Thursday, April 30, 2009

Almond Milk Cake ~ Badam Halwa in Microwave!

I took a day off as the boys were due for their vaccine shot. We expected them to throw lot of tantrums and also chances of running a temperature. Luckily none of this happened except Peddu being very cranky. Now that's nothing new, these days he has got into the habit of wanting a ride the bike very often. They were happy knowing that they were due for a car ride. Poor darlings, they were crying the moment we got into the room. My first sister in laws and her daughters were at home for a week and the kids had a great time with their cousins.

I thought I should plan the menu but somehow managed on the fly! One thing I did remember to make is their favorite Rava Kesari and the impending Microwave event forced me to make this too. This wasn't a last minute dish but last minute preparation! This month my lovely event is guest hosted by dear friend Mythreyee and the moment she choose Nuts, I knew I had to make this. This has been on my mind for so long and finally I came around making it.


The whole day the kids had a field day playing around and I got around this only after they took an afternoon nap. Knowing the richness of the dish, I just wanted to make with a cup and not more than that.

The nutty feeling you get when you chew it is simply awesome. Infact to make it smooth, I soaked it in hot water for more than an hour or rather things worked out that way. I really don't think you got to soak it for so long.

Ingredients Needed:

Badam / Almond - 1 cup
Sugar - 1 - 1&1/2 cup
Milk - 1 cup 1 tbsp
Roasted Nuts for garnish.
Ghee - 2 tsp
Saffron threads - 4- 5 + Milk 2 tbsp
Hot water for blanching almonds

Method to prepare:

Micro 1 cup of water for 1 min. Soak almonds in it for 10 mins. Peel off the skin. Heat the milk for saffron for 1/2 min.

First run the almonds in the mixie, when you get the coarse powder, remove a tsp and grind the rest with milk to a smooth paste.


In a microwave safe bowl, heat the ghee and roast the nuts for 1 min on micro. Remove the nuts and transfer the almond paste, milk along with the soaked saffron and sugar to the same bowl. Add the coarse almond power to the same bowl

Micro for 10 mins, check in intervals of 2 - 4 minutes and keep stirring. You will get a good thick consistency which is more of a barfi and between a halwa.

Finally mix in the roasted nuts.

I liked the taste the coarse powder gave to the entire texture. And it was very creamy.

Sending a bowl to Mythreyee for Microwave Easy Cooking event themed on Nuts!

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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Lunch Box Series : LBS#45 the tale of the beerakaya continues!

I am sure you must be eager to know how the tale continues. For those of you who are clueless on the story, please read the tale of the Beerakaya Kura. The second of the two beerakai, found itself taking the form of a pappu! I do think people from Andhra are fond of their pappu. Anything you give them they can make a pappu out of it. And this Beerakaya pappu is the most favorite of Amma. She says she can never get it as good as how her mom makes. I think I can never get most dishes as how Amma makes. I conclude that all Mom's cooking is unparallel. Having said that, I ardently hope my kids feel the same about my cooking too down the lane!

Coming back to the tale, Amma always tells her mom's Beerakaya pappu was the ultimate dish she loved. It was so thick that even a slash with knife would be hard to cut it neat and was so delicious. They were a family of 10, yet the dal was never runny. It will have that thick consistency of Kaati Pappu types. All you need is just this dal with steaming rice, you sure will have a ticket to heaven! Of course, I might serve this with a dash of Avakaya. Still I knew and could understand her sentiments. I always loved her dal. Its not your spicy dal mind you. But not very bland too, just right enough to elevate your taste buds. This not being a seasonal veggie, you get it round the year or so I think, as Amma used to make this quite often. She never had anybody complain on being served this.

Then entered the prodigious son-in-law, for whom 2 tsp of fiery chili powder or bright green chilies are not really spicy enough. So this not so bland dal, was a sore experience! Thus came the end of this favorite dal at home, never to be made so often, reserved for certain days during his absence. Many years passed, months ran away, when one fine morning I received a call from Amma. They were then in the city of joy and found their joy too. The flowing Ganges, the cool breeze, added to their excitement came this discovery that sublime dishes got elevated to a different level in that place. I could hear the excitement in Amma's tone when she said it almost felt like a memory from her childhood, thinking of the way it tasted as how her Mom makes. I was so happy hearing it.

Ridge Gourd Curry

Forward a couple of years ahead, and you find me with two beerakaya on hand. Not knowing what else I should contrive on it. I was itching to make that beerakaya pappu and so gingerly asked hubby dear if I can. He sure showed surprised that I should still remember that, but years have bowled it soft and he pleaded that I should make it a bit more spicy for it to be palatable!

So this found its way to our lunch box today and I was chicken enough not to ask him how it tasted. But I knew it must have been good as hubby dear was obliging enough to click these pictures as I had to leave in a hurry for the office!

