April 20, 2009

Samosa Chaat, Baby Butter Beans-Potato-Cilantro Kurma, Menasina Saaru/Pepper Soup

I am on blog break, see you all as soon as I can! :)

Samosa Chaat, goes to Pallavi's "Sunday Snacks-Chaats/Indian street food" event.

Baby Butter Beans-Potato-Cilantro Kurma, goes to Cilantro's "JFI-Cilantro", an event started by Indira.

Samosa Chaat and Menasina Saaru, both go to Mahimaa's "15 minute cooking". If you have store bought Samosas and sauces already, it takes literally 10mins to whip up this delicious Chaat and Soup is the easiest to make as well.

Menasina Saaru/Pepper soup, goes to Trupti's "Comfort Food for illness" event.

Thanks to all of you, enjoy! :)

Samosa Chaat:
Who doesn't love to eat Samosas dipped in sweet and spicy chutney? Why not make the yummy Samosas into yummier Chaat? I know most of you have tried this Samosa chaat and posted it too. I had some leftover Aloo masala, so I thought of making quick Samosas and turn this into Chaat. Loved it. Since I had visited Indian store last weekend, I had all the goodies needed like Farsan/sev, bottled sweet and hot chutney, Chaat masala packet etc to go with it.
I make Samosas with Tortillas or Egg roll wrappers, sometimes I make the traditional samosa dough with atta. I have linked few sites for you to watch how to make or fold Samosas and chutney recipes to save me some time from typing those too! ;D

To make Samosa: (or use store bought Samosas and sauces for quicker Chaat!)
Take 3 large cooked Potatoes, mash it well. Add salt, chilli pd, 1 tbsp coriander pd, 2 tsp cumin seeds pd, 2 tbsp minced onion, 2 tsp grated ginger, 1 tsp garam Masala, 2 tsp Lemon juice, mix well and keep aside. Watch this video to see how to make Samosas.
Take atta dough (wheat flour, salt and 2 tbsp oil, knead with water to a firm dough) (I used Egg or Spring roll wrapper), roll out and cut into half moon shape, make a cone and stuff few tbsps of Potato masala, cover and secure the edges with plain flour+water paste to seal the Samosas. Deep fry these until golden and drain them on paper towel.
To make Chaat with Samosas:
You need to chop 1 large tomato, 1 sweet Onion, 4 tbsp Cilantro, 1/4 cup each of Sweet Tamarind chutney and hot green chutney and Plain Yogurt, some Chaat masala and Sev (thin chickpea flour fried snacks) and keep them ready.
To serve:
Break 1 or 2(if they are small size) Samosas into may be 4 to 5 big pieces and place them on a plate. Sprinkle some Tomato pieces, Onion pieces, as much green chutney and sweet chutney and yogurt as you want, some chopped Cilantro, 1/2 tsp Chaat masala and finally some thin Sev on top of the Samosas.
Serve immediately. I could eat 2 plates of those in one go! ;D

Baby Lima or Butter beans,potato and Cilantro Kurma:

You need:
2-3 cups of baby Lima or Butter beans, (I used frozen pack), 1 Potato, peeled and cubed, Salt, 1 tsp butter (optional, tastes great if you add it).
1 tbsp oil, 1 small onion, minced.
To grind:
2 garlic, 1" ginger, 4 tbsp fresh or dry Coconut, 2 tsp Poppy seeds, 2 tbsp Yogurt, 3 cloves, 1" Cinnamon, 1/2 cup packed Cilantro leaves (don't use it's stem which has powerful flavor and aroma, bit too much for this dish), few curry leaves, 2 or more green chillies.

To make Kurma:
1. Thaw the beans and cook with cubed potatoes with half a cup of water in the microwave for about 7mins, set aside.
2. Grind the masala until smooth with very little water.
3. Heat oil in a non-stick pan, add and fry minced onion until soft. Add the ground masala and yogurt, saute until raw smell goes and it leaves the side of the pan.
4. Now, add the cooked beans and potato, mix well. Simmer for 3 mins.

