Saturday, 27 October 2012

Boondi Ladoos



Ladoos definitely fall under the category "no pain no gain". It may be tough to get it right the first time if you are a beginner in the kitchen, but the joy of eating home made ladoos sees no bounds of happiness. This is an easy dish to make if you get the ratio of the ingredients right and multi task. Yes you read me right multi task.

AR for the first time suggested a dish and that I make some ladoos as prsaad for pooja. Ladoos did not find their way to the prasad but I did manage to make it during the pooja. Incidentally Kavya seems to like this sweet dish too. Thanks to Chota Bheem!!

Though hesitant first to try owing to the amount of time, sugar and oil this recipe requires adding to the LPG cap, I just gave in. After all what is life if you cant enjoy small things. Too much gyaan right?? 

Ingredients
Besan/Bengal Gram Flour        - 1 and 1/4 cup
Cooking Soda                         - a pinch
Sugar                                      - 1 and 1/2 cup
                                                 (adjust according to the quality of besan and sugar you use)
Water                                     - 1/2 cup for sugar syrup 3/4 to make besan paste for boondis
Cashews                                 - 10 to 15 finely broken 
Dry Grapes                             - 10 to 15
Cloves                                    - 7-8
Cardamom Powder                 - a pinch
Ghee                                       - 2 tsps
Oil                                          - to deep fry
Perforate ladles                       - 2


My way of making ( well this time its the standard way of making)
1. Fry cashews, grapes and cloves in ghee and keep aside.
2. Sieve besan without any lumps, add soda to this and mix thoroughly.
3. Make a batter with the mix similar to that of dosa batter's consistency.
4. To check whether the batter consistency is right for boondis, mix the batter well and with the back of a tea spoon hold the batter on top of the oil, if this forms round balls its perfect, if it trails down add some more water. If the batter is lose it will form thin roundels, keep adjusting till you get round balls when dropped in hot oil.
5. Simultaneously ready the sugar syrup. Keep stirring till the sugar dissolves and once done boil to one string consistency. Most of them recommend to switch off flame once the sugar syrup has reached one string stage but I would prefer to keep it on lower most flame to avoid crystallizing.
6. Heat oil and check if its ready. Oil is hot when you drop a little batter and it bubbles up immediately. If the oil is not hot enough the batter would stick together.
7. To make boondis pour the batter through one perforated ladle and fry them for few seconds. To check the right stage, press the boondis between your fingers, if they break they are over fried for making ladoos. They should only soften when pressed. I would highly recommend you to clean the ladle after every step so as to allow free flow of batter through.
8. Once you are done with the boondis switch of the flame of the sugar syrup and wait for few minutes for the sugar syrup to cool.  Please check not to let it crystallize. Transfer the boondis and to this add the cardamom powder and fried cashew nuts, cloves and raisins.Mash down the mix with the help of the ladle.
9. When the sugar syrup has been totally absorbed by the boondis and the mix is lukewarm start rolling them into ladoos. Please do not burn your fingers in the process.
10. Store them in air tight containers or relish them as you make. 

Note
1. Make a paste from besan with little water before making batter. This ensure there are no lumps in the mix.
2. Sugar syrup gets crystallized so time your boondis and sugar syrup.
3. One  string consistency could be checked in many ways, easy way to check this is to take some syrup between your thumb and index finger and it should give you a string. But be careful not to burn your fingers!! Other way to check this when you lift the ladle from the syrup it should give you a string like consistency and yet another way is when you pour little sugar syrup in a plate with little water, it should not dissolve.
4. Wipe dry your hands before rolling ladoos to help stay longer.
5. Edible camphor can be used as well. I just preferred not to use them.        
6. Since I am lazy to click all through the process, the site here is best recommended for step by step  photographic view. 

Monday, 22 October 2012

Mangalore Buns

Buns are no newbie to us, but Mangalore buns just cannot be taken into that category. I have no idea as to how they got termed buns, since
they could be easily looked up as Pooris or Bhaturas.  This happens to be an authentic Mangalorean/Konkani dish served for breakfast or snacks.

