Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Dill Raita

Dill was on sale in my local Indian store.I wanted to make the Dill Raita as an accompaniment to the Aloo Paratha I was planing to make for dinner. It was as simple as can be.
Dill - One Bunch (probably 1 cup washed ,chopped and filled tightly)
Yogurt - 2 Cups
Sour Cream - (Optional) 2 Tablespoons
Salt - As Needed
Oil - 1 tsp
Garlic - 4 Cloves (Chopped)
Ginger - 1 Inch Piece (Peeled and Chopped)

--->Wash the Dill
--->Drain it well
--->Chop it
--->Beat the Yogurt and Sour Cream well
---> Mix in the Chopped Dill
--->In a Pan, add the oil, and when it gets hot, add the chopped garlic and ginger to it and saute for a few minutes
---> Add the garnish to the yogurt and dill mister.
--->Just before serving add salt, so it doesn't get watery

An option is to ad some cucumbers to this, in case you dont like the stong taste of Dill. It is tastes better than the tzatziki you get from costco!

Serve with Hot pulav or Roti or Paratha 

Gulab Jamuns Made from Scratch!

Yes, you read the title right, its not from a mix, and no you do not need Khoya!

Jamuns with slivered Almonds

I learnt to make these from Santosh, a good friend of mine. She ran a successful catering business  and is a great cook. I really enjoyed learning the recipe from her. Also equally enjoyed the Punjabi Kadhi with ghee on top and the Baingan Bharta that I had (while learning) for lunch at her place :)

By far, these are the best Jamuns I have ever had in my life. That's saying something because I don't have a sweet tooth.

Well, here it is
You will need
a Food Scale
a Deep fryer (optional) for best results.

For Jamuns: (to make 30 small round jamuns or 20 oblong ones)

3oz of Bisquick Pancake Mix
4 oz of Milk Powder
5 oz of Heavy Cream.

For Sugar Syrup. (for above measurement)

2 Cups Sugar
2 Cups Water
Saffron - a pinch

In a heavy bottomed pan, add both sugar and water, Mix and let boil on a medium flame. Once the sugar is melted add the saffron, switch the stove off and let cool. Please note the syrup will be thin. Not thread consistency. Should easily flow from the spoon.

If you are making it in summer, start with placing the Heavy Cream in the freezer before measuring your ingredients. (For about few minutes so it will be extra cold)
 Measure the above ingredients to a tee.
Mix the dry ingredients (Bisquick, Milk Powder) well.
Then slowly add the Heavy cream to it, and make in to a nice soft dough. It should be soft to touch and not be sticky.
This usually takes 5 to 10 minutes of kneading.
Now just divide the dough in two and then make small balls out of them. Make sure they are almost the same size, so they will all get cooked evenly.
You can make oblong ones or round ones.
The oblong ones are trickier, if not made well, they might break in oil.

If you have a fryer, add enough oil and keep it a temperature of 350 deg. Otherwise, in a kadai, make sure the oil is hot but not too hot. Santosh says to keep extra oil on the side, so if the oil in kadai gets hot, add some to cool it down.
I made it once in a kadai and the next time in a fryer. I felt the fryer jamuns turned out better, because the temperature was maintained through out and also it was not oily. I also added a bit of ghee in the oil the second time around.

When you fry them, move the oil around with the ladle, but try not to touch the jamuns.
In the fryer it takes a good 1 to 2 minutes for them to become completely golden brown.

Once the jamuns are fried, just drop it in the sugar syrup immediately. They absorb the sugar water and double in size :)

The variation to this is Kala Jamun. With the same measurement, to the dough add, a tablespoon of sugar. This caramelizes and the jamuns become dark.

Decorative ideas,

- You could make oblong or round ones, and place them in cupcake liners.
- Cut the Jamuns in Half, get the pastry decoration from a store, and make designs on them
- you can sprinkle almonds or any other kinds of nuts.

When the jamuns are cool and have absorbed the syrup. You store them in the fridge for up to a week. 
When making it for a party, these can be made a day ahead. Will taste much better too. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

Kitchen Mishaps!

