Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Cucumber stir-fry with kimchi

I don't eat much cucumber, I wanted to find a way to eat more cucumber so I kinda put all the ingredients I like and I created this stir fry. and Since I  was doing Korean pancakes, I wanted some Korean dish to go with it. What is more Korean than kimchi??? so I decided to so the stir fry with kimchi.

For those who do not know about kimchi, it is basically a fermented / picked cabbage. This kimchi is a Korean favorite and now a days you can even find kimchi pizza's in some specialty pizzeria's.It is tangy and sour and the cabbage still will be crunchy, if you have never had kimchi before the first few bites will be very tangy but once you get used to it you will love it. My friend visited me and I gave her the kimchi and she was not a big fan when she first tasted it but after a few bites she asked for a second serving. so if you like sour food then you will love kimchi. You will find kimchi in all grocery stores or in any Asian store. You can eat this as a side or just as a snack.Its good when it is hot and even cold. I have garnished with coriander stems which give this dish robust fresh burst of coriander flavor.

If you dont have kimchi, you can do the same recipe without kimchi.

Name: Sun yum kimchee
Availability: Any grocery or Asian grocery store
Price: 3$
Recommendation: Yes

Cucumber stir-fry with kimchi Serves 2

Kimchi,store bought, chopped - 1/4 cup
Cucumber -1
Onion , chopped small - 1/4 cup

Ginger, diced finely - 1/2 tbs
Garlic, diced finely - 2

Green chili chopped finely - 1
Soy sauce - 1 tbs
Vinegar - 1/4 tbs
Coriander stem, chopped - 1 tbs for garnishing
Salt to taste if needed
Oil - 1 tbs
Spoon to clean out the cucumber seeds.

Slit cucumber lengthwise and using a spoon scoop out the seeds and chop them into the semi circle rounds or in any shape and size you want.
In a pan heat 1 tbs oil and add the onion and green chili and fry it for 1 minute until the onion is translucent.
Add the ginger and garlic and cook in medium heat for 2 more minutes.
Add the kimchi, soy sauce, vinegar and cook for 1 minute.
Add cucumber and salt if needed, toss around and cook for 2 more minutes, so the cucumber still has some crunch.
Serve hot or cold with Korean pancakes.

You can cook cucumber what ever way you like. If you want the cucumber to be soft cook for 5 minutes.
If you do not have kimchi you can do the same recipe without kimchi.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Korean pancakes - healthy pancake with vegetables

I was bored with sweet pancakes, I love crepes comparing to pancakes, even though both are basically pancakes.. I wanted to do a vegetarian one and I came across this Korean pancake with veggies. Its so easy to make and its just the regular pancake batter but with veggies and no sugar. It is a kid friendly dish .Since the pancake needs some sauce or something to go with it I decided to serve it with some kimchi cucumber stir fry. (recipe in the next post).

Korean pancake Makes 10 medium size pancakes

Plain flour - 2 cups
Water - 2 cups
Baking powder - pinch (optional)
Egg - 1
salt - 1/4 teaspoon
Yellow squash sliced thinly - 1/4 cup
zucchini sliced thinly - 1/4 cup
Red bell pepper (capsicum) - 1/4 cup
Spring onion chopped - 5 stalks
oil / butter for frying 

In a mixing pan add plain flour,baking powder,salt, egg and water. Mix them well without any lumps.
Add all the chopped veggies and mix in the patter.
Heat a griddle / tava / non stick pancake pan add 1 tbsp of oil and pour one ladle of the mixture. after a minute turn it over and cook for one more minute.
Serve hot or cold with any sauce you like or serve with the cucumber stir fry with kimchi.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Don't throw away your coriander / cilantro / parsley stems

Are you throwing away your coriander stems?You are throwing away all your money and your flavor. There is such intense flavor in those stems.When you buy coriander,take a sniff at the stems and the leaves and I promise the stems will smell a heavenly coriander than the leaves and you will never throw them away again..

Some of us Indians, just use coriander for garnishing, but the small green leaves and stems can give us much more than garnishing, and some people doesn't know what to do with them and they rot in the fridge, I have been one of those and I also tried drying it out but they just don't cut it. Fresh coriander is the best.

