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Monday, December 31, 2012

The year 2012 in retrospect

The moment I decided to write this post, my mind did a slideshow of  an array of things non-stop. Apart from a couple of incidents (that I would want to forget!), it was a great year for me. Little did I imagine in 2011 that I would be experiencing my first snow, my first autumn & would be visiting many attractions in the US. I hope God has planned better things for the coming year too.

I moved to my own domain this year. I tried lots of new dishes which I am yet to write about. Now I can effortlessly bake & decorate dozens of cupcakes. I'm happy that my blog has given me a new identity & a new motive!!

Here are my personal favorites from the year 2012:

Spring Onion Curry

Pav Bhaji

Khara bhath

Tomato Rasam: Kerala Style

Eggless vanilla cupcakes

Masala Vada

Plain Rava Dosa

Grilled eggplant burger


Potato Roast

Cashew Burfi/Kaju katli

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Dibba Rotti | Idli Batter Roti : Andhra Delicacy

I got to know about this dish from a friend of mine ! Initially, I was hesitant to try this dish. In the blog-world, I did find many blogs writing about this dish. My friend had asked me to ferment the batter & I followed her, though some blogs asked for freshly ground batter.


Cooking Time: 10 mins (for 2 rottis)

Ingredients: (Serves 2)
Idli batter: 2 cups, fermented & fresh.
Cumin seeds: 1 tsp
Salt: As needed
Oil: 2 tsp for each rotti.

Special utensil:
a heavy bottom kadai


Method:
Mix cumin seeds, and salt to the idli/idly batter & mix well.
Heat a kadai. When it is hot, add a teaspoon of oil. Pour around a cup of batter(I pour 2 big ladle full of batter).

Cook it covered on a low-medium heat for approximately 5 mins. The edges should turn crisp and brown.
Carefully flip the rotti. Sprinkle the remaining teaspoon of oil & cook for another couple of minutes.

Repeat the procedure with the remaining batter.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Bread Oggarane | Bread Upma

It often makes me think, how was life before my kid? Though, he is just six, I feel he is with me forever. I have enjoyed my share of childhood days, teenage days, newly-wed days, but now life completely revolves around my kid. All mothers out there agree with me & all other women will realize this as soon as they have their own kid! I enjoy being a mother, but sometimes the kid in me wants to do what I love to do. On one such day, I made my childhood favorite "bread oggarane" for lunch & relished it thoroughly.


Preparation Time: 5 mins
Cooking Time: 10 mins
Serves: 1-2

Ingredients:
  • Whole wheat bread slices: 6-8 nos
  • Onion: 1 medium sized, finely chopped
  • Green chillies: 3 nos, sliced
  • Cooking oil: 1 tbsp
  • Mustard seeds: 1/2 tsp
  • Curry leaves: 4-6 nos, torn
  • Cashew nuts: 1 tbsp, coarsely crushed
  • Tomato ketchup: 1 tbsp
  • Salt: As needed

Method:
Chop the bread slices into 1 cm cubes. Refer notes below.
Heat oil in a broad wok. When oil is hot, throw in the mustard seeds & cashew nuts.
When nuts turn golden brown, add in the green chilies & curry leaves.
When curry leaves wilt, throw in the finely chopped onion & saute.
Cook the onions till they are soft & translucent. No need to brown the onions.
Add the chopped bread pieces, salt, tomato ketchup & mix them thoroughly.
Increase the heat to medium-high & toss until the bread pieces slightly change the color.
Remove from heat & serve immediately.


Notes:
  • I normally do not trim the edges of the bread. Feel free to trim the edges, if needed.
  • This is a very basic bread upma recipe. You could add veggies like bell peppers, green peas, cooked potato to make it healthier.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Cooking Tips: Grinding frozen coconut

Does the frozen coconut/dried coconut ooze out oil while making coconut chutney or any other coconut based gravies? Use warm to hot water while grinding the coconut & see the difference!!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Badanekai Palya | Simple & Quick Eggplant Stir-Fry

I get to answer many questions like how has life changed after you moved? As a SAHM now, don't you get bored at home & many such! I feel, it is all your perception towards life. You can enjoy wherever you are or whatever you do. I do accept that there are some limitations here, but you are the best person to decide how to keep yourself occupied.