Today's Lunch Box had

Beerakaya Pappu
Plain Rice

Beerakaya Pappu ~ Ridge Gourd Dal!

Beerakaya / Ridge Gourd - 1 medium
Toor Dal - 150 gms
Tomatoes - 1 big
Green Chillies - 5 -6 long
Cumin seeds - 1/4 tsp
Dried Tamarind - 1"
Water, enough to pressure cook.
Turmeric powder a pinch
Salt to taste

For tempering:

Onion - 50 gms
Oil - 1 - 2 tsp
Curry leaves
Red chilies - 2
Chopped garlic - 1- 2


Method to Prepare:

Grate the outer skin of the Ridge Gourd and chop into small pieces.

Wash the dal well and take it in a pressure cooker along with chopped tomatoes, green chilies, tamarind pulp, turmeric powder, add enough water and pressure cook till the dal is tender.

Once the pressure is off, heat a pan with oil, temper with the seasoning ingredients and pour the dal into the pan and bring to boil. Cook till you get the required consistency!

Serve with Rice or Roti!

For all I have spoken about this dal, I hope you try this out and enjoy!

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Monday, April 27, 2009

Tale of two Beerakaya ~ One being the Beerakaya Kura or Ridge gourd curry!

It all started with hubby dear coming home with two long Ridge gourd! Now what would one do at that point you tell. Ok you may not know the background story right. Its the same old complaint that its the same old veggies at the market and nothing new to create a new dish. Rather we end up buying the same old veggies. Well hearing such complaints just before leaving, am sure offsets anybody. And hubby dear is no different, I tell you. He got fed with us complaining that he never gets anything different apart from the radiant carrots or the lean mean bean or the stout cabbages or the plum tomatoes or the pungent onions. I guess that's about makes it a whole lot right.

Anyway on this occasion, he said he will come with something different. And different it was, cos Ridge gourd is not something that I cook often. More so after he started complaining that I make it so bland. Am sure my hubby dears penchant for spicy food is well known by now. So lest I overlook at that aspect, he reminds me quite often that my Beerakaya Pappu is not what he calls his cup of dish in this case! Actually that's the second tale, infact.

Let me first tell the first one please. When we realized that hubby dear cannot digest pappu, we decided its going to be the kura! You know right, Kura gets beautified with ginger garlic paste and other assorts of spices, not to mention you either have the option of highlighting it with coconut pate or ground nut powder. True to my genes, I prefer groundnut powder anyways. It was quite surprising that this kura went into oblivion after a while. We completely stopped cooking this at home, all maybe because hubby dear had no love more hate relationship with this vegetable.

Ridge Gourd Curry

Now he finally comes home with not one but two of them. That for sure is an overdose I tell you. I have not one, but two different ways to cook those delicate darlings. Surprise surprise, both were not featured here. Is that God sent or what! So you get to see or read the first tale, second one follows a while!

Ingredients Needed:

Ridge Gourd / Beerakaya - 1 medium
Onions - 1/2 medium
Tomatoes - 1 medium
Chili powder - 1 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder a pinch
Roasted Groundnut powder -1 - 2 tsp

For tempering:

Curry leaves + mustard seeds, urad dal
Oil - 1 tsp
Salt to taste

Method to prepare:

Grate the outer skin of the vegetable. The outer skin can be made into a Beerakaya pachadi

Wash and then Chop into 1' pieces.

Heat a pan with oil, add the mustard, urad dal and curry leaves. fry for 1 min.

Then add the chopped onions, sauté, then add the tomatoes along with spice powders and salt. Fry till tomatoes are little mushy.


Add the chopped ridge gourd, fry well. Add required water. Cover with lid covered and simmer for 10 - 15 mins. The ridge gourd gets cooked easily enough.

Check in between. Once done, remove lid and add the groundnut powder and bring to boil. You can remove when it reaches a thick consistency enough to be served with chapatis.

This goes well with rice too. I blogged the pachadi a year back and getting back to post this kura only now!

Enjoy this and hope you will be back to hear the tale of the two Ridge Gourd! Till then have a great week ahead.

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Saturday, April 25, 2009

Monthly Mingle Round up!

Its really strange how our minds work! I am so used to a particular dates for my events that I completely forgot that I am yet to do the round up of the wonderful Monthly Mingle this time featured on my favorite topic Kids Lunches. Thank you Meeta for giving me this opportunity for a wonderful mingle, we have quite a feast to choose from!

We have a wide range of dishes to select to satisfy that most important person in our life! Our Kids! And what a varieties, I was simply so satisfied to see the different entry dropping in each day. I have bookmarked almost all of them, so I expect you too.

When I thought Kids lunches, I didn't really restrict to just lunches, but more of what you can make your kid to eat in terms of carrying a packed meal. But it could include snacks and other items too.
I was happy that the participant not only thought out of box but came up with some good choice to whip up when the kids get bored with the same dishes.

