Vegetarian Concoctions

October 22, 2007

Navarathri Golu

Filed under: Festivals and occasions, JFI, Navarathri, South Indian — Hema @ 1:57 pm

It has been a busy 10 days with lots of people coming home for Golu and lots of visits to other poeple’s golus. The Garba celebrated in a modest way at the temple filled me with nostalgia transporting me to my college days at Baroda when my friends and I used to have the time of our lives dancing garba and raas way past midnight. I wanted to post this earlier and invite you all home for golu, but I still want you to be a part of it. This time I tried to recreate a barn for my daughter who loves old McDonald and his farm animals. To read more about the significance and tradition of golu read this and this.

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This goes to Vee who is hosting this special edition JFS:Dassera

May 10, 2007

My Little one turned 2!!!

Filed under: Birthday, General — Hema @ 11:23 am

It is hard to believe the fragile little life that needed support to hold up its head two years back has actual conversations with me now with her head held high. Before I know it she will be ready to take on the world.

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….impatience?

April 11, 2007

Black Forest Cake

A peek at the cake I baked for H’s birthday last weekend!

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I got the recipe for the icing and filling from here:
Few changes I made:

1. I used the Betty Crocker german chocolate cake mix and baked according to package instructions. The mix called for 1 1/3 cups of water. I used 1 cup of cherry syrup and 1/3rd cup of water instead.

2. I could not find bing cherries. So, i just substituted them with he cherries I got at my local grocery store.

3. Used cherry syrup that comes with the cherries instead of Kirshwasser for sprinkling on the cake, the filling and the icing.

4. Added chopped cherries in the filling.

5. Added 2 tsp of Milk Powder while whipping the cream (A tip from the reviews on the cake).

6. Used Hershey’s milk chocolate for the garnish.

VACATION TIME!!! Will be back right in time for a tamilnadu entry.

January 31, 2007

Poli

Filed under: Indian, Jaggery, Pongal, Sweets and Desserts, Tamilnadu, Toor Dal — Hema @ 10:41 am

I had made poli on bhogi, the first day of pongal. A good friend read out the recipe from her Samaithu paar (cook and see) part I by Meenakshi ammal. I have made poli before, but I always had problems working with the maida. Hoping to get a better result this time, I heeded the book’s advice of adding all that oil that it recommended to make it more workable. The dough worked well but the filling was not upto the expectations. Why?  because, the recipe suggested that the chana dal be cooked well and then the excess water removed. Smart that I thought I was, I cooked the dal in minimum water and didnt realize that some portions of the dal though cooked, remained hard until it was too late to go back and correct it.

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For the filling:

Uncooked chana dal – 1 cup

Jaggery – 1 cup (I used less since we prefer  it that way)

Cardamom – 1 tsp

Ghee – 2 tsp (The recipe did not list ghee. Just my choice)

For the dough:

Maida – 2 cups

Salt – 1/2 tsp

Turmeric – a pinch

Sesame oil – almost 1/3 cup

Water enough to make a soft dough

The method is same as what you would find here or here.

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Filling cooked to the right consistency (Click to expand)

The verdict: The poli was actually pretty good since the grinder did a good job of hiding my stupidity. The next time, I will try adding some atta alongwith the maida.

October 26, 2006

Diwali treats Part II

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Mixture: This was the most time consuming. It has 7 parts to it: oomapodi, boondi, maida biscuits, aval, curry leaves, peanuts and seasoning

1. Oomapodi
besan 1 cup
salt to taste
oomam (ajwain) – 1 1/2 tsp
turmeric – 1 pinch
oil for frying
Mix all the ingredients to make a soft dough. Transfer it to the achchhu and fry in batches

2. Boondi:
Besan – 1 cup
salt to taste
chilli pwd – 2 tsp
turmeric – a  pinch
hing – a pinch
Soda-bi-carb – a pinch
Make a batter using water with the above ingredients. You can use a boondi karandi (a big flat ladel with holes) or a plate/colander if you dont have one. th eholes should be about 2-3 mm in diameter. Hold it over the hot oil and pour a spoonful of batter on it. Now spread the batter on the karandi as if making a dosa and the drops that fall down should fry up into nice round boondis. For checking the consistancy, test fry with little batter first. If the boondis turn out pear shaped, then more water needs to be added and if they are too big and stuck together, you may need to add more besan. Trial and error is the way to go

3. Maida biscuit:
I am not sure if it has any other name, but that’s what we call this at our place. This is the best part of mixture in my opinion
Maida – 1 cup
rice pwd – 2 tbsp
salt – to taste
Oil for frying
Make a soft dough with the roti dough consistency and roll it out to the thickness of a thin roti. You do not have to be precise about the shape here. Use a knife or a pizza cutter and cut out diamond shapes. Deep fry the biscuits and make sure they are crisp before removing them from the oil
Deep fry (4) 2 cups of Poha, (5)1/2 cup of curry leaves and (6) 1 cup peanuts. Crumble the oomapodi and add together items 1 through 6.  Heat up 1 tbsp oil. Mix salt, chilli pwd and hing on a plate and pour the hot oil over it. Now, add this to the mixture and season it uniformly.
Thattai: I was not around whan MIL made these, but got the recipe from her.

