Sunday, September 15, 2019

Meal plan for September 3rd week

Meal planning, something i have been doing from last year. I feel less tensed when i have a plan chartered to sail through the busy mornings. Also at the same time, meal planning saves a lot in grocery shopping. You will not buy anything unnecessary. I usualy buy the grocery and then plan the meals, so it is easy for me to work with whatever i have at home.
I mostly cook Indian food at home with occassional treats of pizza/noodles for the kids. So my meal plan will be mostly rice/dal/sambar/rasam with roti/dal/paneer and legumes.

I try to make a balanced meal at home, but that doesn't mean it is boring. Sandwich/burgers with cheese and veggies at home is lot more healthier than the store-bought. Homemade pizzas tastes equally better than the store ones. It is about the choice you make, we made a choice of less processed, less take-aways or eatouts, though we still eat out, but it has redued drastically.
Here is the simple meal plan i have chartered for ourselves this week, hope you find it useful.

Tuesday, September 03, 2019

Varagu Arisi Adai/Kodomillet and lentils dosa/pancake, Dinner ideas with Millets

Adai, thick pancake, dosai made in many southindian households. Adai-Aviyal is a famous combo, you can find it in many restaurants during weekends or any specific weekday. Traditionally made with rice and lentils, now we have adai with every grain we find, quinoa, oats, millets, red rice, black rice, this rice and that rice. 
So, me too bringing you this millet adai, using kodo millet. I already have a mixed millets adai in the blog, i love adai for many reasons, it is easy to make, no fermentation required,a grind and pour kind of dosa/pancake, less soaking time and make it thin, serve for breakfast, a little thick for lunch/dinner.
This varagu arisi/Kodo millet adai is  easiest way to feed millets to your people, incase they dont like the taste or texture of it and also, it is lighter on tummy. The recipe is relatively simple, just soak all the ingredients for the varagu arisi adai together. Let is sit for 3-4 hours minimum, then grind and pour immediately.  i usually soak them overnight, so the breakfast tension is sorted for me during busy days.
Any leftover Varagu arisi adai batter can be stored in the fridge and used for a day. The below ingredients will result only batter that will be enough for a 4 member family. 

1 cup varagu/kodomillet
1/4 cup chana dal
1/4 cup toor dal
1/4 moong dal
1/4 masoor dal
4-5 nos red chilies
handful of curry leaves & coriander leaves
1/2 tsp shredded ginger
1/2 tsp salt or to taste
  • Wash and soak the millet and the lentils together for 4 hours minimum. I usually soak them around lunch 2 pm for 8pm dinnner. I grind it around 7 pm and rest it for 30 minutes before making it for dinner.
  • After the minimum 4 hours of soaking time, drain the excess water, take the contents into a mixer jar along with red chilies, curry and coriander leves, ginger and grind it to a batter.  It usually needs around 1/2 - 3/4 cup of water to grind well.
  • Remove the batter to another vessel, add salt and mix well. Check the consistency, it should ne little thick like idly batter. Some might prefer the adai batter to dosa batter consistency. If yes, then add aother 1/4 cup of water to it and mix well.
  • Let the batter rest for 30 minutes for the spices to mingle well. Heat a dosa pan, i use my cast iron tava for my dosa/adai.
  • Keep the flame medium, add a tsp of gingely oil to the tava, spread it well and wipe it off with a tissue or a cloth.
  • Pour a ladleful of batter in the center of the tava and spread it using the back of the ladle in circular motion. I usually prefer my adai thin that its usual thickness.
  • Make a hole in the center of the adai, this ensures even cooking of the adai, dot the edges with gingely oil, once the edges turn brown, flip the adai to the other side and cook for another  minute.
  • Serve hot with jaggery/aviyal, i served mine with jaggery and coriander thokku.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Malabar vellari Araichuvita kootu/Indian cucumber dal with freshly ground masala

Today' post is special, yes it is the 100th edition of our Blogging Marathon family. What started as a casual blogging activity to keep ourselves regular with our blog has now become a part of us. For many like me, without BM, we might not be posting regular with varied and interesting themes. Thanks to Valli for keeping us together with so many challenging and fabulous themes which made us move from our comfort zone and tryout many different cuisines and dishes, which otherwise would still be sleeping in our Bookmarked folders. 
Coming to today's post, for the next 3 days i will be blogging under the theme: pick a alphabet and make 3 dishes. I chose 'M', nothing special, as i had a post ready already. Today's post is a simple day to dish that happens in my house almost once a week. 
A simple kootu, with freshly made masala. I usually make kootu with my kootu powder, but there are times i run out of kootu podi or we want a different taste for our kootu. This is my go to recipe. Simple spices and some fresh coconut, you have a finger-licking side for your rice. I serve this kootu, with roti also, both my kiddos like the fresh taste the ground masala brings to this dish. Do try this recipe and let me know how you like it.
180 grams of malabar vellari, chopped into cubes, approximately 1 cup 
1 medium sized tomato, chopped
1/4 cup of masoor dal
1/4 cup moong dal
1-2 tsp coconut oil/any cooking oil
2 red chilies
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp tumeric powder
3/4 tsp salt or to taste