So lets proceed with the entries and feast ourselves!

Putting the entries into some category always makes it easy to appreciate. So that's what I have done.

Thanks all participants for sending in their lovely entries. I have ensured I have not missed any entry, but my apologies if something got missed. Do drop a line, will amend it right away!

Lets get on to check out, First on the go comes two lovely sets of full lunch boxes.

Bhawana has outdone herself by giving us a menu that can cater to all three meals of a kiddo's day. And the items she has lined makes me want to reach out, am sure many kids would love to have these made for them too!
Next comes Jaya with some wonderful ideas to pack for a toddler's lunch. Homemade always make these snacks great and when the kiddos love them, no question about it. And we also get to peek into some fantastic lunch boxes!

Then on the go are some yummy snacks, which I am sure no kid will say no!

When you are running out of ideas on what to make for your kids, am sure you would love to know about this delicious dip that Anjali made with curds and herbs. This makes a great stuffing for sandwiches that you can pack your little ones for lunch!

Then we have one of the jugalbandit reminisce on her baby days. She says when she was a baby, she could've been easily fooled by her mom to eat these delicious Horse Gram Cocktail Fritters, if she was told they were “beef croquettes”. I really wonder why, they look so yummy as such! Hop on to read another interesting account of Bee's journey towards being a better kid!

Next entry is from the creator of this beautiful event Meeta. Her pictures are always breathtaking, and she gives another ace with this bowl of fish fingers coated with cornflakes to be accompanied with Veggie chips. Let alone her son, her picture tempts me to grab some right off the screen!

Then we have Nithyasri making some interesting cones /a>that would serve as a great snack for the kids. Its not only interesting but healthy too as she makes it with sprouts.

Finally we have Parita coming with some Sweet Corn Frankie, which are simple to just pack and go for a picnic! Am sure kids would love to bite in these delicious frankies! And she talks about chaat chaat, well guess everybody's mind is only of chat!


Next we have some cool side dishes that make a great combo with either rice or bread, and most important Kid friendly!

First on the list is a cool and delicious curry from Aquadaze! Though Aquadaze is crazy about eggs, it didn't get rub off her lil one. And she doesn't eat it if its not made as this yummy looking Egg Curry. with Milk and cornflour, it sure is a different one to try!

Next we have Arch sending in a full lunch menu that she made for her lil one. Having a no fussy kid is a God's gift to mother and I am sure many will be J hearing Arch praise her adorable 3 year old, who would want Roti subzi instead of chips and burgers. So she prepares a spread that includes Palakwali Moong Dal, Paneer Burjee and Carrot Raita. Now that's a lunch I won't mind having too!

Bhagyashri brings in an amazingly simple potato stir fry that her daughter loved so much. She just couldn't believe this dish was so simple to make, yet made her go for a second and third serving when she had it in a restaurant!

Then we have Ekta trying her best to get veggies into her daughter's lunch. And she says Chana Dal with Laukiis the best way to get her daughter eat lauki. Not that she loves lauki, but she hardly finds it in the dal! Well it helps to have such clever cooking!

We then have Kayal bringing in two dishes for the mingle. Her Arai Keerai Kootu is sure an healthy one to get the kids eat. Its interesting to note that her kid loves this green leafy dish. Well if only all kids were like that, but anyways there is no harm in my trying this out I guess!

Another simple dish that her child loves is this Simple Veg Curry. She uses peas and cauliflower, which he ensures he eats from everybody! that's so cute...This curry is not only tasty but very simple to make.

Mansi comes up with this simple and easy Kadhai paneer that you can make in a jiffy to pack for your kid. Am sure this makes a great one for dinner too!

Then we have Priya talking about the most loved veggie of all, especially by the kids. She sends in a simple quick Potato dish that her niece and nephew love and it can be paired with chapati, stuff between a sandwich, the choice is yours entirely!

Sheetal shares her childhood favorite dish Gul-Amba, that her mom used to make for her. Now her child enjoys when given. She says this makes a great side dish for rotis and you won't want for anything else!

From an Andhra kitchen comes a Chili con Queso, a Mexican delight! Well our dear Uma is all set woo her kids with a protein filled plate that takes care of all the diet needs of the day!

Next comes One pot meals which makes it all easy and of course the parathas!

Anjali shares this wonderful incident she had with her nephew and how she made him eat this delicious looking beet rice. She takes special care to make them arranged in a lovely mound that's easy for kids to scoop by themselves!

Next we have Meera sending in a wholesome packed meal with her Methi Mushroom Makai Pullao. Am sure this works out well on its own for lunch and you really don't have to worry about adding anything more!

Parathas are a great dish for lunch and am sure kids love them. I loved the fact that Parita made them look so colour with her Bell Pepper and Spring Onion Parathas!

If there is one thing I love, its chapatis. What's more if I get it colorful. But then I remember its for kids this time and say yes my kids would love to this lovely Rainbow Chapathi that Sujatha sends in!

