Tuesday, February 21, 2012

16 bean soup

Preparing soup is a tradition associated with lent days. This multi bean soup is packed with loads of protein and will be very filling too. I found this pack in a local chain of grocery stores where they keep the dry nuts, rice etc. This soup recipe is inspired by  Yasmeen's sixteen bean soup recipe and did some slight variations for my taste. Thank you Yasmeen, I learned a very healthy recipe from you.

The Lent days are observed from Ash Wednesday (for this year, Feb 22) to Easter (April 8, 2012). During this time Christians try to reduce their preference for luxurious foods. The aim of simple meals during this season is to keep off from any expensive foods so that we can learn to share food or save that money and donate it for the needy. Also we participate in the stations of the cross prayer and mass on Lenten Fridays. All Fridays throughout the year are meatless days in some families like us, while many stay vegetarian for the whole fasting. The traditions are many but the focus is not just on fasting but mainly emphasized on compassion, understanding, sharing, charity, virtues and purity of heart.

Name of beans in a sixteen bean soup mix:
Pinto beans,  red cow peas, small white beans, great northern beans, large lima beans, baby lima beans, yellow split peas, green split peas, lentils, large kidney beans, small kidney beans, black eye cow peas, black turtle beans, garbanzo beans, pearl barley, whole green peas, and pink beans. To read more...click.

Dried beans before soaking. I used Jack rabbit brand without the flavoring sachet.

Preparing the beans:
Wash the dried beans and soak in water for 10 hours or overnight.
I use a pressure cooker. The soaked beans are kept in a pressure cooker with water to cover the beans and little standing above.
Wait to see the steam and put the pressure valve. After it whistles once, reduce the heat and cook it for 18 minutes. Switch off and open after the pressure reduces.
Otherwise we can cook it in slow cooker / stove top for 4-6 hours in low heat.

16 grain lentil (dry) - 1 cup
Butter - 1 tbsp
turmeric - 1/2 tsp
onion - 1
bay leaf - 2
cloves - 3
cinnamon - 1 inch
cardamom - 3
green chilly - 3
cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
hot sauce (or red chilly powder)- as per need.
tomato puree - 1/2 cup
salt - to taste
garlic - 6 cloves
black pepper - to taste

Saute the finely chopped onion, bay leaf, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom in butter for a minute and add the finely chopped garlic, green chilly. Fry for 30 seconds.
Add tomato puree and cook for a minute.
Add the turmeric powder, cumin powder , pepper powder and simmer with 1 cup of water.
Pour the cooked lentil and bring to a boil. If required add more water.
The soup should be thick. Then put salt and hot sauce to taste.
Let it cook in low heat for 10 minutes.
Garnish with fresh cilantro or mint leaves.
Switch off.

Serving suggestions:
Serve hot as a whole meal with rolls or bread.
Serve as starter.

Reduce the green chilly and hot sauce for lesser spicy version.
Little lime juice can be squeezed at the end to get more flavor.
Some people add some shredded cheese as topping.
One cup of this mixed beans can make 6 small bowls of thick soup.
The 16 bean soup pack can be substituted with any lentils like, nava dhanyam (9 grain), red gram, toor dhal, bengal gram, channa, green gram , black gram, rice etc. The options are endless. Just a teaspoon of each kind will do the same job:)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Event entries and re-posts.

Event 1:
I am sending the following recipes for Teenz' Yummy delights' Valentine's day event.
Happy hosting dear!
1. Mango ice cream.
2. Badusha
3. Pistachio Kulfi Ice cream.
Event 2:
The following recipes goes to Sobha Shyam's Just4fun event.
The main rule is that there should a maximum of 4 ingredients. Here are my entries.

1. Parotta

2. Idiyappam.

Happy hosting dear!

Event 3:
The below entries goes to Srav's 'Dish for loved ones' event.
1. Boondhi

2.Aloo Channa chaat.

Happy hosting dear!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


Boondhi - very tiny drops of besan flour, fried and soaked in sugar syrup.

