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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Broccoli and Cashew Pulao

This I promise is a quick one pot meal. This is an awesome go to recipe when you are either too lazy to cook (happens to me once in a while) or  not motivated enough or have more exciting things to do and looking for some quick fix. 

For me in those days of desperation and many a times time crunch, I always make Pilaf / Pulao. Its a one pot meal and goes well with a side of any Raita (Yogurt dip) or just plain yogurt and some pickle. The last option of course is just ordering pizza and just sitting back and relaxing. I believe life is too short to sweat over little things.    

Today's recipe is Broccoli and Cashew Pulao, so if you are not a big fan of Broccoli  feel free to substitute   it with cauliflower florets. This was made for a quick lunch for me and the biggest broccoli fan (my 5 year old). With the weather warming up I let him play for a while with his school friends after I  pick him up from school. Its such a beautiful feeling to see the kids enjoying the outdoors. Its been  gorgeous weather, these couple days. Don't want to jinx it. So not much time to prepare lunch, I cooked this Pilaf for the very first time and loved it. 


1 cup rice washed and soaked in 2 cups water
2 cups broccoli florets
1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
2-3 green chillies slit lengthwise
handful golden raisins
1/4 cups cashews
1 tsp cumin seeds
2-3 cloves
2-3 black peppercorns
cinnamon stick
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp red chili powder
2 tsp cumin coriander powder
1-2 tbsp chopped Cilantro

In a thick bottomed  sauce pan, heat oil. Add Cumin seeds, when they crackle, add cloves, peppercorns, cinnamon stick. Add ginger garlic paste and let it saute for about a minute. Add the cashews and raisins. When the raisins plump up, add the dry spices and the freshly chopped Cilantro.Next add the broccoli florets and the green chillies. Mix it well. Now add the rice which you had kept aside with the water. Add salt. Give it a good stir, and cook uncovered on medium heat till almost 90% of the water has dried up. Now set the stove to the lowest flame and cook covered for about 5 minutes. Take it off the heat , fluff it well and serve. You could serve this with any raita of your choice or it tastes good as is. This recipe serves 2-3. 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Hokkaido Milk Bread and Rolls With Tangzhong

This is the bread for the month of March we had to bake for the "We Knead to Bake" Bread  Baking  event. 
Until Aparna our fearless leader heading this group announced about this bread, I had never even heard about Hokkaido Milk bread and Tangzhong.

Thanks Aparna for your detailed step by step instructions and ample of tips, It was quite easy to bake this bread. Check out her space here and see for yourself and learn more about Hokkaido Milk bread. Its a popular bread in South Asian bakeries across the world. It has a soft pillowy texture and I can promise you this, once you taste this bread you would want to bake this again and again. That's the Hokkaido Magic !!!

Original Recipe from 65 Degrees Tangzhong "65C Bread Doctor" by Yvonne Chen and adapted from Kirbie's Cravings


For the Tangzhong (Flour-Water Roux)
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup Milk
For the Dough :
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp powdered milk
  • 2 tsp instant dried yeast
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/8 cup cream
  • 1/3 cup tangzhong (Use Half of the tangzhong from above)
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter cut into small pieces softened at room temperature 

