Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Lets Paint It 'Green' II - Hara Bhara Paneer Pulao

The meaning of comfort food varies from person to person and for me it invariably involves 'rice'. The variety of recipes that can be made with our humble grain - sometimes seems just endless. The minute I declare one as my absolute favourite, a new dish pops up and becomes a perfect week night dinner.


...continuing my quest of posting only 'naturally green colored' recipes this week (Click here to know why), here is one such pulao which am sure will appeal to all. The added goodness of greens makes it nutritious and corn kernels with tiny paneer cubes gives it a nice body & crunch. You wouldn't need any other side dish as accompaniment. Serve it with any cool raita and Enjoy!

{Recipe} Hara Bhara Paneer Pulao


Adapted from Tasty Touch

Ingredients:

Greens used for this recipe: 4 cups spinach (palak), 1/2 cup mint (pudina) leaves, 1/2 cup cilantro leaves
3 green chillies
1 tsp ginger, minced
2 cups uncooked rice, (I used sona masoori, basamati would be the ideal choice) soaked in water for 15 minutes
1 cup paneer, cut into small cubes
1/2 cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
2 bay leaves
1" cinnamon stick
2 cloves (lavangalu)
1/2 tsp cumin-coriander powder (or) 1/4 tsp each of cumin powder & coriander powder
2 tbsp oil

Preparation:

1. Blanch Spinach: Fill a large pot with water, bring it to boil, add spinach and blanch for not more than 30 seconds, until they turn brilliant green. Using a slotted spoon remove the spinach and plunge into a bowl of cold water, to retain their color. Squeeze out all the excess water. Keep aside. Don't throw away the liquid, we will use it later.

2. Grind together - blanched spinach, mint, coriander leaves, green chillies and ginger with little water into a smooth paste.

3. Heat about a tsp of oil in a pan and fry paneer pieces into slightly golden color. Set aside.

4. In a same pan, add rest of oil and add bay leaves, cinnamon and cloves. Fry for couple of minutes on low-medium flame until fragrant. Add corn kernels and spinach paste. Cook for few minutes until the raw taste disappears.

5. Add rice, salt and cumin-coriander powder. Gently mix everything. Add in 4 cups of boiling water. Cook until rice is completely cooked. Note: Alternatively, you can put everything and cook in a rice cooker.

6. Finally toss paneer cubes into the pulao. Serve with raita.



Here is what other FSB members have posted until now -

Mittu - Blueberry and Lavender Cream Pie [Violet]
Nags - Easy Basic Cake Pops [Blue]
DK - Risotto Alla Milanese [Yellow]
Deepti - Citrus Golden Sangria [Orange]
Lata - White and kidney beans falafels and spicy hot vandikkaran chutney, Filled and Grilled Red Peppers, Jam and Fruit Tart [Red]

2011 Holiday Give Away(s)




Just 3 days left for this season's holiday give away to end. Check out these and enter today - One for peeps in India and other for US residents. You may be the lucky reader who either wins a year long subscription for BBC Good Food Magazine (or) the 75th anniversary edition of the very classic 'Joy Of Cooking' cookbook. Last Date to leave a comment - December 31st 2011, midnight (IST). Winners will be announced on January 1st 2012. :-)



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until next time,


Monday, December 26, 2011

Lets Paint It 'Green': Mint Peanut Chutney {Pudina Chutney}

No, it is not St. Patrick's Day yet. I will be 'going green' with my recipes, all of this week for an another reason. (Click here to know whyTo know what it is, you gotta wait till December 31st 2011. :-).

On an another note, I can't believe that the last week of the year 2011 has already started and I have to post only 6 photographs more to finish my Project 365. Trust me, posting a photograph every day of the year has not been easy. Especially when we had to pack our bags and move back to India in April, I thought of just giving up. But, my love for photography was at its peak then, so couldn't let it go, just like that...and I am so glad I stuck with my decision. Or else, how else would I have captured my little sister's wedding (or) found out my new passion for Black and White photography...

Mint leaves are available in abundance in the markets. Go grab some and make this chutney..