Sweatha makes a wholesome lunch with Chickpeas and Vegetable in Rice. This mild rice makes it perfect for the kids and can be easily made. I am sure this helps when we run out of ideas!

Another interesting healthy one from Vibaas is the Tofu Parathas. Her kids loved it until they heard that the parathas were stuffed with tofu. Guess it helps to keep certain things secret!

Now that we are done with rice and parathas, am sure you are looking forward to one plate servings that works out well with kids.

First on the list we have A&N, on the way to get their version of burgers patented by coming out with a burger version named AnBurgers. They say its not only healthy but makes it more interesting if we could get the kids do it along with us. Well if only they know! But anyways the looks of the burger is sure enough to tempt me try it out!

Then comes a redesigned idly taking a different form. Anu says when kids feel bored to eat the same old idly, change it to take a different look by making it as Upma. Imagine the surprise the kids will have opening their lunch box and peeping into a prepped up Idly!

Now Mac and cheese with Italian Sausage, sounds just the right one to interest any kid. And if it comes from Asha, it sure will be great. She says this is what her kids prefer on a weekday dinner, am sure it fills and sits well with any age group!

This Kid's lunch pack from Cham makes me want to carry one! She packs in Vegetable Noodle, with some fruit yogurt and juice. Now that I call a perfect one to feed a hungry kid!

EC comes up with a simple yet tasty version of Eggless masala toast, that can make a great snack for kids!

I know this being so common may not even come to mind, but looking at the beautiful picture sent by Food Fanatic, reminds that upma is yet another delicious option when you don't know what to feed your kid!

Mickey is for sure a kids friend and imagine a dosa in shape of Mickey! yes, Kalpana gets all innovative and makes a dosa in Mickey's shape and no wonder it was all vanished within minutes. And to accompany these are another interesting ones, the fruit kababs...

Prajusha makes this delicious and colourful looking Ribbon sandwich that will make a great lunch. The green chutney along with the other veggies, makes sure you have your fill of nature's best!

Rajee cooks up this wonderful looking Cracked Wheat with Tomato Upma, which warms up any cold day! I know it makes a good one to pack for your kid, and the things you can add to this are so many that you can never exhaust all!

Dosas I love, and Shubha makes it even more interesting by making in as Numbers! What a cool way to get your kids learn numbers. Her Dozza is another healthy way to make kids eat veggies!

Knowing how much my kids love this Puffed Rice uppma, I can say without doubt that this can be all kids favorite. And looking at sukanya's delicious plate, there leaves no doubt, am sure!

Reading Vibaas, I felt my head nodding, well I guess its most common scene that she was talking about. She says she has tough time getting the veggies taken by her kids and resorts to sneaky ways to get them done, am sure I will follow suit if they loved these Cheese Toast with Cauliflower and Peas!

Baked Goodies!

First on the parade is one yummy looking bread from Bharti. Banana Bread or Banana Cake how different can it be. Well the pan makes the difference I see and so says Bharti too. She bakes these bread and serves for breakfast. Of course they make a great lunch box item too for kids and its healthy too!

Then we have Ivy remembering her childhood days and getting nostalgic about eating these aromatic Cypriot Cinnamon and Raisin Bread Rolls. I know they will any kid want for more. With the goodness of cinnamon and raisin, these buns make a great snacks to be packed!

For Miri, its a delicious discovery, finding this Instant Handvo that she was meaning to prepare for over a year. And making it instant made it also possible for her to pack these for her lil one! How sweet, I mean the fact that her lil one is enjoying the dish!

If you want to woo a kid, there is nothing better than a cake. Nags gets better by making these lovely Butterscotch Blondies for her young nephews. I am sure kids would love to pack these along to feast on them!

Soma makes her princesses eat these Cheese & Pasta Mini Cups by cleverly coming up with ways that she can sneak healthy stuff into cups. I am sure her kids enjoyed these treats!

Yasmeen packs in one yummy pockets. She had me drool for long with the choice she has, what with Mango jam and vegetable pockets that she makes for her kid. When you are in a rush, do read out her post to know how you can quickly get these done!

Well we also can think of these delicious non veg dishes to give protein and other things for the kids, so check out some interesting entries!

Deeba can make your head spin with her delicious cakes and desserts and its no wonder that she can extend theme to these delicious looking Chicken Quesadillas, that her kids love. Looking at the wonderful plate that's so wholesome makes it more inviting!

I was really happy seeing Lisa's entry. Not only is this her first event entry, but first post too. And imagine dishing out such a delicious Risotto with shrimps and mushrooms, which her family enjoyed a lot!

Then we have Priya sending in couple of dishes that sure sound very interesting for a kid!. Trust her to come out with such a flavourful plate. Chicken Fried Rice with Pepper omelette is such a tempting combo that a kid will surely not say no!