Preparation :
  •   Making the Tangzhong (Flour-water Roux): In a saucepan, whisk together flour, water and milk until smooth and there are no lumps. Now place the saucepan on the stove and over medium heat, let the roux cook till it starts thickening. Keep whisking constantly so no lumps form and the roux is smooth. Watch the roux/Tangzhong until you start seeing "lines" forming in the roux/tangzhong as you whisk it. take the pan off the heat. Le the roux/tangzhong cool completely and rest for about 2 to 3 hours at least. It should have the consistency of a soft and creamy creme patisserie. If not using immediately,  transfer the roux to a bowl and cover using plastic wrap. It can be stored in the fridge for about a day.  Discard the Tangzhong after that.  
  • Making the Bread Dough : Making this dough in the food processor makes it much easier as it is a bit sticky and could take some time, and effort to knead it by hand. Put the flour, salt, sugar, powdered milk and instant yeast in a food processor and pulse a coupe times to mix. In another bowl mix milk, cream and tangzhong ( half of the tangzhong which you just made above) till smooth and add to the processor bowl. Run on slow speed until the dough comes together. Add the butter and process till you get a smooth and elastic dough. the dough will look a bit sticky, but kneading it will make it smooth. Form the dough into a ball and place it in a well-oiled bowl turning it so that it is well coated. Cover with a towel and let the dough rise for about 45 minuets to 1 hr or till almost double in volume.   
  • Place the dough on your working surface.I made 1 loaf (7" x 3") and 6 small rolls. I divided the dough into two equal pieces first. Then divided the first half into three equal pieces to make a loaf.  The other half was divided into six equal pieces for six rolls. 
  • Shaping of the portions for the loaf and the rolls is the same : Roll out each portion of the dough with a rolling pin into an oval shape about 1/8" thick. Take one end of the dough from the shorter side of the oval and fold it to the middle of the oval.Take the other end and fold so it slightly overlaps the other fold. (See the Collage in Aparna's blog here.) Roll this folded dough with the rolling pin so the unfolded edges are stretched out to form a rectangle.Roll the rectangle from, one short edge to the other, pinching the edges to seal well. Do this with each of the  larger pieces and place the sealed edges in a well oiled loaf pan. Cover and leave the dough to rose for about 45 minuets to an hour.   
  • I repeated the same process for my rolls. Just before rolling up each rectangle, I added  about 1 tbsp Raspberry Jam in the center carefully brought all the 4 sides together and sealed it to form a roll. Repeat this with the other 5  dough  pieces. Now place them in a well oiled cake Pan. Cover and let it rise for about 45 minutes to an hour.
  • Brush the tops of the rolls and the loaf with milk(or cream) and bake at 325 F (170 C) for about 30 minutes till they are done (beautifully brown on top). Cool for about 5 minutes and then unmould and transfer to a rack till slightly warm.  Enjoy !!!                    

This Recipe makes enough to make One loaf (9" X 5" loaf pan) or Two small loaves (6" X 4") or (7" x 3")  or One mall loaf (6" X 4" ) or (7" X 3" ) and 6 small rolls  

Friday, March 15, 2013

Chole Saag - Chickpeas with Broccoli Rabe

You can call me one sneaky mom when it comes to incorporating not so desirable but highly nutritious  vegetables into my kids favorite dishes.  Broccoli Rabe is a great source of Vitamins A, C and K. Also has Potassium, Calcium and Iron. 

 I have been thinking of creative and delicious ways to cook Broccoli Rabe. Even though it has Broccoli in its name , it is no way related to the Broccoli vegetable. The leaves do surround a cluster of  small buds which resemble small heads of Broccoli.     

 I first heard about this green leafy vegetable on the  Rachael Ray Show and since then haven been waiting for an opportunity to cook it. I must say that its an acquired taste and does have a bitter flavor so I thought of adding it to a classic dish such as Chole Masala / Chickpea Masala would make it at least palatable and appealing to my kids. This trick worked.  Since we all LOVE chole at our house and its requested at least once a week, I was ready to try this beautiful leafy vegetable with my Chole recipe.  I made some Jeera Khulcha (Cumin Flatbread) which complimented my dish so well and my Chickpeas with Broccoli Rabe can now be a regular at my house.

 Here's the recipe from Sadhna Ginde for the Khulchas which I have tried and they were so soft and perfect.   

