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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

...missing snow and {Recipe} Chana Masala

The first fall of snow is not only an event, it is a magical event. You go to bed in one kind of a world and wake up in another quite different, and if this is not enchantment then where is it to be found?

~ J. B. Priestley

It was New Year's Eve of year 2006, when I first experienced snow.

It was elusive.  It was fascinating.


I still remember, standing near the the window just watching in awe tiny speckles of icy dust form a thick layer all around our house. The place where I studied my Masters, had plenty of snowfall, all winter - starting from October to April. From the very next year, I started to make my own snowman. It was quite exciting to build one along with my roomies, spruce him up which whatever was available at that time wearing our gloves & mittens. It kind of became a tradition until I moved out from east coast to California in summer of 2010.


You all might be wondering why am I suddenly talking about snow today. You see, Mr.TH is out of town on a business trip and Bangalore weather is not helping me cope with living and cooking alone. So, I sat down to browse through my archives and above were few of the pictures, I stumbled upon. The photography bug didn't bite me until recently, hence the pics are very normal-looking, but they still have lots of memories attached to them. :-)


Cold waves are slowly seeping into our part of the world. Hence, today I have got a classic recipe, which warm you up instantly, inside out. Have you ever been one of them who wolf down piping hot chole-paratha with a side of cut onions & lemon slice at many dhabas on the road-side. I sure am a great fan of them. Go grab a can of chickpeas (or) soak some dry ones immediately as we are making some Chana Masala today! :-)





Chana Masala (Chickpea Curry)

Ingredients:

2 cups of cooked chickpeas (Click here to know how to cook dry chickpeas) (or) 1 can of chickpeas, rinsed
1 medium onion, thinly sliced + more for garnishing
1 medium sized tomato, chopped
1/2 tbsp chole masala. (I used Everest brand)
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
salt - to taste
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
1/2 tsp ginger-garlic paste
1 tbsp oil
fresh cilantro + lemon slices for garnishing


Preparation:

1. Grind about 1/2 cup cooked chickpeas into fine paste. Keep aside.

2. Heat oil in a pan and add cumin seeds. Once they start to splutter, add ginger garlic paste. Sauté for few second and then add onions. Cook them for 4-5 mins on low-medium heat until they turn translucent. Add tomatoes now and cook until mushy. Press the onion-tomato mixture with the back of the spatula.


3. Now add chickpea paste, chickpeas to this tomato-ey sauce. Mix.

4. Season with salt, turmeric, red chilli powder and chole masala. Add about 1-2 cups of water. Stir everything together.

5. On a low heat, simmer the curry for about 15-20 minutes, mixing it for every 5 minutes so that it doesn't stick at the bottom. Adjust the seasoning, if required. Turn off the heat.



6. You can add cilantro and/or lime juice (or) serve them on the side as a garnish along with cut onions. Serve with hot rotis (or any kind of bread). It serves well with rice too.

[Update] - Sending this recipe to My Legume Love Affair # 42, this month guest hosted by Kiran, originally conceptualized by lovely Susan of The Well Seasoned Cook.



until next time,






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Black and White Wednesday: Rosemary

There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance; pray you, love,
remember. And there is pansies, that’s for thoughts.

~ William Shakespeare (Hamlet, Act 4, Scene 5)


Posted for Susan's Black & White Wednesdays.
 

Friday, November 25, 2011

Baked Potato Spinach Corn Tikkis

Thank God It is a Friday and today, am gonna talk about a really simple-to-put-together baked goody. more on that in a bit.

Baked Potato Spinach Corn Tikkis

Though it was gloomy, foggy morning, my day actually started on a good note, with a package arriving at my doorstep, just as I was about to start off for work. Remember  I won Vegan-A-Day challenge by Harini. Well, this is my reward (Krya). I am yet to try this product on my clothes and see the difference. I will keep you guys posted on that.


Coming back to today's recipe. If you do one thing this weekend, then I would strongly recommend to bake these guilt-free beauties for a change. Perfect for lazy bakers like me, it serves as a good, sumptuous appetizer or for brunch. Trust me, it is nearly impossible to eat just one.

Baked Potato Spinach Corn Tikkis 

Ingredients:

2 medium sized potatoes, boiled
2 cups chopped spinach, loosely packed
1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels (I used frozen, no need to thaw. just microwave with little water for 2-3 mins)
salt - to taste
1 tbsp lemon juice (optional)
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp red chilli powder (optional). [You can substitute with 1 finely chopped green chilli]
1/4 tsp turmeric
about 1/2 cup bread crumbs - to roll the tikkis
2 egg whites (skip it if you want this dish to be vegan)
1-2 tbsp olive oil

Preparation:

1. In a bowl, mash all the ingredients listed above except for bread crumbs,egg whites and olive oil. Check the seasoning. Adjust if necessary.

