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Monday, April 30, 2012

Eggless Butter Tarts

If there were no things such as fat and calories to consider and worry about, then I would have not shared any of these tarts and would have finished all of them in one go. :) I will leave it at that and will not write any more to convince how wonderful these butter tarts taste.  Thanks to Gayathri who chose them from Joy of baking website for this month's Baking Eggless Challenge.
These tarts have a crispy, flaky and delectable pastry shell with a moist nut filling. The original recipe contained eggs in the filling and our challenge was to convert it to an eggless one and still maintain the texture and yumminess of the filling. I replaced the eggs in the recipe with cornstarch and these tarts turned out delicious. Also I substituted regular granular sugar for brown one and whole milk for cream.

For pie crust pastry:
1& 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 Tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into i inch pieces
Scant 1/4 cup ice water (or adjust)
For filling:
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar (I used 1/4 cup brown sugar and 3/4 cup regular sugar.)
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped nuts and /or raisins (I used 1/2 cup walnuts + 1/4 cup raisins.)
1/2 cup milk (at room temperature)
(I also added a pinch of yellow food color.)

Preparing pie crust pastry:
* Add flour, salt and sugar to a food processor and pulse to combine. 
* Next add the butter cubes to the processor and pulse for about 10 15 seconds until it resembles fine crumbs.
* Finally add the cold water and run the food processor for few seconds again. Remove the dough from the food processor, knead to gather and shape into a disc. 
* Cover it with a plastic wrap or put it in a Ziploc bag and refrigerate it for about an hour.

Preparing filling:
* Cream butter and sugar in a bowl using an electric mixer or a hand mixer. Add milk, vanilla, corn starch and beat again until combined. Remove and add walnuts / raisins to the mixture.

* Assembling and baking:
* Remove the dough from the refrigerator and leave it for 5 minutes at room temperature.
* Roll out the dough and cut into 12 four inch discs using a cookie cutter or a bottle lid. If it is hard to roll the entire dough at once, work with 1/4th portion each time.
* Place the discs into a 12 cup muffin tin.
* Pour the walnut filling into each cup, filling up to 3/4th in each muffin cup.

* Bake until the shells turn golden brown and the filling is set, about 20 - 25 minutes at 375 deg F. Remove and let cool before serving.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Quick Chutneys ~ Green Mango - Cumin Chutney

G for Green Mango Chutney

After "sugar high" blogging marathon last month, I decided this time to refrain from sugar, butter / oil and flour as much as possible. :) I chose to go with themes where I can just deal with posts involving everyday cooking. And so,  most of my recipes during BM#15 have been simple and quick South Indian dishes. If you have missed any of my posts of BM#15, here is a recap.

Under "Accompaniments" theme,
1. Peanut - Roasted Chickpeas Powder
2. Cabbage - Moongdal Curry
3. Eggplant - Tomato - Cilantro Chutney
4. Idli Milagai Podi
5. Beans - Carrot with Sesame Powder
6. Chayote Peels Chutney
7. Beets and Carrots with Toordal

Under "By Alphabet Theme"
1. Aloo - Gobhi in Coconut - Poppy Seed Sauce
2. Bisibelebhath
3. Chocolate - Walnut Pedas
4. Dal Tadka
5. Eggplant Kurma
6. Frozen Banana - Peanut Butter - Choco Milkshake

Now moving to final post of BM#15, here is a green mango chutney that is really simple and quick to prepare and tastes delicious. I try to avoid pickles as much as possible because of their oil and salt content but is an impossible thing to keep them at bay especially if you come from an Andhra household. By default, even the kid looks forward for his first course a pickle / chutney. To avoid pickle consumption and also for variety, I resort to instant chutney versions. I mandatorily prepare a chutney most of the days and so keep looking for new ideas. I got this recipe from the same source where I got the lipsmacking mango - cilantro - peanut chutney. This one also tasted equally good.