For me, a piquant chutney is what completes a meal. I, sometimes just spread some on a piece of toasted bread and enjoy it as-is. Today's recipe -  Mint Peanut Chutney is one such combination which tastes delicious with everything and anything. It is incredibly easy to make and last for a good whole week when refrigerated. Enjoy!

Cook mint leaves and green chillies until wilted.

Grind the chutney to a consistency of  jam..

 Mint Peanut Chutney {Pudina Chutney}


Mint Peanut Chutney {Pudina Chutney}

Ingredients:

pudina/mint leaves, 1 big bunch (3 tightly-packed cups)
green chillies, 8-10 , halved
sesame seeds, 4 tbsp
peanuts, 4 tbsp
oil, 2 tsp
tamarind extract, 1 tbsp

Tadka -

oil, 1 tsp
urad dal, mustard seeds, cumin seeds - 1 tsp of each
red chilli, 1
hing (asafoetida), pinch

Preparation:

1. In a pan, dry roast peanuts and sesame seeds. Keep aside.

2. Heat oil on a medium-low heat. Add mint leaves and green chillies. Cook for few minutes, until wilted. Season with salt and turmeric. Finally add tamarind extract. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Allow it to cool a bit.

3. Grind together - mint leaves mixture with dry roasted peanuts & sesame seeds. Adjust salt if needed.

4. In a small pan, heat oil and add all ingredients listed under 'Tadka', until slightly brown.

5. Add tadka to pudina chuntey and Serve with hot rice or with dosa or idli. Store the rest of it in an air-tight container & refrigerate until next use.




Here is what other FSB members have posted until now -

Mittu - Blueberry and Lavender Cream Pie [Violet]
Nags - Easy Basic Cake Pops [Blue]
DK - Risotto Alla Milanese [Yellow]
Deepti - Citrus Golden Sangria [Orange]
Lata - White and kidney beans falafels and spicy hot vandikkaran chutneyFilled and Grilled Red PeppersJam and Fruit Tart [Red]


****************************************************************************************************************************************

Give Away: 

It is Holiday Season and best time to spread some happy cheer all around. Its time to give-away something special to my readers who supported me all along the way. Check out these two give-aways - One for peeps in India and other for US residents and enter today, if you haven't already. Last Date - December 31st 2011.



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Enter your email address and Never miss a post


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until next time,

Friday, December 23, 2011

{Recipe} Cointreau Diabolic and two exciting giveaways to win..


Robert Fulghum sure knew a thing or two about partying as he once said - "If you want an interesting party sometime, combine cocktails and a fresh box of crayons for everyone.".. I agree too as a holiday-get-together is never complete without a fizzy, signature cocktail as it gets people into a jolly-good mood. That is when the real conversations will start. Isn't it :-)



..there are tons of cocktails that you can make this season, some within a span of minutes. Today's recipe is one such drink which uses Cointreau as its base. There is cranberry juice that renders a gorgeous color, strawberry puree for a nice, fruity feel and tabasco for a hint of spicy note.




{Recipe} Cointreau Diabolic

Ingredients:

50 ml cointreau
30 ml cranberry juice
20 ml lemon juice
10 ml strawberry puree
2 drops of tabasco

Preparation:

Mix in a shaker with ice. Pour into a Martini Glass. Serve.





Do you have any holiday signature cocktail ideas? I would love to know them all about them :-)

Now, coming to the fun part. I have planned two fun exciting give-aways this holiday season for readers in India and US. Sorry for others, but if you want to gift these for somebody in either of these two countries, you are most welcome to enter the giveaway!.


For peeps in India - A chance to win one full-year subscription of BBC Good Food India magazine.



BBC GoodFood is a magazine internationally popular for its devotion to fine dining. The magazine comes with great recipes for home cooking, and entertaining. Their triple-tested hand picked recipes make the magazine a must have for every kitchen. Each recipe is also paired with entertaining food photos and each issue also reveals culinary secrets from Internationally renowned chefs., BBC GoodFood India also comes packed with restaurant reviews and news on India’s dining scene. For the globe-trotting food-lover, they have recommendations for eating well across the world. In short, it is a must-have for every food-lover out there..