2. Preheat oven to 200C or 400F.

3. Make small lemon sized balls out of the mixture, roll and gently flatten into a patties. Dip the patty into egg white & then roll in breadcrumbs, so that its coated evenly.


4. Repeat the same process to make all the patties, ready to bake.

5. Grease a baking sheet with cooking spray or little oil and place the patties on it. Don't over crowd. Leave enough space between each one of them. Drizzle little olive on both sides.

6. Bake for 20-25 minutes, by turn on the other side after 10 mins - until the crust is slightly brown. Serve with ketchup.


With great pleasure and pride, I announce that am a Zagat Fork and Tell blogger now. I strongly believe that this will open more avenues where my posts will be read & appreciated by a wide variety of audience :-)




Hope you all have a great (Thanksgiving) weekend ahead.

until next time,
 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Oven-Fried Sweet Potatoes with Cilantro Gremolata

"He who thanks but with the lips
Thanks but in part;
The full, the true Thanksgiving
Comes from the heart."

~ J.A. Shedd

Thanksgiving and food traditions go hand-in-hand. There are many popular veggies that has to be on a thanksgiving dinner table & a sweet-potato is one of them. These lend a nice, bright color and natural sweetness to the entire spread.


Well, I might have the perfect recipe for you which is very easy to put together. Just peel, cut, toss and bake. Not just for thanksgiving, this recipe serves best for any occasion.


Oven-Fried Sweet Potatoes with Cilantro Gremolata

I admit, am simply in love with these fries and is one of the few recipes which I made two batches, back-to-back. These taste especially good when paired with the cilantro gremolata which gives the dish a vibrant, zesty note.


Note: Sweet potatoes are of two popular kinds - in terms of texture & color of their flesh. The ones I used in US are softer and have a orange hue and  what I got in my local grocery store are a bit drier, cream-coloured. this recipe works perfectly with any kind of potatoes. 

Adapted from Cooking Light 

Ingredients:

4 medium-sized sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into rounds.
1 tbsp olive oil
salt & pepper

For Cilantro Gremolata -

1 tbsp finely chopped cilantro/coriander leaves
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp lemon zest (or grated orange rind)

Preparation:

1. Preheat oven to 200 C or 400 F.

2. In a bowl, toss gently sweet potatoes, olive oil, salt and pepper. 

3. Arrange the slices on a oil greased baking sheet in a single layer.

4. Bake for 30  minutes (or) until tender, turning the potato slices after 15 mins.

5. While the potato slices are baking, make the gremolata - Combine cilantro, lemon zest (or) orange rind, and garlic in a small bowl.

6. Sprinkle cilantro mixture on sweet potato slices & Serve.


 
Sending these potatoes to Healing Foods: Vegetarian Thanksgiving event, guest hosted by  Sreelu of Sreelu's Tasty Travels. Send in your entries as well and win a chance to own one of two amazing cookbooks as giveaways. Perfect for Thanksgiving. 

Thanksgiving Recipe Ideas:

Kale and Goat Cheese Mashed Sweet Potato
Blueberry Yogurt Kanten
Rosemary Cheese Biscuits
Kalyn's Top Ten Thanksgiving recipes

until next time,







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Friday, November 18, 2011

Thanksgiving Recipe: Rosemary Cheese Biscuits

Sweet potatoes, cranberries, potatoes, sage, pumpkin, squash, stuffing, pies, casseroles, biscuits, rolls......

What does this remind you of? Thanksgiving ofcourse! - a time for remembering, cherishing and being thankful for all the wonderful things one has been blessed with. It 24th November this year and am sure those who are in US have already started preparing elaborative menus, ready to cook up a storm for their loved ones. I have many friends who eagerly wait for this special time of the year to cook, eat & just relax and gain a few extra pounds by the end of it. ;-)

Oh, and there is also 'Black Friday', which is the very next day of Thanksgiving and that is when many retailers race to advertise their deals, open until wee-hours and backslash the prices on most of their products. For past couple of years, due to recession, the mojo to shop for stuff for many has decreased dramatically. I hope it is better this year!...