Ingredients: (yields about a cup of chutney)
1 cup peeled and cubed green mango
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 green chillies (Adjust the quantity. I used Serrano peppers.)
Salt to taste
For tadka:
1 Tbsp oil, 1 tsp urad dal / skinned black gram, 1 tsp mustard seeds, 1 tsp cumin seeds, 2 red chillies, 1/8 tsp turmeric powder, a pinch of asafoetida and few curry leaves

* Coarsely grind the first four ingredients without adding water in a food processor or a blender.
* Heat oil and add urad dal and mustard seeds. When the dal starts turning reddish, add the other tadka ingredients and stir. Turn off the stove after cumin changes a shade darker. Let cool.
* Add the tadka to the ground mango mixture and stir.
* Serve with rice / rotis / Indian style breakfast dishes.

Check what other marathoners are cooking during BM#15..


Saturday, April 28, 2012

Frozen Banana - Peanut Butter - Choco Milkshake

F for Frozen Banana - Peanut Butter - Choco Milkshake

I am still not able to believe that I am posting a milkshake recipe for blogging marathon. That too after contemplating for days about the exotic recipe choices I had that started with alphabet F. I can blame the weather around here for this simple post rather than admitting my procrastination. :) Today, it was as cloudy and gloomy as it can get and there was not even a single ray of sunshine to be seen. In fact, I had to wear my winter jacket when I stepped outside. By the time I returned home, my son who had his usual 7 am breakfast (yes, on weekend too) was scouring the kitchen for a quick snack. Before I fixed the lunch, I offered him a milkshake since it would be a quicker option and would keep him full for sometime. While taking out the frozen bananas, I realised that I could use it for today's BM post. I keep adding different ingredients each time I prepare banana milk shake and it was frozen banana - peanut butter - choco chip milk shake today.
The outside weather was not worth the efforts I had to put in creating a "f" dish today, only to end up with gloomy pictures and so went with this 1 minute, creamy and really yummy milkshake that works as a quick breakfast too. The kid enjoyed it so much that he ended up having a second serving. BTW, don't ask me why I would need a cool milk shake on a freezing day. I knew that the kid at home would not complain any way and wait for a scorching summer day to enjoy his cool beverages. After all, the weather in our parts of the world remains on the cooler side for a major portion of the year.

Ingredients: (2 servings)
2 frozen bananas
1 Tbsp peanut butter (I used smooth)
1 Tbsp chocolate chips
1 cup milk

Blend all the ingredients in a mixer and serve immediately.

1. I just peel and freeze banana chunks when they are over ripe and I see no signs of anyone at home consuming them. This way, bananas are not wasted and I don't need to add ice cubes to milkshakes. I like creamy ones than watery milkshakes and so I don't dilute them with ice cubes. 
2. Actually the choco chips were a last minute addition since they caught my attention lying on the kitchen counter top but they make the drink yummy. If you don't prefer tiny bits of chocolate in your shake then first powder the chocolate chips before blending the other ingredients.
3. This one is mainly for peanut butter lovers as it's flavor is more overpowering here.

Here is another favorite of ours - Banana-almonds-dates milkshake.

Check what other marathoners are cooking during BM#15..


Friday, April 27, 2012

Eggplant Kurma

E for Eggplant Kurma

As a kid, I managed to eat eggplants but it never was a part of my favorites' list. The status hasn't changed much since then but I now dearly relish the spicy eggplant rice dish, vangibhath. Especially my in laws' version since it contains crisp fried eggplants and potatoes. My husband on the other hand is a great fan of the vegetable and whenever he spots eggplants starts picking them and questioning me at the same time what I am going to prepare with the stuff he is buying. 
Last week grocery shopping was no different and we ended up buying a large quantity of eggplants. Even after preparing vangibhath, I was left with about 2 dozens more. I was looking for a gravy curry to go with the jeera rice I prepared today and was also looking for ways to use the eggplants. And so I ended up with this rich and flavorful kurma. The husband was very delighted with the dish and so it appears here. :)

Ingredients: (4 - 6 servings)
1 Tbsp oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
Few curry leaves
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 cup chopped onion (1 big onion)
1 cup chopped tomatoes (2 tomatoes)
2 cups thinly sliced eggplants  (I lengthwise sliced 6 baby eggplants)
Salt to taste
To grind:
2 Tbsp roasted chickpeas / dalia, 10 almonds, 1/2 tsp fennel seeds, 1 tsp poppy seeds, 1 tsp cumin seeds, 2 one inch piece cinnamon, 3 - 4 green chillies, a small piece ginger, 1/4 cup grated, fresh coconut

