Friday, June 29, 2012

Cabbage Vadai

Almost a generation back it was a culture to prepare some evening-snack along with coffee everyday. Nowadays with the availability of packaged snacks and nearby restaurants, that idea is slowly fading. Here is a vadai recipe my mom's sister shared with us long back. The basic batter is similar to the ulunthu vadai, with some vegetable touch. 'Adding some vegetables to the vadai batter' has always been in our tradition to stretch the quantity. May be our mom's had mastered this quick-fix techniques to cater a surprise guest. When I did this after marriage, it became my mother in law's favorite too.
Recipe source: My Gandhi chithi

(For 18 medium size vadai)
Urid dhal (black gram lentil) - 1 cup
rice flour - 2 tbsp
corn Oil (for deep frying) - 200 ml
Cabbage (finely chopped) - 1 cup
green chilly - 4 (finely chopped)
ginger - 2 inch
cumin - 1 tsp
whole black pepper - 1 tbsp
curry leaf - 1 sprig

Wash the urid dhal thrice. Soak the urid dhal in cold water for 2 or 3 hours. (I suggest soaking it inside refrigerator, which makes the vadai to absorb less oil).
Grind it to a fine paste with salt and pepper. If needed add 1 or 2 tbsp water.

Take the batter in a mixing bowl. Taste and adjust the salt now.
Finely shred / chop the cabbage. Finely chop ginger, chillies too.
Mix the finely chopped cabbage, green chilly, curry leaf , cumin , rice flour with the batter.

Heat the oil in a wok. Wait till it reaches the hottest point. Reduce the flame to medium.

Wet a plastic sheet or banana leaf (small square). Take a small ball of batter , place it on the sheet, gently flatten it and make a small hole at the center.

Deep fry the vadai in medium to low heat till it gets the golden red color.

Drain the oil , take out and place on kitchen towel / multi holed basin to drain excess oil.

Cabbage vadai is ready!

Serving suggestions;
Serve with coconut chutney or tomato ketchup along with hot coffee or tea in the evening.
Also makes a good side dish with Idly, Venn pongal, sarkarai pongal etc.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Cauliflower masala fry.

Here is a cauliflower fry I usually make as side dish for chapati.

Cauliflower - 1 (400 gm)
oil - 1/4 cup or little more
shallot onion - 4
garlic - 5 cloves
ginger - 1 inch
fennel seed(sombu)- 1 tsp
cinnamon - 1 inch
red chilly powder - 1  tsp
garam masal powder - 1 tsp
coriander powder - 1 tsp
turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
salt - to taste

Wash the cauliflower and cut it into small pieces.
Mince the onion, ginger and garlic in a chopper.
Heat oil in a thick bottom wok.
Add fennel seeds, cinnamon.
When the fennel turns red, add the minced onion, ginger, garlic and saute for a few seconds.
Then add the chopped cauliflower and stir well.

Then put all the powders mentioned above and salt.
Cook covered in low flame till the cauliflower shrinks and raw smell vanishes.
Cauliflower fry is ready!

Serving suggestions:
Garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves (cilantro) before serving.
Serve as side dish with roti , chapathi , sambar rice or curd rice.

The oil and spices in the recipe may seem more, but it will make the chapati interesting.
If prepared as side dish with rice , we can reduce the spice and oil.
The left over cauliflower masala can be used as stuffing to make gobi paratha.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Chicken cutlet

Chicken cutlet is a very good way to make someone start liking chicken. I prepare this with curd rice most of the time. But after seeing some friends having cutlets and kabob with chapati, I too started making that combo. Believe me, this makes a good side dish for chapathi along with a raitha. Also we can make chicken-rolls out of the left overs the next day. Here is how I make the chicken cutlet.

Main Ingredients:
Boneless skinless thigh - 1 lb (or 1/2 kg)
fennel seed - 1 tbsp
turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
oil - 1 tbsp
boiled potato - 3 (small)
shallot / onion - 10
green chilly - 4
cilantro - handful
mint leaf - 10 leaves
salt - as per taste

other ingredients:
red chilly powder - 1 tsp
curry masala powder - 1 tsp
coriander powder - 1 tsp
turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
powdered puffed channa dhal  or besan flour- 1/4 cup
egg - 1
water - 1 tbsp
salt - little
bread crumb - 1 cup
oil - 1 tbsp per batch.