Ingredients List. 
Planning and making a Thanksgiving dinner is always fun. There are loads of delicious recipes that can be done apart from roasting a turkey. How about go vegetarian for one year. :-) Here is a simple recipe for Rosemary Cheese Biscuits which are perfect for any occassion. Make them and watch how they disappear from the table within minutes. Enjoy..

Rosemary Cheese Biscuits


Tastes best when served warm with some soup (or) just as-is.
Adapted from Food and Whine

Makes 6 biscuits (This recipe can be easily doubled or tripled.)

Ingredients needed:

1 cup all purpose flour (maida)
1/2 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt (adjust if the butter or cheese is salted)
1/4 tsp garlic powder
6 tbsp cold butter
1 tbsp canola oil
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated
1/4 cup milk
1/2 tbsp dried rosemary
1/2 tbsp dried basil

Topping: 1 tbsp melted butter + 1/4 tbsp garlic powder (optional) + finely chopped fresh coriander

Simple Ingredients. Easy to Make Recipe.
Preparation:

1. Preheat oven for 200 C/ 400 F

2. In a bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt and garlic powder. Whisk. Add chunks of cold butter. Using fingers or fork, mix the ingredients until it is coarse and pea-sized.

3. Add canola oil, cheese, rosemary and basil. Now, slowly add milk and stir everything together until the dough is moistened, no longer dry or powdery.

4. Drop 1/4 cup portions using large spoons onto an ungreased cookie sheet (or) on silpat sheet directly. 

5. Bake for 15-20 mins, until bottoms are lightly browned. Note: the top will still be white. 

Once out of the oven, brush with melted butter. Simply love it!
6. Meanwhile, melt butter and add garlic powder (avoid it if you don't want it to be garlick-y) and fresh coriander. Once the biscuits are out of oven, using a brush spread the garlic butter on their tops.

Serve as-is or as an accompaniment to any soup....

Wanna grab one?

A special mention about the biscuit-tasters of the day - Pooja, Satish and Vissu (my dear colleagues at office). They loved them and am sure you will too..!

until next time,






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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Black and White Wednesday: Breakfast Today

 
Look who is more cuddly than an idly. :-)

Related Posts: Idli 101

Posted for Susan's Black & White Wednesdays.


Here are some more I drew long time ago -






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Monday, November 14, 2011

Blueberry Yogurt Kanten

There is a very famous saying by Ernestine Ulmer - "Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first". But sadly that will definitely not be the case for me. I would rather choose any other savory dish as my last meal ;-).

Let me give you an example. 26 of Bangalore food bloggers met up for a meet last Saturday. It felt so wonderful to meet and interact with so many of us under one roof. Food was the common point for almost all of our discussions. After a trio of appetizers and main course, here is what was served as our dessert - White and dark chocolate lasagna and Lemon meringue with strawberry coulis. Trust me it tastes as wicked as it sounds. I saw so many happy faces around, digging in and some literally licking their spoons. Well, it was me who just couldn't eat more than a spoonful. The lady beside gave me a stern look which said - "You got to be kidding me!".  She is one huge chocoholic herself!. What to do? Sugar and me just don't go together. That's  the reason, my last dessert recipe was posted way back in August which was a Prune-Almond Phirni.

White and dark chocolate lasagna (front) Lemon meringue with strawberry coulis (back)
When Anu announced the theme for FSB for October, she asked all of us to cook with foods that we don't really like much or ignore and I could think of only one thing - Dessert. I am great fan of sweets small enough to satisfy one's cravings , like today's recipe - 'Blueberry Yogurt Kanten', a dessert which doesn't call for any fat. Hence no extra calories to be worried about. If something sweet is on your mind for any parties or potlucks, this recipe is a perfect match. Make it the previous day, cover and allow it set in the refrigerator overnight. I am sure you and your guests will love this super-tasty dessert.

What is Agar-agar?  - a nutrient-rich, high-fiber, no-calorie sea vegetable used to gel desserts. It comes in the form of bar, powdered or as flakes. It is normally recommended to opt for agar-agar flakes as they are easiest to use and dissolve.  

Blueberry Yogurt Kanten

Kanten, the gelatin-like Japanese dish made with agar agar, is just as refreshing for any time of the year - fall, winter or summer. The addition of yogurt make it substantial and gives it a melt-in-mouth feel. Many other flavor combinations can be made into a kanten - cranberry-pear, green tea-kiwi, cherry-apricot, peach-berry etc. the basic recipe remains the same. This is a very forgiving recipe. Feel free to decrease or increase the amount of sugar, juice or agar-agar mentioned. Play around with the amounts until you get the right consistency. A word of caution is that, agar-agar works differently for each brand. It is recommended to closely follow the instructions on the package. Also, the consistency of the pudding is dependent on the texture of the ingredients used. Nonetheless, the tastes beats them all. I am certain you will fall in love with agar-agar once get a hang of how to use it. Read the notes below.


