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Monday, October 31, 2011

Thotakoora Pappu

This summer, I made it a point to grow some of our favorite greens in our backyard and even in containers in the kitchen balcony. We could therefore enjoy a bounty of fresh gongura, chukkakoora and thotakoora (amaranth greens) after a long time. Today's post is about a favorite dish of mine made with thotakoora / amaranth greens. I was planning to do a special post for MLLA and when unfortunately I could not do so, I thought why not do a post about one of my favorite dishes. Thotakoora pappu or a dal with amaranth greens reminds me of home I left behind and to me is one of those homely foods that has comfort written all over it.
And obviously, this is going to Susan's MLLA, 40th edition hosted by me this month.

Ingredients: (6 servings)
1 cup toor dal / kandipappu
1 bunch of thotakoora / amaranth leaves (about 4 cups chopped leaves and tender stems)
2 tomatoes, chopped (optional but recommended.)
1/8 tsp turmeric powder
3 - 4 Tbsp thick tamarind juice or as needed (A lemon sized tamarind ball soaked in water and thick juice extracted.)
Salt & chilli powder to taste
For tadka: 2 tsp oil, 1 tsp mustard seeds, 1 tsp cumin seeds, few curry leaves and a pinch of asafoetida powder

* Wash the toordal and cook in a pressure cooker, adding the greens, tomato, turmeric powder and about 2 cups of water. Or cook in a saucepan adding water as needed until the dal turns mushy.
* Heat oil in a saucepan and add the tadka ingredients in the order mentioned. When the seeds start to crackle, add the cooked dal mixture, tamarind, salt and chili powder. Taste and adjust the seasonings if needed. Bring it to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 3 -4 minutes and turn off the stove.
Serve warm with steamed rice / rotis. 

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Avocado - Soy Flour Rotis

This is going to be my final day "Fruit" themed entry for blogging marathon #9. Check what other marathoners are cooking today.
So far, I blogged the following recipes with "Soups/Salads" theme for the first round and "Cooking with Fruits" for the second one.

1. Broccoli - Cheese Soup
2. Black-eyed Peas Soup
3. Corn Soup
4. Cracked Wheat Salad
5. Custard Fruit Salad
6. Black bean - Carrot Soup
7. Tomato - Basil Salad

1. Lemon Gojju
2. Strawberry Yogurt
3. Jackfruit Halwa
4. Eggless Apple Cake
5. Eggless Mango - Semolina Bread
6. Fruit Salad with Mango Sauce

Now to avocado - soy flour rotis. I sometimes add avocado to the roti dough since it adds softness to the rotis. This time in went the soy flour as well to make them more nutritious. The result was yummy rotis that were softer even by the next morning. Rolling is not difficult with the soy - wheat flours combo but the edges would be jagged. Do not worry about not getting perfect shaped rotis, the softness compensates it. :) And I feel that a spicy curry masks the flavor of soyflour (in case if it is noticed). Or the quantity of soy flour can be reduced  to 1/2 cup.

Ingredients for 10 rotis:
1 Avocado
1 cup Soy flour
1 cup Wheat flour (atta)
Salt to taste
2 Tbsp cilantro leaves + 1 tsp cumin seeds (optional)
Oil to toast the rotis

* Peel the avocado, remove the seed and cut into chunks.
* Add the avocado and about 1/4 cup water to a food processor / blender and puree it.
* If using the processor. add the flours, cilantro, cumin seeds and salt to the avocado and pulse it a few times so that the whole mixture combines. Transfer the dough from the food processor to a mixing bowl, add a few Tbsp of water if needed and form a firm, rollable dough. Cover and let it rest for atleast 30 minutes. If you used the blender to puree it, add this to a bowl, combine the flours and work with the dough with your hand.

