Friday, December 8, 2017

How to make Roti dough in kitchenaid mixer ?



Ingredients:
Whole wheat flour - 3 cups
oil - 2 tbsp
salt - 1/2 tsp
water - almost 1 1/2 cup

Method:
Put flour and salt to the bowl of mixer.
Fix the bowl to the stand mixer.
Attach the dough hook to stand mixer.
My mixer is pro 600, so I lifted up the bowl and fixed it.
Now start in lowest speed to mix well for less than 30 seconds.
Add 1 cup water.
Slowly increase to 2 and 3 speeds.
Then I always set it in speed 4 or 5 for making the dough.
Add required water and let it run for 2  more minutes.
Almost within 3 minutes and 30 secs the dough will be ready.
The dough should be stiff enough to roll roti / chapati but soft and pliable (not sticky),
Then add oil and run for few seconds more.
The dough will be ready .
Switch off, take out and keep inside an airtight container. (or) we can start preparing roti right away.

Chapati / roti dough is ready !

Click to see chapati recipe.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Pizza with perfect crust

Though I have posted few pizza recipes earlier, getting a perfect crust recipe  was always in my 'to learn' list.  My hubby is a person who will  eat only the best of the best and so his reviews have made me improve my cooking skills since the day we got married :) So I try, try and try, till I get the best version in all my recipes. If he has approved it then it becomes my 'blog worthy' recipe :)
I prepared this pizza last Friday evening for dinner. It resulted in a 'large size pizza'.  In my view , it would be more than enough for 2 people. As always we shared our weekend special meal with our neighbor aunty and we all loved it very much.  After many of my pizza attempts, this is the one, my  hubby dear love the best :) So I am sure this is recipe is a keeper. Anyways, after finishing that he said that, "next time just make a cheese pizza  ...ok :) too much veggies :) ". 😀😀😀😀😀 

I love this recipe very much. So I am narrating this post as a best medium-thick crust pizza (not too thin and not too thick, just like the way we love it).
Here in this recipe I have made the crust like a bread dough (rising the dough twice) and I think that's the secret behind the uniformly successful ones.
I prepared the dough using a 'kitchenaid stand mixer' and I am sure hand kneading also would bring closer results.
Also , always be careful on  the 'lukewarm water'  temperature. The yeast should froth within 10 minutes.  Keep in mind to use the yeast within 2  months after purchase and keep it refrigerated always. If the 'proofing of yeast' is successful, then the baking would be definitely successful.
Homemade pizza slice
Vegetable toppings 

Ingredients

Sauce I made for pizza

Before the yeast rises

After 10 minutes of yeast proofing.

Kneading the dough

The pizza dough 

After 1 hour of rising

After second rising

Flatten the dough to pizza shape

Bake for 5 minutes

Apply sauce

Add toppings

Add cheese

Baked pizza





Pizza crust:
lukewarm water  - 1/2 cup
olive oil  - 3 tbsp
1 sachet active dry yeast (1.5 tablespoon approximately) 
salt - 1 tsp
sugar - 2 tsp
All purpose flour - 2 1/2 to 2 3/4  cups
garlic powder - 1 tsp

Method:
Microwave the water for 10 seconds (0r) just get the warm water from tap.
Add the  oil, yeast, salt, sugar and keep it for 10 minutes.
It will become frothy.
Mix this with flour and garlic powder.
Knead to make a soft dough. We can knead the dough in a kitchenaid mixer. Use the dough hook and keep the speed at 4 or 5.
Coat the dough with little oil and cover with a damp cloth. Keep it in a tight vessel and keep it for 1 hour inside a warm place (I preheat oven to 150 F for 5 minutes).
Let it raise for 1 hour. After 1 hour , the dough will triple in volume.
Punch and knead again. Keep it to raise again for one more hour.
Now also the dough will raise.
This is the perfect pizza dough. We can prepare the dough and keep it in fridge for 1 or 2 days or we can use it immediately.

