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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Neer Dosa - Rice Crêpes

Neer Dosa are Rice Crêpes which are popular in Karnataka in India. 'Neer' literally translates to  water     in 
Tulu. Neer Dosa are made with watered down rice batter, that explains the name. These Dosa could be served for breakfast with coconut or tomato chutney. They could be enjoyed for lunch / dinner too along with your favorite vegetable side dish or for the non-vegetarians it pairs up well with a chicken or fish dish.

I do have to warn you, these Neer Dosa / Crêpes are very addictive.  You can not just have one. Once you taste these beautiful , fluffy and super white crêpes, you seem to lose count of how many you had. Just saying Don't tell me , I did not warn you.   

I learnt to make these Dosa recently from one of my friend from Mangalore. Though the foodie in me always loved eating them whenever I was invited for lunch/dinner at our friends. Now the blogger in me wanted to try these dosa first hand and be able to make them and eat them whenever I desired. Since my hubby and kids love them as much as I do I was ready to make them. Of course it gives me a recipe for my blog as well. 

Those of you who have attempted to make these and were not happy with the results and for those who have never attempted to make them. I would suggest try at least one more time. I was scared myself since the batter is so watery in consistency I wasn't sure whether it would work for me. But if you had an opportunity to taste this delicacy you will be so much in love with them and would love  to try to make them at home.

  • 2 cups Sona Masoori rice
  •  3 1/2 cups water
  • salt to taste
  • oil

Preparation :
  • Wash and Soak the rice in about 4-5 cups of water for 3-4 hours or overnight. Drain the water and grind rice with 1 cup of water in a grinder. Add salt and the remaining 2 1/2 cups water and mix it well. It should be a watery or say butter milk consistency.
  • Now heat a Dosa tava or griddle. Keep it on medium flame. Take a paper towel dipped in oil and just wipe the hot tava with it carefully. ( This prepares your griddle for making the dosa and they do not stick onto them.)  
  • Now take a ladleful of the batter and pour it onto the Tava/griddle. The way I do it is I pour the batter in a circle towards the outer edge of the tava and the batter being of such watery consistency just flows towards the center. Now apply some oil around the dosa. Cover and cook for about 30 secs. Then with a spatula just go around the dosa and gently fold it in half and then another half. They look like pretty lace handkerchiefs.
  • Continue making the the dosa as above. This recipe yields 25 medium size dosa. We enjoyed our dosa with coconut chutney.

Helpful Tips:
  1. Making Neer Dosa with Non- Stick Pan  : Most of my friends who make these Dosa , use a Non-stick pan to make them. A non-stick pan not only makes it easier to make Neer dosa but takes less oil as well. On a Non-stick pan just pour a ladleful of batter and gently rotate the pan using the handle. This ensures the batter is spread  in a circular manner and makes uniform dosa. Apply very little oil all around and  cover and cook for 30 secs. Using a spatula turn into a semi circle and fold again into a triangle. That's it. (I don't own a non-stick - I went a little crazy I must say and tried to be too heath conscious and got rid of all the non-stick cook ware in my kitchen. Its been like 4 years now. Also the non-stick was almost worn out and I thought that was not healthy. )  
  2. Every time you make a dosa just stir and mix  the batter really well. 
  3. Keeping the Tava/Griddle on medium heat is the key. If it gets too hot the dosa might start to stick to the tava. If that happens. Just scrape it off. Adjust the heat and using the paper tower dipped in oil, wipe the tava again. Start over again.
  4. When making the Dosa- the first 2-3 might not be the way you wanted- don't lose heart- it gets better. So just make the first 1-2 dosa small (Use less batter for the first couple dosa / crêpes).  
  5. If you think the batter needs more water feel free to add a little say another 1/4 cup. If its too much water they are hard to make as well.    
  6. It might need practice. I do make fermented dosa (rice and urad dal) and Rava dosa on a regular basis so making this did not seem hard. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Zucchini in Tomato Sauce- Zucchini ki Subzi (No Onion No Garlic)

Zucchini is a beautiful summer vegetable. No wonder you see more of it around this time of the year. One of my friend  has her own backyard vegetable garden. Since she has a green thumb, there is an abundance of Zucchinis, tomatoes, peppers, okra, green beans, cucumbers in her garden. Thanks to her I get all these fresh vegetables. This Zucchini is from her garden. 

