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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Oats Idli | Oats Idly Recipe

...... How to make oats idli?

When I was in India last year, I happened to follow few of the regional cookery shows. Most of the cookery shows talked about being healthy; healthy foods & magical grains that helped the humans. Every single show talked about oats.  My question is are we encouraging the usage of oats at the cost of our staple food??

We have such wonderful grains like ragi/finger millet, jola/sorghum, bajra/pearl millet & others. They are all great for health. Why are those grains not encouraged? No, I'm not against eating oats. I too buy oats & use it regularly.What I mean to say here is, don't blindly follow what is said. Consume oats but at the same time analyze what is better for you!

Here is a reference of nutritional information of oats and sorghum. Refer here for more.
Oats vs Sorghum

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 100g or 3.5oz

Amount Per Serving

Calories

 389
Calories from Fat 58

% Daily Value*

Total Fat

 7g
11%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Trans Fat 0g

Cholesterol

 0mg
0%

Sodium

 2mg
0%

Total Carbohydrate

 66g
22%
Dietary Fiber 11g42%
Sugars 0g

Protein

 17g
Vitamin A0%·Vitamin C0%
Calcium5%·Iron26%
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 100g or 3.5oz

Amount Per Serving

Calories

 339
Calories from Fat 28

% Daily Value*

Total Fat

 3g
5%
Saturated Fat 0g2%
Trans Fat 0g

Cholesterol

 0mg
0%

Sodium

 6mg
0%

Total Carbohydrate

 75g
25%
Dietary Fiber 6g25%
Sugars 0g

Protein

 11g
Vitamin A0%·Vitamin C0%
Calcium3%·Iron24%
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Above information is taken from here.

Wasn't that too much of controversial discussion?! Let me get back to my business!
Here is the recipe of oats idli.


Preparation Time: 10 mins
Cooking Time: 20 mins

Ingredients: (Makes around 15-18 idlis)

  • Quick cooking Oats: 1 cup
  • Rava/Semolina/Cream of Wheat: 1 cup
  • Yogurt: 1 cup
  • Water: 1 cup
  • Oil: 2 tsp
  • Mustard seeds: 1/2 tsp
  • Channa dal/Gram dal: 1 tbsp
  • Curry leaves: 8-10 nos, coarsely chopped
  • Cashew nuts: 1.5 to 2 tbsp
  • Eno's fruit salt: 1 tsp (Refer notes below)
  • Salt: As needed.



Method:
Dry roast the oats on medium heat until it changes its color. Allow it to cool. Once cool, grind it to a coarse powder.
Heat oil in a broad pan. When oil is hot, throw in the mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds splatter, add the channa dal & cashew nuts. Roast until the dal & nuts turn golden brown. Add in the curry leaves & saute.
Add the semolina to the mixture & roast on medium heat until the semolina releases a nice aroma. The semolina will gradually turn to golden brown. Turn off the heat & scoop it out to a clean bowl. Allow it to cool. 
Once the semolina comes back to room temperature, add in the powdered oats & mix well. 
Beat the yogurt & add the yogurt, water & salt to the semolina oats mixture. Mix well & let it sit for about 30 mins.
The mixture will thicken after 30 mins, add little water to bring it to the normal idli batter consistency. 
Grease the idli plates/moulds & keep the steamer on medium-high heat.
Add in the fruit salt & mix gently. The batter will rise & become soft & fluffy. 
Scoop out around 2-3 tbsp of batter & pour it on the idli/idly moulds. Steam the idlis for 15-20 mins.
Allow it to cool for 5 mins. Serve it hot with a chutney/dip of your choice.

Side dishes that go well with this idli are:
Bombay Saagu
Vegetable Saagu
Ginger Chutney
Red chilli chutney


Notes:

  • If you cannot find Eno's fruit salt, you could replace it with half the quantity of baking soda. 
  • Once baking soda/ fruit salt is added to the batter, make the idlis immediately. The batter should not be kept for a long time unused. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Bread Chilli in Chilli Parotta Style with step-by-step pictures!