Preserving coriander:
Coriander hates moisture and if there is moisture it starts to go bad.
  • When you buy them put them in a jar half filled with water, just to cover the ends of the stem, this helps them to stay fresh, but use them on the same day.
  • If you are not going to use it a day,put them in a airtight cover / zip lock and put them in the lower basket on the fridge.
  • If you are not using it for a week, change the cover / zip lock every 2 days,to keep them fresh. after 2 days you can see the moisture built up inside the cover / zip lock. That's why we are changing it every 2 days or
  • Put them in a air tight container and store them in fridge, every 2 days take the box out and wipe all the moisture built up in it and gain put them back in the box and back to the fridge or
  • Make them into a paste or pesto and preserve them in the fridge for a week.( recipes of pesto and paste will be updated soon

Uses for the stems:
Use them when blending biriyani masala
Use them when grinding chutneys
Use them along with leaves when making pesto
Chop them finely and add it as garnish for your meat, it goes so well with meat.

My recipes with the stems:
White sesame chutney recipe where I have used the stems while blending the masala.
Cucumber stir fry with kimchi where I have used the stems for garnish
Coriander paste ( will be updated)

Use stems add flavor to ur food and save money..

Friday, February 22, 2013

White Sesame chutney

Ingredients: Serves 4 
White sesame - 1/2 cup
Split black gram / Ulutham parupu - 3 tbs
Coconut grated fresh / dry coconut - 1/4 cup
Dry red chili - 3 or 4 according to ur aste
Coriander stems, chopped - 3 tbs
Tamarind pulp - small lemon size + Water - 2 tbs
Water - 1/4 cup
Salt to taste
For tempering:
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
Curry leaf 1/2 stalk

Soak tamarind in the 2 tbs of water.
Dry roast the sesame seeds and black gram / Ulundhu until golden. Keep aside.
IF USING DRY COCONUT: dry roast the grate dry coconut and add it to the sesame seed mixture.
IF USING FRESH COCONUT : Add it directly to the toasted sesame seed mixture.

Using your hand dissolve the soaked tamarind in water,until all the flesh dissolves.
In a blender add the toasted sesame seed + ulundu mixture, the coconut, the red chili, the coriander stems,tamarind water and salt grind to a paste.If the mixture is dry add water to your desired consistency
In another pan heat 2 tbs of oil, once oil is hot add the mustard seeds and let them pop,switch off heat add curry leaf and add the mixture to the chutney and stir.

If you find the taste very intensive or bitter you can add more tamarind to balance that.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Vindaloo Simmer sauce by Archer farms

I tried Vindaloo sauce by Archer farms and it was yummmyyy.. It is the masala blend and all you have to add is meat or potato. I tried it with chicken.Vindaloo is a famous east Indian recipe and is vinegar based sauce, so it is tangy.Hence, I added green chili to make it spicy plus some onion and tomato for some texture and extra flavor  It was so good with roti. I loved it and my husband loved it.This is a perfect curry for those who feels that Indian food is complex and are intimidated by spices.
It is perfect for a lazy day curry where you don't have to do all the work yourself. The taste feels so homemade and it is worth the money. 

The recipe Follows...

Name:Vindaloo simmer sauce by archer farms
Availability: Target
Cost: about 5$
Weight: 13.2oz
Recommendation: Yes

Chicken vindaloo Curry  Serves 4 - 5

Vindaloo simmer sauce - 1
Chicken, boneless, cut into bite size pieces - 1 to 11/4 cup
Onion, sliced - 1 big
Tomato, chopped - 1/2 medium
Green chilly, slit length wise - 5 or less according to your taste
Water - 2 to 3 cups
Oil - 2 tbsp
Salt to taste

Put pan on heat, add oil and onion and green chili.
Let the onion cook and caramelize  this may take about 3-5 minutes.Add tomato close the lid and cook for 3 minutes. Smash the tomato with the spoon.
Add the simmer sauce to the onion mixture and let it cook for another 5-7 minutes.
Add the cleaned and cubed chicken and toss it around for 2 minutes.
Add 2 cups water( if you want you can pour water into the sauce bottle and pour the water to the pan, as the water will bring any remaining sauce stuck to the bottle.)
You can add the other cup of water depending on what consistency you want the curry to be.
Taste and add salt accordingly.
Close the pan with the lid and let it cook for 15 - 20 minutes.
Serve hot with roti / rice

