Monday, February 29, 2016

Tulasi Rasam - Holy Basil Rasam/Pepper water

A simple rasam and potato curry/Beans parupuusli is my comfort food on any day. Mainly it is very easy to make, secondly it has got so many flavors in it. We say simple rasam but the variety of spices that go into it ginger, garlic, pepper,cumin and mixture of lentils that go into the rasam powder, when this spiced soup is mixed with steaming hot rice with a dollop of ghee, it is an out of the world experience. 
Try rasam when u have cold/flu, you would be blessing the person who made that elixir for you. My hubby always pairs it with narthangai urukai, when he has flu and he would be going on and on about it.
Another plus in Rasam is, it is very versatile, simple pepper rasam, tomato-garlic rasam, horse-gram rasam, coconut milk rasam, jeera rasam and the list goes on. Amma makes a simple rasam called killu milaga thalicha rasam, this vacation i would ask her make it again and blog about it here.
For today, i bring you a herbal rasam, Tulasi rasam/holy basil rasam.  Brings a great relief during aaah, ooh, ouchh days. Try it and let me know how you liked it.
Ingredients
1 tsp Cumin seeds/Jeera
1/2 tbsp tuvar dal/Pigeon pea
2 medium  ripened tomatoes, chopped
1 green chilli
a small piece of ginger
a sprig curry leaf
two fistful of fresh tulsi leaves/Holy basil leaves
1&1/2 heaped tsp Homemade Rasam Powder
Salt to taste
fresh coriander for garnish
juice of half a lemon

Seasoning
1 tsp of oil/ghee
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
a pinch of hing and turmeric powder
a dash of freshly pounded black pepper
Method
  • Soak jeera/cumin seeds and tuvar dal together for 30 minutes.  In a mixer/blender jar, take chopped tomatoes, soaked jeera and dal along with the water, ginger, curry leaves, tulsi leaves, green chili together. Blend smooth by adding 1/2 a cup of water.
  • Take the blended mixture in a saucepan, add rasam powder, salt and another cup of water. Let this cook on a medium flame. Let it boil rapidly for 5-8 minutes for the rawness of the rasam powder to escape.
  • Check the consistency of the rasam, if it is too thick add another 1/2 cup of water, i added. Take it of the stove.
  • In a small tadka pan, heat ghee/oil, splutter mustard seeds, crackle cumin, add hing and a dash of freshly pounded pepper powder.
  • Pour this sizzling tadka over the hot rasam, add lemon juice, garnish with coriander leaves and serve it with hot steaming rice.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Eggless Banana & chocolate chips muffins with chocolate ganache - A Birthday Celebrations, Microwave & Convection Method

We are celebrating our Blogger Buddy, +Srivalli Jetti's Birthday today. We Blogging Marathon Members,  are throwing her a surprise virtual party. 
We decided to cook something delicious from one of her blogs, yup she has 2 blogs Spicing your life and Cooking 4 all seasons. How she manages both, along with a full time work and her family, is still a surprise to us. With all this under her arms, she also manages a bunch of misfits, yup our group, to blog under some adventurous, great, testing themes. I m so happy to be a part of this crazy team of ours!!
Ok, coming to today's recipe, i chose one of her microwave muffins recipe from Cooking 4 all seasons blog. Eggless Banana & chocolate chips muffins. I tried to bake them in both microwave and convection oven. 
I have topped with Chocolate ganache to make it more appealing for my lil ones, they gobbled the cream topped muffins. These are perfect for your kids snack box or as an after school snack.

Ingredients
1 no Philippines banana
3/4 cup milk
1 cup All purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
3 pods of cardamom, crushed
50 grams or 3 tbsp  of butter, melted
150 grams or 2/3 cup of Sweetened Condensed milk
50 grams chopped dark chocolate, i used 85% lindt dark chocolate
For the Chocolate Ganache
50 grams lindt dark chocolate, broken into chunks
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 tsp butter
  • Melt the chocolate in microwave for a minute. Whisk butter into it. To the smooth chocolate add whipping cream little by little and whisk to form a thick cream. Refrigerate until use.

Method
  • Sift together flour, baking powder and soda. Add crushed cardamom and chocolate chunks to it. mix well. In a blender, blend banana and milk to smooth liquid.
  • Cream together condensed milk and butter. Add the banana-milk liquid to this condensed milk &  mix well.
  • To this add the flour mix and using a spatula, mix slowly, in a single direction for the flour and liquid to mix well.
  • Grease and line muffin pans with liner. I have used 12-mini muffin pan and one small bowl to bake these muffins.
  • Drop spoonfuls of batter into each muffin hold. I had about 3-4 tbsp of batter, which i used in a small bowl to bake in the Microwave. 