Then she makes this super healthy combo meal for her kid that's not only interesting but is more on the lean mean side of the fat! French Beans n Baked Chicken Crisps are perfect for anytime!


Cultures may be different, but I wonder at the similarity we at times have with such a different cuisine! This delicious sounding Quince Halvas Nistisimos are from Ivy and they are almost same as our yummy halwas and make a great treat to kids!

Joanne gets back to make a pizza in Greek Style and yeah its one tempting one! So its no wonder it got disappeared the moment it was made. The kid in me wants to grab a slice or two!

Supriya comes out with a beautiful looking Green Butterfly Pasta, which her daughter liked very much. I am sure it was more because of the green colour that the kid was attracted and the taste complemented the lot!

Varsha sends in some lovely Healthy Oats-Nuts bar, that can work out best when you are planning to pack some healthy snacks for the kids. Best part being it can be stored and served.


Then we have Sree Vidya bringing in multiple choice for us to choose and each of them sound more interesting than the other. Am sure it would not be chore getting the kids eat these delicious Gobi Manchurian or the fancy Kathi roll.

Her Macaroni hot pot is something to get done in jiffy not to mention the Paneer bhurji that can save your day anytime.

But lets start it all with her Nutty n Creamy Veg Soup, it sure to make anybody crave for more. She adds in nuts along with veggies, which makes it a ideal wholesome food for kids! Even if you can't pack it regularly, am sure you will find a way to send this along if your kid gets to fancy this!

Or this yummy Coconut Milk Pulav, which am sure any kid will fancy. So that's a great idea to share with other mommies right. This pulao is mild and is quite easy to get the kids take this!

Then we have Vidhas sending in some 9 different dishes to choose from.

Vidhas makes this nutritious pulao with broken wheat with the goodness of veggies included. Not only the kids love it, they can carry this for their lunch box!

This simple mexican rice from Vidhas is an ideal one to please a kid. Its mild, yet interesting and colourful to attract a lil one!

I guess most kids love paneer and making different dishes with it, makes things little easier for us. And Vidhas comes with her versions of bhrji and parathas which sure will get any kid finish off the plate!

Vidhas makes this poori masala which I know is everybody's favorite and esp kids, who can have this anytime of the day. So when you run ideas to make for the lil angels, think of this!

Check out her other interesting Shahi Vegetable Pulao, Roti and Rajma, Wheat Veg , Mamoos, Chickpea Paratha and Mushroom Rice


Finally from me, Aloo Tamatar Sabzi with Kasturi Methi with Masala Rice

Hope you enjoyed the varieties!

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Mutton Fry ~ Mutton Vepudu!

We went out for burgers for dinner, with the hope that the kids would enjoy at the Kids corner that's there in the restaurant. And did they play? they refused to get back home. Athamma didn't join us as she is still recovering, but its much better. stitches are removed but the bone is yet to join back. So it was just us for the outing. The kids were so excited on going out, you might think we don't take them anywhere. They go on a bike ride atleast some 3 times in a day, be it morning or even as late as 10 in the night. Still we enjoyed seeing their enthu.

The Kids play space had two riders, a toy car and a house that had few kids chairs. Peddu wanted me to get into the house, I was trying to feed him and he was running around the place. Chinnu refused to eat, so my target was Peddu. He made sure I ran around to feed him. He went into the doll house saying "Jolly, the house is nice". We were quite surprised at him using the word Jolly. He wanted me to enter the house, I told him its quite small for me. He was looking surprised for that!

Thanks to her friends Mom, our little madam is busy these days trying her hand at Stitching. I must remember to thank her friends Mom for coming out with such a brilliant idea to keep the girls engaged. Her friend K, is a year older than her and they are always together during the weekends. If I remember correctly, this is the first summer they are at home. Normally she leaves to her granny's place for Summer. Konda somehow forgot to discuss her birthday. She normally takes toffees to her school friends during April. This is the first year we completely forgot about it! When I remembered, I was feeling so awful. It was almost like my lil one has grown out of her childhood. Of course not, atleast I hope so!

Mutton fry,Mutton roast

Coming to today's recipe this is something I made many days ago. I haven't got around making anything new, so this is from my draft and it was good that I had it all typed as I had already shared it for a reader. So guess I am now sharing with the rest!

Ingredients Needed:

Mutton - 250 gms
Onions - 1 medium
Green Chillies - 2 medium
Curry leaves 5-6
Ginger Garlic paste - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder a pinch
Chili powder - 1 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Cashewnut powder - 1/2 tsp (opt)
Crushed peppercorns - 2 tsp
Garam Masala - 1/4 tsp
Salt to taste
Oil - 2 tsp

Method to prepare:

Wash Mutton and chop into medium sized chunks.

Pressure cook the mutton with 1/4 tsp of ginger garlic paste, a pinch of salt, turmeric powder along with 1 cup of water. Pressure cook till the mutton is well cooked and tender. Drain the stock from the mutton.