Ingredients :
  • 1 cup boiled chickpeas /  8 oz can Chickpeas
  • 1/2 bunch Broccoli Rabe chopped (2 1/2 cups)
  • 1 red onion minced
  • 2-3 green chillies minced
  • 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 cup tomato puree
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • 1 tbsp coriander-cumin powder
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice(optional)
  • 1/4 cup cream (optional)
* If you do not find Broccoli Rabe, you can substitute any leafy vegetable of your choice (Spinach , Mustard greens, Collard greens, Escarole etc)

  • Heat oil in a thick bottomed pan. Add cumin seeds. When they splutter, add the ginger-garlic paste. Saute for a minute then add the minced onion. Let it turn golden brown on medium flame. When you no longer get the raw onion smell, its time for the tomato puree and the minced green chillies. Stir it well. Let it cook until the oil  comes up (its an indication that its cooked).
  •  Now add the dry spices (turmeric, red chili powder, cumin-coriander powder and salt). Mix it well. Add the boiled chickpeas. Let it cook covered for about 2-3 minutes. Add the chopped Broccoli Rabe. Mix it well. Cook covered until the Broccoli Rabe is wilted and looks well incorporated. Now add 1/4 cup cream(optional). Let it cook for another couple minutes. Take it off the heat and add freshly squeezed lime juice. Mix it well. Garnish with freshly chopped cilantro.   

Friday, March 8, 2013

Bajre Ki Roti - Indian Flatbread (Pearl Millet)

Bajra / Bajri also known as Pearl Millet is an ancient food grain. India is the largest producer of Pearl Millet according to Wiki. It has numerous health benefits and recently it has gained more popularity because of it being gluten-free. 

Bajre ki Roti is more popular in the state of Rajasthan in India.  Because of its easy accessibility  it is more of a farmers food. Its highly nutritious and filling , so its a great food of choice for the humble farmers who relish these with raw red onion and Lahsun ki chutney(Garlic and Red Chilli Chutney). These could be paired with any vegetable side dish of your choice. Many enjoy them with just ghee and jaggery. Its food that is so simple, humble and yet Divine. A taste of Vibrant and Beautiful Rajasthan with each and every bite of this precious Barje Ki Roti.  

  • 3 cups Bajra Flour /Pearl Millet Flour 
  • warm water
  • salt
  • Ghee/Clarified butter
Preparation :

  • Making the Dough : Add salt to the bajra flour. Now make a little well in the center and add warm water. Mix the flour and water and knead the flour adding water little by little at a time. The moment the dough somewhat comes to together, its done. Do not add any more water. Knead this for a minute.   Divide the dough into 8-9 balls  The texture of this dough is a bit crumbly. Do not panic its going to be alright. I've been there. I saw my mom make these with such ease but when I tried them for the very first time I was panic stricken and I just wanted to quit and never make them again. So it does require a bit of practice. But its still doable if you are attempting these for the very first time. Kneading this Bajra  flour dough is a bit different than our regular wheat flour dough. Since this is gluten free there's  no binding agent in this dough. To make it a bit easier many add some wheat flour to the above recipe. That not only makes it easy to knead the dough but makes it much easier to roll out the Rotis.       
  • Rolling the Rotis:  I have used a 1 gallon Ziploc Bag to make the Rotis. Cut the Ziploc bag on the 3 sides so that it makes 2 sheets. Now making this Bajre ki Roti is easy peasy.   Just flatten a ball of dough between the palms of your hands. Place this between the 2 cut sheets of Ziploc. Using a rolling pin roll gently so that it is about 6 " disc. These Rotis /flatbread are a bit thick. Now carefully remove the top plastic sheet and gently turn the the Roti from the bottom sheet onto your palm. Heat a hot griddle /Tawa. Cook this bajre Ki Roti on medium flame. Once the underside is cooked, turn it over and cook the other side as well. Apply ghee liberally and serve with any vegetable side dish. We enjoyed our Bajre ki Roti with  Aloo Baingan Ki Subzi (Potato and Eggplant Subzi) and Achaar(pickle)    

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Adai Dosa - Rice and Lentil Crêpes

Adai is a healthy protein packed option for breakfast , lunch , dinner or maybe snack. These Dosa/Crêpes are very versatile and can be served with Chutney, Sambhar, Jaggery and even Ketchup.

In fact if truth be known, I heard about the existence of Adai dosa after I was married and learnt how to make them from my MIL. Since its so nutritious and I have a picky eater in my 5 year old kid, this has become a regular now. Though I have to admit I still love my regular dosa (Rice/urad dal), but once in a while I enjoy these Adai as well. My Kids enjoy them with ketchup or Mulaga Podi(chutney powder). Me and my hubby love our chutney. My MIL enjoys her Adai with  jaggery which was a little surprising to me as well. Yes, I wasn't aware of this combination. But believe me it does taste divine, hot adai just off the griddle with jaggery. My FIL loves it with Mulaga Podi.  So there you go everyone is happy.