To Bake in the Microwave
  • Microwave high for 2 minutes, Let it sit for 10 seconds inside the microwave. Take it out, let it cool. Decorate with chocolate ganache and serve. 
  • If baking in the microwave, make sure the batter is a bit loose, not a tight batter. If you scoop the batter using the spoon and drop it, it should drop smooth, easily. Since, microwave absorbs liquid pretty fast,  if the batter is too tight, you might end up with a hard cake. 
To Bake in an Convection Oven
  • Preheat the  oven to 200C. Bake the muffins for 15-18 minutes. mine was done by 16 minutes. Take it off the oven. Let it cool completely on a wire-rack.Pipe some chocolate ganache on top, serve.


  • My kiddo's loved the ganache-topped muffins. My lil one just mopped a muffin clean, as i was clicking, had to make him wait so he can have one more. 

Papad Katori Chat - Street food/Indian Street food/Chat - Microwave version.

I m always nervous while making chaat-street food. My friends laugh at me when i say this. I don't know why, you throw me a tough bread recipe, i would happily accept the challenge and go about it, but chaat, i feel it needs a different magic to make it taste awesome.
Few weeks before i saw this sooper tempting papad katori chat @ +Ruchiskitchen . Ohh it was sooo tempting, i couldn't stop myself from thinking about it. 
Finally i gathered my courage to make it last week and voila loved it!! We prefer mildly spicy chat, so i have adjusted the sesasonings  to suit our taste-buds. But the idea is super awesome-ji!!!  We paired this yumm katori with hot hot chai and loved the combo to the core. Try and let me know how you liked it.

Ingredients
4-5 nos Papad ( i used normal urad dal papad)

For the filling
1 no canned chickpeas (400grams), drained
2 medium onions, chopped fine
2 green capsicums, chopped fine
2 nos cucumbers, peeled & chopped fine
juice of a lemon
Chili powder, Salt, pepper as per taste ( i have used 1/2 tsp chili, 2 pinches of pepper powder)
Chat masala, Boondi/sev for garnish


Method
  • Let us prepare the filling first. Toss together, chickpeas, onions, capsicum and cucumber. Mix well. Adjust and add the seasoning according to your taste. Add the lemon juice, Mix and keep aside until use.
To make the Katori's
  • Keep a flat plate with water and 2-3 paper napkins by side, Dip both the sides of the papad in water, shake off the excess water, place it on the paper napkin, pat dry both the sides.
  • I used two of by ice-cream bowls for shaping like katori. I tore the papad into 2-3 pieces. Place the torn pieces against the wall,covering the bottom of the katori, like a cast inside the papad.
  • Microwave the katori's for 30 seconds. only 30 seconds, if you cook more the papad might stick to the bowl and cannot be removed easily.
  • Once done, take the bowl out, wait for 10 seconds, then slowly remove the papad from the bowl. if it is still wet in the bottom, microwave it again for 30 seconds. Repeat the procedure for the rest of the papads.
To serve
  • Take a Papad katori, fill it up with 3-4 tbsp of filling. Add a dash of chili powder, chat masala, sprinkle some boondi on top and serve.
Sending this to MLLA-92, hosted by +Rafeeda AR, an event conceptualized by Susan, now taken over by Lisa

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Strawberry cinnamon spelt flour bundt cake #BundtBakers

Bundt baking time!!! I so eagerly wait for this every month, not only for the interesting theme, but also to look at the amazing bundt pans, this group has!!! ohh yes, last month after visiting those naughty & nice flavored bundts, i was ready to splurge and buy a handsome looking bundt, thanks to Not in stock labels,on the pans i chose!!! :) Now today again, when i visit them all, i know i m going to be hysterical to buy a new pan before the next bundt bakers!!!
Our host for this month, Lauren of Sew you think you can cook, gave us the theme : Cinnamon. Oh my it is my favorite spice and how can i not choose something razzling, dazzling for this theme. I got some fresh strawberries last week while grocery shopping @ Carrefour. After making this No Bake Poha & Millet Strawberry Tart, i put the rest to good use in this bundt today.  I totally loved the color, though first i thought of using only Bread flour, i had very little spelt flour, which was getting sifted here and there, i used it into this delicious bread. This bread is a perfect breakfast treat, the luscious sweet berries, compliment the cinnamon so well, what i missed was a little chocolate, that would have made it more exotic. Note to self and also my readers: add a handful white/dark chocolate, when you make it again!!!