Thanks to my stint at Mangalore, I am in love with the people, place and their mouth watering dishes. As to why they are different is because the main ingredient Banana, makes them slightly sweet. Don't ask me why or how, but that is how the dish is supposed to be and eaten either with coconut chutney or sambhar.


Ingredients
1 cup Maida/All purpose flour
1 ripe Banana, medium sized
1-2 tbsp Curd/Yogurt
4-5 tsp Sugar ..........(purely optional if your banana is too sweet but that's how    the buns are supposed to be sweeeeeeeet.)
1 tsp Jeera seeds
1/2 - 3/4 tsp Baking soda
1/2 tsp Salt
Oil for deep frying

My way of making
1. Mash the banana completely and to this add rest of the ingredients except oil and make a dough.
2. Keep aside for 4-5 hours.
3. Pinch out balls from the dough and flatten them either with the help of rolling pins or in between your palms. If using hands do rub with oil prior to flattening.
4. Deep fry them in hot oil and drain them on paper towel.
5. Serve hot with tea.

Note
1. Start with lesser amounts of curd, since the banana tends to ooze out some moisture on keeping the dough.
2. The oil should be medium hot before frying, a tiny ball dropped in the oil should rise immediately.
3. I omitted sugar as my banana was the ripe Nendran type.
4. Some recipes suggest using Whole wheat flour. If anyone does please let me know.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Poha Vada




Guess by now you must have figured out that I try out my dishes with lesser than usual or no fat at all. Continuing with the trend, this time it was the poha cutlet/vada. Not that I am a big fan of vadas but the quest to experiment lead me to try this out as the main ingredient. Poha/aval/flatten rice as such makes the constituent for good upuma and aval nanachathu and of course vada in the deep fry fashion which is always a winner. But ever tried out the baked or shallow fried version. They are just yum in their own way. Let's see how.

Ingredients
Poha - 1 cup
Besan/Chickpea flour/Kadla Maavu - 1/4 to 1/2 cup
Chillies - 2-3 nos finely chopped
Ginger   - 2 tsps finely chopped
Onion    - 1 small finely chopped
Coriander - 1/4 cup finely chopped
Curry Leaves - optional - 1 sprig
Garam Masala - 1 tsp
Salt - to taste
Water - if needed just enough to bind the mix together
Oil - to brush

My way of making
1. Wash the Poha and soak for about 10 minutes.
2. To this add the chickpea flour and the remaining of the ingredients.
3. Add just enough water probably around 3-4 tsps since poha is already soaked and would not require much water. If the mix is loose add some more besan to it.
4. Set aside for 5 minutes.
5. Pinch out small balls from the dough and flatten them in between your palms. In case it turns out sticky oil your palms and repeat the same.
6. When the tava/griddle is hot enough, brush some oil and assemble the flattened vadas. See to that they are uniformly cooked all over. Turn over when one side is cooked.
7. Tada! they are done. Relish them hot with chutney or sauce.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Onion Chutney



Bored eating the regular staple side dish every other night, I was looking for something relatively simple that could go along with our rotis. Being lazy best that night, all I wanted to cook, was the simplest of simple dish with not more than two vegetables, but I ended up with just using Onions simple isn't it.  Not that the Kerala version or the Tamil Nadu version of the Onion chutney did not cross my mind, I just wanted something different and I did find it on Closet Cooking.

This is a very simple but tasty one that goes well with rotis and dosas alike. It's just the perfect blend of spiciness, tanginess and sweetness. So lets get started.

Ingredients
2 tbsp oil
2 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp mustard seeds
4 dried chillies (crushed)
2 big sized onions (sliced)
2 teaspoons chilli powder
1/4 cup lemon juice (or white vinegar)
Salt adjust to taste
Sugar 1/4 tsp (Original recipe calls for 1/4 cup sugar) - adjust to your taste if needed.
 