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Chipotle chili dark chocolate from World market

 Everybody loves chocolate, its a big part of the dessert world and chocolate has always been a part of savory dishes. I have always wanted to try spicy chocolate, I bought this Chipotle chili dark chocolate which I have always wanted to try and I have not come across this in my every day grocery store. I bought this from the world market and I was really excited about this. And it lived up to its name, its chocolate yet it has a nice kick of spiciness from the chipotle. From the first bite I did not see it coming but on my 2nd and 3rd bite the heat hit me hard in the back of my throat. I really enjoyed it. I made my husband also to try it. This is the perfect chocolate for naughty children I guess..

This is such a great product to have in the pantry. It is perfect for Mexican hot chocolate recipe or we can make chipotle chocolate barks out of it or for just come chocolate fun in life.This is one chocolate I would recommend that you try it at least once.

Cost: 2$ for 3oz
Availability: World market

Monday, February 18, 2013

10 minute Coconut milk pudding - No eggs

I  bought a packaged coconut milk carton wanting for a and I found it was vanilla flavored only after reaching home. So I decided to do pudding out of it and I stumbled on this Puerto Rican recipe. This takes 10 minutes of our time and we have a sweet sweet dessert. I put a little cardamom into it for that Indian flavor  I set the custard in individual cups so I added some raspberries in some of the cups for the vibrant color and little tartness. You can blue berries,peaches and any other fruit.But its delicious just like that.

Name: So delicious dairy free vanilla coconut milk
Availability: Meijer
Price: 2.50$
Recommended: yes

Serving the pudding:
You can serve the pudding set in individual cups (or) set in individual cups and flip the pudding out for a restaurant presentation (or) set up in put container then serve it using spoon like we serve ice cream.
I am setting it up in individual cups and flipping it out and serving on a plate.

10 minute egg less Coconut milk pudding: Serves 7

Vanilla flavored coconut milk,Store bought  - 4 cups (or) coconut milk + 1 tbsp of vanilla essence
Sugar - 1/2 cup or according to taste.
Cornflour -  1/2 cup
Cardamom pod seeds - 1
Salt - a pinch
Cup or any other serving container.
Non stick spray or butter for coating the serving cup.

Put the serving cup in the freezer.
Mix the cornflour in 1/4 cup of coconut milk, mix until it dissolves.
Add the remaining coconut milk, sugar,salt and put the pan on medium heat, stir so that the salt and sugar dissolves.
Add cardamom seeds.Keep stirring, let the mixture cook and starts to bubble.
Cook for five more minutes,stirring constantly.
The mixture will start to thicken,switch of heat.
If the mixture is too thick, add a little more coconut milk about 4 tbsp and cook in low heat and keep stirring, or if it still appears watery add little more cornflour dissolved in 2 tbsp of water.
Switch of heat.
Take the serving cup from the freezer, spray with the non stick / baking spray
Put the cups in the fridge for 1 hr or in the freezer for 30 minutes.

If the mixture appears to thick you can add little more cornflour dissolved in 2 tbsp of water.
DO NOT ADD CORNFLOUR DIRECTLY.Mix with water and them add them
Add the cornflour slowly and keep stirring at the same time.
The cornflour helps the pudding to set.If you add more cornflour the pudding might turn thick and solid.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Spicy Indian onion puff