 If you have some leftover batter just refrigerate it and use it when required. The batter is good for up to 5 days.

  • 1 cup Rice *
  • 1/4 cup Urad dal/Split Black gram
  • 1/4 cup Tuvar/toor/split pigeon peas
  • 1/4 cup Chana dal/Bengal gram dal
  • 1/4 cup Whole green moong/moong bean
  • 1/4 tsp Asafoetida(Hing)
  • 2-3 whole red chilies
  • 1 green chilli
  • 1" ginger
  • salt
  • oil
* I have used Sona masoori rice in this recipe. Sometimes I use Pooni rice too.

  • Wash and Soak the rice and lentils/dal in about 4-5 cups water for 4 hours. Soak the red chilies with it too. Drain the water and grind the rice/lentils coarsely along with the red chilies, green chilli and ginger.  Just add enough water for grinding. The consistency of the batter should be like pancake batter. Now add salt and asafoetida. Mix it well. 
  • Heat a Dosa Tawa or griddle. Keep it on medium heat. Now take a ladleful of the batter and pour  onto the Tawa/griddle. Now using your ladle spread the batter in a circular motion. You can  make the crêpes as thick or thin as you desire. I like mine to be  medium thick. Traditionally they are a little on the  thicker side. Apply some oil around the Adai. When its cooked turn it and let it cook on the other side as well. Continue making the Adai in the same manner. 
  • Your Adai is ready to be served. This recipe yields 16-18 medium size Adai Dosa. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Shalgam Aur Mutter Ki Subzi - Turnip And Peas Subzi

This reminds me of my childhood when mom made this subzi. I couldn't resist buying it on my  visit to the  local produce market. When I saw these fresh turnips I had to buy them. Many a times I'm guilty of impulse buying. But I'm glad I bought these and made Shalgam Aur Mutter Ki Subzi for my family. This gave me an opportunity to share a few memories from my childhood with my kids. Also I made this Subzi in my cast iron skillet and the taste was  phenomenal.


  • 4 medium Turnips(Shalgam) washed , peeled and cubed
  • 1 cup frozen peas 
  • 2-3 green chillies slit lengthwise
  • 1 large tomato chopped
  • 1" ginger grated
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp red chili powder  
  • 1 tbsp Coriander-cumin powder
  • salt to taste
  • oil
For the garnish
  • freshly chopped Cilantro
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice 

Preparation : Heat oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds, when they splutter add ginger ,chopped tomatoes and slit chillies. Fry for about 2 minutes. Then add the dry spices (turmeric, red chilli, coriander-cumin powder, salt). Give it a good stir. Add the cubed turnips. Mix it well. Add about 1/4 cup water and let it cook covered on medium heat till its almost cooked (8-10 minutes).Do check it from time to time and stir it as well. Add the frozen peas and mix it well.  Cook covered till the turnips are fully cooked.(About 4-5 minutes). Take it off the heat and add lime juice. Mix it well. Garnish with freshly chopped Cilantro. Serve with Phulkas ,Roti  or Parathas.  Could be served as a side dish along with dal and rice as well. This recipe serves 4-6. 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Eggless Chocolate Avocado Cake - Vegan Chocolate Avocado Cake

Though I have a few chocolate cake recipes on my blog, I always get requests for recipes of Eggless Cakes. So I'm always on the lookout for new recipes. This recipe which I tried from Joy the baker is a keeper . I loved the cake and the fact that it uses Avocado and unless someone told you wouldn't even know it has avocado. It just so happened that I had a couple Avocados, and I was looking for a cake recipe and this is what I found. This is a great cake for Valentine's Day ! I would even fill and frost it with chocolate ganache. I'm still not too sure about the Avocado butter cream yet. Maybe someday , I might give it a try. Until then enjoy this almost guilt free treat. 