* Divide the dough into 10 portions and shape each one into a ball. Take one dough ball, flatten it slightly and roll into a circle as thin as possible.
Heat a shallow pan / tawa and toast the rolled out dough circle flipping in between and adding 1/4 tsp along the edges. Toast until it  appears cooked and there are brown spots on either side.

* Repeat the same with the remaining dough. Serve with some spicy curry.
This is going to Susan's MLLA, 40th edition hosted by me this month.


Friday, October 28, 2011

Fruit Salad with Mango Sauce

This is a simple yet delightful fruit salad, which can be put together with ease. An excellent alternative to custard fruit salad, in fact a better one for mango lovers.

1 cup chopped mixed fruit (Any ripe fruit will work. I added apple, banana, kiwi, mango, peaches and pear.)
1/2 cup mango puree (I used kesar mango pulp but homemade puree can be used.)

Add the chopped fruits to a bowl and pour the mango sauce / puree.
Cover and chill for a couple of hours. Serve.

This is going to be my Day 6 entry for blogging marathon #9. Check what other marathoners are cooking today.
This also goes to Srivalli's "Soups and Salads" Mela.


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Eggless Mango - Semolina Cake

I found this simple, delicious and easy cake at red chillies and am very impressed with the results I have got so far from this recipe. It is totally effortless recipe and yields an enjoyable cake. And that too an eggless version. I tried with mango puree twice (once with the homemade mango puree and then with the store bought one) and bananas once.

When baked, the outer surface has a slightly gritty but still an enjoyable texture while the inside is done to perfection. The cake baked with store bought kesar pulp definitely is more appealing to eyes than the home made puree because of the vibrant color. However, tastewise both versions are same.

1.5 cup semolina / sooji / rava
1.5 tsp baking powder
1.5 cup mango puree (I used store bought kesar mango pulp.)
2 Tbsp melted butter / ghee
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp cardamom powder
2 Tbsp coarsely chopped walnuts (optional)

Batter ready for baking

1. I reduced the quantity of butter from 3/4 cup to 2 Tbsp but still the cake tasted great. For 1 cup semolina version, the cake comes out good with 1 Tbsp butter and 6 Tbsp sugar.
2. Fine semolina (chiroti rava) or coarse variety used to make upmas can be used to make this cake.
3. The final batter should not be runny. If it is, rest for a few minutes more.

* Combine all the ingredients except walnuts in a bowl and keep aside covered for 10 minutes.
* Preheat the oven at 375 deg F.
* Grease a baking pan. This batter doesn't raise much and so the batter can be filled upto 3/4th of the pan. 
* Pour the batter into the pan and sprinkle with walnut pieces. Bake for 35 - 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted at the center comes out clean.
* Cool, slice and serve.

This is going to be my fifth day entry of blogging marathon #9. Check what other marathoners are cooking today.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Eggless Apple Cake

I got this recipe more than a decade ago probably from a web source if I remember properly. It yields a perfectly textured, delicious eggless cake that leaves you craving for more. This recipe is a keeper, for sure.

2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
A pinch of salt

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
3 Tbsp condensed milk
2 peeled and grated apples
2 Tbsp raisins
A pinch of food color (optional)
(I also added about 3 Tbsp of milk since the cake batter was dry.)

Preheat the oven at 350 deg F. Grease the baking pan. Choose a pan such that the batter fills only half of the pan.
Sieve together flour, baking powder and baking soda twice and keep aside. Beat butter and sugar together.
Combine all the ingredients and pour into the baking dish.
Bake it for about 40 - 45 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean. (It took me 50 minutes.)
Cool and serve.

This is going to be my fourth day entry of blogging marathon #9. Check what other marathoners are cooking today.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Happy Diwali & Jackfruit Halwa

Before proceeding to the recipe, we wish you all a safe and happy diwali.