At last I found puff pastry in Grand Rapids! I have been looking for puff pastry all over the town and I began to wonder whether they sell puff pastry in Gd Rapids.I started asking all my friends and they too had the same doubt, but at last we found it. I have been craving for this spicy onion puff for a long time now.This is one of my absolute favorite.This is a recipe I have replicated from Ragam bakery in India. This puff is so good that I can never stop with one. When ever My dad buys this puff, he gets one extra for me, its soooo yummy.
 This recipe brings back lots of memories, chit chatting with my mom with this hot and spicy snack along with tea and my dad would constantly ask us to be quiet cos he would be watching tv. When I was young I was under the impression that puffs can't be made at home, cos we always used to get it from the bakery but I was amazed when my sister once did fresh puff pastry at home when I din even know what puff pastry was and that was one puff which I will not forget. It took a long time to make the pastry and all I could remember is going by and standing at the kitchen counter seeing her roll her pastry over and over and refrigerate it. I was so impatient din know what she was doing at that time.But at last it was all worth it. She had made vegetable puff and it was so good and that moment has stayed with me till now. The other puff memory is from this bakery. Even though I am familiar with puff pastry I have never attempted it, cos, I don want to go through that when I get ready made pastry which is just yummy.
This is also one of my friend's absolute favorite,I know she craves for it.When ever she goes to India this is the first thing she eats, yes this puff is so good.So this recipe is for my friend, hope u enjoy this Sowmi, like I enjoyed it.
Sorry I was in such a hurry that I couldn't get a decent picture of it.It was after I took a bite I remembered that I need a picture for this post !

Spicy Onion Puff  Makes 6 medium puffs

Readymade puff pastry,thawed - 1 sheet
Red onion, sliced - 2 medium
Green peas pre cooked (or) frozen - 3 tbs
Potato,cut into small chunks and boiled - 3 tbs
Garam masala - 1 1/2 tspn
Ground cumin - 1/2 tspn
Red chilly powder - 1/4 tspn
Oil - 2 tbsp
Water - 1 tbsp (optional)
Milk - 2 tbsp for glazing (or) beaten egg - 2 tbsp (optional)
Salt to taste

Thaw the puff pastry according to the instructions.
Heat oil in pan and add the onion, put the flame in low, add a pinch of salt so that the onions does not burn. Cover and cook it for 10 mins in low heat.
Add the Garam masala,red chili powder and cumin powder mix well and close and cook for another 10 minutes.(The color of the mixture will turn deep dark brown, don worry that's how it is supposed to look).
Cook the onions until the spices are cooked and the onions have caramelized and very very soft.(At this stage,you can add a tablespoon of water, if the mixture is too dry or if the onion starts to burn).
Add the cooked peas,potato and salt and  stir around, do not mash the potato.
Cover and cook for another 5 minutes.The mixture should not have any water content.Cook until the mixture does not have any excess moisture content (i.e.) if you have  added 1 tbsp of water.
Put flour on a work space or on a dry plate,divide the pastry into 2 equal halves.
Roll out both sheets lightly.
Place the one half of the pastry with the length of the pastry facing you, and place the mixture on one end of the pastry and close the other end over and pinch the ends lightly,so it does not open up when cooking.
Glace with milk or beaten egg .Repeat the same with the other half of the pastry.
Place both the filled pastry on a sheet pan / place and place in the freezer for 10 minutes so that it will firm and will be easy for us to cut.
Pre heat the oven to 400 f
Take out the pastry and with a dry knife cut into equal squares or how ever you want it to be, any length and shape.
Put it on the baking tray and bake for 15-17 minutes or golden brown on top.

Enjoy it as much as we did!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Braised romaine lettuce hearts

When life gives you lettuce and only lettuce, braise it! I love lettuce and I always had it fresh, so when I heard about the braised lettuce, I wanted to really try it for a long time.As always I have spiced it up. So here is my version of braised romaine lettuce.

 I used romaine lettuce hearts and when they were cooked they were crunchy and soft at the same time and they were delicious.They are a great accompaniment to couscous or quinoa or baked fish.I had it with spiced  couscous and they were just yummy.You don't have to do any hard work for this recipe.. bam bam bam and TADA you have flavorful braised lettuce. 

Braised romaine lettuce hearts serves 2

Romaine lettuce, cut lengthwise in to halves - 1
White wine - 1/4 cup (optional)
Chicken stock / vegetable stock - 1/4 to 1/2 cup
Garlic powder - 1/4 tspn
Red chilly flakes - 1/4 tspn
Pepper - 1/4 tspn
dried oregano - 1/4 tspn
oil - 2 tspn
Salt - If needed use accordingly

In a pan heat the oil and once the oil is hot place the lettuce cut side down and let it char, repeat on the other side.It will take 30 secs on each side.
Remove the lettuce and keep aside.
In the same pan add the chicken stock, the white wine, garlic powder,chili flakes,oregano and pepper ad bring to boil.
Place the lettuce,the cut side down and turn the heat to simmer and place a lid on top and let it cook for 7 - 8 mins,then turn the lettuce and close the lid and let it cook for 3 more mins.
When the leaves turn dark green it is ready, otherwise cook for another 2 mins.
Remove the lettuce and if you have any left over stock let it boil for a couple of seconds and use it as sauce.