  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 6 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt *
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup mashed avocado( about 1 medium Avocado)
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract

* The recipe calls for 1/2 tsp salt, I cut it by half.   She has used Avocado Butter cream frosting and I have frosted my cake with chocolate butter cream frosting. These are the only changes I have made. 

  • Preheat Oven to 350 degree F . Grease and flour  two  8"or 9"  round pans.
  • In a big bowl Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cocoa together and keep it aside. 
  • In a another bowl add oil, water, the mashed avocado,vinegar and Vanilla extract. Mix it well. Add sugar and whisk it well.
  • Now add the wet mix to the dry and whisk it until smooth. 
  • Pour  the batter into the greased cake pans. Bake for 30-40 minutes until the tooth pick inserted comes out clean. 
  • Allow the cakes to cool for about 15 minutes. Then invert them onto cooling racks to cool completely. 
  • This cake can be enjoyed as is or you could frost and fill it with the icing of your choice. I have used Chocolate butter cream. Joy the Baker has frosted her cake with Alton Brown's Avocado Butter cream frosting.  

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Cinnamon - Ginger and Chocolate Chip Pull-Apart Bread

It was such a beautiful experience to be able to bake this Pull-Apart Bread. This is my entry for January's  "We Knead To Bake" bread event. I was inspired by the enthusiastic, creative and passionate bread bakers of  "We knead to Bake". I'm so proud to be part of this group.    

Now what is  "We knead to Bake" you might ask.  Aparna Balasubramanian who is the author of  the blog - "My Diverse Kitchen" came up with this brilliant idea of getting like minded food bloggers together who needed some kind of motivation to be able to bake bread on a regular basis. So this group was created to share our experiences and  enjoy this process of bread making.  She gave this group a beautiful and fitting name " We Knead to Bake ". 

We are required  to bake one bread a month and this month's theme is "Pull-Apart Loaf".  You can find more details here. She gave us the recipe and we could use any filling of our choice. I have used Cinnamon, Ginger and chocolate Chip filling. I made this bread keeping in mind what my kids would like as its no point baking something and everybody at home cannot enjoy it.  Also I was sure if  I just add chocolate chips to this recipe its guaranteed to be an instant hit with the kids. They were as excited as I was and they couldn't wait to pull this bread apart. LOL ! Thankfully I baked two loaves, as I had a smaller loaf pan. I was extremely pleased by the outcome. I was very nervous to begin with but now I'm hoping to bake more of this delightful pull-apart bread.  Next time though  I want to bake a savory bread for myself and hubby. For the kids I'll bake a sweet version again.   

For the Dough

  • 1/2 cup warm milk
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 2 3/4 to 3 cups All purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 tbsp butter soft at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup milk (+ 2 tbsp to brush over the bread)

 For the Filling
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup Chocolate chips
  • 3 tbsp melted butter 


  • In a bowl dissolve 1 tsp sugar and 2 tsp yeast in 1/2 cup of warm milk. Keep it aside for 5 minutes or until the yeast mixture bubbles up. 
  • I used a food processor to knead the dough but you could knead it by hand as well. In the food processor bowl , take 2 3/4 cups flour , sugar , butter and pulse a few times to mix. Add the yeast mixture and 3/4 cup milk and knead  till you get a soft , smooth and pliable dough. If the dough is sticky sprinkle little flour at a time  until you get a non-sticky dough. (I did add a little  dough as my dough got a little sticky).  
  • Shape the dough into a ball and place it in a well oiled bowl, turning the dough  so that it is coated with the oil as well.  Cover and keep it aside to rise for 1 to   1 1/2 hours till it is almost double in volume. 
  • Lightly dust the work surface with flour. Now deflate the dough and shape it into a square. Next roll it to a 12" X 12" Square. Brush the square with melted butter. Next sprinkle the mixture of brown sugar ,cinnamon and ginger. Now sprinkle your chocolate chips. Use your rolling pin to lightly press your topping onto the dough. 
  • Use a pizza cutter and slice the dough from top to bottom into 6 even strips.(Don't panic, they do not have to be perfect). Now stack each strip on top of the other one by one with the topping facing upwards. You could use the 1st and the last strip and  stack them in the middle so that it looks neater and almost perfect.  
  • Using a sharp knife cut straight down through the stack into 6 equal stacks.  
  • Grease and lightly flour a  9" X 5" loaf pan or in my case I have used two 7" x 3" loaf pans. Layer the square slices cut sides down into the loaf pan(s). Cover the loaf pan (along with the slices) with a towel and keep it aside to rise for 1 hour.
  • Lightly brush the top of the loaf with some milk. Bake at 350 F (180 C) for about 30-40 minutes until the  top is golden brown.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Rava Idli- Steamed and Savory Semolina Cake