Ingredients
1.5 cups of Bread flout
1.5 cups of spelt flour
2 tsp instant yeast
1/4 cup brown sugar /white sugar
1/2 tap salt
1/3 cup butter (I used oil)
1 cup milk

Filling
12 nos plump strawberries
3 tbsp sugar
1 tsp corn starch
For making the rolls
1 tsp cinnamon powder
2 tbsp butter @ room temperature
1-2 tsp sugar (optional)

Method
  • Take together both the flours, yeast,  sugar and salt in the food processor bowl. Pulse twice to mix well.
  • Warm milk in the microwave for 40 seconds. Add butter to this warm milk and  mix well. Now slowly add the milk mixture to the flour mix and start kneading the dough.
  • If kneading by hand,  knead around 10-12 minutes to get a smooth, soft dough that doesn't stick to the bowl. Since I kneaded in my processor it took around 5-6 minutes to get a soft dough.
  • Take the dough out of the processor, knead it twice by hands.   Place the kneaded dough in a well-oiled bowl, cover it loosely with a kitchen towel and let it rest in a warm place and rise for about 1 hour to 90 minutes.
  • While the dough is resting  let us make the filling. Chop the strawberries into small pieces. Take it along with sugar, cinnamon and corn starch in a saucepan, cook it in a slow flame, stirring often. About 8-10 minutes, the mixture will start thickening to jam like consistency. Let this cool completely before using it as a filling.
  • Once the dough rises well. Remove it from the bowl,punch it down to remove the excess air.  Divide the dough into 2 portion's.
  • Dust  your work surface with flour,  roll out a portion of dough into a rectangle of size 12 x 11 inches.  No need to measure exactly, just make sure it isn't too thick or thin.
  • Spreadsheet 2 tsp of butter on the rolled out rectangle,  spread 3-4 tbsp of strawberry filling on it. Roll it tightly into a log. Pinch the seams to seal. 
  • Keep a bundt pan greased and dusted with flour ready by the side. I used a small bundt pan and a rectangular tin to bake. I very well knew, my fellas won't wait for me to click it the next day and i had to save my bundt!!!!
  • Cut the roll into 1/2 inch roundels, place them in the bundt pan.  I place 5 rounds at the bottom. 6 roundels around the walls and filled the center with 4 roundels.
  • Repeat the same with other portion of the dough. I got about 9 1-inch roundels. I was left with 1/4 cup of strawberry filling, which we mopped clear for breakfast next day.
  • Let the rolls sit for 30 minutes.  Preheat the oven to 180c. Bake them for 30 minutes. Once done remove the pans from the oven, let it sit for 5 minutes in the pan, then remove them onto a  wire-rack. Let it cool completely.
  • I whipped 1/2 cup cream cheese with 2 tsp of strawberry filling and smothered on top of the bundt.  Slice and enjoy it warm and relish the sweetness of the berries.
#BundtBakers is a group of Bundt loving Bakers who get together once a month to bake Bundts with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all of our lovely Bundts by following our Pinterest Board. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme or ingredient.
Updated links for all of our past events and more information about BundtBakers can be found on ourhomepage.

BundtBakers
You can see all our of lovely Bundts by following our Pinterest board. Updated links for all of our past events and more information about #BundtBakers, can be found on our home page. And don’t forget to take a peek at what other talented bakers have baked this month:

    Sunday, February 14, 2016

    No Bake Poha & Millet Chocolate & Strawberry Cheesecake/Tart

    Ahh Valentine's day, where every corner you turn, you will see something in Red, heart-shaped, starting from red roses to red velvet cakes, heart-shaped cookies to heart shaped cutlets, cute bunnies to red teddies. Sometimes it gets too much, it shuts down the enthusiasm in me to make something special for people at home.  Thank God and my laziness, i made something different today.
    The millet-lover in me kicked in and i made a No bake tart, using poha and barnyard millet, filled it with some strawberry and curd cheese, drizzled generously with chocolate sauce. It tastes out of the world, delicious to the core, accompanied with very little guilt, since the cheese contains a weeny bit of sugar, but when compared to the base ingredients, i m fine with that bit. It feels so good,  to make something wholegrain and beautiful, shunning the usual myth, healthy ain't tasty.  If you are a foodie and love to try new food, then this dessert is definitely for you. All it takes is 10-15 minutes to assemble and rest is all chilling time. Try it and let me know how you like it.