Adapted from Big Vegan: More than 350 Recipes, No Meat/No Dairy All Delicious

Note: I have used normal yogurt for my recipe, hence it is no longer vegan. Original recipe suggests 'Vanilla Soy Yogurt'.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup blueberry crush mixed with 1/2 cup water (or 1.5 cups unsweetened blueberry juice + 1/4 cup sugar)
1.5 tbsp crushed agar-agar flakes
1/4 tsp almond extract
1 cup yogurt/curd

Preparation:

1. In a saucepan, combine blueberry crush, water and agar-agar flakes. Let them soak for 30 minutes.

2. Stir in almond extract and bring the mixture to a simmer on a low heat. Whisk until the agar-agar is completely dissolved. Simmer for 5 more minutes. Note: Donot boil the agar-agar mixture or you will reduce its thickening power. Bring it to a simmer slowly over a low heat & whisk often.

Blueberry Crush
3. Take off the heat and cool to room temperature. In a blender, mix in yogurt and blueberry mixture and puree until smooth.

4. Pour the mixture in shot glasses or small ramekins and refrigerate until set. (atleast few hours). Cover and keep in the refrigerator until serving.

Notes:

1. If any lemon, orange or lime juices is an ingredient, you may need to increase the amount of agar-agar used as citric acid sometimes retards the agar-agar's ability to congeal.

2. It is always safest to test the kanten before removing it from the stove. Put a spoonful of kanten in the refrigerator for about 15 mins. If the kanten excessively hard, liquid can be added. If it is too soft, dissolve a small amout of agar-agar in juice, cook it and add to the rest of the ingredients.

 
Sending this easy dessert recipe to Healing Foods: Vegetarian Thanksgiving event, this month guest hosted by  Sreelu of Sreelu's Tasty Travels. Send in your entries as well and win a chance to own one of two amazing cookbooks as giveaways. Perfect for Thanksgiving. Isn't it. :-)

Hope you all have a wonderful week ahead.

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until next time,

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Vegan-A-Day: Pan Fried Tofu Triangles with Soy-Sesame-Ginger Sauce

'Now I can look at you in peace; I don’t eat you anymore.' ~ Franz Kafka, while admiring fish in an aquarium

Almost every cuisine in the world boasts of many dishes that revel in their beautiful flavours of various veggies, fruits, seeds, beans and aromatic oils. Indian cuisine is no different, where for every 3 people, 1 is vegetarian. For ages, eating a satisfying plant cuisine is strongly imbibed into our traditional, every day food along with complex spice combinations.

Now, being a vegan is like taking a step further - living without meat or any kind of animal products. It is often a misconception that Veganism is like depriving yourself from what you love to eat. I think, all it needs is a little creativity to think beyond a plate of calorie-rich proteins.

When Harini threw the 'One Day Vegan' challenge at us, I wondered  What it’d be like to be a vegan, just for a day?. I was curious to know how does it feel like to live without eating any animal products (in my case, it is just milk with cereal for breakfast & yogurt/buttermilk at the end of every meal)? - A challenge that would put all my ideas to test and it really did!

I asked TH to do this challenge along with me, but let me tell you upfront: He is a die-hard-yogurt fan. With a lot of convincing, he agreed to this Vegan challenge with me. Our breakfast and lunch went well, just as planned, but by dinner time, he just couldn't stop himself from having that one glass of buttermilk! While, I went on to successfully complete my challenge. Yay! :-)

Here is our menu for the day:

Breakfast: Wholegrain Idlis with Sambar (Click here for the recipe)


Lunch: Pan fried Tofu Triangles with Soy-Sesame-Ginger-Sauce and rice (recipe follows)



Dinner: Roti and Nimbu Masoor Dal (made with Olive oil) (Click here for the recipe)

As a part of this challenge, Harini is also having a giveaway by collaborating with folks from Krya, whose main motive is to - "create natural, environmentally sustainable products that one can use around the home.Read more about them here, who they are and what they do. :-)

 Recipe: Pan Fried Tofu Triangles with Soy-Sesame-Ginger Sauce


Ingredients:

200 gms of tofu (I got mine from M K Ahmed, Bangalore - Ka Kim's variety)
2 tbsp canola oil
salt and pepper
3 cloves of garlic, finely minced

For Soy-Sesame-Ginger Sauce -

2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp chilli sauce
1/2 tsp sugar
2 tbsp water
1/2 tsp grated ginger
1/2 tsp sesame seeds, lightly toasted

Preparation:

1. Place the tofu on a cutting board and a bowl with filled water on it (for 10-15 mins). Make sure the pressure is not too much which can crumble the tofu. Pat it dry with a paper towel. Cut into triangles.