Friday, February 8, 2013

White pumpkin / Winter melon stir fry with yogurt

I am a big fan of White pumpkin or winter melon or வெள்ளை பூசனிக்காய் as it is known in Tamil. I remember eating all the pieces of pumpkin from the curry my mom used to make. Since my husband insists on having healthy food, I try to have a balanced and nutritious meal. White pumpkin is very nutritious and it is a good cure for stomach ulcers and keeping the body cool. So when ever I go to the Indian store here, I make it a point to buy it. I blend it up with a pinch of salt and we have it as our morning juice or i make stir-fry out of it.
Today's recipe is White pumpkin stir-fry with yogurt. This is a simple recipe with very few ingredients. It is refreshing dish on a sunny day. Everybody has their own way of doing it,but this is how my mom made it.This dish can be enjoyed hot or cold.

White pumpkin stir-fry with yogurt or வெள்ளை பூசனிக்காய் பச்சடி Serves 4

White pumpkin skin removed,de-seeded and chopped into bite size pieces - 3 cups
Pearl onion / small onion cut lengthwise  - 7
Mustard seeds - 1 tspn
Cumin seeds - 1/4 tspn
Turmeric powder - 1/5 tspn or less
Curry leaves - 1 stem
Green chilly slit lengthwise - 3 to 4 according to taste
Yogurt - 1 1/4 cup
Salt - 1 to 2 tspn according to taste
Oil 2 tspn
Water - 1 to 2 cups ( use as needed)
Water - 2 tspn

In a pan heat oil and add the mustard seeds. Once the seeds have popped add the chilly, curry leaves,cumin seeds, onion , turmeric powder and fry for 4-5 minutes until the onions are translucent.
Add the pumpkin and toss it around so that it is coated in the turmeric.
Add 1 cup water and 1/2 tspn of salt. Taste to check the salt if you find it less add the other 1/2 spoon.Keep tasting as you go and add the salt accordingly.
Cover with the lid and let it cook for 10 minutes or until the pumpkin is tender but it should still hold its shape.If the pumpkin appears to be under cooked add another 1/2 cup or accordingly and put the lid back on and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes.
Let it cook for 5 minutes.
In the serving cup add the yogurt and and 2 tspn of water and mix it together.
Add the cooked pumpkin and toss lightly.Do not break or smash the pumpkin.
Enjoy it hot or cold.

White pumpkin absorbs more salt so the dish has to be salted way less than our normal salting. Keep tasting as you cook and add salt accordingly.
Certain pumpkins are more watery, and cook very quickly and turn to mush.So add 1 cup water let it cook and then if more is needed add how much ever is needed.
Do not over cook the pumpkin or else it will turn to mush.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Spiced couscous with chickpeas

One of my favorite 10 minutes meals is couscous.I always have couscous in my pantry. It is easy to cook and very versatile, it takes in any flavor we add. It is tasty with just salt and some lemon and coriander and also a decadent indulgence without guilt when spiced and loaded with veggies.It is good to go as it or served with curry. This is one of my versions of couscous usually served couscous with baked fish or a curry. When ever I find myself without time to cook a hot lunch for my husband (which is most of the time) I resort to this simple ingredient. It literally takes 5 minutes to cook. Here is the recipe to my spiced couscous.There is Israeli couscous and Moroccon couscous.I am using Moroccon couscous in this recipe.

I have given two methods for cooking this recipe method one is to cook the couscous separately and the masala separately and mixing it at the end.
Method two is cooking the couscous and masala together like we cook Indian upma.
Do not worry if you don't get the water correctly, we are home cooks not restaurant chefs to cook our couscous perfectly every time.