Sauce:
tomato puree (from can) - 1/4 cup
sugar - 1 tbsp
hot sauce - 1 tbsp
salt - to taste
Italian seasoning - 1 tbsp
garlic powder - 1 tsp
crushed red pepper - a pinch
fresh basil leaf - handful (chopped)

Mix this in a bowl and keep aside. Or just use a 1/2  cup of store bought sauce. My neighbor aunty would add tomato ketchup + hot sauce + seasonings only. 

Pizza topping:
Shredded mozzarella cheese - 1 /2cup
Parmesan cheese - 2 tbsp
red onion - 1/2 (sliced thinly)
red capsicum - 1/4 cut in to small pieces
Jalapeno pepper - 1/2
pickled yellow pepper - 1
olives - few
  
Slice and keep the vegetables ready.


How to bake a pizza?

Preheat the oven to 375 F for 10 minutes before we start baking.
Pizza chefs know a lot of skills to prepare a flat bread. But I have only one trick. I just place the dough on a pizza baking tray and flatten it using a rolling pin or by hand.
Then apply a little oil over the flattened dough., spread it. Using a fork prick a few times all around.
Bake it at 375 F for 5 minutes.
Take it out.
Spread the prepared pizza sauce.
Spread the prepared toppings and cheese.
Bake at 375 F for 12 - 15 minutes, until fully cooked,

Take out. Slice and enjoy while it is hot.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Cups and mugs !

I know most of the food blog readers know 'how to prepare a tea' and this post is not about a recipe....but about drinkware and traditions. For very long , I just wanted to write a post on various sized mugs, cups and saucers I see here and hope it would be useful for some like me 😀  . Recently I discussed with my friend Malar about buying a perfect tea set. Then I realized much more and started writing this.

My experience :
Only after coming to USA , I realized that there exists something called a coffee mug (may be that became popular in India too nowadays, but I was unaware of it then).
We  grew up drinking coffee or tea out of a stainless steel tumbler (or a dabara set - a tumbler sitting on a SS cup).  Amma would make n number of coffees everyday for our big joint family and also for appa's clients. After marriage I started my tea legacy with a lot of cheer.  If there is a guest, I would take out my pretty China tea set (a porcelain one, not too expensive but cute) , which we had bought fondly from a T.Nagar Saravana stores and would enjoy that moment. Carrying those tea cups and saucers here was not an option at all (and so my tea times would be achieved with some regular coffee mug). Anyways having some coffee is a must everywhere and so I too got introduced to all kinds of Walmart / Target /  dollar tree mugs. (Trust me, they are good enough for regular household usage). Then after some years I convinced Xavier to buy me a cute tea cup and saucer set and that's how I got that cute little set (see below).

If you are more interested in knowing about English formal tea , you will find this link interesting. .

Indian Serveware:
Traditional stainless steel coffee dabara set and a  porcelain tea cup and saucer set.
The traditional South Indian filter coffee should be served in this kind of stainless steel dabara set. Sometimes these dabara sets come in golden color (brass) too. The tumblers should be of capacity between 150 ml - 200 ml. Just like that the tea should be served in a small porcelain cup and saucer set preferably of 6.5 oz (190 ml) - 8 oz (235 ml).  Nowadays these serving sizes come in much smaller sizes too, but I prefer these sizes, as we can vary the servings as per need.

My teas are more of a typical Indian style ones (my masala tea recipe).
Indian style spicy masala tea

Coffee cups, tea sets and tumblers (India)
When it comes to comparing the various coffee mugs and tea cups, sky is the limit. But my article would surely give a rough idea for a novice.
200 ml tumbler coffee set, 6 oz (180 ml) tea cup and saucer set along with a 12 oz Walmart coffee mug. That 12 oz coffee mug is called a medium size mug. More bigger mugs (14 oz) can be used for having black coffee.

Indian stainless steel tumblers :Buttermilk tumbler 600 ml,  lassi tumbler 350 ml, measuring tumbler or water tumbler 200 ml, coffee tumbler 180 ml

Cups : 6 oz,  12 oz , 14 oz

A BIG cup for fun on display in Shoprite.  I think this would be used as a candy serveware.