We all know that it is not good to skip the breakfast. Even then, some of us miss it.I too was having minimal/no breakfast days. Thanks to my son's long summer holidays, I am not missing it anymore! I make elaborate breakfast for us & during one of the days, I made this bread chilli with the left over bread :)

My son coined the name bread chilli. Though he found it little spicy, he loved it to the core. He was sipping the water every other bite but never wanted to say "no" to it :)


Preparation Time: 15 mins
Cooking Time: 15 mins
Serves: Me & my six year old ;)

Recipe Source: Loosely adapted from Cookery Corner

Ingredients:
For the bread chilli:

  • Bread slices: 8 nos, I used wheat bread.
  • Capsicum: 1/4th cup, cubed
  • Onion: 1/4th cup, cubed
  • Ginger-garlic paste: 1/2 tsp
  • Green chillies: 4 nos, sliced
  • Oil: 1.5 tbsp
  • Salt: As needed


For the spice paste:

  • Oil: 1 tbsp
  • Onion: 1 , small sized (around 1/3rd cup)
  • Tomato: 1, medium sized
  • Khus-khus/Poppy seeds: 1 tsp
  • Cashew nuts: 1 tsp or 5-6 nos
  • Coriander powder: 1/2 tsp
  • Red chilli powder: 1 tsp
  • Garam masala: 1/2 tsp
  • Salt: 1/2 tsp


For the garnish:

  • Coriander leaves/cilantro: 1 tbsp, finely chopped




Method:
For the spice paste:
Roughly chop the onion & tomato. Keep it aside.
Heat oil in a medium sized pan. When oil is hot, throw in the onions.

Saute till the onion become transparent. Add in the tomatoes & saute till tomatoes become soft.

Add the poppy seeds, cashew nuts, coriander powder, red chilli powder, garam masala, salt & mix thoroughly.
 Cook on a medium heat for a couple of minutes. Let the mixture cool.
Once the mixture is cool, make a smooth paste out of it by adding couple of teaspoons of water. Scoop out the spice paste & keep it aside.

Toast the bread (either on a griddle or toaster). Cut them into 1/2 inch cubes & keep aside.

For bread chilli:
Heat oil in a broad wok. Once oil is hot, throw in the onion & ginger-garlic paste. Toss on a medium-high heat.

When the onion turns golden brown, add in the capsicum & green chillies. Saute on high heat.
Add in the spice paste, salt & saute again. Add couple of tablespoons of water,if needed.

Throw in the cut bread slices & toss well. Toss the bread on medium-high for couple of minutes.
Turn off the heat, garnish with coriander leaves & enjoy!

Notes:

  • It is important to toss the onion, capsicum & bread on medium-high heat.
  • Remember we added salt while making the spice paste. So, adjust the salt accordingly.
  • This dish could be garnished with spring onion greens too. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Cooking Tips

  • When trying to chop the boiled potato, it sticks to the knife. To avoid it, dip the knife in water & then chop the boiled potatoes.  
  • Sometimes dosa(especially neer dosa)/akki rotti sticks to the spatula when we try to remove it from the griddle. Dip the spatula in water & then use it. The dosa will no more stick to the spatula.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Simple potato roast with fenugreek leaves | Aloo methi :Dry sabzi

This dish is nothing to fancy about. It is a very simple & quick stir-fry that can be whipped in less than 30 mins. It tastes great as a side dish with roti, rice-dal or paratha!


Preparation Time: 10 mins
Cooking Time: 20 mins
Serves: 2-3

Ingredients:

  • Potatoes: 3 medium sized
  • Methi leaves/fenugreek leaves/menthe soppu: 1 cube, frozen (approximately 1/2 cup, fresh methi leaves)
  • Oil: 1 tbsp
  • Cumin seeds: 1 tsp
  • Ginger-garlic paste: 1 tsp
  • Turmeric: 1/4th tsp
  • Red chilli powder: 1 tsp
  • Coriander powder: 1 tsp
  • Salt: As needed.