My way of making
1. Heat the oil in a pan.
2. Splutter the cumin, mustard seeds, dried chillies
3. Add the onions and saute until the start to turn golden brown.
4. Add the chilli powder, salt, lemon juice, and sugar and bring to a boil for a minute.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Minced Chicken Quiche


Ready to be baked!!!

Ideally this should have been my first experiment with baking. But alas I did give it a shot. We did have a reason to celebrate this time around. AR's new job!!. Though reluctant at first owing to the amount of time it takes for the preparation, I did finally give in to my temptation.Let me tell you, you are not going to be disappointed with the end result.

To me these tarts, quiches, pies, flan all look similar but did you know they are not. 
From here I got to know they are different all together;
  • Flan – baked dish consisting of an open topped pastry case with a savoury or sweet filling.
  • Quiche – French term for a baked flan with a savoury filling thickened with eggs – primarily eggs and milk or cream.
  • Pie – baked dish of savoury or sweet ingredients encased in, or topped with, pastry.
  • Tart – an open pastry case containing a sweet or savoury filling, but according to some chefs, usually filled with sweet ingredients.
So basically you can prepare a Vegetarian filling or a Non Vegetarian filling when it comes to Quiche and I went ahead with the Non Veg this time.

Now to the actual work

Ingredients

For the pastry

1 cup + 2tbsp flour (200gm)
100gm unsalted butter, frozen cut into cubes or grated
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 beaten egg
Salt as per taste

Few ml ice cold water.

For the filling
Minced and sauted Chicken - 1 to 1.5 cup
1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 beaten eggs
Pepper and Salt - as per taste


My way of making
1.Mix together flour, salt and baking powder together. Rub into this the butter, and mix until it resembles bread crumbs
2. Add the egg and mix the dough together. Few drops of ice cold water could be used as well in case the egg does not suffice. Transfer the dough to a floured surface.
3.Roll the dough to about equal thickness on all sides. The beauty of this pasty is that it does not require your base to be in any required shape at all, broken edges can server their purpose too.
4. Transfer the rolled out dough to a greased pie tray. I used a 71/2 inch sized tray. Press the rolled out dough to the sides and cover the tray on all sides, this might be tough for the first time but it gets better as you go. If the dough cracks, it does not matter just press down some from areas where you think its a bit thicker than the rest.
5. Keep this prepared dough refrigerated for about 2-3 hours.
6. Prepare the filling as per your choice. I did not have the minced chicken readily available so I went ahead with a simple minced and sauted chicken. 
6. Preheat oven to 350F/180C.
7. Beat the eggs well and to this add milk. Mix well and add to it salt and pepper if needed.
8. Thats it we are almost there, bring out the pie tray from the refrigerator, assemble the chicken, and top it with the egg-milk mix. Top it with some shredded cheese. At this juncture I use AR's help generally since I am bad at shredding cheese or butter.
9. You could decorate your quiche with decorative strips from the remaining flour and assemble them criss cross. Trust me you would not mind eating your quiche as it is without all these stuff, nevertheless I did it.
10. Bake the quiche until the top browns and is crusty for around 25-30 minutes. 
Minced chicken

Out from the oven
And a wedge for you :)

Note
1. Thanks to AR for patiently clicking to my satisfaction.
2. See to that the egg-milk mix does not overflow the crust else you might end  up in a messy oven when the dish is done.
3. I have used just one egg in the mix since I was not sure if it would overflow. Remember when in doubt, don't.
4. Eggetarians could try this dry vegetable filling made from panner, mushroom, cauliflower etc.

Inspired from Joy of Baking and Edible Gardens.


Thursday, 4 October 2012

Khadi Pakodas

My first try with dumplings in a curry was at my workplace some five years back. Not a very big fan of these curries but once a while I don't mind having them. They aren't healthy any ways. Kofta used to be the one's served in the North Indian meals at office. Gradually I began to like the Veg/Meat ball curries, the once we get in Chineese cuisine but the Koftas and Khadi Pakodas still hadn't got to my list of favourites. The taste of besan does not go down well to me more so because the south indian khadi version does not contain besan. 