Heat a pan with oil, sauté chopped onions, green chillies, curry leaves, then add the remaining ginger garlic paste, Fry for 2 0 3 mins, till everything gets done.

Mutton Vepudu

Then add the cooked mutton pieces, add all the spice powder except peppercorns. Combine everything well and cook it covered under sim for 5 mins.

Remove the lid and sauté well. By now the spices are well coated. Sprinkle in freshly ground peppercorns. Mix well. It gets done in 5 mins time after adding the peppercorns.

Note: I used the stock from this cooked mutton to the rice. You can make soup with it. Peppercorns have to be freshly ground and it should be coarse, not too fine not too coarse.

The taste of the fresh pepper along with curry leaves gives a heady taste!

Hope you make this and enjoy!

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Announcing Mithai Mela ~ Celebrating 2 years!

Time for sure flies! While I was flying to my office, something clocked in my mind and I remembered that 16th April, marks the 2nd year completion of my blog. Though technically I posted my first post much later, for all reasons, starting point matters right. And in the same breath I remembered its been a while since I had any of my Mela Series. So this definitely calls in for an occasion to have a Mela!

For almost a year and half, I managed to post daily. But it had to exhaust at some point right. Life now seem so much more hectic, that I have convinced myself to do a two post a week. I am trying hard to squeeze in the many things that are running parallel. Since I am not a person who can sit idle for a min, this chance seem so perfect with the MM just getting completed. I have a perfect reason to host another event.

So friends, here comes the "Mithai Mela". Do indulge me by participating in this edition of Mela, which marks the 2nd year completion of this blog. I feel nostalgic remembering the fantastic Dosa Mela that got started this way. And I hope this edition will be a success too.

Here’s how it works:

1. From now till May 20th 2009, cook any sweet and post on your blog with a link back to this announcement and use the logo.

2. The entry can be any type of sweet. Only condition being it got to be sweet of course!

3. You can send in your entries from Archive, provided they are re posted specially for this event and not clubbed together.

4. Entries sent to Mithai Mela can be entered to other events.

5. Once done, you can send in your entries to with the following details
Sub: Mithai Mela
Blogger name
Post URL
Recipe name

7. Non bloggers can send their entry with the recipe details and pic, if any to my email acct.

I hope you won't disappointed me in over indulging me with a dose of sweets!

 Mithai Mela Round up 1
 Mithai Mela Round up 2
 Mithai Mela Round up 3

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Monday, April 13, 2009

Yet another Dal!

Well actually Amma told me that this has a name but in all haste I missed asking her what this dal is called. But then I always believe whats in a name, when something can hold on its forte all by itself right! She said she had made this remembering something she had read a long time ago and it came out really good. Wanted me to try and yes, though this sounds so much like the normal one that I make, it had that something of a different touch that it makes it stand out.

And the weekend being so hectic as usual that I don't even want to think about it, there isn't really no reason why I should talk about the days becoming more hectic. These days boys take forever to sleep, hence you can see the slow down of new dishes happening here. That does mean I dont' cook, but nothing new is coming out of the kitchen off late. So I have nothing to entertain than this simple yet delicious Dal, which IMHO, is the best. If you know that abberviation, well and good. But if you are like me, well I can't help by saying what it stands for..:)

Ingredients Needed:

Toor dal - 100 gms
Onion - 1 small
Garlic - 4 flakes medium, chopped as thin slices
Tomato puree - 125 gms
Green Chillies - 4 long
Cumin Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder 1/4 tsp
Salt to taste
Oil - 1 tsp

Method to prepare:

Pressure Cook Toor dal with Turmeric till soft.

In a kadai, heat oil and splutter cumin seeds. Then saute garlic till slightly brown. Then saute onions.

Once the onions turn brown add the tomato puree, cook well. Then add chopped green chillies.

Finally add the cooked tur dal and add enough water and salt.

Bring to boil and cook till you get a good consistency.

Serve with rice or chaptis.

This quite spiked up our dull dinner somehow

Would love to hear your comfort food today! And yes greetings for a great week ahead!

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Friday, April 10, 2009

Beyond Curries ~ Demystifying Indian Cooking!

I drool over cookbooks and read them like novels. Of course, there was a time when I used to read lot of fiction, on the likes of M&Bs, thrillers, comics and the serious literature. But there was a point when I just couldn't find time to read, but my passion for reading cookbook or collecting them, never stopped. The Annual Madras Book Fair, that's held during Pongal every year, always had me buying new cookbooks. How much ever I plan for other stuffs, finally I see myself walking away with a bunch of cookbooks. More than actually cooking, admiring the picture of the final dish is more exciting. But many times I am left wondering how it all starts. The basic of any cuisine, how it starts and what goes into making them what it is, in the final picture.