For US residents - A chance to win 75th Anniversary Edition of Joy Of Cooking.



The Joy of Cooking -- selected by The New York Public Library as one of the 150 most important and influential books of the twentieth century -- has taught tens of millions of people to cook, helped feed and delight millions beyond that, answered countless kitchen and food questions, and averted many a cooking crisis. JOY remains the greatest teaching cookbook ever written. 

This edition also brings back the encyclopedic chapter Know Your Ingredients. The chapter that novices and pros alike have consulted for over thirty years has been revised, expanded, and banded, making it a book within a book. Cooking Methods shows cooks how to braise, steam, roast, sauté, and deep-fry effortlessly, while an all-new Nutrition chapter has the latest thinking on healthy eating -- as well as a large dose of common sense. In addition to hundreds of brand-new recipes, this JOY is filled with many recipes from all previous editions, retested and reinvented for today's tastes.
 
How to enter these giveaways - very simple..:-)

Everybody - bloggers and non-bloggers can enter these giveaways. All you have to do is leave a comment when you -

1. 'Like' Cooking With Siri on Facebook
2. 'Follow' me on Twitter
3. Subscribe to the Cooking With Siri blog feed
4. RT this giveaway on your Twitter and/or Facebook.
5. Important: While leaving the comment, please mention your location - India or US, so that you are chosen for appropriate giveaways.

Do one or more of the above and leave a comment that you did so. If you are already following me on facebook, twitter or RSS feed, just leave a comment and you are automatically entered in the giveaway!

Giveaway ends on Saturday, December 31st 2011, midnight. Two winners - one from India and one from US will be randomly picked and announced on January 1st 2012.


Wishing you all Merry Christmas. Happy Holidays!


until next time,

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Holiday Special: Vegan Christmas Tree Pie

"When Christmas bells are swinging above the fields of snow, we hear sweet voices ringing from lands of long ago, and etched on vacant places are half-forgotten faces of friends we used to cherish, and loves we used to know."  

~ Ella Wheeler Wilcox (American poet and writer 1850-1919)

The one place that reminds me when I think of Christmas and Snow together is - New York City. As a first-timer in 2007, I was mesmerized by its energy and sheer liveliness in almost every street. If you are one of them, who took long walks on Fifth Avenue, tightly hugging your snow coat with hood & woollen mittens on, strolling near almost every shop's window, while its slightly snowing, then you know what I am talking about. :-)

Food, if you wanna talk about that, then we can go on-and-on for hours and never get tired. Such is the vibrancy of NYC which is so infectious and many vivid memories are etched in hearts & minds of everybody who visits there.

Make holidays fun by baking these cute Vegan Christmas Tree Pies
Today's recipe is dedicated to the big Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony that happens every year near Rockefeller Centre, which marks the beginning of the holiday season and personally for me, it symbolizes how happy & fun holidays are..The tree, traditionally a Norway Spruce, is illuminated by 30,000 environmentally friendly LED lights on five miles of wire, and crowned by a Swarovski crystal star. :-)

..miss you New York City.. I hope we meet sometime, real soon!

Santa is here...to fulfil all our wishes..


Step 1: Roll a dough ball into almost a square. Fold opposite sides towards the centre to create a rough mark. 

Step 2: Fold sides back and make cuts perpendicular to the mark, as shown in the picture above.

Step 3: Place some filling in the centre area. 

Step 4: Start folding the strips alternatively from the top, until the very end..

Finally, it would look like this - a Christmas Tree Pie is ready to go into the oven..

Pie Filling - Cauliflower, Potato, Peas with Indian spices.

Perfect for potlucks, parties and these are so much fun to make for family & friends..

Christmas Tree Pie..cut open..