One fine evening, when deciding the dinner menu, I randomly searched some dish with Besan as the ingredient and my eyes fell upon this dish. As curious as I was, I just decided to give it a try since I had all the required ingredients as well.  I did read through many sites but finally decided to go with Nag's Edible Garden since I have tried many of her recipes before hand I was sure this would work out too. I haven't changed much of the recipe except that I added some onions and curry leaves to the tempering and added some vegetables like carrot and beans as well to the pakodas.

This is how it goes.

Ingredients
Khadi
2 cups curd / plain yogurt
1 cup water
1/3 cup besan / gram flour
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp red chilly powder - adjust to your needs

Tempering
1-2 red chilly, broken into half
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp oil
One strand curry leaves
1/2 onions finely chopp

Pakodas
2 cups besan /gram flour
1 onion, finely chopped
1 potato, finely chopped
1 carrot grated
1/2 cup beans finely chopped
2 tsp red chilly powder
1 tsp cumin seeds
A pinch of asafoetida/hing
1/2 tsp baking powder
Salt
Water

My Way of Making
1. Mix together the ingredients for the pakodas to form a batter. Add just enough water to make them into pakodas and not make them watery. 
2. Deep fry the pakodas in hot oil and set them aside in paper towel.
3. Beat the curd well and to this add besan, turmeric powder, chilli powder and salt. Mix well.
4. Prepare the tempering, lower the flame and add the curd mixture and bring to boil with continuous stirring 
5. When time for dinner, add the pakodas, stir them well and serve with rotis.

Note
1. Make sure to add the pakodas just before serving else they turn soggy.


Monday, 1 October 2012

Anchovies Fish Fry


It was only quite recently that I decided to give the local fish retailer a visit. Now I am dragged to the place every alternate week to find my selection of fish. I actually feel upbeat every time I go shopping for fish as it doubles for my walking exercise as well. All thanks to a friend from our apartment, for persuading me enough to check out the place. Being a native of Kerala, Fish is almost an integral part of our daily diet. 

Fish has always been a good source of Omega 3 fatty acid, Proteins and Calcium (if one could manage to eat the bones of some kinds of fish). Mackrel, Seer fish and other larger fishes are regulars at many home in the cities since they are chopped and cleaned from the super market or the retailers itself. But did you know that the smaller fishes are the tastier of the bunch? They come with a drawback, however, they are not cleaned by the seller considering the time and effort.

Anchovies have been a recent craving for me, thanks to my stay at Mangalore for five long years. After moving to Bangalore, I have never managed to find them. I haven't tried making it before but the craving just got the better of me. Thankfully the local seller had them and nothing could hold me back, even the thought of cleaning 1 kg of these small fishes!

So enough with the background story, let’s get to business…

Ingredients
Anchovies 250 gms
Red chilli powder 1.5 tsps - Adjust according to your needs
Turmeric powder   1/4 tsp
Coriander powder  1 tsp
Salt - Adjust to your need
Oil - 1.5 tsp

My Way of Making
1. Cut and clean the fish. If you are not sure check this page on cleaning anchovies
2. Make a paste of the powders mentioned along with salt.
3. Marinate the fish with the paste and set aside for one to two hours atleast.
4. Heat the oil in a tava or non-stick pan just enough to coat the base of the pan similar to tavafry rather than deep fry
5. Spread the marinated fish and fry them on a medium flame till one side turns brown.
6. Turn the sides of the fish slowly so as to not break the flesh away from the bone.
7. Serve hot

Note
1. Marinade can be done from ginger-garlic paste, pepper powder or shallots as well. This time I chose the simple mix because AR  likes it this way and we were bored with the usual taste of ginger-garlic. One could also use Sooji, Maida (all-purpose flour) or egg to give the fish a coating before frying.
2. You could season them with onions and curry leaves and coconut pieces (thenga kothu) that are sauted .
3. This fish must be served hot so plan your fry just before meal time.
4. These are known by different names throughout Kerala, like VeluriNetholliUzhuva.