After starting my own food blog, and interacting with so many wonderful Food bloggers from different region, I get to see a glimpse of the real picture. Still at times I am left wondering if I know how to cook them on my own. What if I ask such basic question to the author, will she feel that its common to know those things, will it be seen very naive to ask such questions. Most times, I just admire and appreciate the lovely dish and leave without asking such questions. Of course, with the intent that when I plan to cook that dish, I shall mail the Author and get things clarified in private. Now what if there was a forum, where such questions can be asked, without it being felt awkward. Wouldn't that be great. Yes, that's exactly what I felt, when Sia asked me if I would like to be part of her group blog, which is meant to demystify the Indian Cooking.

Now Indian Cooking and Indian Cuisines are so many, that one single person can't be the sole authoritative. So this group of wonderful bloggers, will share with all of us, the expertise they have and in the process make it appear to be a child's play! The Blog name "Beyond Curries" was unanimously chosen by all, agreeing to the fact that there is lot more to Indian Cooking than the notion that Indian curry symbolizes it. Infact I don't actually know what goes into Indian Curry powder that I believe is sold..

Having said that this group blog, contributed by some expert bloggers out there, its a pleasure being part of the group. In no terms, do I claim to be an expert. But I am all excited to share what I have learnt from my Amma, Athamma and my own experience. I wish you would encourage and give feedback as you have always being doing. And yes, I hope to learn more things by this way!

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Thursday, April 9, 2009

Host list for Microwave Easy Cooking Event!

This has been on my mind for many months, finally going live today!. So here comes the list of my lovely guest hostess for my event, Microwave Easy Cooking, referred as the MEC. When I first wanted to create an event that will be unique but still hold out, many wanted Microwave Cooking as the theme. I must say I have learnt much with the entries that have come my way.

Finally deciding that having this hosted by other bloggers will give a different touch to the event, prodded me to request my friends to host. I was touched when almost all of them replied back affirming their willingness. It was indeed a proud moment, when I drafted the list and saw that I even had 2010 fully booked. But to be realistic, I have filled up only 2009 and have requested the rest to decide in the coming year.

My apologies to my blogger friends who have already hosted but I couldn't talk about it. So here comes the list and details of what has already happened.

Mythreyee from Paajaka April - Nuts
Rachel of Tangerine's Kitchen May
Simran of Bombay Foodie - June
Ramya Harish from Welcome Hunger - July
Srivalli - August
Neha of Tasty Recipes - September
Suma of Veggie Platter - October
Paru of Brindavan - November
Cham of Spice Club - December

And yeah my page needs to be updated. Will be doing it one of these days, please bear with me!

Be sure to come back tomorrow for a surprise!

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Monday, April 6, 2009

Bitter Gourd Kurma!

The weekend was quite hectic, well I might start making it look like a chore! Well its not actually, its something I enjoy a lot and look forward too. So don't let my tone get you into that assumption. Athamma is much better, her finger is healing fast. My second sil was here for couple of days and had to leave. So we are back to us at home, of course Amma is there to help me. My kids are enjoying their trips up and down to school with their Ammamma now. Konda had her last exam and is very jubilant. She already declared that she is going to stay out at her grandparents' home from today.

I had great fun cooking at office for 60+ colleagues. I choose Channa pulao, not only because it was already a hit at our bloggers meet, it was something that can stand alone on its own. This was the first time I was cooking for such large numbers, so had reconfirmed the measurements with Amma again. It took about 3 hours for the entire cooking to get done, and result was great, if I have to say it myself! Many asked when we can open a restaurant. I replied I am ready when they are. But on the whole it was a wonderful experience seeing so many satisfied looks.

Now coming to today's dish, this was prepared by Amma, who remembered her mom cooking it this style, so I thought it has to be recorded for sure!

Before that do take a look at the Coconut Dates Boorelu!

Ingredients Needed:

Bitter gourd - 2 medium
Tamarind - a marble size
a pinch of salt

For the gravy

Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves - few
Ginger garlic paste - 1/2 tsp
Onions - 1 big
Tomato puree - 1 cup ( you can use chopped ones too)
Salt to taste
Oil - 2 tsp

For the paste
Coconut - 2 tbsp
Chili powder - 1 tsp
Coriander powder -1 tsp
Cloves - 2
Cinnamon -1 "

Coriander leaves for garnishing

Method to prepare:

Cut the bitter gourd into long pieces, soak in salt and then boil in tamarind pulp. Throw the water away and then fry the pieces in oil for 2 mins. Keep it aside

Then heat a pan and add mustard seeds, curry leaves, then ginger garlic paste. Fry well. Then add the chopped onions, followed by tomato pieces. Add salt, let the tomato get little mushy.

Then add the ground masala, fry well till the oil comes out. Finally add the fried bitter gourd pieces, required water and simmer till you get a thick gravy.

You can add the chopped coriander before removing it off the flame.