Last week I saw hubby buying some gifts for me for the Valentine's day. I peeked into that bag after he started for office and there were very cute hair clips with glittering stones. They are the ones I used to give a glance in a nearby Indian grocery store and pass on without buying, just like a typical housewife:) I think he could have seen me watching them and adoring them:) Isn't it so sweet to get what we long for? I too wanted to make something special for him. Then I bought 2 beautiful Valentine's day themed tins from dollar stores and filled them with his favorite sweets like boondhi and badusha along with  almond kulfi ice cream. 

Here is the recipe for boondhi.
My simple gift to hubby:)

I have given the measures to make one cereal bowl full of boondhi. Increase the measures by seeing my laddo recipe:

Besan flour(bengal gram flour / kadalai mavu)- 3/4 cup
(water for boondhi- almost half the flour)
sugar - 3/4 cup (if needed increase few more tsp)
water for syrup - 1/2 cup
baking soda - a pinch
turmeric powder / yellow food color - a pinch
oil - to deep fry

To garnish:
ghee - 1 tbsp
cardamom powder - 1/4 tsp
pachai karpuram (edible camphor) - a pinch
cashew - few
raisin - few

Special equipment needed:
A perforated vessel to make boondhis.
(If we are doing for a small batch, say 1 cup flour, then make holes on a disposable plate using a skewer. I have done this disposable home made boondhi making plate , before buying a traditional boondhi maker and it was very successful too.).

Sugar syrup:
Make a sugar syrup of 1 thread consistency. (Heat the sugar and water together till it starts boiling. After few seconds it will be sticky to touch). Switch off.

Preparing Boondhi:
Mix the baking soda, turmeric / food color with water and pour it into the four. Add water little by little, till it reaches a thick dosa batter consistency. The consistency should be so thick that, if we place a scoop of batter on the perforated plate, it should not run down easily (we have to press the drops in the oil).

Now add the oil/ ghee in a broad wok and start heating slowly, without reaching the fuming point. Keep in medium heat. Gently pour a ladle of batter over the boondhi making perforated bowl and press it to the hot oil. Don't crowd the oil. Fry for a few seconds only. The final product should be crispy.(My version calls for crispy boondhis. But if you want, you can make soft boondhis too). Immediately transfer them to the sugar syrup. Repeat and collect all the boondi in the syrup. Mix well.

Fry the cashew and raisins in ghee and add it to boondhi along with cardamom powder, edible camphor. If there is some excess syrup, gently heat the syrup so that the boondhi absorbs it and each droplet should stay separate. It should not crystallize.

Serving suggestions:
Makes a big bowl of boondhi.
Serve as snack or dessert in normal temperature.
Time taken - 20 minutes.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Happy Valentine's day to all my readers, friends and family!

Here is a sweet to celebrate the Valentine's day. I made it for my hubby as a home made gift, as it is one of his most favorite sweets. It came out very well just like the store bought. 

Recipe Source - An article called 'Kalyana Virundhu 64' by Mr.Subham Ganesan in Mangayar malar magazine, Feb 2012 edition.

Maida / All purpose flour - 2 cup
curd - 1/4 cup 
butter - 100 gm (1/2 cup)
cardamom powder - 1 tsp
baking soda, baking powder - 1/2 tsp each.
sugar - 2 cup
water - 1 1/2 cup
oil - 250 ml (to deep fry)
rose essence - 2 drops

To garnish:
coconut flakes or almond or saffron.
lime - 1/8 of a fruit

Whisk the butter or dalda with baking soda and baking powder , curd till it blends well and slightly frothy.
(Don't use more baking soda / powder).
Sprinkle the maida  little by little and mix well. The maida will look like crumbs now.
(I add 2 drops of rose essence in the dough or sugar syrup to get more flavor).
Add cool water (few tbsp ) little by little to get a loose chapathi dough.
Knead it like a kiddish crumbs dough. It should not be like firm chapati dough. Let it rest for 20 mins.