Eggpant kurma served with jeera rice

Heat oil and add cumin. When they start to brown, add onion, curry leaves and turmeric. Fry onions on low flame until they turn translucent. Next add tomatoes and cook until mushy. Then add eggplants and cook covered on low flame until they are done. Add a few tbsp of water if necessary.
Meanwhile, grind the ingredients mentioned under "to grind" adding little water. Add this paste and salt to the eggplant mixture,  simmer for about 5 minutes.
Serve with plain or flavored rice / rotis.

Check what other marathoners are cooking during BM#15..


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Delicious Dals ~ Dal Tadka / Tadka Dal / Tarka Dal

D for Dal Tadka

(Dal is the Hindi term used for both dried and cooked legumes.)
A meal of dal and rice spells comfort to most Indians regardless of where they have come from. Legumes play a significant role in both vegetarian and non vegetarian homes of India and a simple, nutritious dal is the most essential part of everyday cooking. The variety of legumes used, the cooking techniques applied or the ingredients that go into the preparation may vary regionally but dal is a part of the rich, culinary tradition of Indian sub continent.  
Dal tadka is one such simple, heartwarming legume preparations from the northern parts of India. Chana dal / toor dal / moong cooked until creamy, flavored with a ghee tadka and served with rice / dal sounds so heavenly. 

Ingredients (4 - 6 servings):
1 cup chana dal / yellow split peas (or substitute with toor dal)
1 Tbsp oil / ghee
1 tsp ginger grated
1 tsp cumin seeds
5 - 6 Serrano peppers, sliced lengthwise or any other variety green chillies as needed
A pinch of asafoetida
1/8 tsp turmeric powder
1 onion, chopped fine
2 tomatoes, chopped fine
Salt to taste
Chopped cilantro to garnish
Crisp fried onions to garnish (optional but recommended)
(Use garlic if you prefer it. Some add spice powders too to this dish but I keep it to this basic version which is appealing to both my eyes and tummy.)

* Soak chana dal ahead, for about 1 - 2hours. Cook chana dal in a pressure cooker until the dal reaches break apart stage. You can further whisk it or mash it with the back of a ladle.
* Heat oil in a pan and add ginger. Fry until it turns brown and crisp and then add the cumin seeds. When it starts to brown, add chillies, turmeric and asafoetida. Fry for few seconds, add the onions and keep frying on low flame until it turns translucent. Later add the tomatoes and cook until mushy.
* Add chana dal and salt to the onion - tomato mixture and simmer for a couple of minutes.
* Garnish with cilantro and fried onions.
* Serve with warm rotis / rice.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Chocolate - Walnut Pedas

C for Chocolate - Walnut Pedas

These are no cook, no fuss pedas that were inspired from here. Really perfect ones on festive days or when you have unannounced guests since they can be done in a jiffy with minimal efforts. These delicious pedas were done in about five minutes and we finished them in one go. Check what other marathoners are cooking during BM#15..

Ingredients: (I got about 9 pedas)
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup milk powder
1/2 cup walnuts
6 Marie biscuits
3 Tbsp sugar powder or as preferred
1 - 2 Tbsp milk

Grind finely all the ingredients except milk. Divide the mixture into eight portions. Add milk as needed and shape them into pedas.


Tuesday, April 24, 2012


B for Bisibelebhath ~ BM#15

If I am given a chance to pick my last meal on earth, I would go either with a plate of bisibelebhath or poori - saagu. :) Those two dishes are my absolute favorites and I love them that much. It was an unwritten rule in our home while I was growing up that bisibelebhath had to be a part of my birthday meal. Now I prepare it at least once or twice in a month but surprisingly, it hasn't been featured yet here even after five years of blogging. And so it's time for the bhath recipe now.
Most of the Indians (particularly bloggers) don't need an introduction to bisibelebhath / bisibelehulianna / BBB since it tops the list when one thinks about Karnataka cuisine. The rice- lentil- vegetable mixture is leisurely cooked and then goes in the fresh spice mixture which gives the BBB it's characteristic, special flavor.
If you are looking for other variations, check these posts.
Brown Rice Bisibelehulianna
Cracked Wheat Bisibele Huli
Poha Bisibelehuli
Quinoa Bisibelehuli