Various sizes (USA) :
*The easily available , 12 oz (350 ml) mug is often called as standard mug or medium .
(They are not considered as formal tea cups, but giving a hot cup of tea in any cup with love is adorable in my view).
Walmart's Mainstays brand (the blue band mugs and white ones) are quite popular to start with.
Corelle brands are more worthy and unbreakable. So it is a good choice (IMO) if we want our mugs to last long. There are more expensive brands like Lenox, pfaltzgraff etc.....the list is endless.

* When it comes to fine dining (tea parties), a formal tea cup and saucer set is necessary. which varies from 6 oz to 8 oz.
* A formal tea serving session requires : A serving tray, napkins (small), cup and saucers, spoon, tea pots, sugar and creamer pots, sugar handling tongs. An afternoon tea in English style should be served with some sweets and savory snacks of small servings. In some novel I read that English ladies (people) would reserve some fine topics (without hurting anyone) to talk while having tea in their parlor....some would knit, some would share a recipe , some would read a book loudly .....how lovely . That's a distant dream !

*One of the most beautiful thing most of us have enjoyed in the past is the 'little girl's tea set'.  I can only imagine an Alice in wonderland kind of tea party I used to enjoy in my childhood with my toy tea set :) . Nothing can replace those memories.

* One more version is : The Cappuccino cups (Demitasse cups / tasting cups) range between 2 oz to 5 oz.

* I am sure there exists much more varieties of tea / coffee / hot drink traditions all over the world. I would say that the tea in chaya shops of  Tamilnadu and Kerala are the best  along with a vadai ,bajji pakora:)

But cooking with love and serving with smile is much important than these fancy pots and pans and traditions. Nowadays we can buy any kind of tea set from internet, but the hardest part is finding a friend  / moment to share this tea :) I always love my morning tea time with my husband.   I guess tea traditions were invented by our ancestors to improve our socializing skills.  So let's make use of every opportunity to take out our fine dining ware and cherish those moments !

Update (Nov 2017):
And then I bought this beautiful vintage (but new) corelle cup & saucer (almost 8 oz)  and I LOVE it very much:)
Photo courtesy : seller's image


Happy tea time!



Monday, October 30, 2017

Indian curd yogurt

What is that , 'an Indian yogurt' ? . It is simply called as curd,  dahi , thayir (தயிர்) and by many many words in Indian languages. But however it is called, it is one of the major food items in an Indian household. Even in abroad, we all take pride and enjoy making this yogurt at home in surplus quantities, because store bought Indian curd is comparatively expensive than the homemade versions and it is needed in all of our houses for everyday consumption.

Indian curd is very easy to prepare, if and only if we are having a starter fermentation curd. Not all store bought yogurts have the same culture as Indian curd. But we have to look for labels like 'live culture'  'probiotic culture' in yogurts in Indian stores. I found that DEEP BRAND is the one of the best as a starter. That too for first two or three times, the yogurt may look little different, but we have to proceed with the same homemade yogurt  everytime (and the base culture improvises after a few times). So a good cook would be very cautious in preserving the basic culture by keeping at least a few tbsp of curd at fridge all the time.

There are a few rules to make good curd and here I am listing what I follow.
Boiling the milk


Let it ferment.

creamy Indian curd is ready !

Ingredients:
Whole milk  - 1 cup
starter curd with active cultures - 1 tbsp for every cup of milk

Method:
Boil the milk until frothy. My mom would say 'let it rise 5 times to remove the raw smell ' 😄. So I too do like that.
While boiling the milk stir well using a whisk to make it little more creamy and frothy (secret of more yumminess).
Let it cool. The perfect cooled temperature should be something like lukewarm.
Add 1 tbsp curd for 1 cup of milk.
Whisk well or pour it back and forth between two cups (like making Indian tea) till frothy.
Close and keep in warm place.
🌷(Sometimes a casserole / hot box or an Indian cooker with warm water, can give necessary warmth if we are in cold countries. And also by this way we can get the fermented curd within 4 hours).
🌷(During colder weather , I preheat oven to 200 for 10 minutes and keep the milk for fermentation inside warm oven. It takes almost 10 hours for me to get a good quality curd by this oven method).
🌷(During summer the room temperature is enough to prepare curd. While in Chennai I used to start making curd / உறை ஊற்றுவது only after preparing morning tea and the curd would be ready for lunch ).
After serving the curd, always save a few tbsp of curd (culture) for next day's fermentation. This is the key for perfect homemade curd.

