Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Sundal/ Spiced Black Chana

Sundal is a very festive snack that originates from the Tamilnadu cuisine. However it has gained popularity all over, south India these days and is made from different beans like pattani (dried green peas), red beans, garbanzo and even peanuts. It is mainly made as an offering to the gods on religious days and served as part of prasadam.

Prep time: 10-15 mins excluding cooking time of the chana
Black chana: 1/2 cup (soaked and cooked in turmeric powder, chilli powder and salt)
* We usually keep aside some black chana for this while making Kadala curry.
Grated coconut: 1/4 cup
Dried red chillies: 3-4
Hing/Asofoetida: a pinch
Curry leaves: one sprig
Urad dal: 2 teaspoons
Mustard seeds: 1 teaspoon
Oil : 1 tablespoon

Heat the oil in a pan. Splutter the mustard seeds, add dried red chillies, urad dal, and curry leaves. Sprinkle some hing. Add the grated coconut and stir for 2 mins. Now add the boiled chana. You could adjust the salt and spice. Saute for about 10 mins. Turn off the heat. Sundal is ready to be served.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Veggies n Pasta Bake

With the very first snow showers of the year, Seattle looks gorgeous all over covered up in a white blanket. And such cozy weather only adds to the thanksgiving festivity. Well for this  holiday we decided to make one simple dish which offers comfort and warmth in every bite. So here's wishing a very Happy and Wonderful Thanksgiving to all our dear friends out there.

Prep time: 45 mins
Pasta: 1 cup
Veggies (your choice): 3/4 cup 
* We used the following vegetables
Carrots (cubed)
Green beans (cut)
Cauliflower (florets)
Broccoli (florets)
Green and red peppers (cubed)
Onions (cubed)
Corn niblets
Snow peas

Garlic: 1 pod
Marinara sauce: 1/3 cup
* We used the tomato,garlic and basil marinara sauce.
Tomato ketchup: 2 teaspoons

White sauce
Butter/Olive oil : 2 tablespoons
All purpose flour: 1 1/2 tablespoons
Milk: 1/3 cup
Grated Parmesan cheese: 1 tablespoon
Grated Mozzarella cheese: 3 tablespoons + 2  tablespoons

Salt & Pepper to taste

* You could also include boiled and cubed chicken pieces to this for all those who cant be all vegetarian.

Heat some oil in pan. Saute the chopped garlic and cubed onions. Add all the veggies and saute well. Add a little bit of salt and pepper. When the veggies are almost cooked, turn off the heat. Add the marinara sauce and toss all the veggies. Add the tomato ketchup and mix.
Meanwhile, boil the pasta with a little salt in a large pot of water. Drizzle some oil into the pasta while boiling so that it doesn't stick to each other. Once cooked, drain it off it and rinse in cold water and keep aside. 

To make the white sauce, heat the butter/olive oil in pan. Add the all purpose flour and stir well. When the raw smells goes, add milk and continuously stir. It will start to thicken. Turn off the heat. Add the grated Parmesan cheese and 3 tablespoons of the mozzarella cheese and mix well. Check for salt and pepper.

Now in a glass dish, spread out the veggies in the marinara sauce. Pour the white sauce you just made over it. Give a gentle mix. Add the remaining grated mozzarella on the top and bake in the oven for 10- 15 mins at 350 F  till the top cheese melts.

Serve warm. Garlic bread can be added on as a great side.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Kozhi / Chicken Thoran

We eventually turned to this recipe shared by a friend long time ago when we had no time left for elaborate cooking and were still in a mood to eat some non veg. We knew this recipe had to taste good. Its really simplicity at its best. And thoran of any form not only adds comfort but makes any meal more enjoyable to a true Mallu.

Prep Time: 10 mins
Chicken (boiled and shredded): 3/4 cup
Grate coconut : 1/4 cup
Green chillies: 2-3
Ginger (crushed): 1 teaspoon
Garlic (crushed): 1 teaspoon
Curry leaves: few
Mustard seeds: 1 teaspoon
Dried red chillies: 2-3
Turmeric powder: 1/2 teaspoon
Chilli powder: 1-2 teaspoons
Coriander powder: 1 teaspoon
Salt to taste
Oil to fry

* For convenience sake, we used the precooked chicken breast in water available in cans in most supermarkets. You could otherwise just cook the chicken meat with some salt and pepper and shred it.

Heat some oil in a pan. Splutter the mustard seeds. Add the dried red chillies, curry leaves. Roughly crush the green chillies, ginger and garlic together. Add this and saute for a  few mins. Now add the shredded chicken. Add the turmeric, chilli and coriander powder and stir well. Cover with a lid and leave it on medium heat  for a few mins before you add the grated coconut. Saute for another 5 mins and the thoran is ready to be served.

Makes a great side for rice or roti.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Dal Palak Kerala Style

We have come up with a mallu twist to the regular dal palak (spinach dal). Mallu means having something to do with coconut and here it is. This curry takes the least amount of time to make and goes great with anything on the side. So defenitely give this nutrients packed yummy dal a try.