The words Bisi-Bele-Bhath literally translates the essence of the dish in a nutshell.
1. Bisi literally means hot in Kannada. The heat referred is in terms of the temperature and not the spice level. (The syllable "Bi" is pronounced as in the word "Bin" while "Si" as in the word "Sin".) 
2. Bhath (not bath) refers to the cooked rice in Hindi and some other Indian languages. Bhath is a term generally used for rice dishes.
3. Now coming to the middle part of the name. I have seen many bloggers who are not familiar with Kannada getting stumped here. I have seen even spellings like bella and billa. :) Though not phonetically correct, somehow the accepted spelling is "Bele". Now the syllable "be" is prounounced as "bay". It is difficult to explain non Indians how to pronounce the syllable le in the word BBB. Le is pronounced as "lay". (Actually English language doesn't have the la sound used here. You kind of roll out your tongue and say it). Here, the la used is the one that comes after the Indian alphabet "ha". Hope it is not too confusing. Now bele refers to the lentils used in the dish.
Bisibelebhath so literally means hot rice - lentil mixture.

Ingredients used:
1. Coming to choice of rice, sona masuri / long grain rice is preferred. Basmati rice is strictly "No". Usually the rice and lentils are used in 2:1 ratio.
2. Beans, potatoes, peas, carrot and chayote are the vegetables commonly used in BBB preparation. Onions and garlic are not used. I have seen bisibelebhath recipes online using okra, eggplants, tindora, drumsticks and even beetroots. They may be good choices for sambhar rice preparation but are definitely weird choices if you are looking for a traditional version of bisibelebhath.
3. Commercial brand spice mix may be used for a short cut version but those including MTRs don't stand a chance before homemade spice mix.

Cooking method:
A pressure cooker may be a time saver but I prefer to cook it in a pot leisurely. It takes around 40 - 45 minutes including the prep time and it is totally worth it. This delicious dish definitely deserves that kind of attention. My mother would take out her large brass pot from the attic to cook BBB but I use a non stick pot so that the rice wouldn't stick to the bottom. Go with a thick bottomed pot or a non stick one and cook leisurely so that you end up with a perfect textured and right flavored bhath.
Some even cook dal and vegetables together and add it to the rice that has been cooked separately.

1 cup rice
1/2 cup lentils / toordal
3 cups chopped vegetables (I used about 20 green beans cut into one inch pieces, 2 carrots, 2 small sized potatoes, 1 small chayote, a handful of frozen peas and 3 plum tomatoes. I added frozen peas at the final stages of cooking.)
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
Salt as needed
1 - 2 Tbsp tamarind puree
To toast and grind:
2 Tbsp chana dal / split yellow peas, 1 Tbsp urad dal / split, skinned black gram, 1 Tbsp coriander seeds, 15 - 20 dried red chillies, 2 one inch pieces of cinnamon, 6 maratha moggu, 2 cloves and 2 - 3 Tbsp grated, dry coconut
For tadka:
2 -3 Tbsp ghee (Be generous with the quantity if you wish.), 2 tsp of mustard seeds, a handful of cashews and curry leaves

* Wash toor dal and rice individually in two exchanges of water and keep aside.
* Add toor dal, turmeric and about 6 cups of water to a non stick pot and bring to boil. Cook on high flame for about 10 minutes.
* In the meanwhile, prepare the veggies. Chop chayote and potatoes into big cubes to avoid them turning into a mush.  
* After lentils are cooked for about 10 minutes, add veggies and rice to the pot and continue to cook. Keep stirring in between and cook until rice and lentils are done. Add extra water as needed. (4 more cups of water may be needed.)
* While the lentil - rice mixture is being cooked, toast the ingredients mentioned under "to toast and grind". You may add a tsp of oil to toast but I usually avoid it. First add chana dal and start toasting. When it starts to change color, add the other ingredients and toast until both chanadal and urad dal turns light brown. Cool the ingredients and powder them along with coconut.
*Add this spice powder, salt and tamarind to the rice - lentil mixture and simmer for about five minutes and turn off the stove.
* Heat ghee in small pan and add the tadka ingredients. When cashews turn golden brown and mustard seeds start to pop, turn off the stove and add it to the cooked bhath and mix well.
* Serve warm with boondi / papad.


