Saturday, December 31, 2011

Memories the Essence of Life ~ Best of 2011!

There are times when you think days are flying and times when you think time just doesn't move. Luckily I haven't felt the latter for a while now. I am not sure if I should be glad or sad over it. The last twelve months have been one hectic period and I have not found time for doing many things. I know it sounds such a routine thing. I have always said if one wants to find time, one can surely. True, maybe I just didn't want to find that out myself. I have made sure I have been busy with more than what I can handle most times.

There have been times when I felt that I wasn't spending enough time with my kids. I try my best to spend as much time as I could manage. Well I know they will surely complain when they felt we are not spending time with them. We take them to park, spend evenings watching movies, I have had them help in cooking at times, helping me with small things that they can do. At the same time, this is the period for us to work hard, meet our goals, make much more of this life then just living everyday life! So sacrifices in certain areas are expected to happen.


Sometime during the last days of 2010 I thought to myself that I should really make an effort to be more active in Spice your Life! and decided to do a Marathon for 30 days. The group that joined us were so interested that they wanted me to continue, though with a theme. Since doing 30 days was just out of question I decided on a weekly marathon. Finally we settled around a pattern of doing 14 day marathons, making sure my other group's activity Indian Cooking Challenge, doesn't get affected by this. Through Blogging Marathon, I have come to know many bloggers and enjoy a close knit community that helps out and reaches out so much.I have been really proud for having got together a group that is so free in sharing knowledge, experience and much more. A big thanks to all my friends who had joined me in Blogging Marathon.

I did Breakfast Mela, Sandwich Mela, Condiment Mela, Soups and Salads Mela and Snacks Mela. And the entries that came my way surely fits us for many years to come!

As I was really busy with Blogging Marathon in Spice your  Life!, I tried hard to be regular in posting here. The highlights would that I managed to observe Navarathri this time and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. It really gives one a disciple that's required. After that came Deepavali and for that again I enjoyed making new dishes. Learning traditional Indian snacks and sweets and making sure I record it, gives me great happiness.

It is said life is always a mix of happiness and sorrow. While on a global front, we did see many calamities and casualties, on the blogging front we lost a dear friend. Though I never met Jayasree, it always felt as if we always knew each other. On a personal front, I lost my maternal grandma recently. She was the person behind many of the traditional recipes that are featured on this blog. Amma learnt from her and she passed on to me. Amma always said she can never make those dishes as good as her Mom.

Life goes on and we surely make sure to get involved in many things to forget things that depress us.

As always I have lots of plans to execute in the coming year. I am optimistic that at least having goals gets one to be focused.

Ultimately it all boils down to the fact about, not how much and what all we did. What really matters is if you gave your best efforts and hanged on till the end!
Give your best, rest will take care of itself!

Each year passing, I sit back for a while and think back how it was and I always know I can vividly remember each day passing. There have been few years that passed into oblivion. I know it has been a significant year. I met my childhood friends and it was such a nostalgic time, there is nothing better than meeting your friends you knew so many years ago. When I spoke to them over the phone last year and met couple of them, I knew life has come round a circle. This year I met about thirty of them. We have planned for a bigger group next year!

Also finally I thought I liked a tag line for the blog. "Memories that churn food and Tales". For the records I posted about 277 recipes on Cooking for all Seasons and about 220 in Spice your Life!

I appreciate the support that is shown by the visits and emails. This space if I had wanted it to be just a personal record for my kids, I would have kept it a private one. I enjoy the interactions that happen on this space with my readers, so look forward to reading them.

I wish all my readers a great year ahead!

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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Aloo Paneer Bondas | Potato Indian Cottage Cheese Fritters | Step by Step Recipe

After the stuffed bajjis that Konda liked a lot, Peddu wanted some for himself. Though seeing the chillies he said he wanted something else. That's when I remembered that he used to love bondas as a kid and wanted to make the stuffing as bondas. When the boys were 2 & 1/2 or so, we had taken them to Tirupati along with my sis in laws family. Over there while we had gone for darshan, my bil had taken the kids for snacks. That's when they saw the bondas they wanted to eat that. In fact they ate and even after coming back home, they kept asking for bondas. So if I wanted the boys to eat something I normally resort to making them as bondas and telling them it's the same they ate at Tirupati.

Truth be said, these stuffed fritters were really awesome. Of course there is no denying that deep fried snack tends to be very delicious.





Prepare the stuffing as it was in Stuffed Chilli Bajji and the outer layer too.

Then to the stuffing, add in 2-3 bread slices soaked in water and squeezed out completely. Crumble this mix with the stuffing and combine everything to a stiff balls.