My recipe for today with fruit themed cooking is jackfruit halwa. Semolina halwa / rava kesari / sheera happens to be one of the quickly prepared yummy desserts in India. It is particularly popular with the novice cooks because of the easy preparation. Adding fruits to this halwa naturally makes it more flavorful and delicious. The most common choices to prepare fruit kesaris happen to be bananas and pineapples. In today's version, jackfruit has been added. And obviously, the halwa is redolent with rich flavors of jackfruit making it a simple, droolworthy dessert.

1/2 cup Chopped Jackfruit (I used canned ones after draining the  syrup and washing them.)
1/2 cup Semolina
2 Tbsp Ghee,
1/2 cup Sugar
2 Tbsp Almond slices
Saffron / Yellow food color - a pinch

* Dry toast the semolina and keep aside.
* Melt the ghee and fry the jackfruit for 4 - 5 minutes.
* Then add about 1.5  - 2 cups of water and food color. Bring the water to a rolling boil.
* Lower the heat and add semolina in a slow, steady stream, while constantly stirring with the other hand. Stir well so that the mixture has no lumps. Cover and cook until the semolina is done.
* Then add the sugar and sliced almonds. Cook until the sugar melts and gets incorporated into the mixture. Turn off the stove.
* Serve warm.

This is my third day entry of blogging marathon #9. Check what other marathoners are cooking.


Monday, October 24, 2011

Strawberry Yogurt

My second day "Fruits" themed post for the blogging marathon # 9 is this yummy and healthy strawberry yogurt. Check what my fellow marathoners are cooking here.
We love fruit yogurts and I prefer homemade ones over the store bought ones. Obviously the latter ones are loaded with sugar and other artificial, unwanted ingredients while the homemade version needs primarily two ingredients as it should be - the fruit and yogurt.

Ingredients: (2 - 3 servings)
2 cups hung yogurt (I use homemade, fatfree yogurt.)
1 cup strawberries + extra to garnish
Sugar to taste (optional)

I hung the yogurt and then blended it with fruit since I used yogurt made with skim milk. If the yogurt and fruit are blended directly, the mixture would be runny and you would end up with a  smoothie instead of a fruity yogurt. :)

Note: Use Greek yogurt if you are in a hurry or want to skip step 1.

1. First prepare the hung yogurt. Place the yogurt in a muslin/ thin cotton cloth covered strainer or colander and place a bowl underneath to catch the drips. Keep it in the refrigerator covered for a couple of hours or until a creamy consistency is reached. No need to wait until a solid mass is formed as in shrikhand. If it becomes thicker, add a few drops of milk.
2. Wash the strawberries and remove the stalks. Blend the yogurt and strawberries together. Add sweetener only if needed. Pass the mixture through a strainer and chill if necessary. Garnish with strawberries and serve.

This goes to Raven's Cook Eat Delicious -Desserts, guest hosted this month by Kalyani with theme Strawberries.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Lemon Gojju

Gojju is a frequently appearing item on our menu but still I was surprised to hear read about this lemon gojju in a Kannada cookbook at a friend's home. Gojjus are always assumed to be a melange of flavors and so particularly when the essential ones were missing in the recipe, it was quite intriguing and I had to try it. :) Except for the name, it doesn't bear any resemblance to the popular gojjus and surprisingly, it has it's own pleasing qualities.
And this lemon gojju is going to be my "Cooking with Fruits" themed first day entry for the Blogging Marathon #9, second round.

1/4 cup chanadal / Bengalgram
1/4 cup fresh, shredded coconut
A handful of cilantro leaves
A small piece of ginger
6 - 8 dried red chillies
Salt to taste
Lemon juice as needed (I used juice from 1 & 1/2 lemons.)
For tadka: 1 Tbsp oil, 1 tsp cumin seeds, 1 tsp mustard seeds, a pinch of asafoetida / hing, few curry leaves and a pinch of turmeric powder

1. Lightly toast the chanadal and red chillies together and let cool.
2. Grind chanadal, coconut, chillies, ginger and cilantro together into a fine paste adding water as needed.
3. Heat oil in a saute pan / kadai and add the tadka ingredients in the order mentioned. When the mustard seeds start to pop, add the ground paste, salt and enough water to reach the desired consistency. Heat the mixture and bring to a boil. The mixture thickens as cooking progresses and so add water accordingly. Lower the heat and cook until the raw smell disappears.
4. Turn off the heat and add the lemon juice as needed.
Serve with warm rice.