Method:
Wash the potatoes, peel the skin & dice them. Soak the potatoes in water.
Thaw the methi leaves.
Heat oil in a broad pan. When the oil is hot, add cumin seeds. When cumin seeds turn brown, add in the ginger-garlic paste. Saute till the raw flavor of the ginger-garlic disappears.
Throw in the methi leaves & saute for a couple of minutes.
Drain the diced potatoes & add the potatoes the sauteed methi leaves. 
Add the chilli powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder & mix well. 
Cook it covered until the potatoes are almost done. Keep stirring in between to ensure the potatoes doesn't burn & get cooked evenly. 
Add the salt & mix well. Keep cooking until the potatoes are soft.
Turn off the heat & serve it hot!



Notes:

  • This is a very basic & a simple potato roast. You could add other vegetables too, to make this dish more nutritious & interesting. I sometimes add in green peas or cauliflower. 
  • If you are using fresh methi leaves, separate only the leaves from the stem and wash thoroughly before adding!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

John's Pizzeria: A New York Restaurant Review

Hubby had done a decent search of the popular pizzerias at New York to taste their signature coal-fired New York style pizza. However, we had to avoid many of them, because of extremely long queues. The long queues clearly tells that people are darn crazy about good food. I have even heard that people even plan a food trip to New York!! We had to settle for John's Pizzeria at Times Square.

We started with John's garlic rolls.
It was served with marinara sauce. We got 7 rolls & the taste was pretty good.

I could get the taste of fresh mozzarella & garlic. Quantity was right for the two of us.It costed $6

We ordered the traditional large pizza without any toppings. The service with the starter was quite quick & we hoped to get the pizza to at the same speed. However, we were wrong. We waited for a good 45 mins before we got the pizza. We were tired of waiting.

The specialty of  New York-style pizza is in its thin hand-tossed crust made from bread flour. The traditional toppings for the pizza are the tomato sauce & the mozzarella cheese. Pizzas are cooked quickly in extremely hot ovens, generally coal-fired, until the thin crust achieves a gloriously charred, smoky crispness. The dough is prepared daily; the mozzarella is real, not packaged; tomatoes are the best quality. Also, the pizzas are made on order & not sold in slices! Source
                   (Picture of coal-fired brick oven, used for baking the pizzas)

We did not like it at the first bite, but then slowly started enjoying it.

The edges of the pizza was crisp & crunchy, while the center was soft. The dough was flavored with carom seeds! The smoky flavor was very different from the regular pizzas that we have had before. We could hardly finish 2 slices each from that large pizza & hence packed the remaining.
The cost of the large pizza is $16.25.

The next day, we reheated the left over pizza in the microwave & it tasted delicious. It tasted fresh & felt just out of oven. I have not had the same feeling with any other left over pizzas!!

Their menu is huge. Apart from the pizzas, they had many varieties of pasta, calzone's & desserts. We wanted to have a three course meal, but ended up leaving without having the desserts! Yes, you read it right, the desserts! We had couple of hours for our lunch & the service at the restaurant was so slow that we could only have the starter & the pizza. Wish their service was fast enough.

Cost for two: Around $28 without any drink and dessert.

Overall rating: 3/5
Food: 3.5/5
Ambiance: 3/5 (It is a huge place!)
Would I go there again: Yes

More info: (They have 3 more branches)
260 W, 44th Street,
New York, NY
Operating Hours: 11:30am to 11:30pm (Mon-Sun)
Website:  http://www.johnspizzerianyc.com/

The advantage with this restaurant is, it is in the Times Square & is easily accessible. The restaurant is huge, hence waiting time is considerably less. In fact, we did not even wait to be seated.

**Pardon the noisy pictures as it was a fine dining place.
Disclaimer: This is not a paid review!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Thakkaali Rasam/Kerala Style Tomato Rasam: Beginner Series

The aroma of this rasam is so tantalizing that even a person who is not hungry would not mind eating or sipping this rasam. It is a great drink as is too!