To grind to a paste
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp black peppercorns
2 tsp coriander seeds
1 green chilli
1/3 cup fresly grated coconut

1 tsp oil
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
1 red chili (optional)
1 tsp urad dal
  • Prepare your vegetables first. I usually use a medium sized malabar vellari for 2-3 days, i divided it into 3 and use it for 3 times/days. The above measurement will get you roughly a cup of chopped vellari cubes. Wash and chop the tomatoes. Wash the lentils in water, drain and keep aside. Take the ingredients given under grind to paste in a mixer jar and add 2-3 tbsp of water and grind it to a fine paste.
  • In a pressure cooker, heat oil,when it is hot, splutter mustard seeds, add the red chilies, immediately add the chopped vellari cubes and tomatoes to this and saute for a minute.
  • Next add the drained dal to this and saute for a minute. Next add the ground paste to this, i add 1/4 cup of water to the mixer jar and add that water too to the pressure cooker. Mix it all together well.
  • Add 1&1/4 cup of water to this and mix. Add salt and turmeric powder. Mix well. 
  • When this mixture begins to boil, close the lid of the pressure cooker and let this cook fo 4-5 whistles. Once done, take it off the stove and let the pressure drop on its own. 
  • Open the pressure cooker and mix all the contents together. The usual consistency of the kootu is thick, if you prefer a thinner consistency add 1/4 cup of water but not more than that. When served on a plate, the kootu should remain in its place and not run. 
  • In a small tadka pan, heat oil, splutter mustard seeds, crackle cumin, add curry leaves and urad dal to this, let the dal turn golden brown, pour this sizzling tadka over the kootu and serve it warm with rice.  

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Eggless whole wheat carrot pineapple cake - Sunflower patch

The recent Vegan Orange pineapple cake was a super hit home, all my boys loved it, never knew they would like pineapple in their cakes. So, last month while grocery shopping when i  found an offer on Delmonte tinned pineapples, i immediately picked a can. I knew i m going to make a cake, i thought why not add the carrots too, we had an occassion to celebrate in the first week of April, so i made this cake that day. Initially i wanted to leave it simple, but then i love the Sunflower song from the Spiderverse movie, took that as an inspiration and i tried my best to make it look like a sunflower patch. I love the final look and my boys loved it too. 

Here it is, a carrot pineapple cake, beautifully spiced with cardamom, cloves and cinnamon. The cake tastes delicious with this wonderful buttercream. A beautiful centerpiece to your party and a lovely cake for any celebration.

Design Inspired from here
2.5 cups of whole wheat flour
2tsp baking powder 
1 tsp baking soda
1 heaped cup sugar
1/2 cup chopped walnuts 
1 cup butter milk
2 tbsp flaxseed meal mixed with 1/4 cup warm water
350 grams pineapple (drained from 570 grams tin, reserve the liquid)
1 tsp cinnamon
2-3 nos cloves 
4 nos cardamom pods,seeds removed 
  • Drain the pineapple from the can and let it be in the colander until use.
  • Preheat the oven to 170C. Grease the pans with oil and lay it with parchment. I have used  2, 6 inch round pans and 1, 5 inch pan. 
  • Prepare the flax eggs, in a bowl, mix the flax-meal with water and keep aside to coagulate.
  • Pound the cardamom seeds and cloves together. Grate the carrots and keep it ready.  Make sure all the ingredients are at room temperature.
  • In a large bowl, take together flour, baking powder and baking soda. Whisk well to combine.
  • To this add chopped walnuts, shredded carrots and the spice powders, whisk again to get a uniform mixture. To this add the drained pineapple bits. If the pineapple pieces are bit chunky, chop them into manageable pieces and add it to the dry flour mix and whisk again to get a uniform mix.
  • In another bowl, take milk, tip in the oil, flax eggs. Using a electric hand mixer , whisk it all together into one smooth liquid.
  • To this wet mix now add the dry flour mix in 3 batches and using the electric mixer/spatula, mix in all the flour into the liquid.
  • If you feel the batter is too thick add 1/4 cup warm water to this and make it to a pourable batter.Divide the batter into 3 prepared pans. Tap the pans twice to release any air trapped, pop it into oven.
  • Bake it in the preheated oven for 45-50 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.
  • Once done, remove the cake out of the oven, let it sit in the pan for 5-10 minutes to cool a bit, then carefully remove the cake onto a wired cooling rack.Once it is down to room temperature, you can slice and enjoy it.
  • Since I planned to frost it, I cling wrapped it and popped it into the fridge until I m ready to frost it.
Butter cream frosting 
200 grams butter, i used amul unsalted @ room temperature
4 cups of icing sugar
1 tbsp milk
Colors as needed, i have used yellow for the sunflower and green for the leaves.
oreo crumble for the sunflower center