This recipe is another favorite of mine as it can be prepared in a jiffy. This is a quick and easy recipe to make Idlis. This requires no soaking,no grinding and no fermenting .No making any preparations ahead of time. This is an excellent goto recipe if you are out of ideas and need something which could be prepared in minutes and everybody would love it at the same time. This could be made for breakfast, lunch , dinner, brunch or just  for snack. Idlis are very versatile in this regard. Just serve them with chutney or ketchup and you are good to go. This can also be packed for school lunches as well or take it to work. They travel so well and if you have leftovers which I doubt  just steam  them in a microwave for 25-30 secs and they are good as freshly made.

In my house my younger one who is five has a  newly acquired love for Idlis and Mulaga Podi (chutney powder). He is  my picky eater. So I keep coming with creative ways for him to enjoy his meals. In these Idlis you could add grated carrots and other veggies as well. Add them towards the end, just before you add the Eno fruit salt. And, yes I love Eno fruit salt. It makes fermenting so easy- Just a matter of seconds and makes our life so easy. 

  • 1 cup Rava/ Sooji / Semolina
  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • 1/2 + 1/4  cup water *
  • 10-12  cashews
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp white urad dal
  • 2 green chillies chopped
  • 2-3 curry leaves
  • pinch of hing (asafoetida)
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • freshly chopped cilantro
  • 1 tsp Eno fruit salt
* First add 1/2 cup water and if the consistency is too thick, add a little bit of water at a time (not more than 1/4 cup though). For my recipe, I used the entire 1/2 cup water  + 1/4 cup water =3/4 cup water. Its always easy to add water but once its added cannot be removed.)


  • Heat oil in a skillet /Kadhai. Add mustard seeds, when they splutter, add urad dal,  followed by curry leaves and cashews. Next add the green chillies. Fry for about 30 seconds. Add Hing and immediately add Rava/Sooji and roast on medium to low flame for about 2 minutes. Transfer it to a bowl and allow it to cool.
  • In the meanwhile get the Idli maker /steamer ready. Add water in the steamer and allow it to boil.  Make sure you add just enough water  and not too much so that it  does not touch the bottom most plate/tray of the Idli maker. Grease the Idli plates/trays.
  • Add yogurt and water to the roasted and seasoned Sooji. Whisk it well. Make sure there are no lumps.  Add freshly chopped Cilantro leaves and salt to taste.
  • Now the Eno fruit salt is added just before you are ready to make the Idlis. Add it to the Idli batter. Mix it well.  Spoon the batter into the rounded moulds of the Idli plates. This recipe yields 12-16 Idlis depending on the size of the Idli plates/trays. Carefully place the Idli stand into the Idli Maker/ Steamer/. Cover and let it steam cook for about 10 minutes.
  • Insert  a knife/tooth pick into the center of the Idli and check if Idlis are done. If the knife /tooth pick comes out clean , they are ready. Take it off the heat. Let it cool. Using a spoon, scoop off the Idli's from the Idli trays and serve. These could be served with your choice of chutney, sambhar or Mulaga Podi (Chutney powder).


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Broccoli Ke Pakode - Broccoli Fritters

On a dull, gloomy and rainy day what's the first thing which comes to your mind,especially if you are a foodie like me - Garma garam pakode(piping hot fritters) with a cup of hot and steaming adrak wali chai (ginger tea). Made these Broccoli fritters and cardamom and ginger tea to make this dull day into somewhat of a happy day.

