Thursday, February 27, 2014

Oats granola

Here is a sweet snack I made for us during a weekend. I saw this recipe in foodnetwork by Alton Brown. Click to see the original version. In my recipe I have infused my own method to bake to avoid charring. Enjoy!
Oats granola.

After baking.

Spread on cookie sheet.

Mix oats , nuts with sugar.
Old fashioned oats - 3 1/2 cups
dry coconut flakes - 1/2 cup
slivered almond - 1 cup
cashew - 1/2 cup
peepled pumpkin seed -  1/2 cup
dark brown sugar - 1/2 cup
maple syrup - 1/2 cup
olive oil - 1/4 cup
salt - 3/4 tsp
raisin - 1 cup

In a large mixing bowl put oats, nuts,dry fruits, coconut, sugar.
In another bowl mix maple syrup, salt, oil.
Pour the liquids to dry ingredients and mix well.
Spread this in two baking sheets.
Preheat oven to 250 deg F.
Bake for 20 minutes, stirring after 10 minutes.
Take out and let dry for 30 minutes.
Then bake again for 20 minutes, stirring after 10 minutes.
Switch off and let it get crispy in that heat for next 10 minutes.
Oats granola is ready!

We can continuously bake for 1 hour, as suggested by the original recipe too. But I do like this for a more safer method to prevent sugar from charring.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Gulabjamun (with egg)

Whenever I buy a pack of gulabjamun mix I would always wonder how much effort our mothers would have put to make these from scratch. Those olden recipes involve making a palkova without sugar, which itself demands lot of time and then mixing it with Ap flour, etc . While talking about this to my neighbor aunty, she told me that it can be made easily with milk powder and it is not necessary to buy a ready-pack . She also told me that it is a popular way there in NorthIndia and Pakistan. I was totally impressed by her recipe, but didn't note down on that day (now I have noted down her veggie version too). That day I wanted to make one immediately and searched the net and got a recipe of Gulabjamun with egg. This recipe is adopted from Morewish cuisine.  Egg in gulabjamun may sound unique but it tasted extremely good.  My hearty thanks to this author, I am going to use this inexpensive way hereafter instead of buying a pack. Hope you all enjoy this !

Have  a look inside and see how spongy and soft:)

Milk powder - 1 cup
Egg - 1
Ghee - 1 tbsp
Maida (AP flour) - 1 tbsp
sooji (ravai) - 1 tbsp
baking soda - 1/4 tsp
baking powder - 1/4 tsp
Oil for frying- 1 cup + 1 tbsp ghee
For syrup:
Sugar - 1 cup
water - 1 cup
Rose essence - 1 drop
cardamom powder - 1/8 tsp
alomond slivers - to decorate

Make the syrup by mixing sugar with water and bring to a boil. Reduce flame and boil for 2 more minutes. Switch off and keep it warm. add cardamom powder and rose essence.
Mix all the dry ingredients first. Then mix ghee and stir well. Beat the egg with a  fork and add to the mixing bowl. Knead to a smooth dough. Don't knead too much. Make a smooth dough.
Divide it into 15 - 16 pieces and roll each piece into small balls or elongated balls. By toughing some oil or ghee smooth the gulab jamuns, so that there is no crack.

Heat oil  + ghee in a frying pan. Keep the flame in minimum and fry the jamuns in small batches, till they get golden red color.
Take them out and soak in prepared syrup.
Let it soak for an hour or overnight before serving.
Decorate with almond slivers.
Gulab jamun is ready!

Serving suggestion:
Makes 16 gulabjamuns.
Serve warm or cold as dessert.

This is the best way to make gulabjamuns that gets cooked inside and outside uniformly.
As soon as it is soaked (within few minutes) it may taste a little salty. But after an hour or more this gulabjamuns will be perfectly sweet and soft.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Quinoa upma

Quinoa is another good grain I started cooking in recent years. Generally quinoa can be made into a salad. It blends with many Indian recipes easily and here is my Uppuma (upma or kichidi) with Quinoa. Quinoa comes in a rainbow of colors, I picked up this red quinoa as it looked more pretty in that aisle:) Other than that all tastes almost the same. But red quinoa has more crunchy texture. We can use any variety for this upma recipe.

Quinoa upma with vegetables
Ingredients: (for 2 adults)
Quinoa - 1/2 cup
water - 1 1/2 cup
olive oil - 1 1/2  tbsp
channa dal - 1 tbsp
mustard seed - 1/2 tsp
onion - 2 tbsp 
green chilly - 2
ginger - small piece (1/2 inch)
curry leaf - few
cilantro - few
salt - to taste
carrot - 1
green peas - handful
Wash the quinoa thrice in running water with gentle rubbing with our palm (as per directions). This is done to remove bitterness.

