M's SILs which I personally like.

Sambhar Powder Recipe:
Ingredients for sambhar powder:
Chanadal - 1/4 cup
Coriander seeds - 1 cup (Quantity can be decreased / increased by 1/2 cup depending upon the spiciness preferred.)
Fenugreek seeds - 1 tsp
Shredded copra - 1/2 cup
Red Chillies - 10- 15

Dry fry the chana dal in a saute pan on low-medium flame till it turns reddish. Remove the chanadal and add the coriander seeds to the same pan and fry them. Pay attention as they burn easily. When they start to turn brownish and release aroma, add the fenugreek seeds & the red chillies. Saute them for a few seconds and turn off the stove. Cool the mixture and grind it into fine powder using a spice grinder. Store it in an airtight container.
Note: Decrease / increase the quantity of ingredients proportionately depending upon how much sambhar powder needs to be prepared.

Sambhar Recipe:
Ingredients required:
1/2 cup masoor dal
2 cups chopped veggies (I used carrots, green beans, radish, tomato & fresh soy beans)
3.5 cups water
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sambhar powder
1&1/2 tsp chili powder
Lime sized tamarind ( Soak the tamarind in a cup of water or nuke it in a microwave along with little water for about a couple of minutes. Squeeze the tamarind well with your fingers or put through a sieve and collect the thick pulp. Throw away the husks & residue.)
For tadka / popu: 1 tsp canola/peanut oil, 1 tsp each of mustard & cumin seeds, a little asafoetida and curry leaves

The cooking part:
Wash the masoordal in two changes of water. Then add it to an Indian style wok/deeper sauce pan. Add the vegetables, water and turmeric powder to it and cook it on medium - high heat till the dal is cooked.
After the dal is cooked, add the salt, chili powder, sambhar powder, 3 Tbsp tamarind puree and mix well. Taste and adjust the salt/tamarind if needed and add a little water if the sambhar is thicker. Bring it to a rolling boil, turn down the heat and let the sambhar simmer for about a couple of minutes more.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a small pan and add mustard seeds & cumin seeds to it. When mustard seeds start to pop, add the asafoetida & curry leaves and turn off the stove.
Add this to the sambhar and mix well.
Serve this with hot, steamed rice and a tsp of ghee.

This goes to Think Spice - Think Coriander Seeds, guest hosted by Priya and the event creator is Sunitha.


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Vankaya - Bangaladumpa Koora / Eggplant With Potatoes

Brinjal / Eggplant is often called the 'King of the vegetables' in India. Back in our home state, Andhra where it is called 'vankaya' (Telugu), it is one of the lovingly cherished, native vegetables. It's presence is a must during all the celebrations including wedding feasts. There are zillions of recipes using eggplants on the web and each family probably has umpteen number of their own favorites. Our family too have a considerable amount of recipes involving these beauties. I have posted earlier a handful of eggplant recipes including the traditional 'Sivangi Pulusu' & some 'Chutneys'. I still need to cover many dishes which are commonly prepared at my Mother's and at the rest of the Gandlurs' kitchens. Today's recipe is a simple preparation where eggplants are paired with another commonly found veggie, the 'Great' potato. Both bring their flavors to the dish making it extra special. For variation, try substituting koora podi or vangibhath powder for chili powder. For this koora/subzi you need the following ingredients: 6 brinjals/eggplants (I have used the smaller, purple variety. Substitute the green colored ones or even the slender ones) 2 medium sized potatoes Salt 1 tsp Chili Powder - 1 - 1&1/2 tsp depending upon the heat preferred For tadka /popu: 2 Tbsp oil, 1 tsp each of chanadal, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, 1/4 tsp turmeric powder and a few curry leaves The 'How' part: Cut the green stalks before chopping eggplants. I usually don't cut the eggplants into cubes since they shrink after cooking and almost would be a mush. I like eggplants holding their shape after they are done. I therefore prefer to cut them lengthwise into two halves. Then go again lengthwise into thin slices. I do the same with peeled potatoes and cut into long slices. Put the cut vegetables in individual bowls filled with water until use. Heat oil in a saute pan and add the chanadal and mustard seeds. When mustard seeds start to pop and the dal start to turn reddish, add the remaining tadka ingredients and saute for a few seconds. Add the potato slices and salt to the pan and mix well. Cover the pan and cook for about 10 minutes on low flame. Then in go the eggplant slices sans water. Continue to keep the pan covered on low flame till the eggplants are done. Then add the chili powder and mix well. Taste and adjust the salt and chili powder quantities if needed. Let the eggplant - potato mixture cook for a minute and then turn off the stove. Comments

Monday, October 5, 2009

Spicy Red Potatoes (Microwave)

The ubiquitous potato is probably the most liked vegetable around the globe (at least from my perspective.) Each may have their own cherished potato recipes/food which they love. I have my own and do like potatoes while preparing quick, simple curries - the Indian style.Today's recipe is such a simple one from my Mother where the cooked potatoes are perked up by adding koora podi (spice & lentil powder) and fresh lime juice. Recipe for the koora podi (curry powder) is given below. I have used the red potatoes just for the color and the regular ones can be substituted for them. Similarly stove top can be used instead of a MW.  