Rinse and clean the chicken. Cut into medium size pieces.
Heat 1 tbsp oil in a wok and add fennel seeds.
As fennel gets mild red, add the chopped chicken with turmeric and salt.
Stir fry and cook till it gets tender (without moisture).
Let it cool.
Grind it with shallot, ginger, garlic, green chilly, cilantro, mint to a soft dough stage, without adding water.

Powder the puffed channna dhal (pottu kadalai) or just use the besan flour.
Cook the potato, peel and mash it finely by hand.

Prepare the bread crumbs and set aside on a wide plate. (I make my own breadcrumbs by powdering some bread and leaving them in hot oven / @ 200 F for 10 minutes).
Beat an egg with water and salt. Keep it in a wide bowl.

Mix the powders mentioned  above with dhal powder, ground chicken and mashed potato.

Heat a pan / tawa with 2 tbsp oil.
Make lemon size ball with the minced chicken, slightly flatten it.
Dip in egg, then in breadcrumb , bring it to oval shape.
Shallow fry both sides in medium heat.

Serving suggestion:
Serve as snack or side dish.
Chicken cutlet with tomato sauce is a good combo.

Makes 30 cutlets.
Preparation time: 30 minutes.
time taken to fry : 30 minutes.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Blueberry icecream

Last year we visited Maine, which is famous for its light house, harbor, cruise ride, whale and seal watching and beautiful scenery. Most of the novels by Stephen King are based on Maine, which is his native place and that makes me love this place more:) Also the Iron man novel / Iron giant movie and comics comes to our memory , as they involve few places here (That is one of my favorite comic book character till now). Blueberry ice cream is a popular dessert there, as the fruit grows abundant there. They make many dishes using blueberry.  After tasting their glorious antioxidant rich blueberry ice cream, I prepared the same and it tasted as good as the original.
Now I understand why I am raving more and more about Maine, here summer has started and every soul wants the cool weather to return soon:)
So here is my share of ice cream to soothe your eyes and cool the ambiance:)

Blueberry ice cream a special dessert in Maine.
Memory: Ice cream bowls bought on a garage sale for $5 (2011)...unopened box, very neat and cute. Love this!

Blueberry - 2 cups
lemon - 1/4 fruit or strawberry - 4 number
condensed milk (sweetened 14 oz can) - 1 tin
whipped topping (8 oz pack) - 2

Wash the blueberries, strawberry (if any) pat dry. Coarsely puree them in a blender. Strawberry or lemon gives a tangy hint to the sweet blueberry, which I prefer personally. It is purely optional.

In a mixing bowl add the condensed milk, lemon juice (if used), 3/4 of the blueberry puree and fold in the whipped topping. Transfer to a lidded glass container suitable for freezing.
Add the left over blueberry puree little by little to give a swirl effect. Keep frozen for nearly 4 hours.
Garnish with some berries and serve.

Blueberry ice cream is ready!

Serving suggestions:
Makes nearly 15 big scoops.

1 large scoop will be less than 100 K cal (with low fat milk products).
Blueberry is an antioxidant rich fruit.
We can substitute frozen blueberries for fresh ones.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Home made Hot sauce

In our house, the spicy hot sauce is the best dipping sauce for any kabob or tandoori chicken. We both prefer the 'extra-hot' hot sauce over the original hot sauce, but that HOT version is not widely available. So I wanted to try my own. I got the hint of ingredients from the label and modified it according to my taste. It came out perfectly HOT and now this recipe is a keeper for me. Sharing this 'home made Xtra-hot hot sauce' recipe for all spice lovers.

Red bell pepper - 1 (big)
Indian green chillies - 10
garlic - 4 cloves
onion - 1
oil - 1 tbsp
Red chilly powder  - 2 tbsp
salt - 2 tbsp
white distilled vinegar  - 1 cup
brown sugar or sugar - 2 tbsp

Saute the sliced onion, garlic, green chillies, red bell pepper together till they wilt. Let it cool completely.
Grind with 1/4 cup pickled jalapeno (optional), red chilly powder (or whole dry red chilly), sauteed ingredients, salt, brown sugar.
Add vinegar at the end and grind to a very smooth  paste (in more liquid state).
If needed add  (1/4 cup) more vinegar.

