Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Pantry Cleanup Day 3: Paneer Schezwan Rice

Paneer Schezwan Rice

Recipe: from the back of Schezwan sauce bottle with some minor additions

Cook 1 cup of rice with 2 cups of water.

Heat little oil in a skillet, fry paneer cubes until they gets golden brown. Remove and drain excess oil on paper towels. Now, saute some freshly minced ginger and garlic. Add a cup of mixed vegetables. If they are frozen, I recommend to microwave them for atleast 2 minutes. Mix well and cook for couple of minutes.

In a small bowl, mix schezwan sauce (as per your taste & spice-level, add little by little if you unsure. I used approx 1.5 tsp) with a 1 tsp of soya sauce. Stir well and add to the vegetable mixture. Adjust salt if necessary. Finally drop the paneer cubes and rice. Mix well and Serve. :)

until next time,

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Pantry Cleanup: Day 2: Bachelor Tadka

Bhags's Bachelor Tadka

For recipe: Click here.

Bachelor Tadka - Every one us must have made this dish at some point in his/her bachelor life. C'mon, when you see a recipe which calls for 4-5 times of water, it is definitely being done in one those dorm rooms where there are a bunch hungry young men & women!! ;). This dish brings back so many memories when S was doing his masters. He & his roomies would put oodles of water into any side dish (subzi or dal), just to increase its volume. He, sometimes does that now, out of habit where I have to come running to stop him from doing so! With hot rice and a dollop of ghee or butter, it feels like there is no such bliss in the world. :D

Sending this dish to Nupur's BB4: What's Lurking in the Kitchen event. :D

Happy weekend everybody.

until tomorrow,

Friday, June 18, 2010

Pantry Cleanup: Day 1 - Adai

10 more days to go, for me to say good-bye to DC and say hello to sunny California. So, I am full-on on a pantry clean-up mode as it is next to impossible to ship all of my pantry staples. From today on, I am sorry to say - am gonna spam your readers with recipes - mostly from my amazing blogger chefs and some whipped up from the spur of the moment. :) :) Like a maniac, I am aiming to search for recipes with the stuff I have right now - so that by next Saturday, I can empty most of my pantry stuff. Hence the tag - Pantry Cleanup.

Ashaji's Multi Dal Adai

For the recipe: Click here.

I have like 6 types of dal stored in containers right now. - from split urad dal to mung dal, you ask and it right there peering at me sadly - to be used! and Adai is one of best ways to mix them all and use up. The best part of Ashaji's recipe - it calls for brown rice instead of rice...and once everything is ground with some buttermilk and cumin - it tasted so yum that "No one could eat just One!". ;) ;).

Thank you Ashaji for such a fabulous recipe and your blog is indeed like a treasure chest full of many amazing & homey dishes. :) :). Hope you are having a great sunny summer vacation. :)

[Edit]: Sending all of my pantry cleanup posts to Nupur's BB4: What's Lurking in the Kitchen event. :D Thank you Jaya for reminding me. :)

until next time,

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

My Baking Ballyhoo: Orange Pecan Cookies

What would you do if you end up staying in an age-old town house where the fire alarm starts beeping for just about 15 minutes of baking?

Sigh!, now you know the reason why I haven't been doing any serious baking off late. I tried every trick and trade known to make it work but I failed miserably. Once it starts beeping, all you can do is open up all doors and windows and allow the *smoke* to get out. Either the fire alarm is too sensitive or our oven is way too old or I am crazy enough to start a baking attempt every single time with the same gusto.

..Well, this time, I was adamant to bake some cookies before I leave this place and did the unforgivable - "wrapped a plastic bag around the fire alarm, did all the baking I wanted and removed the bag once I am done!". :D :D.

Ok now, enough of my ranting and lets get down to business. Shall we - for some delicious, heavenly, melt-in-mouth Orange-Pecan cookies. Never before this, I loved the flavor of orange zest so much. How in the world, didn't I either make or atleast taste this recipe before.:) I had promised some of my office friends to bake some cookies for them. So, the recipe yileds more than 4 dozen of them depending on their size. Please use your discretion, for appropriate measurements to make lesser number of cookies.

First some cookie notes about varioud types from the baking book -

Type 1. The consistency of drop cookie dough allows it to simply be dropped from a spoon onto a baking sheet, making it the easiest kind of cookies to bake.

Tupe 2. For refrigerator cookies (also known as Icebox cookies), the dough is shaped into logs, wrapped in plastic, then refrigerated until firm enough to slice and bake.