Divide it into 18 small balls. Flatten it to a 1/4 inch thick, 3 inch diameter discs. Make a slight indent with the thumb.   This is the shape of badusha. Make all of them and keep aside.

Heat the oil and test fry one disc. Keep the heat in low and fry it till all the bubbles stop. It may take nearly 5 minutes. take it out and check if it is almost cooked till the center. If broken, it should look flaky. It may be very slightly soft in the center, but it will taste fine after soaking in syrup. This is the perfectly fried badusha.

Just like that prepare 5 badushas at a time and fry them as told.

In the same time prepare the sugar syrup. Heat the water and sugar together to get a one thread syrup. It should be sticky to touch and should not crystallize. Squeeze the lime over it to prevent crystallization. Switch off!

Put the fried hot badhusha in to the sugar syrup and let it soak for 10 minutes. Take out and place in a tray. After soaking and arranging all the badushas, pour the excess sugar syrup over it (optional).
Decorate with colored coconut flakes or almond slivers.

Badusha is ready!

Serving suggestion:
Makes nearly 750 gms of badusha (18 - 20 small pieces).
Serve as snack / dessert.
Great for home made gifts.

St.Valentine's day:
In USA, the St.Valentine's day is celebrated to express the love and affection towards our family, friends, pets, society and especially for the our spouse or sweet heart. Click to read more. St.Valentine was a Christian saint who was said to have helped the lovers getting married.Red color dress was the code word for those wishing to get married and St.Valentine took great steps to unite those lovers in holy matrimony. Red rose and red colored objects are popular during this season. The second Sunday of February is celebrated as World Marriage day in Churches. Celebrating the sacrament of marriage, importance of love, understanding between couples are emphasized by the church on these days.
I made this boonthi for hubby...homemade Valentines day gift. Chocolates from him:)

Hairclips and scented candles from hubby dear.

Gifts from Xav. Happy Valentines day always!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Brinjal poriyal

Last summer I bought these cute brinjals from a local farmer's market .Brinjal / aubergine/ eggplant comes in different shapes and colors. The health benefits are many.
Here is a simple poriyal (stirfry) recipe with eggplant.

Summer 2011: Beautiful multicolor eggplants I got from a farmer's market.

Easy stir fry.

Brinjal / eggplant - 2
oil - 1tbsp
turmeric powder - a pinch
salt - to taste
mustard - 1/2 tsp
black gram lentil (urad dhal) - 1 tsp
dry red chilly - 2
onion (chopped) - 2 tbsp
curry leaf - 1 sprig
shredded coconut - 2 tbsp
cumin - 1/2 tsp

Heat oil in a wok and put mustard, urad dhal.
Let the mustard start splutter.
Immediately add finely chopped onion, dry red chilly and curry leaf.
By the same time start finely chopping the brinjal and turmeric powder.
Stir well and wait till the onion gets soft.
Then put the chopped brinjal and sprinkle a handful of water.
Cook covered in medium heat till soft (5 minutes).
Then add the required salt, coconut and cumin.
Switch off.
Brinjal poriyal is ready!

Serving suggestion:
Makes enough for 2 people.
Serve as side dish with any rice or chapati.

If making this poriyal for more number of people, then cook the chopped brinjal with very little water, salt separately. Then do the above tempering.
Chopped brinjal should be cooked immediately to avoid oxidation (darkening) .
Oxidation can be delayed by immersing them in salt water.
Total time taken : 15 minutes.

Red capsicum chicken

In my native place capsicum (bell pepper / kudai milagai) wouldn't be on the top of a 'to buy' list and they would ask the pressing vendor 'What can we do with these other than deep frying like molagai bajji'? That scene may come to my mind whenever I see these beautiful peppers.  But if it is in an abnormally lesser price during rainy season, then everyone would try to make the famous bajjis at home. Those were the days when no one had access to internet or a recipe book other than the one handed down in generations.
Nowadays the very sight of these beautiful red bell peppers would make me grab a few. I love the red ones more than the green or yellow or orange bell peppers, but I like them all:) Then after billing them I would wonder just like my folks, if I could do anything other than my usual bajji:) Blending the bellpeppers in my regular cooking is not that easy for me. So I tried this on my own with some grilled chicken tandoori leftovers and named it as 'red pepper chicken'. Believe me, this is a flavorful chicken curry with a sweetish finish. Now the recipe became my favorite:)