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Friday, April 3, 2009

Saga of an Onion saute ~ Basic Indian Cooking!

When you feel you are already full to brim with everyday activities, life just offers you a shock to get you realize that there is more to life than running around - cooking, playing and rushing to office! This happened to us, which had us spinning. Athamma had a major cut in her finger tip while she was using the Mixie. It is quite a deep cut, has her bone fractured and she has her finger in cast for the next few weeks.

Luckily the doctor says she will be able to get it back to action. She is more upset that this has caused a setback to our progress with the Book. Yeah, well but her health is more important than rest. So assured her that we can go at a snail pace right now. But I always get encouraged seeing the courage that people around me exhibit. I get back to feel reassured that there is always a silver lining behind every dark cloud! Athamma with her deep wound took time to take a cloth, then locked the house before going to parent's home. I am sure most would not have had such a courage and might even end up crying but I haven't seen her shed a tear nor lament that she is faced with such adversary! Rather she was feeling sad that she had to top more work to us!

To top it all, she was asking me why I hadn't updated the blog with anything new! So I didn't want to make her feel things are difficult now. Just wanted to get on things as normal as possible. She was quite taken in with this picture I took with Onions. So I thought this should be it for today.

For me, there is no real cooking without Onions. I use Onion in different ways, forms, in different dishes. While I was thinking about it, I felt that I might as well document the different ways and talk about the terms that is used when referring to basics. These might sound strange for people who aren't a foodie!

Onions not only enhances taste, but render bulk to the gravy. Its one of the important ingredients used in making Indian gravies, sides dishes and many more dishes. Coming to think about it, I don't think I have cooked any savory side dish or gravy without onions! And even if I had, I wouldn't have enjoyed it as my usual ones.

Below are few terms and methods normally used when dealing with cooking Onions. Depending on the dish prepared, you got to chop the onions or prep them accordingly. Like for examples, onions are always cut as julienne when used in a biryani, pulao or a Roasted vegetable. Whereas as Squared pieces when used in Tikkas, Kothu Parothas etc.

Blanch - Regular red/white Onions are chopped into big cubes and immersed in boiling water to give more body to the gravy. Shallots, which are quite hard to peel, can be easily peeled when you blanch them in water. Most of the time, I even put them in a bowl of normal water.

Browning / Caramelize - This is normally done as a garnish process, where a biryani is garnished with caramelized onions. Onions are cooked in fat/butter until it is browned. This process brings out the sweetness and adds color to the dish to which it is added. This is done in slow flame, where the onions absorb the fat and turn thick.

Grate or Shred -Grated onions give out pungent flavour and adds zing to dishes like chat, salads etc. These are normally grated just when ready to serve. Peeled onions can be held against the holes of a grater making thin pieces and fall directly over the salad. This way the juice that falls out, adds more flavour. Dishes like Masala papad gets more tasty when topped with grated onions.

Deep-fry - This is normally done by completely cooking the onions in hot oil until golden brown. This is almost same as caramelize only these are very crisp. These can be added to savory snacks.

Dice - Onions are cut into cubes. Ok, when I don't like to eat the onions in certain dishes, I normally dice them into squares. Its easy to parser them out. Again these cubes can be small, medium or large. In certain dishes, they add volume and look to the whole dish. Like the diced squares of onions in Kothu Parotta. Dicing is slightly less exact as cubing is but still should have uniformity.

Julienne - Onions are into very thin strips. This is normally done to onions that are added to biryanis and certain roasted dishes, where you want the onions to be well cooked but made its presence felt.

Mince - For thick gravies, you want to give body to the gravy by adding minced onions and sautéing them. These are normally cut or chopped into very fine pieces. Most gravies or chutneys gets onions this way.

Parboil - When you eat in a restaurant and wonder why we never get that same taste at home, its mostly because of this technique. Onions are parboiled and then ground before adding to the gravy. Since its partially cooked, its easy to cook the gravy. But most important, it removes the raw smell and adds more volume to the gravy.

Puree - This is possible the next step one does after parboil. The onions are run in a blender or food processor. We get more of a smooth paste, which is easy to cook. We can even store this puree for couple of days.

Sauté - This is normally done using smaller quantity of oil/fat. But requires you to frequently toss it around the pan. This is normally done in high flame, and is mostly the first way to get them browned. I mostly do this with onions that go into chutneys or Kurmas. It enhances the taste when they sautéed and then ground into a paste. This process doesn't get the onions to be very brown or over cooked.

Sweat: The process of cooking the onions in a covered pan until they are soft on slow flame. This not only gets them cooked but the chopped onions hold their shape. These are mostly used in making side dishes, where you want the onions make their presence felt.

Stir-fry - This is normally done in a kadai or wok. The food is tossed about in a hot pan with very little oil, this is very similar sautéing but slightly different.

Well these are what I could think about. Let me know if you have anything else! Would love to hear about other methods that I might have missed!

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