Type 3. Shaped cookies are formed by hand into various shapes (such as balls, logs, crescents etc) or are pressed through a cookie press.

Type 4. Cutout cookies have a firmer dough. To make it easier to handle, the dough may need to be chilled before being rolled out. Then the dough is cut into shapes with a cookie cutter or knife.

Orange Pecan Cookies (from The Taste of Home Baking Book)

Prep Time: 15 mins + chilling
Cook Time: 10-12 mins per batch
Yield: 5-6 dozen


1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar (I used light brown sugar)
1 egg
2 tbsp orange juice (at room temperature)
1 tbsp grated orange peel
2.5 cups all-purpose-flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and both the sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, orange juice and orange peel.

Combine the flour, baking soda ad salt. Gradually add to the creamed mixture and mix well. Stir in the pecans.

Shape into rolls. The original recipe states to make two 1.5 inch rolls. But, I made 4 smaller rolls. (into a cylindrical shape), wrap each of them in plastic wrap. Refrigerate fpr 4 hours or overnight. I chilled them for the entire night.

Next morning (or after 4 hours), preheat the oven to 325 degree F. Unwrap dough, cut into 1/4 inch slices. Place them 2 inch apart on a lightly greased baking sheets. Bake for 10-12 mins, until the edges begin to brown. Have a very close watch on these, for every 3-4 mins as they easily tend to burn. The oven temparatures might vary according to the type of baking pan used. Darker the baking sheet, lesser time it takes to bake. You can also wrap the baking sheet with aluminum foil, grease it and then use. (thats what I did).

Once done, remove onto the wire racks to cool completely.

To Note:

1. Avoid over mixing of the dough. If its handled too much, the cookies will be tough.

2. Let the baking sheets cool before placing the next batch of cookie dough onto them. Otherwise, the heat from the baking sheet will soften the dough and cause it to spread.

3. Use an over thermometer to verify the accuracy of the oven. To check, preheat it to the desired temperature. Place an oven thermometer on the center rack. Close the oven door and leave the oven ON at the set temperature. Keep the thermometer in the oven for 15 minutes, then check. If the thermometer does not agree with the set oven temperature, the oven temp is inaccurate. Adjust the oven temp accordingly.

I have a lot of pantry cleaning to do in the next 10 days, so don't be surprised if you see more of cookie recipes in coming days! How does 'Frozen Lemonade Cookie' sound? :D :D

The theme for this month's Healing Foods is Onion, hosted by Priya. Hop onto her blog for participation details.

until next time,

Sunday, June 6, 2010

A tale of two podis! - Putnala Podi with Garlic & Kandipodi

I truly believe in the Power of the First Sentence!. I did stare many, many times at a blank blogger post thinking & re-thinking about how to start my post. I have my recipe typed et al, but I don't know how to write a prologue to make it more personal and most importantly interesting to me and my readers. As the article suggests, I think keeping an exclusive journal of only first sentences works for somebody like me. that ways, it would definitely give me an instant kick start. :). What say?

As I said, a zillion times before on my blog, to me, my Mom is world's best cook. She is absolutely amazing in whatever she does or cooks and I would wanna be like her when I hit 50!. Both of the today's recipes - Putnala Podi with Garlic and Kandipodi aremy mom's creations, which she might have made numerous times since my childhood. She is just a phone call away to ship us both a kilo of these yummy podis from India to here. :D. Probably, I will ask her to do so, once I settle in CA with S.

Putnala Podi with Garlic

Image courtesy my sweet SIL, Shri of Tasty Touch.
Dry roast 1cup Peanuts with 1 teaspoon Coriander seeds , 10-15 dry Red chillies (depending on desired spice level), until very light brownish color. Add 1 teaspoon of Cumin seeds (on warm peanuts) and mix well. Cool completely.

Grind - Above peanut mixture with 1.5 cups of Roasted Bengal gram (Telugu: Putanala pappu) and Salt. Punch 1 whole Garlic, with skin and drop in the last 2 grindings.

Store in an air-tight container.


Separately dry roast - 2cups of Toor Dal, 1cup of Chana dal, 1cup of Mung dal and 2 teaspoons of Cumin seeds. Cool them completely.

Grind them all together with salt into a fine, grainy texture and add 2-3 teaspoons of Red chilli powder in the last grinding.

Serve with anything - from hot rice to dosas & idlis to add that extra oomph factor! :).. store the rest in an air-tight container.

*thinking to myself*: Yeh!I am so glad, I could put an end to my endless dawdling and finally update my blog with something interesting. I just hope, I could keep up with this and blog more often. :) :)

Ciao soon,

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