Spiced couscous with chickpeas Serves 2 - 3

Moroccon Couscous - 1/2 cup
Water - 1 cup
Garlic sliced thinly - 4
Onion chopped - 1/2 cup
Tomato chopped - 1 medium
Bell pepper / capsicum chopped - 1/4 cup
Fresh red chili cut into rounds - 1 or green chili
Chickpeas cooked - 1/4 cup
Cumin powder - 1/4 tsp
Coriander powder - 1/2 tsp
Oil - 2 tsp
Salt as needed

Method 1:
Bring the 1 cup water to boil in a pan, add the couscous,close with a lid and switch off the heat.Do not open for 6 minutes.After 6 minutes, If it appears uncooked add a little boiling water to it and close the lid.

Put another pan on heat,add the oil and chopped onion and garlic and let it cook for 3-4 minutes.
Add the cumin powder and coriander powder and mix well.
Add the chopped tomatoes and cooked chickpeas,close with lid and cook until the tomatoes and the spices are cooked through.Smash the tomatoes with the spoon.
Fluff the cooked couscous with a fork and add it to the mixture. Add the bell pepper and salt if needed and mix gently so the couscous is not mushed.

Method 2: This method needs a little more water than the method 1. water 1 1/4 cup.
In a pan add the oil and chopped onion and garlic and let it cook for 3-4 minutes.
Add the cumin powder and coriander powder and mix well.
Add the chopped tomatoes and cooked chickpeas,close with lid and cook until the tomatoes and the spices are cooked through.Smash the tomatoes with the spoon.
Add the water and bring to boil,add salt, check salt and add if needed more.
Add the couscous,stir and close with a lid and switch off the heat.
Let it stay for 6-7 minutes or until the water is absorbed.

Garnish with coriander and serve with meat or curry.

If the water is not enough and the couscous appears dry but not cooked, add boiling water and not cold water.
If the couscous is not cooked, but there is water remaining, put the heat in simmer and let the couscous absorbs all the water.
If you put the heat in high or medium, the couscous will get stuck to the bottom of the pan.
Once cooked if the couscous appears stick add 2 tsp of oil and mix through gently.
Couscous is very delicate when cooked, so when you mix it around be gentle so it is not mushed and becomes clumpy.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Fried burrito with blueberries

Everybody loves dessert, everybody loves fried food.. So what's wrong in frying desserts! I have always loved the idea of fried desert and this recipe is one of them and the best part is there is no waiting. I was so excited when I saw this. This again is another semi-homemade dish. It takes minutes to whip up this dish and its elegant and restaurant style. This will impress I promise. This is a decadent, indulging yet light desert, and you wouldn't want to share it with anybody. I know I did not.

I am a dessert person,when I was in my parents house I used to bake cake literally everyday,but after getting married to the person "who doesn't approve anything that has sugar in it", my dessert sweet life turned empty. But guess what, I make my own trips to the store buy some yummy desserts and stuff the fridge with them and once he leaves the house, its Dessert Time for me and the fun part is he din't have a clue that I was doing this, until one day I told him.
I am using sour cream and organic granola. If you use granola bars, smash it in to little bites and add it.

Fried burrito with blueberries Serves 5

Tortilla large size – 5 
Sour cream – ¼ cup
Sugar – 5 tbsp
Blueberry fresh or frozen(thawed) – ¼ cup
Granola - ¼ cup          
Oil for deep frying
Bamboo skewers – 5 ( soak in water for 30 mins)
Ready whipped cream (or )use the recipe below to make your own whipping cream

For whipped cream:
Heavy whipping cream – ½ cup
Confectionery sugar – 2-3 tbsp
Hand Whisk / Electrical whisk

Whipping cream method:
Place the bowl and hand whisk in the freezer for 30 minutes before the actual whipping.
Once the bowl and hand whisk is cold, pour the whipping cream in and start beating it. If using electric whisk,plug in and start whisking for a minute once it starts to thicken, add sugar 1 tbsp at a time and keep whisking until it forms stiff peaks.
When you lift the whisk up from the mixture, the cream should hold its point position,(i.e.) it should not be fall back, it should hold peaks.This will take about 2-4 minutes.
Cover with cling film and keep in fridge until use.

Points to note while whipping:
All the three items the whipping cream,the bowl and whisk( if using hand whisk) should be cold.It helps in whipping.
You have to stop whipping at the right time, if you over whisk,it will turn to butter and will be off no use.