Heat 2 tbsp oil in a wok.
Add mustard seed. let it splutter. Then add the channa dhal. Wait till it gets red. Then add chopped onion, curry leaf, cilantro, ginger, green chilly. As the onion starts to get soft, add chopped carrot, peas and stir for a minute.
Pour water + Salt and let it come to a boil.
Then reduce flame and add quinoa.
Cover tightly with a lid. Reduce flame to minimum.
Cook for 15 minutes or little more to get the quinoa completely cooked.  Then stir well.
Switch off. Quinoa upma is ready!

Serving suggestions:

Serve as dinner along with pickle or sugar.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's day ,

Gulabjamun from milk power and egg. Pre Valentine's day Gift Feb 10

Valentine's day treat: Kesari with icecream

Wishing all a very happy St. Valentine's day !
Viki Xavier

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Capsicum Panini in Indian flavor

Panini or Panino is a kind of sandwich originated in Italy. I had no idea of this dish till I tasted one made by my neighbor aunty. She can merge any cuisine with our Indian spices and lots of butter and it will satisfy all my taste buds:) Gujarati foods have become my next favorite after Tamil foods because of her:) Then I saw one recipe by Giada in Foodnetwork Tv and saw how she made those thin sandwiches out of the thick baguette or heavy breads. After that also I didn't buy a panini maker, as I was much hesitant to ask for one more kitchen gadget while my existing collections is already voluminous :) Then the thanksgiving came and every other store we went was having a sale on this panini press and I silently waited without asking hubby for this. I watched all my friends filling their carts with these panini makers and came home with the electronics he wanted for  a long time (along with my other stuffs). But I was chanting 'panini maker' 'panini maker' silently and didn't want to say it loud:)  Hubby could have watched me looking at other's carts or my rantings  (about aunty's :) )could have made him...I don't know. But he bought me this panini maker with all those Kohls cashback offers we had got after the sale and presented as Christmas gift:) With my wish coming true, I am making panini quite often, exploring all the recipes with this. So you can expect more and more paninis from me , while you are trying this yummy capsicum panini in Indian flavor.
Panini in Indian flavor.

My Bella panini!
Whole wheat bread - 6 slices
green capsicum - 1/4
red capsicum - 1/4
onion - 1/4 cup
shredded cheese - 1 tsp for every sandwich
butter - 1 tbsp
Indian green chutney - 1/4 cup
tomato sauce - 1 tsp each sandwich

Heat the panini maker to maximum heat with the lid closed. After we see the ready button glowing, open the grill. (Read and follow the instructions carefully if it is the first time).
In the mean time place three bread slices on a plate and spread 1 tbsp green chutney and 1 tsp tomato sauce over the breads.
Put the chopped capsicum, onion and cheese over that. Place the other half of bread slice over the sandwiches.
Rub a piece of butter on panini press (bottom plate) in a small area and  place the prepared sandwich.(one at a time).
Place the lid gently (no locking) and the by the weight of the top plate the sandwich will get thin, crunchy and extremely good in one minute.
If needed apply some more butter on top and press again gently.
Take out using a spatula, slice and serve while it is hot.
 Simple panini is ready!

Serving suggestion:
Serve as breakfast or dinner as main course meal.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Almond candy

Almond candy is one of the easiest snacks I have found recently. Cooking something special on Fridays is a common scene in many households. I too love to make the weekends special by making a snack or special dinner on Fridays. Two weeks back, on a Friday morning I made this as a gift to hubby and kept it secretly in his snack box. Now this has become his another favorite :)

There are many versions to make this simple candy. But I have my own method to make it quickly in stove-top, though the original versions call for baking. So try this if you want some quick treat.
Glazed almond candy

Almond - 1 cup
brown sugar - 1/2 cup (or little lesser)
cinnamon powder - 1/4 tsp
water - 2 tbsp

Heat a wok and dry roast the almonds in low heat till they smell good. It may take almost 3 minutes for the almonds to get toasted. Look for spots while heating. Then add the brown sugar, cinnamon and water and mix well.
Continue stirring and wait till sugar dissolves and coats the almonds.
Almost after 2 minutes of low heat roasting we will notice caramelizing of sugar and it will get hard. Don't heat further. Switch off. Transfer to a plate and let cool completely (almost for 10 minutes). 
Almond candy is ready!

Serving suggestions:
Store them in airtight containers and serve as snack or dessert.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Muttai kothu chapathi (Scrambled egg chapati)

Muttai kothu parotta (scrambled parotta with eggs) is another popular street food in Tamilnadu and Kerala. We can get this kothu parotta dish in almost all parotta stalls in Tamilnadu.
Instead of the regular maida flour parotta, occasionally I use my leftover whole wheat chapatis to make this kothu parotta for a special dinner. So I am giving my standard recipe here. But we can substitute chapatis in this recipe with plain parotta (frozen plain parotta , Ceylon parotta) to get the original taste. 