Chicken thighs - 4 (1/2 kg)
red bellpepper (red capsicum) - 2
onion - 1 (big)
fennel - 1 tbsp
lemon - 1 (small)
oil - 2 tbsp + 2 tbsp
turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
red chilly powder - 1 tsp
salt - to taste
black pepper powder - 1 tsp
cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
garam masala powder - 1 tsp
ginger garlic paste - 1 tsp
(crush together 1 inch ginger and 5 garlic cloves)

Trim the skin, fat and discard. Wash the chicken and pat dry. Cut it into bite size pieces. Mix the juice from 1/2 lemon, 2 tbsp oil, turmeric powder, red chilly powder, salt and marinate the chicken for 4 hours - overnight inside refrigerator. Adding 2 tbsp of vinegar to marination will make it more tasty.

Now heat 2 tbsp oil in a wok. Saute the onion till it becomes soft. Now put the ginger garlic paste and stir for few seconds. Chop the red capsicum and add 1/2 of it to the wok along with chicken pieces, required salt, garam masala, pepper, cumin powder and cook covered in low heat till it gets a nice flavor. No need to add water, but stir every 5 ninutes. Before switching off add the remaining capsicum and cook covered for 5 more minutes.

Switch off and sprinkle juice from 1/2 lemon.

Red capsicum chicken is ready!

Serving suggestion:
Serve with chapati or roti or rice n rasam.

Grilled tandoori chicken leftovers can be made in to this capsicum chicken easily.
Red meat (chicken) tastes better for this kind of Indian recipes.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Aloo channa chaat

Aloo - potato ; channa - chickpeas / garbanzo beans; Chat / chaat - Indian salad.

This is one guiltless food for those weight watchers. Chaat food items are much appreciated as evening snack or starter foods in India. Aloo channa chat is more popular among Pakistanis. The recipe is so simple ....just mix the main ingredients with the seasoning and serve with freshly chopped vegetables....enjoy!

Aloo channa chaat.

Ingredients: (for 8 servings)
Potato - 2 (big)
dry chickpeas - 1 cup

red chilly powder - 1 tbsp
cumin powder - 1 tsp
coriander powder - 1 tbsp
curry masala powder - 1 tsp
sugar - 1 tsp
salt - 1 tbsp (to taste)

Fresh ingredients:
Lime - 1/2
Onion - 2
carrot - 2
cilantro , mint leaf - few stalks
cucumber - 1

Soak the white channa (chick peas) overnight and cook it to tender (pressure cook or cook in stove top for 2 hours).
(Or) Buy a can of cooked chickpeas, drain water, wash to remove the salt. Keep aside.
Boil the potato and peel.
Potato and channa can be cooked and kept in freezer till we need to make the salad.

Mix the ingredients given for seasoning or just use store bought chaat masala.

Shred the carrot, chop the onion, cucumber and cilantro finely.

Chop the potato. Reheat the potato and chickpeas together together (in microwave or in a wok) before serving. Mix the required seasoning powder to taste.

Aloo channa chat is ready!

Serving suggestions:
Serve hot topped with the fresh vegetables and squeeze lime over it.
Makes a healthy snack.

I suggest cooking the chick peas from scratch if time permits. They can be kept frozen in batches.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Mushroom soup

As my family's soup recipes are mostly non-veg based and somewhat more in south Indian fashion, I never had the confidence to prepare some fancy soup without proper recipe. The funny thing is I can bake without any hesitation but get confused when my hubby asks me for a restaurant style soup:) But my love for hearty warm soups always made me ask for recipes whenever I taste great soups. In course of time I learned a few. Last year I bought some books from the nearby library when they hosted a brown bag clearance sale. This soup book called 'Soups' written by Ms.Robin Howe, is one among them. It has many descriptions on choosing the herbs,stock making, ingredients and tips. I got this mushroom soup recipe from this book and made it in a lean version.