Rice pwd – 1 cup
Udad pwd – 1 tbsp
Chilli pwd – 2 tsp
Til – 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Butter – ¼ cup
Mix the Rice and Udad pwd. Add softened butter and mix it well with you hands till you get a crumbly mix. Add the chilli pwd, til and salt and make a soft dough with water. Heat up the oil for frying and make small flat discs with the dough. The best way to do it is to use a thick plastic sheet or cloth. Deep fry in batches of 5-6 and store in an airtight container.

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Gulab jamun – used the GITS mix

Ribbon pakoda: My achchhu did not have the perfect ribbon making option, so I decided to go with a plain, thin slot.
Besan – 1 cup
Rice pwd – 1 tbsp
turmeric – 1/4 tsp
chilli pwd – 1 tbsp
salt to taste
Oil to fry
Make a dough with all the above ingredients using water. Transfer to achchhu and deep fry

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Thenguzhal:
Rice Flour – 1 cup
Udad flour – 1/2 cup
Jeera – 2 tsp
Ghee – 2 tbsp
Hing – 1/4 tsp
Oil for frying
Mix all the dry ingredients together. Heat up the ghee and add it to the flour and mix it up with your hands. Add enough water to make a soft dough. The consistancy: should be tight enough to retain a depression made with your fingers and soft enough to let the dough pass easily through the achchhu (I will post a picture for those of you who do not know what it is – its like a pasta press). Transfer the dought the achchhu. Heat up oil and fry up the thenguzhal in batches till done.

Gajar Halwa:
Carnation condensed milk (or any other brand) – 1 can
Carrots – 1 lb 
Ghee – 2 tbsp
Cardamom pwd – 1 tsp
Almonds, raisins, cashews – 2 tbsp each or according to taste
Grate the carrots using a medium sized grater. In a pressure cooker (or any thick bottomed skillet), add a tablespoon of ghee or butter. Put in the condensed milk and grated carrots. And stir it till all the water content evaporates. This may take about an hour. Keep stirring it so that it doesn’t get stuck to the bottom. Once done, heat up some ghee in a small pan. Add sliced almonds, raisins and halved cashews. Fry them for a bit till the raisins puff up and the nuts turn a little brown. Put it into the halva. Add cardamom pwd to the halva and stir it up well. Though I have never tried, my guess is this should work well in a microwave as well. It will take a lot less time. Just make sure you use a big glass container

and, last but not the least! My latest creation for my little one for Diwali….

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October 23, 2006

Happy Deepavali – Good wishes and a request!

Filed under: Diwali, Ginger, Roots, herbs and spices — Hema @ 2:43 pm

To all Tams out there – “Deebavali Vazhthukkal – Ganga snanam aacha?”, to the Hindi speaking junta – “Diwali ki shubhkamanayen” and to the Gujus – “Saal Mubaarak”. Since, these are the only three language I can communicate in, its “A very Happy Diwali” to the rest of you. Now, would you do me a favour? Could you leave me a comment wishing me back in your mother tongue and also specify the language you speak (It doesn’t necessarily have to be an Indian language)?  This will serve as a reference for me and many of you who would like to leave comments to our fellow-bloggers for the next year.

So! it is that time of the year again – Lights, fireworks, bakshanams(treats), new garments and loads of FUN!!! For those of you who have read my last post may remember that I had managed to get a solemn promise from my MIL that I would be the one handling the stove and she would be the one dispensing recipes. Well, I guess it was too much to ask:) She made Mysore pak, and Thattai while I was at work and they are just amazing. Let me get straight to the point and take you to my table right away.Here is what I have for you…


 

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Sweets – Mysore Pak(MIL), Gulab jamun, Gajar halva, Badam Halva(FIL)

Savoury – Mixture, Thenguzhal, Ribbon pakoda, Thattai(MIL)

And my entry to JFI for Diwali treats – Deepavali marundu (marundu is Tamil for medicine).