Soak the bamboo skewers in water for 20-30 minutes(This will prevent the skewer from getting burned when frying in the oil).
Heat oil in a pan for deep frying.
Mix the sour cream and sugar together.
Remove the skewer from water.

Assembling and cooking
Spread a table spoon of the sour cream and sugar mixture on the tortilla in the center.
Sprinkle some granola over it and top with some blueberry.
fold the tortilla like you would fold a burrito.
Prick the folded burrito with the soaked skewer (This helps the burrito holds its shape while deep frying).
Repeat the same with the remaining tortilla's.
Put the folded side down in the oil,with the skewer in place and deep fry for approximately 2 minutes on each side or until golden.Once you turn the burrito and it holds its position you can remove the skewer.
Remove the skewer.
Sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Serve with whipped cream.

You can use chocolate chips also in the filling.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Avocado Smoothie

This post and recipe is about the super fruit "The Avocado" commonly known as butter fruit in India.It is such a wonderful fruit, even though its a tad on the fattier side,it helps lower bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol, helps in weight management.What more do we want?

 In India, people don't know what to do with it.Once I went to a famous supermarket and was buying avocados, the sales person came and asked me, what is it and what do you do with it. That's how much  awareness they have got about this super fruit.Avocado's doesn't have any taste, it taste buttery. Even when you add flavor to it, it does not take in much flavor.
 It is a regular fruit in our diet. This is one of way I use avocado.It is such a simple recipe it literally takes minutes to prepare.It just has only 3 ingredients and you can have it with or without sugar.My husband uses honey, you can use agave sweeter or any sweeter of your choice.Replace your regular bottled juice in the morning to this healthy drink.

Avocado juice Serves 4
Avocado - 1 peeled and de-seeded, cut into chunks
Milk - 2 cup (optional)
Water - 2 cups or 4 cups if not using milk
Lemon juice - 1 tbsp
Sugar - 3 tbsp or honey or any sweetener according to your choice.

Add the ingredients in the blender and blend till smooth.

Half an avocado will serve two.The fruit does not have any water content so it will be thick and creamy.The fruit is so smooth once you blend it, it will look like custard, so use water or milk to bring to the consistency you like.
If not using milk,increase water to 4 cups.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Vegetable biriyani

Its weekend and its biriyani time.Since we were not eating meat this week, my husband opted for vegetable biriyani.This again is my Mom's biriyani. She makes amazing biriyani's.The whole house smelled so wonderful when she cooked biriyani.I am not a patient person when it comes to biriyani, I used to go to the kitchen to steal some hot bites. .I love eating hot hot biriyani as soon as the unveiling of the lid is done. Hmm yummmm... I miss my Mom's biriyani.

This is one of my Mom's version of vegetable biriyani. When I asked for her recipe, she asked me" do you want a spicy biriyani","what color do you want your biriyani to be?" and I was "Mom, give me the recipe.." But that's how much love, she puts into it and that's why, every Mom's biriyani is special !  Here is the recipe to one version of her vegetable biriyani and every time she cooked biriyani, it was accompanied with chili gobi, so i decided to do the same combo for my darling husband. The gobi recipe will follow in the next post because that is my version of chili gobi and this biriyani recipe will be featured under "Amma'vin samayalarai".

Veg Biriyani Serves 4 - 5

Basmati rice - 2 cups
Onion chopped - 2 medium
Tomato chopped - 2 medium
Carrot chopped - 1 cup
Beans chopped - 3/4 cup 
Cauliflower chopped - 1 cup
Green peas - 1/3 cup
Green chilly slit lengthwise -1
Water - 3 1/2 cups
Oil - 4tbspn
Salt - 4 tspn (Use according to taste)

Masala Ingredients
Coconut grated - 1 cup
Cashew - 5 to 6
Garlic chopped - 10 heads
Ginger - 2 inch
Cinnamon - 2 inch
Cloves - 2 
Coriander chopped - 1/2 cup 
Sombu (சோம்பு ) / fennel seeds - 1 tspn
Green chili - 4 or 5 