    Ingredients
    1 cup brown poha
    1/2 cup Barnyard millet/Kudiraivali/vrat ka chawal/jhangora
    1/2 cup almonds
    1/2 cup cashewnuts
    3/4 cup grated jaggery
    50 grams Lindt dark chocolate, melted
    chocolate pearls for garnish
    For the filling
    1/2 cup curd cheese/Labneh ( 1/2 cup full fat yogurt strained overnight on a cheesecloth)
    150 grams cream cheese 
    8-10 plump strawberries, pureed
    1/4 cup sugar

    Method
    For the Tart

    • Dry roast poha, barnyard millet, almonds and cashew-nuts separately. Let it cool completely.
    • In a mixer, take poha and barnyard millet together. Powder them both finely. To this fine powder add the nuts and start pulsing. Halfway through, add the jaggery and melted chocolate and pulse again until the mixture clumps together.
    • Transfer the mixture to the tart pan with a removable bottom, press it down tightly. cling-wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 2-3 hours.
    Prepare the filling
    • Take together curd cheese and cream cheese. Whisk until soft and fluffy. To this fluffy cheese, add pureed strawberry. Whisk the mixture smooth.
    • Remove the tart from the refrigerator. Pour the strawberry cheese on top, Tap the pan for the cheese to settle. Cling-wrap and refrigerate for about 4-5 hours for the cheese to set.
    • I have used only half the filling on the tart/cheese-cake. The remaining, i poured in individual glasses and chilled. Both my kiddos enjoyed them as dessert. 
    • After the said time, remove the tart from the refrigerator. Slowly remove the bottom by pushing it from the bottom, the outer ring will slip through your left hand.
    • Remove the tart on to a serving plate, drizzle chocolate sauce, decorate with strawberry and chocolate pearls. Cut and serve.
    NOTES
    The filling doesn't have any stabilising agents like gelatin or agar-agar. It will be like a pudding. If you want a set filling use either gelatin or agar-agar as per your choice.
    The jaggery can also be completed avoided by adding 8-10 dates to the base ingredients.

    Tuesday, February 09, 2016

    Masala Poli - Spicy potato Masala stuffed Poli #BreadBakers

    I was ready with this post almost a month ahead, but i will be the last person to post in our group. Uff!! will i ever learn, nope. When Anshie our host for February, announced the theme Griddle breads, i decided what i m going to make, i even made it for our weekend snack in January, then i completely forgot. The other day i saw the post reminder, and ahhh it struck, i need to draft the post. Since then i m drafting, drafting and drafting!!!
    Okies, masala poli/Spicy potato masala stuffed flat bread is one of the favorite snack from Krishna sweets, we do have a branch here in Karama, dubai, but i m not sure, whether they make this delicacy here. Back home, in Chennai, this is one of the delicious snack we fall head over heels.  It's definitely not for the calorie conscious, since it is made with ghee-oil mix. If you are like me, you would definitely taste it, then run for 30 minutes tomorrow or 60 sun salutations. Oh yes, it is definitely worth it, the taste is to die for. 
    Originally made with All purpose flour, i have used 50-50 all purpose and whole wheat flour for the obvious reason. That definitely affects the texture, mine was a bit flaky while the original would be super soft, melt it mouth. But taste-wise, the best.

    Ingredients
    1 cup All purpose flour
    1 cup Whole wheat flour
    3/4 cup - 1 cup Warm water
    1/2 cup oil
    Salt to taste
    2 generous pinches of turmeric powder
    1 tbsp Gun powder-Idly milagai podi for garnish
    1/4 cup of freshly chopped coriander leaves for garnish
    1/4 cup of oil for making the poli
    The filling
    2 large potatoes
    1/2 cup green peas (i used frozen)
    1 large onion, chopped fine.
    a sprig of curry leaf
    1/2 tsp red chili powder
    1/2 tsp coriander powder
    a pinch of turmeric & hing
    4 tbsp broken cashewnuts
    2 tsp oil
    1/4 tsp mustard seeds 
    salt to taste