This is going to Susan's MLLA, 40th edition hosted by me this month. And a gentle reminder to fellow bloggers. If anyone have posted or planning to post any legume recipes this month, I request to send them in for the event. Basically all dals and derivatives  regularly used in our kitchens count. Though the legume list is a comprehensive one, here is a smaller one to give an idea as to what count. 
Toor/ pigeon peas, urad/ black gram, moong- yellow and green variety, black eyed peas, chori beans, chana/ garbanzo, rajma/ kidney beans, chanadal, masoor dal, black beans, navy beans, peas, cannellini beans, pinto beans, split green peas, peanuts, soybeans, dalia/ roasted chickpeas, besan, tofu, soya chunks


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Tomato - Basil Salad

I chose the "soups and salads" theme for the first round of Blogging Marathon #9. And if anyone has missed my posts during this marathon, here is a list of what I blogged so far.

Broccoli - Cheese Soup
Black-eyed Peas Soup
Corn Soup
Cracked Wheat Salad
Custard Fruit Salad
Black bean - Carrot Soup

Truth be told, I am not a great fan of soups and salads but the rest of my family is. My kids have acquired their dad's gene of love for soups/salads and so I end up making them frequently. For the final day, I was actually planning to prepare a simple tomato - basil salad but a few other ingredients went in during preparation, as per the recommendation of my family.
I am just giving a list of ingredients that I used and one can freely go ahead and add what ever they prefer.  Just add everything to a salad bowl, toss and serve.

Ingredients for one serving:
1 Tomato - Chopped into 8 to 12 chunks depending upon the size
Basil leaves (10 - 12)
Pitted Black olives (I added a handful.)
Bread Croutons (I added a handful.)
Cheese (I added diced, homemade paneer. )
Pickled dills and banana pepper rings
Light Italian dressing (or go with olive oil+lemon juice+vinegar+ salt)
Salt if needed

This goes to
1. "Global Food Festival" by Kalyani
2. "Soups & Salads Mela" by Srivalli.


Friday, October 21, 2011

Black Bean - Carrot Soup

Here is a creamy, fiber rich soup with a beautiful hue, somewhat representing the fall season around here. A pumpkin soup recipe that I saw on my local television channel is the inspiration behind this black bean - carrot soup.  Since there were no "pumpkin soup" takers at home, I started with replacing it by carrot but in the middle, deviated completely from the original recipe to create my own version for BM#9. :)

1 Tbsp olive oil / butter
1 clove garlic
1 onion, finely minced
1 tomato, diced
1/2 cup cooked / canned black beans
1 big carrot / 2 small carrots - peeled and diced
2 cups vegetable broth
Salt and pepper to taste
(Optionally, chili powder & cumin powder can be added to the soup.)

In a stock pot, melt the butter or add olive oil. Saute onions and garlic until they are translucent. Then add tomatoes, carrot, beans, vegetable broth, salt and pepper. Simmer on low heat until the vegetables are tender. 
This soup can be served as is or puree the whole mixture and serve. Garnish with croutons if desired.

This is going to be my entry for Susan's MLLA, 40th edition hosted by me this month.

This also goes to
1. "Global Food Festival" by Kalyani
2. "Soups & Salads Mela" by Srivalli.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Custard Fruit Salad

A bowl of colorful fruits is definitely an eye candy and of course beneficial when consumed. :) An addition of creamy, sweet custard takes it to a whole new level. Fruits and custard together form a delectable combo, I would love to say.
Custard fruit salad / fruit custard is a simple and easy option when looking for hasslefree, quick desserts or when you are bored to eat plain old fruits. Custard can be made in a jiffy; it can be made ahead and refrigerated for a couple of days.