 

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The bakshanams for diwali can vary every year, but traditionally, one item that is always made at home is the marundu. A small ball of this sweet and spicy concoction is important to prevent/cure the indigestions caused by the different treats you gobble up at a steady rate through-out the day.  (p.s this lets you get out and enjoy the fireworks and not visit the restroom more often than necessary; – sorry- just had to put this in). Anyway, jokes aside, here is the recipe for Deepavali marundu. I have the names of ingredients in Tamil and will soon find out the names with which they are more commonly called and also post a picture of all the herbs/barks/spices.

Sukku (dry ginger) – 2 medium pieces

Athimadhuram – 1 bit

Kandathippili – 7-8 bits

Arisithippili – 1 tbsp

Chittarathai – 1 bit

Molagu (Black pepper)- 3 tsp

Omam (Ajwain) – 1 tbsp

Sombu (saunf/flennel seeds) – 1 tsp

Jadikkai – 1 tiny bit

Jadi patri – 1 tiny bit

Elaichi (cardamom) – 4

Cloves – 4

Cinnamon – 2 small pieces

Jaggery – amount as mentioned in the method

Honey – 2 tsp

Ghee – 3-4 tbsp

Put the dry ingredients in a cloth/paper towel and beat with a hammer. Then dry-grind the ingredients. It is important to beat it up first since some of them are too hard to be dealt with the grinder as is. Sieve the ground mixture and again dry grind anything that did not pass through the sieve. Repeat the process 2-3 times. Mix the sieved powder with a little bit of water to get a lump. Now, grate and measure up an equal amount of jaggery. In a pan, put a tbsp of ghee and the jaggery and heat till the jaggery dissolves fully and bubbles up in the sides. Add another tbsp of ghee and add the marundu ingredients. keep stiring till it leaves the sides. Add another tbsp of ghee if it sticks to the bottom during the stiring process. Before taking it off the stove add the honey. The marundu will harden up after cooling as any other sweet. So make sure you take it out what it is still soft and workable.

I know what most of you are thinking right now. Is it absolutely necessary to use all the above ingredients? Well no. I have a very simple recipe for making it with what you would have handy all the time.

Grated fresh ginger – 1/2 cup

Ajwain – 3 tbsp

Black pepper – 1 tbsp

Mix the ajwain and pepper, powder and dry roast for 5 minutes. Add 2 tbsp ghee to a pan and roast ginger. Mix the powdered indredients to the ginger and grind. Do not sieve. Rest of the process is as above. Add jaggery in equal amout to the ground mixture. You could use any other spice (except dry ginger) that is called for in the original recipe if you have it in hand. Simple?

Rest of the recipes will follow……….

 

August 8, 2006

Rasmalai (Rakhi special)

Filed under: Bengali, Milk, Paneer, Rakhi, Sweets and Desserts — Hema @ 4:31 pm

It has been a while since I started this blog and havent posted a recipe since. So, what better day to start than Rakhi…a day dedicated to my brother, who by the way is a big time foodie and an even bigger time sweetie:)…yes! he loves sweets…anything sweet. The first time he went grocery shopping for his new home, he ended up buying half a kg rice and 2 kgs sugar! So, my dear saapattu raman, yeh recipe tere naam. Enjoy the visual treat! HAPPY RAKHI !!!

Ingredients:

Paneer       250 gms

Milk            1 litre

Water         7 cups

Sugar         3 cups if you are like my brother…else 2 1/2 cups

Cardamom powder    1 tsp

Slivered pista and almonds    2 tbsp

Saffron  few strands

Rosewater few drops

Method:

I like to make my own paneer. About 2 litres of milk should suffice for the amount of paneer this recipe needs. Once the whey seperates, just squeeze out the excess liquid and knead it gently with your hands. It is not required to hang the paneer overnight to drain out all the water as done usually. Cow’s milk is preferable but not necessary. If you have bought your paneer just crumble it up and knead it gently without applying too much pressure. You may add a tbsp of all-purpose flour for binding if required. Make small balls and flatten it out.

Boil the milk with a cup of sugar till it reduces to 2/3 the amount. Add the cardamom powder and 1 1/2 tbsp of the pista and almonds, saving some for garnishing in the end. reduce the heat and let the milk simmer. Also boil the water with the remaining sugar and add a few drops of rosewater to it.

Drop in the flattened panner balls into the boiling water and cover the pot partially. In about 10 – 12 minutes the balls will puff up and float on top of the water. Press one and see if it springs back into shape just to be sure they are done. Remove the balls from water and gently drain water from each piece individually and transfer it to the hot milk. Let this boil up for another 5 minutes and transfer this to your serving bowl. Garnish it with the remaining pista and almonds and of course saffron. You are done! Pop it into the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving. Enjoy!

Rasmalai

 

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