Warning: this post has no recipes what so ever. Just a collection of funny incidents that happened over the years in our family.

Well, this whole thing started with me making Rava Dosai for dinner. It was a long day and I was tired and in my hurry to make the dough, I picked up the Cream of rice / idli rava instead of rava and made the dough. When I was making the dosas, it was not getting crispy and not getting cooked enough at all. Still my family enjoyed them and had at least 4 each, while appreciating the 'tasty' rava dosais. I realized my mistake the next day and told them what I did. And then one by one went, 'Oh! Is that why it was not good', 'Oh! Is that why it was not crispy' 'Oh! Is that why it was not cooked'. We all had a good laugh about it.

I was telling about this incident to my grandma(paati) and she recalled this particular incident.
It was a time when they had moved to a new house and all the stuff in the kitchen was all over the place. My aunt was there during the move but had to leave to her husbands house by train in the evening, so she quickly arranged the kitchen for my paati before she left.
My Grandpa(Thatha) was hungry in the evening and asked if my paati could make 'Gothumai (Wheat Flour) Dosai' for him to eat. Gothumai dosai is very similar to rava dosai except its made with Gothumai (Wheat Flour), Maida(All Purpose Four). Well, my paati made the dosai with what she thought was Maida but it was actually bleaching powder. She was struggling to make the dosai, and somehow made a few and served it to him on a plate. She also had tasted the first itty bitty one, and thought it tasted a bit funny but was too tired to notice anything major.As soon as he had the first one, he felt that his throat was on fire. He immediately lied down and accused my paati of serving him a poisonous dosai and said that he was going to die soon :) My paati found the whole situation funny and was giggling and said 'What are you talking about'. Just at that time, my (Chithapa) Thatha's younger brother who's is actually my Chinna thatha but since my mom and uncles called him chithapa all the grand kids also called him chithapa (who lived diagonally opposite us) happened to be passing by out house and stopped to say hello. He noticed that my thatha was lying down rather uncomfortably and asked him about it. My thatha narrated the whole story and then my Chithapa turned and asked my paati, 'Well if you wanted to poison him, why go out of your way and make dosai out of it, why not just give it directly!'
That's how matter of fact we are in our family!!
And then he tasted it and found that it was bleaching powder and told my thatha he had nothing to worry about and asked him to drink a litre of water to wash it out!

This one again involves my paati, the time she made Rava Kesari. She let the sugar melt and then when it was time to add rava, she added sugar again and then was wondering why it was all melting and not coming together!

Speaking of crazy families, our family friend also have equally crazy incidents. My aunt told me was how her friend 'Mrs.C' had gone for a wedding in the morning and told her family that she would do a simple 'paruppu podi' dinner. She put hot rice and ghee on everyone's plates and then put a spoonful of paruppu podi. When her son tasted it, he complained something was wrong with it and 'Mrs.C' chided everyone until she had a taste of it, the alleged 'paruppu podi' was actually Horlicks!!

 This is my cousin S's first experience making Mango Cake in the form of a poem!

My attempt @ Eggless Mango Cake By S
Was my first baking experience (alone) ever.
So all the baking equipment including measuring cups & spoons, ingredients & me got together.

Made a near perfect dough – “perfect”, according to my standard.
Poured into the baking tin & off it went into the oven and me hoping my baking journey would continue onward .

The oven is new so is being tested for the first time so..
It conked off!! Tried once again but it wouldn’t budge & so hard we did try though!

But giving up is not the solution right?
And so put it in one of the saviours of the kitchen for 7-8 mins – The Microwave which put up a good fight.

Now that was a whee bit too long and so the result was a spongy edible cake..
BUT.. something told me that it was going to harden up and turn into stone bake .

So what did I do? Quickly literally gobbled up two huge slices of the cake!
Almost 60% of my first “masterpiece” of a cake

Before it turned into stone and it did eventually turn into a hard rock filled with stress,
Relished the “taste” & was pretty satisfied that none of the appliances burst in the process.

And now, my baking equipment, ingredients & me are all waiting for the oven to get well soon
So that we can together bake my official first cake hoping that doesn’t turn into a mishap too!