Add a dab of butter if you like, mix and serve with Parathas. Tastes better the next day!
My grandma's comforting cold remedy, Menasina Saaru/Pepper soup!
Trupti is not feeling well, suffering from flu and cold. So she is asked us to send her few comfort food to her which we can cook quickly and helps to feel us better. I don't know or make many home remedies like my grand mother makes at her home but this Menasina saaru seems to be the only one I like to make when I have cold, love it. Freshly crushed pepper seems to open your blocked sinuses quicker than (although temporarily) any Vicks Vaporub!:D

Another remedial drink I vaguely remember that she used to make is ginger and honey juice for Stomach ache or for something like that, I am not sure. I had seen my grandfather drinking it often whenever we visit them during Summer holidays. Anyway, here is my fave dadima's Nushka, Karnataka style! ;D

You need these to make the soup:
1. Heat 1 tsp oil and 1 tsp ghee in a deep pan. Add 2-4 garlic finely chopped and few curry leaves to it.
2. Crush 1 tsp Cumin seeds and 2 tsp Pepper corns coarsely and add to this oil. Let them all sizzle gently. Don't let the garlic burn but very slightly golden on the edges.
3. Mix 1 1/2 tsp (or more if you want it very tangy) Tamarind paste (I use Laxmi brand natural Tamarind concentrate which has nice reddish color which I love than darker Tam paste and paste easy to use too) in 2-3 cups of water well.
4. Add this to the pan with salt, bring it to rolling boil for 2 mins or until the raw smell of Tamarind goes and soup smell good. Adjust the salt and add more crushed pepper if you want.
5. Drink this when you have cold, you feel the relief immediately to make you feel better although it doesn't cure your cold. Tastes great with rice too or just as a warm drink on a cold day.
You can add some cilantro to it too, always optional. That's it for this week.

Feel better soon Trupti, hugs to you.

We had a wonderful weekend, very hot weather. Have a great Summer, see you all later in the Fall! :)

April 13, 2009

Spring Onion, Bacon and Cheddar Bread, Kasutera-Japanese Honey Cake

Spring onion, Bacon and Cheddar bread, goes to Cindystar who is guest hosting "Bread baking Day #19-Spring Country bread", an event started by Zorra.

Kasutera, a Japanese Honey cake,
goes to Lavanya's "A.W.E.D.-Japan", an event started by DK.

Thanks to all of you ladies, enjoy hosting.

Cheesy Scallion Bacon bread, a savory loaf makes an excellent addition to any picnic or get together at home. Sliced and toasted bread is great for breakfast or to serve as colorful appetizers like finger food topped with Tapenade or cream cheese. With green onions, Bacon, Cheddar and chilli flakes added, it gives little zest to the bread and makes it festive as well.

Vegetarians can skip the Bacon and bake it with Spring onion, grated carrots, Bell peppers etc along with any cheese you like.
Just make sure that veggies you use don't get watery when baked, roast the veggies before adding.

Spring Onion, Bacon and Cheddar Cheese bread, ready for picnic, got a basket?!

This recipe adapted by 'Totally Teabreads" by Albright and Weiner. Hope you try it!

You need:

Large loaf pan 9" by 5" by 3", brushed with butter or sprayed with no-stick oil inside.

Preheat the oven to 350F.

To saute:
1/2 cup Butter, 1 cup Green onion/Scallions, finely chopped including tender green and white parts. 4-5 Bacon finely chopped or you can use 3 tbsp bottled real Bacon bits.
Dry ingredients:
2 3/4 cup Plain flour, 1 tbsp sugar, 2 tsp Baking powder, 1/2 tsp Baking soda, 3/4 tsp salt, 1/8 tsp of Pepper or red chilli flakes, 1 tsp Garlic powder, 1/4 tsp mixed herbs, mix all these first. Then add 1 cup grated Cheddar cheese and stir in to mix.
Liquid ingredients:
1 cup Buttermilk, 1/2 cup water, 2 large eggs. Beat these two and keep aside.
To top:
1 tbsp Bacon bits to sprinkle on top of the batter.