Monday, April 23, 2012

Aloo Gobhi in Coconut - Poppy Seed Sauce

About five years ago, Nupur of "one hot stove" had an interesting event named A - Z Indian vegetables. The participants had to come up with a recipe starting with a particular alphabet each week. It was challenging and interesting at the same time, to think about an Indian dish using vegetables. As expected, Nupur proved to be a great host with her informative and engaging roundups each week and I ended up participating in the whole series. Probably that was one of the events I was very fond of and looked forward to, each week. Some alphabet letters do stump you when you are thinking in terms of Indian cuisine but sure we had a blast. When Valli announced the theme of cooking by alphabets during BM#15, I didn't have to think twice and chose it right away. However Srivalli is flexible and so we can go with any course or any cuisine. That means this week, I am going to post recipes in an alphabetical order, starting with "A" today.  
The first post in the series is going to be "Aloo gobhi". When you think of aloo gobhi whether as a dry saute or with sauce clinging to it, it usually is this version. A few years ago, my SIL mentioned about a different kind of aloo gobhi she prepares and I immediately jotted it down since it contained coconut. Potatoes and cauliflower are cooked in a sauce of coconut - poppy seed paste in this recipe. Coconut equals to yummy in my dictionary even though my husband can't stand it. As husband was not around today, I prepared it to go with my rotis at lunch and it was indeed an interesting variation from the regular fare.

1 Tbsp oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/8 tsp turmeric powder
Salt to taste
2 onions, chopped
2 cups boiled potato cubes
2 cups cauliflower florets
To grind: A one inch piece ginger, 1/4 - 1/2 cup grated, fresh coconut, 2 - 3 green chillies and 1 Tbsp poppy seeds

* Heat oil and add cumin seeds. When they start to sizzle and brown, add onions and turmeric powder. Fry them on low flame until they turn translucent. Then add cauliflower florets and cook covered until they turn tender. Add a few Tbsps of water if needed and cook cauliflower but don't let them turn mushy.
* In the mean while, grind the ingredients mentioned under "to grind" adding a little water.
* Add the ground paste, salt and potatoes to the cooked cauliflower mixture. Simmer for about five minutes and turn off the stove.
* Serve them with rotis.

Check what other marathoners are cooking during BM#15.


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Simple Subzis ~ Beets & Carrots with Toordal

The first round of BM#15 ends today and my posts under "accompaniments" theme so far have been
1. Peanut - Roasted Chickpeas Powder
2. Cabbage - Moongdal Curry
3. Eggplant - Tomato - Cilantro Chutney
4. Idli Milagai Podi
5. Beans - Carrot with Sesame Powder
6. Chayote Peels Chutney

And coming to today's post, this is a typical example of everyday simple home cooking from Andhra region. A koora, dry vegetable preparation is mandatory in most of the homes and addition of dals like toor, moong or chana to them is common. This style curry usually does not include coconut / onion in a typical Brahmin household.
Beans, cabbage, snake gourd, beetroot are some of the vegetables where toor dal is added. The dal needs to be cooked until firm before adding to the curry and sauteed for a few minutes.

Ingredients for about 4 servings:
1 beetroot & 2 carrots - peeled and cubed (about 2 cups)
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 cup cooked toordal / lentils
1/4 cup shredded, fresh coconut (Optional but recommended)
1 tsp chili powder
Salt to taste
For tadka: 1 Tbsp oil, 1 tsp each - mustard seeds, Bengal gram / chana dal, skinned, split black gram / urad dal and cumin seeds, few curry leaves

* Heat oil in a pan add the tadka ingredients. When the dals turn reddish, add the chopped carrot, beetroot, turmeric and salt. Stir, cover and cook on low flame until done. Keep stirring in between.
* Meanwhile cook toordal in a saucepan adding water. The dal needs to be cooked but still should hold the shape. It should not turn mushy.
* Add coconut, cooked toordal and chili powder to the cooked veggies. Stir to combine and cook for a couple of minutes more.
* Serve hot with rotis / rice.