Prep Time: 25 mins

Toor Dal: 1/2 Cup
Spinach(chopped): 1/3 cup
Garlic pods: 1-2
Green chillies: 2-3
Grated Coconut: 1/4 cup
Cumin seeds: 1 teaspoon
Turmeric powder: 1 teaspoon
Chilli Powder: 1 teaspoon
Salt to taste

Mustard seeds: 1 teaspoon
Dried red chillies: 2-3
Curry leaves: few

Pressure cook the toor dal with salt, turmeric powder, chilli powder, garlic pods and the chopped spinach in about 1 1/4 cups of water.
Meanwhile grind the grated coconut, cumin seeds and green chillies to a fine paste. When you take off the pressure whistle from the cooker, stir everything and keep on low heat. Add the ground coconut mixture to this and let evrything come to a good boil. Adjust the salt and spices. Finally heat some oil for the seasoning. Splutter the mustard seeds, red chillies and curry leaves. Add to curry and the nadaan dal palak is ready. Serve hot with rice or rotis.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Karela Shaped Namkeen

With the Diwali hangover, we decided to make one more easy snack great for teatime. This one  gets its name because of  the resemblance to the karela/ bittergaurd. If you don't want to spend a lot of time in shaping them, these can be made in simple rounds to make a papdis which can be later used for any chaat.

Prep Time: 20 mins
All purpose flour: 1 cup
Chilli powder: 1-2 teaspoons
Cumin /Jeera seeds: 1/2 teaspoons
Oil : 2 tablespoons
Salt to taste
Water: 1/4 cup more or less

Mix all the ingredients except the  oil and water in a bowl. Add warm water and oil  to make a smooth dough as you would for rotis.  Keep aside for 10 mins. Make small balls of the dough and flatten it with a rolling pin like the size of a  big puri. Cut into semicircles. With a knife, make long cuts in the centre without touching the ends. Then slowly roll over and twist the ends to lock it. You will get this karela shape.

Heat some oil in a kadai for deep frying these.  Fry until golden brown. Drain off the excess oil and serve these warm or after completely cooled off.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Happy Diwali - Besan Ladoo

May the lights of this Diwali bless your family with success, happiness and prosperity. We Wish all our readers Happy Diwali.

Prep Time: 1 hour
Besan Flour/Gram Flour: 1 cup
Semolina(Rava): 1 tablespoon optional
Sugar: 1/2 cup or more (to your taste)
Ghee: 1/3 cup + lil more on your palms while making the ladoos
Cardamom powder: 1 teaspoon
Nuts(Slivered almonds): optional

In a flat pan on slow -medium heat, dry roast the besan/gram flour for about 30 to 40 mins. The best indication is when you start to get a nice fragrance of the besan and it starts to slightly change colour. Then add the ghee and keep roasting for some more time making sure there are no lumps formed. Add the rava and roast. Meanwhile powder the cardamom seeds and sugar to a fine powder. Turn off the gas. While continuously stirring add the powdered sugar mix to the besan. 
When this mix is of bearable warmth, apply little ghee onto your palms and roll them into small/medium sized balls. Besan ladoos are ready. 

Store them in an airtight container and they will last for a few weeks.  Once again we wish you all a safe Diwali.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Diamond Cuts

We are again in the festive mood, getting geared up for the festival of lights "Diwali". Like all Indian festivals offer, Diwali also treats all our palettes with an array of sweets and savories. It brings back memories of our moms starting to make different sweets and snacks before a week or two in preparation for the festival. And the best part its just not what you make at home, you exchange it with friends and neighbors to taste their share too. So apart from the fireworks, lighting up the place its time to go overboard on fun food delicacies.

Heres one such common sweet made at our homes. If you havent ever tried these, this is the perfect time to make some.

Prep Time: 20 mins
All purpose flour: 1 cup
Water: 1/4 cup (more or less)
Oil: 2 tablespoons
Salt: a pinch
Oil to deep fry

Coating (Sugar Syrup)
Sugar: 1/2 cup
Water: little less than 1/4 cup
* To get the exact color on the coating,  you would have to use the white sugar, rather than organic raw sugar or brown sugar.

Heat the water in the microwave for 30 secs. Add salt to the all purpose flour. Pour the lukewarm water and make a medium soft dough. Pour the oil and smoothen as you work a little more on the dough. Make medium sized balls and flatten it out like you would for a roti. Then make strips and run the knife along to make diamond cuts all over (just like shown in the picture).

Heat some oil to deep fry these cuts. Turn each one over until puffed and lightly brown. Drain the excess oil onto a paper towel and keep aside to cool.

Now heat the sugar and water in a pot to make the syrup. Once the sugar has fully melted. Turn off the heat and toss the cooled diamond cuts in this sugar syrup. Let it just coat and move it onto a tray or a plate and let it cool. As it cools the sugar turns white. 

* If you put the fried cuts into the sugar syrup before it fully cools, it will become soft and can lose the crunch. 

The diamond cuts are ready to eat. Store them in a airtight container and can last upto a few weeks.


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