Ingredients :
  • 1 1/2 cups Besan/chickpea flour/gram flour 
  • 2  1/2 cups broccoli florets (about 20 florets)
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder 
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder 
  • 1/2 tsp amchur powder (dry mango powder) 
  • 1 tsp cumin-coriander powder 
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda (optional) 
  • salt to taste 
  • 1/2 to about 3/4 cup water 
  • Oil for frying 

  • Heat oil in a frying pan/ kadai . Make sure there's enough oil to deep fry these pakoras/pakode/fritters. 
  • In a bowl mix all the above ingredients except broccoli and Oil. Mix it well making sure there are no lumps. Start by adding only 1/2 cup water. You are looking for a thick consistency so that the batter gets evenly coated onto the broccoli florets. Now add the broccoli. Mix it well. Adjust the salt. (If you think the batter its too thick feel free to add just a little water maybe 1 tbsp at a time is a good idea).  
  • To check for oil to be at the right frying temperature .For this take a small piece of bread or maybe a drop of this batter and carefully drop into the oil. If it touches the surface and rises up very quickly, the oil is too hot. Reduce the heat and wait for the oil to get to a lower temperature(heat). If the bread/batter is still at the surface and takes too much time to float then the oil is not hot enough.Increase the heat and do the temperature check again ( I know it sounds a bit primitive , but believe me it works.) Ideally I would say if the bread crumb touches the surface and comes up in about 20-30 seconds, its at the right temperature. 
  • Now very carefully drop a spoonful of this fritter batter into the oil, one a at time. Do not over crowd, Add about 4-5 fritters/pakode at a time. Fry till they are a beautiful golden brown color. Use a slotted spoon to remove them and place it on a plate covered with about 2 layers of paper towels to absorb all the excess oil. Repeat this process until done.
  • Serve these piping hot Broccoli ke Pakode /Broccoli fritters with mint and Cilantro chutney or ketchup. It goes well with steaming hot cup of ginger and cardamom tea. This recipe serves 4(or not ) and you get about 20 medium size fritters.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Khaman Dhokla - Steamed and Savory chickpea flour cake

This is a delicacy of Gujarat. Khaman Dhokla is a snack which could  very well make an awesome breakfast or have it with your evening tea. If you have guests coming over and want to make something which is quick, easy and delicious- think no further , this is the snack you should make. I made this for breakfast today and my kids and hubby loved it. Not to mention I was the most happiest as I  was craving for these for quite some time and today  was able to make them. Now, if you want a piece of this soft, spongy and delicious Khaman Dhokla, what are you waiting for..go ahead make them as soon as you can and enjoy. 

For the Batter:
  • 1 cup besan/chickpea flour/gram flour
  • 1 tsp ginger - green chilli paste
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp Eno fruit salt
  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp oil
For the tempering:
  •  1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds
  • 4-5 curry leaves
  • 3-4 green chillies slit lengthwise.

  • In a bowl mix together chickpea flour, yogurt, water, turmeric, salt, ginger-green chilli paste and oil. Mix it well and make sure there are no lumps. (At this point you are adding all the above Batter ingredients except ENO. - this will be added just before you are ready to steam your Khaman Dhokla.)
  • Heat some water in a pressure cooker or steamer. Grease a deep plate/thali/container which should be able to fit into the pressure cooker/steamer with the lid being covered.  Keep it aside.
  • Now to the above Khaman Dhokla batter,  add the most important ingredient- Eno fruit salt. Mix it well. Eno salt acts as a fermenting(Khaman) agent and instantly ferments the batter. Immediately pour the batter onto the greased  thali. Cover and steam cook for  12 -14 minutes. (If you are using a pressure cooker close the lid without the whistle ). Check if done by inserting a tooth pick or knife in the center of the dhokla. If it comes out clean , then its done. Take it off the heat and let it cool.
  • In the meanwhile heat oil in a small  pan/kadhai. Add the mustard seeds. When they crackle add the sesame seeds. Add the curry leaves and the slit green chillies. Fry it for about half a minute. Take it off the heat and pour it over the Khaman Dhokla.  Garnish with freshly chopped cilantro. Now cut the Dhokla into squares or diamonds. Serve it with green cilantro chutney, tamarind and date chutney or ketchup.   