To bake:
1. Add butter to the pan, heat and add green onions and Bacon, saute until just soft for 2-3 mins. Take off the heat.
2. Mix all the dry ingredients, add butter-onion-Bacon to this, mix well. Add liquid ingredients, mix well again until you don't see any white flour. You can use the lowest speed beater to mix in the stand mixer as well.

3. Scrape the thick batter to the loaf pan, tap it gently to release the air and sprinkle 1 tbsp reserved bacon bits on top of the batter. Put it in the oven.
4. Bake for 50 to 60 mins or until the cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Take out of the oven, let it cool in the pan for 6-7 mins and then invert it on the rack to cool.
4. Slice and serve warm or toasted with butter or on the side with soup or pack the slices for picnic! Enjoy! :)

Kasutera is a spongy, eggy Japanese Honey cake which is not very sweet or naturally sweet with honey, hence do not need icing. Without adding any kind of essence, it has a wonderful aroma of honey and with just a dusting of confectioner's sugar on top, not too sweet either which is how I like my desserts!
This recipe is adapted from a 'Learn to cook' book series called "Japanese Homestyle Dishes". Usually, I don't cook any Japanese food at home or interested in trying either. I ran...well...drove to the library, borrowed this book. Kasutera sounded and looked good, so glad I tried it! I read that it's a popular dessert cake in Nagasaki, Japan, originally brought to Japan by Portuguese.

You Need:
5 large Eggs, 2/3rd cup Powdered sugar, 1/4 cup Honey, 1 tsp Baking powder, 1 cup All purpose flour or Cake flour. (9" by 9" cake pan, lined with parchment paper and sprayed with no-stick oil or butter.
(You can add 1 tsp of essence of your choice like Orange or Lemon, but recipe didn't say and I didn't add any either, loved the natural honey taste and aroma!)

For dusting: 1/4 cup extra powdered sugar for dusting the cake on top. You can even dust it with cocoa powder for contrast.

To bake the cake:

Preheat the oven at 350F.

1. In a mixer with whisk attachment, add 5 Eggs and beat until frothy.
2. Add in the Honey and powdered sugar, beat this mix for 10 to 12 mins, until it's thick, pale in color and beater leaves a ribbon when lifted.

(This 2nd step is very important to keep the cake fluffy and bake high, so do beat well until you see the trail of ribbon with the batter before adding the flour etc)

3. Now, add the baking powder and flour gradually, mix and fold or beat on low speed gently just until flour is well incorporated.
4. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 25 to 30 mins or until skewer when tested in the center of the cake comes out clean. Don't bake too much.
5. Invert on a cooler, peel off the parchment paper.
6. When completely cooled, dust the top with powdered sugar and cut into slices to serve.

Enjoy and see you all later! :)

April 6, 2009

Clicking Spring Mint and Garlic Chives, Egg Jalfrezi, Brown Rice and Besan Uttappa

My Spring Mint and Garlic Chives, goes to Bee and Jai's "Click-Spring/Autumn" event.

Egg Jalfrezi, goes to Sudeshna's "Eggs" event who is celebrating her first blog anniversary.

Brown Rice, Besan/Chickpea flour and Carrot Uttappa, goes to Trupti who is guest hosting "Cooking for Kids-Rice" event, which is started by Sharmi.

Thanks to all of you ladies, enjoy my 150th post at Aroma! :)

Spring Mint and Garlic Chives from my backyard!
Mint and Garlic Chives

Camera: Sony Cyber-Shot 8.1pxl in Macro mode.

Beautiful Spring Tulips which I clicked without the home owner's permission while driving to the next city! I saw these Tulips in their front yard, one of my favorite flowers of all, stopped the car, took the photo and ran back to the car with a lightening speed!! :D

Spring Tulips
About Jalfrezi:
Wikipedia says "The jalfrezi dates from the times of the British Raj when it was created as a way of using leftover meat; the chillies helped to disguise any disagreeable taste. The name comes indirectly from Bengali jhāl, spicy food, and Urdu parhezī, suitable for a diet"

Egg Jalfrezi:

Jalfrezi is a tasty sweet and spicy concoction of Bell Peppers, Tomato and Onion. You can add any vegetable of your choice or mixed veggies, meat or hard boiled Eggs into this thickish gravy.
There are many ways to make the Jalfrezi, here is my milder version since my kids like milder and sweeter sauce than spicy. You can add green chillies if you like, gives it a nice heat. I added red bell peppers for sweetness and color.