Check what other marathoners are cooking during BM#15.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Seemonkaya Thokku Pachadi ~ Chayote Peels Chutney

Most of the times, nothing is wasted in an Indian kitchen and this is a typical example of how frugal it can get. Along with the flesh, sometimes even peels and seeds of fruits and vegetables are put to use and this chutney is such one from my grandma's kitchen. Though ridge gourd peels chutney is the popularly known one, chayote peels chutney also tastes equally good and the next time when you are trashing those chatyote peels, think about this chutney. :) I promise you that you are not going to be disappointed.  Just remember to use clean, tender peels. This chutney is made with peels alone but I added chayote as well since I had only a little quantity of peels. 

1/2 cup chayote squash peels
1/2 cup chayote squash cubes
4 green chillies
Salt to taste
A small piece of tamarind
For tadka: 1 Tbsp oil, 1 Tbsp skinned, split black gram / urad dal, 1 tsp mustard seeds, a pinch of asafoetida and a pinch of fenugreek / methi seeds

Heat oil and add the tadka ingredients. When urad dal start turning reddish, add the green chillies and saute for a few seconds. Then add the chayote cubes & peels and tamarind. Fry on low flame until the chayote turns tender. Turn off the stove and let cool the ingredients. Add the fried ingredients and salt to a blender. Grind it to a coarse paste without adding water.
Serve it with rice & ghee and refrigerate the leftover chutney.

Check what other marathoners are cooking during BM#15.


Friday, April 20, 2012

Beans - Carrot Curry with Sesame Powder

Here is a delicious, carrot - beans dry saute for my "accompaniment" theme of BM#15. This is a typical Andhra style preparation and is a nice variation from the regular rut of coconut / onion based curries.

1 cup stringed and chopped beans
1 cup peeled and cubed carrot
Salt to taste
For tadka:
1 tbsp oil, 1 tsp mustard seeds, 1 tsp cumin seeds, 1 tsp urad dal / split black gram, 1 tsp chana dal, few curry leaves, 1/8 tsp turmeric powder
For sesame seed powder:
1 Tbsp white sesame seeds, 2 Tbsp dry coconut, 4 dried red chillies and 1 tbsp jaggery powder

* Toast sesame seeds and chillies on medium flame until the sesame seeds start to pop. It will take a few seconds to toast sesame seeds and so keep an eye on them. Let cool and grind into a fine powder along with coconut and jaggery.
* Heat oil in a pan and add the tadka ingredients. When dals start turning reddish, add the vegetables, salt and turmeric powder to the pan. Cook covered on low flame until the beans turn tender.
* Add the sesame seed powder to the cooked vegetables, stir well and cook for a couple of minutes more. Turn off the stove and serve the warm curry along with rice / rotis.

Check what other marathoners are cooking during BM#15.


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Idli Milagai Podi

Idli milagai podi is a delicious lentil powder that is a staple in Tamil nadu homes. It is served with idlis / dosas, generously doused with melted ghee. This is my Day 4 post of BM#15 under "accompaniment" theme.

1/2 cup urad dal / skinned black gram
1/4 cup chana dal
2 tsp sesame seeds
12 red dried chillies
Salt to taste
1 Tbsp oil
A generous pinch of asafoetida

Dry roast dals individually until they start to change color.
Toast sesame seeds until they start to pop.
Toast chillies for a few seconds and turn off the stove.
Heat oil and add asafoetida. Turn off the stove. Let cool all the ingredients.
Grind them all together finely and store it in an airtight container.

Check what other marathoners are cooking during BM#15.

Rava idlis served with idli milagai podi and ghee.


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Eggplant - Tomato - Cilantro Chutney

I prepared this chutney one day on a whim and it has become a regular since then. All the flavors of the main ingredients - eggplants, tomatoes and cilantro stand out and together make this chutney lip smacking. This can be served along with rice or Indian breakfast dishes or even for sandwiches.