{Recipe} Vegan Christmas Tree Pie

Adapted from Veganlovlie

Ingredients:

For the pie crust:

all-purpose flour, 2 cups
canola oil, 4.5 tbsp
water, 5-6 tbsp (to form a soft, non-sticky dough)

For the filling:

cauliflower florets, thinly sliced, 2 cups
potatoes, cut into small cubes, 1 cup
(fresh/frozen) green peas, 1/2 cup
onion, 1 small, finely chopped
tomato, 1 small, finely chopped
garlic clove, 1 or 2, finely minced
turmeric, 1/4 tsp
salt, to taste (Note: Add a little less salt as the pie crust is already salted)
coriander powder, 1 tsp
red chilli powder, 1/2 tsp
olive oil, 2 tsp
soymilk with a pinch of turmeric, for glazing

Preparation:

To make the dough:

Mix oil into the flour and mix in with fingers until it look more like fine breadcrumbs. Then slowly add water, little by little and knead to form a smooth, non-sticky dough. Divide into 3 balls.

To make the filling:

1. Heat oil in a pan on a low-medium heat and add onions & garlic. Cook until translucent and raw smell goes away.

2. Add potatoes and cook them half-way through. Next add cauliflower. Mix in and cook until slightly tender.

3. Add peas. At any stage, don't add any water. The filling has to dry, so that you don't end up with soggy pies..

4. Add tomatoes. Stir and mix well.

5. Season with salt, turmeric, red chilli powder and coriander powder. Cook for couple of more minutes.

6. Allow to cool the filling completely.

Assemble -

1. As per the photographs above, roll, cut and fill the pies.

2. Preheat oven to 180 C (350 F)

3. Place the pies on a greased baking sheet and brush with some (soymilk + turmeric) mixture.

4. Bake for 30-40 mins until light golden colour. Serve and enjoy..

Note: If you are feeling too lazy to make the pie crust, then use store-bought puff pastry, thaw and follow the same procedure.


Happy Holidays everybody..:-)

until next time,




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Friday, December 16, 2011

Amma's Recipes: Chana Dal Wadi ki Kadhi [Lentil Dumplings in Yogurt Gravy]

Amma's recipes is one such column on this blog, which is very close to my heart. These are the recipes which my mother perfected over many many years and reflects how awesome a cook she is. It is also fun to just photograph once in a while, without thinking about what and how to make a recipe, worrying whether it would turn out well or not. She Cooks, I Photograph. That is the deal. :-) If you guys have any question, do drop in a line or comment. My mom will be more than happy to answer all of them. 

Dad & Mom in the year 1983

Both for me and my little sister, my Mother is the biggest inspiration in our lives. It baffles us how can she be so good at almost everything she does. and my Dad. He is the sweetest and one with most patience in our family.  He can go to any extent to get our wants and wishes fulfilled...and both of them make one helluva couple, I must say!

It is me in green and my sister in pink..
My mom was 42 when she did her MA in Economics. With a fulltime day job and two school-going kids at home, it was quite a task to balance out everything. It was my dad who used to help her in everyday chores, so that my mother could concentrate on her studies. That is the time when he also got promoted as sous chef in our kitchen. ;-).. He used to prepare the dal, vegetables, neatly cut into pieces, for my mom to quickly make a curry & a dal for our lunch & dinner. ..a decade later, they still work together in the kitchen, dishing out amazing family recipes for us and their extended families.

Chana Dal Wadi ki Kadhi, comfort food at its best..
Amma and Nanna are in Bangalore right now with me, for a short trip as Mr.TH is out of town, yet again. It is been a while that I updated this blog with any of her recipes, so we teamed up and made this absolutely decadent, easy-to-make 'Chana Dal Wadi ki Kadhi' for you all. The best part of this recipe is, it works well, even in parts. Make these wadis for a quick, evening snack or to pep any of those gloomy, rainy evenings. (or) Make the kadhi by itself for a comforting meal. Enjoy!

Soaked and ground Chana Dal paste, ready to be made & fried into wadis

these fried wadis taste delicious as-is.