How to make Egg Jalfrezi my way!
Hard boil 6 eggs in water for 15mins, take off the heat, pour out the hot water and add cold water. This makes the Egg shells peel easy after they are cold. Peel the shells, cut the eggs 1/2 way to the center but do not cut it thru' to split them into half.

1. Heat 1 tbsp oil + 2 tsp Butter, add 1tsp Cumin seeds. When they turn reddish, add 1" grated fresh Ginger, saute for 2 mins.
2. Add 2 medium sized thinly sliced onions, saute for 3 mins, until they are soft. Add 2 large red Bell peppers, sliced into the sauce, stir fry for 3 mins, until they wilt a bit and soften.
2. Now, add 2-3 Plum Tomatoes, sliced to the pan, stir again and let it cook and oil shows on top a little, sauce leaves the sides of the pan.
3. Now, add enough salt, 1/4 or more tsp Chilli pd or Paprika (you can add green chillies too), 1/2 tsp Sugar, 1 1/2 tsp Coriander powder, 1/2 tsp good quality Garam masala pd, homemade is better. Mix well and add 3/4 cup water and 1 tbsp cream or full cream milk (optional). Simmer for 5 mins.
4. Take off the heat, adjust the salt and chilli pd. Sprinkle 3 tbsp chopped Cilantro.

Serve with Lemon slices and cooked Basmati rice.

In Karnataka or in Kannada, we call Uttappam as Uttappa, although method of making these is always the same. You use the usual Dosa or Idli batter, soured overnight to use the next day and adding onion, Tomato, chillies etc on top to make Uttappa like this recipe I posted long time ago at my Foodie's Hope blog. They are usually served with chutney or Sambhar, a thick dal dip.

For this event which we are cooking for kids, I came up with these trying to make it little healthier adding Brown rice, Carrots and Besan. Since we are mixing protein packed Besan which is Chickpea flour to finely ground rice, there is no need to ferment this Uttappa batter, go ahead and make them after few hrs of grinding rice.

Quick to make and kids love them too if you add Carrots and green peppers to make them colorful. Instead of chutney, added ghee and sprinkled my homemade Chutney pudi which is a coarsely ground mixed dal powder with spices. My chutney pudi is not very spicy but adds great color and nutrition to Uttappa. Here is my version of Uttappa, enjoy! :)

Brown Rice, Besan and Carrot masala Uttappa, topped with ghee and chutney pudi:
Looks like Pizza, isn't it? Great to serve to kids and adults alike. Brown rice has lot of fiber retained than the regular white rice and Besan and Carrots gives this pancake a pinkish hue which kids usually dig! :)

To make Uttappa:
1. Soak 1 1/2 cup Brown rice overnight or for at least for 3-4 hrs in water. Drain the water, add to a mixer. Grind it with 2 cups of water until it's smooth to touch or finely ground. Add 3 tbsp Besan to the rice batter, blend just until well mixed.
2. Take the batter in to a bowl, add enough salt, 1/2 cup finely grated Carrots, 2 tbsp chopped Cilantro, few chopped curry leaves, 1/2" grated Ginger, 1 tsp Cumin seeds powder, 1/4 tsp chilli pd or green chillies chopped (Skip both if your kids can't handle the heat), finely chopped 4 tbsp onion, mix well. Keep it aside for 15mins.
3. Heat a non-stick griddle, pour a ladleful of batter, drizzle few drops of oil on top. Let it cook until the bottom is golden, flip it to cook the other side.
4. As soon as you take the pancake or Uttappa on to plate, brush some ghee on top, sprinkle a tsp of Chutney pudi on top evenly and serve immediately.

There you are! Nutritious and tasty South Indian Pancake/Crepe/Uttappa! :)