Do the whole process in well ventilated room to avoid sneezing:)
I cover my nose with a scarf to avoid inhaling any hot fumes :)
Preparing the hot sauce at home is very easy and worth the effort.
If not having jalapeno, red bell pepper, then just prepare this hot sauce with Indian green chillies and more dry red chilly powder. It will taste the same. But the bell pepper, jalapeno and green chillies add a strong spicy hot flavor.

Serving suggestion:   
Serve as dip with baked chicken, tandoori, kabob.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Mixed dhal Dhokla

I learned this recipe from my neighbor, shukla Aunty. Mostly she prepares everything from scratch and would be more than happy to share her detailed recipes. I would immediately memorize and write down, while we swap our best dishes on weekends. On the other day she taught me to make dhokla from scratch. As I wanted to try on my own, she suggested using my 6 inch cake pan to steam this dhokla (as I wanted to try it first before buying a proper dhokla maker). Believe me this is a very easy one, just like idly. The dhoklas came out very soft and fluffy, but little bigger than the usual:) we can arrive at the correct thickness if using lesser batter or  a dhokla plate.

Rice - 3/4 cup
Channa dhal - 1 cup
(Bengal gram)
urad dhal - 1/4 cup
(black gram lentil)
moong dhal - 1/4 cup
(green gram lentil)
salt - to taste
Indian plain yogurt - 1 cup
ginger - 1 inch
green chilly - 2

lemon - 1/2
sugar - 1 tbsp
Sesame oil - 2 tbsp
sesame seed - 1 tbsp
mustard - 1/2 tsp
cilantro (chopped)- 2 tbsp
green chilly - 3
asafoetida - a pinch
ENO fruit salt or baking soda - 1/2 tsp

Soak the dhals and rice together for 4 hours.
Grind together, add salt and curd / yogurt.
Let it ferment in room temperature for 8 hours or overnight.
Grind ginger + green chilly and mix with batter.
Keep refrigerated till we need.

Steaming the dokhla:
Take out 1 1/2 cups of batter in a separate vessel.
10 minutes before steaming the dokla, add the ENO or baking soda.
(I added ENO's fruit salt. Actually the authentic version won't call for ENO or baking soda. Just the plain fermented batter is enough).
Coat the dokhla pan or a small cake pan with a tsp of oil
Finely chop the chillies and mix few with the batter.
Pour into the pan.
Steam cook for 20 - 30 minutes or till a chop stick comes clean.
(see the photo for steaming technique. we can do it inside pressure cooker without placing the pressure valve also).

Take out the dhokla and place on a serving plate.

In a wok heat oil and let mustard splutter. Then switch off and immediately add sesame seeds,hing (asafoetida), finely chopped cilantro,curry leaf, chillies. Saute for a minute. Mix lemon juice, sugar, salt and add to garnish. Now pour it over the prepared dhokla. Slice and serve.

Alternatively, we can slice the dhokla and add to the fried seasoning.

Serving suggestion:
Serve as snack with tea.
Makes a good breakfast also.
Cilantro chutney is a good side dish.
The next day, I sauteed the left over dhokla like idly uppuma and that too tasted yummy with  a dash of idly podi:)

 In this recipe instead of the mixed dhals, we can just use channa dhal alone to get the traditional dhokla.
Very good dish for people looking for protein rich , less oily spicy snacks.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Ridgegourd greengram koottu

Instead of the regular green gram lentil ( paasi paruppu, moong dhal) I added some sprouted green gram to the ridge gourd koottu and it turned out great.

Here is an easy way to include more fiber to the regular ridge gourd poriyal.

ridge gourd (peerkan kaai) - 250 gm
sprouted green gram - 1/2 cup

To grind:
shredded coconut - 1/4 cup
green chillies - 2
cumin - 1 tsp

To temper:
Mustard seed - 1/2 tsp
black gram lentil (urad dhal) - 1 tbsp
oil - 1 tbsp
curry leaf - 1 sprig
onion - 1 (1/2 cup chopped)

Wash the green gram and soak it for 6 hours. Drain the water now.
Choose a new cloth (thin small towel) and wash it with water.
Place the wet cloth over a colander and put the soaked green gram, tie the cloth using a thread. Place this bundle inside a vessel and keep closed for 24 hours.
Open the pack and now we can see the green gram sprouts. Rinse again and keep refrigerated till use.