This recipe is without onion and garlic. Feel free to use it in this recipe though. I'm just trying to have a few recipes without using onion and garlic. Its not that we have stopped eating it any more. In India there are certain days which are auspicious to the Hindus. On those days they cook without using onion/garlic. Some seem to follow this and some don't - to each his own. As for me I don't really follow it but I would like my blog to be able to cater to a majority of the people.

Also I love experimenting with food and try to have a minimalist approach. Just because I have  so many ingredients(spices) I could use in my Indian cooking I don't really have to use all of them in the same dish- do I. Just a thought.  

Ingredients :
  • 1 medium size Zucchini cubed
  • 2 large tomatoes chopped
  • 2-3 green chilies chopped
  • 6-8 fresh curry leaves
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  •  1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • 1-2 tsp cumin-coriander powder  
  • 3-4 tbsp Olive oil
  • salt to taste

Preparation :

  • Heat oil in a pan or Kadai.  Add mustard seeds. When they splutter, add the curry leaves followed by tomatoes and green chillies. Let it cook on medium heat for about 2 minutes. Next add the dry spices- turmeric, red chili powder, cumin-coriander powder and give it a good stir. Add the chopped Zucchini. Stir it well. Season it with salt. Add about 1/2 cup water. Cover and cook on medium to low flame for about 20- 25 minutes or until  the zucchini is cooked. Check from time to time.
  • Your Zucchini Ki subzi is ready to be served. Serve this delicious Zucchini in tomato sauce with Parathas, Naan or hot phulkas (Roti /chapati). This goes well with plain rice as well.      

Friday, August 17, 2012

NASCAR Cake - Car Racing theme Cake.

I made this cake for my son's 9th birthday. He is into car racing - NASCAR. He follows this sport religiously and Jeff Gordon is his favorite driver. He drives the #24 car. So it's a no brainer whenever I have to bake a cake for his birthday- it has to be car racing theme. Jay's Birthday was on August 12th but just got around to post this today. Well they do say its Better to be late than Never.  

Happy Birthday Jay , Love you !!!

Its a 9" Vanilla Cake torted and filled with buttercream Icing. The Frosting is buttercream as well. I have used the Wilton's #233 grass tip for the grass and the race track is covered with Wilton's Black Sugar Sprinkles.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Rooh Afza and Banana Milkshake

Rooh Afza is a concentrated and sweetened rose syrup which can be added to plain chilled milk and is a great beverage for summer. Kids love this refreshing drink because of its beautiful strawberry pink color. I always have a bottle of Rooh Afza in my pantry.  Rooh Afza literally translates into "Refresh the soul".  Especially during Ramadan lot of people break their fast in the evening with a Rooh Afza drink- It can be added to plain water  and made into a sherbet or can be served as a milkshake.

2 bananas chopped
2 cups milk
2 tbsp Rooh Afza syrup
1 cup ice cubes

Preparation :
Place all the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. This recipe serves 4. 

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Tofu and Vegetable Stir-Fry

I'm always on the lookout for quick, easy and healthy recipes. This recipe is another one in this category. I learnt this recipe from a Vietnamese friend. I did modify it a bit though. I added the heat from the Thai chillies and the red chili sauce. 

Tofu is great source of protein. It has numerous health benefits as well. It does not have any flavor of its own and its rather bland. It takes the flavor of the ingredients its cooked with. I find for beginners its great to cook with Extra firm Tofu as it retains its shape and does not crumble.

  • 1 lb Extra Firm Tofu cubed 
  • 1 large tomato chopped 
  • 1 red onion sliced
  • 2-3 green thai chillies chopped 
  • greens of spring onions chopped
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce 
  • 1/2 tbsp red chili sauce 
  • 1/2 tbsp vinegar 
  • fresh Thai basil leaves 
  • salt to taste 
  • 4-6 tbsp Olive oil 
  • Heat oil in a thick bottomed pan or Kadhai. Add the cubed Tofu and let it shallow fry on medium heat for about 2 minutes(or till it gets golden brown). Now carefully turn the tofu cubes and let them get golden on the other side as well.
  • Add the sliced onion, tomato and green chillies. Next add the soy sauce, vinegar and red chili sauce. Stir it well. Adjust the salt and let it cook for about 2 minutes. Remove from the fire. 
  • Garnish with fresh basil leaves and greens of spring onions. Serve your Tofu and Vegetable Stir -fry with white rice. This recipe serves 4.