  • Take butter and whisk it with an electric beater, until light and fluffy. Now add sugar 1 cup at a time and whisk well. 
  • The buttercream must be smooth and spreadable, if it is too thick add another tsp of milk to it and whisk.
  • Once done, if  storing, cling wrap it well and refrigerate. I normally make the cream just before i frost my cakes.
To Frost & Fill the cake

  • Mix 3  tbsp of icing sugar with 1/4 cup of warm water and keep ready.
  • Take a round cake board, add a blob of buttercream  to the center and place one round cake in the middle. This blob makes sure, that the cake stays put on the board without sliding.
  • Spread half of the sugar solution on top of the sponge, this keeps the cake soft. Add a thick layer of  frosting on top. Spread it to cover the entire cake surface, do not forget the edges.
  • Now stack the second cake on top of this with its bottom facing the top. Spread the sugar solution on top of the cake.
  • Now add a thick layer of yellow buttercream on top and crumb coat the sides with buttercream. Place the cake in the refrigerator for 10 minutes for the crumb coat to set.
  • Once set, add thick layers of  buttercream on top and using a offset spatuala smoothen it to set. 
  • Again refrigerate the cake for 10 minutes before adding any extra details. I took the remaining buttercream and took out 4 tbsp and colored it green for the leaves and the rest with yellow and orange to that sunflower yellow.
  • For piping the sunflower, i have used the leave nozzle, fit it in a disposable piping bag, fill the bag with yellow buttercream. I used a small shot glass as my lead, touched the top of the glass on the chilled cake, and piped around that circle to get my sunflower. 
  • I used oreo crumble to fill the center for the cake. I have used the small leaf nozzle for the leaves. Didn't follow a particular pattern for the leaves, tried piping 3 for each flower to accentuate the yellow flower. Please check this video for further assitance.
  • Once done, refrigerate the cake for atleast 10-15 minutes for the design to set. The slice and enjoy.
  • If refrigerating the cake for long, make sure that the cake is out atleast 2 hours before you slice it. 

Monday, April 15, 2019

Almond & Coconut Oreo balls

We as a family love to watch lot of cooking shows, our favorite channel is Foxlife, though right now with IPL, sports channel is placed above everything, or else we are glued to FoxLife. Masterchef Australia being our favorite show, followed by jamie olivers. My lil one loves watching Jamie's food fight club and the way jamie animates while cooking his food. For me watching these food shows with my boys, is bonding with them and make them understand that food is universal and cooking is fun and even boys can cook and sweat in the kitchen and most importantly enjoy that process. 
 Few days back , they were airing, Family food fight, in FoxLife, a competition where 4 members from a family compete as a team with many other families with various themes every week and ofcourse elimination every week.
One of the episodes, the theme was kids party, loved each and every recipe in that episode, so colorful and vibrant, attracting kids in every way possible. Shows like these make me more enthusiastic to try new recipes for my family. 
One of the recipes showcased in that episode was these oreo balls. A simple 2-ingredient recipe, the original recipe used only dessicated coconut, in this recipe i have added some almond flakes and cinnamon for flavor. 
These oreo balls are great hit amongst kids, this is the second time i m making them at home. I made a huge batch when they were at home during spring break, it never dissappoints. You can add few more flavors to this to make it more interesting, i have some variations too which i will post later some time.

Here is the video on How to make these cute oreo balls

12 nos oreo biscuits, original flavor
1/4 cup condensed milk
1/3 cup of dessicated coconut , 2 tbsp extra for rolling  
1/4 cup of almond flakes, 1 tbsp extra for rolling
1/4 tsp cinnamon powder

  • Take the oreo biscuits in a food processor, pulse it to coarse powder. To this add condensed milk, dessciated coconut, cinnamon and almond flakes. Pulse again to form a uniform mixture.
  • Transfer this to a bowl or a flat plate. Roll them into small lemon sized balls. I got around 10 balls for the above measurement, it depends on the size you roll them.
  • Roll the balls on a mix of coconut and almond flakes. Store them in an air-tight container.

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