2 Tbsp oil
1 cup eggplant slices
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 cup cilantro leaves
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
Salt to taste
4 -5 Green chillies
For tadka: 2 tsp oil, 1 tsp mustard seeds, 1 tsp black gram / uraddal, few curry leaves and a pinch of asafoetida

Heat oil and add eggplants, tomatoes, green chillies and turmeric powder. Cook them on low flame until they turn tender. Then add cilantro and salt. Saute until the cilantro leaves wilt and turn off the stove. Let the mixture cool and then grind without adding any water.
Heat 2 tsp oil in a small pan and add the tadka ingredients. When dal turns reddish and mustard seeds start to pop, turn off the stove and add the tadka to the chutney.
Refrigerate the leftover chutney.

Check what other marathoners are cooking during BM#15.


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Cabbage - Moongdal Curry

My post for today under "Accompaniments" theme for BM#15 happens to be this cabbage - moong dal curry. This simple yet yummy preparation is a common one in many south Indian homes, especially in Andhra. Cabbage is sauteed until done and soaked moong dal is added at the end for a protein punch.

4 cups finely chopped cabbage
1/4 cup fresh, shredded coconut (Optional but recommended.)
2 - 3 Tbsp moong dal
Salt to taste
For tadka:
1-2 Tbsp oil
1 tsp each - chana dal, urad dal / skinned, split black gram, cumin seeds, mustard seeds
Few curry leaves
4 - 6 dried red chillies
1/8 tsp turmeric powder

* Soak moong dal in water for about 30 minutes. Drain and keep aside. 10 minutes of soaking is enough if hot water is used.
* Heat oil in a kadai or a pan and add all the tadka ingredients in the order mentioned. When the dals turn reddish, add the cabbage and salt. Cook covered on low flame until the cabbage is done, stirring in between.
* Next add the coconut and soaked moong dal to the cooked cabbage and stir well. Cook for 3 - 4 minutes more and turn off the stove. No need to cook the moong dal further.
* Serve warm with rice / rotis.

Check what other marathoners are cooking during BM#15.


Monday, April 16, 2012

Peanut - Roasted Chickpeas Powder & Carrot - Raisin - Dates Halwa

I am back again with another edition of BM after a relaxed hibernation. I had to take a forced break due to unforeseen reasons after last BM and hence there have been no updates since then. There is going to be some action, at least for the next two weeks because of the marathon. :)
My theme for this week is going to be accompaniments where chutneys, spice powders and dry sautes are allowed. The first one in the series is going to be this simple, versatile and flavorful powder prepared using toasted peanuts and roasted chickpeas / dalia.  These are some of the ways how this delicious podi is used in my kitchen.
1. Sprinkle some ghee and eat it with rice or breakfast dishes such as upma.
2. Adding to vegetable sautes at the final stages of cooking. Or can be used as stuffing for eggplants or other stuffed vegetable preparations.
3. Adding to puffed rice upma at the final stages of cooking for extra flavor.
4. One more idea is to add water to the powder to bring it to chutney consistency and add some mustard seeds - curry leaves tadka. This instant chutney works as a great substitute for the regular version chutney during power cuts.

1/2 cup peanuts
1/2 cup dalia / roasted chickpeas
1/2 cup grated, dry coconut
12 red, dried chillies
Salt to taste

Toast the peanuts on low flame, until they turn golden brown. Add red chillies and fry for a minute. Turn off the stove and let cool the peanuts. Skin the peanuts (and this step is optional).
Grind all the ingredients together finely / coarsely and store it in an airtight container.

Check what other marathoners are cooking during BM#15.

Microwave Carrot - Raisin - Dates Halwa:

This microwave version, sugar free yummy halwa is my entry for this month's Magic Mingle with "Carrot and Raisins" theme.

2 cups grated carrot
1 cup pitted dates
1/2 cup raisins
1 cup milk or as needed to grind the dry fruits
A pinch of cardamom powder
Nuts to garnish

Grind dates and raisins to a fine puree adding milk.
Combine carrot and ground puree in a microwave safe bowl. Cook in the microwave, stirring in between until it comes together, about 12 -1 5 minutes. Add cardamom at the final stage of cooking and mix well.
Garnish with nuts before serving.