    Method
    Make the dough
    • Mix together both the flours in a large bowl, add salt and turmeric powder mix well. Add half the oil to the flour mix and knead to form crumb-like dough.
    • Now slowly add warm water to this and knead a smooth, elastic dough, add the remaining oil in batches while kneading and knead a super soft dough. Let the dough rest covered for 30 minutes.
    Make the filling
    • Peel and cube the potatoes, add enough water for the potatoes to immerse microwave high for 10 minutes for them to cook. you can also cook on stove-top, until soft.
    • Drain the excess water and mash the potatoes well. Heat oil, splutter mustard seeds, broken cashews, hing, curry leaf. Next add onion and saute until translucent. Now add the mashed potatoes and peas to it. Add red chili powder, coriander powder, turmeric and salt.
    • Cover and cook in simmer flame for 8-10 minutes for the flavors to mingle and the rawness to escape. Take it off the heat and let it cool completely.
    To make the poli
    • Divide the dough into 7-8 portions. Divide the filling into ping-pong size balls. There might be some filling leftover, its  fine, they can be made into sandwiches. 
    • It is usually made on banana leaf and cooked, since i couldn't find one, i used my steel plate with little grease on it.
    • Grease your plate or use a ziploc cover, take a ball of dough, grease your hands with little oil, pat the dough to make a disc.keep a ping-pong sized filling in the middle, pat it little to make it flat.
    • Bring the edges of the dough together , covering the filling. drizzle a tsp of oil on top, pat it flat into thin disc. Since i have used wheat flour- all purpose flour mix, you won't get it very thin, If using All purpose flour alone, you can stretch it pretty thin. add a dash of gun powder and a dash of coriander leave pat again, 
    • Heat a griddle, once the heat is high, reduce the flame to simmer,  carefully remove the patted poli on to the hot griddle, drizzle with ghee/oil and cook both the sides until done. it takes around 1 minute to cook oneside. Be patient, don't burn the bread. Once done, remove it on to a flat plate.
    • Repeat the same with rest of the dough. Serve warm. This bread doesn't need any accompaniments, if you insist, i might serve it along minty yogurt, to balance the flavors.

    #BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.

    If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to foodlustpeoplelove@gmail.com
    BreadBakers


    Griddle Breads 

      Monday, February 01, 2016

      Leftover Rice Breakfast bowl/Pazhaya saadam with Curd

      Breakfast the big meal of the day, the necessity of which is stressed pretty often these days. Everyday we see so many posts/pics on the social media on breakfast. smoothie bowls, overnight oats, idly/dosa, breads with n number of spreads.  I m not an oats person, i have told this many times in this blog, it never fills me up and makes my tummy upset.  It is either regular idly/dosa or poha or else a glassful of smoothie with nuts. 
      When i ask amma about what they used to have for breakfast, she says "we never see idly/dosa or even coffee those days". They usually, get up early, help her mother in kitchen, then go to nearby river, bathe and wash clothes and come back home, eat the leftover rice with curd and pickle and walk 2-3 kms to school.  It is the same with my appa too. Though appa was allowed to drink coffee, but my mom since she is a girl, they were not encouraged to drink coffee everyday, not for any health reasons, incase their inlaw's place doesn't have such habit, she might feel bad or if she drink too much coffee, they might talk bad about her upbringing!! hmmm, so many restrictions, but they learned many good eating habits and one such is this breakfast of leftover rice. 
      Me and my cousins used to have this breakfast often,  while staying with our aunt during my working days, not with all the garnishes though. If any leftover rice, it should be eaten for breakfast and never to be thrown out, she would give us left and right if we ever waste food.  Though we used to fume for her strict rules, but now when i think about it, i actually thank her for teaching us more good habits. It was her way of talking that hurt us and not her lesson. 
      As i told in my ellorai post, there is a tradition of eating leftover rice along with curd or leftover curry the next day of Pongal, i.e. Kanu pongal. This year, kanu pongal, this is how i had my breakfast, little rice and lots of fresh veggies as garnish. You can even have it with some fresh fruits, like pomegranate, mangoes, grapes etc. 
      Ingredients
      1/4 cup leftover rice
      1/2 cup buttermilk

      For garnish
      1/2 a carrot, shredded
      1/2 a cucumber, cut into thin rounds
      2-3 tbsp of shredded green mango
      1 small mango ginger, peeled and shredded
      1 small onion, chopped fine
      salt to taste
      a generous pinch of hing

      Method
      • The previous night, before going to sleep, take rice in a stainless steel or a clay bowl. Pour buttermilk over it, it has to immerse the rice completely. Cover and leave it on the counter for a good 6-8 hours. The climate is pretty good these days, even during sunny days, we leave it outside, no need to refrigerate.
      • Next day morning, just add salt and hing to the soaking rice, mix well. Garnish with shredded carrots, cucumbers, raw mango, mango ginger etc and mop it clean!!! Don't forget to instagram and FB it!!! ;)
      • Filling, healthy and an energetic breakfast that will definitely keep you filled till your lunch and not to forget the nutritional boost that comes free with it.
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