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Black-eyed Peas with freshly ground spices

It is said that eating black-eyed peas on New Year's Day brings prosperity in the new year. Some believe it brings you good luck. I did make it couple days later. Hoping it still brings me and all my readers some prosperity and good luck. 

  • 2 cups dried Black-eyed peas /Lobiya/Chowli
  • 1 cup tomato puree
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • salt to taste
  • oil
For the freshly ground Spice blend
  • 1 tblsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 4 whole dried red chillies
  • 1/2" cinnamon stick
  • 3 cloves 
Dry roast all the above whole dry spices in a pan.Cool and grind in a food processor until well blended. I like my texture to be a bit coarse. Keep this spice blend aside.

  • Soak the dried black-eyed peas in about 5-6 cups water and keep it over night. If you are pressed for time as I was , I did the quick soak method. I heated 6 cups water in a pan and when it came to a rolling boil, got it off the flame and added the washed dried black eyed peas. Cover and keep this aside for about 30-40 minutes. In the time its soaking I had enough time to make my tomato puree and my spice blend.Now in a pressure cooker add the soaked black-eyed peas with the water. Add salt to taste and turmeric powder. Add 2 cups more water so that the black-eyed peas do not get burnt. Cook for 5-6 whistles or until the Black-eyed peas are tender. Take it off the heat and keep it aside. 
  • Heat oil in a thick bottomed pan or Kadai. Add the tomato puree and let it cook on medium flame for about 3-4 minutes. Stir from time to time. Soon the oil will separate which indicates the puree is cooked. Add your freshly ground spices. Mix it well. Add the cooked Black-eyed peas along with the cooking liquid into the pan. Mix it well. Adjust the salt. (If you are planning to serve this with rice, I do add about 1-2 cups water at this point and then bring it to a boil.) Cover and cook on low heat for about 7-8 minutes. 
  •  Black-eyed peas with freshly ground spices is ready to be served. Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro. Serve it with cumin rice or plain rice. Goes well with hot phulkas/roti/chapati (Indian flat bread) as well. This recipes serves 6-8. If you happen to have leftovers , it tastes just as good. Especially on a cold wintry day, just enjoy a warm bowl of this Spicy black-eyed peas with some chopped red onions, chopped tomatoes, cilantro, and some freshly squeezed lemon juice. 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Badam aur Gajar ki Kheer - Almond & Carrot Kheer

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year.  

What better way to begin the new year other than with this lip-smacking and  delicious dessert !!!   Badam kheer or almond kheer is best enjoyed during winter in India. The consistency is not as thick as Rice Kheer or Semiya Kheer (Seviyan).  You could also call it Badam Milk - Almond and Cardamom infused Milk. Traditionally they use Saffron. It gives it a beautiful color and makes it more exotic. Since I did not have saffron,  I have used  grated carrot for that beautiful color and perhaps making it healthier in the process. 

  • 3 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup almonds(Badam)
  • 1/4 cup grated carrot
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • handful broken cashews
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom powder
  • 1 tbsp Ghee/unsalted butter

 Preparation :
  • Soak the almonds in boiling hot water for about 10-15 minutes and peel them. (Be very careful here as to not burn yourself with the hot water).
  • Next grind the grated carrot and peeled almonds to a paste. Use 1/4 cup milk as well. This makes the grinding much easier. 
  • In a thick bottomed pan /Kadai  melt the ghee and fry the cashews. Next add the almond/carrot paste. Fry on low-medium heat for about a minute. Now add the remaining milk. Bring it to a boil on medium flame. Add sugar and cardamom powder. Let it simmer on low heat for about 6-8 minutes.  
  • Badam aur Gajar Ki Kheer is ready to be served. This could be served warm or chilled. It just tastes divine either way.