Ingredients: (6 servings)
2 cups milk
2 cups fruits (chopped into cubes)*
2.5 - 3 Tbsp Vanilla flavored custard powder
Sugar to taste
* I used apple, banana, pear, strawberries, nectarine and jackfruit. Any combination of fresh fruit would work but try to use a colorful mixture for the fruit custard to look appealing. 

* To a bowl, add 1/2 cup of milk (that is at room temperature). Or if the milk is cold, just warm it in the microwave. Add custard powder to it and mix well so that it blends well with out any lumps. Don't try to add custard powder to cold milk. It just doesn't blend.
* Meanwhile, bring the rest of the milk to a boil. Add the custard - milk mixture and sugar to it. Lower the heat and go on stirring since the mixture starts to get thickened. Keep stirring till a creamy consistency is attained and the raw smell disappears.
The custard further thickens after refrigeration and hence stop cooking a little before the desired consistency is reached. And no need to panic if it thickens. Just add extra milk to it.
* Let cool the custard. Add the prepared fruit and chill the mixture before serving.
* Add a scoop of ice cream or whipped cream for a pleasant surprise while serving.

This cool salad is going to be my 5th day entry of blogging marathon - 9th edition. I am also sending this to "Soups & Salads Mela" by Srivalli.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Cracked Wheat Salad

This healthy salad is vibrantly colorful, refreshing and fatfree. It can be put together under no time and an opt one if you are looking for a light and healthy meal. This is going to be my 4th day entry to Srivalli's blogging marathon - 9th edition.
1/2 cup cracked wheat
3/4 cup to 1 cup bean - veggie medley  (I used cooked black beans, corn, thinly julienned carrot, bell pepper, cherry tomatoes)
2 Tbsp roughly chopped cilantro
Salt to taste
Pepper powder / 1 - 2 minced green chillies
Lemon juice as needed

* Cook cracked wheat adding salt according to the package directions. Spread the cracked wheat in a bowl and fluff.
* Add the rest of the ingredients and toss well.

This goes to
1. "Global Food Festival" by Kalyani
2. "Soups & Salads Mela" by Srivalli.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Corn Soup

A simple soup that can be made in a jiffy is my third day entry for Srivalli's blogging marathon - 9th edition. And according to my husband, tastes fabulous with a blob of ketchup. :)

1 Tbsp Olive oil / Butter
1 Garlic clove, finely minced
1 Small Onion, finely minced (optional)
1 Tbsp Corn flour / Wheat flour / All purpose flour
1/2 cup Corn kernels + 2 - 3 Tbsp for garnish (I thawed the frozen ones and used. If using fresh ones, cook them.)
1 cup Vegetable stock / Water
1 cup Milk (I used fatfree milk.)
Salt and pepper

* Heat oil / butter in a pan and fry garlic until golden brown. Next add onion and fry until translucent.
* Add the flour and saute for a couple of minutes.Then add the stock and stir vigorously to avoid any lumps forming.
* Next puree the corn kernels. Add this puree and milk to the stock mixture and bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for a couple of minutes more and turn off the stove.
* Garnish with salt, pepper and the remaining corn kernels.
This goes to
1. "Global Food Festival" by Kalyani
2. "Soups & Salads Mela" by Srivalli.


Monday, October 17, 2011

Black-Eyed Peas Soup

While yesterday's soup was western whimsy, this colorful soup is redolent with Indian flavors. Beans and vegetables combine to form a hearty, wholesome and spicy meal on it's own.
This is going to be my second day BM#9 entry.