Method 1 - Cooker method:
Wash the basmathi rice in cold water and soak the rice in cold water for 20 minutes.
Blend all the masala ingredients together to a paste.
Put the cooker over heat, add oil and add onion let the onions cook slowly over medium heat for 5 - 7 minutes. The caramelized onions brings on so much flavor,so do not be hasty and skip this step.
Once the onions are nice golden brown, add the tomato, green chili and cook for two minutes.
Add the blend masala with the tomato,cover with a lid and cook for 7 - 10 minutes until the tomato is mushy and the masala is well cooked. 
Add all the other vegetables.
Drain the rice and add the rice to the masala and mix around, until the rice is coated with the masala.
Add water and 3 tspn salt, mix and taste to check for salt.If less salt add accordingly.
Lock the lid in place and cook for 2 whistles,switch off and let it rest for 10 minutes.
Open the cooker and mix all the contents gently without breaking the rice.

Method 2 - Pan / casserole pan method: Water 4 cups
If you don have a pressure cooker, it does not stop you from enjoying a wonderful biriyani. All the steps are the same except for the last step and the water used a little more than the cooker method.
Instead of the cooker cook the onions, masala and other ingredients in your pan. After you add the water to the pan , let the water come to boil,reduce to simmer,place the lid and let the rice absorb all the water.
Switch of the heat and mix the contents of the pan gently without breaking the rice.

Enjoy your biriyani with some onion raita.

Onion Raita :
For the raita combine chopped onions,chopped tomato and chopped green chili with yogurt and season with salt.

Do not skip the first step of caramelizing the onions. They give so much flavor to the dish.
If you are comfortable in cooking rice and you know how much water your rice takes,go ahead and add it but what ever the measurement you use for regular rice, plus 1/2 cup extra bcos we have a lot of vegetables to cook along with the rice.
Again I leave the salt to your taste. I have given measurements but you can use according to your taste.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Ragi Pakoras / Vada

I was talking to my friend, who is from Andhra Pradesh, and she asked me what I was doing, I told her, I was making ragi pakoras and she told me she has never heard of it. She requested me the recipe, so  I thought I will share this recipe.I was in the idea that every south Indian was familiar with this healthy snack.Ragi pakora is a staple in south Indian cuisine. Every one in Tamil Nadu would have grown up eating them. They are a great low calorie snack.They are even sold as packaged snacks in stores. Every one has their own name for it, my dad calls them as ragi vadai, my husband calls them as pakora. however, they are the same recipes. I remember my mother cooking them for my dad on every other rainy day  and this is what I do for my husband. He loves to have them on a cold day with a cup of hot tea, plus they are sooo easy to make.

For those who are not familiar with ragi flour, ragi is nothing but finger millet powder. Indians refer to finger millet as ragi and India is the biggest cultivator of them. You can find ragi flour in any Indian store. Ragi is very healthy ingredient and experts recommend them as a regular part of the normal diet.They are high in calcium and low in calorie. My husband is a fitness junkie and that's why he loves them.

Ragi flour is pale in color but once you add water to them, they turn into a deep dark grayish color. I remember not liking them when i was a kid, bcos they were 'dark colored snacks', but once i had them i felt hmmm.. not so bad and it grew on me.They are chewy in the center and crunchy on the corners and you can enjoy them with just ketchup or coconut chutney if you have or just with  your tea. Now I enjoy them as much as my dad and my husband.

Dough consistency

I hope you enjoy it to.

Ragi Pakoras   Serves 3

Ragi flour - 1 cup
Onion chopped - 1 small
Green chili chopped - 4
Curry leaf chopped - 1 stem (optional)
Water - 1  cup or as needed to make the batter
Chana dal - 1 tspn
Salt to taste
Oil to fry

Heat oil in wok
In a mixing bowl add ragi flour, chopped onion,chopped green chilies,chana dal and the curry leaf and salt according to taste.
Add water slowly and start mixing them, the consistency should be not too dry nor too watery.
Start adding little dough to the hot oil ,using a spoon or just with ur hands in free form and let them cook until they turn into deep dark brown or for arnd 3 mins.Usually the cooking time depends on the size of the pakoras. Try one to find out how many minutes it takes and then you are ready to make amazing pakoras.

If you want the pakoras to be chewy, the dough should be in the consistency of a short crust pastry or your roti dough.
If you want it crispy add more water but be careful, do not make it runny.
You can temper mustard seeds and chana dal and add it to the mixture.Feel free to do what you are familiar with.