Kadhi at the front and Fried Wadis at the back, ready to be mixed together 


{Recipe} Chana Dal Wadi ki Kadhi

Ingredients

For Kadhi -

thick yogurt/curd, 2 cups
green chillies, 4 medium ones
ginger piece, 1/2 inch
besan (chickpea flour), 2 tbsp
turmeric, 1/4 tsp
salt, to taste
few coriander/cilantro leaves, finely chopped

For Tadka -

red chilli, 1
urad dal (minapappu), 1/2 tsp
mustard seeds (avalu), 1/2 tsp
cumin seeds (jeera), 1/2 tsp
asafoetida (hing), little
curry leaves, optional
oil, 1 tsp

For Chana Dal Wadi -

chana dal, 1 cup soaked for 2 hours
green chillies, 2
ginger, 1/2 inch
salt, to taste
coriander powder (dhania powder), 1/2 tsp
oil, for deep frying

Preparation:

For making Chana Dal Wadis -

* Grind chana dal, green chilli, ginger, dhania powder and salt into a coarse paste without adding water. (as shown in one of the photographs above).

* Heat oil in a kadai, make them into small flat balls and deep fry. Drain the excess oil by placing them on a paper towel (or old news paper works too!). Keep them aside.

For making Kadhi -

* Beat yogurt for 5-10 mins, by adding about 1.5 cups of water, little by little water.

* Grind green chillies and ginger into a fine paste. Add to the buttermilk with salt and turmeric.

* In a small bowl, mix besan with little water (no lumps) and add to buttermilk above.

* Put this buttermilk mixture on low-medium flame. Keep stirring continuously, till the liquid becomes thick and there is no longer the raw taste of besan.

* In a small pan, heat a tsp of oil and add all the tadka ingredients one-by-one. Add the tadka to kadhi.

* Add the chana dal wadis as well and let them soak in the kadhi liquid for some time. Garnish with cilantro/coriander leaves.

* Serve with hot rice.


Soak the wadis in kadhi for some time, so that they absorb all the flavours...

until next time,

Monday, December 12, 2011

Monday Cocktail: Cointreaupolitan

But I have had to give up certain things in my life. One is shopping. Two is lunch with the girls. Three is cocktail parties, and four is studying my lines. 

~ Joan Collins

Ask me what I would crave for on a hot day, sitting under palm trees with my beach hat on. Or on a wooden bench shaded by a canopy of oak trees, with slight breeze wafting through the hair....

...I would go for a thirst-quenching, subtly spiked cocktail.

Cointreaupolitan
From the classic Mojito (also called as the drink of sailors?) to our Apple Martinis, all of them have their very own flavour profile and story to tell. Stir them, shake them, just neat, on the rocks, straight up, with a kick, or dirty - try them any which way possible, everyone would love a good cocktail....


Today, I made one such surprising and mouth-watering cocktail for you all - "Cointreaupolitan", made with Cointreau, very popular orange liqueur which is made from a perfect balance of bitter and sweet orange peels. it is at the heart of many famous cocktails.

Just 3 ingredients, shake it with ice = One perfect cocktail!!

{Recipe} Cointreaupolitan




Ingredients:

50ml (1.6 fl oz) Cointreau
30ml (1 fl oz) Cranberry juice
20ml (0.6 fl oz) Lemon juice

 
Preparation:

Pour all three ingredients into a shaker with ice. Serve optionally with orange zest.

Now, for some good news which most of you all already know and got me excited today...a mention about my Project 365 in Deccan Herald news paper. You can read the complete article here. Thanks Rohini. I couldn't have asked for more and it sure is a befitting finale to my 2011 P365. Yipeee.. :-) A huge thank you to everybody who encouraged with their lovely comments which in turn inspired me all along the way. Truth be told, posting a picture, every single day of the year, without missing a day - is exhausting but certainly makes me very happy and....


..now I have a very good reason to raise a toast to all you wonderful ppl. <3 <3 <3..



until next time,




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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Black and White Wednesday: Custard Apples



All my childhood I enjoyed savouring on their delightfully sweet flesh. Custard Apples (Telugu: Seetaphal Kayalu) are in season and markets here are flooded with juicy ones....yumm..

 Posted for Susan's Black & White Wednesdays.


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