Dip the balls in the batter and deep fry them right away.  

This goes for my Snack Mela, which is on till the end of the month.


And to my Kid's Delight, hosted by Veena this month themed on colourful palette

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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Stuffed Chilli Bajji or Fritters | Stuffed Mirapakaya Bajji | Bajji Mirapakaya Step by Step Recipe

Recently we came across these stuffed chilli bajjis in some magazine and Amma wanted to make these for evening snacks. Though we got the ingredients needed, until the last moment I didn't really give lot of attention to them. I was really surprised that it had pomegranate seeds along with nuts. And I was glad that both Konda and Peddu loved it!

I wasn't sure what I was thinking when I was writing this post, I had scheduled without the pictures or the anything else. So just edited it again with the pictures.

We went to Don 2 along with kids and they enjoyed it a lot. Well if I should refer the Popcorns and the Corn Chat that accompanied, well it was a great evening..:)















Stuffed Chilli Bajji or Fritters
Ingredients Needed:
Bajji pepper - 250 gms (10 - 12)

For the Stuffing:
Potatoes / Aloo - 2 to 3 medium
Paneer / Indian Cottage Cheese - 3/4 cup
Coriander leave, finely chopped - 3 -4 tsp
Chat powder - 1 tsp
Chilli powder - 1 tsp
Chopped dry fruit (Cashew nuts, Almonds) - 1/2 cup
Pomegranate seeds - 1/2 cup
Green chilli, finely chopped - 3 medium
Oil - 2 tsp

For the outer coating
Gram Flour / Besan - 1 cup
Rice flour - 1 tbsp
Soda a pinch
Salt to taste
Oil for deep frying

How to make Stuffed Chilli Bajji or Chilli Fritters

For the Stuffing

Wash and make slits on the potatoes. Microwave for 6 mins. Once done, cool in water and peel the skin. Mash then well.

Make Paneer as you normally make. You need not worry about pressing them to a shape as you will need to crumble them for this recipe. Chop the nuts and keep it aside.

Heat a non stick pan, add 2 tsps of oil, saute aloo, then crumbled paneer, dry fruits. Saute well.

Then add salt chilli powder, chat powder and mix everything well. Once done, allow to cool.
Remove and add the pomagrante seeds, coriander leaves and green chillis.

For the Chillis

Wash and pat dry the chilis, slit in the middle and remove the seeds completely. continue with the rest and keep them ready.

For the outer coating

Take the besan in a bowl, add rice flour, soda and salt. Slowly add water and make a batter of pouring consistency.

Stuffing and frying

Heat a pan with oil for deep frying. Make sure the oil is hot and not smoking.

Now stuff the chilis with spoonful of the aloo mix into the chilis. Press well. Dip these stuffed bajjis into the besan and gently slide into the hot oil.

Cook on both sides and drain on a kitchen towel.

Serve hot with ketchup.
This goes for my Snack Mela, which is on till the end of the month.


And to my Kid's Delight, hosted by Veena this month themed on colourful palette

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Monday, December 26, 2011

Wafer Chat | Potato Chip Chat | Step by Step Recipe

December always reminds me of holidays and celebrations. Though the month starts off with the half yearly exams, the kids look forward to the ten long days of vacation and the parents join the fun too. Even at work, it normally ends up being fun filled and holidaying mood. I remember the many Christmas based events and games we always had during December and this year too, we decided that we should do something similar. 

A team was formed with the juniors being given the responsibility of coming up with different themes, including games and other events. As always no event or celebration is complete without food and yes, I was asked what I could make. My colleagues quickly referred the blog and just that day I had the Snack Mela announced and everybody loved the concept. Couple of years ago, when we had a lunch cooked for 100 employees, I had a team of 20 members helping me with all the dishes. Though we thoroughly enjoyed that day, it was little hectic. Plus given the fact that most wanted snacks to be prepared, I agreed to make snacks in the evening. We had great fun zeroing on the snacks. The organizing team tagged the event as December Drizzle!

The snacks had to be something different from our usual fare plus the fact that we were going to cook for 100 people. We had planned for four days and three are done. All the three have been a smashing hit and everybody simply enjoyed themselves. I made Pancake with condensed Milk and cinnamon topping, next Royal Idlis and finally last week it was a wafer Chat. 

Pancake was made using the ready made mix, still estimating, mixing 4 & 1/2 kgs of flour was a huge task and I had very efficient team helping me blend the mix. I completely forgot to take my blender and had to relay on muscle power. I was told it was a great exercise to those who helped me blend the batter..:)

Second was the Royal Idlis, and this was another interesting challenge as everybody thought I was going to make Masala Idlis.  They never expected such a twist to the idlis and must say many went for 3 helping too. Even though when I posted this dish, it was supposed to have been with leftover idlis, it hardly was then. You can make with fresh batch anytime.