Peel the skin of the ridge gourd. Chop it into small cubes.
Heat oil in a wok and add the mustard , urad dhal. After the mustard splutter put the curry leaf, finely chopped onion and let it wilt.
Add the sprouted green gram and cook for a few minutes. Now add the chopped ridge gourd and cook covered with a tbsp of water.
Add required salt.
Grind the items given and add to the vegetable.
Let it come to a boil and switch off.
Ridgegourd koottu is ready!

Serving suggestion:
Serve as vegetarian side dish with any rice or chapati.

*This koottu can be prepared with / without sprouted green gram.
Dry green gram can be soaked for an hour and pressure cooked for 3 whistles to cook it. Add the cooked green gram to the koottu and do the same.
*Channa dal, green gram lentil can also be used instead. The regular version calls for green gram lentil (paasi paruppu).
* The skin of ridge gourd (peerkan kai thol / peel) can be used to make peerkan kai thol chutney.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Whole chicken fry (Indian style)

In India some popular non veg restaurants attract the customers by displaying this mouthwatering red colored crispy whole fried chicken or whole tandoori chicken by lunch and dinner time. I am always attracted by colorful foods and love to try at home than eating out. Instead of the deep frying technique they use in hotels, I make this by shallow frying.   Recently I made this whole chicken fry remembering my mom. Many years back, I learned this recipe from my mom and it is always handy for me. Mom was always praised for her newer cooking styles and hospitality. Happy cooking makes delicious meals and pleasant memories and it is true with us always. Passing on this for all the chicken lovers out there:)

Whole chicken -  1.5 kg (3 lb)
lemon - 1
salt - 2 tbsp
red chilly powder - 2 tsp
black pepper powder - 1 tsp
cumin powder - 1 tsp
garam masal powder /curry powder - 1 tsp
ginger garlic paste - 2 tbsp
turmeric - 1 tsp
red food color - 2 pinch (optional but looks good)

Clean the chicken after removing the skin.  The wings can have some skin on.
Wash well. Prick all over using a fork.
Apply salt and lemon juice and keep aside.
In the mean time mix all the other ingredients for marination and rub over the chicken and insert some marination inside too.
Keep this marinated chicken for 1 hour or inside a zip lock pouch and keep refrigerated overnight. (I fried after 1 hour, didn't do overnight marination this time).

Frying the chicken:

Heat a heavy bottom wok with 1/2 cup oil. (Frying in ghee or butter is the best. Coconut oil also makes the chicken tastes good). Or use any frying oil.
First put the breast side down and fry in medium flame for 10 minutes.
Flip carefully and put a tight lid. Cook covered in low heat for 15 minutes.
Again flip and cook covered for 10 minutes.
Now take out  the lid and fry in medium heat both sides, till it is completely fried and becomes red.

Whole chicken fry is ready!

More care should be taken while flipping the chicken, if the wok is not heavy.
Keep the wok in the back burner and hold tightly while flipping.
Always fry the chicken in low to medium heat.
Cook covered and ensure if it is completely fried before serving.
Time taken : 40 minutes in low - medium heat.

Whole fried chicken served.

Serving Suggestion:
Serve hot with briyani or kushka or parotta and raitha.
Squeeze 1/2 a lemon over the fried chicken before serving.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Lemon juice

Here is a simple lime / lemon juice for the summer. My amma used to make this drink whenever there was a guest, as we there is a big lemon tree in my appa's house. At first we had a large lime variety called 'Malta lime' and then we planted this country lemon tree there. That was our everyday cooldrink in childhood during summer and I love the way how amma used to make it in large vessel for many. Happy memories and cool cool drinks linger in our minds forever !

Ripe Lemon fruits are bright yellow and oblong in shape. These lemons were as big as an apple:)

Lemon or lime - 1 (big)
water - 6 cup
sugar - 3 tsp per cup of water or more
rose essence - 1 drop
ice cubes - 3 per glass

Dissolve sugar in water and squeeze the lemon to it.
Add the rose essence and filter the juice to remove any seeds.
Keep refrigerated till use or serve immediately.
Pour in glass tumblers and serve with ice cubes.

Lemon juice is ready!

1. Some people prefer adding salt instead of sugar (1/4 tsp per glass).
2. This plain lemon juice can be enhanced by adding plain soda (carbonated water).
3. Adding a tsp of nannari sarbet (Indian sarsaparilla sherbet)syrup to this will taste great.
4. This plain lime juice tastes good with white sugar only.
5. If refrigerated, serve within a day to ensure fresh smell.

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 ...