Uses:
Indian yogurt is poured over rice to make curd rice.
It is also consumed as dipping along with some parathas.
Plain yogurt (dahi / thayir) is used to prepare many kinds of raithas, used in marinations in popular recipes like tandoori chicken , chiken 65 and in most chicken recipes.
It is also used in Indian cooldrinks like lassi, spicy buttermilk.
Indian platter meals would always include a cup for dahi (it is very good for health).

Note:
Most of the store bought Indian yogurts are more yummier and creamier than homemade versions in reality. The creamy texture is got by adding some corn starch and/or cream while manufacturing it.
So it is a good idea to buy those curds when we want something more special or for preparing a thick quick raitha.
I use fat-free milk to prepare curd on most days. But whole milk yogurt tastes more delicious.


Friday, October 20, 2017

Deepavali

Deepavali is an Indian festival of lights and I love this festival very much.  I try my best to decorate our house with many lights and I will make one or two special foods. My hubby dear always encourages me to do everything that keeps me happy. Here are some photos from our Deepavali day !
Happy Deepavali :)

floating candles on water with homegrown flowers. This is a glass bowl for indoor succulents from walmart ($ 4.5)

The candles I bought from walmart - LED candles (almost $5 a pack) for outdoors and floating candles for flower decor (almost $4 /pk)
Vegetable briyani and raitha for lunch

Festival of lights , the lovely Deepavali

Deepavali in our apartments, we can see lights in most windows ...beautiful ! We walked around and enjoyed the lights !
Sweet Boli from my neighbor aunty. Soft and flaky ...yummy ! She puts a lot of effort to celebrate all festivals including Christmas and she inspires me to celebrate every moment :)

I made Ulunthu vadai for Deepavali. It is our native tradition to prepare some fried snacks for this festival. 

,

We celebrate our wedding anniversary almost on every day of our life :) That too when it comes to October , we do something nice for us. While hubby showers me with gifts and restaurant dinners , I too prepare his favorite foods along with a homemade cake. This year , additionally we went on a Chinese bus tour (Take tours) and we visited some spectacular tourist spots in Wyoming (Yellow stone national park) , South Dakota (Mt.Rushmore) and Utah (Salt Lake).


Thai Basil restaurant, Piscataway NJ, on the eve.

Roti shana resembles our parotta salna...yumm !

Roti shana 

We both like this 'Veg Pad kee mao'  💕

Vegetarian Pad Kee Mao
Dinner buffet at  Teppanyaki Grill :
egg roll, honey chicken, edamame , calamari fry, grilled octopus - my plate , I tried many stuffs :)  .
garlic bread, fries, edamame , lemon,  - Xav's plate

Rainbow Sushi, wasabi , ginger relish, noodles, fried rice, shrimp - my plate :)  

Tso's chicken, noodle, fried rice - my hubby's choice 

Wonton soup ...yummy !

We take all desserts and share to taste them...I liked this coconut rice cake ....(sitting on that cupcake liner) (like our kolukattai) very much. The fruit custard was amazing.  other than that I liked the chocolate cake also.

My hubby took a tiny serving of each and every ice cream...I didn't taste any of these, as the weather was already very cold on that day (the truth is I felt full...very full).

some more desserts ...jelly and rice pudding.
I made this cake for our wedding anniversary.

"As it is, these remain: faith, hope and love, the three of them; and the greatest of them is love"  from Bible 1 corinthians 

These are some moments from our anniversary celebrations, Thanks be to God :)