The following ingredients yield about 3/4 cup of koora podi: 
3 tbsp. chanadal / roasted chickpeas
1.5 tbsp. uraddal / skinned black gram
1.5 tbsp. coriander seeds 
1/4 cup shredded dry coconut (copra) 
10 dried red chillies 

Toast chana dal and urad dal individually in a microwave / saute pan till they turn reddish brown. Saute the coriander seeds till they turn slightly brownish and add the red chillies at the end. Cool and grind all the ingredients into a fine powder. Store it in a air tight container.  

Preparing the curry: 
* Cut about 5 red potatoes into cubes (about 2 cups). Along with about a cup of water (add more if you need), cook those potatoes in a microwave till done but not into a mush. Drain the water. 
* Take a microwave safe bowl and add about 2 tsp oil. Heat it for about a couple of minutes and then add a tsp each of chanadal and mustard seeds. Again heat it until the dal turns reddish and the mustard seeds start to splutter. 
* Remove the bowl and add the cooked potatoes, about 2 tsp of koora podi and about a tsp of salt. Mix well and put back in the microwave and let it cook for 2-3 minutes. You can stir once in the middle. Squeeze the juice from a small lime and add it to the potatoes. Mix well and serve with rice or rotis.  


Thursday, October 1, 2009

Announcing 'Microwave Easy Cooking' Event - October '09 Edition

Though I have been blogging for almost close to three years, the hosting of a cooking event always intimidated me. I assume it to be a difficult task even now and therefore never came up with an event or had mustered courage to ask the event runners when they announce for hosting opportunities. My son, Shreyas who follows and helps to run this blog has been more enthusiastic and braver than me and was nudging me from the day one to host an event. When Srivalli asked me whether I could host the "MICROWAVE EASY COOKING", popularly known as MEC event, I therefore readily accepted it. Thanks, Srivalli for giving me the opportunity this month to host the event, which has popularised the use of MW across numerous kitchens. Now let us move to the theme of the event. Being a vegetarian all my life, I cherish the nutritious, fat free vegetables/fruits which play a key role in my diet and and in my life. I therefore decided to celebrate the 'Fresh Produce' for my first ever hosting event. Since vegetables/fruits are easily accessible to everyone around the globe and all human population consumes them, I hope the theme is appealing to everyone. :)) I invite all food lovers, both bloggers & non bloggers to participate in the event and make my first event successful. I am using the term 'Fresh Produce' to include all/any fresh vegetable/fruit/herb. To start with, here is a list of vegetables and fruits. Guidelines for participation 1. Prepare any vegetarian/vegan recipe using 'Fresh produce' and post it on your blog from now till the last date of the month. I will accept any cuisine, any course as long as they are vegetarian / vegan recipes and feature the theme ingredient. Please note that dry fruits, dried beans and eggs are not allowed. I will loosen up my rule a little bit regarding the frozen stuff, if you think it is convenient for you. However try to use the fresh stuff. 2. As the name of the event suggests, the entire cooking needs to be done in a Microwave oven. Feel free to use a blender/food processor for grinding/mixing but no stove top cooking please. 3. Deadline to send entries for the event is 31 st October’09. Please provide a link to this announcement page and to Srivalli's main announcement page. Please use the logo below if you chose to. 4. Send a mail with MEC - Fresh Produce in the subject line to toveggieplatter[at]hotmail[dot]com with the following details. . Your name . Your blog name . Name of the entry . URL of your post . A photograph of the final dish 5. Multiple entries are welcome. Recipes submitted to other events are also allowed. 6. Recipes from archives can also be sent only if they are re-posted with a link to this announcement page and Srivalli's event page. 7. If you don't own a blog and would like to participate, send an email with the recipe and the above-mentioned details and I will gladly include them in the round up.

A round up of submitted recipes would be posted sometime in the first week of November. Waiting for the delicious entries from all the food lovers and hoping I would not be disappointed. Post a Comment