After moving here, I kept myself busy in knitting (along with my blog!). I learnt ABC of knitting with the help of youtube. Kudos to the internet!! Now, I have knit couple of scarfs & at least half a dozen hats!! Here is a glimpse of one of my recent hat. My son proudly tells his friends " See my new hat. My mamma knit it for me".


Now back to business. This is my granny's quick & easy recipe that goes well with rice or roti.


Ingredients: (Serves 3-4)
  • Chinese eggplant/Long purple eggplants: 1 pound
  • Tomato: 2 medium sized
  • Bell pepper: 1 small, optional, seeded
  • Turmeric powder: a big pinch
  • Red chilli powder: 1/2 tsp, more or less
  • Cooking oil: 1 tbsp
  • Mustard seeds: 1/2 tsp
  • Urad dal: 1 tsp, optional (refer notes)
  • Channa dal: 2 tsp, optional (refer notes)
  • Green chilies: 3 nos
  • Curry leaves: 3 nos, torn
  • Salt: As needed.
  • Jaggery/Sugar: 1/2 tsp
  • Few tablespoons of water.
  • Lemon juice: 1 tsp, optional

Method:



Dice the tomatoes, bell pepper & Chinese eggplant. 
Slit the green chilies.
Keep the diced eggplants in salt water. This helps in reducing the bitterness of the eggplant & also prevents it from browning.
Heat the oil in a wok. When oil is hot, throw in the mustard seeds, channa dal & urad dal.
When dals turn golden brown, throw in the curry leaves & green chilies.
Drain the water from the eggplant.
When curry leaves wilt, add in the tomatoes & saute till tomatoes are coated with oil.
Throw in the diced eggplant, bell pepper, salt, sugar, turmeric powder & red chilli powder.
Mix well & add couple of tablespoons of water.Cook it covered for 5 mins on medium heat. Keep stirring in between for even cooking.
Remove the lid & cook again for a couple of minutes. Eggplants should become very soft. Remove it from the heat.
Squeeze in the lemon juice & serve it hot with rice or roti.



I served mine with sabudana rotti.

Notes:
Urad dal & channa dal adds crunch to the plain stir-fry. If you do not like it, you are free to skip it.
Adding bell peppers are also optional.
Try not to skip adding sugar or jaggery. It reduces the bitterness of the eggplant & enhances its flavor.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Kaju Katli | Cashew Burfi

Making kaju katli at home is a long-pending dream come true for me! This is my son's favorite sweet. In fact, he prefers eating only this for breakfast, lunch and dinner :)

It melts in the mouth & you too would say "home-made tastes the best!". Btw, this is one of the great examples for " less is more". It just needs two ingredients, cashew nuts & sugar. Can it get more easier than this?! This dish doesn't take much of your effort. If I can make it, you all can make it too. Give it a try!

Forgive the grainy texture of the katli, that was because of my food processor!



Preparation Time: 5 mins
Cooking Time: 15 mins

Ingredients: (Makes around 16 squares)
  • Cashew nuts : 1 cup, leveled
  • Sugar: 1/2 cup
  • Water: 1/4 cup

Method:
Add the sugar & water to a wide & thick bottomed pan. Mix until sugar dissolves & heat it on a medium heat.
Do not disturb the sugar syrup.
Meantime, prepare a coarse powder of the cashews. (Refer notes)

The sugar syrup becomes bubbly. Check the consistency of the sugar syrup. It should be of one string consistency. (Refer notes)
Immediately turn the heat to low & pour the coarse cashew powder to the sugar syrup.

Turn off the heat & mix well. The mixture looks like a dough ball.

Scoop out the mixture onto a bowl & let it cool for 5 mins.
Grease the palm with very little ghee/clarified butter & knead the cashew mixture until smooth.
Roll the cashew mixture into 1/4th of an inch with a rolling pin.
Cut them into desired shape.
Kaju katli is ready to be served.

Notes:
  • One leveled cup of cashews yield to one heaped cup of coarse cashew powder. 
  • One string sugar syrup consistency: A thin string of upto 1 inch is formed when tested between thumb & forefinger. This step is the very important for making kaju katli. If you add cashew powder when sugar syrup becomes little more thick then the kaju katli becomes hard & brittle. If  cashew powder is added before reaching the one string consistency of the sugar syrup, then the mixture becomes very sticky & feels uncooked. 
  • If the mixture becomes little hard after cooling down, add a tsp or less of milk while kneading it. Remember, adding milk will reduce the shelf life of the burfi. 
  • Keep kneading until the mixture becomes smooth.

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