The advantages of this rasam are:
  • no lentils, hence no pressure cooking the lentils before hand, 
  • simple ingredients that are available in the kitchen pantry , 
  • no grinding & no standing  near the stove sweating all the time :)
I learnt this recipe during my Singapore days from a Malayali friend. This post was in draft for almost 2 years!! Was never happy with the pictures clicked previously & did not publish it.


Preparation Time: 5-7 mins
Cooking Time: 20 mins

Ingredients: (Serves 4, makes around a liter of rasam!)
For the rasam:

  • Tomato: 2 nos
  • Shallots/Sambar onion: 1 no or 1 tbsp finely chopped sweet onion
  • Green chilli: 2 nos
  • Curry leaves: 4-6 nos
  • Water: 4.5 cups
  • Tamarind paste: 1 tsp (thick tamarind extract)
  • Turmeric powder: a pinch
  • Chilli powder: 1/2 tsp
  • Dhania powder/Coriander powder: 1/2 tsp
  • Crushed pepper: 1/2 tsp (actual recipe calls for 2 tsp, adjust according to your family needs)
  • Crushed garlic: 1 tsp
  • Coconut oil: 1 tsp
  • Mustard seeds: 1/2 tsp
  • Cumin seeds: 1/2 tsp
  • Salt: According to taste


For tempering:

  • Coconut oil or Ghee/Clarified butter: 1.5 tsp (use any oil of your choice)
  • Cumin seeds: 1/2 tsp
  • Curry leaves: 4-5 nos
  • Sliced garlic: 2 tsp
  • Dry red chilli: 1 no




Method:
Dice the tomatoes & finely chop the shallots/sambar onion.
Heat oil in a sauce pan. When oil is hot, throw in mustard seeds & cumin seeds.When seeds turn golden brown, add the finely chopped onion & curry leaves.Saute till the onions are translucent.

Add the tomatoes & chopped green chillies. Saute.

Then pour in the water, tamarind paste, crushed garlic, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, dhania powder, crushed pepper, salt & curry leaves.

Reduce the heat to medium & let it boil. Stir in once a while. The flavors will be infused in the water & the aroma will fill your kitchen. Let it boil for 15-20 mins on a medium-low heat. Turn off the heat.
Prepare the tempering.
Heat oil in a small pan. When oil is hot, add the cumin seeds. When seeds turn golden brown, add the garlic & allow the garlic to turn golden brown. Finally throw in the curry leaves & broken dry chilli.

Pour the tempering over the boiling rasam & cover the rasam with a lid.
Serve the hot rasam with rice or as a drink!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Milk cake / Kalakand Recipe

Happy Rakshabandan to all. Last year, I was in India & enjoyed the festival with my brothers & cousins. My son was happy that he got 2 rakhis from his two cousin sisters. This year too, I got 2 rakhis for him & tied him on behalf of his sisters. He was all excited & asked me, if rakshabandan is his birth day!! I had to explain him that Rakshabandan is brother-sister day :)


To celebrate the festival, I made a quicker version of kalakand. This gets done in around 20 mins.

Preparation time: 5 mins
Cooking time: 20-25 mins
Cooling time: About an hour.

Ingredients: (Makes around 12 pieces)

  • Soft paneer/Ricotta cheese: 3/4th cup
  • Condensed milk: 3/4th cup
  • Crushed almonds or pistachios: 2 tbsp


Method:
Grease a plate & keep it aside.
Pour the condensed milk & paneer to a thick bottomed non-stick pan.

Keep stirring the mixture on a low-medium heat. The mixture will first become thin.

Keep stirring continuously until the mixture leaves the edges of the pan & forms a ball.

Scoop the mixture to the greased plate & spread the mixture evenly.
Let it cool for 10 mins.
Sprinkle the crushed almonds all over the mixture & let it cool completely. (You could refrigerate it for 30 mins)
Cut them into desired shape & enjoy it with your loved ones.



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