We had a platter of Manchurian planned but I finally said making that will be really a tougher job, considering the deep frying part plus not knowing how the reception would be. Finally others voted against it as it was a regular dish. They wanted the surprise element to be still there. 

So the fourth week's dish was moved to week three and it was Wafer Chat. One of the organizing member ate this at a restaurant and he loved it. So we experimented it once and I said I will surely have to improvise on the things that went in. I was really happy with the way I was able to change few of the components and the end dish turned out really fantastic. Pair the chat with a Chocolate Milk Shake, and you have one happy lot!
The ingredients required for making the entire quantity was mind blowing! We custom ordered 8 kilos of Potato Wafers. The wafers had to be thin and crispy. I am sure listing out the other ingredients in their whole quantity will not surely work out. So I will scale down to a smaller measurement.

Of course when it comes to chat there is never enough!

Since the other two recipes were already blogged, I requested my colleague to click pictures while I was preparing it.

Chocolate Milkshake is always a winner and it can never go wrong in pleasing.  Since I had made it previously, there was a common demand for it to be made again.


Step by Step Pictures






















Chocolate Milkshake with Chocolate shavings


15 liters milk was used, 2 big Hershey's chocolate syrup with 10 20 gm chocolate bars along with 2 huge vanilla family packs. There was an unlimited supply flow and I have never seen such content faces before this. 







Wafer Chat | Potato Chip Chat


Ingredients Needed:

For Assembling the chat

Potato Wafers - 1/2 kg
Chat masala
Kala Namak
White Pepper
Finely chopped onions
Finely chopped tomatoes
Coriander leaves
Sev
Coriander leaves
Lemon
Potato Mash
Green Chutney
Sweet Sour Chutney
Curds

For the Potato mash

Boiled Potatoes - 4 medium
Roasted Cumin powder - 2 -3 tsp coarsely ground
Salt to taste
Green Chillies - 4 -5 medium
Oil - 3 - 4 tsp

Wash and chop potatoes and boil till soft. Crumble and keep it aside. Heat a pan and roast the cumin seeds. Once cooled, grind it coarsely to a powder.

Heat the pan again and add oil. Add the mashed potatoes, cumin powder, salt and finely chopped green chillies. When you are making large quantity make sure you don't mash it completely. Just crumble it enough to get blend together.

Allow it to cool and crumble again to get it to dropping consistency.

For the Green Chutney

Mint leaves - 2 bunch
Coriander leaves - 2 bunch
Red Chilies - 8 - 9
Salt to taste

Wash all the leaves and grind to a fine paste adding water and salt.
I normally add green chilies, though red chilies give a wonderful taste.

For the Sweet Sour Chutney

Dates, pitted - 250 gms
Tamarind - 250 gms
Jaggary - 250 gms
Red Chilies - 100 gms

Wash and soak the dates in hot water, remove the seeds and allow it to soak well
Similarly soak the tamarind in hot water. When both tamarind and dates become soft, add more water and bring to boil. When it starts boiling, add the jaggary. Grind the red chilies using water and add to the boiling mix.
pulp and dilute if the sauce is very thick.

Curds / Yogurt Sauce

Thick Curds - 2 cups
Coriander leaves, chopped - 1/2 cup
Salt to taste
Kala Namak
Sugar

Hung curds in a muslin cloth for 15 mins. Using a blender, blend the curds to a thick and smooth consistency.

Make a paste of the coriander leaves and add to the thick curds, continue blending further. Finally add the salt, kala namak and sugar. The taste should be salty and curd tangy. And you should feel that mild coriander taste. Mix in cold water to make it pouring consistency.

Assembling the Wafer Chat in the following way

Assemble the wafers on a plate,
add the potato mash on top,
Next pour the curds over it
Next goes the green chutney and sweet sour chutney.
Then the onions, tomatoes, coriander leaves.
Next the sev
Finally sprinkle the chat masala, Kala Namak, White pepper. You can repeat any of the other ingredients depending on your preference.

Make sure you assemble and serve this right away as potatoes tend to get soggy if allowed standing.

Other Chat Recipes from my Kitchen

Dahi Papdi Chat Recipe
Dahi Samosa Chat Recipe
Ragda Patties | Aloo Tikki Chat
Masala Peanut Chat
Pani Puri / Gol Gappe
Aloo Tikki Recipe

This goes for my Snack Mela, which is on till the end of the month.

And to my Kid's Delight, hosted by Veena this month themed on colourful palette

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