2 tsp oil
1 clove garlic
1 onion
1 green chili
1 tomato
A pinch of turmeric powder
1/4 cup black-eyed peas (cooked or canned)
1&1/2 cup vegetable broth
1/4 cup mixed vegetables (I added carrot, beans & potato)
Salt to taste
1/4 tsp cumin powder
Cilantro minced

* Heat oil and add the minced garlic; fry until golden brown.
* Add the minced chilli and minced onion. Fry until the onion turns soft.
* Next add the tomatoes and cook until mush.
* Then add the veggies and saute for a couple of minutes.
* Add the vegetable broth and turmeric. Cook until the vegetables are tender.
* Add the cooked beans, salt and cumin powder. Adjust the seasonings if needed.
* Simmer for a few minutes for the flavors to mingle.
* Garnish with cilantro and serve.

This is going to Susan's MLLA, hosted by me this month.

This also goes to
1. "Global Food Festival" by Kalyani
2. "Soups & Salads Mela" by Srivalli.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Broccoli Cheese Soup

Srivalli's blogging marathon - 9th edition starts from today. I chose to go with "Soups / Salads" theme this week though "Festive Special" and "Regional Special" themes were equally tempting. I did not want to pack any extra calories either in the guise of a holiday season or blogging. :)
My first post in the series is going to be this broccoli - cheese soup, a family favorite of ours and hopefully it may be yours too if you give it a try. :) A hot bowl of a creamy, rich, flavorful soup seems like a perfect companion on cold days like these.

1 Tbsp oil / butter (I usually go with olive / canola oil.)
1 garlic clove finely minced
1/2 cup finely minced white onion
2 Tbsp wheat flour
1 cup broccoli florets chopped
1/2 cup peeled & finely minced carrot
3 cups water
Grated cheddar cheese as preferred (I used 2 Kraft cheddar cheese singles as I did not have grated cheese on the day I prepared soup.)
Salt to taste

Heat oil in a pan and add garlic. Fry until golden brown and add onion. Saute until translucent and then add wheat flour. Fry it for a minute on low flame and then add broccoli, carrot and water to the pan. Stir well so that no lumps are formed. Continue to cook on medium heat until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Add cheese and salt; cook until the cheese melts. Serve hot.

This goes to
1. "Global Food Festival" by Kalyani
2. "Soups & Salads Mela" by Srivalli.


Friday, October 14, 2011

Navy Beans Curry

Over the years, navy beans have become a staple pantry item in my kitchen. They are white colored pea sized beans with a mild flavor attached to them. They don't need even presoaking if you own a pressure cooker. Initially they used to go in soups at my home but recently I started to use them in Indian style coking as this one for example. Navy beans combined with complimenting Indian spices turn into this hearty bean curry that tastes wonderful. It goes well with rotis / tortillas.

1/2 cup navy beans
1 - 2 Tbsp oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
one inch piece ginger - grated
2 onions - finely chopped
2 tomatoes - finely chopped
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp chole masala (or garam masala as needed.)
1 Tbsp kasuri methi
Minced cilantro for garnish

* Cook navy beans until tender. A pressure cooker is ideal for this job but if you don't own one, don't worry. Just soak the beans for a couple of hours in hot water (or overnight soaking is even better) to cut down the cooking time considerably. Throw away the water used to soak and wash the beans thoroughly. Bring the water to a rolling boil in a sauce pan on stove top, add the beans and cook as needed.
* Heat oil in a pan and add cumin seeds and mustard seeds. When mustard seeds start to splutter, add ginger, onion and turmeric. Cook on low flame until onion turns translucent. Then add tomatoes and cook until mushy.
* At this stage if you wish to have gravy, remove half of the cooked onion - tomato mixture and grind it.
* Add this ground paste, salt, chili powder and chole masala to the cooked onion - tomato mixture. Add a little water if needed and bring the mixture to a boil. Add kasuri methi, cook for a couple of minutes more and turn off the stove. Garnish with cilantro.

This is going to be my entry for Susan's MLLA, 40th edition hosted by me this month.