While growing up, my elder brother was the first one to introduce us with this kothu parotta. Going to a parotta stall or road side shop would not be a girly thing at that time. So my brothers would do it for us giving us a relaxed evening:) He used to buy this from some shop near Palay bus stand. After few months he started saying that this dish is the most sought one in that place and would buy the plain parotta with salna only, to avoid the queue. Then mom started making us this muttai kothu parotta at home using the plain parotta  he brings and I too got the knack from her. Good that I learned to make this kothu parotta, as this is my hubby's favorite food after briyani.  While we were newly married he was amazed at seeing his favorite dish done at home. Though he buy me this special dish on many weekends, he appreciates the good eggs at home, quickness and less expensive good food we get by making it personally:) Slowly I swapped the parotta with chapati in this dish. Nowadays whenever I make vegetable salna or kuruma with chapati for lunch , hubby will expect me to do this spicy dish for dinner:) This has become many of our friends' favorite too and so I am giving this as another post after my muttai parotta recipe.
Enjoy my version of muttai chapati and tell me how much you all love it:)

Scrambled egg chapathi / muttai kothu chapati with onion curd raita.

Ingredients: (for 2 plates)
wheat chapati / small parotta - 4 (or)  frozen parotta- 3
Egg- 3
salna or Kuruma- 1 cup (veg or Non-veg)
Red onion- 1
green chillies- 2
Tomato - 2
ginger garlic paste - 1 tsp
curry masala powder- 1 tsp
chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
pepper- 1 tsp
curry leaves- 2 sprig
cilantro - handful
oil- 2 to 3 tbsp
salt - 3/4 tsp

For garnish:
green chilly - 1
curry leaf - 1 sprig


*Cut or tear off the parotta/chapathi into very small pieces.
Keep aside.

*Heat oil in a broad thick bottom wok, add fennel seeds, after it gets red add the chopped onions and saute a little. No need to cook till red. Add ginger garlic paste and saute till raw smell goes.
Now add the finely chopped tomatoes and cook till it is cooked.

*Make some space in wok by moving all the fried items to one side. Pour the eggs, salt, chilli powder and stir it till the eggs get half cooked .
Then mix the egg with the onion and tomato and stir well.

*Add the scrambled chapati pieces and mix well. Reduce flame and continue sauteing.
Sprinkle curry masala powder, pepper powder, chopped cilantro,curry leaves.
Stir in low flame till it gets almost dry. Then pour the salna / kuruma. Mix well and switch off.
Sprinkle with finely chopped green chillies and curry leaves and serve piping hot.

Scrambled egg chapati is ready!

Serving suggestion:
Serve as dinner or lunch along with onion raitha.
Makes a good lunch pack too.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Pumpkin pie (simple)

Making a pumpkin pie was in my mind for a long time but some how I would pick one up from the grocery store during holidays and my pie baking would be postponed. At first I saw this Libby's famous pumpkin pie recipe on the back of the Nestle evaporated milk tin's label. I saved it like a treasure and bought everything as per list. Baking a pie from scratch would have been more appropriate for blogging, but I thought these kind of convenient groceries would make cooking more easier. I prepared this pie during last year Thanksgiving and it came out very well. This recipe is a keeper for me, as we both enjoyed it very much:) Hope you all like it too!
Pumpkin pie with kulfi icecream.

Semi homemade quick pumpkin pie.

(The following recipe will give 2 pies.But I had only one crust.  So I halved the recipe and made one pie with crust and reserved the remaining mixture for another pie without crust).

Pumpkin puree - 1 can (15 oz)
Nestle evaporated milk - 1 can (12 fl.oz)
Sugar - 3/4 cup
egg - 2 large
salt - 1/2 tsp
dry ginger powder - 1/2 tsp
powdered cloves - from 3 cloves
cinnamon powder - 1 tsp
graham cracker pie crust - 2
(or) one 9 inch 4 cup volume deep pie crust.

Preheat oven to 425 deg F for nearly 15 minutes.
In a large bowl beat the eggs. Mix the pumpkin puree and evaporated milk. 
In a small bowl mix  sugar, spice powders, salt. Add this to the large bowl and mix well.
Pour into ready made pie shells.
Bring down the  temperature to 350° F.
Bake for 40 - 50 minutes or until an inserted knife comes clean.
Check every 10 minutes after 35 minutes.
The next important step is cooling the pie completely. Cool it on wire rack for 2 hours.
Pumpkin pie is ready!

Serving suggestion:
Serve slices of pie with whipped topping or ice cream.
Keep refrigerated till use.

If using frozen pie crust: Keep it in room temperature for 1 hour to defrost it. Don't microwave.
For 9 inch  pyrex glass deep pie plate: first heat upto 400 deg F for 10  minutes. Then reduce heat to 325 deg F.
Use the above recipe completely to make 1  pie. Bake for 45 - 55 min, checking every 10 minutes after 35 minutes.

Vazhaikkai Poriyal (Plantain stir fry)

This vazhaikai poriyal was a staple in our house as we had some (lot) of banana trees in our backyard. I have seen amma running there to pic...