2. Season the tofu triangles on both sides with salt and pepper and then spread each side with some garlic.  Lightly coat the slices with the flour.



3. Heat oil in a skillet and add these flour coated tofu pieces. Cook on both sides, until slightly crisp golden brown. Set them on paper towels, to drain off the excess oil.


4. In a bowl, mix all the ingredients listed for Soy-Sesame-Ginger sauce. Make sure you have a balance of flavours and neither of them is too over-powering.

5. Drizzle some sauce on the tofu triangles and Serve with rice on the side. Yum!

Verdict: One thing I realised is that, it is not that hard to be a vegan, especially for we, Indians. It is a way of life, once has chosen to live and I commend them for that choice. Truth to be told, I really really missed my tangy buttermilk with ginger & coriander, which I am so used to having at the end my dinner. Time to get inspired from Lataji and make her 'Vegan Moarkuzhambu' I guess. :-). Thanks Harini for this challenge, now I know, how & what it feels like to be You, even though it was just for a day! Kudos.

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until next time,

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Black and White Wednesday: Pizza


"Ideas are like pizza dough, made to be tossed around." ~ Anna Quindlen 


Some pizza recipes previously posted -

Fool -proof No Knead Pizza
Veggie Flatbread Pizza with Bean Puree

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Posted for Susan's Black & White Wednesdays.
 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Back 2 Basics: Chutneys - A Roundup

It is always fun and exciting to host an event on the blog, especially when it is revived after an hiatus. Back 2 Basics by my dear blogger friend, a desisoccermom (Jaya) is one such event which I committed to guest host for the month of September 2011.

The month of October saw a flurry of activity on our end - with my little sister's wedding and then celebrating Diwali after 7 years with friends & family, we both travelling back & forth to Hyderabad & falling sick for weeks after that due to which, there was an inevitable delay in posting this roundup.

Not any longer..Below are the various chutney entries in the order I received them in my inbox.

Enjoy :-)

1. South Indian Onion Chutney by Deepika
2. South Indian Kothamalli Chutney by Deepika
3. Sweet Tamarind Chutney by Deepika
4. Green chutney - I by Deepika
5. Green chutney II by Deepika
6. Simple Middle Eastern Hummus by Deepika
7. Coconut Chutney Type I by Anusha
8. Idlis with Tricolor Chutneys by Radhika
9. Plastic Chutney (Green Papaya Chutney) by Chandrani
10. Pasta Salad with Lemon and Peanut Dressing by Krithika
11. Raw/Green Tomato Chutney by Chandana
12. Jain style Green Chutney for chaats and sandwiches by Kalyani
13. Fenugreek Chutney (Vendhaya Thogaiyal) by Vaidehi
14. Dried Figs and Dates Spicy Jam by Krithika
15. Peanut coconut chutney by La
16. Plantain skins chutney by La
17. Chow Chow Chutney by Rudra
18. Quick Tomato Chutney by Kalyani
19. Nelli Pachadi (Amla / Gooseberry Chutney) by Kalyani
20. Tomato, Groundnut and Mint Chutneys by Amina
21. Basic Eggplant/Brinjal Chutney by yours truly (Siri)

Note: Due to some space issues on my blog, I couldn't upload photos for each of these entries. Sorry about that.

Thanks to Jaya for giving me an opportunity to guest host the B2B event.

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until next time,

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Black and White Wednesday: Let's dine

"There is a difference between dining and eating. Dining is an art. When you eat to get the most out of your meal, to please the palate, just as well as to satiate the appetite, that, my friend, is dining."

 ~ Yuan Mei (1936)


Read some of the reviews previously posted here on the blog -

Olive Oil Tasting event at The Oberoi
Exclusive Chaine De Rotisseur dinner at Sheraton
Restaurant Review: Jalpaan, Bangalore 

Posted for Susan's Black & White Wednesdays.
 
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