PS – All words within “ “ are sarcasm hints.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Paruppu Podi

Podi means powder in Tamil. This is one of the mixes that can be made and stored. The days when there is no Rasam or Sambar, you can mix this with hot rice and ghee and add a 'sutta aplam' as a side.

You need
Toor Dal 1 cup
Red chillies 2 or 3
Black Pepper 1 Tsp
Hing 1 Tsp
Salt as needed
Roast the dal, chillies, Black Pepper, in a thick bottomed pan, on a medium flame.

Make sure the flame is a steady medium and keep stirring the pan constantly so it doesn't burn.

You should roast this until it changes color. It took about 12 mins for me.

Add the Hing in the last two minutes.

Let cool, and grind to a fine powder.

Mix with hot rice and ghee!

Satvik Paneer

Satvik simply means pure. In this case, I call it Satvik Paneer because there is no onion and garlic in it. Also called the 'Jain' Version because of the same reason. 

On festival days, food is usually prepared without adding onions or garlic. 

When i was growing up, onions were rarely used in our house and garlic was an absolute No No. Once every blue moon when the small onion sambar was made it was an absolute delicacy. 

During the nine days of Navarathri, Onions and garlic are not used in everyday cooking. I made this as an accompaniment to the roti that was served.

Basically to make 'Jain' version of any recipe, you have to add more flavors to mask the missing onion flavor and use lots of tomatoes.

For about 4 to 6 servings here is the recipe

You Need
Tomatoes - 6
Green Chili -2
Ginger - 1 and 1/2 Inc piece
Oil - 2 Tsp
Butter - 1 Tsp
Kasoori Methi - 2 Tsp
Red Chili Powder - 1/2 Tsp
Roasted Dhaniya /Coriander Powder - 1/2 Tsp
Roasted Jeera / Cumin Powder - 1/2 Tsp
Garam Masala - 1 Tsp
Yogurt (well beaten) - 3 Table Spoons
Salt - about 1 and 1/2 Tea spoons (more or less according to your taste)
Paneer - Standard small slab that you get in the Indian store, cut in desired size

#It helps if you mix all the dry masala powder in water so there are no lumps and also the masala wont burn.
#You can prepare the Dhaniya Jeera masala powder ahead of time in a larger quantity and store. 
#Please adjust the spiciness of this Sabji to your taste.


In a Food processor, grind the tomatoes, green chili and the ginger.

In a pan, on a medium flame, add the oil and butter and once the butter melts, add the kasoori methi.

Add the mixture of masala and water to this and let it come to a slow boil -about 3 to 4 minutes

Add the tomatoes mixture to this, and add salt to this and close the pan so everything can come together and thicken - about 10 minutes

Once the mixture is thick, slow down the flame and add the yogurt and mix well

On the side, if you prefer, roast the paneer a bit, (i do it, because my kids dont like the paneer if it is not sauteed, but if you don't mind you can skip this step)

Add the Paneer to this and garnish with coriander leaves.

Serve hot with Pulav or Rotis.

Butter Paneer

Butter Paneer
  I have made both the Instant Butter Paneer version posted by Chef Vah Re Vah, here, and the traditional version posted by Sindhi Rasoi, here. I dont have a picture of the Vah re Vah version. The picture above is the Sindhi Rasoi Version.
Here is my verdict........(drum roll please)

The Instant Butter Paneer is really that... instant. It just takes time to assemble the items you need.
For the first time in my life I bought fried onions. (Never knew they sell it in the stores here). And was shocked, because the onions were far beyond recognizable. The taste is exactly like the stuff you get in restaurants. But you will get tired of this in one meal.

The Sindhi Rasoi recipe was a long process, with a ton of stuff to soak, grind, fry respectively.
What you need
I did lose patience with the process by the end. Instead of grinding all the fried onions, I just ground half of the onions. Also, I always lightly fry the Paneer before adding to any subji, because that's the way my kids like it. If you like paneer, as it comes from the store, you can add it like that.
The end result was a flavorful dish. The paneer soaked in the masala nicely and was a great accompaniment to our dinner. Please get the step by step instructions from the Sindhi Rasoi blog directly.