Ingedients: (2 cups)
Mushroom - 10 (fresh or canned)
(6.5 oz can / 200 gm with water)
onion - 1/4 cup
butter - 1 tbsp
salt - to taste
black pepper powder - 1/2 tsp
All purpose flour - 1 tbsp
milk - 1 cup

Heat a thick bottom vessel. Add the butter and onion.
Saute the finely chopped onion in butter.
After it gets soft, slide in the finely chopped mushroom.
Stir for a few seconds.
Then put the AP flour and fry for a minute.
Add 1 cup water and cook covered with salt.
After it reduces to half cup, pour a cup of milk and cook till it gets slightly thick.
Serve with a dash of black pepper powder.

Serving suggestions:
Serve hot with little fresh cream (optional).
If the soup seems thin, microwave a tbsp of Ap flour, mix it with 2 tbsp water and add to the soup. Then reheat again.

Original version:
mushroom - 1 lb
onion - 2
butter - 3 oz
chicken stock - 2 pints
milk - 1 1/4 cup
flour - 2 oz
cream - 1/4 pint
egg yolk - 2
salt, pepper - to taste

Prepare by the above method, but  puree 70% of mushroom after sauteing. Replace water by chicken stock.
For garnishing, saute remaining chopped mushrooms in butter and add.
Sprinkle a dash of paprika powder before serving.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Pistachio Kulfi ice cream

Kulfi can be called the king of 'Indian ice creams'. There are many variations like mango kulfi, pista kulfi, almond kulfi, semiya kulfi etc. In India , Kulfi ice creams are mostly made in molds resembling Popsicle and sold in a hand pulled truck. The kulfi makers use special equipments to make it from scratch (whole milk). But it is very difficult to try that procedure at home (for my skill level...hi..hi). So I made a kulfi using my simple recipe and still I got the perfect pista kulfi taste:)
I made this for '2011 Thanks giving day' and I was excited to see my friends loving it:)

Serve a cup of Pistachio kulfi ice cream after that special weekend lunch for your loved ones:)
Ice cream before freezing.

 Pistachio kulfi ice cream studded with a cherry .

To soak and grind:
Cashew nut - 10
pista (pistachio) - 10
cardamom seeds - 1.5 tsp
saffron - 3 strands

Other ingredients:
Pistachio nuts - 1 cup
Sweetened Condensed Milk - 14 oz can (400 gm)
fat free Whipped Topping 8 oz (225 gm) - 2 packs
green food color - 1 drop (optional)

Soak the above mentioned nuts overnight or for 8 hours and grind to a fine paste.
In a wok dry roast the pistachio nuts and chop it to small pieces. (Using a chopper for 1 pulse or very coarsely). Let it cool completely.
The whipped topping should be kept in refrigerator till we start using.
In a mixing bowl add the nuts paste, food color and Condensed milk . Mix well.
(Though the food color is optional, I got this color after adding a drop of green food color only. Till then it was pale beige in color).
Then blend in the coarsely chopped pista.
Now add the whipped topping and mix gently (too much mixing will make the ice cream hard).
Immediately transfer them to a freezer-safe lidded container.
Cover and freeze for 3-4 hours.

Creamy rich pista kulfi ice cream is ready!

Serving suggestions:
Serve as dessert.
Makes nearly 15 - 20 generous servings.
Before scooping, keep the ice cream in room temperature for 2 minutes to facilitate smooth handling.

Very simple version:
Also check out my short cut for kulfi flavored ice cream.

Alternate method:
(without whipped cream and condensed milk):
We can make this kulfi by altering my vanilla ice cream recipe too.

Perfect Traditional Adai Dosai

Perfect traditional Adai dosai. To grind: Idly rice / any rice - 1cup Raw rice (Basmati) - 1 cup Thoor dhal - 1/4 cup Channa dhal - 1/2 cup ...